Friday, May 25, 2012

YA Friday Book Review: Angelfall by Susan Ee

by Isabelle Doan


Random Information:

Publisher: Feral Dream
Pages: 255 (Kindle)
My Format: Kindle e-book
Series: Yes, this is #1
Time to read: 7 Hours
Rating: Library/Borrow/e-book/Paperback/Hardcover

(I would say hardcover, but good luck getting your hands on one of those! Plus, the e-book is cheap.) Paperbacks were released!
It’s been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.

Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.

Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels’ stronghold in San Francisco where she’ll risk everything to rescue her sister and he’ll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

So this book. Where do I start?

The only reason I picked up this book, or possibly even knew about it was because of Goodreads. It seemed to have a large following,especially of 5 star fanboys.

I didn't have high expectations for this book to begin with, mostly because it was self-published.

I'm not saying that all self-published books are bad. Heck, I read Smashwords books all the time!

But it was that, usually, when one hears the words "self-published"... it sounds more than a bit sketchy. Like fan-fic, you know?

That is why I was completely blown away by Angelfall by Susan Ee.

Angelfall is about a teenage girl, named Penryn, who is six weeks into an apocalypse that has completely ravaged her world. The apocalypse was onset by angels, who had come down to create chaos. While Penryn is on her last legs, her crippled sister (Paige) and schizo mother don't really help her situation.

When Paige is stolen by an angel, Penryn goes on this completely badass journey to retrieve her, along with this angel, Raffe. Raffe tags along because Penryn saved his wings, and he owes her.

Now, in books, when two characters are thrust together by circumstance, it's almost unbelievable. Most of the time. For some reason, I was expecting Penryn to completely forget that she hated angels and go all swoon on Raffe cuz he's hot.

She didn't.

And, you know what? That's reasonable, and I liked Penryn from the start.

Not only that, but the romance between the two is on the backburner. It's not like love at first sight, but more like a bonding that occurs by mutual needs. For that, Susan Ee can play out romantic tension, setting you and I on edge, coercing us to keep reading. The woman is smart, and I could see it in the writing.

For instance, some awesome quotes from the book:

“I've never killed anyone before. What frightens me isn't that I'm killing someone. What frightens me is how easy it is.”

“Asleep, he looks like a bleeding Prince Charming chained in the dungeon. When I was little, I always thought I’d be Cinderella, but I guess this makes me the wicked witch.
But then again, Cinderella didn’t live in a post-apocalyptic world invaded by avenging angels.”

“Why would you risk treason for a mud fight?”
“You have no idea how much I’d risk for an honest-to-God mud fight between two hot women,” says Dee.”

“My friends call me Wrath,” says Raffe. “My enemies call me Please Have Mercy. What’s your name, soldier boy?” 

Just to say a few.

Perhaps the only problem with this book is the timeframe. The end of the world happened six weeks before this book took place. Six weeks? Countries have been at war for longer than that. Furthermore, a military apparently gunned down Archangel Gabriel. If we can do that, who said all 7 billion of us thought the apocalypse was upon us after not even two months?

Also, Penryn is not precisely a 2D character, but she does have some rounding out to do, as do the other characters. Their actions were predictable in some cases, especially for the abundant archetypes littering these pages.

All in all, a great YA book which you must read.

Content: There's a lot of scary and horrific moments, but nothing I couldn't stomach. I probably wouldn't recommend this for kids under 15, though. Also, a little bit of swearing here and there.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

New Giveaways

You guys know I work hard to publish the latest YA book giveaways, so here they are!

Unlike previously, I'm now ordering them chronologically, so you can see what needs your attention more urgently!

Books: A True Story's Giveaway
ends May 20th

Prize: A signed hardcover of The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
Requirements: Standard Rafflecopter

A Book and a Latte's Giveaway
ends May 23rd

Prize: A personalized, signed, finished copy of Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris
Requirements: Standard Rafflecopter

Thoughts of an Endless Dreamer's Giveaway
ends May 24th

Prize: A Signed copy of Darkness Comes this Way by Pixie Lynn Whitfield (US)
or, if international, an ebook copy of the book
Requirements: Standard Rafflecopter

The Story Siren's Giveaway
ends May 25th

Prize: An ARC Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
Requirements: Standard Rafflecopter, but you get a free entry! Also, see rules

Bookie Wook's Giveaway
ends May 26th

Prize: One of either

Requirements: Standard Rafflecopter

Books: A True Story's Giveaway
ends May 28th

Prize: ANY book of the winner's choice
Requirements: Standard Rafflecopter

Cuddlebuggery's Giveaway
ends May 30th

Prize: An ARC of Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff (REALLY EXCITED FOR THIS ONE)
Requirements: Standard Rafflecopter, but you get a free entry!

