Waiting on Wednesday #42

New WoW

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine!

OthersphereTitle: Othersphere (Otherkin #3)

Author: Nina Berry

ETA: December 31st, 2013

Summary from Goodreads: In her fresh, inventive debut, Berry introduces a teenage feline shapeshifter coming to terms with her strange powers in the first in a mesmerizing new series that deals with such teen issues as body image and the strength to be found in friendship.

Disclaimer: That’s a really crappy summary that I’m sure will be updated at some point, but until then you can see what these books are really about with my squealing reviews of #1, Otherkin, and #2, Othermoon.

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Top Ten Authors Who Deserve More Recognition

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!

Okay, so, this is a really hard topic for me. I tend to spend most of my time dying over authors inside my own head, so I don’t really know who’s getting a lot of recognition and who’s not. So … this list is my attempt to help boost some signals without knowing exactly what I’m doing. 😛 Some authors I like because of deep reasons, others are debuts I want to raise a glass to, etc. This list is in no particular order.

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2012 End of the Year Book Survey

End of the Year Book Survey

The End of the Year Book Survey is hosted by The Perpetual Page Turner.

So, I found this survey on the blogosphere and thought, “You know, this would be awesome.” So I’m going to do it. Hopefully it’ll become an annual thing, and will help you guys find some new books to read. Oh, and cheating is going to be rampant.

1. Best Book You Read In 2012?

Cheating on the first question, ALRIGHT! Here’s my Top Ten Books I Read in 2012!

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Erm, there were a few of these. Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins was one of them. The blogosphere blew up about it but I … wasn’t on board as much. Same with Defiance by CJ Redwine. I wanted so much more out of that one. More recently, Prophecy by Ellen Oh. I liked all these, I just expected more.

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012? 

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, most definetly. The way it’s written, I should hate it. But I LOVE IT.

4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?

Depending on the person, it’s probably a tie between Code Name Verity and Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas.

5. Best series you discovered in 2012?

Oof. That’s a hard one. What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang? Throne of Glass? Grave Mercy by R. L. LaFevers? The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa? I can’t pick one!

6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?

Nina Berry (Otherkin), Kat Zhang (What’s Left of Me), Jodi Meadows (Incarnate), Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass), Jay Kristoff (Stormdancer)– I should probably stop at some point.

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry. I don’t particularly like contemporary YA and am very cynical about YA romance, but this one just turned me into a marshmellow.

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?

Insurgent by Veronica Roth. Ohmygod.

9. Book You Read In 2012 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year:

The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead. THE IDIGO SPELL IS COMING!

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?

Basically, my one goal here was to avoid a girl in a dress and that was REALLY HARD. This is Crewel by Gennifer Albin!

Crewel11. Most memorable character in 2012?

Eva and Addie from What’s Left of Me. These are two girls in one body. IT WAS FANTASTIC.

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. Hands down.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012?

Code Name Verity for sure. Also Pushing the Limits.

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read?

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Yeah, I know, it’s THAT BAD.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2012?

ARE YOU CRAZY THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE? Uh.

“And this, even more wonderful and mysterious, is also true: when I read it, when I read what Julie’s written, she is instantly alive again, whole and undamaged. With her words in my mind while I’m reading, she is as real as I am. Gloriously daft, drop-dead charming, full of bookish nonsense and foul language, brave and generous. She’s right here. Afraid and exhausted, alone, but fighting. Flying in silver moonlight in a plane that can’t be landed, stuck in the climb—alive, alive, ALIVE.”

Code Name Verity

“Her shoulders never shook. No tears streamed down her face. The worst type of crying wasn’t the kind everyone could see–the wailing on street corners, the tearing at clothes. No, the worst kind happened when your soul wept and no matter what you did, there was no way to comfort it. A section withered and became a scar on the part of your soul that survived. For people like me and Echo, our souls contained more scar tissue than life.”

Pushing the Limits

“The hand on my hair moved to my back, and I realized someone was singing softly. The voice was familiar, and something about it made my chest ache.  Well, that was to be expected. Angels’ songs would be awfully poignant.
“‘I was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar, when I met you…'” the voice crooned.
I frowned. Was that really an appropriate song for the Heavenly Host to be–”

Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins

(I think I’ll stop here…)

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012?

Longest: Literary Theory: Anthology = 1,314 pages

Shortest: Shadowed Ground by Vicki Keire = 120 pages

17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!

The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead. AGGHGHGHGH GUYS IT HAPPENED AND THEN AGHGHGHGH.

18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2012 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).

Endlessly by Kiersten White, because EVIE AND LEND. But also Syndey and Adrian from The Golden Lily. But then there’s Noah and Echo in Pushing the Limits. And Sophie and Archer from Spell Bound. And Ellie and Will from Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton.

