Friday, February 28, 2014

Review: Austenland (Austenland #1) by Shannon Hale

Jane Hayes is a seemingly normal young New Yorker, but she has a secret. Her obsession with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, is ruining her love life: no real man can compare. But when a wealthy relative bequeaths her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-crazed women, Jane's fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become realer than she ever could have imagined.

Decked out in empire-waist gowns, Jane struggles to master Regency etiquette and flirts with gardeners and gentlemen; or maybe even, she suspects, with the actors who are playing them. It's all a game, Jane knows. And yet the longer she stays, the more her insecurities seem to fall away, and the more she wonders: Is she about to kick the Austen obsession for good, or could all her dreams actually culminate in a Mr. Darcy of her own?

~Owned as eBook; 197 pages~

I decided to read this novel again because I devoured the book the first time and fell in love with the movie at first sight. Then a few days ago I was tempted to experience Jane Austen once again after making a collage themed on the book and movie (shown at the right), so here I am!

With most books, re-reading just doesn't work for me. I have a pretty good memory, so I always remember everything that happens, and there are never any surprises. What I loved about my second experience with Austenland is that there actually were things I didn't remember, and even the things I did remember were too swoon-worthy and Darcy-esque to not appreciate. I also liked being able to compare the movie and the book since everything from the film was still fresh in my memory.

Whether it be the film or the book, there was never a moment I wasn't full-on in love with Mr. Nobley. He was a real-life Mr. Darcy! Every personality one had, so did the other. The arrogance, the beauty, the mystery, the sadness, the snobbery! If I had a chance to go to Austenland - even with circumstances similar to Jane's - I'd say yes without a hint of hesitation. I want my own Mr. Darcy!

The plot was just as amazing as it was the first time, with Jane struggling over her obsession with Austen's male characters, but mostly Darcy. In fact, she even has a life-sized cut-out of Colin Firth in her apartment. Jane was such an endearing character, always trying to find herself beneath the obsession, and to stand up for her low self-esteem. Her ninja tactics on Nobley were my personal favorite though:P

I did skip the first few pages of the book that discuss Jane before she goes to Austenland, but after that it was me and the book until the very end. There wasn't a page - nay, a letter - that I skipped after that. I was so addicted that I stayed up until 4:30 in the morning to finish a book I'd already read. I hope that clarifies exactly how much I adore this novel. The first time I read it as a library book, the second time as an eBook; I think it's about time I get a copy of this as my own. 

This beautiful, beautiful book is a must-read for all fans of Jane Austen, or even just P&P. All those listopias listing re-tellings of Austen? This one should be number one. And if you're too lazy to read, please do me a favor and at least watch the movie. They're both equally pleasurable, and I can promise that if you're anything like me, it will quickly become one of your favorite films. I suppose that now I've read the book two times, it's only fair that I watch the movie again. I better get to it then!
Title: Austenland
Author: Shannon Hale
Released May 29, 2007
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Genre: Women's Fiction, Romance

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Movie Review: Barbie: The Pearl Princess (2014)

Barbie plays Lumina, a mermaid girl with the power to change the color of pearls. Cheerful and creative, Lumina finds herself working in a mermaid salon customizing fabulous hairstyles. And when Lumina has the chance to attend the royal ball, her friends adorn her with a gown fit for a princess. At the ball, villains try to seize power over the kingdom, and Lumina finds within herself an unexpected power that proves she is much more than a hair stylist.

Anyone who has kept up with the Barbie movies has probably noticed that the last few years of movies have been terrible. And by terrible, I mean that even I wouldn't have watched them if I'd known just how bad they were. And that's serious O_O Things started looking up a bit when the last movie, Barbie Mariposa & The Fairy Princess, came out, and from then (so far) it's been going in a positive direction. Of course, the last 2 good movies had Barbie playing a fairy and then a mermaid; I really hope that the next one will have Barbie as a human, and that the plot gets even better! But enough fangirling...or Barbie-girling.

For any of you who know me personally, you know that I love all things royal. So a movie with a prince and it even possible that that won't win me over? The prince didn't really have a relevant part in the movie, though it's obvious who the princess is. Even knowing the facts from the beginning, it didn't take away from the movie's appeal. 

The thing that separates kids' movies from "regular" movies are the morals. It's nice to watch a movie where good always triumphs over evil, without any complications. Lumina was such an adorable character; she was so innocent. The film starts off with Lumina playing what's basically "house" with her seahorse. It was also cool to see some of the sea animals from other movies.

