Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 End of the Year Book Survey!


The End of the Year Book Survey was created by Jamie over at Perpetual Page Turner!

I really hate making lists of favorites. Don't hold me to these books. It's one in the morning, thank you very much <3 
Links go to my reviews. If a book isn't linked, I didn't review it. 



1. Best Book You Read In 2013? (If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2013 release vs. backlist)

Contemporary: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic: Angelfall by Susan Ee (linked to Lindsay's review! Check it out!)

Paranormal: The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Fantasy: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (no review for this book, but I have a review for it's sequel Siege and Storm!)

2. Book you were excited about and thought you were going to love but didn’t?

The Diviners by Libba Bray! (No review to link to because it's going to be uploaded here on January 4th.) Everyone talked about this book, and they all loved it, but it just sort of fell short for me :(

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2013?

Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park. I'm not going to lie. I thought this was gonna be absolute fluff, and I read it for shits and giggles because I got as a Kindle Daily Deal. But holy crap, it was so much more than fluff! 

4. Book you read in 2013 that you recommended to people most in 2013?

Definitely The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I loved it so much, and I told pretty much everyone I know to read it...and now they have.

5. Best series you discovered in 2013?

Shit, there are so many, but Angelfall was just amazing. So good. I hate being repetitive, but this was just such a good book, not gonna lie. (Again, linking you to Lindsay's review of Angelfall.)

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2013?

Even though this is the first time I've seen your blog, Jamie, (and I love it! Gorgeous graphics), I think you're trying to kill me with this question. I discovered so many authors this year, but I'd have to say that John Green was my favorite. I can't believe it took me so long to read his books. Or Rainbow Rowell. Oh, god. I don't know. Both?

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick. I don't read much adult, but this book was amazing. I read it in a day, I believe.

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2013?

Uh, Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout. That book was like crack.

9. Book You Read In 2013 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Probably The Fault in Our Stars. Also Dash & Lily's Book of Dares next Christmas! 

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2013?

Either: 
Or: 
Or: 

11. Most memorable character in 2013?

I'm going to try and start picking books I haven't already chosen. Uuuuuhm, either Penryn of Angelfall (oops) or Warner from Destroy Me by Tahereh (yes, I'm picking from a novella). 


12. Most beautifully written book read in 2013?

Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi. That woman has got a way with words, I'm telling you. OROROROR Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. Wow.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2013?

This is probably unexpected, but Allegiant by Veronica Roth. That book--the entire series, really--just made me look at my life in a new light. I guess I can sort of quote Four here: I want to be smart, brave, selfless, peaceful, and honest. I don't just want to be one thing. I think Allegiant has taught me that I can be all five of those traits. 

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2013 to finally read?

I won't way Angelfall. I won't. (Oops, I already did.) Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare, to be honest. I read the first three books in the Mortal Instruments series, so the sensible thing to do is carry onto the next companion series, right? (This was when The Mortal Instruments was a trilogy and not a series.) Well, I didn't. And now I have. And it was amazing.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2013?

Yeaaaaaah. The Fault in Our Stars. John Green, people. 

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?

Ooookay.
Shortest: The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (school book, aha.) 182 pages
Longest: The Diviners by Libba Bray. 578 pages

17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!

Allegaint. 'Nuff said. 

18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2013 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).

Romantic: Juliette and Warner from Unravel Me. I just...can't. Or Tessa and Will...and Jem...holy shit. 
Friendship: Allison and Jakal from The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa! I don't know if they would consider themselves friends, but...I do xD

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2013 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

You kill me. I hate being repetitive but Unravel Me. I wasn't a big reader before this year. I only read Shatter Me because I always saw it at Barnes & Noble and some lady who worked there recommended it to me since I liked The Hunger Games, and yeah. Don't ask. 

20. Best Book You Read In 2013 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:

Angelfall. Thanks, Lindsay. 

21. Genre You Read The Most From in 2013?

Either YA dystopian or YA fantasy. 

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2013?

...Warner from Unravel Me. Or Raffe from Angelfall. (There is an unmentionable because he dies, and that would be a spoiler if I mention a name, so, uuuugh.)

23. Best 2013 debut you read?

I DON'T KNOW WHAT BOOKS ARE DEBUTS AND WHAT AREN'T?!?!?!?! I NEED TO GOODREADS LIST THIS SHIT. AND MAYBE MAKE A SHELF FOR NEXT YEAR. 


24. Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2013?


25. Book That Was The Most Fun To Read in 2013?

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell or How My Summer Went Up in Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski (great summer read, guys!).

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2013?

One thing you guys need to know about me: I don't cry for books or movies. I just don't. Buuuuut, there were a few books that made me almost cry! Like my eyes burned, and I got sad. The only time I cry for books is when I read at 3 in the morning...but I'll cry if they start kissing too so I don't count that as crying. 

I think Flat-Out Love came the close to making me cry. Very, very close. 

27. Book You Read in 2013 That You Think Got Overlooked This Year Or When It Came Out?

Is it sad that I didn't read too many 'unknown' books this year...? I'm a beginner at this stuff! Okay, probably The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston. 


1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2013 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2014?

Rise by Anna Carey. I need to finish that series off. 

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2014 (non-debut)?

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi. Aaron fucking Warner. All is said. 

3. 2014 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings. It sounds sooooooo good. I think I'm going to order it online in hardcover. That's how confident I am that I'll like it. 

4. Series Ending You Are Most Anticipating in 2014?

IGNITE ME BY TAHEREH MAFI OKAY.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2014?

