Stacking the Shelves

Whew, it’s been AGES (a month) since I’ve done one of these. I’m not going to gather up all the books I’ve gotten over the month though (too lazy) so this will be just this week’s worth.

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.

The Books

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Eeee. So excited about this haul! 9 of them are unsolicited but I’m intrigued so I’ll give them a go. I am really excited about Dreamers Often Lie. Anyone read it yet? I think I’ll read And I Darken first. I’ve not had the best luck with White but I’m really, really hopeful I’ll love it. So many thanks to Random House, Tor, Scholastic, and Harper.

How have you been? Read any of the books I got this past week? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Stacking the Shelves

Merry Christmas to all those that celebrate! I hope you’ve had a great holiday and are looking forward to 2016! I can’t believe it’s right around the corner. I hope to do some blog resolutions, best of 2015, looking ahead, etc type posts but we’ll see.

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.

The Books

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Thank you a million time to HarperTeen for all the lovely books! I can’t wait to dive into them all. Thank you also to my beautiful sister for Vicious (FINALLY I OWN IT) and Disney Hyperion for the HC of Their Fractured Light, Spencer Hill Press for Bookishly Ever After, Random House for Burning Midnight, and Abrams for The Steep and Thorny Way

Last Week’s Posts

That was it for me last week! I was enjoying the holidays and didn’t feel like posting. I have been writing up reviews and reading a lot so look for more posts coming soon. I’m hoping to get remotivated in the New Year.

Blog Tour- Review of Damage Done by Amanda Panitch+ Giveaway

DamageDoneDamage Done
By: Amanda Panitch
Release Date: July 21, 2015
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:
22 minutes separate Julia Vann’s before and after.

Before: Julia had a twin brother, a boyfriend, and a best friend.

After: She has a new identity, a new hometown, and memories of those twenty-two minutes that refuse to come into focus. At least, that’s what she tells the police.

Now that she’s Lucy Black, she’s able to begin again. She’s even getting used to the empty bedroom where her brother should be. And her fresh start has attracted the attention of one of the hottest guys in school, a boy who will do anything to protect her. But when someone much more dangerous also takes notice, Lucy’s forced to confront the dark secrets she thought were safely left behind.

One thing is clear: The damage done can never be erased. It’s only just beginning. . . .

The Story:
Oh goodness, how to describe this book without giving anything away? Damage Done was the type of book it is best not knowing much about. The experience of reading this story and watching it unfold was so enjoyable and thought provoking I wouldn’t want to take that from a future reader.

I knew little going in other than this book was a thriller. I loved the idea that this story dealt with a main character that had experienced something traumatic and had to come to terms with the fall out. I think many times books focus on the build up to an event which tends to be the climax and then the reader is left wondering what became of the characters. In Damage Done we start the story well after the traumatic event has occurred and work our way back from Lucy/Julia’s memories and experiences.

The story was told in first person from Julia’s point of view. Interspersed between the chapters are journal entries from a philologist which gave little tid-bits into the story the reader wouldn’t otherwise know. Prepare yourself for a page turner that keeps you guessing the outcome.

The Characters:
Though Damage Done had some action sequences the story focused most on the characters and the physiological  impact of the events that led to them picking up their lives and completely moving on- even taking new names. This was immediately mesmerizing to me and I loved watching how the characters cracked at the edges. I loved peeking into their memories and thoughts trying to understand Julia/Lucy and what exactly had occurred.

I thought that Panitch did an incredible job creating her characters. I found them, especially Julia, to be interesting. The side characters are less detailed and more one dimensional but in this book this actually adds to the story rather than detracting.

Final Thoughts:
Damage Done was a well executed physiological thriller that was thought provoking, tense and fast paced. I really enjoyed guessing what happened within those 22 minutes that changed Julia’s life forever.