This movie had a vast variation of characters, and not one of them was normal. The weirdest of the weird was probably Fergis, the boy, well, merman, pressured into becoming King when all he wants is to be a botanist. He has the most ridiculous voice, but he is a great character who made the movie very interesting. Now Fergis's dad on the other! 

Though The Pearl Princess was enjoyable and kept me up until after midnight, even I'll admit that it wasn't that great of a film. Especially when compared to the old ones like The Nutcracker and Rapunzel. I suppose the reason I liked it as much as I did is because it's the best of Barbie I've seen in a while. It doesn't help that the upcoming Fall Barbie movie looks plain idiotic. Maybe it's time I stopped keeping up with these movies *scrunches nose*.

This movie felt really short, and I feel like nothing much important happened until the end. Everything up until the climax was basically pointless. I was really disappointed when there wasn't a clear-cut romance between Lumina and Prince Delphin (not dolphin). I love how the Barbie films I watched during my childhood had a slow building romance, similar to what's read in novels. This, on the other hand, was definitely aimed at a 2 year old. Also, I'm not sure if this is just me, but I feel like Barbie got younger. Maybe the terrible movies are for a new generation of children?

I wish I could say something better about the movie but I honestly can't. I have no idea what is going on in the minds of the Barbie creators, but if it keeps up like this, I might as well say bye now. At least I'll have the pretty dolls XD
Movie: Barbie: The Pearl Princess
Released February 1, 2014
Director: Zeke Norton
MPAA Rating: G
Screenplay: Cydne Clark & Steve Granat
Run Time: 105 minutes

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Review: Killer Frost (Mythos Academy #6) by Jennifer Estep

I’ve battled the Reapers of Chaos before–and survived. But this time I have a Bad, Bad Feeling it’s going to be a fight to the death … most likely mine.

Yeah, I’ve got my psychometry magic, my talking sword, Vic–and even the most dangerous Spartan on campus at my side, in Logan freaking Quinn, but I’m no match for Loki, the evil Norse god of chaos. I may be Nike’s Champion, but at heart, I’m still just Gwen Frost, that weird Gypsy girl everyone at school loves to gossip about.

Then someone I love is put in more danger than ever before, and something inside me snaps. This time, Loki and his Reapers are going down for good … or I am.

~A copy was provided by Kensington for review~

I am honestly a huge fan of Jennifer Estep, and have been since I first started reading the series. What I fell in love with first was the romance between Logan and Gwen, but the mythology and the Reapers grew on me too. Admittedly, the romance between the two main characters has been getting less and less interesting after each book - though it peaked in the last novel - and I probably wouldn't have read this had it not been for the fact that I received an ARC for it. I was surprised though when it wasn't the romance, but the thought of the final battle that kept me reading.

What's interesting is that it took me until the final book in the series to realize that these books really are for younger readers, maybe for someone nearing the end of middle school. This doesn't affect my perception of the novel in any way; it was just weird that I never noticed until now. Going off on a a bit of a tangent, this book seemed to focus mostly and friendship, and the power of love (though not really the romantic kind). It kind of reminded me of Harry Potter, and how Dumbledore always said that love is the strongest magic of all, and that it's how Harry's mother protected Harry, et cetera et cetera.

Killer Frost is a pretty quick read and the plot progresses quickly. Yes, there are deaths in this book, and revealed identities, so anyone who has kept up with the series this far might as well finish the book, settle their curiosity, and be done with the Gwen chronicles. I mean, that's why I read the book. I'm getting off track though. My favorite part of the novel was, believe it or not, the romance between Nickamedes and a certain other well-known character. Their blossoming romance was adorable, and it helped that I have a certain fondness for those two characters even before their relationship. I can totally see myself reading this book in Nickamedes's POV...I'd love to read the romance firsthand, and I'd really like to know what goes on in that (probably sappy) head of his.

I really want to laud Jennifer on her ending, the grand finale, as it may be. Though I had a guess on who would win the Chaos War, exactly how the ending came about was a complete surprise. Now that I think about it, Killer Frost's ending was again similar to that of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I won't give it all away, but it consisted of Gwen, Nike, and Loki in some place that - to my mind anyways - resembled the dimension Harry entered after he "died". It's funny how I didn't see these similarities until now.

