Thursday, September 1, 2011

Countdown: Backtracking Edition

During my blog hiatus I didn't stop reading but the amount slowed down for sure. There are quite a few books that either slipped under my radar or have been sitting on my shelf just waiting to be cracked open. So if you see any that aren't on my list and I haven't previously reviewed them, leave me a note with your recommendations and I'll add them to my ever growing TBR pile. I hate to miss out on any great reads, but I know I'm going to need some major help to get caught up. So leave a comment and I'll check out what you've read and think I should follow suit.

Countdown Pick #1:
Beauty Queens by Libbra Bray

From bestselling, Printz Award-winning author Libba Bray, the story of a plane of beauty pageant contestants that crashes on a desert island.

Teen beauty queens. A "Lost"-like island. Mysteries and dangers. No access to email. And the spirit of fierce, feral competition that lives underground in girls, a savage brutality that can only be revealed by a journey into the heart of non-exfoliated darkness. Oh, the horror, the horror! Only funnier. With evening gowns. And a body count.

I love the idea of a survivor type setting with beauty pageant contestants as the castoffs. I'm picturing drama, cattiness, blood spilled and broken nails. Definitely not somewhere I'd want to be but totally entertaining to witness from afar. There's talk of mysteries and body counts and it sounds to me like its got the makings of a wild ride for sure. I'm sorry I haven't gotten to this one yet, but I'm excited to check it out in the future.

Countdown Pick #2:
Bumped (Bumped, #1) by Megan Mccafferty

When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society. Girls sport fake baby bumps and the school cafeteria stocks folic-acid-infused food.

Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and have never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Up to now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they are searching for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend, Zen, who is way too short for the job.

Harmony has spent her whole life in Goodside, a religious community, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to convince Melody that pregging for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from.

When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe, both girls’ lives are changed forever. A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common.

While this one is currently sitting on my shelf, I've unfortunately not had the chance to dive into it yet. In a world where teen pregnancy is encouraged, not to mention paid handsomely for, I'm interested to see what this fictional society is like. Is the process complicated? Is love completely frowned upon as a distraction? The questions have piled up and I'd really like some answers. It's my own fault my curiosity hasn't been appeased and I'm thinking it's time to rectify this situation.

Countdown Pick #3:
Falling Under (Falling Under, #1) by Gwen Hayes

Theia Alderson has always led a sheltered life in the small California town of Serendipity Falls. But when a devastatingly handsome boy appears in the halls of her school, Theia knows she's seen Haden before- not around town, but in her dreams.

As the Haden of both the night and the day beckons her closer one moment and pushes her away the next, the only thing Theia knows for sure is that the incredible pull she feels towards him is stronger than her fear.

And when she discovers what Haden truly is, Theia's not sure if she wants to resist him, even if the cost is her soul.

When I read the book's description I'll admit it seemed like the mystery would be an easy one to solve. But after coming across the title more than once since its release, I'm thinking I may have jumped the gun. Most reviews lean more towards the positive, both in regards to Hayes' writing and the book in general. The cover is compelling and the evidence seems to be stacked in the favorable side so I've added it to my TBR pile. I'm hoping to not waste any more time.

Countdown Pick #4:
Darkness Becomes Her (Gods and Monsters, #1) by Kelly Keaton

Ari can’t help feeling lost and alone. With teal eyes and freakish silver hair that can’t be changed or destroyed, Ari has always stood out. And after growing up in foster care, she longs for some understanding of where she came from and who she is.

Her search for answers uncovers just one message from her long dead mother: Run. Ari can sense that someone, or something, is getting closer than they should. But it’s impossible to protect herself when she doesn’t know what she’s running from or why she is being pursued.

She knows only one thing: she must return to her birthplace of New 2, the lush rebuilt city of New Orleans. Upon arriving, she discovers that New 2 is very...different. Here, Ari is seemingly normal. But every creature she encounters, no matter how deadly or horrifying, is afraid of her.

Ari won’t stop until she knows why. But some truths are too haunting, too terrifying, to ever be revealed.

Yet another novel sitting on my shelf after I got it as a gift that I've yet to open. I'm a sucker for paranormal genres and this one sounds like its flirting with those elements. As I also traveled down to New Orleans for the first time last year I think it would be fun to read a book with the city as its backdrop. Maybe I'd be able to recognize a few of the street names, store fronts, etc... I think Ari's story and the mystery surrounding her existence sound right up my alley. I'm not familiar with Keaton's writing and in some ways that is getting me more excited to try this one out. I'm not sure what I've been waiting for, so no more excuses...this book's getting read.

Countdown Pick #5:
Haven (Winterhaven, #1) by Kristi Cook

Destiny brought them together. Now it will tear them apart.

Violet doesn’t understand why she feels drawn to the Winterhaven School, she just knows it’s the right place for her. When she discovers the school’s secret, it all makes sense: everyone at Winterhaven has psychic gifts. For the first time in her life Violet doesn’t have to hide her visions. She’s always seen them as a curse, but now she can hone her ability and try to control it.

But she’s thrown completely off balance when she meets the most alluring—and most mysterious—boy in school. She’s never connected with anyone the way she does with Aidan, and the intensity takes them both by surprise. But as their relationship deepens, she begins to have visions of Aidan’s death—and sees that she’s the one who’s fated to kill him.

Violet’s never been able to prevent her visions from coming true. But this time she’ll do whatever it takes... even if it means sacrificing herself for the boy she loves.

This was a book that seemed shrouded in mystery and suspense. Violet is psychic and experiences premonitions of people's deaths. Yikes is all I can say! That is not a gift I'd want to touch with a ten foot pole. But other than knowing of her gift, any other details about this book seem sparse. So while I would like a little more information or background before I hit the ground running, I'm pretty sure my curiosity will get the best of me.

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