Thursday, August 29, 2013

Grasping at Eternity by Karen Amanda Hooper

Grasping at Eternity by Karen Amanda Hooper
Genre: YA Paranormal
Publication: May 25th, 2012
Publisher: Starry Sky Publishing
Page Count: 328

Leave it to Maryah Woodsen to break the one rule that will screw up eternity: Never erase your memories.

Before entering this life, Maryah did the unthinkable—she erased. Now, at seventeen years old, she’s clueless that her new adoptive family has known her for centuries, that they are perpetually reincarnated souls, and that they have supernatural abilities. Oh, and she's supposed to love (not despise) Nathan, the green-eyed daredevil who saved her life.

Nathan is convinced his family’s plan to spark Maryah's memory is hopeless, but his love for her is undying. After spending (and remembering) so many lifetimes together, being around an empty version of his soulmate is heart shattering. He hates acting like a stalker, but has no choice because the evil outcast who murdered Maryah in their last lifetime is still after her.

While Maryah’s hunter inches closer, she and Nathan make assumptions and hide secrets that rip them further apart. Maryah has to believe in the magic within her, Nathan must have faith in the power of their love, and both need to grasp onto the truth before they lose each other forever—and discover just how lonely eternity can be.

X-MEN meets MY NAME IS MEMORY in Karen Amanda Hooper’s latest young adult release.

I hadn't heard much about this book, so when going into it, I wasn't expecting much. The concept sounded very interesting. I love the idea of reincarnated souls and--dare I say--soul mates. Usually, with something like that included in the synopsis, I don't think that I'd pick it up. However, there was something that made me want to give this book a try, and I'm glad I did because this books was fantastic.

I crack this book open and find myself utterly invested in the plot in a matter of minutes. Right from the start, this book had me hooked. I just wanted to know more about what was going on and why. Even when readers first meet her twin brother Mikey, you could feel the connection between them. Being a twin myself, I connected with Maryah almost immediately and loved the relationship she had with him.

Speaking of Maryah, I thought that she was a very real character. Sometimes, I feel like the main character is too accepting of being introduced into the supernatural. It's very difficult to find the right balance between denial-and-eventual-acceptance, instead of denial-and-complete-reader-annoyance. And this book had it! I didn't find Maryah to be too accepting or too annoying when she learns about who and what she is. Never once did she truly give up and I thought that she was sweet, even after everything that had happened to her.

And if you haven't figured it out yet, the premise for this book is absolutely magical. Everyone has a soul that, after it leaves the body, decides whether it wants to remember or erase their memories when they reincarnate. And there's this chance that if you choose to remember, you get these powers and you get to do all sorts of cool stuff. Honestly, if this were true, I'm POed my soul's never wanted to remember!

Anyway, I liked this book a lot. All of the characters were very dimensional and they all brought the story to life in my head. Very rarely do I come across a YA paranormal that didn't have that distinct taste of cliche and overdone plots. I do recommend this book and I hope that others will enjoy it as much as I did.

4 Splashes

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Genre: YA Paranormal
Publication: December 1st, 2009
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Page Count: 563

There were no surprises in Gatlin County.
We were pretty much the epicenter of the middle of nowhere.
At least, that's what I thought.
Turns out, I couldn't have been more wrong.
There was a curse.
There was a girl.
And in the end, there was a grave.

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

I finally read this book! Finally! I am definitely a late comer to this series and I'm kinda bummed on what I've been missing out on all this time. Sadly, I watched the movie before I read the book so my whole idea what different than what I'd thought the book was. The movie definitely did not keep true to the book, but I thought, besides the book, it wasn't that bad of a movie.

I really loved Ethan's voice. He was such a cute kind of guy to read about. He definitely had an unrealistic male thought process, but it didn't bother me that much because the story was very interesting. I loved that he'd do anything for his girl, but it kinda freaked me out how a sophomore was in this series and I-will-die-for-you relationship. It definitely had almost a--hate to say it--Twilight feel, but it wasn't that distinct, fortunately.

What was absolutely amazing about this book was the world building. Absolutely memorizing. From the southern feel of Gatlin to the lifestyle that is Lena's everyday life. I loved all the magic that was included in it and it wasn't at all confusing to read about.