Winged Review's Giveaway
ends May 30th

Prize: A Signed copy of The Pledge by Kimberly Dertling
and A Signed Copy of City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare
(There will be two winners)
Requirements: Standard Rafflecopter

Kismet Kayla's Giveaway
ends June 1st

Prize: One of either
-The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
-Anna and the French Kiss
-When the Sea is Rising Red

Requirements: Follow the blog, and find Kayla on Goodreads

The Book Finder's Giveaway
ends June 4th

Prize: $10 Amazon Gift Card
Requirements: Standard Rafflecopter

Nick's Book Blog's Giveaway
ends June 14th

Prize: an ebook of any of these titles:

Requirements: Standard Rafflecopter

PLEASE check either of my past giveaway compilation lists to see if you are still eligible for any of them!

If you would like to feature your giveaway on this list, please email me at wakeupatseven(at)

Friday, May 18, 2012

YA Book Review Friday: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

by Isabelle Doan


Random Information:

Publisher: HarlequinTeen
Pages: 363 (Paperback)

Series: The Iron Fey Series (#1)
My Format: e-book (Overdrive)
Time: 14 Hours
Rating: Library/Borrow/e-book/Paperback/Hardcover
Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined.

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth - that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

The first thing an well read person can tell about an author is who this author was inspired by.

Well, I can tell who Julie Kagawa was inspired by, and I'm not that well read.

Kagawa was inspired by the likes of Cassandra Clare, and Stephanie Meyer and Maggie Steifvater, and Holly Black (who I guess inspired Clare) etc. etc. etc. You know how this list goes. HECK, even look at her page on Goodreads.

That's not bad. I LOVE these authors. I LOVE Julie Kagawa. She tweets awesomely, AND she likes Assassin's Creed. Can an author get more awesome? Oh, right, she can write a good book. Which I will discuss here. 

So, was it good or not? 

I say Kagawa is influenced by above authors because you can tell the story line and certain plot points are similar. 

Girl is totally unpopular at school.

BUT, girl has one awesome guy friend.

Guy friend is witty. (Sorta.)

Girl is learns she has awesome powers.

[I have no gif for this.... but I should because it happens in EVERY FREAKING PNR BOOK)

Also, girl is related to really powerful dude and reluctant mother.

[No gif either... here's a gif of Sonic Rainboom]

Oh yeah, and girl tries to be kick-ass, but everyone else does the dirty work for her. (i.e. guy friend who sacrifices life for her, yet girl goes after love interest WHO DOESN'T FREAKING CARE. Edit: Upon reading the other books in the series, I have to redact this statement. There's good reason Ash doesn't care, and it hurts my heart. I feel bad for writing this now.)

Also, Love plotline doesn't even EXIST until almost halfway into the book, and when it does, it feels like girl and boy have been dating for almost 3 years, bro.

So why did I rant like this and still give it four stars? Because this old plotline is a good plotline. Let's face it, it's a pretty good story no matter how cliched it might be, because we're all desperate for something extraordinary to happen to us, no matter may it be "falling in LOVE with a totally hot guy who somehow likes us plain girls" or "finding out we're totally superhuman faery/ Shadowhunters."

There's a reason people say "don't fix it if it ain't broke." Because it's true. Kagawa is smart.

Plus, I give props to Kagawa because she lets the reader guess, and doesn't think for us. AND she justifies all these cliches above. It's pretty lovely.

Julie Kagawa, no matter what I say...

You're awesome. I hope I can meet you one day. :)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

New YA BOOK Giveaways

Here's an updated list of YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS, since so many came out this week.

