Monday, May 21, 2012

Review: Fated (The Soul Seekers #1) by Alyson Noel

Expected publication: May 22, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Format: ARC, Paperback, 306 pages
Series: The Soul Seekers
Genre: Paranormal, YA
My rating: 3/5 stars

Synopsis from goodreads:

Lately strange things have been happening to Daire Santos. Animals follow her, crows mock her, and glowing people appear out of nowhere. Worried that Daire is having a nervous breakdown, her mother packs her off to stay in the dusty plains of Enchantment, New Mexico with a grandmother she’s never met.

There she crosses paths with Dace, a gorgeous guy with unearthly blue eyes who she’s encountered before...but only in her dreams. And she’ll get to know her grandmother—a woman who recognizes Daire’s bizarre episodes for what they are. A call to her true destiny as a Soul Seeker, one who can navigate between the worlds of the living and the dead. Her grandmother immediately begins teaching her to harness her powers—but it’s an art that must be mastered quickly. Because Dace’s brother is an evil shape-shifter who’s out to steal her powers. Now Daire must embrace her fate as a Soul Seeker and find out if Dace is one guy she’s meant to be with...or if he’s allied with the enemy she’s destined to destroy.


Unfortunately, I had a tough time getting through this book. It took me about two weeks to read, which is a long time for me, but I refused to give up on it because I did get invested in the characters and wanted to know what happened with them. Getting into the story was what slowed me down and I felt like things were a bit too descriptive at times; and that maybe too much time was wasted on elaborating on every little detail. I wonder if maybe I was just experiencing some sort of reading slump and perhaps it would have better served me to just put the book down and come back to it when my mood changed. But honestly, I think it just took a while for me to familiarize myself with the author's writing style. Also, I found myself bothered and discouraged by the alarmingly tiny font in the book! I'm hoping that the finished copies of this book have bigger font, unlike my ARC. I know this may sound lame and overly picky (I'm generally an easy-going reader!), but I can't help it--I NEED decent-sized font! I need to be able to blink for a second without loosing my place on a page I'm reading. Just saying!

Once I was able to acclimate myself to the author's writing style, I really started to get more into the plot, which was very unique and filled with legends and mystical elements that I found fresh and intriguing. I immediately liked Daire, the main character. She grows so much throughout this book, as does her knowledge and talents as a Soul Seeker. I loved her tough-willed personality and the fact that she refuses to take crap from anyone! Plus, she's seriously gifted and it's hard not to be fascinated by her destiny and the history of her family.

Speaking of Daire's family, I just adore her abuela (grandmother), Paloma! She's such a sweet and fierce lady who has experienced a lot of tragedy in her time. She's there to guide Daire when she has no one else to help her, and they share a bond that goes beyond family ties. It was interesting learning about Daire's ancestors and their purpose, as well as what they are capable of and what it means to be a Soul Seeker. I also took a liking to Dace, who is a very handsome guy with ties to Daire that I'm still curious about. There were also a few other characters that I became rather fond of that I'm sure will continue to appear throughout the series.

Although I had a difficult time getting into the story at first, I'm glad I stuck with it and pushed through. The ending was filled with uncovering some of the mysteries involving the Soul Seekers and battling dark forces--which was a bit intense and surprisingly quick. I think I'll definitely check out the next book in the series because there are so many questions that remain to be answered and I can only imagine what's going to transpire between Daire and her enemies. I'm sure there will be even more magic and hopefully some more romantic encounters with Dace. Hopefully the next book won't be difficult for me to start since I'm already acquainted with the story.

 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Stacking The Shelves (1)


Stacking The Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. It's a fun way to share what books we recently added to our bookshelves.

*All titles link to goodreads*

Here are all of the books I've received within the past few weeks:

Bought:

Shatter Me (Signed) by Tahereh Mafi + keychain
Under the Never Sky (Signed) by Veronica Rossi + bookmark
Masque of the Red Death (Signed) by Bethany Griffin + bookmark
Intangible (Signed) by J. Meyers + bookmark & temporary tattoo
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Signed) by Michelle Hodkin
Ascend (Trylle Trilogy #3) by Amanda Hocking
 
-As you can see, I had a serious stroke of good luck and had the opportunity to get several signed books recently. I actually got to meet Tahereh Mafi and Veronica Rossi at their book signing in Miami! They are so funny and nice! You can enter my giveaway to win signed copies of their books + signed swag HERE.
 
