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The Book I'm Thankful For

10.31.2011
Beth Ravis has a HUGE giveaway going on =)

I know this is probably a very unoriginal answer, but honestly, I'm thankful for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. To be honest, I'm thankful for all of the books, but I think I got the most out of the fifth.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

There is a door at the end of a silent corridor, and it's haunting Harry Potter's dreams. Why else would he be waking in the middle of the night, screaming in terror?

Here are just a few of the things on Harry's mind:

• A Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher with a personality like poisoned honey
• A venomous, disgruntled house-elf
• Ron as Keeper of the Gryffindor Quidditch team
• The looming terror of the end-of-term Ordinary Wizarding Level exams

. . . and of course, the growing threat of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.

In the richest installment yet of J.K. Rowling's seven-part story, Harry Potter is faced with the unreliability of the very government of the magical world and the impotence of the authorities at Hogwarts.

Despite this (or perhaps because of it), he finds depth and strength in his friends, beyond what even he knew; boundless loyalty; and unbearable sacrifice.


 The fifth Harry Potter book showed me that even when you're in a completely crappy situation where nothing seems to go right, you can still carry on. After all, if Harry was surviving at a school where everyone hated him, his parents were dead, and he could barely have contact with the one person he was related to, all while he had a psycho after him? If he could survive with that, then I could survive everything I was going through. The fifth Harry Potter book taught me all about endurance and perseverance, and it showed me what real friends are like. It also showed me that not everyone is perfect - there were times when Harry would just snap at his friends for no reason. I'm extremely thankful for everything this book taught me. (Though I'll admit, Sirius' death still makes me angry -_-)

[As a side-note, Blogger refuses to post my RAK wrap-up post. I may end up posting it on tumblr.]

~Zoey~

Review: Half-Blood

10.30.2011
Half-Blood by Jennifer Armentrout
Published October 18th, 2011 by Spencer Hill Press
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//

The Hematoi descend from the unions of gods and mortals, and the children of two Hematoi -- pure-bloods -- have godlike powers. Children of Hematoi and mortals-well, not so much. Half-bloods only have two options: become trained Sentinels who hunt and kill daimons or become servants in the homes of the pures.Seventeen-year-old Alexandria would rather risk her life fighting than waste it scrubbing toilets, but she may end up slumming it anyway. There are several rules that students at the Covenant must follow. Alex has problems with them all, but especially rule #1: Relationships between pures and halfs are forbidden.

Unfortunately, she's crushing hard on the totally hot pure-blood Aiden. But falling for Aiden isn't her biggest problem--staying alive long enough to graduate the Covenant and become a Sentinel is. If she fails in her duty, she faces a future worse than death or slavery: being turned into a daimon, and being hunted by Aiden. And that would kind of suck.

This was another one of those books I had to mull over before I could decide what to say about it.

I know some people have complained about the similarities between this book and Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series. But do you want me to be honest?

I haven't read Vampire Academy. And I never plan to. (I promise it's not because it's about vampires. But I've read parts of it and I was not a fan.) So I can't say much about the similarities -- but if you ask me, I don't think the similarities are as bad as some people are making them out to be. 

Alex was a great narrator. She was sarcastic and tough without appearing rude or obnoxious. Sometimes I wished her emotions came through a little more clearly, but otherwise, I thought she was a very well-done character. 


I don't really have much to say about the rest of the characters, other than Caleb was such a girly gossip that it was just hilarious, and I will forever like Seth more than Aiden. Aiden might be very patient with Alex, which is something she obviously needs, but Seth is more interesting to me. Amusing. He could be sarcastic, too, and I loved him. (Also, wow, the blurb for Pure, the second book, talks about a love triangle, basically. How did I not notice that? *sadface*) I have a feeling she'll end up with Aiden, and then I'll be all sad, and THAT'S ALL THAT EVER HAPPENS IN LOVE TRIANGLES.


Anyway.


And the plot wasn't just about romance, either. The thing with her mother was a total surprise to me. I loved how Alex had to ignore her feelings and do what she needed to do - kill. I know that sounds like a really weird thing to like, but it proved that Alex was dedicated and strong - and that she wanted to save lives. And I liked the whole mythology behind all of it. The idea of the Apolloyon and how there were once two of them? I thought that was really cool.


Overall: Honestly, I think the only thing this book was missing was a few more descriptions. I can't wait to see where this series is going to go. (Specifically Seth and Alex, but we won't get into that >_>) Half-Blood was a surprising novel that I couldn't put down, and I can't wait for the next book. (Which is another awesome thing - it comes out in April. Which is not only my birthday month, but it means there's not a year-long wait between books like a lot of series.) 4 stars.

~Zoey~

Review: A Beautiful Dark

10.29.2011
A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies
Published September 27th, 2011 by HarperTeen
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//


On the night of Skye's seventeenth birthday, she meets two enigmatic strangers. Complete opposites; like fire and ice; Asher is dark and wild, while Devin is fair and aloof. Their sudden appearance sends Skye's life into a tailspin. She has no idea what they want, or why they seem to follow her every move only that their presence coincides with a flurry of strange events. Soon she begins to doubt not just the identity of the two boys, but also the truth about her own past.

In the dead of a bitingly cold Colorado winter, Skye finds herself coming to terms with the impossible secret that threatens to shatter her world. Torn between Asher, who she can't help falling for, and Devin, who she can't stay away from, the consequences of Skye's choice will reach further than the three of them could ever imagine.
I don't know why I torture myself and read books when I know they have love triangles. I guess maybe I decided to read this because I heard the love triangle wasn't too bad, and in retrospect, it really wasn't. However, if Skye continues to love Devin in the next books after what he did to her, then there is something seriously wrong with her. And that would be a terrible message to send to whoever is reading this book, honestly -_-

A Beautiful Dark starts off in normal. It's Skye's birthday, she has a guy pining after her, WHOO. Enter Asher and Devin, and, well, everything isn't so normal anymore. I kinda liked the way they were introduced into the book :P

I had one huge problem with this book, and it had nothing to do with the love triangle. There was no subtlety. Everything was just too obvious and predictable - except for the end with Devin, I didn't see that coming - and the mystery felt way too forced. It wasn't suspenseful at all, in my opinion.

I won't rant about the love triangle, because it doesn't pertain to this book, but every book with a love triangle, but I will say this - Skye was kind of ridiculous when it came to Asher and Devin. She's always thinking about one of them, but what really annoyed me was how one paragraph she was thinking about Asher and then the next she was thinking about Devin and it was like Asher didn't even exist, or vice versa. It wasn't very often that she compared them. In romance terms, at least.

Another issue I had was the pacing. It felt too fast to me. It seemed like it was just WHAM-BAM-ANGEL TIME. To be honest, I got kind of bored sometimes because the entire middle of the book was either Skye avoiding Asher and Devin or Skye trying to find her powers with them. (With a little romance added in, sure, but meh.)

But I do have to admit that the love triangle really wasn't too bad. I hope it remains that way in the next book. Especially after what Devin did -_-

Overall: This book needed to slow down a little bit, include some more details. Skye wasn't the best narrator to me, because of both her thoughts and actions. She just wasn't interesting. But A Beautiful Dark does seem to have a new take on angels, and the end was a complete surprise. 2.5 stars. (I'm sure I'll end up reading the sequel. Just because I'm really a masochist when it comes to books, it seems.)



~Zoey~

Review: The Iron Thorn

10.27.2011
The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kattridge
Published February 22nd 2011 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//

In the city of Lovecraft, the Proctors rule and a great Engine turns below the streets, grinding any resistance to their order to dust. The necrovirus is blamed for Lovecraft's epidemic of madness, for the strange and eldritch creatures that roam the streets after dark, and for everything that the city leaders deem Heretical—born of the belief in magic and witchcraft. And for Aoife Grayson, her time is growing shorter by the day.

Aoife Grayson's family is unique, in the worst way—every one of them, including her mother and her elder brother Conrad, has gone mad on their 16th birthday. And now, a ward of the state, and one of the only female students at the School of Engines, she is trying to pretend that her fate can be different.

*Some spoilers, probably*
 
The Iron Thorn confused me like no other. It's one of those books where you really have to think about what you're reading and try and connect things. (I'm not very good at that, just in case you didn't know.)

Aoife was a very interesting character, though I have no idea how to pronounce her name. (I think I ended up calling her I-owe-fee the entire book, even though it's fairly obvious that's wrong.) I really felt for her when everyone, even the boy who was supposed to be her best friend, was convinced she was going to go crazy when she turned sixteen, just like everyone else in her family. Her anger and frustration came through clearly, and it seemed very realistic to me.

Something else I really liked about Aoife - she was no gullible and naive sometimes, but at the end of the book, she could admit she'd totally and completely screwed up. And instead of crying and wallowing, she was determined to do something to fix it.

Cal was a confusing character. I know he cared about Aoife, but sometimes I wondered how he was her best friend. He didn't act like one, a lot of the time. Of course, I found out why at the end, so I guess Kattridge is extremely good at subtlety, but GAH. I'd gotten so into Cal as her friend and then BAM. 'Course, he's still her friend, but still. Although I really liked a part of their relationship - it showed how a guy and a girl can be just friends.

The romance was kind of . . . sad. Lacking. Dean and Aoife didn't have very many romantic moments, and the kiss scenes >:{ I am a fan of nice make-out scenes, but in The Iron Thorn it was basically "He kissed me" and that was it. Although I will say that Dean was an intriguing character, and I thought he was well written.

The biggest problem I had was that so many things were left unexplained - the Proctors, for one thing. I still don't know what they really are. I'm still unclear on The Iron Land and The Mists and all this other stuff that made my brain hurt.

I must say, though, The Iron Thorn was something that seemed very original to me. I loved the setting and how different it was from modern times.