Blogging: Get more involved with the other bloggers on the blogosphere! This blog isn't really that known (like, at all...) and I'd love to make some blog friends. So I guess I can achieve this by being more involved altogether. I mostly come on here to write posts, edit the blog graphics, and I usually end up watching TV. I want to comment on blog posts more often. Real comments, not OMG I LOVED THAT BOOK EUHRAOIAKJEFHASF. <--- what do you wanna bet that my comments will end up like that? 
I just mean that I put so many hours into this blog, and I don't want it all to be more nothing. I want to be INVOLVED WOO. 

Reading: Read more. Seriously. Read more. 90+ books in one year is good, but I didn't start seriously reading until July. 


Thanks for reading all of this if you did! That's amazing of you <3 If you have your own survey, leave the link in the comments, and I'll probably check it out (and comments, because I mean number 5 up there at the end, right? *nudge nudge*). I hope you guys have an amazing New Years' Eve! I'll be reading, aha. 

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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Tori's Review: 52 Reasons to Hate My Father by Jessica Brody

979190652 Reasons to Hate My Father by Jessica Brody
Series: None
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Rating: ★★★
Pages: 352
Published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux on January 1st, 2012
Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Being America’s favorite heiress is a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it.

Lexington Larrabee has never to work a day in her life. After all, she’s the heiress to the multi-billion-dollar Larrabee Media empire. And heiresses are not supposed to work. But then again, they’re not supposed to crash brand new Mercedes convertibles into convenience stores on Sunset Blvd either.

Which is why, on Lexi’s eighteen birthday, her ever-absent, tycoon father decides to take a more proactive approach to her wayward life. Every week for the next year, she will have to take on a different low-wage job if she ever wants to receive her beloved trust fund. But if there’s anything worse than working as a maid, a dishwasher, and a fast-food restaurant employee, it’s dealing with Luke, the arrogant, albeit moderately attractive, college intern her father has assigned to keep tabs on her.

In a hilarious “comedy of heiress” about family, forgiveness, good intentions, and best of all, second chances, Lexi learns that love can be unconditional, money can be immaterial, and, regardless of age, everyone needs a little saving. And although she might have 52 reasons to hate her father, she only needs one reason to love him. 
This was an impulse read for me. A very, very impulse read. Literally I was on my phone around 10 o'clock at night on YouTube when I came across the video trailer for this book. The minute it was over, I got the book and started reading it. I read until around 1 or 2 in the morning. That's how intriguing this book was. Don't be fooled by my three star rating. If you've read my reviews in the past, then you'd know that I rate books pretty harshly. Three stars just means that I liked it, but it wasn't a favorite. Most books I read are three stars or so.

Okay, so first off, I really enjoyed that this book was so entertaining. There really wasn't a dull moment in this book. Although the beginning was a bit slow, it was still interesting and wasn't boring. The beginning just took 1/4 or 1/5 of the book to really get into the plot, which was just fine. The other thing that I liked about 52 Reasons to Hate My Father was the romance. It wasn't overpowering, but it still there. I think it's important to have a bit of romance in a young adult book, because that's what interests young adults (love. Oh, the love. Prince Charming, where art thou?). Unless you're a guy. I know for a fact that most guys really don't care. But like I said, the romance in here was minimal, but it was present. I've found that this is the kind of romance that I like. I hate it when romance shadows the rest of the plot, and 52 Reasons to Hate My Father didn't do that, which I appreciated.

Although I liked Luke and Lex together, I thought that they needed to be a bit more fleshed out as a couple. They really didn't hang out all that much, and when they did, it was because Luke was forced to drive Lex around and babysit her. I think that they needed more heart-to-heart moments to sell me on the fact that they're in love with each other. I know I'm being a bit contradictory with this point because up above I said that I like minimal romance, but I also like when they have reasons to be in love (haha, not-so-funny joke: 52 Reasons to Be in Love. Yeah, I'm done).

I think the fact that this book was so entertaining had to do partly with Lex's inner monologue. She was hilarious, in my opinion. I read a few reviews where people didn't really like her because she was arrogant, but I think that they need to realize that she was basically raised by her brothers and/or her father's staff. People that were hired to take care of her. I think that if her dad had spent more time with her while she was growing up, then she wouldn't have been so...her. I thought that it was interesting to see the perspective of a supposed rich daddy's girl. I say supposed because I doubt that Brody is a real-life rich daddy's girl.

That's really all I have to say about this book. It was thoroughly enjoyable. I don't think I'll be rereading it anytime in the near future (too many other books that I need to knock off my TBR! And oh, god! Christmas! So many books!), but that's okay. There are a lot of books that I like that I probably won't be rereading for another twenty years or ever. I think that this was well worth the read, and it's an easy read at that. If you're looking for something to just sit down and plow right through with, then 52 Reasons to Hate My Father is definitely the book for you! Or if you're just looking for something to read next, this is a good option. It's fun-filled, and definitely something I'd recommend to my friends in real life.
It's Cinderella in reverse.

This fairy tale has officially become a horror story. Happily Ever After on a yacht in the Mediterranean has turned into Crappily Ever After in the dark dungeons of Brentwood. And the princess--who used to be so glamorous and beautiful and on the CIP list of every ball in town--has been handed a bucketful of cleaning supplies and
poofed into a maid.
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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Review: Bloodlines (Bloodlines #1) by Richelle Mead

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Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
Series: Bloodlines #1
Genre: Vampires, Young Adult, Paranormal
Rating: ★★★★
Pages: 421
Published by Razorbill on August 23, 2011
Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Blood doesn't lie...