I've read all of these books except for Black Dawn, and they were all SO GOOD! I adore The Morganville Vampires series so I can't wait to read the latest installment because things just keep getting more intense in Morganville.
 
Please leave me a comment with a link to your page so I can check out the books you recently received as well!!
 
-Shanon =)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

SIGNED Books + Swag GIVEAWAY & an overview of my first book signing experience!

Veronica Rossi & Tahereh Mafi!

Last weekend (April 28th) I had the awesome opportunity to road trip with Sarah (The Book Life) and Angela (Novel Therapy) to Coral Gables, FL to see Veronica Rossi and Tahereh Mafi at their book signing event. This was my very first book signing experience and I had such a blast!

From left to right: Me (Shanon), Sarah & Angela.
*Photo courtesy of Jenna (Making the Grade)*

Getting to the bookstore, Books & Books, was an adventure in itself. Trying to find parking and then having to repeatedly feed the parking meter throughout the day was a little stressful, but totally worth it. When we got there, we explored the bookstore, and it is seriously the cutest and most awesome store I've ever been in! I really wish I would have taken pictures of the outside of the store, but I was so excited that I forgot. Hehe.

We met up with some fellow bloggers named Jenna (Making the Grade) and Sarah (YA Rebels) while we were there. These ladies are extremely nice and entertaining!

From left to right: Me (Shanon), Sarah, Angela, Sarah & Jenna.
*Photo courtesy of Jenna*

Before the signing we actually ran into Veronica and Tahereh down the street from the store, and I'm pretty sure I was grinning like a fool when we passed by them and said "hello"! Although they looked a little startled, they were totally cool about all of the gawking we were doing and they smiled and said some nice things back to us.


The photo above is my FAVORITE! These ladies were struck with a serious case of the giggles that was highly contagious! It took a while for everyone to compose themselves. =)


During the Q&A portion of the event they took the time to answer everyone's questions. They discussed their publishing journey and gave some inspiring advice about never giving up on your dream of being a writer. They also talked a lot about their characters and their inspiration.
 
Me with Tahereh & Veronica!
*Photos courtesy of Jenna*

Tahereh and Veronica are so incredibly nice and hilarious! I was so nervous to meet them and felt a little starstruck but when the time came to get my books signed, they made me feel very comfortable. It also meant so much to me that they took the time to chat with me while they were signing my books, and it was so nice of them to give me extra swag for my giveaway!

Now, on to the giveaway!!


I'm giving away signed copies of Under the Never Sky & Shatter me + swag! THERE WILL BE 2 WINNERS! One winner will receive a signed copy of Under the Never Sky along with a signed bookmark, and the other winner will receive a signed copy of Shatter Me along with a signed keychain! Just read the contest rules and use the Rafflecopter form below to enter!

Contest rules:

-U.S. residents only
-Must be 13 or older to enter
-Winners will have 72 hours to respond via email before another winner is chosen
-Giveaway ends on June 1st at 12:01AM

Good luck, everyone! =D 


Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Published: November 15, 2011
Publisher: Harper Collins
Format: Hardcover, 338 pages
Series: Shatter Me
Genre: Dystopian, Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult
My rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis from goodreads:

Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war-- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.


Shatter Me is a book that I was able to completely lose myself in and relish. This is a dystopian novel with paranormal elements mixed in and I enjoyed pretty much everything about it! Tahereh Mafi has such a wonderful way with words and she has skillfully constructed a world filled with characters that I am truly invested in. She's completely won me over as a reader and a fan.

Juliette is the female protagonist and my heart completely broke for her. She has spent most of her life filled with such loneliness and emptiness due to something that is beyond her control. It's bad enough that the world has turned into this chaotic place where there is a government that wants to completely manipulate and control the entire population--which is enough to make someones life miserable--but to top it all off poor Juliette is thrust into solitude because her touch causes serious harm to anyone that comes into contact with her. Because of this, she has emotional and physical scars that run deep.

