Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga’s Reviews is a weekly meme where you show what books you’ve purchased, gotten from the library, received from giveaway, as gifts or for review. So excited about this book haul:

Won (thank you Josin McQuein for the giveaway!):

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ARC of Meridian, Arclight and Premeditated all signed by Josin

I have read Arclight (my review) and loved it–I found McQuein to be so creative and loved the world she created. You can see more details in my interview with her. I am so excited to have a physical arc of Meridian to read and add to my collection. Premeditated isn’t my typical genre but I’ve read really positive reviews and it’s written by Josin so that’s a winner. So excited about all of these!

For Review (sent from the publisher):

Haze (The Rephaim, #2)
Haze (Rephain #2) by Paula Weston

Last year I was on the blog tour for the first book in this series, Shadows (interview with Paula Weston). I loved it and have been crazy eager to be able to read the second book. I am so thrilled I was able to get an arc. Thank you!

For Review (via Netgalley):

 Plus OneHungryWhere Silence Gathers (Some Quiet Place, #2)

Plus One by Elizabeth Fama, Hungry by H.A. Swain and Where Silence Gathers by Kelsey Sutton

I have heard amazing things about Plus One and had a very good friend (looking at you Jen) tell me she thought I’d enjoy it. I had to request it right away and have already started reading (about 15% in) Loving it so far. Hungry sounds….sort of silly to be honest. But for some reason I felt the need to read it anyway. I loved Some Quiet Place, I felt Sutton wrote so beautifully and I love her personified emotions. You can read my interview with her here.

Purchased:

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Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi, Scarlet and Cress by Marissa Meyer and Landry Park by Bethany Hagen

This week was stellar in new releases. I had to run out and purchase (and read) Ignite Me immediately. I have read it already and liked it though I had a couple things I would have enjoyed more of. I don’t actually know if I’ll review this one on here or not. I had to buy the paperback of Scarlet because my blog is mentioned! So exciting. I’ve heard great things about Landry Park so had to get that one as well. Trust me, I could have purchased a lot more books but tried to limit myself.

I can’t believe we are a week into February already. I’ve already strayed from my reading schedule for this month but I hope to be able to read all the books I hoped as well as the ones I’ve slipped in (Ignite Me and Plus One). This week I was able to finish Vicious by Victoria Schwab (amazing as expected) as well as Death Sworn by Leah Cypess.

Posts from the week:

  • Interview with Michael O-the artist behind the Lunar Chronicles books. Be sure to enter to win one of the 3 books (winner chooses, INT). You can enter here.
  • Review of Archetype by M.D. Waters
  • Release Day Launch of Alienated + Nook Simple touch giveaway
  • Review of Death Sworn by Leah Cypess

Next week I am thrilled to be on The Winner’s Curse Blog Tour (tour schedule). My blog will kick the tour off this Sunday (tomorrow) with some really beautiful insights from Marie Rutkoski as well as a giveaway. Be sure to stop back by!

How was your week?

Interview with Michael O-Artist Behind the Lunar Chronicles Covers+International Giveaway

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1)Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles, #2)Cress (Lunar Chronicles, #3)

I think it is safe to say that when the cover of Cress (Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer was finally revealed a collective gasp occurred. I love the juxtaposition of ‘Rapunzel’ and all her hair sweeping the bottom of the book—just perfect and breath-taking. After getting over my ooh’s and ah’s I thought, who is the artist behind the cover? The artist is Michael O and book covers are just a small sampling of the artwork he’s done.

Read More »

Review of Cress by Marissa Meyer

Cress (Lunar Chronicles, #3)Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3)
By: Marissa Meyer
Release Date: February 4th 2014
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

A copy was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review, thank you!!

Rating:
star

Cress is the third book in the Lunar Chronicles so there will be possible spoilers for the first two books. If you’ve not read this series check out my review of Cinder.

Summary (via Goodreads):Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite. She can’t let down her hair – or her guard.
In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker – unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.

My Thoughts:
This review will be shorter and less eloquent due to my intense love of this series and inability to form coherent and concise thoughts in regards to it. To me, each book Meyer publishes continue to improve upon the last. I felt that Cress continued in this tradition with the addition of wonderful, unique characters and continuation of the development of the past.

