Monthly Giveaway - July 2013

It's a new month, so time for another giveaway. One winner will receive a hardback (read once) copy of Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick. You can see my review here. This giveaway will run through the rest of July, so plenty of opportunities to enter.

Please note that you must be at least 13 years old. This giveaway is open to US continental residents only. Sorry international followers. I will continue to have giveaways as I can for you too. Please ensure that you correctly enter your email (and check your junk mail folder if I'm not on your contact list) so that I have a way to contact you. You can read my giveaway policy on my policies page. Enter via the Rafflecopter below. Thanks and good luck!

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Stacking the Shelves and In My Mailbox #13

Welcome to Stacking The Shelves, hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Stacking The Shelves is all about the books I am adding to my shelves each week, sharing with you my excitement for my newest titles and maybe have you discover a new book in the process!

I am also joining In My Mailbox, which used to be hosted by The Story Siren, but is now hosted by The Mod Podge Bookshelf.

I got a couple books in the mail this week. Glimmer of Hope is by one of my favorite authors and is actually a re-published work of a book I've read before. I loved it more the second time even though it about made me cry. I'll be posting a review next week. Ruby Red and Infinite Days were bargain books from Amazon (you can see my post about those here). Weather Witch is a new release that I've been looking forward to reading and hope I really enjoy.

Glimmer of Hope by Sarah M. Eden

Then here are the ebooks I've bought/downloaded, been approved for from NetGalley/Edelweiss, and received from authors for review:

Did you get any books this week?

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program. If you make a purchase of any type using these links, I receive a small kickback.

Friday Favorites #9: For Darkness Shows the Stars

Friday Favorites is a weekly meme hosted here, that spotlights a favorite author, book, series, publisher, cover, blog, etc. Basically whatever bookish thing that you love, recommend, and want to tell others about. Just pick one and link up to my post each Friday to share. You can use the graphic I used above, the other one here, or your own.

This week I've decided to spotlight one of my favorite books from last year. Here is some information about For Darkness Shows the Stars:

For Darkness Shows the Stars
(For Darkness Shows the Stars #1)
by Diana Peterfreund
YA Dystopian/SciFi
June 12th 2012 by Balzer + Bray

Goodreads summary:
It's been several generations since a genetic experiment gone wrong caused the Reduction, decimating humanity and giving rise to a Luddite nobility who outlawed most technology.

Elliot North has always known her place in this world. Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family's estate over love. Since then the world has changed: a new class of Post-Reductionists is jumpstarting the wheel of progress, and Elliot's estate is foundering, forcing her to rent land to the mysterious Cloud Fleet, a group of shipbuilders that includes renowned explorer Captain Malakai Wentforth--an almost unrecognizable Kai. And while Elliot wonders if this could be their second chance, Kai seems determined to show Elliot exactly what she gave up when she let him go.

But Elliot soon discovers her old friend carries a secret--one that could change their society . . . or bring it to its knees. And again, she's faced with a choice: cling to what she's been raised to believe, or cast her lot with the only boy she's ever loved, even if she's lost him forever.

Inspired by Jane Austen's Persuasion, For Darkness Shows the Stars is a breathtaking romance about opening your mind to the future and your heart to the one person you know can break it.

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For Darkness Shows the Stars is basically a dysyopian retelling of Persuasion by Jane Austen, in case you didn't get that from the summary. ;) After reading a review I decided to purchase a copy and I was so happy that I did since I loved this book! In case you don't know, I love Austen and all her books. I also love dystopians. I wasn't' sure that the combination would work, but it did. What was great about it too was that it didn't feel like Persuasion just re-written. Peterfreund really made it her own story. Her chararcters were well-etched and fully fledged and I really liked them, especially Elliot and Kai. There is a scifi twist that was quite interesting too. You can read my original review on Goodreads.

The second book in the series, Across a Star-Swept Sea is one of my most anticipated releases for this year and already pre-ordered. I love The Scarlet Pimpernel and so I am really looking forward to seeing how Peterfreund uses that in this story. I can't wait to read it! Here is some information about it:

Across a Star-Swept Sea
(For Darkness Shows the Stars #2)
by Diana Peterfreund
YA Dystopian/SciFi
October 15th 2013 by Balzer + Bray

Goodreads summary:
Centuries after wars nearly destroyed civilization, the two islands of New Pacifica stand alone, a terraformed paradise where even the Reduction—the devastating brain disorder that sparked the wars—is a distant memory. Yet on the isle of Galatea, an uprising against the ruling aristocrats has turned deadly. The revolutionaries’ weapon is a drug that damages their enemies’ brains, and the only hope is rescue by a mysterious spy known as the Wild Poppy.

