Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (3): Falling Kingdoms

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It's a feature designed to spotlight upcoming novels we can't wait to get our hands on. Click the link for more!

Falling Kingdoms
by Morgan Rhodes
Series: Falling Kingdoms, #1
Release Date: December 11th, 2012
Publisher: Razorbill
Genre: Fantasy
Add to Goodreads 
In a land where magic has been forgotten but peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest is simmering. Three kingdoms grapple for power--brutally transforming their subjects' lives in the process. Amidst betrayals, bargains, and battles, four young people find their fates forever intertwined:

Cleo: A princess raised in luxury must embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of a magic long thought extinct.

Jonas: Enraged at injustice, a rebel lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country impoverished--and finds himself the leader of a people's revolution centuries in the making.

Lucia: A girl adopted at birth into a royal family discovers the truth about her past--and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.

Magnus: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, a firstborn son begins to realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword...

The only outcome that's certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?

I've been on a high fantasy kick after reading Sarah J. Maas' Throne of Glass. It used to be my favorite genre, thanks to Tamora Pierce, but I've let these books fall to the wayside in recent years and am struggling to catch back up. Falling Kingdoms sounds like it's filled with political intrigue, magic, and interesting characters - everything I love about the genre. However, I have a feeling this one will be written from multiple viewpoints, so even though it is 412 pages long, I'm worried about character development.

What are you looking forward to this week? Do you enjoy high fantasy as much as I do? Let me know!

- Alysson :)

Review: The Kill Order

The Kill Order
by James Dashner (Website | Facebook | Twitter)
Series: Maze Runner, #0.5 (Prequel)
Published: August 14th, 2012 by Delacorte BFYR
Pages: 327 (Hardcover)
Genre: Dystopian
Before WICKED was formed, before the Glade was built, before Thomas entered the Maze, sun flares hit the earth and mankind fell to disease.

Mark and Trina were there when it happened, and they survived. But surviving the sun flares was easy compared to what came next. Now a disease of rage and lunacy races across the eastern United States, and there’s something suspicious about its origin. Worse yet, it’s mutating, and all evidence suggests that it will bring humanity to its knees.

Mark and Trina are convinced there’s a way to save those left living from descending into madness. And they’re determined to find it—if they can stay alive. Because in this new, devastated world, every life has a price. And to some, you’re worth more dead than alive.

I really really liked the Maze Runner series so if you haven’t read it yet, you should. That being said I was understandably excited for The Kill Order. I did really like this book, but in a really different way than the other books in the series, which wasn’t something I expected. I’ll try to leave out as many spoilers from the Maze Runner trilogy as possible in this review, but there might be a couple.

First off this is a prequel to The Maze Runner so I feel like reading the trilogy first would make The Kill Order more enjoyable since there are some things in it that spoil parts of the trilogy. I might have just noticed them 'cause I was looking for them though. Although, I think Allie said she was going to read this one first and then the Maze Runner series and see how that is, so keep an eye out for that in the future!

The characters in The Kill Order did have depth and I did care about them, but only to a point. It might be that I’m really attached to the characters from the Trilogy, but the characters in this were a little flat. Also, I felt that the point of this book wasn't necessarily to tell its characters' story but rather to flush out the world of Maze Runner. I was about halfway through The Kill Order when I realized it seemed like I hardly knew any of the characters, I got over it by the end of the novel but it definitely took me a while to feel connected to the characters. I did like the way that the group dynamics worked because it felt real. Like I hate it when the interpersonal relations of a novel are like this: there are 7 characters and they're all "oh we're best friends every single one of us!" There's no depth in that.

The Kill Order is set 13 years before the events of The Maze Runner, right as the world goes crazy. I thought the world-building was awesome, and I love how a major portion of this book was about building on to the world that the characters from both The Kill Order and The Maze Runner live in. I really did feel like by the end of the novel I had learned a lot more about the fascinating world Dashner created, and how people adapted to it. Also, it gives a lot of background on some of the major players from the main trilogy - which I really appreciated because when I was reading them, I wanted to know more about why things were the way they were and how the world got to the way it was.

Overall I think that The Kill Order is better seen as a sort of companion novel to the Maze Runner trilogy since it provides a lot of details on the world and its politics. I still really enjoyed it and I think that if you've read The Maze Runner and need something to read for a rainy weekend that this is a great choice. On a side note: the back of this book is awesome, it’s just the words “ EXPOSURE INFECTION TRANSMISSION PANDEMIC EXTINCTION”  in bold font, which would definitely make me intrigued if I saw it in a store or library.