As this is the final book in a 6 book series, it's kind of difficult to write a meaningful review on it. Especially for this particular collection of books, since they're all so similar. They just blur together in my head. But after making all the connections that I did, I think it would be a good idea to recommend this book to fans of Harry Potter. Not only is the content similar, but I feel like the age group is about the same as well. I'm sure there are those of you who have never heard of this series, let alone read it. If so, I'd recommend you to check out the first book. It was by far my favorite in the series, and consists of all the best parts of a YA novel: a hot, warrior dude (or Logan freaking Quinn, as he is commonly known), mystical gods and goddesses, a very violent, talking sword, and of course, gypsy powers.

I've had a good two to three years with Gwen, but I agree with Jennifer: it's about time we go our separate ways. Besides, our Gypsy Girl deserves a break after saving (or not saving) the world;)
Title: Killer Frost
Author: Jennifer Estep
Released February 25, 2014
Publisher: Kensington Books
Genre: YA, Romance, Mythology

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday (3)

Top Ten Tuesday, or TTT, is a super awesome event hosted every Tuesday by The Broke and The Bookish. Every week there's a different topic, and based on that topic you just make a top ten list, that is, if you can even get to ten. This week's topic is really to choose something that you missed out on that came before, so I'll be doing:

Top Ten Characters I'd NEVER Want to Trade Places With (in no particular order):

  1. Tessa Gray from Clockwork Angel: Though Tessa was a great character, when you discount the fact that she ended up choosing both Will and Jem, I would never want to take her place because she was so kind and pretty and I am nothing like her. Basically what I mean is that Will never would have fallen in love with me anyways, and I'd be forced to suffer the evil curse of unrequited love. Yeah, no thanks.
  2. Katniss from The Hunger Games: Again, though it would be great to have Peeta as a boyfriend (and I suppose as a husband), there is no way in heck I'd have survived The Hunger Games. I'm just not a cold-blooded killer. Plus, I'd never intentionally kill someone for fear that I wouldn't make it to Heaven. Really though, the problem begins as early as the Reaping. Why? Because I'd have probably been too frightened to take Prim's place. I would have just stood there like an idiot like everyone else.
  3. Claire from Loving the Earl: As amazing as she is, Claire had a really hard marriage filled with abuse and terror, and I know for a fact that's something I could not have survived and come out of whole. I know, I'm weak, but why would I want to be a character who has to live through one of the things I live in fear of (not that this is an actually worry in my life...)? I'm sorry Nathan, but even a future with you won't make years of abuse worth my while.
  4. Anastasia from Fifty Shades of Grey: I know for a fact that many people - mostly women - would disagree with me on this opinion. They'd just love to have the passion and the weird BDSM stuff. Me, no thanks. Besides the fact that BDSM isn't even in my age group, it's not even accepted in society (thank goodness). Also, I really don't have time to deal with Christian and his oh-so-many problems. I feel for him, sure, but he's kind of mental, and I'd like to stay as far away from him as possible. You know, to keep my sanity.
  5. Cassie from The 5th Wave: Oh my gosh could you even imagine having to believe that you're the only person left on Earth? Having to try your best to survive on a day-to-day basis, with no thought but to get to your missing little brother. Gosh that would suck, and with my many phobias, I probably wouldn't even last a week on my own. I need people! It's a fact; I can't live without them.
  6. Judith from All The Truth That's in Me: I think you're getting the hang of this. Any character that experiences a lot of pain, I don't want to be. It's kind of something that I try to avoid in my life whenever I can. I can't even handle pulling off band-aids from my skin (I just use tissue paper to staunch the blood); imagine me handling a cut-off tongue *shakes head*.
  7. Lucy from The Next Best Thing: This is more of a personal thing, but I would never, EVER, want to be Lucy. Besides the whole "friends with benefits" thing I find completely inappropriate, that friend just happens to be her ex-husband's younger brother. And that gets me to the next thing. I never - in any dimension or time - want to marry a guy who is younger than me. Even if it's just by a second, or even a millisecond, NO. I'm not sure why, but I absolutely have to be the younger person in the couple.
  8. Blue from The Raven Boys: I even have to explain this one?? Why in the world would I want to be a girl who's destined to kill the person she kisses? Not that I'm in danger of kissing anyone *snicker*. But really, I wouldn't want to be the death of my true love. I mean, what if I kissed someone by accident (I know, extreme what-if here) and they just died? Not good.
  9. Felicia from The Memory of After: Oh silly me, why in the world would I NOT want to be a character stuck between death and the afterlife. Why would I not want to stay in a place where I can trust no one and I have nothing better to do than watch memories of my living boyfriend who I don't even happen to like anyways. And why wouldn't I want to be stuck in Level 2 after the only interesting guy in the entire length of the novel just sacrificed himself for me??! Is it coming together now?
  10. Juliet from The Madman's Daughter: Though it makes for a great novel, I'd really rather not be the daughter of a madman who practices vivisection and leaves me to go live on an island to practice even more vivisection. It'd also be kind of creepy to be partly made out of deer organs...yuck. And I really wouldn't want to live in constant fear that one day my medicines would stop working and I'd either 1) turn into a mutant monster thingey, or 2) die. And then there's also the fact that I'd either be falling in love with a servant who betrayed me or a mutant monster dude who loves murdering the people who hurt me.
Whoa that was actually really hard after the first few. My eyes are in a lot of pain...I guess that's what I get for typing this up so early in the morning, by which I mean about half an hour after midnight O_O This post has definitely revealed many not-so-great facts about me that probably would have better been kept a secret. Oh well. I guess nothing could be worse than becoming one of the characters listed above...I hope *gulp*.

