Saturday, January 31, 2015

Stacking the Shelves - January 31st, 2015

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.  It is a way for us to share the new books we have collected.  I added quite a few this week, so not great for trying to get less books, but hey, any new books are things that make me happy.  

Free e-books for Review:

The first one I got for a Book Tour.  The second one I got through The Book Machine.

Free e-books:

The first one I got through Amazon, the second through Nook.

Physical book won:

I won this back in October from Books a la mode, just finally got it in the mail from the publisher.

Purchased from The Book Outlet:

 With a $5 gift code I got from them, it only cost $5 out of my pocket to get these 3 books, and the middle one was a hardcover book!  It's the only one I've actually read of the three, so that means the other two are ones I need to read still.

Physical book purchased from the book store:

Again I've already read the first one, just needed it on my shelf, as well as my sister wants to finish reading the series.  And the 2nd one I had to have, loved that show, and thought it would be fun to play!
Physical ARCs:

 The first one I don't know if I requested through Shelf Awareness newsletter, or what, but now that I read what it is actually about, not sure I want to read it.  I may let a science teacher at my school have it.  The 2nd one is a street team that I'm very excited to be a part of.  Can't wait to read the book and share it with you.  I also got that cool book bag with it!


The first two are from Netgalley.  The 2nd two are from Edelweiss.  And can I get a squee for how excited about the last one, Get Dirty, I am?  Can't wait to read it!  Loved the first one.  

Whew!!!  So many books this way!  But some pretty good ones.  So what did you add to your shelves this week?

Friday, January 30, 2015

Feature and Follow Friday - January 30th, 2015

So, I went from not doing this meme at all the last half of 2014, to now I started my first Friday of 2015, and now the last Friday of January 2015 doing a meme I used to be pretty regular with.  But I am definitely open to new followers, so this will be a fun time to join in again. And once again, I'm in between reviews.

Feature and Follow Friday is sponsored by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.  The purpose of this event is to learn about the two featured bloggers each week, as well as to increase your own blog following by joining in on the fun! This week's question/activity is:

Hard print (real thing) or Kindle/Nook, which is your favorite?

This is an easy, but detailed answer for me.  I prefer to own an actual book.  I want to put it on my shelf and be able to look at it.  However, what I love about my Nook is that I can get so many more advanced e-galleys that way than I ever did as actual physical ARCs.  Plus, I've gotten a lot of free e-books, ones that I've been excited to hear about, as well as once in awhile ones that I've wanted to read but just haven't had the money to buy.  So, give me a real book first, but don't take away my Nook!  

What about you?  Which do you prefer?  And if you don't mind, if you're not already following me, I've listed my preferred methods of being followed below.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Review: Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix

First I'd like to thank vvb32reads for this book which I won on from a giveaway on their blog.   This was a book I just knew I had to read, as well as own, as soon as I saw it. It was almost fitting for where I live because we just got an IKEA store in town and the book looks like an IKEA catalog and takes place in an IKEA knock-off store.  The book was a pretty original idea in the way it was formatted.  However, the story itself wasn't that original.  In a way it was similar to the background story of the Poltergeist movie, or any other story where a new building was built on top of an old prison/asylum/burial ground/you get the idea.  That doesn't mean it wasn't a good story, don't get me wrong, I just wasn't as blown away as I had expected I would be.  Still, I love the format of the book so much that I won't ever get rid of it even if I don't intend to read it again.  It will be fun to look at the ads and other pictures in it again.

Basically we have the main character, Amy.  She is an employee at the Orsk store, but is hoping to get transferred back to the Orsk store she had worked at before, mainly because she's not a fan of her boss.  Her boss's name is Basil.  And she feels like he is always pushing at her, like he doesn't think she can do her job.  On this day it starts with some weird things happening as the store gets ready to open.  Some doors aren't opening, the escalators don't turn on right away, a couch is found with what looks and smells like someone took a dirty diaper and smeared it all over.  And when Amy tries to sneak around a back way to avoid Basil, she sees a man that she doesn't recognize as an employee in the store before they have opened.  When she gets called to the office, she assumes she is going to get fired.  But another employee, Ruth Anne is also sitting by his office waiting to talk to Basil. And since Ruth Anne is like "the" model employee, Amy thinks maybe something else is going on.  It turns out that the district manager wants them to figure out what is happening to cause these weird things before corporate people stop by.  So Basil asks Amy and Ruth Anne to stay at the store overnight to help him catch whoever might be causing these issues. 

