Monday, December 26, 2011

The reason I haven't been blogging lately...

Hi Everyone!!

OK, so as some of you might have noticed (or maybe not, with how busy you are!) I have not been posting nearly as often as I usually do.

This is because a couple of weeks ago I decided to get myself a puppy! Her name is Sophie and she is a Pekingese-Pomeranian mix. At 11 weeks old, she is extremely curious and full of puppy energy and she has definitely been keeping me busy. Because of this, I have not had much time to devote to reading and reviewing.



Now, before Sophie arrived home, my typical day went something like this:

10:00am: Wake up (nope, I'm not joking, I don't have to work until 4pm so I slept in a lot!)
10:30am: Take a shower and get dressed
11:00pm: Go to Starbucks, get coffee and read for a few hours
4:00pm: Go into work
9:30pm: Get home, read and blog for a couple hours

Things are a bit different with a puppy around! My typical day now is something like this (and also, I'm off work for a couple weeks, so this is without that added in!):

2:00am: Take Sophie out to potty
5:30am: Take Sophie out to potty again
8:00am: Take Sophie out... you guessed it! To potty again
8:10am: Get Sophie breakfast
8:25am: Take Sophie for a walk
9:00am: Put Sophie in kennel for a nap while I get ready for the day
10:00am: Play with Sophie
12:00pm: Get Sophie lunch
12:00-5:00pm: Couple more potty breaks and playing with naps in between
7:00pm: Get Sophie dinner, take outside, back in to chill out
10:00pm: Bedtime!


In between of course there is some down time to read, but it isn't like I can just hang out at Starbucks with a triple grande Caramel Brulee latte and read for hours on end like I used to. Plus, with the holidays, things have been even more hectic, so her schedule and mine has been messed up and she's been pretty fussy... I have had a dog before, but I am really trying to train and raise Sophie to be an awesome, happy dog, so when I do have time to read lately, it has been to read doggy training books, such as the following:




As you can see, I pretty much swear by Cesar Millan, AKA "The Dog Whisperer's" methods of doing things, and Sophie so far has been pretty good at following along! As we both get into more of a routine, I'm hoping to have more time to devote to reading and my blog, but I wanted to give all my lovely readers an update on what has been going on! And of course, I had to show you guys just how stinking CUTE she is! She is very well-behaved and even sat still long enough for me to take a few photos of her next to some ARCs :)

Haha, I think she was wondering, "Why is Mommy making me sit next to a stack of books?!" 

Hoping all of you are having a great holiday! And as always, Happy Reading :)

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Book Review: Silence

Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
Series: Hush, Hush #3
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: October 4, 2011
Pages: 438
Read it in: 4 days
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Summary: The noise between Patch and Nora is gone. They've overcome the secrets riddled in Patch's dark past...bridged two irreconcilable worlds...faced heart-wrenching tests of betrayal, loyalty and trust...and all for a love that will transcend the boundary between heaven and earth. Armed with nothing but their absolute faith in one another, Patch and Nora enter a desperate fight to stop a villain who holds the power to shatter everything they've worked for—and their love—forever.

LC's Take:

So I definitely enjoyed Silence, the third book in Becca Fitzpatrick's Hush Hush series, much more than I did the second one. I think that what really made this book better was that the characters all had so much more depth and dimension to them, and I felt like they acted more realistically too.

The main plot twist in Silence is that Nora is suffering from amnesia-- she wakes up in a graveyard and has absolutely no recollection of the past five months, when she met Patch her fallen angel boyfriend and fell in love with him, or learned about the battle going on between the angels and Nephilim. Throughout the book, she struggles to remember what has happened, and then has to fight against the evil that is trying to destroy everything and everyone she loves.

I loved Nora Grey in this book. Honestly, I didn't feel connected to her at all in Crescendo, she came across as very immature and whiny, but I loved how in this book she becomes more responsible and take-charge. She refused to settle for being kept in the dark, and she was determined to get revenge on Hank at almost any cost. I guess you could say that her character went from being sort of wishy-washy to being pretty bad-ass! I think that this new, strong side of her builds up for when we find out what her destiny is at the end-- which I'm not going to reveal here, you'll just have to read it for yourself!

Patch, who we now know as Jev, could still be slightly irritating, just because he acts so mysterious and tries to keep things secret from Nora, but you can really see his desire to protect Nora and keep her out of harms way for as long as he can. My only complaint is that there wasn't enough of Patch in this book! I think this is why Hush, Hush is still my favorite book in the series, because it was all about Patch and Nora's relationship, whereas in the second and third books it becomes more of a sub-plot.

