Saturday, September 6, 2014

Stacking the Shelves #11

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by  Tynga's Reviews! This meme showcases the books received, bought, or checked out from the library over the past week.

I celebrated my seventeenth year of life recently, and because of that, I naturally got a big haul of books. Now, I will admit that some of these I purchased as my own birthday presents, but I couldn't help it. I GOT 5 HARDCOVERS FOR LESS THAN $30! That's an accomplishment if ever there was one. Granted they were used, but I bet you can't even guess which they were, they're in such great condition.

Also, I'm (hopefully) getting my license soon, which means I'll be even more broke because I'll constantly be driving to the bookstore (and this one ice cream joint down the road). Broke and fat. What a good combination. But NO REGRETS. Anyway, here's the haul! I already read the first three, but I just wanted them in hardcover, for the record.

The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier 
Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck
Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade
Splintered by A.G. Howard
Permanent Record by Leslie Stella
 Dreaming Awake by Gwen Hayes

Feel free to share your links! I'd love to check them out too!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Invisibility by David Levithan & Andrea Cremer

Rating: 1/5 stars
Stephen has been invisible for practically his whole life — because of a curse his grandfather, a powerful cursecaster, bestowed on Stephen’s mother before Stephen was born. So when Elizabeth moves to Stephen’s NYC apartment building from Minnesota, no one is more surprised than he is that she can see him. A budding romance ensues, and when Stephen confides in Elizabeth about his predicament, the two of them decide to dive headfirst into the secret world of cursecasters and spellseekers to figure out a way to break the curse. But things don’t go as planned, especially when Stephen’s grandfather arrives in town, taking his anger out on everyone he sees. In the end, Elizabeth and Stephen must decide how big of a sacrifice they’re willing to make for Stephen to become visible — because the answer could mean the difference between life and death. At least for Elizabeth.

Stephen a boy cursed from birth to be invisible meets Elizabeth, who can somehow see him, despite said curse. They work together to break the curse and discover that Elizabeth is a spellcaster along the way.

Though Invisibility seemed to have so much potential to be an amazing book, there were just some blatant issues throughout it that couldn't be ignored, no matter how much I tried. I absolutely adored Stephen's point of view in the beginning which was solemn, yet still so deep, but Elizabeth annoyed me so deeply, that I don't believe there can ever be any redemption for her in my eyes. Up to the end, she successfully made me hate her.

While the first 50 pages seemed alright, from there, I knew this book was on a downward spiral. The extent of their interaction was a walk in the park and talking to one another briefly. Then, they kiss. Then, following very close after, instalove. I will be the first to say that while sometimes instalove is interesting to read, this one was so fast and utterly unbelievable. Am I really meant to believe that they're ready for I'll-die-for-you love already?
Following that, I realized that Elizabeth could not become more of a Mary Sue if she tried. Now, let me make it clear that being a Mary Sue is one thing that I really can't stand. Especially when the author didn't even try to hide it. She LITERALLY is able to do stuff on her first day her mentor couldn't do in her wildest imagination.

There was one single relationship that I wanted to read more about and that was the one between Stephen and his estranged father. When they spoke, it seemed so much more real than any other interaction in the book. But of course, that lasted for maybe less than a third of the book and was ignored the rest of the way.

Quite frankly, I almost quit several times throughout Invisibility, but managed to force myself to finish since I bought it in hardcover. I regret spending my money like that. And I really did expect more from a David Levithan book.

Rating: 1/5 stars

Monday, August 25, 2014

An Open Letter to YA Dystopian Fiction

No offense to all ya'll who love Dystopian. This is just my opinion.

Dear Dystopian Books,

Over the past few years, you've gained prominence in the YA genre, and I've come to appreciate many of your kind in that time. I love reading about all your messed up societies and the equally messed up people who live in them. It makes me grateful to live in the wonderful USA, where I have access to so much food, that my butt and thighs can grow bigger than I ever wanted them to.

But I have a bone to pick with you.

