Category Archives: around the world tours

Review: Fever by Lauren DeStefano

Fever by Lauren DeStefano
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release date: February 21, 2012
Source: Around the World Tours
Series: The Chemical Garden #2
Purchase: Book Depository

Running away brings Rhine and Gabriel right into a trap, in the form of a twisted carnival whose ringmistress keeps watch over a menagerie of girls. Just as Rhine uncovers what plans await her, her fortune turns again. With Gabriel at her side, Rhine travels through an environment as grim as the one she left a year ago – surroundings that mirror her own feelings of fear and hopelessness.

The two are determined to get to Manhattan, to relative safety with Rhine’s twin brother, Rowan. But the road there is long and perilous – and in a world where young women only live to age twenty and young men die at twenty-five, time is precious. Worse still, they can’t seem to elude Rhine’s father-in-law, Vaughn, who is determined to bring Rhine back to the mansion…by any means necessary.

I have to say, I vastly enjoyed Fever more compared to Wither. It just felt like things were moving more quickly, and there was more action, especially in the very beginning and at the end. And wow, that end. While the first novel was definitely dark, this one goes beyond the darkness of the first one.
There isn’t anything really revealed that was astonishing or a plot twist, but the action picked up right at the beginning. Fever also starts off exactly where Wither left things. As soon as Rhine and Gabriel escape the mansion, they’re almost immediately prisoners of another kind, temporarily. Despite how dismal the place was, Lauren DeStefano described it in such a way that made it seem colorful while decaying, which is an image that fits perfectly with her world.
I liked Rhine in Fever. She seemed to become more confidant despite the various circumstances they found themselves in, though near the end she seemed to do a 180, which kind of confused me. Even with her being sick around the same time as this 180, I didn’t feel the sudden change was smooth. I have to say I felt bad for Gabriel. A lot happens along their way to Manhattan, but man he stuck it out and never complained. I seriously hope we see more of him in the third book.
The only thing I didn’t like about Fever was the lack of information about the virus, or whatever this defect is. We still don’t know how it came about, or all of what’s being done to counteract it. We only know vaguely what Vaughn is doing, which we see more of definitely in Fever. I really hope this is finally explained the in the last book.
Like I said in the beginning, Fever better than Wither and kept me hooked until the end. And once I read that last page, and what is revealed there I knew there was no way I’d miss what is sure to be an explosive ending to this series. Even if you have lukewarm feelings to Wither like I did, I suggest you read Fever. It definitely changed my opinion on this series.

Review: A Temptation of Angels by Michelle Zink

A Temptation of Angels by Michelle Zink
Publisher: Dial Books
Release date: March 20, 2012
Source: Around the World Tours
Purchase: Book Depository

Even angels make mistakes in this page-turning epic romance…

When her parents are murdered before her eyes, sixteen-year-old Helen Cartwright finds herself launched into an underground London where a mysterious organization called the Dictata controls the balance of good and evil. Helen learns that she is one of three remaining angelic descendants charged with protecting the world’s past, present, and future. Unbeknownst to her, she has been trained her whole life to accept this responsibility. Now, as she finds herself torn between the angelic brothers protecting her and the devastatingly handsome childhood friend who wants to destroy her, she must prepare to be brave, to be hunted, and above all to be strong, because temptation will be hard to resist, even for an angel.

I was really really looking forward to this book, so much so that I tried to put in a request with the publisher. That didn’t work out though so I’m glad I was still able to read it through Around the World Tours. This is one of those books that for me was better borrowed than bought when it’s released.

I liked the overall concept, descendants of angels protecting the Earth and everything. But I felt like I was left with more questions than answers, which seems typical of books that end up being series. There wasn’t quite enough back story and worldbuilding done. And while it’s fairly obvious that it’s set in an older timeline, maybe late 1800s, there was one instance that had me questioning that. And things didn’t really start heating up action wise until almost the very end. The writing was well done though, which is the main reason I continued with the book despite it not thrilling me. It flowed very nicely.

All in all, for me personally this wasn’t one of the better entries into the angel part of the paranormal genre. I’ll probably continue if this is made into a series, but I won’t feel the need to read them right away.

