Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (18)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where bloggers like me get to gush about what makes their hands all grabby.

Publication: May 7th from HarperCollins

 It happened on Halloween.

The world ended.

And a dangerous Game brought it back to life.

Seventeen-year-old Michael and his five-year-old brother, Patrick, have been battling monsters in The Game for weeks.

In the rural mountains of West Virginia, armed with only their rifle and their love for each other, the brothers follow Instructions from the mysterious Game Master. They spend their days searching for survivors, their nights fighting endless hordes of “Bellows”—creatures that roam the dark, roaring for flesh. And at this Game, Michael and Patrick are very good.

But The Game is changing.

The Bellows are evolving.

The Game Master is leading Michael and Patrick to other survivors—survivors who don’t play by the rules.

And the brothers will never be the same.

T. Michael Martin’s debut novel is a transcendent thriller filled with electrifying action, searing emotional insight, and unexpected romance.

I first discovered this book at the ARC Party last Wednesday for the weekly Wednesday Tea Time video chat with the Epic Reads girls.  And now after reading Warm Bodies, I have a craving for scary/creepy books!  This one looks so interesting.  I wanna know who these Bellows are all about and what this Game is!  Sounds like a great thriller. 

So what are you waiting on this fine Wednesday?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

The Synopsis:
R is a young man with an existential crisis--he is a zombie. He shuffles through an America destroyed by war, social collapse, and the mindless hunger of his undead comrades, but he craves something more than blood and brains. He can speak just a few grunted syllables, but his inner life is deep, full of wonder and longing. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he has dreams.After experiencing a teenage boy's memories while consuming his brain, R makes an unexpected choice that begins a tense, awkward, and strangely sweet relationship with the victim's human girlfriend. Julie is a blast of color in the otherwise dreary and gray landscape that surrounds R. His decision to protect her will transform not only R, but his fellow Dead, and perhaps their whole lifeless world.
Scary, funny, and surprisingly poignant, Warm Bodies is about being alive, being dead, and the blurry line in between.

My Thoughts:
Being that the movie for this book comes out in only a week or so, I knew I had to read this book before it came out.  Vague memories of an appraising review by Maggie Stiefvater only encouraged me further to pick this book up.  The idea sounded original and daring to me.  It beckoned me.  While this wasn't originally written for a teenage audience, I can certainly see where it can fit in, with its teenage main characters and attitudes, but it also has aspects that are meant for a mature crowd.  But here is where I stand: If you're interested in reading this book, just read it!  Don't let the Golden Hammer of Finality that had placed it in one genre hold you back!  Find out for yourself if this book is or isn't meant for you, no matter your general preferences on books.

R is a zombie.  However, he certainly doesn't think like one.  I greatly enjoyed his narrative, with his sometimes philosophical and deep characteristics.  He has to be the only character I've seen change so much in the matter of a short book.  It came as such a surprise, where many of the characters I read about nowadays have the problem where they don't develop and grow throughout a book (or series).  He deals metaphorical and literal awakening, fighting his inner demons, and has these overall profound thoughts that blew me away.  R is a thoughtful zombie that changed my idea of what and who a zombie should be.

And where, pray tell, did Marion come up with the idea for this book?  It was something so different and pivotal for the future of the zombie genre as we know it.  Since when are zombies portrayed as the misunderstood, able to save-the-world-as-we-know-it kind?  Never!  Frankly, I've never been a fan of zombies.  I think they're gross, mindless, and not very threatening.  I never gave them a second thought.  While I still think they're gross, I do not think of them as mindless or nonthreatening anymore.  

Plot wise, Warm Bodies was evenly paced and kept my full attention.  I've heard others say that only people with strong stomachs should read this book.  Honestly, I didn't find it to be any more violent or explicit with gore than any other action-packed books I've read.  I didn't even blink an eye.  While this book is short in length, it wasn't lacking and was content with its size.

And don't think I didn't catch those Romeo and Juliet references!

Warm Bodies surprised me with its hard-to-not-love main character, R, and his story.  It was heartfelt and resonated within me.  R's story is unforgettable and Marion's originality and masterful writing made me fall in love with this book.  Fans of the undead, action, and a dynamic main character will enjoy this book.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter

The Synopsis:
Love or life.
Henry or their child.
The end of her family or the end of the world.
Kate must choose.
During nine months of captivity, Kate Winters has survived a jealous goddess, a vengeful Titan and a pregnancy she never asked for. Now the Queen of the Gods wants her unborn child, and Kate can't stop her--until Cronus offers a deal.
In exchange for her loyalty and devotion, the King of the Titans will spare humanity and let Kate keep her child. Yet even if Kate agrees, he'll destroy Henry, her mother and the rest of the council. And if she refuses, Cronus will tear the world apart until every last god and mortal is dead.
With the fate of everyone she loves resting on her shoulders, Kate must do the impossible: find a way to defeat the most powerful being in existence, even if it costs her everything.
Even if it costs her eternity.
*A review copy was provided for me to read, thanks to the Harlequin Teen and NetGalley*
Publication: February 26th from Harlequin Teen

My Thoughts:
Readers were left with quite the cliffhanger in Goddess Interrupted.   I'm not going to spoil things for the sake of those who haven't read this series, but I will say that it was a very intolerable one.  I remember reading it, and it was one of those moments where you are Bradley Cooper.

Yeah.  That pretty much sums it up.

The Goddess Inheritance begins pretty much where Interrupted left off and everything spirals from there.  Kate was put into one of the worst positions I've ever read of.  If she does one thing, she risks losing so and so, and if she goes the other, she'll lose other so and so.  I've never read a book where things just kept getting worse and worse and darker and darker for the characters.  Sure, I've read books where the stakes were pretty high and it involved sacrifice and such, but never--never--have I read it where it was this intense.  And I think that's the main reason why I couldn't stop reading this book.  I couldn't help but wonder if the impossible happy ending was even possible.

Kate necessarily hasn't bothered me at all in previous books.  She had a little bit of a martyr complex going on, but I understood where it came from and I admired her confidence, stubbornness, and courage.  However, I just found it to be a little to much.  Maybe this is because I haven't experienced undying love, but I sure have read about it in other books.  The girl or guy will risk everything to protect the ones they love, but I felt that Kate's protectiveness and martyrdom was overbearing and too much.  Like, I got the point on the first page.  You don't need to express it on every page now.

Besides that, I was flying through book.  The high stakes and action kept me interested and glued to the story.  It was hard for me to put down.  Just the mention of Cronus in this book made me want to become a goddess just so I could bash his head in or something.  He was such a bad guy and to have Calliope/Hera on his side, he was a force to be reckoned with.  But he wasn't just a bad guy set on destroying the world and everything in his path.  He had dimension.  What was great about him is that he just wasn't the villain that readers think him to be.  He actually was a person--well, Titan.

My only real complaint would be the lack of imagery.  And after three books, including The Goddess Legacy, I still didn't have a solid image as to what Kate or Henry or Ava or Olympus looked like.  What I conjured was something vague at most and sometime inaccurate to the story.  It was very frustrating at times and is what made the series a little less enjoyable for me.

The Goddess Inheritance was a great and hear-racing ending to a wonderful and entertaining series.  You immediately connect with the characters.  In fact, I cried not only in The Goddess Test, but also the The Goddess Legacy and The Goddess Inheritance.  It's hard not to be emotionally invested in characters that endure so much pain and betrayal, but get right back up in the most gloomiest times for them.  And for an author to actually manipulate my feelings--not once, but three times--is amazing.  Lovers of Greek mythology, a fast-paced plot, and relatable characters will enjoy this series.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (17)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where bloggers like me get to gush about what makes their hands all grabby.