With that said, I definitely feel like I enjoyed it more when I had first read it than I do now. Sure, it's been two months since I read it, but, now thinking back on it, I can't really think of anything that significant about it that would make me want to rave about it now. The writing was consistent and had plenty of imagery and was very authentic. The story kept me reading; I finished it in four days, but maybe with all the hype there was over this series, I was expecting more. That's not to say that this book wasn't that good, but it just didn't have that final Wow Factor that would distinguish itself from a good book to an absolutely amazing book.

Besides a very serious relationship among teenagers in the first book, I really did enjoy Beautiful Creatures a lot. The plot, besides this book being over 500 pages, was a quick read and the characters were very interesting to read about. They all had personality and were dimensional.

4 Splashes

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris {Review + Giveaway}

Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris
Publication: April 23rd, 2013
Publisher: Blazer + Bray
Page Count: 479

Four months after Ben disappeared through the portal to his home universe, Janelle believes she’ll never see him again. Her world is still devastated, but life is finally starting to resume some kind of normalcy. Until Interverse Agent Taylor Barclay shows up. Somebody from an alternate universe is running a human trafficking ring, kidnapping people and selling them on different Earths—and Ben is the prime suspect. Now his family has been imprisoned and will be executed if Ben doesn’t turn himself over within five days.

And when Janelle learns that someone she cares about—someone from her own world—has become one of the missing, she knows that she has to help Barclay, regardless of the danger. Now Janelle has five days to track down the real culprit. Five days to locate the missing people before they’re lost forever. Five days to reunite with the boy who stole her heart. But as the clues begin to add up, Janelle realizes that she’s in way over her head—and that she may not have known Ben as well as she thought. Can she uncover the truth before everyone she cares about is killed?

I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed the first book. I love sci-fi and alien kind of stuff with high action and adventure. And the concept that you only have x amount of time to save the world or the one you love makes for a great page turner. I definitely enjoyed the predecessor to Unraveling, but I don't think that it exactly lived up to it. 

If anything, Janelle's learned a few lessons from the first book and it's made her more of an admirable character. She's smart and she tough. And on top of that, she'll protect the ones she loves. I mean, she's so tough she swallowed pills dry. And she also has her coffee black. There wasn't much character growth, considering she did all that in the previous book, but Janelle was still an interesting character. 

So things are different in this one. Instead of saving the world, Janelle and her friends have to save Ben, who happens to get in a lot of trouble, that hooligan. And one of the friends that Janelle makes along the way is Barclay. And if there's one thing that Elizabeth Norris did wrong in this book, it was making Barclay likable, because he was perfect in every sense. Snarky, devil-may-care, courageous, smart, handsome, strong . . . And so the list goes on. But I'm supposed to hate him and hate him at the same time! I loved how he was a character that wasn't the easiest to read and was very dimensional, like all the other characters in this book.

Considering that this book was almost 500 pages long, I read it faster than any 300-paged book. And instead of staying put on a world-as-you-know-it Earth, we travel around different worlds! How awesome is that? And since there's only five days to save her bestie and Ben, this whole book is jam-packed with stressful and high-tension situations. Lots of running around and action to keep my attention, definitely.

Unbreakable was an epic book with lots of adventure and plenty of high stakes situations.  I absolutely love this series for all it's danger and interverse traveling and stuff. 

5 Splashes

Now here's that giveaway as promised in the title! Play fair, and all. US/CAN ONLY. Sorry, international peeps! I promise one of these days I'll do something for you, too.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A to Z Bookish Survey

I'm going to have some fun and waste time! I've never done one of these before and I think this survey is the cutest thing ever.

Author you’ve read the most books from:
Cassandra Clare places number one. In total (8): The Mortal Instruments (5) and the Infernal Devices (3).

Best sequel ever:
Crown of Embers by Rae Carson. I didn't really enjoy the first book, Girl of Fire and Thorns, and I only gave it a 3 star rating. Then, I read CoE and it totally rocked my world! Such an epic read.

Currently reading:
Timepiece by Myra McEntire and rereading City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare.

Drink of choice while reading:
Tea, because it's amazing, or Gatorade, because I have a heart condition thing and need to drink it.

E-reader or physical book?
*sings* Let's get physical, physical!