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2012 From An Author You Read Previously

City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare or Wings of the Wicked or Spell Bound.

20. Best Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:

Of Poseidon by Anna Banks, thanks to THE ENTIRE BLOGOSPHERE.

I’m going to hold this here because wow this is already long, but there are plenty of other questions about blogging and stuff on the whole thing, so check out The Perpetual Pageturner for more questions and blogs!

ARC Review: “Othermoon” by Nina Berry

othermoonOthermoon (Otherkin #2) by Nina Berry

Goodreads | Amazon | My Review of Book 1

Everyone has secrets. I had no idea mine would lead me into shadow.

Dez has found the place where she belongs. With the otherkin. With Caleb. Or so she thought. As the barriers between our world and Othersphere fall, a wall rises between Dez and Caleb, leaving her fiercest enemy her only friend.

And maybe something more.

Now Dez must make a devastating choice: keep the love of her life, or save the otherkin from annihilation.

4 stars

Thanks to K-Teen and NetGalley for this eARC! This title will be released January 29th, 2013

You know when you have those moments when you’re like “I’m going to rate this book -5,000,000 because it just BROKE MY HEART” and then you realize “CRAPCRAPCRAP IT WAS SUPPOSED TO!”…anybody?

Well, that’s what happened to me with this book, at any rate.

When I reviewed Otherkin, the first book in this series, I can still remember the awesome feeling of how amazingly surprised I was with the book. I’ll be the first to say that I’m a bit of a jaded reader, and I have a LOT of cliché pet peeves that instantly make me dislike a book unless they’re done VERY VERY WELL. One of those is a boarding school setting. But Berry brought that in for Otherkin and I LOVED IT. I couldn’t believe it myself. So needless to say I had high expectations for Othermoon as well, and I basically wasn’t disappointed.

Othermoon picks up basically right where Otherkin left off. Dez and her mom and dad are moving away from their home to flee the Tribunal. The night before they move, Lazar breaks in but doesn’t seem to steal anything, and then Dez’s mom channels this weird thing from the Otherworld that claims to be Dez’s birth mother. All this weirdness ensues, which includes stealing one friend back from his abusive father and causing all sorts of problems.

And then Dez and all her friends end up back at a new school setting.

Honestly, I was hoping for a little bit broader setting with this book. The school was great last time, but I’m always looking for books to expand from this horizon. Granted, the actual school-ness of the setting never overwhelmed the book at all, but still. Personal preference.

I think my real issue with the beginning of the book was Caleb and Dez. Talk about moving fast. Neither of them could think about anything else besides having sex with each other for a good portion or the first part, and it was kinda creepy, not going to lie. I mean, they hadn’t seen each other for months and had only just met a little while ago. But since this didn’t last and wasn’t a part of the book for like 3/4ths of it, I passed over it without too much of a hiccup.

Once again, I was really impressed by Berry’s ability to wrap me into a story which wasn’t particularly new. I mean, one of the bad guys becoming good for a girl? Read that. Dez having an ego moment and thinking she has to do everything on her own, alienating her friends and Caleb in the process? Read that. Love triangle? READ THAT. But the thing is, I never lost interest. I never thought, “Oh yeah, THIS AGAIN.” I totally believed in the story line. Usually when main characters start going off on their own I start screaming “WHY AREN’T YOU TELLING ANYONE ANYTHING?” But Dez’s reasons made just enough sense that I totally believed them. I also totally believed the requisite couples fight that makes room for a new guy in the love triangle. Caleb got FREAKY, but believably freaky and also believably annoyed with Dez. As I was reading, I just couldn’t stop thinking, “I should have so much problem with this events” and being ridiculously impressed that I was totally buying the whole thing. It’s a hard phenomenon to explain, but basically Berry has SO MUCH of my respect for being able to do this.

Like Otherkin, Othermoon NEVER stopped moving. Despite all the crazy world stuff, it was never bogged down with info-dumps. Actually, if there is one problem with the world, I’d say that it’s that we don’t know ENOUGH. I mean, of course we know enough for the purposes of the book. I, as a reader, just need to know more. Like, what is Dez really? Who is that apparition that’s speaking through her mother, really? All of these things being left unanswered is vital to the plot, but I’m very impatient.

I really, really need to get my hands on book 3. I almost can’t handle how much I need to get my hands on book 3.

All in all, I still very much recommend these books to you guys. Othermoon gets only a 1/2 star less than Otherkin, simply because the romance in this one kind of threw me off, but obviously not by much. I legitimately still cannot get over how impressed I am that Berry can make plot devices I’ve seen before seem so interesting and keep me so invested, given that I’m so hard to please once I’ve seen something more than twice. Not only that, but the believability of the characters is supremely fantastic. You don’t always see this in a lot of YA lit. So READ THESE BOOKS.