The Ward
Publication: April 30th by Katherine Tegen Books
Sixteen-year-old Ren is a daredevil mobile racer who will risk everything to survive in the Ward, what remains of a water-logged Manhattan. To save her sister, who is suffering from a deadly illness thought to be caused by years of pollution, Ren accepts a secret mission from the government: to search for a freshwater source in the Ward, with the hope of it leading to a cure.

However, she never expects that her search will lead to dangerous encounters with a passionate young scientist; a web of deceit and lies; and an earth-shattering mystery that’s lurking deep beneath the water’s rippling surface.

Jordana Frankel’s ambitious debut novel and the first in a two-book series, The Ward is arresting, cinematic, and thrilling—perfect for fans of Scott Westerfeld or Ann Aguirre.

Ren sounds like my kind of girl!  She sounds like somebody that I could easily relate to and the concept of the book is so interesting!  To think of a flooded Manhattan is scary and almost realistic and since I've been craving a lot of dystopian books lately, this one fits the bill.  Plus, the cover looks pretty cool.

So what are you waiting on this fine Wednesday?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver

The Synopsis:
One night when Liza went to bed, Patrick was her chubby, stubby, candy-grubbing and pancake-loving younger brother, who irritated and amused her both, and the next morning, when she woke up, he was not. In fact, he was quite, quite different.
When Liza's brother, Patrick, changes overnight, Liza knows exactly what has happened: The spindlers have gotten to him and stolen his soul.
She knows, too, that she is the only one who can save him.
To rescue Patrick, Liza must go Below, armed with little more than her wits and a broom. There, she uncovers a vast world populated with talking rats, music-loving moles, greedy troglods, and overexcitable nids . . . as well as terrible dangers. But she will face her greatest challenge at the spindlers' nests, where she encounters the evil queen and must pass a series of deadly tests--or else her soul, too, will remain Below forever.
From New York Times best-selling author Lauren Oliver comes a bewitching story about the reaches of loyalty, the meaning of love, and the enduring power of hope.

My Thoughts:
This marks the first ever MG I have read in a really long while.  Meaning, I haven't read a MG since I was about ten or so.  So as you can see, it's been a while.  My main concerns with reading a MG now was that I thought that the story would be too childish and I wouldn't enjoy it as much as I would have when I was ten.  Was I wrong?  Oh, yes.  Wrong I was.

Liza is a defiant, sassy, and stubborn girl that has a deep love for her brother.  She'll do just about anything for him, so when he goes missing and is replaced by a not-Patrick, she bravely sets off into a world unknown, full of wonders and terrors.  She has no idea what she is getting herself into, and I have to say that's one of the main reasons why I loved her character.  Her strong belief in things unseen and in herself was admirable and enjoyable to read about.  Oh, sure, she had her doubts here and there, but who doesn't?

We meet a whole menagerie of wonderful and horrible creatures in Liza's journey Below.  Each one of them was masterfully created and vividly described by Oliver.  Honestly, I would have expected nothing less of her.  The imagery in the  Delirium Series was spectacular.  So to see that shine in The Spindlers was a happy moment for me.  She created such a different and lively world in this book that it was almost as if this place were real and not made up from the mind of Oliver.  Or is it . . . ?

And Liza's adventure was quite the epic one!  She travels all throughout Below, meets new and different creatures, and battles many foes to reach the nest of the spindlers.  While it took me a while to get into the story, mostly because I didn't have much time to read and would only catch a chapter or two at a time, The Spindlers was fast-paced and exciting.  Once I had really gotten into the story, I was turning pages faster and faster as I went along with Liza on her journey.

Being that this is the first MG I've read in a long while, I was thoroughly surprised and entertained.  The Spindlers tells an epic tale of a girl named Liza who must traverse Below and face many foes to save her brother's soul.  It was fast-paced and jam-packed with vivid imagery and imagination.  If you're looking for an MG that fits these standards, The Spindlers may be the one for you.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Onyx by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Onyx (Lux, #2)The Synopsis:
Being connected to Daemon Black sucks…
Thanks to his alien mojo, Daemon’s determined to prove what he feels for me is more than a product of our bizarro connection. So I’ve sworn him off, even though he’s running more hot than cold these days. But we’ve got bigger problems.
Something worse than the Arum has come to town…
The Department of Defense are here. If they ever find out what Daemon can do and that we're linked, I’m a goner. So is he. And there's this new boy in school who’s got a secret of his own. He knows what’s happened to me and he can help, but to do so, I have to lie to Daemon and stay away from him. Like that's possible. Against all common sense, I'm falling for Daemon. Hard.
But then everything changes…
I’ve seen someone who shouldn’t be alive. And I have to tell Daemon, even though I know he’s never going to stop searching until he gets the truth. What happened to his brother? Who betrayed him? And what does the DOD want from them—from me?
No one is who they seem. And not everyone will survive the lies…

My Thoughts:
I can't begin to tell you how much I love these books.  I had heard so much about Obsidian last year, and I was so curious because everybody was gushing about how great the book was and how hot Daemon was.  First of all, if there's a hot guy in any book, I need to read it--asap.  And secondly, the book's about aliens.  While I may not have been very familiar about aliens in books, the concept sounded very interesting.  Plus, the aliens in these books--the men--are hot.  So, yes.  I needed to read this book and every other book that came after it.

I really related to Katy, especially since she's a lover of books and reviews them on her blog.  In this book, her problem was that she wanted to prove to not only Daemon and the others, but herself that she was able to protect and defend herself ably.  While this is a problem common in YA novels with female protagonists, I felt that Katy's was more believable.  I feel that female characters with this problem quickly overcome the hurtle with barely an effort, but being that Katy is a bookworm that wants to protect herself, the struggle was hard--as it should be--and took a while.  Katy's determination was admirable and that fiery passion is what really made me like her and respect her as a character.

And oh, boy, was I not let down with Daemon and Katy's relationship.  Ughh!  I can't even tell you how much I loved it.  The sexual tension was off the charts and I gladly fell for Daemon once again in this book.  He was such a complex character, and that's what I loved.  He wasn't just the stereotypical bad boy love interest.  He did have depth.  He cared.  And he was a decent human (uhh, alien) being, but he learned that being a jackass to outsiders prevented him from caring for others.  (I'm pretty sure I just described what a bad boy is, but hopefulling if you've read these books, you understand what I'm getting at.)

In this book, we're introduced to a few more characters and get more acquainted with others.  The character development of each of them and how they played a certain role in the story was magnificent.  It didn't matter if the character just said one line throughout the book, but each one was important in one way or another.  Yet again, I am astounded and wonderfully surprised at Armentrout's talent to do this without the story being busy.  I loved every moment of it.

The story, while not full of much adventure or action, kept me captivated all throughout.  It was evenly paced (I read it in under one day) and when there was action, it was awesome.  The alien business and government secrecy thickened in this one.  When one answer would come, ten more questions would be raised.  And here, I also have to give some praise to Armentrout for masterfully plotting this story out.  I couldn't even predict what would happen because everything was so unpredictable and plot-twisting!  I loved it!

