Jennifer and Lili's 100 Book Extravaganza!!!



As the title above clearly suggests, Jennifer and I are going to be having a 100 book extravaganza giveaway from November 1 - November 30. Why are we having this giveaway? Well, there’s many reasons. First of all, my 6 month blogoversary is November 20th, so this is my blogoversary giveaway. Secondly, we want to promote the book recycling program that we run together entitled ARCycling. We take ARCs and give them new homes. Thirdly, Jennifer is a book hoarder (that I love very dearly) so we need to clear some of her shelves. We combined our books, though Jennifer did donate many, and realized we have over 100 books to give away, hence the name.

But really, this giveaway has a ton of other names also including:

  • Lili's 6 Month Blogoversary Giveaway
  • ARCycling Awareness Giveaway
  • Jennifer Has Way Too Many Books Giveaway
Here’s how everything is going to go down...

We have 11 different prize packs for you, all ranging from 8 - 15 books. Each post will go up at 12:01 AM on their designated day this month and giveaways will end at midnight on November 30th. All giveaways are US only, except for one which is CA only. Some will have age requirements as well. Please pay attention to giveaway requirements so we can avoid disqualifying anyone. Some prizes will also have some personalizations. Many don't, but we will point out which ones do. But really, this is an opportunity to add a ton of books to your shelves, are personalizations really going to stop you?


The schedule is below. To see the actual books in each prize pack, you must check out their respective posts.

November 2: Middle-Grade Prize Pack 
November 3: Series Bundles Prize Pack - CANADA ONLY with 3 winners 
November 4: Chick Lit Prize Pack 
November 5: Big Subjects Prize Pack 
November 6: Fairies and Angels Prize Pack 
November 7: Luminosity Blog Tour with a Giveaway (Not part of extravaganza)
November 8: 18+ Prize Pack 
November 9: Male Prize Pack - male authors and MC’s 
November 10: Greta and the Goblin King Blog Tour with a Giveaway (Not part of extravaganza)
November 11: Contemporary Prize Pack 
November 12: Paranormal Prize Pack 
November 13: Randomized ARC Prize Pack - a little bit of everything to finish it all off






 We hope that everyone will enjoy our celebration kicking off tomorrow! 

The only required tasks will be to follow both myself and Jennifer because this is an ARCycling promotion giveaway.

Top Ten Favorite Kick-Ass Heroines

Before I begin, I want to wish a Happy 16th Birthday to my little sister, Sydney!


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the fabulous The Broke and The Bookish.

My top ten favorite kick-ass heroines in no particular order...

1. Rachel Adams from Defiance by C.J. Redwine
2. Charley Davidson from First Grave On The Right by Darynda Jones
3. Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
4. Alina Starkov from Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
5. Penryn from Angelfall by Susan Ee
6. Ananna from The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke
7. Lela from Sanctum by Sarah Fine
8. Mia from The Dark Light by Sara Walsh
9. Liyana of the Goat Clan from Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst
10. Kelsey Hayes from Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck

I highly recommend checking out all of these books. They have all gotten 4 star - 5 star ratings. Most of their reviews can be found in my review archive, though some are still scheduled and waiting to be posted.

Link me up to your top ten this week! 

Review: Tiger's Curse

Author: Collen Houck
Series: The Tiger Saga #1
Publication Date: January 11, 2011
Publisher: Sterling
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 403 (Hardcover)
Source: Bought

~*~Summary~*~
Passion. Fate. Loyalty.

Would you risk it all to change your destiny?

The last thing Kelsey Hayes thought she’d be doing this summer was trying to break a 300-year-old Indian curse. With a mysterious white tiger named Ren. Halfway around the world. But that’s exactly what happened. Face-to-face with dark forces, spellbinding magic, and mystical worlds where nothing is what it seems, Kelsey risks everything to piece together an ancient prophecy that could break the curse forever.

Tiger’s Curse is the exciting first volume in an epic fantasy-romance that will leave you breathless and yearning for more.
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

Honestly, I've been struggling to write this review for over a month. I enjoyed this book a lot, but I had one qualm with it that carried out throughout the entire story. It made it hard for me to love it as much as my other 5 star beauties. So, I'm just going to make this a quick review because this book was so amazingly unique that I've been struggling to properly put my thoughts into words.

