Wednesday, March 27, 2013

I'm Moving to a New Blog!

Remember when I posted last week about loooking for cobloggers or a new blog to work with? Yeah, that thing. I apologize to everyone who emailed me because I haven't replied to any of you specifically, but it's been busy and I've been working things out with someone for the past few days.

Now that we have everything ready, I'm pleased to announce that starting next week, I'll be blogging with Usagi of Birth of a New Witch! She's so much fun and loves anime and manga just as much as I do, but we disagree sometimes on YA books. You know what that means?

REVIEW WARS! (a la Cuddlebuggery.) -rubs hands together- This is going to be so much fun!

We're working out the last details and working on moving some of my stuff over, but I'll be situated there soon. Then I'll be the witch's cat!


But most importantly, this ain't the end of me reviewing. Many thanks to Usagi for her offer because going it alone just wasn't going to happen anymore for me. I loves her right now. <3 Head on over and get subscribed because I'll be posting there instead of here very soon. You don't want to miss out on me and my awesome reviews, do you? ;)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Shadow Girl by Jennifer Archer

Title: The Shadow Girl
Author: Jennifer Archer
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: April 9, 2013
Pages: 336 pages (paperback)
How I Got the Book: ARC from the author for her blog tour
Purchase/Pre-order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Promotional Materials and More: author website

The Shadow GirlSometimes I forget for an hour or two that she's with me. Sometimes I convince myself that she was only a dream. Or that I'm crazy.

For as long as Lily Winston can remember, she has never been alone. Iris, a shadowy figure who mimics Lily's movements and whispers in her ear, is with her always—but invisible to the rest of the world. Iris is Lily's secret.

But when Lily's father is killed in a tragic accident, his cryptic final words suggest that he and Lily's mother have been keeping secrets of their own. Suddenly, Iris begins pushing Lily more than ever, possessing her thoughts and urging her to put together the pieces of a strange puzzle her father left behind. As she searches for answers, Lily finds herself drawn to Ty Collier, a mysterious new boy in town. Together, Lily and Ty must untangle a web of deception to discover the truth about her family, Iris . . . and Lily's own identity.


Oh, The Shadow Girl. How I wanted to love you. At first, I did. You began with a great mystery centered on Iris, a separate consciousness within Lily that has been around for almost as long as Lily has, and a death that shakes up her life pretty well. Unfortunately, you had to veer off into lands you shouldn't have traveled.

The initial mystery is what drew me in. I thought I had the relationship between Iris and Lily figured out a few times, but it managed to surprise me in the end--which is what I like books to do.Of course, the solution was in my top three guesses, but as long as my finger isn't exactly on it, it's good. The rough relationship Lily develops with her mother after her dad dies in an accident managed to tug on my heartstrings a few times too.

If it has stayed the course and spent more time developing the mystery, this novel would have been great. Unfortunately, it starts to drag after the first couple of chapters and detour into romantic entanglements. Before you know it, the tepid, predictable love triangle between Wyatt (Lily's childhood BFF), Lily, and Ty (mysterious college student from New York) takes over the novel and the mystery the book really should be about is put far on the backburner. Had some of this unnecessary fluff been cut out, this would have been a more concise, stronger novel for it.

Some elements are also built up for some time only to turn out to be nothing at all. The name Ian Beckett is brought up many times and it always has a strong negative connotation; though Iris knows nothing about herself, the man's name terrifies her. It seemed like he might come into the novel, but he never did. He's just a distant figure whose memory hangs around. I don't blame the book for not letting him come in and introduce danger. It's a character-focused novel, after all. Still, all that build up for nothing is a bit disappointing.

Until about the end, I was prepared to give The Shadow Girl two stars. Then seventeen-year-old Lily (at the age of consent but not the age of majority in Colorado, so she's still a minor) left her arthritis-and-lupus-stricken mother to go on a trip with a nineteen-year-old man she still barely knows. She tells no one where she's going either. Lily's behavior throughout the novel has been highly erratic and her father just died, too. A teen who is obviously not in her right state of mind does this and no one calls the police. No one. Not the friend that helped her escape, not the grandmother of another friend who does what's best for Lily even if she doesn't like it, and not even her own mother.

If Lily's own naive, selfish decision hadn't been enough for me, the way no one calls the police does.

I wanted to like The Shadow Girl so much more than I did, but that's how it rolls sometimes.

What am I reading next?: Some Girls: My Life in a Harem by Jillian Lauren

Monday, March 25, 2013

Horrorscape by Nenia Campbell

Title: Horrorscape
Author: Nenia Campbell
Publisher: CreateSpace
Release Date: March 15, 2013
Pages: 292 pages
How I Got the Book: ARC from the author
Purchase/Pre-order: Amazon

Horrorscape (Horrorscape, #2)Val receives a calling card from a very dangerous boy who wants to play with her. It's a game without rules, logic, or consequence, and he'll stop at nothing to claim her as his—even if it means destroying them both.

Three years ago, Valerian Kimble got herself entangled with a burgeoning sociopath intent on adding her to his own columns of wins and losses. She managed to escape him, but at a terrible cost...

This time it's personal.

Now a high school senior, Val is a pale shadow of the girl she once was and still recovering from the terrible trauma she suffered at his hands. She is understandably reluctant when her friends receive mysterious invitations to a theme party being held in one of the old manor homes on the edge of town.

Right away, something about the party seems off. The other guests are secretive, and strangely hostile. Cell phones don't work. Doors lock and unlock, seemingly at will. And the festivities start to take a turn for the sinister as the evening progresses. Because their host loves games. Loves them so much that he's decided to make a little wager. The deadline is sunrise. The stakes? Their lives.

Let the games begin.



Another little disclaimer: the author is my friend, but that affects neither my review nor my rating.

Ah, a good old-fashioned booby-trapped house kind of horror novel. Movies like that are always a bundle of fun and Campbell's book bring back that nostalgia and then some.

Valerian is a very different girl from the naive child we knew in Fearscape. The aftermath of what happened with Gavin has changed her, as has the harassment she's faced. People calling her a terrorist over it is a little over-the-top, but the pain of people saying she lied about what she went through is a perfectly good reason for her change. Throughout the novel, the twisted games Gavin puts her through yet again in his quest to conquer her turn her not into the girl she used to be or keep her who she is now, but turn her into someone new. A girl willing to do what she has to in order to save herself or her friends.

