Review: The Way We Fall

The Way We Fall (Fallen World #1) by Megan Crewe

Release Date ~ January 24, 2012
ISBN13: 9781423146162
Signed copy purchased at book launch
Goodreads Synopsis:
It starts with an itch you just can’t shake. Then comes a fever and a tickle in your throat. A few days later, you’ll be blabbing your secrets and chatting with strangers like they’re old friends. Three more, and the paranoid hallucinations kick in.

And then you’re dead.

When a deadly virus begins to sweep through sixteen-year-old Kaelyn’s community, the government quarantines her island—no one can leave, and no one can come back.

Those still healthy must fight for dwindling supplies, or lose all chance of survival. As everything familiar comes crashing down, Kaelyn joins forces with a former rival and discovers a new love in the midst of heartbreak. When the virus starts to rob her of friends and family, she clings to the belief that there must be a way to save the people she holds dearest.

Because how will she go on if there isn’t?

Guys, The Way We Fall gave me SHIVERS. Actual shivers up my spine while I was reading it! I loved that this was such a terrifying book, yet in a very subtle way. There's nothing "out of this world" crazy in TWWF, and that's what makes it so frightfully disturbing.
  1. Journal narrative:
    I've mentioned before that I rarely like journal entries as a format for a novel; I'm VERY picky about its use. But the use of it was impeccable here; it suited the story and was an excellent way to tell the events taking place. I loved that Megan gave Kaelyn a reason to be writing in a journal, and it definitely added to the suspense of the story since we only know what's happening when Kaelyn writes in it. :)
  2. A simple story:
    That may sound like a bad thing but it isn't. I found it positively refreshing that there wasn't anything overly gimmicky or over the top in this story. Instead, it relies on real life circumstances and terrors that affect us now; the ideas of biological weapons and contagious viruses are ones we're readily familiar with as a societ, and Megan uses that to draw her readers into this life-like story. It's just so similar to our own lives that it's easy to see it happening... I was kinda jumpy whenever someone so much as sneezed near me for about a week after reading!
  3. Standalone in a series:
    I know we're seeing a lot of series coming out right now, and while TWWF is the first in a trilogy it actually wasn't always that way. But I really enjoy that this easily reads as if it was a standalone, although you'll be begging for more by the end of it! Without any crazy cliffhangers or a story that just drags on to make room for a sequel though, this makes a rather enjoyable read. But you'll still be wanting more!
I'm really excited for the sequel just to get more answered and see more of the outside world! Plus, I'm hoping we get some more insight to this virus. There really is a lot that can be done with the characters too, since so many things changed throughout the course of TWWF.

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Review: Illuminate

Illuminate (Gilded Wings #1) by Aimee Agresti
Release Date ~ March 6, 2012
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN13: 9780547626147
Review copy received from Thomas Allen & Son Ltd.
Goodreads Synopsis:
Haven Terra is a brainy, shy high school outcast. But everything begins to change when she turns sixteen. Along with her best friend Dante and their quiet and brilliant classmate Lance, she is awarded a prestigious internship in the big city— Chicago—and is sent to live and work at a swanky and stylish hotel under the watchful eyes of a group of gorgeous and shockingly young-looking strangers: powerful and alluring hotel owner Aurelia Brown; her second-in-command, the dashing Lucian Grove; and their stunning but aloof staff of glamazons called The Outfit.
As Haven begins falling for Lucian, she discovers that these beautiful people are not quite what they seem. With the help of a mysterious book, she uncovers a network of secret passageways from the hotel’s jazz-age past that leads her to the heart of the evil agenda of Aurelia and company: they’re in the business of buying souls. Will they succeed in wooing Haven to join them in their recruitment efforts, or will she be able to thwart this devilish set’s plans to take the souls of her classmates on prom night at the hotel?
Illuminate is an exciting saga of a teen’s first taste of independence, her experience in the lap of luxury, and her discovery she may possess strength greater than she ever knew.

