I'm actually thinking about making this a meme. I think it would be great to do a Magic Mondays linkup, don't you? With a bunch of blogs doing their own Magic Mondays giveaway. It's something to think about, certainly.
But for now, let's begin today's giveaway!
This week, I am featuring Carrie Jone's Endure. Even though I admit that I'm actually unsure as to how i really feel about this series, this is the last book and I will be reading it. (I actually have an ARC I still haven't cracked.) I'm really excited for it, though, I admit it! And I know it's highly looked forward to, so here's the giveaway!
So, shall we?
For my stop, you can win a preorder of Kiersten White's Endlessly. I know what an anticipated summer read this is!
Oh, and while you're here, go ahead and check out the rest of the blogs!
Cassia faces the ultimate choices in the long-anticipated conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Matched Trilogy.
After leaving Society and desperately searching for the Rising—and each other—Cassia and Ky have found what they were looking for, but at the cost of losing each other yet again: Cassia has been assigned to work for the Rising from within Society, while Ky has been stationed outside its borders. But nothing is as predicted, and all too soon the veil lifts and things shift once again.
In this gripping conclusion to the #1 New York Times bestselling Matched Trilogy, Cassia will reconcile the difficulties of challenging a life too confining, seeking a freedom she never dreamed possible, and honoring a love she cannot live without.
Number Four (aka John Smith) has now teamed up with Number Nine, while Six has gone off to find the others. With the Mogadorians hot on their trail and time running out, they must find a way to come together, before it's too late. Power in numbers will save them all.
In a departure from her contemporary teen romances, Suzanne Selfors crafts an irresistible re-imagined fairy tale that will tempt readers with a delicious story of love that is sweeter than the richest chocolate.
Oddly enough, this book touched me. I put off reading it for a long time, a really long time, but by the time I really got around to reading it I was pleasantly surprised. It could have been better, but it could have been far worse. I really only had one major problem that kept this book from getting a higher rating, but I'll get to that later. And check out that title; it's gorgeous!
It took me a while to connect with Jack, actually, but once I did the connection was inseverable. He was a completely human character who suffered and felt real pain, and had it hard but didn't complain. It wasn't something tho be whined about, it simply was. And that was the way he treated it. He wasn't irritating, just a kid with a run of bad luck, trying to survive.
She was, to say the least, an odd character. But then, she was supposed to be. Wild, free, untamable. Jane's the type of girl who needs to move around, who needs to be free to do whatever strikes her fancy. She's admirable and brave, not ready to stand aside in the fare of danger when there's something she can do.
He was a plucky, brave boy who wasn't about to be left behind, and yet he comes into the story and becomes a character all in his own right, smart enough to make his own decisions and really a role model to children today, who, forgive me, are somewhat lazy. His drive to survive is intense, and he answers it.
"PRETTY BOY FLOYD"
He turned out to be not so much of a villain, and I actually found myself liking him. He was very nice and was always ready to be helpful, even at his own expense. He had a good heart to him, and turned out to be very different than expected.
As a gangster name, it kind of sucks. It made me giggle every time I read it and I simply could not take it seriously.
Timmy was also ruined as a tough-guy type because I know this Timmy and so I kept picturing him and it just didn't work. I actually would have liked to hear more of Timmy's story, though, because it felt like there was something there in the background, just waiting to be discovered.
While it seems a bit far-fetched to me, I suppose I don't know a whole lot about gangsters and the Great Depression, so it could be that that's how things really were.
The childrens' mission fit in with the coming-of-age theme, and they really learn to embrace who they are.
The plot moves along at a rapid pace, a bit predictable but also really fun at the same time. I enjoyed the way it progressed, bumps in the road and all.
There were real challenges overcome with a little help from friends, and things to deal with, but the children ultimately come out on top, it seems. Yet somehow this is believable. Plausible, even.
Romance is almost a staple in coming-of-age novels. But it isn't intense, heavy romance or true love; just young love, finding its first wings. It's sweet and strikes a real chord. There's jealousy and conflicting wants and the feeling that some things might not work out, but over all that there's an underlying romance to it all, that young, sweet love forming for the first time. Lansdale captured that really well.
Here is my main issue, you see. Perhaps, even likely, Lansdale is actually an extremely eloquent writer. Unfortunately, for this book, he tried to use period-speak, which frankly got on my nerves and made me want to pound my head against the nearest wall. (Dude, this book took me like two and a half months to finish.) Some of it was completely dated and other parts' grammar had me positively cringing. And, oh, God, punctuation. Periods were invented for a reason.
I usually hate open endings, because I like to know how everything ends and don't like to make it up myself necessarily. But this one worked for me. It fit into the characters and it fit into the book, and really it couldn't have been better. The ending suited everything and made sense, but was also a clear choice for everything, and I really loved that.