A girl who might be able to kill.

Gavin's game is more open this round, but it's no less horrible to see people taken in by him, only able to see through it when it's too late. If they escape him? They're beyond lucky. Val's best friend Lisa grated on me in the first book, but getting into her POV this book gave me a new respect for her. Speaking of which, the POV changes around just as much as it did in Fearscape but there's more consistency, depth, and reason to them. There was one instance of it changing mid-paragraph for no reason, but that's greatly improved from book one. Thank goodness!

And may I say that I LOVE to see a story where the heroine is sexually attracted to her story's villain but knows that's all there can ever be between them? If there's a guilty pleasure trope out there for me, this is it. Yes yes yes.

There's so much to say about this book but so few ways I can say it and sound sensible. The way Gavin twists children's games into something terrible, the three people he plays against Val and her friends, James (well, not really because he's an ass), new character Blake (who I'm kinda-sorta shipping with Val, SHUT UP), the tension as Val and her friends try to make it through the night intact, and beyond... I loved it all. Just as I do with Fearscape, I'm sure I'll be flipping through my favorite sections of this novel in the future.

With the way it ended, it's difficult to imagine what will go on in book three, Terrorscape. How does he find out? What "game" will he put her through next? Will she finally triumph or will he win after all? I must know!

Sooooooo, how's Terrorscape going, Nenia? ;)

What am I reading next?: Golden by Jessi Kirby

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Some Girls by Jillian Lauren

Title: Some Girls: My Life in a Harem
Author: Jillian Lauren
Publisher: Plume
Release Date: April 27, 2010
Pages: 352 pages (paperback)
How I Got the Book: Christmas gift.

Some Girls: My Life in a HaremA jaw-dropping story of how a girl from the suburbs ends up in a prince's harem, and emerges from the secret Xanadu both richer and wiser

At eighteen, Jillian Lauren was an NYU theater school dropout with a tip about an upcoming audition. The "casting director" told her that a rich businessman in Singapore would pay pretty American girls $20,000 if they stayed for two weeks to spice up his parties. Soon, Jillian was on a plane to Borneo, where she would spend the next eighteen months in the harem of Prince Jefri Bolkiah, youngest brother of the Sultan of Brunei, leaving behind her gritty East Village apartment for a palace with rugs laced with gold and trading her band of artist friends for a coterie of backstabbing beauties.

More than just a sexy read set in an exotic land, Some Girls is also the story of how a rebellious teen found herself-and the courage to meet her birth mother and eventually adopt a baby boy.


We tend to think of harems more in the past tense and as part of old tales than as something that still exists, but here's a tale of one woman's experience in a harem in the early 90s. It's... hard to put words to this book, really.

It's a story worth telling, though her prose isn't always up to snuff. There were a few tuns of phrase that made me snort. Still, with as strong of a story as this book has, it's easy to overlook it and get caught up in the world Jill found herself in after one fateful audition. Brunei in the 90s was a very odd place, to say the least. There's a mix of culture clash and general strangeness (the harems and colored money and extravagance for the royals and stuff) in that statement.

But it's more than just the story of the screwed-up harem of the youngest brother of the Sultan of Brunei. It's about Jill herself too: how she ended up there, how her time there influenced her, and struggles in her life that had nothing and everything to do with her time in the harem. Her story drags for a while when concentrating on her life post-harem and the book could have been shorter than it was due to this, but this makes the book more than just a novelty, I suppose.

However, it becomes hard to stay engaged in the novel when she decides to concentrate on her life outside of it. The morbid fascination with the politics of being one of the prince's many women is enough to drive about half the novel, but her personal story of being a stripper and then a call girl and everything that ensues once she leaves Brunei lacks that kind of power. She strips, she does the call girl thing, she gets a couple of boyfriends and doesn't get along well with her family,... Blah blah blah.

It's also difficult to figure out if the catty descriptions of other women are supposed to put us in her messed-up mindframe of yesteryear or if she feels that way while looking back on it in the present. She just loves to talk about how other girls dress badly, sing badly, behave like junior high bullies, make stupid faces, etc. Whether it's memoir or fiction, I want to see people make an effort to show people as people, not caricatures. Jill also lost major points when she called another of the harem girls a "delusional rock slut". Not cool. Not cool at all. I kinda got the impression she doesn't/didn't like other women based on how most other women are described and portrayed.

Some Girls is a half-wonderful, half-chilling insight into a modern harem, but as a memoir and personal story, it doesn't always rise to the occasion.

What am I reading next?: Horrorscape by Nenia Campbell

Friday, March 22, 2013

I'm Looking for Cobloggers/a New Blog to Review For

I've mentioned this before and some of you probably think I'm dragging it out now, but I planned to stop blogging this upcoming June in order to concentrate on my personal writing and college. My upcoming fall semester is going to be hell on me and I'm going to need all the time I can get. The thing is that I don't want to stop reviewing. At all. I've been resistant to the idea of getting cobloggers for sometimes because I hate groupwork, but I can't do this on my own anymore.

So yes, as the title of the post tells you, I'm looking either for new cobloggers (I'm thinking one or two, possibly three) or a blog that would like to take me on as a reviewer, either part-time or full-time.

What I'm looking for in a coblogger/new blog to review for:
    •  I know/get along with them already (especially important if you're inviting me to your blog)
    • They aren't afraid to write negative review
    • Creative people who have fun
    Still interested? Email the following information to me at within the next four days:

    • Your name/handle (also required for blog invitations)
    • Your blog if you have one (also required for blog invitations)
    • One example of a positive review you wrote
    • One example of a negative review you wrote
    • Three books you love and three books you hate
    • Why you want to deal with my shit blog with me
    •  Whatever else you want to add

     Looking forward to hearing from all of you! I hate to add this because it comes off as blackmail to me, but unless this succeeds and I find new cobloggers/a new blog to review for, the end of The YA Kitten is definitely coming. It's the truth and I won't pretend it's not.

    Thursday, March 21, 2013

    Night Creature Cover Reveal Part II: Psyche!