I have to be honest, I wasn't quite sure what to expect with this book.  I mean, the description does kinda ruin the whole mystery of the book, and it looked to be fairly long.  Needless to say, I inhaled this book within 3 days of starting it.  This book comes with a lot of good reviews, and I think that it deserves each and every one of them.
  1. Characters:
    There are a fair amount of characters in this book, but I found it fairly easy to remember who they all were. Each character was very unique from the others. They all had their own distinct way of speaking, came from different backgrounds, and different personalities.  I really enjoyed that the characters had their flaws, and they weren't perfect.  I genuinely liked many of the characters, there weren't any that I thought were annoying or pointless.  Each character introduced had a role to play in the plot, and wasn't just brushed aside, which I appreciated.
  2. The Love Triangle:
    I don't know about any of you, but I'm not a huge fan of love triangles.  Frankly, my feelings are that too many books just kinda stuff them into the plot, without it making any sense, or not really understanding why they decided to go with a love triangle.  There aren't too many books where I actually enjoy the love triangle, but with ths one, I thought it was really well done.  Lucian and Lance are two characters that are great examples of two very unique people.  They are just about polar opposites.  I was really happy with the way it played out, and I really could see the appeal in both.  This love triangle, in my opinion, is one of the few that I read about and actually really enjoyed.  Another great thing about this particular love plot is that it is not the main focus of the book.  It is there, but there are other, more important factors that come first.
  3. The Plot:
    A lot of people have complained about the lenght of the book, and the pacing, but I really liked how the mystery slowly unfolded.  While yes, sometimes the charachters could be a bit clueless, they could also be very smart and think of things I hadn't given a second thought to.  I thought the mystery was carried out really well, and although it explicitly tells you the twist in the book synopsis, it was carried out really well.  Nothing came out too soon so that it was awkward. I, personally, thought that the timing on everything was perfect.  This book was unlike any other paranormal books I've read.  While it is fairly long, I didn't really mind it so much.  The story got a bit dark and creepy, and even disturbing at times.  I thorougly enjoyed how the whole other paranormal world was not taken really lightly.  It was a serious issue, and it was dangerous.  There isn't a whole lot of action in the beginning, but nearing the end, it gets more exciting.   
I really, really liked this book and I highly reccomend it for all of you to read.  I personally don't have any complaints for this novel, but I know that some do. I think that if you're looking for a bit of a different paranormal read, or are looking for a kind of creepy paranormal plot, or are just looking for the next book on your to-read list, you'll like it.

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Review: Grave Mercy

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1) by Robin LaFevers
Release Date ~ April 3, 2012
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN13: 9780547628349
E-galley received from publisher via Net Galley
Goodreads Synopsis:Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae's most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

Grave Mercy is a truly striking novel; it captivates your interest, draws you in without ever letting go and leaves you utterly breathless at the end.
The delivery itself is nearly flawless, and this is exactly what I want to see more of in YA: a remarkable narrative born out of historical fiction and brought to life with fantasy.
  1. A phenomenal heroine:
    I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Ismae and her life; there was something so intriguing about herself and her past and I appreciated that she was determined and willing to fight back rather than allow herself to remain a victim. She's dedicated and committed, but curious as well, which lends to some rather interesting scenarios she later finds herself in. But I love reading about brave girls who aren't willing to let anything hold them down.
  2. A fairly unique premise:
    Assassin nuns? It almost sounds silly, but that's just until you start reading. Once you realize how deadly these women are, you become aware of how it isn't silly at all. It's actually quite brilliant and an excellent way to incorporate some action and excitement into a historical fiction book based on a time already riddled with political intrigue and danger and then just laces it with some more ;) I adored reading about these women who refused to subscribe to society's norms for them.
  3. Sizzling, on-page chemistry:

    To be honest, from the description alone I didn't even think there would be any romance at all! But then once we were introduced to this new male character I was really HOPING something would come up and I was so pleased when it did because I loved them together! I love it when two characters banter back and forth, and watching their relationship grow from loathsome to loving. It's completely believable, completely sweet and will leave you swooning for one of your own!
  4. The start to an exciting series:
    Grave Mercy is the first in a series BUT the next two books actually feature different characters that we're introduced to in Grave Mercy (Sybella and Annith). So, Grave Mercy is wrapped up fairly neatly in and of itself, but there's still enough there to keep you connected to the world and the storyline. It's a really great blend of a standalone novel and a series which seems like it's going to work out really well overall!
  5. Robin LaFevers' writing:
    I haven't read any of Robin's other books, but I feel like I've been missing out now! Her first YA book is impeccable; she masters the art of writing and action-packed fight scene then follows it up with a heart-pounding kissing scene. And she keeps her the voices of her characters separate from each other.
The only thing I would have added: I would have loved a bit more emphasis on the romance. There was SO MUCH TENSION for such a long time and I was just dying of anticipation, waiting for them to act on it. Seriously, that chemistry is just a killer.
I honestly can't recommend this book enough; there aren't nearly enough like it, and I really wish there were more similar ones to this. I know it's early, but I can confidently say this will make it on my Best of 2012 list.

