Saturday, October 29, 2011

Every Other Day

Every Other DayTitle: Every Other Day
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Rating: 4/5
SummaryEvery other day, Kali D'Angelo is a normal sixteen-year-old girl. She goes to public high school. She attends pep rallies. She's human. 

And then every day in between . . .She's something else entirely. 

Though she still looks like herself, every twenty-four hours predatory instincts take over and Kali becomes a feared demon-hunter with the undeniable urge to hunt, trap, and kill zombies, hellhounds, and other supernatural creatures. Kali has no idea why she is the way she is, but she gives in to instinct anyway. Even though the government considers it environmental terrorism. 

When Kali notices a mark on the lower back of a popular girl at school, she knows instantly that the girl is marked for death by one of these creatures. Kali has twenty-four hours to save her and, unfortunately, she'll have to do it as a human. With the help of a few new friends, Kali takes a risk that her human body might not survive. . .and learns the secrets of her mysterious condition in the process.
My Thoughts: Kali's a normal teenage girl--every other day.  On the days she's not, she's a hardcore, nearly immortal being who hunts supernatural dangers like zombies, dragons, and other beasts. Kali doesn't quite know just what she is, but she knows that she can expect to only be human half of the time. When the popular ice queen at school is infected by a chupacabra, normally a death sentence, Kali takes it upon herself to save her. This action sets off a series of events that will show that there's much more going on in Kali's town than anybody knows. Somebody is creating worse supernatural beings, and Kali and her new found friends need to put an end to it. 

Every Other Day was crazy fun from the very beginning. At first I was skeptical about Kali's alternating days of supernaturalism and normalcy, but once I bought into the concept, it made for a fast-paced, race against the clock read. Kali was a spunky, superheroine of a narrator, and since the book is written in the first-person with Kali as narrator, I loved being able to become her for at least a little while. 

What I loved about this book is that it takes elements that are very familiar, like zombies, vampires, dragons, and mixes them up in a story that feels original and unpredictable. It made me feel completely comfortable in the world without being bored. I also loved how lighthearted this book is. It never felt bogged down or overly angsty, which resulted in a very joyful reading experience. 

At times, Kali reminded me of Buffy Summers, with her cool attitude and fearlessness in fighting the forces of evil. I think fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer will eat this book up. I also recommend this for anyone who loves action-paced paranormal YA fiction. Barnes has said that this is a stand-alone book, but it has potential for a series if she decides to take it in that direction.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

Title: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Author: Michelle Hodkin
Rating: 4.8/5
Summary: Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
It can.
She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.
There is.
She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love.
She's wrong.
The Unbecoming Of Mara Dyer is one of those books that messes with your head. In a really, really great way. I'm not sure how authors like Michelle Hodkin or Kelly Creagh (Nevermore) can pull it off, but I never thought I'd be gushing over how much I loved that I had no clue what was going on. 
My Thoughts: 
To be honest, I would've loved the book even without all of the mind trickery. I would've loved the book if nothing had happened and it was just Mara and Noah, the gorgeous British bad boy, talking for the whole novel. Michelle Hodkin struck gold with this relationship. I was bouncing between laughing from their banter and awing from their sweetness to fanning myself from their sexual tension. This is such a serious book, but I loved those occasional moments of humor andlightness between the two of them. It added a lot of charm.

And I have to mention that this book gave me the creeps. A lot. Mara's got some pretty cruel things happening around her and Hodkin's haunting writing only amplified the creep factor and the whole mysterious loss of memory and hallucination stuff.

Overall, even the hype monster didn't stand a chance against The Unbecoming Of Mara Dyer. Michelle Hodkin's dark debut is edgy, scary, romantic, funny and so much more. You know it's been a good reading experience if you're still thinking of one book while in the middle of another, so I definitely recommend you check this one out!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sweet Venom (Medusa Girls #1)

Sweet Venom (Medusa Girls #1)Title: Sweet Venom (Medusa Girls #1)
Author: Tera Lynn Childs
Rating: 4/5
SummaryGrace just moved to San Francisco and is excited to start over at a new school. The change is full of fresh possibilities, but it’s also a tiny bit scary. It gets scarier when a minotaur walks in the door. And even more shocking when a girl who looks just like her shows up to fight the monster. 

Gretchen is tired of monsters pulling her out into the wee hours, especially on a school night, but what can she do? Sending the minotaur back to his bleak home is just another notch on her combat belt. She never expected to run into this girl who could be her double, though.

