Review: The Murmurings

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The Murmurings
Carly Anne West
Series: None
Release Date: March 5th, 2013
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Number of Pages: 384
Rating: 3 stars

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Everyone thinks Sophie’s sister, Nell, went crazy. After all, she heard strange voices that drove her to commit suicide. But Sophie doesn’t believe that Nell would take her own life, and she’s convinced that Nell’s doctor knows more than he’s letting on.

As Sophie starts to piece together Nell’s last days, every lead ends in a web of lies. And the deeper Sophie digs, the more danger she’s in—because now she’s hearing the same haunting whispers. Sophie’s starting to think she’s going crazy too. Or worse, that maybe she’s not…
I feel like The Murmurings is really comprised of two vastly different novels combined into one: the first half being its own novel; a dark contemporary of sorts where a girl is grieving over the death of her sister, and a boy helps pick up the pieces, with some dark and somewhat creepy paranormal happenings taking place every now and then, and then there's the second half being its own little novel; a somewhat creepy, thrilling, and fun paranormal/psychological read with a great deal of secrecy, mental hospitals, experimentation, and deceit thrown in.

But it's where those two 'novels' meet, and how the vastly different aspects in each 'novel' transition together, and more importantly how long the entire novel itself truly takes to reach its promised creepy and paranormal aspects, where I feel The Murmurings met its greatest faults.

Waiting on Wednesday (February 27)

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine where we post upcoming releases we're highly anticipating. My pre-publication selection for this week's Waiting on Wednesday is The Shadow Girl by Jennifer Archer.

 The Shadow Girl
Jennifer Archer
Series: None
Release Date: April 9th, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Number of Pages: 240

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Sometimes I forget for an hour or two that she's with me. Sometimes I convince myself that she was only a dream. Or that I'm crazy.

For as long as Lily Winston can remember, she has never been alone. Iris, a shadowy figure who mimics Lily's movements and whispers in her ear, is with her always—but invisible to the rest of the world. Iris is Lily's secret.


But when Lily's father is killed in a tragic accident, his cryptic final words suggest that he and Lily's mother have been keeping secrets of their own. Suddenly, Iris begins pushing Lily more than ever, possessing her thoughts and urging her to put together the pieces of a strange puzzle her father left behind. As she searches for answers, Lily finds herself drawn to Ty Collier, a mysterious new boy in town. Together, Lily and Ty must untangle a web of deception to discover the truth about her family, Iris . . . and Lily's own identity.

OK, this is going to be quick because I forgot to make this Waiting on Wednesday and I'm currently writing this on Wednesday morning and I'm in a bit of a rush so, in short, this one sounds creepy and original and awesome.

What are you waiting on?

 Let me know in the comments!


The Nightmare Affair Tour Stop: Review

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The Nightmare Affair
Mindee Arnett
Series: The Arkwell Academy, #1
Release Date: March 5th, 2013
Publisher: Tor Teen
Rating: 3 stars

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Sixteen-year-old Dusty Everhart breaks into houses late at night, but not because she’s a criminal. No, she’s a Nightmare.

Literally.

Being the only Nightmare at Arkwell Academy, a boarding school for magickind, and living in the shadow of her mother’s infamy, is hard enough. But when Dusty sneaks into Eli Booker’s house, things get a whole lot more complicated. He’s hot, which means sitting on his chest and invading his dreams couldn’t get much more embarrassing. But it does. Eli is dreaming of a murder.

Then Eli’s dream comes true.

Now Dusty has to follow the clues—both within Eli’s dreams and out of them—to stop the killer before more people turn up dead. And before the killer learns what she’s up to and marks her as the next target.
For a book that initially sounded so original, I hate to say that I found The Nightmare Affair to be helplessly average. Enjoyable? Yes--hence my three star rating. I did have fun reading The Nightmare Affair, and, overall, I did enjoy it, but as a whole I found it to be an ultimately familiar read.

