Friday, January 31, 2014

Maya's Review: Uglies (Uglies #1) by Scott Westerfeld

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Series: Uglies
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Dystopia
Rating: ★★★★
Pages: 448
Published by Simon Pulse on February 8, 2005
Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Everybody gets to be supermodel gorgeous. What could be wrong with that?

Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can't wait. Not for her license - for turning pretty. In Tally's world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks Tally will be there.

But Tally's new friend Shay isn't sure she wants to be pretty. She'd rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world and it isn't very pretty. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all.

The choice Tally makes changes her world forever...
Okay, so I like a lot of books, by a lot of different people and a lot of other genres, but this has to be one of my all-time favorites. Not just because the plot line was very original – and thank the Lord not necessarily all romance – but the way Westerfeld described the new mentality, the new world and the new apocalypse.

Most of the story revolves around rough descriptions and there is a lot less dialogue than I expected at first, which I honestly liked a lot about this book. The author has a way of describing the scenery around the character which really grabbed me. And the human interactions were solid, Tally and David were a solid almost-couple. Although I didn’t like David with Shay before Tally came along. There was no chemistry what-so-ever between them, and it was unnecessary.

The bit that I liked the most would be the way David and Tally traveled back into town. They would spend days and nights together, and just bond in intense silence. Intense silence that turns into a romance. It was natural and somehow, not forced. Tally and David sound interesting characters on their own, so it isn’t hard to put them together and create a whole new level of perfection.

The climax of the story is quite intense: Tally learns the truth about the operations and must choose between the operation to become a pretty and running off with David.

Maybe the worst part of this book (or the whole series) is that Westerfeld repeats the fact that Tally is responsible for everything. That she blames herself for everything that happened. But by reading the story I understood that what she thought wasn't true.

All in all, this book maintains a solid consistency I like. The pace is good, even a little slow, but I like it that way. The descriptions were perfect, and every little detail was explained. The dialogue, although not equivalent to the descriptions, was amazing. The plot in general is spot on and I love the way he succeeded in transferring the mentality of those people there and it really made me feel like I was in Tally’s world, following her everywhere. Brilliant.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Life of a Blogger: Genres of Music

Life of a Blogger is a weekly meme hosted by Novel Heartbeat!

I love a total of three things in life: books, socializing, and music. (I'm leaving out family, because I think it's a given that I love them. They're my family.) Honestly, I have a very eclectic taste in music. I'll just list some songs that I like, and you can decide what genre I like. I'm doing this because I don't want to list death metal or hardcore as a genre that I like because there are only some death metal and hardcore songs that I like... I don't think any really hardcore songs will be making the list though, because I haven't been too into that lately. Please don't judge me. Everyone has a different taste in music. 

WARNING: Some of these songs have foul language. I'm not going to listen to each and every song over once to see which songs have profanities, but here's a list of the songs that could have obscene language: Backpack, Gas Pedal, Hoodie Allen's music, T. Mill's music, Tennis Court, FU, some The Neighbourhood songs, anything by Sleeping with Sirens, 
As you can see, I like a variety of things. I only wanted to have about 10 songs/artists listed, but clearly there are a lot more. It seriously depends on my mood/what I'm writing. Yes, I like Justin Bieber's music (not him. His music. His music). Yes, I sometimes jam out to Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez, maybe even Taylor Swift if I'm feeling particularly Swifty. Yes, I head bang to metal and sway my head to classical tunes as well. 

The point is, everybody has a different taste in music and mine just happens to be a variety of tunes! I even like some Spanish music (mostly the Spanish rap) by Abusadora and La Pregunta (yes, I know what these song titles mean. Abuser and The Question, respectively). 

So hopefully you got to listen to some new songs today and got a feel for what I like, which is basically anything. (Hell, I'll admit that I even listen to One Direction at times. I particularly enjoy Story of My Life right now thanks to Joey Graceffa and Luke Conrad.)

I wish I could list all my favorite songs/artists/albums, but that would take so long! Let's leave that to another, more summer-y post? (;

Love you all (:

Tori's Review: The Golden Lily (Bloodlines #2) by Richelle Mead

The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead
Series: Bloodlines #2
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Vampires
Rating: ★★★★
Pages: 418
Published by Razorbill on June 12, 2012
Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.

Sydney would love to go to college, but instead, she’s been sent into hiding at a posh boarding school in Palm Springs, California–tasked with protecting Moroi princess Jill Dragomir from assassins who want to throw the Moroi court into civil war. Formerly in disgrace, Sydney is now praised for her loyalty and obedience, and held up as the model of an exemplary Alchemist.

But the closer she grows to Jill, Eddie, and especially Adrian, the more she finds herself questioning her age–old Alchemist beliefs, her idea of family, and the sense of what it means to truly belong. Her world becomes even more complicated when magical experiments show Sydney may hold the key to prevent becoming Strigoi—the fiercest vampires, the ones who don’t die. But it’s her fear of being just that—special, magical, powerful—that scares her more than anything. Equally daunting is her new romance with Brayden, a cute, brainy guy who seems to be her match in every way. Yet, as perfect as he seems, Sydney finds herself being drawn to someone else—someone forbidden to her.

When a shocking secret threatens to tear the vampire world apart, Sydney’s loyalties are suddenly tested more than ever before. She wonders how she's supposed to strike a balance between the principles and dogmas she's been taught, and what her instincts are now telling her.

Should she trust the Alchemists—or her heart?
NOTE: Thank you, Lindsay, for sending this to me for Christmas! You're such a doll. Also, if you haven't read book one, Bloodlines, then go read that now. This review will have spoilers for that book as well as spoilers for Vampire Academy, the six books preceding this series. So yeah. Go read all that before reading this review. Or go and read my Bloodlines review!

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, but you already knew that. Sydney Sage is a smart***, but you probably already knew that, too. Sydney Sage is doubting her Alchemist heritage, but you--oh, wait. You didn't know that, did you? Well, now you do.

There were two aspects of this book that made it an extremely enjoyable 400 pages: Adrian and Sydney's doubt and Syndrian. In the first book, Bloodlines, Sydney is a blind follower. She does everything the Alchemists tell her to do without question, without research. The only reason she does what she does is because the Alchemists tell her to. She is their lap dog. It was annoying. I like strong leads that know what they want and go and get what they want (even if I'm so not like that in some cases). I was happy to find out that Sydney is no longer that annoying lap dog in The Golden Lily! She learns that not everything is what it seems and that, yes, the Alchemists are capable of lying to her. In other words, she grows a backbone.

Like I said, Adrian is one of the reasons this book was extremely enjoyable. This is true. Very true. Like I said in my Bloodlines review, Adrian is a very fleshed out character in my opinion. There are a couple instances where he says things that seem out of character, but maybe that's just how he is. I don't question it. It must be his spirit. But I still stand by my words when I say that Adrian is very prominent, and I'd know that it was him talking without a speaker tag attached to the end of the quote. Even in the Vampire Academy series Adrian was one of my favorite characters. It's no different in the Bloodlines series.