Review: The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams

The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release date: January 3, 2012
Source: Around the World Tours
Series: Incarnation #1
Purchase: Book Depository

People say ‘love never dies’… but love might be the death of Seraphina. Seraphina has been alive since the Middle Ages, when her boyfriend, Cyrus, managed to perfect a method of alchemy that lets them swap bodies with any human being. Sera ran away from Cyrus years ago, when she realized that what they were doing—taking the lives of innocent people—was wrong. She doesn’t want to die, so she finds young people who are on the brink of death, and inhabits their bodies. When we meet Sera, she has landed in the body of a girl named Kailey who was about to die in a car accident. For the first time, Sera falls in love with the life of the person she’s inhabiting. Sera also falls for the boy next door, Noah. And soon it’s clear the feelings are returned. Unfortunately, she can never kiss Noah, because for her to touch lips with a human would mean the human’s death. And she has even more to worry about: Cyrus is chasing her, and if she stays in one place for long, she puts herself—and the people she’s grown to care for—in danger.

I finished The Alchemy of Forever last night, but it took me five days to read. It’s only 256 pages, which at my normal pace would only take me two days, unless I absolutely loved it in which case I could’ve finished it in one. I did not however. I’ll be honest, this book and I were not a good match, which is unfortunate because I thought I would love it.

I think for me what killed is that I didn’t really feel like there was any character development. We have two six-hundred year old kids, and yet I don’t know anything about them, except that apparently Cyrus is controlling and evil. And while I did see that that was true, he was barely present for the entire novel. The book would have been more suspenseful and page-turning for me if he’d been more involved with the plot than just being the ghost of a threat.

The rest of the characters, including Sera herself, weren’t much better. I’m sorry but I just couldn’t find any real personality in these people. Except in Sera/Kailey, who is clearly someone wracked with indecision with any major decision she has to make. Kill herself, don’t. Run away, don’t. And we hardly got to know anything about the others. The only thing we learn about the coven is how each member was met and made into an Incarnate. I would’ve loved more character development, especially more back story about the time these people have spent together, the bonds created from that.

There were also some things that felt like they got dropped. Sera/Kailey helps a girl named Taryn, who ends up supposedly stealing Sera’s bag of important stuff. While it’s a likely assumption, we don’t actually know that’s what happens, and Sera makes a paltry effort at finding Taryn, then seems to forget about that entirely near the end. And the ending was completely WTF. If what I think has happened did happen, that just ticks me off.

Overall, this book just didn’t do it for me, which definitely saddened me. Usually I know what I’m likely to enjoy so this doesn’t happen very often, and is the reason why there aren’t very many reviews like this. I have not decided yet whether I’ll read the inevitable sequel for this book.

I didn’t love this book, but here are some who did. Get both sides of the spectrum!

Review: A Touch Morbid by Leah Clifford

A Touch Morbid by Leah Clifford
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release date: February 28, 2012
Source: Around the World Tours
Series: A Touch Trilogy #2
Purchase: Book Depository

Eden won the battle-she saved her true love from the darkest evil. But the war has only just begun. With secrets swirling around her, powerful allies unraveling, and life-and death-as she knows it eroding, Eden and those she loves tread dangerous ground. Can she trust anyone? Will her unearthly powers be her salvation or her downfall? A sweeping, dark, and sexy paranormal romance that will haunt readers with an inventive mythology and a cinematic New York City filled with shadows and longing.

~ WARNING: There are most likely spoilers ahead, please proceed with caution. ~

A Touch Morbid brought up more questions than it answered. Something is happening to Eden throughout the book, and while we’re given an explanation of how it is happening, we’re not really given the why behind the how. And some of the new characters, like Sullivan, why they were added to the story, what’s going on with Touch and whatnot. I’m hoping those things will finally be revealed in the next sequel.
Eden and Az are finally together, but it definitely isn’t happily ever after. They’re keeping secrets from each other, major secrets that will can change everything, and they’re just barely holding on to each other. I have to say that I honestly would just love it if Eden were to somehow end up with Gabe, because I much prefer that pairing to Eden and Az. That is just wishful thinking on my part though.
Alliances are also changing. Whereas Kristen and Eden reluctantly worked with each other in A Touch Mortal, in Morbid we see more of Madeleine and Eden working together in a way, and Kristen going to someone else for help, since Gabe isn’t around to do what needs to be done. Also, while we do see snippets of Gabe here and there throughout the story, it wasn’t enough. I’m hoping to see more of him in the third book.
Overall the book was just as good as A Touch Mortal, but the pacing might throw some people off. I kind of felt like I was waiting for something to happen most of the time, and then everything seemed to come together in an action packed end.

Review: Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer

Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer
Publisher: Philomel
Release date: January 3, 2012
Source: Around the World Tours
Series: Nightshade #3 (Final)
Purchase: Book Depository

The Ultimate Sacrifice.

Calla has always welcomed war. But now that the final battle is upon her, there’s more at stake than fighting. There’s saving Ren, even if it incurs Shay’s wrath. There’s keeping Ansel safe, even if he’s been branded a traitor. There’s proving herself as the pack’s alpha, facing unnamable horrors, and ridding the world of the Keepers’ magic once and for all. And then there’s deciding what to do when the war ends. If Calla makes it out alive, that is.

