Sunday, September 30, 2012

Guest reviewer Stephanie Cowart @ashbychick reviews Code Name Verity


Code Name Verity
By Elizabeth Wein



I have two weeks. You’ll shoot me at the end no matter what I do.

That’s what you do to enemy agents. It’s what we do to enemy agents. But I look at all the dark and twisted roads ahead and cooperation is the easy way out. Possibly the only way out for a girl caught red-handed doing dirty work like mine — and I will do anything, anything, to avoid SS-Hauptsturmf√ľhrer von Linden interrogating me again.

He has said that I can have as much paper as I need. All I have to do is cough up everything I can remember about the British War Effort. And I’m going to. But the story of how I came to be here starts with my friend Maddie. She is the pilot who flew me into France — an Allied Invasion of Two.

We are a sensational team.
(Goodreads description)



This is the book I will be pushing recommending to everyone I know and even those I meet on the street. It was haunting, tragic, triumphant and magical. I can’t wait to read it again!

I first heard about it on Maggie Stiefvater’s blog. Her review was amazing and I knew I’d want to check out Code Name Verity as soon as possible. I was really grateful to get a copy to review from the publisher via Netgalley.

This is a book where hardly anything about the plot can really be mentioned so I’ll give you “Five Things About Code Name Verity”:

1)The Writing – it was flawless. The characters are writing down their story in the book and I wondered if it would get old for me. It didn’t and hearing the characters “voice” this way made everything about the book that much better.

2)The Time Period – I am fascinated by just about all aspects of World War II. I’ve never read anything about female pilots in the war and I was so impressed at how much research the author did into the subject. These women were so brave and unique. I would have loved to meet one of them!

3)The Plot – I know I can’t say anything specific. But can I just say that throughout this book I laughed, shed tears, gasped and was silent in contemplation. I’m amazed at how much the story of these two friends affected me.

4)The Characters – of course I loved the two main characters. But I was also impressed with all those who had been installed around the girls. From Nazi interrogators to resistance fighters to RAF pilots all were well-written and believable.

5)The Aftermath – I have been thinking about this book non-stop since I read it. I’m dying to discuss it with someone (hence me pushing it on everyone I know!) because the story is just so amazing.

I can’t say enough good things about this book. I’m usually a very fast reader. I’m known to finish 500 page books in a day. But this book I read slowly on purpose. There is so much information. At the time you may not think it’s all important but it is…every last story, character, joke, setting etc. the author uses it all. I was so glad that I read slowly enough to truly digest the whole of the book. Even so, I look forward to reading it again as Code Name Verity has captivated me and I don’t ever want to let it go!

Highly recommended!

About the Reviewer

Hi! I’m Stephanie and I love to read!

I’m the thirty-something wife of a brilliant computer programmer and mom to two rough-and-tumble boys, ages 5 and 3. I live in beautiful Signal Mountain, TN – just 10 minutes from Chattanooga.

I’ve had so much fun blogging since April of 2007. It started out mostly talking about me and my family and then I realized I was talking about books so much that my bookish musings needed a place of their own. Thus http://abookinhand.com came to be!
You can still find me over at http://stephaniecowart.com talking about life, my boys and posting tons of pictures.



Saturday, September 29, 2012

Guest Reviewer Week: Kristin Kim (@kasek61307) reviews Awaken Me by Emily Gossett


Awaken Me by Emily Gossett




After witnessing the horrific murder that was committed by her fiancée just days before their wedding, Aimee immediately flees from the life she knows. Lost in Greece, Aimee is inevitably and uncontrollably thrust into a supernatural world where she is terrified to learn what she really is. Crouching at every corner lies a new confusing memory that torments her from her previous life, while her feelings of love cease to die, but awaken more deeply for the mysteriously handsome stranger, who wants to rescue her. Battling the man, who she mistakenly still loves is a bigger conquest than imagined, but can she free her captured thoughts from the man who owns her? Facing the ultimate decision, to lose all humanity by becoming the weapon the Rogues desire most, or to destroy the creation of love. Can Aimee make the sacrifices needed to overcome deceit, love and her power that is irrepressibly blood thirsty?
(Amazon description)



Awaken Me is the story of Aimee, a young woman about to get married to Derek. She was told that six years ago, when she first met Derek and his mother, Elizabeth, she was recovering from an accident, during which she lost her mother, as well as her memory. However, she suddenly finds that all is not what it seems in her little world, and everything she thought she knew about herself gets thrown out the window in a hurry.

I really enjoyed this story, and it definitely held my interest from start to finish. Learning along with Aimee, about her past, who she actually is, about Derek and his family, was like a roller-coaster ride, and I couldn’t wait to see what happened on the next page. The supporting characters of Alec, Iva, and Marcus are all very fun to read about, as well, and I really like their interactions with one another, as well as with Aimee.