    Remember a few weeks ago when I revealed the US/international covers for the Night Creatures series by Marianne de Pierres?

    Well, the covers changed again. The author and the designer of the original Aussie covers reached a deal and that means NEW new covers. But they're the old covers. You understand what I mean, right? Anyway, here they are:

    The font changed, but that's about it! I love the odd designs of these covers, so I'm happy these will be the covers the rest of the world gets to enjoy too. The other ones grew on me a little, but these win every single time.

    Also? The books will be available very, very soon according to Marianne. Looking forward to it!

    PS: A little note from Yunyu a pretty cool musician who created a lovely song titled Angel Arias that is related to the series. I've checked out some of her other music and it's so much fun! Granted, I'm the kind of person who loves Emilie Autumn's music and Ke$ha's too, so take my word on music with a grain of salt. I'm a book reviewer, not a music reviewer. (Not anymore, anyway.)

    Dear Baby Bats,

    Hi, I am Yunyu. Like you, I've enjoyed traversing the dark landscapes of Marianne's world of Night Creatures and Angel Arias was written as a Siren call for the world of Ixion (In our world you may call it a tourist ad J )

    The best bit about creating the song Angel Arias was the amount of creative freedom that was allowed (Marianne is very cool like that!). So I made a tune that was sort of Middle Eastern meets Euro Rave (Grave sounded like that sort of place in my head!)  Here’s a sneak peek

    So there it be!

    I've also created an ongoing series of songs made of twisted fairy tales called TWISTED TALES. The songs can be heard here: 

    Feel free to subscribe to the mailing list for future updates as well. Signups include a FREE MP3 as well.

    Enjoy! Till we meet again Baby Bats!

    Your Royal Madness

    Wednesday, March 20, 2013

    How I Read: Reviews

    How I Read is a series of mine that is pretty much exactly what is says on the tin: post about my tastes/habits as a reader. Multiple people said they wanted more posts like this during my 300-GFC-follower celebration, so I will give my readers what they want.

    The first post of this series was supposed to be about why I DNF books, but I found a few reviews today that pushed my buttons the wrong way and I decided this needed to go first.

    True story: I started reading a Kindle freebie this morning before a class and had some issues with it I couldn't put my finger on. I turned on my Wi-Fi, started looking through reviews, and promptly got more pissed off than I already was--and let me tell you, I was some kind of angry this morning. It involves my roommates and too much off-topic stuff to bother talking about here.

    Anyway, as you'll quickly see once you dive into my archives, I love negative reviews. I'm not afraid to write them ninety-nine percent of the time  and love reading ones written even for books I love.

    What do I like to see in negative reviews in particular? What kind of offensive content there is, for one thing. I don't like slut-shaming, woman hate, general anti-woman themes, racism or race stereotypes, homophobia, general LGBT+ hatred, and all that kind of stuff. Some people call me overly politically correct. I call it being dedicated to not being an offensive ass.

    Some more "vanilla" things I like to see? Details about how sensible/ludicrous the plot is, how flat/deep the personalities of all the important characters are (seriously, I don't want anymore books with asshole/abusive male leads), the quality of the worldbuilding, an examination of the internal logic, gender politics (how do characters of different genders interact? How do characters of the same gender treat each other?), and similar things. You may be able to come up with more examples based on what you want to know before you read a book.

    As a progressive woman and a feminist, I despise slut-shaming and homophobia in particular. When I see either in a review? I get angry, to say the least. I don't even twitch if I see a negative review for something I loved. When I do twitch is when I see someone being a bigoted ass in their review. At that point, I get mad whether it's a book I loved or hated or even felt indifferent to.

    Here are a few examples of said reviews. Names are blacked out/cut off for the reviewers' privacy. If someone who wrote one of these reviews contacts me asking me to remove it or this particular part of my post receives a large negative reaction, I will quickly remove then and post an apology.

     You can probably figure it out from context, but the first review is referring to the author being a lesbian.

    I love that they wrote negative reviews of these books because such reviews helps me figure out what I want to read, what I can expect when I dive into a novel, and all sorts of stuff I find helpful. I don't have money to pick up every book that sounds fun and see if it's actually good. A lot of other people don't either and that's why reviews exist: to help people figure out whether or not they really want to read a book.

    What I don't love about these reviews is that their homophobia and slut-shaming make their entire review unhelpful. When narrow-minded views like those make their way into reviews, I can't trust them to give me an accurate warning of what I might not like about a novel. I don't trust every single negative review I read because there are plenty of people out there with tastes that differ from mine, but I see a difference between differing tastes and flat-out asshattery.

    Criticizing the way the main character bounces between three guys and makes out with Love Interest #2 next to Love Interest #1's dying body? Good. Tell me more, please. Calling the main character a slut or telling her to keep her legs closed? Not okay.

    Criticizing a book because its romance (which happens to be between women) is weakly developed? Good. Criticizing it because it's about lesbians and "corrupts" a fairy tale? Not okay.

    (Seriously, the reviews that say an LGBT storyline corrupts a fairy tale make me want to write a take on Beauty and the Beast where a MTF transsexual is the Beauty of the tale. The only reason I haven't done so yet is because I don't yet trust myself to write a transsexual character with the care and nuance I would need to do it well.)

    We can make these criticisms without using offensive terminology. I promise, it's possible.

    Tuesday, March 19, 2013

    Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers

    Title: Dark Triumph
    Author: Robin LaFevers
    Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Children
    Release Date: April 2, 2013
    Pages: 400 pages (hardcover)
    How I Got the Book: e-ARC from the publisher
    Purchase/Pre-order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
    Promotional Materials and More: book trailer | author website

    Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin, #2) Sybella arrives at the convent’s doorstep half mad with grief and despair. Those that serve Death are only too happy to offer her refuge—but at a price. Naturally skilled in both the arts of death and seduction, the convent views Sybella as one of their most dangerous weapons.

    But those assassin’s skills are little comfort when the convent returns her to a life that nearly drove her mad. Her father’s rage and brutality are terrifying, and her brother’s love is equally monstrous. And while Sybella is a weapon of justice wrought by the god of Death himself, He must give her a reason to live. When she discovers an unexpected ally imprisoned in the dungeons, will a daughter of Death find something other than vengeance to live for?

