Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Black City Cover Reveal + Giveaway (INTL)

Black City
Elizabeth Richards 
Release date: November 13th, 2012
by G.P. Putnam's Sons BYR

Add it to your Goodreads
Deep in the heartland of the United Sentry States are the burning ruins of the Black City, a melting pot simmering with hostility as humans and Darklings struggle to rebuild their lives in the aftermath of a brutal and bloody war. A wall now divides the city separating the two races. Trapped on the wrong side of the wall is sixteen-year-old hustler Ash Fisher, a half-blood Darkling who’ll do whatever it takes to survive, including selling his addictive venom ‘Haze’ to help support his dying mother.

Then there’s Natalie Buchanan, the daughter of the Sentry Emissary, who feels imprisoned by her life of privilege and fame. When their paths cross, they instantly detest each other but Ash is shocked when his once still heart starts to beat. Bonded by a mysterious connection, Ash and Natalie first deny and then struggle to fight their forbidden feelings for each other, knowing if they’re caught, they’ll be executed. Then Haze users start dying all over the city and Ash discovers the terrible truth behind his and Natalie’s mystical connection. Suddenly, city walls and the threat of execution become the least of their problems.

Elizabeth Richards is an award-winning journalist and debut author, who spent her early career writing for videogame publications such as CUBE, P2 and GamesTM,and now works as a website editor. Previously, she ran a successful lifestyle website aimed at teenage girls. She won the Jane Hayward Young Journalist of the Year award for her feature on girls in the games industry, and was named 'Editor's Choice' in the industry trade magazine, MCV.

Wow! This cover is absolutely amazing. I love the colors, I love the details. It's all really awesome! Plus, the cover totally matches my blog! The synopsis is pretty cool too you have to admit! If you agree, keep reading for a look at the first chapter and a chance to win!

Waiting on Wednesday (25)

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

My pick this week:
The Lost Girl
Sangu Mandanna
Release date: August 28th, 2012
by Balzer + Bray

Eva's life is not her own. She is a creation, an abomination - an echo. Made by the Weavers as a copy of someone else, she is expected to replace a girl named Amarra, her 'other', if she ever died. Eva studies what Amarra does, what she eats, what it's like to kiss her boyfriend, Ray. So when Amarra is killed in a car crash, Eva should be ready.

But fifteen years of studying never prepared her for this.

Now she must abandon everything she's ever known - the guardians who raised her, the boy she's forbidden to love - to move to India and convince the world that Amarra is still alive.

Sangu calls this a mixture of Tim Burton and Frankenstein - who does not this this is particularly awesome!? All of Tim Burton's movies have become favorites of mine, so anything he has inspired, Me waaaaaant! Even without him in the mix, though, it sounds like a very intriguing plot. I will be waiting impatiently to read this one! =)

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Weeping Tour Stop

Today I'm thrilled to have The Weeping blog tour visiting Xpresso Reads for a super fun post. First I'll be showing you my thoughts on this book so you all get to see what it's about. Then I'll be showing you O'Dell's dream cast - which actors he'd love to see playing the roles of his characters. There is also a fabulous giveaway at the end! I'm telling you, this is one awesome day!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Review: Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

Graffiti Moon
Cath Crowley
Release date: February 14th, 2012
by Knopf Books for Young Readers

Goodreads / Purchase
Senior year is over, and Lucy has the perfect way to celebrate: tonight, she's going to find Shadow, the mysterious graffiti artist whose work appears all over the city. He's out there somewhere—spraying color, spraying birds and blue sky on the night—and Lucy knows a guy who paints like Shadow is someone she could fall for. Really fall for. Instead, Lucy's stuck at a party with Ed, the guy she's managed to avoid since the most awkward date of her life. But when Ed tells her he knows where to find Shadow, they're suddenly on an all-night search around the city. And what Lucy can't see is the one thing that's right before her eyes.
*A copy was provided by Random House Children's Books for review purposes*

I know nothing about graffiti, I know even less about art - why the heck did I read this book? Well, for the same reason you should! It's an incredibly sweet, delightfully romantic story that can not be on your unread shelf. Why?
    -True to life, complex romance
    -Artistic imagery that will enthrall any reader- art fanatic or not
    -Characters that make you fall in love
    -A story that is simply too gorgeous to be left unexplored

If this isn't enough to convince you, maybe you should go back to playing with Legos - or something.

