Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
Genre: YA Dystopia
Publication Date: December 18th, 2013
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Page Count: 488

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.

This book had to be one of my most highly anticipated read of 2012.  The premise for it sounded amazing and original and I can't even count the amount of positive reviews I read!  I was so excited to read it!  And somehow, even that simple cover drew me in.  It seemed like this book would be something that I would enjoy very much, to put it frankly.

Things start off with Ruby narrating how she got to this camp and vaguely giving details that she isn't like the other chicks at the camp.  Oh, that was fine by me, but I guess things would get a little slow with all of that internal talk with herself.  It wasn't necessarily a big deal, but there was that voice inside my head that would say 'Come on already . . .'  But other than that, I connected with Ruby's character.  I liked her.  She was feisty, strong, and wore her heart on her sleeve.  She would surprise me with the bite she would pack that would come up in situations, and with that, I knew that I would root for her through all of her darkest moments.  Even if she was a little self-loathing.  And a little too trusting every now and then.  But, hey.  Every great character has their flaws.

What I absolutely loved about this book was that everything wasn't revealed immediately.  Including the whole idea of show-don't-tell and master writing skills, the plot was engaging and kept me reading and reading.  I don't think I've ever come across that many books where the answers weren't just handed to you on a silver platter, and those are probably the books I like most, anyway.  And it just so happens that the mystery is pretty plot twisty and crazy good and hard to not finish reading.

Speaking of plots, this baby never got old and boring, except for the beginning, where the flashbacks were exceptionally long (Not as long as the ending to The Daughter of Smoke and Bone, though).  Plenty of characters are introduced and all of them have stories of their own and are very dimensional.  On top of that, there's also plenty of action and adventure.  There's escaping, running from the government, learning about the past, learning secrets, and much, much more.  Everything is just all so exciting and energetic.

And of course I'm going to discuss the romance because I just so happen to ship it so much.  Also, yay for no love triangles!  Woot!  I do have to say that the romance does take a backseat, but it was still a good romance.  Liam was the little charmer and absolutely adorable!  He was a sweet dude, and while he also had his faults, including self-loathing and a huge case martyrdom, he was an awesome character.  Even if he wasn't the love interest, he was a fantastic character.  Not my top favorite, however, because Zu holds that spot.

I've read amazing books.  Simply great books.  But the writing could be absolute nothing.  Not to say that they have terrible writing, but there's nothing about it that screams that it's something individual and expressive.  They're almost detached in the way that they're written.  However, Bracken's writing was something so beautiful and talented.  I absolutely loved her writing style!  For a while, I was reading okay, but not exceptional books, and I was so glad I picked The Darkest Minds up.  I only wish that I would have read it sooner!

The Darkest Minds was a gritty and dark book about a corrupt government that's taken control of the 'gifted' children.  Nothing seems fair in this futuristic world and some of these children are ready to fight back.  Bracken's writing was poetic and Ruby's story just made for an incredible story to be told.  The characters were dimensional and real, the story was intense, and the writing was phenomenal.  If you haven't read this book already, I suggest you do--and fast--because it would be a mistake not to.

5 Splashes

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Nobody's Damsel by E.M Tippetts

Nobody's Damsel by E.M Tippetts
Genre: NA Contemporary
Published: January 5th, 2013
Publisher: Createspace
Page Count: 230

 Chloe has finished her masters degree and taken a job as a forensic scientist back in her home town of Albuquerque, New Mexico, only the press will not leave her alone. They follow her to crime scenes and report on her every move, eager to show that her marriage to Hollywood A-lister, Jason Vanderholt, is on the brink of collapse. Millions of fans who dream of their own celebrity romance with him want this more than anything. This scrutiny comes at a particularly bad time as Chloe's first case is a crime against a child roughly the same age that Chloe was when she survived a homicide attempt.

Now that she sees the case from an adult's perspective, she realizes it's much harder than she ever dreamed. It's even worse for Jason, who is two steps removed from the crime. He must watch and try to support his wife as she battles with past demons and tries to keep up with a nameless suspect who evades identification and capture. Never has Jason been more frustrated with his job, its frivolities, and its lack of connection to the real world. When he storms off the set of his latest movie, the press goes wild with conjecture. Perhaps he never was anything more than a pretty face after all.

