Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday - 194

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine for bloggers and readers to see what new books are going to be released soon.

Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales

23310761Tonight the Streets Are Ours is a YA novel about a teen girl living in the suburbs who becomes obsessed with a blogger in New York City, and sets out to track him down in real life.

Not a very long description but I will read anything by Leila Sales. She is definitely one of my favorite authors. Tonight the Streets Are Ours will be released September 15, 2015 (so far away!!!!).

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - 137

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish for bloggers who like to make lists about books.

Top Ten Sequels I Can't Wait to Read

1. Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman
After finally reading Seraphina, I can't wait to see what happens next! After the title change, I know some readers are afraid that the release date will be pushed back, but I have hope that we'll get the book soon!

2. Please Remain Calm by Courtney Summers
I didn't even know Summers was writing a sequel to This is Not a Test so I am especially excited now!

3. Daughter of Dusk by Livia Blackburne
I still haven't reviewed Midnight Thief but that doesn't stop me from wanting the sequel!

4. Going Rogue by Robin Benway
I thought that Also Known As was a cute spy novel so I can't wait for the next book.

5. P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han
This is probably the sequel I'm most excited for. I absolutely adored To All the Boys I've Loved Before and I'm jumping out of my seat ready for this one.

6. Gathering Darkness by Morgan Rhoades
This is actually the third novel in the Falling Kingdoms series but still a sequel of sorts.

7. Flame by Amy Kathleen Ryan
I really like this series and I feel like it doesn't get enough love.

8. Vengeance by Megan Miranda
I really really enjoyed Fracture when it was released a few years back. If only I could get my hands on the sequel.

9. Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd
I really want to read this too but alas it's not at my library. I might have to order it from another.

10. The Traitor in the Tunnel by Y.S. Lee
This book has been on my To Read list for awhile and I need to read it so I can finally finish this trilogy!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Queen's Fool by Philippa Gregory

252499Summary:
A young woman caught in the rivalry between Queen Mary and her half sister, Elizabeth, must find her true destiny amid treason, poisonous rivalries, loss of faith, and unrequited love.

It is winter, 1553. Pursued by the Inquisition, Hannah Green, a fourteen-year-old Jewish girl, is forced to flee Spain with her father. But Hannah is no ordinary refugee. Her gift of "Sight," the ability to foresee the future, is priceless in the troubled times of the Tudor court. Hannah is adopted by the glamorous Robert Dudley, the charismatic son of King Edward's protector, who brings her to court as a "holy fool" for Queen Mary and, ultimately, Queen Elizabeth. Hired as a fool but working as a spy; promised in wedlock but in love with her master; endangered by the laws against heresy, treason, and witchcraft, Hannah must choose between the safe life of a commoner and the dangerous intrigues of the royal family that are inextricably bound up in her own yearnings and desires.

Teeming with vibrant period detail and peopled by characters seamlessly woven into the sweeping tapestry of history, The Queen's Fool is another rich and emotionally resonant gem from this wonderful storyteller. (from GoodReads)


Review:
I finally get to review a book I read this month! I actually just finished The Queen's Fool a few hours ago so I am actually qualified to give my opinion, unlike the past couple novels I've read. Anyway, I always like Philippa Gregory's books and that remains the same for this one. It's not my favorite or anything but still a good read.

I absolutely love reading about Tudor England and that's usually what Gregory writes about. This book is slightly different because it's not the POV of a royal but rather a young Jewish girl who is hiding in England and pretending to be Christian. She becomes a fool in the Tudor court, first for Edward and then Mary so she's intimately involved with the royal intrigue. She even spends time with Princess Elizabeth before she takes the throne so she's very influential somehow.

I thought that Hannah's circumstances were very interesting, especially having escaped the Inquisition in Spain and then having to deal with Bloody Mary's version of the Inquisition in England. I learned a lot about la inquisicion in my Spanish class last semester so it was neat to see it portrayed here. It was funny because Hannah adores Mary and says how kind and generous she is and then I'm waiting to see what happens because we all know she becomes "bloody" Mary. I thought that Mary was portrayed in a very positive light, maybe moreso then she deserved. But it's always interesting to get the other perspective too.

