Friday, August 31, 2012

It's finally Friday and the long awaited (at least for us) a three-day weekend!! If you're looking for a fun, romantic read then check out Blame It On Texas!!

Need some convincing? Let author Christie Craig tell you---

book cover
Ten Things You Will Learn from Blame It On Texas

1. Guys don’t like to play dress up, but when one willingly dresses as a clown for their six-year-old niece’s birthday party—because the real clown canceled—he’s one special uncle. And could possibly make a special hero for some lucky lady.

2. Sometimes, fear itself can do much more damage to us than the thing we’re actually afraid of.

3. Any man who doesn’t cuss up a blue streak when you dump a plate of hot grits on him can’t be all bad. (In fact, he might just be The One.)

4. It’s important to remember the lessons of the past so we can use them when making decisions for the future. But those lessons should never keep us from the future we deserve.

5. Before accusing the sexy guy who pounced, knocked you down, and crawled on top of you of being foreplay impaired, check to see if someone is shooting at you.

6. The southern delicacy of a banana and mayonnaise sandwich may be an acquired taste, especially when a hungry hero chomps down on the delicacy and is expecting ham and cheese.

7. If you think getting caught screaming and dancing on top of a mattress—all while attempting to rescue your cat from an overzealous dog—can be slightly embarrassing, try it while you’re wet from the shower, and as naked as a jay bird. Oh, and you are caught by your possible love interest who hasn’t seen you naked yet, and... (yes it can get worse) his two best friends.

8. It’s downright amazing how playing a few rounds of Strip Scrabble can spice up an evening.

9. A family doesn’t always have to be the people who share your bloodline; sometimes, the best families are those we make when we gather together all the people we love.

10. Learning to trust yourself is usually a lot harder than trusting another person. But both are generally required before finding true love.
I am currently reading Only in Texas (formerly titled Don't Mess With Texas and book 1 in the Hotter in Texas series) and it is a super fun read. I'm excited to read Blame It On Texas (book 2 and it was recently released).

Read the Blame It On Texas synopsis by clicking here or the cover. Have a great three-day-weekend everyone!

<3, Michelle & Leslie

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

book cover Hardcover: 368 pages 
Publisher: Tor Teen
 Release Date: July 3, 2012
ISBN: 9780765329646

Source of my copy: publisher
Series: none

Synopsis (from Goodreads) 
Orphaned at the age of six, Jane Williams has grown up in a series of foster homes, learning to survive in the shadows of life. Through hard work and determination, she manages to win a scholarship to the exclusive Birch Grove Academy. There, for the first time, Jane finds herself accepted by a group of friends. She even starts tutoring the headmistress’s gorgeous son, Lucien. Things seem too good to be true.
They are.
The more she learns about Birch Grove’s recent past, the more Jane comes to suspect that there is something sinister going on. Why did the wife of a popular teacher kill herself? What happened to the former scholarship student, whose place Jane took? Why does Lucien’s brother, Jack, seem to dislike her so much?
As Jane begins to piece together the answers to the puzzle, she must find out why she was brought to Birch Grove—and what she would risk to stay there….

Leslie's Review:
The writing style of Dark Companion was easy and straightforward yet had deep, thoughtful meaning and great vocabulary. Its plot was well-paced and interesting, though at times it did feel like it was dragging.

It was written in first-person through Jane Williams. Admittedly, at first, didn't like Jane mostly because there was nothing about her character and her personality that I could really relate to and connect with. She and I had different lifestyles and she came across as a strong, too stubborn, too independent and complicated character. Also, I was really annoyed at the beginning by her infatuation with Lucian, who only seemed like a pretty face. I disliked how he took advantage of Jane and treated her unfairly. Many times I wanted to reach into the book and take Jane by the shoulders and shake some sense into her. Thankfully though, she eventually got a hold of her self and I began to like her more as I continued to read, especially towards the climax. I really liked the ending too. It was open-ended yet final if that makes sense. I found it refreshing especially after all the cliffhanger endings many YA books have these days that left you feeling jipped.

One last thing I wanted to mention about this book was this one aspect of it that was unique and different and something I have never heard of or come across before in anything or anywhere. I can't say what it was exactly without spoiling the book but I will say that it was unexpected and threw off the perception I had of this book when I read the blurb. It caught my attention and made me curious, and kept by interest until the very end.