The plot, the writing, the characterization all pulls you in from the first page. I found it incredibly easy to relate to Kelsey throughout the story and I was fascinated with Ren and his story. However, this is one of those books where the reader puts two and two together before the character, so you're just getting frustrated and waiting for her to catch up to you and the rest of the story. Kelsey isn't the quickest person to catch onto things, but my biggest problem with her is her immaturity and bouts of illogicality. Most of the time she was a pretty logical character, but she'd randomly explode into emotional moments that I didn't understand. She treated Ren so badly during a specific leg of their journey for reasons that are still unknown to me. And her immaturity made me roll my eyes continuously. Seriously, there was a moment out of a bad 80's move where they had one of those, "Fine!" "Fine!" fights several times that was initiated by Kelsey. I couldn't handle it.

My favorite aspect of the book is the mythology. I am a huge mythology lover, but I have never encountered Indian mythology before. When I was able to see it in this tale, I fell in love with the myths that were shared and the way that they were weaved. I wanted more because of the originality of it all. I would recommend reading it simply for the mythological stories and backgrounds to the quest and many of the characters. I found myself re-reading these specific parts several times because I enjoyed them so much.

This book is one worth checking out. No questions asked. But a few of Houck's attempts at humor fall flat. Her need to continue the plot line sometimes leads to cliches, but they're welcome cliches that don't overwhelm the story or the reader. Either way, I still loved this book so much that I was speechless. I went in expecting an awesome tale and came out with a story that, for the most part, blew me away. I am anxiously awaiting to get my hands on the rest of the series.

This book is perfect for fantasy lovers that also like some romance on the side. It is also good for people who enjoy strong heroines, even though they are still teenagers and their age shines through every now and then.



4.5 stars

~*~Links~*~

Stacking The Shelves #8

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews that highlights what we've added to our shelves this week.

Every month I meet up with the amazing Nicole and Kristan because Nicole lives just ten minutes away from me and Kristan is an hour from us. We do huge book swaps because we can always give them back and it saves us some money. So, I want to thank them for giving me the awesome week! Check out this haul:


Bought:
The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkowski

Gifted:
SIGNED ARC of The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
It's personalized to me! Ah!!! <3 Thank you Nicole!

Temporary Swap:
Mystic City by Theo Lawrence
Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen
Sweet Shadows by Tera Lynn Childs
Dark Star by Bethany Frenette
What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang
The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

Permanent Trade:
Cursed by Jennifer L. Armentrout
The Innocents by Lili Peloquin
The Dead Girls Detective Agency by Suzy Cox

Share what you added to your shelves this week!

Books Change Lives Update #2


It warms my heart to tell everyone that a lot has changed since update number one!

As of today, October 28th, I know of 257 books coming in for the project. That does not include quite a few people who told me they are making donations, but haven't told me what to expect! This is an AMAZING achievement, guys. I can't express how happy I am right now.

As for the books that have arrived in the past two weeks, I'd like to thank:

JEN RYLAND 
Jen donated eight new ARCs in amazing condition for these kids! They'll be greatly adored! 
JODI MEADOWS
 Jodi donated a hardcover copy of her book as well as bookplates for these kids to enjoy.

GINA DAMICO
Gina donated a limited edition green ARC of her novel Croak and a finished copy of its sequel, Scorch. I highly recommend checking both out because this is one of my favorite series ever!

GENA SHOWALTER
Gena was super awesome and donated 10 signed finished copies of her latest young adult book, Alice in Zombieland, along with some book marks. Thank you!

ELIZABETH NORRIS
Thank you, Elizabeth, for donating seven copies of your own book (with more apparently coming?) You are amazing!

ELIZA TILTON
Thank you for donating the first Hunger Games book--a book I really wanted to get to these kids.

   JACQUELINE RESNICK
 Jacqueline donated a Signed ARC of her middle grade, as well as some amazingly popular YA books. Thank you!

ROTEM MOSCOVICH 
Rotem is my biggest donator thus far. He donated 40 books from Hyperion and Scolastic. A mixture of both childrens, middle grade, and young adult; ARCs and finished copies; english and spanish. He really helped us out this week!

GINA ROSATI
 Gina was so kind. She donated a copy of her own book and allowed me to personally select two others for areas we really needed books for, as well as spreading the program to the Apocalypsies. Gina, you are truly amazing and have helped out this program immensely! <3

FIONA PAUL
Fiona is my other big Apocalypsy. She donated 25 books that arrived this week, and apparently there are more coming! She has some amazing books that she has given to the cause and I can't even begin to thank her enough! 

NICOLE MUSICH AND HER FAMILY
Nicole is a very dear friend of mine and, honestly, they've donated so many books that I'm having trouble keeping track of everything at this very moment. But I've been getting a mixture of YA/MG ARC's and oversized read-along childrens books from her and these are amazing additions to the charity!