What's up with the lack of originality? I'm so tired of reading about people who are unhappy so they decide to start a rebellion against the government and then a whole bunch of people die including the main character (No spoilers, but you know who I'm talking about. I am NOT pleased about that.) and then everybody is happy because they defeated the bad guys. Maybe I just want to read something about people who live in a dystopian society but learn to deal with it. Sound good?

Like in Divergent. Quite frankly, I'd be perfectly happy with the first part of that book. If the factions had remained factions, that's cool with me! That first part had a very Mulan-esque feeling and I was totally embracing the warrior underdog thing, but then me-oh-my! the bad guys appear and thus starts the rebellion thing. Now, the books that came after Divergent were fine, but that's all they were. Were there tears? Yes, endless words-are-blurring-on-the-page tears that made it impossible to read. But I didn't want it to happen.

Also, I'm just not cut out for all your rule-breaking and sticking-it-to-the-man. In Delirium, I kept getting so upset with the main character for just feeling free to go against all the rules she'd grown up with. I mean, she had one job. Follow the rules. And look what a mess she made of it.

And I know what you're telling me:

But maybe sometimes I don't want to rock. Sometimes I like to classical music or jazz too, and you have to give me some options, you know?

Variety is key. That's all I'm saying.

You, Dystopian. You're almost always about some girl who can't be with a boy so she goes and raises hell, making everything fall to shit and killing my favorite characters in the process.

I know, I know. But please get on it. Because I'm quickly getting sick of you. I mean, I love you, but really.

Much love,

PS - If anyone wants to read a good, original dystopian book, you should check out Shades of Grey by Jasper FForde. No, not Fifty Shades of Grey. They're very different.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna #1) by Kendare Blake

Rating: 3/5
Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. They follow legends and local lore, destroy the murderous dead, and keep pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

Searching for a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects the usual: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

Yet she spares Cas's life. 

Despite Anna's advertisement of a romance story between a ghost and ghost hunter, the main plot revolves around Cas's job and all the disturbing things he's seen. Much as I wanted to enjoy this, I simply couldn't really get into it.

As for the fear factor that this book gave me, I'd say that on a scale of tingles-down-my-spine to crapping-my-pants, I would place this somewhere in between. For the most part, Anna was very centered on the blood and gore that occurs throughout the book, from stabbing to dismemberment and all the little categories in between. It definitely succeeded in putting images in my mind that I definitely would not want to be thinking about in the dark (I had trouble sleeping last night. I thought there was a corpse under my bed.)
Romance-wise, this book disappointed me slightly. I guess I couldn't get over the fact that Anna had a pile of dead bodies in her basement. Not only that, but the buildup to the romance was pretty lacking. One second she was just a ghost, the next he had feelings for her. And then not five minutes later, they were willing to die for each other.

Cas, the main character, was overall a pretty likable character. He was flawed, but in a slightly insecure, realistic way. While I was pretty unimpressed by his ghost hunting skills (he usually flailed about for while before accomplishing anything), he was really passionate about what he did and it made him a pretty interesting person. Anna on the other hand, was pretty tragic the whole book. Her life and afterlife were both depressing. Around the end she acted more human, but I could never forget that underneath it all, she was wearing a dress dripping with blood.

The minor characters, Carmel and Thomas, were alright. They were good friends that stuck by him through the worst, although the side-romance that was building between them was so unlikely, yet predictable that it was hard to root for.

I'd recommend this to people who enjoy horror books, like if you've read Spirit Walk by Richie Tankersley Cusick. But keep in mind that this isn't for the faint hearted. It gets pretty gory up in there.

Rating: 3/5
By the way, I'm meeting Kendare Blake later this month at the National Book Festival! WOOHOO!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Opposition (Lux #5) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Rating: 4/5
Katy knows the world changed the night the Luxen came.

She can't believe Daemon welcomed his race or stood by as his kind threatened to obliterate every last human and hybrid on Earth. But the lines between good and bad have blurred, and love has become an emotion that could destroy her—could destroy them all.

Daemon will do anything to save those he loves, even if it means betrayal.