Fictional character you probably would have dated in high school:
Oh, darn. Gotta think for this one.... Umm, probably Simon Lewis from The Mortal Instruments (sorry, that's the only thing I can think of currently!) because he's super nerdy and sweet and I really love dorky and nerdy guys.

Glad you gave this book a chance:
Across the Universe by Beth Revis. Originally, I wasn't even going to bother reading it! I just wasn't into the premise for it at first.

Hidden gem book:
Illuminate by Aimee Agresti. Seriously, I love this book and I feel like no one has read or heard of it.

Important moment of your reading life:
Going to my first ever book event. And this was a little before I started blogging. I went to the Breathless Reads event with Jessica Spotswood, Andrea Cremer, Marie Lu, and Beth Revis on the panel and it was such a surreal thing for me, to see the faces of the authors who write these amazing books and realize that they're human, too. Without this event, I don't think I would have created my blog.

Just finished:
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare.

Kinds of books you won’t read: 
Autobiographies, non-fiction, erotica. Basically anything that's not fictional.

Longest book you’ve read:
Brisingr by Christopher Paolini.

Major book hangover because of:
The Diviners by Libba Bray. Seriously, that book is the shit.

Number of bookcases you own:

One book you have read multiple times:
Umm, I'm not really into rereading books, though I feel like I should do that more often. I did read Twilight and Breaking Dawn a whopping five times, though, when I thought they the best books out there, and then New Moon two times and Eclipse three times. And now I just started rereading The Mortal Instruments. Other than that, I don't reread books.

Preferred place to read:
Anywhere comfy and near food. That could be my bed, couch, car seat. As long as I'm equipped with a book, seat, and food, I'm good.

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read:
 “It’s probably my job to tell you life isn’t fair, but I figure you already know that. So instead, I’ll tell you that hope is precious, and you’re right not to give up.”--Defiance by C.J Redwine
I totally had to search through quotes of my favorite books (I'm terrible at remembering my favorite quotes) and this one stood out to me.  I remember reading this and actually feeling it. I've dealt with high anxiety and mild depression for years and there are times where things are just dumpy. So instead of thinking that things will never get better, it's a good idea to hold on to hope and not giving up.

Reading regret:
Hmmm...buying Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck. Because now that I spent the money on the book, I have to finish the series and have them all on my shelf.

Series you started and need to finish (all books are out):
I still haven't read the last book of the Delirium series by Lauren Oliver, same goes for that Halo series by Alexandra Adornetto, the Rift duology by Andrea Cremer, the Darkness Rising series by Kelley Armstrong, and I'm sure there's others. And I haven't read the last two books of the Graceling Realm series by Kristin Cashore.
I seriously need to get on top of these things.

Three of your all-time favorite books:
Can I put an entire series as one? I think I will. Number One would be The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare, The Diviners by Libba Bray, and The Girl in the Clockwork Collar by Kady Cross.

Unapologetic fangirl for:
Tahereh Mafi. Her writing is something that I want to bathe myself in.

Very excited for this release more than all others:
THE BITTER KINGDOM!!!! It's so close, yet so far away... 

Worst bookish habit:
Buying books. I admit it is both a gift and a curse to buy books. It's a gift for obvious reasons. YAY BOOKS GALORE. But it's a curse because there are times where I cannot buy every book on the shelf because I do not have that kind of money.
X marks the spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book: 
Ascend by Amanda Hawking.

Your latest book purchase:
Hourglass and Timepiece by Myra McEntire

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late):
Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer, but that was last year. I don't really stay up late that often reading books because then I can't comprehend what's on the page.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Hopeless by Colleen Hoover

Hopeless by Colleen Hoover
Publication: December 19th, 2012
Page Count: 327

Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies…

That’s what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried.

Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he’s nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn’t at all who he’s been claiming to be. When the secrets he’s been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky’s life will change forever.
This probably wouldn't have been a book that I would have picked up in the near future if it weren't for all the positive praise that kept going around for this book and the author herself. I am not a contemporary reader. But, on top of the positive praise and the fact that I was very curious about this new and hot New Adult genre, I decided that I would give this one a go, considering that Crash by Nicole Williams was actually pretty good.