Together, Chloe and Jason must find their way past all the popping flashbulbs and through the dark maze of the criminal investigation to discover whether they can balance their professional goals with the demands of a celebrity marriage. The odds are entirely against them.

There are times where I like to settle down with a sweet, glamorous read, and this author happens to be my go-to.  I've come to terms that her books will be my guilty pleasure.  Definitely. They're sweet and the plot is engaging, and this very girly side of me is very much enjoying it all.

I've always loved Chloe's practicality.  She was always telling Jason how it really was and she didn't like taking any of anybody's crap.  I was very happy to revisit Chloe and her story in this second installment.  She's definitely grown up into a very mature and strong character in this one.  I love how she has such determination to follow her dreams and she doesn't let Jason's celebrity status get in the way.  Even the way she handles the paparazzi and all was admirable.  She definitely has more patience than I do.

Ahh! And this plot was such a crazy one!  Jason's away and busy as he films for movies (but not absent) and Chloe takes up a job that involves her investigating a kidnapping.  It was so fascinating to watch her get emotionally attached to the investigation and then try to carry on with her less-than-normal life.  Considering how much I love investigation/mystery plots, this book caught my attention.

Nobody's Damsel explores the life of the famous and the struggles it takes to find some type of normalcy.  This book, with all it's glitz, glam, and gore, sucked me in and didn't spit me out until the last page.  I'm not usually interested in books like this, but I somehow was addicted to the story.  And that's what Tippetts's books are!  Addicting!  They're sweet, short reads that are the perfect books to read when in need of an emotional break!  So I kinda enjoy her books, yeah?

3.5 Splashes

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa

The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa
Genre: YA Paranormal Dystopian
Publication: April 30th, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Page Count: 446

Allison Sekemoto has vowed to rescue her creator, Kanin, who is being held hostage and tortured by the psychotic vampire Sarren. The call of blood leads her back to the beginning—New Covington and the Fringe, and a vampire prince who wants her dead yet may become her wary ally.

Even as Allie faces shocking revelations and heartbreak like she’s never known, a new strain of the Red Lung virus that decimated humanity is rising to threaten human and vampire alike.

I've pretty much come to the conclusion that I will read anything--anything--by Julie Kagawa.  There is not a single possibility that I would not pick up any of her books.  Every single one of her books has kept me at the edge of my seat and wanting more.  She painted such a vivid and enticing world in the Iron Fey series, and since then, I've fallen in love with her writing style, mystical stories, and entertaining characters.  I didn't think I'd like The Immortal Rules when I first picked it up, but I was wrong.  Oh, was I wrong.  So in conclusion, me in love with Julie Kagawa.

I wish I could end this review with just that, but I don't think that's a very convincing argument, alas.  So you want to know more about this book and why I love it, yeah?  Well, FEAST YER EYES.

Allie is one BAMF.  She, while being a little fanger herself, kicks vampire butt.  I love watching her struggle between blood lust and humanity.  She walks this fine line, on the brink of insanity, and it's so fascinating watching her internal battle.  She also is extremely loyal and loves wholly, even though she tries not to show it.  I loved her the moment she was introduced on the page in the first book, and my love of her character only strengthens in this one. 

So there's this thing I like about books and it's called Action and Adventure.  And this one has a lot of it.  There ain't nothin' slow and weepy about this one.  There's flying fists, roundhouse kicks, slashing swords, and broken limbs.  All the elements that spell for an interesting story . . . and disaster.  

Another thing that I love about Julie's novels is that every character (pretty much) plays some type of role in the story, even if they are secondary characters.  They all have dimension and there's life that seeps from the pages of her books; personalities both good and bad that shine through all the grime and magic.  C'est terrifique!

The Eternity Cure was a bloody, gritty tale of a girl who struggles to keep a grasp on the one thing she can't possibly have because she's a monster: humanity.  She finds love, loses it, and creates friendships in the most unlikely of people--err, monsters.  There isn't anything I hate about Allie or her story.  I'm so glad to see Kagawa's ingenious mind create new, original, and thrilling stories.  Even if you're not a fan of vampires or faeries, I still highly suggest reading Kagawa's books.