Overall, Dark Companion was a different and refreshing read. It had been awhile since I read anything like it and I hope to come across more paranormals that has that unique quality to it. I recommend this book to anyone who loves paranormal reads or gothic reads because this one I am sure you will enjoy it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Book I Covet: What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton

Wednesday, August 22, 2012 with
Why Michelle covets this book: What Happens Next almost went past my radar. I kept seeing the cover everywhere but for some reason I was just "eh" and moved on without really taking the time to read the synopsis.

And then I did read it one day.

It sounds like a book I'd really enjoy. It sort of reminded me of Daisy Whitney's The Mockingbirds (which I really liked). Now, I'm really excited.

book cover
How can you talk about something you can’t remember?

Before the ski trip, sixteen-year-old Cassidy “Sid” Murphy was a cheerleader (at the bottom of the pyramid, but still...), a straight-A student, and a member of a solid trio of best friends. When she ends up on a ski lift next to handsome local college boy, Dax Windsor, she’s thrilled; but Dax takes everything from Sid—including a lock of her perfect red curls—and she can’t remember any of it.

Back home and unable to relate to her old friends, Sid drops her college prep classes and takes up residence in the A/V room with only Corey “The Living Stoner” Livingston for company. But as she gets to know Corey (slacker, baker, total dreamboat), Sid finds someone who truly makes her happy. Now, if she can just shake the nightmares and those few extra pounds, everything will be perfect... or so she thinks.

Witty and poignant, Colleen Clayton’s stunning debut is a story about moving on after the unthinkable happens.
What Happens Next comes on October 9, 2012 from Little Brown Books for Young Readers. For more info and news about the novel, visit check out the author's website. Click on the cover to go to the book's Goodreads page.

What book(s) do you "covet" this week?
Leave a comment with a link so we can check your WoW of the week too.

"Books I Covet" is a weekly or bi-weekly blog post series I am going to be doing here. It will feature books I am very excited about reading and plan on buying/borrowing in the near future. It is similar to the "Waiting On" meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine. However, some of the books may already be published and others may still be in pre-order. I will include the books' blurb, cover art, and/or release date if they're available. Click on the WoW image on the left to join in!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Lisa Jackson's Outlaw E-Book GIVEAWAY

Tuesday, August 21, 2012 with
Our last two giveaways feature YA novels, but never fear romance fans: here's another one for YOU.

Yesterday, we posted a giveaway for Kiss of the Moon. Today, we are giving away another historical romance by Lisa Jackson: Outlaw (originally published in 2005).

Pocket Star is re-releasing this title in e-book format! So, if you missed it the first time around, here's your chance to get them again.
book cover
Now available as an eBook for the first time ever, a classic romantic adventure set on the turbulent border of Wales, where a rogue knight and a lady clash with passionate intensity…

Stealthy and dangerous as the name he bears, Wolf, outlaw knight of Abergwynn, has no quarrel with the struggling young beauty in his arms. He has come to Tower Dwyrain to take his revenge against her bridegroom, a brutal nobleman Wolf has sworn to dishonor. Through this woman, Wolf thought he could carry out a carefully wrought vengeance. Instead, he finds a different fate—a lady to fight for and to ennoble his dark, wayward soul.

Megan of Dwyrain has been haunted by a sorcerer’s prediction that her castle would be destroyed, her arranged marriage doomed, and her enemy made her beloved. Now, in the iron grasp of the abductor who invaded her wedding, she beholds eyes that glitter not with hate but with devilment and spirit. She will challenge him, try to escape him, and yet find in him a Wolf she hungers to tame—a knight who inspires a love that nothing, not dungeons dark nor the risk of death itself, can end.
Read the Chapter 1 excerpt of Outlaw HERE.

Ends September 8. Open to everyone.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter to win an e-book copy of Lisa Jackson's Kiss of the Moon HERE.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Lisa Jackson's Kiss of the Moon E-Book GIVEAWAY

Monday, August 20, 2012 with
Our last two giveaways feature YA novels, but never fear romance fans: this one is for YOU.

We are kicking the week off with an e-book giveaway! One lucky reader will win Lisa Jackson's historical romance: Kiss of the Moon (originally published in 1994).

Pocket Star is re-releasing this title in e-book format! So, if you missed these titles the first time around, here's your chance to get them again.
book cover
Dear Reader,
KISS OF THE MOON is filled with magic, curses, heroes, and villains. It's set in medieval Wales, an intriguing place filled with deep magic, dark castles, brooding heroes, and strong-willed heroines.