I did have a few problems with The Queen's Fool. First it was too long and I started to get bored with the story. Then I found some issues with Hannah's character. Essentially she's psychic and everyone knows it including Mary. To me, that seems like heresy and would be something you would be executed or imprisoned for but even Bloody Mary doesn't seem to care. The other thing is that Hannah plays every side imaginable in the story; she's friends with both Mary and Elizabeth who are enemies. Both of them know this but don't care?? That was odd to me.

Overall I'll probably read anything about the Tudors but Philippa Gregory writes really good novels!  I would recommend her other books over this one but The Queen's Fool is still good.

Rating: 7 out of 10.
FTC: library.

2003/Touchstone/504 pages.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Deepest Secret by Carla Buckley

18248415Summary:
A riveting, poignant family drama perfect for readers of Defending Jacob and The Memory Keeper's Daughter, which explores the power of the secrets people keep-the darker, hidden facets of our lives, and what happens when they come to light.

Diagnosed with XP, a rare medical condition which makes him lethally sensitive to light, Tyler is a thirteen-year-old who desperately wants just one thing: to be normal. His mother Eve also wants just one thing: to protect her son. As Tyler begins roaming their cul-de-sac at night, cloaked in the safety of the darkness, he peers into the lives of the other families on the street-looking in on the things they most want hidden. Then, the young daughter of a neighbor suddenly vanishes, and Tyler may be the only one who can make sense of her disappearance…but what will happen when everyone's secrets are exposed to the light? (from GoodReads)


Review:
I read Carla Buckley's first novel The Things That Keep Us Here because I loved the title (just kidding, the premise sounded really interesting) and I ended up really enjoying it! So when I spotted The Deepest Secret on the New Arrivals shelf at my library, I knew I had to give it a chance. This book is so much different than Buckley's previous book but it's still really good!

I thought it was fascinating that Tyler has XP, a condition that I never even heard of. I can't imagine what it would be like to not being to go out in the sun. I have really fair skin so I understand the risks but I also lifeguard outside in the summer and I enjoy being outdoors. It's almost like the sun is the enemy because Eve, Tyler's mother, is on the defensive against UV light: shutting the blinds, special sunscreen, keeping doors locked. It creates an interesting atmosphere for the whole plot.

It's hard to tell from the synopsis above, but the reader finds out very quickly what happens to the little girl, way faster than I expected. I can't say much more than that, but this book is very good character study on Eve and what she will do to protect her son.

All in all, I really enjoyed The Deepest Secret and I encourage everyone to check it out along with Buckley's first novel.

Rating: 8 out of 10.
FTC: library.

2014/Bantam/480 pages

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult

13547188Summary:
On an icy winter night, a terrible accident forces a family divided to come together and make a fateful decision. Cara, once protected by her father, Luke, is tormented by a secret that nobody knows. Her brother, Edward, has secrets of his own. He has kept them hidden, but now they may come to light, and if they do, Cara will be devastated. Their mother, Georgie, was never able to compete with her ex-husband's obsessions, and now, his fate hangs in the balance and in the hands of her children. With conflicting motivations and emotions, what will this family decide? And will they be able to live with that decision, after the truth has been revealed? What happens when the hope that should sustain a family is the very thing tearing it apart. (from GoodReads)

Review:
Unfortunately this is another book from the summer so I can't say too much about. I love Jodi Picoult in general so naturally I enjoyed this one a lot. The information about wolves was extremely interesting, though I read somewhere that it might not be as factual as Picoult suggested. So be cautious when reading but if it's true it's fascinating. I remember not enjoying Cara's character that much - she's a little bratty but I guess that comes with being 14 years old. I'll read any book by this author and know I'll enjoy it so this is the same deal!

Rating: 7 out of 10.
FTC: library

2012/Atria/448 pages.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

9627755Summary:
Love ignites in the City That Never Sleeps, but can it last?

Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart.