Top Ten New To Me Authors I Read in 2012

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!

Okay, this list is HARDLY the only awesome new to me authors I read in 2012. They’re just as far as I could go back in the year before I hit 10, and honestly I didn’t get very far.

1. Gennifer Albin (Crewel)

Yeah, I had my issues with Crewel, but I can’t deny the sheer awesomeness of this idea and the book and the cover and– and– just *drool*.

2. Jay Kristoff (Stormdancer)

GUYS. HE WRITES JAPANESE STEAMPUNK. THERE IS A THUNDER-TIGER. Enough has been said. (But I said more in my review!)

3. Kat Zhang (What’s Left of Me)

I have so much respect for Kat. Not only did she manage to successfully narrate this novel from a body that has 2 personalities inside, but she managed to write OTHER characters that have TWO PERSONALITIES. Oh, and did I mention the book is awesomesauce? Because it is. I said so HERE.

4. S. J. Kincaid (Insignia)

Not only did this book have me laughing out loud, but I gave it to my brother and it made HIM laugh out loud and it gave us something to talk about. Both him laughing and us talking are like miracles. Read more HERE.

5. Anna Banks (Of Poseidon)

Up until this point, I was NOT a fan of the new mermaid trend. But Banks won me over, and I actually really ended up enjoying this one! You can read why HERE.

6. Katie McGarry (Pushing the Limits)

It takes a seriously good book to a) almost make me cry and b) actually like anything in the contemporary YA genre. McGarry did BOTH. I explain more HERE.

7. Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass)

I think this book is like my most recommended book all year. Like seriously. Because you know why? I CAN’T HANDLE HOW AWESOME THIS BOOK IS OHMYGOD I JUST– Ahem. Read my review for more (CAPS).

8. Nina Berry (Otherkin)

Okay, so for one, Berry wrote a school setting that I didn’t hate, and for that I give her huge props. Also, she’s awesome to talk to on Twitter, and that makes her doubly awesome. You can read more about the book HERE.

9. Elizabeth Wein (Code Name Verity)

Okay, we’ve discussed how hard it is to make me cry. WEIN ALMOST SUCCEEDED. Also, the way the book was written I should have HATED it. But I didn’t. I loved it. And I sang it’s praises so loudly and haven’t stopped since.

10. Robin LaFevers (Grave Mercy)

Basically anyone who writes historical fiction is instantly my bestie. But this was historical fantasy, which was even better, and then there was the ASSASSIN NUNS. It doesn’t get much better than this. Check out my review for more!

Top Ten Bookish People I Want to Meet

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!

Once upon a time, I would have thought this subject would be really easy. But then I met Tamora Pierce, Cathrynne Valente, Kij Johnson and John Joseph Adams. And then I met Holly Black, Sarah Rees Brennan and Cassandra Clare. Oh no, wait. This is still a really easy list because there are SO MANY AMAZING AUTHORS OUT THERE.

1. Rachel Hawkins

Do you guys follow her on Twitter at @LadyHawkins? Because if you don’t and you have a Twitter, I don’t know what’s wrong with you. There are few Twitter accounts that I actually search for updates on, and this is one of them.

2. Jodi Meadows

I’ve had far more Twitter conversations with this woman then I’d ever dreamed possible (YAY TWITTER), and now I would LOVE to meet her in person. She is clearly super awesome.

3. Courtney Allison Moulton

Another author I’ve been able to talk to on Twitter and have decided is supremely awesome. Also, writes kickass heriones. These two things combined makes for a very happy Gretchen (who talks about herself in the third person…?).

4. Richelle Mead

Her Vampire Academy books and Bloodlines books make me SWOON AND DIE. I love those books with a fiery, fiery passion and I would ADORE a chance to squeal about Adrian and Dimitri with her for just five seconds.

5. Sarah J. Maas

Though I’ve never spoken to her on Twitter, I stalk her mercilessly. (Really, Twitter is just a stalking tool.) She seems really awesome, and also writes AWESOME AMAZING BOOKS. Clearly she’s a winner.

6. Nina Berry

Not only did she write an AMAZING book called Otherkin, but we’ve also chatted on Twitter several times. More than that, she’s been a huge friend in retweeting several of my messages about my blog, which I’ve never been able to thank her properly for. I’d love to be able to do that in person.

7. Julie Kagawa

It’s Julie Kagawa. I fail to see why I must explain this to you.

8. Stephanie Perkins

Have you ever looked at her author picture? Followed her Twitter? Then you’ll understand how Stephanie seems like the kind of person I refuse to live without seeing at least once.

