27 April 2012

Book Review: The Selection by Kiera Cass (Luxury Reading review)

Posted by Meghan @ Books and a Cup of Tea at 12:00 AM 6 comments

  Title: The Selection                                                          Pages: 327
  Author: Kiera Cass                                                          Source: Luxury Reading
  Publisher: HarperTeen                                                   Published: April 24, 2012
  Series: The Selection #1                                                Purchase: Amazon
merica Singer is content with her life. Although her boyfriend, Aspen, is in a lower caste, to America, he’s perfect. So when he urges her to join The Selection, an opportunity for one of thirty-five girls to become the wife of Prince Maxon, she is surprised. She’s even more surprised when she’s picked.

Wanting to be with Aspen, but needing the checks that The Selection provides her family with more, America sets off to the palace, heart closed off from the snobby Prince.

But when America meets Maxon, she realizes he’s not who she thought he was. He’s kind and sweet and she realizes that marrying Aspen might not be the best choice she has – and wants.

Plagued by these new found feelings, America has a big decision to make. Will it be Aspen or Prince Maxon?

After hearing about The Selection being compared to The Bachelor, I immediately wanted to read it. Being an unashamed fan of The Bachelor and all the juicy drama it provides, I knew I couldn’t go wrong with The Selection. And it didn’t disappoint.

To read the rest of my review, please go to Luxury Reading!

Pass or Read? If you love the Bachelor, definitely give this one a read!

Cover thoughts: The cover is so pretty. Of course it's just another pretty girl in a pretty dress, but with the other girls around her in the same dress, it is a bit more unique and reminds me of a forest in the winter. So pretty.

23 April 2012

Book Review: The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

Posted by Meghan @ Books and a Cup of Tea at 12:00 AM 2 comments

  Title: The Immortal Rules                                             Pages: 504
  Author: Julie Kagawa                                                     Source: Netgalley
  Publisher: Harlequin Teen                                            Published: April 24, 2012
  Series: Blood of Eden #1                                              Purchase: Amazon
In a future world, Vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity.

Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.

Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked—and given the ultimate choice. Die… or become one of the monsters.

Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.

Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend—a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.

But it isn't easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what—and who—is worth dying for
The Immortal Rules has an amazing synopsis - one that immediately grabs your attention despite the fact that it's just another vampire novel. It's not, though. It's so much more than all the vampire novels out there. It has heart and passion and an amazing plot.

Allison Sekemoto captured my heart. She is such a tough girl, constantly putting herself on the line for the Unregistereds in her group, especially for Stick. She does everything in her power to keep her and her group alive, even when she's trying to distance herself from them so she won't get hurt if one of them dies. I love how much heart she has!

Even though there wasn't a lot of romance, it was still wonderfully written. There isn't really a love triangle, but I could see one happening if Julie Kagawa wants to write one. It'd be a heck of a love triangle, too.

The writing is amazing. It's so straight forward, but it has so much passion and realism behind it, even though it's in the paranormal genre. Kagawa's world-building is amazing and I realize now why her Iron Fey series is so popular. She has that certain something that makes the characters and world come to life.

And boy, does Kagawa know how to write a plot. Much like the amazing Suzanne Collins and Carrie Ryan, she doesn't hold back. You grow attached to characters and then they're killed off, but at the same time it's amazing because it's so realistic. On top of that, the plot is so unique. Dystopian meets paranormal? Sign me up any day. Especially if it's Kagawa writing it.

Overall, I loved The Immortal Rules. It grabbed my interest and held it for all 504 pages (which is no easy feat!) and I would highly recommend it to any vampire, paranormal, or dystopian lover. I would recommend it to anyone actually.

Pass or Read? Read right now!

Cover thoughts: Not a terribly unique cover, but I'd totally pick it up in a bookstore. I love how she's crying blood, but I wish she look just a tad bit more Asian, or her face was shorter or something, as that's how I pictured Allison. I really like the colors as well on this one!

16 April 2012

In My Mailbox 30: Late/Purple Edition

Posted by Meghan @ Books and a Cup of Tea at 12:52 PM 3 comments

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren and is a weekly meme to showcase what you got over the week by buying, receiving, borrowing, stealing from a friend etc.

Luxury Reading:
Endlessly by Kiersten White - I am so excited I get to review this! I love the Paranormalcy series so much and I can't wait to find out what happens to Evie next!
Fated by Alyson Noel - Started this but I'm only on page 40 or something. So far it's very interesting and different than I thought it was going to be by reading the synopsis.

Purity by Jackson Pearce - This one sounds amazing! I'll definitely be reading this one as soon as I have the chance.