Featuring cameos from fan-favorites Anna, √Čtienne, Lola, and Cricket, this sweet and sexy story of true love—set against the stunning backdrops of New York City, Paris, and Barcelona—is a swoonworthy conclusion to Stephanie Perkins’s beloved series. (from GoodReads)


Review:
Oh my goodness I am so far behind on book reviews because I read this over the summer. Oy vey. Ok so from what I remember I enjoyed this book. I love this cute little series and how all the characters are interrelated. I also love that it's set in Paris. I'm excited to see what Stephanie Perkins comes up with next!

Rating: 8 out of 10.
FTC: library

2014/Dutton/352 pages.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday - 193

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine for bloggers and readers to see what new books are going to be released soon.

All the Rage by Courtney Summers

21853636The sheriff’s son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything—friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy’s only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous. But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t speak up. Nobody believed her the first time—and they certainly won’t now — but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear. 

With a shocking conclusion and writing that will absolutely knock you out, All the Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women after an act of sexual violence, forcing us to ask ourselves: In a culture that refuses to protect its young girls, how can they survive? (from Goodreads)


I love Courtney Summers and can't wait for all of her new books coming out next year. All the Rage will be released April 14, 2015.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Baby Proof by Emily Giffin

42149Summary:
From the author of the smash hits Something Borrowed and Something Blue comes a novel that explores the question: is there ever a deal-breaker when it comes to true love?

First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes . . . a baby carriage? Isn't that what all women want?

Not so for Claudia Parr. And just as she gives up on finding a man who feels the same way, she meets warm, wonderful Ben. Things seem too good to be true when they fall in love and agree to buck tradition with a satisfying, child-free marriage. Then the unexpected occurs: one of them has a change of heart. One of them wants children after all.

This is the witty, heartfelt story about what happens to the perfect couple when they suddenly want different things. It's about feeling that your life is set and then realizing that nothing is as you thought it was--and that there is no possible compromise. It's about deciding what is most important in life, and taking chances to get it. But most of all, it's about the things we will do--and won't do--for love. (from GoodReads)


Review:
I love Emily Giffin's books, not because they're amazing literature, but they're so easy to read and really draw you in. Baby Proof is nowhere near my favorite of Giffin's novels, but I sped through the pages so quickly that I read the book in about a day. I haven't done that in so long!

Many women might be drawn to Claudia because she says she doesn't want kids and that's still somewhat rare in today's society. There are definitely a lot more childless women now but I know there is still a lot of pressure from traditional family members to have kids. So it's neat that Claudia represents that segment of women. I'd probably be good with or without kids so I can definitely understand Claudia's mindset and she makes a lot of good points for a childlike existence. I also enjoyed reading about Claudia because she's pretty snarky, which is hilarious. For example, when her husband suggests forgoing birth control to see what happens, she responds with "How about we hold hands, jump out the window and see if we're meant to die?" Maybe I have a weird sense of humor but I thought that was hysterical.

There is more I want to say about Claudia's decisions, but that will give away too much of what happens! Regardless, I really like Emily Giffin's books and can't wait to read more from her.

Rating: 8 out of 10.
FTC: library.

2006/St. Martin's Press/340 pages

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Blog Tour - Loop by Karen Akins!

19286673I am so excited to be a part of the blog tour for Loop by Karen Akins, which was released about a week ago. Please check out Karen's thoughts about time travel, which plays a big part in her new novel:
 
 
Thank you so much for having me on your blog today to celebrate the release of LOOP!
 
LOOP has some pretty twisty-turny, wibbly-wobbly time travel in it. When I was deciding exactly what rules of time travel I wanted/needed to set up, I had one main question that needed to be answered.
 
Can Shifters change the past?
 
The answer to this question is pretty much the crux of any time travel story. It drives my character’s motivations and worldview. And there are a lot of great examples of both answers to that question.
 
