Friday, February 28, 2014

Tori's Review: Fire & Flood (Fire & Flood #1) by Victoria Scott

Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott
Series: Fire & Flood #1
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Rating: ♚♚♚
Pages: 320
Published by Scholastic on February 25, 2014
Amazon | B&N
A modern day thrill ride, where a teen girl and her animal companion must participate in a breathtaking race to save her brother's life—and her own.

Tella Holloway is losing it. Her brother is sick, and when a dozen doctors can't determine what's wrong, her parents decide to move to Montana for the fresh air. She's lost her friends, her parents are driving her crazy, her brother is dying—and she's helpless to change anything.

Until she receives mysterious instructions on how to become a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed. It's an epic race across jungle, desert, ocean, and mountain that could win her the prize she desperately desires: the Cure for her brother's illness. But all the Contenders are after the Cure for people they love, and there's no guarantee that Tella (or any of them) will survive the race.

The jungle is terrifying, the clock is ticking, and Tella knows she can't trust the allies she makes. And one big question emerges: Why have so many fallen sick in the first place?
NOTE: I received this as an ARC from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The first thing that I disliked about Fire & Flood was Tella, but I'm pretty sure this was the case for nearly every person that read this book. She was irritating, and all she really thought about was herself. That's kind of sad considering she was racing to win the Cure for her brother who was sick and dying. The majority of the narration was "I," "I," "I." Honestly, I don't know how Guy put up with her.

Guy Chambers. Since this is only the first book, I'm sort of hoping that they change his name. After reading Jon's review over at Scott Reads It, I can't get it out of my mind that Guy Chambers sounds like the mens' restroom. Tella made this huge deal out of him like he was there to win for her. She always forgot that Guy was there for somebody too and was there to win the Cure for a loved one too. He wasn't going to give it up for a girl he just met. The same thing goes for all the supporting characters. They're all there to win the Cure, not to make friends. Tella knows this, and still she's so shocked when one of her "friends" betrays her to get win the game.

Plus, the romance between Guy and Tella is very basic and nothing new to the YA genre. It's not horrendous, but it's not something that I'm over here swooning over.

The supporting characters were slightly irritating and forgettable. If it weren't for the plot, I don't think I could've read on. Despite the similarities between The Hunger Games and Fire & Flood, the two were still pretty different in my opinion. I loved how there were separate legs in the Brimstone Bleed, and I liked how people didn't have to die in order to win. They just had to beat out the other Contenders.

The world-building a bit lacking, and I really didn't understand what was going on until about 75% through the book. It's never really confirmed what time period it is, and that bugs me. There's no advancement of technology (that's mentioned), and yet there are hybrid animals being hatched out of eggs? It's illogical and kind of made me want to rip my hair out.

I have to admit that the action was great, though. I thought that Scott really knew how to frame her novel and turn it into something adventurous. The things Guy knew about survival made sense and weren't stupid. They were perfectly logical. When Guy said to empty the packs, I was like, "Let's empty the packs!" Leaving the tents behind was sort of sketchy to me, but Guy knew that he had his Pandora to keep them warm at night.

Ah, Pandoras. I loved them. I loved them so much. They were so cute. Madox is the best Pandora in the world. I really liked Harper's Pandora, too, though. They were all great in their own way. I think the best thing about Fire & Flood was the Pandoras. (Titus's Pandora, AK-7, sounds like a gun.)

Well, and the action. But mostly the Pandoras.
Going into this book, I thought I was going to hate it, but I ended up liking it quite a bit. In the end, it's worth the read. The characters are a bit rocky and forgettable, and the romance wasn't anything special. The plot was a bit predictable, but it didn't hurt or add anything to the novel. I'll recommend this to people who aren't critical readers and are looking for a quick, fun, intense read with action and adventure along with some survival aspects along the way.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Life of a Blogger: Guilty Pleasures

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

I honestly have so many guilty pleasures. One of them being The Vampire Diaries. And I mean no offense to that show whatsoever. It's just that I never thought that I'd like that show. Ever. I'd always been so adamant on not watching it, then one day when I was home sick, I just got on Netflix and started watching it... Yeah, long story short: I couldn't stop.

I've turned this post into an obsessions one rather than guilty pleasures because guilty pleasures makes it sound like I'm, you know, guilty of liking these things, but I'm really not.
  • The Vampire Diaries. I'm just so invested in their lives; I can't stop.
  • The Originals. Same goes. Spin-off series about Niklaus? I'm all up in that. 
  • Bones. I just...I don't know what to say about this one. I just love this show so much. 

And really my only other guilty pleasure slash obsession is learning new things and one-upping other people. This sounds very shallow of me, but I'm serious. One of the guys in my class came to school and knew how to solve the Rubiks Cube. He showed off for three weeks before I finally taught myself. Now I can solve it in less than a minute. 

And let's not forget books. Books are an obsession of mine. Not really a guilty pleasure, though, because I'm not ashamed of liking to read. 

So tell me—what are your guilty pleasures or obsessions? 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Lindsay's Review: Beautiful Redemption (Caster Chronicles #4) by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Series: Caster Chronicles #4
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Rating: ♚♚♚
Pages: 456
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on October 23rd, 2012
Amazon | B&N
Is death the end . . . or only the beginning?

Ethan Wate has spent most of his life longing to escape the stiflingly small Southern town of Gatlin. He never thought he would meet the girl of his dreams, Lena Duchannes, who unveiled a secretive, powerful, and cursed side of Gatlin, hidden in plain sight. And he never could have expected that he would be forced to leave behind everyone and everything he cares about. So when Ethan awakes after the chilling events of the Eighteenth Moon, he has only one goal: to find a way to return to Lena and the ones he loves.

Back in Gatlin, Lena is making her own bargains for Ethan's return, vowing to do whatever it takes -- even if that means trusting old enemies or risking the lives of the family and friends Ethan left to protect.

Worlds apart, Ethan and Lena must once again work together to rewrite their fate, in this stunning finale to the Beautiful Creatures series.
When I first picked up the first book in the series from the library, I absolutely loved it. So much so that I ended up buying the book and continuing reading the series over the last few years. Before I get into it, I just want to let you guys know that there are major plot spoilers ahead.

The Plot: After jumping off the water tower to save all the people he loves, Ethan Wate is stuck on the other side, unable to return back to Lena and his remaining family unless he erases his page in The Caster Chronicles. He must complete the tasks at hand to get to the book and back in Gatlin, Lena must help him the best she can.

