Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Tricia Rayburn's "Sirens" Series

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Today I was reminded of Tricia Rayburn's Sirens series. This series is based around Vanessa Sands' life after her sister, Justine, dies after diving off a cliff at their summer home in Maine (immediate bonus points from me for basing a series in New England). The series is another YA trilogy, featuring: SirenUndercurrent, and Dark Water.

As with most trilogies, I enjoyed the first book the most. It brought about a topic that hasn't been as widely discussed in YA (I'm not telling you, just in case you can't figure it out - a little surprise is good!) and I really enjoyed getting to know the characters. 

From Goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old Vanessa Sands is afraid of everything--the dark, heights, the ocean--but her fearless older sister, Justine, has always been there to coach her through every challenge.  That is until Justine goes cliff diving one night near the family's vacation house in Winter Harbor, Maine, and her lifeless body washes up on shore the next day. 

Vanessa's parents want to work through the tragedy by returning to their everyday lives back in Boston, but Vanessa can't help feeling that her sister's death was more than an accident.  After discovering that Justine never applied to colleges, and that she was secretly in a relationship with longtime family friend Caleb Carmichael, Vanessa returns to Winter Harbor to seek some answers.

But when Vanessa learns that Caleb has been missing since Justine's death, she and Caleb's older brother, Simon, join forces to try to find him, and in the process, their childhood friendship blossoms into something more.  
Soon it's not just Vanessa who is afraid.  All of Winter Harbor is abuzz with anxiety when another body washes ashore, and panic sets in when the small town becomes home to a string of fatal, water-related accidents . . . in which all the victims are found grinning from ear to ear.  

As Vanessa and Simon probe further into the connections between Justine's death and the sudden rash of creepy drownings, Vanessa uncovers a secret that threatens her new romance, and that will change her life forever.

At the end of Siren, I couldn't wait to see where the series was going, so I read the 2nd and 3rd books, even though they weren't quite as enjoyable as the 1st book. On Goodreads I rated Sirens at 4 stars, and I gave Undercurrent and Dark Water at 3 stars.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Best Author You Aren't Reading

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Sometime late last year, I stumbled onto Jennifer Armentrout's (JLA) Lux series. The first book in the series is Obsidian, and in it, Katy moves to WV with her mom. They end up next door neighbors to a friendly teenage girl and her hot but obnoxious brother. Early on in the book, Katy discovers that her neighbors are actually an alien race called Luxen. If you love Roswell, you'll love these books, and if you love these books, you'll love Roswell. HOT ALIENS, people. (In one of the books in her Covenant series, the character is reading a book about hot aliens, so I found that amusing.) 

Anyway, you see where this story is going, right? My friend Becca has a more in depth review on her blog, if you'd like. I'm just trying to give you an overview so that I can spread the JLA love, but I will tell you that there are twists and turns you don't see coming. After I read Obsidian, I read Onyx, and then I put Opal on my wishlist and my dad gave it to me for Christmas. There are 2 more full books due in the series, and a prequel novella I haven't read yet. Also, there's an upcoming (May 31st!) sexytimes book called Obsession that is related to the series. 

After I read the Lux series, I needed more JLA books. Lucky for me, the woman is a workaholic writing MACHINE. After I found Cursed, which so far, is the weakest of her books, IMO, but it still had an interesting idea behind it.

So what next? I finally gave into her Covenant series, and though the first book, Half-Blood, started slow, once it got going I was HOOKED. I read book #2, Pure, and then I backtracked to book #0.5, Daimon, and then book #3, Deity, and then #3.5, Elixir. I pre-ordered #4, Apollyon, and I was so excited to finally get it. However, half way through the book, I realized JLA was going to end with another cliffhanger, and so it's been sitting on my bookshelf, half read, until I get the final book, Sentinel, in December. I can't handle the teasing! The sexy t-shirt up top was a prize I won from Stuck in Books, and it features Aiden, the main character in the covenant series. As if that wasn't all awesome enough, JLA is a Supernatural fan (like me - love those boys!) so she actually drops in some references to them throughout the series. 

In the midst of my reading of the Covenant series, I took a break for her more grown up book, Wait For You. I also enjoyed this book, even if I did sometimes want to throttle the protagonist.