Link me to your Top Ten and I'd be glad to take a peek! Have a great day everyone!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Early Review: Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

It begins as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May did. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to people like Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Amelia Earhart, Heath Ledger, and more; though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating new friendships, falling in love for the first time, learning to live with her splintering family. And, finally, about the abuse she suffered while May was supposed to be looking out for her. Only then, once Laurel has written down the truth about what happened to herself, can she truly begin to accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was; lovely and amazing and deeply flawed; can she begin to discover her own path.

~A copy was received from Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) for review~

This book was f***ing amazing! I apologize for the language (sorry!) by I won't take it back because it's absolutely, 100% true. If any of you actually keep up with my twitter, you'll know I said this before, but after reading his novel my mind was literally blown. Literally. There was so much depth to this novel it was amazing. Those of you obsessed with TFIOS, come off it! That doesn't even hold a candle to this! Alright, fine, maybe it holds one candle, but no way does it hold two! Believe it or not, this book should really be made into a movie. I don't think I'll be watching the TFIOS one but this??! I'd be first in line.

At the beginning, I knew this book would keep me reading. I just connected with this book as soon as I saw it on Netgalley. I don't mean connected connected, because my life is perfect compared to Laurel's, but man! Okay, I think I better start making sense now.

When I first began reading, I felt a bit ripped off. Laurel is a freshman in high school, but she writes like a middle-schooler. Not only that, but she was incredibly stupid (keep in mind, these were my first thoughts). Yes May died, and even without reading countless other books I know that it's a very traumatic thing. It's a form of grief that never goes away, but you have to learn to live with it, and boy that's not easy, but come on, you'd expect Laurel to have some form of common sense. It's understandable now after I've read the book, but she honestly seemed crazy. She was determined to be exactly like her sister. To live exactly as she did, and to even wear her clothes. Kind of creepy. I knew it was a bad idea from the start. As the letters go on though, we learn more about Laurel and why she is the way she is. It's this part that's saddest. It's not even that Laurel totally shut down once her sister died. No. It's that she put her trust in the wrong person, in a person who couldn't even take care of herself.

So while I couldn't stay mad at Laurel, her mother and her sister May were a whole 'nother story. The mother, or should I say the ditcher, is someone I reeeeally didn't like. She represented everything I hate in the mothers of today. The mid-life crisis thing, it gets old. People like that don't deserve to be called mothers. What they do, it's basically equivalent to pretending you don't have kids and a husband just because you're too worried about yourself to care about how you're hurting them. Can you say selfish?! Some mothers come back. Some don't. Does it make a difference? Yes. Is it possible to pretend it never happened? No.

What was so interesting about this book, so addicting, was that no one, NO ONE in this book was perfect. You're probably thinking that that's true in every book, and even in life, but when I say no one was perfect, I mean everyone either had family problems, drug problems, or lesbian problems. It was kind of scary, and it definitely made me thank God for the life I have the privilege of living, though I may not always realize it. When it comes to these "problem children", I've come to realize that I never look beneath the surface. For example, if someone smoked pot - in a book or in real life, I wouldn't even bother with them except to immediately dislike them. But Laurel's letters forced me to get to know everyone; they forced me to look beneath the drug habits and the bad temper and the crazy flirting. I even took a peek beneath the homosexuality. And what I found underneath was so sad and painful that I couldn't even read the words on the pages through the tears in my eyes.

So yes, this book these letters were real and beautiful and alluring and heart-wrenching, but above it all, more than anything else, they show us the honest to goodness truth, the parts of life that not all of us witness (thank goodness!), and that, more than any tear or romantic scene or plea for pity, is what makes this book special, and yeah, much better than TFIOS could ever be.
Title: Love Letters to the Dead
Author: Ava Dellaira
Releases April 1, 2014
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Mini Review: The Guard (The Selection #2.5) by Kiera Cass

Before America Singer met Prince Maxon . . .
Before she entered the Selection . . .
She was in love with a boy named Aspen Leger.