5 Splashes

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn

Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn
Genre: YA Paranormal Thriller
Expected Publication: June 11, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Page Count: 432

The spine-tingling horror of Stephen King meets an eerie mystery worthy of Sara Shepard's Pretty Little Liars series in Kate Karyus Quinn's haunting debut.

On a cool autumn night, Annaliese Rose Gordon stumbled out of the woods and into a high school party. She was screaming. Drenched in blood. Then she vanished.

A year later, Annaliese is found wandering down a road hundreds of miles away. She doesn't know who she is. She doesn't know how she got there. She only knows one thing: She is not the real Annaliese Rose Gordon.

Now Annaliese is haunted by strange visions and broken memories. Memories of a reckless, desperate wish . . . a bloody razor . . . and the faces of other girls who disappeared. Piece by piece, Annaliese's fractured memories come together to reveal a violent, endless cycle that she will never escape—unless she can unlock the twisted secrets of her past.

So, I went into this book not knowing much about it and not knowing what to expect.  I hadn't read the synopsis, but it was that hauntingly beautiful cover that had drawn me in.

It didn't take me long to get sucked into this book.

I fell hard into the story.

Like, down the rabbit hole, but without all the floaty- down kinda sensation.

Annaliese!   Or maybe I shouldn't call you Annaliese!  Doesn't matter!  I'll admit, you scared me at times, not because of how horribly constructed you were--because you weren't--but because your story was so disturbing and you were a beautiful creature.  Her persistence to solve the mystery of her past and discover who she truly was made for such an incredible and messed up (but in a good way!)  story.   Annaliese surprised me.  She came off as this meek and confused girl, but then would pack a fierce punch every now and then.  It was fantastic!  Annaliese was an incredible and dynamic character.

And I don't get this feeling a lot, but I wanted to give Dex this huge, squishy hug.  There was just something about his lankiness and dorky, underdog complex that mad me fall in love with him.  And he wasn't just the only likable character in the book.  There were the parents of Annaliese.  They made up the epitome of distraught and loving parents.  My heart went out to both of them and never once did I bore of Annaliese's interactions with them.  Even some of the minor characters, such as Logan and some other schoolmates; they brought this book to life and set the scene for this fantastically disturbing story.

Another Little Piece's plot was something so dark and twisted, the mood of it can only be described as something inspired by Stephen King's works.  Now, don't mistake me and say that this is similar to King's works, because it is nowhere even remotely similar.  I've never read or heard of something like Another Little Piece.  Its story blows me away.  I can't stop thinking about it.  It is everywhere. 

Another Little Piece is a different story that explored the tricky dance along the line of insanity and morbidity.  It was dark, twisted, and fascinating.  I loved it.  The writing was beautiful, the characters were dimensional and relatable, the plot was unpredictable and perfect.  I loved this book.  I hope that others will enjoy it, too!  Fans of thrillers, the paranormal, and the unexplained will possibly enjoy it.

5 Splashes

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication: March 19th, 2013
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Page Count: 568

Danger and betrayal, secrets and enchantment in the breathtaking conclusion to the Infernal Devices trilogy.

Tessa Gray should be happy - aren't all brides happy?
Yet as she prepares for her wedding, a net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute.
A new demon appears, one linked by blood and secrecy to Mortmain, the man who plans to use his army of pitiless automatons, the Infernal Devices, to destroy the Shadowhunters. Mortmain needs only one last item to complete his plan. He needs Tessa. And Jem and Will, the boys who lay equal claim to Tessa's heart, will do anything to save her.

I'll start of this review by saying that the Infernal Devices is definitely my favorite series of all time.  I've been with this series since Clockwork Angel first came out, I've shared the books with friends, I've reread the books, and by the end of Clockwork Prince, I had some crazy Feels brewing inside me.  I don't think I can accurately do this series any justice by reviewing it because my love for it, and mostly because my thoughts on this book especially are emotions that I can't even begin to decipher.

I will always, always love Tessa Gray.  She's feisty, sassy, strong, independent, and brave.  She also knows how to love.  And while that love creates the most intricate of triangles, I understood it.  I will always love how Tessa would surprise everyone with her courage.  I don't think I've ever met a character that was extremely courageous and brave, but didn't come out to be a martyr (which I find to be a trait that is getting old with characters).  Also, Tessa is a bookworm, so she gets brownie points from me!