Onyx exeeded my expectations for the second book in the sequel.  The plot thickened and was filled to the brim with alien hotness and palpable sexual tension.  I loved each and every character.  They were dimensional and each had unique personalities.  I can't wait to see what will happen next in the third--not final--book in the series.  Fans of the supernatural, a hot romance, and a thrilling plot will enjoy this book.

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where bloggers like me get to gush about what makes their hands all grabby.

 In the After
Publication: June 25th from HarperTeen

They hear the most silent of footsteps.
They are faster than anything you've ever seen.
And They won't stop chasing you...until you are dead.

Amy is watching TV when it happens, when the world is attacked by Them. These vile creatures are rapidly devouring mankind. Most of the population is overtaken, but Amy manages to escape—and even rescue “Baby,” a toddler left behind in the chaos. Marooned in Amy’s house, the girls do everything they can to survive—and avoid Them at all costs.

After years of hiding, they are miraculously rescued and taken to New Hope, a colony of survivors living in a former government research compound. While at first the colony seems like a dream with plenty of food, safety, and shelter, New Hope slowly reveals that it is far from ideal. And Amy soon realizes that unless things change, she’ll lose Baby—and much more.

Rebellious, courageous, and tender, this unforgettable duo will have you on the edge of your seat as you tear through the pulse-pounding narrow escapes and horrifying twists of fate in this thrilling debut from author Demitria Lunetta.

How cool does this book sound??  And for some strange reason, I am loving this cover.  Also, the concept for this book sounds quite different and interesting. 

So what are you waiting for on this fine Wednesday?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Beta by Rachel Cohn

Beta (Annex, #1)The Synopsis:
Elysia is created in a laboratory, born as a sixteen-year-old girl, an empty vessel with no life experience to draw from. She is a Beta, an experimental model of a teenage clone. She was replicated from another teenage girl, who had to die in order for Elysia to exist.
Elysia's purpose is to serve the inhabitants of Demesne, an island paradise for the wealthiest people on earth. Everything about Demesne is bioengineered for perfection. Even the air induces a strange, euphoric high, which only the island's workers--soulless clones like Elysia--are immune to.
At first, Elysia's life is idyllic and pampered. But she soon sees that Demesne's human residents, who should want for nothing, yearn. But for what, exactly? She also comes to realize that beneath the island's flawless exterior, there is an under-current of discontent among Demesne's worker clones. She knows she is soulless and cannot feel and should not care--so why are overpowering sensations cloud-ing Elysia's mind?
If anyone discovers that Elysia isn't the unfeeling clone she must pretend to be, she will suffer a fate too terrible to imagine. When her one chance at happi-ness is ripped away with breathtaking cruelty, emotions she's always had but never understood are unleashed. As rage, terror, and desire threaten to overwhelm her, Elysia must find the will to survive.

My Thoughts:
I was very hesitant to start this book due to the bad reviews for this book.  However, I thought I might was well give it a try.  Everybody has their different opinions, so there was a possibility that I would enjoy this book.  Unfortunately, those reviews were correct.  I did not enjoy this book.  At all.

Elysia is a Beta, which is a teenage clone slave that is only created to serve families of wealth.  For her to be created, her "First", or the other half to her clone, had to die for her to be created.  But there's something wrong with her.  Clones like her shouldn't feel things.  They shouldn't be inquisitive or get crushes on guys.  They are only meant to serve, and if they feel, they are wrong. 

I didn't find her character to be flat, necessarily, but I just didn't like her.  She was naive and there were awkward situations that she'd get herself into and there I'm sitting, yelling in my head "STOP. STOP IT RIGHT THERE."  In a way, she had the mind of a five year old.  She asked questions nonstop and went along with everything.  I get that she's a clone and 'new to the world', but you'd think that she'd have the mental maturity of her "First", yes?  That is, assuming that her first was actually mature.

After about 170 pages in, the plot starts focusing in on the relationship that I thought not only to be weird and awkward, but a little excessive.  That's all the plot becomes after that, but I was much more interested in the clone resistance thing that was going on.  I would have thought that an oncoming revolution would be more important than a romance.  Before the romance, I could see where readers would be sucked into the story with the vivid imagery and interesting concept.  Honestly, I think I would have enjoyed this story a lot more if it had been better executed.

While Elysia is young of mind, there are a lot of mature situations that go on throughout the book, such as rape and drug use that I thought were useless to the plot.  They didn't add anything to the story and that is where things just kind of boring.  I get where teens like to experiment at this age with drugs--and drug use was used repeatedly in this book--but not only did it correspond with the characters, which I didn't know very well, but it didn't fit into the story.  And this also ties into where things got boring.  Everything just became 'blah blah blah' in my mind.  I didn't care for the romance, didn't care for the scandalous, unnecessary moments, and certainly didn't care for the characters.

I can certainly see where Beta can be a thrilling and different book in other peoples' minds.  It's got a great setting, an interesting idea mentioned in the synopsis, and a romance.  Alas, this book wasn't for me.  Reading became arduous and I can't tell you how many times I had to put it down because I was so disinterested.  The book was left at a cliffhanger, so there will be a second book, but I'm pretty sure I won't be reading it.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Tiger's Destiny by Colleen Houck

Tiger's Destiny (The Tiger Saga, #4)
The Synopsis:

With three of the goddess Durga's quests behind them, only one prophecy now stands in the way of Kelsey, Ren, and Kishan breaking the tiger's curse. But the trio's greatest challenge awaits them: A life-endangering pursuit in search of Durga's final gift, the Rope of Fire, on the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal. It's a race against time--and the evil sorcerer Lokesh--in this eagerly anticipated fourth volume in the bestselling Tiger's Curse series, which pits good against evil, tests the bonds of love and loyalty, and finally reveals the tigers' true destinies once and for all.

My Thoughts:
As you've seen on my blog reviews for this series, there were a lot of problems that couldn't be ignored and had to be addressed.  The story for each and every one of the books is spectacular.  They're such original ideas and put the imaginative cells of my to work, but the faults do happen to make the overall story less enjoyable.

Kelsey, for example, had many lessons to learn.  She was not a very likable character and even in this book, I did not like her personality.  Her constant denial and naivete annoyed me to no end.  Also, I wish she would just make her mind up over which guy she wanted.  There was too much testosterone going on with the brothers for my taste.  However, what I did like with the end of this book was the fact that all of the lessons that Kelsey had to learn were huge slaps in the face.  She learned that her destiny wasn't what she had thought it to be and there was a type of satisfaction that came with it.

As always, the story itself was the most interesting part of the book.  There was so much action and adventure that I couldn't even explain it all in this review.  First, they set out to retrieve the fourth and final gift from Durga.  To do that, they end up in this other world that happens to be inside of a volcano.  Lots of action and adventure ensue and then they end up . . . wait for it . . . TIME TRAVELING!  I don't want to spoil anything, so I'm not going to say much about it other than it was very, very interesting to read about.  Then, more action and adventure took place and the book ended.  I also found it interesting how events and hints dropped in previous books played full circle in this one.

I feel as if Houck's writing abilities improve with each book.  The first book was terrible, writing skills-wise.  I was still cringing throughout the series, Tiger's Destiny included, but it wasn't as cringe-worthy as the first.  There were just these moments that would be so awkward that bothered me.  Why, oh why, do things have to be written in such an uncomfortable manner?  In addition, the lack of imagery wasn't as big of a problem as it was for the others of this series.  I found that it was a lot easier to picture things in my mind in this book, and that was a good thing.  Imagery, I feel, is such an important part of the book, so when an author totally neglects it or butchers it to bits and pieces, it makes my heart sad.  Luckily, the imagery was okay or I would have been fuming.

