Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: In Honor

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted Jill over at Breaking the Spine that features upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating!

This week's not-yet-published "need-to-read-now" selection is:

In Honor by Jessi Kirby
Publishing 5.8.12

Summary from Goodreads: Honor receives her brother's last letter from Iraq three days after learning that he died, and opens it the day his fellow Marines lay the flag over his casket. Its contents are a complete shock: concert tickets to see Kyra Kelly, her favorite pop star and Finn's celebrity crush. In his letter, he jokingly charged Honor with the task of telling Kyra Kelly that he was in love with her.

Grief-stricken and determined to grant Finn's last request, she rushes to leave immediately. But she only gets as far as the driveway before running into Rusty, Finn's best friend since third grade and his polar opposite. She hasn't seen him in ages, thanks to a falling out between the two guys, but Rusty is much the same as Honor remembers him: arrogant, stubborn. . . and ruggedly good looking. Neither one is what the other would ever look for in a road trip partner, but the two of them set off together, on a voyage that makes sense only because it doesn't. Along the way, they find small and sometimes surprising ways to ease their shared loss and honor Finn--but when shocking truths are revealed at the end of the road, will either of them be able to cope with the consequences?

If you haven't read Moonglass, Jessi Kirby's debut, you won't know how amazing and fresh her writing is. I have, so I definitely know. Anyways, I also like the love stories that also happen to be about travel; there's just something about them that call to my soul....

I hope Rusty is as awesome as he seems to be! There's great hope he'll make it on my coveted crush list, for now. Anyways, he had better be swoon-inducing! How am I supposed to wait more than two months?!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Yay/Nay for Fire!

This is why I'm in my own happyland now...
It's also why I missed Teaser Tuesday...
Oh, well. I still love your music, Adele!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep

Unfortunately, I'm the type of person who gets obsessed with a single book for about a day (unless it's Clockwork Prince...) and absolutely must review it. As of right now, It's Touch of Frost, a book that happened to make me laugh like a maniac. 4 out of 5 stars.

Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep
4 out of 5 stars
Published in 2011
Summary from Goodreads: My name is Gwen Frost, and I go to Mythos Academy — a school of myths, magic and warrior whiz kids, where even the lowliest geek knows how to chop off somebody's head with a sword and Logan Quinn, the hottest Spartan guy in school, also happens to be the deadliest.

But lately, things have been weird, even for Mythos. First, mean girl Jasmine Ashton was murdered in the Library of Antiquities. Then, someone stole the Bowl of Tears, a magical artifact that can be used to bring about the second Chaos War. You know, death, destruction and lots of other bad, bad things. Freaky stuff like this goes on all the time at Mythos, but I'm determined to find out who killed Jasmine and why—especially since I should have been the one who died. . .

“Logan Quinn was the kind of guy who could stab me in the eye with a freaking Twizzler.”
That's precisely why I love Touch of Frost. Gwen has a great sense of humor that she's not afraid of showing. I loved how she was interested in comic books and actually admitted to loving cookies! Now how's that for a protagonist? Gwen was totally unique!
Not only that, but she was not a sissy. Plus she was really curious. She was willing to look for her own answers and not just wait for them to come. She actually tried! Even though that seems kind of normal, she actually had a great heart. She was willing to help people she hated, and she basically loved her enemies. While many YA characters are not capable of doing that, Gwen was. For that, I have to admire her. Besides, who can resist someone with an awesome name like Gwen?

Logan Quinn was kind of.... an average bad boy. He was your typical arrogant, supposedly hot guy known for all the girls he was connected with. Not only that, but he was the strongest guy at Mythos, which made girls swoon even more. While I liked his looks, I didn't exactly think he was good enough to swoon about, at least not yet. Like I said before, he was kind of average...
but not to Gwen. She ended up falling for him and hard, too. Oh well, at least she chose a guy with connections.
Okay, so maybe I kind of like him too, but I still kind of dislike him. Well, at least I kind of like him.

As for the whole academy idea, I have to say that at least the author made it interesting. At least she didn't use the same old boring creatures, like vampires. She made her own academy and actually used the Greek part pretty well. While the only Greek mythology I know comes from Percy Jackson, I have to say I was happy to see it again. The mythology was not exactly the same, but I still appreciate that it was there.
As for the villian, I'm just going to say that he or she was not expected. He or she made me very surprised, more than usual. Usually I can guess who the villian is, but this was a mystery. (Cue spooky music...)
I loved how much action there was! Touch of Frost is not a book for people who like slow books. It was fast-paced and awesome! There was lots of suspense, so I was extremely happy!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

If I weren't so furious by what Cassandra Clare can do to a reader, I would be praising this book. BUT since I am so furious that she made me stay up late for four nights, making me lose my sleep and my sanity, I will be resorting to obsessive ranting and maybe a gush or two. 5 out of 5 stars!

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
5 out of 5 stars
Published in 2011
Summary from Goodreads: In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa's powers for his own dark ends.
With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister's war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move and that one of their own has betrayed them.

Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will; the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?

As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.

I am so confused. How can Cassandra Clare get a person to fall in love with two totally different people in the same book? You see, I somehow lost my mind trying to choose between Jem and Will, so I decided to like them both. Every time Jem came into the picture, I was Team Jem. Every time Will came into the picture, I was Team Will. I honestly can not choose right now. However, I felt really bad for Will. His secret made me cry for him. Because of the secret, he never had a chance to be honest. He was living a lie to save the ones he loved, and that ended up crushing him. I honestly admire him for his strength and humor through everything.
Jem was a different story. While his problem was not mental, I still could not believe how nice and kind he stayed. I really loved his constant kindness and how happy he made Tessa, but I still can't help thinking about Will...
That's why I'm mad at Cassandra Clare. I'm supposed to like only one guy, but she just has to make them complete opposites and both totally crush-worthy. Why does she have to make my heart split for them?

I was also extremely mad about the plot. I usually have a faint inkling about what's going to happen, but for Clockwork Prince, I totally did not. Is that a good thing? How was I supposed to guess the events when they were totally unexpected? I did not predict a thing correctly. All the traitors, liars and motives were just not predictable. My mind is still reeling from who the spy actually was... but you'll have to read the book to find out!
Since I was so surprised, it's obvious that there were lots of twists and turns. All the events had me gasping, especially when I found out Will's secret and why he visited Magnus...
There was also a ton of action, especially knife throwing. Don't you just love a book with knife throwing?

As usual, I loved and got really mad at Cassandra's epic writing. I was drawn from the first page, not the first half. I love how her writing draws you in immediately. Considering that it's in third-person, that's an even greater feat to accomplish. However, since I'm supposed to be mad, I'm just going to say that I'm extremely furious that she pulled it off. Even though it was set in historical London, I was surprised by how natural it seemed. Such narration usually seems a little unsettling for that timeframe, but she pulled it off. That proves to everyone that Cassandra Clare can write ANYTHING.