Meyer excels at writing group dynamics and is able to give each individual an unique voice that plays off the other characters. I find this to be the aspect of her writing and books I am impressed with the most. For one person to be capable of creating such brilliant banter is truly remarkable.

As you probably know Cress is a retelling of the classic Rapunzel. I absolutely adored that our Rapunzel, named Cress, was not stuck in a tower without doors but an orbiting satellite. I felt that Meyer was able to give her a true sense of naiveté without making her dumb (for lack of a better word). She is a damsel in distress but she is so very much more and is capable of admirable fetes, such as her computer skills. I adored her fangirling over Thorne and her awkward interactions with the rest of the crew. Because of her self doubt, awkwardness and sweet nature she quickly cemented herself as my favorite of the series.

The story’s pacing continues to be fast and Meyer’s writing is detailed and absorbing. Her action scenes are beautifully orchestrated as well as her ability to create realistic characters that are impossible not to relate to as well as empathize with.

Final Thoughts:
I love Marissa Meyer’s story telling and ability to weave elements of classic fairy tales with science fiction. Each book in the series builds beautifully and seamlessly on its predecessor. I know that Winter, the last in the series, will be the strongest yet and I am as heartbroken as I am excited that only one book remains.

Extras:
Review of Cinder
Review of Scarlet
Interview with Marissa Meyer

The Best Books of 2013

I’ve been thinking about this post for a while, trying to determine how I would narrow all the books I’ve read this year into my favorites. I’m going to challenge myself and limit the number to five, otherwise this list would go on forever.

My Favorite Books Published in 2013

This is not by order of my affection

 World After (Penryn & the End of Days, #2)Siege and StormIn the Shadow of Blackbirds

World After by Susan Ee-I loved this book so much because Ee’s writing is evocative, lush and just heartbreaking. Every scene between Raffe and Penryn was absolutely perfect. This book impacted me to my core as did Angelfall.

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo-Bardugo knows how to weave a story that is gripping and rich in world-building without any information dump. I love her cast of characters.

In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters- Winters about broke my heart with this story. I was nearly traumatized but I loved it so deeply. I had to sit my husband down to tell him in detail about the characters and story. Not only that it gave me an interest in this time period.

 In the AfterThese Broken StarsThe Bone Season

In the After by Demitria Lunetta- While reading this I actually had a few nightmares. This rarely happens to me but Lunetta’s writing and depiction of how it would feel to be alone and in fear really crept into my mind.

These Broken Stars by Meagan Spooner and Amie Kaufman– I immediately knew I wanted to read this based on the cover. I feared that the cover would betray me as so many of the lovely ones do. Turns out the content of the book was able to exceed the beautiful cover. I loved this story start to finish.

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon- Shannon created such an in-depth world that quickly mesmerized me. Warden’s character was incredibly interesting and I needed to read more to find out about him. Paige was a main character I could stand behind.

Ok, that’s 6 books. I couldn’t narrow it down any further than that.

Favorites that don’t release until early 2014:

 The Winner's Curse Cress (Lunar Chronicles, #3)

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski- This book. I instantly fell in love with Rutkoski’s writing style, characters and this story swept me off my feet. It was everything and more I wanted it to be. So. Much. Love.

Cress by Marissa Meyer- Meyer’s story gets better with each book. I absolutely adore her characters and she is capable of creating unique personalities and dialog.

Closer to the new year I’ll be posting my Blogger Resolutions.

12 Days of ARCs + International Giveaway

12 days

Can you think of a better way to spend the holidays than with some wonderful books??  Neither can we!  So, for 12 days, beginning tomorrow at 10 PM EST, Stephanie  from Inspiring Insomnia and I will be hosting a giveaway, and the winner will receive 12 ARCs!  The ARCs will go to a US winner, but because we want our friends outside the US to participate, too, a non-US winner will receive his/her choice of finished copies of any two of the ARCs that we feature.  (These may include pre-orders, if you choose.)

