Monday, July 30, 2012

Pale (Early Review)

Title: Pale
Author: Chris Wooding
Publisher: Stoke Books
Publication Date: September 10, 2012
Source: Net Galley

Goodreads Summary:
The Lazarus Serum can bring you back from the dead. Only thing is, it turns you into a Pale. Jed can't imagine anything worse, but then the choice is taken out of his hands...

My Thoughts:
I really like the idea behind this novel. I felt like the story was too short to really do the tale justice though. There is so much potential in these characters and in this plot, but for me it all ended up feeling a bit cheesy and forced. However, I think this book could lead to some very interesting discussions.

Rating: 2.5/5

Skybound (Early Book Review)

Title: Skybound
Author: Aleksandr Voinov
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Publication Date: August 20, 2012
Source: Net Galley

Goodreads Summary:
Germany, 1945. The Third Reich is on its knees as Allied forces bomb Berlin to break the last resistance. Yet on an airfield near Berlin, the battle is far from over for a young mechanic, Felix, who’s attached to a squadron of fighter pilots. He’s especially attached to fighter ace Baldur Vogt, a man he admires and secretly loves. But there’s no room for love at the end of the world, never mind in Nazi Germany.

When Baldur narrowly cheats death, Felix pulls him from his plane, and the pilot makes his riskiest move yet. He takes a few days’ leave to recover, and he takes Felix with him. Away from the pressures of the airfield, their bond deepens, and Baldur shows Felix the kind of brotherhood he’d only ever dreamed of before.

But there’s no escaping the war, and when they return, Baldur joins the fray again in the skies over Berlin. As the Allies close in on the airfield where Felix waits for his lover, Baldur must face the truth that he is no longer the only one in mortal danger.

My thoughts:
This is a heartwarming and heartbreaking tale of a squadron of Germans at the end of the second World War. The novel is short but it pulls you right in so that by the end you feel as though you really are a part of this group. It's a story of love and loss and live and death. It's a story of war that is so real and tragic and wonderful as to bring it fully life. It is a story that proves that love can overcome all even in the worst of situations.

Rating: 4.5/5

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Lord of the Flies (Book Review)

Title: Lord of the Flies
Author: William Golding
Publisher: Perigee Trade
Source: Bought

Goodreads Summary:
William Golding's classic tale about a group of English schoolboys who are plane-wrecked on a deserted island is just as chilling and relevant today as when it was first published in 1954. At first, the stranded boys cooperate, attempting to gather food, make shelters, and maintain signal fires. Overseeing their efforts are Ralph, "the boy with fair hair," and Piggy, Ralph's chubby, wisdom-dispensing sidekick whose thick spectacles come in handy for lighting fires. Although Ralph tries to impose order and delegate responsibility, there are many in their number who would rather swim, play, or hunt the island's wild pig population. Soon Ralph's rules are being ignored or challenged outright. His fiercest antagonist is Jack, the redheaded leader of the pig hunters, who manages to lure away many of the boys to join his band of painted savages. The situation deteriorates as the trappings of civilization continue to fall away, until Ralph discovers that instead of being hunters, he and Piggy have become the hunted: "He forgot his words, his hunger and thirst, and became fear; hopeless fear on flying feet." Golding's gripping novel explores the boundary between human reason and animal instinct, all on the brutal playing field of adolescent competition.

My Thoughts:
I'm aware that this book is a classic and is very popular but it just didn't do it for me. Maybe I am too much of an optimist but I really can't see a group of boys turning into killing machines that quickly just because they are trapped on an island. Fighting, of course; stabbing and attacking, not so much. Like I said, maybe I just think to highly of people, but this book just seemed so unrealistic to me that it lost all of the chilling effect that it is supposed to evoke. However, it was a fun read and I really liked the ending.

Rating: 2.5/5

Friday, July 20, 2012

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Book Review)

Title: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Author: Philip K. Dick
Publisher: Random House
Source: Bought

Goodreads Summary:
A final, apocalyptic, world war has killed millions, driving entire species into extinction and sending the majority of mankind off-planet. Those who remain, venerate all remaining examples of life, and owning an animal of your own is both a symbol of status and a necessity. For those who can't afford an authentic animal, companies build incredibly realistic simulacrae: horses, birds, cats, sheep . . . even humans.