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Review: Pretty Crooked

Pretty Crooked (Pretty Crooked #1) by Elisa Ludwig
Release Date ~ March 13, 2012
Katherine Tegen Books ~ HarperCollins
ISBN13:  9780062066060
E-galley received from publisher via Net Galley for review
Goodreads Synopsis:
Willa’s secret plan seems all too simple: take from the rich kids at Valley Prep and give to the poor ones.

Yet Willa’s turn as Robin Hood at her ultra-exclusive high school is anything but. Bilking her “friends”-known to everyone as the Glitterati-without them suspecting a thing, is far from easy. Learning how to pick pockets and break into lockers is as difficult as she’d thought it’d be. Delivering care packages to the scholarship girls, who are ostracized just for being from the “wrong” side of town, is way more fun than she’d expected.

The complication Willa didn’t expect, though, is Aidan Murphy, Valley Prep’s most notorious (and gorgeous) ace-degenerate. His mere existence is distracting Willa from what matters most to her-evening the social playing field between the have and have-nots. There’s no time for crushes and flirting with boys, especially conceited and obnoxious trust-funders like Aidan.

But when the cops start investigating the string of burglaries at Valley Prep and the Glitterati begin to seek revenge, could he wind up being the person that Willa trusts most?

I thought the idea behind Pretty Crooked was great; a modern day retelling of Robin Hood? Plus, it was pretty cool that it took place in Arizona when I had just visited some of the same areas a couple weeks earlier so I was really able to picture the descriptions talked about in the book.
Maybe my expectations were just too high, but I didn't fall in love with this one the way I wanted to; I found the story somewhat unbelievable and I really didn't appreciate Willa as a character at all.
  1. Some mysterious characters:
    I found Tre and Aidan to be the two people who really stole the show away from Willa in this book; they were far more interesting than anything else really going on. Except for Willa's mom who was a complete and utter mystery to me. I couldn't help but wonder what was going on with her throughout the whole book!
  2. The basic idea of the book:
    Willa's goal of stealing from the rich kids to give to the poor works really well in her story; it's a neat idea, and I wanted to see how she would deal with it. There was so much potential for this, and I liked Willa's attitude and willingness to correct the problem she sees with bullying and prejudice is admirable.
But at the same time, there was so much wrong with what she did and she just couldn't seem to do it. For example, I really liked Tre but I didn't think he was as fully developed as he should have been; instead he turned out to be nothing more than the stereotypical black guy that she befriends, who assists Willa with her efforts. And she just seemed to lack any foresight or common sense. She jumps into stealing without any real idea of what it entails or what she's risking; and she ends up so focused on this one thing in her life, that she ignores everything else. I found that to be rather silly and hard to relate to.
And I wasn't impressed with the cliffhanger ending at all. The story just ended- but without tying anything up. Instead, it was all left open to be further explored in the next book. But it was completely unnecessary since so little actually happens in Pretty Crooked.
I'm curious enough about Willa's mom's secrets to read the next book, but past that I have no investment in the story whatsoever. And that's the real problem.

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Review: Article 5

Article 5 by Kristen Simmons
Release Date ~ January 31, 2012
Tor Teen ~ MacMillan
ISBN13: 9780765329585
ARC received from Raincoast Books

Goodreads Synopsis:New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., have been abandoned.

The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.

There are no more police—instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior—instead, there are arrests, trials, and maybe worse. People who get arrested usually don't come back.

Seventeen-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren't always this way. Living with her rebellious single mother, it's hard for her to forget that people weren't always arrested for reading the wrong books or staying out after dark. It's hard to forget that life in the United States used to be different.

Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs, like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes, and how to pass the random home inspections by the military. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow.

That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings—the only boy Ember has ever loved.