And now... some other amazing news! Many bloggers and authors have more books on the way, some of which I am so excited to share with you, but I wanted to extend a special thank you to the Apocalypsies! This is a large group of debut authors who are now working with me to get books to these kids. It is very greatly appreciated! And once again, thank you to both Fiona Paul and Gina Rosati. The Apocalypsies would not be part of this if it were not for you.

For now... enjoy this wonderful picture (despite the blurriness) of all the books that arrived on my doorstep Friday. That was just one day this week. Is that not insanely awesome?!

  

Review: Vessel

Author: Sarah Beth Durst
Publication Date: September 11, 2012
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 424 (Hardcover)
Source: Bought

In a desert world of sandstorms and sand-wolves, a teen girl must defy the gods to save her tribe in this mystical, atmospheric tale from the author of Drink, Slay, Love. 
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.

~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

After reading this book, I'm kicking myself due to the fact that I have never read anything by Sarah Beth Durst before. She caught my attention with the opening line and had me captivated until the last word on the very last page. I'm not going to re-summarize the book because the premise above was unbelievably spot-on, so instead I'm just going to share my favorite aspects of the novel.

The setting of this book and the way it mixes with the plot completely blew me away. This book took place entirely in a desert, so the attention to the detail that went into describing Liyana's home and surroundings completely blew me away. I'm seriously at a loss for words. The incorporation of mythology and usage of gods was mesmerizing. I couldn't get enough of Korbyn.

The romance in this book was incredibly interesting as well. Korbyn is the trickster god that realized several other gods including his beloved Bayla were kidnapped and imprisoned somewhere in the east. He entered his vessel and began hunting down other vessels and that is when he came across Liyana. Liyana is the vessel for Bayla, but he can't help the fact that she is an amazing girl that commands his respect. When Bayla finds a way to communicate with Liayana and Korbyn, you can imagine the antics that ensue.

However, I have to say that the aspect of the novel that I enjoyed most was the characterization. Liyana was such a strong heroine that I couldn't help but respect her. She's dedicated, determined, and loyal. When she believed her goddess abandoned her, she still did everything in her power to help her in case she needed it. The secondary characters were amazing as well. Korbyn was very enjoyable, but you'll find that all of the other vessels will find a place in your heart as well. You know you have an amazing story in front of you when you feel for every single character and get upset when anything bad happens to them. This is one of those books.

Durst is a literary genius that will blow you away with this desert tale. I enjoyed all aspects of the novel and have nothing negative to say, but to stress how much I recommend this to any reader, especially those who love fantasy. As perfect as the ending of this novel was, I wish I could spend more time in Liyana's world. This is one book that'll remain fresh in my mind for a while.


5 stars

~*~Links~*~
|Amazon|Goodreads|Book Depository|Barnes and Noble|Author's Website|

Waiting on Wednesday #20


Luminosity by Stephanie Thomas


My name is Beatrice. When I was born, I was blessed with the Sight. I was immediately removed from my parents and enrolled in the Institution. At the age of twelve, I had my first true vision, earning my raven’s wings. And when I turned seventeen, one of my visions came true. Things haven’t been the same since.

The Institution depends on me to keep the City safe from our enemy, the Dreamcatchers, but I’m finding it harder to do while keeping a secret from everyone, including my best friend Gabe. It is a secret that could put us all in danger. A secret that could kill me and everyone close to me.

But the enemy has been coming to me in my dreams, and I think I’m falling in love with him. He says they’re coming. He says they’re angry. And I think I’ve already helped them win.

Excerpt of Time Between Us

Hey, everyone! I was asked to be a late addition for the TIME BETWEEN US blog tour. So, below, I have an awesome excerpt for you! Check it out!

Anna and Bennett were never supposed to meet: she lives in 1995 Chicago and he lives in 2012 San Francisco. But Bennett has the unique ability to travel through time and space, which brings him into Anna’s life, and with him a new world of adventure and possibility.

As their relationship deepens, the two face the reality that time may knock Bennett back to where he belongs, even as a devastating crisis throws everything they believe into question. Against a ticking clock, Anna and Bennett are forced to ask themselves how far they can push the bounds of fate, what consequences they can bear in order to stay together, and whether their love can stand the test of time.

Fresh, exciting, and deeply romantic, Time Between Us is a stunning, spellbinding debut from an extraordinary new voice in YA fiction.
 

---------------

october 2011

san francisco, california

Even from this distance I can see how young he looks. Younger than the first time I saw him.

He and his friends have been skating around Lafayette Park for the last couple of hours, and now they’re sprawled across the grass, downing Gatorades and passing around a bag of Doritos.