Cuddlebuggery's Giveaway
ends May 22nd

Prize: SIGNED copy of I'll Tell You Mine by Pip Harry
Requirements: Standard Rafflecopter entries (one FREE entry)

Mistfit Salon's Giveaway
ends May 21st

Prize: ONE of either  

Insurgent (Divergent) by Veronica Roth

Bitterblue by Kristen Cashore

The Girl in the Clockwork Collar (The Steampunk Chronicles) by Kady Cross

Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

The Unseen by Katherine Webb

City of Lost Souls (Mortal Instruments) by Cassandra Clare

Requirements: Be a follower of their blog. Leave a comment with your email.

Disincentive Review's Giveaway
ends May 27th

Prize: True Murder Stories by Nischal Hegde ebook
Requirements: Standard Rafflecopter

Another Disincentive Review Giveaway
ends May 29th

Prize: Shadowland by C.M. Gray (ebook)
Requirements: Standard Rafflecopter

Book Snatch's Giveaway
ends June 5th

Prize: The Sun Zebra by Rolando Garcia
Requirements: Follow the blog

Epilogue's Giveaway
ends May 19th

Prize: Swipe by Evan Angler (paperback)
Requirements: Follow @evanangler on twitter to unlock the rest of the Rafflecopter entries

Synchronized Reading's Giveaway
ends May 23rd

Prize: The Shapeshifter's Secret by Heather Ostler (Hardcover)
Requirements: Standard Rafflecopter

Rumor Has It's Giveaway
ends May 25th

Prize: ARC Until I Die by Amy Plum
Requirements: Standard Rafflecopter

Girls Just Reading Giveaway
ends May 18th

Prize: Charmfall by Chloe Neill
Requirements: Standard Form

Pages From My Thoughts Giveaways
ends May 24th

Prize: ARC Glimpse by Claire Merle
Requirements: Standard Rafflecopter

Pen to Paper's Giveaway
ends May 20th

Prize: ALL 3 BOOKS in the Dark Heart series by Lee Monroe
Requirements: Standard Rafflecopter

Never Ending Story's Giveaway
ends in 21 days (whenever that is... to lazy to find out)


Prize: Bitterblue by Kristen Cashore or Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Requirements: Standard Rafflecopter

REMEMBER to check out the last giveaway post to see what you can still enter!

>If you would like to advertise your giveaway, please email me, and I'll definitely do it, no questions asked!

Sunday, May 13, 2012


I've decided to compile a list of giveaways, since everyone seems to be interested in them.


Book Snatch's 600 Follower giveaway
ends May 19th

Prize: a $10 from the book depository
Requirements: Become a follower of their blog

Tale With Tea's giveaway
ends May 24th

Prize:A paperback copy of Divergent by Veronica Roth or one of the following books of your choice from the Book Depository!
Requirements: Standard Rafflecopter entries (see page)

Sarah Elizabeth's Bookshelf giveaway
ends May 17th

Prize:ebook of Masquerade by Cambria Hebert
Requirements: Standard Rafflecopter entires (see page)

Honestly YA giveaway
ends May 18th

Prize: a signed copy of City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare!! (I'm most excited about this one.)
Requirements: Follow their blog and leave a comment.

The Blair Book Project Giveaway
ends June 1st

Prize: paperbacks of either

  • Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  • Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen

Requirements: Fill out a form on the website (see link)

If you want to promote your giveaway, just use the contact page, or urgently at  wakeupatseven(at)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

YA Book Review: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

by Isabelle Doan


Random Information:

Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 470
Series: Unfortunately not
Time: Audio was about 14 hours
My Format: Audio (Overdrive)
Rating: Library/Borrow/e-book/Paperback/Hardcover
What if you only had one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all: looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it turns out to be her last.

The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. Living the last day of her life seven times during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.

My emotions upon finishing this book: ASDHFJKAHSLUGH

I cannot completely describe how amazing Lauren Oliver is. How completely amazing this book is. How I freaking cried at the end.

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver is about a eighteen year old girl, Sam, who dies. Sam was a mean girl who thrived on shallowness, especially after rising from total unpopularity. However, for seven days, she gets to relive that day wherein she dies. She gets the chance to live it again, and again, with different results each time. It sort of Heaven's way of saying, fix this mess you caused. (Think of like Groundhog Day meets Mean Girls meet 50 First Dates.)