As for Tessa, she was a great character. She was strong enough to the point that I would have been crying while she was just thinking things over. She was relatable to the point that I got everything she did. She was likeable to the point that two totally different guys loved her. She was a kindred spirit with a wicked sense of humor, an amazing story and a pretty awesome talent! As usual, I have to blame Cassandra Clare for creating such a perfect main character. (I wonder if I'm actually angry or just trying to fake it...)

I was extremely furious with the details. Honestly, I don't think any other author could do it better. The regular details were all done well, such as your average carriage details and poetry and other regular setting things, but more importantly were the mental details. You have to keep in mind that Clockwork Prince is set in the 19th century, so behavior was a bit different than today's. Tessa was a pretty good character considering that she didn't seem like a modern heroine, yet she seemed like a Victorian heroine.
Wait, why do I need to write any more? It's completely obvious who rocked the writing, although I'm kind of reluctant to admit it...

So everyone needs to read this book before they wait like crazy until they read it and end up ranting like I just did! (This is possibly the longest review I've ever tried writing. And I mean EVER.)

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton

For some extremely odd reason, I didn't think there would be a ring involved in The Faerie Ring. Honestly, I have no idea how I could not see the ring on the cover or notice how the summary talked about a ring....
Well, 4 out of 5 stars to the book that I finally realize is about a ring.

The Fairie Ring by Kiki Hamilton
4 out of 5 stars
Published in 2011
Summary from Goodreads: Debut novelist Kiki Hamilton takes readers from the gritty slums and glittering ballrooms of Victorian London to the beguiling but menacing Otherworld of the Fey in this spellbinding tale of romance, suspense, and danger.

The year is 1871, and Tiki has been making a home for herself and her family of orphans in a deserted hideaway adjoining Charing Cross Station in central London. Their only means of survival is by picking pockets. One December night, Tiki steals a ring, and sets off a chain of events that could lead to all-out war with the Fey. For the ring belongs to Queen Victoria, and it binds the rulers of England and the realm of Faerie to peace. With the ring missing, a rebel group of faeries hopes to break the treaty with dark magic and blood--Tiki's blood.

Unbeknownst to Tiki, she is being watched--and protected--by Rieker, a fellow thief who suspects she is involved in the disappearance of the ring. Rieker has secrets of his own, and Tiki is not all that she appears to be. Her very existence haunts Prince Leopold, the Queen's son, who is driven to know more about the mysterious mark that encircles her wrist.

Prince, pauper, and thief--all must work together to secure the treaty...

Maybe it's because the unbelievable amount of sugar I've just had recently, but I am unbelievably obsessed with Rieker. Even though he's a major STALKER, I can't keep him out of my mind. I honestly think the stalking is just a phase and that it's actually kind of cute. I don't know what my thing with Rieker is, but I like him. A lot. Maybe it's the smoky eyes...
or the way that Tiki thinks about him has spread to me...
Oh, and did I mention that I love how much he loves Tiki? Or the fact that he is extremely loyal and isn't who he seems to be?

Tiki was an exceptional character. She blew me away. Honestly, I don't know how Kiki Hamilton did it. She made Tiki strong and stubborn but also extremely caring and kind. While that seems impossible, let me just say that it isn't. Somehow the author made it work. Tiki turned out to be smart, clever, nice, well-meaning and strong, but she still did not seem like a goody-two-shoes. She also was not annoying at all. In other words, she was not a damsel in distress. She could hold her own ground and have bread fights... well, not really.

Of course I thought the plot was interesting... I didn't even know a ring was involved! Even if you are aware of that, let me assure you that it's not expected. Usually faeries and rings put together in a book result in a really unpredictable plot. Such was the case for The Faerie Ring. Add in Rieker's secret, some more odd characters and the magic of the author's imagination to get one totally unique plot. Of course, even if you've already read the book, the plot will always be filled with twists and surprises and action, no matter how many times you reread it!

I have never been to London, but somehow I could visualize it perfectly. The setting was simply marvelous. I loved the talk of the buildings and the castles and the carriages. The whole era fit perfectly for the story. I loved how Tiki could just hop onto the back of a carriage, climb up a tree and not get in trouble, meet an actual prince and care for fellow orphans. Of course, that could only happen in 1871. As for London, I thought it was perfect. I thought the setting was marvelous, completely marvelous! There's something about London that is just magical, and it makes everyone happy.

I loved the writing style. I admit that I was a little reluctant at first because it was in first-person, but I have to say now that it was a perfect choice. It totally went along the setting and all. The author totally pulled it off. She managed to make me connect with Tiki and relate to her, which is extremely hard when talking third-person. Not only that, but I felt as if I was Tiki. As for the writing itself, I was completely surprised that it was not to flowery. Elegant, yes, but there were no flowers! However, there was a bit of dark humor, a great style and a totally awesome third-person story!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey

I don't think it's possible for anyone to not read this book. I was kicking myself for not reading this book earlier while I was reading it, and let me just say I'm kind of regretting my decision. Anyways, 4 out of 5 stars.

Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey
4 out of 5 stars
Published in 2011
Summary from Goodreads: A thrilling debut story of death, love, destiny and danger
Lenzi hears voices and has visions - gravestones, floods, a boy with steel gray eyes. Her boyfriend, Zak, can't help, and everything keeps getting louder and more intense. Then Lenzi meets Alden, the boy from her dreams, who reveals that she's a reincarnated Speaker - someone who can talk to and help lost souls - and that he has been her Protector for centuries.
Now Lenzi must choose between her life with Zak and the life she is destined to lead with Alden. But time is running out: a malevolent spirit is out to destroy Lenzi, and he will kill her if she doesn't make a decision soon.

Don't judge a book by its cover. Judge a book by its cover. You know how you can tell if a book is good or not? You look at the cover! If you're basically drooling just from looking at it, you know that you had got to hurry up and read the book! I was HOOKED just by looking at the petals. That color is so pretty! Major swooning by petals!

One thing I loved about Shattered Souls was that the plot was incredibly layered. In the beginning there were a multitude of mini situations that had to be solved. Towards the middle, they started merging into one. And in the end? Well, let's just say they were solved and then came the ending! I loved how it was incredibly smooth as well. The merging was flawless, and I was shocked at how nicely it was done. While some people don't really like that you don't find out who the villian is until you get really far into the book, I enjoyed the fact that the author could keep me reading that far and not get me bored.
Not only that, but it was incredibly unique. Shattered Souls has its own ideas, including some awesome stuff relating to Protectors and Speakers. I loved how it was in its own class. Shattered Souls is the only book you'll ever find like this, and don't worry, there are tons of twists! I was hooked- I could not stop gasping or reading!