I loved Sky. There, simply put. I could definitely relate to her. And she certainly was a complex character, nothing dull about her. Emotionally, she was a wreck, but I envied her ability to always put up a wall of general okay-ness. But she always did keep herself separate from everyone else, and I loved that, even though she wasn't accepted at school, she didn't let it get her down and she didn't try to fit in with the rest of the crowd. She knew that she was her own person, and no one was going to change that about her. Including a boy with an awesome name.

Speaking of a boy with an awesome name! I loved him, too. Dean Holder was another complex character that had to be the most broken and the best boyfriend, too. I almost rolled my eyes at first when he's introduced as a mysterious bad boy, but then once readers get to learn who he is, my opinion changed. I loved that, no matter what happened, he was always there for Sky and was never judging.

This book was not at all what I expected it to be. I was expecting the normal romance/contemporary with one girl and one guy. They meet, it's love at first sight, they end up being inseparable, they fight, break up, then get back together and it's happily every after. Yeah, no. That's not what happened in this book. There was actually a substantial part of the plot that didn't involve romance and the book delved into a more serious and emotional subject that will forever be imprinted in my mind. This book was truly amazing.

Hopeless is definitely not your average read. It was heartwarming, it was heartbreaking. It was beautifully written and follows a girl during a very difficult time in her life. I cannot express how much I loved this book. And I don't think I can give this book justice by simply reviewing it. I do hope that everyone does get a chance to read it, because I got teary-eyed, and you know an author's doing something right when I cry/almost cry. Moving, emotional, and unforgettable, this is a book to read.

5 Splashes

Waiting on Wednesday (27)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine where bloggers like me get to gush about what we can't wait to get our grabby hands on.

The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
Expected Publication: September 17th, 2013
Publisher: Balzer + Bray

It all began with a ruined elixir and an accidental bolt of lightning…

Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she's being told. The one prophesied for years to be the savior of The Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the Bane, the greatest mage tyrant the world has ever known. A suicide task for anyone let alone a sixteen-year-old girl with no training, facing a prophecy that foretells a fiery clash to the death.

Prince Titus of Elberon has sworn to protect Iolanthe at all costs but he's also a powerful mage committed to obliterating the Bane to revenge the death of his family—even if he must sacrifice both Iolanthe and himself to achieve his goal.

But Titus makes the terrifying mistake of falling in love with the girl who should have been only a means to an end. Now, with the servants of the Bane closing in, he must choose between his mission and her life.

For those of you who do not know me that well, I am a huuuuuggee sucker for fantasy. Huge. And I find that fantasy in YA isn't as big of a genre as I'd like it to be. I feel as if there's so much YA contemporary and YA paranormal, but I feel as if an author and the YA community itself would do itself justice if there were more fantasy books. There's so many different directions an author could go in with fantasy and there wouldn't be as many burnt-out ideas like love triangles and vampires.

But besides that, I have been drooling over this book specifically ever since I saw it revealed at Tea Time. I mean--LOOK AT THAT COVER! And the premise sounds epic! I cannot WAIT for this book!

So what is everyone else waiting on this fine Wednesday?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Crash by Nicole Williams

Crash by Nicole Williams
Genre: NA Romance
Publication: December 18th, 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins
Page Count: 365

Jude Ryder and Lucy Larson are this generation's Romeo and Juliet: Explosive. Sizzling. Tragic.

A steamy summer encounter with bad boy Jude means trouble for Lucy. Her sights are set on becoming a ballerina, and she won't let anything get in her way . . . except Jude.

He's got a rap sheet, dangerous mood swings, and a name that's been sighed, shouted, and cursed by who knows how many girls.

Jude's a cancer, the kind of guy who's fated to ruin the lives of girls like Lucy—and he tells her so.

But as rumors run rampant and reputations are destroyed, Lucy's not listening to Jude's warning. Is tragedy waiting in the wings? This racy romance is hot, hot, hot!

 All of a sudden, there seemed to be so much craze about this book a few months ago in the book world. Like--BAM!--here's this shiny new book with a hot romance and just pure awesome NA flashing in my face. For obvious reasons (the promise of a sexy man), I decided that yes, I did want to read this book, and my prayers were answered in the form of a discounted price on Amazon. Bought in the blink of an eye.