Honestly, it took me a while to get around to this book. First was because it was hardcover and I was not paying a hardcover price. But eventually I saw it soft cover and on a book buying spree, decided to complete the series on my bookshelf and finally read it.

I didn't reread the series before getting to Beautiful Redemption, and as much as I hate to say it, I didn't remember much of what had happened except for some key parts in the first book. And though it was a good read and a good end to the series, I just wasn't feeling the book. I've tried all day to think of reasons why but all I can come up with was that it didn't really end with a bang. A lot of the things that happened seemed un-character-like, and on top of that there was Lena's perspective for a third of the book and it was more interesting then the entire Ethan parts.

I just felt kind of
throughout the book.

And on top of that, the main bad guy, Abraham, dies. After all the crap he caused for them and how powerful apparently he is, you would think there would be some big fight with hardships and loss and all that. But no. Link kills him with garden sheers. Link. With gardening equipment. Are you serious? For such an antagonist and all the big fights with him throughout the series, he just dies the stupidest of deaths. I was actually yelling at my book. It feels like the authors just didn't want to deal with him anymore and killed him off in the easiest way possible.

I didn't hate it, but I didn't exactly love it. It was a thorough ending to a good series, and I'm glad I finished it.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Top Ten OCD Bookish Habits of Tori's (REWIND)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!

This week is rewind week where we choose a past Top Ten that we would like to do! I chose Bookish OCD Habits. As you might know from my post about lending books to friends, I'm pretty particular about the condition of my books. So as you might imagine, I have quite a few OCD habits... I mean, I love my books. They're, like, my children. And when somebody hurts my children...

1 — Don't dog ear my pages. You just don't do this. Especially when it's my book and not yours.

2 — Don't write in my book. This is not okay. Same rule as above. Mine not yours. 

3 — Please, please don't bend the spine. I just...I cringe when I see this. Cringe. The only time this is acceptable for me is if it's a used book, a library book, or someone else's book. This applies for my books only. I don't care if it's your book.

4 — The summary shouldn't describe the entire book. I want to go into a book sort of knowing what it's about, but I also want to be surprised. I want the summary to be gripping and intriguing, not giving away half of the book before I even start it.

5 — Disrespecting books isn't nice. It honestly makes me sad to see people throw books around and rip them. That's not acceptable to me. A book is a book. It's not a toy; it's someone's property. An author spent time to write that book.

6 — Unattractive covers repel me. Very rarely will I even look at the summary of a book if the cover doesn't appeal to me unless it's been recommended to me or I've been requested to read it.

7 — I can't sell my books. Seriously. The only books I've "sold" are the books in the Warriors series that I owned. I had this fad in 5th grade where I read pretty much all of those books. And I didn't even sell them. I just traded them in for our books. See? I can't sell books.

8 — Kindle Daily Deals. I have to check this every day. I'm not even kidding. Even if I have no money, I check it regardless. I have to know what's on sale.

9 — My book blog. I am obsessed with this blog. I put so much time and effort into it. Honestly, I think it's the best decision I've made in a long time. Although my readership is tiny (as in nonexistent, maybe?), I love writing about books and reading them and reviewing them. All that time I spent coding my posts and blog is worth it!

10 — Condition is everything. I'm serious. When I read a book, it looks exactly like it did before I read it. If a book of mine isn't in pristine condition, it's because I either lent it to a friend and they were less than careful with it or I bought it used. Oh, or I've had it for a while.

As you can see, I have quite a few bookish habits... I tried to think of some graphics I could add to this post, but I couldn't think of any! I like to add pretty graphics, if you haven't noticed yet.

Do you have any OCD bookish habits? If you do, tell me in the comments!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Tori's Review: Unforgotten (Unremembered #2) by Jessica Brody

Unforgotten by Jessica Brody
Series: Unremembered #2
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Romance
Rating: ♚♚♚½
Pages: 416
Published by Farrar, Struas and Giroux on February 25, 2014
Amazon | B&N
Some memories are better left forgotten...

After a daring escape from the scientists at Diotech who created her, Seraphina believes she is finally safe from the horrors of her past. But new threats await Sera and her boyfriend, Zen, at every turn as Zen falls prey to a mysterious illness and Sera’s extraordinary abilities make it more and more difficult to stay hidden. Meanwhile, Diotech has developed a dangerous new weapon designed to apprehend her. A weapon that even Sera will be powerless to stop. Her only hope of saving Zen’s life and defeating the company that made her is a secret buried deep within her mind. A secret that Diotech will kill to protect. And it won’t stay forgotten for long.

Packed with mystery, suspense, and romance, this riveting second installment of Jessica Brody’s Unremembered trilogy delivers more heart-pounding action as loyalties are tested, love becomes a weapon, and no one’s memories are safe.
NOTE: I received this book from this publisher in exchange for an honest review.

A continuation of Unremembered by Jessica Brody, Unforgotten picks up several months after the end of Unremembered. The first thing that really irritated me about Unforgotten was the pace. I honestly would've liked this book so much more if the beginning went faster. I understand that the book needed to start somewhere, and, yes, action did happen in the beginning, but I just really wasn't feeling it. I wish it was a bit more interesting. Although after Sera was accused of witchcraft, the book definitely got better.

Kaelen, a new character, was by far my favorite other than Cody. I can't really say anything about Zen, because he was barely in the book. In my review of Unremembered, I said that I wanted to see more of Zen and Sera to decide whether or not I liked them together. I was a bit bummed out that I didn't get to see them grow as a couple, because I really wasn't feeling them as a couple in Unremembered.

Because of me not feeling them as a couple, it was easier for me to latch onto Kaelen. On one hand, he's a horrible love interest that doesn't go with Sera at all, but when you really think about it, he's the best fit for Sera. They're the same. They're both created by Diotech. They're both supposed to be emotionless. They're perfect for each other. To me, Zen was a set of training wheels for Sera in the sense that he prepared her to really connect with someone that understood her more—Kaelen.

Like I said, other than Kaelen, Cody was my other favorite character. I don't think it's a spoiler saying that he was in the book. I mean, there's no other way that I can talk about this book without saying a few things that aren't in the summary. Cody is all grown up in this book, and he's still the same old Cody. I'm really glad that Brody was able to maintain Cody's voice even thirty years into the future.

