Waiting on Wednesday (43): Blackbird by Anna Carey

Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My pick this week:
by Anna Carey
Release Date:  September 16, 2014
Published by HarperTeen
This twisty, breathless cat-and-mouse thrill ride, told in the second person, follows a girl with amnesia in present-day Los Angeles who is being pursued by mysterious and terrifying assailants.

A girl wakes up on the train tracks, a subway car barreling down on her. With only minutes to react, she hunches down and the train speeds over her. She doesn’t remember her name, where she is, or how she got there. She has a tattoo on the inside of her right wrist of a blackbird inside a box, letters and numbers printed just below: FNV02198. There is only one thing she knows for sure: people are trying to kill her.

On the run for her life, she tries to untangle who she is and what happened to the girl she used to be. Nothing and no one are what they appear to be. But the truth is more disturbing than she ever imagined.

The Maze Runner series meets Code Name Verity, Blackbird is relentless and action-packed, filled with surprising twists. (Cover and synopsis from Goodreads.)
I just think this book sounds so interesting, with the whole amnesia thing and it being told in second person.  I'm very intrigued to read it!

What book are you waiting on?  Let me know, or leave a link to your WoW post in the comments, and I'll try to stop by your blog! 

Review: Servants of the Storm by Delilah S. Dawson

Monday, July 21, 2014
Title:  Servants of the Storm
Author:  Delilah S. Dawson
Series:  None?
Publisher:  Simon Pulse
Publication Date:  August 5, 2014

Pages:  376
Format/Source:  ARC/From Publisher
Age Group/Genre:  Young Adult/Fantasy, Horror
A year ago Hurricane Josephine swept through Savannah, Georgia, leaving behind nothing but death and destruction — and taking the life of Dovey's best friend, Carly. Since that night, Dovey has been in a medicated haze, numb to everything around her.

But recently she's started to believe she's seeing things that can't be real ... including Carly at their favorite cafe. Determined to learn the truth, Dovey stops taking her pills. And the world that opens up to her is unlike anything she could have imagined.

As Dovey slips deeper into the shadowy corners of Savannah — where the dark and horrifying secrets lurk — she learns that the storm that destroyed her city and stole her friend was much more than a force of nature. And now the sinister beings truly responsible are out to finish what they started.

Dovey's running out of time and torn between two paths. Will she trust her childhood friend Baker, who can't see the threatening darkness but promises to never give up on Dovey and Carly? Or will she plot with the sexy stranger, Isaac, who offers all the answers — for a price? Soon Dovey realizes that the danger closing in has little to do with Carly ... and everything to do with Dovey herself. (Cover and synopsis from Goodreads.)

All Kinds of Creepy...

So I'm pretty much a wimp when it comes to gory or really scary stuff, especially in TV shows and movies.  I can kind of handle it in books, but, for instance, I will never be watching movies like Saw and TV shows like The Walking Dead.  I LOVE Game of Thrones but I cover my eyes during all the really gory or scary scenes--I just have to.  I can't handle that stuff.

BUT I really enjoy creepy stuff.  And Servants of the Storm came through with the creepiness factor, for sure.  It might not be scary enough for some of my friends who really love Horror, but I found it very sufficiently creepy.  In fact, I wrote "SO CREEPY" at least 4 times in my notes.

I also enjoyed the humor in Servants of the Storm, as well as the fact that there was action right from the beginning.  And the ending had a fantastic (also creepy) twist.

But I did have my issues with the story.  I don't enjoy it when characters have all these crazy things happen to them, and then when someone explains it, they refuse to believe it.  It's like, "Hello!  You have all this crazy supernatural stuff happening around you and you aren't going to believe the obvious explanation?  Why the hell not?"  Dovey does come to believe it fairly quickly, but not as quickly as I would have liked.  I also don't like it when there is a supernatural guy who doesn't have a bed in his room.  It reminds me of Twilight, which is a series I enjoyed, but I don't really like other books to remind me of that story.  I don't know, it just wasn't the best story in the world, you know?  And in Servants of the Storm, it totally doesn't make sense that this guy wouldn't have a bed in his room.