But Dimitri was my all time favorite in the Vampire Academy series, and now he's not really my favorite anymore. I don't know if it has to do with the fact that he's kind of pompous in The Golden Lily or if he's just too stoic for me...but I just didn't like him all that much. Dimitri seemed pretty dull and he lacked substance. I'm actually starting to wonder what I saw in him when I was reading the first series. His fighting skills? His (literary) good looks? with Rose? I don't know. All I know is that at the end of Bloodlines I was really happy to see him, but halfway through The Golden Lily I stopped caring that he was around.

I did like most of the characters in this book though. Even though Dimitri was dull and lacked substance as a secondary used-to-be-main character, I didn't hate him. I didn't hate anybody really except Brayden. At first, I thought, "Oh, cool name! Sydney finally gets a date! She's just practicing for Adrian, yeah?" but that was before I realized how boring Brayden really is. He's just like Sydney in academic terms, but he's just so boring. His words could put me to sleep. And his first kiss with Sydney was just awkward and weird and just no. I did not like them together whatsoever.

I have to admit that this series really isn't as good as the Vampire Academy series. I think part of it--okay, a lot of it--has to do with the fact that I'm not a big fan of Sydney. She's just...finicky and I don't really know what to make of her. She's depicted as being so brilliant and smart, but she misses the simpliest things. The plot is so predictable, just like it was in Bloodlines, and it's hard for me to believe that someone so smart like Sydney could just let all those signs breeze over her head. She's not very aware of her surroundings, and I think that if it weren't for Eddie or Dimitri (maybe even Adrian?) then she'd already be dead.

But the ending. Just. That ending. I really can't even talk about how torturous that ending was for me. I read it, but I had to pause mid-way because I was just like, "This is so not happening. It's so not happening," and I took a break. I just set the book down and took deep breaths for a good five minutes before finishing the book. The ending was just so painful.

I will go down with this ship

I will. I will drown with Syndrian if that's what it takes to get those two together. I heard The Indigo Spell, the next book, is a lot better than the first two, and that there's more Syndrian! I'm really hopig there is because I can't stand to see my Adrian being so sad. It's painful. I'm just so glad that I already have The Indigo Spell. I need to order The Fiery Heart. Like right now. I might die if I don't. I hope that Barnes & Noble shipping thing really is three days or else I will flip out.

Despite the fact that I just pretty much pointed out everything that bugged me about this book, I actually really liked it. A lot. I liked this book a lot. Or maybe I just liked Sydrian a lot. Who knows? I still think this series is a must read if you've read Vampire Academy.
"He shouldn't have said that," repeated Adrian, eerily serious. He leaned his face toward mine. "I don't care if he's not the emotional type or the complimentary type or what. No one can look at you in this dress, in all that fire and gold, and start talking about anachronisms. If I were him, I would have said, 'You are the most beautiful creature I have ever seen walking this earth.'"
You may now swoon.

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Fault in Our Stars Official Movie Trailer 2014

This is a very unexpected post, considering I barely post twice on one day, but I just had to make this post. I just watched the trailer for The Fault in Our Stars (no, I did not watch the leak), and literally I want to cry. If you haven't seen it, watch it now.

Just watch it now and cry, okay?


(Get the joke? Hahaha. Because you know. Their "always" is "okay," and I think that's the most genius thing I've ever seen...)

WoW: Panic by Lauren Oliver (13)

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

Panic by Lauren Oliver
published on march 4, 2014
Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn't know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Love Spell Blog Tour Spotlight

Love spell tour

Love spell updated
Love Spell by Stan Crowe
Clint Christopherson’s love life is a running joke. When a crazed gypsy curses him with the best wish he could ever ask for, the punchline stops being funny. Now, even his barest touch drives girls mad for him. Desperate to reverse the curse, he turns to his last hope: an attractive private investigator who may be able to locate his missing gypsy. If only Clint knew who it was he just hired...

stan croweAuthor Stan Crowe
Stan had a pretty normal, middle-class American youth. He was lucky enough to change that by convincing an exceptional woman to marry him in 2000, setting him on a much more fulfilling life course. Four years later, Brigham Young University awarded him with a Bachelors of Science in civil and environmental engineering. He then he spent several years designing homes, prescribing work for bridges, and even exploring the mortgage industry. In the midst of all this, he produced two science fiction anthologies in 2006 and 2007. In 2012, Breezy Reads Publishing picked up his romantic comedy The Cinderella Project. And thus he transformed himself from Captain Kirk into Don Juan. Stan lives with his wife, children (final count to be determined) and two cats in Utah.
Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 2/9/14
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or PayPal Cash.

Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified.

The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the publisher.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, January 27, 2014

Tori's Review: Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee
Series: None
Genre: Middle Grade, Adventure
Rating: ★★★
Pages: 240
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on January 28, 2014
Amazon | Barnes & Noble
A modern-day fairy tale set in a mysterious museum that is perfect for readers of Roald Dahl and Blue Balliett.

Unlikely heroine Ophelia Jane Worthington-Whittard doesn't believe in anything that can't be proven by science. She and her sister Alice are still grieving for their dead mother when their father takes a job in a strange museum in a city where it always snows. On her very first day in the museum Ophelia discovers a boy locked away in a long forgotten room. He is a prisoner of Her Majesty the Snow Queen. And he has been waiting for Ophelia's help.

As Ophelia embarks on an incredible journey to rescue the boy everything that she believes will be tested. Along the way she learns more and more about the boy's own remarkable journey to reach her and save the world.

A story within a story, this a modern day fairytale is about the power of friendship, courage and love, and never ever giving up.
NOTE: I won this ARC in a giveaway, and Random House mailed it to my house in exchange for an honest review!

Honestly, I have been avoiding writing this review. I finished reading Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy today at lunch (yes, I read at school. I am well aware that that makes me a book nerd), and my friends were telling me to calm down because I was freaking out over the ending.

I haven't read any other reviews yet because I don't want someone else's thoughts and opinions to infiltrate my review, but from what skim reading I did on some reviews I don't think I saw anyone talk about how the ending was stupefying. I can truly say that I don't know if what happened was real or not. I'm not going to spoil anything, but the end just doesn't really tell you whether or not Ophelia imagined all of the events with the Marvelous Boy or if they really happened. I honestly liked this part of the book; it made me question everything that happened in the book.

But I've been dreading this review, because I'm not quite sure what I thought of the book overall. That's why it's getting my default three stars.

First thing's first: Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy did not read like a children's fiction book or even a middle grade book. I've read Percy Jackson. I know what middle grade sounds like. This book is not it. Foxlee's writing is just so marvelous (to be punny), and quite frankly it's a beautiful prose. There's a certain finesse to her writing style that makes me just want to read more, if not for the story but for the writing.