I'm giving this one two ratings: 
    - For a standalone novel - 3/5 stars: It was good but not breathtaking
    - As an extension of the main series - 4/5 stars: I loved world building and it provided lots of answers.

10 Kick-Ass Heroines

Top Ten Tuesday - October 30th 
Hosted by the girls at The Broke and the Bookish. We make lists each week on various categories. This week's topic is:
TOP 10 Kick-Ass Heroines

All of these ladies can hold their own - they're strong, brilliant, cunning, and brave. Seriously guys, I wanna be besties with all of them - well, maybe except for Alex and Remy... their fierceness is awesome and all, but it isn't enough to make me want to live in a zombie world >.<

Who all did you pick? Any of the same ladies? Make sure to leave a link the comments so I can make my TBR even longer! 

- Alysson

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (3): October 28th

Stacking The Shelves is a meme hosted over at Tynga's Reviews. It's a chance to share all the goodies we received, bought, borrowed or whatever over the last week.

I was good this week guys, I only bought two books... well my dad bought me them when I visited this weekend. :} But I'm so excited for them!! They both have extras in them that I can't wait to read.

The Diviners by Libba Bray: I checked out The Diviners from the library a couple of weeks ago but the book is just so dang pretty I had to have my own copy. 

Insurgent by Veronica Roth: I got the collector's edition and it's all shiny!! This edition came with some cool stuff, the poster below and some temporary tattoos. It says "We both have war inside us. Sometimes it keeps us alive, sometimes it threatens to destroy us." How awesome is that?!

That's it for us this week! Have you read either of these? Make sure to leave a link to your hauls in the comments so we can share the love! 
- Alysson

So uh yeah... ya know.

Hi everyone! We are SO sorry for the lack of posts and interaction this week, we've been crazy busy studying for midterms and completing the quarter's assignments. Our last tests are on Tuesday so after that we'll have loads of time to comment and visit. :) Oh! And Bill had an interview for a mechanical engineering internship this week, and the company called him back for a second one on Tuesday! Get this - this job will have set hours! That means no more going in to work at 10:30AM and not coming back until 10, 11 or sometimes 12:30! Yeesssssss. :D You can probably tell I'm happy about that lol (it's hard to walk the dog when he won't do his business without Bill with us.)

Anyways, asides from all that, I've been in a crappy reading slump. I made myself stick with a book because it was so short, but taking five days to read 218 pages just left me so unmotivated to pick anything else up afterwards. I have been participating in a read-a-thon though that's given me the kick in the ass I needed, so I have four reviews coming up in the next few days and Bill has a 2 or 3 scheduled for next week as well. So yes. We apologize for not updating you all sooner!

- Alysson :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (2): The Madness Underneath

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It's a feature designed to spotlight upcoming novels we can't wait to get our hands on. Click the link for more!

The Madness Underneath
by Maureen Johnson
Series: Shades of London, #2
Release Date: February 26th, 2013
Publisher: Putnam Juvenille
Genre: Paranormal
After her near-fatal run-in with the Jack the Ripper copycat, Rory Devereaux has been living in Bristol under the close watch of her parents. So when her therapist suddenly suggests she return to Wexford, Rory jumps at the chance. But Rory's brush with the Ripper touched her more than she thought possible: she's become a human terminus, with the power to eliminate ghosts on contact.

She soon finds out that the Shades— the city's secret ghost-fighting police—are responsible for her return. The Ripper may be gone, but now there is a string of new inexplicable deaths threatening London. Rory has evidence that the deaths are no coincidence. Something much more sinister is going on, and now she must convince the squad to listen to her before it's too late.

I love Maureen Johnson. Love her. She's one of the few authors on my auto-buy list actually. I have to admit though, it took me two tries to read The Name of the Star. But after finally finishing it, I can easily say I am hooked on this series. I love their concept, and I need to know what happens with Rory and Stephan... I just - I cannot stand Jerome. Honestly /SPOILER I wanted Jerome to be killer so Rory and Stephan would get together. /END So yes, The Madness Underneath, can't wait. :} I have to say though, I don't like any of the 3 cover designs.

The Shades of London series so far:

Have you read The Name of the Star or even The Madness Underneath yet? If yes, I'm mad jealous >_> What are you looking forward to this week? Leave us a link in the comments!