I guess the only thing that threw me off about this book was that I'm still not totally clear on where the main conflict lies between the three sides-- we have the Arch Angels, the Fallen Angels, and the Nephilim, who are the offspring of both humans and fallen angels. Now, as far as I can tell, the Nephilim are sort of like servants to the fallen angels, and they want to rebel against them. The fallen angels rebel against the arch angels. It's all a little complicated! I have to say what a lot of other readers have said, which is that aside from the relationship between Nora and Patch, it's difficult to become really invested in this story because it comes across as so convoluted. However, I still love these characters and the love story, so I am definitely looking forward to the last book in this series when it comes out!

~Cover Talk~

Love it! First of all, both models for Patch and Nora are gorgeous, and the scene is very romantic and dramatic at the same time. Personally, I like that these covers were done in black and white because it makes them unique and stand out from all the other YA book covers out there. Altogether, I think it's really breath-taking!

LC's Rating:
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We're really able to see some new sides to the characters in this installment of the Hush, Hush series, and the motives behind their actions are revealed. I think that the depth given to the characters along with an exciting and suspenseful plot are what made Silence such a great book!

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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (24)

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For those who don't know, Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly book meme where we get to let everyone know about what books we are eagerly anticipating the release of. WoW is hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. Want to participate? Grab the logo on her page, post your own WoW entry on your blog, and leave your link on her blog!
*****
This week's Waiting on Wednesday pick is...

Title: Something Strange and Deadly
Author: Susan Dennard
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: July 24, 2012
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Summary: There’s something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia…

Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about. Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she’s just read in the newspaper—

The Dead are rising in Philadelphia.

And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor…from her brother.

Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she’ll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including their maddeningly stubborn yet handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.

~Why I'm Waiting~

OMGosh look at this book cover! I am so in love with it. I can't stop staring at it. Argh! Amazing. And then obviously the story sounds sooooo good, it reminds me of Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel-- a zombie steampunk adventure!! I'm all about it!

What is everyone else waiting on this week??


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Monday, December 5, 2011

Book Review: A Beautiful Dark

Author: Jocelyn Davies
Series: A Beautiful Dark #1
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release date: September 27, 2011
Pages: 390
Read it in: 3 days
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Summary: On the night of Skye's seventeenth birthday, she meets two enigmatic strangers. Complete opposites;like fire and ice;Asher is dark and wild, while Devin is fair and aloof. Their sudden appearance sends Skye's life into a tailspin. She has no idea what they want, or why they seem to follow her every move only that their presence coincides with a flurry of strange events. Soon she begins to doubt not just the identity of the two boys, but also the truth about her own past.

In the dead of a bitingly cold Colorado winter, Skye finds herself coming to terms with the impossible secret that threatens to shatter her world. Torn between Asher, who she can't help falling for, and Devin, who she can't stay away from, the consequences of Skye's choice will reach further than the three of them could ever imagine.

LC's Take:

To be perfectly honest, this book was just OK for me; I just really wasn't a huge fan. I'm not sure if it's the genre, but sometimes I feel like if you've read one fallen angel book you've pretty much read them all. Now yes, there are some that are better than others, for example I loved Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick but then I wanted to hurl Fallen by Lauren Kate against a wall. A Beautiful Dark falls somewhere in between those two extremes for me.

The biggest let-down in this book for me was the characters. The plot was good, the pacing worked well, the suspense built up, and some of the writing was really good. But unfortunately, I thought that the character development was extremely lacking.

So, let's talk about the characters first since this is where I had the biggest issue. The main character is Skye Parker, who just turned seventeen. Skye's favorite food to get in the school cafeteria is a turkey sandwich and an apple. Why do I mention this, you ask? Well, because I think it sums her up in a nutshell-- she's sort of unremarkable and bland-- nice and appealing, but not terribly awesome or interesting. Like a turkey sandwich.

I know, I'm a freaking genius with the analogies.

So anyways, Skye is also good at skiing, she wants to go to Columbia or some Ivy League school, and she predictably becomes obsessed with the two new boys that move to her Colorado town, Asher and Devin. The one trait that I was not a fan of with Skye was that she was also extremely self-centered to the point of me wanting someone in the story to give her a nice swift kick in the pants.

(Oh yes, and sometimes her eyes turn into molten silver-- now that part? Not gonna lie, that was pretty freaking sweet.)