The paranormal lore aspect to The Nightmare Affair is for the most part fresh, bringing new and fun ideas to the table, and the world-building is somewhat thorough and interesting, albeit not entirely original. Similarly to most readers, the thing that stood out most about The Nightmare Affair for me was the concept of Nightmares as a paranormal creature, and I'm glad to say that, with that concept, Mindee Arnett has created a fun and fantastical boarding school and murder mystery story.

However, the resemblance of The Nightmare Affair to other popular young adult reads is practically glaring--most notably its resemblance to Harry Potter. Let me just point out that I'm not that type of reader who brings every book with a magical boarding school right back to Harry Potter, and I might have been picking at straws concerning similarities between the two in The Nightmare Affair, but some things were far to similar for me to pass up. [For example, they call non-magical beings in Harry Potter muggles, and in The Nightmare Affair, they call non-magical beings mules.  This is one of the similarities I admit I may have been picking at straws with, but the entire thing just felt off with me--of all the things you can possibly call non-magical beings as a derogatory term, one would think authors would avoid using any words starting with 'm' and 'u.' As well as that, there is a Halloween (Samhain) chapter with a dining hall that is quite similar to the Great Hall in Harry Potter, with some particular happenings in that chapter that are in a way reminiscent of the chapter in Harry Potter. (hide spoiler)]

Similarities to other popular works aside, The Nightmare Affair is lacking in quite a few aspects--most considerably the murder mystery and the characterization, or lack thereof. Upon finishing The Nightmare Affair, I'm left with an unfortunately vague sense as to what the characters were like, as we're not given much development and characterization in the novel. The main character, Dusty, was overall likable and witty, but by the end of the novel I just don't feel like I truly knew anything about her other than the basics, which were told to us. As well as that, the murder mystery in The Nightmare Affair is almost painfully predictable, and even though I had a fun time going through the murder mystery even knowing the outcome, a less glaringly obvious outcome would have been beneficent to my enjoyment in the story.

However, despite those above qualms, I'd recommend The Nightmare Affair to anyone looking for a quick and fun paranormal romance and mystery with refreshing new lore and witty dialogue and characters. Though I do fully acknowledge its faults, I had an incredibly fun time reading The Nightmare Affair, but in the end it lacked the amount of depth necessary for it to be a memorable read.
THE NIGHTMARE AFFAIR Trailer
GIVEAWAY

Showcase Sunday (29)

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Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Vicki at Books, Biscuits, and Tea, where we showcase what books we've gotten over the course of the week, whether it be from a book store, bought for your eReader, received from the library, or from the publishers for review.

For Review:


  

  

 


The End Games: I'm so excited for this one it's crazy. I'll be starting it after my next read (which will be Unremembered), and I am so. freaking. excited. On a scale from me to Gary Busey, it's Gary-Busey-crazy how excited I am to read this. Thanks, HarperTeen!

Another Little Piece: This one sounds awesome, too! I think it's about cannibals, which sounds fascinating and creepy and amazing. But don't quote me on that. I'm probably wrong. Also, it mentions Pretty Little Liars and Stephen King in its blurb. This book and I are destined to be best friends. Thanks, HarperTeen!

September Girls: Looking forward to this one so much. It's gotten rave reviews saying it's beautiful, and I think it's about mermaids. When I asked the author he said it's 'a little bit about mermaids and a little bit not.' Whatever that means, I'm in. Thanks, HarperTeen!

The Murmurings: Just finished this one--three stars. It was good, but not very creepy, and the first half was very difficult to get through. The second half was absolutely great, though, so that's good. My review will be up on Thursday, but it's already on Goodreads if you're interested. Thanks, Simon Pulse!

Arclight: This one sounds great, and it was just recently picked up for a movie deal, so yay! Looking forward to reading this one. Thanks, HarperTeen!

Reboot: I should be starting this one after The End Games and I am ridiculously excited, as well. It sounds so awesome and fun! Thanks, HarperTeen!