Top 10 Books to Get in the Halloween Spirit

Top Ten Tuesday - October 23rd: hosted by the girls at The Broke and the Bookish. We make lists each week on various categories. This week's topic is:
TOP 10 Books to Get in the Halloween Spirit

This is late, but for my sanity and to appease my OCD about things, I'm posting it anyways. :P

1. Either of Gretchen McNeil's books, Ten and Possess: Teens stranded on an island getting killed off in Ten. And a really freaky doll scene in Possess, plus possession (obvs).

2. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving: This is one of my favorite books. It's one of the few that I love to reread every now and again. It doesn't creep me out, but it puts me in the Halloween mood.

3. The Morganville Vampires Series by Rachel Caine: Asides from the fact that this series is about my favorite bad guys - vampires - they just feel like Fall.

4. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson: A ghost story about Jack the Ripper in present-day London? Yes please.

5. Anything by Edgar Allen Poe: His writing is lyrical and terrifying. His stories might not always be pull the covers over your head scary, but they're dark and Gothic and a Halloween must for me.

6. Anything by Stephen King, especially The Colorado KidMysteries always get me in the Halloween spirit, and The Colorado Kid mixes freaky paranormal stuff in with the mystery.

7. Dracula by Bram Stoker: Classic vampires = best vampires. Most of the time.

8. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson: Another one that makes me think of Fall.

9. The Turn of the Screw by Thomas James: It's a short ghost story but definitely freaky.

10. The First Days by Rhiannon Frater: Two pages. It only took reading the first two freaking pages for me to get scared. Zombies scare the shit out of me but I can't get enough of them... and Rhiannon Frater's writing is so addictive and honest making it hard to stop reading. First Days will make you want to lock yourself in a closet while reading so the light won't attract any unwanted visitors. Seriously.

Monday, October 22, 2012

22 on 22 Read-a-Thon: Goals and Updates

In celebration of Bianca's birthday, the awesome bloggers at Pages of Forbidden Love are hosting their first ever read-a-thon! 22 on 22 is a week long event, so stop by their blog to join the fun. :)

Oh our first read-a-thon!! I'm so glad I found this - a whole 4 minutes before it starts lol. I've been in a horrible reading funk lately and this is just the boost I need to get back into the swing of things. :D I have two midterms this week, but I'm still hoping to get a lot of reading done. Bill has midterms all week too, but his are a lot more difficult than mine will be (let me be honest here, I'm so glad I'm not an engineering major... I'd die) so he isn't joining in this time. Check back here for my updates.

I'm shooting for 5, but I'll be happy if I finish 3. I just want to get back into my books!! So I will have to read about 4 hours a day.

Books to Read/Finish:

Unspoken 370
Don't Turn Around
Halfway to the Grave
First Grave on the Right

And If I finish those:
The False Prince
Personal Demons
Liesl & Po
The Gathering
Midnight City

Day 1: October 22nd
Read: Halfway to the Grave (finished) and 3 chapters of First Grave on the Right
Thoughts: OH MY GOSH!! I LOVE THIS BOOK SO FREAKING MUCH. I'm really glad I have the second one but I have to be strong and resist temptation for a couple of days... we'll see how that goes. :P Only bad thing - I don't think I'm going to enjoy First Grave as much as I was. Cat and Bones are a hard act to follow, and Reyes creeps me out.
Overall: I am well on my way to completing my goal! :D That pleases me.

Day 2: October 23rd
Read: First Grave on the Right (finished)
Thoughts: What I predicted yesterday was true. :| I started out really liking the book, except for -Charlie's thing with Reyes (I just don't understand...) but after Halfway, this one lost some of its umph. I still liked it, but I probably would have loved it if I had waited a little bit after Halfway.
Overall: Book 2 done? YAY! I didn't get to read as much as I would have liked but I'm hoping to make up for it on Thursday.

Day 3: October 24th
Read: 70 pages of Matched
Thoughts: I want them to bang already.
Overall: Well today was horrible reading-wise. My goal was to finish Matched, but I forgot Bill's parents were visiting and I forgot I didn't finish three statistics problem sets due today, so I had no time to read or comment around or do any challenges. Tomorrow will be my day to socialize and visit. :) And hopefully finish Matched and half of Unspoken.

Day 4: October 25th
Read: 200 pages of Don't Turn Around and another 30 or so pages of Matched
Thoughts on Don't Turn Around: I don't like Peter. Noa, I'm not so sure about. I don't know if I like this book either, the book isn't fast paced and I can't say I'm dying to know what happens, but I can't stop reading.
Overall: I think I'll be able to meet my 5 book goal! :D I am so so so glad I joined this read-a-thon!