The Tiger's Curse Series and me have had a very turbulent relationship.  We've had moments of smooth flight (the things that I liked) and we've also had moments of near-crashing experiences (the things I didn't like).  The ending was not at all what I thought it to be and I must give some kudos to Houck for that.  I didn't know that I had created some type of character-reader attachment, so when the end came on a very bittersweet note, I actually cried a little.  The action, adventure, and originality of Tiger's Destiny is what made me enjoy the book, but it's unfortunate that I couldn't have given this book more praise because of its many faults.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Skylark by Megan Spooner

Skylark (Skylark, #1)The Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Lark Ainsley has never seen the sky.
Her world ends at the edge of the vast domed barrier of energy enclosing all that’s left of humanity. For two hundred years the city has sustained this barrier by harvesting its children's innate magical energy when they reach adolescence. When it’s Lark’s turn to be harvested, she finds herself trapped in a nightmarish web of experiments and learns she is something out of legend itself: a Renewable, able to regenerate her own power after it’s been stripped.
Forced to flee the only home she knows to avoid life as a human battery, Lark must fight her way through the terrible wilderness beyond the edge of the world. With the city’s clockwork creations close on her heels and a strange wild boy stalking her in the countryside, she must move quickly if she is to have any hope of survival. She’s heard the stories that somewhere to the west are others like her, hidden in secret—but can she stay alive long enough to find them?

My Thoughts:
The cover is what originally drew me in.  I mean, just look at that cover!  The colors are gorgeous!  I didn't know what to expect from the synopsis.  The idea sounded different, but I didn't know what to expect from it.  But what really made me want to read this book was all of the positive reviews and talk that was given about it.  I heard nothing but good things and I was extremely curious to see what everybody was talking about.

Unfortunately, I didn't get Lark sometimes.  She didn't seem to be a consistent character.  At first, Lark was this mature and reserved character, but then it all changed for the majority of the book, and that's when I found her to be the most annoying.  Then, towards the end, she went back to being something I would expect from her.  I get that she came from a very secluded area, but for a lot of the adventure, she was whiny and was always the damsel in distress.  However, she did grow as a character by the end and it was nice to see such growth and strength in a character.

In the beginning of the book, I would get so confused and have to reread sentences again and again.  It's not because of the imagery (I thought that the imagery was pretty good) but it was because the reader is bombarded with a bunch of futuristic terms that would throw me off.  It wasn't that big of a deal, especially when I started getting into the swing of things, but it is one of those things that made things a little less enjoyable in the beginning.

The story was something I've never come across before.  I can definitely pick out elements of other dystopian books, such as Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi, where Girl gets kicked out of the only home she's ever known and thrust upon this dangerous, uninhabited, unknown world where Girl then meets dark and dangerous and mysterious Boy.  But the mix of magic and dystopia was something crazy awesome and masterfully crafted.  The fact that neither the reader nor characters understood it completely was very interesting and made for a page-turning story.

Skylark was a different and highly entertaining book.  I flew through the pages, hoping that questions would be answered and became invested in the story and characters.  The plot twists were so surprising and I had some moments where I'd just have to put the book down to soak it all in, to process it all.  While we got off to a rocky start, I enjoyed the story.  Fans of dystopia, post-apocalyptic, and magical elements will possibly like this book.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Necromancing the Stone by Lish McBride

Necromancing the Stone (Necromancer, #2)The Synopsis:

With the defeat of the evil Douglas behind him, Sam LaCroix is getting used to his new life. Okay, so he hadn’t exactly planned on being a powerful necromancer with a seat on the local magical council and a capricious werewolf sort-of-girlfriend, but things are going fine, right?

Well . . . not really. He’s pretty tired of getting beat up by everyone and their mother, for one thing, and he can’t help but feel that his new house hates him. His best friend is a werebear, someone is threatening his sister, and while Sam realizes that he himself has a lot of power at his fingertips, he’s not exactly sure how to use it. Which, he has to admit, is a bit disconcerting.

But when everything starts falling apart, he decides it’s time to step up and take control. His attempts to do so just bring up more questions, though, the most important of which is more than a little alarming: Is Douglas really dead?

My Thoughts:
After immensely enjoying Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, I was extremely eager to jump back into the world in the second book, Necromancing the Stone (Does this remind you of a certain 1984 movie starring Michael Douglas and Danny DeVito?).  Also, Sam's character had left such an imprint on my mind with his wittiness, and underdog glory.  There wasn't a cliffhanger at the end of Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, but there were questions that were left unanswered and characters I still felt obligated to return to.

Sam starts off in the book with having to find a way to be accepted amongst the council members.  After the truth about Douglas got loose, all of them were wary of any necromancer, so Sam was not put in the most optimal of places, being that he is the head of the council and all.  However, he still did not let me down.  He was still his dorky, sarcastic self that had to deal with loads of stress and supernatural problems.  I'm not sure if I could love Sam any more than I did in this book.

While Douglas did not pose as the big threat and antagonist like he did in the last book, I still found the story to be just as enjoyable.  Other problems popped up, like having to juggle a relationship with the alpha were, Brid, having to accept the fact that his best friend was now a werebear, struggling with his guilt, keeping his family safe, being the strong head of the council, and on and on.  The list never ended!  And yet, Sam--being that he is Sam--dealt with his issues as would be expected from him.  Essentially, this means that there was a certain comical quality about it to brighten up a lot of the darkness that comes with being a necromancer and dealing with the dead and all.

I'll talk a little bit about the romantic qualities here and say that is was handled expertly.  The romance, while such a cute relationship, was created as to be more of an afterthought than the central idea of the plot.   Sam proved that he didn't need Brid as his girlfriend to move forward and vice versa.  They were both independent characters that were given lots of responsibly and it was all handled maturely, where there wasn't a whole lot of "I love you"s and all.

And I loved the alternating POVs that would happen every now and then in the book because it gave me a lot more insight on the other characters in the story.  Also, I remember in my review of Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, I had said that there was a lack of imagery that would leave me confused at times when something would happen.  I have to say, that, when reminiscing over the story, I didn't have that issue with Necromancing the Stone.

Necromancing the Stone is an extremely witty and comical book balanced in with a dark and morbid idea.  I honestly did not think that I would enjoy this book as much as I did, due to the lack of reviews.  Sam's character made for such a rich and different narrative that had me enjoying every moment of the book.  Who knew that I would end up loving a necromancer?  Fans of the supernatural, dark stories, and male narratives will enjoy this book.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Ten by Gretchen McNeil

The Synopsis:
Don't spread the word!
Three-day weekend. Party at White Rock House on Henry Island.
You do NOT want to miss it.

It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.
But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message:
Vengeance is mine.
Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?

My Thoughts:
With just those three phrases on the bottom of the cover, I knew I was going to be hooked.

 Ten teens.  Three days. One killer.

Say whatttt?  This is a murder mystery for YA? Yes, please!  It's kind of disturbing for that I got excited about reading a book about murder, but it sounded like something I'd enjoy.  I didn't have high expectations for it, but I thought that it would be an enjoyable, quick, dark read for me to get sucked into.  And since I haven't read much of murder/mystery, I thought it'd be something new and different to add to my reading repertoire. 