On the “yes” side is Back to the Future, Terminator, Looper, Dr. Who (sort of), X-Men: Days of Future Past, some renditions of Star Trek
 
On the “no” side is The Time Traveler’s Wife, Harry Potter’s time-turner, A Christmas Carol, other renditions of Star Trek
 
There’s not a right or wrong answer. I look at both of these lists and see time travel that I love on each one. Both sides have their challenges in writing. It’s easier to write yourself into a corner when your characters can’t change their environment or affect the outcome of the past.
 
At the same time, if you change anything in the past, you have to think of all the other changes that will ripple throughout your story. The Grandfather Paradox is always waiting right outside your door, ready to bite. If you go back in time and kill your grandfather, wouldn’t you cease to exist? But if that happened, then you wouldn’t have existed, and therefore you wouldn’t have been able to kill your grandfather, but then you’re back to existing, so what if you went back in time and killed your grandfather…?
 
On a side note, how many theoretical grandpas have been killed in the name of science?
 
Does your brain hurt yet? Here, watch this Big Bang Theory clip on time travel grammar. It will make you feel better (even if it does nothing to help your brainache).
 
  
 
Still don’t feel better? Okay, watch Baby Groot dance.
 
 
 
 
Ahh, much better.
 
Thanks again for having me! I hope everyone enjoys LOOP. <3 p="">

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier

17343391Summary:
Gwen has a destiny to fulfill, but no one will tell her what it is.

She’s only recently learned that she is the Ruby, the final member of the time-traveling Circle of Twelve, and since then nothing has been going right. She suspects the founder of the Circle, Count Saint-German, is up to something nefarious, but nobody will believe her. And she’s just learned that her charming time-traveling partner, Gideon, has probably been using her all along.


This stunning conclusion picks up where Sapphire Blue left off, reaching new heights of intrigue and romance as Gwen finally uncovers the secrets of the time-traveling society and learns her fate. (from GoodReads)

Review:
Ok, it's been awhile since I read this so short review! I love the series as a whole, especially the first two books. It has a great premise and the characters are hilarious. I also enjoyed the burgeoning romance between Gwen and Gideon. Unfortunately I didn't enjoy the conclusion quite as much. The plot started to get confusing with no great development and Gwen and Gideon's relationship started getting to that insta-love phase. Overall, I liked it but yeah, this one isn't as great as its predecessors.

Rating: 7 out of 10.
FTC: library

2013/Henry Holt/451 pages.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - 136

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish for bloggers who like to make lists about books.

Top Ten Books & Movies To Get into the Halloween Spirit

Books:

1. Night Film by Marisha Pessl
This book starts out so creepy. I remember just feeling uncomfortable while reading because the author does such a great job of setting a mood. It also has a great mystery that was fun to unravel.

2. The Body Finder series by Kimberly Derting
Come on, Violet has a special sense that draws her to dead bodies. Perfect for Halloween.

3. Frost by Marianna Baer
I loved the ambiguity of Frost because you don't know if the house is haunted or the happenings are a result of mental illness.

4. Down a Dark Hallway by Lois Duncan
This probably isn't that scary anymore, but it definitely freaked me out in middle school!

Movies:

1. The Conjuring - Such a spooky ghost story! I obviously don't believe that it's real, but they do claim that it all happened. Now I can't wait to watch the companion movie Annabelle.

2. The Village - I love this movie not because it's scary but the message is great! I'm sure some people will be freaked out by the scary parts too.

3. Hocus Pocus - Halloween classic

4. Halloweentown - Same for this one. Gotta love those Halloween classics.

5. Halloween - Michael Myers has always creeped me out and I love that it always takes place on Halloween.

6. Silent House - I don't get scared watching horror (unless it's a jump scare) but I remember being truly freaked out by this! Elizabeth Olsen does a great job.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Dualed by Elsie Chapman

13401993Summary:
Two of you exist. Only one will survive.

The city of Kersh is a safe haven, but the price of safety is high. Everyone has a genetic Alternate—a twin raised by another family—and citizens must prove their worth by eliminating their Alts before their twentieth birthday. Survival means advanced schooling, a good job, marriage—life.