Greer has her life pretty well put together, thank you very much. But that all tilts sideways when two girls who look eerily like her appear on her doorstep and claim they're triplets, supernatural descendants of some hideous creature from Greek myth, destined to spend their lives hunting monsters.

These three teenage descendants of Medusa, the once-beautiful gorgon maligned by myth, must reunite and embrace their fates in this unique paranormal world where monsters lurk in plain sight.
My Thoughts: In SWEET VENOM, Medusa and her gorgon sisters have been maligned in myth. Ever since Medusa's assassination, her descendants have been fighting monsters that escape their prison by way of a crack in the seal between worlds, left there by one of those pesky gods (of course). Once in our world, the monsters disguise themselves as humans. Only descendants of Medusa can see their true forms. 

The book begins with Gretchen biting a hydra to send it back to its world. That's totally normal.

Then Grace moves to San Francisco and begins seeing monsters. That's less normal. Grace's life is not supposed to have monsters.

Things quickly get even more complicated: Gretchen's mentor goes missing, one of the boys at school is immune to their hypnotic eyes, and . . . they have a third sister, Greer.

The rules of their monster-fighting world are changing. Something big is going on, and it has to do with the seal between worlds.

This is Tera's third series (following OH. MY. GODS. and FORGIVE MY FINS), once again centering on Greek mythology. Tera always amazes me with her knowledge, flawless prose, and fresh look at a popular subject. This book is no exception. And while you might worry that a story about triplets could have them all behaving the same, this never happens. Not once. Each girl has a distinct voice, her own personality, and unique reactions to the world they live in.

If you like Tera's other books? Read this one.

If you're craving a book about kick-butt monster-fighters? Read this one.

Silence (Hush Hush #3)

Silence (Hush, Hush, #3)Title: Silence (Hush Hush #3)
Author: Becca Fitzpatrick 
Rating: 4.4/5
Summary:The noise between Patch and Nora is gone. They've overcome the secrets riddled in Patch's dark past...bridged two irreconcilable worlds...faced heart-wrenching tests of betrayal, loyalty and trust...and all for a love that will transcend the boundary between heaven and earth. Armed with nothing but their absolute faith in one another, Patch and Nora enter a desperate fight to stop a villain who holds the power to shatter everything they've worked for—and their love—forever.
My ThoughtsAfter waiting an entire year for Silence to be released I can say there it was completely worth the wait. Becca Fitzpatrick knows how to please her readers. 
After leaving Crescendo on such a cliffhanger she picked up Silence with the same incredible amount of intensity and pace, leaving the reader to continue questioning what had happened after we left Patch and Nora on that final page of book 2.
With it's frustratingly addictitive storyline, Fitzpatrick made you fall in love with Patch all over again, spill hope across the pages for Nora and just love Vee no matter what.
This is a book series I would highly recommend everyone to read, lover of YA or not. It's fantasticly created characters, flawless plotlines and action and romance scenes running off the pages makes every word read well worth it.
It took me under 24 hours to read and I will be holding my breath until the forth and final book is released in October 2012.
I admire and applaud you, Fitzpatrick. You are never one to disappoint.

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Iron Knight (Iron Fey #4)

The Iron Knight
Title: The Iron Knight (Iron Fey #4)
Author: Julie Kagawa
Rating: 5/5
SummaryAsh, former prince of the Winter Court, gave up everything. His title, his home, even his vow of loyalty. All for a girl… and all for nothing. 

Unless he can earn a soul.

To cold, emotionless faery prince Ash, love was a weakness for mortals and fools. His own love had died a horrible death, killing any gentler feelings the Winter prince might have had. Or so he thought.

Then Meghan Chase—a half human, half fey slip of a girl— smashed through his barricades, binding him to her irrevocably with his oath to be her knight. And when all of Faery nearly fell to the Iron fey, she severed their bond to save his life. Meghan is now the Iron Queen, ruler of a realm where no Winter or Summer fey can survive.

With the (unwelcome) company of his archrival, Summer Court prankster Puck, and the infuriating cait sith Grimalkin, Ash begins a journey he is bound to see through to its end— a quest to find a way to honor his solemn vow to stand by Meghan’s side.

To survive in the Iron realm, Ash must have a soul and a mortal body. But the tests he must face to earn these things are impossible. At least, no one has ever passed to tell the tale.