The world-building aspect of Unforgotten is pretty good. I wasn't as confused in this book as I was in Unremembered, which is good. More science is added to the plot, and I feel like Brody explained it well.

The ending was alright. Just alright. Most of my rating is coming from the very beginning and the very ending. I'm not saying the ending was bad; I'm just saying that part of it was predictable. And infuriating. I suppose the infuriating part is okay, but it just sort of ruined the entire book for me. I realize that there's going to be another book, which I'm anticipating greatly! I need to see how the rest of this series pans out...
This book was good, and I liked it. The was beginning was slow. The ending was a bit predictable, and it made me groan, because of I saw it coming. I loved Cody, and Kaelen is my favorite between him and Zen. I just don't see Zen and Sera as a couple, so if they're the end game, I hope Brody justifies their connection in the third book. The science is easy to understand yet still complex and interesting. In all, this is well worth the read! I'm wondering if it's a trilogy or if it has more books than just three. (Everything's a series these days.)

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (3)

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. 

Once again I've gone and bought/accumulated a lot of books... It's only slightly embarrassing. Slightly. 

  • Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi (Team Warner all the way)
  • Cress by Marissa Meyer (Just amazing)
  • Unremembered by Jessica Brody (Surpsingly good!)
  • UnWholly by Neal Shusterman
  • Everneath by Brodi Ashton
  • Hereafter by Kate Brian
  • The Eye of Minds by James Dashner
  • The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
  • The Archived by Victoria Schwab
  • Shift by Jennifer Bradbury (borrowed)
  • My Life with the Walter Boys by Ali Novak 
  • Better off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg (everybody needs this book in their life)
  • The Cellar by Natasha Preston
  • The Killing Woods by Lucy Christopher
  • Drawn by Cecilia Gray
  • The Summer I Wasn't Me by Jesica Verdi
  • The Summer I Found You by Jolene Perry
  • Donna of the Dead by Alison Kemper
  • Don't Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski
  • Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott
  • The Here and Now by Ann Brashares
  • Dark Days by Kate Ormand
  • Fugitive X by Gregg Rosenblum

Which books do you think I should read first? Let me know in the comments!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Tori's Review: Better off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg

Better off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg
Series: None
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Rating: ♚♚♚♚½
Pages: 288
Published by Point on February 25, 2014
Amazon | B&N
For Macallan and Levi, it was friends at first sight. Everyone says guys and girls can’t be just friends, but these two are. They hang out after school, share tons of inside jokes, their families are super close, and Levi even starts dating one of Macallan’s friends. They are platonic and happy that way.

Eventually they realize they’re best friends — which wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t keep getting in each other’s way. Guys won’t ask Macallan out because they think she’s with Levi, and Levi spends too much time joking around with Macallan, and maybe not enough time with his date. They can’t help but wonder . . . are they more than friends or are they better off without making it even more complicated?

From romantic comedy superstar Elizabeth Eulberg comes a fresh, fun examination of a question for the ages: Can guys and girls ever really be just friends? Or are they always one fight away from not speaking again — and one kiss away from true love?
NOTE: I received this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion. 

First off, let me tell you that you need this book in your life. Lately, I've really been digging contemporaries, and that's why I requested this book on NetGalley. I don't think I've ever been so grateful that I requested on NetGalley. This book was hilarious, cute, and everything good in life. It pained me to read about Levi and Macallan not being a couple.

One of the best aspects of Better off Friends is that Levi and Macallan are characters that you can relate to. They make stupid, rash decisions in the story and in real life people make stupid, rash decisions. Eulberg makes middle school and high school sound real rather than the fake cliche stuff most of the contemporaries I've read are all about.

Macallan and Levi's relationship together—their friendship and their love for one another—makes the entire novel. Surprisingly, it's not boring. In fact, this book is actually quite entertaining. I read it in one sitting, on the way home from my out-of-town tournament, and it's honestly the best road trip book. It's light and cute, which is what I just need some days. The writing is simple and to-the-point, which I love.

Each character goes through a hardship in life that is reasonable and realistic with reasonable and realistic responses. It's interesting to see how each characters deals with each event in their life differently.

I especially loved the double POV. Lately, I've been loving split POVs. Levi and Macallan have such interesting voices, and I love them both. Levi is a meat-head—a typical boy—and Macallan is bordering on needy—a typical girl. I love how the two feed off each other and seem to be better people with one another.

But let me say that the tension between the two is sky-high, and it made me want to toss my phone out the window at one point or another. It was amazing how blind they were toward each other's feelings throughout the entire novel.
Honestly, like I said before, the entire novel is their relationship with one another. There's nothing I can really say about this novel without repeating myself. If you're not going to read the novel, you're mistaken, because you are going to read Better off Friends. It's simply amazing, and I loved it. Everybody needs this book in their life, because it might just teach them a thing or two about making stupid decisions and moving past them. Plus, Levi and Macallan are hilarious.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Tori's Review: Unremembered (Unremembered #1) by Jessica Brody

Series: Unremembered #1
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Romance
Rating: ♚♚♚♚
Pages: 320
Published by Farrar, Straus, & Giroux (BYR) on March 5, 2013
Amazon | B&N
When Freedom Airlines flight 121 went down over the Pacific Ocean, no one ever expected to find survivors. Which is why the sixteen-year-old girl discovered floating among the wreckage—alive—is making headlines across the globe.

Even more strange is that her body is miraculously unharmed and she has no memories of boarding the plane. She has no memories of her life before the crash. She has no memories period. No one knows how she survived. No one knows why she wasn’t on the passenger manifest. And no one can explain why her DNA and fingerprints can’t be found in a single database in the world.

Crippled by a world she doesn’t know, plagued by abilities she doesn’t understand, and haunted by a looming threat she can’t remember, Seraphina struggles to piece together her forgotten past and discover who she really is. But with every clue only comes more questions. And she’s running out of time to answer them.

Her only hope is a strangely alluring boy who claims to know her from before the crash. Who claims they were in love. But can she really trust him? And will he be able to protect her from the people who have been making her forget?

