Weekly Wrap Up + Stacking the Shelves for 9-28-13

wrapup

Welcome to another bi-weekly wrap up! I really need to get better at this. Maybe I can use it as an excuse for my teachers to not give me so much homework. Sigh, in my dreams. Well, here we go!

Continue reading

Advertisements

ARC Review: “Through the Ever Night” by Veronica Rossi

Through the Ever NightThrough the Ever Night (Under the Never Sky #2) by Veronica Rossi

Goodreads | Amazon

It’s been months since Aria last saw Perry. Months since Perry was named Blood Lord of the Tides, and Aria was charged with an impossible mission. Now, finally, they are about to be reunited. But their reunion is far from perfect. The Tides don’t take kindly to Aria, a former Dweller. And with the worsening Aether storms threatening the tribe’s precarious existence, Aria begins to fear that leaving Perry behind might be the only way to save them both.

Threatened by false friends, hidden enemies, and powerful temptations, Aria and Perry wonder, Can their love survive through the ever night?

In this second book in her spellbinding Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi combines fantasy and dystopian elements to create a captivating love story as perilous as it is unforgettable.

3 1/2 stars

Thanks to Edelweiss and HarperTeen for this eARC! This title will be released on January 8th.

The middle books in trilogies always make me nervous. The sophomore slump is somehow always a threat, and this book was no different.

For me, it just fell flat.

When the book opens up, Perry and Aria are finally meeting again after a long time apart. Perry has spent this time with his tribe, and Aria with Roar at Marron’s. Aria plans to go up to the Horns (the people who Perry’s sister/Roar’s girlfriend was supposed to marry into to cement an alliance) because apparently their leader knows where it is. However, since the mountains are frozen, she can’t go quite yet, so she goes back to the Tides with Perry. Except that they think it would be better if no one knew they were dating, because the Tides won’t like Aria for being a Dweller. (They don’t.) It’s obvious from the get-go that the Tides don’t like Aria, even though she does make a few friends. Perry makes the big mistake of picking Aria over a tribe member, so everything just starts to go to pot.

Aria leaving Perry is not a surprise. It’s basically there in the blurb. Still, though I guess that, I didn’t exactly guess how we’d GET there, and that I liked a lot. There were some things Rossi could have done that would have been totally cliché but she didn’t do them and I LOVED IT. Must I say it again?

Despite what the blurb seems to suggest, this book doesn’t really deal with Perry and Aria’s relationship. We actually get more of Roar and Liv, and Roar and Aria than Perry and Aria. Not to mention all the side character relationships built-in. Personally, I liked the switch. Unlike other books, where the relationship takes center stage, Perry and Aria get the chance to grow up as individuals rather than just be stuck on each other all the time. I also cannot get over the fact that Roar and Aria are presented as clearly just friends who love each other, rather than the love triangle that could have cropped up if Rossi was taking a more cliché root. Aria and Roar are the best friends.

Honestly, though, the plot itself just felt like filler. Perry spends the entire book learning how to be a leader. That’s great, but it really didn’t have an impact on the book at large. It’s Aria, in fact, who makes the most progress towards the end goal of finding the Still Blue, with Perry only coming in to help her save the day at the end of the book. But still, Aria spends the entire book running around the continent for almost no reason except to meet a guy and then go back to the Tides. Yes, yes, it’s much more dramatic than I make it seem–and several key things DO happen–but I didn’t feel like much of anything but character development was really happening. Which is weird, because the book never stopped moving.

I gave this book 3 1/2 stars basically because I appreciated the individual character development and the way it occurred. Rossi really does know how the write relationships. As a central character, I still think Perry needs to find a personality and stick with it, but I really do love Aria’s resilience. I wish the identity of her father had been a bigger part of this book, since it was basically forgotten, but I guess I just have to wait for book 3 for that.  The plot was basically straight forward and always moving. But still, I just can’t shake the feeling that nothing really happened that was really important up until the end of the book, and I find that frustrating. Still, it sets up a FANTASTIC setting for book 3 that promises to be action packed, and that makes me excited.

Under the Never Sky #3, Into the Still Blue, will be released in 2014.

Review: “Under the Never Sky” by Veronica Rossi

Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky #1) by Veronica Rossi (Click for Goodreads)

Since she’d been on the outside, she’d survived an Aether storm, she’d had a knife held to her throat, and she’d seen men murdered. This was worse.
Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland – known as The Death Shop – are slim. If the cannibals don’t get her, the violent, electrified energy storms will. She’s been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He’s wild – a savage – and her only hope of staying alive.
A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile – everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria’s help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must accept each other to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.