Don't miss this digital original novella set in the captivating world of Kiera Cass's #1 New York Times bestselling Selection trilogy. This brand new 64-page story begins just after the group of Selected girls is narrowed down to the Elite and is told from Aspen's point of view. The Guard also features a teaser to The One, the thrilling conclusion to The Selection trilogy.

~Owned as eBook; 64 pages~

Even before I picked up this book I knew that it was based mainly on Aspen, so I don't know why it came as such a shock to me when I started reading. Maybe it was the force of how hard Kiera was trying to push Aspen on us and make us like him. Or maybe it was just because my hatred of Aspen was toned down because I didn't see him in a while and then it flared up again when we met once more. Or maybe it was just because this novella truly wasn't good. Whatever it was, I didn't like it, and I hope that America makes the right decision in the next book (psst...look at my 'My Dream Team' widget in the sidebar), because if she doesn't, I swear that I will unfriend her and this series then and there.

Besides Aspen's unappealing personality, there were two things that made this book suck a bit. The first is that by getting into Aspen's mind, I kind of started feeling for him, which got me kind of mad at Kiera for forcing me to understand his point of view. So he was trying to sacrifice himself in order to make America's life better. I guess I didn't remember that part about the big breakup. But honestly, at this point, all I can say is good for him. That was his choice, and he has no right to assume that America will choose him. Which he doesn't. But still, he's a hateable character. And I do have a new plausible reason for not liking the guy as well. Whenever Aspen saw America with Maxon after (The Elite SPOILER ALERT) the whole whipping debacle concerning America's friend Marlee and her lover (SPOILER OVER), Aspen seemed so sure that, like him, America would feel nothing more than disgust for the Prince. Every time he said that I just felt like smacking him. Maxon may not be perfect Aspen, but he sure is a heck of a lot better than you *humph*.

So anyways, the second reason this novella was probably so unappealing to me was that because Aspen is a guard, a large part of this book was about the King, how he did some not very good things (I'm trying to keep it vague), how Maxon would probably be a terrible prince (yup, Aspen said that), and the rebel groups. Not really my kind of book. Be that as it may, things picked up at the end of the novella, about the time America runs off into the forest with the rebels chasing after her. Why? Because that's when we get our first look at Maxon at a time America never did. His reaction to America running through the forest is something you definitely won't want to miss, even if it is only a few short pages.

Now, I know this is slightly crazy of me, but I figure you should know the lengths of how much I didn't enjoy this book. As many of you know, The Guard contains an excerpt from The One, the first two chapters from it to be specific. BUT I DIDN'T READ IT. Yes, it's true, I got so bored that I didn't even have the patience to take advantage of a TEASER. I think that should tell you something about the novella >.<
Title: The Guard
Author: Kiera Cass
Released February 4, 2014
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genre: YA, Romance

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Review: Hereafter (Hereafter #1) by Tara Hudson

Can there truly be love after death?

Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she's dead. With no memories of her past life, she's trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. But everything changes when she tries to rescue a boy from drowning in the river. Because even though she can't do anything to help, Amelia somehow "wills" him to survive. And when he wakes up, Joshua can see her.

Together, Joshua and Amelia begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death, and the secrets of the dark river that has held her captive. But even as they grow ever closer, there are those in both worlds--the living and the dead--determined to tear them apart. . . .

~Borrowed from Library; 404 pages~

This is actually a review from a while ago (it was posted before the Big Deletion occurred), but I figured I'd post it again since I mentioned it in one of my recent reviews. So here it is:)

After checking out this book at the library, I decided that I'd look at a few reviews on Goodreads to know what to expect from it. I was surprised when I saw all the negative reviews my friends gave it. I assumed that I wouldn't like it at all, since my friends have pretty much the same taste in books as me. Disappointed and reluctant, I started reading this book. Herafter took me longer to read than most books do: 3 days. Ever time I put the book down, I had no real wish to pick it up again. The first half of the book was very slowly-paced, with not much going on. Luckily for me though, the second half of the book was a breeze. The story actually started coming in, and we learn about Amelia's past, and what her future may or may not hold for her. We finally learn what creepy-ghost-dude Eli is stalking Amelia for, and we see more and more of the romance between Amelia and Joshua.