Here’s how it will work: On each of the 12 days, Stephanie and I will take turns revealing one of the ARCs to be given away, beginning at 10 PM EST.  At the same time, both of our blogs will feature a question that you can answer to earn points in the Rafflecopter.  You can ONLY answer a particular set of questions during that 24 hour window, and there will be a new set of questions each day at 10 PM EST.  (We will keep the last questions open for two additional days, to allow those of you celebrating Christmas some extra time to comment.)  You may want to bookmark our posts for the duration of the giveaway, since we will be updating our posts, rather than creating a new post each day.

December 25th Update:

All the books have been unwrapped and I think it is one epic haul. Because we know everyone is busy over the holiday we are keeping the giveaway open until midnight EST on the 27th. people out of town can still enter. 

So for the next two days, you can answer your choice of any two of the previous questions listed below the Rafflecopter (one for me, one for Stephanie) that you may have missed, for additional points.  

And for those that visited each site and answered all 24 questions for the appropriate 24 hour window, you can check an entry on the Rafflecopter for additional points.  NOTE: You can get 6 points for answering the two previous questions OR 10 points if already answered all 24 previous questions.  But you cannot do both.

Take a look at all the ARCs we are giving away to one lucky winner.

IMG_8128Day 6

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Day 12 textThis is it!  The last ARC to be revealed!  As usual, this last set of questions will be available to be answered for 24 hours, ending at 10 PM EST on the 25th.  But because we know many of you will have plans during this time, the giveaway will actually end at midnight EST on the 27th.  So, when this last pair of questions closes on the 25th, you will have the opportunity to come back anytime over the next two days to answer your choice of any two questions (one for me, one for Stephanie) that you may have previously missed, for additional points.

And for those rock stars who managed to answer all 20 questions during the appropriate 24 hour window, there will be an opportunity for you to check an entry on the Rafflecopter for additional points.

Thank you to everyone who has participated!  We have had so much fun doing this giveaway with you, and we can’t wait to pick our winners!

So far we have revealed:

  • Avalon by Mindee Arnett on Inspiring Insomnia
  • Dangerous by Shannon Hale
  • Awaken by Meg Cabot on Inspiring Insomnia
  • The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
  • Roomies by Tara Altebrando on Inspiring Insomnia
  • Cress by Marissa Meyer
  • A Star Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund (SIGNED) on Inspiring Insomnia
  • Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
  • Hostage Three by Nick Lake on Inspiring Insomnia
  • Deception by C.J. Redwine
  • Independent Study by Joelle Charbonneau
And the last book is…
HER DARK CURIOSITY by Megan Shepherd

Day 12 Questions:
Mine: Which of the Arcs we are giving away are you most eager for?
Stephanie’s: Have you had as much fun with 12 Days of ARCs as we’ve had? :) Answer at Inspiring Insomnia

Holly

-Previous Questions-

Day 11 text

Day 11 already! Tonight’s reveal will be over at Inspiring Insomnia. As for the books we’ve revealed so far,

Day 11 Questions:
Mine: What gift are you really wanting for Christmas?
Stephanie’s: Who would win in a fight – Santa or the Tooth Fairy? Answer at Inspiring Insomnia

Day 10 text

We are day 10 of the 12 Days of ARCs Giveaway.  I love the selection of books we’re giving away.

and tonight’s book is:

Day 10 Questions:
Mine: Which book have you read that you feel didn’t get enough buzz either by publisher marketing or blogger buzz?
Stephanie’s: Do you have any tips for traveling during the holidays? Answer at Inspiring Insomnia

Day 9 text

I can’t believe how close we are to being done with this giveaway! It’s gone really fast and been a lot of fun. Tonight the book reveal is over at Inspiring Insomnia

Day 9 Questions:
Mine: Is there a book that is very popular that you read but didn’t care for? Which one?
Stephanie’s: Oh no!!  Santa’s stuck in your chimney!  How will you help him to get out? Answer at Inspiring Insomnia

Day 8 text

Tonight’s reveal is:

CRUEL BEAUTY by Rosamund Hodge

Day 8 Questions:
Mine: Do you have any book/blogging resolutions for next year?
Stephanie’s: Holiday lights: White or colored; blinking or non-blinking.  Debate! Answer at Inspiring Insomnia

Day 7 text

Tonight the ARC reveal is over at Inspiring Insomnia …head over to check it out. Here are tonight’s questions

Day 7 Questions:
Mine: Did one of your favorite series end this last year? Which one and were you happy with how it ended?
Stephanie’s: Is there any chance of snow for Christmas in your state/country?
Answer at Inspiring Insomnia

Day 6 text

Today My Friends Are Fiction turns one year old! I can’t believe how fast this year has gone by and how far this blog has come in that amount of time. When I started blogging I had no idea that the community would be so amazing and I would make such wonderful friends. I also had no idea that I would get so excited to give away books. This giveaway is a great way for me to celebrate one year of blogging and thank you all for following. I can’t wait to see where this next year takes me.