Adventure, allure, and avarice hide in the shadows of shadowy forests and candlelit towers of Castle Prydd where an ancient prophecy is fulfilled when Sorcha of Prydd comes into the world:"born during a tempest, with hair the color of a raven's wing, eyes the blue of midnight, and the kiss of the moon on skin like alabaster..."It's said that whoever is born with the KISS OF THE MOON birthmark upon his skin will rise to become the savior of Prydd. No one ever expected the chosen one to be a woman! Not only is this heresy, but an outrage. Surely the fates are wrong...or are they?

Years later, Sorcha's courage is sorely tested when she must save her kidnapped sister and in doing so enters Hagan of Erbyn's bedchamber. Never intending to be seduced by the arrogant and handsome lord, she places a knife to his throat. But that is just the beginning -- and soon her pulse pounds whenever he's near. Though she warns herself that Hagan is her sworn enemy, Sorcha can't convince her wayward heart.

KISS OF THE MOON is a tale of curses and lies, trust and betrayal, and, ultimately, the power of love. I hope you are captivated by it.

-- Lisa Jackson
Read the Chapter 1 excerpt of Kiss of the Moon HERE.

Ends September 8. Open to everyone.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

We are giving away another Lisa Jackson e-book title, OutlawHERE.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

We got new books! (11)

Saturday, August 18, 2012 with
We  swag and we got some of that this week, along with some books!
We won swag from Lenore Appelhans and she sent us a few more to give to YOU in future giveaways. :)

We got one YA book today and it's one Michelle is really looking forward to reading:
The Boy Recession by Flynn Meaney (review)
[[Michelle really enjoyed Flynn's debut novel Bloodthirsty and she cannot wait to read her newest. It's gonna be a lot of fun!]]

Stranger in the Moonlight by Jude Deveraux (unsolicited)
Deception by Kris Kennedy (review)
Only in Texas (Hotter In Texas #1) by Christie Craig (review)
[[Originally titled Don't Mess With Texas.]]
Her Amish Man by Erin Bates (unsolicited)
[[We don't know why they keep sending us Her Amish Man--we have three copies of the novel now.]]
A Dangerous Liaison with Detective Lewis by Jillian Stone (unsolicited)
Badlands Bride by Adrianne Wood (unsolicited)

Did YOU get any new books? Let us know! We'd love to see your new bookshelf additions.

Friday, August 17, 2012

YA Blog Hop Winner + More Giveaway Goodness

Friday, August 17, 2012 with
Dear lovely readers,

We are here to announce the winner of the YA Blog Hop and it is...

#2014 Gaby P.
(the Rafflecopter announcement can be seen here)

Congrats Gaby! Please email us at chelleyreads AT gmail DOT com using the email associated with your Rafflecopter entry within 72 hours. Please include the two books you want from the picture below. If we don't hear from you within the time period we will choose another winner.
To everyone else who entered the giveaway, thank you so much! To our new readers, we hope you stick with us. We mostly feature YA novels with the occasional romance novel or adult fiction title. We post reviews, participate in blog tours, interview authors occasionally, memes (WoW on Wednesdays and StS on Sundays), giveaways and other bookish things.

If you love giveaways, we actually have another giveaway going on right now! One lucky winner will win a signed copy of
book cover andbook cover
courtesy of the author, Daisy Whitney, herself! If you haven't read The Mockingbirds or The Rivals or both, try your luck. Leslie and I LOVE these books (you can find my review of The Mockingbirds here and Leslie's review of The Rivals here). Trust us, y'all want these books.

You can enter the The Mockingbirds or The Rivals giveaway HERE.

Michelle & Leslie

P.S. We are also planning to participate in the annual Blog Fest 2012 blog hop and if you're familiar with that, you know it's going to be HUGE. Keep a look out for Blog Fest in September.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Book I Covet: Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

Wednesday, August 15, 2012 with
First, we want to welcome our new blog readers who discovered us through the YA Blog Hop! We will be announcing the winner of the hop on Friday so look out for that.

Um... you all kind of caught us at a bad time.

I am in the last week of resident advisor training and the residents are also starting to trickle in so we're busy with checking in and welcome week activities. This means that you will not see any reviews from me or Leslie too (she's busy with school, band, AP classes and just being a high school junior) this week.