They must team with an unlikely enemy if there is any chance of surviving the invasion. But when it quickly becomes impossible to tell friend from foe, and the world is crumbling around them, they may lose everything— even what they cherish most—to ensure the survival of their friends…and mankind.

War has come to Earth. And no matter the outcome, the future will never be the same for those left standing.

I can't believe it's all over. I'm genuinely having difficulty writing this review because of the shock that I'm experiencing write now. Oh man. I think I'm going to suffer from Daemon withdrawal soon.
The newly arrived Luxen land on Earth, killing humans and hybrids left and right. Daemon and Katy fight to find a way to defeat them and still keep the ones they love safe, turning to some very unlikely sources for help. I know this is vague, but I wanted to keep the spoilers to a minimum.

Of all the books in the series, Opposition is by far the most action-packed one out there. Right from the get-go, JLA gives us immediate drama. It was like, boom boom boom. There were less than a handful of times that Daemon and Katy even sat down and relaxed (that is, unless they were getting their sexy time on, but who's going to complain about that? Certainly not me.).

In all the books that I've ever read, there are very few couples that I've fallen for as hard as I have Katy and Daemon. They completely drew me in from book one and I've been obsessed since. They didn't disappoint in Opposition at all, becoming even stronger characters that I just couldn't help but root for. Katy is probably one of the most relatable characters that I've read about before and there is literally no end to how much I swoon for Daemon. JLA writes their romance so well, as per usual, and the chemistry between them stayed just as strong as it did from day one.

As far as side characters are concerned, I totally love Archer and Luc (By the way, I totally would get behind a spin-off series for Luc.), but for some reason, I just can't make myself like Dee or Beth at all. And Dawson looks like Daemon, so he's good enough for me. Also, the Arum part with Lotho... Am I the only one who thought his trolling was hilarious, if a little bit creepy?

My only issue is that the resolution felt a little too quick and clean. The build up was incredible, heart-pounding and whatnot, but I was expecting something a bit more... explosive, I guess. It just ended so quickly, I almost didn't believe it. That aside, I saw the whole Nancy thing coming as soon as they said she'd gone MIA. But that was just about it to complain about. (Also, I'm not too pleased about that cover. Doesn't compare to Opal, in my opinion.)

Now that that's all said, I can go mourn the loss of one of my favorite series in the comfort of my bed. I'll just go down and lie there in a fetal position until JLA comes out with something new. I feel like my best friend died, no joke.
I'm going to miss this series SOOOOO BADDLYYY. *sobbing in corner*
Rating: 4/5

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Book Blogger Memory Challenge

I found this challenge on The Book Cookies and Gloria the Violinist and my immediate thought was, "Bring it on." So, yeah, it was bound to happen. Anyway, here it is, and I promise I didn't cheat very much.

  1. Gone by Michael Grant
  2. Eragon by Christopher Paolini (This one was a lot harder than I thought it'd be.)
  3. Curious George? Sorry. Don't read about many Georges and this was the first one that popped into my head.
  4. The Nightworld series by L.J. Smith
  6. September Girls by Bennet Madison
  7. Graceling by Kristin Cashore (Actually it might be a sword, but close enough?)
  8. The One by Kiera Cass (I got that one in like five milliseconds because America Singer is ma' gurllll.)
  9. Does I Am Number Four count? (I just learned that an eponymous book means that it's named after the main character. Thanks Google!)
  10. HARRY POTTER. (Hey! This one could be #9)
I think we can safely conclude that I suck at this tag. I don't think I've ever read a book about Australia. I mean, not for lack of trying, but most of the books I get are in London, New York, or some tiny, tiny little town in West Virginia/Maine. 

I tag all the people. Everyone should try these things! They're super fun.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Bookish Pet Peeves #1

My books are some of my most prized possessions that I've ever owned, and while I love them, sometimes there are things that just get to me. That being said, I thought I'd talk about some of the things that truly irk me about either my books, or things I see other self-proclaimed book lovers do.

