Monday, November 24, 2014

Giveaway: A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

It’s been far too long since I’ve done a giveaway around here, so I’m super thrilled to be giving away A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray! I recently reviewed this one, and overall, thought it was really great. I accidently received an extra copy of the book, which means its up for grabs for one of you lovely people!

Of course, there are a few rules that you need to look over (lame, I know, but necessary).

The Basic Rules

  • Only US followers, unless you’re willing to pay shipping- then feel free to enter! I’m sorry guys, but I’m still a poor high school student.
  • Must be 13 years or older (for you youngsters out there: go ahead and have your parent enter for you if necessary!)

  • Winners must respond within 72 hours, or else a new winner will be chosen.

  • I am not responsible for any damages once the book gets sent. I’ll package it like crazy, though, and truly do my best. Sorry, but that’s how the cookie crumbles.

  • Giveaway ends 12/22/14! (Interesting how that date correlates with the end of finals…)

  • Most Importantly: Do NOT cheat. If you do, you will be restrained from ever entering any giveaways on this blog again and I will frown upon you deeply. I WILL be checking entries! So don’t try it.

What’s up for grabs:

A Thousand Pieces of You

It’s as pretty as it seems - trust me, you guys want this one!

Good luck everyone! May the odds be ever in your favor.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 17, 2014

Review: A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

 

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Genres: Science Fiction

Release Date: November 4th, 2014

Source: Publisher

 

Synopsis:

Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.

A Thousand Pieces of You explores a reality where we witness the countless other lives we might lead in an amazingly intricate multiverse, and ask whether, amid infinite possibilities, one love can endure.

Review:

I think it’s impossible to argue that this isn’t one of the pretties covers in existence, so you can imagine my excitement when I was offered up the chance to review this book. You can also probably imagine the amount of times that I stopped and stared at the cover for a good while before continuing to read; it was that enchanting. Overall though, A Thousand Pieces of You was an intriguing read, despite the fact that there were some flaws that prevented me from falling head over heels in love with it.

I think for me, hands down, the most enjoyable part of this novel was the world-building. I got  a little caught up with the technical terminology, but overall, not only were the details relatively easy to understand, but everything was so thorough. Whenever dimensions changed, the setting was painted so intricately, and I was always thoroughly immersed. It was always interesting to see the contrasts between the new dimension and our own, and to see how the main character reacted and adapted to each. I never felt like any were underdeveloped, which was a pretty great feat, considering how much things shifted throughout the book. I think having vivid backgrounds really enriched my experience, and made reading about the different dimensions that much more interesting.

What also made the book really interesting was the main character, Marguerite. She was a relatively typical YA heroine, but I liked how easy she was to relate to. There’s a fierce stubbornness and innate kindness that’s just really hard not to like. Of course, she makes her own lame mistakes, but throughout the book, she makes some good decisions and is always wondering about the consequences of her actions, which is quite a refreshing change from the norm. Combined with the awesome sauce world-building, the book was actually really riveting. I had a hard time putting it down.

Even with that though, there were definitely some draggy parts. This book’s plot is essentially put on hold for a while just to develop the romance, and even a slightly shaky one at that. I’m not the biggest fan of romance, but even for those who are, I don’t think it’s justified to take out a large chunk of the story simply to allow for the romance to grow. I missed the action in that part of the story, and I feel like if there was more happening during that portion of the book, it would have progressed the story regardless.

One of my biggest qualms with this book, however, lies in the fact that very little is actually progressed besides the romance and world-building. I definitely enjoyed the latter, but in terms of the answers we were looking for, I’m totally lacking. The overall story arc almost didn’t progress at all. Pretty much, all we know who the bad guy is. Nothing about the plot, the threats, or even what’s happening or what’s going to happen in the future. There was a lot more potential to move things along, but overall, this book leaves me feeling like the main objective was to just get the story set up for future books.

Overall, I can definitely say that I enjoyed A Thousand Pieces of You. While the book doesn’t exactly live up to that insanely gorgeous cover, I really enjoyed the world-building and the perspective of the main character, which made for one heck of a riveting read. Even with the draggy parts and the lack of real progression in the story, this book definitely has piqued my interest. I’d recommend it for all time travel lovers, and those looking for a story with a colorful setting. I’m looking forward to seeing where Claudia Gray takes things next.