But we hope you'll stick with us. There will be more posts next week including my review of Seraphina by Rachel Hartman, an e-book giveaway and maybe a discussion post.

Okay, unto Michelle's "book I covet" pick of the week:

Why Michelle covets this book: The cover was what got my attention because I love covers like Unspoken's (see also Sisters Red and Shadow and Bone). But after I read the synopsis, I knew it was a book I gotta read. I like the mix of mystery, secrets and possibly an understated romance.

book cover
Kami Glass loves someone she’s never met . . . a boy she’s talked to in her head ever since she was born. She wasn’t silent about her imaginary friend during her childhood, and is thus a bit of an outsider in her sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Still, Kami hasn’t suffered too much from not fitting in. She has a best friend, runs the school newspaper, and is only occasionally caught talking to herself. Her life is in order, just the way she likes it, despite the voice in her head.

But all that changes when the Lynburns return.

The Lynburn family has owned the spectacular and sinister manor that overlooks Sorry-in-the-Vale for centuries. The mysterious twin sisters who abandoned their ancestral home a generation ago are back, along with their teenage sons, Jared and Ash, one of whom is eerily familiar to Kami. Kami is not one to shy away from the unknown—in fact, she’s determined to find answers for all the questions Sorry-in-the-Vale is suddenly posing. Who is responsible for the bloody deeds in the depths of the woods? What is her own mother hiding? And now that her imaginary friend has become a real boy, does she still love him? Does she hate him? Can she trust him?
Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy #1) comes on September 11, 2012 from Random House Books for Young Readers. For more info and news about the novel, visit check out the author's website. Click on the cover to go to the book's Goodreads page.

What book(s) do you "covet" this week?
Leave a comment with a link so we can check your WoW of the week too.

"Books I Covet" is a weekly or bi-weekly blog post series I am going to be doing here. It will feature books I am very excited about reading and plan on buying/borrowing in the near future. It is similar to the "Waiting On" meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine. However, some of the books may already be published and others may still be in pre-order. I will include the books' blurb, cover art, and/or release date if they're available. Click on the WoW image on the left to join in!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

We got new books! (10)

Sunday, August 12, 2012 with
These are the books we got in the last two weeks! This week we got this:
Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake (review)
[[I LOVED Anna Dressed in Blood and I have been waiting Girl of Nightmares since I devoured Anna last year. I am so happy I finally have GoN in my hands!]]  

We also got these two this week:
Twelfth Night Secret by Jane Feather (unsolicited)
Outpost (Razorland #2) by Ann Aguirre (won)
[[I lost my copy of Enclave (Razorland #1) without reading it so I don't know when I'll get to reading Outpost. Sigh.]]

Last week, we got:
Scorched (Tracers #6) by Laura Griffin (review)
[[EEEPPPP!! I love Laura Griffin's Tracers series so getting Scorched was extra exciting.]]
'Twas the Night After Christmas by Sabrina Jeffries (unsolicited)
Unclaimed by Courtney Milan (won)
Once Upon a Scandal by Delilah Marvelle (won)

Did YOU get any new books? Let us know! We'd love to see your new bookshelf additions.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Free Read Alert: Don't Turn Around Prequel

Thursday, August 9, 2012 with
Are you guys as excited about Don't Turn Around as we are?

What? You haven't heard of Don't Turn Around? Well, let us introduce you to the novel being described as a "technothriller" and "Girl With the Dragon Tattoo for teens"...

(The latter quote initially piqued our interest!)
book cover
Sixteen-year-old Noa has been a victim of the system ever since her parents died. Now living off the grid and trusting no one, she uses her computer-hacking skills to stay safely anonymous and alone. But when she wakes up on a table in an empty warehouse with an IV in her arm and no memory of how she got there, Noa starts to wish she had someone on her side.

Enter Peter Gregory. A rich kid and the leader of a hacker alliance, Peter needs people with Noa’s talents on his team. Especially after a shady corporation threatens his life. But what Noa and Peter don’t realize is that Noa holds the key to a terrible secret, and there are those who’d stop at nothing to silence her for good.

Filled with action, suspense, and romance, this first book in a new trilogy offers readers nonstop thrills.
Doesn't the premise sound awesome?!