And that's not even all her books! There are more out, there are more coming. Exciting! Now go, read! 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Aprilynne Pike's "Life After Theft"

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Hi! Sorry about that brief break in blogposts. As always I've been reading a lot (but a tiny bit less than usual) and I've read 60 books so far this year! Which is pretty awesome, but there are hundreds of books on my to be read list, and I haven't added that many lately because a girl can only read so much!! 

So I finally read the ARC I won from Epic Reads of Aprilynne Pike's Life After Theft and I am pleased to say I enjoyed it! 

Here's the description from Goodreads:

Moving to a new high school sucks. Especially a rich-kid private school. With uniforms. But nothing is worse than finding out the first girl you meet is dead. And a klepto. 
No one can see or hear Kimberlee except Jeff, so--in hopes of bringing an end to the snarkiest haunting in history--he agrees to help her complete her "unfinished business." But when the enmity between Kimberlee and Jeff's new crush, Sera, manages to continue posthumously, Jeff wonders if he's made the right choice.
Clash meets sass in this uproarious modern-day retelling of Baroness Orczy's The Scarlet Pimpernel.

Let's start with the cover - I love it! I love the picture, I love the font, I love the reflection of the beach in (presumably Kimberlee's) the sunglasses. The spine actually shows a little bit of a wave as it rolls up the sand. Also, the back says (because it's an ARC) "Ages 13 up / Grades 8 up" so I'm glad to see that at 36 I meet those qualifications ;D 

The description mentions Kimberlee and Jeff, and I was a little confused when I started reading the book because it's from Jeff's POV and I assumed it would be from Kimberlee's POV. Also, I will very likely read the prequel, One Day More, because it is from Kimberlee's POV, and I think that it's probably helpful for getting a better understanding of her character. 

Jeff is a really nice guy. Too nice. I'm not sure teenage boys like that really exist, but it's always nice to pretend! His parents? Rich and understanding! The cops? Overly lenient! But. All in all a good read, with a well developed protagonist, and an (at least to me) original idea. 

Here's a review with a bit of a different angle from mine from my friend, Book and Cat Librarian.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Free Bookmarks from Epic Reads

I admit that I set a weekly reminder on my phone so that I would never miss Epic Reads' weekly Ustream program. Margot and Aubry host the show and it's generally awesome. The usually start the program with awesomely cheesy music, they gab about books, they give books away, they have a squeaking stuffed porcupine named King Snarkles. It basically couldn't be more fun. Needless to say, I am now all over all things Epic Reads, and as a girl with a marketing degree, I can say that this is marketing genius. Well done Harper Collins! 

Just the other day, they released free bookmarks, some with pictures of King Snarkles himself! I magically had one piece of card stock lying around and am now much richer in bookmarks.

(This is an unpaid endorsement:)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

On My Shelf

Here is the stack of books I have to read and I'm planning on reading them in order, top to bottom. Not pictured are the dozens of ebooks on my kindle. 

Life After Theft was a giveaway I won from Epic Reads (and King Snarkles). Free books are the best! 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Elizabeth Norris' "Unraveling"

Sorry for the delay between posts! I won't give specific details, so let's just say that the life of an Army family is sometimes a major PITA.

Today I finished Elizabeth Norris' "Unraveling." I'd added it to my TBR (to be read) list, but the girls on Epic Reads talk about it and it's sequel, "Unbreakable," so much that I had to give it a try and I'm really glad I did! 

From Goodreads:

Sixteen-year-old Janelle Tenner is used to having a lot of responsibility. She balances working as a lifeguard in San Diego with an intense academic schedule. Janelle's mother is bipolar, and her dad is a workaholic FBI agent, which means Janelle also has to look out for her younger brother, Jared.
And that was before she died...and is brought back to life by Ben Michaels, a mysterious, alluring loner from her high school. When she discovers a strange clock that seems to be counting down to the earth's destruction, Janelle learns she has twenty-four days to figure out how to stop the clock and save the planet.

I won't summarize beyond that because the book surprised me a lot. I will just say that to me, it's like a mash-up of Fringe, Veronica Mars, and Roswell, and there's even a Firefly reference thrown in. 

Now I just have to get my hands on a copy of "Unbreakable". . .

For another review of this awesome book, from someone who is frequently in book sync with me, here's The Overstuffed Bookcase!