Overall: I had an extremely hard time rating this book. I really loved Aoife, the world was amazing, and this book was definitely something new. I just feel like I was left with way too many questions, but I'll definitely be reading the sequel when it comes out. The Iron Thorn is full of suspense and it keeps you guessing the entire time - and just when you think you've got it figured out, you're surprised by the real answer. 3.5 stars.


~Zoey~

Waiting on Wednesday {1}

10.26.2011
I honestly think this will be the only meme I participate in :P

ANYWAY.

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.


Obsidian by Jennifer Armentrout
Publish date: December 6th, 2011 by Entangled Publishing

Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring…. until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something…unexpected happens.

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.

If I don’t kill him first, that is.

I've heard that this book is hilarious, and I really want to read a book that's going to laugh out loud. Not to mention that the main character is apparently a book blogger! :D Also, I totally stalk Jennifer Armentrout's Twitter like there's no tomorrow, hoping for teasers, and she seems like a very cool person.

~Zoey~

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop

10.23.2011
So I reached 200 followers, and I know I should totally have a giveaway for that, but I've already got one going on and now this one, so, uh, no :P Sorry.

Anyway, the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop is hosted by I'm A Reader, Not A Writer. These books are really just some old ones I read long ago and a more recent release, so yes, they are mildly use, but I swear, they look exactly the same as they did when I bought them. (All are paperback except The Harrowing and Hex Hall)


Please note:
*Contest is US only. I haven't shipped anything to another country, but I don't even want to know how much it costs.
*You must be 13+ to enter
*If you don't leave the proper information, such as GFC name or twitter link, the entry doesn't count.
*Ends at 12:01 am EST on Nov. 1st ;)
*There will be TWO winners who will each choose TWO books. Sorry, one of you doesn't win them all :P





Check out the other giveaways!

Review: Deadly Cool

10.22.2011
Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday
Published October 11th, 2011 by HarperTeen
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//
First I find out that my boyfriend is cheating on me. Then he’s pegged as the #1 suspect in a murder. And now he’s depending on me to clear his name. Seriously?

As much as I wouldn’t mind watching him squirm, I know that he’s innocent. So I’m brushing off my previously untapped detective skills and getting down to business. But I keep tripping over dead bodies and I’m still no closer to figuring out who did it. And what’s worse: all signs seem to point to me as the killer’s next victim.

I really need to pick a better boyfriend next time.

Let me start by saying that I'm not sure the rating I gave this actually conveys my feelings on it, I think I rated it more on a critical level than an enjoyment level, because while I sped through the book and am anxiously awaiting the sequel, I found the actual writing lacking a bit. I guess because I used to spend a lot of time on Inkpop critiquing novels, sometimes I critique a book instead of actually just reading it, if that makes sense.

Anyway, Deadly Cool starts off as normally as any high school book does - Hartley (I love her name, by the way) finds hears the rumor going around school that her brother is screwing another girl. Like most girlfriends, she goes to investigate, expecting to find Josh in bed with Courtney.

Instead, she finds Courtney's body. 

I really liked Hartley. I felt like her reactions and actions were realistic most of the time, and she was kind of a fun and easy character to read through. She was a bit too naive at some points for me, though - who meets a stranger in the dark football field alone at midnight when there's a killer on the loose? -_- (And also, she didn't seem nearly mad enough at Josh, if you ask me.) But otherwise, I liked how persistent she was in finding the real killer.

I had a problem with the side characters. Sam was hardly developed at all, and I don't think Chase was much better. We don't know anything about him other than he works for the school newspaper. (And he goes commando ;D) He was so vague about his relationship with . . . *blanks on name* Deep Blogger. Whatever her real name was. He said it was "complicated," but we know nothing else about it. Who does he live with? Who is he friends with? I really hope more is revealed about him in the next book, Social Suicide. Otherwise, I just can't buy him as the romantic interest.

I wish there was a way to tell authors that, YES, I DO WANT TO KNOW WHAT THE FREAKING ROOM LOOKS LIKE. AND THE PEOPLE. There was next to no description in this book. It was all just Hartley's thoughts and the dialogue/action. We get a pretty good description of Chase, but that's it. No one else. All I know about Hartley is her hair color. And I don't know what her room looks like, what her mom looks like, what Chase's house looks like . . . I know some people don't like to read paragraphs and paragraphs of descriptions, and neither do I, but I think something could be thrown in there! 

And of course, Hartley was another MC with no hobby. I suppose you could argue that the investigating was her hobby, but she didn't investigate anything until someone died. Teenagers have hobbies. Whether it's sitting around and watching TV or playing tennis, they have hobbies, gosh dang it -_-

Okay, despite those rant-like points I've made, I read through this book in just a few hours. I liked how the romance between Chase and Hartley is going very slow, just developing so that it's not really a romance yet. It wasn't love-at-first-sight, they're still not in love, and it's very realistic to me. 

And the concept was fairly original to me, too. I know lots of books involve murders, but this was fairly different from all those, the fact that it wasn't anything paranormal just being one of them.

Overall: Deadly Cool is fast-paced, light read that I suggest for anyone who wants to be mildly amused and doesn't want to read something where you have to think about every sentence. The writing style is simple, easy, and Hartley was a refreshing character. Despite the problems I had with it, I give it 3.5 stars. 

And hey, if you ask me, the killer was a total surprise :D

1/2
~Zoey~

Review: The Next Door Boys

The Next Door Boys by Jolene B. Perry
Published October 4th, 2011 by Cedar Fort
With her body still recovering from last year's cancer treatments, Leigh Tressman is determined to be independent. Despite the interference from her overprotective brother, physical frustrations, and spiritual dilemmas— not to mention the ever expanding line of young men ready to fall in love with her— Leigh discovers what it actually means to stand on her own and learns that love can be found in unexpected but delightful places.


Okay. So this usually isn't the type of book I read, and the beginning had a fair bit of religion - nothing too intense, but a lot of you know I'm not a fan of reading about religion in books.


However, for some reason I was okay with it here. It seemed like it was necessary for the plot but it wasn't being shoved in my face. And while I'm not going to say I loved it, after the beginning it didn't come up as often so it was rather easy for me to pretend there was no religion involved :P 


Leigh is recovering from ovarian cancer and finally moving out of her parent's house and going to college. Of course, her family won't let her be on her own completely, so she ends up living right next door to her brother. 


I loved the relationship between Leigh and her brother, Jaron, but at the same time, I feel like he wasn't developed enough. I know next to nothing about him other than he worries about Leigh, and sometimes I found myself waiting to find out more about what he likes to do and then being cut short.

The relationship between Leigh and Brian, though, was awesome. I love how you get to watch their relationship grow and change through the book - first Leigh is intimidated by him, then he becomes basically her best friend, and then something more. And Brian was a well-developed character to me =)



And then there was Leigh's relationship with herself. She wants to be independent so badly, to forget that she was "The Sick Girl," that sometimes she forgets that she still needs to take care of herself, that her body is still recovering. I thought that was very realistic; I feel like a lot of people would have done the same thing. Actually, Leigh herself was a very realistic character, and all her emotions in the book came through so clear. 


AND SHE HAD A HOBBY. She sewed. That made me ridiculously happy, since YA authors seem to forget that their characters do other things besides stare at pretty boys. 


I think the only real complaint I have is the ending. It felt too abrupt to me, like maybe there should have been another chapter or two before it really ended.


Overall: The Next Door Boys is a realistic, enjoyable novel about a girl recovering and realizing that she's still alive. The secondary characters are just as interesting, and I loved reading from Leigh's perspective. The relationships were fun to read, the emotions rang through loud and clear, and I honestly finished this in one night. 4 stars.




~Zoey~

{I apologize for not including Amazon/B&N/Book Depository links. The format wasn't working >.<}

Review: Shattered Dreams

10.18.2011
Shattered Dreams by Ellie James
Publish Date: December 6th, 2011 by St. Martin's Press
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//

Sixteen-year-old Trinity Monsour wants nothing more than to live a normal life. But that isn’t as easy as it seems. Trinity is different. She is special. She sees visions, and for those she’s seen, it’s already too late.

Trinity arrives on her aunt’s doorstep in New Orleans with virtually no knowledge of her mysterious heritage. She begins settling into life at a new school and even starts making friends. But all too quickly her dreams accelerate; twisted, terrifying visions of a girl locked in a dark room. And when the head cheerleader, Jessica, goes missing, Trinity knows she has no choice but to step forward with what she’s seen.

But people believe that Trinity has information about Jessica’s disappearance not because of a dream, but because she is involved. She iskind-of dating Jessica’s ex-boyfriend, Chase, and Jessica did pull a nasty prank on Trinity. Revenge seems like the likeliest scenario.

Nothing prepares Trinity for the dark odyssey that ensues while searching for Jessica, including the surprising romance she finds with Chase, or the shocking truths she learns, not just about the girl who has gone missing, but the past that has been hidden from her.
If I'm honest, it took me a long time to get into Shattered Dreams. I took ages just to read the first forty pages, and even after that, it was kind of a slow read for me. I think my problem was with the narrator, Trinity. She wasn't a character that I could connect to. At all. I mean, sure, she lusted after a boy who already had a girlfriend, which is perfectly normal, but other than that, I had no ways to connect to her. We didn't learn anything about her interests or hobbies, so there wasn't really anything to connect to.

I also felt like the rest of the characters weren't involved enough, excluding Chase. Of course, the book was supposed to be about the mystery surrounding Jessica's disappearance, etc, and it was, but I felt like too much of the book was centered on Trinity and everything that was going on with her. I wouldn't consider Trinity a whiner, not by any means, but I was fairly annoyed because we didn't get to see much of the other characters.

I have no idea how I felt about Chase. :P He was very helpful and did almost everything he could for Trinity, but sometimes, he just fell flat to me. He was the romantic interest, and it was obvious that Trinity liked him, but he wasn't anything for me to swoon over like I often do with fictional characters.