If you're still not convinced, check out the free prequel called No Escape.
book cover
Gritty and heart-stopping, this short story from break-out author Michelle Gagnon also features a teaser to her thrilling debut young-adult novel, Don't Turn Around.

Seventeen-year-old Alex might be living day-to-day on whatever he can steal, but he still prefers being on the run to getting caught and thrown back in juvie. Plus, he has Jenny to think of. She comes with her own world of problems, but for once Alex feels like somebody actually needs him. So when a shady organization gives Alex the chance to participate in a medical study, all he hears is easy money—and a lot of it! He'll soon find out there's more involved.

Set directly before Don't Turn Around, which a starred review Kirkus called a "pulse-pounding scary-great read" and "a surefire hit," Michelle Gagnon's "No Escape" lays the groundwork for a world in which every move you make is being watched, and no one can be trusted.
Get this free read at your favorite e-book store. Click on the No Escape book cover above (or click here) to go to the author's website for direct links to download a free copy.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

I am in the middle of resident advisor training and Leslie just started her second week of school so we haven't been really participating in our usual meme but I just gotta feature this novel. I just love the sound of it!

Why Michelle covets this book: I love the sound of everything about this book. Seriously.

The cover is beautiful. I like it a lot, even though it doesn't really match the synopsis.

book cover
London, 1894. Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father’s gruesome experiments. But when she learns her father is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations were true.

Juliet is accompanied by the doctor’s handsome young assistant and an enigmatic castaway, who both attract Juliet for very different reasons. They travel to the island only to discover the depths of her father’s madness: he has created animals that have been vivisected to resemble, speak, and behave as humans. Worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island’s inhabitants. Juliet knows she must end her father’s dangerous experiments and escape the island, even though her horror is mixed with her own scientific curiosity. As the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father’s genius—and madness—in her own blood.
The Madman's Daughter comes on January 29, 2013 from Balzer + Bray/HarperTeen. For more info and news about the novel, visit check out the author's website. Click on the cover to go to the book's Goodreads page.

What book(s) do you "covet" this week?
Leave a comment with a link so we can check your WoW of the week too.

"Books I Covet" is a weekly or bi-weekly blog post series I am going to be doing here. It will feature books I am very excited about reading and plan on buying/borrowing in the near future. It is similar to the "Waiting On" meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine. However, some of the books may already be published and others may still be in pre-order. I will include the books' blurb, cover art, and/or release date if they're available. Click on the WoW image on the left to join in!

Welcome to our blog YA enthusiast!!

Our giveaway is:

Your choice of one of the books above.
**If we get over 200 entries by the end of this hop, the winner will choose two (2) books!**
(Open to US addresses only.)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out these other blogs who are hosting a giveaway as part of this hop.

Monday, August 6, 2012

book cover ARC: 387 pages 
Publisher: MacMillan
Release Date: January 3, 2012
ISBN: 9780312641893

Source of my copy: publisher
Series: Lunar Chronicles #1
Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, the ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Leslie's Review:
Ever since I was little Cinderella was always my favorite Disney princess because I loved her story: a girl despised and looked down on until one magical night (or nights for the original Cinderella story) when her dreams of love, hope, and happiness come true. So when we received Cinder, I was so excited because it's a different retelling of my favorite story, set in the future and Cinderella is a cyborg--it doesn't get anymore awesome than that!

Cinder was absolutely fantastic! I LOVED IT! The plot was outstanding, awesome and suspenseful enough that it kept me at the edge of my seat and got my heart racing (seriously). The world-building was also excellent--I really liked how well it was introduced and described throughout the story and how it was different than any other dystopian world I've ever read.

However, it was Marissa Meyer's writing style was what really made everything come together beautifully--it was lyrical and it flowed nicely. I easily got lost in her words. The third-person narration that focused on Cinder and Prince Kai alternatively. They were both really likable and well-developed and I absolutely loved how true-to-life they both were. I was able to connect and relate to both of them. As for the romance between them, it was just so sweet and uncomplicated. It was not insta-love (yes!!) but rather two people who just like each other. I rooted for the two of them all throughout the story.

The ending of Cinder left me wanting more, more, more!! This fantastic debut novel is a MUST READ. It can--and will--be enjoyed by all. I can't wait for the next book Scarlet to come out in February 2013 (ahhhhh! such a long wait!!).