1) Dog-earing Pages 

Why would you harm books this way? When a book has no folds inside the pages and it looks like I just picked it off the shelf at the bookstore (you know, the way it should ALWAYS look), that makes me feel like everything is right in the world. But when I see someone try to bend a page in my book - and even when they try to bend pages in their own books - shit's about to go down. I just can't handle watching them mutilate the perfectly pristine pages like that. My reaction is always like:

2) Cracked/Broken Spines 

So I know some of you probably think this is kind of unavoidable when reading big books, but I discovered the secret. Open the book super tiny and then you can't read like, half the page, but WHO CARES because then the book looks better. This is important stuff. When I see broken spines, I just want to cry for the books. I just want to pet them and stroke them and tell that everything's going to be okay. BUT IT WON'T BECAUSE THEY'RE UGLY NOW.

    3) Tropes

    I hate it whenever authors use the word smirk or smug. I mean, I was all for it before, but there are an infinite number of ways to describe arrogance, and following basic tropes isn't fun to read about, and it doesn't really make the person sexier anymore like it used to. I swear, every book has those words in it now. AND OH GOSH. What about how everyone describes sex as "becoming one?" It's like, the only way YA authors can fathom writing about people doing the deed. Once, I was reading a series I liked, and I thought, "You know, this series is good enough that I think the author will know how to-  What? WHAT? NO. That's- This is- WHAT?" There are other ways to censor it! Find words!

      For now that's all, but there are definitely more I didn't list on here. Since this is just the first one, you can trust that there will be more coming soon! And if you have some of your own, don't be afraid to mention them in the comments.

      Saturday, August 2, 2014

      Stacking the Shelves #10

      Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by  Tynga's Reviews! This meme showcases the books received, bought, or checked out from the library over the past week.

      Sorry I've basically been absent for the past few months. I blame nothing but my laziness. Sometimes these things just can't be controlled. Anyway, I'm back now and I've been active this whole week!

      This is one of the bigger hauls that I've done, mostly because I ordered nine books online the other day (six through Book Outlet and three though Thriftbooks). I was having a horrible case of online shopping withdrawal and had to take action. It was the only way. The thing is, I hate having a slim wallet, but I absolutely adore making my wallet slim. By the way, book buying bans don't work. Just saying.


      Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
      Fifth Grave Past the Light by Darynda Jones
      Gorgeous by Paul Rudnick
      The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
      Twisted Perfection by Abbi Glines
      Because of Low by Abbi Glines
      Soul Thief by Jana Oliver
      Forgiven by Jana Oliver
      Foretold by Jana Oliver

      Monday, July 28, 2014

      Countdown Survey

      I saw this awesome Countdown Survey on Christy's Book Addiction and I thought, "Why not?" And so this is what came out of it. Alright now.

      10 - Books already released on your wishlist

      1. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
      2. Splintered by A.G. Howard
      3. Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi
      4. Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
      5. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
      6. Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover
      7. Slammed by Colleen Hoell
      8. Breakable by Tammara Webber
      9. Pivot Point by Kasie West
      10. Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles

      9 - Favorite Covers


      8 - Not yet released books that you can't wait for

      1. Opposition by Jennifer L. Armentrout
      2. Dead of Winter by Kresley Cole
      3. Stone Cold Touch by Jennifer L. Armentrout
      4. This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
      5. Invaded by Melissa Landers
      6. Sweet Temptation by Wendy Higgins
      7. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
      8. The Fine Art of Pretending by Rachel Harris

      7 - Auto-buy Authors

      1. Jennifer L. Armentrout
      2. John Green
      3. Rick Riordan
      4. Cassandra Clare
      Sorry, my list is pretty exclusive. But for these guys, I don't even need a blurb. I just buy it as soon as I see their names on the cover.

      6 - Book Boyfriends

      1. Draco Malfoy - Harry Potter 
      2. William Herondale - The Infernal Devices
      3. Daemon Black - Lux Series
      4. Kaidan Rowe - The Sweet Trilogy
      5. Jackson Deveaux - The Arcana Chronicles
      6. Raffe - Angelfall
      To be honest, while my #7 was a hard list to crack into, for #6 I'm pretty much a book whore. So yeah.

