Monday, June 16, 2014

This Blog Has Moved to...

I know there haven't been any new posts on the blog lately, but not because I was bored. No, in fact, it's quite the opposite: I was setting up a new blog that would feature more than just book reviews, but at the same time still be aimed at a similar audience. I also have 2 other co-authors with me, and that only makes the site that much more interesting! We already have about 20 posts on the blog, so you can check us out and see if you're still interested. And just so you know, there's going to be a new giveaway up on the nouveau blog soon. I don't want to give everything away, but let's just say that it involves 10 copies of City of Heavenly Fire, and that winning depends entirely on your knowledge of the series.

For those of you worried that I'm going to delete this blog like I did last time, don't worry, I won't make the same mistake again. This blog is going to stay up and running, though there won't be any new posts. All the reviews and events are free for you to look through at your leisure. Those of you who want to check out the new site, just click on the link: 

I miss you all, and can't wait to see you over on the new site! Have a great summer vacation everyone, and remember, keep your eyes on the lookout for the giveaway!!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Early Review: The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles #1) by Mary E. Pearson

In this timeless new trilogy about love and sacrifice, a princess must find her place in a reborn world.

In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia’s life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight—but she doesn’t—and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighboring kingdom—to a prince she has never met.

On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, hopeful when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assasin sent to kill her. Deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—even as she finds herself falling in love.

~A copy was provided by Macmillan for review~

I wasn't exactly sure what I was getting into when I started reading this, but The Kiss of Deception was so much more intense than I'd expected it to be. Have you ever picked up a book, in the mood for a whimsical romance complete with drama, and then realized you were getting more than you bargained for? That's what reading this book felt like; the fact that there was an immense plot behind the main character, Lia, a young girl looking for a little love, was what made this book so...serious. Yet beautiful. It's been a while since I've encountered a book like this.

The first book that comes to mind when thinking of possible relatives to this novel is Warrior Princess by Allan Frewin Jones. Both were stories of princesses and fate, and both had the same fierceness to the plot and the MC. However, The Kiss of Deception had more of a romantic base to it. Speaking of romance, the assassin and the prince? They were the most unique male heros I've ever encountered. 

I had the hardest time choosing between the two characters; none of them fit into the stereotypic "arrogant prick turns loving" category that I usually choose my favorite book boyfriends from. I'm sure one of the guys fit the category more than the other, but it was just so impossibly hard to tell which. After getting a little more than halfway through the novel, I finally picked a man for Lia, but new events kept piling onto each other and by the time I finished reading I was doubting my choice. I feel like Kaden, the assassin, is more the complicated boyfriend-type I usually root for, while Rafe, the prince, is this unusual combination between nice-guy and soft-pushy guy. I'm astounded that the author managed to create two of the most unique male characters the book world has ever seen!

The world-building was breathtaking. It was incredible how we learned more about Lia and her world the further we got into the story. Each dialogue and thought increased our knowledge; it was surprisingly easy to see myself as Lia and to understand where she was coming from with all of her decisions. That doesn't mean I agree with everything she did - she gives her love away too easily - but she always had a reason. This amazing world filled with warring kingdoms and dastardly plots was only enhanced by the paradoxical innocence and maturity of the main character.

I'm not quite sure about how I feel about the ending. Almost none of the reader's questions are answered, and he's forced to wait another year to find out more. All of the characters are together once more, and many deceptions that the reader knew, but the characters didn't, are revealed. There still isn't a clear answer to who Lia chose, and while that has got my curiosity one edge, I can see why that would be a benefit in the next book. Personally, I thought the second half of the book was better than the first half, and going off of that, I'm hoping the second book, The Heart of Betrayal, will be even better than the first.

The Kiss of Deception is a consuming story about a girl trying to live her life the way she wishes, who then realizes that fate has other plans in store for her. I feel that fans of GracelingThe Arcana Chronicles, and other such fantasy novels will be the most likely to enjoy this book; it has the same gist to it. I sincerely believe that this is a well-written novel, and a great start to the author's dabblings in high fantasy.
Title: The Kiss of Deception
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Releases: July 15, 2014
Publisher: Henry Holt
Genre: YA, High Fantasy

Friday, March 21, 2014

Mini Review: The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy #1) by Marie Rutkoski

Winning what you want may cost you everything you love.

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

~A copy was provided by Macmillan for review~

Surprisingly, I had little to no expectations for this book. I'd seen the cover around and fallen in love with it at first sight, but I never really knew what the novel was about, probably because I skimmed through the synopsis. It was a 'read now' on Netgalley for a while though, and I just had to get the ARC everyone was talking about. Two reviews I read stuck in my mind, one praising the book with 5 hot expressos (Jenni @ Xpresso Reads) and one not quite loving it (Giselle @ Book Nerd). As soon as I started reading, however, my mind was blown and everything around me - including my many upcoming tests - fell away.