I must admit, I did not get into the story right away. I don't know if it was the unique lyrical writing, or the artsy details, but I kept getting distracted. The writing, although beautiful, is much more elaborate than what I was expecting from a young-adult novel so it threw me off at first. However, once I got into it, I couldn't stop staring at these beautiful sentences that simply blew me away. Or these outstanding characters that do nothing less than take your heart, and pull you inside the pages.

Lucy is desperate to find this graffiti artist who calls himself Shadow. Ed is a lost soul who paints to find himself. We're taken into this story with a dual perspective that lets us see into each of these characters hearts; these characters who are notably profound, yet believable. I loved how they aren't stylized to fit the unconvincing image of prim and proper teenagers we often get in YA novels. These are real, raw personalities who express themselves with art, while trying to find their place in this big, unforgiving world. Cath does not soften the edges to make a cute, romantic story, she gives us a story so pure, so deep, that it bleeds out the truest of love stories.

There is a lot more in here than a love story, however. We see these kids struggle through real life problems - financial dilemmas, marital issues and death are all a part of this well rounded tale. It's undoubtedly a one of a kind novel that is bound to impress a wide range of readers, from young to adult. I'm glad that, despite my lack of artistic knowledge, I decided to give this one a try- and you should too!  

4 Hot Espressos

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Blogger Zombies Guest Post

This post is part of Zombies vs Unicorns month co-hosted with Literary Exploration, YA-Aholic and YA Bookmark

Last month, I asked some of my fellow team zombie bloggers to drop by and explain why exactly, team zombie? Why are zombies so incredibly awesome that they will always be awesomer than unicorns? This is what they had to say!

In My Mailbox (24)

"In My Mailbox" is a meme, created by Kristi at The Story Siren, that features books I have
received/ purchased/ borrowed during the week. 

I hope everyone had a fabulous week because this week was my BIRTHDAY! Yay! We went out today to celebrate with steak an lobster. It was delicious! I didn't actually buy any books this week but I did receive a few review copies that can count for birthday gifts, right!? I also got a cake, I left it on the coffee table and my toddler found it this morning. He was quiet for a few minutes, so I came to see what he was up to and he was stuffed full of chocolate. Then I sent him off to his grandparent's. Teehee.

This week at Xpresso Reads was zombilicious. Make sure you haven't missed any zombie fun by clicking here.  I also posted a massive cover reveal -here- with some lovely new pretties. And I scheduled a new tour for Someone Else's Life. I already had a copy for review so I was happy to be asked to take part of the tour as well. Oh, and I've still got 5 open giveaways, don't forget to enter (found on sidebar), as a couple of them are ending soon!

Let's see what I got for review this week:

 A huge thank you to Thomas Nelson, Tabitha Vale, J. Meyers, Macmillan Publishers, Nikki Jefford, JL Bryan and Penguin Canada for the review copies.

 What's in your mailbox this week?
Link me up!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Review & Guest Post: Deadlocked by A.R. Wise

A.R. Wise
Release date: November 9th, 2011

Goodreads / Purchase
David was caught in the middle of the city when the zombie outbreak started. His wife and daughters were at home, stranded on the roof as zombies waited below. He would have to fight through hordes of undead, merciless other survivors, and a series of death defying stunts to get home. However, even if he makes it there, how can he be sure they're safe?