However, there were a couple times that I thought the story was rather repetitive, especially when Aimee talks about who she is, once she learns the facts. It seemed like every couple of chapters towards the end there was a “refresher course,” which would be good if you had set the book down for a while, but as I was reading it pretty much straight through, it did get slightly annoying to read the same thing over and over. It didn’t drag me down from enjoying the story, though, and I don’t think it was worth dropping a star from my rating.

All-in-all, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes paranormal reads with a little revenge and romance thrown in the mix, and if you like a heroine who can kick butt, this one’s for  you! The sequel, Capture Me, is set to be released very shortly, so stay tuned if you enjoy this one!!

About the Reviewer

Hi all!! My name is Kristin Kim, and I'm up in Fairfax, VA (just outside Washington, D.C.). I'm married to my best friend (3 years on Oct. 10th, excitement!!), and we have a rambunctious Welsh Corgi named Bella (or Isabella Princess Kim, as she's officially known). I've been reading since I was 2 (that's what my babysitter/grandmother tells me), and I've never stopped; I'm always eager to get my hands on whatever book I can, and I read during pretty much every spare moment. I'm a fan of most genres (even got into Sci-Fi here recently, the joys of giveaways and reviews), but my favorite is anything paranormal, be it romance, horror, suspense, etc. I love to make new friends, so if you'd like to be part of my little world, feel free to add me on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/kristin.kim.7) or follow me on Twitter (@kasek61307). Happy reading!! =)


Friday, September 28, 2012

Guest Reviewer Week! Brianna Soloski (@girlseeksplace) reviews Town of Shadows. #FridayReads

Town of Shadows by Lindsay Stern 
96 pages (PDF version) ~ 5/5 stars



“Enter the Town of Shadows, where noise is ‘the color of rain,’ and the self is a ‘hidden crowd.’ Indeed like shadows, the town's inhabitants are elusive—slipping in and out of mirrors, wandering down secret corridors of the mind, hiding in the spines of houses—and perpetually at risk of disappearing or being ‘deleted.’ Lindsay Stern's brilliant, urgent vignettes depict a people struggling to make sense of the limits of language and time. A dark and fascinating debut." — Hanna Andrews, American Poet


(Goodreads description)



I get a fair number of books to review, although it’s tapered off recently, which is fine by me. I have plenty to read and plenty to write. That being said, when Lindsay contacted me and said that J.A. Tyler from Mud Luscious Press had recommended me to review her book, I jumped on it, and I’m so glad I did.

In the vein of Matt Bell’s Cataclysm Baby comes Town of Shadows, a series of short stories all tied together with a bow. The main characters are Pierre and SelmaSelma is a writer and Pierre is doing a series of experiments. The other characters in the town of shadows are just that…shadows. We never fully get to know anyone, but we are still drawn into their stories. The mayor of the town likes to make up rules for the town, like not using vowels. Every time there’s a new rule, there is someone who goes around and fixes up the gravestones.

I am fast becoming a fan of dystopian, seemingly post-apocalyptic fiction. Perhaps that isn’t an accurate description of Town of Shadows, but it’s my gut instinct when trying to come up with something to describe this book. The stories are lyrical, different but all fitting together neatly into a puzzle of this nameless town.

My favorite story was What Will Happen in which Pierre asks Selma what will happen if he writes a novel:

“Suppose I try it,” said Pierre.
“Try what?’ Selma blinked.
“Writing a book.”
”Suppose you do.”
“What will happen?”
”Words.”

As a writer, I especially liked this because that’s exactly what happens when you write a book. Words appear and string themselves together into a coherent story for people to enjoy. It’s a process that is not easily understood, in my opinion. There’s not some magical thing that happens.

Town of Shadows isn’t available for purchase yet at major retailers, but can be found on GoodReads.

Disclaimer: I received this book directly from the author. I was not compensated in any way and all opinions are my own.


About the Reviewer

Brianna Soloski is an avid reader and writer. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities from Sierra Nevada College. She also obtained her teaching credential from the college. Although she’s not currently teaching, she enjoys spending time with her friends’ kids. In her spare time, she loves to travel and would love to book a world cruise – imagine the memoir that could come from an adventure like that! Girl Seeks Place is her first full length novel and will be released October 26, 2012. She can be found blogging at www.girlseeksplace.wordpress.com. She can also be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Brianna-Soloski-Writer, and @girlseeksplace on Twitter.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

It's Guest Reviewer Week at Diary of a Bibliophile!

Here's the thing...

I have been completely neglecting my reviews lately.  It's not that I am not reading, I just have been insanely busy with the production and promotion of my new YA paranormal, Arcadia's Gift

(Insert shameless plug with link.)



So rather than spending my evenings composing book reviews for other authors, I am writing email after email to other reviewers and book bloggers begging them to read and review my book.  (If you happen to be a reviewer interested in my book, email me at jesilea@charter.net.)  Needless to say, I need some help over here.


