Review & GIVEAWAY: Trial by Fire

Trial by Fire by Josephine AngeliniTitle: Trial by Fire
Author: Josephine Angelini
Series: The Worldwalker Trilogy #1

About: This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying experiences that others in her hometown of Salem take for granted, which is why she is determined to enjoy her first high school party with her best friend and longtime crush, Tristan. But after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class, Lily wishes she could just disappear.

Suddenly, Lily is in a different Salem—one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Strongest and cruelest of them all is Lillian . . . Lily’s other self in this alternate universe.

What makes Lily weak at home is what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. In this confusing world, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can’t hope to shoulder alone and a love she never expected.

My Thoughts: I am a huge fan of the Starcrossed series, so when I saw something new by Josephine Angelini, I was very excited.

Let me start by saying that this is very different from Starcrossed. Very. The world(s) is (are) so different … there’s a lot to learn. Not just for Lily, but for the reader as well. The world she finds herself in is so different, it can take awhile to get your head wrapped around things. I suppose it’s good, because it helps you relate to Lily. But, that’s only my thought after having completed the book. Until now, it made for some surprisingly slow reading. I expected to get sucked in pretty much right away, but that didn’t happen until the last quarter or so.

Don’t let that keep  you from reading this. It’s an amazing, imaginative world. And the idea of your worst enemy being a different version of yourself? Kinda chilling!

The characters are great. Lily is someone you start out feeling sorry for, but she really finds herself once she’s in the alternate universe. Her friends and allies are pretty neat characters — especially Rowan (book boyfriend? Oh, yes!), whose story slowly is revealed through the book. I’m sure there’s more to everyone’s stories, and hopefully we’ll see more of them as the series progresses.

By the end of the book, I couldn’t read fast enough — and I wasn’t quite ready for it to end. That’s kinda the mark of a good story in my mind — even if it took awhile to get to that point.

4 Stars

Source: Sent by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Read It: Trial by Fire is scheduled for release around September 2, 2014. You can pre-order your own copy via Amazon or Book Depository(These are affiliate links, and purchase through either link will result in my receiving a small commission at no cost to you. Your support is appreciated!)

Win It: Oh, yes, you can win your own copy easy-peasy! Up for grabs is one copy to one lucky winner in the U.S. (sorry, international friends). Just follow the instructions below, and Rafflecopter will help me choose a winner in two weeks! :-) Contest closes at midnight on Sunday, September 14.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Review: Dissonance

Dissonance by Erica O'RourkeTitle: Dissonance
Author: Erica O’Rourke
Series: Dissonance #1

About: Delancy Sullivan has always known there’s more to reality than what people see. Every time someone makes a choice, a new, parallel world branches off from the existing one. Eating breakfast or skipping it, turning left instead of right, sneaking out instead of staying in bed ~ all of these choices create an alternate universe in which an echo self takes the road not travelled and makes the opposite decision. As a Walker, someone who can navigate between these worlds, Del’s job is to keep all of the dimensions in harmony.

Normally, Del can hear the dissonant frequency that each world emits as clear as a bell. But when a training session in an off-key world goes horribly wrong, she is forbidden from Walking by the Council. But Del’s not big on following the rules and she secretly starts to investigate these other worlds. Something strange is connecting them and it’s not just her random encounters with echo versions of the guy she likes, Simon Lane.

But Del’s decisions have unimaginable consequences and, as she begins to fall for the Echo Simons in each world, she draws closer to a truth that the Council of Walkers is trying to hide ~ a secret that threatens the fate of the entire multiverse.

My Thoughts: Funny how I keep ending up reading books about similar concepts one right after the other. Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini is the last book I read, and there’s a very similar concept in that book. Parallel universes, endless branches. And only some people can navigate between the universes. From there, however, the differences (mostly) end.

Del is trouble, but with a good heart (mostly). Honestly, I think her sister, Addie, is worse. Awful, horrible, nasty big sister. I would NEVER let my oldest treat her siblings the way Addie treats Del. I don’t get what the problem is, but perhaps we’ll learn more along those lines further into the series. I hope, because right now, I wanna see Addie get taken down. She’s vindictive, cruel, and a selfish you-know-what. I kept wondering what her problem is.