Thank you Little, Brown and Vera at Luxury Reading!

That's all I got this week or so, what did you get in your mailbox?

07 April 2012

Book Review: Starters by Lissa Price

Posted by Meghan @ Books and a Cup of Tea at 4:50 PM 1 comments

  Title: Starters                                                                 Pages: 368
  Author: Lissa Price                                                       Source: Netgalley
  Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers    Published: June 12, 2012
  Series: Starters #1                                                       Purchase: Amazon

Callie lost her parents when the Spore Wars wiped out everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty. She and her little brother, Tyler, go on the run, living as squatters with their friend Michael and fighting off renegades who would kill them for a cookie. Callie's only hope is Prime Destinations, a disturbing place in Beverly Hills run by a mysterious figure known as the Old Man.

He hires teens to rent their bodies to Enders—seniors who want to be young again. Callie, desperate for the money that will keep her, Tyler, and Michael alive, agrees to be a donor. But the neurochip they place in Callie's head malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her renter, living in her mansion, driving her cars, and going out with a senator's grandson. It feels almost like a fairy tale, until Callie discovers that her renter intends to do more than party—and that Prime Destinations' plans are more evil than Callie could ever have imagined...
Starters is a great example of the wonderful dystopian novels that are coming out lately. It has heart, action, incredible sci-fi moments and an awesome, brave heroine.

I loved Callie. She had so much of her heart to give, especially to her brother. She loved him unconditionally and did anything it took to keep him alive, including selling her body to the Body Bank and the Enders that rented her. I loved how much she cared about everyone and how much ambition she had!

If you're looking for a highly romantic book, you will not find it with Starters. While it has romance in it, it is not in the forefront as most other novels. This did not bother me in the least and I thought Lissa Price did a fabulous job writing the romance.

The plot is really fast paced and just plain great. I loved it from the minute I started and did not once lose interest. Some of the twists I saw ahead of time, but there are a few that just blew me away.

While the ending was not totally wrapped up (because of there being a sequel!), I was greatly satisfied and I felt like it was partly resolved. To me, this is how all great dystopian novels are: book one introduces a "big problem" and a "smaller problem" that gets resolved by the ending, book two keeps the "big problem" going and introduces another "smaller problem" and depending on if this is the final book, both big and small problems get resolved. If a novel does not follow this formula, I am usually left feeling unsatisfied with the first book of the series.

Overall, I loved Starters and would definitely recommend it to any dystopian or light sci-fi fans. I will definitely be reading the sequel, Enders!

Pass or Read? Read right now!

Cover thoughts: This is by far one of the most unique covers I've seen. I mean, the girl is completely white except for her eyes! I've never seen that before and since it's so bright and unique, it can definitely attract attention in a book store!

05 April 2012

Cover Reveal Thursday: Sacred and League of Strays

Posted by Meghan @ Books and a Cup of Tea at 12:00 AM 1 comments

  Title: Sacred
  Author: Elana K. Arnold
  Published: November 13, 2012
  Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Growing up on Catalina Island, off the California coast, Scarlett Wenderoth has led a fairly isolated life. After her brother dies, her isolation deepens as she withdraws into herself, shutting out her friends and boyfriend. Her parents, shattered by their own sorrow, fail to notice Scarlett's pain and sudden alarming thinness. Scarlett finds pleasure only on her horse, escaping to the heart of the island on long, solitary rides. One day, as she races around a bend, Scarlett is startled by a boy who raises his hand in warning and says one word: "Stop."

The boy—intense, beautiful—is Will Cohen, a newcomer to the island. For reasons he can't or won't explain, he's drawn to Scarlett and feels compelled to keep her safe. To keep her from wasting away. His meddling irritates Scarlett, though she can't deny her attraction to him. As their relationship blossoms into love, Scarlett's body slowly awakens at Will's touch. But just when her grief begins to ebb, she makes a startling discovery about Will, a discovery he's been grappling with himself. A discovery that threatens to force them apart. And if it does, Scarlett fears she will unravel all over again.

  Title: League of Strays
  Author: L.B. Schulman
  Published: October 1, 2012
  Publisher: Amulet
When Charlotte Brody, a lonely 17-year-old student at a new school, receives an invitation to join The League of Strays, she's intrigued by the group's promise of "instant friendship." The League does provide companionship--and even a love interest--but Charlotte grows increasingly uncomfortable with its sinister mission to seek revenge against the bullies of Kennedy High. When escalating acts of vengeance threaten to hurl her down a path of remorse, Charlotte must choose between her new friends and the direction of a future she's never fully considered.