Sydney is an alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of human and vampires. They protect vampire secrets - and human lives. When Sydney is torn from her bed in the middle of the night, at first she thinks she's still being punished for her complicated alliance with dhampir Rose Hathaway. But what unfolds is far worse. Jill Dragomir - the sister of Moroi Queen Lissa Dragomir - is in mortal danger, and the Moroi must send her into hiding. To avoid a civil war, Sydney is called upon to act as Jill's guardian and protector, posing as her roommate in the last place anyone would think to look for vampire royalty - a human boarding school in Palm Springs, California. But instead of finding safety at Amberwood Prep, Sydney discovers the drama is only just beginning... 
Thank you, Lindsay, for shipping this to me for my birthday! Now you just need to hop on that shipping and get me The Golden Lily by Christmas. (;
 
Note: There are Vampire Academy spoilers in this review. Actually, I don't know. Just don't read this review without reading Vampire Academy. Yes, all six of dem Vampire Academy books. Hop to it, you little bunnies. It's so worth it. Heck, go freaking buy Vampire Academy. It was so good.
 
Anyway, I finished this book a week ago, so hopefully I can conjure up the feelings that I had after finishing that book. Let's just start with the obvious: this was not as good as Vampire Academy. I hate saying this, since I did love this book, it's just that Bloodlines is a bit--okay a lot--slower than Vampire Academy. And a lot less romance. But I mean, even though it's slow, it's the kind of slow that you can just read and still enjoy. I'm just saying that it's not toe-curling, seat-gripping, hair-ripping worthy.
 
Basically, this book is just about Sydney, who helped Rose in the Vampire Academy Series, and about how she needs to redeem herself as an Alchemist since working with a vampire is kindofsortof illegal and frowned upon in their Alchemist society. Sydney goes to a new town to room with a vampire (Lissa's sister, Jill Dragomir) and keep her hidden since the Strigoi are looking for her to kill her since she's pretty much the heir to the throne. During her visit, Sydney makes friends: Adrian, Eddie, Lee, that roommate dude, and those girls. I was extremely intrigued by Trey, and it was a shame that his character wasn't elaborated on much.
 
Honestly, the first plot twist was so predicatble it was almost laughable. I'm usually horrible at predicting plot twists and surprises, but this one was just so apparent that I was surprised it was even considered a plot twist. The second one though. That ending. The ending, holy crap. The ending was what got this book four stars, in my opinion. It was shocking, and I didn't expect it at all, which is what a good ending should me. The last line though left me dying to read the next book, The Golden Lily.
 
The characters are alright, I guess. Obviously, Adrian is pretty fleshed out, but that's because he was in Vampire Academy. I think Sydney was a bit boring, to be truthful, as well as Jill and the others, but it wasn't so horrible that I wanted to gouge my eyes out. Keith was just an asshat. I'll leave it at that.
 
Adrian was definitely my favorite, and think that's because of his snarkiness and sarcasm. I definitely recommend this to those who have read Vampire Academy. I put this book off for three years, but now that four books are out, I have no excuse. I just hope the cliffhanger in The Fiery Heart doesn't kill me, because you know, two more books to go.


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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Review: The Iron King (The Iron Fey #1) by Julie Kagawa

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The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
Series: The Iron Fey #1
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
Rating: ★★★
Pages: 363
Published by Harlequin Teen on February 1, 2010
Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined.

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth - that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil, no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.
Meghan Chase is just an ordinary girl. But wait. That's not right, is it? Every book starts out like that! No, Meghan Chase is not an ordinary girl. She's half fey, which basically means she's half faery. Faeries thrive simply off human imagination, which is an interesting aspect. I haven't read more than one or two faery books, and The Iron King is definitely a nice start. Meghan and her best friend Robbie go on an adventure after Meghan discovers that Robbie's a little more than just her typical, red-haired best friend that likes to prank and joke around. He's actually Robin Goodfellow, aka Puck. And Robbie's true identity isn't even touching the base of what this book has to offer.
Don't let my star rating fool you! I wish I could give this book five stars; it's just that based on my rating scale and all the problems that I have with The Iron King, it wouldn't be fair in comparison to my other reviews and ratings. This book was enjoyable to an extent, and I'm glad that I finally got around to reading it. I have to admit that I probably wouldn't have read this book for another year or so if it hadn't been for the email recommendation that I got from a viewer of this book, which I was ecstatic about. I'm sorry I don't have that much nice to say about the book that this person recommended to me. I wish I liked it more than I did!
Julie Kagawa is one of my favorite authors after The Immortal Rules series. The Immortal Rules and The Eternity Cure are beautifully written and the characters are amazing and the plot and everything is just great and the romance was done amazingly and just that series is so good. So naturally, I thought that The Iron King would be just as great. Yeah, well, it wasn't. I think that there are three components in this novel that convince people that they're in love with it.
1. Ash and Puck. (Do not mistake this with Ash and Meghan.)
2. Grimalkin.
3. Action.
Notice that Meghan Chase is not on that list. That is because Meghan Chase is an annoying little brat that only cares about herself. In short, I think Meghan Chase is stupid. Her actions may seem valiant at first, but then when I really think about them, they're stupid. She refuses to leave Ash behind just because he's fighting for her when she's supposed to be saving her brother? Like, ohmygodno. How stupid can she get? I mean, Meghan, your brother might be dying! You've traveled all this way to kill the Iron King! And then you get close--so close--and oh god the hot prince is dying you must give up your whole quest just to watch him die because you can't do anything to help him because you're helpless.
Yeah, not buying it.
And this leads me into my next point. (I'm not even going to talk about how she completely disregards Puck the entire book. Liiiike, bitch, no. He's amazing, okay?) Ash and Meghan's relationship. They don't deserve a ship name. And I ship everyone! Anyway, Ash and Meghan's relationship was so fake. I honestly thought that Ash was going to be the sexy one out while Meghan made out with Puck. I would've been totally fine with that. But instead, after days of knowing each other, Meghan is already sucking face with Ash.
And that kiss? What was that? It was so...random. I didn't feel anything for the two while reading it. I had no desire for them to kiss. Their relationship--or lack of--seemed so inconvenient for Kagawa, like she forced it or something because, hey, YA needs romance. I would've liked this book a lot more if Kagawa just used this book to build tension between the two rather than rush them into things. That's what series are for--to gradually build up, not to rush into with a blindfold on.
Grim, Ash, Puck, the action, and the imagery is what saved this book for me. The plotting was okay, I suppose. Things were way too predictable for me. All the "plot twists" were clear as day even without foreshadowing. The "twists" that Kagawa added were just basic plot twists that every knows to avoid. The other thing that I liked about The Iron King was the dialogue. It was realistic in my opinion, which is a big deal to me. And Puck. He was hilarious. I'll show you one of my favorite lines (from Puck, obviously).
"Oh, we're playing nice now?" Puck remained seated, looking anything but compliant. "Shall we have tea first? Brew up a nice pot of kiss-my-ass?"
Gotta love Puck!
In conclusion, this book was worth the read. I may seem like I'm bashing it, but really, I'm not the best at pointing out a book's strengths without raving. I'm better at finding the things I don't like and complaining about them, which is pretty much what all my reviews consist of. Like I said, I liked Grim, Ash, Puck, the action, and the imagery; I just didn't like Ash and Meghan's relationship and the predictability of the plot. It's not a waste of money, if that's what you're thinking about reading this review. I just don't have many strong feelings about this book other than ASH AND MEGHAN, LIKE THAT WAS JUST SO WRONG NO.

