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Friday, May 27, 2011

Cover Crazy (17)

Cover Crazy is a meme created by Tawni @ The Bookworms to share book covers that you are thrilled about. So I'm kind of on a siren kick.  Or rather mermaids/sirens.  Pretty much anything dealing with sea creatures.  I'm writing about mermaids right now actually.  I was looking for pretty covers for today's post, and what do I find?! Epic freakin siren cover! I'm in love.  Seriously.  This is sooooo cool.  And the story  sounds amazing as well.  Definitely super excited for this.  ^.^


Friday, May 20, 2011

Cover Crazy (16)

Covery Crazy is a meme created by Tawni @ The Bookworms to share book covers that you are thrilled about. So this is a bit late today.  Staying up till 3 a.m. to watch the new Pirates movie kind of took its toll on me.  It was worth it though.  So this is the sequel to Burn Bright, which I haven't had a chance to read yet.  Actually I think I might go order it after I post this.  I REALLY want to read it.  I loved the first cover and the second one is no exception.  I think I like this one even more! As an art nut I just LOVE the dramatic lighting as well as the blurred and dripping effects.  LOVE!


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Review:Entwined

Synopsis:Azalea is trapped. Just when she should feel that everything is before her . . . beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing . . . it's taken away. All of it.
The Keeper understands. He's trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. And so he extends an invitation.
Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest.
But there is a cost.
The Keeper likes to keep things.
Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.


My Review: There was a rather large gap from when I started this to when I finished it.  I got about half way and then had to stop and I finished it two days ago.  It’s not because I lost interest, life was just crazy.  I’m glad I’m finally finished though, because I was going nuts trying to figure out what was going to happen. 

Entwined was the perfect fairy tale princess story.  It was an old fashioned kingdom full of balls, gowns, and magic.  Seems like every little girls dream right?  Not so much.   While on the surface Entwined is a fluffy fantasy, it has much darker roots.  I was intrigued by the way the author combined different elements to create this world.  There are castles, kings, and extravagant balls.  Then there are guns, the military, and war.  And then there are many different kinds of magic benevolent and dangerous in nature.  It was a unique mix to say the least.  As mismatched as it seems, I easily imagined this world in my head.  The imagery was very well done and I could literally see all the fantastic and terrifying things playing out in my head.  My one criticism on the world is that it seemed confined to the castle.  Granted that is where the story takes place and the girls are not allowed to leave, but I couldn’t help but feel that the world outside of the castle walls was under developed.  

The societal standards for mourning are suckish to say the least.  All windows and mirrors must be covered, the clocks all stopped at the time of death, the girls must remain inside the castle for a year, and most devastating of all, the girls cannot dance.  For the Azalea and her sisters this is unbearable.  Their mother taught them to dance and they feel that when they dance they are remembering her.  Their father, however, does not view it as such.   The first half of the novel I really, really disliked the King.  Yet as the story progressed I realized that he was dealing with his grief his own way and did not mean to hurt the girls.  He turned out to be a really great father.  

When the girls discover the magical passage and meet Keeper you immediately know that something fishy is up.  The situation is just too good to be true and though Keeper is devilishly good looking, there is an evil beneath his handsome face.  The girls going through the tunnel to dance at Keeper’s pavilion every night makes up the bulk of the story.  I thought it would get tedious after a while, but it was broken up nicely with different events and every visit revealed something new.  I was completely blindsided by who Keeper really was.  Now that I know, I realize that it was incredibly obvious.  I just did not connect the dots, AT ALL! I have to say though that I sympathize with Keeper.  He was made out to be the enemy, but in the end he simply wanted to die.  He’d been trapped for centuries and he simply wanted to pass on.  I really don’t view him as evil anymore.  A man who did many horrible things during his life, but one whose existence was so miserable and lonely that I can’t help but feel sorry for him.  I’m sympathizing with the villain, who woulda thunk? 