Lenzi was definitely interesting; she actually has this huge secret about herself that she doesn't know. If you've read Shattered Souls, you know what I mean, but if you haven't, let's just say she isn't exactly who she thinks she is. Lenzi was a really good person. She was really nice and well-meaning, but she could also pull a few snarky responses. It was really cool how she could hear the lost souls. I loved how she was a Speaker! Lenzi was also pretty relatable considering the circumstances. I could not believe how real she felt. Throughout the book, I felt as if I were Lenzi, not just some reader.

Alden was not exactly expected. I didn't expect him to be so awesome. He was actually a pretty good character. You could tell he really liked Lenzi. He was definitely loyal, funny, charming and cool! Like Lenzi, he was also incredibly well-meaning and nice! I loved how Alden had these gray eyes; I really love gray eyes! It was so cool how he understood Lenzi. He and Lenzi had great chemistry! They were an awesome couple!

As for Zak, I could not believe him. I was drastically disgusted by him. I could not believe Lenzi actually liked him. He had this terrible temper, which caused him to do some pretty dumb stuff. I hated how protective he was of Lenzi; he actually thought he could wrap her around his finger. Plus he was actually pretty arrogant but not in a good way! I really did not like him. Whenever there was a scene involving him, I would literally just growl at the book! Still, the author wanted you to not like him, so I guess it's a good thing that I hate him....

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Pandemonium

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted Jill over at Breaking the Spine that features upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating!

This week's not-yet-published "need-to-read-now" selection is:

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
Delirium #2
Publishing 2.28.12

Summary from Goodreads:
I’m pushing aside the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school,
like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flame.

Lauren Oliver delivers an electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Delirium. This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, forbidden romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite.

I just finished Delirium last night, and I was amazed! Not only that, but I was convinced that a book centered almost entirely on love doesn't have to be boring, bad or cheesy! I was blown away!

I finished Delirium, so what? Well, now I have to read Pandemonium. It's coming out in six days! SIX DAYS OF TEARING MY HAIR OUT! How am I supposed to wait? I can't wait for six days without Alex or Lena or Lauren Oliver's writing! This is insane! I am going crazy without Pandemonium...
Just imagine me like this for SIX MORE DAYS!

Oh, well, I'm sure I won't be this excited in six days. Wrong, I will be more than this excited in six days! I will be invincible!
* cackles evilly while trying to grab book from screen...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Teaser Tuesday: Delirium

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB over at ShouldBeReading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Delirium by Lauren Oliver
My Teasers:

"Hearts are fragile things. That's why you have to be so careful." -pg. 8

"Someday we will all be saved." -pg. 41

"A world without fear. Impossible." -pg. 129

Monday, February 20, 2012

Just One Wish by Janette Rallison

As you probably know, I really love the books about girls falling in love with celebrities. It's a secret embarassing addiction that I'm not afraid to admit, but at least I can admit it! Anyways, I'm really impressed with Just One Wish! 4 out of 5 stars.

Just One Wish by Janette Rallison
4.25 out of 5 stars
Published in 2009
Summary from Goodreads: Seventeen-year-old Annika Truman knows about the power of positive thinking. With a little brother who has cancer, it's all she ever hears about. And in order to help Jeremy, she will go to the ends of the earth (or at least as far as Hollywood) to help him believe he can survive his upcoming surgery.

But Annika's plan to convince Jeremy that a magic genie will grant him any wish throws her a curveball when he unexpectedly wishes that his television idol would visit him. Annika suddenly finds herself in the desperate predicament of getting access to a hunky star actor and convincing him to come home with her. Piece of cake, right?

Janette Rallison's proven talent for laugh-out-loud humor, teen romance, and deep-hearted storytelling shines in a novel that will have readers laughing and crying at the same time.

Just One wish was pretty good. Actually, it was amazing! I loved how much Annika was willing to do for Jeremy. She was extremely caring and loyal. Plus, she wasn't afraid to do the unexpected just to get Steve to visit. Not only that, but she was also kind of snarky and bold, just what I look for in a character. I absolutely loved that there was a strong main character!

Steve wasn't a bad guy- I didn't hate him, for one thing. I loved how he totallly understood Annika's sense of humor and kind of got her attitude. He was also pretty charming, but not in the annoying way. It was great how he realized his mistakes in the end. While he was flawed, he got over his flaws. He had quite a bit of character development considering the circumstances.

Hilarious? DEFINITELY! I started laughing super loudly when I read Just One Wish- all the situations were totally not normal! You see, Annika goes to extremes when trying to get Steve to visit Jeremy, including sneaking onto a set with a snake and a horse and doing more than the recommended amount of archery. While the plot was definitely outrageous, you kind of have to keep in mind that the book is meant to be a COMEDY. That means you have to disregard the fact that the story probably won't happen in real life, but not that I care...
While it was predictable, I still enjoyed a few of the odd surprises that occured. I was not prepared for the ending though. There's something kind of not expected in it...

If anyone ever sees me laughing uncontrollably and ranting about nuns with horses on top of trailers, just know that I'm mostly not crazy. Instead, I'm thinking of Just One Wish.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I honestly can not believe that I went for four years without even trying to read the Hunger Games. Oh well, at least I can finally say that I've read it while totally telling the truth. And I definitely am OBSESSING over it! 5+++ stars.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Published in 2008
5+++ stars
Summary from Goodreads: In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister Primrose, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before — and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

How can you review a book that is too good to be reviewed? I honestly have no idea. Well, to begin, The Hunger Games is an epic combination of a dystopian idea that turns out to be a deadly game, the perfect writing style that is more than addicting, unforgettable characters that give me the shivers and heartbreaking events that literally had me sobbing. If you don't at least love this book, then you will never love a book.

I don't know how Suzanne Collins does it. She finds this totally unique idea and turns it into something even more gasp-inducing. The whole idea of fighting to the death is already pretty unusual, but the author adds in an endless amount of extra twists to make the book even more awesome. A lot of the events had me reeling from the shock, and that's not even including the parts where I cried....

*POSSIBLE SPOILER*: The death of a certain person really had me depressed. I could not believe that the author could actually make The Hunger Games better by killing the person off, but it actually worked. I admire Suzanne Collin's to make controversial decisions when involving the fate of characters. *END SPOILER*

The writing.... wow, Katniss' voice is simply life changing. I could not put this book down. Actually, I could, but then I started hallucinating, so I had to pick it back up again. You see, there's something special about the writing that's super addicting. While there were a few lengthy descriptions, there was nothing to the point that I was flowered out or bored. Plus the writing made me cry. What else do I need to say?