From popular young adult author Jessica Brody comes a compelling and suspenseful new sci-fi series, set in a world where science knows no boundaries, memories are manipulated, and true love can never be forgotten.
I haven't read a lot of memory books, so I think that's one of the main reasons I enjoyed this book so much. The one thing that bugged me throughout the entire novel though was the fact that it reminded me of Origin by Jessica Khoury. At one point, the man that "created" Seraphina tells her that she's perfect, and one thing I remember about Origin was that they always called the main girl Pia perfect. This wasn't a big issue for me, but it did annoy me at times.

The characters weren't explored that much, in my opinion. As a reader you barely get a glimpse at what Seraphina (or Violet) is really like, and Zen is barely around enough to see what he is really like either. In other words, when Zen is around Seraphina, he's very cryptic, because he wants Seraphina to figure her past out for herself. I really hope we get to see more of Seraphina and Zen in Unforgotten. Also, I'm glad that it wasn't exactly insta-love. That really grinds my gears.

My favorite character had to be Cody, Seraphina's foster brother. He was hilarious, and when he explained the world to Seraphina because she didn't remember the majority of it, I cracked up. I think for every book there needs to be a comic relief, and Cody was that comic relief.  

The plot was pretty good. I knew that there were going to be science fiction-y elements from the beginning after I found out she had purple eyes and was gorgeous. I think the science aspect was alright. I can't really judge that part since I don't know much about genetics. I don't want to spoil anything, but the science got a bit confusing when Seraphina's genetics were being explained to her. I had to read a sentence once or twice to actually understand what was being said.

I thought the pacing was great. Unremembered wasn't too fast, and it wasn't too slow—it was just right. There was the right amount of action and the right amount of seriousness to keep my interest throughout the novel. I can safely say that there isn't a dull moment whether or not the plot doesn't really and truly take off until around 70 pages in. Don't be intimidated though! It's a fun 70 pages.

Overall, I liked this book a lot more than I thought I was going to. I like that Jessica Brody has branched out from contemporary and decided to write a science fiction-esque book. (I read and reviewed her contemporary 52 Reasons to Hate My Father.) Albeit a bit confusing at time, I liked this book a lot. I can't wait to read the ARC of the second book Unforgotten that I have! I need to find out what's in store for Zen and Seraphina. I think Jessica Brody's writing is really easy to read, which I love, and I think she knows how to keep a reader's attention, which is another thing that I love. I would recommend this book to people that want to break into the science fiction genre!

"Forgetting who you are is so much more complicated than simply forgetting your name. It's also forgetting your dreams. Your aspirations. What makes you happy. What you pray you'll never have to live without. it's meeting yourself for the first time, and not being sure of your first impression."

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Life of a Blogger: Introvert or Extrovert

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

There will always come a time in life when an introvert will need to be a bit like an extrovert and an extrovert will need to a bit like an introvert. This is why I'm glad that I'm both. Honestly, this may be a weird way to answer the introvert/extrovert question, but it's true. I am both an introvert and an extrovert.

You might be thinking
but it's really not that weird when you think about it...

When it comes to going outside and hanging out with people versus staying inside and working on the blog or reading, I'd rather me working on the blog or reading. Unless my friends are playing volleyball, then I'm all over that.

Part of being a team in volleyball would be getting along with a group of people and doing things that other people like to do with said people. At first, it was very difficult for me to get along with the rest of my team because I felt awkward and out of place. Naturally, I'm not an outgoing (extrovert) person until I get to know somebody. Then once I get to know somebody, I guess I can be a bit...crazy. But until I get to know them, I'm either (a) cold or (b) an introvert where I won't talk to them at all.

I'm under the impression that people need to approach me first, which shouldn't be the case. I should approach them first otherwise we'll probably never talk. I'm slowly getting better at approaching others first, but I feel like I'm doing it all wrong, and I'm only succeeding in freaking them out.

Theoretically, I'm an extrovert. Anybody who knows me would say I'm an extrovert (I've asked). But if you asked me and I didn't let other people's opinions influence mine, then I would say I'm an introvert. It just depends on my mood and who I'm around, really. But isn't it like that for everyone?

So tell me: are you an introvert or an extrovert? 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Tori's Review: Ignite Me (Shatter Me #3) by Tahereh Mafi

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi
Series: Shatter Me #3
Genre: Dystopia, Young Adult, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★
Pages: 416
Published by HarperCollins on February 4, 2014
Amazon | B&N
The heart-stopping conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Shatter Me series, which Ransom Riggs, bestselling author of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, called "a thrilling, high-stakes saga of self-discovery and forbidden love"

Juliette now knows she may be the only one who can stop the Reestablishment. But to take them down, she'll need the help of the one person she never thought she could trust: Warner. And as they work together, Juliette will discover that everything she thought she knew-about Warner, her abilities, and even Adam-was wrong.

In Shatter Me, Tahereh Mafi created a captivating and original story that combined the best of dystopian and paranormal and was praised by Publishers Weekly as "a gripping read from an author who's not afraid to take risks." The sequel, Unravel Me, blew readers away with heart-racing twists and turns, and New York Times bestselling author Kami Garcia said it was "dangerous, sexy, romantic, and intense." Now this final book brings the series to a shocking and climactic end.
Ignite Me was one of my top anticipated books of 2014, and it feels great to finally have read it, and to finish another series. I have to admit that I started out Team Adam, but as the book series went along, I was less Adam and more Warner. If you've read Destroy Me, no doubt you felt the same. Tahereh Mafi has a way with characters. She so beautifully crafts their personalities and their voice as well as their mannerisms. Some people think her writing is choppy, but I think it's genius.

Warner absolutely breaks my heart. His character survived a long character arc since Shatter Me, and that makes me really happy. I'm glad that he's made it out not-so-unscathed but alright. Ever since Destory Me, I've been in love with that dude. In Ignite Me, he made my heart break/swoon/ache. Just all of those adjectives. He made me feel.

He smiles like it hurts.

In my opinion, each and every character in this book has their own demons they need to learn to face. In Fracture Me, we as readers learn that Adam does have his own inner anger that he needs to tame and learn to deal with. If it weren't for Fracture Me, I don't think I would've been ready for Adam's hostile personality in Ignite Me. His anger surprised me.

Other than Warner, Kenji was my favorite. I think if you've read Shatter Me and Unravel Me, you'll know that Kenji is hilarious. But in Ignite Me, I really start to see Kenji and Juliette's friendship for what it is—hilarious. Not in a sense that it doesn't work, but in the sense that they work so well together as friends. They feed off each other.