And then Ash learns something that changes everything. A truth that turns reality upside down, challenges his darkest beliefs and shows him that, sometimes, it takes more than courage to make the ultimate sacrifice.

My Thoughts: Is there any way I can give more stars? The Iron Knight (Iron Fey #4) was such an anticipated book for me as well as to so many others that have fallen deeply in love with the world in which Julie Kagawa has so artfully created. Her brilliance shines once again in this final installment of the Iron Fey series. The question that lingers on all of our minds, will Ash and Meghan finally get their HEA? (Happily Ever After). I completely and utterly fell in love with Ash, more than ever before as I took this “quest to earn a soul” with him as well as a few of the other characters we have grown to love in the Iron Fey. There are obstacles they will face and losses they will mourn. This is the quest of all quests that will challenge loyalties and friendships, but above all, a real true love. 
I was emotionally attached to this series from the get-go and hoped it would never end. Sadly, all good things must come to an end. This treasure of a book is one you want to take your time with and indulge in every moment and take it all in.  Now stop. Look at the cover. Look at something else. Look at the cover again. Smile and sigh. Hehehehehe do the giddy laugh with me. We're both thinking the same thing right? :)

Prized (Birthmark #2)

Prized (Birthmarked #2)Title: Prized (Birthmark #2)
AuthorCaragh M. O'Brien
Rating: 3.8/5
SummaryStriking out into the wasteland with nothing but her baby sister, a handful of supplies, and a rumor to guide her, sixteen-year-old midwife Gaia Stone survives only to be captured by the people of Sylum, a dystopian society where women rule the men who drastically outnumber them, and a kiss is a crime.  In order to see her sister again, Gaia must submit to their strict social code, but how can she deny her sense of justice, her curiosity, and everything in her heart that makes her whole?
My Thoughts: In Sylum, where women were outnumbered and treasured, Gaia has found her place. The scar on her cheek was forgotten, unseen by the people. Her beauty inside and her charm radiated, making her catch the eyes of two brothers: Peter and Will. Peter was the one who rescued and brought her to Sylum. He was simple, peaceful and dedicated. Above all, he exuded happiness. Will was the smart, gentle and curious brother. He shared theories and secrets with her. But will the two brothers distract her from what her heart really wanted? Leon, the guy who helped her and grew close to her in Enclave, came back in her life, with marks from the past and the drive to do anything for her. But this kind of Leon was darker, ominous. I loved the complexity of his relationship with Gaia. It was very realistic.

The writing as usual was superb. There was something magical with O’Brien’s writing. She could tell the simplest thing and make it beautiful and unforgettable. Gaia’s voice came out as distinct, sometimes wavering, and sometimes firm. Throughout the novel, it became a crystal clear reflection into Gaia’s psyche and into the struggles of other characters.

Half-Blood (Covenant #1)

Half-Blood (Covenant, #1)Title: Half-Blood (Covenant #1) 
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout 
Rating: 4.5/5
SummaryThe Hematoi descend from the unions of gods and mortals, and the children of two Hematoi-pure-bloods-have godlike powers. Children of Hematoi and mortals-well, not so much. Half-bloods only have two options: become trained Sentinels who hunt and kill daimons or become servants in the homes of the pures. Seventeen-year-old Alexandria would rather risk her life fighting than waste it scrubbing toilets, but she may end up slumming it anyway. There are several rules that students at the Covenant must follow. Alex has problems with them all, but especially rule #1:Relationships between pures and halfs are forbidden.Unfortunately, she's crushing hard on the totally hot pure-blood Aiden. But falling for Aiden isn't her biggest problem--staying alive long enough to graduate the Covenant and become a Sentinel is. If she fails in her duty, she faces a future worse than death or slavery: being turned into a daimon, and being hunted by Aiden. And that would kind of suck.
My Thoughts:  Wowieeeee. I was instantly hooked by this book when I read the synopsis and saw the gorgeous purple cover, but that's nothing compared to what's actually inside the book. Jennifer Armentrout creates a butt-kicking, crime-fighting, people-protecting tough female protagonist that you just can't help not liking. One of my top favorite female main characters ever? Heck, yes. And I don't even want to go on about Aiden, because I don't know if I'll ever be able to stop. Two words: He's. Amazing. (Or is that three words, because the apostrophe takes the place of a letter...?) Poor Jace and Prince Ash. This guy can give them a run for their money.  
I had goosebumps and even felt myself blushing in more than one occasion... Sometimes I felt like I was about to cry, sometimes like I couldn't stop laughing. Every kind of emotion is there, ready to jump on you, and the amazing writing skills of the author are what makes this happen. If you love romance novels read this book. If you loved Vampire Academy read this book. If you love the concept of Greek mythology read this book. If you love YA novels read this book. Damn, if you like to read READ THIS BOOK.  