I was so pleased with how much Juliette's character actually grows throughout this novel. This is in large part due to the appearance of Adam. Oh Adam, how I adore thee! He compliments Juliette so well, and he represents many things to her--opening up her eyes to things that she never imagined were possible. She goes from being this sad creature on the floor rocking back and forth in her room in an insane asylum to a girl filled with power and hope. Her inner strength is awakened and becomes more prevalent as the story progresses. One of the things I love most about Juliette is that she really does have such a kind heart, but there is also a fierceness about her that is unstoppable and completely intriguing. Adam also has a kind heart, and some of his lines in the book made me melt. His loyalty to Juliette is so beautiful and sweet. Also, he's a large dose of dreamy and tough, which I find to be totally swoon-inducing.

When Juliette and Adam weren't busy igniting the pages of my book with some of their intense encounters--and believe me, there are several that might make you want to fan yourself--they were stirring up excitement and trying to escape people who wanted to use Juliette's ability for nefarious purposes. They were also interacting with some awesome secondary characters whom I adore. Which compels me to mention Warner; he's one of those guys who is sort of a bad guy but you can't help but like him anyway! He's a total babe, which isn't reason alone to fancy him, but there is obviously more to be revealed about him regarding his past that could explain what's fueling his motives. Another fantastic secondary character to look for is Kenji. He didn't really show up until the last half of the book but he is hands-down one of my top five favorite characters ever. He's cocky and extremely hilarious, and he has the BEST lines! I laughed every time he was present in the book.

So in case it isn't obvious, I think this book is extremely radtastic! The conclusion left me smiling and wondering about the possibilities of the next book (Unravel Me), and I can't wait to continue on this awesome journey with Juliette and Adam. I also heard that Kenji will be more involved in the story as it continues, which makes me so happy!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Review: Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Published: January 3, 2012
Publisher: Harper Collins
Format: Hardcover, 374 pages
Series: Under the Never Sky
Genre: Dystopian, Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult
My rating: 5/5 stars
                             
Synopsis from goodreads:

Since she'd been on the outside, she'd survived an Aether storm, she'd had a knife held to her throat, and she'd seen men murdered. This was worse.

Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland - known as The Death Shop - are slim. If the cannibals don't get her, the violent, electrified energy storms will. She's been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He's wild - a savage - and her only hope of staying alive.

A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile - everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria's help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must accept each other to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.
         

Under the Never Sky has quickly become one of my favorite books ever. Veronica Rossi has completely awed me with her futuristic dystopian novel; which is filled with non-stop adventure, love, self-discovery and a plot rich with characters that are impossible not to fall in love with! It's intense, funny, sometimes hostile, and also beautiful. This is a book that continued to stick with me long after I finished it.

The world that Veronica Rossi has created is so extraordinary and original. It's a world where there are dangerous Aether storms that have destroyed populations, which have ultimately forced people to separate into two categories: Outsiders and Dwellers. Outsiders are those who live unsheltered from the Aether and they are very strong and primal individuals. Survival is their main focus. Whereas the Dwellers thrive in different indoor communities/pods where they have advanced technology and live a pretty comfortable but naive life.

The characters all have their own distinct signatures, and I can honestly say that I've never come across characters like Aria and Perry. The story is told through their perspectives and this really enabled me to form a stronger connection to them. Aria and Perry come from completely different environments; Aria is a dweller who was born and raised in a closed off/safe environment; while Perry is an Outsider, A.K.A. Savage, who has lived with his tribe all of his life where they are exposed to the Aether and the many other dangers lurking about.

Aria and Perry are surprised to find themselves thrust together by a series of devastating events. These two are both struggling with very different situations but they end up working together and needing eachother more than they thought. The progression of their relationship was so well done, and I absolutely loved how it went through various stages; they go from simply tolerating eachother to forming such a beautiful and unexpected bond/romance. They really seem to make eachother stronger.

The secondary characters are definitely worth mentioning as well, and I especially got such a kick out of Perry's childhood friend, Roar. He's just plain funny and awesome, and I definitely wouldn't mind a healthy dose of him in the next book! I also took quite a liking to Cinder, the boy that we come across during Aria and Perry's journey. He is a giant mystery if I ever saw one! Plus there's Marron, who is a pretty helpful and generous guy. There's just something about him that is so likable.

There's also paranormal aspects to this novel that I wasn't quite expecting, but I totally dig them all and they fit into the story so well. I'm sure the next book (Through the Ever Night) will expand on them and I can't wait for more to be revealed. Getting wrapped up in the world of Aria and Perry again will be such a treat! 

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