For tonight I am revealing one of the most coveted books of the year. To be honest, when Stephanie and I started this giveaway I didn’t know I’d be giving this one away–I am so, so excited to tell you it is:

CRESS by Marissa Meyer

I absolutely love the Lunar Chronicles and Marissa Meyer. She was so incredibly kind to do an interview with me when I was barely a few months old. I am so thankful for her kindness (you can read the interview here). I hope you guys are excited to see this book revealed.

Day 6 Questions:
Mine: What was your favorite 2013 Debut book?
Stephanie’s: What’s the worst present you’ve ever received? Answer this question at Inspiring Insomnia
Day 5 text

Tonight Stephanie is revealing the ARC; head over to Inspiring Insomnia to see what it is. I have to say tonight’s question from Stephanie is my favorite of all the questions. Made me laugh so hard when I read it. I can’t wait to read your answers :-)

Day 5 Questions:
Mine: Which book are you most eager to read releasing in 2014?
Stephanie’s: Guess Santa’s weight. Answer at Inspiring Insomnia

Day 4 text

I am SO excited to be unwrapping tonight’s ARC–this is a book that I’ve read and it is by far one of the very best books I’ve read this year and I am beyond thrilled to be able to gift one of you with it. Thank you Macmillan/Farrar Straus Giroux! Tonight’s reveal is…

THE WINNER’S CURSE by Marie Rutkoski

So far we’ve unwrapped Avalon by Mindee Arnett, Dangerous by Shannon Hale and Awaken by Meg Cabot

Day 4 Questions:
Mine: What was your favorite book of 2013? Answer below in the comments.
Stephanie’s: If the reindeer went on strike, what kind of animals should fly Santa’s sleigh instead? Visit Inspiring Insomnia to answer this question
Day 3 textI have loved reading which gifts have meant the most to you. I can’t wait to continue reading your comments.

So far we have revealed Avalon by Mindee Arnett and Dangerous by Shannon Hale…Stephanie at Inspiring Insomnia is ‘unwrapping’ the tonight’s.

Day 3 Questions:
Mine: What is your favorite Christmas carol/song? Answer below in the comment section.
Stephanie’s: Are there any holiday traditions that you wish your family would give up? Head over to Inspiring Insomnia to answer this question and see the 3rd ARC revealed.

 Day 2 textThank you to everyone that has visited our sites and entered this giveaway! I have really enjoyed seeing which ARCs you would love to be revealed. I’ll give you a hint…I’ve seen a few requested that we are in fact giving away.

Now without further ado the second book is (drum roll)…

DANGEROUS by Shannon Hale

Day 2 Questions:
Mine: What is your favorite Christmas (or for any reason) gift you’ve received?
Stephanie’s: Are there any holiday traditions from when you were a kid that you miss? Answer at Inspiring Insomnia

Check back tomorrow at 10 PM EST to see the third book and to answer two new questions.

Day 1 text

Stephanie at Inspiring Insomnia and I are hosting a giveaway, and the winner will receive 12 ARCs! Head over to Inspiring Insomnia to see the first ARC that has been revealed. Answer my below question in the comments to earn entries then head over and see the book you could win and answer Stephanie’s question.

Day 1 Questions:
Mine: Which book would you love to see revealed as an arc being given away? Answer below in the comment section
Stephanie’s: What is your favorite Christmas movie? Answer at Inspiring Insomnia

Check back tomorrow at 10 PM EST to see the second book reveal and the two new questions.

We are so excited to do this giveaway with you, and we hope you will have fun participating!  If you have any questions, please let me know.