Deadlocked puts you into David's head as he struggles to get home. Then a final confrontation occurs that will guarantee his family's survival, but at what cost?
Deadlocked 2
A.R. Wise
Release date: December 9th, 2011

Part two of this series picks up immediately after the end of the first. David's wife, Laura, is forced to take over the protection of their family as the boat travels out into Hailey Bay, away from the zombies. However, the boat's pilot plans to dock back in the overrun city to rescue his own family, which will put Laura's in jeopardy.

Laura is forced to overcome unimaginable horrors as the zombie apocalypse explodes around her, but it is the evil intent of the humans around her that present her greatest challenge. The reader is taken far beyond the edge of their seat as Laura pushes forward to the inevitable end. No one is safe in a world where the dead hunt the living.
*Copies were provided by A.R. Wise for review purposes*

Note: This is a combined review of book 1 and 2 of the Deadlocked series.

A zombie apocalypse is far from a unique plot. George Romero made his epic zombie movie way back in 1968 and it's safe to say we've had our share of undead cannibals since. A.R. Wise tackles this widely used horror icon by giving us novellas from different point of views that, although short, are stacked with emotions, horror and realism.

As I mentioned, you can only go so far with originality in zombie stories, but I have to admit that this series has some twists that I never would have even dreamed of. Some are heartbreaking, others are disturbing, but it all comes down to realistic representation. I'm sure I'm not the only one who finds most zombie movies more amusing than scary, simply because they're either cliché or outrageous. In Deadlocked, we're sent on a journey with a family who is bent on surviving, and A.R. doesn't shy away from the truth of how it would be. He shows us how Zombies are never the only ones to fear either. With everyone in a panic, some would go to great lengths to get what they need, losing all sense of humanity in the process. This one's not for the faint of heart!

We first meet David when the zombie apocalypse starts. We go with him while he's trying to get from his office to his family in the midst of this chaos. Then in book 2, we're following the story through Laura's eyes - David's wife and mother of his two small children. Both of these characters go through unimaginable ordeals to save the ones they love. David's story is a great start, but I enjoyed book 2 the most. We're thrown in the middle of the apocalypse where every page is filled with high speed survival. I also found Laura's character growth remarkable. She turns into this power house survivor that would do absolutely anything to save her kids. I found it admirable. It also makes us wonder how we would fare in her shoes. Would we be strong enough to survive?

As every installment is from a new point of view, we get to experience this gruesome apocalypse through different eyes, which gives us an original take on how different minded people perceive such horror. Written as novellas, the Deadlocked hands gives us quick, highly intense stories that I would recommend to any zombie fan out there.  

4 Hot Espressos

Along with my review I have A.R dropping by to tell us a bit about why zombies are so scary.

The Value of a Good Zombie

Why do we love zombies? There are hundreds of different monsters to choose from, but these undead shamblers continue to delight us. Readers go back to the well over and over, even though we're pretty certain it's been tapped. Why is that?

I chose to write a zombie story for two reasons: A friend of mine was convinced he would never like another zombie book, and I was struggling to deal with my mother's cancer. I decided to write Deadlocked, a novella series, as a way to take on my friend's challenge, but also as a cathartic exercise in dealing with my mother's illness. In doing this, I stumbled upon the secret that makes zombies an indelible bad guy:

Zombies are a constant reminder of our own impending death.

This is the reason they have become a genre unto themselves: no other monster can contend with the emotions these shambling corpses subliminally stick in our heads. Every time a protagonist faces off with a zombie, they are staring at their own inevitable demise. We will all die, and every minute of every day is yet another step into our own grave. When we look into the face of a zombie (a decaying, disgusting, vile human face) we are looking into a mirror at our future selves. Kind of creepy, isn’t it?
Also, don't forget that zombies eat people - that's pretty terrifying too!

A good zombie story is less about the zombies, and more about the struggles of the characters trying to survive. There are a lot of great zombie stories that create a pulse-pounding plot by simply throwing characters into a zombie filled area and letting the story tell itself. However, I think the best zombie tales are the ones that tell a larger story. I want to read about characters that are more than just action heroes.

