Friday, February 28, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (14) ~ The Book Buying Continues

This is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we share what books we have recently added to our physical or virtual shelves.

My last Stacking the Shelves was from February 15th, so here are all the books I've added to my bookshelves since then.
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The last few weeks have been a bit "eh" for me. Nothing much exciting has gone on, especially at school (which is usually monotonous). Even blogging has been really slow for me lately. At least I got a lot of new books, though! These books are definitely the most exciting parts of these last two weeks.
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Free on Amazon
The Boys of Summer by C.J. Duggan
Promises by Amber Garr (not shown)
The MacKinnon Curse: The Beginning by J.A. Templeton (not shown)
The Lake by AnnaLisa Grant (not shown)
Fallen Crest High by Tijan (not shown)
Shadow and the Rose by Amada DeWees

Bought for Kindle
Stolen: A Letter for My Captor by Lucy Christopher
White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Heart Breaths by K.K. Hendin
Crow's Row by Julie Hockley
The Harder I Fall by Jessica Gibson
Vain by Fisher Amelie 

New Print Books
Cress by Marissa Meyer
Article 5 by Kristen Simmons (I read this one last week.)
Reboot by Amy Tintera (I read this one after Article 5.)
Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake
Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn
Fever by Lauren DeStefano
Divergent by Veronica Roth (I read this one from the library last year, and now I finally have a copy! Thank you, Jessi!)

For Review
The Strange and Ever After by Susan Dennard (I decided I needed to read this series, so I couldn't resist downloading this.)
Rebel by Amy Tintera
The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

Thank you, HarperTeen, Edelweiss, Netgalley, and Random House Children's!

Won
On Solid Ground by Michelle Kemper Brownlow

Thank you, Michelle!

Library
Heart of Darkness & The Secret Sharer by Joseph Conrad (Our next AP Lit class read.)
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (I read this one last year, but I'm going to do a project on it in my AP Lit class this week.)
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (This was a spontaneous choice. I just felt like trying it.)

That's what I got in the last two weeks! Are there any that you recommend reading soon?

    COYER and March Madness Goals!

    Happy March everyone! Today is the first day of both the Clean Out Your E-Reader Challenge (COYER) and March Madness Read-a-Thon, so I decided to combine my goals for each into one post.


    I missed the November COYER, so I'm thrilled to see that it's back again this month! Thank you to Fantasy is More Fun and Because Reading is better than real life for hosting. I have a lot of ebooks I want to get read this month.

    If you want to join me in this challenge, you still have until March 8th to sign up!

    Goals:

    I'm shooting for the Deep Clean (10-14 ebooks). I want to get a lot read, but I may want to leave room for books outside of this challenge (meaning: I may want to take a break from the ereader and read a print book or two).

    The Books:

    Above are my possible books that I'll choose from. I don't have a set plan on which books I'm going to read and when, but I would like to read a lot of my e-ARCs/review copies as well as a few kindle books I got on sale. All the books I read, though, will either be the ones shown or the ones on this list.

    Jayne at Fiction_TheNewReality is hosting her very first read-a-thon! I'm really excited for this one and I hope to participate in it as much as I can.

    Goals:

    All the books I read for COYER will count towards this read-a-thon, so I want to read 10-14 ebooks. I also want to read at least four print books. I'm definitely reading the two classics below, but Splintered and Cress are only maybes.

    The Print Books:



     
     Let's hope I can accomplish my reading goals this month! Good luck to all of the other COYER and March Madness participants. It's going to be a fun month.☺

    Thursday, February 27, 2014

    Early Review ~ The Edge of Falling by Rebecca Serle

    Series: standalone
    Genre: YA contemporary
    Pages: 304
    Publication date: March 18th, 2014
    Publisher: Simon Pulse
    Goodreads Description: 
    Growing up in privileged, Manhattan social circles, Caggie’s life should be perfect, and it almost was until the day that her younger sister drowned when Caggie was supposed to be watching her. Stricken by grief, Caggie pulls away from her friends and family, only to have everyone misinterpret a crucial moment when she supposedly saves a fellow classmate from suicide. Now she’s famous for something she didn’t do and everyone lauds her as a hero. But inside she still blames herself for the death of her sister and continues to pull away from everything in her life, best friend and perfect boyfriend included. Then Caggie meets Astor, the new boy at school, about whom rumours are swirling and known facts are few. In Astor she finds someone who just might understand her pain, because he has an inner pain of his own. But the more Caggie pulls away from her former life to be with Astor, the more she realises that his pain might be darker, and deeper, than anything she’s ever felt. His pain might be enough to end his life…and Caggie’s as well.