I love dystopians- but I'm becoming so disappointed by the sheer number of them that are incapable of standing out on their own.
We've gotten to a point where they start to blur together, except they have one unique thing about them that they can point to as their claim to fame. For Article 5, that would be where the title came in. But other than that, I didn't find Article 5 to be an outstanding dystopian read, and one that blended in quite nicely among the rest.
  1. An excellent ending:
    One thing I really loved about this book is that the ending wasn't a complete cliffhanger. Some of the immediate issues had been resolved, but as with most other first books in a dystopian series, we're still left with unresolved questions (like a terrible government that needs to be brought down) that can be handled in the next books. I was really, really glad to see that this one wasn't cut off in the middle of some heart-pounding scene just to keep us excited for the next one. Kudos to Kristen for that.
  2. Ember's growth as a character:
    By the end of the book, I could definitely see a distinct change in Ember's attitude and you could really see how drastically her circumstances had changed her (and for the better). She grows up and finally starts to act like the young woman she is. However...
I had a hard time relating to Ember for the majority of the book; I was shaking my head at her most of the time, and I couldn't fathom how she had ended up as such an entitled, whiny girl with respect to the changes that had occurred in her lifetime. I totally get being breaked out and upset- but she seemed to have an extraordinarily hard time putting the puzzle pieces together, and expected so much from those around her, like for example her problems with Chase. Perhaps I just found her to be overly naive and ignorant, and her reactions seemed unreasonable even for someone who just didn't have a clue what was going on.

But my biggest issue was the world that Article 5 takes place in; can we please, please come up with a more creative dystopian world? My friend Christa over at Hooked on Books wrote a blog post discussing this and how she had a hard time understanding exactly why it was that we would regress to a point that women were at such a disadvantage again. And I agree. It's a good question, but I felt like Article 5 just took all the stereotypes of a dystopian society and threw them in without really giving me any reason to believe that it would happen. It just came across as unnecessarily cliched and lacked creativity.

So, I wanted to love this one. I really did. And I'm still going to pick up the next book in the series because I'm curious to see where it goes, but my expectations aren't high. I really think there was a lot of potential for this one and the topics it raised, but it just fell short.

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Review: A Temptation of Angels

A Temptation of Angels by Michelle Zink
Dial Books for Young Readers ~ Penguin
Release Date ~ March 20, 2012
ISBN13: 9780803737266
ARC received from Penguin Canada for review
Goodreads Synopsis:
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.

Michelle Zink masterfully weaves historical fantasy with paranormal romance to create a gripping tale of love and betrayal.

There's no shortage of angel paranormal books in YA right now, but there's something special about A Temptation of Angels; it's an addictive, fascinating, page-turner that's remarkably refreshing for its genre.
I haven't read Michelle Zink's first series, Prophecy of the Sisters, yet but this reading her newest release has made me immensely curious to pick up those books!

  1. A Victorian setting:
    I LOVE Victorian settings and books that can take that a step further by incorporating a paranormal twist are even better! A Temptation of Angels isn't the only book to do this (it's in good company with excellent books like Cassandra Clare's Infernal Devices series and Lia Habel's Dearly, Departed among others) but this is the first one I've read about angels.
  2. A fast-paced story:
    As far as I'm aware, this book's a stand alone and one that moves along rather quickly. With only one book to develop characters and a story, it can be very tricky to create such a detailed idea with only so many pages. But I was immediately drawn into the world, and I had a hard time putting this book aside for anything! The first few pages are in your face, bringing with them all sorts of excitement and riveting twists. And it just doesn't stop until it's over!
  3. Cute romance with a sweet boy:
    A Temptation of Angels is very clearly a YA paranormal romance - if you aren't interested in a romantic relationship developing and being a fairly key part of the plot, then I wouldn't recommend you try this one. But if you're like me, and you always enjoy a good romance then I think you'll truly appreciate the one that Helen finds in A Temptation of Angels... or at least partially.
  4. It isn't a heavy paranormal:
    I was expecting the paranormal aspect to be the driving force behind the story, so imagine my surprise when it really didn't strike me that way. Instead, the story focuses much more on a mystery aspect
  Now all that being said... I also felt that too much was squeezed into this one book. It easily could have been spread out over two or three books and I think it would have been better if the story had been spread out that way. But it wasn't, yet it still featured just about all familiar aspects of a YA paranormal romance but all in one book. That led to some characters being less developed, and some relationships came off as unconvincing as well. I was especially expecting more from Raum, but easily felt that the story would have been better without him. He just came across as somewhat forced, and I don't think he was actually as important to the plot as the reader is led to believe.
And the book was so rich in details and history (which I loved) except for how confusing it came across at times; I would LOVE more explanation and a better look into the world that Michelle so creatively imagined and wrote about here. I just had so many questions and not enough answers to feel fully satisfied.

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Review: Life Is But a Dream

Life Is But a Dream by Brian James
Release Date ~ March 27, 2012
MacMillan ~ Feiwel & Friends
ISBN13: 9780312610043
ARC Received from: Raincoast Books for review

Goodreads Synopsis:
Alec and Sabrina are crazy in love. Problem is: Sabrina’s really crazy.
Sabrina, an artist, is diagnosed with schizophrenia, and her parents check her into the Wellness Center. There she meets Alec, who is convinced it's the world that's crazy, not the two of them. They are meant to be together; they are special. But when Alec starts to convince Sabrina that her treatment will wipe out everything that makes her creative, she worries that she'll lose hold of her dreams and herself. Should she listen to her doctor? Her decision may have fatal consequences.