    This heart-pounding sequel to Grave Mercy serves betrayal, treachery, and danger in equal measure, bringing readers back to fifteenth century Brittany and will keep them on the edge of their seats.


    As much as I liked Grave Mercy when I read it last year, it was hardly perfect. Pacing issues and a heroine I don't much care for in hindsight are my two most noteworthy problems with it, but neither of those are anywhere to be found Dark Triumph. LaFevers kick it out a couple dozen notches and shows everyone how writing a sequel is done. It's so good that I'm scared the next book in the series will disappoint me!

    Ismae's story in Grave Mercy began with her wedding and escape to the convent, which made the pacing drag a little as we saw her grow up, but Sybella's story cuts right to the chase and reveals a part of her background we never learned in the previous book: she's the daughter of D'Albret, the man trying to force Duchess Anne to marry him. Over the course of the novel, bits and pieces of what living in his household was like for her. Close to the end, we come to learn exactly what had Sybella so wild and distraught when she first arrived at the convent and met Ismae. It's... pretty bad. I don't blame her a bit.

    Sybella is also a more engaging narrator. Whereas Ismae is very devout and subdued, Sybella is angry, jaded, and often wonders if St. Mortain exists at all. Her voice is more natural, there's hardly any noticeable flubs in the prose (no blood singing in triumph or whatever, thank goodness), and it's difficult not to cheer her on when she has to deal with a very twisted family. There's her monstrous, occasionally-flat-but-still-terrifying father, one brother who is in love with her and rather messed up, another brother who is even MORE messed up, and two younger sisters she'd do anything to protect.

    While reading Grave Mercy, imagining the Beast of Waroch being with anyone was a little difficult, but he fits in well as Sybella's love interest--and especially dear to me because he isn't a handsome man at all. The way he understands her and accepts all of her secrets so readily won me over in a hurry. I didn't appreciate him knocking her out because she wouldn't go along with one of his plans later in the book, but other than that one really stupid moment, their relationship is really quite sweet.

    Mortal Heart won't be out until 2014, but I'll be okay with the wait as long as I can keep Sybella in the meantime.

    What am I reading next?: Furious by Jill Wolfson

    Saturday, March 16, 2013

    Stacking the Shelves (12)

    Stacking The Shelves, hosted by Tynga's Reviews, is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

    I've had these for about a week, but I got them late on Saturday and didn't feel like posting about them then. I'm short on reviews due to a lot of schoolwork falling on top of me, but here are some shinies for you to look at in the meantime!


    The Ruining by Anna Collomore
    • I'm having a hard time figuring out what to say about this other than I'm excited about it. I need a good psychological book to mess with my head.
    What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang (my review)
    • I got an e-ARC of this a long time ago, but I desperately wanted a finished copy. Now I have one! Last one in the store too.
    Two sexy new bookmarks because my current one is on life support.

    Received in swaps:

    The Rules by Stacey Kade
    • My excitement over the fact I have this now can only be measured in squees. This is about nine-and-a-half squees on the squeemeter, which is pretty damn high. I love love looooooooove her Ghost and the Goth series and I hope this one will be good too despite the major genre change. She's good at comedic writing, but let's see how it works out with an apparently "serious" story.
    Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger
    • True story: My mom's best friend tried to steal this from me when I opened it. HAHAHAHAno. Not until I read it!

    Received from Jennifer Archer:

    The Shadow Girl by Jennifer Archer
    • I'm part of the blog tour for this book and I actually finished this one a short time ago. For now, I'll keep quiet concerning how I felt about it.

    Received from Marianne de Pierres:

    Lots and lots of swag, a good bit of it signed.
    • This is one of the thank-yous I get for helping out with her cover reveal/announcement that the Night Creatures series is coming to the US soon. I loves it! <3

    Friday, March 15, 2013

    Cover Stuff (1)

    People said they wanted to see more comments on covers from me, so here you go! Have a nice, heaping helping of Cover Stuff! All the covers I use are gleefully yanked from Cuddlebuggery's Hot New Titles and A Reader of Fictions's Cover Snark because they're both able to keep track of covers more thoroughly than I can. They're fabulous and you should be following them if you aren't already.

    The Hazards of Skinny Dipping by Alyssa Rose Ivy

     I hope that title is talking about the dangers of sand getting up their asses or in their sexual organs. That's a SERIOUS danger of skinny dipping and sex on the beach. At the very least, do it on top of a towel!

    Through the Zombie Glass by Gena Showalter

    Through the Zombie Glass (White Rabbit Chronicles, #2)

    Alice in Zombieland (The White Rabbit Chronicles, #1)
     Um, what's wrong with her face? Is that a mask? I call this one a step down from the previous cover.

    Game. Set. Match. by Jennifer Iacopelli

    Well, this is rather dull.  You can also tell it's NA (I despise that category and will tell you exactly why, but that's a post for another day) because nine out of ten covers involve people making out. Someone needs to get some variety up in there!

    Burn Bright by Bethany Frenette

    Dark Star

     Oooh, pretty colors. I like it! Can I have it, please?

     This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

     This Song Will Save Your Life

     Hm... I'm not sure what I think of this, honestly. I like how they changed the colors of certain letters to make "love" stand out, but that's about all that gets me. Maybe it will grow on me.

    Because of Low/Just For Now/While It Lasts by Abbi Glines

     And that's all I have to say about that.

     The Wicked Within by Kelly Keaton

     The Wicked Within (Gods & Monsters, #3)

     Darkness Becomes Her (Gods & Monsters, #1) A Beautiful Evil (Gods & Monsters, #2)

    Once again, eh. They're decent covers and not worth making fun of, but there's nothing terribly compelling about them either. I like the snake references on each cover, though.

    Alienated by Melissa Landers

     Alienated (Alienated, #1)

     This is so ridiculous and silly that I absolutely love it. Gimme gimme gimme!


     Silence (The Queen of the Dead, #1)

     I've got to admit, I LOVE texture/lighting/color on these covers. I couldn't finish book one because it just wasn't clicking with me, but I'd love posters of these covers to put up on my walls.

     Strands of Bronze and Gold (Strands of Bronze and Gold, #1)

     Ooooh, pretty. If I'd liked Strands of Bronze and Gold more, I'd totally read it.

