Monthly Archives:: June 2012

Monday, June 18, 2012

Review: Dark Companion by Marta Acosta

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Dark Companion
Marta Acosta
Release date: July 3rd, 2012
by Tor Teen


When foster teen Jane Williams is invited to attend elite Birch Grove Academy for Girls and escape her violent urban neighborhood, she thinks the offer is too good to be true. She’s even offered her own living quarters, the groundskeeper’s cottage in the center of the birch grove.

Something’s not quite right about the school — or is it Jane? She thinks she sees things in the birch grove at night. She’s also beginning to suspect that the elegant headmistress and her sons are hiding secrets. Lucky is the gorgeous, golden son who is especially attentive to Jane, and Jack is the sardonic puzzling brother.

The school with its talented teachers and bright students is a dream for a science and math geek like Jane. She also loves her new friends, including hilarious poetry-spouting rich girl, Mary Violet. But the longer Jane stays at Birch Grove, the more questions she has about the disappearance of another scholarship girl and a missing faculty member.

Jane discovers one secret about Birch Grove, which only leads to more mysteries. What is she willing to sacrifice in order to stay at this school…and be bound to Birch Grove forever?

*A copy was provided by Marta Acosta for review purposes*

Note: After a comment on Goodreads, I want to note that nothing in this review is a spoiler. Everything mentioned in the 1st paragraph could easily all be on the blurb as these are facts that we learn from the start.

After being brought back to life from an accident that killed her, Jane is left with no memory of her childhood, and no parents. A foster child in a run-down town of Helmsdale, Jane can’t refuse when a scholarship to an elite all-girl school is offered. She gets living expenses and her own place to live. It all seems so unreal, and it definitely feels… bizarre.

Dark Companion is different from anything I’ve ever read. It’s a Gothic novel with a dark vibe, sweet romance, and original plot twists. When I met Jane, the protagonist, I found her a bit awkward and strange. She was raised in foster homes in a decrepit town and has only recently learned to speak proper English. I was a bit apprehensive about what kind of character she would be and how it would affect the story. But once she gets to Birch Grove Academy, Jane makes a few friends, starts getting out of her shell, and becomes a very enjoyable, sophisticated character. She is not afraid to speak her mind; she makes her intentions and feelings clear and I admired that about her. Her friend Mary Violet is easily the funnest character in the novel. She is absolutely hilarious with her quirky poetry and sarcastic sense of humor. Lucky and his brother, Jack, are the only guys on campus – the headmistress’s sons. I was never sure which one Jane was romantically fond of, but I was glad that I was rooting for the right one. I liked them both. Jack is more arrogant, yet charming, while Lucky is the outgoing, if a bit strange, one.

The blurb of Dark Companion gives out an eerie feeling but without a lot of actual plot details. Although perfect to avoid spoilers and set the right mood, it left me unsure of what to expect. Once inside its pages, I was completely thrown off my game – not in a bad way, it was just so different and unique. Above all else, I was surprised by the dark Gothic mood of the story, which was great because I’m a big fan and loved nearly every Gothic mystery I’ve had a chance to read. The “Birch Grove secret” is a lot different from what I envisioned. It is undeniably strange, but also very interesting with a touch of realism to it – as in: in our world. (I even Googled!). However, I did find that once the secret is revealed, the story takes a more haphazard course. A lot of plot twists and turns are exposed in a manner than left me a bit overwhelmed. The ending did redeem it a little: It ends sweetly with a resolved feel and a good outlook to the future.

Dark Companion is a book that I don’t think will be for everyone; it calls for a certain audience. Be prepared for Gothic-type mysteries, unusual plot elements and an old-world feel. Fortunately, I found myself enthralled by it’s eccentricity and fully enjoyed it.

4 Hot Espressos

Fresh Batch (June 17th – 23rd)

Posted by on 06/17/2012 • 24 Comments

Exclusively titled for Xpresso Reads, Fresh Batch features the hottest releases of this upcoming week.

Flavor of the week:

This Is Not a TestCourtney SummersRelease date: June 19th, 2012by St. Martin’s Griffin


It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self.

To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall,…

Stacking the Shelves (8)

Posted by on 06/16/2012 • 88 Comments

Xpresso Weekly is my edition of Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga’s Reviews featuring the books I got this week, and I also mention blog news/happenings of the past week.