Fifteen-year-old West Grayer has trained as a fighter, preparing for the day when her assignment arrives and she will have one month to hunt down and kill her Alt. But then a tragic misstep shakes West’s confidence. Stricken with grief and guilt, she’s no longer certain that she’s the best version of herself, the version worthy of a future. If she is to have any chance of winning, she must stop running not only from her Alt, but also from love . . . though both have the power to destroy her. (from GoodReads)


Review:
When Dualed was announced however long ago, I thought it sounded so cool. You have a twin that you have to kill? That sounds so awesome and it would be like watching a thriller. Unfortunately, my expectations were way too high for this book.

Honestly, I did not like this book at all and it's sad to say that I can't think of that many redeeming qualities. I just felt like nothing was explained, especially in regards to West and her decisions. There was no backstory, no development, no reasoning behind her actions. Become a trained assassin? Sure! Run away from her alt, even though she's been killing other ones for money no problem? Why not! I think her becoming a Striker was the worst part. Essentially they're assassins for hire, which is technically illegal. But somehow everyone still knows about them and even when West is noticed killing people, no one seems to care. I just don't understand why she decided to join them and why they even let her since she's only 15?! She's not described as being a great fighter but then somehow she is. Seriously what is going on with this book?

Another part that drove me crazy was her relationship with Chord. Definitely not enough backstory there because the set-up is supposed to be that they really like each other but West pushes away Chord for his safety. However, that's not how it comes across. It seems like the author was trying to push them together but it wasn't happening naturally. Therefore I didn't really care about either of them but was confused that Chord kept going back to her even after she ignores him and ditches him multiple times.

All I can say is: I have no interest in the sequel.

Rating: 4 out of 10.
FTC: bought (unfortunately)

2013/Random House/292 pages.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday - 192

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine for bloggers and readers to see what new books are going to be released soon.

Please Remain Calm by Courtney Summers

22432577
In this gripping sequel to THIS IS NOT A TEST, Rhys and Sloane are headed for a safe haven when they get separated along the way. Rhys is determined to reunite with Sloane until he discovers people who might need him more--people who offer him the closest he'll get to everything he's lost, if they can just hold on long enough.

Rhys thinks he has what it takes to survive and find the girl he lost, but in a world overrun by the dead, there are no guarantees and the next leg of his journey will test him in unimaginable ways ... (from GoodReads)


Guys I totally did not expect there to be a sequel to This is Not a Test !!!! I'm so excited now. Please Remain Calm will be released January 15, 2015.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Summary:
Lyrical, imaginative, and wholly original, this New York Times bestseller with 8 starred reviews is not to be missed.  Rachel Hartman’s award-winning debut will have you looking at dragons as you’ve never imagined them before…
 
In the kingdom of Goredd, dragons and humans live and work side by side – while below the surface, tensions and hostility simmer. 

The newest member of the royal court, a uniquely gifted musician named Seraphina, holds a deep secret of her own. One that she guards with all of her being.

When a member of the royal family is brutally murdered, Seraphina is drawn into the investigation alongside the dangerously perceptive—and dashing—Prince Lucien. But as the two uncover a sinister plot to destroy the wavering peace of the kingdom, Seraphina’s struggle to protect her secret becomes increasingly difficult… while its discovery could mean her very life. (from GoodReads)


Review:
On paper, Seraphina should be the kind of book I don't like. I usually shy away from high fantasy because if the world building is less than stellar, I won't enjoy the book. And Seraphina is high fantasy in every conceivable way: dragons that take a human body, new vocabulary, an entirely made-up world. I loved every minute of it.

Rachel Hartman brings the world of Goredd to life. I'm still not sure of how everything works, but it felt like I was thrust into this new world and have to learn as I go along. Everything is so believable and well-done and thought-out. She has some imagination!

I also love the character of Seraphina. She was smart, talented (musically and otherwise), curious, strong, conflicted, sometimes rude, witty, loving, I could go on. She's definitely one of the more fleshed out and developed YA characters out there. The inner turmoil she feels about being half-dragon was so relatable, as I'm sure we've all felt like we've had to hide part of ourselves (though not to extent that Seraphina had to endure). Seraphina's struggle was very heartbreaking and Hartman does a wonderful job of relaying her emotions to the reader.