     All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

     All Our Yesterdays

    The book sounds awesome, but the cover is very... Um. There really aren't words for it.

     Rose Under Fire

     Code Name Verity

     Who gives a damn what the cover looks like?! It's another WWII-set historical from the woman who wrote Code Name Verity! I NEED THIS RIGHT NOW.

    Erased (Altered, #2) 

    Altered (Altered, #1)

    This next sentence is basically the story of my life: His abs are on parade, but all I can see is his duck face. Quack quack.

    So what do y'all think of these covers? Go on, let loose!

    Wednesday, March 13, 2013

    If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

    Title: If You Find Me
    Author: Emily Murdoch
    Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
    Release Date: March 26, 2013
    Pages: 256 pages (hardcover)
    How I Got the Book: ARC from the publisher via NetGalley
    Purchase/Pre-order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
    Promotional Materials and More: author website


    A broken-down camper hidden deep in a national forest is the only home fifteen-year-old Carey can remember. The trees keep guard over her threadbare existence, with the one bright spot being Carey's younger sister, Jenessa, who depends on Carey for her very survival. All they have is each other, as their mentally ill mother comes and goes with greater frequency. Until that one fateful day their mother disappears for good, and the girls are found by their father, a stranger, and taken to re-enter the "normal" life of school, clothes and boys.

    Now, Carey must come to terms with the truth of why their mother spirited them away ten years ago, while haunted by a past that won't let her go ... a dark past that hides many a secret, including the reason Jenessa hasn't spoken a word in over a year. Carey knows she must keep her sister close, and her secrets even closer, or risk watching her new life come crashing down.


    I don't remember what it was, but something about If You Find Me screamed my name from the moment I heard about it. That was all the way back when its title was The Patron Saint of Beans. You know what? Maybe it was the title. Whatever the case, getting my hands on this was like eating a a bag full of candy, in a way: oh so sweet and unregrettable.

    Carey's voice is gripping and pitch-perfect considering her upbringing. The first half of the novel has very little going on because she's learning to settle into her new life with her father Charlie, stepmother Melissa, and stepsister Delaney, so all the pressure to keep the story moving is on her. She does it with ease, narrating in poetic prose that doesn't distract from her character or seem too unrealistic. There are a few occasions where her words/phrases seem a little off for her character and of COURSE this girl who has been living in the forest for ten years is OMFG beautiful, but there's a lot more good than bad when it comes to Carey.

    The relationships Carey has with her younger sister Jenessa, along with the one she works to build with her dad and Melissa, are a level of perfection I don't see often. Writing child characters can be difficult because they're more often living motivations or plot devices, but Nessa is better than that. It's like she's a main focus, but she's not at the same time, if that makes sense. She's just so much of Carey's life that she's got a spotlight on her just as much as Carey does as our protagonist. The patience of the parents in helping the girls adjust and find a place in their new home make them anything but the awkward, nonexistent parents common in YA.

    The relationships with a few minor characters are some of the novel's weaker points. Carey and Ryan's friendship/possible future romance comes together too easily despite the explanation we get for it close to the end of the book. There's also Delaney, who seems to hate her new stepsister Carey and is generally a terrible person toward her. The explanation we get for that doesn't ring true either. It's just too... neat. Delaney is just too nasty for it to be resolved that easily.

    Whatever other novels Murdoch publishes in the future, I'm on board for them. I feel like I'm saying this about every author lately because I've been on a streak of good ones, but she can write. My personal opinion is that about a fifth of writers who get published and whose books I read can't write, but this author is on the good side of that equation: the side where the great writers are.

    3.5 stars!

    What am I reading next?: Smokeless Fire by Samantha Young

    Tuesday, March 12, 2013

    17 & Gone by Nova Ren Suma

    Title: 17 & Gone
    Author: Nova Ren Suma
    Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
    Release Date: March 21, 2013
    Pages: 320 pages (hardcover)
    How I Got the Book: ARC won in a giveaway held by the author
    Purchase/Pre-order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
    Promotional Materials and More: book-related Pinterest board | book trailer | author website

    17 & GoneSeventeen-year-old Lauren is having visions of girls who have gone missing. And all these girls have just one thing in common—they are 17 and gone without a trace. As Lauren struggles to shake these waking nightmares, impossible questions demand urgent answers: Why are the girls speaking to Lauren? How can she help them? And… is she next? As Lauren searches for clues, everything begins to unravel, and when a brush with death lands her in the hospital, a shocking truth emerges, changing everything.

    With complexity and richness, Nova Ren Suma serves up a beautiful, visual, fresh interpretation of what it means to be lost.


    Winning an ARC of this book made my week when it happened. I was sick with an upper respiratory infection, dealing with pains in my side I feared were appendicitis (they weren't, thank goodness), my parents had driven six hours that morning to get from home to my college campus in order to get me to a doctor, and I felt miserable. When I checked my email on September 10, 2012 and saw I'd won a signed copy of one of my most anticipated reads of 2013, written by one of my favorite authors, everything seemed better. When it arrived, I couldn't stop jumping around like an idiot and squeeing at the top of my lungs--in the laundry room. The very public laundry room.

    Was 17 & Gone ultimately worth that level of excitement?

    Well...Not quite, I'm sad to say.

    The writing is fabulously creepy and creates a very intense, surreal, and absorbing atmosphere that made quitting difficult. (Yeah, I kind of wanted to skip my very important math test to keep reading this. That's how addictive it can be.) I've come to expect nothing less than literary chic from this author's novels after Imaginary Girls and I was not disappointed in the least. The standard metaphor of ghosts = being haunted by something from your past is here, but there are others present as well--like what the lost girls represent in relation to Lauren herself. In the respect of being a character-driven novel about Lauren's obsession with the lost girls, 17 & Gone is very strong.

    As Lauren narrates and reflects on her experiences in this novel, we are told her life is falling apart--and as the novel goes on, shown it too. The impact of her obsession and what it takes from her is supposed to be great, but readers don't get a strong sense of everything the lost girls haunting her cost her. There are few peeks at who she was and what her life was like before the visions and obsessions began; the story begins at the very moment her obsession and the visions start. How are we supposed to appreciate her experience if we have no idea what changed? It's like how we as human beings don't truly appreciate the good in life until we experience the bad.