Deadlocked starts with a father that has recently learned he might have cancer. From there, the world turns upside down as zombies take over, but I wanted to use the living dead as an analogy to the main character's crushing realization that he is going to die. Don't worry, the apocalypse isn't just in his head, but I wanted this to be a story about how this father will do anything to protect his family in the face of death. The entire story is designed around the idea that the protagonist is trying to make sure his family will be safe after he's gone. When you look at it from the viewpoint of someone with terminal cancer, instead of someone simply frightened of being eaten, you see many parallels. He wants to make sure they are safe and provided for after his death.

In George Romero's best zombie films, he uses the undead as a thinly disguised metaphor for some part of the human condition. Night of the Living Dead is as much about racism as it is about zombies. And my personal favorite, Dawn of the Dead, is a thinly veiled discussion on modern consumer culture. These underlying plots are what make those movies classics. The zombies are there to scare us, but they mean so much more.

When you see a rotting corpse in Dawn of the Dead, you're seeing the storyteller's attempt to equate consumerism and death. Romero is asking you, without having to ask, "What do all your possessions matter when you're dead?"

In Night of the Living Dead, when those creatures outside are threatening to eat the occupants of that house, Romero is asking you, "What does it matter what skin color you are when you're dead?"
You're going to die - and there's no monster out there that more fully embodies that inescapable truth than a zombie. THAT'S why they scare us.

…And they eat people. Gross.

This post is part of Zombies vs Unicorns month co-hosted with
Literary Exploration, YA-Aholic and YA Bookmark

Fresh Batch (Feb. 26th - March 3rd)

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

Flavour of the week:
When the Sea is Rising Red
Cat Hellisen

Goodreads / Purchase 
After seventeen-year-old Felicita’s dearest friend, Ilven, kills herself to escape an arranged marriage, Felicita chooses freedom over privilege. She fakes her own death and leaves her sheltered life as one of Pelimburg’s magical elite behind. Living in the slums, scrubbing dishes for a living, she falls for charismatic Dash while also becoming fascinated with vampire Jannik. Then something shocking washes up on the beach: Ilven's death has called out of the sea a dangerous, wild magic. Felicita must decide whether her loyalties lie with the family she abandoned . . . or with those who would twist this dark power to destroy Pelimburg's caste system, and the whole city along with it. 
Cat Hellisen is an author of fantasy for adults and young adults. Born in 1977 in Cape Town, South Africa, she has also lived in Johannesburg, Knysna, and Nottingham.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Review: Partials by Dan Wells

Dan Wells
Series: Partials, #1
Release date: February 28th, 2012
by Balzer + Bray

Goodreads / Purchase
Humanity is all but extinguished after a war with partials--engineered organic beings identical to humans--has decimated the world’s population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island. The threat of the partials is still imminent, but, worse, no baby has been born immune to the disease in over a decade. Humanity’s time is running out.

When sixteen-year-old Kira learns of her best friend’s pregnancy, she’s determined to find a solution. Then one rash decision forces Kira to flee her community with the unlikeliest of allies. As she tries desperately to save what is left of her race, she discovers that the survival of both humans and partials rests in her attempts to answer questions of the war’s origin that she never knew to ask.
*A copy was provided by HarperCollins Children's Books for review purposes*

Intense with highly sophisticated world building- Partials is a fantastic addition to the dystopian genre. Babies don't survive and the youngest human on earth is now 14 years old. With 99% of the population gone, killed by a new epidemic, Kira is determined to find a cure to save humanity.

I have to start with Kira because she is an excellent protagonist. She is incredibly determined, and this presence throughout the novel of pure dedication to her cause is all consuming. You want her to succeed so badly that it becomes a truly captivating read. This is not her only quality; she is also strong, confident and outspoken. These are all traits that make a well-rounded, easy to root for protagonist if you ask me. I clicked with her almost instantly. She is shadowed by quite a few secondary characters as well who are equally of value to the story. Some of them are more developed than others, but they all have great personalities that really fill up the pages.