Katniss was a phenomenal character. She was incredibly strong, super smart and quite clever. She really loved her sister Primrose to the point of willing to die for her. Not only that, but she did that on national television- doesn't that kind of impress you? I also could not believe her obstinacy; she didn't back down from what she thought was right. While I was a little surprised that she didn't feel too sorry for killing someone, I still liked her a lot overall.
Why? Well, Katniss is a heroine. While she's not perfect, she still is worthy of that title.

Katniss, the girl who was on fire. The Hunger Games, a book with a fire. You need to get your hands on the fire!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Saving June by Hannah Harrington

I was really intrigued by the cover- there's something about the petal throwing that's just not normal. In this case, there turns out to be a devastating reason. Anyways, I was then drawn by the title. Turns out my instincts were right: I LOVED it! 4 out of 5 stars.

Saving June by Hannah Harrington
4 out of 5 stars
Published in 2011
Summary from Goodreads: Everyone's sorry. But no one can explain why.
Harper Scott's older sister, June, took her own life a week before high school graduation, leaving Harper devastated. So when her divorcing parents decide to split up June's ashes, Harper steals the urn and takes off cross-country with her best friend, Laney, to the one place June always dreamed of going--California.
Enter Jake Tolan, a boy with a bad attitude, a classic-rock obsession...and an unknown connection to June. When he insists on joining them, Harper's just desperate enough to let him. With his alternately charming and infuriating demeanor and his belief that music can see you through anything, he might be exactly what Harper needs. Except...Jake's keeping a secret that has the power to turn her life upside down--again.

Before I started reading Saving June, I was already ready to declare this one of my favorites. But once I started reading, I realized it was that and also so much more. I could not believe how utterly realistic it was. Harper's bitterness was perfectly done, she actually played her part quite well. Fortunately, Saving June wasn't some sappy death story where it actually seems quite cliche and cheesy. It was real. You could tell that the author really put time into creating a plausible (mostly) and believable story. For that we must commend her.

I loved the musical references throughout the story. I loved how much Jake relied on music! I loved how he truly believed in it! So yes, I am swooning over Jake and gushing about the music at the same time. As for Jake, I just wish he were a real guy. He was definitely a developed character that really fit well into the story. I loved his attitude; let's just say he's a total bad boy...
In other words, I thought he was pretty awesome!
Back to the music. Even though most the songs were a lot older, I still appreciated all the playlists. I loved how big of a part music played in it all! Finally some book that understands music!

Harper really was a realistic character. I loved how unforgettable she was. While sometimes it was really easy to be annoyed by her, she had reasons for her choices and actions. She was incredibly stubborn and bad-tempered. I don't think most readers would immediately like her, but she definitely grows on you. She was full of anger, at the least. However, even though she was all of these things, she was also strong and a survivor.
Who can hate a survivor?

I have to admit, I was really impressed by the romance. It wasn't sappy or fake. There was no insta-love. Now that's what I call romance! Plus, Jake and Harper had great conversations that were really deep. Their relationship was meaningful and real. It wasn't some perfect relationship with a perfect ending. It also had a few problems, including the secret Jake has. I loved that even more.

There were quite a few supporting characters that popped up throughout the novel, but I have to say I got them a little mixed up. During one part of the story, the author introduced quite a few all at once. I couldn't get all of them straight, but at least they were just little characters. Even so, all the characters had a unique personality. That's what I really loved. I could not believe how they were all so palpable and how right they felt.

The only other problem I had was that there were some innappropriate scenes and topics. I think Saving June is for mature teens, not younger teens. I'm thinking around 14 and up...
Also, don't go into this book if you're a very easily offended Christian either. There were some parts that would offend you.

However, overall I LOVED Saving June.

Friday, February 17, 2012

What Happens When You Get a Blog Award....

I am offically happy right now. You might be wondering why, so I'm going to tell you now. The Gothic Ballerina has officially won another blog award. My gratitude goes to Cel and Ela from YA Anonymous. Check out their blog. It's pretty epic!

So here are the rules:
1. Link back to the person that bestowed the award upon you.
2. Follow the person that bestowed the award upon you.
3. Pass along to Lovely Bloggers of your choice!

This here on the left is a really pretty picture. It's unbelievably amazing. I love all the flowers! Thanks again to YA Anonymous! IT'S SO PURTY! I'M IN LOVE WITH A PICTURE! AND IT'S STILL BEAUTIFYING ME OUT!

The One Lovely Blog Award can really make a blogger swoon as you can tell....

Here are my minions, or not....
1. Monaliz @ Mind Reading?
2. Megan @ Musings of a Write-aholic
3. Stephenie @ Stephie Reads Books

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

When people who normally don't read books start gushing over one, you know you've got to read the book. Either that or somehow the friend got zapped by a book-loving pixie...
Anyways, The Name of the Wind was suggested to me by a non-reading friend. 4.5 out of 5 stars!

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
4.5 out of 5 stars
Published in 2007
Summary from Goodreads: Told in Kvothe's own voice, this is the tale of the magically gifted young man who grows to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen.The intimate narrative of his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-ridden city, his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, and his life as a fugitive after the murder of a king form a gripping coming-of-age story unrivaled in recent literature. A high-action story written with a poet's hand, The Name of the Wind is a masterpiece that will transport readers into the body and mind of a wizard.

I'm surprised. I read through more than 700 pages of a really long novel. Not to mention that I finished it. That's what I love about The Name of the Wind. Even though it's super long, it went pretty quickly. I read the book in about two days, even though I did have to read through two classes...
But that's not the point! The point is that The Name of the Wind is addicting! I could not put this book down!

This plot is possibly the most interesting plot in the fantasy field ever! What happens when you add a really smart boy, some magic, a girl, a school and huge spiders/demons? You get the wickedly awesome plot of The Name of the Wind! I loved how the author hints at some plots so the pressure keeps on building up. Eventually everything happens, but you're still breathless for more. While the first few chapters were incredibly slow, the rest of the story is a snap to read. Filled with tons of interesting tidbits and a bit of humor, I could not stop reading this book.

Kvothe, pronounced Quothe, was a very interesting character. Cocky, smart, arrogant and young, I was awed by him. He was incredibly smart, but he had a really rough life. When tragedy struck, I honestly felt like crying. He was actually quite easy to relate to, considering his arrogance and situation. I didn't feel like I was reading Kvothe's story; I actually felt like I was Kvothe. Considering I don't feel that too often, I was quite surprised by how great of a character he was.

One thing that I noticed was that the title didn't exactly fit the book as well as it should have. I think it should have been along the lines of "A Story of the Past" or "Who I Used to Be" or something around there. Of course, it would definitely have to be a lot less cheesier, but still. I thought The Name of the Wind just didn't make that much sense, although it did make the book seem mysterious and elegant...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Where it Began

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted Jill over at Breaking the Spine that features upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating.