Second thing, although the writing wowed me, the story line did not. I will admit it was interesting enough, but it didn't instantly grab me. It's similar to Narnia with the Snow Queen and magical sword and immortal children (are immortal children in Narnia?). This didn't bother me all that much, but I definitely noticed it. My friends read the back of the book and agreed.

Also, I wasn't too fond of the Marvelous Boy's flashbacks. At first they were funny, insightful, and I liked them, but as the book drug along, I didn't quite feel as enthralled. I think they started to become less adventurous and more like info-dumping.

I don't read much middle grade, so I'm not sure if the predictability of the genre is apparent in all the books, but this book was way too predictable. Painfully predictable, even. The true identity of the Snow Queen at the end of the novel is revealed as if it was a big secret all along when I had guessed it the first time the Snow Queen made an appearance in the book. Also, the "plot twists" weren't all that twisty, so to speak.

Before this review gets too lengthy, I just want to add that I didn't dislike this book, hence the three stars. It was enjoyable to me. I think that if the story was longer and we, the readers, had more time to connect with the character that we wouldn've been more emotionally invested in their lives and cared more for how things played out in the end. The most invested I got was at the end when the big secret on the Marvelous Boy's name ISN'T REVEALED and when I don't know whether or not the Marvelous Boy was even real to begin with.

In conclusion, Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy isn't one of my most highly recommended books, but I do not regret reading it. I already got one of my friends to read it when it hits shelves tomorrow. This book would most likely be enjoyed by people who like short, adventure/fantasy books.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (2)

Stacking the Selves is a weekly meme created by Tynga's Reviews where you can post a picture of the books you've recently acquired. 

I may or may not have a book buying problem, because I have about 5 or 6 books that I'm waiting for in the mail.

Books I Bought
The Fame Game by Lauren Conrad (two copies. They were at the dollar store. Can you blame me?)
The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead
Library Books
Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Control by Lydia Kang
Shards & Ashes by so many authors I can't even list them all (it's not in the picture because it's in my mom's car)
Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian (AUDIOBOOK WOO)
Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Roth
Fallen Crest High by Tijan
Vain by Fisher Amelie
Nevermor by Lani Lenore
The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
Dare You To by Katie McGarry
The Boyfriend App by Katie Sise
This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
ARCs From the Publisher
Unforgotton by Jessica Brody
Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee
How I Got Skinny, Famous, and Fell in Love by Ken Baker
Blur by Steven James
The Fever by Megan Abbott
Blood Orange Soda by James Michael Larranaga
The Tyrant's Daughter by J.C. Carleson
Big Fat Disaster by Beth Fehlbaum
Me Since You by Laura Wiess

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Lindsay's Review: The Promise of Amazing by Robin Constantine

The Promise of Amazing by Robin Constantine
Series: None
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Rating: ★★★★
Pages: 371
Published by Balzer + Bray on December 31st, 2013
Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Wren Caswell is average. Ranked in the middle of her class at Sacred Heart, she’s not popular, but not a social misfit. Wren is the quiet, “good” girl who's always done what she's supposed to—only now in her junior year, this passive strategy is backfiring. She wants to change, but doesn’t know how.

Grayson Barrett was the king of St. Gabe’s. Star of the lacrosse team, top of his class, on a fast track to a brilliant future—until he was expelled for being a “term paper pimp.” Now Gray is in a downward spiral and needs to change, but doesn’t know how.

One fateful night their paths cross when Wren, working at her family’s Arthurian-themed catering hall, performs the Heimlich on Gray as he chokes on a cocktail weenie, saving his life literally and figuratively. What follows is the complicated, awkward, hilarious, and tender tale of two teens shedding their pasts, figuring out who they are—and falling in love.
I picked this book up on a whim, noticing the cover and how it looked like a cute, easy read, and that's exactly what I got. Boy meets girl, insta-love and all that cute, mushy stuff. If you're looking for something deep, realistic and  something for older adults, I suggest you stop right here.

Two differing perspectives make me wary, especially with romance involved. Usually I end up liking one character more than the other and dreading grueling through the other perspective. However, in The Promise of Amazing, both perspectives piked my interest and I enjoyed reading through them both, regardless of what situation the characters were in at the time.

Speaking of characters, despite my rating of four stars, the characters didn't seem real. They were easily forgettable, main characters and non alike, put themselves in situations no one in real life would and also lived lives that honestly, seemed like they were created instead of lived in.

And the title, just for clarification, lies. The book wasn't amazing. It didn't make me gush or cry or scream. It was a solid, easy read.

By now you're probably wondering, "Hey Lindsay, why the four stars?" Well, like I said at the start, the book was a cute read and that was exactly what I was looking for. Despite the holes in the writing, I found myself turning the pages, smiling and relaxing as I read. I didn't get annoyed with anything like the plot or the characters, I didn't end the book stating I would never read it again (I probably will). I knew what I was getting into, and I enjoyed what I read.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Tori's Review: Ten by Gretchen McNeil

Ten by Gretchen McNeil
Series: None
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Horror
Rating: ★★★★
Pages: 296
Published by Balzer + Bray on September 18, 2012
Amazon | Barnes & Noble
SHHHH! Don't spread the word! Three-day weekend. Party at White Rock House on Henry Island. You do NOT want to miss it.

It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.

But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?
Ten is about a group of ten teenagers that find themselves on a remote island with a killer in their midst. After watching a creepy video on the night of their arrival, teen after teen starts to get killed off in brutal and specific ways. After our protagonist, Meg, finds a journal of a dead girl, she realizes that the murders follow a pattern. After discovering the pattern, it's a race against time to rat out the murderer...before they're all dead and gone with no witnesses to find the killer.

This book was very suspensful. I read it on the way to my volleyball tournament, and it was definitely a way to get me on my toes...and to freak me out. The deaths aren't exactly graphics, but they're described enough to make my stomach churn. It sort of creeped me out how these teenagers (mostly Meg and T.J.) weren't really affected by all the death going on. It seemed as though their philosophy was, "Keep Calm and Carry On." I can't decide if I didn't like this about the book or if it was just something that I noticed.

As far as plot goes, this plot was amazing. I couldn't guess the killer. I really couldn't. Up until the very end, I thought I knew who it was, but I always changed the suspect. The fact that it was so hard for me to determine who the killer was shows that either (a) this was a good book or (b) I'm just stupid when it comes to this stuff. But regardless, there were so many twists and turns that I never suspected who it was by the end of the book. This is honestly the first mystery book that I've read that isn't paranormal that I haven't guessed the ending. Congrats, Ten.

Meg, at first, is super annoying, but as the book goes along I grow to like her more, and I want her to survive. Honestly, everyone else can go die. I was alright with Ben, and T.J. wasn't too terribly annoying, but I didn't like Minnie, and I didn't really have time to get to know the other characters in order to form an attachment to them. Hilariously, at first I thought Nathan was some super nerd, but turned out he was really popular? Goes to show how sucky I am at remembering character discriptions. I've just read so many of them. Anyway, Meg was really just a big pushover. The fact that Minnie basically ruled her life turned me off at first, but Meg grew on me. Minnie didn't.