One thing that stands out from this book that actually surprised me, is the lack of a romantic plot. Yes the protagonist has a boyfriend, but we barely see them together. She's not one to forget that this is the end of the world because a cute boy happens to pass by. The plot - saving humanity - comes first! Surprising right? I do enjoy romance, but I was relieved to see that, finally, we've got a dystopian not powered by a love story.

I had heard this novel was a bit on the scientific side which made me a bit wary because me and science are not great friends. Therefore, I surprise even myself when I say that the science added to the story is what makes it the most interesting. It turns everything that is happening in this future world completely realistic, and truly alarming. Instead of simply being told that there is a virus without a cure, killing all our babies, we go in deeper with Kira researching what exactly is happening inside our bodies, and why a cure still hasn't been found in over a decade. It's not overwhelming by any means. It was neither confusing, nor boring. The only thing it made me, was fascinated.

The Partials almost made us extinct, the Voice is rebelling against the few surviving humans, this leaves us with a story full of villains. What does this promise? Intensity! It does take a little bit to get into a fast pace, but once it does it's especially action packed until the very end. We also quickly realize that there is no clear picture on who the enemy really is, or who we should trust. This essentially turns an already exciting plot into an intense roller coaster ride full of fear, uncertainty and surprise. With no shortage of dystopian novels on the shelves nowadays, make sure that this one ends up on yours!  

4 Hot Espressos

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Massive Cover Reveal - 5 New Pretties

Out of Reach
Carrie Arcos
Release date: October 2012
by Simon Pulse

Add it to your Goodreads
When Micah disappears from home, his sister Rachel decides to secretly take matters into her own hands. Armed with Micah's best friend Tyler, she travels from the hazy, lazy suburbs of Southern California to the seedy side of San Diego's beach communities following the clues that Micah left behind. As each lead arrives at a dead end, she is left to piece together the puzzle that is her brother's life. And the sketchy characters Rachel and Tyler encounter make Rachel wonder if she can reach Micah before it’s too late.

Hanging by a Thread
Sophie Littlefield
Release date: September 11th, 2012
by Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Summer is the best part of the year in Winston, California, and the Fourth of July is the highlight of the season. But the perfect town Clare remembers has changed, and everyone is praying that this summer will be different from the last two—that this year's Fourth of July festival won't see one of their own vanish without a trace, leaving no leads and no suspects. The media are in a frenzy predicting a third disappearance, but the town depends on tourist dollars, so the residents of Winston are trying desperately to pretend nothing's wrong.

And they're not the only ones hiding something.

Clare, a seamstress who redesigns vintage clothing, has been blessed—or perhaps cursed—with a gift: she can see people's pasts when she touches their clothes. When she stumbles across a denim jacket that once belonged to Amanda Stavros, last year's Fourth of July victim, Clare sees her perfect town begin to come apart at the seams.

In a town where appearance means everything, how deep beneath the surface will Clare dig to uncover a murderer?
Series by Sophie Littlefield:

C.J. Redwine
Release date: August 28th, 2012
by Balzer & Bray

Add it to your Goodreads
Within the walls of Baalboden, beneath the shadow of the city’s brutal leader, Rachel Adams has a secret. While other girls sew dresses, host dinner parties, and obey their male Protectors, Rachel knows how to survive in the wilderness and deftly wield a sword. When her father, Jared, fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector, her father’s apprentice, Logan—the same boy Rachel declared her love for two years ago, and the same boy who handed her heart right back to her. Left with nothing but fierce belief in her father’s survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself. But treason against the Commander carries a heavy price, and what awaits her in the Wasteland could destroy her.

At nineteen, Logan McEntire is many things. Orphan. Outcast. Inventor. As apprentice to the city’s top courier, Logan is focused on learning his trade so he can escape the tyranny of Baalboden. But his plan never included being responsible for his mentor’s impulsive daughter. Logan is determined to protect her, but when his escape plan goes wrong and Rachel pays the price, he realizes he has more at stake than disappointing Jared.