I was initially unsure of what to expect from Life Is But a Dream, because mental health can be dealt with in so many different ways when people talk about it, and this topic really is the driving force of the book.

But Brian James successfully delivers an open-minded and refreshing glance into the mind of Sabrina, one that is utterly captivating and leaves you dreading the ending, wondering how it could possibly work out but hoping for the best.

  1. Extraordinary point of view:
    Sabrina has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, which makes her a rather unique narrator. As her mental health fluctuates, so does the writing and the story itself. There's nothing stable about it, and it works rather well without anything becoming convoluted. This is truly outstanding, and Brian presents a fantastic look into her mind which is surely a credit to his talent as a writer.
  2. A psychological and open-minded read:
    Mental health is something that still isn't talked about much, so I applaud Brian for bringing this up and making it central to his story. Now, I have to admit that I'm a person who has done quite a bit of thinking and has strong opinions regarding it, but this book even made me question some of my well-rooted beliefs. It isn't as simple of a situation as we would like to think, and it really does bring up the question of what "normal" and "crazy" are, even what "healthy" means. This was easily my favourite aspect of the book.
    It isn't a tortured, cliffhanger ending. But as you're reading, you can just feel everything escalating and you know it's going to culminate into one big explosion but what can you do to stop it? And my jaw literally dropped at the last couple chapters. I was so taken back by the end, and really pleasantly surprised by it because my predictions had been wayyyy off. It's really satisfying however, and much better than I had thought it would end up being.
Now, as much as I loved the ending it seemed somewhat contrary to where the book had been leading up to and kind of out of the blue. Was I happy with it? Yes, absolutely. Was it unexpected? Yes, because I wasn't sure it added up to everything else that had happened.

I was speechless when I finished reading this beautiful story. Never before have I read a book that both made me question my opinions and solidified them at the same time, and made me into a wrecked ball of tumultuous emotions. But thank goodness for this book, which will leave you with a greater sense of understanding and appreciation for the complications that come with mental health.

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Blog Tour: Untouched

As part of the blog tour for Jus Accardo's Untouched novella in the Denazen series, I have the always lovely Jus herself here to share about some of her experiences as a writer and choosing names! I have a confession to make myself- I'm name-shallow. I read way too much into names, and I can spend hours looking up names for a character I'm dreaming up. Touch was one of my FAVOURITE reads ever, so you guys just know how excited I am for this novella and the sequel!!
Also, make sure you pay attention to the post because at the end, I have a special giveaway for you from Entangled Publishing! <3 They're fab over there. 
The Name Game
I think a lot of kids go through that phase where they hate their name. They wanna
change it to something cool. Something epic. For example, my cousin insisted we call him Space
Captain Marvis for over a year… Seriously. I’m not kidding. I’ve been trying to get him to get it
tattooed on his forearm. He’s not biting.
Anyway, as a writer, I get to name multiple people. This is awesome for me since I’ve
always been a sucker for names. And not the garden variety. No, I like em different. Why? Cause
that’s just how I roll, yo.
Let’s take Kale for example. I’ve heard everything from uber love for his name, to
WTF—kale is a food. Why would you name someone after a food!?! Well, considering my near-
collision with the culinary career path, you have to admit, it is kind of funny. Ginger. Sayge (a
character we have yet to meet)… Yeah. I love the food names. If I ever name a character coffee
though, you have my full permission to flog me senseless. Twice.
Unless it’s Kopi Luwak. Cause, come on, that would be awesome!
Then there’s Dez. Sarah, Jane, Jessica… Those were names that were just never going
to fit—even before she and Kale swapped places (originally Dez was the Denazen escapee and
Kale was the one on the outside). Dez needed a different name. Something wild and out there—
just like her.

So what do you prefer when reading? Traditional names? Different names? Or an even
mix of the two?
Oh... hi there, Kale <3

Book Blurb
Untouched (A Denazen Novella 1.5)
Until he met Dez, Kale’s days were filled with violence and death. He was used as a weapon of
destruction by the power hungry men of Denazen. He’s a Six. A person with an abnormal ability.
Some people call them gifts, but not Kale. Kale’s touch means instant death.