I really enjoyed Azalea and her sisters.  Their shenanigans were entertaining to say the least.  Azalea and Bramble were my favorite though.  Bramble had incredible spunk and attitude and had red hair that went past her knees.  She just kinda rocked in my book.  Azalea had spunk of the different variety.  She was cool and collected yet still let passion guide her.  Her little fits of rage made me want to cheer her on, and I was so glad she spoke her mind.  I’m soooo happy that the three eldest sisters got their happily ever afters.  I loved all the love interests and was super happy for Bramble in particular.  Teddy was just utterly adorable.  

Entwined proved to be an interesting read that transported me to another world.  There were many aspects that I enjoyed and it was a good read.  It didn’t really stick out for me though.  There was nothing that made it amazing or a “need to read” book.  A good story nonetheless.  After all, who doesn’t like happy endings? 

Review: Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Synopsis:One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens—both named Will Grayson—are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most fabulous high school musical.
Hilarious, poignant, and deeply insightful, John Green and David Levithan’s collaborative novel is brimming with a double helping of the heart and humor that have won both them legions of faithful fans.


My Review: I’ve wanted to read this for ages! I’ve just been waiting for it to come out on paperback because I’m a cheap ass.  Thanks to Mike I didn’t have to wait! *hugs* Even though it was LONG overdue.  :P He said I’d love it, and I did.  Devoured it in record amount of time too.  

I’ve read a lot of John Green books, but I’ve yet to read one by David Levithan.  I mean I adore Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist, but I’ve never read the actual book.  After finishing Will Grayson, Will Grayson I will definitely be picking  up his books.  The two of them are simply pure comedic genius.  It never ceases to amaze me how much I laugh.  And I don’t mean “haha” laughing, I mean deep bellied snorting laughter.  Should I have admitted that I snort when I laugh on the internet?  Probably not, but it’s just REALLY funny.  One of my favorite lines was “Why do you have to fix the salad?  Who broke it? I didn’t touch it.  Did you break the salad, mom? If you did, YOU’D BETTER FIX IT!”  HYSTERICAL! Maybe I’m just easily amused, but it was little smart-alecky remarks and sarcasm that made it truly hilarious.  

With two Will Grayson’s in the book you’d think I’d favor one over the other.  Surprisingly enough I don’t have a favorite.  Actually the character’s I really loved were Gideon and W.G.2’s mother.   Both Will’s were equally awesome and had their own problems and faults.  The fateful night they meet, both their lives are irrevocably changed.  They both change for the better and have important realizations.  Uniting the two Will’s together is Tiny Cooper.  Picture the gay dude from Mean Girls and you got Tiny.  At least that’s how I picture him in my head except with lighter hair.  Tiny is epic on many levels, but what I really loved about his character was his desire to make other people happy.  He may come off as obnoxiously flamboyant and word vomits quite a bit, but at the root of it all he just wants his loved ones to be happy.  Both Will’s love him: one as a best friend and the other as a boyfriend.  In the end, the story is ultimately about him.  Concluding with a fantastic musical of course.  Can’t beat the musicals.  

What I really loved about this book was the authors’ ability to create emotionally complicated characters.  Both Will’s have so much depth.  You can’t chalk up any one character’s action to a particular default.  They created wonderfully three dimensional characters that come alive as you read.  I particularly loved the ending.  It was absolutely perfect.  They left it open just a smidge, but the message was absolutely wonderful.  I commend both Wills! 

I knew as soon as this came out that I would love it.  For a while I thought that the Will’s were going to hook up, but I’m glad that they didn’t take the obviously route.  The lesson’s that both Will’s learn through the after affects of meeting each other ultimately change them for the better.  I loved it and I look forward to any other collaborations between these two. 

Teaser Tuesday (14)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Mizb @Should Be Reading
-Grab your current book
-Open to a random page
-Share (2) teaser sentences from somewhere on that page
-no spoilers!
-Share title and author
 
Well I got two books in the mail today and I just finished Will Grayson, Will Grayson so I shall give teases from both of them! 

 
"I was nine years old when my mother decided it was time I took part in the family business." 


"They don't make paper books anymore--it's illegal to chop down real trees.  They still grow in some parts of the world, but I've never seen one."