Ahh . . . You cannot discuss this book without discussing Will Herondale and Jem Carstairs.  I think it's impossible to do so.  I don't know if you know this, but I am a full on shipper of Will and Tessa, my OTP.  And at first, I didn't like Jem because of *spoilers that I will not mention*, but with this final book to the series . . . I think I actually kinda do love him.  Never as much as Will, but I love him.

So, there was an actual completion of the story for Will, Tessa, and Jem in this story.  An actual . . . ending . . . to their story.  It is definitely a hard fact that I may never accept, but I think I may possibly move on with lots of therapy sessions and chocolate.  I don't want to say a single word as to what happens to the plot in the book because I'm sure I'll spoil it one way or another.  However, I will say that those 568 pages were anything but boring.

I should probably be telling those of you who are reading this review to not read this series.  I have never cared and loved so deeply for fictional characters.  I should warn you that this series is not a healthy way to express you book obsession because all you will think about is this series and its characters for the rest of your life.  I should also warn you that Cassandra Clare has ripped out my heart and scrambled my insides, leaving me raw and an emotional train wreck (I have never cried so much in my life).  But since I know that all of you are masochistic maniacs like me, I highly suggest reading this book.  Clockwork Princess may be the end, but to me, this book full of passion, love, adventure, hate, and action will never end.  Clare's beautiful writing that created such dimensional characters and a world full of darkness and evil will always stay with me.

5++ Splashes

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Night School by C.J Daugherty

Night School by C.J Daugherty
Genre: YA Mystery
Publication: May 21st, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Page Count: 400

Allie's world is falling apart...

She hates her school. Her brother has run away. And she's just been arrested.


Now her parents are sending her away to a boarding school where she doesn't know a soul.

But instead of hating her new school, Allie finds she's happy there. She's making friends. And then there's Sylvain, a suave French student who openly flirts with her. And Carter, the brooding loner who seems to have her back.

Soon, though, Allie discovers Cimmeria Academy is no ordinary school. Nothing there is as it seems. And her new friends are hiding dangerous secrets.

*A review copy was provided by the publisher*

I was super excited to start this.  Once I saw that cover and read the synopsis, I knew that I would have to somehow get my hands on this book.  I love a book with plenty of mystery and a MC that sounds like she can hold her ground.  I feel that after the long list of meh books I was reading for a while, this one was just what the doctor ordered.

Allie was instantly a character that I liked.  She didn't mind much what others thought of her and spoke what she thought, even if it was a little rude.  Feisty, strong, and stubborn, she made up a great character.  What I loved was that she was independent and didn't need some dashing young fellow to help her stand up right.

Speaking of guys, I have to say that I loved the romance in this one.  It definitely took a back seat throughout the entire novel.  But when the romance came across the page, boy, was it something else.  Honestly, I didn't know who to root for at first.  Both Sylvain (sexy French dude) and Carter (sexy British dude) were appealing in their own ways and had their downfalls, which made them dimensional characters.  Definitely fantastically created characters!

While the plot didn't have a lot of action and adventure, it made up in mystery.  Lots and lots of mystery.  I was constantly guessing what could possibly be going on, but each and every time, I was wrong.  After a while, I didn't even bother.  I couldn't have guessed in a million years how this book would have ended, and I liked that very much.

Lovers of mystery and odd stuff will love Night School!  Cute, sassy, dangerous, and sexy--this book had it all! I just--so much love!  

4.5 Splashes

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Life After Theft by Aprilynne Pike

Life After Theft by Aprilynne Pike
Genre: YA Paranormal
Publication: April 30th, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Page Count: 352

Moving to a new high school sucks. Especially a rich-kid private school. With uniforms. But nothing is worse than finding out the first girl you meet is dead. And a klepto.

No one can see or hear Kimberlee except Jeff, so--in hopes of bringing an end to the snarkiest haunting in history--he agrees to help her complete her "unfinished business." But when the enmity between Kimberlee and Jeff's new crush, Sera, manages to continue posthumously, Jeff wonders if he's made the right choice.