In the After: This one sounds so creepy, and the author wrote an awesome post on silence and In the After which makes me want to drop everything and read this even more. Thanks, HarperTeen!

Unremembered: Starting this one next and I'm looking forward to it! I've been on a sci-fi kick lately, and this sounds really fun. Thanks, MacMillan!

Also, I bought no books this week! *blog readers collectively gasp* *high fives self*

What did you get this week? 

Leave a comment letting me know!

Review: MILA 2.0 by Debra Driza

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MILA 2.0
Debra Driza
Series: MILA 2.0, #1
Release Date: March 12th, 2013
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Number of Pages: 480
Rating: 4 stars

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Mila 2.0 is the first book in an electrifying sci-fi thriller series about a teenage girl who discovers that she is an experiment in artificial intelligence.

Mila was never meant to learn the truth about her identity. She was a girl living with her mother in a small Minnesota town. She was supposed to forget her past —that she was built in a secret computer science lab and programmed to do things real people would never do.

Now she has no choice but to run—from the dangerous operatives who want her terminated because she knows too much and from a mysterious group that wants to capture her alive and unlock her advanced technology. However, what Mila’s becoming is beyond anyone’s imagination, including her own, and it just might save her life.

Mila 2.0 is Debra Driza’s bold debut and the first book in a Bourne Identity–style trilogy that combines heart-pounding action with a riveting exploration of what it really means to be human. Fans of I Am Number Four will love Mila for who she is and what she longs to be—and a cliffhanger ending will leave them breathlessly awaiting the sequel.
There is so much fun to be had reading Debra Driza's thoroughly interesting and original debut, MILA 2.0. Brimmed to the top with incredibly fun action scenes, likable characters, believable conflicts, and awesome technological abilities, MILA 2.0 is not a novel to be missed by anyone looking for their next great sci-fi read--and especially those looking for an awesome android novel, which there, unfortunately, seems to be a massive shortage of.

For some readers, MILA 2.0 may be a bit slow to start, but for me, I was fully engrossed in the story from the first chapter to the last. For me, the exposition aspect of the novel leading up to the android aspects were absolutely fascinating--and while some readers may have been frustrated by the presence of the cliché mean girl in the beginning, I appreciated that character's presence because she had a major impact on the progression of the plot, and wasn't thrown into the novel just for the sake of conflict. And once the androids aspects do kick in, MILA 2.0 is an absolutely engaging, fun, and unputdownable read.

Mila is an exceptionally interesting and believable character--more believable than many characters in young adult, and she's an android--and she handled each of her struggles and conflicts in a manner I would expect most to if they were placed in her situation. While she did frustrate me quite a few times, most considerably whenever she thought of Hunter, a boy she knew for days and is now aggravatingly and inexplicably attached to, during incredibly inappropriate moments, most notably while she's running for her life, she had understandable reasons for being so attached to Hunter, it was just frustrating to read about his lopsided grin and blue eyes over and over and over again. The relationship between Mila and her mother is one I eventually grew to really enjoy, which at first was the very last thing I expected. In the beginning of the novel, Mila's mother is characterized as a cold and standoffish mother, but as the novel progressed she, and her relationship with Mila, were met with a great amount of development.

Recommended to anyone looking for a fun sci-fi read dealing with androids in an original and fascinating way, MILA 2.0 ended up being a book that exceeded each and every one of my initial expectations. With great writing, great characters, great action scenes and practically great everything, I thoroughly look forward to reading the second book in this entertaining trilogy, as well as any other novels Driza may write.

Review: Dualed by Elsie Chapman

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Dualed
Elsie Chapman
Series: Dualed, #1
Release Date: March 26th, 2013
Publisher: Random House
Number of Pages: 304
Rating: 2 stars

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You or your Alt? Only one will survive.