There's also a love triangle going on in this story, and to be fair, I do think that Dovey really doesn't know exactly how she feels about either of them for most of this story.  But still, it's not one of those excusable love triangles. (Like, for instance the one in the Throne of Glass series.  That's a totally excusable and complex love triangle and I fully support it.)  But I still enjoyed Servants of the Storm despite all of these issues.

Bonus Points...

Delilah S. Dawson gets some of my Bonus Points for the following reasons:

  • Mentioning Dr. Pepper = 50,000 points (It's the Nectar of the Gods, people!)
  • A Star Wars reference = 50,000 points
  • Mentioning Mississippi Mud Pie = 50,000 points (This is a dessert I grew up on and if you haven't had it, I suggest you change that immediately. And wash it down with a Dr. Pepper.) (Now I'm extremely hungry and thirsty...)
  • A Super Mario Bros. reference = 25,000 points

My rating for Servants of the Storm by Delilah S. Dawson:

4 big stars.  I really hope there is a sequel to this story, because that ending had such a cool twist and I could see there being more to this story!
Find it:  Goodreads │ Amazon │ Simon & Schuster

You may also enjoy: Evil Librarian

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated in any other way for this review.

Stacking the Shelves (54)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme, hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews, where bloggers can share the books and bookish items that we've bought, borrowed, or received each week.

This StS is for the past two weeks.

Audiobook Freebie
SYNC has free audiobooks during the summer, and I downloaded:
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes II by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Narrated by David Timson
Thanks so much to SYNC and the publisher for this, and thanks again to April from Good Books and Good Wine for reminding me of SYNC!

I have a physical book with several Sherlock Holmes stories in it, but I haven't read it, so I'm excited to listen to some of the stories on audio!

What did you guys get this week?  Let me know, or leave a link to your StS post (or IMM or any other alternative) in the comments and I'll try to stop by your blog!

Review: Let's Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

Thursday, July 17, 2014
Title:  Let's Get Lost
Author:  Adi Alsaid
Series:  None
Publisher:  Harlequin Teen
Publication Date:  July 29, 2014
Pages:  348
Format/Source:  ARC/From Publisher, via BEA
Age Group/Genre:  Young Adult/Contemporary
Five strangers. Countless adventures.One epic way to get lost.

Four teens across the country have only one thing in common: a girl named LEILA. She crashes into their lives in her absurdly red car at the moment they need someone the most.

There's HUDSON, a small-town mechanic who is willing to throw away his dreams for true love. And BREE, a runaway who seizes every Tuesday—and a few stolen goods along the way. ELLIOT believes in happy endings…until his own life goes off-script. And SONIA worries that when she lost her boyfriend, she also lost the ability to love.

Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia find a friend in Leila. And when Leila leaves them, their lives are forever changed. But it is during Leila's own 4,268-mile journey that she discovers the most important truth— sometimes, what you need most is right where you started. And maybe the only way to find what you're looking for is to get lost along the way. (Cover and synopsis from Goodreads.)

Humor, Complexity, and Cuteness...

Right off the bat, I found Let's Get Lost to be really cute.  I loved the banter between Hudson and Leila, I loved the writing and the humor, and I enjoyed all of the different characters.

However, for a little while I was worried that Leila would fall into the Manic Pixie Dream Girl (MPDG) trap, with all her quirkiness.  Luckily, Let's Get Lost turned into more of a Paper Towns-type story, where a MPDG character is established, and then it turns out that character is not a MPDG at all.  Leila is quirky, for sure, but so are all the other characters.  And Leila is not an aloof character who tells the others things like, "I'll hurt you in the end," or "You deserve better than me."  She truly likes getting to know all these other characters she meets, even the side characters.  She constantly wants to know more about them, get their story, and see how they tick.  And of course, in the end, you find out what makes Leila tick, and she is definitely not a MPDG who is there just to help the other characters reach their goals.