The writing style saved this book for me. It was simple and easy to understand, yet there were still amazing descriptions of everything. I'm not sure how to say this, but the . . . creepiness bled through, I guess :P James made it believable, and if Trinity was scared, so was I. (Sort of. I don't scare easily.) The only problem I had when it came to the writing style was the italics in the dialogue - there was way too much of it, especially when people said Trinity's name. I felt like every time someone said her name, it was in italics.

Overall: Shattered Dreams was full of suspense and twists I never saw coming. Although I wish some of the other characters had been more involved and I won't be clamboring over people to get the sequel, once you get into it, Shattered Dreams is an okay read. 3 stars.

(Also, you should check out the author's website, because it's really pretty: http://elliejames.net/ )
~Zoey~

Review: Shut Out

10.17.2011
Shut Out by Kody Keplinger
Published September 5th, 2011 by Poppy
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//
Most high school sports teams have rivalries with other schools. At Hamilton High, it's a civil war: the football team versus the soccer team. And for her part, Lissa is sick of it. Her quarterback boyfriend, Randy, is always ditching her to go pick a fight with the soccer team or to prank their locker room. And on three separate occasions Randy's car has been egged while he and Lissa were inside, making out. She is done competing with a bunch of sweaty boys for her own boyfriend's attention.

Lissa decides to end the rivalry once and for all: she and the other players' girlfriends go on a hookup strike. The boys won't get any action from them until the football and soccer teams make peace. What they don't count on is a new sort of rivalry: an impossible girls-against-boys showdown that hinges on who will cave to their libidos first. And Lissa never sees her own sexual tension with the leader of the boys, Cash Sterling, coming. 

Shut Out was a nice change from all the paranormal I've been reading lately. Lissa was an interesting character - one that I thought seemed very realistic. Sure, she wasn't perfect, and I know some people think she handled the sex strike in the wrong way, but I think it's the same way plenty of other people would have handled it.

Randy, Lissa's boyfriend, is always putting her second to the rivalry between the soccer and football teams. And when Lissa decides to start the sex strike and get all the other girls who are girlfriends of guys on the teams, well, Randy isn't very happy. I hate the name Randy. I'm glad he was an ass >_>

Cash Sterling made me happy ^-^ He was not a man-whore who'd slept with half the female population like too many boys in YA fiction. He was just a boy who wanted Lissa's attention, and that I was something I really liked.

However, I do feel like all of the characters were a little . . . skimmed over, I guess. They weren't developed enough, except maybe Lissa. As for Randy and Cash and some of Lissa's other friends? You know approximately two things about their lives, and that's it. i wish there could have been a little more about their families or their hobbies or something like that.

And another thing that was skimmed over was the details and descriptions. I wanted to know what her house looked like, the people, anything. I don't want to discriminate or anything, but I feel like most YA contemp. books leave out those details. That's not to say paranormal and fantasy and other novels don't do that, too; I think I just notice it less because there's too many other things to think about.

Overall: The plot was something I thought was fairly original - I've never read anything where so many people come together and go on a sex strike :P While I think the writing needed some work, Shut Out was a fast-paced novel I read in one sitting. I'd definitely recommend it for those days when you want to read a fast book that doesn't involve too much thinking. 4 stars.

~Zoey~

Patchy the Pirate Says No.

10.16.2011
Authors everywhere have seen their books cropping up all over the internet lately - illegally.

Has no one checked Amazon? Do you not see how cheap most of their books are? Jennifer Armentrout had a good point over on her blog when she was talking about her book, Half-Blood, being pirated - before it was even released. "If you can't afford the book, go to library. If you're library doesn't have it, request it. If you don't have a library, the book is only 3.99. And if you can't afford 3.99, then you shouldn't be able to afford the internet that you're using to download the book illegally. " The same goes for plenty of books you could buy off Amazon. 


Jennifer also had another good point - authors have lost second and third book deals because their first book didn't bring in enough money because of piracy. 


I want to know - what's the point? Most cities have libraries. And I don't know what other libraries do, but at mine, you can request a copy from any of the other libraries in like, a half hour radius. Granted, sometimes those copies already have 20 requests on them so I don't end up getting them for three months, and there are some books unavailable, but come on. If you're that desperate for the book, AMAZON, MAN. And The Book Depository which gives you free shipping worldwide. 


AND COME ON. EVEN PATCHY THE PIRATE SAYS NO TO PIRACY.


I think it's ridiculous, especially for a book that hasn't even officially been published what. What's the point in that? 


It's stealing, plain and simple. Not to mention - do you have any idea how much money goes into marketing those books? I mean, seriously O_o


So fight back with authors. Cyndi Tefft did a post about it today. Or maybe if you read Jennifer Armentrout's post about it, you'll realize how much hurt is caused by piracy. 


(Image courtesy of Larissa's Bookish Life)

And yes, the title of my post refers to Patchy the Pirate from Spongebob. My creative juices are not flowing today, Gimme a break -_- 

~Zoey~

Review: Falling Under

Falling Under by Gwen Hayes
Published March 1st, 2011 by New American Library
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//
Theia Alderson has always led a sheltered life in the small California town of Serendipity Falls. But when a devastatingly handsome boy appears in the halls of her school, Theia knows she's seen Haden before- not around town, but in her dreams.

As the Haden of both the night and the day beckons her closer one moment and pushes her away the next, the only thing Theia knows for sure is that the incredible pull she feels towards him is stronger than her fear.

And when she discovers what Haden truly is, Theia's not sure if she wants to resist him, even if the cost is her soul.
WELL. I'm going to start off my saying that this is probably going to be an extremely confusing review because I'm still unsure as to how I feel about this book.

On the one hand, I can easily see why people would give this book one star. For one thing, there's the ever-present insta-love that we see too much in YA books. Haden and Theia know nothing about each other, but they're attracted to each other a ridiculous amount.

About 80% of the book is from Theia's point of view, and that's all of the beginning and then the last two chapters or so. And I felt like too many of her thoughts were centered on Haden - she was never concerned about anything else. There were a few moments when she was talking to her father or thinking about her mother, but otherwise, it was ALL Haden ALL THE TIME. It got a bit annoying, because, no, teenage girls do not constantly think about teenage boys.

And neither of them had hobbies. Sure, Theia played the cello (or maybe the violin? >_>) but that was hardly mentioned. Haden? I don't even know about him. Theia and Haden weren't very realistic in that sense - you don't really know much about them other than they reallyreally like each other. DOES NO ONE HAVE A FAVORITE COLOR ANYMORE? IS THAT NOT WORTHY OF MENTION?

Also, Theia reminded me of characters like Bella Swan and Luce . . . Price? Was her last name Price? Anyway, she reminded me of them because of her idiocy, persistence, whatever you want to call it. It didn't matter that Haden kept telling her to stay away, and even when she found out what he really was, still nothing. She barely blinked an eye, and that really bothered me. She accepted it all too easily.

And then there was the fact that parts of it were so redundant - pretty much the entire first half of the book involved Haden telling Theia how dangerous he was and Theia basically ignoring that. It was extremely irritating.

But on the other hand, once I got past the first thirty pages, I couldn't stop reading. There were times when I liked Theia - when she was being rational, anyway :P I liked that she tried to pass off her dreams of Haden as a silly little crush at first. She was telling herself that she'd tricked herself into believing they were real, that Haden returned her feelings. I LIKED THAT RATIONALITY. It was realistic.

I also liked that even though she was drawn to Haden, Theia managed to be kind of witty when she was talking to him sometimes and didn't immediately throw herself at him. (Well, you know, not at first. It was kind of a different story when they ended up in the same bedroom.) Anyway, there were parts when I appreciated how she managed to stay under control.

The side-characters were pretty cool too, specifically Gabe, the boy trying to win over one of Theia's friends, and Varnie, the odd psychic boy. You don't know much about them, but they really enhance the book. They weren't just placeholders, and I'm interested to see where they go.

And the emotions. When Haden went back to Under and Theia was alone, her emotions came across so clear that I felt them myself. I was rooting for them the whole time.

Overall: I hate insta-love. I'm sick of it. The characters weren't nearly developed enough for me, but the emotions came across so clearly that I can't help but not hate this book. (And no matter how much I was annoyed, I STILL can't hate it.) So even though I'm not sure I'm giving this a rational rating, I'm giving it a 3.5 stars. But ye be warned: Read at your own risk.

~Zoey~

Giveaway: October New Releases {Giveaway Hop}

10.15.2011
As a part of the October New Releases Giveaway Hop hosted by Book Twirps and Refracted Light Reviews, I'm giving away a copy of Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel and a copy of Between the Sea and the Sky by Jaclyn Dolamore. (Both will be finished copies) My friend pre-ordered them both off of Amazon and decided that she would give them to me to use as a giveaway as soon as she finishes reading them. ONE winner will receive both books.

Check out Dearly, Departed on Goodreads HERE.
Check out Between the Sea and the Sky on Goodreads HERE.

*Please note:
-Giveaway is for US ONLY.
-You must be over 13
-Leave links/usernames/whatever you're supposed to leave or the entry will be removed.
-US ONLY. Yes. I felt the need to reiterate.
-Giveaway ends October 31st.





Check out the other giveaways!

Review: Dearly, Departed

10.14.2011
Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel
Publish date: October 18th, 2011 by Random House Publishing Group
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//

Love conquers all, so they say. But can Cupid’s arrow pierce the hearts of the living and the dead—or rather, the undead? Can a proper young Victorian lady find true love in the arms of a dashing zombie?

The year is 2195. The place is New Victoria—a high-tech nation modeled on the manners, mores, and fashions of an antique era. A teenager in high society, Nora Dearly is far more interested in military history and her country’s political unrest than in tea parties and debutante balls. But after her beloved parents die, Nora is left at the mercy of her domineering aunt, a social-climbing spendthrift who has squandered the family fortune and now plans to marry her niece off for money. For Nora, no fate could be more horrible—until she’s nearly kidnapped by an army of walking corpses.