    Moreover, Lauren serves more as a vehicle for the stories of the lost girls than as an individual character. We don't get much of a sense of who she is or her personality. We know of her obsession and that she is/was close with her mother, and that's about it. The rest of the story is that of the lost girls, spoken through Lauren's mouth as if she were a medium. She is truly a character defined by her obsession because without it, there is nothing one can say about her.

    Speaking of the characters, fellow fans of Imaginary Girls may feel like Fiona Burke, one of the lost girls, reminds them of a certain older sister who has everyone wrapped around her finger. Loved it!

    At times, the novel can also be a little aimless. As Lauren collects more lost girls in the smoke-and-fire house within her dreams, the big plotline that Abby is most likely still alive and needs help is almost completely brought to a halt. The mystery of where Abby is and what happened to her is not quite as strongly written; a strong hint dropped early on makes it clear, but it's brought up only twice more throughout the novel. One of those occasions happens halfway through the novel; the other one is during the climactic scene. This is much stronger as a character-driven novel than as a mystery-driven or plot-driven novel.

    So 17 & Gone was a small misstep, but Nova Ren Suma remains one of my favorite authors and any books she publishes in the future are insta-buys. Perhaps fellow NRS fans will love this more than I did, but one thing is for sure: none of those fans are getting my copy. It's signed and beautiful and perfect and MINE.

    3.5 stars!

    What am I reading next?: Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins

    Sunday, March 10, 2013

    Sexy Feminism by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong and Heather Wood Rudulph

    Title: Sexy Feminism: A Girl's Guide to Love, Success, and Style
    Author: Jennifer Keishin Armstrong and Heather Wood Rudulph
    Publisher: Mariner Books
    Release Date: March 12, 2013
    Pages: 256 pages (paperback)
    How I Got the Book: ARC via Amazon Vine
    Purchase/Pre-order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

    Sexy Feminism: A Girl's Guide to Love, Success, and StyleNot your mother’s feminism! A humor-filled action plan for an accessible, cool, and, yes, even sexy brand of 21st-century feminism

    A Mariner Original Paperback

    Feminism can still seem like an abstract idea that is difficult to incorporate into our hectic, media-saturated, modern lives, but Jennifer Keishin Armstrong and Heather Wood RudĂșlph show how the everyday things matter. In an age when “concern-trolling,” “slut-shaming,” and “body-snarking” are blogosphere bywords, when reproductive rights are back under political attack, and when women are still pressured to “have it all,” feminism is more relevant than ever.  For many young women the radicalism of the Second Wave is unappealing, and the “do me” and “lipstick” feminism of the Third Wave feels out of date. Enter Sexy Feminism. It’s an inclusive, approachable kind of feminism—miniskirts, lip gloss, and waxing permitted. Covering a range of topics from body issues and workplace gender politics to fashion, dating, and sex, Sexy Feminism is full of advice, resources, and  pop culture references that will help shape what being a feminist can look like for you.


    Strike one came when it tried twice to market feminism as sexy and fun. Strike two came when it called Lady Gaga a feminist icon. Strike three was the inappropriate use of a word I despise as a feminist: slut/slutty. Beyond all that, this book is a bit boring to someone like me, a young women who has been reading feminist lit and experimenting with her feminist ideology for years.

    Before I dig into its more fundamental problems, I need to get its positives out of the way. Sexy Feminism makes sure to give you the background of many practices women now consider normal, such as waxing, plastic surgery, and makeup. If one will leave this book with anything, it will be the history of some of the services and objects still relevant to women and their intent when founded (feminist-minded or not). Most chapters have very clear points they stick to while explaining the intricacies of what does/doesn't make it feminist.

    Still, my answer to a lot of their chapters is this: "Yeah, and...?"

    Their talk of how feminists are allowed to diet and wear miniskirts is nothing new. I felt limited in what I could wear and do when I first started to identify as feminist, but I found my own style and definition of sexy that lives in harmony with my constantly-evolving ideology. Each woman will do roughly the same thing on their own, really. It's like a pair of new shoes, really: you're uncomfortable at first, but the more time you spend with it, the more you adjust to it and the more comfortable you get until you forget you ever had trouble with it to begin with.

    One chapter is rather muddled, though: the chapter on waxing. It doesn't shy away from how it originated from patriarchal pressure and the porn industry (one big point of this book is how porn has really screwed with the image of women, pun not intended), but then it says getting a Brazilian is a-okay now even though the pressure to get one still comes from the same basic places. It reads a little like choice feminism when they praise waxing, which is an approach I find more than a little problematic because it tends to not consider the pressures society, gender roles, and men have a on a woman's choices. It automatically makes something feminist because a woman can choose to do it and that's a pretty clear problem.

    And Lady Gaga as a feminist icon? Please. The book tries to show her good intent in its quick profile of why she's a sexy feminist, but her actual work gets twisted around until it's unrecognizable. I also still remember her flip-flopping on whether or not she's a feminist also.

    The line "sexy doesn't have to be slutty" (ARC p. 97) is also rather troubling considering there's a chapter in here titled "Be a Sexy Feminist, Not a Slut-Shaming One" in which they rail against slut-shaming. To me, there is no taking back that word at this point. It is too mired in negative connotations and too widely used in negative ways for us to win it back at this point. Events like SlutWalk are able to use it in a challenging way and it works, but the authors aren't using it in any such way here.

    Most importantly, feminism isn't sexy of fun the way Armstrong and Rudulph try to market it. Feminism is necessary and simply IS. That's it. Trying to attract women to feminism by telling them it's fun and sexy is a recipe for disaster because it isn't. Feminists are stereotyped, judged, and forced to deal with crap thrown at them. At times, it can be difficult to admit it to other people because you know how they will react. We work for our cause because it's necessary and right, not because it's fun. Anyone who is in it for fun or sexiness is only going to bring us down and marginalize our cause in their attempts to help.

    Though I primarily review YA, I'm no stranger to reading nonfiction. If one catches my interest based on its thesis, I jump right into it. Two of the three previous nonfiction titles I've reviewed had refined voices (the one that didn't was a memoir), but Sexy Feminism lacks that. Each chapter reads like an article from their website--which isn't bad in and of itself, but when you want to sit down and read it all at once, your eyes roll into the back of your head after a while. It starts out engaging, but it doesn't stay engaging.