The city of Kersh is a safe haven, but the price of safety is high. Everyone has a genetic Alternate—a twin raised by another family—and citizens must prove their worth by eliminating their Alts before their twentieth birthday. Survival means advanced schooling, a good job, marriage—life.

Fifteen-year-old West Grayer has trained as a fighter, preparing for the day when her assignment arrives and she will have one month to hunt down and kill her Alt. But then a tragic misstep shakes West’s confidence. Stricken with grief and guilt, she’s no longer certain that she’s the best version of herself, the version worthy of a future. If she is to have any chance of winning, she must stop running not only from her Alt, but also from love . . . though both have the power to destroy her.

Elsie Chapman's suspenseful YA debut weaves unexpected romance into a novel full of fast-paced action and thought-provoking philosophy. When the story ends, discussions will begin about this future society where every adult is a murderer and every child knows there is another out there who just might be better.
Upon finishing Dualed, all I am overcome with is an overwhelming sense of complete and utter mediocrity. Running through my head last night, while reading, and ultimately finishing Dualed was a giant list of 'what-ifs' and 'should-haves' that, in my opinion, would have made reading Dualed a much more interesting experience. Should these issues have been addressed, Dualed could have easily been a four star read for me, but in the end, there are far too many holes in the world and the character development for me to give Dualed anything more than a disappointed two stars.

Review: If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

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If You Find Me
Emily Murdoch
Series: None
Release Date: February 26th, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffith
Number of Pages: 352
Rating: 4 stars

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THERE ARE SOME THINGS YOU CAN'T LEAVE BEHIND ...

A broken-down camper hidden deep in a national forest is the only home fifteen-year-old Carey can remember. The trees keep guard over her threadbare existence, with the one bright spot being Carey's younger sister, Jenessa, who depends on Carey for her very survival. All they have is each other, as their mentally ill mother comes and goes with greater frequency. Until that one fateful day their mother disappears for good, and the girls are found by their father, a stranger, and taken to re-enter the "normal" life of school, clothes and boys.

Now, Carey must come to terms with the truth of why their mother spirited them away ten years ago, while haunted by a past that won't let her go ... a dark past that hides many a secret, including the reason Jenessa hasn't spoken a word in over a year. Carey knows she must keep her sister close, and her secrets even closer, or risk watching her new life come crashing down.
There's no mistaking the fact that If You Find Me is a thoroughly compelling, affecting, and poignant read, and the fact that it is a debut novel makes those attributes all the more impressive. At first, I wasn't entirely sure whether or not If You Find Me would be something I'd end up liking, putting into consideration I'm not the type of reading who goes actively out of their way for deep and poignant novels concerning child abuse and topics similar to child abuse, but I am unquestionably satisfied that I ended up deciding to give If You Find Me a chance, even if it broke my heart a countless amount of times.

The strongest aspect in If You Find Me, in my opinion, is the relationship between the two sisters, Carey and Jenessa. I've been looking for a strong sisterly bond in young adult for quite a while, now, and with all of my searching I've only been disappointed. That is, of course, until I read If You Find Me. The relationship that is Carey and Jenessa's is the epitome of a strong and unbreakable sisterly bond, and experiencing this relationship develop more and more with each passing page was both moving and entirely breathtaking.

Waiting on Wednesday (February 20)

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine where we post upcoming releases we're highly anticipating. My pre-publication selection for this week's Waiting on Wednesday is The Program by Suzanne Young
 The Program
Suzanne Young
Series: Program, #1
Release Date: April 30th, 2013
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Number of Pages: 416


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In Sloane’s world, true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the only solution is The Program.

Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them.

I've been looking forward to reading this one for quite a while - novels concerning suicide are always an interesting move for authors to make, and the few novels concerning suicide have been ones I liked, and the concept of suicide coupled with a dystopian world (the synopsis reminds me of Delirium but with suicide, actually) in The Program makes this high up on my wish-list. 

What are you waiting on?

 Let me know in the comments!

