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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Follow Me Friday (7)

YAY for Friday! If you don't know, Follow Me Friday is a weekly book-blogger meme hosted by Parajunkee over at Parajunkee's View. Have a book blog? You can join in the fun too! Just visit Parajunkee's site at the pink link above (or the pic), be sure you are a follower of her blog and the blog she is featuring for the week, put your name in the Linky, create your own FF post on your blog, and then start commenting and following whomever you wish!

This week's FF Question is...

ACK!! Your favorite book/movie character (example Hermione Granger played by the Emma chick) just walkd into the room! Who is it and what would be your first reaction? You get extra points if you include visual stimulation.

OK, so I sat back and thought about this question for about 10.5 seconds, and who should be first to come to mind? Oh, that would be Aragorn played by Viggo Mortensen from The Lord of the Rings!! Yes, absolutely, hands-down, my biggest book/movie character crush EVA.

I need a quick fangirl moment here to say-- (**SQUEE!**)  Aragorn is just so ZOMG-gorgeous, and if he walked into the room I think I would pretty much just swoon right on the spot-- straight into his arms... and then he would start singing to me like he did at the end of The Return of the King (extended version)... OMG. Ahhh, OK, I'm good now XD

Alrighty! Onto the eye candy/visual stimulation! AWESOME!
Note: Click to enlarge awesomeness :)

I am thoroughly enjoying this week's Follow Friday heehee!! 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Book Review: Splendor

Author: Anna Godbersen
Publisher: HarperCollins
Series: The Luxe #4
Release Date: October 27, 2009
Pages: 400
Read it in: 2 days

***NOTE!! This summary/review does contain spoilers, so if you have not read the series yet-- and want to-- you might want to skip this one!!***

Summary: New beginnings. Shocking revelations. Unexpected endings.

As spring turns into summer, Elizabeth relishes her new role as a young wife, while her sister, Diana, searches for adventure abroad. But when a surprising clue about their father's death comes to light, the Holland girls wonder at what cost a life of splendor comes.

Carolina Broad, society's newest darling, fans a flame from her past, oblivious to how it might burn her future. Penelope Schoonmaker is finally Manhattan royalty-- but when a real prince visits the city, she covets a title that comes with a crown. Her husband, Henry, bravely went to war, only to discover that his father's rule extends far beyond New York's shores and that fighting for love may prove a losing battle.

In the dramatic conclusion to the bestselling Luxe series, New York's most dazzling socialites chase dreams, cling to promises, and tempt fate. As society watches what will become of the city's oldest families and newest fortunes, one question remains: Will its stars fade away or will they shine ever brighter?

LC's Take: 

In the fourth and last installment of The Luxe series, you can't expect anything to turn out the way you think it will. It has been a roller-coaster ride, following the drama-filled lives of Diana, Elizabeth, Penelope and Lina-- and true to her writing style, AG delivers an ending that will shock her readers and leave them sighing over the fates of her characters!

Diana and Elizabeth Holland-- two sisters born into a world of wealth and privilege in 19th century New York City-- have anything but "charmed" lives. Elizabeth bet everything to be with her one true love, and watched as her whole world crumbled to pieces. Now she is picking up those pieces, only to be caught as a victim in a plot for her family's money. Diana, outwardly the opposite of her quiet and conservative older sister, is still struggling with her passionate love for Henry Schoonmaker, one of the wealthiest young men in the city. Henry meanwhile loves Diana just as passionately, but was blackmailed into marrying Penelope, the Holland sisters' worst enemy. 

Oh, Penelope... here is an amazing character because of her complexity-- throughout the entire series, she is the one person that you love to hate, because she is just so devious and scheming. But by the end of this book, you really come to pity her when you find out that she is her own worst enemy, and that she is just as much a victim to the society she lives in as the rest of the girls.

And Lina-- AKA Carolina-- is a similar character. Throughout this series she has done some truly horrendous things-- backstabbing her way to greatness, abandoning her only family, lying through her teeth at every turn--only to discover in the end that all the money in the world can't buy her the one thing she actually wants-- someone to love her for who she really is. 