What surprised me is that I didn't really enjoy the romance between Josh and Amelia. It was just so...kiddish. I didn't even get how such a romance - between a ghost and a human - could even be possible. And what type of human would just believe that there were ghosts? I mean, Josh just accepted the fact of Amelia's death so easily, it didn't even seem realistic. I mean, he should have at least questioned his sanity at some point in the book! Also, Joshua isn't the alpha male that you usually meet in paranormal books. He's more of a tween type of guy, trusting everyone and sort of unsure of himself. I guess he's more of the friend-type rather than boyfriend-type. Still, I guess he's perfect for the main character.

I didn't think that the characters were developed enough, since there were really only 2 main characters in this book; no one else was really mentioned that much. For example, even though Joshua's sister was a huge part of the end of the novel, we still never really get to know her. It's kind of weird when you think about the lack of main characters. I can see in my head what it would look like on Sparknotes:

Analysis of Major Characters:

Amelia: a girl who died near the end of the 20th century. She doesn't remember how she died, or even her own last name. All she knows is that her name is Amelia and that she died at the age of 18. Ever since then, she's been wandering around the Earth, able to see everyone, though no one can see her...until she meets Joshua. He makes her feel things she hasn't felt in death before, and though she wants to feel more, a part of her wants to just keep on running and hiding.

Joshua: an 18-yr teen who's grandma is a Seer, a person who can see ghosts. He never sees anything unusual though, 'till he almost drowns in the river. There he sees a beautiful girl, though apparently, no one else can see her. As soon as he's out of the hospital, he's determined to get to know the mysterious girl better, whether or not she wishes the same.

Actually, that's the most interesting sparknotes I've ever seen; after all, pretty much all the others are classics, and I can guarantee that this is better than most classics, though not Pride & Prejudice, The Great Gatsby, The know what? Never mind.

I don't really know that I'd recommend this book to anyone, though people who like slow-going novels might stand a chance against this novel. I want to make it clear though that even this this book isn't great, it's still not as bad as everyone leads you to believe it was. In fact, the ending was interesting enough for me to want to check out the next book in the series, Arise. You never know, you might end up feeling the same;)
Title: Hereafter
Author: Tara Hudson
Released: June 7, 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA, Paranormal Romance

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Review: Butterfly Palace by Colleen Coble

Lilly secures a job as lady's maid in a grand manor in Austin, Texas. But even far from home, her past lurks around every corner.

When Lilly Donnelly arrives at the Cutlers' famed Butterfly Mansion in 1899, the massive house and unfamiliar duties threaten to overwhelm her. Victorian Austin is lavish, highly political, and intimidating, but with the help of the other servants, Lilly resolves to prove herself to her new employers.

Then, while serving at an elegant dinner party, Lilly recognizes one distinguished guest as Andrew, the love of her life, who abandoned her without a word back home. He seems to have assumed a new identity and refuses to acknowledge her, leaving her confused and reeling.

Before Lilly can absorb this unwelcome news, she's attacked. Could it be the sinister Servant Girl Killer who has been terrorizing Austin? Or is it someone after something more personal--someone from her past?

Does she dare trust Andrew to help or is he part of the danger threatening to draw Lilly into its vortex?

~Owned as ebook; 336 pages~

What nobody told me before I started reading this book was that Colleen wrote it when her heart-sister was in a struggle against ovarian cancer. The author's note doesn't specify if she survived or not, but I'm really hoping she won the battle. My point is, if I'd known the circumstances this book was born of, I probably could have figured out that the romance wouldn't be of huge import to Colleen. However, the only reason I wanted this book was because the synopsis made Drew sound like Mr. Darcy, and fellow P&P fans will understand my grief when I found out the two were nowhere near the same.

Still, this book managed to teach me a valuable lesson; it taught me that books can be interesting even when the romance sucks. I'm not even lying! Even though every time Drew was in the story I felt like telling him to shut up and go away, the murder and the stolen butterflies kept me interested enough to keep on reading. Of course, I guessed who the murderer was almost as soon as I saw him/her, but some of his/her accomplices, when revealed, came as a big surprise. I also found it really interesting that people back then were interested in butterflies, and that they were willing to pay big money for them as well. It just goes to show how rich people would spend money on anything...lucky them *pouts*.