You would expect this book to be really repetitive. It wasn't. Lauren Oliver has a way of not plunging into long detail without giving us something to think about.

It's kind of like how everyone in your school tells the same story each time, but differently. The original story was that Bob slept with Maria. Someone else says that Bob had a threesome on a plane with Maria and Grace. And then someone else says that Maria was abducted by aliens and then Bob saved her and banged the alien.

I digress. Point is, it's entertaining, and the repetition is there for emphasis.

Also, everything she writes ties back to the main theme. Oliver will write a phrase, like "Maybe next year, but probably not." It seems SO arbitrary at the beginning of the book. Then in the middle, BANG! It comes back to haunt Sam.

Or Oliver will write something completely and utterly wise. 
 Like, in a flashback Sam explains the suicide of popular guy and a bullied kid. The bullied kid hung himself. And the popular guy hung himself exactly one year after, in the exact same fashion, exact time. In the suicide note, the popular guy wrote, "We are all hangmen." It's only for a paragraph, but it's completely moving.

I was so completely overwhelmed all throughout the book. And though death is a touchy topic, it seems believable. Sam has so many quotable moments, like:

“I guess that's what saying good-bye is always like--like jumping off an edge. The worst part is making the choice to do it. Once you're in the air, there's nothing you can do but let go.”  

“So many things become beautiful when you really look.” 

“A good friend keeps your secrets for you. A best friend helps you keep your own secrets.” 

“How is it possible, I think, to change so much and not be able to change anything at all?” 

JUST TO NAME A FEW. Lauren Oliver...

The main complaint people have with this book is that the main character is not relatable. No, she's not. Don't we all want to get into the body of someone who's like us and find them discover something wonderful, like a vampire boyfriend, or that they're a Shadowhunter?

I guess. But Sam is so refreshing! That's the point guys! She IS like you and me more than we can realize. She changes throughout the book, and really makes a good decision at the end. And though she wasn't noble, being a popular person who laughs at others, are WE really any different from her? We all hold bad qualities, and we get to see an amazing, sad, and moving story.

And guysez, if you want to get into audiobooks, LISTEN TO THIS ONE. It was the best freaking audiobook I have ever listened to. The narrator made the book come alive, and she made me feel sympathy toward the characters.

If you liked books like The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, where it' super happy then sad at the end, but you learn something and become a better person, READ THIS BOOK. In fact, READ THIS BOOK ANYWAY.

Why I'm not excited for what I've wanted all year

So... what have we been waiting for all year that finally came out?


The thing is, though I want to read it, but I probably won't.

In case you guys don't know, Cassandra Clare is not... well. Let me explain.

First of all, there was the original Mortal Instruments trilogy.

That was amazing.

I read the first book in three days, and the second book over a span of... um, four months.

Don't laugh at me! I just could not get into it! But I blamed that on myself and finished it. And then I read City of Glass and thought everything was dandy.

 BUT NO. Cassandra Clare had to ruin it for me.

She came out with a fourth book that she had not originally intended to make!

My reaction:


But after I got it, I read the first 200 pages and just... stopped.

I don't know why.

I couldn't get back into it, though I really want to read it.

And at that moment, I realized that the same thing had happened with City of Fallen Angels as City of Ashes.

So now, as I'm head over heels to get my copy of City of Lost Souls from Costco, I'll probably never read it, because I like the idea of having it on my bookshelf better than actually reading it.

(Side note: Did anyone know Cassandra Clare was making another sequel trilogy w/ a Shadowhunter named Emma Carstairs? (relation of Jem Carstairs?) Dear god woman, I love you, but you need to branch out a little.)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Young Adult Book Review: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

by Isabelle Doan


Random Information:

Publisher: Little, Brown Books
Pages: 563 pages (Hardcover)
Series: Yes, this is #1
My Format: Library
Time to read: A Very Long Time.
Rating: Library/Borrow/e-Book/Paperback/Hardcover
There were no surprises in Gatlin County.
At least, that's what I thought.
Turns out, I couldn't have been more wrong.

There was a curse.
There was a girl.
And in the end, there was a grave.