Splendor ends The Luxe series like the grande finale of an amazing play. All of the characters have grown up and have come to realize that what they wanted in the beginning is completely different from what they know will make them happy now. I won't give away what happens or who ends up with who, but the ending was very well-done-- although like I said, completely unexpected! I know that this is one of those series that I plan on buying and re-reading one day. It was an incredible story made up of unforgettable characters, gorgeous world-building, and a totally addicting plot. I am so happy I discovered these books, and hope if you end up reading them that you get caught up and enjoy them as much as I did!

LC's Rating:
**Swoon!** This series is to die for! And Splendor was a great end to a great series-- I highly recommend these books to anyone who loves historical fiction, drama, and unexpected endings!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (11)

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 there was a cover that caught my eye, and even though I'm not totally sold on the plot-line, it may turn out to be good! The name of the book is Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday. Check out the details below!

Author: Gemma Halliday
Release Date: October 11, 2011
Pages: 272
Summary: Hartley Grace Featherstone is having a very bad day. First she finds out that her boyfriend is cheating on her with the president of the Herbert Hoover High School Chastity Club. Then he's pegged as the #1 suspect in a murder. And if that weren't enough, now he's depending on Hartley to clear his name. Seriously? Not cool. But as much as Hartley wouldn't mind seeing him squirm, she knows he's innocent, and she's the only one who can help him. Along with her best friend, Sam, and the school's resident Bad Boy, Chase, Hartley starts investigating on her own. But as the dead bodies begin to pile up, the mystery deepens, the suspects multiply, and Hartley begins to fear that she may be the killer's next victim.

I'm thinking this one could be hit or miss, but seriously, that cover is all kinds of awesome, and I am kind of interested in how this will all play out-- will Hartley help the guy who broke her heart? Could be worth adding to the TBR!

So what is everyone else waiting on this week??

Monday, June 27, 2011

Teaser Tuesday (9)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
    As you may know, I am a sucker for the Fallen series, even though I rant about them all the time. You may also know that Passion-- the third book in Lauren Kate's series-- was just released a couple weeks ago. So, I immediately ran to the library to pick it up, because despite the flaws, I need to know what happens next! I'm a little more than halfway through Passion right now, and I have to say, it is actually pretty good so far. The writing isn't exactly brilliant, but the plot is moving along and things are finally starting to happen. So, here is my teaser for this week:

    "The voice next to Daniel made him jump. He had carelessly assumed he was alone. The voice was a parched and raspy whisper, but somehow still familiar. 

    Then came a scraping sound, like metal being dragged across stone. Daniel stiffened as a blacker piece of shadow detached itself from the darkness and leaned forward... He'd forgotten this cell, forgotten this punishment. So this is where he'd ended up."

    ~Chapter 12, p. 229

    What is everyone else reading this week??

    In My Mailbox! (3)

    In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely Kristi over at The Story Siren, where we get to share with our readers the books that we've gotten recently... Wow, it has been like FOREVER since I've done an IMM-- pretty much because I took out almost 20 books from the library awhile ago and have been busy with them ever since!

    So anyways, here are the AMAZING books I got this week! And remember, there are Goodreads links below to all of these, because I am just that nice ;)

    Click to enlarge :)

    Wrapped by Jennifer Bradbury
    The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
    Doctor Illuminatus by Martin Booth
    Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
    The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
    Mirrorscape by Mike Wells 
    Through Her Eyes by Jennifer Archer

    I am soooooo excited to read every one of these books-- Wrapped has intrigued me ever since I saw that awesome graphic novel-like cover-- and the story sounds really good too! I have been dying to FINALLY read The Hunger Games for a long time now. I think my fave thing about this bunch of books is that there are THREE male authors in the mix-- and I am always looking for good guy YA authors to add to my TBR pile! Doctor Illuminatus sounds like it's going to be a Harry Potter-esque story about an English alchemist's son-- I just spotted it on the library shelf and grabbed it up! Leviathan I have heard is amazing, and Mirrorscape is an imaginative story about a painter's apprentice that sounds like it will be pretty original. The Replacement sounds totally creepy and it's been on my TBR for awhile now, and Through Her Eyes just drew me in with that cover! So, definitely looking forward to reading these in the near future...

    What is everyone else reading this week?