I felt as if Meg was a fictional version of me.  While she wasn't outgoing she had many moments of courageousness and bravery and was very aware of her surroundings.  She wasn't talkative and when she did speak, she had important things to say.  So, it wasn't just useless banter that would take up pages.  Plus, with her perceptive mind, much of the setting was explained very well.

Honestly, I wouldn't have minded more meat to the book.  I get that the book only takes place in the matter of three days, but do the characters eat anything or go to the bathroom (not that I exactly want to know that detail)?  I felt like because the story was so fast-paced, there wasn't any other details about the book besides the murders.  With this missing, I didn't really get to know each of the characters.  I didn't feel anything when people died, nothing.  T.J, whom Meg spends much of her time with, made no type of character-reader attachment for me.  I wanted to feel something with these characters, but I didn't, and it bothered me. 

Other than that, the story was pretty good.  It was one death after the other, and it created a lot of suspense and adrenaline.  I flew through the pages (read the book in one day), waiting to see what happened next.  I kept on playing the guessing game and turned out that I was wrong. 

Ten was sick and twisted, but in the good way.  The lack of character development and attachment made it less enjoyable for me, but the murders made up for it, I guess.  Ten was a super fast read, only reaching 294 pages, but was attention-consuming and adrenaline-pumping.  Fans of murder/mysteries, twisted stories, and horror stories might enjoy this book.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Origin by Jessica Khoury

OriginThe Synopsis:

Pia has grown up in a secret laboratory hidden deep in the Amazon rain forest. She was raised by a team of scientists who have created her to be the start of a new immortal race. But on the night of her seventeenth birthday, Pia discovers a hole in the electric fence that surrounds her sterile home--and sneaks outside the compound for the first time in her life.
Free in the jungle, Pia meets Eio, a boy from a nearby village. Together, they embark on a race against time to discover the truth about Pia's origin--a truth with deadly consequences that will change their lives forever.
Origin is a beautifully told, shocking new way to look at an age-old desire: to live forever, no matter the cost.
My Thoughts:
Being that this book will be on this year's Breathless Reads Tour, I thought that I might as well read it because it's gotta be a great book, right?  The concept for the book is incredible!  It's such and original and scary idea to tackle as an author, I think.  Sure, there's plenty of immortal characters in books (vamps, faeries, ect.) but what if there's only one person that's immortal?  Doesn't that sound so lonely?  Also, while books may touch upon this topic of the immortal lonely life, you don't exactly get the surreality of it, do you?  Sadly, given the high expectations I had for this book, I was let down.

I can't tell you how many times Pia got on my nerves.  Personally, I have no time for people who completely deny everything told to them that they happen to not like and their naivete.  Pia has both of those characteristics that made it hard for me to enjoy and relate to her.  She did grow as a character, but it took her until the very, very, very end to get there.  I understand that being raised in isolation and being fed lies made her very inexperienced to the world, but her down-right denial bothered me to no end.

Eio.  Oh, Eio, how did you even fall in love with Pia?  How can you even handle her personality?  You're such a sweet boy with your romantic words, and that shirtless quality about you is just phenomenal, but I think you could have done better!  Plus, your insta-love situation was not only unrealistic, but cliche and bothersome!  I didn't buy it.  Dude, you barely even know the chick, and for most of the book, she caused you nothing but problems to you and your village!  I get that you're single and not all the ladies in your village are attractive, but are you that desperate?

The book for the most of it dragged.  My heart wasn't into the story, mostly with Pia and the insta-love ruining it for me.  I was curious to see how it ended, but getting there was a little tough.  The only reason why this book received 3 instead of 2 stars would be because of the incredible imagery.  It was so vivid and I felt like I was being transported to the jungle along with the characters.  Truly, it was heaven for me. 

I'm not sure where I was going with this when I had written it in my review journal, but "Scientists=Nazis".  There it is. 

Origin was a book chock-full of vivid, magnificent imagery, but other than that, the entire book fell flat for me.  I'm content with this one staying a standalone, mostly since all the problems were concluded by the end.  I still like the idea of immortality and how it effects other--emotionally--but this book did not become a favorite of mine.  This extremely saddens me, since I was excited for it because of the Breathless Reads Tour. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Liar Society by Lisa and Laura Roecker

The Liar Society (The Liar Society, #1)The Synopsis:
Kate Lowry didn't think dead best friends could send e-mails. But when she gets an e-mail from Grace, she’s not so sure.

Sent: Sun 9/14 11:59 PM
Subject: (no subject)

I'm here…
sort of.
Find Cameron.
He knows.
I shouldn't be writing.
Don't tell.
They'll hurt you.

Now Kate has no choice but to prove once and for all that Grace’s death was more than just a tragic accident. But secrets haunt the halls of her elite private school. Secrets people will do anything to protect. Even if it means getting rid of the girl trying to solve a murder...

My Thoughts:
I'd first heard a lot about this book when the second book, Lies That Bind, had first come out and the sisters were going on a tour with Miranda Kenneally in the fall.  I was very curious, considering I'd never heard of The Liar Society, and it was about spying and secret society stuff.  While it may not be what I normally read, The Liar Society looked like something I could easily enjoy. 

Kate, while the perfect kind of heroine for this type of genre, did not stick out to me.  I loved her determination and stubbornness, but she was something that I've already seen before in many other books.  I did find Kate to be bit flat, and her reactions were everything I expected them to be.  However, I did like how she ended up rocking the pink hair.  I thought that was pretty cool.  Unfortunately, she fell under the typical heroine category.  Also, her obsession with Grace, her dead best friend, I found to be weird.  I mean, I understand that Kate wants justice, but she turned out to be really obsessive about it. 

Liam, the supposed bad boy in the book, was not as bad boy as I had hoped.  If anything, I thought he was more of a sweetheart than a bad boy.  Maybe it's because I read too many paranormal, action books that have these badass, mysterious history, cold demeanor bad boys rather than contemporary bad boys.  I'm not sure.  But, I wasn't sold on Liam's bad boy-ness.

Seth had to be my favorite yet most abused character in the story.  He was such a nerd and he was so cute, but Kate just kept on tossing him around and the poor thing was just going along with it.  I felt so bad for him!  And it was obvious that Kate didn't necessarily care for Seth's emotions and I found it sad, so I didn't believe that they were 'friends' since Kate was using him the entire time.  And she constantly complained about him! 

The story wasn't what I thought it was going to be.  It was surprisingly dark and creeped me out at times.  I won't spoil anything for those who haven't gotten the chance to read it yet, but expect the unexpected with this book.  I loved the mystery in this book and during some parts of the book, I was flying through the pages to figure out what was the big secret.  However, when Kate would traverse all across the Pemberly Brown campus, I had no idea where she was!  I felt like I needed a map to figure out which building was where.  It was very confusing to visualize it in my head.

The Liar Society was an easy and fast read with an interesting concept for the plot.  The characters were flat to me and I would sometimes get bored every now and then reading the story.  The Liar Society was overall an okay read.  It didn't really stand out to me.  There is a sequel, but I'm still undecided whether or not I want to continue the series.

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine where bloggers like me get to gush about what makes their hands all grabby.

Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can't outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling's game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her--or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

I can't.  Wait.  For this book! Like--ughh!  I need it now!  I absolutely loved Shadow and Bone to pieces and with the ending that was given, Siege and Storm was put to the very top of my TBR list.  And this almost minimalistic cover draws me in even more.  I kind of like to think of it as The Grisha Trilogy is what you imagine it to be and it lets all my creative juices loose.  Even though I think that The Darkling is some gorgeous creature (and if you disagree, just look at Tom Hiddleston as Loki), I am Team Mal.  So, GOOO TEAM MAL!!!  Make me proud, you scruffy man.