Thank you to the publisher for sending me a review copy of this book in exchange for my honest thoughts.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

A Bit of an Update & On Having to Find Closure

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So it’s been a while since I last talked with all of you.

I think it’s long past due for an explanation, so you guys can get a bit of insight of the craziness that has been my life lately.

Essentially, I got wrapped up into some huge drama, right before school started. It involved my best friend- one of my only close friends at all, actually- and it prevented me from getting my summer assignments done.

It went all downhill from there.

My grades suffered, and for the girl who’s in the top ten percent of her very competitive class, grades are everything. What was far worse, was that I suffered. I was being suffocated beneath all the drama, and the failures that had been presented to me.

As you can imagine, things didn’t get a lot better. They slowly spiraled out of control, each small issue becoming larger and larger until things simply blew up in my face.

It got to the point where this drama was really affecting me emotionally. My parents got wind, other people got involved, and now I’m left here, completely drained, staring at a mediocre report card, and without a best friend (and without a phone, too).

It’s been a crazy whirlwind of events, and I can honestly say that I’m looking forward to being done with high school and the major drama that plagues every single day (although I get the feeling I’ll have to face some in the future).

Closure
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In the aftermath of everything, I’m left with a need to find some closure. I have to find a way to rewrite who I am, to scratch my visions of the future and start all over again.

Essentially, I have to find who I really am.

In the midst of all the drama, I lost the essence of who I am. I’ve been forced into questioning the very basis of me and my morality, and it’s been extremely rough, especially without the person I used to lean on. I’m supposed to weave myself together back again, using the pieces of who I used to be, to create a new me. Someone stronger, maybe. Someone who knows who she is, what she believes in, and why she believes the things she does.

Too bad it’s far harder than it seems.

I’m in the very beginning of the process of finding closure- which is the one thing I realized that I needed all along. It’s been better this week, but I’m absolutely terrible at letting things go; yet, I find myself in a position in which I have to do exactly that. It’s hard, but I think maybe time will alleviate the pain and help me truly redefine myself and my beliefs.

I’ve also gone back to reading more and more, and that’s helped to create a refuge and provide the perspective I crave. Books are always there when I need them, and so I’m relying on them now. There’s just something about being able to take a step back from everything and delve into someone else’s problems that I’ll always love. Hopefully they’ll continue to help me, as they already have.

High school is an insane rollercoaster, guys. I guess all I can hope to do is hold on, enjoy the ride, and see where I end up.

What about you? Have you ever had to redefine yourself? Have you been through any sort of drama recently? Let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday (57)

Waiting On Wednesday is a meme where you basically share an upcoming book that you’re excited to read. It’s hosted over at Breaking the Spine by Jill.

The book I am waiting on for this week is: In the Afterlight (The Darkest Minds #3) by Alexandra Bracken.

Please be mindful of spoilers if you haven’t read the first two books!

Ruby can't look back. Fractured by an unbearable loss, she and the kids who survived the government's attack on Los Angeles travel north to regroup. With them is a prisoner: Clancy Gray, son of the president, and one of the few people Ruby has encountered with abilities like hers. Only Ruby has any power over him, and just one slip could lead to Clancy wreaking havoc on their minds.

They are armed only with a volatile secret: proof of a government conspiracy to cover up the real cause of IANN, the disease that has killed most of America's children and left Ruby and others like her with powers the government will kill to keep contained. But internal strife may destroy their only chance to free the "rehabilitation camps" housing thousands of other Psi kids.

Meanwhile, reunited with Liam, the boy she would-and did-sacrifice everything for to keep alive, Ruby must face the painful repercussions of having tampered with his memories of her. She turns to Cole, his older brother, to provide the intense training she knows she will need to take down Gray and the government. But Cole has demons of his own, and one fatal mistake may be the spark that sets the world on fire.