I have to admit that the romance was a bit dry between Meg and T.J. T.J. was awesome and all and he seemed like a pretty solid dude, but I wasn't shipping them at the end. Honestly, I don't even know what makes a good romance, but I just know when I don't like a particular relationship. One good thing between the two of them though was the fact that T.J. came across as a real dude. Most guys in stories will be like "oh my god I've loved you forever I'm sorry I was such a jerk to you but I've realized the err of my ways now." Like yeah not buying that. I mean, T.J. was a bit sensitive, but it was reasonable. (Except the end know. Yeah. I'm just saying I would've saved my own butt before a guy that rejected me.)

Ten really reminded me of Shark Night 3D except the book was actually scary. (Sorry, but the movie was just laughable. Utterly and positively laughable. I'm sorry if you loved it. The premise was just...kind of hilarious?) The basic plot of both the book and movie: teenagers go to island; teenagers have fun; teenagers die; two teenagers left; teenagers escape but now are in love. (I think they fall in love by the end of the movie. It's been three years.) But yeah. Pretty similar, right? I already heard that Ten was eerily similar to And Then There Were None. Considering I've never read this book (I plan on it), I didn't have a problem with Ten being so similar. I'm sure I'll have qualms once I read And Then There Were None though.

Reading this book has definitely encouraged me to read more thriller/horror books this year. I kind of like being scared, which is hilarious because I hate horror movies. I absolutely cannot stand them.

In conclusion, this was an interesting read. I'll definitely be checking out Gretchen McNeil's other books, because I liked this one a lot. I wouldn't go to say that I loved it because there were still faults, but I liked it enough to give it four stars! I think that this was a good book to read to break me into the YA horror/thriller genre. I'm really glad that I picked this up and decided to read it!

Oh yes and I love the cover. It's so simplistic and dark and just wow I love it.
"But the killer's still out there. He could have climbed out through one of the bedroom windows. She's not safe."

T.J. shrugged. "She's the one with the gun."

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Lindsay's Review: Asylum (Asylum #1) by Madeleine Roux

Asylum by Madeleine Roux
Series: Asylum #1
Genre: Horror, Young Adult, Mystery
Rating: ★★★★
Pages: 310
Published by HarperTeen on August 20th, 2013
Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Asylum is a thrilling and creepy photo-novel perfect for fans of the New York Times bestseller Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.

For sixteen-year-old Dan Crawford, New Hampshire College Prep is more than a summer program—it's a lifeline. An outcast at his high school, Dan is excited to finally make some friends in his last summer before college. But when he arrives at the program, Dan learns that his dorm for the summer used to be a sanatorium, more commonly known as an asylum. And not just any asylum—a last resort for the criminally insane.

As Dan and his new friends, Abby and Jordan, explore the hidden recesses of their creepy summer home, they soon discover it's no coincidence that the three of them ended up here. Because the asylum holds the key to a terrifying past. And there are some secrets that refuse to stay buried.

Featuring found photos of unsettling history and real abandoned asylums and filled with chilling mystery and page-turning suspense, Madeleine Roux's teen debut, Asylum, is a horror story that treads the line between genius and insanity.
Did you read the title of this post? Did you notice it rhymed? Did you smile a little on the inside? Yes? No? Great.

The first time I saw this book I was looking at the Halloween Reads table in a bookstore with my boyfriend. I wanted it so bad but couldn't decide whether to flesh out the high cost for a hardcover or not. And if you know me, I'm terrible when it comes to decisions. On top of that, my boyfriend is the exact opposite so when asked his opinion he said just get it, and when I told him of the cost he said, just don't get it, and then when I couldn't come to a conclusion that would satisfy my little anxious, awful decision making heart, I left without the book.

And for months, I couldn't remember the title or author. But while back in the bookstore in January, months later, I finally found it - I knew I couldn't pass it up the second time around. So I bought it and here we are today.

Before anyone considers reading this, I want to get something out there. There are real pictures throughout the book taken in real asylums over the years, and though some mind not agree with me, I found some of them to be a bit disturbing. They weren't gory, but the ones showing real people freaked me out, especially the one with the little girl with the scar and the other with the nurses and doctor outside the one asylum. It gave me such chills that I actually went to my mom and said, "you need to smudge this, right now, because I am freaking the **** out."

If you don't know what smudging is, it's when you take a smudge stick or put some in a bowl, light it on fire and move the smoke around your house or over an object to clear the bad energy from it. It's a practice common in natives and my mom does it around the house a lot.

So to sum this up because I'm dilly-daddling, she smudged it, I didn't touch the book for a day and when I came back I actually wasn't freaked out anymore and any negative energy I associated with the pictures was gone. Basically what I'm trying to say is that if you don't like creepy pictures, you might want to flip through the book in a bookstore before reading it. I, being the weird me, actually loved the creepy pictures after I stopped being a scaredy-cat.

Plot-wise, I think Roux did a great job creating suspense, cliffhangers and adding mystery around the characters that built up throughout the novel. Certain situations kept me pointing fingers in different directions and kept me on the edge of my seat for the entire book. I enjoyed reading about the characters, though they are easily forgettable, and I think the renovated asylum could have been creepier than it was described.

But just a little note about something that annoyed me about the characters - somebody dies, somebody else almost dies, somebody almost kills them, AND THEY STAY AT THE SCHOOL. ANY RATIONAL PERSON WOULD LEAVE, WHY WOULD YOU STAY?

Now onto the part I didn't like about the book - and there aren't going to be any spoilers because that's too mean, but I warn you, if you read ahead, you might be expecting something if you read the book. What I didn't like was the ending. In fact, I think I'm being pretty generous in giving the book four stars because the ending ruined almost the entire book for me. Not only did it make so little sense that you had to piece it together yourself, it was stupid. And I don't mean like it was a stupid idea, I mean it like there was no elaboration whatsoever, no reason for what happened to happen unless maybe piece it together yourself. And then it ends. Sure, every good book should leave a few threads untied, but this was just RIDICULOUS. I literally closed the book and said, "I don't know what just happened."

Overall, it was actually a great read despite what I just said, and the pictures were really good to look at while I read. I recommend it to anyone who likes the horror genre, or wants to dip their toes into it!

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Tori's Review: Precious Blood (The Blessed #1) by Tonya Hurley

Precious Blood by Tonya Hurley
Series: The Blessed #1
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy
Rating: ★★
Pages: 405
Published by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers on June 25 2012
Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Three lost girls, each searching for something. But what they find is beyond belief.

Lucy, Cecilia, and Agnes find themselves in the emergency room of a Brooklyn hospital at their lowest points. All are rebels running from their lives and themselves, plagued by broken hearts and broken dreams.

Enter Sebastian: mysterious, compelling, seductive.