Kestrel is everything I could want in a main character. She's beautiful, intellectual, humble, and uniquely privileged. She also doesn't exactly believe that slaves are property; she actually cares for them, some more than others. She'd also rather play the piano that fight, which is independent of many heroines featured in today's popular novels. Beauty and smarts, what more could a girl want, right?

And Arin. Don't even get me started on him. He was just perfect! He had that perfect combination of stoic unforgiving ness and thoughtful protector. In short, that boy was HOT! And it helped that even as a slave he had that certain regal bearing that Kestrel (and I!) seemed to crave.

As a fan of Disney, I can't even begin to tell you how giddy I was when certain parts of the novel began resembling Disney films. Whenever I think of The Winner's Curse, I also think of Mulan 2. There was just something about the end that resembled the movie, but unlike Mulan, the ending wasn't resolved. If I could have any book in the world at this moment, I'd want the sequel to this.

The world-building was amazing, although even after reading I'm not exactly sure if this is historical fiction, dystopia, or a combination of both. All I know for sure is that this book was beautiful and anyone who disagrees is crazy;) I'd be surprised if I find a better book than this within the year.

This is a beautiful yet complicated romance between two teens on opposite sides in both conflict and class, and I believe all fans of fantasy will enjoy the novel. And if you don't? Well, then there isn't much to say, is there? Kidding. Sort of...
Title: The Winner's Curse
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Released March 4, 2014
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Genre: Romance, High Fantasy

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Review: Bound (The Guardians #1) by M.J. Stevens

‘No good deed ever goes unpunished, Mellea…’

Mellea Wendorn hasn’t exactly had a normal life. Misfortune seems to follow her, and her family, wherever she goes.
However, when Mellea stops to assist a mysterious young man suddenly her prior hardships seem trivial.

His name is Leo. He is a Successor, a child of the Guardians of Selestia.

He is royalty.
He is handsome.
And he wants Mellea completely to himself.

Unable to escape the Guardian's laws, Mellea must learn the ways of the royals. She is convinced her life can’t get much worse. But when a timeworn Guardian enemy arises from the shadows, Mellea must make a choice that will change her destiny forever.

~A copy was provided by Xpresso Reads for review~

This novel was a very...interesting read, and not the type of book I usually go for. The only reason I requested this book was because of the "royalty" concept, and as a huge fan of Disney and princes, I just couldn't stop myself. While even in the beginning my hopes weren't high, it was pretty much what I expected: vague, and without a properly-built setting. The romance was kind of cute and honestly probably the only reason I read this book until the end. Thankfully, the novel was a quick read, and it managed to keep my interest enough for me to keep going back.

The MC, Mellea, was a slightly annoying character; she grated on my nerves. A lot. In the first half of the book she was blindly argumentative, believing everything her father ever told her about the Guardians. Then when she meets Leo for the first time, she can't seem to do anything but nag and inform him of how much of a monster he is (despite the fact that the only time he becomes a monster is when Mellea calls him that). I have no idea how Leo could stand her, let alone want to be united with her. Of course he had his problems too, but they were more of the teenage boy issues you'd expect in a rich guy.

Lucky for me, naggy Mellea was present only in the first part of the book. Towards the end, it was all clingy Melle...which it turns out is ever worse. At this part:

"I squeal a little and tuck closer behind Leo,"

I think I snorted. How does a girl who goes around shouting at Guardians who have the power to kill her suddenly hide behind them? I'd have been more impressed if she used that as a move on Leo:/ I know I usually prefer MCs who aren't totally independent and still have a need for a little bit of romance, but Mellea was just pathetic. I have to say at this point I kind of missed her courage and nagging. It doesn't help that she's the only one of three "brides" who didn't get to learn combat. My reaction was even worse when I read this:

"Leo shouts, 'Arin, do not be so graphic around Mellea! She is not ready to hear that kind of talk.'" I can't even--. So now Mellea is so fragile that she can't even hear about death? I mean, come on! At this point I had almost no patience for the girl. I'd be lying if I said I could stand her. I suppose it turns out that independence really does look good on a girl. However, her weaknesses aren't the only reason I didn't enjoy reading the novel from her perspective. I'd have been completely fine with her fear of death if she had always been like that, but earlier in the novel, when the Lady Guardian died - a sweet, beautiful lady who gave her great advice how to make the best of her situation - the only thought Mellea could come up with was:

"There was still so much more I hoped to learn from her."

I believe that was exactly where my dislike of Mellea first started getting into the extremes. What kind of person thinks that after someone dies? I'd expect compassion at the death of an enemy, let alone a kind queen. And anyways, how does a person go from this unloving-unloved character to being a scaredy-cat? It just seems like a lot of personality changes, making the MC a character I just couldn't connect with.