An important part of the novel is the hatred between dragons and humans, and the stereotyping, prejudice and bigotry that goes along with it. I could definitely see this as a metaphor for present day struggles. The book has the wonderful message of acceptance and tolerance that I'm sure people today could use.

I am so glad that the author is planning a sequel because I thoroughly enjoyed Seraphina and want to spend more time in this world! Too bad I have to wait until 2015!

Rating: 9 out of 10.
FTC: library.

2012/Random House/512 pages

Friday, October 10, 2014

Noggin by John Corey Whaley

18049084Summary:
Listen — Travis Coates was alive once and then he wasn’t.

Now he’s alive again.

Simple as that.

The in between part is still a little fuzzy, but he can tell you that, at some point or another, his head got chopped off and shoved into a freezer in Denver, Colorado. Five years later, it was reattached to some other guy’s body, and well, here he is. Despite all logic, he’s still 16 and everything and everyone around him has changed. That includes his bedroom, his parents, his best friend, and his girlfriend. Or maybe she’s not his girlfriend anymore? That’s a bit fuzzy too.

Looks like if the new Travis and the old Travis are ever going to find a way to exist together, then there are going to be a few more scars.

Oh well, you only live twice. (from GoodReads)


Review:
This will be a pretty short review. I decided to read Noggin because I absolutely adored Whaley's first novel, Where Things Come Back, which won the 2012 Printz award. Noggin definitely wasn't as good. It was funny, good message, but not the type of book that stays with you, unlike his first novel. I didn't read this book too long ago and I can't even tell you how it ends. I'm still going to check out Whaley's future books but I wonder if they'll compare to his first. I strongly encourage everyone to read Where Things Come Back - it was that good.

Rating: 6 out of 10.
FTC: library

2014/Atheneum/356 pages.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

17383918Summary:
The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent. (from GoodReads)


Review:
I can't believe it took me so long to read Allegiant! It probably had something to do with the fact that so many people told me that they hated it... So I never felt compelled to finish the series. But I'm glad I finally did because I didn't think it was too bad.

I'm pretty far removed from reading Divergent and Insurgent so I'm not as invested in these characters as those who read all three books in a row. So when they act out-of-character or are just annoying (read: Tobias) I wasn't that upset. I was mainly focused on the plot, which I'll admit was pretty far-fetched but I still enjoyed it. All that "science" about genetics is clearly not based in fact, but I just took it at face-value.

The only thing that super annoyed me was Tobias's reaction to one of the twists and then how Tris started becoming a Mary Sue. She even got mad when Tobias didn't do exactly what she wanted and then she got to throw the "I told you so" in his face. That left a bad taste in my mouth.

Now everyone is up in arms about the ending, which I understand. Everyone on GoodReads says that it would have been okay if it was actually needed. I didn't mind it too much, because like I said before, I wasn't really invested in the storyline. I see why Roth wrote it that way and I see why everyone's mad. So you'll just have to read it yourself to see if you like it.

Rating: 7 out of 10.
FTC: borrowed from the library.

2013/Katherine Tegen Books/526 pages

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

7896527Summary:
After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another.

Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined. (from GoodReads)


Review:
So this book was like a mash-up of The Hunger Games, The Selection, Falling Kingdoms and Midnight Thief (newish book that I've yet to review). It was really interesting seeing elements from other books I've read make their way into this one. I'm not saying the author did this on purpose, especially because Throne of Glass was published long before Midnight Thief (so maybe it was the other way around?). Pretty much what I'm saying is, if you liked those other books, you'll probably like this one.

I thought that Throne of Glass was really easy to read and I rushed through the pages unlike some other books I've read recently. The world-building was pretty good and the plot interesting but also easy to understand. I really liked Calaena, especially because she's supposed to be a cold-blooded murderess, and I really like seeing kick-ass heroines. And while she lived up to the title of assassin for the most part, I wish we could see Calaena in action more often. We know she's killed a lot of people and she tells us frequently how she can disarm so-and-so before they even blink, but there's not a whole lot of showing. What the reader does see is a pretty, feminine girl who cares about her people and plays piano and likes to gossip. I love the idea that Calaena can be both of these things and obviously that's the point, but I wish the author did a better job of integrating these two sides of the character.