Giveaway

Thank you to Random House for providing a copy for giveaway! Because the publisher will be providing the giveaway copy this is US only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review of Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Red Rising (Red Rising Trilogy, #1)Red Rising
By: Pierce Brown
Publisher: Del Rey (Random House)
Release Date: January 28th 2014

An electronic copy was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:
star

Summary:
Darrow is a miner and a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he digs all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of the planet livable for future generations. Darrow has never seen the sky.

Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better future for his children.

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow and Reds like him are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow joins a resistance group in order to infiltrate the ruling class and destroy society from within. He will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies… even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.

The Story:
I really had no idea what to expect going into this novel. I hadn’t heard of Pierce Brown and only knew that the story was classified as dystopian. I loved the cover and thought the summary had a lot of potential.

Red Rising starts off brilliant. I was awed with the gruesome world Brown created; it was harsh, realistic and gritty. We are introduced to the Reds, the lowest caste in a futuristic society. The Reds dig underground on Mars and live short, brutal lives. Brown’s words were vibrant, intense and spell-binding. I was immediately invested in Darrow and his story. I was sure Red Rising was on track to being one of my all time favorite books.

Sadly, around 30% the story took a major turn that switched the tone up and honestly felt like a completely different book. The summary supplies us with the knowledge that Darrow leaves his underground life to join forces with those above to retaliate and resist the upper castes–once these elements begin the feel of the books changes.

Many, many pages were dedicated to battle strategy, fighting and very gruesome deaths. All were written very well but overall I wish this section had been edited down so that the pacing felt faster.

The Characters:
Brown was able to create a very unique cast of characters with none of them being either good or evil. Each character had their faults though slivers of good shone through in certain moments. I enjoyed this juxtaposition of good and bad in each and found it made me interested in all the characters. The dialog was impressive since each character’s speech felt very different from the others.

The main character, Darrow, went on an intense personal journey throughout the novel. Though I was able to empathize and root for him I never connected to him as thoroughly as I would have liked.  Something about the way the majority of the novel was written kept me at arms length and I felt that I was watching things play out rather than living through them. I can’t pin-point why exactly but I think this is why that middle section dragged some for me personally.

Final Thoughts:
There is no doubt that Pierce Brown is a skilled writer and story teller. Red Rising is gruesome, gritty and horrific yet was able to get me pondering the questions Brown posed in his future society. Though the majority of the book felt a bit slow to me I was still able to find interest in the details and personal journey of the protagonist. The story’s stellar start gripped me leaving me unable to not know how Brown will manage to tie in the loose strands of his main story arc.

Kim at The Midnight Garden reviewed this title as well and was able to capture the atmosphere incredibly well. Head over to The Midnight Garden to read her thoughts.

Waiting on Wednesday #15

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we are highly anticipating. This week’s pre-publication “can’t-wait to-read” selection is: Shadows by Paula Weston
ShadowsSummary (via Goodreads):
It’s almost a year since Gaby Winters was in the car crash that killed her twin brother, Jude. Her body has healed in the sunshine of Pandanus Beach, but her grief is raw and constant. It doesn’t help that every night in her dreams she kills demons and other hell-spawn.

And then Rafa comes to town. Not only does he look exactly like the guy who’s been appearing in Gaby’s dreams—he claims a history with her brother that makes no sense. Gaby is forced to accept that what she thought she knew about herself and her life is only a shadow of the truth—and that the truth is more likely to be found in the shadows of her nightmares.

Who is Rafa? Who are the Rephaim? And most importantly, who can she trust?

Why am I waiting on Shadows?
This book only came to my attention when I heard some buzz from a few trusted blogger friends. They couldn’t say enough about how wonderful the story and writing was…so I knew I had to get my hands on it. The cover is gorgeous and unlike a lot of others I actually rather like angel themed books. I know this one will become a fast favorite. I can’t wait to read it.

Shadows will be available in the US/Canada Fall 2013. Already available Australia, New Zealand and UK.

I will be part of the Shadows Blog Tour. My stop will be on September 20th.