Then we have the two hunky boy interests, Asher and Devin, who are both very mysterious and apparently yum-a-licious. Asher is supposed to be the dark, brooding bad boy and Devin is the quiet, nice one. Once again, it's not that I didn't like these two characters but they just weren't very memorable. And what's more, even though we are told over and over again how completely different the two of them are, how they are polar opposites, there really wasn't anything that distinguished the one from the other in my opinion. Physically they looked different, but they were pretty much the same otherwise. Asher was more of a jerk I guess, but that's about it. And really, I wasn't buying Skye's relationship with either of them.

Cassie is Skye's best friend and holy crap, was she annoying. OK so this is the part where I take a moment to rant about an irritating YA cliche known as "The Annoying Best Friend/Sidekick." I really get tired of air-headed BFFs in YA books who get all their wisdom from Cosmo and can't walk 5 five steps without drooling over some guy. And Cassie was no exception-- she was incredibly ditzy, boy-crazy and did I mention annoying? It's almost as though we're supposed to compare the main character to this chick and think, "Wow! Skye is like so much smarter! Skye wants to go to an Ivy League school and Cassie is a brain-dead idiot!" Yep, not buying it. Skye wasn't much of a smartypants either, so unfortunately, making the main character's best friend dumb as dirt really doesn't make the main character look like an Einstein in comparison.

Finally, Dan and Ian were sort of just thrown into the mix as Skye and Cassie's guy friends to bring in some more romance and drama.They were more of a side-note than anything else it seemed.

So onto the wonderful Love Quadrangle-- oh yes, you heard me right! There is not ONE, not TWO, but THREE guys all hopelessly vying for the lovely Skye's attention in this novel. We've got Asher and Devin, two otherworldly celestial beings, and then there was poor Ian who pretty much doesn't stand a chance with Skye because-- well, because he's ordinary. And honestly, this kind of bugged me. (Oh crap here comes another rant, watch out.) Skye was completely obsessed with both Asher and Devin, going back and forth ad nauseum about who she liked more, even though she just met them and knows almost nothing about either of them. And then with Ian-- who by the way has been her best friend since forever and really cares about her-- she completely ignores him and is just like, "Oh good for him for finally finding a nice girl who actually gives him the time of day!" Aaaand... that's the last we hear about him. I really felt bad for Ian.

Fortunately, the plot and the ending are what made this book work for me. Joceleyn Davies is one serious story-teller, that is for darned sure! I don't want to give anything away, but I really did love the overall story about who Skye really is and what her powers are, and who is good and bad-- I could have done without all the high school drama, but honestly, the last 4-5 chapters totally had me on the edge of my seat, and the ending was a major cliff hanger that just had me dying to get my hands on the sequel!

The book did a fabulous job of building up the mystery and suspense to the plot-- pretty much nothing major is revealed about who Asher and Devin are until around page 175, and since I had not read any reviews about this book before picking it up, I had no clue what was going to happen. I won't give too much away here, but I personally liked the slower build up before revealing the main plot twist. While some aspects of this book were a bit predictable, I really enjoyed not knowing right away what was going to happen.

In the end-- even though the characters really did nothing for me and I thought that some parts were slightly cliche-- I did enjoy reading A Beautiful Dark. If there had been some greater character development, I would say that this was actually a really good book. Unfortunately, some things did fall flat. I would recommend this one to any angel book lovers out there, and to anyone who loves those tricky love triangles, because this one has tons!

~Cover Talk~

This cover is absolutely stunning, I am just in love with it! The model's pose is very graceful and I love how the white of the dress stands out against the dark, stormy sky behind her. This scene is actually depicted in the book too, which I thought was pretty cool. I also love the title font-- the hardcover edition is in a beautiful, raised print that is silvery iridescent-- another major part that comes into play in the book! Finally, I really liked the chapter numbers, which laid one font on top of another and had angel wings on either side. This was a beautiful and interesting detail that just adds to the overall gorgeous design of the book!

LC's Rating:
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I enjoyed the mystery and suspense of A Beautiful Dark. Unfortunately, where I thought this book fell a little flat was in the characters-- even though we are told repeatedly things about them, we're never shown those things in their dialogue or actions. More showing and less telling would have made this book stand out more for me! 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

LC's 1,000 Follower Giveaway: And the winners are...

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Hey there everyone! So my 1,000 Follower Giveaway is finished now, and it was so much fun to have all of you guys enter to win. Altogether, I had 416 people enter, which included almost 3,500 total entries!! Two lucky winners were picked at random from Random.org, and here they are:

~First Place Winner~
Receives the book prize pack of their choice!

