Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Thursday, November 22, 2012 with
11/28 - Michelle's Update: The next two weeks will be craziness with study week and then finals week. So I will be going on a short blogging hiatus and there will not be any long posts from me for the next two weeks.

Dear fellow book lovers,
Leslie and I would like to wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving!
It was another crazy busy week for us, as Leslie and I try to finish all our homework and projects so that we will have a schoolwork-free Thanksgiving with our family. Unfortunately, that meant blogging (but not reading!) was pushed aside for now.

But we will "see" you all next week!

Michelle & Leslie

Friday, November 16, 2012

book cover Hardcover: 424 pages 
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: September 11, 2012
ISBN: 9781442423765

Source of my copy: publisher
Series: none
Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Liyana has trained her entire life to be the vessel of a goddess. The goddess will inhabit Liyana’s body and use magic to bring rain to the desert. But Liyana’s goddess never comes. Abandoned by her angry tribe, Liyana expects to die in the desert. Until a boy walks out of the dust in search of her.
Korbyn is a god inside his vessel, and a trickster god at that. He tells Liyana that five other gods are missing, and they set off across the desert in search of the other vessels. For the desert tribes cannot survive without the magic of their gods. But the journey is dangerous, even with a god’s help. And not everyone is willing to believe the trickster god’s tale.
The closer she grows to Korbyn, the less Liyana wants to disappear to make way for her goddess. But she has no choice: She must die for her tribe to live. Unless a trickster god can help her to trick fate—or a human girl can muster some magic of her own.

Leslie's Review:
Sarah Beth Durst truly is a great writer with a great imagination and this is evident in her amazing book,  Vessel.

The setting of Vessel was beautiful. The desert world and its stories made it extraordinary and so vivid. I enjoyed reading Liyana's people's stories of their desert and their gods and goddesses. I loved learning about their world and being immersed in their culture. I also loved how the plot and conflict revolved around the setting of the story. It made the plot very interesting and refreshing. The story was very well-paced, exciting, and suspenseful. It never dragged or lost my interest.

The characters of Vessel were also fantastic. I loved, loved, LOVED Liyana. She was a magnificent heroine--strong, brave, stubborn, resourceful, intelligent, beautiful--and is now one of my favorite heroine. I admired and rooted for her throughout the story. The people she befriended and met were also very interesting, especially Korbyn and the other vessels--even though it took some time for me to to warm up to some of them (I believe they are written that way intentionally, it was just how their characters were).

When I turned that last page, I felt very sad because my time with the characters I grew to care for and love is over. Sigh.

But I loved this book so much that I know I am going to be re-reading it again and it will be just like revisiting old friends. I highly recommend this book to everyone, especially if you love to read high fantasy. This book is a MUST-READ. If you have never read Sarah Beth Durst before, Vessel is a good place to start (then, you're probably going to want to read her other books). Fans of Sarah Beth Durst will eat this book up--I know I did.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Prodigy by Marie Lu + Legend Prize Pack Giveaway

Tuesday, November 13, 2012 with
Hi everyone,
It's been a week since I last blogged but it has just been too crazy busy lately. I will tell you more about all the things later because right now I am here to talk about a book I am currently reading: PRODIGY!!
book cover
Prodigy is the long-awaited sequel to Legend, the must-read dystopian novel for all YA fans of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and Divergent by Veronica Roth. A brilliant re-imagining of Les Miserables, the series is set to be a global film sensation as CBS films have acquired rights to the trilogy.

June and Day arrive in Vegas just as the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo dies, and his son Anden takes his place. With the Republic edging closer to chaos, the two join a group of Patriot rebels eager to help Day rescue his brother and offer passage to the Colonies. They have only one request—-June and Day must assassinate the new Elector.

It’s their chance to change the nation, to give voice to a people silenced for too long.

But as June realizes this Elector is nothing like his father, she’s haunted by the choice ahead. What if Anden is a new beginning? What if revolution must be more than loss and vengeance, anger and blood—what if the Patriots are wrong?
Prodigy begins about a couple of weeks after the ending of Legend and it is fantastic (so far since I am only about 100 pages in, but I think the awesome will continue).

About Legend:
book cover
What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

About Marie Lu:
book cover
Marie Lu writes young adult novels, and has a special love for dystopian books. She likes food, fighter jets, afternoon tea, happy people, electronics, the interwebz, cupcakes, pianos, bright colors, rain, Christmas lights, sketches, animation, dogs, farmers' markets, video games, and of course, books.

She left Beijing for the States in 1989 and went off to college at the University of Southern California. In her past life, she was an art director in the video game industry, but now she writes full-time.