Friday, August 3, 2012

book cover Paperback: 422 pages 
Publisher: Little Brown
Release Date: April 2005
ISBN: 9780316067959

Source of my copy: publisher
Series: Book #1 of Maximum Ride

Synopsis (from Amazon) 
In James Patterson's blockbuster series, fourteen-year-old Maximum Ride, better known as Max, knows what it's like to soar above the world. She and all the members of the "flock"--Fang, Iggy, Nudge, Gasman and Angel--are just like ordinary kids--only they have wings and can fly. It may seem like a dream come true to some, but their lives can morph into a living nightmare at any when Angel, the youngest member of the flock, is kidnapped and taken back to the "School" where she and the others were experimented on by a crew of wack jobs. Her friends brave a journey to blazing hot Death Valley, CA, to save Angel, but soon enough, they find themselves in yet another nightmare--this one involving fighting off the half-human, half-wolf "Erasers" in New York City. Whether in the treetops of Central Park or in the bowels of the Manhattan subway system, Max and her adopted family take the ride of their lives. Along the way Max discovers from her old friend and father-figure Jeb--now her betrayed and greatest enemy--that her purpose is save the world--but can she?

Leslie's Review:
I have lost count of how many times people (outside the blogging world) have recommended I read the Maximum Ride series. When the opportunity to review the first book in the series came up (to celebrate the release of the final book in the series Nevermore: The Final Maximum Ride Adventure on August 6th), I jumped at the chance to read it.

I was pretty excited to start this book because the premise sounded interesting and I heard that James Patterson is a great writer. It started out well--I liked how it was written mostly in first-person of Max and then alternated now and then to third-person of the other major characters (i.e. her family Fang, Iggy, Nudge, Gasman, and Angel). It seemed like it was going to be a thrilling and fast read and the writing style seemed easy and undemanding. The characters were great too as I kept up as I reading. I liked how they were all strong, courageous individuals with unique and cool talents (I wish I could fly or read minds!). But soon the pace, the plot and writing style eventually got to me.

Unfortunately, as I continued reading, I found that it a bit slow and boring at times. The characters all had a purpose, they went out on an adventure, encountered problems now and then, but for me it wasn't suspenseful or exciting enough. As for the writing style, it just wasn't for me. I gradually found it too easy and too simple, if that makes sense. All of these things didn't help me get into the story.

I really wanted to like Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment but I'm sad to say I didn't enjoy this book as much as I wanted to. I will not be continuing the series.

This book wasn't for me but I do think many people will enjoy it (and many people do!). The writing is very accessible--I think readers, both girls and boys, 6th grade and up will enjoy it.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

book coverHardcover: 318 pages 
Publisher: Harper
Release Date: October 4, 2011
ISBN: 9780062048509
Source of my copy: Deb Shapiro & Co.
Series: Eve #1
Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Where do you go when nowhere is safe?
Sixteen years after a deadly virus wiped out most of Earth's population, the world is a perilous place. Eighteen-year-old Eve has never been beyond the heavily guarded perimeter of her school, where she and two hundred other orphaned girls have been promised a future as the teachers and artists of the New America. But the night before graduation, Eve learns the shocking truth about her school's real purpose--and the horrifying fate that awaits her.
Fleeing the only home she's ever known, Eve sets off on a long, treacherous journey, searching for a place she can survive. Along the way she encounters Arden, her former rival from school, and Caleb, a rough, rebellious boy living in the wild. Separated from men her whole life, Eve has been taught to fear them, but Caleb slowly wins her trust... and her heart. He promises to protect her, but when soldiers begin hunting them, Eve must choose between true love and her life.
In this epic new series, Anna Carey imagines a future that is both beautiful and terrifying. Readers will revel in Eve's timeless story of forbidden love and extraordinary adventure.

Michelle's Review:
I came to Eve with somewhat low expectations after I read all the reviews about it. But it ended up surprising me because I enjoyed it (despite a couple of major issues) a lot more than I thought I would.

Eve is a novel you will either like or hate and it has a lot to do with its main character Eve. She was a very sheltered, innocent good girl who grew up in female-only School after a plagued wiped up nearly all of the U.S. population. School taught the girls that they must stay away from men and boys because they were vile and violent savages who were after only one thing. But when Eve found out the true purpose of School, she runs away. She soon came across Arden (a former student of School who also ran away) and was soon rescued by Caleb. Together they travel to a safe sanctuary, Califia and all the while running from soldiers determined to take the girls backs and fighting off dangers in the wild.