So I put a call out to my Twitter community for someone to write a guest review for me, and the response was HUGE!  (Probably because my Twitter followers are made of awesome.)  I thought this would be a cool opportunity to do a whole week of guest reviewers.  You know, give my readers a little variety.  I'm allowing the guests to review any book in any genre they want.  I'm excited to see what others are reading and maybe get some good reading recommendations.  

Starting Friday 9/28/12, I will begin a full week of guest reviews.  Are you excited?  (Queue APPLAUSE)  You--my awesome readers--can show your appreciation for these guest reviewers by leaving them comments, friending them on Twitter or checking out their blogs, books, etc.  I know they would really appreciate the support.  

And with that, I turn over my blog to seven of my super cool Twitter friends. Talk to you all in a week or so!!!!  

~Jesi

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Review: ‘Falling In Between’ by Devon Ashley


Finally! A private conversation. And all I had to do was throw myself off a cliff, drown in a pond in my undies and let him put his hands on my breasts to bring me back to life. Yay me…(yeah, that’s sarcasm) Yep, that pretty much sums up the most craptastic night of Jenna Baker’s life. She drowns after jumping off a cliff, meets a hotty named Chance in the pearlescent in-between and is brought back to life by her soon-to-be boyfriend Robert. Just when things start to move forward with Robert, the guy she'd been crushing on for a year now, in walks the man of her dreams – literally. Chance suddenly appears in her dream every time she closes her eyes. So it's Robert by day and Chance by night. One in the real world and one in the dream world. What could possibly go wrong? Absolutely nothing – until she comes face to face with the guy she met in the in-between, and realizes her romantic rendezvous with Chance may be more than just her imagination.
(Amazon product description)



I am so on the fence with this book.  I bought it on a whim, and I’m really glad I did.  I loved the concept.  It’s a new twist on the love triangle--one boy in the “real world” during the day and the other at night in her dreams.  The author actually managed something few authors can pull off in a love triangle--she created strong chemistry with both boys equally.  At least she did in the first half of the book. 

See, there is where I am on the fence.  I loved the first half of this book.  The dialog is witty and flirty, yet very age appropriate for the characters.  I liked the idea that Jenna could let loose her inhibitions more with Chance because she knew it was only a dream, but at the same time, the emotions created in the dream really hit her hard later in the real world.  I would have really liked more of a contrast between her behavior with Robert and her behavior with Chance.  This sort of got lost as the book progressed.  In fact, about halfway through, the author decided to forgo developing the relationship with Chance altogether.  It was so disappointing!  The thing is the book is short enough, and fast-paced enough, that the author could have expanded this.  In my opinion, the short-changing of Chance was a huge missed opportunity. 

Another huge missed opportunity was Jenna’s foster system status.  I would have liked a little subplot there with what it is actually like to be a ward of the state.  I’m sure she would have had to meet regularly with social workers, maybe a therapist.  If she didn’t, why not?  It is never addressed.  All we see if that she was in the system since she was an infant and had the ambition enough to apply for a scholarship at a private boarding school.  It is treated so matter-of-factly, it becomes unimportant.  But my issue is that it should be important to the character.  What were her feelings about aging out of the system and no longer getting state support? 

My respect for Jenna as a character really fell off toward the end of the novel.  The way she handled the Chance/Robert situation was ridiculous.  It was almost like her character completely changed from the beginning of the novel, and not in a good way.  She suddenly becomes extremely selfish and treats Robert like crap.  I wanted to reach into my Kindle and smack her.

Lastly, I have to say something about the sexuality in the book.  I’m not a prude.  I know teens have sex, and it irritates me when YA authors refuse to address sexual issues even when it is completely appropriate.  (Your characters have been completely in love and kissing on each other for a year and the subject of going further has never come up?  Really?)  That said, I think sexual issues need to be handled in a different way in young adult fiction than they are in adult, or even new adult, books.  I think the thing that really bothered me here was that Jenna was always “taking care” of Robert, but refused her own sexual needs.  I think this reinforces the idea that female sexuality is somehow less important or less valid.  Let’s face it, I was a teenager once, and it was all about the boy.  It took age and maturity for me to get control of my own needs and feel equal to my partner.  It’s kind of sad that teen girls today are still in that rut.  I just think if an author is going to chose to introduce sex to their teen characters, I’d like to see it done in a way that can send healthy messages to teen readers. 

Overall, I give Falling In Between...

Plot - 3 1/2 bookmarks
Character development - 3 bookmarks (Started strong, but Jenna turned selfish and Chance got lost.)
Love story - 3 bookmarks (I really wanted to give it a five, but the magic created in the first half of the book wasn’t sustained.  It’s a shame.)
Paranormal elements - 3 1/2 bookmarks
Dream cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) - Elizabeth Olson (Jenna), Joshua Bowman (Robert), Ed Speelers (Chance), Juno Temple (Sophie), Corbin Blue (Jhett)