And what are you all waiting for this fine Wednesday?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Prophecy by Ellen Oh

Prophecy (The Dragon King Chronicles, #1)The Synopsis:
The greatest warrior in all of the Seven Kingdoms... is a girl with yellow eyes.
Kira’s the only female in the king’s army, and the prince’s bodyguard. She’s a demon slayer and an outcast, hated by nearly everyone in her home city of Hansong. And, she’s their only hope...
Murdered kings and discovered traitors point to a demon invasion, sending Kira on the run with the young prince. He may be the savior predicted in the Dragon King Prophecy, but the missing treasure of myth may be the true key. With only the guidance of the cryptic prophecy, Kira must battle demon soldiers, evil shaman, and the Demon Lord himself to find what was once lost and raise a prince into a king.
Intrigue and mystery, ancient lore and action-packed fantasy come together in this heart-stopping first book in a trilogy.

*A review copy was provided for me to read*

My Thoughts:
The first time I ever heard or saw anything about this book was on the Pitch Dark website.  If you haven't graced the beauty that is this site, I highly suggest you go visit there.  There are three websites that are run by HarperCollins and they do giveaways and these two amazingly entertaining bookworms do weekly video chats and stuff.  It's a great place!  Anyway, instantly, I was hypnotized by the cover.  I absolutely love this cover, and I was lucky enough to get my hands on an advance copy of the book.

I admired Kira's character.  She was a strong, independent heroine that I found to be very relatable with.  The fact that she was revered and treasured by her family and friends, but treated as the social Pariah amongst her village people was extremely sad.  But I loved how she never let that get her down.  She didn't think herself above anybody.  If anything, she thought lowly of herself because she put others ahead of herself before she took care of herself.  Anyhow, she didn't let the bullying get to her.  She had more important things to do, but it was fascinating to watch her tuck those sad and inadequate feelings away to be the strong and brave person she was expected to be.  Plus, she's a badass demon slayer with yellow eyes.  Come on.  Of course I'm going to find her interesting.

I also found the book to be original because how many other YA Asian-fantasy-historical-fiction books do you see out there?  I didn't have that much of a want to travel to Asia, but after reading this book, guess what other destination I've added to my To-Visit List?  The culture in Prophecy was so rich and accurate, besides that fact that Kira gets to be part of the king's army.  But that's besides the point.  I felt like I was there, in the Seven Kingdoms, traveling with Kira and her friends.

There was so much action and adventure and death in Prophecy!  And with the vivid imagery, making me feel as if I were there with Kira, this book got plenty of bonus points.  My only complaint would be that I wish there was a little more meat to the story.  It was great, but I felt that some scenes could have been further elaborated.

Also, there wasn't a lot of romance.  Actually, there really wasn't any, and I liked that.  I mean, Kira's got a lot on her plate, so why add a complicated and distracting romance to the mix?  I'm curious to see how things will turn out with it in the next book, but I'm glad that Oh didn't really expand on the romance for now.  I am content.  So, Oh, kudos to you!

Prophecy was a fast and exciting read, filled with plenty of action and adventure.  The culture in the book was alive and the imagery was vivid.  The idea of a demon slaying, yellowed-eyed girl was original and very interesting.  I'm super excited for the next installment and I can easily see this book becoming a favorite amongst the YA community.  Fans of fantasy, historical fiction, demon slaying, action, and adventure will enjoy this book.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Elemental by Antony John

ElementalThe Synopsis:
A lost colony is reborn in this heart-pounding fantasy adventure set in the near future . . .

Sixteen-year-old Thomas has always been an outsider. The first child born without the power of an Element—earth, water, wind or fire—he has little to offer his tiny, remote Outer Banks colony. Or so the Guardians would have him believe.

In the wake of an unforeseen storm, desperate pirates kidnap the Guardians, intent on claiming the island as their own. Caught between the plague-ridden mainland and the advancing pirates, Thomas and his friends fight for survival in the battered remains of a mysterious abandoned settlement. But the secrets they unearth will turn Thomas’ world upside-down, and bring to light not only a treacherous past but also a future more dangerous than he can possibly imagine.

*A review copy of the book was provided for me to read*

My Thoughts:
While the cover isn't what originally drew me in for me to be interested in it, the synopsis did it for me this time.  Something about a secret, secluded island with a small colony of element-wielding people interested me.  First off, if a book's got magic in it, it's almost always a must-read for me.  Secondly, pirates?  There are pirates in here?  Woo! 

To start the review, is it just me or is there a growing trend of weak, underdog heroes in books now?  If so, I'm loving it!  I think that there's this stereotype in books of hunky, bad boys that brood and end up getting the average-turned-courageous-and-beautiful heroine.  That's not always the case, so to read books of a male MC below the average of the stereotype is great. 

Thom fit the bill for the underdog hero.  He was a sweetheart, and while he wasn't a leader, he did his best to stay strong for his brother and friends and really grew as a character throughout the book.  Like Sam from Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride, I couldn't help but accept Thom with all his weaknesses and fall in love of him.  That doesn't mean to say that he was this weakling little guy that couldn't do anything.  He endures things that no sixteen year-old should have to face (i.e pirates and living with barely enough food to get by)  and he handles all problems with as much courage and bravery that he can muster.  And that is why I loved his character, because he wasn't perfect--he knew he wasn't perfect--but did his best to prove to others that, while he may not have the ability to wield an element, he was just as powerful as they were.

There was plenty of action and adventure in Elemental, packed full of suspense and mystery, that always kept me at the edge of my seat.  I went into the book not expecting much from the book because I hadn't heard much about it, and came out thoroughly enjoying it.  The pirates created perfect and scary antagonists for the small group of kids and I loved to watch those kids react to every problem thrown at them.  They all had different personalities, and it was fascinating to read and learn about all of them.  They all brought a different aspect to the group, yet made believable, sometimes too naive for their age, children.

Another thing I have to praise about is the familial bond and love that Thom, his brother, and their father had.  I'm not used to seeing this much in YA because, most of the time, the MC either hates their parents, doesn't have any, doesn't necessarily care for them, or leaves them for the supernatural life.  I'm not used to reading a book where the importance of family stayed true throughout the entire book.  The whole group of kids worked and tried their best to save their parents from the pirates.  It was a good quality that was added to the book.

Elemental, while missing that extra 'oomph', was a great and entertaining read.  It was evenly paced and was full of action and mystery.  The entire book kept me guessing until the very end.  It was full of lovely surprises and had my full attention.  Fans of dystopia, magical qualities, and adventure will enjoy this book.

TV Series Goals and Why BBC Is Ruining My Life

If any of you don't know, I have a fandom blog on Tumblr, and I spend a lot of time on there reblogging many bookish things and non-bookish things.  This includes British television series.  And I don't even watch these shows, but after seeing a whole bunch of praise and love for them, I'm very curious about what they're all about.

As part of reaching my goal, I've begun to watch this series, starting with Nine (the Ninth Doctor).  I believe I'm only 10 episodes in, but I love it!  Maybe it's the accents, but there's all these alien-ness and space adventure and time travel aspects that just make it so interesting. 
And once I finish watching the rest of the series (there are 83 episodes in all), I plan on watching:

Okay, so Supernatural isn't BBC, but I still want to watch it.  The show is about these two brothers, the Winchesters, that work together to beat dark forces, and this show is also very weird.  I've only seen two episodes (that were on TV and not from the beginning), but I'd still like to watch it.