My Thoughts:
First off, I would like to say that I have not seen Bladerunner and my review will not in anyway be related to that movie.
This book started off really slow for me. I had trouble getting into it and relating to the characters or really even understanding and caring what was going on in the plot. However after about 50 pages, the story really picks up and the characters become more real. I was sure from the beginning that I was not going to enjoy this book, but in end I have to say that it was definitely worth the read. I am glad I pushed through the beginning to get to the end because it was well worth it.

Rating: 3/5

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Revenge of the Witch (Book Review)

Title: Revenge of the Witch
Series: The Last Apprentice #1
Author: Joseph Delaney
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Source: Bought

Goodreads Summary:
For years, Old Gregory has been the Spook for the county, ridding the local villages of evil. Now his time is coming to an end, but who will take over for him? Twenty-nine apprentices have tried--some floundered, some fled, some failed to stay alive. Only Thomas Ward is left. He's the last hope--the last apprentice.

My Thoughts:
I loved this book. I know that it was written for children, but that didn't even matter. It held my attention the whole time. It was exciting and fun. I cannot wait to read the rest of this series. It truly was a great read that I would recommend to any young adult fantasy lovers. The story is well-told and it left me wanting more. Thomas Ward is a very believable character that I just can't help but root for and Alice and the Spook are some of the most interesting characters I've come across all year. Fantastic!

Rating: 5/5  

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

iFeel Blog Tour: Guest Post by Author Marissa Carmel

You plan, God laughs.  This is the story of my life.

There are ideals and expectations I assume everyone has; whom you will marry, what your career will be like, where you will raise your kids. And yes, I had all those ideologies in my head, except were more like, have a career, don't get marry and absolutely no kids.  Boy was I wrong. Today I am married with two kids, and living in a state I only passed through on occasion. And my career? Well let’s just say, I have more than one, and I never saw that coming.  Who needs more than one career? Apparently me. To make a long story short, I started my first career as a logistician, yawn, I won’t bore you with the details. The second career came shortly after.

I've always loved to write. Always. My imagination constantly runs away with itself, and I am without doubt following it. My best subject was creative writing. So when I would write, it was primarily for me (or a good grade). As time went on though, I found myself imagining more and more and wanting to create, but my life was so busy, and what would it get me anyway? Until one day my mother- in- law dropped a bomb that would change my life. She was talking to one of my husband’s cousins who were complaining about getting her college degree (she was already married with 4 kids. Yikes. I’d be complaining too.) And my MIL, the wise woman that she is simply said, honey, and time is going to go by anyway, so you might as well do it. Well, it felt like the sky fell on me. The advice wasn’t even directed at me, but it resonated. I started writing that night. And never stopped.

My husband once asked where my creativity comes from, and in return I asked him if he ever heard voices in his head.  His reply, I needed to see a shrink. I told him a keyboard and a curser is the best therapy. I have always loved the supernatural, thanks in part to my mom; Charmed was one of our favorite shows to watch together and still is.  So when I started writing, it only felt natural that it took on a paranormal feel. But I didn't want to write about vampires or werewolves or really anything that had been done. I'm like that; I always tend to steer towards the opposite of popular and then proceed to make fun of it. So I started researching, and brainstorming, and concocting my mix of love, humor and emotion. Liv was already an entity in my head, festering. I'd often imagine a dark haired girl with amethyst eyes, suffering and alone. When I finally established who she really was, and what kind of supernatural elements she would possess, (an Empath-someone who can feel the emotions of others- with active abilities) I asked myself, what would it be like for someone like that to carry the world's emotions?

Torrential I thought. What would it be like for her to fall in love? Even worse than torrential.  The story evolved rather quickly after that, but I didn't rush it.  It took me a little over a year to write, over two years to edit. I learned a lot about my writing style during that time, developed my voice and really tried to give it a life-like feel.

So here I am almost four years later, a husband, 2 kids, and a home in what feels like a foreign country; a daytime career and a nighttime career, all jumbling together, fighting for a piece of my time. Go hard or go home, my husband and I always joke, if we have a story, it needs a theme and that is it.  I wouldn't change it though, not for anything. Life is nothing, if not a venture - (I have no idea who said that).