I suppose I might read more of Lansdale's works if I run into them at the library, but I probably won't purchase them or actively seek them out. If the writing wasn't so horrific, I might have, but as it stands I unfortunately cannot. Still, though I wouldn't recommend this to everyone I'd definitely recommend it to some people.
Every once in a while I take a chance in bookstores, grab a random book with a gorgeous cover, and read the blurb. If it sounds good, I'll buy it. That's exactly what I did with Illuminate, and I could not have been happier with the results! It far surpassed even my expectations and left me wanting more. It kept me out of the dark but still managed to surprise. Both heartbreaking and terrifying, it irrevocably drew me in and still hasn't let me go. It was absolutely incredible, and it made me ridiculously happy, the in best way possible! This book left me with a giddy, high feeling that still hasn't entirely gone away.
Haven was a fantastic and completely relatable heroine who I was instantly drawn to. Intelligent, but not over-geniusy, she was shy and sweet but had a good head on her shoulders and a good heart. I fell in love with her instantly. Sometimes, I was irritated by her constant self-depreciating remarks, but these came less frequently as the book continued on and were generally understandable, not pointless whining. Haven was admirable and strong but she had weaknesses that made her real. She was the ideal heroine.
THE LOVE INTERESTS
Damn, authors are really learning to capitalize on my gray eyes fetish. I cannot freaking resist gray eyes, so of course I loved Lucian. He was unbelievable hot and absolutely charming. I love how haunted and determined he was, but also his defiance and his valor. He was an incredibly complex character, leaving me completely reeling most of the time, but in a good way! I loved trying to figure him out, see what it was that he was really up to. His final act in Illuminate is remarkably touching and left me crying my freaking eyes out. I really hope to see more of him, because I feel that Lucian and I have not gotten to know each other too well yet. But I really, really, really, want to know him better, because Agresti has already managed to make my completely in love with him.
Lance was so sweet, and really adorable. Such a nerd, too, but in such a cute way! His character, too, developed slowly, but steadily. I felt a bit frustrated at this slow character development, especially because sometimes I could figure things out long before they were explicitly told to us. I loved how he could sometimes be bold, but at other times lacked that confidence, yet he was still essentially the same person inside. Lance was also extremely intelligent and considered to be the "architect" of their little project. Naturally, as an aspiring architect, I was absolutely drawn to this in him and am eager to hear more about him soon.
THE BEST FRIEND
Poor Dante. We don't get too much of his full story, but we get enough. He really gets in over his head, but is smart enough to get himself out with a little bit of help from his friends. He's fiercely loyal and most times he will do anything to protect Haven. We don't know much about his past, but I suspect that much of it will be revealed later on. I founded Dante to be an inspiring and lovely character, who was achingly real and so relatable it almost hurt.
She fascinated me. I'm sure she wasn't always the way she is in this book, but I really was interesting in learning how she ended up the way she did. I was eager to learn more about her and her ways, and how she was drawn into the world of demons and monsters and hatred and souls that she's entangled herself in hopelessly.
He was portrayed so artfully that I could hardly find any fault with the way Agresti used him at all. Cold, cruel, and calculating, he ruthlessly goes after what he wants without any regard for the consequences. He was true to his character, never showing any vulnerability and remaining intact and a being to be feared.
Agresti has created a beautiful world with a fantastic plot to go with it. I fell instantly in love with both. The world is gorgeous, terrifying, haunting, remarkably real, beautiful, horrid, lovely…I could go on and on and on.
Sometimes, I felt it moved to slowly, but this was only once or twice. For the most part, it moved along steadily, palpably dripping with anticipation. I could not wait for what would happen next. I eagerly sat at the edge of my seat, wondering what twist would be thrown in next.
I also thought that some things were glaringly obvious but weren't treated as such. However, I understand that as a reader it's easy to excuse this kind of thing because in general readers know more than the characters. Still, at times, I did feel myself getting frustrated.
However, Agresti threw in enough twists and extremely unexpected events and confessions that made up for everything. Even when I thought I finally knew everything, she proved me wrong. The most gorgeous and intricate plot twists changed everything, in an amazing way!
I especially loved Haven's advice-giving book, which almost seemed as if it had a life and personality all its own. I'm sure we'll be seeing more of it, and I'm looking forward to learning more about it.
It was completely original, and an angel story told right. I completely adored it, everything about it. There was really nothing not to love.
LUCIAN AND HAVEN
This romance, despite all odds, struck me as something undeniably real. Instead of being surface-level and shallow, which it easily could've been, it really felt like they honestly connected on a deeper level. The way Lucian treated her didn't hurt, either. He was always sweet. At first I actually wasn't so sure as to how it was going to work out, but I was pleasantly and pleasingly surprised. Even though it developed relatively quickly, it somehow reached touched me, and there was real and definite chemistry between the characters, which always helps.