This week's not-yet-published "need-to-read-now" selection is:

Where it Began by Ann Redisch Stampler
Publishing 3.6.12

Summary of Goodreads: Sometimes the end is just the beginning.

Gabby lived under the radar until her makeover. Way under. but when she started her senior year as a blonder, better-dressed version of herself, she struck gold: Billy Nash believed she was a the flawless girl she was pretending to be. The next eight months with Billy were bliss...Until the night Gabby woke up on the ground next to the remains of his BMW without a single memory of how she got there.
And Billy's nowhere to be found.
All Gabby wants is to make everything perfect again. But getting her life back isn't difficult, it's impossible. Because nothing is the same, and Gabby's beginning to realize she's missed more than a few danger signs along the way.
It's time for Gabby to face the truth, even if it means everything changes.
Especially if it means everything changes.

What interested me the most was the title, Where it Began. The title's really thought provoking and epic! I really can't wait to read a book about getting over regret and past decisions. I can't wait to read about Gabby facing the truth! Where it Began seems like a really deep novel that I absolutely can't wait to read!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Teaser Tuesday: Graceling

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB over at ShouldBeReading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Graceling by Kristin Cashore
My Teasers:
“When a monster stopped behaving like a monster, did it stop being a monster? Did it become something else?”

“What are you grinning at?" Katsa demanded for the third or fourth time. "Is the ceiling about to cave in on my head or something? You look like we're both on the verge of an enormous joke."
"Katsa, only you would consider the collapse of the ceiling a good joke.”

Monday, February 13, 2012

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

I admit it did take me three tries to actually get into Wildwood Dancing, but in the end it was worth it. I first tried it and got to page 2. On the second try, I got to page 9. On the third try, I finally ended up getting through the book! 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier
Published in 2006
4 out of 5 stars
Summary from Goodreads: High in the Transylvanian woods, at the castle Piscul Draculi, live five daughters and their doting father. It's an idyllic life for Jena, the second eldest, who spends her time exploring the mysterious forest with her constant companion, a most unusual frog. But best by far is the castle's hidden portal, known only to the sisters. Every Full Moon, they alone can pass through it into the enchanted world of the Other Kingdom. There they dance through the night with the fey creatures of this magical realm.

But their peace is shattered when Father falls ill and must go to the southern parts to recover, for that is when cousin Cezar arrives. Though he's there to help the girls survive the brutal winter, Jena suspects he has darker motives in store. Meanwhile, Jena's sister has fallen in love with a dangerous creature of the Other Kingdom--an impossible union it's up to Jena to stop.

When Cezar's grip of power begins to tighten, at stake is everything Jena loves: her home, her family, and the Other Kingdom she has come to cherish. To save her world, Jena will be tested in ways she can't imagine--tests of trust, strength, and true love.

What really convinced me to finally start reading through Wildwood Dancing was the unique plot. It wasn't really a retelling of a specific fairy tale; it was more a mix of many fairy tales and then mixed in with some more imagination to get a totally unique plot. The plot was definitely really interesting, consisting of Night People (vampires), a frog, a really annoying Cezar and true love. Of course, you have to remember that a mix of plots can be a little confusing as well. It was hard for me to keep everything straight at times. It felt as if I was being bogged down a multiple amount of mini plots that could not connect. I couldn't find the most important plot out of it all.

Jenna, however, was really a well-defined character. Strong, brave, smart and bold, she was definitely a great character! I liked how she remained strong even through all the tragedies and dramatic events that happened. It's one thing to be strong, but it's another thing to stay so. I was very happy with Jenna! She was created well enough to be flawed enough, but not flawed to the point of annoying. I greatly love how relatable she was; every choice she made made sense and was clear.

The writing style was a little more flowery that I'm typically accustomed to, but it was still tolerable. I quickly got used to the elegant descriptions and that old feel of it all. While it was not normal, it was not annoying. The writing style was actually quite enjoyable after a bit. Totally worth the effort of three tries!

Another thing I loved was the setting. While the names are definitely hard to pronouce and write and spell, I loved it anyways! (I didn't see the glossary until I finished the book....) I could visualize all of the castle and the woods and the lake! It was pure magic! I loved how I could be lured by the descriptions to imagine exactly what it looked like. Normally when that happens, I push it away because it's a nuisance. However, with Wildwood Dancing, nothing is normal. Therefore I loved being able to see every single detail in my mind!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Vanilla Twilight!

I remember when I was first introduced to Owl City's music two years ago. It started with a friend playing Fireflies and then I was addicted! Two years later, I am still a huge fan!

Vanilla Twilight

I don't know about you, but I am totally going to hum this song throughout my day!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George

Any book about dragons is automatically marvelous. However, even if Dragon Slippers did not have dragons, it would still be pretty marvelous. Yup, it was just that great of a read! 4.25 out of 5 stars.

Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George
4.25 out of 5 stars
Out! Yay! Breathe fire!
Summary from Goodreads: Many stories tell of damsels in distress, who are rescued from the clutches of fire-breathing dragons by knights in shining armor, and swept off to live happily ever after.

Unfortunately, this is not one of those stories.

True, when Creel's aunt suggests sacrificing her to the local dragon, it is with the hope that the knight will marry Creel and that everyone (aunt and family included) will benefit handsomely. Yet it's Creel who talks her way out of the dragon's clutches. And it's Creel who walks for days on end to seek her fortune in the king's city with only a bit of embroidery thread and a strange pair of slippers in her possession.

But even Creel could not have guessed the outcome of this tale. For in a country on the verge of war, Creel unknowingly possesses not just any pair of shoes, but a tool that could be used to save her kingdom…or destroy it.

If I could only save one thing in Dragon Slippers, I would save the plot. It was totally original, humorous and quirky! While many fantasy authors do retellings, Jessica Day George does awesome plots with tons of action, suspense and intrigue! I was breathless as I flipped the page for more, flipping faster and faster to the end. And when the end came, well, let's just say I enjoyed that quite a bit as well. I loved the humor that was weaved into the plot as well! A lot of the situations were laugh-out-loud funny! I could not stop smiling or laughing! Plus, the originality was amazing! I loved how Dragon Slippers had dragons, slippers, sewing and princes all in one book!

Creel was a great, spunky character! She was brave, clever, smart and impossibly cool. I loved how awesome she was. Seriously, she's on my list of awesome heroines! She had the perfect combination of loyalty and following her heart. Honestly, Creel is really a great character. That's just the true truth of it.

You know what's also true? Well, everything that people have said about the dragons are true. The dragons are truly like humans, except the fact that they're dragons.... I loved how they were portrayed as good creatures with relatively good intentions. It was great knowing that Creel was friends with them. All the dragons were awesome; I loved them all! I also loved all the stories about the dragons and their hobbies...
Dogs are awesome! (If you've read Dragon Slippers, you'll know what I mean!)