He brings each of them what she longs for...but in the battle for his heart, will the girls lose their souls?
I won this book in a Goodreads First Reads Giveaway! Thank you, Goodreads, for hosting it.

Precious Blood actually has a really interesting premise. It's just the characters that really got to me. I firmly believe that most of the events I hated in this book were because of the characters, not the plot.

This book centers around three girls--Lucy, Cecilia, and Agnes--who all have issues one way or another. Either they're an unloved celebrity, a broke rock star, and a suicidal hopeless romantic. I'm pretty sure this book has it all. And that's almost not a good thing in this book's case. These three girls all end up in a hospital one night because somehow their issues got the best of them. It's there that they all find matching bracelets that eventually lead them to a church where they meet a hot stranger that they really shouldn't have fallen in love with because he's a two-timing (whoa, three-timing) jerk that only wants them because they're "special." Let's not emit the fact that he doesn't tell them why they're special until they're practically killed in a basement underneath a church.

This is going to be a bad review, so I'm going to start by pointing out the good things that I liked about this book before I dive into the parts that weren't particularly for me. I think there's honestly only one thing that I liked: the plot. The idea of reincarnated saints was something that I found interesting. The pace of the book, although a bit slow at first, wasn't horrendous either. Rough around the edges, yes, but it could've been much, much worse.

Sadly, that's the extent of my like. The only reason I didn't give this book one star was because it wasn't horrible. It was just ridiculous. (Be prepared for a lot of quotes. I took notes on this book. Then again, I took notes for all the books I read over Christmas break.) "You will catch your death out here." Cecilia says this. Let me just point out that Cecilia is the broke rock star that spends her time on the streets hanging out with a stoner that writes some of her songs. She's also a high school drop out. Not only would Cecilia not talk like that, but nobody would talk like that. "You will catch your death out here? No. I

...Agnes piped up. "But what about what he said? About [the bracelets] leading us here?..." You know, that's real funny, because I don't even remember Agnes being in the scene where Sebastian told Cecilia and Lucy that the bracelets led them to the church where he was staying during the storm. It was little things like this that just irked me. I'm very particular. I notice when little mishappenings occur. I think Agnes as a whole just annoying me though. She always looked at Cecilia sympathetically. If you've read this book, you would know that Cecilia is not a victim whatsoever. She's tough. I think she can handle Lucy saying a few mean words to her.

Oh, and Lucy and Cecilia, man. They were always at each other, usually because of Sebastian. I mean, you two just met the guy. There is not claming or dibs on this one. He is a strange man in a church that is pretty much creepy as hell, and you're still pining and fighting over him? This leads me into another thing that I hated: the instalove between Sebastian and the three girls. They were in the same vicinity for three days and all of a sudden the three girls were in love with Sebastian. I don't know if this had to do with their saint bond or whatever, but it was annoying. I hate instalove.

Oh, I found another mishappening. "No," Agnes said again, this time with no conviction. Agnes never said 'no' the first time. By using 'again,' it's implied that this is the second time Agnes has done such-and-such, except she really didn't. Agnes said 'no' one time and that's all. Like I said, little things like these, I notice them and they get to me.

(And out comes my grammar side.) First, 'off of' is not a grammatically correct phrase. It never was and it never will be. Stop trying to make it happen. And why is the word 'dumpster' capitalized? Unless it's a company that creates dumpsters, then dumpster should not be capitalized. It is an improper noun. It is not a proper nown. It should be lowercase.

I hate how all the girls are so conceited! Like, you three are not God's gift to this Earth so stop acting like it!

There was one line that is just a no-no. The psychiatric floor Perpetual Help also happened to be the highest floor. "The Penthouse," as the ward staffers liked to euphemize it. At that moment, all Agnes could think was that it was a pretty good place to jump from, which might have been what the administrators had in mind when they moved the unit up there. The simplest cost-cutting measure of all. I'm sorry, but that is just wrong. You do not joke about jumpers especially after you just slit your wrists. I take it back; I'm not sorry. That's just so wrong to joke about.

There was one scene where Cecilia took a gold charm on her bracelet and used it as a pick for her electric guitar. I'm going out on a limb here so if I'm wrong don't kill me, but I don't think that gold charms work for guitar strings, especially electric guitars. I have both, electric and acoustic, and I've tried to use a multitude of items to strum, but the only item that works is a guitar pick and my fingers. All the other items either (a) break or (b) make a horrible noise. I just don't see how using a gold charm would work.

I don't know. There were just so many things in this book that got to me. I'm really starting to lean toward one star, but I didn't not (again with the double negatives. I use these a lot in my reviews) enjoy it at all. I have to admit that there were parts that caught my interest. I wouldn't really recommend this book to anybody. I know that's horrible to say, but I just really wouldn't. I wouldn't say it was a waste of my time, but it's simply not a book that I will be reading again or reading the sequel to. I don't want to read it if I don't think I will enjoy it, because although I'm good at nitpicking books, I don't enjoy giving bad reviews. It makes me feel like a bad person.

If you want to read this book, get it at the library. Then if you like it (quite a few people do!) then you can buy it. Precious Blood just wasn't for me.
"Without dreams, there are only nightmares, Doctor."
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Monday, January 20, 2014

Lindsay's Review: Forever (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #3) by Maggie Stiefvater

Forever by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls #3
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Werewolves
Rating: ★★★★
Pages: 388
Published by Scholastic Press on July 12th, 2011
Amazon | Barnes & Noble
then. When Sam met Grace, he was a wolf and she was a girl. Eventually he found a way to become a boy, and their loved moved from curious distance to the intense closeness of shared lives.

now. That should have been the end of their story. But Grace was not meant to stay human. Now she is the wolf. And the wolves of Mercy Falls are about to be killed in one final, spectacular hunt.

forever. Sam would do anything for Grace. But can one boy and one love really change a hostile, predatory world? The past, the present, and the future are about to collide in one pure moment - a moment of death or life, farewell or forever.
Why do we read? We read to immerse ourselves into a new world, to fall in love with characters we will never meet, and to enjoy ourselves along the way. And that's exactly what I got while reading this series, and especially Forever.

The book started off a bit slower than usual, especially with all the things that went down at the end of Linger, the second book. And despite how much I've defended the pace of the entire series, I think that Steifvater got a bit sloppy in this book with pacing throughout the whole story. The content, for the most part, was perfect, however not only the slow start bugged me, but the timeline in which things were happening.

Now I warn you, from here on out, there will be big and little spoilers alike. Read at your own discretion.

When doing a timeline through a book, I feel like if you're counting down to something bad, you're characters should be stressed, maybe even freaking out - especially freaking out if their friends might die, which in this book, was the case. But as time progressed, I didn't find the tension rising. It wasn't until the very end that there was so much happening all at once, amazing, but jumbled together in a nothing-built-up-to-this-very-much-and-now-all-this-is-happening-at-once kind of way.

However, despite the pacing, the content was excellent as always, and I couldn't help but get sucked right into Mercy Falls, knowing the place so well with the pictures in my head that I felt like it was a place I actually visited in real life.