LANCE AND HAVEN
This romance develops a lot more slowly, but is so very sweet. Haven and Lance really do somehow work together. They're good together, in the way that some people just are, people who were meant to be together. Lance and Haven never suffer awkward silences; they don't need to be talking to be comfortable, but fall quickly into a steady rhythm. The romance is definitely one to keep an eye on, and I really loved them together.
First, a note on typography: I absolutely am in love with the font that writes in Haven's book. It is scripty, beautiful cursive, which I am conceited enough to pretend is my own writing (my writing is slightly messier). But it's gorgeous, and I really honestly think it adds to the effect the book has. And even the few notes Aurelia writes to Haven are in a third scripty font, further embracing this typographical difference in a good way, setting it apart and making it more important.
As for the writing itself? Beautiful! The description is lush and gorgeous, and Haven's voice is mature, intelligent, and real. She sounds like a normal girl for her age, yet manages to get enough information across. The style is truly admirable, and made my experience with Illuminate that much more enjoyable. I was very happy with the writing, which was additionally of an extremely good caliber. Clearly, this is a real author.
However, I did notice several typos in the book. I realize this is probably not the author's fault. But still. Not even one or two, but four or six.
Oh my goodness. I literally had no words when I finished this book. It was absolutely incredible all the way through and the ending was no different. There were some not altogether unprecedented surprises that took place and both thrilled and haunted me. It could not have been better. It's sweet and yet there's an underlying tension to it all, not all the work done. One small conflict down, a million more huge ones to go. It excited me greatly. The ending was obviously well-thought-out and probably agonized over until it was perfect. That was labor well done. There is a huge cliffhanger that left me hungry, absolutely aching, for more.
Before you even ask, of course I am reading Untitled, the next Gilded Wings novel. As a matter of fact, I will probably read every single future novel Agresti publishes. It was that good. I may never get over this book (in a good way!) and I am absolutely looking forward not only to future installments from this series, but future releases from Agresti.
I'm gonna go with may, since if you missed it...well, then I really can't help you.
So, today my boyfriend surprised me with a bouquet of the most gorgeous red roses I have ever seen in my entire almost-seventeen years of living.
(Also, did, you know, my birthday's in just a few months?)
So, because my boyfriend is amazing and generous, I have decided to be amazing and generous too. So, I have a no-strings-attached giveaway planned for today! And it's gonna last until May 19, 2012, which is exactly a month from my birthday!
So, guess what you get to win??
No? Well, okay. I suppose I could just tell you.
You can win a copy of whatever book you want!
But not just one book. You get to choose three! And there won't just be one winner. There will be seven winners! (Because I can. And I don't care if seven is a clichéd and overused number. I like it.)
Edit: I've gotten some questions on this so let me clarify: they can be ANY books. Paperback or hardcover. While there's no price limit, please be reasonable and don't choose like some super-special-extended-limited edition that costs like a thousand dollars. You know.
And, even though you won't get bonus entries for sharing this giveaway via Google, Facebook, Twitter, etcetera, it would be so cool if you would do that for me anyway.
I impress myself. :)
Read my Giveaways page before entering.
I love you so much!
Of course you do.
This one is hosted by the dedicated Kathy at I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and vvb32 reads.
This giveaway hop is a little special, did you know that? I got to interview author Jessica Day George! Unfortunately, however, that interview isn't going up yet. But fear not. I do not leave you empty-handed.
I'm gonna tell you who my all-time favorite fairy tale character is.
Are you ready?
My absolute all-time favorite fairy tale character is Belle. You know, from Beauty and the Beast. One, because she is a brunette, unlike so many other blonde princesses I could name. Also, she's pretty darn brave, giving herself up to save her father. I mean, who wouldn't admire that, you know? And of course, she sings, which is awesome. Well, not in the fairy tale, but they made a musical, which I actually was in at a local theater as a dancer. Belle also can totally pull off yellow, which is enviable, and she's strong and brave, not whiny and annoying. She's actually a really good heroine, although I can't seem to recall reading any contemporary YA featuring her. But anyway, I completely love her.
Loyal followers and new followers of mine! Read any good YA lately featuring a retelling of Beauty and the Beast? If so, please let me know in the comments!
Here's what I am giving away, darlings!
Three gorgeous books, all for one lucky winner, including a preorder of the as yet not released Princess of the Silver Woods.
Read my Giveaways page before entering.
This week, I am featuring Underworld by Meg Cabot, the highly-anticipated sequel to Abandon.
Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.
Seventeen-year-old Pierce Oliviera isn’t dead.
Not this time.
But she is being held against her will in the dim, twilit world between heaven and hell, where the spirits of the deceased wait before embarking upon their final journey.