    Sunday, June 26, 2011

    Book Review: Envy

    Author: Anna Godbersen
    Release Date: September 29, 2009
    Pages: 432
    Read it in: 2 days

    ***NOTE!! This summary/review does contain spoilers, so if you have not read the series yet-- and want to-- you might want to skip this one!!***

    Summary: Two months after Elizabeth Holland's dramatic homecoming, Manhattan eagerly awaits her return to the pinnacle of society. When Elizabeth refuses to rejoin her sister Diana's side, however, those watching New York's favorite family begin to suspect that all is not as it seems behind the stately doors of No. 17 Gramercy Park South.

    Farther uptown, Henry and Penelope Schoonmaker are the city's most celebrated couple. But despite the glittering diamond ring on Penelope's finger, the newlyweds share little more than scorn for each other. And while the newspapers call Penelope's social-climbing best friend, Carolina Broad, an heiress, her fortune-- and her fame-- are anything but secure, especially now that one of society's darlings is slipping tales to the eager press.

    In this next thrilling installment of Anna Godbersen's bestselling Luxe series, Manhattan's most envied residents appear to have everything they desire: Wealth. Beauty. Happiness. But sometimes the most practiced smiles hide the most scandalous secrets...

    LC's Take:  

    ***NOTE: Some spoilers below-- sorry,  it's hard to review this series without a few!!***

    Once again, Anna Godbersen delivers an amazing continuation of The Luxe story, where not everything that glitters is gold, and not everyone you call your friend can be counted out as an enemy.

    It's the beginning of a new century-- 2 months have gone by since Penelope black-mailed Henry into marrying her, and she is quickly learning that she has hardly won over his heart, even if she is now his wife. Henry is still obsessively in love with the youngest Holland sister, Diana (the cover girl of Envy). Young but not totally innocent, Diana is a free-spirit who continues to hope that Henry still secretly loves her, despite his having married her worst enemy. 

    Meanwhile, Elizabeth is still recovering from what happened at the end of Rumors (I can't spoil it for you if you haven't read it yet!!). And Lina, now known as "Carolina," has finally made a way for herself in high society, attaching herself to an old but wealthy bachelor who gives her the life she's always dreamed of-- unfortunately, she soon learns just how precarious her position really is...

    In this third installment of The Luxe series, all 4 girls take a luxurious trip to Florida. But behind the elegant dinners, seaside resorts, and ladylike manners is a dangerous, backstabbing world of scandal, gossip and betrayal. The stakes are high and the losses mean complete destruction for a girl of high society. This book was such a roller coaster! One minute, a character is on top of the world, and the next they're on the streets. One chapter things are going as planned, and then a couple pages later everything falls apart.

    AG keeps her readers on their toes and makes sure that they never know what to expect next. The writing flows perfectly and her descriptions are just as rich and vivid as ever before, while the characters by this point are so well-known to me that I  feel for them at every turn. I love Penelope and Lina-- even at their cattiest points, they are so wonderfully flawed and endearingly human. The Holland sisters, Elizabeth and Diana, are also amazing characters, and I can't help but feel sorry for Henry and the mess he's gotten himself into-- Oh, the drama! I can't wait to read the last of these books and see how everything turns out, but I will be really sad to leave behind this series...

    LC's Rating:
    The description and characterization are what make this series so addicting-- that and the fact that AG keeps her readers guessing at every turn of the plot! I don't have any idea what will happen to Elizabeth, Diana, Penelope and Lina in the last installment of The Luxe books, but I am dying to find out!

    Wednesday, June 22, 2011

    Book Review: Rumors

    Author: Anna Godbersen
    Release Date: June 3, 2008
    Pages: 432
    Read it in: 3 days
    The Hook: True love. False friends. Scandalous gossip. Welcome back to Manhattan, 1899.

    Summary: After bidding good-bye to New York's brightest star, Elizabeth Holland, rumors continue to fly about her untimely demise.

    All eyes are on those closest to the dearly departed: her mischievous sister, Diana, now the family's only hope for redemption; New York's most notorious cad, Henry Schoonmaker, the flame Elizabeth never extinguished; the seductive Penelope Hayes, poised to claim all that her best friend left behind— including Henry; even Elizabeth's scheming former maid, Lina Broud, who discovers that while money matters and breeding counts, gossip is the new currency.

    As old friends become rivals, Manhattan's most dazzling socialites find their futures threatened by whispers from the past. In this delicious sequel to The Luxe, nothing is more dangerous than a scandal . . . or more precious than a secret.