Day 5: October 26th
Read: I finished Matched! Finally lol. And also Don't Turn Around.
Thoughts: I didn't like Matched at first but it grew on me, and now I NEED Crossed. I need it and there are 31 holds ahead of me. :( Don't Turn Around was not my cup of tea.

Day 6: October 27th
Read: 246 pages of Unspoken.
Thoughts: Unspoken is definitely not what I expected but I'm liking it! It's so clever and unique. :)
Overall: I am so thrilled to have less than 200 pages left to completeing my goal!!!! (note all the exclamation points lol). I'm going to hop around tomorrow afternoon, I've sucked at the social part of this. :(

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (2): October 20th

Stacking The Shelves is a meme hosted over at Tynga's Reviews. It's a chance to share all the goodies we received, bought, borrowed or whatever over the last week.

We hope everyone's having a great weekend so far. Here's what we got this past week, the covers link to the novel's Goodreads page.

alysson's Books
I've been in a reading slump for the last week which totally sucks monkey balls since we got so many awesome titles from the library last week.  -__-  But I just haven't been on it. This week was hectic. [Feel free to skip the following paragraph where I get a little bitchy and rant...]

Friday, October 19, 2012

Review: The Assassin's Curse

The Assassin's Curse
by Cassandra Rose Clarke (Website | Facebook | Twitter)
Series: The Assassin's Curse, #1
Published: October 2nd, 2012 by Strange Chemistry
Pages: 320 (Paperback)
Genre: Fantasy
Ananna of the Tanarau abandons ship when her parents try to marry her off to an allying pirate clan: she wants to captain her own boat, not serve as second-in-command to her handsome yet clueless fiance. But her escape has dire consequences when she learns the scorned clan has sent an assassin after her.

And when the assassin, Naji, finally catches up with her, things get even worse. Ananna inadvertently triggers a nasty curse — with a life-altering result. Now Ananna and Naji are forced to become uneasy allies as they work together to break the curse and return their lives back to normal. Or at least as normal as the lives of a pirate and an assassin can be.

The Assassin's Curse seriously has everything - pirates, assassins, wizards and curses! Everything to make this one of my favorite books. The story starts with Ananna, the daughter of a pirate captain, being married off to form an alliance within the pirate clan. This is not what Ananna wants - she wants to become the captain of her own vessel and sail the seas. Naturally she runs away and an assassin is sent after her, to bring her back to be married or if not, kill her. This is where the story starts to get really interesting because in the course of fighting off her assassin, Ananna saves his life, which sets in place a curse that makes Naji have to watch over her for the rest of his life. That certainly is an interesting premise, and one that was delivered quite well I might add.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (1): Quantum Coin

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It's a feature designed to spotlight upcoming novels we can't wait to get our hands on. Click the link for more!

Quantum Coin
by E.C. Myers
Series: Coin, #2
Release Date: October 23rd, 2012
Publisher: Pyr
Genre: Science Fiction
Ephraim thought his universe-hopping days were over. He's done wishing for magic solutions to his problems; his quantum coin has been powerless for almost a year, and he's settled into a normal life with his girlfriend, Jena. But then an old friend crashes their senior prom: Jena's identical twin from a parallel world, Zoe.

Zoe's timing couldn't be worse. It turns out that Ephraim's problems have just begun, and they're much more complicated than his love life: The multiverse is at stake—and it might just be Ephraim's fault.

Ephraim, Jena, and Zoe embark on a mission across multiple worlds to learn what's going wrong and how to stop it. They will have to draw on every resource available and trust in alternate versions of themselves and their friends, before it's too late for all of them.

If Ephraim and his companions can put their many differences aside and learn to work together, they might have a chance to save the multiverse. But ultimately, the solution may depend on how much they're willing to sacrifice for the sake of humanity...and each other.

I read Fair Coin earlier this year and I thought the concept was pretty awesome. But I didn't realize it was part of a series! I'm excited to learn more about all the different worlds introduced in the first book. Luckily this comes out next week. :P
- Bill

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Top 10 Contemp & Paranormal Authors

Top Ten Tuesday - October 16th: hosted by the girls at The Broke and the Bookish. We make lists each week on various categories. This week's topic is:

I couldn't pick just one genre, so I listed my top 5 authors of contemporary and my top 5 authors of paranormal. 