Despite the similarities to Trial by Fire that I mentioned above, this is a very unique book (at least based on what I’ve read) with a really cool premise. Yes, parallel universes have been touched on before, but I think this is a fresh take on how all of it works. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Bonus: There are plenty of unexpected twists and turns. And huge surprises — including surprising, unexpected betrayals — plus some heartbreaking events all thrown in. Fantastic!

Simon. Love him. Book boyfriend for sure. He’s sweet, kind, and someone I’d totally let my girls date (when they’re his age). Love this guy!

So, I don’t wanna say anymore, because I don’t wanna ruin anything for anyone. If you’re in for a good book that’s a wild ride, this just might be for you.

5 StarsSource: Received through Around the World Tours for review.

Read It: You can order your own copy via Amazon or Book Depository(These are affiliate links, and purchase through either link will result in my receiving a small commission at no cost to you. Your support is appreciated!)

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Top Ten Tuesday: I Wanna Read Them

Top Ten TuesdayThis is one of those memes I’d love to do regularly. Unfortunately, my busy schedule doesn’t generally allow for it. But, when I can — and it’s a topic I’m excited about — these are always fun to post. This awesome meme is still hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. For a list of past and future Top Ten Tuesday topics and to find out more about Top Ten Tuesday, click here! As always, these are listed in the order they come to mind.

Top Ten Books I Really Want to Read But Don’t Own Yet

Before I delve into this, I must discuss. I no longer buy every book I want to read. I stopped doing that years ago. You see, I finally rediscovered an amazing place — my local library — and (aside from books sent to me for review) now get most of my books there. So, for me, this is more Top Ten Books I Really Want to Read But Haven’t Found at the Library Yet. As always, these are posted in order that they come to mind.

  1. Endure by Carrie Jones: This is the final book of her Need series, and I’ve been wanting to read it for what feels like forever. I found it at the library once. Checked it out, but wasn’t able to read it before it was due (after a renewal :oops: ). Since then, I haven’t seen it on the shelf. One or two of the other books are usually there, but I guess this is a super-popular series. Or something.
  2. The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum: This is a series I’ve wanted to give a read since seeing the first movie. It’s not that I haven’t found it — I haven’t remembered to look for it. LOL
  3. Requiem by Lauren Oliver: It kills me that I don’t know how the Delirium series ended! This is one I actually do intend to purchase. I already own the other two — MUST complete the series! ;)
  4. Reached by Ally Condie: Again, it kills me that I don’t know how this series (Matched) ends! As I don’t own the others, though, library! ;)
  5. The Savage Grace by Bree Despain: The final book of The Dark Divine series. I’ll say it again: Kills me that I haven’t finished it! I think I own the first two, so this would be a buy book for sure!
  6. The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter: I’ve heard such wonderful things. I had the chance to read the ARC at one point, but passed. I’ve been kicking myself ever since!
  7. Passion and Rapture by Lauren Kate: Books three and four of Fallen, a series I loved (so far)! I think I actually might own Passion, but definitely not Rapture.
  8. 13 Secrets by Michelle Harrison: The third book in the Thirteen Treasures series.
  9. Infinity by Rachel Ward: The third Numbers book. Didn’t like the first, but loved the second. Wanna read more!
  10. Everneath by Brodi Ashton: This is another one I passed on the opportunity to read an ARC. And, again, I wish I hadn’t. I’ve checked this out once or twice, but just haven’t had a chance to actually read it. Maybe next time!

This is a tiny list … so tiny. But, they’re all books I really want to read. Hopefully soon!
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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

Monday! What Are You Reading?I was gonna get an early start on this one — post before I went to bed last night. But my computer had other plans. *sigh* Actually, I think it’s my trackpad, so now I’m stuck using my mouse. Not that you all care, but rambling is my specialty! ;)

Last week’s review:

Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini

Yes, just one. I had a slow reading week. Unexpectedly, that was a hard book for me to get into. I’m trying something new this week. To get to the review, simply click on the book cover. :-) Psst: There is a giveaway to go along with this review. Make sure to enter it before you move on to the next Monday post!