On the neighboring island of Albion, no one suspects that the Wild Poppy is actually famously frivolous aristocrat Persis Blake. The teenager uses her shallow, socialite trappings to hide her true purpose: her gossipy flutternotes are encrypted plans, her pampered sea mink is genetically engineered for spying, and her well-publicized new romance with handsome Galatean medic Justen Helo… is her most dangerous mission ever.

Though Persis is falling for Justen, she can’t risk showing him her true self, especially once she learns he’s hiding far more than simply his disenchantment with his country’s revolution and his undeniable attraction to the silly socialite he’s pretending to love. His darkest secret could plunge both islands into a new dark age, and Persis realizes that when it comes to Justen Helo, she’s not only risking her heart, she’s risking the world she’s sworn to protect.

In this thrilling adventure inspired by The Scarlet Pimpernel, Diana Peterfreund creates an exquisitely rendered world where nothing is as it seems and two teens with very different pasts fight for a future only they dare to imagine.

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About the Author
(from her website)

Diana Peterfreund has published eight novels for adults and teens, including the four-book Secret Society Girl series (Bantam Dell), the “killer unicorn novels” Rampant and Ascendant (Harper Teen), and For Darkness Shows the Stars, a post-apocalyptic retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion. In addition, she’s written several critically acclaimed short stories and a variety of non-fiction essays about popular children’s literature. Diana lives in Washington D.C., with her family.

She's got a long and sweet bio too (this was the short and sweet) and some interesting and funny Q&A on her About page. Check it out!

You can find Diana here: 

Have your read For Darkness Shows the Stars? Do you have a favorite to share this week?
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase of any type using these links, I receive a small kickback.


Review: Siege and Storm

Siege and Storm
(The Grisha #2)
by Leigh Bardugo
YA Fantasy
June 4th 2013 by Henry Holt and Co.

Goodreads summary:
Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

What I thought:
This was a fabulous book! I loved it! It definitely made me feel like I was on a roller coaster with all that happened and the characters' different emotions. Sometimes a second book in a series is just filler leading up to the climatic finish in the third book, but that definitely wasn't the case here. There were several climaxes in this book itself. Let me move on to what I loved most about this book.

I loved the characters! Well, except maybe Mal, initially, but in the end he redeemed himself a little. I loved Sturmhond/Nikolai. He is probably my most favorite character introduced in a second book of all time. He has an amazing presence and I know we're going to see more of him later. I loved his confidence, wit, mischievousness, honesty (I know he's not necessarily honest, but it does seem like he is fairly straightforward and says what he wants), intelligence, and his good looks don't hurt him either. I don't know if he'll be a romantic interest for Alina or not. I don't know that she will have her happy ending. The Darkling is right, in some ways, that like calls to like. He does get her and he is a force to be reckoned with. He definitely has that seductive, powerful, and dark pull that Alina is sometimes drawn to. I think she has to end up with someone who loves her as the Sun Summoner as much as the peasant she was and the person she is. Mal seems to have a tough time with that, although I think he is a Grisha in his own way with the talent he has for tracking. Of course I love Alina too. She has a lot to deal with. She is still trying to figure out who she is and her place in the world. I did wish in a few spots that she would have been more confident and communicated better (especially with Mal), but I still understood why she did what she did and she is still an amazing character. I really, really disliked the king and Vasily, who is the prince heir, even more. I actually could have strangled him towards the end. Ugh!

The plot was intense! There was a lot going on and you could feel things thicken. I wasn't sure who would be a danger to Alina first or when and the whole time you know The Darkling is coming for her. I also appreciated the few slow parts and especially the humorous parts, mostly involving Sturmhond. I do wonder in some ways what The Darkling's ultimate plan is. I know he seeks power, but there has got to be more to him seeking Alina and the amplifiers than just that. It makes me wonder what he knows. Then that ending! It wasn't too terrible of a cliffhanger, but I can't wait to find out what Alina and Mal end up doing, how they do it, and when Sturmhond and The Darkling come back into play.