As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can’t be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.

The Unfailing Light
Robin Bridges
Series: Katerina Trilogy, #2
Release date: October 9th, 2012
by Random House Children's Books

Having had no choice but to use her power has a necromancer to save Russia from dark forces, Katerina Alexandrovna, Duchess of Oldenburg, now wants to forget that she ever used her special powers. She's about to set off to pursue her lifelong dream of attending medical school when she discovers that Russia's arch nemesis--who she thought she'd destroyed--is still alive. So on imperial orders, Katerina remains at her old finishing school. She'll be safe there, because the empress has cast a potent spell to protect it against the vampires and revenants who are bent on toppling the tsar and using Katerina for their own gains. But to Katerina's horror, the spell unleashes a vengeful ghost within the school, a ghost more dangerous than any creature trying to get in.
The Katerina Trilogy so far:

Time Between Us
Tamara Ireland Stone 
Release date: October 9th, 2012
by Hyperion

Add it to your Goodreads
Anna and Bennett were never supposed to meet: she lives in 1995 Chicago and he lives in 2012 San Francisco. But Bennett’s unique ability to travel through time and space brings him into Anna’s life, and with him, a new world of adventure and possibility.

As their relationship deepens, they face the reality that time might knock Bennett back where he belongs, even as a devastating crisis throws everything they believe into question. Against a ticking clock, Anna and Bennett are forced to ask themselves how far they can push the bounds of fate—and what consequences they can bear in order to stay together.

Wowzers! I'm seriously in love with all of these covers. I don't know about you, but fall is going to be filled with new amazing reads on MY shelf! :)

What are your thoughts on these pretties?

Review: Torn by Amanda Hocking

Amanda Hocking
Series: Trylle Trilogy, #2
Release date: February 28th, 2012
by St. Martin's Press

Goodreads / Purchase
When Wendy Everly first discovers the truth about herself--that she's a changeling switched at birth--she knows her life will never be the same. Now she's about to learn that there's more to the story... She shares a closer connection to her Vittra rivals than she ever imagined--and they'll stop at nothing to lure her to their side.

With the threat of war looming, her only hope of saving the Trylle is to marry a powerful royal. But that means walking away from Finn, her handsome bodyguard who's strictly off limits...and Loki, a Vittra prince with whom she shares a growing attraction.

Torn between her heart and her people, between love and duty, Wendy must decide her fate. If she makes the wrong choice, she could lose everything, and everybody, she's ever both worlds.
*A copy was provided by St. Martin's Press for review purposes*

In this second installment of the Trylle trilogy, we reunite with Wendy inside this strange new world she's still digesting. It's an honorable sequel with a lot of world building, plenty of characterization, and enough twists to keep you enchanted until the end.

Let's start with the world building. In Switched, we're introduced to this new race of Trylle. We meet the queen, we visit the kingdom and we learn where Wendy fits in all of this. Now, in Torn, we go deeper. We learn a lot more about the politics of the Trylle as well as of the Vittra. We get a bigger look at what the future will have in store, not only for Wendy, but for the whole Trylle race. It's clear that this world was made with great effort. Everything is very complex with careful forethought. The story itself, which starts off thick on the action, quickly dwindles down to a smoother course where we concentrate more on plot development. Even though it's not constantly intense or heart pounding, there is enough going on throughout the book to make it easy to fly through it.

We meet again with the wonderful characters from Switched, accompanied by some new faces who are equally endearing. We've had Finn, the sweet, selfless one. Now comes Loki, the willful, irresistible bad boy. He is a great addition to the cast who is quickly becoming my favorite of the male characters. As for our protagonist, Wendy, she has grown from the previous novel. She's more feisty, and has finally started putting her foot down - particularly when it comes to her mother. She also has her brother, Matt, by her side this time. He's a great cornerstone for Wendy and can always be counted on to stand by her. She definitely needs this rock in her life, especially now with Finn acting so cold and moody - which I was a bit disappointed by; I was hoping the passion from Switched would remain, but Torn doesn't hold an abundance of romance. However, there is a new "flirtation" developing that is quite intriguing! It has a forbidden fruit temptation that always gets me enamored.