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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Review: Exceptional (Exceptional #1) by Jess Petosa

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Exceptional by Jess Petosa
Series: Exceptional #1
Genre: Dyatopia, Young Adult, Science Fiction
Rating:
Pages: N/A
Published by Jess Petosa on February 24, 2012
In the future, things are anything but ordinary...

In 2022, the United States commissioned a group of scientists to experiment with genetic mutations. Their goal was to create a serum that would alter the human genetic code, making the subject stronger and faster. They succeeded but their victory was short lived. Not only had they created a super serum, but also an airborne virus. By 2025, seventy-five percent of the world's population had perished. The survivors, well their lives would never be the same.

175 A.V.

Ally is an Ordinary; a human immune to the virus. She lives in a settlement outside the City with her mother and twin brother, but lately it doesn't seem to be enough. She is wrestling between being with her family and volunteering to move to the City, where she can work for the Exceptionals.

Luke is an Exceptional; a superior human being. His ancestors were infected with the virus and lived through it, leaving their super human strength and special abilities to him. He has never given much thought to Ordinarys, despite pressure from his father to choose one from the ORC. But all of that changes when he meets Ally...
I made a list--a freaking list--on reasons why I hated this book. I don't mean I just didn't really like it and found it boring, I hated it. I had to force myself to continue. It was so predictable. This review was originally going to be in a Mini Review post, but I realized that I just had too much to say about this book for it to be considered a Mini Review. I want to start off by saying that I hate saying rude things about someone's book, but I do anyway. So when I have a lot of rude things to say about a book, I feel like a horrible person.
 
Jess Petosa, if you're reading this review, I am terribly sorry. I have nothing against you. I swear. It's just that your book had so much potential, but you just executed it horribly. Seriously. I'm so sorry for writing this review (sort of?). I'm sure you're a wonderful person in real life!
 
The first thing I can to talk about is the instalove. I just couldn't handle the instalove in this book between Ally and Luke. The first time Ally sees Luke she notes how hot he is. Now, that part didn't piss me off. The first time I see a guy, I note how hot he is as well. But when she's already buddy-buddy with Luke and making out with him even after he put her in a fucking breeding house (sorry, spoiler, but it's predictable)? That's just a big no-no-no-no-no-no-no.
 
There were also inconsistencies. In one scene Ally said she had only been in Luke's room once, when in fact she had been in there before when he wasn't home to watch movies. That's a little creepy as well, if you ask me. I wouldn't want someone in my room when I'm not home if I've just me them and then claimed them as my fucking breeding mate. Yeah. I'm deep. (No pun intended.) There were also inconsistences in the Exceptionals' appearances. At first they're described as seven feet tall monsters, but then as the book goes on the height is barely mentioned ever again.
This was minor, but the science in the book was backed up horribly. I'm not saying that I'm an expert in genetics and science-y shit like that, but it just didn't make much sense to me. Pretty much just like Allegiant, the science aspect of the book sucked.

There is just way too much to elaborate on. I'll list:
- Too much monologue of OH MY GOD SHOULD I DO THIS OR SHOULD I DO THAT
- Luke and Ally knew each other one week before they started making out and saying that they loved each other
- Lally = fuck no. I had no motivation for those two. No characterization at all. Just no.
- I hated Luke. He was so ew, and the ending? What the fuck, Luke? What the fuck?
- I love how Ally, Luke (Lukin, but still), Sabine, and Aden have normal names but then you meet the other characters. Like, Stosh? What? Tighe? Pax?
- The characters were so fake. None of them had a character arc. None.
- Because of the lack of character arc, all these characters made random decisions that only made sense to the author. There was no motivation behind anything the characters did whatsoever.