And this brings me to this series.

This show is BBC and is about Sherlock Holmes and John Watson.  Besides the fact that I'm a huge Sherlock fan in general, Benedict Cumberbatch, I hear, plays a perfect and quirky Sherlock.  Also, Martin Freeman is in it.  Of course I'm going to watch it.

And let's not forget

Come on.  Look how cute he is!  This BBC show is about Merlin and Prince Arthur and other than that, I don't know much, but it's still on my To-Watch List.

And that's it, really, for my TV series goals!  BBC, bring on All The Feels!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer (Necromancer, #1)The Synopsis:
Sam leads a pretty normal life. He may not have the most exciting job in the world, but he’s doing all right—until a fast food prank brings him to the attention of Douglas, a creepy guy with an intense violent streak.

Turns out Douglas is a necromancer who raises the dead for cash and sees potential in Sam. Then Sam discovers he’s a necromancer too, but with strangely latent powers. And his worst nightmare wants to join forces . . . or else.

With only a week to figure things out, Sam needs all the help he can get. Luckily he lives in Seattle, which has nearly as many paranormal types as it does coffee places. But even with newfound friends, will Sam be able to save his skin?

My Thoughts:
What is a necromancer?  When discussing this book to friends or family (because sometimes I can't help but talk about the books I read, even if they're not interested), this question came up quite frequently, and it baffled me.  I thought, 'Who doesn't know what a necromancer is?'  And then I'd have to explain each time what a necromancer was.  So, if you don't know what a necromancer is, never fear, because I am here to explain it to you.

A necromancer is a person that has the power to raise the dead.

That's it, really. 

Now, to the review.  When it came time for the Fall Fierce Reads Book Tour, I saw that the sequel to this one was on the list.  Curious, I set out to find the first book and read it and all that jazz.  The concept sounded very creative and interesting and the cover, the original cover, is something of a beauty. (If you were wondering, the cover featured above is not the original cover).  Plus, it had that little metal award thing.  That had to count for something good to come out of this book, right?


Sam.  I can't tell you guys how much I loved him.  He's this nineteen-year-old average kid that works at a fast food joint.  There's nothing special about him.  He's not drop-dead gorgeous and he's not muscular and he certainly is not a brave person.  One thing leads to another and he learns that he's a necromancer and his life basically changes in the blink of an eye.  The book mostly is in his point of view and I loved every moment of it.  He was hilarious!  The narrative was superb.  Sam was sarcastic and underestimated himself frequently and, if not for his supportive friends, he most likely would have never overcome the things that he did. (which I liked because in a lot of books, the MC usually drops their friends for the supernatural life)

The story itself was dark and morbid, but extremely fun and entertaining to read.  Sam meets Douglas in an unfortunate event and things all spin off from that.  Being that this book is about necromancy, I was super glad to see how dark and twisted the plot turned out to be.  And I'll tell you this now: McBride was not afraid to bring the ax down on characters.

My only complaint would be the lack of imagery.  Things would get confusing every now and then and I'd have to reread sentences to decipher what was going on.  It wasn't that big of a deal, but it bothered me at times.

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer is about a loser, dropout turns super powerful being of necromancy boy that ends up not only surprising himself, but myself included.  I fell in love with him easily with his attitude and sarcasm.  Also, McBride taught me that it is not the people that can raise the dead I should fear, but those who wield their power the wrong way.  Who knew that I could love a necromancer?  Fans of all things supernatural, dark, and dead will enjoy this book.

P.S Mrs. W rocks.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Eve and Adam by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate

Eve and Adam
The Synopsis:

And girl created boy…
In the beginning, there was an apple—
And then there was a car crash, a horrible injury, and a hospital. But before Evening Spiker’s head clears a strange boy named Solo is rushing her to her mother’s research facility. There, under the best care available, Eve is left alone to heal.
Just when Eve thinks she will die—not from her injuries, but from boredom—her mother gives her a special project: Create the perfect boy.
Using an amazingly detailed simulation, Eve starts building a boy from the ground up. Eve is creating Adam. And he will be just perfect... won’t he?

My Thoughts:
When I first saw this book, it wasn't even published yet, and after reading the synopsis, I was really excited to read it.  The cover, especially, was what drew me in.  It's such a gorgeous cover.  I have a thing for apples (don't know why) and the color blue, and this book incorporated both on the cover!  Plus, the idea for the book was an extremely interesting concept.  I'm not a religious person, but something about creating the perfect person, if you had the choice, was intriguing.  Eve in this book was, in all frankness here, playing God.  What would she do with this power?  Most importantly, what would others do with this power?

Sadly, I didn't feel like I connected with Evening.  I'm not sure why.  There wasn't anything wrong with her, but I just found her to be unremarkable in my mind.  Maybe even a little flat, possibly?  I wasn't feeling it with her.  I also found her to be predictable.  She did almost exactly everything I thought she would do.  Eve fell into the average heroine category, unfortunately.

Solo, the other point of view readers are introduced to, was much more interesting.  I'm finding myself, nowadays, enjoying books that have a hero as the main point of view.  While Solo isn't my favorite YA guy, he stood out in the book with his personality.  He was sarcastic and mysterious, smart and not exactly not the most loyal.  Now, he kept me questioning his every move.  I had no idea what he was up to--even though parts of the book was in his POV-- and I kind of wish that his mysterious motives could have been prolonged a little longer.

Story wise, I wish there was a little more meat to it.  While it was entertaining, I felt that some points of the story could have been elaborated more to help build anticipation and more connections between reader and character.  Once finished, I was left feeling almost a little indifferent.  This book neither made me super happy nor angry with it.  It just was.  And even Adam, this supposed swoon-worthy character, didn't make me get any butterflies or anything once he glanced the page.  I wasn't feeling him. 

Was I disappointed with the outcome of Eve and Adam?  Yes.  There was a lot of positive talk for it, but once I finished reading it, my expectations were let down.  However, that does not mean that I didn't like this book, because, mind you, I did find this book to be interesting.  It was the concept, mostly.  A sci-fi where a top-of-the-line medical institution secretly has plans to create a human from scratch, and our main girl, Eve, is the one chosen for the task of creating that person.  Fans of cloning, sci-fi--heck--even dystopia might enjoy this book. 

Happy reading, everyone!

New Year's Resolution

Alright, guys. It's almost been a year here at Millie D's Words and I have loved every moment of it.  I can't tell you how happy and thankful I am to have all these new friends and followers.  Every comment you post makes my heart soar. 

It's been almost a year now.

I feel like I have to keep telling myself this.  I have to keep reminding myself that I have somehow maintained some level of sanity to write my reviews and keep it, somewhat sporadically, updated.  And that is where my resolution comes into play.

I will admit that, while I am a busy person, I do have free time.  And instead of using that time to write reviews of books I've just finished, I keep on reading and reading, and the amount of reviews I'm behind on keep on growing and growing.  I, Millie Dixon, am 12 reviews behind.  Twelve!  Do you know how terrible that is?  I've got to change how things are running here.