In the final installment of the Nightshade trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Andrea Cremer creates a novel with twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat until its final pages. A dynamic end to this breathtaking trilogy.

Bloodrose, you’ve broken my heart. But I can’t say why because I don’t want to give anything away. While I’m happy with the way this series has ended overall, I’m not entirely happy about some of the paths this book took to get to that ending.
Now, even keeping that heartbreak in mind I’d have to say of the three books in this series, Bloodrose is my favorite. I don’t remember Nightshade very well, except a feeling of dislike towards Shay. Wolfsbane was very good, but this was the most fun book in the series. Cremer sends you on a quest with these characters, in which they’re retrieving the last three pieces of Shay’s Cross weapon. And boy let me tell you, Cremer is not afraid to do what needs to be done with her characters. So prepare yourself for some hard spots for these guys. The writing was done so well that I even felt like I was in those locations with everyone.
The following sentence will be whited out for now since it is considered spoilerish. Please do not highlight the text if you do not want to be spoiled. You have been warned. In terms of the love triangle, there is of course a decision made, and was clear early on what that decision would be before Calla even did anything to really confirm it. This I will also not say because I don’t want to spoil that for anyone. It was nice seeing even more of the new characters from Wolfsbane. This book only cemented my love of Conner, Ethan, and Adne. I did miss Monroe, because even though he was only around for a little while, he did leave an impression.
I have to say, honestly, the last battle was not quite what I thought it’d be. It just seemed a little less than what all the build-up throughout the book was pointing towards. Stuff happens, and believe me, depending on which team you’re on, you’ll probably be crying at one point. I know I did. I was shocked by that twist, though I guess it had to happen. Then once the final battle is won, there’s another twist. I wasn’t sure I liked how it ended at first, but after more thought I decided it was perfect. Though a little sad, since Shay recovers something, only to lose it minutes later.
Seriously, Bloodrose is an explosive end to series that I’ve come to love. I felt truly sad when I realized that this was it. I’ve gotten to know these characters, so I’m sure I’ll reread these books many times to revisit them. I recommend this of course for fans of the series, but also just for fans of werewolves in general, whether you read YA or not. Andrea Cremer is an excellent writer, and I will read anything she writes in the future.

Review: Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release date: January 3, 2012
Source: Around the World Tours
Purchase: Book Depository

Summary from Goodreads:
Aria is a teenager in the enclosed city of Reverie. Like all Dwellers, she spends her time with friends in virtual environments, called Realms, accessed through an eyepiece called a Smarteye. Aria enjoys the Realms and the easy life in Reverie. When she is forced out of the pod for a crime she did not commit, she believes her death is imminent. The outside world is known as The Death Shop, with danger in every direction.

As an Outsider, Perry has always known hunger, vicious predators, and violent energy storms from the swirling electrified atmosphere called the Aether. A bit of an outcast even among his hunting tribe, Perry withstands these daily tests with his exceptional abilities, as he is gifted with powerful senses that enable him to scent danger, food and even human emotions.

They come together reluctantly, for Aria must depend on Perry, whom she considers a barbarian, to help her get back to Reverie, while Perry needs Aria to help unravel the mystery of his beloved nephew’s abduction by the Dwellers. Together they embark on a journey challenged as much by their prejudices as by encounters with cannibals and wolves. But to their surprise, Aria and Perry forge an unlikely love – one that will forever change the fate of all who live UNDER THE NEVER SKY.

I loved Under the Never Sky. Starts out with light science fiction and then shifts to fantasy for the bulk of the story. Fantasy is my favorite genre. Then the end shifts back to science fiction, and all transitions are smooth and make complete sense the way they’re done. Nicely blended, so that even if you aren’t really a sci-fi fan, you’d probably still enjoy this for the most part. The pacing was excellent, nothing felt rushed to bogged down. Backstory for everyone in need of one was revealed at times that made sense and helped you understand some of the actions these characters were taking.
Aria is an awesome lead. She gets thrown out of her home, and yes just sits there for a while in disbelief, but then she gets up and starts moving. And she survives and becomes even stronger than she was before. I admire characters like that. Perry, or Peregrine, got on my nerves a lot at first. He kept blaming Aria for something that was out of her control and wasn’t her fault at all, it was actually Perry’s own fault since he made the decision to act on something that had consequences. Although in the end, it really wasn’t the fault of either because of a plot twist that threw me for a loop. Perry grew on me in the end, though honestly I don’t think he compared to Roar. I would have loved this book even more (if that’s possible) if Roar had been the main male lead opposite Aria. Dangerous, lethal, and sexy, this is one swoon-worthy guy. I craved any scenes with him.
Some of the ideas behind this book are incredibly creepy. Take the Realms for example. Virtual reality that no one ever leaves, kind of similar to the world in the movie The Surrogates. While being able to do anything you could possilby think of (FLYING!) sounds awesome, it’s also scary because these people are letting this control their lives, making them weaker overall so that they think they can’t survive outside their pods. That’s also prophetic because we’re well on our way to that kind of society with so many people already spending so much of their time attached to technology, whether it’s phones, computers, or videogames. I can definitely see us and our technology evolving in such a way that Under the Never Sky’s world could become ours. Which would be all right with me if I met Roar, but otherwise is creepy to think about.
Under the Never Sky packs a punch from the getgo and doesn’t let up with the action, romance, plot twists until the very end. It makes you think even while you’re just enjoying a fun story. If you’re into fantasy, this is definitely a book for you. I’ll be snatching up a finished copy as soon as they hit shelves.