    Source: I received an e-arc of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss in return for an honest review. 

    The Edge of Falling was, to put it bluntly, a boring book with a beautiful ending. 

    WHY "BORING?"

    The book never (until the very end) grasped my interest, and that was mostly due to the narration. There were quite a few events that were supposed to be interesting, but Caggie's voice was just dull. The way she told her story made the book feel flat and uninteresting. There were many—and I do mean many—flashbacks, memories, and remembering-when-this-or-that-happened moments that interrupted the flow of the story. I usually don't get annoyed by this, but this books was an exception. I oftentimes got irritated when the small flashbacks occurred because they usually popped up out of the blue and disrupted a moment or a conversation. It was tough for me to really get into the story, which only made it ever more uninteresting.

    CHARACTERS, SETTING, OTHER DETAILS

    I feel like I need to say something more specific, like what I thought of the characters, setting, plot, etc. However, I write about things that stood out to me in my book reviews . . . and honestly, not much stood out about this book. Sometimes, there were moments where I though "that was really well written," and though the story was boring, I did like the point of it. Most of the pieces of the book, though, were just "okay."

    AN EXTRA HALF STAR . . . 

    . . . given solely based on that beautiful ending. It was written in such an eloquent way and it carried so much meaning. That climax was perfect for the story—clever, too. It was the time when the book finally became good for me. The very last couple paragraphs, especially, were amazing. They fully concluded Caggie's story and brought it full circle to match with the beginning.

    The ending makes me wish the rest of the book was as good. If it were . . . I most likely would've loved reading it.

    OVERALL

    This one was a near DNF for me. The majority of the book barely held my interest, but I pushed on and made myself finish. I'm glad I did because if I hadn't, I would've missed the best part of the entire book—that beautiful ending.


    My questions for you:

    Have you ever read a book that you didn't like much until the very end?
    What makes a book boring for you?

    Tuesday, February 25, 2014

    Review ~ Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott

    Series: Fire & Flood #1
    Genre: YA fantasy
    Pages: 320
    Publication date: February 25th, 2014
    Publisher: Scholastic Press
    Goodreads Description: 
    A modern day thrill ride, where a teen girl and her animal companion must participate in a breathtaking race to save her brother's life—and her own. 

    Tella Holloway is losing it. Her brother is sick, and when a dozen doctors can't determine what's wrong, her parents decide to move to Montana for the fresh air. She's lost her friends, her parents are driving her crazy, her brother is dying—and she's helpless to change anything.

    Until she receives mysterious instructions on how to become a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed. It's an epic race across jungle, desert, ocean, and mountain that could win her the prize she desperately desires: the Cure for her brother's illness. But all the Contenders are after the Cure for people they love, and there's no guarantee that Tella (or any of them) will survive the race.

    The jungle is terrifying, the clock is ticking, and Tella knows she can't trust the allies she makes. And one big question emerges: Why have so many fallen sick in the first place? 
    Source: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review.

    Victoria Scott has done it again! She has started another great series starter with really good ideas, characters, and themes. 

    DESPERATION

    What I love about Scott's work is that I can both have fun and find good themes/focuses as I'm reading. In The Collector, I saw a big focus on beauty that I really loved, but in Fire & Flood, I saw desperation. The book demonstrated how desperation can strip away sympathy and consideration for those around us—both human and animal. A lot of people were desperate to win the Brimstone Bleed, to come out first and win that cure, that they did things that they probably would never have considered in the past. Whenever I can pinpoint a theme or focus like this while I'm reading a book, I just enjoy it more. 

    TELLA & CO.

    Tella was NORMAL. Completely and totally normal, which made the book all the more enjoyable. She wasn't extra special and she didn't have a "one of a kind" ability. She was portrayed to be more kind and sympathetic than others, but that still didn't make her seem abnormal (like a lot of heroines are). 

    As for the other characters, there were a variety of them. There were a lot of side characters, but they seemed easily distinguishable from one another. Also, quite a few of them surprised me—I didn't fully expect some of their actions. 

    Guy was mysterious. Very mysterious. I really, really liked him, and I'm definitely looking forward to more of him in the sequel.