Lilly was a great Christian Fiction character. She was kind and never vengeful, and didn't hate anyone for the way her life turned out. She was even eager to do her best at being a maid at the Butterfly Palave. Knowing myself, I'd probably complain 24/7 about my circumstances if I ever had to become a maid. Now a butler...that'd be cool. I really wish there were female butlers. Back to the point: though Lilly was everything a girl from the past should be, I kind of wish that she had more spunk. She was too quiet and obedient for my tastes, and despite what I said earlier, I wish she would have stayed mad at Drew longer. The beginning scenes between Drew and Lilly were the best because of all the drama; from there it was just Drew trying to decide between Lilly and his job. Bo-ring!

To be honest, the mystery, though engaging, wasn't exciting or suspenseful. It just was, by which I mean it was just something in the story. I guess murder - when it's a mix of Christian and Historical fiction - has to be toned down a bit to fit the genre. I suppose fans of the genre may very well enjoy it. I'll admit I was expecting much more from Colleen Coble after reading Blue Moon Promise. Now that I think about, maybe I didn't like this book too much because of my high expectations. Then again, if I didn't have my expectations, I never would have picked up the book at all...
Title: Butterfly Palace
Author: Colleen Coble
Released January 21, 2014
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: Christian Fiction, Romance

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (8)

Waiting on Wednesday is an event hosted by Jill at 'Breaking the Spine' every Wednesday. Me on the other hand, don't do this every Wednesday, but whenever I feel like it. I'm lazy that way. WoW is where bloggers share a book they can't wait to read, and also where they can exclaim with like-minded people about how much they "NEED THE BOOK RIGHT NOW."

This week's Waiting on Wednesday book of the week is:

Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3)
by Leigh Bardugo
Expected Publication: June 17, 2014
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance

The capital has fallen. The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation's fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova's amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling's secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

Am I the only one who had no idea this book came out? When did it come out anyways, 'cause I honestly have no idea. But really, who cares, it's out and it's amazingly beautiful and that's all that really matters. I think I might have to check this one out from the library when it comes out instead of buying it as an ebook because that's how pretty the book is; I'd love to just stare at it every few minutes in between reading:D I am soooo very excited for this book to come out, I love the romance between Alina and Mal, and the Darkling is definitely someone who never gives away all his secrets...and I'd like to learn them all. Please come out soon you gorgeous, amazing book!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Review: Fates (Fates #1) by Lanie Bross

Perfect for fans of Jennifer Armentrout, Julie Kagawa, Rachel Vincent, and Sarah J. Maas, and for girls who love all things pretty, romantic and inspirational.

One moment. One foolish desire. One mistake. And Corinthe lost everything.

She fell from her tranquil life in Pyralis Terra and found herself exiled to the human world. Her punishment? To make sure people's fates unfold according to plan. Now, years later, Corinthe has one last assignment: kill Lucas Kaller. His death will be her ticket home.

But for the first time, Corinthe feels a tingle of doubt. It begins as a lump in her throat, then grows toward her heart, and suddenly she feels like she is falling all over again--this time for a boy she knows she can never have. Because it is written: one of them must live, and one of them must die. In a universe where every moment, every second, every fate has already been decided, where does love fit in?

~A copy was provided by Random House Children's for review~

To me, I feel like this book is...indescribable, and not exactly in a great way. I expected this book to be something like Hereafter by Tara Hudson, but it was really something else. That's not to say the concept of the story was bad; it's just that the plot played out better in my head than it did in the actual book.

As a few other reviewers also mentioned, I really liked the mix of Greek mythology and time travel. It was cool how instead of the Three Fates you read about in Percy Jackson, there are now sister fates who 1) actually have sympathy, and 2) are NOT the highest powers out there determining life and death. Kind of a scary thought, really. There were also these different worlds you can travel through with the help of a compass - the archer and the ballerina ones are the only 2 mentioned in the novel - and personally I would have liked getting a peek at more worlds than I saw. Like I said before, the thoughts the author had for this book were probably great, but it could have played out better.

I had a huge problem with the male lead, Lucas. He had this thing for Corinthe which was kind of unhealthy. Every time he saw her, whether it was at a party or when she was trying to stick a knife through him, almost all he could think of was how enchanting Corinthe looked and how much he wanted to kiss her. I really think he needs to get his head checked. However, he had enough problems in his life like a drunk, depressed father and a druggie sister. I guess I could cut him some slack. And this is just a little connection, but whenever Jasmine (the sister) was mentioned, all I could think of was Jared from TVD...just sayin'.

I know you're going to hate me for this non-TVD watchers, but here's another connection: Corinthe = Rebekah. It's true. They both had this huge problem in their lives concerning how they never got to make their own decisions. It was sad and I really felt for Corinthe. It must hurt to learn that everything you know and trust is a lie; I can't even imagine how it would feel. It'd be similar to my mom giving me away for some money. Ouch.