The final thing that made me hate this book was the ending. It was as if Petosa was trying to get the main character out of the bad situation as fast as she could so she didn't have to write the gigantic action scene at the end of every good dystopian good. Just saying.

That pretty much sums of this review--ahem, more like rant. I'd suggest not reading this. Unless you're into all those points that I made up there, then steer clear of this book. Seriously. Don't waste your time. Read a better book that you've been wanting to read.
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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Review: The Lair (The Farm #2) by Emily McKay

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The Lair by Emily McKay
Series: The Farm #2
Genre: Vampires, Young Adult, Paranormal
Rating: ★★★
Pages: 432
Published by Berkley Trade on November 5, 2013
Amazon | Barnes & Noble
In the battle against the vampiric Ticks, humanity was slowly but certainly headed for extinction. For months, twin sisters Lily and Mel had been "quarantined” with thousands of other young people being harvested for their blood—food for the Ticks. Finally escaping with a few friends, the twins are separated—and must continue the fight on their own . . .

After making it to a resistance base camp in Utah, Lily learned to survive at all costs. But when a Tick attack decimates the fighters, Lily and her pregnant friend, McKenna, decide to make the hard trek north to Canada—and safety.

Meanwhile, Mel is being taught how to survive by the very vampire that turned her. Living without her sister is hard, but dealing with the fact that her autism was cured by the vampire bite is an even bigger challenge.

But when a monstrous betrayal places Lily in mortal danger, Mel must set out to find her, save her, and begin to unravel the empire of destruction that the Ticks have built. 
Note: I shouldn't have to tell you this, but don't read this review if you haven't read The Farm yet, because this is book two in the series The Farm. Seriously. Just go and read book one. Despite my three stars, it's well worth it. Just...library this book, okay? I'm saving you the pain. Anyway, this review may or may not have spoilers. I don't keep track. 
 
Recently, I've been writing down what I think about a book while reading it in a note thingy on my iPhone. Honestly, it's the best decision that I've ever made, because writing these reviews are so much easier. I'm a big sucker for good endings, so when I read a book that bores me in the beginning but goes out with a bang with the ending, I usually want to rate it higher than it should actually be rated. With my notes about how I felt throughout the book, it's much easier to rate a book and write a review that's levelheaded and not flooded with my emotions. So onto the review.
 
The Lair is the second book in the series The Farm, and I felt that it heavily suffered from Second Book Syndrome. The first book was great with action and suspense, but then once the second book rolls around, the beginning had literally the boringest (not a word, but today it will be a word just for this review) plot ever and it travels at the rate a snail does. A very, very fat snail. And then after you--the reader--gets past this snail-like part of the book, it goes out with a bang, and well, quite frankly, you're obligated to read the third and final book because you simply needs to know what happens to these characters that you've invested so much time in. So, yes. Now onto the specifics.
 
Throughout the entire book, the tenses and POVs (point of views) pissed me off so much. Mel and Carter were in first person, but Carter was in past tense and Mel was in present tense. Lily was in past tense and in third person. I just...couldn't. As a writer, I could never imagine doing this. If I ever want to do split POVs, I either collab with another writer with a different writing style or I write in third person. I don't understand how McKay can write three different POVs in two different tenses. That's what pissed me off. Two different tenses. Like, no. Pick one. Use it.
 
Also, the lack of Sebastian and Melanie romance really angered me a ticked me off. In The Farm I felt like they had some sort of connection. And I'm not going to deny that I'm big on 'forbidden romances,' so I was all for Sebanie to happen, but then...it didn't. I looked forward to Mel's chapters so much because she was such an intriguing character. As a former autistic girl, her new vampire self had some things to say about the world, and I loved that about her. I pretty much ended up wishing that Lily and Carter would just be killed off so the book would become Mel's stage.
 
Then there was Carter. Like I said before, I wish he was gone. I know that's harsh, but he's putting so many people in danger by taking care of Lily. I get that he loves her, and that's sweet, but I just don't particularly enjoy how he always neglected his duties when Lily was in trouble. I'm big for romance, but I feel that Carter and Lily's relationship is a bit reckless in a sense that them being together is more dangerous for them than not being together. Carter, despite how many times he says he doesn't want to be a leader, is a leader. And leaders lead. Honestly, Carter isn't that great of a leader. He just sort of slacks off when Lily comes into the picture, and I don't like that about him.
 
I have one thing to say to authors everywhere: WHY DO YOU TAKE MY FAVORITE CHARACTERS AND JUST AIUWEHFNIKJWEAHAWE. Interpret that in your own way. If you've read The Lair, you probably know what I'm talking about.
 
The last thing that really pissed me off was the way that the word 'friggin' was dropped everywhere. At first, I thought it was just Carter's monologue/dialogue that used that word, but then I heard the guy Carter was having a conversation with say it, and I was like yeah no. Every-freaking-body said friggin'. Now, I would understand if it was frickin' or freaking. Even fucking. Like if you're going to say friggin', you might as well just go all out and say fucking. I'm pretty sure that's acceptable in YA, right? John Green has done it, I know! The bottom line is that I've never heard anybody ever say friggin', and I hear a lot of words being said in a public school. Friggin' is not one of those words.
 