      5 - Books you recommend the most

      1. Poison Princess by Kresley Cole
      2. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
      3. Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins
      4. Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde
      5. Obsidian by Jennifer Armentrout

      4 - Books you thought you'd like but didn't

      1. Matched by Allie Condie
      2. Glimmerglass by Jenna Black
      3. Fury by Elizabeth Miles
      4. The Future of Us by Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler

      3 - Books that made you cry

      1. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare (For days. Cried while reading, before I slept, in the shower. No joke.)
      2. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green (I don't think I'll recover.)
      3. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak (So good. So much of everything good.)

      2 - Books you never plan on reading

      1. House of Night Series by P. C. and Kristin Cast (Read the first four 'cause I bought 'em and didn't want to waste my money, but after that, no more. They should have stopped after zero.)
      2. Four by Veronica Roth (Sorry, but after Insurgent and Allegiant, I thought he was whiny and annoying. Don't want to deal with that again. Plus, who knows how much further Veronica Roth will manage to break my heart after the freaking end of the series?)

      1 - Favorite genre at the moment

      1. YA Paranormal Romance... always and forever. Hopefully.

      Friday, July 25, 2014

      Four Houses Release Day! (with giveaway)

      The amazing, spectacular, and unbelievable Victoria Scott has released her new book Four Houses today! And personally, I'm EXTREMELY excited about it. And not only this, but she also has a giveaway up, which I've linked to down at the bottom for digital copies of Four Houses and also an autographed copy of The Warrior from her Dante Walker series (which, let me just say, is fantastic and you should give it a shot if you haven't already). It's international for all you peeps outside of the US.

      a Rafflecopter giveaway

      Delirium (Delirium #1) by Lauren Oliver

      441 pages
      Rating: 3/5
      Ninety-five days, and then I'll be safe. I wonder whether the procedure will hurt. I want to get it over with. It's hard to be patient. It's hard not to be afraid while I'm still uncured, though so far the deliria hasn't touched me yet. Still, I worry. They say that in the old days, love drove people to madness. The deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don't.

      I'd been meaning to read this book for a while, but when I saw that there was a pilot TV episode made for it, I was like, It's time. There was absolutely no way I was going to watch it without having read the book first. So naturally, my first instinct was to go to the bookstore.

      Basically, this girl named Lena grows up in a society where the very idea of love is horrifying and wrong. It's considered a disease and the root of many kinds of mental illnesses. She meets this guy and finds that the more she hangs out with him, the more she questions her no-love mindset. She learns to appreciate things she never knew about and embrace the emotions that she has.

      Delirium was chock-full of amazing, philosophical ideas that made me think deeper about the relationships that I have in my own life. Of course, the premise of the book sounded so intriguing and I had a feeling that I'd really love it, but I wasn't sure how well the world would be built (because not everyone can make something as fantastic as the Wizarding World, if you know what I mean). But putting that aside, I knew from the start that I loved the writing style. Lauren Oliver blew me away with some of the descriptions she wrote. The way she described poetry just knocked me off my feet. Just the smallest things, she made seem so much more.

      All of the characters in Delirium, save Lena, Alex (love interest), Hanna (best friend), and a few others, were basically unfeeling zombies. They had responsibilities and family, but they never really felt anything more toward these things than a knowledge that they would have to go through the motions and do what was expected of them. And while these zombies were off doing their business, Lena and Hana were basically learning to be rebellious and experience things, although really, Lena was just going along for the ride at first.

      But if I'm being honest with myself, I couldn't bring myself to like anyone. I hated Hana from nearly the start, I thought Lena was terribly annoying, and I don't remember when I stopped liking Alex, but it happened somewhere around the middle-end of the book. Now, don't get me wrong, the romance was great, but it left me feeling a little bit meh. There was nothing that really popped out at me that made them seem special as a YA couple. The book was focused on meaning and depth of relationships that I actually felt it lacked spark.