That's because you're not fragile," Kenji says. "If anything, everyone needs to protect themselves from you. You're like a freaking beast," he says. Then adds, "I mean, you know—like a cute beast. A little beast that tears shit up and breaks the earth and sucks the life out of people."

Plot-wise, Ignite Me was lacking. The common thread throughout the trilogy was that Juliette wanted to take down the Reestablishment, right? But it seemed as though Juliette's sudden drive to make a change was sudden. Too sudden. She wanted to take down the Reestablishment after Warner's father, the leader of the Reestablishment, shot her, which was reasonable, but I felt like it could've been improved a lot. This trilogy has been solely based off relationships and character arcs, which I'm perfectly fine with, but I wished that it had more substance.

And lastly, the world-building was pretty much nonexistent. Tahereh Mafi barely touches on how this dystopian world came to be. I think I remember hearing about radioactive events occurring prior to Shatter Me, but I think it should've been covered more thoroughly. Even at the end of the book, I'm left wondering if Juliette ever truly gets a happy ending. Plus, the action happened within the last 20 pages, which more or less irritated me. I feel like endings should be big. This one wasn't.

In conclusion, if I wanted to rate this book not thinking about its faults, it would no doubt have five stars. But sitting down and really thinking about the book, I can't give it more than five stars. It was amazing, but it wasn't all that. Regardless, Ignite Me will be a 2014 favorite.

On a final note, Tahereh Mafi is very good at hot scenes, let me tell you.

WoW: Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott (14)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine!

A modern day thrill ride, where a teen girl and her animal companion must participate in a breathtaking race to save her brother's life—and her own.
Tella Holloway is losing it. Her brother is sick, and when a dozen doctors can't determine what's wrong, her parents decide to move to Montana for the fresh air. She's lost her friends, her parents are driving her crazy, her brother is dying—and she's helpless to change anything.

Until she receives mysterious instructions on how to become a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed. It's an epic race across jungle, desert, ocean, and mountain that could win her the prize she desperately desires: the Cure for her brother's illness. But all the Contenders are after the Cure for people they love, and there's no guarantee that Tella (or any of them) will survive the race.

The jungle is terrifying, the clock is ticking, and Tella knows she can't trust the allies she makes. And one big question emerges: Why have so many fallen sick in the first place?
I can't wait for Fire & Flood to come out on the 25th this month! It sounds so interesting! I love the idea of a girl doing something to same her family—something dangerous. I've seen both bad and good reviews, but I'm excited to make a conclusion for myself. I never know if I'll like something or not without trying it.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Tori's Review: The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines #4) by Richelle Mead

Series: Bloodlines #4
Genre: Vampire, Young Adult, Paranormal
Rating: ★★★
Pages: 420
Published by Razorbill on November 19, 2013
Amazon | B&N
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.

In The Indigo Spell, Sydney was torn between the Alchemist way of life and what her heart and gut were telling her to do. And in one breathtaking moment that Richelle Mead fans will never forget, she made a decision that shocked even her. . . .

But the struggle isn't over for Sydney. As she navigates the aftermath of her life-changing decision, she still finds herself pulled in too many directions at once. Her sister Zoe has arrived, and while Sydney longs to grow closer to her, there's still so much she must keep secret. Working with Marcus has changed the way she views the Alchemists, and Sydney must tread a careful path as she harnesses her profound magical ability to undermine the way of life she was raised to defend. Consumed by passion and vengeance, Sydney struggles to keep her secret life under wraps as the threat of exposure — and re-education — looms larger than ever.

Pulses will race throughout this smoldering fourth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where no secret is safe.
NOTE: This is the fourth book in a series. If you haven't read the other books preceding this book, I would suggest not reading this review as there will be spoilers for Bloodlines, The Golden Lily, and The Indigo Spell

I honestly never thought that I'd be giving three stars to a Bloodlines novel, but alas it has happened. First off, I found this book to be pretty mellow overall as in nothing shocking happened (isn't this for every Bloodlines novel though?). There were moments where I was semi-excited about it and I laughed at times, but other than that, The Fiery Heart mostly centered around Sydney and Adrian's relationship, which by the way, I never thought I'd be complaining about. I have to admit that their romance got a bit sickening at times. It's a bit unbelievable that Sydney goes from adamantly resisting Adrian to being all over him. The slow burn for their relationship did occur, just wasn't enough for me. In short, their relationship only managed to irk me in the end. I still ship them, but they've lost their flame.

Sydney and Adrian aside, the characters in these books still seem to amaze me. I don't relate to all of them, but there's just something about Mead's characters and the world of Moroi, Strigoi, and dhampirs that draws me in and won't let me go. It's all very intriguing to me. Mead, for several books, has created and maintained this world of vampires and vampire society with all the levels and kinks in vampire society (Alchemists, Moroi, Strigoi, dhampirs, etc.) that has interested many. I'm just too invested in this world to let it go.

The only character I found lacking was Neil, but I think that's only because he's been in one book opposed to 2-3 books like the other characters. Jill seems like a life counselor for Adrian, but I think that's good for him. Angeline is alright, I guess. She's not a favorite, but I'm not opposed to her. I actually like Trey a lot. I don't know why; he's endearing to me. The only thing that really turned me off regarding the characters is the fact that there are so many. I think that because there are so many, it's difficult to give every character the screen time that they deserve in the book. If there were more than 400 pages, I think Mead could've created a lot better character arc for all the characters rather than just Sydney (she had a small one. Her biggest character arc was in The Indigo Spell) and Adrian.

The biggest thing for The Fiery Heart was its predictability. For the other three books, I said that their level of predictability didn't bother me, but it's starting to get on my nerves now. I like to be on my toes when it comes to a book, and I like to be kept guessing, and I just don't think The Fiery Heart had any of that. Halfway through, I already knew the ending, so when it actually happened, I was thinking, "Oh. That just happened. Poor Adrian. Go get 'er." I have to say though that if Mead had done anything else with the ending, I don't think it would've been as great. I think that the ending was the best thing for the series, which is something I appreciate. I just didn't like its predictability. It made the plot boring.

Regardless, Mead has this writing style that is hard to imitate. She's witty and sarcastic, and it shows in her characters and writing style. We're back to the characters, but I think their humor is what really gets me. She made The Fiery Heart have split POV's between Adrian and Sydney. At first, I thought this wasn't too great, but as the book went along, I found that Adrian's POV really suited him. Sydney's was just like the other three books, but Adrian's POV really stood out to me. I think his POV made me see how much he really has evolved as a character in the books series.