The ending though. That's really what did it for me, to be honest. I would've given this book one star, maybe two, if it hadn't been for the ending. It was good, in my opinion. It held the right amount of suspense, romance, action, and just everything. If only the entire book had been like that...
 
(I really liked Ely and Sebastian. Just saying. Roberto actually wasn't that bad.)
 
She pulled her bow out of the backseat. She didn't tell him she wasn't even sure she could notch an arrow with her arm like this. Why give him the satisfaction?

"Great. I'm bunking with Katniss Everdeen. I'll let you know if we need that."
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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Mini Reviews: Steelheart (Reckoners #1) by Branson Sanderson + World After (Penryn & the End of Days #2) by Susan Ee

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Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
Series: Reckoners #1
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Science Fiction
Rating: ★★★★★
Pages: 386
Published by Delacorte Press on September 24, 2013
Amazon | Barnes & Noble
There are no heroes.

Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics.

But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills.

Nobody fights the Epics... nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.

And David wants in. He wants Steelheart—the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David's father. For years, like the Reckoners, David's been studying, and planning—and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.

He's seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.
This was just a random read for me. I was using the app Overdrive, and I had downloaded this book as a test for using the app. I didn't actually plan on reading it anytime soon (I had three weeks to get it read, and hey, 300 pages is easy). But then one day I was at school, and I didn't want to read the book that I brought with me (Eat, Brains, Love), and so I pulled my phone out. And it took a lot of restraint to not open the Nook app and read Shiver or The Darkest Minds, because those were some titles that I'd been wanting to read for a while. But no, instead of opening those, I opened Overdrive, and I had a moment of weakness where I opened up this book and read it.

Hell, that was one of my best weakest moments ever. This book was great, and I definitely didn't expect to like it as much as I did. Yes, there are cliffhangers. Yes, there are twists. And yes, there are bamf'ing girls and guys in this book. There was only one thing that I could've guessed by the end of the book, and that was a certain somebody's actual identity. Other than that one thing, I couldn't have guessed any of the other stuff at all.

Brandon Sanderson definitely knows how to write a great superhero-esque novel that knocked my socks off (figuratively). I saw on Goodreads that he has another fantasy series. I'm definitely going to be getting that book so I can buy it and enjoy it.




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World After by Susan Ee
Series: Penryn & The End of Days #2
Genre: Angels, Young Adult, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★★
Pages: 314
Published by Skyscape on November 19, 2013
Amazon | Barnes & Noble
In this sequel to the bestselling fantasy thriller, Angelfall, the survivors of the angel apocalypse begin to scrape back together what's left of the modern world.

When a group of people capture Penryn's sister Paige, thinking she's a monster, the situation ends in a massacre. Paige disappears. Humans are terrified. Mom is heartbroken.

Penryn drives through the streets of San Francisco looking for Paige. Why are the streets so empty? Where is everybody? Her search leads her into the heart of the angels' secret plans where she catches a glimpse of their motivations, and learns the horrifying extent to which the angels are willing to go.

Meanwhile, Raffe hunts for his wings. Without them, he can't rejoin the angels, can't take his rightful place as one of their leaders. When faced with recapturing his wings or helping Penryn survive, which will he choose? 
This book, although a bit slow at first, ended amazingly. I just felt like there wasn't enough. Raffe wasn't present for the majority of the book, but the appearances that he did make made his final appearance even more impacting. This book wasn't as strong as Angelfall, but it was amazing nonetheless. There were twists and turns that I never expected, which I loved. (I hate guessing the plot by the end of the book. I'm big on the whole "reveal" thing at the end of books.)
The characters were constructed carefully and flawlessly. Penryn is very relateable with the way that she's afraid of her sister as well as her yearning for Raffe and the truth. Raffe's sword is a big deal in World After, and its name Pooky Bear is just wonderful. I loved this sequel so much, and I think it's well worth the read.

Lindsay goes into more depth about her reasoning for loving this book in her review, which you can check out here. And you can also check out her review for book one, Angelfall, here. 



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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

WoW: Landline by Rainbow Rowell (11)

18081809Landline by Rainbow Rowell
Series: None
Genre: Adult, Chick Lit, Contemporary
Pages: 320
Published by St. Martin's Press on July 8, 2014
Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems besides the point now.

Maybe that was always besides the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts . . .

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened? 
I don't care if this is an adult novel; it's Rainbow Rowell, so of course I'm going to read it. Plus, the MC's last name is McCool. How cool is that? Hahahah, see what I did there? Yeah, I'm pretty lame. But anyway, this sounds pretty interesting. Rainbow Rowell always writes beautifully, and I love that about her. Also, dat cover. It's gorgeous.
I'll probably read it when it comes out if not a few months after. It's not one of my highly anticipated books of 2014, but it's definitely one of those books that I'll be picking up when it hits the stores! (:
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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Top Ten New-to-Me Authors Tori Read in 2013 (10)


This year is actually when I started reading a lot, so I was introduced to a lot of new authors. I'll try to narrow down the list, but it might be a little difficult since I loved so many books! This won't be in any particular order. I'm too lazy to order it.