9. Katie McGarry

I want just five seconds to blubber about how much Pushing the Limits pushed my emotions. And I mean literally blubber, because OHMYGOD THAT BOOK.

10. Kat Zhang

What’s Left of Me was a SUPER FANTASTIC BOOK, and I would die for a chance to pick Kat’s brain about what it was like to write multiple people in the same bodies because OHMYGOD was that amazingly done.

ARC Review: “Otherkin” by Nina Berry

Otherkin (Otherkin #1) by Nina Berry (Click for Goodreads)

Sixteen-year-old Desdemona Gray doesn’t even bother with crushes on cute boys now that she’s forced to wear a hard plastic back brace all day.  What guy would want to literally have to knock on a girl to be let in?  So she squashes down every impossible desire until an uber-awkward brush with a boy brings out all her frustration and she changes…into a tiger.  In that bewildering moment, she is captured by Ximon, the leader of a fanatical group hell-bent on wiping out the five remaining tribes of shape-shifters, known as the otherkin. 

With help from a handsome, mysterious fellow captive named Caleb, she escapes and goes on the run, finding allies and learning the truth behind the legends of wizards and were-creatures.  Then Ximon goes too far, and Dez must tap into all her buried desires to find her inner tiger and save herself, her new friends, and the boy she loves.

4 1/2 stars

This review is of an ARC received from NetGalley. You can get a copy for yourself July 31st, 2012.

I’m going to be perfectly honest: I did not go into this book with high expectations. The first book I ever requested from NetGalley was a shifter book so bad I couldn’t finish it. I haven’t read anything about shifters regularly since … the Animorphs when I was about 12. BUT, this story has an awesome cover with a tiger on the front so how COULDN’T I request it?

And I’m so happy I did.

Just the first chapter is literally explosive. You instantly get a feel for Dez, how she feels about herself AND get a bunch of action–action that, by the way, rarely ever stops for a good while. The perimeters of the novel are pretty quickly established, but you aren’t hit over the head with exposition which is fantastic. In fact, the amount of info-learning but not info-dumping was excellent throughout the novel, even though the mythology was very unique and slightly confusing in places. I understood the gist of it and was never bogged down in trying to understand, which is a big plus for me, Ms. Short Attention Span.

However, about a fourth of the way book, the plotline twisted in such a way that I deflated and moaned like I was a hot air balloon stabbed through the heart. Caleb tells Dez that there is a place they can be safe, and guess where it is?

A school. A shifter school. A freaking school.

Schools feel like such a cliché these days that I CANNOT stand them when they happened. This is also how that first shifter novel I read really rolled over and died. I had to stop reading because I was so worried this book was also going to dip into horribleness.

But it DIDN’T.

I kept reading and almost couldn’t believe it. Berry managed to make it readable, the characters not too much of clichés and really make it feel REAL. The tension and then camaraderie between the classmates came right out of the pages. It really set up the ending well, and–most importantly–it was READABLE. I can be nasty when a book drops into clichés I hate, so I fully expected to start hating everything. But instead, i loved it. I was shocked!

The end brought back that rolling action I loved in the beginning. The cooperation between all the shifters and the descriptions were absolutely fantastic. The end of the end seemed to almost be anticlimactic and flat after all that action, though it did make sense. The pacing of the book, for the most part, however, was fast, which I love. There were never many points where I felt I could put the book down.

But about that  docked star: A little bit of it is the ending, but not a lot of it. Most of it came from Dez and Caleb’s relationship. I hate insta-love. I will forever and always dock stars for insta-love. The only reason it wasn’t a full star was because Dez and Caleb weren’t–shockingly and fantastically–the center point of the novel. It was more about action and information than their romance. However, when you’ve only known each other for less than a month and have kissed only once, there is no way multiple conversations about seeing Dez naked don’t come off as creepy. Caleb’s kind of buzzed-all-the-time attitude didn’t help matters. Given that I loved Dez as a character, I kept screaming ABORT, ABANDON SHIP! But of course she didn’t. They’ve found eternal insta-love.

All in all, however, this book turned into a favorite for me. I loved the descriptions, the history, and the pacing. The action was fantastic, and I was ridiculously impressed at how Berry wrote in a school setting that I didn’t hate the guts of and in fact really enjoyed. For once, there was romance for the main character that wasn’t the driving force of the story, so I even forgave the insta-love a little bit. If you love shifter books, GET THIS NOW. Even if you don’t love shifter books and are looking for something new–like I was–I RECOMMEND IT. July 31st, folks, preorder now!

The second book in the Otherkin series, Othermoon, is slated for a February 2013 release date.