Favorite contemporary authors
Maureen Johnson

Maureen Johnson is my "contemporary queen". Her books are so easy to fall in to. The characters are unique and strong and go on fabulous adventures of self discovery and all that coming of age goodness. Oh and the love - don't even get me started on the romances (this post would be waaaay too long). They're fun but also discuss important issues. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Review: Warm Bodies

Warm Bodies
by Isaac Marion (Website | Facebook | Twitter)
Series: Standalone
Published: April 26th, 2011 by Atria
Pages: 241 (Paperback)
Genre: Paranormal
Source: Borrowed from library
Goodreads | Amazon | Indie
R is a young man with an existential crisis--he is a zombie. He shuffles through an America destroyed by war, social collapse, and the mindless hunger of his undead comrades, but he craves something more than blood and brains. He can speak just a few grunted syllables, but his inner life is deep, full of wonder and longing. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he has dreams.

After experiencing a teenage boy's memories while consuming his brain, R makes an unexpected choice that begins a tense, awkward, and strangely sweet relationship with the victim's human girlfriend. Julie is a blast of color in the otherwise dreary and gray landscape that surrounds R. His decision to protect her will transform not only R, but his fellow Dead, and perhaps their whole lifeless world.

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion is not your typical zombie story; it’s from the point of view of R, a zombie with a surprising amount of intellect. Much like how some vampires are shown to hate their existence as such, R hates being a zombie, as much as his stunted emotions allow him too. Throughout the novel R shows a surprising amount of depth for a guy who eats brains.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (1): October 14th

Hello guys, today we have our first book haul! And it's HUGE. Our library is awesome at getting new releases out quickly, so when we went earlier today we found most of our holds came in! And we also got some books to feature in the various Halloween/October events we've come across on other blogs.

From the library

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Review: Shadows

If you haven't yet read Ashes, you might want to find a spoiler-free review of Shadows.

by Ilsa J. Black (Website | Facebook | Twitter)
Series: Ashes Trilogy, #2
Published: September 25th, 2012 by Egmont
Pages: 528 (Hardcover)
Contains: Lots of gore, zombie like people
The Apocalypse does not end. The Changed will grow in numbers. The Spared may not survive.

Even before the EMPs brought down the world, Alex was on the run from the demons of her past and the monster living in her head. After the world was gone, she believed Rule could be a sanctuary for her and those she’d come to love. But she was wrong. 

Now Alex is in the fight of her life against the adults, who would use her, the survivors, who don’t trust her, and the Changed, who would eat her alive.

Shadows starts right where Ashes left off, which if you read Ashes,  is a really good thing. After having read the first book I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Shadows - if only to know about the very first scene.  This book adds on to Ashes well and delivers in some ways that Ashes didn’t, but it also has some of its own short comings.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Review: Vampire Academy

Vampire Academy
by Richelle Mead (Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter )
Series: Vampire Academy, #1
Published: August 16th, 2007 by Razorbill
Pages: 332 (Paperback)
Genre: Paranormal
Goodreads | Amazon | Indie
St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger...

Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.
I’ve been hearing things about the Vampire Academy series for years but for some reason they never appealed to me. Maybe that was because of all the twilight hype suffocating me and I was turned off of vampires. Maybe it was because I had read so many  mediocre vamp books that I had little faith in starting a new series. But I was a flipping idiot because not only is Vampire Academy now my favorite book in the genre (only after Morganville <3) it’s one of my favorite books in general.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Review: The Unquiet

The Unquiet
by Jeannine Garsee (Website | Blog | Twitter)
Series: Standalone
Published: July 7th, 2012 by Bloomsbury
Pages: 388 (Hardcover)
Genre: Contemporary & light paranormal
Goodreads | Amazon | Indie
Sixteen-year-old Rinn Jacobs has secrets: One, she’s bipolar. Two, she killed her grandmother.

After a suicide attempt, and now her parents' separation, Rinn and her mom move from California to the rural Ohio town where her mother grew up. Back on her medications and hoping to stay well, Rinn settles into her new home, undaunted by the fact that the previous owner hanged herself in Rinn's bedroom. At school, her classmates believe the school pool is haunted by Annaliese, a girl who drowned there. But when a reckless séance goes awry, and terrible things start happening to her new friends—yet not to her—Rinn is determined to find out why she can’t be "touched" by Annaliese...or if Annaliese even exists.