DeviantTitle: Deviant
Author: Adrian McKinty
Rating: 2/5
SummaryDanny Lopez is new in town. He made a mistake back home in Las Vegas, and now he has landed at an experimental school in Colorado for “tough cases.” At the Cobalt Charter School, everything is scripted—what the teachers say, what the students reply—and no other speaking is allowed. This super controlled environment gives kids a second chance to make something of themselves. But with few freedoms, the students become sitting ducks for a killer determined to “clean up” Colorado Springs.
My Thoughts: Love the cover. It's creepy and devilish. I thought this book would be just as dark. 

I was wrong.

Serial Killer's fascinate me. Plain and simple. I've read thousands of books centered around the mind of men and women who are so deluded and mentally whacked they make this serial killer look like Big Bird. Killing cat's? Really? The first chapter made me laugh. I wasn't able to complete the book, I stopped after dragging myself through the first 200 pages. Overall, I would not recommend this book. 


MisfitTitle: Misfit
Author: Jon Skovorn
Rating: 3.5/5
SummaryJael has always felt like a freak. She’s never kissed a boy, she never knew her mom, and her dad’s always been super strict—but that’s probably because her mom was a demon, which makes Jael half demon and most definitely not a normal sophomore girl. On her sixteenth birthday, a mysterious present unlocks her family’s dangerous history and Jael’s untapped potential. What was merely an embarrassing secret before becomes a terrifying reality. Jael must learn to master her demon side in order to take on a vindictive Duke of Hell while also dealing with a twisted priest, best-friend drama, and a spacey blond skater boy who may have hidden depths.
Author Jon Skovron takes on the dark side of human nature with his signature funny, heartfelt prose.
My Thoughts: The story was interesting, although at times it was a bit tiring (the religious portions). One of the strong parts of the story is Jael Thompson. While she isn’t exactly relatable, given the whole half demon thing, she is a very intriguing character. I did enjoy watching her come into her demon part. Her mother, Astarte, sacrificed herself to save Jael when she was an infant. Her father, an ex priest and mortal, has been raising her on his own since then. At the age of eight, her father tells her that her mother was a demoness but it isn’t until her sixteenth birthday that she learns she is part demon herself.

I think my favorite parts of the book involved Dagon, Jael’s uncle who is a demon that lives in hell. He’s described as ugly and having fish scales, add that to his personality and it makes for an interesting character.

Unfortunately, when I read the synopsis for MISFIT I was hoping for more. It isn’t that MISFIT was a bad book, that isn’t the case at all. I just wanted to see a bit more development from Jael. As a half breed she’s feared as being extremely powerful – powerful enough to destroy Baliel. The main problem is that it isn’t until Jael turns sixteen that she really learns what she’s capable of and from there it moves quickly, a bit too quickly to me.

I do hope there are more books because I want to see more of Jael. Thankfully the ending allows for more books.

Cinder and Ella

Cinder and EllaTitle: Cinder and Ella
Author: Melissa Lemon
Rating: 3.5/5
Summary:After their father’s disappearance, Cinder leaves home for a servant job at the castle. But it isn’t long before her sister Ella is brought to the castle herself—the most dangerous place in all the kingdom for both her and Cinder. Cinder and Ella is a Cinderella story like no other and one you'll never forget.
My Thoughts:As refreshing as it is beautiful - our beloved fairytale gets a supernatural twist. 

Forget what you know about Cinderella. There's no glass slipper, no fairy godmother and the Prince isn't coming to sweep you off your feet and carry you off into the sunset - in fact, he may just drop you off a cliff. And there is no Cinderella - well, not really.

Cinder and Ella are the middle sisters in what was once a happy family of six. When the Prince came to visit late one night, he bewitched their father with an invisible spell and ruined their family dynamic forever. They watched in horror as their father deteriorated with time, eventually disappearing on them altogether. Cinder and Ella's siblings no longer understood respectable behavior and their mother went mad. In fact, their mother was so out of it the two daughters became one - Cinderella. Cinder became Cinderella and poor Ella became nonexistent to her mother.