I absolutely adored Lucy in the first few pages of the book. The novel starts off with her on the beach and spotting this unbelievably attractive guy on the beach. So, like any other girl would do, she tries to nab his attention in the most conspicuous way ever because--let's face it--we're not that suave. And when they first meet, it's like lightning! Their chemistry is sizzling hot you could start a fire with it. I am immediately intrigued by this bad-boy character and want to see more of him. 

And being that I mainly read YA, I was kind of okay with this bad-boy Jude with the mysterious past. But then, when I started reading more about him, I began to less and less like Jude. I don't know if it's just me, but I don't generally like dealing with bad boy bullshit. If he's an asshole when you first meet him, chances are, he's just an asshole in general. Jude wasn't the I've-had-a-tough-life-but-am-actually-a-total-softie-once-you-get-to-know-me bad boy; he was the I've-made-mistakes-and-have-a-totally-messed-up-past-and-I-kinda-lust-you-Lucy-but-I'm-going-to-take-out-all-my-anger-on-you-but-then-apologize-and-everything-will-be-fine bad boy. To me, I thought he was mean, but since Lucy had this whole saving-people complex, she took his bull that wouldn't have flown by me. So once I really got to see what kind of character Jude was, I didn't like him anymore.

But I liked the romance. And this is where my weakness fell in. I'm not usually a sucker for this kind of stuff in books, but I have no clue. I enjoyed it and I am not ashamed!

Other than that, I really did enjoy this book. I loved the fact that Lucy was a dancer. I love dance and I used to dance, so I love it when I find a character that was equally as passionate about dance as I am. And I truly did love Lucy as a character in general. I only wish that she hadn't fallen for a total jerk, but then what would have been the book?

Crash is definitely a quick and steamy read that'll keep readers occupied and interested!

4 Splashes

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication: January 31st, 2012
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books
Page Count: 374

Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

Even Ana's own mother thinks she's a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she'll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?

Sam believes Ana's new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana's enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else's life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

Jodi Meadows expertly weaves soul-deep romance, fantasy, and danger into an extraordinary tale of new life.

I know that I am pretty late coming into this series and I don't understand why that is. Love the cover art and the concept sounds pretty interesting. Luckily, for me, this baby was on sale on Amazon not too long ago and I was able to read this one on my Kindle. And, boy, did I read it quickly.

Ana has to be one of the sweetest and yet interesting characters I have ever met. Usually I'm not into all of those sweet and innocent characters, but she did have this all self-loathing complex and was also courageous at times, so she did keep me guessing about her. I loved how her character grew throughout the book, how she became a character that wasn't so meek anymore. My only issue would be about how fast she fell for Sam. Granted, I really did love their relationship, but I just didn't understand how a girl that was so suspicious could suddenly trust one guy. I mean, I get that they spend all this time together, but I would have figured that a girl with such a past wouldn't be so quick to have romantic relations with someone.

Besides that, this book was absolutely magical! I looooveed the imagery and the plot. I didn't expect what came along in the book, either. Dragons that spit out acid, these invisible-like monsters that scorch your flesh off . . . absolutely terrifying, and not what you'd expect with such a pretty cover and such a sweet heroine. But it was a good terrifying and it made for a very original and entertaining book.

The world that Meadows created was something entirely different. I wouldn't exactly call this a dystopian because there's a lot of fantasy elements thrown in there, so that's why I'd categorize this as more of a fantasy book, considering that fantasy can take place in the future, present, or past. I really just wanna hug this book because it was such an enjoyable quick read! The concept that souls will always come back, and be reincarnated was fascinating, and the fact that both or either of the soul mates could be a different gender when they came back from the dead was fantastic. 

So, if you've not read this book yet, I do suggest you do. The world building and the imagery was enchanting and I can't wait to read the next book!

5 Splashes

Stacking the Shelves (5)

 Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews where bloggers get to show what they've snagged over the week.

 [All links lead to Goodreads]

Hourglass by Myra McEntire
Timepiece by Myra McEntire

If you didn't know this, both Hourglass and Timepiece are $1.39 for Kindles on Amazon! Buy them while they're hot, everyone! I just started to read Hourglass just last night, and I kinda like it a lot.

So what has everyone else received this week?
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