Julie Kagawa
With her Immortal Rules series, I managed to fall in love with not only her writing but her characters as well. I have to admit that I didn't enjoy The Iron King as much as The Eternity Cure, but I still love her writing style. And The Eternity Cure was just too flawless to ignore. (This counts because I read The Immortal Rules back in April. I just liked its sequel more.)
Matthew Quick
Okay, despite the fact that this was an adult book, I loved The Silver Linings Playbook. (The movie as well. Jennifer Lawrence forever.) Pat was just so quirky and his character was unique and I loved that. Quick's writing was something special as well, and that's why I bought Sorta Like a Rock Star.
Lucy Christopher
Stolen was so good. Lucy's writing was just magical and entrancing. I can't wait to read her other books! I haven't gotten The Killing Woods (is it even released yet?) but I for sure will be getting it soon!
Leigh Bardugo
Bardugo's writing in Shadow and Bone is just so simple and to the point. It's not elaborate, in a good way, and yet it's descriptive enough so you know what's going on and you're not confused. Despite the fact that Alina makes me angry inside, I feel for her. Bardugo's amazing at creating characters that I honestly care about.
Rainbow Rowell
Fangirl was not my first Rainbow Rowell book (oops, I've read all of hers this year??), but it was my favorite. Her writing is flawless, and it's really freaking good. It's definitely contemporary, but I love it all the same. It's very simple, sort of like Leigh Bardugo's but in a different sense somehow. Rowell's really great at creating memorable characters that, like Bardugo, readers end up caring about a lot.
Neal Shusterman
This dude's storytelling skills are amazing. Like, really good. He's descriptive, and he can create such reeling scenes that just make you want to read moremoremore. He's great at plotting and creeping readers out, that's for sure.
Susan Ee
Honestly, I don't know what to say about Susan Ee's writing except that it's probably my all time favorite of 2013. It's just that her writing is so easy to read. It's the perfect mixture of heavy, action, and humorous. I don't know. Ee's characters are hilarious and yet badass and yet meaningful and gosh they're just so real.
Brandon Sanderson
I didn't expect to like this guy's writing so much, especially since he generally writes adult books (I haven't read many adult books. I need to work on that). But after a few pages into the book, I really got into it and Steelheart was such an action-packed adventure, and it was great. The characters were solid, the twists were pretty good, and the protagonist David didn't make me want to hurl. In all, it was great.
John Green
Oh god. I said Susan Ee's writing was my favorite, but I lied... John Green forever. Seriously. This guy. This guy. He's so--ahem, I mean his writing is so perfect. Yeah. I've read all of his books except for An Abundance of Katherines and his short in Let it Snow, and they were all just perfect, and I love him, and he's just so amazing, and yeah. John Green. That is all.
Lauren Oliver
Okay, I will admit: I tried to read Delirium. It did not go well. Then again, it was more of a read two pages and then quit altogether for another time. But I borrowed Before I Fall from a girl at my school, and she basically shoved it in my hands and forced me to read it, but I'm so glad that I did. Oliver's writing was really good, it flowed, and her storytelling capabilities kept me entranced the entire time. The experience was great! I will definitely be reading her new book Panic when it hits the shelves next year!
So there it is, guys! My top ten new-to-me authors from 2013! Although, I have to admit that I didn't read that many books this year (I didn't get really into reading until we did our testing at school, and I had so much freetime during school to real). Thanks for checking this out! Which books did you like most this year written by new-to-you authors? Tell me in the comments!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Review: Finale (Hush, Hush #4) by Becca Fitzpatrick

Will love conquer all?

Nora and Patch thought their troubles were behind them. Hank is gone and they should be able to put his ugly vendetta to rest. But in Hank's absence, Nora has become the unwitting head of the Nephilim and must finish what Hank began. Which ultimately means destroying the fallen angels - destroying Patch.

Nora will never let that happen, so she and Patch make a plan: lead everyone to believe they have broken up, and work the system from the inside. Nora will convince the Nephilim that they are making a mistake in fighting the fallen angels, and Patch will find out everything he can from the opposing side. They will end this war before it can even begin.

But the best-laid plans often go awry. Nora is put through the paces in her new role and finds herself drawn to an addictive power she never anticipated.

As the battle lines are drawn, Nora and Patch must confront the differences that have always been between them and either choose to ignore them or let them destroy the love they have always fought for.
Maybe I'm being a little bit overemotional because I didn't sleep much last night, but I feel like I'm fighting off the feeling of sobbing like a baby. If I started I don't think I would stop. Maybe overemotional is right.

When I started the series I was so skeptical. I always am when starting a popularized book. But the Hush Hush series captivated me and I couldn't never stop reading, even when I said I'd only read one more chapter.

Before I begin to gush, I just want to get the negative things off my chest in hopes of pushing away the emotional feelings of finishing a series. There were many issues with the plot throughout the series, but I will only talk about this book. I won't give away spoilers you can't read off the back of the cover so don't you worry.

If Nora is the leader of the nephilim army, then how come she never meets with them? Not once does she make and announcement or stand before them, leading them. Her life rides on it and she doesn't see them once. Some kidnap her and she still doesn't act like a leader. Really?

Marcie Miller. Oh my God, did that girl infuriate me. She had an important role in the book, but I felt like she was never given enough face-time to make the pieces fit together in the end of the book. She almost felt like a fill-in character when she was important, and I don't understand why. Even more than that in the epilogue, when you read about her and what happens, it's like, two sentences and that's it. Even though I hated her - may she burn in hell - I felt like she needed a bigger closing than that. She was a key part to the series because of her heritage and that was it.

My biggest problem - the way the last chapter ended and the epilogue. There was no wrap up after the climax and even though Fitzpatrick tried to do that in the epilogue, it wasn't enough. Sure, every book should end with a bit of wistfulness hanging in the air. But you shouldn't end the book with lose strings! So many things happened that were never addressed. What happened to the army afterwards? What about Vee? What about the council? So many lose threads. And then there's Gavin. I won't spoil who he is because I don't even know how he came about in the epilogue. Seriously. WTF HAPPENED HERE VEE BECAUSE I DO NOT UNDERSTAND.