      Like I mentioned before, I thought the world-building would be quite a challenge to pull off. Love is so deeply ingrained into our society that I couldn't really grasp much of the world until a couple chapters in. There were some slip-ups too. I noticed once in the beginning that Lena said she loved children, but wouldn't even saying the word "love" be so stigmatized that it would basically be wiped out of their appropriate-for-conversation words? And then, around the middle, she says that she's never said the word before which I already knew was false. The inconsistencies really made the Delirium world seem iffy to me. One thing I will give though, was that the epigraphs before each chapter were really insightful.

      Yes, I would recommend this book, but to people who liked Dystopian and aren't likely to notice contradictions. Because once I saw one thing wrong, I started questioning everything. But yeah, give it a shot.

      Oh, also. The ending! AHHHHH.

      That was spoilery.

      Rating: 3/5

      Monday, March 24, 2014

      THAT COVER THOUGH. (Lux Series: Beginnings)

      This is the exhibit.
      I don't like change. Especially when I have to look at everyday, staring back at me from my bookshelf mockingly. SO WHY DO BOOK COVER THEMES ALWAYS CHANGE? It's like my ultimate pet peeve when I see these beautiful amazing covers that I worship and then they change to something gross (check out the exhibit).

      Now, back to the main issue. I have not hidden my love of the Lux Series on this blog. If anything, I may be a little bit too enthusiastic about how wonderful I believe it is. I will, however, point out that it certainly wasn't the fact that it was about aliens that I picked it up. I saw Pepe Toth's face and I was just like, "I wanna have me some of THAT," so I bought it before finding out it was even about aliens. Yeah, yeah. I judged a book by its cover. Let's be real now - doesn't everyone?

      I'm not saying that the Lux Series: Beginnings cover looks bad, because that's not true, but when I put it alongside the old ones, it's not a contest in my mind.

      How can I compare this:
      With this?
      For those of you who don't know, they might be getting rid of all the old Lux covers, so if you want it to be Pepe's face (moonlighting as the magnificent and sexy Daemon Black) staring back at you from your bookshelf, maybe only a little mockingly (since he's so sarcastic), then go out and buy it before they're all gone!

      I guess everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I'm really going to miss Pepe and Sztella on this series. I understand the reasoning, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. Because I don't. Like, not at all. 

      I mean, just look at it. BEAUTIFUL.

      Saturday, March 15, 2014

      These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

      374 pages
      Rating: 4.5/5
      It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone. 

      Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help. 

      Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

      Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.

      Where do I begin? The world building, the characters, the plot, all of it was amazing. It was a mixture of Titanic in space and survival in unfamiliar places, but it was executed in one of the most original ways I've ever experienced. I mean, sure there were your everyday tropes thrown in (girl and boy hate each other and then they fall in love and something bad happens, and then there's a happy ending, etc.), but those only made it better! And the cover looks like everything I dream a book should look like.

      Lilac LaRoux, this fabulously wealthy girl with a dad who does bad things to boys who like her, was lovely from beginning to end. Usually, I have a hard time making myself like the protagonist of books because they're selfish or stupid or something along those lines, but Lilac was perfection. She can't wield a bow and arrow like Katniss and she isn't in Dauntless like Tris, but I think she's one of those little known people who deserve to be filed under Amazing Chicks of YA. 

      Tarver grew up without a name and rose to fame after becoming a war hero. He filled the role of survival expert wonderfully. I also normally tend to gravitate toward bad boys in books, but he was just so sweet and caring and considerate, I couldn't make myself not adore Tarver. I mean, practically every second he and Lilac were together on the planet the Icarus, he was trying to make sure she was safe and healthy.

      The plot and setting was fantastic. There were dead bodies and hallucinations and crashed ships and sad aliens and all of it was beautifully done. Part of me wished they never had to leave the planet they were stranded on, but I understand why it had to happen. The fact that the characters survived all of the struggles that both their environment and their situation handed them only added to how great the book was.

      By the way, there were a few tears shed. I'm a crier, not gonna lie, but there were tears and feels were powerful.

      I'd recommend this to people who really enjoyed Across the Universe by Beth Revis and Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi. Their are echoes of both of these in These Broken Stars that I'm sure YA Sci-Fi readers will enjoy a lot.