Clash meets sass in this uproarious modern-day retelling of Baroness Orczy's The Scarlet Pimpernel.

*A review copy was provided from the publisher* 
I thought that this one would be a really fun, light read.  I like the cover and the premise sounds interesting enough.  I mean, how many people get the chance to talk to ghosts?  I do feel that paranormal stories, however, are everywhere and it's hard nowadays to make it original.

I honestly prefer books written in the guy's POV.  I'm not entirely sure, but I just suppose the guys don't have the long, clique-y, insecure internal thoughts.  Readers really dodge the bullet in that department with the guy's POV, but Jeff didn't really stick out that much to me.  There wasn't that much dimension or growth in his character, and he was extremely moody.  Now, I've had my fair share of imperfect characters that I absolutely adored, but Jeff didn't fit the bill.  There wasn't that original quality to him, or at least a sense that he was real.  

And this pretty much applied to all of the other characters.  Kimberlee with two "e's" wasn't very likable, and I felt that I barely even got to meet Sera because that was how fast Jeff and Sera's relationship moved.  I felt as if there was a bunch of amateur actors  trundling across the pages.  Nothing felt deeper than substantial.  Scenes with witty banter felt forced.  Lifeless.  Dull.

The book essentially followed the same direction of the characters.  The plot was barely alive and, while I finished the book, I lost interest early on.  I thought that I would enjoy this one, possibly even fondle it a little because the story would be cute and all, but it didn't connect with me.

Life After Theft could definitely be an enjoyable book to some, but for me, the whole story fell flat.  I like that Pike included the adolescent struggles to fit in throughout the novel, but other than that, I didn't like much from this book.  I've seen this kind of plot all over, and I understand that this is a retelling, but I wasn't blown away with it.  I'm positive that some will enjoy this book, but Life After Theft was not the book for me, unfortunately.

2 Splashes

Transparent by Natalie Whipple

Transparent by Natalie Whipple
Genre: YA Paranormal
Expected Publication: May 21st, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Page Count: 368

Plenty of teenagers feel invisible. Fiona McClean actually is.

An invisible girl is a priceless weapon. Fiona’s own father has been forcing her to do his dirty work for years—everything from spying on people to stealing cars to breaking into bank vaults.

After sixteen years, Fiona’s had enough. She and her mother flee to a small town, and for the first time in her life, Fiona feels like a normal life is within reach. But Fiona’s father isn’t giving up that easily.

Of course, he should know better than anyone: never underestimate an invisible girl.

*A review copy was provided from the publisher*

I had heard nothing of this book going into it.  Absolutely nothing.  I didn't know what to expect, but the idea of an invisible girl escaping from this villainous father of hers sounded interesting.  And the cover, too, is just gorgeous.  So as you can probably tell, I was excited to start reading this one. 

All her life, Fiona has tried her best to appease her father and make him notice her--even if she is invisible.  But when he asks her to do some certain thing, let's just say it's nice to know that morals and humanity are a good thing to have, and Fiona and her mother leave.  For some reason, I really loved Fiona's character.  She was strong, broken, and honest with herself for the most part.  She was also very argumentative, but it wasn't bothersome.  More than anything, it was very entertaining to read about.  She does have her flaws, but they mostly involve her either not trusting someone, which was understandable, or not being able to forgive, which was also understandable.  She wore her heart on her sleeve and cared deeply for her family and friends.  Her only wish is that someone could see her and love her for who she is.

Things were very X-Men is this book.  Fiona's invisible.  Her friends all have these wacky abilities like super strength, seeing in the dark, voice amplification, and much more.  Her one brother can freaking fly!  I thought that this idea for a book was so cool, and I loved being introduced to all of these super powers.  There's this black market drug that helps increase the super power of a person, and that's where Fiona's dad comes into play.

I pretty much loved everything about this book.  The plot was evenly paced--if a little slow here and there--and I loved all of the characters.  Well . . . at least the good ones.  Whipple really captured the love that a family has for one another and the love that can be extended to the most unlikely of choices.  Fiona grew as a character and that learning experience for her was so fascinating for me to read about.  My heart was putty in my hands by the end of the book.  I can't wait for others to read this book because the story was fantastic, the characters were so unique and dimensional, and there is just so much love.

5 Splashes
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