If you enjoy reading YA or Fantasy then I definitely recommend this series!

Content: Some violence and innuendo, but I would basically consider this clean.
Source: Bought

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I've been tumbling some Grisha things if you want to look through (they're mostly before the N.C. Wyeth pics). This is one of my favorites. I also love this spread of The Darkling from Falling for YA. . .
and this one of Alina:

Now I just need one of Sturmhond and Mal. You can also see Leigh Bardugo's Tumblr page, which has some great things. You can read the first five chapters of Siege and Storm from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Have you read this or the first book in the series, Shadow and Bone? Are you planning too?


Disclosure: This post also contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase of any type using these links, I receive a small kickback.

Review: Through the Ever Night

Through the Ever Night
(Under the Never Sky #2)
by Veronica Rossi
YA SciFi
January 8th 2013 by HarperCollins

Goodreads summary:
It's been months since Aria last saw Perry. Months since Perry was named Blood Lord of the Tides, and Aria was charged with an impossible mission. Now, finally, they are about to be reunited. But their reunion is far from perfect. The Tides don't take kindly to Aria, a former Dweller. And with the worsening Aether storms threatening the tribe's precarious existence, Aria begins to fear that leaving Perry behind might be the only way to save them both. Threatened by false friends, hidden enemies, and powerful temptations, Aria and Perry wonder, Can their love survive through the ever night? In this second book in her spellbinding Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi combines fantasy and dystopian elements to create a captivating love story as perilous as it is unforgettable.

What I thought:
I really liked Under the Never Sky. It was a great debut novel and one of the ones I read for last year's Debut Author Challenge. So, I was really happy to win this second book from YA Romantics a few months ago. I really like Rossi's writing style and her characters.

There were a lot of emotions running through this one. I have to say that I didn't like Perry and Aria being apart so much. One of the things I liked about Under the Never Sky so much was their interactions. Roar plays a much larger role than he did in the last book. At the same time, I get why it was that way, even though I didn't like it. Because of that there is some jealousy, hurt, miscommunication and lots of one character feeling a little lost without and missing the other.

I really loved Perry in this one. I liked how he kind of came into his own as a blood lord and how his people came around to him. It was a tough road to get there. At one point I was ready to be very upset with him if he did something, but he stayed loyal. I'm so glad he did because I would have had a tough time with him otherwise. I also still liked Aria. She has such tenderness and loyalty towards others.

There were some definite lolls in the plot, but towards the end it picked up. It got somewhat intense and I was pretty sad about one of the things that happened. I'm not sure what will happen in the final book. Even if Perry and Aria find the Still Blue I don't know if they will survive. It would have to be a pretty big area with lots of resources to support everyone who is planning on settling there.

Overall this was an enjoyable read. I didn't like it as much as Under the Never Sky, but I still liked it and will definitely be reading the final book, Into the Still Blue, which comes out next year

Content: There is some violence and innuendo.
Source: Won

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Do you want to find out more about Roar and Liv? Rossi published a short just about them. Have you read this series and specifically Through the Ever Night? Are you planning too? 


Disclosure: This post also contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase of any type using these links, I receive a small kickback.

Book Tour: Shudder

Shudder (Stitch Trilogy #2)
by Samantha Durante
June 15th, 2013
Young Adult Paranormal

It's only been three days, and already everything is different.

Paragon is behind her, but somehow Alessa's life may actually have gotten worse. In a wrenching twist of fate, she traded the safety and companionship of her sister for that of her true love, losing a vital partner she'd counted on for the ordeal ahead. Her comfortable university life is but a distant memory, as she faces the prospect of surviving a bleak winter on the meager remains of a ravaged world. And if she'd thought she'd tasted fear upon seeing a ghost, she was wrong; now she's discovering new depths of terror while being hunted by a deadly virus and a terrifying pack of superhuman creatures thirsting for blood.

And then there are the visions.

The memory-altering "stitch" unlocked something in Alessa's mind, and now she can't shake the constant flood of alien feelings ransacking her emotions. Haunting memories of an old flame are driving a deep and painful rift into her once-secure relationship. And a series of staggering revelations about the treacherous Engineers - and the bone-chilling deceit shrouding her world's sorry history - will soon leave Alessa reeling...