And while I enjoyed the two male leads, Prince Dorian and Chaol who is the captain of the king's guard, to me they were the same person. Not much personality differences between the two which is odd when it's supposed to be a love triangle. Usually the girl must choose between two opposites. So that was weird. Hopefully they are more fleshed out in the next novel.

Overall, this book was extremely easy to read and fun for the most part. I enjoyed it besides those two things I didn't like. Hopefully they are corrected in the sequel!

Rating: 8 out of 10.
FTC: borrowed from the library.

2012/Bloomsbury/404 pages.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - 135

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish for bloggers who like to make lists about books.

Top Ten Books That Were Hard To Read

1. A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin
This book was SO LONG. And the plot barely moved forward. It took me forever to read. I like this series but Martin is in desperate need of a strong-armed editor.

2. Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
This book was so sad because it's a memoir of the author's life in Apartheid South Africa. He talks about boiling cow's blood to eat, so you know this was tough to get through.

3. Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
I honestly think I was too young to understand and appreciate this book. It was assigned as summer reading for incoming 10th graders and I just hated it.

4. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
Even though Heart of Darkness is a classic, I found it to be so boring. I actually fell asleep reading it a few times which is quite unlike me.

5. Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl
This book is so long and wordy and completely unlike the amazing Night Film by the same author. By the end, I was skimming pages.

6. Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers
While I liked this book, it was difficult to read. The main character is subject to horrible emotional and physical bullying while in high school. I couldn't believe (fictional) teenagers could be so cruel.

That's all I can come up with for now! What books did you find difficult to read?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - 134

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish for bloggers who like to make lists about books.
 
 
 Top Ten Books on My Fall TBR List

1. Young Money by Kevin Roose - I keep looking for this at my library because I love Kevin Roose's first book. I'm not a big fan of non-fiction but I know I will enjoy anything he writes.

2. Allegiant by Veronica Roth - I'm actually in the middle of reading this right now but I need to finish it!

3. Famous Last Words by Katie Alender - This was a WOW pick a few weeks ago and it will be released in about a week!

4. On the Fence by Kasie West - Been looking forward to this new book since reading The Distance Between Us.

5. Rebel Nation by Shaunta Grimes - This is sitting on my bookshelf, just got to get around to reading it!

6. Dualed by Elsie Chapman - see above :)

7. The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling - Still haven't read this! I swear I will get to it eventually.

8. Gathering Darkness by Morgan Rhodes - love this series and can't wait to read the third book when it's released in December.

9. A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray - Really enjoy this author and can't wait to see what she comes up with in her newest novel.

10. Pawn by Aimee Carter - I received this book in the mail so I just need to get around to reading it!

10.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings

13576132Summary:
An action-packed, blood-soaked, futuristic debut thriller set in a world where the murder rate is higher than the birthrate. For fans of Moira Young’s Dust Lands series, La Femme Nikita, and the movie Hanna.

Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision.

The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is—although he doesn’t know it—one of the MC’s programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family?

Action-packed, blood-soaked, and chilling, this is a dark and compelling debut novel by Lindsay Cummings. (from GoodReads)


Review:
I was pretty excited for The Murder Complex but ended up being disappointed in it.

It's funny looking back on my Waiting on Wednesday post for this book and how even back then I said that I didn't know what the "murder complex" was. That confusion continued through the first half of the book in which it was never explained! That was frustrating.

I also didn't like the insta-love between Meadow and Zephyr. It's bad in some books but it was especially bad here. I just don't get the appeal of having two characters literally fall in love after seeing each a few times.

A lot of people on GoodReads say this book is "anti-science" and I guess I would agree if you want to analyze the book but that sentiment isn't explicitly written anywhere.

Honestly, this just wasn't the book for me. I won't be continuing the series.