What I liked:
It was fast-paced. Things happened fast and kept on until the end so there was never really a dull moment.

I thought Eve's world New America was interesting. We learned things about it through Eve's perspective like there was a plague that killed everyone off and it was mentioned throughout the novel but it was all very vague and it was never really truly explained. So, now I'm wondering if there was really a plague or did was it just a cover for something else? New America is ruled by a king who was building a new city called City of Sand supposedly on the backs of plague victims. What's his agenda and how does Eve fit into it? All of these unanswered questions makes me want to keep going with the series.

Because Eve, Arden and her classmates at School were bombarded with propaganda against men, it was interesting to watch her figure out that what they had taught her was wrong--most men were good and they were struggling just as much as the women in this New America. But Eve and Arden also met men that did not have good intentions and they realize that not everything they were taught at School was wrong and that there were bad men too.

Arden. She was tough and take-charge kind of girl--she was the more interesting character to read about and the kind of character I can get behind and root for. More than once while I was reading the novel I wished she was the main character and we are seeing things through her eyes.

What I did not like:
Eve, for most of the book. She was pretty much the opposite of Arden--insipid and, more often than not, had to be rescued--I often got annoyed with her. Eve did get better in the end so I hope she'll be a stronger character in book two.

The romance. It was one of those insta-love types and uninspired. I did like Caleb. He was a nice guy and was consistent (there was none of the does-he-like-me-or-doesn't-he here, which was good), but there was really nothing to distinguish him from other nice guy heroes in YA.

Final thoughts:
Admittedly, I had low expectations when I started reading Eve so maybe that was why I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. The thing that saved this book for me and what kept me reading despite my issues with the main character was the fast pacing throughout. Also, the world was interesting enough that I got curious and want to read more. If I were to give a rating for this book, it's a 2.5/3 stars out of 5 kind of read. If you cannot get enough dystopians, check it out!
We are kicking off August with a special giveaway!

Leslie and I both LOVE The Mockingbirds and its sequel The Rivals--I reviewed The Mockingbirds here and Leslie reviewed The Rivals here. We are so happy to get the chance to giveaway both novels to one of our readers!

But first the excerpt...

This excerpt is from chapter two of The Rivals. It is part of a really sweet scene between Alex and Martin. We like it because shows how Alex is feeling after the events in The Mockingbirds and nicely describes how Alex got to where she is in the Mockingbirds, a secret club whose members are the school's own underground police, judge and jury.

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" matter how many months have passed, I feel like I've been marked with an R. "How do you see me? Is that all you see when you look at me?"

He [Martin] laughs, but it's a reassuring one; he's not laughing at me. "It's the thing I never see. Because I see you, only you."

I can't help smiling, but inside I want to be where he is. I want to see me the way he does--without seeing what happened first. Sure, I can be all tough and how dare you say it was my fault? to Ms. Merritt, but she touched a nerve inside me that's still tender. Because as much as I don't have any lingering questions whatsoever, I know some students probably do, and the thought sickens me.

"And then I also see a totally hot piano player, because there is no way I can look at you and say pianist. Sorry, but too weird a word for a guy to say. And then I see this girl who still likes me and still listens to my science stories after six months. Which is pretty awesome. And I also see the head of the Mockingbirds, and then I remember, Oh crap, Alex is in charge of me. I'd better be a good helper Mockingbird."

Then it's my turn to laugh, only I am definitely laughing at him and the way he's making fun of himself, since he's on the board of the Mockingbirds too--which means he helps decide which cases we take on. He's been a Mockingbird since he was a sophomore, working his way up to membership on the board. He's in the Mockingbirds because he believes in them, because he wants to help others.

But I'm brand-spanking-new to the group. And I'm the leader for one and only one reason--because I was raped. I didn't earn the post by putting in my time. I didn't work my way up or campaign. It was handed to me because the leader is always someone who brought a case and won it. And while that night when Carter Hutchinson took my virginity while I was passed out was many months ago, the memory of it can all come roaring back in an instant.
Want to read more? Or you're a bit confused because you haven't read The Mockingbirds yet? Well, thanks to Daisy Whitney, we have a signed copy of The Mockingbirds AND The Rivals to give away to one lucky reader!
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Click on the cover to go to the book's Goodreads page and read the synopsis.

One winner. US only. Ends August 22, 2012.

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