So I may or may not have saved this book for my WoW post for today, so that when I posted about it, I wouldn’t have a very long wait. I got Never Fade as a gift from some of my book blogger buddies who went to ALA and managed to grab me an ARC. So, I have actually been waiting FOREVER for the final conclusion to a series that defines “heartbreaking” for me. I know Alexandra Bracken will mess with my feels even more in this book, but I can not wait to see how everything goes down (although I will truly miss all the characters in this book).

This book will be released September 16th, 2014.

What are YOU waiting on this week?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Review: Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

 

Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Genres: Contemporary

Release Date: March 18th, 2014

Source: Library

 

Synopsis:

What if you'd been living your life as if you were dying—only to find out that you had your whole future ahead of you?

When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, her prognosis is grim. To maximize the time she does have, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs—however she sees fit. She convinces her friend Harvey, who she knows has always had feelings for her, to help her with a crazy bucket list that's as much about revenge (humiliating her ex-boyfriend and getting back at her archnemesis) as it is about hope (doing something unexpectedly kind for a stranger). But just when Alice's scores are settled, she goes into remission.

Now Alice is forced to face the consequences of all that she's said and done, as well as her true feelings for Harvey. But has she caused irreparable damage to the people around her—and to the one person who matters most?

Julie Murphy's Side Effects May Vary is a fearless and moving tour de force about love, life, and facing your own mortality.

My Review:

I think it’s truly safe to say that this book surprised me. Although it wasn’t in the good way, really. I was expecting more of a fun contemporary where a characters tries to finish her bucket list, and realizes that she’s still got more time left. So when I got a gritty and pretty deep book, I have to say, I was more than a little surprised. Despite SEMV having elements that I truly appreciated, a lot fell flat for me.

Surprisingly, one of the things I enjoyed most about this book was the jumping timeline. Very few times have I seen the whole “now” and “then’' thing work out well, because most of the times, things turn out to be super confusing (yes, I’m looking at you, Pandemonium). However, that definitely wasn’t the case here. I actually really enjoyed when little clues from the past were dropped into the story to help keep the story moving, but also providing background knowledge that really added some depth. The story still flowed well despite the back and forth, and I appreciated how Murphy wove the two threads together so effortlessly.

Also, I liked the grittiness that was incorporated so fully into this novel. Like I said, it was unexpected, but I liked it. Murphy didn’t hold anything back, which I also really enjoyed. This book got pretty dark at times, but it worked. It wasn’t too depressing, but it didn’t make light of the situation either. Even with the good characters, there was some darkness in them that shone through, the main example being Harley. The grittiness with him was unexpected, but realistic. The author certainly didn’t shy away from anything dark. 

However, our main character, Alice was so, so irritating. As in, I wanted to slap her so. many. times. I’m all for having an unlikable character, but when said character keeps making the same mistakes over and over again, despite knowing what’s right, I can’t help the irritation. I actually wanted to sympathize with Alice, but she made it impossible to do so. I wanted to slap her so many times, it was honestly a little ridiculous. I even wanted to slap the other main character, Harvey, occasionally, because he was so stupid. Both characters needed some common sense. And a slap to the face.

Speaking of these main characters, the back and forth between the two (mainly due to Alice) was extremely annoying. The romance just flat out didn’t work for me. It was obvious who was supposed to be together, and it would happen, then not happen (it truly is as strange as it sounds). I didn’t really see the point of the back and forth, and I certainly didn’t enjoy it. It took a lot away from what could have been a great story about two growing characters.

Overall, this book could have been so much more. I was surprised by the grittiness and how well the shifting timeline was executed, but the main characters totally ruined this book for me. I’d recommend this one only to people with a lot of patience looking for a gritty contemporary read. Hopefully, Julie Murphy’s next book turns out a little better for me.

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Teen Talks (15): A Personal Note & On Stepping Out from Your Comfort Zone

The Teen Talks is a semi-regular discussion type feature here on the blog, that allows me to talk about a variety of things from my teen perspective.

If any of you follow me regularly on the blog, you’ve noticed that I’ve been quiet for a little while. If you follow me on Twitter, than you’ve probably noticed that I just recently got back from an international trip. So yes, that’s why this blog has been so quiet this summer. Between camp, family, and this relatively impromptu trip, this summer hasn’t been the picture of tranquility that I imagined it to be.