When Cinder leaves to work at the castle, Ella can no longer stand the homestead without her and leaves to find herself a new life. When it comes to the attention of the Prince that Ella has gone missing, he sends out the knights to find and collect her, for the Prince has always feared Ella would be the one to hunt him down and kill him one day. In doing so, the Prince sets Ella into motion. Ripping her from her newfound happiness and flaunting the condition of her damaged family pushes Ella over the edge and sends her on a quest to the rid the kingdom of the evil the Prince has spread. 

Cinder and Ella had a little bit of everything - romance, adventure and danger. Melissa Lemon has twisted the popular fairytale and weaved us an enjoyable new world that was both fresh and enchanting. We can only hope she'll put her creative spin on a few more popular fairytales. 

Lola and the Boy Next Door

Lola and the Boy Next DoorTitle: Lola and the Boy Next Door
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Rating: 4/5
SummaryBudding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit -- more sparkly, more fun, more wild -- the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood. 

When Cricket -- a gifted inventor -- steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

My Thoughts: Lola is one of those main characters who is easy to connect with. She has flaws, oh yes major flaws, like putting her idiot boyfriend before her friends. Lying to her parents, leading poor Cricket along. However, it's these flaws that make her wonderful to read because she is a realistic character. And I loved her. She is so unique with quirky fashion style that really makes her stand out. She adores her parents, Nathan and Andy. I really like that. They are such a great, loving family. Now as I said she is flawed, she doesn't always make the right descision. Like her sleeze of a boyfriend Max, argh I hated that guy. He is so creepy and I just wanted to punch him and shake Lola to make her see sense. 

Everything changes for Lola when the Bell family move back next door. Cricket and Calliope Bell, Twins who used to be friends with Lola. Calliope comes across as a major Bitch and I honestly didn't like her all that much. BUT Cricket, oh dear god. Cricket, so sweet and lovely. I want a Cricket!!! He is one of the boys that your parents would love, one that would treat you good, one that you really would fall in love. And yes, I did. I fell bad!

Lola and the Boy Next Door just flows perfectly. It keeps your attention and doesn't let it go. Stephanie has yet again took a simple story with teenagers, wrong descisions, and falling in love and turns it into something wonderful and magical that turned me into mush LoL. 

Favorite part of the book: ANNA AND ST.CLAIR! I thought it uber cute of Stephanie to include them into the story. 

Saving June

Saving JuneTitle: Saving June
Author: Hannah Harrington 
Rating: 3.7/5
Summary: ‘If she’d waited less than two weeks, she’d be June who died in June. But I guess my sister didn’t consider that.’ 

Harper Scott’s older sister has always been the perfect one so when June takes her own life a week before her high school graduation, sixteen-year-old Harper is devastated. Everyone’s sorry, but no one can explain why.

When her divorcing parents decide to split her sister’s ashes into his-and-her urns, Harper takes matters into her own hands. She’ll steal the ashes and drive cross-country with her best friend, Laney, to the one place June always dreamed of going California.

Enter Jake Tolan. He’s a boy with a bad attitude, a classic-rock obsession and nothing in common with Harper’s sister. But Jake had a connection with June, and when he insists on joining them, Harper’s just desperate enough to let him. With his alternately charming and infuriating demeanour and his belief that music can see you through anything, he might be exactly what she needs.

Except June wasn’t the only one hiding something. Jake’s keeping a secret that has the power to turn Harper’s life upside down again.

My Thoughts: HARPER. I LOVE YOU GIRL. If I met Harper, I would probably squeeze her into a hug. And then she'd punch me in the face, because she's not down with unnecessary touching. Ironic that she likes the song "Touch Me" so damn much. And I totally wouldn't blame her for being a whiny and weepy and all woe is me. But that's the thing. She's not. She's sarcastic and funny in her own special way, and yeah she's kind of angry and keeps things bottled up, but whatevs. She made me full belly laugh. She made me cry so much I had to stop reading. It could have been easy for Harper to fall into the slot of the grieving sister who needs saving from everyone, who needs to fill the boots of the sister that was always SO good. And yet she doesn't and that's a credit to Harrington, because Harper is real in a way that works. If you like your contemporary books to have a whole lot of heart Saving June is the book for you!