The series, as a whole, is one I'm really glad I got around to reading. It was cute and sad and wonderful all at once. The Sam-Grace moments, the angry Grace moments, the Cole-Isabel moments and the Sam-Beck ones. Every one touched me and I really felt like I knew these people.

And even though I was unsure about Cole, I fell in love with him as a character who was lost but redeeming himself. In the end - huge spoiler here- when I thought he was dead, I was so close to bawling that I felt like I wasn't breathing. I hate to admit it, but I speed-read just to find out what happened to him and when he was alive, I wanted to cheesy fist pump freeze-frame in the air like all those 80's movies. So yes, if this book can make me do that, it is definitely worth a read. But I must warn you, do not have expectations, or it will ruin your read. Go in knowing nothing, and I can promise it will be a great read.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Tori's Review: In the After (In the After #1) by Demitria Lunetta

In the After by Demitria Lunetta
Rating: ★★★★
Pages: 455
Published by HarperTeen on June 25, 2013
Amazon | Barnes & Noble
They hear the most silent of footsteps.
They are faster than anything you've ever seen.
And They won't stop chasing you...until you are dead.

Amy is watching TV when it happens, when the world is attacked by Them. These vile creatures are rapidly devouring mankind. Most of the population is overtaken, but Amy manages to escape—and even rescue “Baby,” a toddler left behind in the chaos. Marooned in Amy’s house, the girls do everything they can to survive—and avoid Them at all costs.

After years of hiding, they are miraculously rescued and taken to New Hope, a colony of survivors living in a former government research compound. While at first the colony seems like a dream with plenty of food, safety, and shelter, New Hope slowly reveals that it is far from ideal. And Amy soon realizes that unless things change, she’ll lose Baby—and much more.

Rebellious, courageous, and tender, this unforgettable duo will have you on the edge of your seat as you tear through the pulse-pounding narrow escapes and horrifying twists of fate in this thrilling debut from author Demitria Lunetta.
NOTE: I'm counting this for my 2014 Dystopia Reading Challenge, because I've read this book and have decided that it's dystopian. New Hope isn't all sunshine and rainbows.

I read in a review by Emily May on Goodreads regarding this book and she said that anyone who wasn't too fond of The 5th Wave would enjoy this book and vice versa, (as in, if you loved The 5th Wave then you probably won't like In the After) and after reading In the After, I've decided that I agree with her. In my review of The 5th Wave I said that I loved it yet hated it at the same time. I still stand by that. On one hand, I loved the aliens and just the premise of the book, but on the other hand I didn't really enjoy the characters. Yes, I'm going to compare The 5th Wave and In the After in some aspects during this review. I apologize if you don't like reviewers who do that, but it's my opinion.

In the After is about a girl named Amy. Amy is a survivor in the alien apocalypse. One day, she's lounging on her couch watching TV when all of a sudden her TV turns off. Immediately, she blames her dad for messing with the solar panels (he's a eco-freak). But then the TV turns on and it's the president, explaining that he has the situation under control. And then the president is interrupted, broadcasting the news station who informs the US population that they have been invaded by extraterrestrial lifeforms.

Amy survives the apocalypse on her own for three years with only the help of a three year old (now six after the three years) named Baby who unnervingly has the ability to be super quiet and seemingly has unbelievable hearing. Amy and Baby live a comfortable lifestyle...until they simply don't anymore.

I think the biggest issue I had with this book was the pacing. The book is split into three sections. If I had to rate each section, it would go a little like this:

Section 1: Four Stars
Section 2: Three Stars
Section 3: Five Stars

Most people who reviewed this book would disagree with me and say that the first section was the most interesting, but it's really a matter of preference. Although I liked the survival section, Amy daydreamed a lot, thinking back on her past a but like Cassie from The 5th Wave liked to do. Daydreaming in the past really isn't my cup of tea even though it's not completely non-enjoyable. The second section was fairly interesting if not a bit slow. It's really just about Amy meandering around New Hope, trying to find answers about the aliens that have taken over her planet. Not boring but not nail-biting interesting either.

But the third section. Oh my gosh, the third section was the part that made me fall in love (okay, like. I didn't love this book, but I did like it a lot) with In the After. Amy basically does daydream in the past in this section, but it's done in a way that intrigues me. It's not the boring "this happened and then this happened and then this happened and then this happened" rather than "okay here's a scene from the present, now we're going to jumpcut into the past, oh look now we're in the present" and back and forth, back and forth. I don't like books that experiment with different tenses...usually. But this book just did it so wonderfully.

Another thing I really enjoyed about In the After was the characters. They were fairly realistic. Amy's actions and responses to certain situations didn't seem forced or executed in a bad way. But you know what did seem forced? Amy and Rice's relationship.

In the After isn't the type of book to be drowned in romance, which was one of the worst things about The 5th Wave, but the fact that Rice and Amy's relationship was barely grazed on the top made it seem forced and a bit unrealistic. The two didn't really have any chemistry other than the fact that Amy was the only girl Rice's age at New Hope (which turned out to be false because there were two or three girls in the same class as Amy). It just seemed more like a relationship out of necessity rather than passion. And that kiss. It was...unexpected.

The last thing I wanted to address about this book was the book's ending. It wasn't all that surprising. At first, I thought that what I had guessed couldn't be right because it was too obvious, but it ended up being right. But the ending was done so well that I really don't care that I sniffed out the ending before it even happened, which is a good thing I suppose.

In conclusion, this book is full of suspense, action, and sisterly love. I found this book to intense as well as heartwarming, which is something rare for an apocalyptic/dystopian book these days (or is it just the books I pick?). I absolutely cannot wait for the second book In the End to come out June this year! I'm definitely getting my hands on a copy.

If you haven't already read this book, go and read it now! In the After turned out to be nothing like what I thought it was going to be like, but it was a good surprise. I will probably recommend this book to my friends that like action as well as my friends that like dystopian. It's a combination of both!

On a final note, what a great way to start out my reading year! A four star book--amazing.

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Friday, January 17, 2014

The Friday 56 (1)

This is a weekly meme hosted by Freda's Voice.

1. Grab a book. Any book.
2. Turn to page 56 or 56% in your ereader.
3. Find any sentence (or a few, just don't spoil it) that grabs you.
4. Post it.
5. Add your url in the Linky on Freda's most recent Friday 56 blog post.

The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead
Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the two worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets--and human lives. 

In the aftermath of a forbidden moment that rocked Sydney to her core, she struggles to draw the line between her Alchemist teachings and what her heart is urging her to do.

Then she finally tracks down elusive, enigmatic Marcus Finch--a former Alchemist whom the organization denies exists and who lives in shadows, on the run. With Marcus's help, Sydney realizes that the group she's been loyal to her whole life has been hiding the truth from her. Is it possible that her golden lily tattoo might have more power over her than she thinks?