Her captor, John Hayden, claims it’s for her own safety. Because not all the departed are dear. Some are so unhappy with where they ended up after leaving the Underworld, they’ve come back as Furies, intent on vengeance…on the one who sent them there and on the one whom he loves.
But while Pierce might be safe from the Furies in the Underworld, far worse dangers could be lurking for her there…and they might have more to do with its ruler than with his enemies.
And unless Pierce is careful, this time there’ll be no escape.
Since reading Abandon, one of my life goals has been to get my hands on Underworld as soon as is humanly possible. I really, really, really want to read this one, and the cover is absolutely, beyond any doubt gorgeous! I am insanely, ridiculously excited to read this one!
What are you waiting on this Wednesday?
I didn't enjoy A Million Suns quite as much as Across the Universe, but I still really, really, really, loved it. I couldn't put it down. There was action and romance on every page, leaving me wanting more. It was extremely good and while I think it was a bit slow at some points, in general it was perfect.
I thought Elder progressed and degressed (I think I made that word up) in equal measure in this book. He can be patronizing sometimes, which can be real irritating and got on my nerves a lot of the time. I thought he tried very hard to be a good leader, which was admirable, but he didn't always know what the right thing to do was, which was realistic.
Amy was stronger in this book, which I really admired. She was a better person in general, I think, too, and also much more relatable. She has struggles that are really reflected in her character but she comes through them very well and becomes a force to be dealt with. Amy is more than just the outsider on the ship now. She's fierce and ready to stand up for what's right.
THE SECONDARY CHARACTERS
Her story saddened me. She has such conflicting desires, an it's really heartbreaking to see that in her. She tries to be a good person, I think, but has a difficult reconciling that with herself and her beliefs. i would have liked to know more about her.
We don't actually physically see a whole lot of him in this book, but he is clearly and definitely there. He's a dynamic character, definitely, and a lot of what we learn about him I would have never seen coming.
He was an extremely intriguing character. I was always looking forward to what move he was going to make next, what he was going to say. In the end, he wasn't so difficult to understand, not at all. In fact, he's an extremely relatable character.
The plot was freaking intense.
Every single page had a new twist or a new but vital scrap of information.
The entire book was thick with anticipation, eagerly awaiting the next radical event.
It was hardly boring, and only flawed but what I felt were a few pointless scenes that didn't progress the story at all, but I concede that they may become important later. Still, I absolutely loved it.
The romance in A Million Suns is more prominent than in Across the Universe, but is still traditionally sweet and smooth, not instalovey or rapidly moving. It really develops in a beautiful way and the chemistry between the characters is really palpable. The romance is definitely one of my favorites.
Revis' writing has only improved since Across the Universe. Her imagery is both haunting and provocative, inspiring me immensely. It could hardly have been better. Revis really expands on a lot of the things that were previously unclear in a lovely way, and both Elder's and Amy's voices have grown and matured.
Once again, we have been left with a remarkably cruel cliffhanger and have to wait months to find out what will happen next. It is a wonderful, perfectly-utilized way of closing the novel. It is so very signaturely Revis and I adored it absolutely. The ending left me freaking out, but also many conflicts were resolved or at least partially resolved. The ending was a bit rushed, but overall nearly amazing.
Of course, I am reading Shades of Earth. I have to! That huge cliffhanger doesn't allow for anything less! I am ridiculously excited to read it and am already wondering what is next!
This week, my feature is on Arise by Tara Hudson.
The stories of Red Riding Hood and Robin Hood get a twist as Petunia and her many sisters take on bandits, grannies, and the new King Under Stone to end their family curse once and for all.
Picking up where Princess Academy left off, this incredible stand-alone story celebrates the joys of friendship, the delight of romance, and the fate of a beloved fairy tale kingdom.
Ethan Wate has spent most of his life longing to escape the stiflingly small Southern town of Gatlin. He never thought he would meet the girl of his dreams, Lena Duchannes, who unveiled a secretive, powerful, and cursed side of Gatlin, hidden in plain sight. And he never could have expected that he would be forced to leave behind everyone and everything he cares about. So when Ethan awakes after the chilling events of the Eighteenth Moon, he has only one goal: to find a way to return to Lena and the ones he loves.
Back in Gatlin, Lena is making her own bargains for Ethan's return, vowing to do whatever it takes -- even if that means trusting old enemies or risking the lives of the family and friends Ethan left to protect.
Worlds apart, Ethan and Lena must once again work together to rewrite their fate, in this stunning finale to the Beautiful Creatures series.
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In accordance with the FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, I am required to state that no payments are received in return for reviews, promotions and endorsements. All books are received at no cost from publishers or purchased by myself. I receive no monetary compensations for anything that appears on Sparkles and Lightning.