With the help of Nate Brenner, the hunky “farmer boy” she’s rapidly falling for, Rinn devises a dangerous plan to uncover the truth. Soon reality and fantasy meld into one, till Rinn finds it nearly impossible to tell the difference. When a malevolent force threatens the lives of everyone she cares about--not to mention her own--she can't help wondering: who should she really be afraid of?

Annaliese? Or herself?

The premise of The Unquiet appealed to me instantly: a bipolar teen with a troubling past, now questioning reality? Yes please. I thought a novel centered on a mental disorder and ghosts would make a great story, but I was disappointed with the delivery. I love ghost stories. I love all the things a good ghost story brings and all the things that, sadly, The Unquiet did not. At almost 400 pages, the haunting elements of this book were lost in the process of questionable character development and an excessive focus on relationships. That being said, and even though the ghost story was weak, the unnerving atmosphere undeniably saves the novel.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Review: Ruined

By Paula Morris (Website | Blog | Twitter)
Series: Ruined, #1
Published: August 1st, 2009 by Point
Pages: 304 (Paperback)
Genre: Paranormal
Source: Purchased
Goodreads | Amazon | Indie
Rebecca couldn't feel more out of place in New Orleans. She's staying in a creepy house with her aunt, who reads tarot cards. And at the snooty prep school, a pack of filthy-rich girls treat Rebecca like she's invisible. Only gorgeous, unavailable Anton Grey gives Rebecca the time of day, but she wonders if he's got a hidden agenda. Then one night, among the oak trees in Lafayette Cemetery, Rebecca makes a friend. Sweet, mysterious Lisette is eager to show Rebecca the nooks and crannies of New Orleans.

There's just one catch - Lisette is a ghost. A ghost with a deep, dark secret, and a serious score to settle.

As Rebecca is drawn deeper into a web of old curses and cryptic customs, she also uncovers startling truths about her own history. Will Rebecca be able to right the wrongs of the past, or has everything been ruined beyond repair?

Morris has an enviable ability to produce a novel so rich in history and details and culture without making the reader overwhelmed. Usually paragraphs and paragraphs of descriptions are daunting for me. I just want to get back to the plot. But with Ruined that was not the case at all. Everything Paula Morris wrote was relevant to the story and to Rebecca's growth as a character. I got lost with the ornate descriptions of historic mansions, debutante gowns and Mardi Gras festivities transforming into vivid scenes in my head many many times while I was reading.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Review: Revamp

by Beck Sherman (Twitter | Website | Revamp's Facebook)
Series: Standalone
Published: March 31st, 2012
Pages: 439 (Paperback)
Genre: Adult Paranormal & Horror
Source: Read to Review program
Goodreads | Amazon

News reporters scrambled. This was the biggest story to come along in weeks.
They called it a blackout.

The last one was in New York City in 2003, but this one was different, special, because the grids in six major cities across the country had been fried, kaput, see-you-next-Sunday. Everyone with some jurisdiction blamed each other, and when there was no one left to blame, terrorism rode in on its gallant steed.

It was the media’s fault. They were so busy stuffing fanatical Muslims with a penchant for Allah and decapitations down the American citizen’s throat, that they never saw it coming. I guess I shouldn’t be too hard on them.

They were partially right. It was terror after all, but a whole new kind. And when the lights came back on, things had changed.

The dark had brought us visitors.

I’m a vampire person. I love reading about the undead in any and all forms, but vampires are my favorite. While there is only so much originality an author can infuse into his take of vampire lore, he can create fresh and exciting worlds by mixing up other facets of his book. This is exactly what Beck Sherman did in his novel Revamp.

Review: Human.4

by Mike A. Lancaster (Blog | Facebook | Twitter)
Series: Point 4, #1
Published: March 8th, 2011 by Egmont
Pages: 272 (Paperback)
Genre: Sci-Fi
Source: Bought
Goodreads | Amazon | Indie 
It's a brave new world.

'My name is Kyle Straker. And I don't exist anymore.' So begins the story of Kyle Straker, recorded on to old audio tapes. You might think these tapes are a hoax. But perhaps they contain the history of a past world. If what the tapes say are true, it means that everything we think we know is a lie. 

And if everything we know is a lie does that mean that we are, too?

Human.4 (also titled 0.4) has become one of my favorite books. It's one of those stories that, when you finish that last page and set the book down, you think "Holy crap. What if this is real?" My mouth was literally hanging open for a large portion of the novel.