    CONCEPTS

    Pandoras are awesome. That is all. 

    Actually, no. I do have a couple more things to add. I loved the Brimstone Bleed. It was something different. There was a good background to it—the author did a great job setting it up and giving it history as to why the race was being held. I loved the pieces that went with the race: the pandoras, the cure, the twists, the settings. I also loved the the events and surprises that occurred during the race.

    One more thing: Max was awesomely adorable. You may want one of him after reading this book. 

    OVERALL

    Great book. The author did a really good job with this one. It was an entertaining read with cool and interesting concepts and ideas, as well as great characters and super awesome pandoras. I definitely recommend picking this one up!



    My question for you:

    Do you like the idea of a normal, non-one-of-a-kind heroine?

    Monday, February 24, 2014

    Immortal Sin Promo Blitz


    One Girl.

    Two Worlds.

    Three Questions.

    What lies beneath the hidden secret?

    Can love rise above the inevitable?

    And most importantly, where will her fate lead her?

    Amanda Chaste had lived what she considered an average life in New Jersey, looked after and cared for by her grandmother. But when she accidentally meets an enigmatic stranger from out of town, her world is drastically thrown upside down. A hidden secret has been buried in the past and not even Amanda can save herself from her own fate.

    Conflicted and tormented within her own flesh, discovering her true identity will prove to be something that will change her life forever.
    Teaser



    About Julie Milillo


    Julie Milillo has and always will be a true Jersey girl from  the shore. ​Acting, singing, writing and drawing were always  ​her hobbies from the very beginning. Julie has always been ​involved in the arts and loves to express her creative streak in any ​way she can.
    ​​​​​She graduated from Brookdale Community College with her ​Associates Degree in Theatre and Liberal Arts. Soon after,  she ​discovered her passion for reading and thus fell in love  ​with the paranormal fiction genre. After reading and  ​collecting a number of books, she decided it was time to create her own stories and characters. After having the opportunity to meet one of her favorite authors, she was  ​determined to take writing seriously. Julie applies her knowledge of acting and character development in creating  ​her stories. Her goal is to simply express the genuine qualities in her stories and the characters she creates in hopes of ​capturing the hearts of readers who also love this genre.

    Julie currently resides in Maryland with her husband and ​her French Bulldog, Goober. Julie loves dogs, movies, music, and anything fantasy related. In her free time, she loves to ​bake and perform whenever she can.
    Her writing debut novel, Immortal Sin, the first of The Immortal Sin Trilogy, was released on November 22nd 2012. The sequel, Immortal Descent will be released in October 2013.
    Website     Facebook    Twitter

    Sunday, February 23, 2014

    Around the Blogosphere (2)

    Welcome to the second edition of Around the Blogosphere! It seemed to go over really well last week, so I would like to keep up with this feature. Expect to see these posts every Sunday/Monday.

    Enjoy the post!

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    Events
    Happened Last Week


    Happening Now
    Cal over at Read Books and Live Green is hosting an award ceremony type thing for book bloggers. There are many categories to nominate blogs for, like "Most Original Blogger," and "Brightest Design." It's a really fun thing to do, so click on the link above for more information on the awards and nominations! You have until March 15th to nominate blogs for the awards.

    Happening Soon
    Lucy (Queen of Contemporary) is hosting a really cool John Green read-a-thon in March! She'll be rereading all of his books and vlogging nerdfighter related videos. Interested? Watch her video announcing #NerdfighterMonth for more details.

    This readathon is being hosted by Looking for Panacea and Readiculous Reads,  starting tomorrow (February 24th). There are two parts: Anna and the French Kiss from February 24th to March 2nd, then Lola and the Boy Next Door from March 3rd to 9th. I won't be participating, but it looks fun!


    I'll be participating in both these challenges in March! They're a great way to get those free/cheap read and to get those review copies reviewed! COYER starts on March 1st and runs all month, and the Spring Cleaning Review-A-Thon runs from March 20th to 24th. 

    March 2014 COYER Signups

    Blog Discoveries

    Say Hello to a Baby Blogger

    Becca at Pivot Book Reviews

    This blog has been running since January (which is surprising--it doesn't seem that young) and it is so cool! The first thing I read by Becca was one of her Cover Puppies posts, which is one of the most unique features I've seen. She recreates book covers with dogs, and she's pretty good at it. I highly recommend checking out the Eleanor & Park and Fangirl covers she recreated and the rest of her blog! 