Review: Hallowed by Cynthia Hand

Hallowed by Cynthia Hand
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release date: January 17, 2012
Format: ARC (subject to changes)
Source: Around the World Tours
Series: Unearthly #2
Purchase: Book Depository

Summary from Goodreads:
For months part-angel Clara Gardner trained to face the raging forest fire from her visions and rescue the alluring and mysterious Christian Prescott from the blaze. But nothing could prepare her for the fateful decisions she would be forced to make that day, or the startling revelation that her purpose—the task she was put on earth to accomplish—is not as straightforward as she thought. Now, torn between her increasingly complicated feelings for Christian and her love for her boyfriend, Tucker, Clara struggles to make sense of what she was supposed to do the day of the fire. And, as she is drawn further into the world of part angels and the growing conflict between White Wings and Black Wings, Clara learns of the terrifying new reality that she must face: Someone close to her will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning.

Now this isn’t guaranteed for every series I read, but a good deal of the time I like the second book even more than the first. Unfortunately, this was not the case. But don’t get me wrong, I still loved this book, just slightly less than Unearthly. And the sole reason for that will be explained in a bit. First I want to talk about what I did like.
First of all, WOW. I did not expect the story to take the turns it did. I still don’t know how this will affect the story going into book three. Let me just say that unless your heart is made of ice, this book will make you cry. But before that it’ll tease you with what it wants you to think before saying NOPE! This is what really happens. Ah well. Because of this event new characters were introduced, one of which I really enjoyed and think will be a good presence in Clara and Jeffrey’s life. I was also pleased to learn the reason behind the way Jeffrey was acting in the end of Unearthly and most of Hallowed. I very much hope to see more of him and his part of the story.
Now to the part I didn’t like. Lack of Tucker! He snuck his way into my heart in Unearthly, but I felt as if he was just pushed aside in Hallowed. An after thought. I’ll admit it was kind of nice seeing more of Christian and getting to know him better than we did in Unearthly, but I am firmly team Tucker. I hope this is rectified in the next book. I also liked that while Samjeeza made a return, there wasn’t really a lot of action in the good guys vs villain department. Some possible build-up, but besides one incident that further pushes Tucker away, there wasn’t anything like the big fire and fighting the bad guy. Just a lot of research, done mostly by Angela.
All in all, it was almost right up there with Unearthly, nearly even. This series is definitely my favorite angel series out there, especially since it focuses mainly on the angels themselves, and not necessarily God and religion. I know that in reality you can’t have one without the other, but this is fiction so anything goes!

Review: The Secret Sisterhood of Heartbreakers by Lynn Weingarten

The Secret Sisterhood of Heartbreakers by Lynn Weingarten
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release date: December 27, 2011
Source: Around the World Tours
Published format: Hardcover, 352 pages
Purchase: Book Depository

Summary from Goodreads:
When her boyfriend breaks up with her on the first day of sophomore year, Lucy has no idea how she’s going to make it through homeroom, let alone the rest of her life. Enter three stunning girls with a magical offer Lucy can’t refuse. All she has to do is get a guy to fall in love with her in the next seven days, and then…break his heart and collect one of his brokenhearted tears. As the girls teach Lucy how to hook a guy (with the help of a little magic), she quickly discovers how far she is willing to go—and who she is willing to cross—to get what she wants.

Fans of Lauren Myracle, Jodi Lynn Anderson, and Meg Cabot will love this tale of breakups, friendship, new crushes, and magic. Told with wit and charm, The Secret Sisterhood of Heartbreakers is sure to be one of this winter’s most irresistible reads!