Now time for the gushing.

I seriously think that the things Patch says to Nora sometimes - though drawn out a bit too much - are the sweetest things ever. How he confesses his feelings make me grin and want to kill Nora and take Patch as my own. He did so many things for her and if it wasn't for his character, the series would not have been a success like it is. He is so important in his words and actions throughout.

Honestly, whenever I finish a series, no matter how amazing or awful, I feel like I'm closing a chapter in my heart. (how cheesy am I?) It's so hard because it's over and I don't know, I'm sentimental and what not. It took me much longer to get to Finale because I'm a cheap ass and waited to see it in a softcover, but I'm so glad I got to it. Now I can complete my set!

If you've read the first book or a few of them and not have finished, I suggest pushing toward doing so. I didn't reread the books before I did and fared just fine. It feels really good to finish off the series and put it on my shelf in completion. Woo!

"No match for Patch."

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Review: Flat-Out Love (Flat-Out Love #1) by Jessica Park


11096647Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park
Series: Flat-Out Love #1
Genre: Romance, Young Adult, Contemporary
Rating: ★★★★★
Pages: 389
Published by Jessica Park on April 11, 2011
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

He was tall, at least six feet, with dirty blond hair that hung over his eyes. His T-shirt read Nietzsche Is My Homeboy.

So, that was Matt. Who Julie Seagle likes. A lot. But there is also Finn. Who she flat out loves.

Complicated? Awkward? Completely.

But really, how was this freshly-minted Boston transplant and newbie college freshman supposed to know that she would end up living with the family of an old friend of her mother's? This was all supposed to be temporary. Julie wasn't supposed to be important to the Watkins family, or to fall in love with one of the brothers. Especially the one she's never quite met. But what does that really matter? Finn gets her, like no one ever has before. They have connection.

But here's the thing about love, in all its twisty, bumpy permutations—it always throws you a few curves. And no one ever escapes unscathed.  
This book literally single-handedly seems like the most clich├ęd book I've read, but it's not. I swear to you, it's not. This is not one of those books that I read on a whim and only liked because there's a hot guy (well, there is, but that's beside the point). At first I only bought this book because it was a Kindle Daily Deal, but then I decided to actually read it, and honestly, it's one of the best contemporary books that I've read since John Green. The characters are so real throughout the entire novel, and I love them so much. Their anger and their sadness--I can relate to it.

Especially the protagonist, Julie. She's so real. At first, I thought she was shallow for judging Finn and Matt so quickly, but then I came to realize that I would've done the same thing too. The same for Celeste. Julie judged that little girl so quickly, but I probably wouldn't have made it as far as Julie.

Then there's Matt and Finn. The brothers. The two amigos. Okay, not really, but both of them were so real, and I loved it so much. The plot in this book was great. It wasn't too slow and it wasn't too fast. Everything about this book just awed me to pieces (is that possible?). I can't decide who my favorite character was because they're all my favorites.

I never would've guessed the ending of this book, and I really don't know how to review it without giving away the ending. The third person writing, I admit, is a bit detached and awkward at first, but I quickly got used to it. The conversations between the characters--their interactions--are so goddamn real. I keep saying that over and over, but it's so true. Everything about this book screams real life, and I love it.

This is easily my new favorite book, and I can tell that it's just one of those books that I'll read over and over like Divergent and The Fault in Our Stars.

I honestly have no idea what to say about this book anymore without being any more repetitive than I already am. I just...this book...I'm speechless... Heartwarming isn't even the right word to describe this book. I can't find anything better, and I don't know what word to make up. I just...so good. Go read it. Now. I swear. Oh my god.


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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Review: Sweet Evil (Sweet Evil Trilogy #1) by Wendy Higgins

Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins
Series: Sweet Evil Trilogy #1
Genre: Young Adult, Angels, Paranormal
Rating: ★★
Pages: 453
Published by HarperTeen on May 1, 2012
Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Embrace the Forbidden

What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences?

This is the reality for sons and daughters of fallen angels. Tenderhearted Southern girl Anna Whitt was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She's aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn't until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage and her willpower is put to the test. He's the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.

Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?
Is it possible to think a book was stupid and amazing at the same time? Regardless, I am conflicted. On some level I absolutely loved Sweet Evil and on the other I think parts of it were completed stupid. Bear with as I read this book during the wee hours of the night and therefore my emotions were all over the place.

The Good: 
Kaiden was hot. Oh so, so, so hot. Reading about him was amazing, even if he didn't have a speaking part and when I wasn't reading about him I was looking forward to reading about him. Also, he was defined well while also still remaining distant and mysterious.

The Bad:
The plot. Though the idea of each sin plus commandments designated to a specific demon and their offspring is unique, I also find it incredibly stupid. They want to wreck havoc on the humans - okay, that's cool. But how is that much havoc happening when you have a limited number of people. And how is making people drink alcohol and throw up really that big of a deal?

Honestly, if it wasn't for Kaidan and the drama I probably wouldn't have steadily read Sweet Evil as I did. I just couldn't fall in love with the plot because in my eyes, there needs to be a thorough back story and the plot needs to make complete sense as to why what is going on is actually happening.

I think the reason why I read this every night was because I have trouble sleeping and it was something to do on my iPod in the dark. I'll give Higgins that there were good cliffhangers, intriguing characters and things that happened that I just had to read on to find out what happened next. But the plot just wasn't working for me.

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