A delightful sequel- Torn brings us deeper into this world full of trolls and battles; romance and controversies. I strongly suggest you get St. Martin's published copy of this, if not for the beautiful cover, then for the never before published short stories at the end. These takes us into the minds of three of the well loved male characters. And I can assure you, they are well worth it!  

4 Hot Espressos

The Trylle Trilogy:

Want to know what I thought of Switched?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Review: The First Days by Rhiannon Frater

The First Days
Rhiannon Frater
Series: As The World Dies: A Zombie Trilogy, #1
Release date: July 5th, 2011
by Tor Books

Goodreads / Purchase
The morning that the world ends, Katie is getting ready for court and housewife Jenni is taking care of her family. Less than two hours later, they are fleeing for their lives from a zombie horde.

Thrown together by circumstance, Jenni and Katie become a powerful zombie-killing partnership, mowing down zombies as they rescue Jenni's stepson, Jason, from an infected campground.

They find sanctuary in a tiny, roughly fortified Texas town.  There Jenni and Katie find they are both attracted to Travis, leader of the survivors; and the refugees must slaughter people they know, who have returned in zombie form. 
*This review is part of Zombies vs Unicorns month co-hosted with Literary Exploration, YA-Aholic and YA Bookmark.*

Zombie stories are my guilty pleasure. They're exciting, full of action, gory, but they terrify me to bits. Surviving a zombie apocalypse is no easy feat. So, as expected, I read this with my heart pounding from start to finish, knowing that these people are most likely doomed no matter what, because zombies always win… always. It was such a rush!!

An incredibly frightening zombie story- The First Days, as the title conveys, starts at the very beginning of a zombie apocalypse. People are getting bitten, then turn on others to feed. No one knows what's happening, but after Jenni sees her family succumb to this horror, she flees. This is not easy for her. Being a mother myself, that beginning is incredibly heartbreaking. I just kept imagining being in her shoes, seeing my children turn into monsters in front of my eyes. Uncomprehending. The tangible emotions in this story is a big part of why it's such a chilling read. It makes it extremely realistic. The setting, the pace, the reactions; it's all how I imagine it would happen if the zombocalypse were to start today. It really makes you think.

We meet a lot of different types of personalities during this story. The panicked, the determined, the optimist, and the destroyed. Rhiannon greatly portrays how society would react to such terror. Our protagonists are two strong females who go through remarkable depths to help each other, as well as strangers they meet down the road. These women are incredibly intelligent. They don't let their emotions turn them incompetent- which is the only way you're able to survive in this new world. I grew immensely fond of both of them. I even felt like I knew them; they were so real. We also have a band of eccentric supporting characters who make their way into these women's lives. Each one adds a little bit of charm, even humor, to this otherwise somber story. I didn't care much for the added romance in the novel, though. It felt a tad artificial, mostly due to its hastiness. However, I realized afterwards that people in such situations would have a tendency to develop feelings at an accelerated pace, hence making theirs probable. It also does give a nice breather from the constant anxiety and panic, so it was never seen as a negative point.

Zombie movies are all about horror and gore, but The First Days is so much more. You will grow to know and care for these people. You will see how, in a zombie world, new rules have to apply, hard choices have to be made, you can't take ANYTHING for granted, and no one is safe, ever. It will strip you to the core!

5 Hot Espressos

As The World Dies trilogy:

Waiting on Wednesday (24)

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

My pick this week:
Talia Vance
Release date: September 8th, 2012
by Flux

Beauty is pointless when no one's looking.