“Excuse me.”

Eight sixteen-year-old heads spin in my direction, looking confused, then curious.

“Are you Bennett?” I ask and wait for him to nod, even though I’m sure it’s him. I’d know him anywhere. “Can I speak with you for a moment? In private?”

He knits his eyebrows together, but then he stands up and flips his skateboard over to keep it from rolling down the hill. I catch him looking back at his friends and shrugging as he follows me to the closest bench. He sits at the opposite end, as far away from me as possible.

Everything about him is so similar, so familiar, that I almost scoot over to close the distance, like I would have done so naturally when I was younger. But sixteen years have come between us, and that’s enough to keep me on my side of the bench.

“Hi.” My voice shakes, and I twist a curly strand of hair around my finger before catching myself and returning my hand to my sides, pressing both palms into the wooden slats.

“Ummm . . . Hi?” he says. He studies me through the uncomfortable silence. “I’m sorry, am I supposed to know you or something?”

My instinct is to say yes, but I stop myself, press my lips together, and shake my head instead. He doesn’t know me. Not yet. “I’m Anna. Here.” I reach into my bag, pull out the sealed white envelope, and smile as I hold it out to him.

He takes the letter and turns it over a few times.

“I thought it would be safer to explain in writing.” My next words are the most important. After all my practice, I should have this part perfected, but I think through each word in my head again, just to be sure. “It’s too easy for me to say the wrong thing today, and if I do, we may never meet at all.”

His head springs up, and he stares at me, wide-eyed. No one’s ever said anything like that to him before, and with that one statement, he knows that I’m in on his secret.

“I’d better go.” I stand up. “Read that when you’re alone, okay?” I leave him on the bench and walk back down the hill. I keep my eyes glued to a single sailboat skimming across the San Francisco Bay so I won’t turn around. After years of agonizing over this moment, I expect to feel relieved, but I don’t—I just miss him all over again.

What I just did could change everything, or it could change nothing. But I have to try. I’ve got nothing to lose. If my plan doesn’t work, my life will remain the same: Safe. Comfortable. Perfectly average.

But that wasn’t the life I originally chose.

From Time Between Us  © 2012 by Tamara Ireland Stone Reprinted by Permission of Disney•Hyperion, an imprint of Disney Book Group LLC. All Rights Reserved.

---------------

Please check out Tamara Ireland Stone

On the web: TamaraIrelandStone.com and TimeBetweenUs.com

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tamarairelandstone

On Twitter: @tamaraistone

Stacking The Shelves #7




I had a decent haul this week, all books that I'm really excited about! What did everyone else add to their shelves?


 Anna and The French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (thank you Krista and Becca!)
Breathe by Sarah Crossan
Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Crewel by Jennifer Albin (thank you for the gift, Grace!)
The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver

Review: Auracle

Author: Gina Rosati
Publication Date: August 7, 2012
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 304 (ARC)
Source: ARCycling

16 year old Anna Rogan has a secret she's only shared with her best friend, Rei; she can astrally project out of her body, allowing her spirit to explore the world and the far reaches of the universe.

When there's a fatal accident and her classmate Taylor takes over Anna's body, what was an exhilarating distraction from her repressive home life threatens to become a permanent state. Faced with a future trapped in another dimension, Anna turns to Rei for help. Now the two of them must find a way to get Anna back into her body and stop Taylor from accusing an innocent friend of murder. Together Anna and Rei form a plan but it doesn't take into account the deeper feelings that are beginning to grow between them.
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

Wow! I really enjoyed this one! It was full of so many unexpected surprises that kept me flipping the pages eagerly. I wish I could explain to you how much I enjoyed this one, but I want to give you the same opportunity to be shocked by the plot like I was, so I'm just going to make this is a short review.

Rosati completely blew me away with this one. I love books having to deal with supernatural phenomenons, but this book is utterly unique with its main concept of astral projection. I have never come across anything of the sort before, nor have I ever thought of something quite like it, so its use in literature both shocked and astounded me. Rosati easily held my interest with this concept and continuously wowed me throughout the novel.

The characterization in this book was genius as well. Anna serves as our vessel for emotion and she's a strong vessel at that. She has a great sense of humor and desire to do good, even if she's stuck in one of the worst situations. She also has a dysfunctional family centered around her father's alcoholism. It is evident that he is part of the reason that Anna is the way she is, but he caused her to be a strong girl that we can respect. She always finds ways to work through her problems at home instead of dwelling on them and looking for pity like a lot of main character's in young adult literature do these days.