The one thing that keeps me coming back for more in this book series has to be the fact that I've already read the six books in the Vampire Academy series, and I've already read the first four books in the Bloodlines series, so I feel like I need to finish it. My favorite still has to be The Indigo Spell, plot-wise and character-wise. The Fiery Heart was still entertaining and I liked it; it just wasn't a favorite. Although this isn't a completely positive review, I did enjoy reading this book. I will definitely be reading Silver Shadows when it comes out this summer.
"Did Belikov bend the rules of time and space to get here so fast? He can do that, right?"

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Why I Hate Lending Out My Books

I am honestly such a neurotic freak about the condition of my books. Ironically, I'm totally okay with purchasing used books. I don't care if a used book that I buy is, well, used. What I hate though is when I buy a book brand new, let my friend borrow it, and then they return it unread and ruined.

Like, no, reading my book in the shower is not okay.

I am not even exaggerating when I say this. In fourth grade, I let my teacher's high school (!) girl borrow my book. Three months later (this deserves another !) she returned it. Yeah, it was all wrinkled like it had gone swimming and not dried off properly. There was water paint colors on the inside pages. She ANNOTATED and HIGHLIGHTED some of the text. I can't EVEN begin to describe how angry I was.

I understand annotating and highlighting text in your own book but when you start annotating and highlighting text in a book that isn't yours, we have a problem. And don't forget the shower thing! I asked her why my book was like that and she said, "Oh, yeah. It was getting really good but my mom said I had to take a shower so..." 


Clearly, as you can see I have issues with letting people borrow my books. And I am not the only person with this problem! I was talking to Utterly Books on Twitter, and she told me a story about her friend. 

Let me just rage some more.

This just frustrates me so much. I don't understand how some peopleespecially your friends!—can't get it through their skulls that ruining other people's books is not okay.

As another example, I lent my friend a copy of one of my ARC's for him to read. Yes, he didn't even finish it because he thought it was boring, so he gave it back to me, and the corner was bent. I didn't even bother saying anything to him. The fact that he's my best friend and he still didn't respect my high regard that I have for schools says a lot about our friendship.

I just...can't. I'm sorry. This was more of a rant post, but...

How do you feel about the condition of your books? How do you feel about lending your books to friends? Tell me about your experiences in the comments! I'd love to hear.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Tori's Review: The Cellar by Natasha Preston

The Cellar by Natasha Preston
Series: None
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller
Rating: ★★★★
Pages: 368
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on March 1, 2014
Amazon | B&N

My stomach dropped as a tall, dark-haired man stepped into view. Had he been hiding between the trees? "No. Sorry." Gulping, I took a step back. "I'm not Lily."

Before I could blink, he threw his arms forward and grabbed me. I tried to shout, but he clasped his hand over my mouth, muffling my screams. My heart raced. I'm going to die.


For months, Summer is trapped in a cellar with the man who took her-and three other girls: Rose, Poppy, and Violet. His perfect, pure flowers. His family. But flowers can't survive long cut off from the sun, and time is running out...Nothing ever happens in the town of Long Thorpe – that is, until sixteen-year-old Summer Robinson disappears without a trace. No family or police investigation can track her down. Spending months inside the cellar of her kidnapper with several other girls, Summer learns of Colin’s abusive past, and his thoughts of his victims being his family…his perfect, pure flowers. But flowers can’t survive long cut off from the sun, and time is running out….
NOTE: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

I remember this book when it was on Wattpad. I have to admit that I never read it, but my friend did, and she said that it was scary as hell and that I shouldn't read it in the dark at night time. Because of this, I expected something way more scary than what I got. Yes, The Cellar is creepy on many levels, but it wasn't downright scary. It didn't make me want to pee my pants. For some reason, scary movies and TV shows scare me way more than books do, and I'm seriously waiting for that one book to pop out and scare me so bad that I loose sleep over it (thank you to The Grudge for doing that to me. I appreciate it). 

I honestly didn't care that the book didn't scare me; I just anticipated for it to scare me, and it didn't. It's not even a real problem that I had with the book. A real problem I had with The Cellar was the fact that the psychological issues weren't that severe for Summer. She was locked in a cellar for nearly a year, witnessed girls being murdered, and was raped. I just thought that the psychological impact on her mentality would've been worse that just, "Oh, I feel a bit woosey. Ooh, I can't really remember you. Ooh, I don't want you to touch me." I sort of wanted her to have a panic attack or something. Going into this book, I even thought she would develop Stockholm Syndrome. (She didn't.) 

On the other side of the spectrum, the POV change was refreshing and nice. At first, I thought that I was going to hate the POV changes (I usually do), but I didn't in this case. I'm actually glad that the author decided to do them. If she hadn't, I would've gotten bored with Summer's POV after so long of her being locked in a cellar day in and day out. 

If anything scared me in this book, it would be Clover's point of view. It showed that he wasn't completely all there. He honestly believed that murdering people was okay. I think that this part of the novel was done very well. Another part I thought was done really well was Rose's (Shannen's) attachment to Clover. It was explained adequately, which I appreciated (apparently I appreciated a lot of things regarding this book). Also, I really enjoyed watching Clover's obsessive compulsive disorder span out through the entire book. It was fascinating. 

I have to admit that I didn't really like the flashbacks because they got a bit confusing at time, but as time wore on, I started liking them more often than not, and by the end of the novel I was completely fine with them. 

Preston might have sort of glossed over the psychological aspects of the book, but she sure didn't gloss over Clover's murdering, which I also loved. In my search for a book that really scares me out of my wits (it's safe to say that I haven't read Stephen King yet...), I've noticed that books really don't scare me much, so I appreciated the fact that Clover did managed to creep me out more than I liked. 

In the end, this was a solid novel for Natasha Preston, and I'm glad that I requested it on NetGalley to review. I'm really glad that I read it, and I learned to never go out at night in the dark looking for a friend because I might get kidnapped and shoved into a cellar. I'll most likely be ordering this online once it comes out so I can showcase it proudly on my bookshelf!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Love for Books Read-a-Thon

I've never joined a read-a-thon before, so I'm excited for my first one! It's hosted by Jessi and Amanda.