Other post:

Top Ten Tuesday

Yes. One. Single. Other. Post. It was my kids’ first week back at school. That’s my excuse! ;) Again, click the image to get to the post. And, oh, yes, I got tomorrow’s in the queue already. :)

What I’m reading now:

I’m considering removing that first one from my list, as I haven’t made progress on it in months. Perhaps it’s time to admit defeat? I fully intend to read it, just not sure when.
Dissonance by Erica O’Rourke ~ Very good so far. But it’s HUGE. This might be another one-review week!
Crash the Chatterbox by Steven Furtick ~ I’m reading this to go along with a new series my pastor just started at my church. It’s a six-week series that started yesterday, and it looks like we’ll only be reading a couple of chapters per week. So, expect to see it in my posts for the next several weeks! ;)
Dangerous Women ~ I managed to get it back from the library. I better finish it now, huh? ;)

On deck this week:

Hmm … this category seems to grow every week. I should just buckle down and read a few of these kids’ books at the very least. Then I could knock a few out in a matter of a couple of hours. Now to just find the time …

So, how about you? What’s your week in books look like?

If you’re here as part of this meme, please make sure to let me know — especially if you’re new. I’d love to return the visit. (Oh, and be careful. My comments have been a bit wonky. If your comment doesn’t appear right away, please shoot me an email so I can make sure it’s not in spam!)
~*~

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Top Ten Tuesday: Gotta Read It!

Top Ten TuesdayThis is one of those memes I’d love to do regularly. Unfortunately, my busy schedule doesn’t generally allow for it. But, when I can — and it’s a topic I’m excited about — these are always fun to post. This awesome meme is still hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. For a list of past and future Top Ten Tuesday topics and to find out more about Top Ten Tuesday, click here! As always, these are listed in the order they come to mind.

Top Ten Books People Have Been Telling Me I MUST Read

Only ten? I probably have several times that many recommendations waiting to be explored. Some, people have bought me a book to get me going in the series, only for me to have no time (yet) to read it. Others have lent me various books. And there even are a few I’ve won in giveaways and just haven’t yet gotten around to. Oh, and there are the ones I’ve checked out from the library several times, only to return them without so much as cracking open the cover … I try. I really do try. Anyway, here’s my list.

  1. Divergent by Veronica Roth: Yes, I haven’t read it. Or anything in that series. I want to read it — oh, how I want to. But it just hasn’t happened yet.
  2. Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan: I have had SEVERAL people recommend these books to me, not the least of which is my 11-year-old daughter who read the whole series in the matter of a few months! Believe me, I really do want to read it. Anyone have a few extra hours I could borrow to get them read? ;-)
  3. Graceling by Kristin Cashore: A dear friend of mine has many times said I should read this. And I want to. I will — eventually.
  4. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin: As a big-time fantasy fan, it’s probably sacrilege that I haven’t yet read it. My mom even sent me the whole series on paperback (her copies) so I can read it! I will, I will. I promise!
  5. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare: And the series. This is one I really want to read. Again, time … not on my side when it comes to books!
  6. The Tale of Desperaux by Kate DiCamillo: A dear friend of mine has lent me her copy. It’s around here somewhere. Collecting dust. :oops:
  7. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer: I have seen all of the movies, but haven’t cracked open a single book. And I own them all.
  8. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: A book-blogger friend sent me a copy. From Australia (if I remember correctly). You’d think I’d make the time for this one …
  9. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver: You’d think, given how much I tend to love Oliver’s books, I’d have read this by now. Believe me, I want to. I even have a gorgeous hard-cover copy waiting for me to find the time for it!
  10. Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink: This is one that came very highly recommended to me. And I even won the whole series in a giveaway. Anyone know where I might be able to win some time? ;-)

This is just a tiny fraction of the books I’ve had recommended to me. That’s the fun in being a book blogger. You get so many book recommendations. So many great suggestions. Now if only I didn’t have kids to raise (no, I do NOT mean that — wouldn’t trade them for anything, not even all the reading time in the world!), a job, and other important obligations. ;)
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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