    LC's Take: 

    So, if you read my last review for The Luxe, you know that it pretty much left me swimming in a puddle of my own drool, it was that freaking amazing. I LOVED it! Well, true to form, Anna Godbersen has come back again and she definitely does not disappoint-- Rumors was everything that I was hoping it would be-- with all the scandalous intrigues, rich descriptions that make you feel like you've been transported back in time to another world, and characters that are so completely realistic that you wonder if they were actually once alive.

    It is December, 1899 in New York City, two months after news of the tragic death of Elizabeth Holland, one of high society's most respected and famous young starlets. However, her story is more than it seems, and Diana Holland-- Elizabeth's younger sister-- knows all about it. So does Penelope Hayes, Elizabeth's former best friend (Note: she's the one on the cover of this book). Ruthless and scheming, Penelope longs to be married to NYC's most eligible bachelor, Henry Schoonmaker. However-- as luck would have it-- Henry had been engaged to the unfortunate Elizabeth just before her death, and he's now desperately in love with Diana...

    And finally, there is Lina Broud-- Elizabeth's former housemaid. Lina is in love with Will Keller, the Hollands' former coachman. Will was once hopelessly in love with Elizabeth, but now that Lina knows she's dead and out of the way, she will stop at nothing to become a member of high society and win Will's heart over. That is, until she is completely seduced by the new life she's worked her way into.

    Elizabeth, Diana, Penelope and Lina-- 4 very different young women, all connected within the same world of wealth and privilege, and all victim to the dictates of 19th century society. Reading like an Italian operetta, Rumors picks up with these 4 different lives where The Luxe left of. The plot probably sounds super confusing, but the story is so well-done that it is surprisingly easy to follow all of the interwoven plot lines and get to know all of the different characters.

    AG's writing, in my opinion, is incredible. It flows like music, it's descriptive down to the last detail, and it's just a lot of fun to read. Rumors once again completely brings to life the characters and the world that they live in-- it was almost more like watching a movie in my head than reading black and white words on a page... I could see every detail of every room, the facial expressions on the characters' faces, and the interactions they had with each other. I don't know how she does it, but this story is not only well-researched for historical accuracy, but it is written in such a way that you can cruise through 200 pages without even realizing it.

    This series has completely gotten my attention, and I am now moving into Envy, the third book. I really can't seem to praise this author and these books enough! I can only hope that the next two installments are as good as the first two, with all the delicious drama and intrigue I've come to expect from The Luxe series!

    LC's Rating:
    Another masterpiece by Anna Godbersen! I am totally IN LOVE with this series. The writing is superb, the characters are vivid and alive, and the world-building of 19th century New York City is painted down to the very last detail. I am completely consumed by this story and was not able to put Rumors down. Can you tell that I'm obsessed with these books? :)

    Tuesday, June 21, 2011

    Waiting on Wednesday (10)

    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 WoW pick is called Cleopatra's Moon by Vicky Alvear Shecter. It is coming out pretty soon, and I am definitely looking forward to it! Here is a description from Goodreads:

    Release Date: August 1, 2011
    Pages: 368
    Summary: Selene has grown up in a palace on the Nile with her parents, Cleopatra & Mark Antony—the most brilliant, powerful rulers on earth. But the jealous Roman Emperor Octavianus wants Egypt for himself, & when war finally comes, Selene faces the loss of all she's ever loved. Forced to build a new life in Octavianus's household in Rome, she finds herself torn between two young men and two possible destinies—until she reaches out to claim her own.
    This stunning novel brings to life the personalities & passions of one of the greatest dramas in history, & offers a wonderful new heroine in Selene.

    This book has been described as The Luxe meets the ancient world-- OK, I am totally on board with that! I absolutely loved The Luxe (it's one of my Five Star Faves, check the top) so I am really, REALLY looking forward to this one!

    What is on everyone else's WoW's for the week??

    Monday, June 20, 2011

    Teaser Tuesday (8)

    Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
    • Grab your current read
    • Open to a random page
    • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
    • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
    • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
      So this weekend I have pretty much been DEVOURING Rumors by Anna Godbersen-- she is undoubtedly one of my favorite YA authors! Rumors is the second book in The Luxe series. Made up of 4 books, the series centers around the lives of 4 different young women, growing up in New York City at the end of the 19th century. It's full of scandal and intrigue, and the writing is absolutely amazing! Since Penelope Hayes is the character on the cover of Rumors, my teaser for this week is taken from her perspective:

      "Penelope sensed that he had more compliments at the ready, but she signaled their superfluity with her hand. What did it matter anyway that she was so much lovelier than the other girls when Henry was so blind? The wretched tick of her heart was unbearable in her ears, but she could not fidget and she could not frown. She was realizing for the first time in her life what agony it was to experience such unquiet beneath an impeccable veneer."