    Perhaps people still developing their feminist ideas will be able to get more out of this than I did--as long as it's accompanied by other books that present other ideas. Relying on this alone to form a person's ideals doesn't seem like a very good idea.

    What am I reading next?: Levitating Las Vegas by Jennifer Echols

    Friday, March 8, 2013

    Perfect Scoundrels by Ally Carter

    Title: Perfect Scoundrels
    Author: Ally Carter
    Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children
    Release Date: February 5, 2013
    Pages: 328 pages (hardcover)
    How I Got the Book: Bought it
    Purchase/Pre-order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
    Promotional Materials and More: author website

    Perfect Scoundrels (Heist Society, #3)Katarina Bishop and W.W. Hale the fifth were born to lead completely different lives: Kat comes from a long, proud line of loveable criminal masterminds, while Hale is the scion of one of the most seemingly perfect dynasties in the world. If their families have one thing in common, it's that they both know how to stay under the radar while getting--or stealing--whatever they want. 

    No matter the risk, the Bishops can always be counted on, but in Hale's family, all bets are off when money is on the line. When Hale unexpectedly inherits his grandmother's billion dollar corporation, he quickly learns that there's no place for Kat and their old heists in his new role. But Kat won't let him go that easily, especially after she gets tipped off that his grandmother's will might have been altered in an elaborate con to steal the company's fortune. So instead of being the heir--this time, Hale might be the mark. 

    Forced to keep a level head as she and her crew fight for one of their own, Kat comes up with an ambitious and far-reaching plan that only the Bishop family would dare attempt. To pull it off, Kat is prepared to do the impossible, but first, she has to decide if she's willing to save her boyfriend's company if it means losing the boy.


    Reviewing this series is hard. I struggled for words with my review of Heist Society and I was so unable to talk about my feelings with Uncommon Criminals that I never reviewed it at all. On the third try, I finally know how to talk about this book and not feel like I'm struggling for words. Kat and her family are back--and hopefully, they'll be around for more books. We still don't know what the Ws in Hale's name stand for, after all. I can't rest until I know.

    Kat, her friends, and her eccentric family are back and ready to save Hale's newly-inherited company. Speaking of him, the glimpse into his life outside the thievery he takes part in with Kat and the others is something I wanted but never actually knew I wanted. No wonder he was so eager to go along with Kat that night! The poor guy is stuck in such a rough family. A bit of a stereotype of the rich family, but rough nonetheless.

    Garrett is evil enough because he's a lawyer and lawyers in novels are almost always evil, but once he starts threatening Kat's family and outsmarts them multiple times, it's ON. Seeing Kat work together with both her blood family and made family to take him down was as delicious as enjoying brownies after almost half a year without them. The man deserved it. I'd feel the same way whether or not he was a money-hungry lawyer from the depths of hell.

    One of the twists toward the end also confuses me. Kat's feeling seem so genuine (though admittedly, there are only two scenes of her showing those emotions and they both take place in front of people Kat and co. want to trick) and the character it involves ends up invoking the Disney Death trope. How did they do it? Even with the appearance of another character that acts as a hint, there's no real explanation for how it happened. There are the times where you kind of want an explanation and kind of don't at the same time--seriously, how the Rumpelstiltskin involves a hypnotist is beyond me--but this is not one of those times.

    So long story short, never trust lawyers. They want to forge your grandmother's will in their favor and bankrupt your family. (I kid, I kid. Only ninety percent of lawyers are like that.)

    What am I reading next?: Levitating Las Vegas by Jennifer Echols

    Wednesday, March 6, 2013

    Waiting on Wednesday (42)

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

     As much as I love my dark and SUPERSRS paranormal reads,  all paranormal creatures need to be made of at some point, none moreso than angels. This author has already proven with Fang Girl that she knows how to make fun of something well, so I'm looking forward to this. In fact, when the author posted on Twitter that she got her ARCs in, I tried to snatch one! Alas, you can't steal books from images posted on the Internet. If I could, I'd have a lot more to read than I do right now.

    No AngelNo Angel
    by Helen Keeble
    October 8, 2013 (HarperTeen)
    352 pages (paperback) 

    Being the only guy at an all-girls school should have been a godsend, but for Raffi, it’s not exactly heaven on Earth...

    Instead of meeting the girl of his dreams, Raffi’s just learned that his new school is a hub for demons — and that someone summoned him there expecting him to save the day. Raffi knows that he’s no angel — but it’s hard to deny that there’s a higher plan at work when he wakes up to discover a glowing circle around his head...

    Mix the wry humor of Vladimir Tod, Ally Carter’s irresistibly spot-on voice, and some sinfully hilarious teenage dilemmas, and you have this uproarious novel from the author of Fang Girl.

    Monday, March 4, 2013

    The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines

    Title: The Vincent Boys
    Author: Abbi Glines
    Publisher: Simon Pulse
    Release Date: October 30, 2012
    Pages: 288 pages (paperback)
    How I Got the Book: Won it in a giveaway from University Chic/Simon Teen
    Purchase/Pre-order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
    Promotional Materials and More: author website

    The Vincent Boys (The Vincent Boys, #1)Get seduced by a sizzling account of attraction and betrayal in this previously self-published phenomenon. There was something wicked about Beau that drew me to him. What was wrong with me? Why did I want to sin so badly?

    Ashton is getting tired of being good, of impressing her parents and playing ideal girlfriend to Sawyer Vincent. Sawyer is perfect, a regular Prince Charming, but when he leaves town for the summer, it’s his cousin Beau who catches Ashton’s eye. Beau is the sexiest guy she’s ever seen, and even though he’s dangerous, Ashton is drawn to him.

    Beau loves his cousin like a brother, so the last thing he wants to do is make a move on Sawyer’s girl. Ashton is off-limits, absolutely. That’s why he does his best to keep his distance, even though he’s been in love with her forever. When Ashton wants to rekindle their childhood friendship in Sawyer’s absence, Beau knows he should say no.