Brianna Paxton has been invisible to guys since the eighth grade. She’s pretty enough, it’s just that no one bothers to look. There’s almost nothing that can’t be explained with science, and Brianna has a theory: she’s missing the pheromone that attracts people to one another. Brianna’s theory is shot to hell in one frozen, silver moment, when time stops and Blake Williams not only sees her, he recognizes something inside her that she’s been hiding from even herself.

Before Brianna fully understands who and what she is, she accidentally binds her soul to Blake. Forced to find a way to reconcile forbidden love and her bloody heritage, Brianna discovers that there's nothing pointless about her, and Blake may be in the most danger of all.

I really dig the fun, sarcastic vibe of this blurb. If there's one thing I love in books it's humor, and this one sounds like it's going to be spunky and intriguing - yes please! I only noticed this book a couple of days ago from one of my friends on Goodreads, since then I simply HAVE to have it!

What are you waiting on this week?
Leave me a link and I'll drop by!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Review: Die For Me by Amy Plum

Die For Me
Amy Plum
Series: Revenants, #1
Release date: May 10th, 2011
by HarperTeen

Goodreads / Purchase
In the City of Lights, two star-crossed lovers battle a fate that is destined to tear them apart again and again for eternity.

When Kate Mercier's parents die in a tragic car accident, she leaves her life--and memories--behind to live with her grandparents in Paris. For Kate, the only way to survive her pain is escaping into the world of books and Parisian art. Until she meets Vincent.

Mysterious, charming, and devastatingly handsome, Vincent threatens to melt the ice around Kate's guarded heart with just his smile. As she begins to fall in love with Vincent, Kate discovers that he's a revenant--an undead being whose fate forces him to sacrifice himself over and over again to save the lives of others. Vincent and those like him are bound in a centuries-old war against a group of evil revenants who exist only to murder and betray. Kate soon realizes that if she follows her heart, she may never be safe again.
*This review is part of Zombies vs Unicorns month co-hosted with Literary Exploration, YA-Aholic and YA Bookmark.*

I only had to glimpse at the beautiful cover to know I had to read this book. I didn't care what it was about. I mean, look at it! I can say that I was not disappointed by what was inside either. It's fun and romantic, with a gorgeous setting.

The setting, it took my breath away. Set in beautiful Paris, France, we not only get a tour of the city, but we learn and experience the culture as well. It was stunning. I have never been, but I could picture myself in the streets alongside these characters; visiting exotic cafes, museums, homes. I thought it was amazing and perfectly detailed. Learning about the country's culture was also very interesting. I'm always fascinated by differences with other countries: Sayings, traditions, even fashion. It made me experience Paris while sitting in my own home. This was by far my favorite part of the book.

The characters includes Kate and her sister, then the family of Revenants. Kate is a fun protagonist, although she can be a bit dramatic. She doesn't always make the best decisions either, but her heart is in the right place which makes it easy to like her regardless. The Revenants- they're positively charming. I especially loved their fun banter towards one another. They also each have important, defined roles in the story. We've got the fun, quirky Jules; hard-bitten Ambrose and lonely soul Charlotte. These are my favorite of the supporting characters. But really, all of them are as important to the story as the main leads, which adds up to giving us a well-rounded, purposeful cast.

Zombies! It is, in literal terms, what Revenants are. They're undead, but they're not rotting nor do they crave flesh. They look like regular humans, except they're immortal with a purpose to save others. Yep, zombie guardian angels! This is definitely an original zombie/paranormal premise. And even though the twists are easily predictable, I found it positively entertaining. The romance, which takes as much center stage as the rest, is not a very strong point however. Both Kate and Vincent are great characters individually, but together they don't radiate as much passion as the author is suggesting. They do have me rooting for them; the romance is definitely there and I won't deny the love story is sweet, but we're intended to feel great ecstasy towards them being together, when it simply falls under cute.

All in all, with a lovely setting and wonderful characters, Die For Me gives us a delightfully fun story that will easily attract fans of YA paranormal romance.

4 Hot Espressos