      Oh my God, I love how AG writes! It's like music, it flows so perfectly... These are some of the best books I've read in a long time, and I'm glad I still have 2 more to look forward to :)

      What is everyone else reading this week??

      Friday, June 17, 2011

      Book Review: Torment

      Author: Lauren Kate
      Release date: September 28, 2010
      Pages: 464
      Read it in: 3 days

      The Hook: "How many lives do you need to live before you find someone worth dying for?"

      Summary: Hell on earth.

      That’s what it’s like for Luce to be apart from her fallen angel boyfriend, Daniel.

      It took them an eternity to find one another, but now he has told her he must go away. Just long enough to hunt down the Outcasts— immortals who want to kill Luce. Daniel hides Luce at Shoreline, a school on the rocky California coast with unusually gifted students: Nephilim, the offspring of fallen angels and humans.

      At Shoreline, Luce learns what the Shadows are, and how she can use them as windows to her previous lives. Yet the more Luce learns, the more she suspects that Daniel hasn’t told her everything. He’s hiding something— something dangerous.

      What if Daniel’s version of the past isn’t actually true? What if Luce is really meant to be with someone else?

      LC's Take:   
      **NOTE: This review contains a few spoilers and a lot of ranting**

      Torment took me a little while to get into, simply because I had long forgotten pretty much everything that had happened in the first book, Fallen. To refresh your memory (and mine) Luce is the main character and she has been haunted her whole life by what she calls "the Shadows." She is caught between two guys that she meets at Sword & Cross reform school: Daniel and Cam. Daniel is an angel and Cam is a demon-- but it was never really made clear who was distinctly good or evil. Book One ended with a lot of unanswered questions-- and **spoiler** so does Book Two.

      ~Brief synopsis~

      We quickly learn that there is some new evil trying to kill Luce besides the Elders from Book One, called the Outcasts, and they are the very worst kind of angels. Caught between Heaven and Hell, they control the deadliest weapon known to angels and demons alike. To protect Luce from the Outcasts, Daniel and Cam form a Truce that will last 18 days. Meanwhile, Luce is sent to another school in California called "Shoreline," where the students are made up of celestial beings called "Nephilim"-- the offspring of angels and humans. Luce then spends the whole book trying to figure out her past lives with Daniel and why he has left her at this new school...


      I need to preface this review by saying that, even though I do have major issues with the Fallen series (and this book in particular), I still for some unknown reason enjoy reading these books. (And even more, I love reading what people have to say about them.) The whole human-girl-falls-for-fallen-angel-and-now-celestial-beings-are-out-to-destroy-her plot line is intriguing, even though (in my opinion) poorly done. Also, I was extremely lenient to the point of being too generous with LK's first book Fallen. See that review here. That being said, Torment was an obnoxious repeat of the first book.