As she struggles to come to terms with what that might mean, Sydney is compelled to use her magical powers to track down an evil magic user who is targeting powerful young witches. Using magic goes against everything she always thought she believed, but she realizes that her only hope is to embrace her special blood--or else she might be next.

Forging her own way is harder than Sydney ever dreamed. Maybe by turning off her brain--and following her heart--she'll finally be able to figure out where she belongs. 
page 56

"Nice to know she cares," I said. For a moment, I forgot my dance floor woes as I thought angrily back to Stanton's "need-to-know" attitude.

"I can pull you closer, if you want," he said. "Just to see how much she cares. I'm always willing to help like that, you know."

"You're a real team player," I said. "If putting me in danger is for the greater good, then Stanton probably wouldn't do anything about you moving in on me."

(I just really like Adrian, okay? You would, too, if you've read the books...)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Tori's Review: The Diviners (The Diviners #1) by Libba Bray

17899351The Diviners by Libba Bray
Series: The Diviners #1
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
Rating: ★★
Pages: 578
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on September 8th, 2012
Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.

Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.

As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened. 
This was the book that I bought with the money that I got after returning Unwind back to Barnes & Noble since my copy was inconveniently missing the last 50 pages. I intended on buying Unwind again, but then I saw The Diviners and I figured, "What's the point in buying Unwind again when I've already read it? Why not just buy a whole new book that I can enjoy? I can always buy Unwind later when I plan on rereading it if I ever do!" So yeah. Long story short, The Diviners has been added to my collection of books.

For buying this book, I wanted to enjoy this a lot more than a did. And not just because I paid a good twelve bucks for this fat book (not that I'm complaining... Okay, I am a bit. Just a bit), but also because so many Booktubers and reviewers I like loved this book and gave it either four or five stars, and when I read it and didn't really like it, I felt so bad. It didn't even take me the entire book to feel bad. It took me the first hundred pages. I wouldn't say I had to force myself to finish The Diviners, because I didn't. I could just say that it took a lot longer than it should have. If I liked it, it would've taken me a week or so. Instead, it took me two weeks. And the only reason--the only reason--that I persevered the first 300 pages was because two of my teachers give us 30-60 minutes a day to read, which is where I get a lot of my daily reading done (okay, four-days-a-week reading, because I only go to school four days a week). But still. It shouldn't have had to take my school hours to finish a book. I should get home and still want to read it, which sadly, I didn't want to do.

Anyway, onto why I didn't really like this book all that much. As my first Libba Bray book, I didn't really know what to expect other than what others told me, so you can imagine my shock (or irritation?) when the first murder--the first interesting plot point--didn't even occur until around page 70 or 80. Yes, it took that long for something interesting to happen. That's not good. In regular books that are 300-400 pages, the first interesting thing happens in the first 1-40 pages. I once read this quote from James Dashner, and he said that if your plot doesn't start on page one, then you don't have a story. I don't completely agree with this, because you do need a starting point, but I agree somewhat. I think it's more like either chapter one or two. Sure, "chapter one" of The Diviners had the ouiji board and all, but other than that, it took 10-15 "chapters" to get the plot rolling.

And let's not even talk about pages 100-400. Nothing. Happened. Pages 400 through the end is where everything happens and reels you in until you finished it. I'm surprised I didn't have to force myself to read to page 400 like I had for The Book Thief.

I don't want to make this review too long and excruciating, but there are a couple of things I need to point out before I end this. I'll number them for you.

1. Memphis. I literally didn't even know that Memphis was black until around page 350-400 when Memphis showed up with a white chick and his friend Gabe admonished him for that. I'm not saying that Memphis being black is bad, I'm just saying that this fact shouldn't been made apparent within the first time we meet Memphis. The other thing about Memphis is that I don't even know why he's in this book. The Diviners is written in third person, and so Bray can have a bunch of different perspectives. But come on. Memphis had no real place in the overall plot.

2. Evie. I liked her, but she was a bit boring. I think Jericho would've been a better main character as for his big secret in the end. I think this aspect of the book should be explored more in the second book. That will definitely make it more intriguing to me!

3. It was too long. The story could've been told in 300-maybe 400 pages rather than almost 600.

4. The entire book seemed more like a gigantic prologue to a bigger, better book rather than a book on its own. Also, Diviners were barely talked about. In the book. Called The Diviners. There's something wrong with that.

5. This book wasn't even creepy. In all the reviews I've seen or read, the reviewer says that this book scares them and it creepy. Yeah, no. I'm literally so scared of horror movies so you can't say that I'm not easily scared. And you can come up from behind of me and say "boo" and I'll scream like I'm being murdered. But the whistling? Sure, creepy. But the scenes where Naughty John made an appearance weren't even scary. This book wasn't scary. At all. I was disappointed. Not in the writing, because I don't look for scary books, but in my expectations.

6. The lingo of the 20's made the book hard to follow at times. I don't know. I think Bray should've given us a dictionary or key or something.

7. The entire book seemed like Bray was just trying to show off her extensive knowledge of the 20's rather than tell a story. The description was great, but I think it was a bit excessive.

But I have to admit that I liked the whole occult aspect as well as the mystery! The ending was really interesting, and it's what saved this book from one star. My verdict is that if you're going to read this book, then you either need to be into the 20's or like chunky books. I think you should get this from the library if you really want to read this rather than buy it. Then you can buy it if you like it! Clearly many people see something they like in this book, so it's worth a shot for you, I think.

(And this review still ended up being long... What can I say? I'm a ranter. I don't mean to; it just happens.)
Naughty John, Naughty John, does his work with his apron on. Cuts your throat and takes your bones, sells 'em off for a coupla stones.
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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Top Ten 2014 Debuts Tori's Most Excited For (11)

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, and it's a weekly thing where you list your top ten whatever.

the murder complex by lindsay cummings
published by greenwillow on june 10, 2014
An action-packed, blood-soaked, futuristic debut thriller set in a world where the murder rate is higher than the birthrate. For fans of Moira Young’s Dust Lands series, La Femme Nikita, and the movie Hanna.

Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision.

The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is—although he doesn’t know it—one of the MC’s programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family?

Action-packed, blood-soaked, and chilling, this is a dark and compelling debut novel by Lindsay Cummings.
side affects may vary by julie murphy
published by balzer + bray on may 18, 2014
What if you’d been living your life as if you were dying—only to find out that you had your whole future ahead of you?

When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, her prognosis is grim. To maximize the time she does have, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs—however she sees fit. She convinces her friend Harvey, whom she knows has always had feelings for her, to help her with a crazy bucket list that’s as much about revenge (humiliating her ex-boyfriend and getting back at her arch nemesis) as it is about hope (doing something unexpectedly kind for a stranger and reliving some childhood memories). But just when Alice’s scores are settled, she goes into remission.

Now Alice is forced to face the consequences of all that she’s said and done, as well as her true feelings for Harvey. But has she done irreparable damage to the people around her, and to the one person who matters most?