But now there’s Dez, the girl he can touch, and they’re hunting down Sixes and warning them
about Denazen. Kale is learning about the world outside captivity and trying to put his dark past
behind him. But they underestimated how badly Denazen wanted him back.

When Dez sacrifices herself to save the new Six they’d rescued from falling into the corp’s
hands, Kale is lost. Denazen has brought out its best to get the job done. Samsen, a nightmare
from Kale’s past—the only person he’s ever truly feared—has come for them, and it soon
becomes obvious he has his own twisted agenda.

Kale will need all his training to get Dez back and ensure they make it out, free—and alive. But
will it be enough?
Touch, the first novel in the Denazen series, is set to re-release in mass market on June 12th
(Complete with additional scenes from Kale’s POV!). You can pre-order your copy here
Toxic (Denazen 2) hits shelves on September 11th 2012

Jus Accardo is the author of YA paranormal romance and urban fantasy fiction. A native
New Yorker, she lives in the middle of nowhere with her husband, three dogs, and sometimes
guard bear, Oswald. Her first book, Touch, is available now from Entangled Publishing. She is
represented by Kevan Lyon of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.

Give Jus a yell on Twitter, or visit her on Facebook, and her website.

Entangled Publishing is offering up one e-book copy of either Touch or Untouched to one of you readers!
Just leave me a comment answering Jus' question about names (above) with your e-mail address to be entered!

Good luck!


Review: Starters

Starters (Starters #1) by Lissa Price
Release Date ~ March 13, 2012
Delacorte Books for Young Readers ~ Random House
ISBN13: 9780385742375
E-galley received from publisher via Net Galley
Goodreads Synopsis:

Callie lost her parents when the Spore Wars wiped out everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty. She and her little brother, Tyler, go on the run, living as squatters with their friend Michael and fighting off renegades who would kill them for a cookie. Callie's only hope is Prime Destinations, a disturbing place in Beverly Hills run by a mysterious figure known as the Old Man.

He hires teens to rent their bodies to Enders—seniors who want to be young again. Callie, desperate for the money that will keep her, Tyler, and Michael alive, agrees to be a donor. But the neurochip they place in Callie's head malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her renter, living in her mansion, driving her cars, and going out with a senator's grandson. It feels almost like a fairy tale, until Callie discovers that her renter intends to do more than party—and that Prime Destinations' plans are more evil than Callie could ever have imagined. . .

Starters has been receiving a fair amount of hype coming up to its release, and because of this I was a tad wary of how it would turn out.
But I was so impressed with a dystopian that includes some fresh ideas, ones that distinguish it from all the other dystopian books next to it on the bookshelves!
  1. There is no purely "black versus white" battle:
    I really, really appreciated that Lissa didn't stick to typical dystopian themes with some super duper evil force out there, that just has to be overcome via revolution in some way. She carefully blends the two together, and you come to realize that the people Callie meets aren't quite as good (or as bad) as they first seem; this was truly refreshing and unexpected in a new YA dystopian riding the current trend.
  2. A subtle kind of creepy:
    The premise of Starters is extremely disturbing, but one that I found really became creeper the more I thought about it. You have old people... taking over young bodies... and the young people won't have any clue what they were doing while this happened. That is freaky. And that you have no idea who the person you're talking to really is, and wondering what other secrets Prime Destinations is keeping... because if they're doing weird stuff like this, you just know there's worse stuff coming.
  3. A Cinderella-esque feel:
    Okay, I mentioned this on Twitter and most people had no clue what I was talking about so maybe it's just me. But there really is a very subtle, yet distinct, Cinderella flavour to this story. It isn't a retelling at all- but I did pick up on what I saw was some influence on the story. I think people who liked Cinder may also enjoy Starters in a similar way, even though they're very different stories with different writing styles. But still, dystopian tales with rags to riches heroines and a fancy ball where they leave behind a shoe. Plus, they don't have parents.
  4. A mystery vibe:
    I also liked reading about Callie as she tried to put the pieces together and solve whatever it was that was going on; between trying to figure out the plans that Prime had, and exactly what it was Helena was trying to accomplish and why, Callie easily had lots of work for her to do.
But I also kind of felt that parts of the story were far slower than I would have liked; the flow wasn't entirely as smooth as it could have been, and it took a while for things to actually start happening. And the plot definitely has a few holes (it doesn't surprise me, and I don't expect flawless dystopian mysteries either) but overall it was extremely well done and the praise is well-deserved! I enjoyed this one far more than I expected to and I'm looking forward to its sequel.

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