What do you think of these covers? Which is your favorite? Mine is Sacred's cover, because it seems so unique and once again, we have a cover with a "hot couple" on it. I'm getting kind of tired of these covers :P.

Will you be reading these?

02 April 2012

Author Interview: Jessica Spotswood

Posted by Meghan @ Books and a Cup of Tea at 4:26 PM 0 comments

Today I am interviewing Jessica Spotswood, author of Born Wicked.

Here's my review of Born Wicked.

Find Jessica Spotswood on:
Website | Twitter | Goodreads

What was your inspiration behind writing about witches? What about your inspiration for the time period?

Well, I wanted to write about strong, independent, clever girls in a society that doesn’t respect or value them. Making them witches in a world where only women can use magic gave the men a reason to fear them. As for the alternate 1890s world I built, I love the idea of writing letters by candlelight and having teas and wearing incredible dresses. It seems so lush and sexy, though I’m sure it was less so in reality. Things were changing rapidly in terms of industry and technology and growing freedoms, but that era was still awfully repressive for women. I shifted things to make it even more so in Cate’s society. I suppose I wanted to play with that contradiction – the sensuousness of the high society dress and rituals with the rigid social expectations for women.

Would you ever consider writing in another genre, or do you think you'll stick to historical and/or paranormal romance?

I’ve tried to write a few straight contemporary YAs and I never got more than fifty pages, so I suspect I will stick with paranormal or fantasy elements. Who knows, though? I’m not ruling anything out. Some of my favorite books are contemporary (like LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR, IF I STAY, THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE, and THE DISREPUTABLE HISTORY OF FRANKIE LANDAU-BANKS).

If you can incite one emotion in readers as they read Born Wicked, what would that emotion be?

Swooning? I love writing the kissing scenes!

What is your strategy on dealing with negative reviews? Do you ignore them, or try to use them as constructive criticism?

A little of both? I've read enough reviews now that I have a sense of what people love about the book, what works, and what perhaps could have used some improvement. The really harsh reviews still sting a little, but I know now that they are outliers, so I can sort of shrug them off.

Can you tell me a little bit about the challenges on getting Born Wicked published? Have you ever tried getting another novel published, or is Born Wicked your first?

This book had a very quick path to publication – it took me about a year to write and revise it, and then it sold in a week. But it wasn’t my first manuscript – that was called INHERITING GAROLASS. After two years of writing and revising, it got me an agent, but it was shelved after nine months on submission, which was a little soul-crushing at the time!

How did you come to realize that you wanted to write? Is writing your only job?

I’ve been writing since I was a wee Jess. I wrote three books in high school, but then I fell in love with theatre and went to grad school for that. By the end of grad school, I was working as a dramaturg, helping playwrights develop their new scripts, and I was miserable. I really missed writing. That’s when I started working on INHERITING GAROLASS – about five years ago. I’m really lucky in that I do write full-time since last summer.

How do you go about writing a new book/sequel? Do you just start writing? Take a million notes?

My editor makes me outline! With the sequel, we spent several weeks brainstorming, emailing and talking on the phone almost every day until we had a solid outline. With a new book, though, the first thing that tends to come to me is a character and a few lines in her voice. With Cate, it was the first two lines of BORN WICKED: Our mother was a witch too, but she hid it better. I miss her.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

I love tea! My favorite is Earl Grey in the afternoon/evening and green ginger late at night. Thank you for having me! This was fun!

I want to thank Jessica for taking the time to answer my questions!

Buy Born Wicked on Amazon!

Everybody knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they’re witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship—or an early grave.

Before her mother died, Cate promised to protect her sisters. But with only six months left to choose between marriage and the Sisterhood, she might not be able to keep her word... especially after she finds her mother’s diary, uncovering a secret that could spell her family’s destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate starts scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra.

If what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren’t safe. Not from the Brotherhood, the Sisterhood—not even from each other.

01 April 2012

In My Mailbox (29)

Posted by Meghan @ Books and a Cup of Tea at 12:00 AM 4 comments

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren and is a weekly meme to showcase what you got over the week by buying, receiving, borrowing, stealing from a friend etc.

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga - This one is not something I'd normally read I don't think, but it sounds amazing!! I hope it doesn't disappoint.
172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad and Tara Chace - This one sounds very interesting and is another one that I don't think I'd normally read. Hopefully this one is good as well!

Random Buzzers:
Cross My Heart by Sasha Gould - I've gotten into historical romances a lot more and this one sounds soo good.

Thank you Little, Brown and Random Buzzers!

That's all I got this week or so, what did you get in your mailbox?

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