I chose this read-a-thon because it's a pretty low-key read-a-thon. It's basically where you just read. You set your own goal, and if you make it, great. Come sign up with me and join in on the fun! (Psst, it starts Monday!)

My reading is to read 1000 pages. And to write the reviews for the books I read.

It would be great if I could read these three books:

1. Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg
2. My Life with the Walter Boys by Ali Novak
3. The Summer I Found You by Jolene Perry

If those three books don't make up the thousand pages (I doubt they will) then I'll just read more. You can never read too much in my opinion! Plus, I really need to get these ARCs off my Kindle since they publish the week after the read-a-thon!

I'll be updating my progress on this challenge's official challenge page!

Valentine's Day Recommendations!

In celebration of Valentine's Day, I'm going to recommend you readers some romance novels that will make your heart swoon!

  • The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston — Ethan is the Southern Sweetheart that every girl would love to have! He definitely knows how to treat a woman right. You'll love to read about him and wish you had him for yourself!
  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell — Levi is the college beau that you wish you could have. He's your roommate's best friend that's always hanging around and always hanging off your every word. He's make your heart race and my palms sweaty, but in a good way that you'll love!
  • Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachen Cohn and David Levithan — Dash hates the world, but certainly not Lily! He's a better person when he's with Lily, and isn't that the best kind of person? Even though it's a Christmas book, their romance will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside!
  • Angelfall by Susan Ee — If you love angels and hot guys, Angelfall is the book for you! Raffe will make your heart pound; he'll make you coo. He's simply the hottest angel out there!
  • The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black — Not only can angels be hot but vampires as well! And this one doesn't sparkle! Gavriel is the perfect mix between terrifying and alluring. You just got to love Gavriel! 
  • Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo — The Darkling versus Mal. No one can ever choose! Alina has two guys fawning over her; you'll definitely feel the heat during their meetings. This is the perfect paranormal swoon-worthy read for Valentine's Day if you're looking for a book with not only one but two hot guys!
  • Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi — Be prepared to go on an emotional roller coaster with this book! Buckle your sets; you'll need safety! Two hot guys—Adam and Warner—and you just can't decide. You may think you know which side you're on, but then you go on to read the rest of the series, and you're blindsided! Read Shatter Me and find out for yourself who Juliette's heart really belongs to. (PS: Tahereh Mafi is really good at sexy scenes. That's why this book is here. Don't worry; it's still YA. *insert winky face here*)
  • Legend by Marie Lu — Day will have you begging for more. With his witty and adorable comebacks, he's the Republic's most wanted criminal while he's June Iparis' most wanted boy... This book will definitely evict some aww's from you and wow you into reading the next book Prodigy!
  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer — Kai is in Cinder, but prepare for Wolf and Thorne when continuing with the series! Kai sure knows how to charm his way into Cinder's life unexpectedly, and he'll charm his way into your heart as well! Beware! He's adorable! And a prince!
I hope I gave you guys some ideas on what you'll be reading next to celebrate this day full of love and *sigh* swoon-worthy guys! These books are full of swoon-worthy dudes, and if one doesn't sound interesting to you, just pick another! There are nine books; I think you can find one. ♥

Happy Valentine's Day and happy reading as well! Have fun reading about hot guys!

Tori's Review: Cress (Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer

Series: Lunar Chronicles #3
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Rating: ★★★★★
Pages: 560
Published by Feiwel & Friends on February 4, 2014
Amazon | B&N
Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite. She can’t let down her hair—or her guard.

In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker—unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.
NOTE: There are no spoilers for Cinder or Scarlet in this review. You'll just know who ends up with who coupling wise if you read this review, which really isn't that big of a deal. 

Oh, man. I honestly don't even know how to begin this review. To be truthful, I am still so shell-shocked when it comes to the Lunar Chronicles. I loved Cinder and Scarlet, but I don't think I realized how much I loved those books until I read Cress. 

The action in Cress is never-ending, which I loved. There's never really a dull moment. Looking back on this book, it's constant action. I would've read this book in one night if it hadn't been 12 in the morning and I wasn't about to pass out. I couldn't stop reading this book, because that's just how amazing it was. I hate writing extremely negative and extremely positive reviews, because this is how they end up—jumbled and incoherent.

I seriously ship all the couples in this book so hard. Thorne/Cress (Thress?), Wolf/Scarlet (Wolflet/Scarf?), Kai/Cinder (Kinder?), and then there's going to be a Jacin/Winter (Jater/Wincin...?) coupling in Winter. I swear, I don't know how Meyer does it, but she manages to make me ship every single one of her couples. I feel like I'm forgetting a couple, but then again, I don't think I am.

The only characters that I had extreme feelings for in Cress were Thorne and Wolf. I loved Thorne so much in this book. In Scarlet, I was pretty neutral about him, but once I read this, I loved him so much. Wolf—not so sure about. The more that I think about it, the more that I come to the realization that for the majority of Cress, Wolf brooded and sulked. In Scarlet, he took action and he was amazing, but in Cress, he was easily manipulated and just...there. I think he was a much better character in Scarlet. Regardless, this is the only complaint I have when it comes to this book.

Other than Wolf, there was a character arc for nearly every single character (except Scarlet, but if you've read this book, you would know why. She didn't get much book time), which I loved. Kai grew quite a bit in this book, and I think this was when I really started to love him. So did Cinder. Just everybody grew, and that made me love this book even more. I have so many feelings while reading it.

There were so many POV's too! But I surprisingly was content with this. Usually third person writing with a lot of POV's is a recipe for disaster and no attachment to the world/characters, but Meyer has no problem with this whatsoever. I really love Meyer's to-the-point writing, and she made everything work out in the end. I thought I would get confused with all the different plots going on, but I didn't. It was fairly easy to keep track of, which I loved. (Wow, I loved a lot of things when it comes to this book.)

Overall, this is one of my top favorite of 2014 so far. I've read 16 books in 2014 as of February 9 when I wrote the review, but out of those 16, this is my favorite. I think this will probably remain at the top. I want to reread it right now, and I probably would if it weren't for the fact that there are a million other books that I need to read. I could seriously go on and on in this review, but I think I'll stop it here.

I HIGHLY recommend this series. HIGHLY.

Oh yes, and on a final note, Levana is probably one of the best villains I've ever read about.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Queen of Zombie Hearts by Gena Showalter Cover Reveal + GIVEAWAY!