But fate is just getting started with Nora. Catapulted from her world of drawing-room civility, she’s suddenly gunning down ravenous zombies alongside mysterious black-clad commandos and confronting “The Laz,” a fatal virus that raises the dead—and hell along with them. Hardly ideal circumstances. Then Nora meets Bram Griswold, a young soldier who is brave, handsome, noble . . . and dead. But as is the case with the rest of his special undead unit, luck and modern science have enabled Bram to hold on to his mind, his manners, and his body parts. And when his bond of trust with Nora turns to tenderness, there’s no turning back. Eventually, they know, the disease will win, separating the star-crossed lovers forever. But until then, beating or not, their hearts will have what they desire.
Zombies! I love zombies, whether they're the eat-your-brain kind of way or the misunderstood way. (Though I will admit that I like the eat-your-brain type a little better.)

I will also admit that while the prologue was amazing, when I started the first chapter, I didn't think I was going to like this novel. I was just too confused - I had no idea what anyone was talking about, and I had no idea if Mink and Vespertine were the same person. It made my brain hurt. And then the entire beginning of the second chapter was basically just the info-dump. So I really thought I wouldn't like it.

But then it got better. The world that Dearly, Departed is set in is fantastic - and it's something fairly new, too, so I wasn't bored with it at all. The writing, most of the time, was great. It wasn't full of unnecessary details, but at the same time, it didn't leave anything out.

The place I really had a problem with was with the conflicting narrations. Most of the book is narrated by Nora and Bram, the two main characters, but there are a few other characters in there, too. It's simply too many people narrating for me. I really think most authors should just stick with two as a maximum, maybe three if they can pull it off, because it's too easy for characters to blend together. It was fairly easy to distinguish the difference between Nora and Bram's narrations, but when you add in the others, their narrations started to sound the same.

And the ending did not make sense to me. At all. >_>

Despite that, I still really liked the book. It didn't have a totally futuristic feel to it, and I liked that because we weren't overwhelmed by new technologies or other unfathomable things, but you could still tell that it wasn't definitely in this time period. I also loved the relationships in this book - not just the romance between Nora and Bram, but the friendship between Nora and Pamela and some of the negative relationships between some of the characters.

Ah, the romance. FINALLY, NO INSTA-LOVE. Well, there may have been insta-love, but it wasn't all "OMG FIRST-SIGHT I MUST HAVE HIM/HER." The pace of the romance was nice. Very nice, especially considering some of the books I've been reading lately. Sometimes Nora was a bit too innocent/shy for my tastes, but her and Bram have some adorably-awkward moments that I absolutely loved.

Also, this book gets an extra star just because Bram was not an acts-tough-and-has-slept-with-every-girl-but-is-actually-really-sweet character like Noah Shaw. Remember when I asked where all the sweet and innocent virgin boys are? Well, Bram comes pretty close to that. YAY.

Overall: While I was not a fan of the beginning and I wish the amount of narrators had been cut down, the plot was fantastic, the characters even more so, and Dearly, Departed was fairly original. 4 1/2 stars.

1/2

~Zoey~

*Thank you NetGalley for the ARC*

Review: The Scorpio Races

10.11.2011
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Publish Date: October 18th, 2011 by Scholastic Press
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//


It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.


At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.


Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

I got this book a few weeks ago from a very awesome friend who sent it to me =) I have no idea why it took me so long to finish it, but even when I finished, I had to take a few days to mull it over since I had no idea how I felt about this book o_o


There's no doubt that The Scorpio Races is extremely different from the Mercy Falls trilogy. That took me awhile to get used to - I love the Mercy Falls books, and I wasn't expecting something this different. But once I got into it, I have to admit that I think it's awesome Maggie Stiefvater can write two stories so vastly different and yet have them both be ridiculously awesome.


The Scorpio Races is told from the dueling point of views - both Puck and Sean. I liked how easy it was to distinguish the two of them - if I picked up the book after not having read it for awhile and I was in the middle of the chapter, there was no confusion as to who was narrating. And, y'know, that was awesome, considering Puck is a girl and Sean is a guy. I have a feeling things might have been awkward if they sounded similar >_>


Something completely random - I totally loved the relationships Sean and Puck had with their horses, especially Sean. There was something so real about it. Even though this is a fantasy novel, there were still so many ways to connect to it.


I can't think of anything to say about the plot without giving away spoilers. I honestly can't -_- But it was something so different, like nothing I've ever read. And I know how much most of us love originality :P


The writing style was amazing, as always. The emotions were always so clear, easy to understand, but Stiefvater's writing is anything by simple. She never forgets the details or the imagery like so many other authors. And in a book like this, I feel like the little details and pictures are really important. 


And another thing: I am a romance fan. I can barely handle reading books without some aspect of romance in them. And in this book, the romance wasn't a huge part. It was there, but it wasn't like most books. AND I STILL LOVED IT. 


Honestly, I think the only problem I had was that at times the pacing was a little too slow for me and I would have liked to see more action. But seriously. THAT'S ALL I HAVE TO COMPLAIN ABOUT.


Overall: Regardless of the fact that it took me forever to read, this book is something original and different. Stiefvater's writing never fails to disappoint. 5 stars. 
(I apologize for the vagueness of this review, but I was trying extremely hard to keep it spoiler-free because I think you all need to read this book the second it comes out)


~Zoey~

Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

10.10.2011
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Published September 27th, 2011 by Simon and Schuster
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//


Mara Dyer believes life can’t get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her strangely unharmed.

There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.

She’s wrong.

This review is not very spoiler-free >_>

I read The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer online through Simon and Schuster's PulseIt program. And yes, IT WAS FREE. AND LEGAL. 

Mara Dyer and her family move to Florida after an accident that kills her best friend and two others. Sure, there's nothing new there, but somehow, Hodkin made it work. Although Mara is broken on the inside, she still manages to have fun with her family sometimes.

I liked Mara, both as a character and a narrator, right up until the end. I didn't understand her motives about the thing involving Lassiter. (Yes, I'm sure I spelled that wrong.) Nightmares have been haunting her since that night when Rachel, Claire, and Jude died. She's been put on anti-psychotics. I understand that she's angry, but why does she not even consider the consequences of taking a man's life when it's made her feel so horrible all the other times? 

Most of the time, Mara's emotions really got to me. She felt real, and even if she irritated me with her repetitiveness, I still felt for her. 

Noah Shaw, on the other hand, never irritated me. Not once. He was awesome *-* He wasn't cheesy, but he wasn't an asshole, either. Most of the time.

I only have one question involving his personality: WHERE ARE ALL THE SWEET AND INNOCENT VIRGIN BOYS IN YA? Not every boy has to have had sex with the entire female population of the school. Really. Truth be told, I probably wouldn't have liked Noah as much if he was all sweet and innocent, but it's a valid question.

Another thing I really loved about this book was how when Mara thought she was crazy, I was asking that question right along with her. Were there paranormal events involved, or was Mara just hallucinating and dreaming? 

My biggest issue with this book: The pacing was way too slow for me. While the pacing of Mara and Noah's relationship was fine, the pacing of the actual plot was a bit of a problem. Most of the book is just full of Mara's "hallucinations," and you don't get any real answers until the last 70 or so pages of the book. Even then, there are too many unanswered questions for me to be happy with. I know The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is only the first book, considering it says "End of volume one" on the last page, but I think a few more questions should have been answered, or the book almost has no point.

Overall: Although I think large parts could have been cut out and questions really should have been answered, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer was an interesting novel full of real emotions and just a hint of paranormal. The characters were addicting, the writing style was perfect, and I can't wait for the next book. 4 stars.

~Zoey~

Review: Born at Midnight

10.08.2011
Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter
Published March 29th 2011, by St. Martin's Griffin
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//



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…

I know I said Falling Under was up next, but guess what? I suck at organizing :P I was at a friend's house last night, she had this book, and I brought it home with me to finish it.

If I'm honest, I was already biased against this book. Most of you know that me and love triangles don't along so well. I don't understand the appeal. 90% of YA books seem to have some form of a love triangle, and it's starting to piss me off. I don't know why I even read this book ._.

The good thing? The love triangle wasn't terrible, considering one of the boys basically disappeared by the middle of the book, but the fact that there still was a love triangle bothered me. And this is only the first book in a series, so I'm sure he'll reappear again somewhere -_- 

Born at Midnight is a novel told in third person. Normally, I don't mind that, but in this book, it bothered me.  I didn't like Kylie very much - she seemed much younger than she was. She said things like "Dad-nabbit" and never swore, which wasn't a problem, it was just the words she said in place of swears. It was too immature for me. She wasn't a particularly strong character, either - she spent a lot of time being scared and just questioning things instead of doing things. Sure, she had her courageous moments, but otherwise, I wanted to kick her butt to make her move and do something -_-

Anyway, I felt like maybe if I'd seen into Kylie's head a little more and seen how she actually thought, I wouldn't have hated her so much. This is one time a third person narration just didn't work for me.

I wasn't very fond of some of the secondary characters. Kylie's friends held no appeal for me, and both the romantic interests fell a little flat to me. I didn't get enough personality when it came to Derek, and when it came to Lucas, well, none of him really made sense to me.

Of course, there were a few things I liked. The idea of Shadow Falls was interesting to me, how everyone there is a different type of creature. It seemed like an odd idea, but Hunter made it work. The way things were explained was easy to follow, and there weren't very many times where I was confused that I had to put the book down to make my brain stop hurting :P

Overall: Born at Midnight was one of those novels. Those novels where I can find so much wrong, where I nitpick every single little thing, but yet I can't stop reading. I'm not sure why that was, since I obviously didn't like the book very much. 2 1/2 stars.