Let's Get Lost is a great road trip story; it makes you want to get out there and find all the hidden treasures in your own town and around the world, and yet it also makes you want to get to know your friends and family on an even deeper level.  It kind of takes that whole Carpe Diem theme and runs with it.

I had a few issues with the book, but they were pretty minor.  Like how the character of Dee (who I loved) was described as a "pre-teen" when we first met her, yet she was missing three teeth and acted like she was 7.  Also, according to the Tim Hortons website, they do not have a location anywhere in Washington state. (I was curious because I live in Washington state.)  And there were some instances of unnecessary details.  But like I said, those were minor issues and I still really enjoyed Let's Get Lost.

Bonus Points...

Adi Alsaid gets some of my Bonus Points for the following reasons:

  • Several references to '80s movies = 25,000 points
  • Doctor Who references = 50,000 points
  • A Lord of the Rings reference = 25,000 points 

My rating for Let's Get Lost by Adi Alsaid:

4 big stars.  I really enjoyed the story, the characters, and I even got a little choked up at the end!  I'll definitely be interested in reading more books by Adi Alsaid in the future!
Find it:  Goodreads │ Amazon │ Harlequin

You may also enjoy:  Paper Towns │ Eleanor & Park

Disclaimer:  I received this ARC from the publisher, via Book Expo America, in exchange for my honest review.  I was not compensated in any other way for this review.

Reading Order: Strict Schedule or On A Whim?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014
When writing fiction, and especially when participating in NaNoWriMo (If you write, I highly suggest checking that site out!), there's this idea of Plotters Vs. Pantsers.  Basically it's the idea of how you approach a new manuscript: Do you outline your plot and have a lot of your novel planned out beforehand (Plotter), or do you just fly by the seat of your pants and write as you go (Pantser)?  I used to be a major Plotter.  I am with a lot of things in my life. But in the past couple of years of doing NaNoWriMo, I've become more of a Pantser.

But that idea of flying by the seat of my pants has not carried over to my reading.  My review books, and especially my BEA books, all get put in publication order as soon as possible, and I stick to a pretty strict schedule so that I can read all of them and review them right around the publication date. I get a bit crazy with it.  Each book has a post-it note attached to the cover with the publication date, the month I should read it, and how I received it. This year, for my BEA books, I even made a chart in my notebook with the title, the publication date, the month I should read it, and the date my review will go up on my blog.  I mostly did that this year because I have TONS of books that are being published in September, so I wanted to make sure that, even if I have to review some a little early, the reviews don't come out more than 30 days before the book is published.

My BEA 2014 books, in order of
publication date (for the most part)

But I find this kind of schedule to be really limiting at times.  It means that my poor, sad books that I've bought are just sitting there, waiting to be read for who knows how long.  And sometimes I just really WANT to read something else.  BUT this year, I'm really challenging myself to read and review all of the books I got at BEA this year, and I want the reviews to come out before the publication date.  And because I'm a pretty slow reader, this means I really can't read any other books along with those BEA books--at least not for a while.

I do know there are some bloggers out there, like Jamie from The Perpetual Page-Turner, who are more Pantsers when it comes to reading.  Or, as Jamie calls it, a Mood Reader.  I would love to be able to read like this.  And even when I don't have tons of BEA books to read, and my TBR pile is mostly comprised of books I've purchased, with only a few review books mixed in, I still feel like I kind of have to have an idea of what I'm going to read soon. Obviously, I like to plan. But sometimes I just wish I could just grab a book off my shelves and read it, no matter what the publication date is.

What about you guys?  Are you Plotters or Pantsers when it comes to your TBR pile?  And do you wish you could be more like the other?  
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