So like I mentioned, the romance was what kept me reading. For example, Leo and Mellea's first meeting was adorable. There was that whole "I hate you but I'm mesmerized by you" thing going on, and some of the barbs exchanged just cracked me up. Here's my favorite scene with Mr. Guardian Successor:

"'What is your name?' Leo unexpectedly asks.
'Mellea Wendorn,' I say. I have no idea why I felt a need to throw in my last name. In fact I should have used a fake name. Geez I'm a moron.
Leo mumbles, 'That is a very strange name. I do not really care for it.'"

Though scenes like this were my favorite part of the book, after reading I felt like this wasn't my usual age group of books. I have a feeling that the novel is aimed more at people in middle school, though maybe that's just me. The lack of world-building and the not-so-intricate plot only glued that idea into my head even more strongly. I don't mean to be rude, but I feel like this is the type of book that I'd end up writing if I ever tried, a book with a tiny plot that's shoved aside in favor of the romance (of course, any book of mine would be a thousand times worse). Nevertheless, I got the same feeling after reading the book that I did when I first saw the cover of Bound: that it just wasn't that great.

Bound is an interesting novel that will fulfill any young reader's desire for a cute romance, but the lack of plot development and the presence of a double-personality main character encouraged me to turn away. As a side note though, while I had, in fact, planned not to read the next book in the series, that nice little cliffhanger at the end is making me doubt my decision >.<
Title: Bound
Author: M.J. Stevens
Released: January 21, 2014
Publisher: M.J. Stevens
Genre: Fantasy, Romance

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

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (7)

This fun little meme is hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. We just choose a book that has an upcoming release date and we're super excited about, and then share it with the world. It's simple, yah?

Here is this week's book I'm most excited for. I suggest you get ready to add it on Goodreads;)

The Here and Now 
by Ann Brashares
Expected Publication: April 8, 2014
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: YA, Romance, Dystopia

Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love.

Thrilling, exhilarating, haunting, and heartbreaking, The Here and Now is a twenty-first-century take on an impossible romance. Ann Brashares’s first novel for teens since The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is about a girl from the future who might be able to save the world . . . if she lets go of the one thing she’s found to hold on to.

Meet seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn’t come from a different country. She came from a different time—a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins.

Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they’re from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she’s told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth. But everything changes when she falls for Ethan Jarves.

I just got an ARC of this and I am So. Freakin'. Excited!!! I can't wait to read this, it just looks and sounds so good. It's too bad it's gonna be a while 'till I can actually get to this book *sigh*. 
Ah well. Have a rip-roaring rest of the week!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Movie Review: Red Riding Hood (2011)

Valerie (Seyfried) is a beautiful young woman torn between two men. She is in love with a brooding outsider, Peter (Fernandez), but her parents have arranged for her to marry the wealthy Henry (Irons). Unwilling to lose each other, Valerie and Peter are planning to run away together when they learn that Valerie's older sister has been killed by the werewolf that prowls the dark forest surrounding their village. For years, the people have maintained an uneasy truce with the beast, offering the creature a monthly animal sacrifice. But under a blood red moon, the wolf has upped the stakes by taking a human life. Hungry for revenge, the people call on famed werewolf hunter, Father Solomon (Oldman), to help them kill the wolf. But Solomon's arrival brings unintended consequences as he warns that the wolf, who takes human form by day, could be any one of them. As the death toll rises with each moon, Valerie begins to suspect that the werewolf could be someone she loves. As panic grips the town, Valerie discovers that she has a unique connection to the beast--one that inexorably draws them together, making her both suspect...and bait.
~Warner Bros. Pictures

This movie was an original take on the classic story of Little Red Riding Hood, and it was really cool how the storylines were barely the same, but the movie incorporated familiar scenes - such as the scene with the wolf and the grandmother - in a way that was completely unfamiliar and, in some cases, even ended up in a different outcome. I know there's a book called Red Riding Hood written by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright, but I'm not sure whether it was based on the movie or if the movie was based on it. I'm pretty sure the book was based on the movie though, especially considering that both the novel and film came out in 2011.

I feel like this would be a great movie for people who like reading books. Watching this movie to me felt like watching The Hunger Games or The Host after reading the book. There's this feeling of déjà vu, and it's easy to find yourself comparing the book and the movie, like you'd do with any other book-movie combo out there. I was reminded of The Crucible when watching the movie; it was so easy to compare the two. There were the false accusations of witchery and the guy who kills innocent people in the name of the Lord. Yeah, I'm talking about the wolf killer, Father Solomon; as far as I know, he hasn't killed any werewolves, only his wife. Coward. I guess he correlated to Abigail from The Crucible. It really is sad how people take advantage of the unknowledged, and how people are quick to blame their problems on people just because they're different. What's worse is that this happens every day in real life. It's just that the consequences are less obvious, and so not always acknowledged.