1/2

~Zoey~

10.31.2011

The Book I'm Thankful For

Beth Ravis has a HUGE giveaway going on =)

I know this is probably a very unoriginal answer, but honestly, I'm thankful for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. To be honest, I'm thankful for all of the books, but I think I got the most out of the fifth.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

There is a door at the end of a silent corridor, and it's haunting Harry Potter's dreams. Why else would he be waking in the middle of the night, screaming in terror?

Here are just a few of the things on Harry's mind:

• A Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher with a personality like poisoned honey
• A venomous, disgruntled house-elf
• Ron as Keeper of the Gryffindor Quidditch team
• The looming terror of the end-of-term Ordinary Wizarding Level exams

. . . and of course, the growing threat of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.

In the richest installment yet of J.K. Rowling's seven-part story, Harry Potter is faced with the unreliability of the very government of the magical world and the impotence of the authorities at Hogwarts.

Despite this (or perhaps because of it), he finds depth and strength in his friends, beyond what even he knew; boundless loyalty; and unbearable sacrifice.


 The fifth Harry Potter book showed me that even when you're in a completely crappy situation where nothing seems to go right, you can still carry on. After all, if Harry was surviving at a school where everyone hated him, his parents were dead, and he could barely have contact with the one person he was related to, all while he had a psycho after him? If he could survive with that, then I could survive everything I was going through. The fifth Harry Potter book taught me all about endurance and perseverance, and it showed me what real friends are like. It also showed me that not everyone is perfect - there were times when Harry would just snap at his friends for no reason. I'm extremely thankful for everything this book taught me. (Though I'll admit, Sirius' death still makes me angry -_-)

[As a side-note, Blogger refuses to post my RAK wrap-up post. I may end up posting it on tumblr.]

~Zoey~

10.30.2011

Review: Half-Blood

Half-Blood by Jennifer Armentrout
Published October 18th, 2011 by Spencer Hill Press
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//

The Hematoi descend from the unions of gods and mortals, and the children of two Hematoi -- pure-bloods -- have godlike powers. Children of Hematoi and mortals-well, not so much. Half-bloods only have two options: become trained Sentinels who hunt and kill daimons or become servants in the homes of the pures.Seventeen-year-old Alexandria would rather risk her life fighting than waste it scrubbing toilets, but she may end up slumming it anyway. There are several rules that students at the Covenant must follow. Alex has problems with them all, but especially rule #1: Relationships between pures and halfs are forbidden.

Unfortunately, she's crushing hard on the totally hot pure-blood Aiden. But falling for Aiden isn't her biggest problem--staying alive long enough to graduate the Covenant and become a Sentinel is. If she fails in her duty, she faces a future worse than death or slavery: being turned into a daimon, and being hunted by Aiden. And that would kind of suck.

This was another one of those books I had to mull over before I could decide what to say about it.

I know some people have complained about the similarities between this book and Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series. But do you want me to be honest?

I haven't read Vampire Academy. And I never plan to. (I promise it's not because it's about vampires. But I've read parts of it and I was not a fan.) So I can't say much about the similarities -- but if you ask me, I don't think the similarities are as bad as some people are making them out to be. 

Alex was a great narrator. She was sarcastic and tough without appearing rude or obnoxious. Sometimes I wished her emotions came through a little more clearly, but otherwise, I thought she was a very well-done character. 


I don't really have much to say about the rest of the characters, other than Caleb was such a girly gossip that it was just hilarious, and I will forever like Seth more than Aiden. Aiden might be very patient with Alex, which is something she obviously needs, but Seth is more interesting to me. Amusing. He could be sarcastic, too, and I loved him. (Also, wow, the blurb for Pure, the second book, talks about a love triangle, basically. How did I not notice that? *sadface*) I have a feeling she'll end up with Aiden, and then I'll be all sad, and THAT'S ALL THAT EVER HAPPENS IN LOVE TRIANGLES.


Anyway.


And the plot wasn't just about romance, either. The thing with her mother was a total surprise to me. I loved how Alex had to ignore her feelings and do what she needed to do - kill. I know that sounds like a really weird thing to like, but it proved that Alex was dedicated and strong - and that she wanted to save lives. And I liked the whole mythology behind all of it. The idea of the Apolloyon and how there were once two of them? I thought that was really cool.


Overall: Honestly, I think the only thing this book was missing was a few more descriptions. I can't wait to see where this series is going to go. (Specifically Seth and Alex, but we won't get into that >_>) Half-Blood was a surprising novel that I couldn't put down, and I can't wait for the next book. (Which is another awesome thing - it comes out in April. Which is not only my birthday month, but it means there's not a year-long wait between books like a lot of series.) 4 stars.

~Zoey~

10.29.2011

Review: A Beautiful Dark

A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies
Published September 27th, 2011 by HarperTeen
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//


On the night of Skye's seventeenth birthday, she meets two enigmatic strangers. Complete opposites; like fire and ice; Asher is dark and wild, while Devin is fair and aloof. Their sudden appearance sends Skye's life into a tailspin. She has no idea what they want, or why they seem to follow her every move only that their presence coincides with a flurry of strange events. Soon she begins to doubt not just the identity of the two boys, but also the truth about her own past.

In the dead of a bitingly cold Colorado winter, Skye finds herself coming to terms with the impossible secret that threatens to shatter her world. Torn between Asher, who she can't help falling for, and Devin, who she can't stay away from, the consequences of Skye's choice will reach further than the three of them could ever imagine.
I don't know why I torture myself and read books when I know they have love triangles. I guess maybe I decided to read this because I heard the love triangle wasn't too bad, and in retrospect, it really wasn't. However, if Skye continues to love Devin in the next books after what he did to her, then there is something seriously wrong with her. And that would be a terrible message to send to whoever is reading this book, honestly -_-

A Beautiful Dark starts off in normal. It's Skye's birthday, she has a guy pining after her, WHOO. Enter Asher and Devin, and, well, everything isn't so normal anymore. I kinda liked the way they were introduced into the book :P

I had one huge problem with this book, and it had nothing to do with the love triangle. There was no subtlety. Everything was just too obvious and predictable - except for the end with Devin, I didn't see that coming - and the mystery felt way too forced. It wasn't suspenseful at all, in my opinion.

I won't rant about the love triangle, because it doesn't pertain to this book, but every book with a love triangle, but I will say this - Skye was kind of ridiculous when it came to Asher and Devin. She's always thinking about one of them, but what really annoyed me was how one paragraph she was thinking about Asher and then the next she was thinking about Devin and it was like Asher didn't even exist, or vice versa. It wasn't very often that she compared them. In romance terms, at least.

Another issue I had was the pacing. It felt too fast to me. It seemed like it was just WHAM-BAM-ANGEL TIME. To be honest, I got kind of bored sometimes because the entire middle of the book was either Skye avoiding Asher and Devin or Skye trying to find her powers with them. (With a little romance added in, sure, but meh.)

But I do have to admit that the love triangle really wasn't too bad. I hope it remains that way in the next book. Especially after what Devin did -_-

Overall: This book needed to slow down a little bit, include some more details. Skye wasn't the best narrator to me, because of both her thoughts and actions. She just wasn't interesting. But A Beautiful Dark does seem to have a new take on angels, and the end was a complete surprise. 2.5 stars. (I'm sure I'll end up reading the sequel. Just because I'm really a masochist when it comes to books, it seems.)



~Zoey~

10.27.2011

Review: The Iron Thorn

The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kattridge
Published February 22nd 2011 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//

In the city of Lovecraft, the Proctors rule and a great Engine turns below the streets, grinding any resistance to their order to dust. The necrovirus is blamed for Lovecraft's epidemic of madness, for the strange and eldritch creatures that roam the streets after dark, and for everything that the city leaders deem Heretical—born of the belief in magic and witchcraft. And for Aoife Grayson, her time is growing shorter by the day.

Aoife Grayson's family is unique, in the worst way—every one of them, including her mother and her elder brother Conrad, has gone mad on their 16th birthday. And now, a ward of the state, and one of the only female students at the School of Engines, she is trying to pretend that her fate can be different.

*Some spoilers, probably*
 
The Iron Thorn confused me like no other. It's one of those books where you really have to think about what you're reading and try and connect things. (I'm not very good at that, just in case you didn't know.)

Aoife was a very interesting character, though I have no idea how to pronounce her name. (I think I ended up calling her I-owe-fee the entire book, even though it's fairly obvious that's wrong.) I really felt for her when everyone, even the boy who was supposed to be her best friend, was convinced she was going to go crazy when she turned sixteen, just like everyone else in her family. Her anger and frustration came through clearly, and it seemed very realistic to me.

Something else I really liked about Aoife - she was no gullible and naive sometimes, but at the end of the book, she could admit she'd totally and completely screwed up. And instead of crying and wallowing, she was determined to do something to fix it.

Cal was a confusing character. I know he cared about Aoife, but sometimes I wondered how he was her best friend. He didn't act like one, a lot of the time. Of course, I found out why at the end, so I guess Kattridge is extremely good at subtlety, but GAH. I'd gotten so into Cal as her friend and then BAM. 'Course, he's still her friend, but still. Although I really liked a part of their relationship - it showed how a guy and a girl can be just friends.

The romance was kind of . . . sad. Lacking. Dean and Aoife didn't have very many romantic moments, and the kiss scenes >:{ I am a fan of nice make-out scenes, but in The Iron Thorn it was basically "He kissed me" and that was it. Although I will say that Dean was an intriguing character, and I thought he was well written.

The biggest problem I had was that so many things were left unexplained - the Proctors, for one thing. I still don't know what they really are. I'm still unclear on The Iron Land and The Mists and all this other stuff that made my brain hurt.

I must say, though, The Iron Thorn was something that seemed very original to me. I loved the setting and how different it was from modern times.

