3rd Annual ARC August Sign-Up

Thursday, July 30, 2015

ARC August is a challenge created and hosted by Read.Sleep. Repeat. and this challenge could not have come at a better time! My ARCs (and reviews, ugh) have been piling up a bit because I was busy with other things the last few months, i.e. school stuff, SDCC, VISA nightmares, rewatching Avatar The Last Airbender. So I have a few ARCS that need to be read from Netgalley and now a massive pile from SDCC. Also I have a few late ones, yikes! So this is the fun way to cross a few of these ARCs off my list! I can do this, right?

The rules are very simple
  • It may be a physical ARC or and eARC but it MUST be an ARC
  • Yes it can be an ARC that has released as long as it’s an ARC I’m not going to nit pick much
  • HAVE FUN WITH THIS! Feeling like you are being “forced” to read is the best way turn a fun event into a yucky obligation.
  • Update post! I personally will do a post for each Saturday in August but that’s just me. You can update once a week, every other week or once for the whole darn event. This update can be in the form of a blog or tumblr post, vlog, link to your “ARC August 2015″ shelf or even an instagram pic! I want to make this as easy and low pressure as possible for you.

My ARC August Reading Goals

My mission: Complete the following ARCs and give updates on my progress every Friday. I will also be tweeting my progress at @scarletnerded with #ARCAugust.
My reward: Because I have been trying to limit my book buying (kinda...), I get to buy The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness at the end of the month as my reward! And I also get to treat myself to my favorite peanut butter and chocolate ice cream! Dare I say best reward ever?

Release Date: July 28

Sixteen-year-old Beckan and her friends are the only fairies brave enough to stay in Ferrum when war breaks out. Now there is tension between the immortal fairies, the subterranean gnomes, and the mysterious tightropers who arrived to liberate the fairies.

But when Beckan's clan is forced to venture into the gnome underworld to survive, they find themselves tentatively forming unlikely friendships and making sacrifices they couldn't have imagined. As danger mounts, Beckan finds herself caught between her loyalty to her friends, her desire for peace, and a love she never expected. 

This stunning, lyrical fantasy is a powerful exploration of what makes a family, what justifies a war, and what it means to truly love.

ODY-C Volume 1 by Matt Fraction and Christian Ward
Release Date: June 16

An eye-searing, mind-bending, gender-shattering epic science fiction retelling of Homer's Odyssey starting with the end of a great war in the stars and the beginning of a very long journey home for Odyssia and her crew of warriors. The journey to Ithicaa begins HERE, by Matt Fraction (Sex Criminals) and Christian Ward (Infinite Vacation, Olympus).

Collects ODY-C #1-5.

Court of Fives by Kate Elliot
Release Date: August 18

In this imaginative escape into an enthralling new world, World Fantasy Award finalist Kate Elliott begins a new trilogy with her debut young adult novel, weaving an epic story of a girl struggling to do what she loves in a society suffocated by rules of class and privilege.

Jessamy's life is a balance between acting like an upper class Patron and dreaming of the freedom of the Commoners. But at night she can be whomever she wants when she sneaks out to train for The Fives, an intricate, multi-level athletic competition that offers a chance for glory to the kingdom's best competitors. Then Jes meets Kalliarkos, and an unlikely friendship between a girl of mixed race and a Patron boy causes heads to turn. When a scheming lord tears Jes's family apart, she'll have to test Kal's loyalty and risk the vengeance of a powerful clan to save her mother and sisters from certain death.

Soundless by Richelle Mead
Release Date: November 10

From Richelle Mead, the #1 internationally bestselling author of Vampire Academy and Bloodlines, comes a breathtaking new fantasy steeped in Chinese folklore.

For as long as Fei can remember, there has been no sound in her village, where rocky terrain and frequent avalanches prevent residents from self-sustaining. Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom.

When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink and many go hungry. Fei’s home, the people she loves, and her entire existence is plunged into crisis, under threat of darkness and starvation.

But soon Fei is awoken in the night by a searing noise, and sound becomes her weapon.

Richelle Mead takes readers on a triumphant journey from the peak of Fei’s jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiugo, where a startling truth and an unlikely romance will change her life forever...
Bream Give Me Hiccups by Jesse Eisenberg
Release Date: September 8

Taking its title from a group of stories that begin the book, Bream Gives Me Hiccups moves from contemporary L.A. to the dormrooms of an American college to ancient Pompeii, throwing the reader into a universe of social misfits, reimagined scenes from history, and ridiculous overreactions. In one piece, a tense email exchange between a young man and his girlfriend is taken over by the man’s sister, who is obsessed with the Bosnian genocide (The situation reminds me of a little historical blip called the Karadordevo agreement); in another, a college freshman forced to live with a roommate is stunned when one of her ramen packets goes missing (she didn’t have “one” of my ramens. She had a chicken ramen); in another piece, Alexander Graham Bell has teething problems with his invention (I’ve been calling Mabel all day, she doesn’t pick up! Yes, of course I dialed the right number – 2!).

United by Eisenberg’s gift for humor and character, and grouped into chapters that each open with an illustration by award-winning cartoonist Jean Jullien, the witty pieces collected in Bream Gives Me Hiccups explore the various insanities of the modern world, and mark the arrival of a fantastically funny, self-ironic, and original voice.

Are you doing the ARC August challenge too? What ARCs do you have to tackle this month? Are you giving yourself a reward for completing your challenge goal too?