    Ashton and Beau don’t want to hurt Sawyer. But the more they try to stay away from each other, the more intense their urges become. It’s getting way too hard to resist..


    ...Why was this author picked up for publication again? Good sales or no, this book's quality is abominable on the same level as Beautiful Disaster. Slut-shaming, glorification of cheating, and more things that make you want to vomit run amok in this train wreck of a novel. Oi, my aching head. The only reason I read it was because I won it and wanted to get it off my TBR. None of the reviews that are already up warned me of exactly how bad it would be.

    The book tries so hard to make Ashton an angel who likes having a little naughty fun, but she's really just a nasty, spoiled child who hates other women she deems competition in some form or another. Her best friend is the only one immediately safe from judgment. The other two exceptions to the rule get her judgmental attitude until they prove they're not competition for anything. "Anything" includes one of the Vincent boys, her room, and pretty much whatever else you can come up with. She also trivializes rape when she uses that word to describe how Beau's girlfriend is constantly on him. UP YOURS, ASHTON.

    Beau is about as far from romantic as you can get. He's always telling her how her being around him makes him suffer so much and to me, that reads as emotional manipulation. Let the target know what THEY'RE doing to YOU and simply wait for things to do your way. You control your emotions. No one else does. Blaming them on other people = huge red flag. Trashing his own girlfriend constantly? Ugh! Dating Ashton, who constantly trashes his mother and calls her a slut (albeit in her head)? Worse. He's got no respect for women.

    The book also does a tricky thing in how it builds strawmen and mixes right ideas with bad ideas/characters. Ashton's father paints an exaggerated, largely untrue picture of Christianity that have even a nonreligious person like me saying it's an insult to Christianity. Nicole says Beau is hers and that means she gets to say who he sees (wrong), but just a page later, she objects to the idea she has to watch him paw at another girl and just take it (right). Not cool.

    This line on its own should be a cause for worry: "You have no idea how hot he was beating Ryan's face in (p. 82)." Try and tell me this is anything other than romanticizing violence and I will laugh at you.

    And as previously said, this book glorifies the stuffing out of adultery. Adultery is one of my biggest no-nos in all of everything and there better be some extenuating circumstances if it happens. Here? Nah. They just get hot for each other and stop controlling themselves. Here's a hint: if you can't control yourself, get away and stay away from them no matter how much it hurts. They both suffer for a while, but in the end, they get their happily ever after. They don't learn anything from it and they get a pass with the "it was meant to be!" bull. That's no excuse for cheating. Ever.

    Nicole. Poor Nicole. She spends the entire novel being forced to be a one-dimensional mean girl love rival who gets slut-shamed, disrespected, and made the butt of the joke at every turn--even by her own boyfriend Beau. Instead of attempting to create a nuanced character, Glines takes the easy way out and uses a cardboard villain. Bad form, Glines. For that matter, poor Honey too. She gets slut-shamed just as often and gets stuck with a name meant to make readers cringe.

    And how does it all end? One boy hands her off to the other and Beau makes threats that are considered romantic! Gag me. Please. Saying he'll hurt any guy who touches her and he doesn't know what he'll do if she dates someone else? Not romantic. At all. All of this together leaves me baffled as to why people like this series. I try to understand. I really do. It doesn't always happen.

    Don't even get me started on the one-chapter invocation of the archaic, misogynist spirit girl tradition, where girls are expected to devote their time to the football player who picks them/they're assigned to. Among the things they're expected to do? Kiss them and possible service them sexually, as the text implies. Why was it needed if it's only mentioned in a single chapter? It's unfortunately real, but it's disgusting and best left out instead of propagated by awful books like this one.

    The next book is about Sawyer and Lana (Ashton's cousin), but I don't give a hoot about them. Nicole, who she really is (because no way is Glines showing all of who she is; I know there's much more to her than that), and how she got that way are a lot more interesting. There's not a single good thing to say about this book and it should be avoided at all costs.

    What am I reading next?: Born of Illusion by Teri Brown

    Sunday, March 3, 2013

    300 (GFC) Follower Giveaway!

    Since my GFC follower count has stayed at 300 for a good twenty-four hours, I think this calls for a celebratory giveaway!

    Technically, I've had over 300 followers for a while; at last count, there were 523 of you, but GFC is easier to keep track of and tends to fluctuate slightly less. I've been wanting to do another giveaway for you for ages and I even got two books from St. Martin's Press expressly for giveaway purposes, so here we go!

    Giveaway #1 (US-only)

    One person will win The Hunt and The Prey by Andrew Fukuda and they will also win ONE of the following novels from my personal collection:

    City of a Thousand Dolls MILA 2.0 (MILA 2.0, #1) Blaze (or Love in the Time of Supervillains) If You Find Me Soulbound (Legacy of Tril, #1) The Madman's Daughter (The Madman's Daughter, #1) Twenty Boy Summer The Vincent Boys (The Vincent Boys, #1) Pivot Point (Pivot Point, #1)

    All but Soulbound, Twenty Boy Summer, and The Vincent Boys are ARCs.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    You noticed that it said Giveaway #1? That's because I'm holding TWO. I have plenty of international readers too, but I don't have the ability to ship internationally. Y'all don't deserve to be left out of the fun just because you live somewhere else!

    Giveaway #2 (International)

    Any book of your choice up to $20 from the Book Depository whether it's already out or you want me to pre-order it for you. Or if you can find a combination of two books that add up to less than $20, you can do that too. Paperbacks are inexpensive like that. ;)

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Finally, thank you. Thank you for following me, for commenting on my posts, for cheering me on, and even for lurking if you don't follow me or comment at all. I'm a lurker half the time too! A blog is nothing without its followers. <3

    Now then, THE RULES.

    • If you would like to enter, please fill out the shiny Rafflecopter form of your choice--or both of them.
    • All entrants must be thirteen years or older.
    • I will post the winner's name in a blog entry around the time each giveaway ends and email the winners. They will have twenty-four hours to respond before I choose another winner.
    •  I reserve the right to disqualify entries at my discretion. Speaking of which...
    You will be disqualified if:
    • you pick up entries for something you haven't done or you attempt to stack the odds in your favor via stuffing the ballot box. I'll know if you do either, and ALL of your entries will be disqualified.