      So... let the ranting begin!
      • It felt like Luce did nothing but pine away after Daniel-- Yes, she missed him while she was at the new school, but holy crap, did we have to be reminded every other paragraph? You're going to see him in 18 days! It got real old real quick, having to listen to Luce go on and on (and on AND ON) about how much she misses Daniel, she wishes Daniel was there, she can't stop thinking about Daniel, Daniel is so beautiful, oh my god, Daniel! Please, get a grip already. 
      • While we're on the subject, seriously don't even get me started on brooding, chauvinistic Edward Daniel. If you've read even 2 pages where Daniel is involved, you already know that he's a controlling douche-bag with perfect blond hair and zero personality who treats Luce like crap. (Do you remember that Daniel's first social interaction with Luce from the first book is to flip her off??) Spare me.
      • Why did the author have to make Luce such a clueless and dimwitted airhead? Like when she fell for the obviously shady fake note supposedly written by Daniel to lure her outside of school grounds-- um, hello, he just warned you like 5 pages back NOT to leave the school, and then you immediately catch a bus into town after finding a TYPED note at your door telling you to leave the school, and then almost die! Dumb and gullible? Yeah, I would say so. I get that the author wanted to set up a situation where Luce runs into Cam again and learns about the Outcasts, but did she have to do it at the expense of making Luce seem like the biggest idiot ever? If you are going to throw your heroine into dangerous, life-threatening situations where she has to be rescued again and again, can't you at least give her a little credit and not make everything the result of her own stupidity?
      • Added to this, we are kept just as clueless throughout the book as Luce is-- not a big change from Fallen. At every turn where we might grasp onto some pertinent piece of information that holds the key to what on earth is going on, we're frustratingly disappointed. Oh, we're gonna find out something meaningful here! Oops, nope-- false alarm. Meanwhile Luce continually gets into scrapes and needs to be saved because she's totally left in the dark about what's happening. Really Ms. Kate, give the girl (and us) something to go on!! Where are the Elders from Book One? Who are the Outcasts? Why are the demons siding with angels? There's a premonition of some great war? What the heck is going on in this book?? I'm sorry but at SOME point, you need to explain SOMETHING to your readers. Any little scrap of information would be GREATLY appreciated... 
      • What is up with the 18-day Truce going on between Cam and Daniel? It is all kept very wishy-washy and vague, but then it's made out to be some really big deal, since every chapter after the prologue counts down to the end of it. And then at the end, after building up all this suspense and anticipation, nothing happens. Like, nothing. No epic battle, no explanations or loose ends tied, no background to Luce and Daniel's story that we didn't know already-- nada. It was pretty much a big confusing let down with some lame angel-fight in the backyard, leading us no closer to knowing where this whole story and series is going than the first book. It just seemed like a lot of pointless filler and fluff.
      • I wish I could describe Luce's character without using the term "Mary Sue" but gosh darn it, I just can't. She's a wish-fulfilling Mary Sue, through and through. I mean she and Bella could be twin sisters for crying out loud. She thinks she isn't good-looking, yet she has every stinking guy drooling over her, she's continually in trouble and needs to be rescued, she has a mind-numbingly vapid personality, and she's also continually psycho-obsessive over her uber-controlling boyfriend. And speaking of Twilight references, Torment is also full of  insanely unnecessary details (literally, there are like 2 pages dedicated to what Luce and her friends order to eat at an IHOP in Las Vegas. I swear I'm not making this up.) 
      • Speaking of unnecessary, did we really need yet another jealous guy falling all over Luce? Isn't Miles just another version of Cam? A guy to distract Luce from Daniel? Now we have three guys vying for Luce's love and attention. Dude, this is getting out of control.  
      • And here is one of the biggest issues that I have with this series thus far: The titles, the cover art, the summaries-- all of these things market the Fallen series as being serious, dark, and Gothic. But when you read the actual books they're... how do I put this... corny as all get out? The characters are just so unbelievable and their dialog and actions are so ridiculously dorky to me, that I just couldn't take them or the story seriously. (LK: How does one "waggle" their eyebrows? PLEASE explain to me what on earth you mean when you say this because it's driving me insane!) I must have rolled my eyes a couple hundred different times throughout the book, due to the fact that it was such an enormous cheese-fest. And I'm sorry, but it takes more than insanely gorgeous cover art to make a good series (Case in point: Wicked Lovely). I'm over the cover art already. 
      So at this point you may be asking yourself: If you weren't all that pumped about Fallen, why the heck did you pick up Torment? Well, despite my rants, I am still entertained by this series, and might take just the slightest of guilty pleasures in saying what irks me about them. I know, it's horrible to take pleasure in writing ranting reviews, but I do it with the disclaimer that I am still ultimately and inexplicably attracted to these books. Even though it's a total hot mess, I just can't look away. I will probably still read both Passion and Rapture when they come out, even though my expectations for them are about 2 millimeters above my toes, and there's pretty much no way I can take these books seriously in any sense of the word. This series is truly epic for all the wrong reasons.

      LC's Rating:
      I have a love-hate relationship with the Fallen books. I hate the fact that they're popular to begin with, but I love reading them anyways because 1.) they're terrible (like really terrible) entertainment and 2.) I practically die laughing from reading the other rants from fellow readers about them-- hence, the two stars. My advice is to not think too hard about the merits of literature whilst reading this book and it might actually pass for being somewhat enjoyable-- albeit in a mindless and brain-numbing kind of way.