      Rating: 4.5/5

      Saturday, March 8, 2014

      Tandem (Many Worlds Trilogy #1) by Anna Jarzab

      Rating: 2.5/5
      428 pages
      Sixteen-year-old Sasha Lawson has only ever known one small, ordinary life. When she was young, she loved her grandfather's stories of parallel worlds inhabited by girls who looked like her but led totally different lives. Sasha never believed such worlds were real--until now, when she finds herself thrust into one against her will.

      To prevent imminent war, Sasha must slip into the life of an alternate version of herself, a princess who has vanished on the eve of her arranged marriage. If Sasha succeeds in fooling everyone, she will be returned home; if she fails, she'll be trapped in another girl's life forever. As time runs out, Sasha finds herself torn between two worlds, two lives, and two young men vying for her love--one who knows her secret, and one who thinks she's someone she's not.

      The first book in the Many-Worlds Trilogy, Tandem is a riveting saga of love and betrayal set in parallel universes in which nothing--and no one--is what it seems.

      As far as the summary goes, I think it was a little misleading. I thought I was going to get something... happier? You know. A little Princess Diaries, a little Prince and the Pauper (but I've only watched the Barbie adaptation, so I'm not sure that's a good comparison) but Tandem was a lot less lighthearted and had a lot more crying and kidnapping.

      Sasha was annoying and unexceptional. She made reading this book a serious struggle. When she wasn't complaining, she was experiencing some kind of emotional turmoil and doing something stupid in response. I couldn't make myself like her at all, except for maybe the first fifty pages of the book. Mind you, there's over 400 pages in total.

      Thomas wasn't the best love interest I've ever seen, but he was still fantastic. I'll admit that I like him the most in the first forty pages and last one hundred-ish, though. The rest, I wasn't feeling anything particularly passionate. Callum, on the other hand, inspired nothing in me but maybe the kind of affection I'd feel for a puppy. I wish I liked him more, because he was sweet and adorable, but he's just a little too boring for me. I felt bad for him though, because Sasha totally led him on. She obviously loves THOMAS.

      The thing that really made me like the book was the overall plot. I didn't realize how much I enjoyed it until I was done with the book, because all I could think was, "Where's the next one? I need it DESPERATELY." The parallel universes thing was mind-blowing and fascinating and I wish there were worlds I could visit like Aurora (but I still want to live on Earth, naturally). So, basically, concept was excellent. Execution... meh.

      I'm not sure if I could really recommend this to anyone, because while part of me really enjoyed it, the other part was conflicted and frustrated the whole time. Seriously, my face was like the gif below every ten pages. But I guess check it out if you like reading romances, particularly ones with a more YA sci-fi twist.

      Rating: 2.5/5

      Saturday, February 15, 2014

      Stacking the Shelves #9

      Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by  Tynga's Reviews! This meme showcases the books received, bought, or checked out from the library over the past week.

      One day I got home from school, and all of these lovely books were waiting for my at my doorstep. No joke. All of them came on the same day. One package from B&N, one from Amazon, and one with a bunch of ARCs from Random House that I got from RandomBuzzers (pre-Figment). I was literally bursting from excitement! It was mostly because I preordered a couple books that had similar release dates, so their delivery dates kinda coincided. NOT because I ordered all of them at the same time.

      But I did make that new rule about finishing three books before buying one more to get my TBR pile to go down. (I have around 50 books that are sitting in a stack, waiting for me to get crackin' on them. And then, there's that book buying addiction that I have, so I had to set a limit for myself.)

      THE HAUL (It's a big one):


      Friday, February 14, 2014

      Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

      352 pages
      Rating: 3/5
      Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

      Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

      With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

      But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

      As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex's secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

      I know it's wrong to judge a book by its cover, but I mean, look at this thing. Could you help yourself? But I learned that I should rely less on the summary. From there, I gathered that she would be this kickass assassin chick, but she was far less skilled than someone who's been training her life should be. Her husband knew what she was up to the moment he saw her.