The night starts out pretty uneventful.  Other than when Amy keeps going to the bathroom to get away from Basil's annoying talking, she notices graffiti showing up that is new.  And then when they go out to do their rounds, they find that one of the doors won't lock.  When they split up to continue the rounds, Amy and Ruth Anne run into two other employees, Trinity and Matt, who have snuck in to do their own investigating, only they are there to look for ghosts.  Part of the reasoning behind their search for the paranormal is all the people who have received text messages from unknown numbers saying "help" whenever they've had their phones in the store.  Also, Trinity has done research showing that the store was built on land that was once a prison with a bad history.

Of course all kinds of scary things begin to occur, they get separated, and things go from bad to worse.  When Amy tries to call 911 to get the police there, against Basil's initial wishes, the cops can't seem to find the store, their GPS tells them there is no such location.  In the end, not all of them will make it out, and those who do will not know how to go on as if the night never happened.

When I say scary things, I mean extremely creepy things.  I could totally see this as a horror movie, the descriptions of what happen were definitely pretty detailed and like I said, scary.  The catalog pictures go from being pretty realistic seeming types of furniture to horror/torture contraptions that go along with the story.  A fun, scary read, as well as a quick one. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Deadfall (Blackbird Duology #2) by Anna Carey

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where we spotlight upcoming releases that we're eagerly awaiting.  This week I've chosen the 2nd book of a duology by an author I have enjoyed in the past.  And the first book, Blackbird, was so totally original and unique, that I can't wait to see how she continues it. It was told in 2nd person, something you rarely see, and as a former English teacher, I loved the example of this type of writing.  Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

In the compelling sequel to Blackbird, Anna Carey delivers a gritty and adrenaline-filled story of a girl desperate to escape her mysterious and terrifying assailants. Told in second person, this heart-pounding thriller puts the reader in front of the target.

A week ago, you woke up in Los Angeles with no memory of who you are. The only thing you knew: people are trying to kill you. You put your trust in Ben, but he betrayed you and broke your heart. Now you've escaped to New York City with a boy named Rafe, who says he remembers you from before. But the two of you are not safe. The same people who are after you are tailing Rafe as well. As the chase heats up, your memory starts to return, but your past cannot save you from the terrifying circumstances of your present, or the fact that one wrong move could end this game forever.

With enemies on every side, and not a reprieve in sight, Deadfall will grab readers and refuse to let go. Perfect for fans of the Maze Runner series and the Legend series.

Sounds pretty good, right?  Did you read the first one yet?  What did you think?  If not, what do you expect from reading a book in 2nd person?  This is supposed to be published in June, I'll be hoping for maybe an e-galley if possible!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Review: The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons

First, thanks to Edelweiss and Tor Teen for allowing me to read an e-galley of this title.  This is my first book by this author, even though I do really want to read the Article 5 series, I just haven't gotten a chance to pick them up yet. But now that I've read and really enjoyed this one, I'll have to make sure I get around to them sooner.  The cover and title of this make it sound more like a fantasy novel than a dystopian novel.  But reading the description of it, I knew I had to give it a try.  And it was very good.

The main character is Aya, or as she is called at "The Garden," Clover.  In this future world, women have become the slaves/property of the men.  This happened after women began to take over the world.  Now women live in towns, and at a certain time in their lives they are brought to be used to procreate.  And there is a problem, because of the way that most people now live off of food supplement pills instead of actual food.  Except for those women able to escape and live in the wild.  Or the very rich, they get to have real food.  The problem is that the pills have made it so many of the women are unable to have children.  And so the men want to go steal all the women from the outer lying cities or even those in the wilderness.  They go to The Garden where they will be fixed up with special treatments and then taught how to please a man.  This might sound great, but once they produce a child, they are then sent back a lot and auctioned off again.  Especially if they only produce females.  Aya was kidnapped in the wild, where her mother had taken her and her aunt and cousins to keep them safe.  The whole time Aya is in the Garden, she does her best to not go to auction.  Getting in fights, trying to escape, etc.  She makes a friend of a Driver, a group/race of people who cannot talk.  He tries to help her escape, but to no avail.  She is finally sent to an auction, where again she does her best to not be purchased.  What happens next only throws another wrench into her plan/desire to get away, back to the wilds and save her cousins.

There were 4 main parts to this book.  And it was definitely well split up into each section. This is a standalone, there will be no series.  And it does end well enough for that.  While not everything is all tied up in a pretty little bow, it is tied up quite perfectly.  I highly recommend this book. And it was nice to have a standalone book for a change.  I read this on the day of the National Readathon, read it all in one day.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Review: Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan

I'm not sure exactly who to thank for the ARC of this that I received in the mail about a month ago.  I don't know if I requested it through a Shelf Awareness giveaway, or if I have maybe got a contact in Scholastic since I emailed last fall and requested Blue Lily, Lily Blue when I was turned down for an egalley of it.  At first when I received this I was unsure.  I'd read the author before, and really enjoyed her work, but this was another one that seemed a bit younger than I usually read these days.  The blurb definitely caught my attention, and I'm so glad that I gave it a chance.  While it is maybe more of a middle school book, it is about the time surrounding World War II and looks at the war from different places and different stations in life. 