    Notable Blog Posts
    -Alise writes about why we ignore your (author's) review requests on Readers in Wonderland

    -The latest Life of a Blogger (a good meme to get into if you're looking for one), hosted by Jessi at Novel Heartbeat, is "Introvert or Extrovert?"

    -Cal at Read Books Live Green had a new experience as a black sheep and asks, "Did I Read it Wrong?"

    -Jeann from Happy Indulgence writes a post titled "Blogging Slump? You're Not Alone."

    -Allison at Sleepless Reads celebrates the first day of her blogoversary with an interview with Erin Albert and a giveaway!

    -Sophie at A Day Dreamer's World writes a discussion post on whether serious topics should be dealt with in books.

    -Emz at Icy Cold Reads has explained that it's It's Not All About Reviews when it comes to book blogging.

    -Debby at Snuggly Oranges has written a letter called "Authors, Let Your Readers Read in Peace."

    Thank you to Cal for tweeting me links of the last three posts.☺

    New Covers




    UK Cover!

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    If you see any posts, events, covers, etc. in the next week that you feel should be featured on next week's Around the Blogosphere, please feel free to tweet or email me!

    Early Review ~ Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens

    Series: standalone
    Genre: YA contemporary (realistic fiction)
    Pages: 336
    Publication date: February 25th, 2014
    Publisher: HarperCollins
    Goodreads Description: 
    An edgy, realistic, and utterly captivating novel from an exciting new voice in teen fiction.

    Alexi Littrell hasn't told anyone what happened to her over the summer. Ashamed and embarrassed, she hides in her closet and compulsively scratches the back of her neck, trying to make the outside hurt more than the inside does.

    When Bodee Lennox, the quiet and awkward boy next door, comes to live with the Littrells, Alexi discovers an unlikely friend in "the Kool-Aid Kid," who has secrets of his own. As they lean on each other for support, Alexi gives him the strength to deal with his past, and Bodee helps her find the courage to finally face the truth.

    A searing, poignant book, Faking Normal is the extraordinary debut novel from an exciting new author-Courtney C. Stevens. 
    Source: I received an e-arc of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss in return for an honest review.

    After finishing Faking Normal, I just sat there. I sat there, feeling so calm and content. It felt sad, but only because some tears from earlier were still drying on my face. Mostly, though, I was happy. The book was wonderful and . . . it kind of left me speechless.

    YA contemporary with a basis on recovery—from abuse, drugs, or anything else—are my absolute favorite. They never seem to go wrong for me—I'm always swept away in the story, the meaning, the emotions . . . and Faking Normal is no exception. It's the kind of book that, despite any flaws I find, fully deserves a five star rating. It just made my heart happy, and isn't that what a truly great book is supposed to do?

    ALEXIS & HER STORY

    Alexis is the one "faking normal" in this book. She was the one keeping her secret, hiding in the closet, blaming herself, and suffering as she tried to act as normal and undamaged as possible. Her character was a good one. The journey to finding her strength and voice was remarkable. And her reactions and struggle (as well as the reasons behind them, such as a childhood event) felt very well thought out and well done. The author did a great job with her and her journey.

    BODEE

    Bodee was . . . wow. Talk about a good character. He was never described as this hot, muscle-y, irresistible man that makes all the girls go "OMG *swoon*" (I may have stretched that last one. Just a bit. No. He was the "Kool-Aid Kid". He was the "freak" that people felt sorry for because his dad killed his mom. Bodee's was a, as Alexi herself said, a broken guy. But he was so nice And sensitive, protective, quiet, supportive . . . an all around good guy. He helped Alexi recover and open up about her secret, one step at a time. At the same time, he was able to step towards his own "recovery." The two characters were one another's rocks, and man, they were good rocks. 

    OTHER DETAILS

    I just want to point out a couple things that stood out to me about the book here.

    Family was good in this book. The parents didn't play very big roles, but they were still good ones. Kayla was . . . well, most of the time, she acted horrible. When it came to her little sister and and the idea of anyone hurting her, though, she was such a good, strong big sister. I didn't like here much until the end, but at that point, she had completely redeemed herself for me. While family wasn't a key element in this book, neither the parents or the sister fit into that "bad family" trope that many people notice in YA.