Review: The Obsidian Blade

The Obsidian Blade 
by Pete Hautman (Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Youtube)
Series: Klaatu Diskos #1
Published: April 10th, 2012 by Candlewick
Pages: 320 (Hardcover)
Genre: Sci-Fi
Source: Borrowed from library
The first time his father disappeared, Tucker Feye had just turned thirteen. The Reverend Feye simply climbed on the roof to fix a shingle, let out a scream, and vanished — only to walk up the driveway an hour later, looking older and worn, with a strange girl named Lahlia in tow. In the months that followed, Tucker watched his father grow distant and his once loving mother slide into madness.

But then both of his parents disappear. Now in the care of his wild Uncle Kosh, Tucker begins to suspect that the disks of shimmering air he keeps seeing — one right on top of the roof — hold the answer to restoring his family. And when he dares to step into one, he’s launched on a time-twisting journey — from a small Midwestern town to a futuristic hospital run by digitally augmented healers, from the death of an ancient prophet to a forest at the end of time. Inevitably, Tucker’s actions alter the past and future, changing his world forever.

The Obsidian Blade by Pete Hautman was an exciting read that gripped me from beginning to end. The premise of the story is fairly simple: sometime in the future people built portals called Diskos that travel to various locations and times throughout human history. And now, some of the people from those times are finding the portals. The story follows Tucker Feye as he discovers and eventually learns the nature of these portals.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Review: Purity

by Jackson Pearce (Blog | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube)

Series: Standalone
Published: April 24th, 2012 by Little, Brown BFYR
Pages: 218 (Hardcover)
Genre: Contemporary
Source: Borrowed from library
Goodreads | Amazon | Indie

A novel about love, loss, and sex -- but not necessarily in that order.

Before her mother died, Shelby promised three things: to listen to her father, to love as much as possible, and to live without restraint. Those Promises become harder to keep when Shelby's father joins the planning committee for the Princess Ball, an annual dance that ends with a ceremonial vow to live pure lives -- in other words, no "bad behavior," no breaking the rules, and definitely no sex.

Torn between Promises One and Three, Shelby makes a decision -- to exploit a loophole and lose her virginity before taking the vow. But somewhere between failed hookup attempts and helping her dad plan the ball, Shelby starts to understand what her mother really meant, what her father really needs, and who really has the right to her purity.

Jackson Pearce tackles controversial subjects in her contemporary debut, Purity. Death, sex, faith, love - Purity had it all. I picked it up soon after I read Sister's Red because I couldn't get enough of Pearce's lush and vivid prose. And while the writing definitely lived up to my expectations, I was extremely disappointed with how much I didn't enjoy this book. I heavily rely on strong main characters and compelling plots to stay interested in what I read. Purity, unfortunately, lacked both.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Review: Ashes

by Ilsa J. Black (Website | Facebook | Twitter)
Series: Ashes Trilogy, #1
Published: September 6th, 2011 by Egmont
Pages: 465 (Hardcover)
Genre: Post Apocalyptic & Horror
Contains: Gore, zombie-ish creatures
Goodreads | Amazon | Indie
An electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, destroying every electronic device, wiping out every computerized system, and killing billions. 

Alex hiked into the woods to say good-bye to her dead parents and her personal demons. Now desperate to find out what happened after the pulse crushes her to the ground, Alex meets up with Tom—a young soldier—and Ellie, a girl whose grandfather was killed by the EMP.

For this improvised family and the others who are spared, it’s now a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human.

I thought Ashes was really intriguing. It had a really interesting premise and I had high hopes going into it. However, I found that it was a little slow to start and spent a lot of time building up to the main story. It especially spends a surprisingly large chunk talking about Alex’s “monster,” which was a bit frustrating because once the book really starts moving there is very little mentioned about it except at a few points. The best way to describe Ashes is a rollercoaster - there’s a long buildup in the beginning but once you reach a certain point it starts moving faster and really pulls you in.

Review Policy

Thought Casters would love to review a novel for you!

General Information

We are currently accepting fiction of all genres, but we are more selective with the adult fiction we read. For more information, please refer to the Genres section of this post.

We will graciously accept ARCs and finished copies, audiobooks, eBooks compatible with either a Nook or a Kindle, and self-published books.

If your novel is part of a series, please check our Review Index to make sure we are up to date with the series. If they are not listed on our index, we most likely haven’t read them and would appreciate it if you could provide the previous books.

If you have a certain date you’d like the review posted by, go ahead and mention it in your request. We’ll do our best to make that happen. But as full time college students, our schedules don’t always allow us much free time, so you might get an email from one of us saying the review will be up later. We hope you understand.