3 1/2 stars

You guys have no idea how long this book was on my list. I mean, seriously. I wanted this SO MUCH when it first came out, and I was ecstatic to have finally gotten it after hearing such great things about it.

So you can imagine my frustration with the entire first half of this book.

The biggest issue for me was the amount of unexplained exposition. I kept having this feel of being THIS CLOSE to falling head over heels for this book, just as soon as a few more things made sense. However, it seemed like every time I approached that precipice, I was attacked with more words that I was supposed to figure out on my own. “Blood-Lord,” “Scire,” “Aether storms”–that’s only the beginning of the strange words. Actually, I felt like I was being taught to read Shakespeare all over again, hearing my teacher say “Now, if you don’t understand the word, read the words around it and see if you can infer its meaning.” I can usually forgive this in a book somewhat, if I’m enjoying the read, but this continued until almost exactly half way through.

The characters of Aria and Perry aren’t exactly stellar in the first part either. Aria seems to be devolving into your typical cliché female heroine and Perry is having a bipolar characterization where he isn’t sure if he should kill his brother and take over his tribe or leave his tribe altogether because he doesn’t want to hurt anyone.

But then you reach that almost exact middle point of the book. On one page, you have Perry thinking that menstruation smells like violets. On the opposite page (the book switches between Aria and Perry’s POVs), you have Aria freaking out because she can now “conceive at random.” I stared at these pages for a good long time wondering just what in the world was happening. Then I turned the page, warily.

And the book got exponentially better.

Aria and Perry become likeable characters. Aria shows you that she isn’t a whiny, helpless girl, but she isn’t obnoxious (too much, anyways) either. Perry gets more depth, and you begin to understand him (and his tribal structure, thank goodness) so much better. Add in Perry’s best friend Roar and the interesting and there-for-too-few-pages Cinder with his AWESOME power, and you’ve got a fantastic mix of characters and story that flows along so much better.

You then, of course, proceed to have some YA romance, but it honestly wasn’t so bad. Aria and Perry do take the chance to get to know and trust each other before deciding they love each other, which made me absolutely delighted. It was decidedly real. Until the last few pages of the book, which made me roll my eyes, but also made me want the next one NOW. So, you know.

Overall, I did enjoy this book. Perhaps someday I’ll reread it a few more times and see if I can get some more understanding out of the first half. The world, the characters and the story throughout were wonderful, it was just in the second half that they were fantastic. Fans of dystopian should be aware that Under the Never Sky would have possibly been more appropriate with a sci-fi label, because it’s very easy to forget this is supposed to be our Earth we’re reading about, but I really liked that. You can bet I’ll be reading the sequel!

12 Debut Authors I’m Looking Forward to in 2012

So, after my December post about books I was looking forward to in 2012–which ended up needing a part two–I realized that I only had one debut author on there. Clearly, something needed to be fixed. You have to have somewhere to go when those series have ended, right? So here are some of my picks for 2012! (In no particular order) In order to fit them all into one post, I have linked to all the blurbs–all of which lead to the book’s Goodread’s page. I have included some genre keywords so you can get a sense whether or not the book would be up your alley! Please note that all release dates are for the US and subject to change.

Author: Jodi Meadows

Book: Incarnate

Release Date: January 31

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal/Supernatural, Dystopian, Romance

Read the blurb here

Author: Brodi Ashton

Book: Everneath

Release Date: January 24

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Greek Mythology, Romance

Read the blurb here.

Author: Veronica Rossi

Book: Under the Never Sky

Release Date: January 3

Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Romance

Read the blurb here.

Author: Robin Bridges

Book: The Gathering Storm

Release Date: January 10

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance, 19th Century

Read the blurb here.

Author: Susan Dennard

Book: Something Strange and Deadly

Release Date: July 24

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Zombies, Historical

Read the blurb here.

Author: Wendy Higgins

Book: Sweet Evil

Release Date: May 1

Genre: Young Adult, Angels, Demons, Romance

Read the blurb here.

Author: Tricia Wolfe

Book: Destiny’s Fire

Release Date: January 10

Genre: Young Adult, Steampunk, Paranormal

Read the blurb here.

Author: Jessica Shirvington

Book: Embrace

Release Date: March 6

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Angels, Romance

Read the blurb here.

Author: Corrine Jackson

Book: If I Lie

Release Date: August 28

Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Military

Read the blurb here.

Author: Katherine Longshore

Book: Gilt

Release Date: May 15

Genre: Young Adult, Historical, Romance, Tudor

Read the blurb here.

Author: Michele Vail

Book: Undeadly

Release Date: February 28

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Necromancy

Read the blurb here.

Author: Kathleen Peacock

Book: Hemlock

Release Date: May 8

Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Werewolves

Read the blurb here.