Review: Silver in the Blood

Title: Silver in the Blood
Author: Jessica Day George
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal, Historical
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Release Date: July 7, 2015

I received an ARC of Silver in the Blood from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Summary (via Goodreads)
Society girls from New York City circa 1890, Dacia and Lou never desired to know more about their lineage, instead preferring to gossip about the mysterious Romanian family that they barely knew. But upon turning seventeen, the girls must return to their homeland to meet their relatives, find proper husbands, and—most terrifyingly—learn the deep family secrets of The Claw, The Wing, and The Smoke. The Florescus, after all, are shape-shifters, and it is time for Dacia and Lou to fulfill the prophecy that demands their acceptance of this fate... or fight against this cruel inheritance with all their might.

With a gorgeous Romanian setting, stunning Parisian gowns, and dark brooding young men, readers will be swept up by this epic adventure of two girls in a battle for their lives.

I had such high hopes for this book. I even featured it in a WOW, and I was pumped to read it! Because looking at that description and cover, it seems like a book that would be right up my alley. The thing is that the general story is interesting. It really is. In a sentence: these two cousins, Dacia and Lou, travel to Romania and discover that their family is hiding an ancestry of shape shifters and are up to no good. Sound pretty good, right? The mystery and motives of the family were what kept me in the story, and the background of the girls' heritage and the powers of The Claw, The Wing, and The Smoke were incredibly fascinating. (Especially The Smoke! So awesome!)  Add the gorgeous setting, and it should have a home run! But I just could not get into it.

I think that the main problem that I had was the slow pacing. This story just seemed to drag through the girls' narratives and all of the events just moved at a slow zombie-like crawl. So when action actually started to happen, it felt...off, like it was part of different book. Even when things started to pick up, the pacing in the writing still made these parts seem less exciting than they should have been. However, all of this might be the author's attempt to keep to the historical style, and it just didn't mesh with me. Because I do recognize that the style of writing the letters and the way the girls spoke was most likely historically how girls in this upper class society would write and talk. But it just took a toll on my appreciation of the book.

There was also something off about the character development. At one point there is such a change in the girls' personalities that it seems as if they did a Freaky Friday style personality swap rather than went through any thorough character development. It was jarring to read. Though I will say that I liked Lou's character and personality after her shift. She became more self assured and bold once she got her powers, and it made for some pretty awesome and hilarious situations. Also a lot of the supporting characters were a bit wishy washy especially the girls' cousin, Radu, and it was difficult to understand any characters' actions because they never seemed to be constant. Were they acting out of character? I honestly couldn't tell you.

The "romance" in the book was a bit lackluster. Again, this could be the historical aspect and was how things worked in this time and society. Relationships just seemed so flat. Dacia seemed to show interest in everyone, but it all seemed very superficial. Even with her relationship with Lord Johnny, I really had a hard time understanding if her feelings were, well, real feelings. The only relationship that seemed interesting or developed was Lou and Theo Ardacky, and even then that could have had a bit more chemistry.

There is one aspect that I did really enjoy: references to Dracula and that whole part of the story. I mean it is set in Romania so a Dracula reference should be pretty essential! I loved the way the author morphed the Dracula book and Vlad the Impaler's history into her story background. The Dracula fan in me adored it!

Rating: 2 out of 5. This book was a bit disappointing and just not for me mostly because of the slow pace, but someone who enjoys more historical books might enjoy it more. 

Review: Alive

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Title: Alive
Author: Scott Sigler
Genre: YA, Dystopian, Science Fiction
Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: July 14, 2015

I received an eARC of Alive from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Summary (via Goodreads)
A young woman awakes trapped in an enclosed space. She has no idea who she is or how she got there. With only her instincts to guide her, she escapes her own confinement—and finds she’s not alone. She frees the others in the room and leads them into a corridor filled with the remains of a war long past. The farther these survivors travel, the worse are the horrors they confront. And as they slowly come to understand what this prison is, they realize that the worst and strangest possibilities they could have imagined don’t even come close to the truth

I was hesitant to write this review. Not because I didn't have anything to say about Alive because that is totally not the case. I could probably talk about this book all day. It is because saying anything might give something about this great story away! Reading this book was such an experience, and I couldn't let any spoiler slip by to ruin that. But this book was so amazing that I couldn't just let it go without raving about it!

I will admit that I didn't start this book with the best attitude. "Oh god, not another teen trapped in someplace with no memory and trying to figure it out why he/she is there. Someone call the press. We got a revolutionary idea right here, pal." Yup, I am big enough to admit that. But the story wouldn't let me keep that attitude! After a few chapters, the story really took off. (And I can tell you that I had to flip back to those beginning chapters to see how interesting they were once I got so much more information.) The story is full of twists and turns and shocks and revelations that kept me in a state of riveted confusion/excitement the entire time. It is an intense roller coaster of a story, and when you get to the big reveal moment, it will be worth it!

Is that vague enough for you? Here are a few little tastes to make sure you read this beauty of a book. The story explores: leadership, survival, self discovery, society, growing up, religion, interesting characters galore, and that is all just scratching the surface. And the diversity in the book gets a nice high-five! The protagonist is fascinating and complicated, and I loved exploring the world of Alive through her eyes and watch her piece together what she is given and deal with the consequences of her and others' actions.

My advice about reading this book: Don't look for spoilers or flip to the end of the book. Don't read reviews that talk about it too much. Don't even talk to friends that have read it because a clue might slip! Just take that vague summary of the girl waking up in a box and devour that book in one sitting. And then come talk to me because I need someone to talk about it with while I wait for the next book in the series!

Rating: 5 out of 5. Reading this book was such a pulse-racing fun experience that explores so much. Pre-order or keep an eye out for this book!