The second installment in the electrifying Stitch Trilogy, Shudder follows Samantha Durante's shocking and innovative debut with a heart-pounding, paranormal-dusted dystopian adventure sure to keep the pages turning.

My Review:

I read both Stitch and Shudder for this tour. You can find Stitch on Goodreads if you'd like to add it to your want-to-read shelf. I went into Stitch without re-reading the summary, so I didn't exactly know what to expect. I ended up getting invested into the story wondering what was really going on and what was going to happen. I definitely related to Alessa. I could also see how she could be so intrigued by Isaac. Everything definitely climaxes towards the end. Then in Shudder it's a different environment and situation that Alessa finds herself in. There were several things I just didn't even see coming.

I felt that the writing and editing were well done for both books. I've read several self-published (indie) books that needed so many corrections that I just couldn't even get into or finish the book. This definitely isn't the case here. I also liked the covers.

I really liked Alessa's character. I thought she was a great MC and I connected with her and her struggles under the circumstances she was dealing with. I thought she was fairly realistic in her reactions as well. It also helped that I liked the interactions with the other characters and that I liked Isaac, Nikhil, and Janie.

The society and plot were plausible (for a scifi/paranormal) to me as well. The drugs used on the people and separation of the classes; the romance; what the "virus" had created; the struggle for survival, but also for freedom all worked for me.

I'm looking forward to finding out how this series will end. If you're looking for an interesting dystopian I think you would enjoy picking this up!

Content: Some innuendo and violence. Non-descriptive sexual content.

Author Bio:

Samantha Durante lives in Westchester County, New York with her husband, Sudeep, and her cat, Gio. Formerly an engineer at Microsoft, Samantha left the world of software in 2010 to pursue her entrepreneurial dreams and a lifelong love of writing. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Jerome Fisher Program in Management & Technology, Samantha is currently working full time for her company Medley Media Associates as a freelance business writer and communications consultant. The Stitch Trilogy is her debut series.

You can find Samantha here:

Enter the Giveaway HERE!!!

Disclosure: This review is of a book I was given for free by an author, tour host, or publisher, or through NetGalley or Edelweiss. This in no way influences the opinions shared in my review. You may see my complete policy on the sidebar and on my policies page.

Cover Reveal: My Own Mr. Darcy

After being dragged to the 2005 movie Pride and Prejudice by her mother, sixteen-year-old Elizabeth’s life changes when Matthew Macfadyen’s Mr. Darcy appears on the screen. Lizzie falls hard and makes a promise to herself that she will settle for nothing less than her own Mr. Darcy. This ill-advised pledge threatens to ruin any chance of finding true love. During the six intervening years, she has refused to give any interested suitors a chance. They weren’t Mr. Darcy enough.

Coerced by her roommate, Elizabeth agrees to give the next interested guy ten dates before she dumps him. That guy is Chad, a kind and thoughtful science teacher and swim coach. While she’s dating Chad, her dream comes true in the form of a wealthy bookstore owner named Matt Dawson, who looks and acts like her Mr. Darcy. Of course she has to follow her dream. But as Elizabeth simultaneously dates a regular guy and the dazzling Mr. Dawson, she’s forced to re-evaluate what it was she loved about Mr. Darcy in the first place.

Karey White grew up in Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Missouri. She attended Ricks College and Brigham Young University. Her first novel, Gifted, was a Whitney Award Finalist.

She loves to travel, read, bake treats, and spend time with family and friends. She and her husband are the parents of four great children. She teaches summer creative writing courses to young people and is currently working on her next book.

Great Deals: Amazon's Bargain Books

I had some time today and decided to take a look at Amazon's bargain books. It's been a couple of weeks since I've checked and there were some new books added. Here is what I found (click through all four pages):

I haven't read all of these, but have seen most of them at one point or another. Of those that I have read, I'd like to recommend a few. Where I Belong was really good, but does have some language. Exile and How to Take the Ex Out of Ex-Boyfriend are both favorites of mine. Die for Me and Desires of the Dead are supposed to be good  and are high on my tbr list.

Let me know if you've read any of these and if you would recommend them. I love cheap books, especially when they're good. :)

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program. If you make a purchase of any type using these links, I receive a small kickback.