To wrap up this review, I just want to mention my mixed feelings about the end of the book. I loved how the danger was never what was perceived; it was brilliant the way Lanie made the predator the prey, and how that transformation was completely by accident. I don't think I could have stood it if any such thing happened on purpose between those two anyways (I realize you probably have no idea what I'm talking about, but you will!). The very end felt incomplete, despite the fact that it's meant to be a cliffhanger. I feel like the readers should have been given just a mite more information; everything was so vague. Based on my experience reading this book, I don't believe I'll be making an attempt on the second. Last time: it's not that this isn't a good book. It's just that the romance was kind of dumb, for lack of a nicer word.
Title: Fates
Author: Lanie Bross
Released February 11, 2014
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: YA, Romance, Mythology

Monday, February 17, 2014

Fallen for Covers (7) --> Featuring "Remember Me' by Romily Bernard and "Don't Touch' by Rachel M. Wilson

Fallen for Covers is a meme hosted on Monday by none other than myself, though admittedly the idea is not originally mine in the least. All that's done here is we list a few book covers that we've "fallen for" over the last week, or in my case, from whenever it is I took a break from blogging. Enjoy the covers:)


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Back 2 School Giveaway! --> Winner Announced!!!

Hey everyone! I'm back at least temporarily to announce the winner of the amazing Back 2 School Giveaway! I know I'm about two days late already, and that it's almost 2:30 in the morning, but I figured I'd better do this now or who knows when I'll get the time again. I'm pleased to announce that the winner of this giveaway is none other than *drumroll*..........

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**Esther, I've emailed you to notify that you won the giveaway. Either reply with the book you want out of the given choices or comment on this post with your decision. You have 48 hours before another winner is chosen. Congratulations!**

 Happy mid-winter break to everyone who has it; hope you all had a lovely Valentine's day!! Hopefully I'll be back soon with a review of Lanie Bross's YA debut;)

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Movie Review: The Lego Movie (2014)

An ordinary LEGO minifigure, mistakenly thought to be the extraordinary MasterBuilder, is recruited to join a quest to stop an evil LEGO tyrant from gluing the universe together.

Personally, this isn't a movie I would have chosen to watch voluntarily when there are so many other new movies out there more my type - like VA and Muppets: Most Wanted - but with a stubborn little brother like mine, I don't always get my way. However, it's been a while since I've read a book or watched a movie (becuse of my new TVD addiction as well as an upcoming ACT), so I decided a review would make my experience worth something.

After watching several advertisements for the movie prior to going to the theaters, I felt the film wasn't for me, but also that it wouldn't be the worst movie to watch. After viewing, I feel pretty much the same way. I realized this movie was for kids, but only after sitting in my seat did I realize exactly how small the kids who this movie was geared toward were. Besides my brother, everyone seemed below the age of 10! Not very inspiring. 

If you think that's bad, the beginning of the movie was worse. My first impression was that it was even more boring than all those TV shows on Cartoon Network. Slowly though, the main characters were introduced and the plot started building up. The romance was definitely PG, but also cute. I found it hilarious that Batman was a part of the love triangle (if you can call it that). The comedy was the main thing going for this movie, and the humor is the same Lego humor you find in all their video games. Needless to say, Batman was an idiot and Dumbledore had a really stupid, but funny, voice. The incorporation of random well-known characters is one of the things that made the film enjoyable.

The Lego Movie got better as it went on, and the ending had a twist that I thought was amazing. I'm not one for morals, but this movie definitely had one - a really great one according to my dad. My personal favorite part of the movie was the last few seconds where some Lego Duplo characters got introduced. I wouldn't recommend going to the movies to watch this, unless you have a crazy obsession for everything and anything Lego brand. I realize this isn't a fair review since I'm a teenager, but I'm willing to bet so are many of my readers.

That being said, this movie was the most popular this weekend and already brought in $87,210,000. Trust me, I was very surprised when that little bit of news plopped into my ears. I haven't found many negative reviews for the movie, though the recommended age group for the film is 6+. I'm not judging the people who loved the movie; it's just a fact. Still, in the end, I stand with my original outlook: this isn't a movie I'd ever talk too excitedly about with my friends, but a toddler or two might find me telling them that they should go watch it.
Movie: The Lego Movie
Released February 7, 2014
Director: Chris Miller & Phil Lord
MPAA Rating: PG
Screenplay: Chris Miller & Phil Lord
Run Time: 100 minutes