#2488 = Tiffany M. @Tiff_Mahaffy
who chose:
Mermaid Prize Pack: Mermaid by Carolyn Turgeon, Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs and Lost Voices by Sarah Porter

~Second Place Winner~
Receives one book in the prize pack of their choice!

#1581 = Savanna @ Sucked Into Books
who chose:
Mythology Prize Pack: Starcrossed by Josephine Angeline, Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs or The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

Also, here are the results from the choices of prize packs-- Dystopian and Mythology definitely were the most popular!!
*****
Congratulations to the winners, I will be sending you an email notification. And thank you so much to all of you who entered, I definitely appreciate all of your support. Please be sure to check out my latest giveaway, which is part of the 2011 Book Lover's Holiday Giveaway Hop! You can click the button in my sidebar, or I will post it here below as well-- GOOD LUCK!! :)
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Thursday, December 1, 2011

The 2011 Book Lover's Holiday Giveaway Hop!

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It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! And there are a whole bunch of book bloggers getting ready for the holidays with some awesome giveaways! This year I am participating in the Book Lover's Holiday Giveaway Hop, hosted by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Kid Lit Frenzy. Also, if you want to go back to the linky list for this Hop at any time, just click on the Hop Image above!

~What You Can Win!~

I am giving everyone the choice between FIVE different books. Here they are! There are links below to their Goodreads summaries if you are interested...
A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies
Eve by Anna Carey
Half-Blood by Jennifer Armentrout
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs

~The Rules~

1.) You MUST be a follower of LC's Adventures in Libraryland to be eligible!
2.) There will by ONE winner
3.) Winner will get their choice of ONE of the books above
4.) Giveaway ends on December 6 at 11:59PM EST
5.) Winner will be chosen at random from Random.org
6.) Winner will be notified by email on December 7th. They will have 48 hours to respond
7.) Yes, this giveaway is INTERNATIONAL! It is open to anywhere that The Book Depository ships
8.) You may get up to 4 entries if you choose-- see the form for details

Sorry, this giveaway is now closed...
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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Book Review: Crescendo

Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
Series: Hush, Hush #2
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release date: October 19, 2010
Pages: 427
Read it in: 5 days
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Summary: Nora Grey's life is still far from perfect. Surviving an attempt on her life wasn't pleasant, but at least she got a guardian angel out of it: a mysterious, magnetic, gorgeous guardian angel. But, despite his role in her life, Patch has been acting anything but angelic. He's more elusive than ever and even worse, he's started spending time with Nora's arch-enemy, Marcie Millar.

Nora would have hardly noticed Scott Parnell, an old family friend who has moved back to town, if Patch hadnt been acting so distant. Even with Scott's totally infuriating attitude Nora finds herself drawn to him - despite her lingering feeling that he's hiding something.

Haunted by images of her murdered father, and questioning whether her nephilim bloodline has anything to do with his death, Nora puts herself increasingly in dangerous situations as she desperately searches for answers. But maybe some things are better left buried, because the truth could destroy everything - and everyone - she trusts.

LC's Take:

Let me start off by saying that I loved Hush, Hush. Like I couldn't even believe how much I enjoyed it, because it isn't the typical kind of book that I fall in love with. I was definitely hooked by the end, so I had to read the second. But Crescendo? Well, I was not quite as big a fan.

The main reason that Crescendo was sort of (really) difficult to get through was because I didn't like the characters nearly as much as I had in the first book-- especially Patch. Also, I didn't think that the plot was paced well at all. About 90% of the action and explanation for what was going on took place within the last 2-3 chapters of the book, and the other 300 pages were basically a bunch of angsty, drama-filled fluff, full of Nora running around aimlessly in circles and making stupid decisions. By the end, I was left more confused as to what was going on than I was at the beginning!

Crescendo basically picks up where Hush, Hush left off. Nora now has a super-sexy personal guardian angel who also happens to be her boyfriend and things are going great until Nora's arch-nemesis Marcie Millar steps into the picture. Around this time, Nora also realizes that someone is possibly trying to kill her, but she's not sure who. Soon she has no idea whom she can and can't trust anymore, while the story behind her dad's death comes back to haunt her.