    The subject matter—well, it does focus on sexual abuse, but it's mostly on rape culture and popular views of rape. Alexi felt a lot of fear of what would happen if she told her secret. It would ruin lives. It would label her as damaged. Most of the time, she thought it was her fault . . . she let him do it, she never said no—that type of thing. The author did well with the subject matter and with including popular fears and misconceptions about sexual abuse. 

    OVERALL

    Faking Normal is a truly wonderful book. Did it have flaws? Yes, it did. Did they matter to me? Not a bit. I can barely even remember what they were. Even if I did remember, my heart tells me this was a five star book. I cannot recommend this one enough—it's a remarkable and important story that is likely to pull at your heartstrings and leave you saying "wow."



    My questions for you:

    What do you think of "recovery" books?
    Have you ever read a book where its flaws don't matter to you?

    Monday, February 17, 2014

    Around the Blogosphere (1)

    "Around the Blogosphere" is a new potential regular feature on Reading is My Treasure. It's something I've been thinking of doing for awhile, and now I finally did it! I'm really bad at keeping up with features, so I'm not setting this one to a specific date or frequency (at least, not yet) or even making any graphics for it until I know whether I want to keep it.

    This post is simply a way to share things around the blogosphere that I've noticed and think its worth knowing about.

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    Events
    Happened Last Week
    The Book Blogger Love-a-Thon (#LoveAThon) took place on February 15th and 16th, and it was simply amazing. I didn't do any of the mini challenges, but a lot of other bloggers did. There was so much blogger love happening on Twitter (as you may have noticed) and I'm so glad I got to take part in it! Thank you to Alexa and Katelyn for hosting.☺

    Happening This Week



    Happening Soon
    This is still a few weeks away, but I'm really excited for it and I want it to go well! If you're at all interested in participating in a March read-a-thon, please stop by Jayne's post. Sign ups are open!

    Blog Discoveries

    Say Hello to Baby Bloggers
    Ashley at Ok, Let's Read
    Let's give a warm welcome to Ashley, who entered the book blogosphere on February 5th! I recently met her through the #LoveAThon. The most memorable things I read by her this week have been a "Wreck it Wednesdays" post and a letter she wrote to Four in this post. You can find her at her blog (just pick a link) and on Twitter as @okletsread.

    Regina is a newer blogger that I also discovered during the #LoveAThon. My first impression of her was that she has good taste in music and that she is a very nice and sunny person. If you want to go say hi (I know you want to), you can find her on her blog, Twitter (@TheSunflwrPages), and her YouTube channel.

    Angel at -Spare Reads-
    Angel has only been blogging for a couple months. I believe I met her here, through a couple comments she made on my posts (she always makes good comments☺). I've known her a lot longer than the other two, but she may new to you! You can welcome her to the book blogging community at her blog and/or on Twitter (@sparereads).

    A New-to-Me Blog
    I discovered Kate's Tales of Books and Bands over the weekend! Katelyn did such a good job as one of the hosts of #LoveAThon. She's a pretty awesome blogger (and not just because she has such a good name) and I recommend saying hi to her on her blog and/or on her Twitter, @KatelynTorrey


    Other New-to-Me Blogs:
    (More are listed in bold here)

    Notable Blog Posts
    - Lucy at Queen of Contemporary wrote "On Supporting Your Favorite Blogs."

    - More than thirty bloggers wrote letters to themselves during the #LoveAThon (Links on this post).

    -More than forty bloggers got creative with Hobby Mash-Ups during the #LoveAThon (Links on this post).
    -Sarah Daltry wrote an "Open Letter to Bullies" (this one was posted in early February).

    -I wrote "An Open Letter to Authors" that I need to include here because it's the most heartfelt post I've written for this blog.

    New Covers
    It's cover reveal season! I discovered so many new covers in the past week or so and, since there's so many, I decided to share them with you!
    Most of these are HarperCollins books, so you can find details them and their reveals on The Official Roundup of Fall 2014 HarperTeen Cover Reveals (posted on Epic Recs).

    Aren't they amazing?

    Out of all the cover reveals, though, two stood out the most to me. Top Ten Clues You're Clueless (revealed on Stay Bookish) is most adorable out of the bunch and I'm so, so excited for it! Then there's Snow Like Ashes, which I was excited for even before Hybable revealed the cover. It's quickly become one of the books I'm most excited to read this year.
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    If I were to continue with "Around the Blogosphere," what would you like to see included in it?