Overall: I had an extremely hard time rating this book. I really loved Aoife, the world was amazing, and this book was definitely something new. I just feel like I was left with way too many questions, but I'll definitely be reading the sequel when it comes out. The Iron Thorn is full of suspense and it keeps you guessing the entire time - and just when you think you've got it figured out, you're surprised by the real answer. 3.5 stars.


~Zoey~

10.26.2011

Waiting on Wednesday {1}

I honestly think this will be the only meme I participate in :P

ANYWAY.

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.


Obsidian by Jennifer Armentrout
Publish date: December 6th, 2011 by Entangled Publishing

Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring…. until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something…unexpected happens.

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.

If I don’t kill him first, that is.

I've heard that this book is hilarious, and I really want to read a book that's going to laugh out loud. Not to mention that the main character is apparently a book blogger! :D Also, I totally stalk Jennifer Armentrout's Twitter like there's no tomorrow, hoping for teasers, and she seems like a very cool person.

~Zoey~

10.23.2011

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop

So I reached 200 followers, and I know I should totally have a giveaway for that, but I've already got one going on and now this one, so, uh, no :P Sorry.

Anyway, the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop is hosted by I'm A Reader, Not A Writer. These books are really just some old ones I read long ago and a more recent release, so yes, they are mildly use, but I swear, they look exactly the same as they did when I bought them. (All are paperback except The Harrowing and Hex Hall)


Please note:
*Contest is US only. I haven't shipped anything to another country, but I don't even want to know how much it costs.
*You must be 13+ to enter
*If you don't leave the proper information, such as GFC name or twitter link, the entry doesn't count.
*Ends at 12:01 am EST on Nov. 1st ;)
*There will be TWO winners who will each choose TWO books. Sorry, one of you doesn't win them all :P





Check out the other giveaways!

10.22.2011

Review: Deadly Cool

Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday
Published October 11th, 2011 by HarperTeen
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//
First I find out that my boyfriend is cheating on me. Then he’s pegged as the #1 suspect in a murder. And now he’s depending on me to clear his name. Seriously?

As much as I wouldn’t mind watching him squirm, I know that he’s innocent. So I’m brushing off my previously untapped detective skills and getting down to business. But I keep tripping over dead bodies and I’m still no closer to figuring out who did it. And what’s worse: all signs seem to point to me as the killer’s next victim.

I really need to pick a better boyfriend next time.

Let me start by saying that I'm not sure the rating I gave this actually conveys my feelings on it, I think I rated it more on a critical level than an enjoyment level, because while I sped through the book and am anxiously awaiting the sequel, I found the actual writing lacking a bit. I guess because I used to spend a lot of time on Inkpop critiquing novels, sometimes I critique a book instead of actually just reading it, if that makes sense.

Anyway, Deadly Cool starts off as normally as any high school book does - Hartley (I love her name, by the way) finds hears the rumor going around school that her brother is screwing another girl. Like most girlfriends, she goes to investigate, expecting to find Josh in bed with Courtney.

Instead, she finds Courtney's body. 

I really liked Hartley. I felt like her reactions and actions were realistic most of the time, and she was kind of a fun and easy character to read through. She was a bit too naive at some points for me, though - who meets a stranger in the dark football field alone at midnight when there's a killer on the loose? -_- (And also, she didn't seem nearly mad enough at Josh, if you ask me.) But otherwise, I liked how persistent she was in finding the real killer.

I had a problem with the side characters. Sam was hardly developed at all, and I don't think Chase was much better. We don't know anything about him other than he works for the school newspaper. (And he goes commando ;D) He was so vague about his relationship with . . . *blanks on name* Deep Blogger. Whatever her real name was. He said it was "complicated," but we know nothing else about it. Who does he live with? Who is he friends with? I really hope more is revealed about him in the next book, Social Suicide. Otherwise, I just can't buy him as the romantic interest.

I wish there was a way to tell authors that, YES, I DO WANT TO KNOW WHAT THE FREAKING ROOM LOOKS LIKE. AND THE PEOPLE. There was next to no description in this book. It was all just Hartley's thoughts and the dialogue/action. We get a pretty good description of Chase, but that's it. No one else. All I know about Hartley is her hair color. And I don't know what her room looks like, what her mom looks like, what Chase's house looks like . . . I know some people don't like to read paragraphs and paragraphs of descriptions, and neither do I, but I think something could be thrown in there! 

And of course, Hartley was another MC with no hobby. I suppose you could argue that the investigating was her hobby, but she didn't investigate anything until someone died. Teenagers have hobbies. Whether it's sitting around and watching TV or playing tennis, they have hobbies, gosh dang it -_-

Okay, despite those rant-like points I've made, I read through this book in just a few hours. I liked how the romance between Chase and Hartley is going very slow, just developing so that it's not really a romance yet. It wasn't love-at-first-sight, they're still not in love, and it's very realistic to me. 

And the concept was fairly original to me, too. I know lots of books involve murders, but this was fairly different from all those, the fact that it wasn't anything paranormal just being one of them.

Overall: Deadly Cool is fast-paced, light read that I suggest for anyone who wants to be mildly amused and doesn't want to read something where you have to think about every sentence. The writing style is simple, easy, and Hartley was a refreshing character. Despite the problems I had with it, I give it 3.5 stars. 

And hey, if you ask me, the killer was a total surprise :D

1/2
~Zoey~

Review: The Next Door Boys

The Next Door Boys by Jolene B. Perry
Published October 4th, 2011 by Cedar Fort
With her body still recovering from last year's cancer treatments, Leigh Tressman is determined to be independent. Despite the interference from her overprotective brother, physical frustrations, and spiritual dilemmas— not to mention the ever expanding line of young men ready to fall in love with her— Leigh discovers what it actually means to stand on her own and learns that love can be found in unexpected but delightful places.


Okay. So this usually isn't the type of book I read, and the beginning had a fair bit of religion - nothing too intense, but a lot of you know I'm not a fan of reading about religion in books.


However, for some reason I was okay with it here. It seemed like it was necessary for the plot but it wasn't being shoved in my face. And while I'm not going to say I loved it, after the beginning it didn't come up as often so it was rather easy for me to pretend there was no religion involved :P 


Leigh is recovering from ovarian cancer and finally moving out of her parent's house and going to college. Of course, her family won't let her be on her own completely, so she ends up living right next door to her brother. 


I loved the relationship between Leigh and her brother, Jaron, but at the same time, I feel like he wasn't developed enough. I know next to nothing about him other than he worries about Leigh, and sometimes I found myself waiting to find out more about what he likes to do and then being cut short.

The relationship between Leigh and Brian, though, was awesome. I love how you get to watch their relationship grow and change through the book - first Leigh is intimidated by him, then he becomes basically her best friend, and then something more. And Brian was a well-developed character to me =)



And then there was Leigh's relationship with herself. She wants to be independent so badly, to forget that she was "The Sick Girl," that sometimes she forgets that she still needs to take care of herself, that her body is still recovering. I thought that was very realistic; I feel like a lot of people would have done the same thing. Actually, Leigh herself was a very realistic character, and all her emotions in the book came through so clear. 


AND SHE HAD A HOBBY. She sewed. That made me ridiculously happy, since YA authors seem to forget that their characters do other things besides stare at pretty boys. 


I think the only real complaint I have is the ending. It felt too abrupt to me, like maybe there should have been another chapter or two before it really ended.


Overall: The Next Door Boys is a realistic, enjoyable novel about a girl recovering and realizing that she's still alive. The secondary characters are just as interesting, and I loved reading from Leigh's perspective. The relationships were fun to read, the emotions rang through loud and clear, and I honestly finished this in one night. 4 stars.




~Zoey~

{I apologize for not including Amazon/B&N/Book Depository links. The format wasn't working >.<}

10.18.2011

Review: Shattered Dreams

Shattered Dreams by Ellie James
Publish Date: December 6th, 2011 by St. Martin's Press
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//

Sixteen-year-old Trinity Monsour wants nothing more than to live a normal life. But that isn’t as easy as it seems. Trinity is different. She is special. She sees visions, and for those she’s seen, it’s already too late.

Trinity arrives on her aunt’s doorstep in New Orleans with virtually no knowledge of her mysterious heritage. She begins settling into life at a new school and even starts making friends. But all too quickly her dreams accelerate; twisted, terrifying visions of a girl locked in a dark room. And when the head cheerleader, Jessica, goes missing, Trinity knows she has no choice but to step forward with what she’s seen.

But people believe that Trinity has information about Jessica’s disappearance not because of a dream, but because she is involved. She iskind-of dating Jessica’s ex-boyfriend, Chase, and Jessica did pull a nasty prank on Trinity. Revenge seems like the likeliest scenario.

Nothing prepares Trinity for the dark odyssey that ensues while searching for Jessica, including the surprising romance she finds with Chase, or the shocking truths she learns, not just about the girl who has gone missing, but the past that has been hidden from her.
If I'm honest, it took me a long time to get into Shattered Dreams. I took ages just to read the first forty pages, and even after that, it was kind of a slow read for me. I think my problem was with the narrator, Trinity. She wasn't a character that I could connect to. At all. I mean, sure, she lusted after a boy who already had a girlfriend, which is perfectly normal, but other than that, I had no ways to connect to her. We didn't learn anything about her interests or hobbies, so there wasn't really anything to connect to.

I also felt like the rest of the characters weren't involved enough, excluding Chase. Of course, the book was supposed to be about the mystery surrounding Jessica's disappearance, etc, and it was, but I felt like too much of the book was centered on Trinity and everything that was going on with her. I wouldn't consider Trinity a whiner, not by any means, but I was fairly annoyed because we didn't get to see much of the other characters.

I have no idea how I felt about Chase. :P He was very helpful and did almost everything he could for Trinity, but sometimes, he just fell flat to me. He was the romantic interest, and it was obvious that Trinity liked him, but he wasn't anything for me to swoon over like I often do with fictional characters.