As I said, I really couldn't stand any of the characters in this book-- and Patch was at the top of my poop list. First, he starts hanging around with Marcie, completely ignoring Nora and treating her like she's five years old. I mean granted, half the time she does act like she's five years old, but still! He remains cold and aloof, keeping her in the dark about pretty much everything and acting like an ass the rest of the time for no apparent reason-- jeez, no wonder the girl was going crazy running around in circles for 400 pages! But then Nora also drove me insane-- it's like she was destined to do everything in the very dumbest way possible. Like, give her the pick of what to do next, and guaranteed she picked the very worst option every freaking time. This got to be extremely annoying.

Then, enter the new character, Scott Parnell. I wasn't much a fan of Scott either, as he was kind of a jerk and definitely a creeper. By the end of the book we do have some important information revealed about Scott, which sort of redeems him, but he still wasn't a very likable character in my opinion. Which is too bad, because with all the annoying behavior coming from Patch and Nora, it would have been refreshing to have a likable new character enter the scene.

And man oh man, then there was the ending. Really? I mean, really?? Here are just a few things that I couldn't stand about the ending, without giving too much away:
  • At a certain point, a certain someone is physically grabbing Nora and dragging her away with him. Now, both of them are out in public in the middle of an amusement park. Nora is screaming for someone to help her. They are in a CROWD of people. And no one does anything! Like, the whole time they're arguing and Nora is telling him repeatedly to leave her alone, and she's crying out for help and NO ONE moves. Somebody actually laughs. What?! The girl is being physically assaulted!! And no one does anything?? I'm sorry, but this is so freaking unrealistic. In real life somebody would have come to her rescue! I'm sorry, but you can't conveniently leave a big plot hole like that just to move on to the next part of the story and expect me to overlook it or forget about it.
  • After about 300 pages of aimless and unexplained plot, we have the classic case of the Big Bad Guy standing around with a long-winded, point by point explanation of who did what and how it was all done. In like, 2 pages, we get a blow-by-blow that gives you a freaking headache by the time it's done. I HATE when books end like this-- it's so cheesy and not at all believable, not to mention it makes my brain feel like it's about to explode from the information overload. Also, the villain ceases to be remotely scary or intimidating when he's sitting there explaining in excessive detail all his genius plans-- especially when his success or failure hinges on bumping off the main character as soon as possible! He's not going to spend 20 minutes explaining how he did everything! ARGH!!
  • Going back to that last point, I have to reiterate just how much I dislike having to read through an entire book, aimlessly following the main character who uselessly runs around trying to figure things out with hardly any explanation for what is going on, and then having a ton of information dumped on me in the last 30 pages. I was royally confused. I still don't completely understand the connection between the Archangels, the Fallen Angels and the Nephilim, or who is good or bad, or what exactly happened between Nora's dad and Hank Millar, or what the heck was going on between Patch and Marcie (WHY didn't Nora read the dang diary?!), or what exactly the Black Hand's motive is... The plot holes and loose ends had me positively reeling.
  • What reward do we get after slogging our way through over 400 agonizing pages of drama, angst, stupid choices, unanswered questions and confusing plot? A freaking cliff-hanger. Thank you, Becca. Thank you oh so much.
  • The fallen angels built the amusement park. HUH??? Why people? Just why??
So anyways, overall I guess you could say I didn't like this sequel nearly as much as I liked Hush, Hush. The reason that I ended up giving it three stars instead of less is because overall I still like the story-- if Cresendo was a stand alone book however, it would not have gotten such a generous rating. I am still planning on reading Silence, since I've heard from other readers that the third book is much better than the second. I really want to see this series get better. And even though Crescendo was pretty much a flop for me, I still feel invested enough in the story at this point to continue with it. My fingers are crossed!

~Cover Talk~

I really like the cover for Crescendo, although not quite as much as I like the one for Hush, Hush. I think that this is a great portrait of Nora, very romantic. Once again, I really like the black and white with the touches of red, I think it creates some pretty intense drama!

LC's Rating:
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I didn't like this one as much as I liked Hush, Hush. First of all, the characters were not nearly as likable, and also, I didn't like how all the action and plot was shoved into the last 20 pages of the book! Definitely hoping that the next in this series is better...


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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (23)

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For those who don't know, Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly book meme where we get to let everyone know about what books we are eagerly anticipating the release of. WoW is hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. Want to participate? Grab the logo on her page, post your own WoW entry on your blog, and leave your link on her blog!
*****
This week's Waiting on Wednesday pick is...