Rating: 4 out of 10.
FTC: borrowed from library

2014/Greenwillow Books/398 pages.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday - 191

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at http://breakingthespine.BlogSpot.com"> Breaking the Spine
for bloggers and readers to get excited about new books.
All the Rage by Courtney Summers

21853636In her hardcover debut, from the author of Cracked Up To Be and This is Not a Test, comes a powerful new young adult novel. 

The sheriff’s son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything—friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy’s only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous. But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t speak up. Nobody believed her the first time—and they certainly won’t now—but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear. 

With a shocking conclusion and writing that will absolutely knock you out, All the Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women after an act of sexual violence, forcing us to ask ourselves: In a culture that refuses to protect its young girls, how can they survive? (from GoodReads)


I love Courtney Summers so I know this will be great. It's about such an important topic too. All the Rage will be released April 14, 2015.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - 133

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish for bloggers who like to make lists about books.

Top Ten Authors I've Only Read One Book From & Need to Read More

1. Kasie West - I've heard such good things about all of her books and I really need to read On the Fence.

2. F. Scott Fitzgerald - I've only read The Great Gatsby and I know his other books are just as good.

3. Livia Blackburne - I just finished her debut novel, Midnight Thief, which is why I haven't read anything else by her yet. Can't wait for the sequel though.

4. Jenny Han - This might not count because I read the first Summer book but never finished it. But after reading To All The Boys I've Loved Before I think she's a fantastic writer.

5. Megan Shepherd - Still need to read the sequel to The Madman's Daughter

6. Kevin Roose - I was just looking in the library for his newest book but they didn't have it. It's about the culture of banking on Wall Street.

7. Megan McCafferty - If you can believe it the only book I've read by Megan McCafferty is Bumped. Must change that!

8. April Lindner - Loved reading Jane and have yet to read her other novels.

9. Daisy Whitney - Still need to read the sequel to The Mockingbirds.

10. Stacey Jay - So many of her books are on my To Read list but I've only read You Are So Undead to Me.

Monday, September 15, 2014

City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

8755785Summary:
In this dazzling and long-awaited conclusion to the acclaimed Mortal Instruments series, Clary and her friends fight the greatest evil they have ever faced: Clary's own brother.

Sebastian Morgenstern is on the move, systematically turning Shadowhunter against Shadowhunter. Bearing the Infernal Cup, he transforms Shadowhunters into creatures out of nightmare, tearing apart families and lovers as the ranks of his Endarkened army swell.

The embattled Shadowhunters withdraw to Idris - but not even the famed demon towers of Alicante can keep Sebastian at bay. And with the Nephilim trapped in Idris, who will guard the world against demons?

When one of the greatest betrayals the Nephilim have ever known is revealed, Clary, Jace, Isabelle, Simon, and Alec must flee - even if their journey takes them deep into the demon realms, where no Shadowhunter has set foot before, and from which no human being has ever returned...

Love will be sacrificed and lives lost in the terrible battle for the fate of the word in the thrilling final installment of the classic urban fantasy series The Mortal Instruments!(from GoodReads)


Review:
I finally finished this book! It's been sitting on my nightstand since the beginning of summer, with only about a hundred pages left. Oops. I guess that's sort of an indication of how I felt about City of Heavenly Fire: I could take it or leave it.

Honestly, and I hate to say this because I really do love the Shadowhunter world, this series should have just been a trilogy. Looking back on all six books, the first three are really good and the last three are just so-so. I liked them and enjoyed them, but were they really necessary? I think Clare would have been better spent putting time into the upcoming Dark Artifices series, which I am actually excited about. I should have Shadowhunter fatigue, especially after the Infernal Devices too, but something about forbidden love just gets me.

Anyway, City of Heavenly Fire just isn't that exciting, quite unlike what you expect from a conclusion. If you do venture into this world, you would be fine to just stick to the first three. Or go straight to Clockwork Angel, because I think the Infernal Devices are a hundred times better.

Rating: 6 out of 10.
FTC: bought

2014/Margaret K. McElderry/725 pages.