      Thursday, June 16, 2011

      Follow Me Friday (6)

      YAY for Friday! If you don't know, Follow Me Friday is a weekly book-blogger meme hosted by Parajunkee over at Parajunkee's View. Have a book blog? You can join in the fun too! Just visit Parajunkee's site at the pink link above (or the pic), be sure you are a follower of her blog and the blog she is featuring for the week, put your name in the Linky, create your own FF post on your blog, and then start commenting and following whomever you wish!


      Wow, it has been a really long time since I participated in a Follow Me Friday, and I am so happy to be back after a really hectic and stressful month! Not only did I move, I also found out that I'm going to be basically taking over the library I work at as the new person in charge. (I am freaking out a little!!) Needless to say, it's nice to have blogging around to keep my sanity...

      ~This week's FF question~

      GenreWars! What's your favorite genre and which book in that genre made it your favorite?

      When it comes to YA fiction, I would probably have to say that dystopian novels are my favorite genre--I just recently read Divergent by Veronica Roth and absolutely loved it, but then there is also Wither by Lauren DeStefano, and I have The Hunger Games on my TBR list too, and I'm pretty psyched to read Enclave, since I've heard so many good things about it... yup, definitely a dystopian fan :)

      What genres are you into?

      Tuesday, June 14, 2011

      Waiting on Wednesday (9)

      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 WoW book is called The Sharp Time by Mary O'Connell. It sounds pretty awesome! Here is a description from Amazon:

      Release Date: November 8, 2011
      Pages: 240
      Summary: Sandinista Jones is a high school senior with a punk rock name and a broken heart. The death of her single mother has left Sandinista alone in the world, subject to the random vulnerability of everyday life. When the school system lets her down, her grief and instability intensify, and she ponders a violent act of revenge.

      Still, in the midst of her crisis, she gets a job at The Pale Circus, a funky vintage clothing shop, and finds friendship and camaraderie with her coworker, a boy struggling with his own secrets.
      Even as Sandinista sees the failures of those with power and authority, she's offered the chance to survive through the redemptive power of friendship. Now she must choose between faith and forgiveness or violence and vengeance.

      I really like the intense-sounding themes that this book addresses, and I am hoping it is going to be one of those really good, thought-provoking reads...

      So what is everyone else looking forward to this week??

      Saturday, June 11, 2011

      Book Review: Popular

      Author: Alissa Grosso
      Release Date: May 8, 2011
      Pages: 336
      Read it in: 2 days

      Summary: For reigning popularity queen Hamilton Best, the very idea of graduation is filled with fear. She's always been the star of Fidelity High's most exclusive clique, idolized for her perfection and her fabulous parties— you know you're "in" when you make Hamilton's guest list. As high school draws to a close, Hamilton is about to lose everything that makes her who she is.

      To make matters worse, the clique is slowly coming apart at the seams. Although the hand-picked members— Olivia, Zelda, Nordica, and Shelly— all have their own agendas, desires, and secrets, they do have one thing in common: they're desperate to break away from Hamilton. Yet Hamilton has the biggest and most shocking secret of all, one that only her devoted boyfriend Alex knows. If the truth got out, it would completely destroy her fragile world.

      And she'll do anything to keep that from happening.

      LC's Take: 

      Told from the five perspectives of five different girls, you would think that Popular was just another Mean Girls knock-off. But before you write it off as some shallow tale about popularity, there is something in this book that will completely throw you for a loop. I can't say much more without giving it away, but the Fidelity High Clique is not what it seems. While all the other girls just want to get away from Hamilton and be themselves, Hamilton is scared to death of the end of high school and what lies beyond. There is something very dark troubling Hamilton, and she will do whatever it takes to cling to the present, to feel safe, where her dreams can't be shattered.

      My first impression of this book was, "here we go again, another cheesy high school drama." But then things started to get interesting, and then-- I'd say around page 215-- the book totally knocked me upside the head. I'm not going to give away the insane twist in this book, but let me just say that it was such a crazy spin that I physically reacted to it and actually said, "Ohhh myyy god what the...??" out loud! Yes, it was that good. If you can get through some of the more tedious and cheesy sections of Part 1, trust me when I say it is well worth the wait to find out how the entire thing goes down.