The writing style saved this book for me. It was simple and easy to understand, yet there were still amazing descriptions of everything. I'm not sure how to say this, but the . . . creepiness bled through, I guess :P James made it believable, and if Trinity was scared, so was I. (Sort of. I don't scare easily.) The only problem I had when it came to the writing style was the italics in the dialogue - there was way too much of it, especially when people said Trinity's name. I felt like every time someone said her name, it was in italics.

Overall: Shattered Dreams was full of suspense and twists I never saw coming. Although I wish some of the other characters had been more involved and I won't be clamboring over people to get the sequel, once you get into it, Shattered Dreams is an okay read. 3 stars.

(Also, you should check out the author's website, because it's really pretty: http://elliejames.net/ )
~Zoey~

10.17.2011

Review: Shut Out

Shut Out by Kody Keplinger
Published September 5th, 2011 by Poppy
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//
Most high school sports teams have rivalries with other schools. At Hamilton High, it's a civil war: the football team versus the soccer team. And for her part, Lissa is sick of it. Her quarterback boyfriend, Randy, is always ditching her to go pick a fight with the soccer team or to prank their locker room. And on three separate occasions Randy's car has been egged while he and Lissa were inside, making out. She is done competing with a bunch of sweaty boys for her own boyfriend's attention.

Lissa decides to end the rivalry once and for all: she and the other players' girlfriends go on a hookup strike. The boys won't get any action from them until the football and soccer teams make peace. What they don't count on is a new sort of rivalry: an impossible girls-against-boys showdown that hinges on who will cave to their libidos first. And Lissa never sees her own sexual tension with the leader of the boys, Cash Sterling, coming. 

Shut Out was a nice change from all the paranormal I've been reading lately. Lissa was an interesting character - one that I thought seemed very realistic. Sure, she wasn't perfect, and I know some people think she handled the sex strike in the wrong way, but I think it's the same way plenty of other people would have handled it.

Randy, Lissa's boyfriend, is always putting her second to the rivalry between the soccer and football teams. And when Lissa decides to start the sex strike and get all the other girls who are girlfriends of guys on the teams, well, Randy isn't very happy. I hate the name Randy. I'm glad he was an ass >_>

Cash Sterling made me happy ^-^ He was not a man-whore who'd slept with half the female population like too many boys in YA fiction. He was just a boy who wanted Lissa's attention, and that I was something I really liked.

However, I do feel like all of the characters were a little . . . skimmed over, I guess. They weren't developed enough, except maybe Lissa. As for Randy and Cash and some of Lissa's other friends? You know approximately two things about their lives, and that's it. i wish there could have been a little more about their families or their hobbies or something like that.

And another thing that was skimmed over was the details and descriptions. I wanted to know what her house looked like, the people, anything. I don't want to discriminate or anything, but I feel like most YA contemp. books leave out those details. That's not to say paranormal and fantasy and other novels don't do that, too; I think I just notice it less because there's too many other things to think about.

Overall: The plot was something I thought was fairly original - I've never read anything where so many people come together and go on a sex strike :P While I think the writing needed some work, Shut Out was a fast-paced novel I read in one sitting. I'd definitely recommend it for those days when you want to read a fast book that doesn't involve too much thinking. 4 stars.

~Zoey~

10.16.2011

Patchy the Pirate Says No.

Authors everywhere have seen their books cropping up all over the internet lately - illegally.

Has no one checked Amazon? Do you not see how cheap most of their books are? Jennifer Armentrout had a good point over on her blog when she was talking about her book, Half-Blood, being pirated - before it was even released. "If you can't afford the book, go to library. If you're library doesn't have it, request it. If you don't have a library, the book is only 3.99. And if you can't afford 3.99, then you shouldn't be able to afford the internet that you're using to download the book illegally. " The same goes for plenty of books you could buy off Amazon. 


Jennifer also had another good point - authors have lost second and third book deals because their first book didn't bring in enough money because of piracy. 


I want to know - what's the point? Most cities have libraries. And I don't know what other libraries do, but at mine, you can request a copy from any of the other libraries in like, a half hour radius. Granted, sometimes those copies already have 20 requests on them so I don't end up getting them for three months, and there are some books unavailable, but come on. If you're that desperate for the book, AMAZON, MAN. And The Book Depository which gives you free shipping worldwide. 


AND COME ON. EVEN PATCHY THE PIRATE SAYS NO TO PIRACY.


I think it's ridiculous, especially for a book that hasn't even officially been published what. What's the point in that? 


It's stealing, plain and simple. Not to mention - do you have any idea how much money goes into marketing those books? I mean, seriously O_o


So fight back with authors. Cyndi Tefft did a post about it today. Or maybe if you read Jennifer Armentrout's post about it, you'll realize how much hurt is caused by piracy. 


(Image courtesy of Larissa's Bookish Life)

And yes, the title of my post refers to Patchy the Pirate from Spongebob. My creative juices are not flowing today, Gimme a break -_- 

~Zoey~

Review: Falling Under

Falling Under by Gwen Hayes
Published March 1st, 2011 by New American Library
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//
Theia Alderson has always led a sheltered life in the small California town of Serendipity Falls. But when a devastatingly handsome boy appears in the halls of her school, Theia knows she's seen Haden before- not around town, but in her dreams.

As the Haden of both the night and the day beckons her closer one moment and pushes her away the next, the only thing Theia knows for sure is that the incredible pull she feels towards him is stronger than her fear.

And when she discovers what Haden truly is, Theia's not sure if she wants to resist him, even if the cost is her soul.
WELL. I'm going to start off my saying that this is probably going to be an extremely confusing review because I'm still unsure as to how I feel about this book.

On the one hand, I can easily see why people would give this book one star. For one thing, there's the ever-present insta-love that we see too much in YA books. Haden and Theia know nothing about each other, but they're attracted to each other a ridiculous amount.

About 80% of the book is from Theia's point of view, and that's all of the beginning and then the last two chapters or so. And I felt like too many of her thoughts were centered on Haden - she was never concerned about anything else. There were a few moments when she was talking to her father or thinking about her mother, but otherwise, it was ALL Haden ALL THE TIME. It got a bit annoying, because, no, teenage girls do not constantly think about teenage boys.

And neither of them had hobbies. Sure, Theia played the cello (or maybe the violin? >_>) but that was hardly mentioned. Haden? I don't even know about him. Theia and Haden weren't very realistic in that sense - you don't really know much about them other than they reallyreally like each other. DOES NO ONE HAVE A FAVORITE COLOR ANYMORE? IS THAT NOT WORTHY OF MENTION?

Also, Theia reminded me of characters like Bella Swan and Luce . . . Price? Was her last name Price? Anyway, she reminded me of them because of her idiocy, persistence, whatever you want to call it. It didn't matter that Haden kept telling her to stay away, and even when she found out what he really was, still nothing. She barely blinked an eye, and that really bothered me. She accepted it all too easily.

And then there was the fact that parts of it were so redundant - pretty much the entire first half of the book involved Haden telling Theia how dangerous he was and Theia basically ignoring that. It was extremely irritating.

But on the other hand, once I got past the first thirty pages, I couldn't stop reading. There were times when I liked Theia - when she was being rational, anyway :P I liked that she tried to pass off her dreams of Haden as a silly little crush at first. She was telling herself that she'd tricked herself into believing they were real, that Haden returned her feelings. I LIKED THAT RATIONALITY. It was realistic.

I also liked that even though she was drawn to Haden, Theia managed to be kind of witty when she was talking to him sometimes and didn't immediately throw herself at him. (Well, you know, not at first. It was kind of a different story when they ended up in the same bedroom.) Anyway, there were parts when I appreciated how she managed to stay under control.

The side-characters were pretty cool too, specifically Gabe, the boy trying to win over one of Theia's friends, and Varnie, the odd psychic boy. You don't know much about them, but they really enhance the book. They weren't just placeholders, and I'm interested to see where they go.

And the emotions. When Haden went back to Under and Theia was alone, her emotions came across so clear that I felt them myself. I was rooting for them the whole time.

Overall: I hate insta-love. I'm sick of it. The characters weren't nearly developed enough for me, but the emotions came across so clearly that I can't help but not hate this book. (And no matter how much I was annoyed, I STILL can't hate it.) So even though I'm not sure I'm giving this a rational rating, I'm giving it a 3.5 stars. But ye be warned: Read at your own risk.

~Zoey~

10.15.2011

Giveaway: October New Releases {Giveaway Hop}

As a part of the October New Releases Giveaway Hop hosted by Book Twirps and Refracted Light Reviews, I'm giving away a copy of Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel and a copy of Between the Sea and the Sky by Jaclyn Dolamore. (Both will be finished copies) My friend pre-ordered them both off of Amazon and decided that she would give them to me to use as a giveaway as soon as she finishes reading them. ONE winner will receive both books.

Check out Dearly, Departed on Goodreads HERE.
Check out Between the Sea and the Sky on Goodreads HERE.

*Please note:
-Giveaway is for US ONLY.
-You must be over 13
-Leave links/usernames/whatever you're supposed to leave or the entry will be removed.
-US ONLY. Yes. I felt the need to reiterate.
-Giveaway ends October 31st.





Check out the other giveaways!

10.14.2011

Review: Dearly, Departed

Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel
Publish date: October 18th, 2011 by Random House Publishing Group
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//

Love conquers all, so they say. But can Cupid’s arrow pierce the hearts of the living and the dead—or rather, the undead? Can a proper young Victorian lady find true love in the arms of a dashing zombie?

The year is 2195. The place is New Victoria—a high-tech nation modeled on the manners, mores, and fashions of an antique era. A teenager in high society, Nora Dearly is far more interested in military history and her country’s political unrest than in tea parties and debutante balls. But after her beloved parents die, Nora is left at the mercy of her domineering aunt, a social-climbing spendthrift who has squandered the family fortune and now plans to marry her niece off for money. For Nora, no fate could be more horrible—until she’s nearly kidnapped by an army of walking corpses.