While we try to review every book we read, please understand this does not always happen. Note that we do not guarantee a review for every request we accept.  We’ll do our best to keep this at a minimum.

Also, we only respond to requests we will be accepting. We should get back to you within a week.

Who will review my book?

If you make a general request the novel will be reviewed by whichever of us it appeals to more. If you’d like one of us in particular to review it, make sure to include this in your request or contact us individually.
*Bill is more likely to accept adult titles than Alysson.
Genres We Review

On our blog you will mostly find reviews for young adult titles. While we prefer young adult and middle grade fiction, we are open to reviewing adult books – we’re just more selective with these titles. Before sending us a request, please make sure your novel falls within one of the following categories.

We accept the following genres for review (our preferred adult genres are noted with an asterisk):
  • Contemporary YA
  • Dystopia
  • Fantasy *
  • Fairytales & Retellings
  • Graphic Novels
  • Historical Fiction
  • Horror
  • Literary Fiction *
  • Mystery/Crime/Thriller *
  • Mythology
  • Paranormal (Romance) *
  • Science Fiction *
  • Urban Fantasy * 
Alysson’s favorite genres:
  • Dystopia
  • Fantasy (high and urban)
  • Mystery/Crime
  • Mythology
  • Paranormal
  • Psychological thrillers
Bill’s favorite genres:
  • Dystopia
  • Fantasy (high and urban)
  • Science Fiction

Our Reviews - What to Expect 

Our reviews reflect our honest opinions and will point out what we liked and disliked. We always try to be fair, even if we didn’t like something. Because we try to review every book we read, keep in mind that negative reviews do happen. In a negative review, we’ll include links to reviews from other bloggers but we will try to explain why that book didn’t work for us. We NEVER try to dissuade others from reading a novel.

We might mark a book as a DNF (did not finish). Even though we try to only accept books we think we’ll enjoy, it doesn’t always happen. Some books just don’t work with certain readers. In these cases, a review of what was read will be posted and we'll inform readers of where we stopped reading and why.

Reviews will include details on the book's
  • Cover image
  • Title & Author 
  • Series information
  • Publication date and company
  • Source
  • Genre
  • Purchase links (Amazon, Indiebound)
  • Synopsis borrowed from Goodreads.com
  • Rating
Reviews will be posted on Thought Casters and Goodreads. We also try to post them on Amazon.com and yabookscentral.com, but we don’t always. If you would like us to post a review elsewhere, just let us know.

Other Forms of Promotional Posts 

Thought Casters would love to host any kind of promotional event you are interested in - an interview, guest post, cover reveal, giveaway... you name it! We think they're lots of fun and love getting to know authors, so please feel free to contact us about any kind of event you are interested in.

 Contact Us 

For general review requests and other promotional inquiries: thoughtcasters@gmail.com
Requests for Alysson: rosemirror@live.com
Requests for Bill: bill.g8127@gmail.com

Thank you for taking the time to read our review policy and get a feel for the types of books we enjoy. We look forward to working with you!

An Introduction of Sorts...

Hi my name is Alysson and I'm a book addict. *waves*

My boyfriend Bill and I have been thinking about making a book blog for a while but never took the time to sit down and put it all together until now. We tend to read different genres - with me sticking to YA and occasionally adult fiction, and Bill reading adult sci-fi, fantansy, and classics. But he's been reading more and more young adult book since we moved in together. He now has a thing for the Morganville Vampires series. :D

Like Bill, I had always been an avid reader but I didn't have anyone to squee or rant to when a love interest made me swoon or a heroine pissed me off to end. Our friends of the weird variety of people who don't read. So my book love was all cooped up and lonely inside my mind and I desperately needed to find people to share with. Little did Bill know that as soon as we started dating listening to me obsess over my books would be obligatory and frequent. >:} Lucky for me, he doesn't mind.

Most of the time.

So he says.

Anyways, one day I randomly found Goodreads while perusing around the interwebs during lunch, and I fell in love. Soon after this I found out that there was such a thing called a book blog and I was totally hooked. Until earlier this year I assuaged my need to discuss by stalking various book blogs and Goodreads conversations until I eventually began writing my own reviews. But being a full-time student and commuting crazy long distances kind of cuts down on the amount of time you have to read, much less run a blog on your own. So, when Bill and I moved in to an apartment together in June, I asked him to start a blog with me so we could both share our love for books. And here we are. :))))

So hello everyone! We hope you like our blog.
-Alysson & Bill