So, here's the deal:  My New Year's Resolution will be to catch up on all reviews before I read another book.  If you haven't noticed, I just posted a review today and one yesterday.  I'm pretty sure that's the most I've posted on the blog in one week in a while.  And I also haven't done a Waiting on Wednesday post in a while, either.  So, hopefully, if things go according to plan, I will weekly post a Waiting on Wednesday and post all of the reviews I am behind on before I read another book.

And with that, I hope that everybody has good luck with their resolutions and I hope that everybody has a great new year.  It is, after all, 2013 and we survived the end of the world.

(While I may not have a fandom, I feel that the Doctor sums up my motivated mood.)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Sweet Shadows by Tera Lynn Childs

Sweet Shadows (Medusa Girls, #2)The Synopsis:
Gretchen may have known she was a descendant of Medusa long before her sisters--after all, she's spent her life fighting the monsters that escape the abyss--but that doesn't mean it will be easy to teach the other girls the ropes. Can she rely on Grace and Greer, or even trust herself to keep them safe? Greer has pressing social commitments on her plate and precious little time to train in her newfound powers. But that wretched second sight won't leave her alone, and her fabled heritage seems to be creeping into her fashionable life.
Grace has worries closer to home--like why her brother, Thane, has disappeared. He's hiding something. Could it possibly be related to the secret heritage the triplets share?
With the warring factions among the gods of Olympus coming for them, the creatures of the abyss pushing into their world, and the boys in their lives keeping secrets at every turn, the three girls must figure out where their fate will take them and how to embrace the shadows of their legacy.

My Thoughts:
I'm going to skip my who introduction to the review explaining how much I love Greek mythology because I feel like I've said that so many times already, and who wants to keep hearing me gush about it over and over and over again?  I would, but possibly not you.

Gretchen still is my favorite of the three sisters.  Her protectiveness of her sisters is admirable and also this growing affection for them is such a great thing to watch throughout the series.  She changes from a girl who knows nothing about love and knows everything about being alone to one that begins to understand the concept of how to love and be loved.  She isn't nearly as accepting of any monkey business as Grace is and the connection and banter between all three is such an amusing thing to watch.  And for me being a twin, I can connect with the sisterly bond the three of them create and relate with how sometimes the sacrifices of one's wishes is better for all.

And Greer, while you've changed and developed into more of dimensional character, I still don't like you.  Nothing personal.

And--my!  Nick!  Well, aren't you full of surprises?  I loved you and your persistence with Gretchen.  The relationship between the two of you was entertaining and I just wanted to ship you and Gretchen so hard!  While the relationship was mostly cold than hot, I saw something between the two of you and I want to see more!  Plus, you're still this mysterious something that I want to know more about.

There was more adventure in Sweet Shadows than the first book and that made me happy.  However, for a book about Greek mythology, there wasn't a lot of action.  Reflecting, I feel that the climax of the story was this little bump, not a peak.  The story is something that I did enjoy, but I felt that, given more, this book could have been spectacular.  The character development was great, but a little more something could have helped me enjoy it the story that much more.

I love how Childs brings out the monsters of myth in this series with her own personal spin on it all.  The characters are wonderful and I enjoy to watch them interact with one another--bickering or otherwise.  While I found the plot to be a little plain, I'm still very curious about the next book to see how things will end.  Fans of mythology, monsters, and kickass characters will enjoy this this series, if you haven't started it already.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Passion Blue by Victoria Strauss

The Synopsis:
"Be sure you know your true heart’s desire, or you may find yourself surprised by what you receive."
This is the warning the Astrologer-Sorcerer gives Giulia when she pays him to create a magical talisman for her. The scorned illegitimate daughter of a Milanese nobleman, Giulia is determined to defy the dire fate predicted by her horoscope, and use the talisman to claim what she believes is her heart’s desire: true love and a place where she belongs–not likely prospects for a girl about to be packed off to the cloistered world of a convent.
But the convent of Santa Marta is full of surprises. There are strict rules, long hours of work, and spiteful rivalries…but there’s also friendship, and the biggest surprise of all: a workshop of female artists who produce paintings of astonishing beauty, using a luminous blue mixed from a secret formula: Passion blue. Yet even as Giulia begins to learn the mysteries of the painter’s craft, the magic of the talisman is at work, and a forbidden romance beckons her down a path of uncertainty and danger. She is haunted by the sorcerer’s warning, and by a question: does she really know the true compass of her heart?

Set in Renaissance Italy, this richly imagined novel about a girl’s daring journey towards self-discovery transports readers into a fascinating, exotic world where love, faith, and art inspire passion–of many different hues.

A review copy of the book was provided for me to read.
My Thoughts:
I was actually kind of excited for this book.  I read the synopsis more than looked at the cover and thought it sounded interesting.  Being that I love historical fiction (and having my Italian pride), this book was something that I wanted to read soon.  It wasn't something that I'd normally read since it wasn't fantasy or some other paranormal type, but as my philosophy goes, I will attempt to read any book.
Giulia is the social Pariah amongst her community.  She is the illegitimate daughter of a nobleman and has to endure bullying and hard work as a servant in her own father's home.  She aspires to be seen as something more than the illegitimate daughter and her fierce passion for drawing drives her forward.  Immediately, readers who feel as if they don't belong are drawn into her character.  Also, Giulia wants to marry--very badly.  But since her horoscope told her she won't have one, there's almost an obsessive streak in her.  However, this behavior is understandable for a girl of her time.  Not getting married was unheard of unless you became a nun.  Unfortunately, I didn't find her to be very interesting.
Sadly, things just kind of went down hill from there for me.  The story got boring for me and I had put it down for a few weeks, hoping that I could pick it back up and resume reading it, but my interest for it was lost.  And you know that when you get bored, you skip a few pages to see if things pick up?  Well, yeah.  I did that and also happened to spoil the rest of the book for myself and then the book was just completely ruined for me.  Sure, I've spoiled the endings of books I've read before, but no matter how hard I tried to keep my attention on to the page, I couldn't do it.  Reading became arduous for me, and that's not the reason why I read.  I've read and loved contemporaries before, so I can't blame Passion Blue for the lack of action the reason why I didn't like it.
On the upside, the historical accuracy of this book was phenomenal.  I've never seen so much attention to historical detail before in a book before.  Strauss stayed very true to the general beliefs and culture of Renaissance Italy, and for that, I am grateful.
Another bone I have to pick with this book is that I am not a painter.  I can't even draw clouds or flowers or stick figures, for that matter, without it looking like a kindergartner did it.  And with that in mind, I never will be a painter.  But in the book, Giulia names a whole bunch of these painter/art terms and I have no clue what they are or what they mean.  While I was reading, I felt like I was supposed to know this stuff, but didn't, and that ticked me off a little bit.  A little more description or down-play on painter terms might have helped me read a bit easier.
And here I will bring this review into full circle and discuss the cover.  While I've read books with unremarkable covers, I've never seen one such as this one.  I've never really had to complain about the covers of the book, but if this book were to even make a little bit more of a profit, I think that a revision of the cover is needed.  I mean, the blue doesn't cover all of her hair and it's streaked across the cover model's face.  I don't know what the cover was trying to achieve, but I think, and I'm trying to be as nice as I can be here, that it isn't very good.
Overall, I did not finish this book.  I gave it one star because I did not find the book to be entertaining and I lost my interest quickly.  I truly wish I could have given it a better review, but I can't.  And I don't think that I will read this book in the future to give it another shot because it was just that monotonous and arduous.  I'm not saying that others aren't going to like it, because I've read reviews from people who enjoyed this book, but Passion Blue was not the book for me.
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