Title: The Selection
Author: Kiera Cass
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: April 24, 2012

Summary: For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself- and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

~Why I'm Waiting~

Well, first oh-my-goodness the cover! I could seriously sit and stare at that cover all day, drooling over that dress. Then, there is the story-- a competition between 35 girls to win a crown?! This sounds like it is going to be amazing! I am so intrigued by this synopsis, and honestly cannot wait to get my hands on this book.

Leave me a link so I can go check out your WoW posts for this week too! Happy Reading everyone :)
PS!
If you haven't entered my 1,000 follower giveaway, click the button here-- there are only 2 days left!

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Book Review: Wildefire

Author: Karsten Knight
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Series: Wildefire #1
Release Date: July 26, 2011
Pages: 393
Read it in: 3 days
Source: The Library

Summary: Every flame begins with a spark.

Ashline Wilde is having a rough sophomore year. She’s struggling to find her place as the only Polynesian girl in school, her boyfriend just cheated on her, and now her runaway sister, Eve, has decided to barge back into her life. When Eve’s violent behavior escalates and she does the unthinkable, Ash transfers to a remote private school nestled in California’s redwoods, hoping to put the tragedy behind her. But her fresh start at Blackwood Academy doesn’t go as planned. Just as Ash is beginning to enjoy the perks of her new school—being captain of the tennis team, a steamy romance with a hot, local park ranger—Ash discovers that a group of gods and goddesses have mysteriously enrolled at Blackwood…and she’s one of them. To make matters worse, Eve has resurfaced to haunt Ash, and she’s got some strange abilities of her own. With a war between the gods looming over campus, Ash must master the new fire smoldering within before she clashes with her sister one more time… And when warm and cold fronts collide, there’s guaranteed to be a storm.

LC's Take:

Yep, so in a nutshell, I was not a fan of this book. Like, at all.

My main issue with Wildefire was that I didn't like the main character.

Wait, scratch that-- I could not stand the main character.

Wait, scratch that again-- I wish the main character had taken a running dive off of a cliff and spontaneously combusted in mid-free fall, or met any other catastrophe a la Wile E. Coyote.

Like so: 
Yes, that's how much I detested Ashline Wilde-- I had to whip out some visuals of her cartoon-ish demise.

Why? Well, first of all she was violent and abusive, and walked all over everyone and treated them like crap. She was super-aggressive and mean and made me wish someone would slap her into next week. Because of this, she was impossible to relate to or sympathize with.

Not to mention, she was absolutely, positively crazy. Let me elaborate on this point by saying that, in the prologue, Ashline beats up some girl that supposedly "stole" her boyfriend-- she actually punches the girl so hard that she's knocked unconscious and loses a tooth. Now, this begs the question, why didn't Ashline confront her unfaithful, loser boyfriend first instead of taking out her rage on the girl? And second, um hello! She just committed serious physical assault! And you now want me to be on this girl's side?! She's a psycho! I'm not on her side, she should be headed to a JV detention center for crying out loud! Not cool.

Her craziness continued throughout the book with many random outbursts, leaving me thinking, "um... ok?" And finally, she just wasn't girly. If her name wasn't Ashline, I would've sworn she was a dude. Which made me wonder, why didn't Karsten Knight just make his protagonist a boy? Since he is a guy himself, he would have been able to create a much more believable protag. All in all, Ashline just came across as both unbelievable as a character and really nasty as a person, so I never felt any connection to her in the story. In fact, I was sort of rooting against her.

I wish I could say that the secondary characters made up for Ashline's complete douche-baggery, but they were equally nasty, annoying and immature. The only one I liked somewhat was Colt, but I still couldn't understand for the life of me why he was so smitten with Ashline, who was beyond obnoxious and belittled him every chance she got. The guy doted on her like a love-sick puppy. Really?! Nope, not buying it. Ashline was a real you-know-what. In real life, he would've ditched her without a second thought.

Call me a wimp, but I also wasn't a big fan of all the gratuitous violence thrown into the story, much of which seemed pretty unnecessary, especially the prologue and the whole fiasco with Lizzie Jacobs. Maybe that's just me, but really, you are going to be pretty hard-pressed getting me to like a character who commits serious physical assault within the first few pages of the book. Yeah. Major turn off.

Next on the list: The dialogue between the characters was positively dripping with sarcasm and undisguised venom, also for no apparent reason. Now I don't mind a little snark here and there, that livens up the interactions between the characters, but having every line be some biting comment or come back? Nobody talks like that first of all, at least not anyone that I know, and second it comes across as very forced and artificial. It was like, how cruddy and mean can we make these characters without them actually killing each other off? I definitely got annoyed with the mean-spirited, heavy-handed sarcasm after awhile.