Julie Murphy’s SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY is a fearless and moving tour de force about love, life, and facing your own mortality.

Harvey laughed to himself in a sad way and rubbed his eyes. “You want me to help you with a list of things you won’t disclose to me.” He leaned forward and bit the skin around his thumb. “Classic.” “You won’t regret it.” “But—” “Harvey,” I said, my voice low. “Trust me.” I knew what this looked like. It looked like I was using Harvey. But here was the reality of the situation: the minute my life went from semi-permanent to most likely temporary, I decided to latch on to everything in my world that had always been permanent, and for me, Harvey was so permanent he was concrete.
hexed by michelle krys
published by delacorte press on june 10, 2014
If high school is all about social status, Indigo Blackwood has it made. Sure, her quirky mom owns an occult shop, and a nerd just won’t stop trying to be her friend, but Indie is a popular cheerleader with a football-star boyfriend and a social circle powerful enough to ruin everyone at school. Who wouldn’t want to be her?

Then a guy dies right before her eyes. And the dusty old family Bible her mom is freakishly possessive of is stolen. But it’s when a frustratingly sexy stranger named Bishop enters Indie’s world that she learns her destiny involves a lot more than pom-poms and parties. If she doesn’t get the Bible back, every witch on the planet will die. And that’s seriously bad news for Indie, because according to Bishop, she’s a witch too.

Suddenly forced into a centuries-old war between witches and sorcerers, Indie’s about to uncover the many dark truths about her life—and a future unlike any she ever imagined on top of the cheer pyramid.
cruel beauty by rosamund hodge
published by balzer + bray on january 29, 2014
Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl's journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.

Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex's secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.
love letters to the dead by ava dellaira
published by farrar, straus and giroux on april 1, 2014
It begins as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May did. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to people like Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Amelia Earhart, Heath Ledger, and more; though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating new friendships, falling in love for the first time, learning to live with her splintering family. And, finally, about the abuse she suffered while May was supposed to be looking out for her. Only then, once Laurel has written down the truth about what happened to herself, can she truly begin to accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was; lovely and amazing and deeply flawed; can she begin to discover her own path.
summer on the short bus by bethany crandell
published by running press kids on april 1, 2014
Spoiled, Versace-clad Cricket Montgomery has seventeen years of pampering under her belt. So when her father decides to ship her off to a summer camp for disabled teens to help her learn some accountability, Cricket resigns herself to three weeks of handicapped hell.

Her sentence takes a bearable turn as she discovers the humor and likeability of the campers and grows close to fellow counselors. Now, if she can just convince a certain Zac Efron look-alike with amazing blue eyes that she finally realizes there's life after Gucci, this summer could turn out to be the best she's ever had.

Summer on the Short Bus is a very non-P.C., contemporary YA with a lot of attitude, tons of laughs, and a little life lesson along the way.
dear killer by katherine ewell
published by katherine tegen books on april 1, 2014
Rule One—Nothing is right, nothing is wrong. Rule Two—Be careful. Rule Three—Fight using your legs whenever possible, because they’re the strongest part of your body. Your arms are the weakest. Rule Four—Hit to kill. The first blow should be the last, if at all possible. Rule Five—The letters are the law.

Kit takes her role as London’s notorious “Perfect Killer” seriously. The letters and cash that come to her via a secret mailbox are not a game; choosing who to kill is not an impulse decision. Every letter she receives begins with “Dear Killer,” and every time Kit murders, she leaves a letter with the dead body. Her moral nihilism and thus her murders are a way of life—the only way of life she has ever known.

But when a letter appears in the mailbox that will have the power to topple Kit’s convictions as perfectly as she commits her murders, she must make a decision: follow the only rules she has ever known, or challenge Rule One, and go from there.

Katherine Ewell’s Dear Killer is a sinister psychological thriller that explores the thin line between good and evil, and the messiness of that inevitable moment when life contradicts everything you believe.
midnight thief by livia blackburne
published by disney-hyperion on july 8, 2014
Growing up on Forge’s streets has taught Kyra how to stretch a coin. And when that’s not enough, her uncanny ability to scale walls and bypass guards helps her take what she needs.

But when the leader of the Assassins Guild offers Kyra a lucrative job, she hesitates. She knows how to get by on her own, and she’s not sure she wants to play by his rules. But he’s persistent—and darkly attractive—and Kyra can’t quite resist his pull.

Tristam of Brancel is a young Palace knight on a mission. After his best friend is brutally murdered by Demon Riders, a clan of vicious warriors who ride bloodthirsty wildcats, Tristam vows to take them down. But as his investigation deepens, he finds his efforts thwarted by a talented thief, one who sneaks past Palace defenses with uncanny ease.

When a fateful raid throws Kyra and Tristam together, the two enemies realize that their best chance at survival—and vengeance—might be to join forces. And as their loyalties are tested to the breaking point, they learn a startling secret about Kyra’s past that threatens to reshape both their lives.

In her arresting debut novel, Livia Blackburne creates a captivating world where intrigue prowls around every corner—and danger is a way of life.
learning not to drown by anna shinoda
published by atheneum books for young readers on april 1, 2014
Family secrets cut to the bone in this mesmerizing debut novel about a teen whose drug-addicted brother is the prodigal son one time too many.

There is a pecking order to every family. Seventeen-year old Clare is the overprotected baby; Peter is the typical, rebellious middle child; and Luke is the oldest, the can’t-do-wrong favorite. To their mother, they are a normal, happy family.

To Clare, they are a family on the verge of disaster. Clare: the ambitious striver; Peter: the angry ticking time bomb; and Luke: a drug-addicted convicted felon who has been in and out of jail for as long as Clare can remember—and who has always been bailed out by their parents.

Clare loves Luke, but life as his sister hasn’t been easy. And when he comes home (again), she wants to believe this time will be different (again). Yet when the truths behind his arrests begin to surface, everything Clare knows is shaken to its core. And then Luke is arrested. Again.

Except this time is different, because Clare’s mom does the unthinkable on Luke’s behalf, and Clare has to decide whether turning her back on family is a selfish act…or the only way to keep from drowning along with them.

Debut novelist Anna Shinoda's raw, gritty, powerful novel cuts right to the bone and brings to life the skeletons the lurk in the closet.
nil by lynne matson
published by henry holt on march 4, 2014
On the mysterious island of Nil, the rules are set. You have one year. Exactly 365 days--to escape, or you die.

Seventeen-year-old Charley doesn’t know the rules. She doesn’t even know where she is. The last thing she remembers is blacking out, and when she wakes up, she’s lying naked in an empty rock field.

Lost and alone, Charley finds no sign of other people until she meets Thad, the gorgeous leader of a clan of teenage refugees. Soon Charley learns that leaving the island is harder than she thought . . . and so is falling in love. With Thad’s time running out, Charley realizes that to save their future, Charley must first save him. And on an island rife with dangers, their greatest threat is time.
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