Birthmarked (Birthmarked #1)

Birthmarked (Birthmarked, #1)Title: Birthmarked (Birthmarked #1)  
Author: Caragh M. O'Brien
Rating: 3.5/5
SummaryIN THE ENCLAVE, YOUR SCARS SET YOU APART, and the newly born will change the future.
Sixteen-year-old Gaia Stone and her mother faithfully deliver their quota of three infants every month. But when Gaia’s mother is brutally taken away by the very people she serves, Gaia must question whether the Enclave deserves such loyalty. A stunning adventure brought to life by a memorable heroine, this dystopian debut will have readers racing all the way to the dramatic finish.
My Thoughts: This debut novel is an enthralling dystopian fantasy. Gaia’s mother is a midwife and now at age 16, so is she. Each month, the first children born must be advanced to behind the wall of the Enclave, escaping the poverty outside the wall. It is Gaia’s duty to turn those children over just as her two older brothers were turned over. Gaia herself was no advanced because of her scarred face. But now Gaia’s parents have been seized by the Enclave and no one knows why. When they do not return, Gaia decides to sneak inside the wall and see if she can find out what has happened to them. Through her journey, Gaia learns that the lies being told to her and the others outside the wall are many and complex, but that one girl can still make a difference with one heroic act. 
There is adventure and romance in this novel, all told through the eyes of the girl who is a loner and outsider because of her disfiguring scar. Get this into the hands of those who enjoy Tamora Pierce, because they will love this heroine and wait impatiently along with me for the next in the series. 

Exile (Aurelia #2)

Exile (Aurelia, #2)Title: Exile (Aurelia #2)
Author: Anne Osterlund
Rating: 3.5/5
SummaryCrown princess Aurelia is a survivor. She survived attempted assassination. She survived the king's rejection. She survived her mother's abandonment. And now, in exile, she must survive her kingdom-from hostile crowds to raw frontier to desert sands. But even as unknown assailants track Aurelia and expedition guide Robert, she knows her greatest risk is falling in love...
My Thoughts: The second book of the series, it begins where the first book left off, where Aurelia and Robert have left the capital, under the guise of an expedition to explore the kingdom, to keep her safe from further assination attempts. Unfortunately, the danger follows them, and something else that they can't escape - each other. As they both struggle with their growing feelings for each other, they also must struggle with the truth of their situation, that they can never be together. 

I really enjoyed this second book of the series, and I look forward to the next book. I love Aurelia and Robert, and the way their characters grow throughout the story. I also love how the aurthor took turns telling the story from their alternating point of views. It was a perfect, clean love story, with lots of adventure thrown in.

Not That Kind of Girl

Title: Not That Kind of Girl
Author: Siobhan Vivian
Rating: 4.5/5
SummaryNatalie Sterling wants to be in control. She wants her friends to be loyal. She wants her classmates to elect her student council president. She wants to find the right guy, not the usual jerk her school has to offer. She wants a good reputation, because she believes that will lead to good things.
But life is messy, and it's very hard to be in control of it. Not when there are freshman girls running around in a pack, trying to get senior guys to sleep with them. Not when your friends have secrets they're no longer comfortable sharing. Not when the boy you once dismissed ends up being the boy you want to sleep with yourself - but only in secret, with nobody ever finding out.
Slut or saint? Winner or loser? Natalie is getting tired of these forced choices - and is now going to find a way to live life in the sometimes messy, sometimes wonderful in-between.
My Thoughts: This was an interesting book because I really liked it even though the main character, Natalie, drove me crazy. She drove me crazy, yet I really wanted to see her succeed - to see her reach the point where she realized that she needed to change, and that being so uptight and hidden away is not the answer. Siobhan Vivian has written a really great story which teaches readers to embrace all the different aspects of themselves. Natalie is very ambitious, but she is also judgmental. She is someone who has always been smart, perfect, and on the “right” track, so when Connor comes into her life, she shuts her feelings for him away in a hidden spot.Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I practically read it in one sitting, I was so drawn into the characters and the writing style. I would have liked to see a little bit more development in Connor’s character. I really liked him - he was a sweet guy, and I applaud him for putting up with Natalie and her uptight nature, but I felt like his past was hinted at but not really explained. All the “bad” things that he had done, they didn’t really seem to mesh with the Connor we got to know. Nevertheless, this was a really great novel, with fun and interesting characters, and a good message that presents itself without hitting the reader over the head.