The story begins with a little fairy tale/legend found by a boy named Otto, 50 years before World War II began.  Otto found a book and read it when he was hiding in the forest from his friends during a game of Hide and Seek. What's pretty cool about this first part, is that now I understand why we say "Olly olly oxen free!"  Because it comes from the German words, "Alle, alle auch sind frei," or maybe it does.  I think it means, something like, all in free.  I don't know, but it was fun to read it if it was true.  Otto actually meets the 3 girls in the fairy tale, and they give him a harmonica that has some magic in it, to help save someone.  We don't know exactly what happens to it after that.  We leave Otto's story and jump into Friedrich's story in 1933 Germany. 

Friedrich is a young boy with a birthmark on his face.  Because of that, and the fact that he seemed to hear music and be conducting it all the time, he was made fun of in school, so his father brought him to work at the harmonica factory with him in the mornings. Then in the afternoon he gave him lessons, as well as other people working at the factory that helped with his education.  This is a time when Hitler is coming to power.  But Friedrich and his father and Uncle Gunter are not supporters.  When his sister Elisabeth comes home from nursing school, supposedly to begin working with their local doctor, things change.  She has become a supporter of Hitler, and according to the new laws, it is possible that Friedrich might need to be sterilized because they wouldn't want him passing on the birthmark that is hereditary.  Everything seems to be going okay until Friedrich sends the harmonica away in a shipment for the factory.  We're left when the local police catch him trying to run away to save his father from a camp.

Then we go to learn about Mike and his brother Frank in Pennsylvania in 1935.  They are living in boys home because they have no family anymore.  When they went there, their grandmother had made the woman in charge promise to get them adopted out together.  But the headmaster doesn't seem to plan to do that.  In fact she takes any money or extra food that is given by charity for the boys and sells it or keeps it for herself.  Because she doesn't want to lose this money, she is planning to send all the younger ones, like Frank, to the state home, which is supposed to be even worse than where they are now.  And she will send the older ones, like Mike to work for more money for her.  When they are almost ready to run away, they end up getting a chance to be adopted, both of them together, because of their musical ability.  This new family doesn't turn out to be quite what they'd hoped, even though they get harmonicas and think it may be their way out if they can learn to play enough to get chosen for a special tour.  We leave these two when they think things might get worse and something really scary happens as they try to run away.

The third part of the story is a girl, Ivy, who lives in California in 1942.  She has finally lived in one town for a full year when her father gets a letter saying they will be able to move and possibly live in a house for a change.  A house of their own, and it could be a permanent place. She doesn't want to move, she was just about to get to play a solo on the radio with her 5th grade class.  But they have to leave the very next day, and with her older brother Fernando away in the war, she has promised him to keep their family together.  It turns out they are going to be keeping up the orange grove for a Japanese man who has been sent to an Internment camp along with his family just because they are Japanese, even though the father of the family served in World War I for America and received medals of honor.  The rich man who lives down the street really wants to buy the Japanese man's house, partly because he thinks that maybe he was actually a spy.  Ivy meets a friend, the rich man's daughter.  Many things though are not as they seem. The great school that Ivy is now excited to go to and join the orchestra is one of those things.  And if the rich man is able to buy the house, will Ivy's family lose their new home?  And of course, will her brother make it home from the war?

The very end of the book is a story that will tie all of these characters together, and it all deals with the harmonica and music.  Even Otto gets brought back in to finish the fairy tale and give the girls in the story their happy ending.

Another great story by Pam Munoz Ryan.  A great tale of World War II, and how people, children, lived and survived during these times.  I will be putting it on my list of books to buy for my high school library for next year.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Stacking the Shelves - January 25th, 2015

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.  It is a way for us to share the new books we have collected.  I think I did a lot better this week!  Only one physical book, and it was through YA Book Exchange, so by getting it, I actually got rid of another one!

YA Book Exchange Trade:

I traded Kristen at My Friends are Fiction for this ARC of Talon, something I wish I'd gotten at BEA last summer.


E-Galley For Review from Book Blasts and Blog Tours hosted by I Am A Reader:

Free e-books:

Maybe I haven't done as well with e-books this week though.  Oh well, it's the life of a book blogger!

What did you add to your bookshelves this week?