I'm proud to be revealing the cover of THE QUEEN OF ZOMBIE HEARTS, the third book in The White Rabbit Chronicles! But not yet! Let's look at the first two (gorgeous) covers first!

First in the series was ALICE IN ZOMBIELAND!

She won’t rest until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.

Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real….

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies….

I wish I could go back and do a thousand things differently.
I'd tell my sister no.
I'd never beg my mother to talk to my dad.
I'd zip my lips and swallow those hateful words.
Or, barring all of that, I'd hug my sister, my mom and my dad one last time.
I'd tell them I love them.
I wish... Yeah, I wish

The second book in the series is THROUGH THE ZOMBIE GLASS!

Zombies stalk the night. Forget blood and brains. These monsters hunger for human souls. Sadly, they've got mine...

Alice Bell has lost so much. Family. Friends. A home. She thought she had nothing else to give. She was wrong.

After a new zombie attack, strange things begin to happen to her. Mirrors come to life, and the whispers of the dead assault her ears. But the worst? A terrible darkness blooms inside her, urging her to do very wicked things.

She's never needed her team of zombie slayers more, but ultra bad-boy Cole Holland, the leader and her boyfriend, suddenly withdraws from her...from everyone. Now, with her best friend Kat at her side, Ali must kill the zombies, uncover Cole's secret and learn to fight the darkness.

But the clock is ticking...and if she fails at a single task, they're all doomed.

Now get ready for your hearts to pound because the third and final installment in The White Rabbit Chronicles is THE QUEEN OF ZOMBIE HEARTS! The cover is here!

I have a plan.

We'll either destroy them for good, or they'll destroy us.

Either way, only one of us is walking away.

In the stunning conclusion to the wildly popular White Rabbit Chronicles, Alice "Ali" Bell thinks the worst is behind her. She's ready to take the next step with boyfriend Cole Holland, the leader of the zombie slayers…until Anima Industries, the agency controlling the zombies, launches a sneak attack, killing four of her friends. It's then she realizes that humans can be more dangerous than monsters…and the worst has only begun.

As the surviving slayers prepare for war, Ali discovers she, too, can control the zombies…and she isn't the girl she thought she was. She's connected to the woman responsible for killing—and turning—Cole's mother. How can their relationship endure? As secrets come to light, and more slayers are taken or killed, Ali will fight harder than ever to bring down Anima—even sacrificing her own life for those she loves.

ISN'T IT JUST DROP DEAD GORGEOUS?! I especially love the pink!

It goes on sale on September 30, 2014! So mark your calendars and save the date!
Pre-order your copy! AmazonBarnes & Noble

About Gena:

Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of the wildly popular White Rabbit Chronicles, the Angels of the Dark, the Lords of the Underworld, and the Otherworld Assassins series.  In addition to being a National Reader's Choice and RITA nominee, her romance novels have appeared in Cosmopolitan and Seventeen magazine, and have been translated in multiple languages.  She lives in Oklahoma with her family and menagerie of dogs, and truly believes love conquers all.

Giveaway Details:

One complete set of The White Rabbit Chronicles (first 2 sent as soon as the giveaway is over and the winner will get the first hardcover of book 3 when its available!) US/Canada Only

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Tori's Review: The Name of the Star (Shades of London #1) by Maureen Johnson

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
Series: Shades of London #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Mystery
Rating: ★★★★
Pages: 372
Published by Putnam Juvenile on September 29, 2011
Amazon | Barnes & Noble
The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it's the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago.

Soon “Rippermania” takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was walking with her at the time, didn't notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target? In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.
The plot (no spoilers): Rory gets to London. Rory is chastised for being a silly American. Rory meets a cute English boy. Rory is in London when Jack the Ripper style murders go on. Rory meets a ghost. Rory meets some other people that can see ghosts. Rory makes friends. Rory is hunted.

Despite the fact that the plot seems very simplistic...okay, well the plot in The Name of the Star is very simplistic. But it's a good simplistic! Johnson's writing is very short and to the point, and I like that about it. It's no nonsense writing. There's only one thing I'd complain about when it comes to Johnson's writing, and I had the same issue with Libba Bray's writing in The Diviners, and that's the fact that yes, Johnson did research on London, and yes Johnson made it seem real (wait. What would I know? I've never been to London. Oh, well), but no Johnson did not have to show me every. single. thing that she learned.

It wasn't as bad as Bray though, who just had to tell me all about the 1920's when I could've cared less. But still. In the beginning, I had a little History Class Taught by Rory about the school's history. Yeah, I really didn't care. I kind of glazed in that part. But after you get past the first hundred pages (for me, it's really easy to get past the first 100 pages in most books. Notice how I say most books and not all books), the plot really picks up and the book takes off.

I really liked the characters in this book. They might not have seemed really real to me and they might not have stood out among other characters I've read before, but I still really liked them. Stephen, particularly. (Except when he told Rory his life story. I like story time and all, but I hate hearing people's back stories. I know that they're necessary though.) Anyway, I wasn't too fond of Jerome though. I know that he was the love interest, but I really just didn't like him all that much. He seemed a bit flaky at times and suspicious as well as reckless.

(Like, no. You do not go to the bar where a body was just found and a murderer is still out there. You just...don't.)

But other than Jerome, I was fine with the other characters. Even Charlotte. She reminded me of people that I know and (would) love (to castrate and/or stab repeatedly). Boo was meh. She was fun and all, but I feel like she was only added to spice up the book a bit, which is fine, but still.

As far as murder/mystery goes, I really don't think this was a mystery. I consider a mystery to be like Bones (the TV program) or CSI or other crime shows like that. Or even Find Me by Romily Bernard where even though the killer may or may not be blatantly obvious, you still have to guess as to who the killer is. In this book, it's just kind of thrown at you. I doubt the author chose the genres, but if you want a whodunit mystery, this isn't it. It's still worth the read though! Creepy enough in some parts, especially when explaining Jack the Ripper's fourth (or was it fifth?) murder.

Overall, I really liked this book and its plot. It was really interesting to me. It took me a while to get around to reading it (I bought it in September '13), but that's fine. I'm glad I did decide to pick it up randomly. I really enjoyed it. I'll be buying the next book really soon.

On a final note, I'm so glad that book three comes out this year. I heard the cliffhanger at the end of book two is killer.

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