Marissa Carmel has been writing since a young age and although it has always been for personal enjoyment, she finally decided breakout and share her imagination with the world. She hopes that her universe is as fun and intriguing to her readers as it is to her. Marissa Carmel is originally from NJ but moved to Maryland several years ago, she enjoys reading, writing, and catching up on her DVR library. She is currently working on the sequel to iFeel, Gravitational Pull, which she hopes to release sometime in 2012. 


Book Blurb-
Lust. Anger. Hate. Desire. Love. Happiness. Joy. iFeel.

Liv Christianni is isolated, alone, tortured and withdrawn, saddled with the torrential downpour of the world’s emotions. Accepting of her providence Liv has lost all hope, until one day fate steps in and spins the course of her life like a spiraling top. Hunted by a Spirit Stalker, Liv is forced to gain control of herself and her surroundings, threatened by the touch of her immortal love; she must find a way to survive both physically and emotionally as her reality is shaken up like dice on a Craps table. Can she find the courage to accept her true self? Can she love unconditionally cognizant of the condemning consequences? Can she rise from the ashes to become the person she was always meant to be?

Funny, witty, real, and poignant, iFeel rips into your soul, and sets your emotions on fire.

If you are a fan of Charmed or Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries or The Secret Circle this series is for you! 

I direct my anger towards the mocking bottles of crazy pills settled in the cabinet. I attack them; clearing all the glass shelves in one angered fit. Tiny orange bottles fly all around my white tiled bathroom, exploding an array of colored pills against the walls and floor. It feels like I am bombing my past; liberating my future and releasing myself from whatever binds me. I want to be free, and if that means destroying my whole apartment in the process to get there, I am willing to do that.
I can feel the rage course through my veins; my head throbs and my throat burns as I thrash at my tiny bathroom. All I can hear are the voices of people who mean the most to me, those who encourage me, those who support me. To my surprise, the loudest voice is the one who is farthest away. Justice’s words echo against the tiled surface, telling me to let go, to accept my fate, to be magical and not mental. It makes me miss him all the more, but what he said finally makes sense.
My breaths pulse quickly in my lungs, as if the air is thinning. I have worked myself up into a crazed frenzy to expel my true self. My enraged fit has resulted in a bathroom bloodbath, me versus myself.
And I won.

Contact Info-
Twitter- @MarissaCarmel
Facebook- Marissa Carmel
Purchase Links-

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Slaughterhouse-Five (Book Review)

Title: Slaughterhouse-Five
Author: Kurt Vonnegut
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Source: Bought

Goodreads Summary:
Kurt Vonnegut's absurdist classic Slaughterhouse-Five introduces us to Billy Pilgrim, a man who becomes unstuck in time after he is abducted by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. In a plot-scrambling display of virtuosity, we follow Pilgrim simultaneously through all phases of his life, concentrating on his (and Vonnegut's) shattering experience as an American prisoner of war who witnesses the firebombing of Dresden.

Don't let the ease of reading fool you - Vonnegut's isn't a conventional, or simple, novel. He writes, "There are almost no characters in this story, and almost no dramatic confrontations, because most of the people in it are so sick, and so much the listless playthings of enormous forces. One of the main effects of war, after all, is that people are discouraged from being characters."

Slaughterhouse-Five is not only Vonnegut's most powerful book, it is also as important as any written since 1945. Like Catch- 22, it fashions the author's experiences in the Second World War into an eloquent and deeply funny plea against butchery in the service of authority.Slaughterhouse-Five boasts the same imagination, humanity, and gleeful appreciation of the absurd found in Vonnegut's other works, but the book's basis in rock-hard, tragic fact gives it a unique poignancy - and humor

I did not have high expectations going into this book, despite the fact that I usually enjoy World War II fiction. The amount of times that I had heard this novel favorably compared to Catch-22 , a novel which I did not like very much, left me thinking that I would not enjoy this book very much either. However the story and the characters and the unique structure and take on World War II in this novel was really intriguing. And while I would not say that it is the best World War II novel that I have ever read, I certainly think that it deserves the praise that it gets for being such a wonderfully told story with a message about the nature of war and humanity.