Finally, and I've heard other people say this too but I had the same experience-- it took me a long time to really get into this story. There just wasn't a whole lot to keep me interested until a little over halfway through the book. Unfortunately by that point, I was so fed up with the characters that I didn't really care anymore anyways.

So altogether, this book was a fail for me. Not only wasn't I invested in any of the characters, I couldn't stand them. The sarcastic dialogue got really old about half-way through the story and finally, I didn't think that the graphic violence did anything for the plot. The one redeeming aspect of this book was the ending-- not just because it meant I could stop reading, but it was admittedly quite the cliffhanger. I think that for anyone who did enjoy this book and the characters, it was the perfect ending to entice them into reading the next one.

Unfortunately-- and this probably won't come as a big surprise-- I won't be reading the sequel.

~Cover Talk~

I think that this cover is very intriguing, not to mention very beautiful. It's also different, and I like that it relates to the story without being too literal of a translation. Hmmm... I wish I had liked the actual book as much as I like the cover!

LC's Rating:
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The main reason that I disliked this book was because of how thoroughly unlikable the characters were. This, along with the bad dialogue and unnecessary violence, really turned me off of this book.


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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Book Review: Hush, Hush

Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
Publisher:Simon & Schuster
Series: Hush, Hush #1
Release Date: October 13, 2009
Pages: 391
Read it in: 2 days
Source: The Library

Summary: For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her...until Patch comes along.
With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment, but after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure whom to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is far more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.
For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life.

LC's Take:

Oh. My. Gosh. Seriously?? I LOVED this book!! I almost feel guilty for how much I loved this book, because I honestly thought I would hate it. But here I am, could not put it down, read it in about 2 sittings, and am dying to get my hands on the next in the series. Now, this was unexpected!

I know, I know. This is one of those controversial books that everyone has drawn a line on, and then taken love or hate sides. And honestly, I went into this book *slightly* biased (Lauren Kate's Fallen series sort of turned my stomach against the fallen angel genre) but then lo and behold, it totally suckered me in and didn't let me go until the last pages-- I loved it.

What's more, I loved pretty much all of the characters, and was absolutely on Nora's side the entire way through the story. Some people have said that Nora Gray is worse than Bella Swan. I beg to differ-- I thought she had an intelligent voice, she had courage and vulnerability, and she had an interesting point of view to read the story through. I didn't even find her internal struggle about her feelings for Patch to be annoying, in fact, I completely sympathized with her. Finally, I loved the fact that she was just your regular, everyday girl but she wasn't flat or boring. I really liked Nora.

And obviously, I need to spend a few minutes talking about Patch Cipriano. Holy Moly. I cannot even describe how freaking hott Patch was. And trust me, I am not one to go all gaga-eyed fan girl on  lots of boy love interests, but I make an exception for Patch. Ah, Patch... He's so wrong, he's right. (Wow, that was cheesy lol). He's the quintessential mysterious bad boy who you just can't help but swoon over. And boy, did I ever. Loved Patch!

The story itself had me so that I literally could not put this book down until I finished-- I started it yesterday, got about three quarters through last night, and finished it first thing this morning. The whole thing took a few hours to read, and I loved every minute of it. There was steamy romance, mystery and suspense, action, drama and pretty much every other amazing thing you could cram into a YA novel. It wasn't Shakespeare by any means, but there was never a dull moment and like I said, I really loved the characters. Hush, Hush totally took me by surprise and was definitely one big guilty pleasure from start to finish!

~Cover Talk~

Seriously, how hott is this cover? Cannot even stop staring at it. Like you needed to give me yet another reason to be head over heels in love with Patch, right?! I think the black and white effect with the traces of blood red was a good choice too, since it just amps up the drama even more. Definitely cover love with this one!

LC's Rating:
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Absolute love. I was a total sucker for this book. I almost feel guilty for liking it so much, especially since I sort of understand other people's caveats with it. In the end though? I could not put it down and I want more-- now!


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Friday, November 18, 2011

Book Review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Author: Ransom Riggs
Publisher: Quirk Publishing
Release Date: June 7, 2011
Pages: 352
Read it in: 3 days
Source: The library

Summary: A mysterious island.

An abandoned orphanage.