This was a fun novel to read. I’ve been wanting a book with some kind of secret sisterhood where the main protagonist actually decides to join and stay for the magic, instead of only staying so they can bring the organization down.
Of all the characters, I would have to say Gil is my favorite. She is such a sweet girl, it’s hard to believe she’s in a sisterhood for heartbreaking. Liza was fun to read about as well, for me she’s probably one of those characters you love to hate, though I didn’t actually hate her. And Olivia I had mixed feelings on, she kind of ran hot and cold. Lucy was an interesting protagonist. I didn’t agree with why she intially wanted to join the heartbreakers, but I understood it. Who hasn’t at some time been crazy over a boy?
The writing was well done. The pacing for the most part was good, though there were maybe two areas that dragged a little because of the lengthy explanations being made by a character. And while I like the ending, I was a little sad at how it came about. I would’ve been happy even if it had gone another way, the way I actually thought it would end before I found out how it really did end.
This is a 2012 debut you do not want to miss. Full of magic, heartbreak, and friendship, this is one book that will be hard to put down.

Review: Everneath by Brodi Ashton

Everneath by Brodi Ashton
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release date: January 3, 2012
Source: Around the World Tours
Published format: Hardcover, 370 pages
Series: Everneath #1
Purchase: Book Depository

Summary from Goodreads:
Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she’s returned- to her old life, her family, her friends- before being banished back to the underworld… this time forever.

She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can’t find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these months reconnecting with her boyfriend, Jack, the one person she loves more than anything. But there’s a problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who first enticed her to the Everneath, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. And he’ll do whatever it takes to bring her back- this time as his queen.

As Nikki’s time grows short and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she’s forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole’s…

I loved Everneath. A different take on the Persephone/Hades myth, very unique. The world building Brodi did, and the myth building worked for this story. I love how while they’re still gone for the six months in human time, that timespan is actually longer in the Everneath, nearly 100 years.
Warning for those who don’t like them, love triangle is definitely present in this book! I immediately latched on to one guy over the other and definitely wanted her to end up with him. In a way she kind of does, but definitely not how I was expecting it. I can’t wait to see how that is played out in the second book.
Nikki as a character is both strong and vulnerable, like all the best are. She doesn’t care that everyone at school and in town think certain things about her because of her disappearance, but she is concerned what her close family and friends think, and tries to use her time with them as wisely as she can, despite the obstacles she’s given. Cole and Jack were both great characters as well, though one I definitely liked less than the other. But both in their own way care for Nikki the best they know how.
This is a new entry into the paranormal that you don’t want to miss! If you love different takes on greek mythology, this is definitely your book. I loved it, and can’t wait to buy a finished copy to add to my personal library.

The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder

The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder
Publisher: Razorbill
Release date: December 8, 2011
Source: Around the World Tours
Published format: Hardcover, 336 pages
Series: Stand-alone
Purchase: Book Depository

Summary from Goodreads:
Dry, sarcastic, sixteen-year-old Cam Cooper has spent the last seven years in and out hospitals. The last thing she wants to do in the short life she has left is move 1,500 miles away to Promise, Maine – a place known for the miraculous events that occur there. But it’s undeniable that strange things happen in Promise: everlasting sunsets; purple dandelions; flamingos in the frigid Atlantic; an elusive boy named Asher; and finally, a mysterious envelope containing a list of things for Cam to do before she dies. As Cam checks each item off the list, she finally learns to believe – in love, in herself, and even in miracles.

A debut novel from an immensely talented new writer, The Probability of Miracles crackles with wit, romance and humor and will leave readers laughing and crying with each turn of the page.

First of all, I loved the writing style. Wendy has an amazing ability to write descriptions perfectly, making them incredibly easy to imagine in my mind. It’s almost like a movie. This is one of those reads where I do notice the writing, because I like it so much. Wendy has a writing style that is her own.
Cam felt real to me. She had her own voice, genuinely cared about her family, went along with what they wanted because she loved them. She was more of a realist than her family was. I loved Asher as well. And while the romance between them was a bit sudden, it also kind of had to be, given the time frame of the novel. I won’t say anything about the ending though, because I don’t want to give away what happens.
This book had me thinking. It used to be I would avoid stories like this, because they always remind me of my mortality. But that is also why I read books like this, and Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, or If I Stay by Gayle Forman. Because they help me, little by little, to confront what I’m afraid. I don’t want to die. I really don’t, and sometimes I have panic attacks about it. But reading these kinds of stories I think helps me accept it in bits and pieces.
This is a contemporary debut you don’t want to miss, it had me laughing and crying all the way to the end. I will most definitely be adding this to my collection when it hits shelves.