But fate is just getting started with Nora. Catapulted from her world of drawing-room civility, she’s suddenly gunning down ravenous zombies alongside mysterious black-clad commandos and confronting “The Laz,” a fatal virus that raises the dead—and hell along with them. Hardly ideal circumstances. Then Nora meets Bram Griswold, a young soldier who is brave, handsome, noble . . . and dead. But as is the case with the rest of his special undead unit, luck and modern science have enabled Bram to hold on to his mind, his manners, and his body parts. And when his bond of trust with Nora turns to tenderness, there’s no turning back. Eventually, they know, the disease will win, separating the star-crossed lovers forever. But until then, beating or not, their hearts will have what they desire.
Zombies! I love zombies, whether they're the eat-your-brain kind of way or the misunderstood way. (Though I will admit that I like the eat-your-brain type a little better.)

I will also admit that while the prologue was amazing, when I started the first chapter, I didn't think I was going to like this novel. I was just too confused - I had no idea what anyone was talking about, and I had no idea if Mink and Vespertine were the same person. It made my brain hurt. And then the entire beginning of the second chapter was basically just the info-dump. So I really thought I wouldn't like it.

But then it got better. The world that Dearly, Departed is set in is fantastic - and it's something fairly new, too, so I wasn't bored with it at all. The writing, most of the time, was great. It wasn't full of unnecessary details, but at the same time, it didn't leave anything out.

The place I really had a problem with was with the conflicting narrations. Most of the book is narrated by Nora and Bram, the two main characters, but there are a few other characters in there, too. It's simply too many people narrating for me. I really think most authors should just stick with two as a maximum, maybe three if they can pull it off, because it's too easy for characters to blend together. It was fairly easy to distinguish the difference between Nora and Bram's narrations, but when you add in the others, their narrations started to sound the same.

And the ending did not make sense to me. At all. >_>

Despite that, I still really liked the book. It didn't have a totally futuristic feel to it, and I liked that because we weren't overwhelmed by new technologies or other unfathomable things, but you could still tell that it wasn't definitely in this time period. I also loved the relationships in this book - not just the romance between Nora and Bram, but the friendship between Nora and Pamela and some of the negative relationships between some of the characters.

Ah, the romance. FINALLY, NO INSTA-LOVE. Well, there may have been insta-love, but it wasn't all "OMG FIRST-SIGHT I MUST HAVE HIM/HER." The pace of the romance was nice. Very nice, especially considering some of the books I've been reading lately. Sometimes Nora was a bit too innocent/shy for my tastes, but her and Bram have some adorably-awkward moments that I absolutely loved.

Also, this book gets an extra star just because Bram was not an acts-tough-and-has-slept-with-every-girl-but-is-actually-really-sweet character like Noah Shaw. Remember when I asked where all the sweet and innocent virgin boys are? Well, Bram comes pretty close to that. YAY.

Overall: While I was not a fan of the beginning and I wish the amount of narrators had been cut down, the plot was fantastic, the characters even more so, and Dearly, Departed was fairly original. 4 1/2 stars.

1/2

~Zoey~

*Thank you NetGalley for the ARC*

10.11.2011

Review: The Scorpio Races

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Publish Date: October 18th, 2011 by Scholastic Press
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//


It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.


At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.


Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

I got this book a few weeks ago from a very awesome friend who sent it to me =) I have no idea why it took me so long to finish it, but even when I finished, I had to take a few days to mull it over since I had no idea how I felt about this book o_o


There's no doubt that The Scorpio Races is extremely different from the Mercy Falls trilogy. That took me awhile to get used to - I love the Mercy Falls books, and I wasn't expecting something this different. But once I got into it, I have to admit that I think it's awesome Maggie Stiefvater can write two stories so vastly different and yet have them both be ridiculously awesome.


The Scorpio Races is told from the dueling point of views - both Puck and Sean. I liked how easy it was to distinguish the two of them - if I picked up the book after not having read it for awhile and I was in the middle of the chapter, there was no confusion as to who was narrating. And, y'know, that was awesome, considering Puck is a girl and Sean is a guy. I have a feeling things might have been awkward if they sounded similar >_>


Something completely random - I totally loved the relationships Sean and Puck had with their horses, especially Sean. There was something so real about it. Even though this is a fantasy novel, there were still so many ways to connect to it.


I can't think of anything to say about the plot without giving away spoilers. I honestly can't -_- But it was something so different, like nothing I've ever read. And I know how much most of us love originality :P


The writing style was amazing, as always. The emotions were always so clear, easy to understand, but Stiefvater's writing is anything by simple. She never forgets the details or the imagery like so many other authors. And in a book like this, I feel like the little details and pictures are really important. 


And another thing: I am a romance fan. I can barely handle reading books without some aspect of romance in them. And in this book, the romance wasn't a huge part. It was there, but it wasn't like most books. AND I STILL LOVED IT. 


Honestly, I think the only problem I had was that at times the pacing was a little too slow for me and I would have liked to see more action. But seriously. THAT'S ALL I HAVE TO COMPLAIN ABOUT.


Overall: Regardless of the fact that it took me forever to read, this book is something original and different. Stiefvater's writing never fails to disappoint. 5 stars. 
(I apologize for the vagueness of this review, but I was trying extremely hard to keep it spoiler-free because I think you all need to read this book the second it comes out)


~Zoey~

10.10.2011

Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Published September 27th, 2011 by Simon and Schuster
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//


Mara Dyer believes life can’t get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her strangely unharmed.

There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.

She’s wrong.

This review is not very spoiler-free >_>

I read The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer online through Simon and Schuster's PulseIt program. And yes, IT WAS FREE. AND LEGAL. 

Mara Dyer and her family move to Florida after an accident that kills her best friend and two others. Sure, there's nothing new there, but somehow, Hodkin made it work. Although Mara is broken on the inside, she still manages to have fun with her family sometimes.

I liked Mara, both as a character and a narrator, right up until the end. I didn't understand her motives about the thing involving Lassiter. (Yes, I'm sure I spelled that wrong.) Nightmares have been haunting her since that night when Rachel, Claire, and Jude died. She's been put on anti-psychotics. I understand that she's angry, but why does she not even consider the consequences of taking a man's life when it's made her feel so horrible all the other times? 

Most of the time, Mara's emotions really got to me. She felt real, and even if she irritated me with her repetitiveness, I still felt for her. 

Noah Shaw, on the other hand, never irritated me. Not once. He was awesome *-* He wasn't cheesy, but he wasn't an asshole, either. Most of the time.

I only have one question involving his personality: WHERE ARE ALL THE SWEET AND INNOCENT VIRGIN BOYS IN YA? Not every boy has to have had sex with the entire female population of the school. Really. Truth be told, I probably wouldn't have liked Noah as much if he was all sweet and innocent, but it's a valid question.

Another thing I really loved about this book was how when Mara thought she was crazy, I was asking that question right along with her. Were there paranormal events involved, or was Mara just hallucinating and dreaming? 

My biggest issue with this book: The pacing was way too slow for me. While the pacing of Mara and Noah's relationship was fine, the pacing of the actual plot was a bit of a problem. Most of the book is just full of Mara's "hallucinations," and you don't get any real answers until the last 70 or so pages of the book. Even then, there are too many unanswered questions for me to be happy with. I know The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is only the first book, considering it says "End of volume one" on the last page, but I think a few more questions should have been answered, or the book almost has no point.

Overall: Although I think large parts could have been cut out and questions really should have been answered, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer was an interesting novel full of real emotions and just a hint of paranormal. The characters were addicting, the writing style was perfect, and I can't wait for the next book. 4 stars.

~Zoey~

10.08.2011

Review: Born at Midnight

Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter
Published March 29th 2011, by St. Martin's Griffin
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//



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…

I know I said Falling Under was up next, but guess what? I suck at organizing :P I was at a friend's house last night, she had this book, and I brought it home with me to finish it.

If I'm honest, I was already biased against this book. Most of you know that me and love triangles don't along so well. I don't understand the appeal. 90% of YA books seem to have some form of a love triangle, and it's starting to piss me off. I don't know why I even read this book ._.

The good thing? The love triangle wasn't terrible, considering one of the boys basically disappeared by the middle of the book, but the fact that there still was a love triangle bothered me. And this is only the first book in a series, so I'm sure he'll reappear again somewhere -_- 

Born at Midnight is a novel told in third person. Normally, I don't mind that, but in this book, it bothered me.  I didn't like Kylie very much - she seemed much younger than she was. She said things like "Dad-nabbit" and never swore, which wasn't a problem, it was just the words she said in place of swears. It was too immature for me. She wasn't a particularly strong character, either - she spent a lot of time being scared and just questioning things instead of doing things. Sure, she had her courageous moments, but otherwise, I wanted to kick her butt to make her move and do something -_-

Anyway, I felt like maybe if I'd seen into Kylie's head a little more and seen how she actually thought, I wouldn't have hated her so much. This is one time a third person narration just didn't work for me.

I wasn't very fond of some of the secondary characters. Kylie's friends held no appeal for me, and both the romantic interests fell a little flat to me. I didn't get enough personality when it came to Derek, and when it came to Lucas, well, none of him really made sense to me.

Of course, there were a few things I liked. The idea of Shadow Falls was interesting to me, how everyone there is a different type of creature. It seemed like an odd idea, but Hunter made it work. The way things were explained was easy to follow, and there weren't very many times where I was confused that I had to put the book down to make my brain stop hurting :P

Overall: Born at Midnight was one of those novels. Those novels where I can find so much wrong, where I nitpick every single little thing, but yet I can't stop reading. I'm not sure why that was, since I obviously didn't like the book very much. 2 1/2 stars.

1/2

~Zoey~