Nonetheless, going out of the country to visit a few countries in the Middle East area was such a humbling experience. You can always say you’re grateful for something, but when you have to go without basic necessities like electricity for 48 hours (yes, this happened to me), you really realize how lucky you are. It was an eye-opening trip for me, and so I’m really happy I had the opportunity to go. Plus, I got to visit family I haven’t seen in (5!!) years, which was also awesome.

Here’s the thing though: I’ve been back over a week now. And I’m just now getting around to writing this blog post. I’ve had plenty of time, and I’ve spent a lot of hours on the computer. Whenever I sat down to write a review though, I just wasn’t feeling it.

So I did something different.

For the first time, I “stepped out” of the book blogging world. I’ve always been a book blogger through and through, so I’ve only read and followed book blogs. However, lately, I’ve been all over the blogosphere, reading all kinds of blogs, from inspirational to lifestyle blogs.

And you know what? It’s totally out of my comfort zone, but it’s incredibly refreshing.

Source: Pintrest

Now I’ve been inspired to read some (gasp) non-fiction books that might be pretty applicable in my life. I’ve been inspired to make my blog just a little more personal. I’ve been inspired to incorporate different mediums into my blog, to experiment, to make this blog truly stand out.

It’s amazing feeling, really, despite my hesitance all this time. The blogging community is amazing, and there are so many accomplished bloggers out there who are blogging about so many things, and trying so many new things, too.

So this weird blogging rut I’ve had since coming back has led me to really come out of my comfort zone, and that’s left me feeling inspired. Luckily, that’s exactly what I need right now.

What about you? Have you recently gone on a trip or stepped out of your comfort zone? Let me know.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Review: Auracle by Gina Rosati

 

Auracle by Gina Rosati

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Genres: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal

Release Date: August 7th, 2012

Source: Won

 

Synopsis:

16 year old Anna Rogan has a secret she's only shared with her best friend, Rei; she can astrally project out of her body, allowing her spirit to explore the world and the far reaches of the universe.

When there's a fatal accident and her classmate Taylor takes over Anna's body, what was an exhilarating distraction from her repressive home life threatens to become a permanent state. Faced with a future trapped in another dimension, Anna turns to Rei for help. Now the two of them must find a way to get Anna back into her body and stop Taylor from accusing an innocent friend of murder. Together Anna and Rei form a plan but it doesn't take into account the deeper feelings that are beginning to grow between them.

My Review:

Auracle was one of those books I was dying to read before it came out, but I never actually got around to it. I’d been starting at it for forever before I randomly decided to pick it up this summer, hoping for something really unique in the over-done genre. While the concept was something I thoroughly enjoyed, overall, I just found this book to be so… meh.

One of the things that I did find was unique was this whole idea of astrally projecting. I’ve read quite a few books in the UF/Paranormal genre, but honestly, nothing quite like the idea presented in this book. It was so cool to see what the main character, Anna, could do and to see all the places she could visit. The power was well explained and I didn’t have any gaps in my understanding- which was a refreshing change from a lot of the random stuff I see sometimes in paranormal books. It truly was well done.

This book also managed to keep me pretty engaged. I pretty much knew how things would end up, but I was really curious as to what would happen to lead to that inevitable ending. The plot had enough twists to keep me interested, enough that I really had some issues putting this book down occasionally. I mean, it’s not everyday you read a book about someone’s body getting hijacked. The creativity really hooked me.

That being said, I honestly can’t say that this book was super riveting either. Because I knew how things would end up, like I mentioned, the book got a little dull at times. I didn’t really like the predictability with the romance, or some aspects of the plot. There was just a lot of potential that I thought wasn’t fully realized.

Overall, it’s pretty hard for me to talk about this book. It had an awesome concept and decently engaging plot, although there was nothing I could really rave about. Auracle is the kind of book that was good to keep me occupied for a few hours, but it’s not one that’s going to linger. I’d recommend it to those looking for a quick, unique paranormal read. Had there been a little more depth and more twists, I may have ended up liking this one a lot more, but unfortunately, this book turned out to be just a little too average.