So yes, I'm basically forcing you to read it.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Audition by Stasia Ward Kehoe

I don't really read books about dancing, especially not about ballerinas. I really did not have a reason to read this book, but I read it anyways! I thought it was quite unexpected.... 4 out of 5 stars.

Audition by Stasia Ward Kehoe
4 out of 5 stars
Published 10.13.11
Summary from Goodreads: When high school junior Sara wins a coveted scholarship to study ballet, she must sacrifice everything for her new life as a professional dancer-in-training. Living in a strange city with a host family, she's deeply lonely-until she falls into the arms of Remington, a choreographer in his early twenties. At first, she loves being Rem's muse, but as she discovers a surprising passion for writing, she begins to question whether she's chosen the right path. Is Rem using her, or is it the other way around? And is dancing still her dream, or does she need something more? This debut novel in verse is as intense and romantic as it is eloquent.

As I wrote before, I did not expect this. I was totally unexpected for Audition to be in verse, just as I did not expect how good Stasia Ward Kehoe would be at it. Every line was a tense, beautiful and wonderfully crafted. I got addicted to it pretty quickly and started thinking in verse! The verse was also fairly easy to understand, yet so poetic as well. I could not believe how well-written it was.

I'm kind of unaware of how much drama there can be in ballet, especially the competition and efforts gone to be thin. I found myself aghast at how cliquey and hardworking all the girls were. I could not believe how hard it was for Sara to go through it all; especially when she was constantly being put down by the teachers. All the moves in ballet were new to me as well, so I found it especially fun to pronouce them all! I think I now can offically say that I don't mind ballet anymore... even though I still can't imagine why anyone would spend 6 hours a day doing it.

Remington is so not on my crush list. I HATED him. He was a terrible, nasty person. I hated how mean he was to Sarah, what he did to her and just overall how bad of a person he was. I hated everything about him. He was not even close to being a nice or good person; it was depressing how Sara kept on coming back to him again and again. While Remington is an awesome name, Remington the character is not. In fact, he's quite the opposite. However, the author wants you to hate Remington, so all is okay!

Audition was not as character-driven as I would've liked it to be. I really didn't get to know much about the supporting characters; I even forgot their names already. Even Sara seemed unreachable and distant. I felt as if I didn't get to know her enough through the story. She was just there, our doll in the play, without a set personality dancing to the music. While her writing was obviously great, she was not exactly. I think the author focused too much on the verse and not enough on the characters.

Still, I loved Audition anyways! There was romance, though not exactly the right type of it, ballet and verse! What's not to like?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

I feel like I've waited forever to read Forever and an even longer forever to review it. (Bad pun....) Anyways, I thought it was a great conclusion to the series! 4 out of 5 stars.

Forever by Maggie Stiefvater
4 out of 5 stars
Published 1.11.11
The Wolves of Mercy Falls #3
Summary from Goodreads: The thrilling conclusion to #1 bestselling Shiver trilogy from Maggie Stiefvater

In Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. In Linger, they fought to be together. Now, in Forever, the stakes are even higher than before. Wolves are being hunted. Lives are being threatened. And love is harder and harder to hold on to as death comes closing in.

I can't believe it. It's over. This series has been finished with, and it probably won't be thought of again.
WRONG! I will die if I can not reread it over and over again. Forever was beautiful, and I will remember it forever! (Of course you have to pardon my bad pun.... again.)

As usual, Forever was heartwrenchingly beautiful. As usual, I had to cry because of Maggie Stiefvater's more than amazing writing. She has this ability to transform words into much more powerful phrases; it made me feel melancholy! Anyone who has read Maggie Stiefvater's novels knows that the writing is breathtaking, addicting and, quite simply, just perfect. Of course, Forever kind of surpassed that as well.
This book makes me depressed. Of course, I mean it in a good way. I can't help but feel so sad when I read this book. And as mentioned, I actually cried out real tears.

So why did I take off a star? Well, I felt the plot was a bit underwhelming. I mean, there was action, but only after an excruciatingly slow beginning. While I love just reading about nothing when it comes to Maggie Stiefvater, I felt as if it was too much nothing! In other words, the beginning was super kind of slow. I'm sure that there was a reason for this, but whatever the reason, I hate that the beginning had to be so slow! There was a point where I didn't want to go on, but I did! I'm very glad I did though.

The ending to Forever was probably the most unclear one ever. It was just so arbitrary! However, why some readers hated that, I actually liked imagining my own happy ending! I think that was a great choice to make, to allow the reader to have some fun!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Slide

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted Jill over at Breaking the Spine that features upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating.

This week's not-yet-published "need-to-read-now" selection is:

Slide by Jill Hathaway
Publishing 3.27.2012

Summary from Goodreads: Vee Bell is certain of one irrefutable truth—her sister’s friend Sophie didn’t kill herself. She was murdered.

Vee knows this because she was there. Everyone believes Vee is narcoleptic, but she doesn’t actually fall asleep during these episodes: When she passes out, she slides into somebody else’s mind and experiences the world through that person’s eyes. She’s slid into her sister as she cheated on a math test, into a teacher sneaking a drink before class. She learned the worst about a supposed “friend” when she slid into her during a school dance. But nothing could have prepared Vee for what happens one October night when she slides into the mind of someone holding a bloody knife, standing over Sophie’s slashed body.

Vee desperately wishes she could share her secret, but who would believe her? It sounds so crazy that she can’t bring herself to tell her best friend, Rollins, let alone the police. Even if she could confide in Rollins, he has been acting off lately, more distant, especially now that she’s been spending more time with Zane.

Enmeshed in a terrifying web of secrets, lies, and danger and with no one to turn to, Vee must find a way to unmask the killer before he or she strikes again.

"Jill Hathaway provides a fresh, vibrant voice to young adult literature. Skillfully filled with drama and tension, SLIDE is part mystery, part romance, and wholly engaging with its strong heroine and tornado-worthy twists. I simply could not put this book down."
-Laurie Stolarz, author of the DEADLY LITTLE SECRET series

"Heartbreaking and heart-pounding at the same time! A wonderful, intense story, SLIDE had me hooked from the first moment Vee slid into someone else's mind. I stayed up way too late because I had to see how it ended."
-Cynthia Hand, author of the UNEARTHLY series

I've seen the trailer for Slide at least a million times. Honestly, I play it so much that my younger sister wants to read it as well! Plus I have it on pre-order, and I am eagerly waiting!28 days until I can read this book! 256 pages! I absolutely can not wait!

It's been a long time since I've read something like this- a paranormal thriller aimed at teens. It seems intriguing, invigorating and absolutely amazing! I can't believe it has it all- a mystery, romance and all with a comtemporary twist!