Today's Releases (February 19)

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2/21


  


I'm not going to be buying any of this week's releases, but I am interested in The Different Girl and How to Lead a Life of Crime. And oh, Mind Games is released today. Not a fan of that book. Well, this commentary is much shorter than usual! I'm sure it's refreshing you for all. ;) 


Cover Reveal: Revelations by J.A. Souders

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Today I'm excited to reveal the awesome cover for J.A. Souder's Revelations, sequel to Renegade. I absolutely loved the cover for Renegade, and I love this one, too. The colors are so incredibly vibrant and beautiful, even more so than on the first. Check it out after the jump, along with an awesome giveaway, and tell me what you think of it in the comments!

Revelations by J.A. Souders

Release Date: November 5th, 2013



And now... the cover for Revelations!

Showcase Sunday (28)

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Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Vicki at Books, Biscuits, and Tea, where we showcase what books we've gotten over the course of the week, whether it be from a book store, bought for your eReader, received from the library, or from the publishers for review.

For Review:


  

  

 


Bought: 


  

 


Same format as last week and the week before for this, because once again I got a big haul this week and don't think any of you would like reading my thoughts for all of them clumped into one long paragraph. You'll still be reading the same amount of words, if not more, but at least with this new format it's stretched out. (Tell me in the comments if you prefer this format or this old one where everything was in one paragraph; I want to know what you guys think.) 

Golden: I've been looking forward to reading this one for quite a while, so I'm thrilled to have gotten an ARC. I have no willpower whatsoever, so I see myself starting this one sometime in March, and I absolutely can't wait. Thanks, Simon and Schuster! 

Starglass: This one sounds awesome, too, and although I'm not the biggest fan of science fiction, I'm beginning to warm up to it and I think I'll really like this one. Thanks, Simon and Schuster! 

The Waking Dark: This was actually going to be my Waiting on Wednesday pick for this week, so I'm ecstatic to have an received an ARC. It sounds so awesome, and I read the first chapter and it was amazing, so I'm looking forward to reading the rest of this one quite a bit. Thanks, Knopf!

Hollow Earth: This one sounds really fun, and there's a glowing-unicorn-moose-thing on the cover, and that's all I really need to know right now. Thanks, Aladdin! Iiiii can show you the wooooorld...

Strangelets: Really excited for this one. It sounds like a YA version of Dean Koontz' Strangers, which I love, so this is definitely at the top of my TBR list. Thanks, Soho!

Transparent: Yay! This was one of my most wanted ARCs that I sent a request on EW for, so I'm thrilled that I got it. I was, oddly enough, declined for everything else, but it's okay, because I re-requested the ones I really wanted (In the After, Arclight, and Reboot), with the hopes that HarperCollins will approve me so I will stop annoying them. Thanks, HarperTeen!

The Dark Between: I honestly know nothing about this, but I'm assuming it's about ghosts, and it mentions Libba Bray in the first sentence of the blurb (and I loved The Diviners), so I'm looking forward to this one. Ghosts are always fun. As long as they don't cross over into Hereafter territory. Then that's no longer fun. Thanks, Knopf!

Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin: This sounds cute, and I read the foreword by the author in the beginning of the book, and it was really interesting, so I'm looking forward to reading this, too. Thanks, Knopf!

Pivot Point: Read it, loved it, bought it so I can have it on my shelves.

Revel: Same as Pivot Point. Read it, loved it, bought it so I can have it on my shelves.

Out of the Easy: Really looking forward to starting this one, considering my awesome friends Ashleigh Paige, Christina, and Kara both loved it.

Wither: I could have sworn I had this before, but I didn't, so I got it. And what a better time to have it than now, now that the entire trilogy is released!

Shatter Me: Admittedly, I wouldn't have bought this if it weren't so cheap for Kindle. Still, I'm going to give this a shot, even though I'm not a fan of the author's prose, and hope for the best. 

What did you get this week? 

Leave a comment letting me know!