      So, Nyx is this ridiculously selfish girl raised by ridiculously selfish people, all of whom have a singleminded goal that's more important than Nyx's own survival to them. If ever there was a main character I wasn't expecting to like, it would be this one, but she didn't make it easy. One second, I'd think "Wow, this girl is pretty awesome. KEEP IT UP!" and then the next I'd be screaming (out loud sometimes) "I HATE YOU. YOU MAKE STUPID DECISIONS AND MY HEART HURTS."

      Ignifex was perfection. Throughout the book, I was just enthusiastically waiting for more scenes with him in it and from the very beginning, I knew he would probably end up being my favorite character. Truth be told, when I found out that he was demon lord, I knew there was no hope for me. But if you were expecting some hideous creature, then try no to be too alarmed when you're introduced a breathtakingly beautiful demigod, yeah? And then his personality. Oh man, he was funny, and snarky, and SO ENTERTAINING.

      The plot was much darker than I had expected. It's not like Beastly, if that's what you think you'll get when you pick this up. There are demons and death and horrible bargains and myths. It makes you feel claustrophobic, though that might have been the intention of the author. At times, it felt like the book fell flat plot-wise, but on the other hand, there were times that I devoured happily. And then the ending... (highlight to read because the font is white) I'm happy, but not quite satisfied because it was a little abrupt. Not enough time for a proper happily ever after. 

      I'd recommend this to people who like retellings, but don't come in thinking you're reading a Disney fairytale. And if you enjoy demons or slightly dark romances, have at it! It'll be perfect for you! Personally, I'd probably only recommend this to a certain type of person, because this definitely isn't going to be everyone's flavor.

      Rating: 3/5

      Sunday, February 2, 2014

      Unread Books

      I know I seemed to have dropped off the face of the planet, but I have a reason for that. Since this blog started, the amount of books I buy on a monthly basis has become overwhelming. Not only do I have a new book haul every week, but I can't seem to make myself STOP. It's not the money I'm worried about (at least not yet, but at the rate I'm going...*guilty smile* MOVING ON), but there are a couple issues that I've thought of that I need to get a handle on before I start buying more.
      Here it is. The pile. That's not even all of it, unfortunately.
      • Popular Books - When I see more than a couple people reading, reviewing, and recommending a single book, I think, "Wow, that's gotten really popular lately. Maybe I should jump on the bandwagon and see what the hype is about." And then I go buy it and cycle repeats itself. I know I should be giving into peer pressure, but I'm genuinely excited for it to! And then that leads to a whole new set of problems, but we'll get to that.
      • Book to Movie Adaptations - These little suckers... I CANNOT RESIST YOU. POR QUE? I have this belief that I ABSOLUTELY must read the book first and I end up getting the book long before the movie comes out, not watching the movie, and then finally getting to it months after everyone's done being excited about it!
        • My Favorite Store - Bookstores are my weakness. I really don't feel excitement going shopping anywhere else. I mean, clothes are always fun to buy, but they don't give me the kind of joy I do from the bookstores, so naturally, I go there more often. And that leads to buying. And that leads to more books on my TBR pile. And then I feel both ecstatic and depressed AT THE SAME TIME.
        • The Excitement Dies - When the book is on the TBR pile for too long, I'll admit that while I was once pumped to get started on it, eventually, I just. Don't. Care. Anymore. Apathy is literally the worst feeling ever, especially to someone with such a strong addiction to the feels. I NEED THE FEELS TO LIVE.
        • The Blogging Universe - Regardless of how much I love it, all these bloggers buying new books are giving me the mindset that it's okay for me to do it too, and while some people are fine with it, I think I need a new MO.
        There are definitely more, but that's all I can get into for now because really, this could just go on and on. I'm good at making excuses for my book buying sprees. HOWEVER, I am resolving to read at least three books before I buy anything again, just so I can knock some stuff off the pile. Maybe by the end of the year, I'll be able to have only a couple books in the pile and have a happy, healthy relationship with unread books. Do you have problems with this too? Just a leave a comment because I'd love to hear your opinions!
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