A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

LC's Take:

I absolutely HAD to read this book. As a sucker for anything creepy, bizarre, or otherwise strange and phantasmagoric, I had this one on my TBR list from the moment I saw that disturbingly odd little girl levitating on the cover. Add to the fact that the story centers around an abandoned orphanage on a mysterious island?? Yup, I was all about it.

Jacob has just lost his grandfather. At 16 years old, all Jacob has left are memories of the fantastical, sometimes horrifying, stories that his grandfather used to tell him as a child, and the last words his grandfather uttered-- clues to the real story Jacob never knew. Now Jacob wonders if the nightmarish monsters his grandfather spoke of were not just metaphors for the Nazi soldiers that killed his family, but real monsters that still exist somewhere...  and whether they are out to get him like they got his grandfather.

I'm actually not really sure what to say about this one. It's not that I didn't like it, but I had pretty much the same reaction to it as everyone else: it just was not at all what I had been expecting. I think the main problem is that people going into this book are like me-- they saw that extremely creepy cover and flipped through to see some equally creepy old photos and thought that this book was going to be scare-your-pants-off terrific, but then when you get into the actual story it just... wasn't. Definitely no scary-pants-action going on here.

And honestly, it's not that the story was bad-- there was a lot of suspense, some romance, some folklore, some mild creepiness with the villains. But I went into this book expecting something totally different. The kids were not creepy. And I was looking for creepy ghost children. I was looking for a story that gave me chills and shivers and made me jump every time I heard a noise while reading. What I got instead was a good story, but it fell a little flat next to what I had worked myself up to experience.

The concept was really great, and I loved how the pictures were incorporated into the story. That was such an incredibly unique and awesome idea, and it definitely kept me interested throughout the book. The story told through Jacob's voice was very real, incredible funny, and I loved all the uncensored snark and raw emotion that came through from his perspective. Jacob's point of view really made this story come alive for me.

In the end, I was a bit disappointed with this book, despite some great characters and an interesting premise. I really needed this story to amp-up the creepiness factor because I had been expecting a bone-chilling ghost story and got something very different instead. Not bad, just not totally living up to my expectations.

~Cover Talk~

Seriously one of the most intriguing covers I have ever seen. If I was walking past this book, I would stop dead in my tracks to pick it up and see what it was about, even if I was running late to be somewhere. It would be like an involuntary reflex, that's how awesome this cover is. That picture of the levitating girl with the creepy face is so haunting, and the pics on the back of the book are even more nightmarish-- like, super scary! I wish that the story had the same creep-out factor as some of the photos did.


LC's Rating:
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A good story with a good premise that unfortunately fell slightly flat for me. I was expecting a very scary, creepy story with freaky ghost children, and got something totally different. It wasn't bad, just unexpected. I did really like the mix of old photos with the story! Altogether, still a unique and intriguing book.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (22)

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For those who don't know, Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly book meme where we get to let everyone know about what books we are eagerly anticipating the release of. WoW is hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. Want to participate? Grab the logo on her page, post your own WoW entry on your blog, and leave your link on her blog!
*****

This week's Waiting on Wednesday pick is...

Title: Night School
Author: Christy Daugherty
Publisher: Atom
Release Date: January 2012
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Summary: Allie Sheridan's world is falling apart. She hates her school. Her brother has run away from home. And she's just been arrested.

Again.

This time her parents have finally had enough. They cut her off from her friends and send her away to a boarding school for problem teenagers.

But Cimmeria Academy is no ordinary school. Its rules are strangely archaic. It allows no computers or phones. Its students are an odd mixture of the gifted, the tough and the privileged. And then there's the secretive Night School, whose activities other students are forbidden even to watch.

When Allie is attacked one night the incident sets off a chain of events leading to the violent death of a girl at the summer ball. As the school begins to seem like a very dangerous place, Allie must learn who she can trust. And what's really going on at Cimmeria Academy.

~Why I'm Waiting~

I have a major weakness for covers with redheads on them, let me just say that first. I know, I'm biased in this way, being a redhead myself, but I can't help it! They draw me in before I even realize it. But then, I also really like the mystery and sexiness of this cover in general. The story may or may not end up being to my liking, depending on how the author approaches the overdone boarding school genre. I definitely think it's possible to take a subject or setting that has been done ad nauseum and turn it into something fresh and new, so we'll have to see! Also, I do like reading books that take place at schools. And that little "hook" written on the cover is definitely intriguing! I wonder what exactly is going on at this school and what Allie is going to find out?

Leave me a link so I can go check out your WoW posts for this week too! Happy Reading everyone :)

PS!

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