Slide Book Trailer

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Teaser Tuesday: The Name of the Wind

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB over at ShouldBeReading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
My Teasers:
"What is harder than the truth?" -Kindle, pg. 67
"I'll fill you with lemon custard and push you out a window." -Kindle, pg. 79

Monday, February 6, 2012

Born at Midnight by CC Hunter

I was really excited to read Born at Midnight! My heart was pumping, my lips were parted in a smile and I was ready to just read it! However, I felt as if it could have been written a lot better. 3 out of 5 stars.

Born at Midnight by CC Hunter
3 out of 5 stars
Published in 2011
Summary from Goodreads: Don’t miss this spectacular new series that will steal your heart and haunt your dreams, Welcome to Shadow Falls camp, nestled deep in the woods of a town called Fallen…

One night Kylie Galen finds herself at the wrong party, with the wrong people, and it changes her life forever. Her mother ships her off to Shadow Falls—a camp for troubled teens, and within hours of arriving, it becomes painfully clear that her fellow campers aren’t just “troubled.” Here at Shadow Falls, vampires, werewolves, shapshifters, witches and fairies train side by side—learning to harness their powers, control their magic and live in the normal world.

Kylie’s never felt normal, but surely she doesn’t belong here with a bunch of paranormal freaks either. Or does she? They insist Kylie is one of them, and that she was brought here for a reason. As if life wasn’t complicated enough, enter Derek and Lucas. Derek’s a half-fae who’s determined to be her boyfriend, and Lucas is a smokin’ hot werewolf with whom Kylie shares a secret past. Both Derek and Lucas couldn’t be more different, but they both have a powerful hold on her heart.

Even though Kylie feels deeply uncertain about everything, one thing is becoming painfully clear—Shadow Falls is exactly where she belongs…

Note: I don't mean to offend anyone with this review. I just didn't like it.

I don't mind love triangles, as long as they are written well. With Born at Midnight, I felt that both romances were forced. I didn't like how it was all hormone based and that there was really no actual romance. Honestly, I didn't understand why she really needed to lust that much. Every time Kylie thought about a guy, she imagined sensual stuff- too much of it in my opinion. I got tired of the whole love story.

No offense to anyone that liked this story, but I think the author tried a little too hard trying to sound like a teenager. At first, it was pretty amusing, but then it got annoying. I really loathed reading it; it was hard to read something that seemed so obviously fake to me. I just got seriously sick of it.

In this story, third-person did not work out. It takes an unbelievable amount of skill to write in third-person, but I don't think Born at Midnight showed it. I felt as if I couldn't really connect with Kylie; she seemed kind of selfish and annoying. I think first-person would have worked a lot better. It would make me connect and relate to Kylie, not to mention get rid of my animosity towards her.

Also, the first 200 or so pages seemed like a really slow information load. There really wasn't much action going on until after. I felt as if the middle of the story was just this hole waiting to be covered. There was just nothing going on! While I love introductions, Born at Midnight seemed to have a super long one. It got kind of annoying after a while.

However, I did like the creativity of Born at Midnight! CC Hunter was not afraid to experiment with her paranormal creatures! It was pretty cool how she dealt with so many at once and created her own! So many different types, it was really impressive with all the different characteristics.

Overall: While I did not really like this book, you might like it! It's definitely worth a try. CC Hunter did an impressive job for her first novel, and I believe anyone who likes this book has reasons to do so. So try it out! Maybe you'll love her writing.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Shug by Jenny Han

Shug is exactly the book to read on a Sunday afternoon when you're too lazy to do anything but read. That's exactly what I did, and I can't believe how much I love it! 5 out of 5 stars!

Shug by Jenny Han
5 out of 5 stars
Published in 2006
Summary from Goodreads:

is clever and brave and true (on the inside, anyway). And she's about to become your new best friend.

Annemarie Wilcox, or Shug as her family calls her, is beginning to think there's nothing worse than being twelve. She's too tall, too freckled, and way too flat-chested. Shug is sure that there's not one good or amazing thing about her. And now she has to start junior high, where the friends she counts most dear aren't acting so dear anymore -- especially Mark, the boy she's known her whole life through. Life is growing up all around her, and all Shug wants is for things to be like they used to be. How is a person supposed to prepare for what happens tomorrow when there's just no figuring out today?

Throughout Shug, I felt like crying and smiling and cheering Shug on. I felt like screaming my heart out for Shug and her life. I felt like ripping through the book just to finish it and praise it and shower it with compliments. And that's basically what I did. I seriously did cry and squeeze out some tears, but that's only because Jenny Han did a great job writing this book.

Shug has this amazing writing style that's slow and fast at the same time. It's full of the perfect combinations of words that make it perfect for people of all ages. Jenny Han's words can bring you to tears and make you smile. Her words, or rather Shug's words, are easy to devour and remember. They're perfect for people who absorb every detail and people who just skim when reading. Basically, this book was perfect.

Shug, or Annemarie, is super relatable. She doesn't realize how amazing she truly is, she's dealing with lots of family problems and she's going through her first crush. She reminds me of a lot of people I know, and I have to say, she was definitely portrayed realistically. I loved how much she develops throughout the story. However, I loved how she isn't perfect even more! I like characters with a few flaws; that just makes them seem even more real and relatable.

I LOVED THE ENDING!!!!!! It was sweet and cute and memorable and perfect! I thought it summed up the book perfectly! It was just as awesome as the rest of the book, possibly even more! The ending isn't vague; it definitely gives you a great, positive future of Shug and her life. AND I STILL LOVE THE ENDING!!!!!!!!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Princess Academy by Shannon Hale

It's been a long time since I've read a book that wasn't edgy, filled with swear words or slightly offensive. It's been an especially long time since I've found a book like that in the YA genre, but I'm now happy to say Princess Academy is a book like that! 4.5 out of 5 stars!

Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
4.5 out of 5 stars
Published in 2005
Summary from Goodreads: Miri lives on a mountain where, for generations, her ancestors have quarried stone and lived a simple life. Then word comes that the king's priests have divined her small village the home of the future princess. In a year's time, the prince himself will come and choose his bride from among the girls of the village. The king's ministers set up an academy on the mountain, and every teenage girl must attend and learn how to become a princess.

Miri soon finds herself confronted with a harsh academy mistress, bitter competition among the girls, and her own conflicting desires to be chosen and win the heart of her childhood best friend. But when bandits seek out the academy to kidnap the future princess, Miri must rally the girls together and use a power unique to the mountain dwellers to save herself and her classmates.

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book, considering the fact that I don't usually like books in third-person. However, Shannon Hale did an excellent job of writing in it. I could really get a great idea of Miri's character, personality and feelings. Third-person actually worked in Princess Academy. I liked how it was just as first-person, probably even more.