Forever (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #3)

Forever (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #3)Title: Forever (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #3)
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Raing: 4/5
Summary: The thrilling conclusion to #1 bestselling Shiver trilogy from Maggie Stievater
In Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. In Linger, they fought to be together. Now, in Forever, the stakes are even higher than before. Wolves are being hunted. Lives are being threatened. And love is harder and harder to hold on to as death comes closing in.
My Thoughts: FOREVER didn’t provide the satisfying conclusion for which I had hoped. Like in Linger, the voices of the different narrators were often not distinct, and I sometimes found myself checking the chapter headings to identify the speaker. The prose in this installment also felt too intentional: I often felt like passages were written for the mere beauty of the words, not because they represented a character’s voice well. While I loved Isabel and Cole, they outshined Sam and Grace in this book, much to the detriment of the two main characters. Despite the hardships their relationship undergoes, the cautious nature in which Sam and Grace treated each other felt artificially strained. Because of this, I never reconnected to their love story. Some parts of the resolution also felt too convenient, and the werewolf pathology remained unclear. Finally, while I did appreciate aspects of the open ending, some things felt just as unresolved as they were at the end of the two previous books.

Linger (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #2)

Linger (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #2)
Title: Linger (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #2)
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Rating: 4/5
Summary In Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other.  Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack.  And Isabelle, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.
At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love -- the light and the dark, the warm and the cold -- in a way you will never forget.
My Thoughts: We continue from where we left off in Shiver- Grace and Sam is now trying to move on. Initially I thought that Shiver was complete in its own and there was no need for a second novel, but by the time I was done I was pining for Forever the third and final novel in this series. When I thought all secrets revealed and everything was laid out on the table, out comes a whole new set of surprises. Grace has some locked up in her closet while Sam fights those from his past. We meet a new character Cole and also see the POV from Isabel from the first book. I never warmed up to Isabel in book 1 but I think I definitely liked her in Linger. With twists turns ups and downs you never fully figure out this book to the end. Wonderfully written. Two thumbs UP!

Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1)

Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #1)Title: Linger: Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1)
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Rating: 3.2/5
Summary: Grace and Sam share a kinship so close they could be lovers or siblings. But they also share a problem. When the temperature slips towards freezing, Sam reverts to his wolf identity and must retreat into the woods to protect his pack. He worries that eventually his human side will fade away and he will be left howling alone at the lonely moon. A stirring supernatural teen romance
My Thoughts: Maybe it was all the hype about this book but I think I had something else in mind when I started reading this. I thought it was good but maybe a little boring at times. My favourite characters weren't even the main two. I really liked Beck and Isabel. Now they were exciting.

I enjoyed the sad tone of the book. Grace's despair at the end was delightful... in a non sadistic kind of way. I just really enjoy when an author can put me in the characters shoes.

I found the ending a little confusing. I'm not really sure what happened. It all seemed a little rushed. I will definately read Linger. I'm just not anticipating it as much as the other books I've read.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Hidden (The Hollow #3)

The Hidden (The Hollow, #3)Title: The Hidden (The Hollow #3)
Author: Jessica Verday
Rating: 4/5
Summary: A love that knows no bounds. 

Abbey knows that Caspian is her destiny. Theirs is a bond that transcends even death. But as Abbey finally learns the full truth about the dark fate that links her to Caspian and ties them both to the town of Sleepy Hollow, she suddenly has some very hard choices to make. Caspian may be the love of her life, but is that love worth dying for?

Beautifully spun, emotionally gripping, and irresistibly romantic, The Hidden will leave you breathless.
My Thoughts: This was the perfect ending to a series: it answered questions, wrapped up everything, gave me the scene I've been waiting for and crossed my fingers for, and the actual ending of the book was great. 
There were some things I never saw coming, but they made a lot of sense in hindsight, and other things that I was hoping for happened.
I highly recommend this series, it has a great love story, lots of historical ghostly twists, and it kept me emotionally on the edge of my seat. 

The Haunted (The Hollow #2)

The Haunted (The Hollow, #2)Title: The Haunted (The Hollow #2)
Author: Jessica Verday
Rating: 4/5
SummaryAn impossible truth. An impossible love.
After a summer spent reclaiming her sanity and trying to forget the boy she fell in love with—the boy who must not exist, cannot exist, because she knows that he is dead—Abbey returns to Sleepy Hollow, ready to leave the ghosts of her past behind.