Monday! What Are You Reading?Week 2! HA! I remembered! ;)

Last week’s reviews:

Chasing Before by Lenore Appelhans | Blackbird by Anna Carey

Yeah, I know, not much. And, no, I didn’t get Dangerous Women finished before the library needed it back. But it was a crazy week work-wise, and that’s my excuse! ;)

What I’m reading now:

Beyond the Bake Sale ~ Yes. Still working through it. And, no, no progress. I’ll probably have to start it over when I do pick it back up. LOL | Trial by Fire ~ the latest by Josephine Angelini, one of my favorite authors. I managed to get my hands on an ARC and finally am getting to reading it. Can’t wait! :)

On deck this week (hopefully):

This, of course, is in addition to the two above that I want to finish. I know, I know, lots of kids books. No worries. I don’t count those as books toward my total for the year! ;) This is the first week of school for my kids (tomorrow is the first day), so I’m not quite sure how much I’ll be able to get through. But, since they likely will need to read for school, it might be fun to incorporate some of these!

So, how about you? What’s your week in books look like?

If you’re here as part of this meme, please make sure to let me know — especially if you’re new. I’d love to return the visit. (Oh, and be careful. My comments have been a bit wonky. If your comment doesn’t appear right away, please shoot me an email so I can make sure it’s not in spam!)

Here’s to a great week for all of us!
~*~

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Review: Blackbird

Blackbird by Anna CareyTitle: Blackbird
Author: Anna Carey
Series: Blackbird Duology #1

About: A girl wakes up on the train tracks, a subway car barreling down on her. With only minutes to react, she hunches down and the train speeds over her. She doesn’t remember her name, where she is, or how she got there. She has a tattoo on the inside of her right wrist of a blackbird inside a box, letters and numbers printed just below: FNV02198. There is only one thing she knows for sure: people are trying to kill her. 

On the run for her life, she tries to untangle who she is and what happened to the girl she used to be. Nothing and no one are what they appear to be. But the truth is more disturbing than she ever imagined. 

My Thoughts: I almost didn’t even try to get into this book. The first several chapters — probably the entire first half or so — was a struggle. You see, this book is written in second-person. I remember learning about various narrative styles in school as a kid, and there was much said about first- and third-person narratives. All I remember being told about second-person: It’s hardly ever used, so you don’t really need to know much about it. But, it’s as if someone is telling you what YOU did. Almost as if you are the main character.

Let me just say, there’s a reason why second-person is not a popular choice. It’s not for everyone. And this book showed me that I’m one of those people who just don’t find second person something I enjoy reading. So, I’m thinking it doesn’t have wide appeal. And if I’m honest with myself, well, I’m guessing it’s a difficult way to write, too. Especially an entire novel.

So, back to Blackbird by Anna Carey. Thanks to the second-person narrative, I found this very, VERY hard to get into. I almost called it quits, it was so hard. (And you know I’m not one who easily gives up on books.) But I pushed through, I’m glad I did. Mostly. Here’s why I say “mostly”:

  • There are small bits throughout the book that are told in third-person. Those were my favorite parts. Like breaths of fresh air. I liked those parts. A lot. And they are very well-written. (Really, the whole book is — if you can get past the whole second-person thing, which I obviously cannot.)
  • Once the second-person narration stopped being a distraction, I found myself drawn into the story. The action is intense, fast-paced, and full of suspense. Soon, perspective doesn’t matter too much, because you just gotta know what’s going on.
  • Lots of twists and turns. Very interesting.

So, will I read this again? Absolutely not. Second-person is enough to keep me away. (Me no likey!) Will I read the sequel? You bet! By the end, the action finally got good enough that I was almost able to forget about the whole second-person problem. Almost. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to make me love the book. But it was enough to make me like the story a lot — and want to see how this all plays out.

3 StarsSource: Received through Around the World Tours for review.

Read It: Blackbird is scheduled for release around September 16, 2014. You can pre-order your own copy via Amazon or Book Depository(These are affiliate links, and purchase through either link will result in my receiving a small commission at no cost to you. Your support is appreciated!)

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~*~

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