If you want more information about the Legend and Prodigy, check out the official website of the series, Marie Lu's author website and the Legend series Facebook page.

Thanks to Penguin, we have a special giveaway for you all! One (1) lucky winner will win the Legend Prize Pack:
  • A copy of Legend by Marie Lu
  • A limited Edition Prodigy Flashlight
  • A limited Edition Prodigy T-Shirt
book cover

To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter below. Open to US mailing addresses only and ends November 30, 2012.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, November 4, 2012

We got new books! (17)

Sunday, November 4, 2012 with
Happy November everyone! Umm... this is going to be a long post since this is 2 weeks' worth of books. We'll start with the YA books I got:
Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier (review)
<<I was supposed to review Shadowfell for Halloween but alas it arrived too late. >>
Prodigy (Legend #2) by Marie Lu (review)
<<I admit I did a crazy happy dance when I got Prodigy. I'll be reviewing it at the end of this month and we'll be giving away a Legend prize pack too.>>

I also won a copy of Catching Jordan, Stealing Parker and Dear Teen Me from Miranda Kenneally's Twitter giveaway a few weeks back. She also included some surprise swag. I reviewed an e-ARC of Stealing Parker so I was happy to get a hardcopy. All the books are signed too. Yay!

Haven of Obedience by Marina Anderson (unsolicited)
<<I have not read Fifty Shade (and I don't plan to) and I've never heard of Haven--it does not appeal to me so I'll be passing it on to my public library.>>
Where Angels Rest by Kate Brady (unsolicited)
Double Danger (A-Tac #6) by Dee Davis (unsolicited)
<<I am following Davis's A-Tac series so I am very excited to get Double Danger.>>

I got a 30% off coupon from B&N. I went to the store planning to buy either a YA or a romance novel but it was like all their titles they had I already have or they don't appeal to me at all. I ended up getting Mindy Kaling's book. First non-YA/romance book I bought in years!

Here's what Leslie got back home:
What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton (review)
<<The reviews for What Happens Next have been excellent.>>
Level 2 by Lenore Applehans (won)
<<OMG!! Level 2!! **happy dance**>>
An Heiress at Heart by Jennifer Delamere (review)

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

Thursday, November 1, 2012

book coverE-ARC: 245 pages 
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: Oct. 1, 2012
ISBN: 9781402271878
Source of my copy: publisher/Netgalley
Series: companion to Catching Jordan
Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Red-hot author Miranda Kenneally hits one out of the park in this return to Catching Jordan's Hundred Oaks High.
After a scandal rocks their conservative small town, 17-year-old Parker Shelton goes overboard trying to prove that she won't turn out like her mother: a lesbian. The all-star third-baseman quits the softball team, drops 20 pounds and starts making out with guys--a lot. But hitting on the hot new assistant baseball coach might be taking it a step too far...especially when he starts flirting back.

Michelle's Review:
I was wary of Stealing Parker at first because I was not sure I would feel comfortable about reading what basically is a teacher-student relationship despite the fact that the teacher (or assistant coach in this case--but same thing because he is a figure of authority at a school) was in his early twenties and Parker was just a few weeks shy of 18.

But I liked Kenneally's debut Catching Jordan and I am a sucker for romantic contemporary YA, so I picked it up anyway... and practically devoured it in one sitting. I really like Parker's character. I see a lot of myself in her--like her feelings about church, religion and God, that she like to read romance novels, her relationship with her dad was all me. Besides the fact that I can relate to her character, I love that she was human and flawed. She makes mistakes but she learns from them.

As for the thing I was dreading, Parker did get hot and heavy with Coach Brian and those scenes were uncomfortable to read but I felt Parker was able to keep her head. Yay Parker! However, Stealing Parker would not be a Kenneally novel if you know who Parker is going to end up with from reading the synopsis.  Other than Brian, there are a lot of boys in Parker's life and there was one particular boy that I especially rooted for and was such a sweetheart. I loved the scenes with him and Parker and it was great watching their relationship develop from classmates to friendship and to maybe something more.

Like in Catching Jordan, Stealing Parker had tough issues the main character had to sort through along with all the relationship drama. I would not call this novel "light reading" because of some heavy issues but there were enough funny moments to balance everything out. I did feel that the writing in Stealing Parker was not as fluid as it was in Catching Jordan but I ended up enjoying Stealing Parker more than I did Catching Jordan because I able to relate to Parker's character more.

If you love reading about perfectly flawed characters, you'll love Parker. Definitely check out Stealing Parker, it's an engaging and addicting read. I recommend it for readers who love reading contemporary YA with strong relationship/romance themes.