What I really want to address in relation to this book is cliches. I'd be lying if I said that this book didn't have any, but the cliches in this one worked. There's the good type of cheesy and a bad type of cheesy, and this book's unique plot coupled with the good type of cheesy thrown into the characterization and partially the ending created a great story for the reader. And when I say good type of cheesy, I'm referring specifically to Anna's best friend and secret crush, Rei. Rei would be the boy next door, if there was such a thing. He's perfect in every way. He's got a nice body, he's well-behaved, he's got the kindest heart and an amazing brain, and he's been with Anna since childhood. He would never pick anyone over her. It's only logic that they would eventually get together, but the romance was only part of the subplot and they weren't together for a large part of the story. As enjoyable as the romance was, the main focus of the story was entirely on how to get Anna back in her body, which I enjoyed because it kept the cheesiness from overwhelming readers.

I would recommend this book to pretty much anyone who enjoys fantasy or supernatural phenomena. It is unique and explores a concept that is virtually unparalleled in young adult literature today. Entirely unique and full of mind-blowing creativity, Rosati's debut novel is one that can't be missed. She has a promising career ahead of her as a young adult author.


5 stars

~*~Links~*~

Review: The Assassin's Curse


Author: Cassandra Rose Clarke
Series: The Assassin's Curse #1
Publication Date: October 2, 2012
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 295 (Paperback)
Source: Bought

Ananna of the Tanarau abandons ship when her parents try to marry her off to an allying pirate clan: she wants to captain her own boat, not serve as second-in-command to her handsome yet clueless fiance. But her escape has dire consequences when she learns the scorned clan has sent an assassin after her.

And when the assassin, Naji, finally catches up with her, things get even worse. Ananna inadvertently triggers a nasty curse — with a life-altering result. Now Ananna and Naji are forced to become uneasy allies as they work together to break the curse and return their lives back to normal. Or at least as normal as the lives of a pirate and an assassin can be.
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

This book was everything I hoped it would be and more! I wasn't expecting to enjoy it as much as I did, so this review is going to be short and sweet.

Ananna ran away from her engagement on a camel because she was a pirate that wanted to get her own ship, not be tied down to someone else, no matter how attractive they are. They sent an assassin after her, but there was a fluke accident where she accidentally saved his life while he was trying to kill her, resulting in a curse that's going to keep them together for a while. Their only chance to break the curse? Go to the Isles of the Sky--the most feared place among pirates.

The character development in this book was superb. Ananna is an incredibly strong heroine and Naji is mysterious and intelligent. Together, they should repel each other, but they make an amazing team and their story is full of many slightly humorous moments. Ananna was written to be a pirate, though one with a great deal of knowledge. When she's speaking, she doesn't use proper English and we see her using the words "ain't" and "no" more than we realize. I adjusted to this easily because it was so believable since she grew up as a pirate. Naji's smooth, educated speech contrasts with this greatly, but proves to be incredibly interesting.

The plot was amazing in this one as well. I loved the use of magic throughout the story and the description that accompanied magic made it incredibly believable. I also respected the fact that they never gave up, even in times of desperation. They fought if people were after them, they hid if they could, and they repeatedly saved each others lives while discovering other abilities that they never knew they were capable of. 

The end of this book was satisfactory, but left me begging for book two. The last fifth of the book was full of unexpected action that I don't want to ruin, but once Naji and Ananna learn more about the way to break their impossible curse with impossible tasks, only one is really on Ananna's mind. And it's the one task that she never thought she would care about. True loves first kiss.

I highly recommend this book to just about anyone, but especially those fantasy lovers. This is a book rich with fantasy for you. However, this one doesn't have much romance in it, so I wouldn't pick it up if you're expecting any of it.


5 stars

~*~Links~*~

Stacking The Shelves #6


So, I am going back to Stacking The Shelves, picking up with the number of my last vlog even though I will not be doing one this week! I had an amazing week, as you can see below.

Traded:
Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama - thank you Nicole!
Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers - thank you Krista!


Temporary Swap: 
Altered by Jennifer Rush - thank you Nicole!

I LOVED this book! Review will be posted closer to release date, probably a month prior to it.

Gifted: 
Poison Princess (Signed ARC) - thank you so much, Jennifer <3
 Sanctum by Sarah Fine (Signed hardcover) - thank you so much, Sarah <3


Bought: 
Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst
Death and the Girl Next Door by Darynda Jones
The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke
Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne (Signed at my very first book signing!)


ARCycling:
 Auracle by Gina Rosati
Soulbound by Heather Brewer