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.
The cover and the title of Beautiful Creatures drew me in, and no doubt that they will seal the deal for you as well. So I plucked the book off the shelf and read the summary. Guess what? The summary DOES NOT TELL YOU ANYTHING. You can read what was on the front flap verbatim on Goodreads. In fact, I'll reiterate to you right now.

WOW! You don't know how much I don't freaking care, front flap.

But other than that, the authors are expecting you to read to find out. I was sort of offended, but I read anyway.
And yeah, I didn't really find out anything until like page 130 of the book. And even then, it was less than a page of conversation. This is literally what happened:
Lena (girl main character): I'm a caster.
Ethan(guy, main character, narrator): [This dude is basically breathing in and out quickly, but is relatively calm.] Oh, so you're... a witch?
Lena: Don't be silly. That's a stupid stereotype.
Ethan: That's okay my household is weird too.
Lena: [Sort of sad]
Ethan: [Wants girl to kiss him]

So, yeah. This book is about a family of Casters (God forbid if I say witch) and their problem: if Lena is going to become dark or some crap when her birthday comes around.
(Because EVERY PARANORMAL THING happens to you when you're a teenager.) Ethan (who is one of the first guy narrators I've seen in paranormal romance) is pulled into Lena's world, simply because he's the only dude who would talk to her and not make fun of her.


HOWEVER, I do have to give props to the authors for the writing. It's simplistic. Yeah. But most YA fantasy is, and the authors give us readers enough room to think and guess what's happening, and don't suffocate us with their thoughts.
That's another thing. A lot of people agree that for a boy narrator, Ethan is rather effeminate in his retelling. Okay, yeah, sure, he reads a lot of books and talks about Gone With the Wind a lot. I didn't think this was a problem because one, mostly girls read this anyway, so they won't notice, and two, the detailing is, again, simplistic enough that it's believable. But yeah, sometimes he is a little girly. I guess that's what makes Ethan more than a one dimensional character. I think that's sort of nice.

He could even pass... for a brony.

(Just kidding. He's not cool enough.)

And to be fair, the authors do make some lame attempts at guy-ness. Ethan asks his friends if the "new girl" (Lena) is hot. But that is not what propels Ethan to fall in love with Lena and vice versa. It's the fact that Ethan is the only person who's nice to Lena.
Oh yeah, and we never really learn what Ethan looks like. I'm imagining that he's also hot because apparently one of the two hottest girls in the school used to date him. I just imagined him as African American because everyone else in the story was white. WHITE.

And despite all of that... I found myself rooting for them. I kept asking myself WHY. WHY ON EARTH WOULD I LIKE A ROMANCE LIKE THIS? And I did not have an answer. I mean, it has all the elements of a bad romance. You know they're gonna end up together and it should be tedious. It's a Twilight-esque romance that made me want to stick my head in a panini press. But I read ravenously until they had their first kiss. I suppose it's because I'm so alone.

And the other thing that I wanted to address: the southern setting. I live in South Carolina, where the story takes place. People seemed to be taking the southern setting very offensively, saying it's stereotypical. I live in Greenville, South Carolina, a more populated area of the South. But parts of the southern life sound correct. 
For instance, Savannah [a ridiculously popular southern name] and Emily are two dyed blonde girls with over-bearing mammas who have a lot of influnce on the community. Sounds about right. Down here in SC, you have a lot of white girls tanning themselves and sticking their pelvises out in pictures so their fat PTA moms can be proud.
And Lena is sort of goth and is bullied. Also sounds about right. I had a goth girl in my school who wore tutus and drew butterflies on her face as part of her makeup. Now maybe Lena doesn't do that, but this girl in my school was bullied to no end for being goth. And mostly by the tan, duckface whores like Savannah and Emily.
But the cooking is bothersome. We don't have biscuits and gravy for breakfast everyday. At least, I don't think so. But there was a time that Ethan had egg rolls for dinner, and that's more correct than I've ever noticed. (We got diversity, man! And lots of guns.)
And the end. The end was... weird. I had to read it over and over again. And I guess I was sort of tired because this book was about 560 pages and by then I just wanted to pick up another book.
I guess what I'm saying is that if you have the patience and you like a book where you can think for yourself, read this. The plot was entertaining at least, so if you're one of those people who read and see the book in their heads like a movie, then go ahead. It killed time.

* I own none of these pictures, bro.