Rating: 3.5/5

Monday, July 16, 2012

iFeel (Book Review)

Title: iFeel
Series: Vis Vires Trilogy #1
Author: Marissa Carmel
Publisher: Great Minds Think Aloud Publishing
Source: From Publisher for review

Goodreads Summary:
Lust. Anger. Hate. Desire. Love. Happiness. Joy. iFeel. 

Liv Christianni is isolated, alone, tortured and withdrawn, saddled with the torrential downpour of the world’s emotions. Accepting of her providence Liv has lost all hope, until one day fate steps in and spins the course of her life like a spiraling top. Hunted by a Spirit Stalker, Liv is forced to gain control of herself and her surroundings, threatened by the touch of her immortal love; she must find a way to survive both physically and emotionally as her reality is shaken up like dice on a Craps table. Can she find the courage to accept her true self? Can she love unconditionally cognizant of the condemning consequences? Can she rise from the ashes to become the person she was always meant to be? 

Funny, witty, real, and poignant, iFeel rips into your soul, and sets your emotions on fire.

If you are a fan of Charmed or Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries or The Secret Circle this series is for you!

I love the paranormal genre and I especially love how Marissa has taken it in her own direction with iFeel.  It's not your typical vampire romance or werewolf family. It takes paranormal in a whole new direction. Liv is an amazing character that you can't help but feel for the entire novel. It's almost eerie how much I can relate to this fictional character with supernatural powers. This novel held me captive from beginning to end and I can't wait for the next book in the series.

Rating: 5/5


Monday, July 9, 2012

Brooklyn Zoo (Early Book Review)

Title: Brooklyn Zoo: The Education of a Psychotherapist
Author: Darcy Lockman
Expected Publication Date: July 17, 2012
Publisher: Doubleday
Source: Eidelwiess

Goodreads Summary: 
Ever wonder just who that person in the chair opposite you in the therapist's office is, and how he or she got that way? Wonder no more. This is a compelling memoir about the stressful, yet never less than exciting, education of a psychotherapist in the midst of institutional dysfunction that bids fair to become to psychotherapy what Scott Turow's One L is to lawyering and Samuel Shem's House of God is to doctoring.

I really enjoyed reading this book. It is a wonderful memoir of a young graduate student's internship at a failing mental hospital. Her experiences are interesting and sometimes bizarre. The book kept me interested from beginning to end. I was actually quite disappointed when the book ended and there would be no more rotations for Darcy to share with us.
However, I don't think it's fair to say that this book explains how every therapist is got there. Every therapist is different. Any many opinions on different psychological techniques are presented as facts in this book and not as opinions. So it is good to read this with an open mind and remember that, for example, not all therapists despise the use of CBT.

Rating: 4/5 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Almost Perfect (Book Review)

Title: Almost Perfect
Author: Brian Katcher
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Source: Won from WHOLLY BOOKS! giveaway

Goodreads Summary:
Logan Witherspoon recently discovered that his girlfriend of three years cheated on him. But things start to look up when a new student breezes through the halls of his small-town high school. Sage Hendricks befriends Logan at a time when he no longer trusts or believes in people. Sage has been homeschooled for a number of years and her parents have forbidden her to date anyone, but she won’t tell Logan why. One day, Logan acts on his growing feelings for Sage. Moments later, he wishes he never had. Sage finally discloses her big secret: she’s actually a boy. Enraged, frightened, and feeling betrayed, Logan lashes out at Sage and disowns her. But once Logan comes to terms with what happened, he reaches out to Sage in an attempt to understand her situation. But Logan has no idea how rocky the road back to friendship will be.

I started and stopped this book many times and picked up many other books in between all before I got very far into the book. It was boring and corny. Logan was typical and expected. Sage wasn't even very excited in the begging. But I am so glad that I kept reading. Once I really got into I finished the rest of the book in one day. The story is harsh and realistic and raw in a way that many young adult books are afraid to be. It touches on many different tough subjects that many teens deal with growing up and paints a stark yet true to life picture of what it is like to grow up as a transgendered teen or just a confused teen in general. The book is very well written and is well worth getting through the begging bit to make it to the rest of the wonderfully told story.

Rating: 4/5