Note: Starting this week, my Stacking the Shelves posts will go up on Saturdays, and my Fresh Batch will be posted on Sundays

Another week dead and gone, huh? I had a fabulous week. Great weather, awesome food, all that jazz. >.< So this week at Xpresso Reads I had the fabulous Rhiannon (right? It's like she's trying to take over or something!) over on  the blog for the Last Bastion of the Living blog tour where you can read my absolutely giddy review, see Rhiannon’s dream cast, and enter to win a copy! I had a bunch of cover…

Review: Chosen Ones by Tiffany Truitt

Posted by on 06/15/2012 • 33 Comments

Chosen OnesTiffany TruittSeries: The Lost Souls, #1Release date: June 12th, 2012by Entangled Publishing


What if you were mankind’s last chance at survival?

Sixteen-year-old Tess lives in a compound in what was once the Western United States, now decimated after a devastating fourth World War. But long before that, life as we knew it had been irrevocably changed, as women mysteriously lost the ability to bring forth life. Faced with the extinction of the human race, the government began the Council of Creators, meant to search out alternative methods of creating life. The resulting artificial human beings, or Chosen Ones, were extraordinarily beautiful, unbelievably strong, and unabashedly deadly.

Life is bleak, but uncomplicated for Tess as she follows the rigid rules of her dystopian society, until the day she…

Review: Other Side of Forever

Posted by on 06/15/2012 • 0 Comments

Other Side of ForeverShannon Eckrich Release date: January 23rd 2012by Crescent Moon Press

Goodreads / Purchase

What if your life finally seemed to make sense? But, what if–in an instant–everything is taken away? How far would you go to get your life back?

Seventeen-year-old Allie Anderson’s telekinetic powers are anything but useful–she can’t bring her father back, can’t stop her mother’s downward spiral into alcohol, and can’t keep her from falling in love with Ethan Bradley. Loving Ethan is easy, but it comes with a hefty price: Ethan is prohibited by his people from interacting with mortals–because he isn’t mortal himself.

When Allie and Ethan’s love is discovered, there’s someone who will do anything to keep them apart. If Allie can’t learn to control her powers and fight to save…

Review: Whispering Hills by Taryn Browning

Posted by on 06/14/2012 • 22 Comments

Whispering HillsTaryn BrowningSeries: Whispering Hills, #1Release date: March 19th, 2012

Goodreads / Purchase

Life and death, love and hate, friends and enemies…

For as long as she can remember, 17-year-old Alexis Forbes can hear the thoughts of others. Most recently, she is disturbed by the dark, unfamiliar voice of a frightening killer: callous, cunning, charismatic…and dead.

She hears his every sinister thought. But she can’t tell anyone. No one would believe her. Alexis is suddenly being haunted by a terrifying past she doesn’t remember, and a ghost with a serious score to settle. Even Chance, the gorgeous new guy she’s falling for, has his own ghostly secret. He’s definitely not like any guy she’s ever met. Alexis soon discovers she has a connection to the dead and it runs…

Cover Reveal: Blood Bond

Posted by on 06/14/2012 • 13 Comments

Blood BondHeather HildenbrandSeries: Dirty Blood, #3Release date: August 31st, 2012by Accendo Press

Add it to your Goodreads


If I had to choose one word to sum up all of my problems, this would be it. Without hybrids, I wouldn’t have to watch my best friend slowly becoming a monster. Without hybrids, I could let go of the mentality “hunt or be hunted.” CHAS wouldn’t be scouring the Earth, intent on slaughtering and using Alex to do it. Without hybrids, I wouldn’t have to be on guard that losing my temper meant losing my shape. There would be no monster inside me, struggling to get out.

Then again, without hybrids, I wouldn’t have Wesley St. John.

The Dirty Blood series:

Don’t you just LOVE the covers in this series?…

Waiting on Wednesday (40)

Posted by on 06/13/2012 • 54 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.  My pick this week:

The Culling Steven dos Santos Release date: March 8th, 2013 by Flux Add it to your Goodreads

16 year-old Lucian Spark is the sole caretaker of his young brother, Cole, in a bleak and dangerous world that has arisen from the ashes of a devastating global apocalypse. Betrayed and drafted into the ruthless Establishment’s sadistic military boot camp, Lucian is plunged into the ultimate horror known as The Culling. Now, torn away from Cole, perhaps forever, Lucian must compete in a series of deadly challenges designed to purge the recruits of their humanity and transform them into amoral, cold-blooded killers by forcing them to…