She throws herself into her schoolwork, her perfume-making, and her friendship with Ben, her cute and funny lab partner, who just might be her ticket to getting over Caspian once and for all.

But Abbey can never get over Caspian, and Caspian has no choice but to return to her side, for Caspian is a Shade, and Abbey is his destiny.

They are tied not only to each other, but also to the town of Sleepy Hollow, and to the famous legend that binds their fates—a legend whose dark truths they are only beginning to guess....

My Thoughts: What a sequel. I found this novel to be very well written with an easy flow to follow the story line. This is a book which I had a hard time putting down as I got so engrossed in the story. The concept is amazing. How Jessica Verday came up with this idea is astounding. You can definitely feel for each of the characters and can be understanding of what they are each experiencing especially if you know of someone who has passed on early in life. I have only the highest praise for this series and am eagerly awaiting the release of the third one to know what is going to happen. A fantastic read and I would very much recommend this series to anyone to read.

The Hollow (The Hollow #1)

The Hollow (The Hollow, #1)Title: The Hollow (The Hollow #1)
Author: Jessica Verday
Rating: 3/5
Summary: I watched out and touched the casket lid. It was cold. So cold that I immediately snatched my hand away. It almost felt like it had burned me.I just stood there. I couldn't bring myself to say anything... not out loud, at least. But a thousand thoughts raged inside my head, while a thousand feelings raged inside my heart. The weather mimicked my emotions. A fierce wind rattled by, howling in outrage. The edges of the plastic awning flapped angrily against the aluminum poles holding it up and made a horrible ringing sound. Even the rain pounded harder, lashing out its bitterness.
And that was when I felt someone watching me.
My ThoughtsI was so unimpressed by this one. It was just so... empty. It was five hundred pages but really could have been condensed down to a short story. I could not identify with or bring myself to like Abbey. She seemed to think she was clever and witty but she just sounded foolish most of the time. The dialogue was forced and flat. A lot of the book consists of Abbey going to bed, taking a nap, complaining about getting out of bed or talking about how she'd like to go back to bed- seriously, she takes a nap every twenty pages or so. It was so dull! I really wasn't feeling the 'relationship' between Abbey and Caspian. He had no real personality and I couldn't figure out what either or them saw in each other. There was literally nothing happening (except Abbey sleeping, eating, going to school) until about the last thirty pages. Overall, it was really void of substance and I'm puzzled about how anyone could find this book compelling.

A Need So Beautiful (A Need So Beautiful #1)

A Need So Beautiful (A Need So Beautiful, #1)Title: A Need So Beautiful (A Need So Beautiful #1)
AuthorSuzanne Young 
Rating: 4.5/5
SummaryWe all want to be remembered. Charlotte's destiny is to be Forgotten... 

Charlotte’s best friend thinks Charlotte might be psychic. Her boyfriend thinks she’s cheating on him. But Charlotte knows what’s really wrong: She is one of the Forgotten, a kind of angel on earth, who feels the Need—a powerful, uncontrollable draw to help someone, usually a stranger.

But Charlotte never wanted this responsibility. What she wants is to help her best friend, whose life is spiraling out of control. She wants to lie in her boyfriend's arms forever. But as the Need grows stronger, it begins to take a dangerous toll on Charlotte. And who she was, is, and will become--her mark on this earth, her very existence--is in jeopardy of disappearing completely.

Charlotte will be forced to choose: Should she embrace her fate as a Forgotten, a fate that promises to rip her from the lives of those she loves forever? Or is she willing to fight against her destiny--no matter how dark the consequences.

My Thoughts: What’s the first thing you’ll think of when you finish reading Suzanne Young’s A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL?
You need the sequel.
Disclaimer: you may also think the following:
1) How the hell is it 1 am?
2) Is Harlin based off of a real life character and where can I find him?
3) My eyes are totally going to be swollen all day tomorrow.
In short, you need to read this book ASAP. I was lucky enough to read it early on and it has a place near and dear to my heart. I loved reading it the first time, the second time, and the third time—and it’ll be a story I’ll pick up on rainy days and reread with a cup of hot chocolate and a box of kleenex.
Bravo, Ms. Young. You rock.

It's rare for books to focus on the "good" in people and this one was very heart-warming while also being completely gut-wrenching as Charlotte spins out of control. I thought I knew how the book was going, but the last few pages threw a monkey wrench into that notion, and now I am eager to see what happens next.