      The only issue that I had with Popular was some of the dialog and behavior of the characters at certain points in the story wasn't very believable. They didn't really talk or act like high school aged teens. However, this was all pretty much forgotten by the time I reached Part II of the book and I absolutely could not put it down. This was one book that I am so glad I read (I actually won an ARC copy a couple months ago) because it was like nothing I expected. Details aside, this was an amazing book and I highly recommend it!

      LC's Rating:
      Despite a slow start, the plot twist in this book is one of the craziest I have ever encountered. Be patient with the five different points of view in Part 1, and you will understand why reading all the way to the end is completely worth it!

      Wednesday, June 8, 2011

      Book Review: Divergent

      Author: Veronica Roth
      Publisher: HarperCollins
      Series: Divergent #1
      Release Date: May 3, 2011
      Pages: 496
      Read it in: 3 days

      The Hook: "One choice decides your friends. One choice defines your beliefs. One choice determines your loyalties-- forever. One choice can transform you."

      Summary: In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

      During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves… or it might destroy her.

      LC's Take: 

      Whoa. OK, please just give me a minute to let my pulse slow and fully recover from the pure awesomeness of this freaking AMAZING book. **Let's out long sigh** Alright, I'm good.

      Divergent was one of the most intensely mesmerizing books I've read in a long time-- from page 1 through to the last page 487, I was completely sucked in. Like, I'm talking edge of my seat, nose buried, devouring the pages, could not put down. This book absolutely blew me away.

      What really got me into Divergent is that it is one of those extremely intelligent books that is not only a great story in itself; it also poses fundamental questions about humanity and what it is that makes people who they are. OK, I know that totally just sounded like the beginning of a book report, but let me explain. What Veronica Roth does in this book is pretty much break down the most basic of human values and then asks the question: can we humans function or even survive on one alone? Is it even possible for one person to make the choice of what is their most beloved and sacred value, and then live according to that one value for the rest of their life, letting it completely define who they are and how they live? OMG, my brain is throbbing right now. Intense? Oh yeah, this book is way intense.

      Alright, so after that tangent, let me focus a little more on the literary merit of this book. Here is what I loved:

      • Even if you don't give a crap about metaphysical questions, this was still a kick-ass story. Every chapter ends on the perfect cliff-hanger so that you will quite literally have to un-glue your eyes from the pages. The action is non-stop and the plot will have your heart racing. 
      • Can I say just how much I love the internal character struggles? Beatrice-- or "Tris" as she goes by-- is such an amazingly multidimensional character. She is fiercely strong but still vulnerable, which is such a great combination. The book is told from her perspective, meaning that you completely get into her head and experience what she's going through. You know her thoughts and understand her emotions as she faces transformation into a "Dauntless" faction member. I was able to become totally consumed by this book as I followed Tris through her choices and her struggles with her own identity, and I empathized with her internal conflicts. 
      • Tris isn't the only great character-- I totally fell in love with Four, Tris' love interest, because he wasn't the typical guy character, and their relationship isn't the same old cheesy romance that you see in other books. Peter is the sadistic bully who you love to hate because he's just completely evil. And all of the other supporting characters show how Tris can't survive on her own, no matter how "brave" or "dauntless" she becomes.

      If you want a book with lifelike characters, thought-provoking questions, incredible writing and an action-packed story line that'll have your adrenaline pumping, this is the book for you! I really encourage you to go get Divergent and start reading it ASAP-- I guarantee you won't be able to put it down.

      LC's Rating:

      An amazingly intelligent and intense action-packed adventure that will draw you in from page one and not let you go until the very end. Read this book: it was brilliant!

      Waiting on Wednesday (8)

      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 I have really been on the look out for some great new books in the works for 2011-- there are so many! Not gonna lie, I am pretty excited. But since I can only share one with you this week, I have chosen The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson. It is #1 in the new Shades of London series. Here is a description from Amazon:

      Release Date: September 29, 2011
      Pages: 384
      Summary: The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it's the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago.

      Soon "Rippermania" takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was walking with her at the time, didn't notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target? In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.

      I love London and I have always had an interest in Jack the Ripper (ever see the movie From Hell with Johnny Depp? Holy crap, scaaaarrrryyy!!) Anyways, this sounds like a great thriller and I am definitely looking forward to its release!

      What is everyone else waiting for this week?
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