Speaking of Miri, I really loved how she developed in the story. She was always fairly smart, but she became even smarter throughout. I loved how she became more caring and friendly deeper and deeper into the book. She was creative, innovative, fun and inspiring! I also loved how relatable she was! Miri was really fun to read about!

I liked the whole simplicity of the novel, not a girl saving her world, just a girl saving herself and her friends. It wasn't some huge battle between good and evil. It was just a book about a girl leading her friends and choosing the best for everyone. However, there were still a few twists in the plot that I did not see coming. For example, I did not see the whole power thing coming! I absolutely adored this plot!

I loved the writing style; it was done with the perfect amounts of description. While it was third-person, not once was it too flowery. There was a bit of description, but not enough to make a reader bored or anxious. Plus, it was actually really fun reading the descriptions! I loved reading about the mountains and the snow and the carvings!

Overall, Princess Academy is a great read for people of all ages. It's powerful, inspiring and fun! It's an epic story about a brave, clever heroine and her life! I really enjoyed reading it, especially since the simplicity of the book made it seem more complicated, if that makes any sense. Anyways, this book will blow you away! It's definitely not your average fairy tale.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

I am apalled. How could I not pick up this book earlier? Instead I spent all of last night and today reading it! I honestly should have read this book a long time ago! I feel so sad that I waited until now. 4.5 out of 5 stars!

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
4.5 out of 5 stars
Published in 2004
Summary from Goodreads: Choose: A quick death…Or slow poison…

About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She'll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.

And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly's Dust—and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.

As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can't control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren't so clear…

Yelena. I was very impressed with her. I know Maria V. Snyder always creates really strong female protagonists, but she really outdid herself with Yelena. Yelena surpassed my expectations of what I thought characters should be like. She was strong, brave, smart and stubborn. Now, I know that she committed a murder. However, she had her reasons for doing so. While I was a little unsure because she admitted to being a criminal, I couldn't help but really admire Yelena. You see, she's a true heroine!

Valek, our swoon-inducing assassin, our one and only love interest, our cleverly manipulative, good-looking guy. Oh, and did I mention assassin? I have this thing for assassins, especially swoon-inducing ones. Valek was pretty amazing, especially with the descriptions of him. I'm all for blue eyes, especially sharp ones! It was hard to accept his age, but not I'm offically all for Valek!

This book was magical.... literally. There was a bit of magic in this story, but definitely enough to create a base for the sequel. While I loved the magic, I loved the poisons even more. There's something about all of the poisons and the process of finding them... I loved the descriptions of every single one and the meticulous descriptions of the intense action! This plot is hot! Tons of fights and tons of twists! I so did not see the treachery and the secret of the Captain, or the truth of the whole entire story! So many twists, so much suspense, I am officially in love with Maria V. Snyder's books!!!!!!!!!!

Then there was the setting of Poison Study. The world Yelena lives in... is simply uncomparable. Every place, every building, every wall, is immaculate, gleaming with utter perfection. There's something about it all that makes me think it's not possible to have such an awesome world, but I know better. Instead I'm kind of jealous of Yelena and the marvelous setting, courtesy of Maria V. Snyder!

Quite simply, this book is pure magic. Don't make the same mistake I made and not read Poison Study soon! You must read it now! It is a marvelous confection of poison, magic and romance! Total swoon and praise worthy!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Crossed by Allie Condie

I was so scared to read this book. Not that Matched was a bad book or anything, but I got kind of scared. I was so scared that Crossed was going to be worse than Matched. I was so wrong. 4.5 out of 5 stars!

Crossed by Allie Condie
4.5 out of 5 stars
Published in 2011
Summary from Goodreads: The hotly awaited second book in the dystopian Matched trilogy

In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky - taken by the Society to his certain death - only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

Cassia's quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander - who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia's heart - change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.

Don't you hate it when you love a book and everyone else hates it? I do. That's the case with Crossed. It has a 3.51 average rating on Goodreads, which is pretty bad. The reviews are mostly mean, and I hate that they are ripping an author's work! I honestly loved this book, but I guess you might not.

Now for the actual review without ranting. I honestly can not review this book. The words, they were so strong and powerful. They flew off the page like poetry. Every phrase had a certain rhythm that you could feel. I loved the beauty of it. Allie Condie knows how to word things. That's the truth of it all. Every word was perfect.

The plot was definitely a lot better than the plot of Matched. The plot of Matched was kind of boring, no offense, and wasted on the love life of Cassia. (Okay, so I'm exaggerating a little...) Meanwhile, Crossed was a lot more fast-paced. It focused on more important things like the Society and its problems, the Rebellion and actually interesting ideas. Allie Condie brought in a few new characters that all had a huge part in the story. They were pretty awesome! Anyways, I could not believe all the twists in the story. You learn about Ky's secret, Xander's secret, the truth of the blue tablets and about the Rebellion. I felt like I was punched when I reading the twists; they were that effective!

What's different about Crossed is that it's also in Ky's POV (point of view). While that was definitely risky, it really paid off. I can now officially say that I am TEAM KY!!!!!!!!!!! He was really amazingly awesome! Being in his POV really made me understand and kind of fall in love with him, at the least! Having his story really filled in a lot of the gaps I would have had with only Cassia's narrating. KY I LOVE YOU!!!!

I can not believe the Society. It's cruel, heartless, cold, mean and plain terrible. I could not believe the extent the Society went to, all to create a utopia that wasn't even close to perfect. I was horrified, apalled and scared. I honestly wanted to stop reading it, but I couldn't. Instead I read even more quickly!
Wow I loved this book! *Insert swooning here*

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Touching the Surface

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted Jill over at Breaking the Spine that features upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating.

This week's not-yet-published "need-to-read-now" selection is:

Touching the Surface
By Kimberly Sabatini
Publishing 9.4.12
Summary from Goodreads:
Life altering mistakes are meant to alter lives…

When Elliot dies for the third time, she knows this is her last shot. There are no fourth-timers in this afterlife, so one more chance is all she has to get things right. But before she can move on to her next life, Elliot will be forced to face her past and delve into the painful memories she’d rather keep buried. Memories of people she’s hurt, people she’s betrayed…and people she’s killed.

As she pieces together the mistakes of her past, Elliot must earn the forgiveness of her best friend and reveal the truth about herself to the two boys she loves… even if it means losing them both forever.

There are precisely 216 days until September 4th. 216 days to wait, inhale and exhale, jump around like a maniac and wait some more! I absolutely can not wait 216 days for this book. It'll be like flying... kind of impossible but totally awesome!

Touching the Surface seems like a deep novel about saving yourself, patching up holes and starting to fly with a paranormal twist. Elliot seems like an interesting character, especially her name...

For some reason I always judge a book by its cover, and I am more than impressed with this one! I just want to eat it up! SO AMAZING!
216 days. Breathe, Valerie, breathe!

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