I know this is queer, but I found myself surprised at how...pretty the three main characters were. I don't want to be misunderstood here; I was downright giddy that I could stare at 2 hot guys throughout the film, but it seemed kind of unreal that people back then could look like that. For example, I really don't think Peter's hairstyle could have existed in the olden days when there was no such thing as hair gel. Neither would I expect everyone's clothes to be so fine, but maybe now I'm just thinking in stereotypes. Either way, I loved the setting, the clothes, the characters, and even the tone of the movie. Every detail in the movie served as a reminder of how creepy the little town was, and it was impossible to forget about the werewolf. I loved the mystery part of the movie as well, and I'm so glad that for once, I wasn't even close to guessing who the werewolf really was. I doubted tons of people, and it turns out the only person I didn't suspect was the bad guy. I love it when the movie is smarter than me;)

Readers of YA and fans of fairy-tale retellings, I think this is a movie you should at least take a look at. There's a lot of action and a singular romantic tension that doesn't take away from the main focus of the film. The characters were very well casted; I couldn't have done better if I'd tried. Take a peek at the trailer below. Hopefully, it'll prove my point. Plus, the music played at the end of the trailer is awesome!

Movie: Red Riding Hood
Released March 11, 2011
Director: Catherine Hardwicke
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screenplay: David Leslie Johnson
Run Time: 102 minutes

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Mini Review: Bloodmark (Bloodmark Saga #1) by Aurora Whittet

Sixteen-year-old werewolf princess Ashling Boru is different from other wolves—she was able to shift to wolf form at birth. Rather than bringing pride to her family, it brings fear, and as a result, she is forced to live in seclusion in Ireland’s countryside. Ashling’s reputation is further blackened when she refuses her betrothed and defies the ancient laws. When her pack’s oldest rivals begin hunting her, she finds herself in the small town of York Harbor, Maine—far from everything she’s ever known.

In Maine, she crosses paths with the dark and rebellious Grey Donavan, and something ignites within her soul. There’s just one problem: Grey is human. Their instant connection turns into a passionate romance, and Ashling begins to believe she can create her own life outside of wolf laws. When she begins to uncover long-buried pack secrets—secrets that threaten to destroy all she holds dear—Ashling’s courage and tenacity are tested. Will she choose her deep and enduring love for Grey, or will she follow Old Mother’s path to her destiny?

~A copy was provided by Aurora Whittet for review~

Everybody, let me introduce you to the werewolf version of Twilight! Before you ask, yes, Twilight was waaay better than this book, but people who hate Twilight might want to keep a distance from this book. That's just my opinion though. To speak against myself, I'll admit I absolutely adored Twilight, and this...not so much. This novel is easily readable in a day, and personally I think it's split into 3 different parts. First there's the super interesting part where every sentence is intriguing and seems to have a story behind it. This is when there are tons of possibilities going through your head about where the story is heading and who the love interest will be (I didn't read the synopsis before reading the book). Then there was the "boring to death" part which I literally felt was a huge waste of my time. Everything, especially the romance, just seemed so unreasonable, and guys, if you hated the romance in Twilight, you will abhor this one, or at least the start of it. Finally, there was the third part of the plot, which was back to being interesting, and since it contained some of the best parts of the entire book - especially the end - I'll keep the spoilers to myself. Just know to expect a love triangle in the next book;)

So still wondering why you'll abhor Grey and Ashling's romance? It's because this novel takes love at first sight to the extreme. I can understand Ashling falling in love, but Grey too?! That is nowhere near how I prefer my book boyfriends. And it gets worse. The two young lovers actually said they love each other the first time they ate at a restaurant together, which was basically the first day after they met! I think you'll understand me when I say, werewolf mating tendencies or no, this rough start to the romance sucked.

Though Twilight is one of my all time favorite books, it made me hate werewolves on sight. Surprisingly, this werewolf book was actually pretty good, and despite my squabbles about Grey and Ashling's relationship, I did like Grey much more than Jacob Black. I'll concede that I would have preferred vampires, but for a book like this, I supposed werewolves must be the next best thing. My main problem with this book, nonetheless, was not the romance, or even the werewolves, but the fact that everything was predictable, and almost nothing came as a surprise as I was reading. Still, I'll probably read the second book in the series, not because of the normal reasons one continues a series, but because I really want to read some love triangle action, and based on what I read, apparently the entire next book is a courting competition! I don't know if that's true, but I'm definitely willing to find out XD
Title: Bloodmark
Author: Aurora Whittet
Released November 1, 2013
Publisher: Wise Ink Creative Publishing
Genre: YA, Paranormal Romance