Friday, May 13, 2011

Cover Crazy (15)

Covery Crazy is a meme created by Tawni @ The Bookworms to share book covers that you are thrilled about. Anyone else a Tamora Pierce fan?  Cuz I am.  It seems like I have been waiting for Mastiff for years! Finally, FINALLY! I saw the cover today! About friggin time! It really bugs me that they changed the cover formatting on these books.  I liked the full picture cover for Terrier a lot more, but oh well.  I'm still super psyched!

Review: Divergent

Synopsis: In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her. 


My Review: I’ve heard nothing but good things about this book since it first started circulating with ARC’s.  The wait has been intense and my expectations were high.  I even went to buy it at Sam’s Club and then they told me I couldn’t buy it yet because it wasn’t the official release date.  I mean, hello?! It was on the freakin shelf! Anywho…All the hype was pretty on target.  I really, really liked this book.  Loved?  Not sure I’m entirely that hooked yet, but I’m positive the future books will be to die for.  

The thing I love about dystopian novels is that you are always thrown into a strange foreign world with incomprehensible ideas.  The shock effect is that it was once the world we live in today.  Divergent was no exception to this rule.  The factions were very unique and it was a truly brilliant idea.  Even in the world of dystopia, it’s getting harder to come up with something truly mind blowing that will suck people in.  From the first page I was hooked.  I loved all the author’s ideas and concepts that went into this novel.  What I felt was just a bit lacking was the world building aspect.  What truly makes a dystopian book fantastic are all the little details.  The slang, societal rules, physical appearances, the government, etc.  Divergent had the framework for an all encompassing futuristic world, what it lacked were the details.  Not a huge flaw by any means but in my mind this great book could have been phenomenal.  

I have rather mixed feelings with Beatrice.  The transition from Beatrice to Tris kind of bothered me.  While Beatrice is in Abnegation she is living a lie and is being someone she is not.  When she makes the switch to Dauntless she is suddenly an entirely different person.  Maybe it was the fact that she changed environments so quickly so I didn’t get a good feel of her character, but it was like a switch had been flipped.  I don’t mean that she was suddenly being herself and she was free from Abnegation’s rules.  I’m saying her moral compass suddenly went south.  Okay not quite so dramatic but she thinks things that don’t reflect well on her character.  It was like because she was now Dauntless she had to be a tough ass who didn’t care about being a kind person.  It wasn’t a hugely dramatic shift, but those little inner thoughts just bugged the crap out of me.  How easily disgusted she was when someone showed weakness.  How she blatantly ignored someone in their time of need.  Just those little things really made me question her moral character.  Don’t get me wrong.  I liked Tris.  She was tough as nails and I always love a kick ass heroine.  She had many redeemable qualities and was a good MC.  I found her inner strength very admirable.  I just couldn’t completely like her because of those minor flaws.  

I absolutely adored the romantic aspect of this book.  The whole novel was excellently paced and the author really did a phenomenal job with the development of Tris and Four’s relationship.  I have to say this tops the list of the best realistic relationships in a YA novel.  This is now my number one! It was just done SO well.  It was very gradual and very REAL.  I’m blathering, I know.  Just you have to read it because it was excellent.  Plus I found Four’s character to be very interesting and complicated.  He had depth to the nth degree.  I really just fell in love with his character.  And for those of you who have read this… I SO called who he really was right after Tris jumped into the net!  My prediction skills are just awesome!  

My only big criticism of this book was that I was not emotionally attached.  Certain people die.  People who are close to Tris in some matter, and when Tris didn’t feel anything, I didn’t feel anything.  Sometimes Tris just comes off with having a heart of stone.  Maybe it was simply the situation she was in during the times of the deaths.  Her life was at stake, she had people to save, it was all very hectic.  Still.  I expected a bit more grieving to be done. 

I really enjoyed this book and I’m sure the future books will be just as good.  Instead of a little summarizing statement I’m asking you guys a question.  What faction do you belong to?  Erudite, the intellectual?  Amity, the amiable? Dauntless, the brave? Abnegation, the selfless?  Or Candor, the honest?  For me it was pretty easy to figure out.  I’d be Dauntless.  Not that I have amazing hand to hand combat skills but I would fit in with that faction very easily.  Dyed hair, check.  Lots of piercings, check.  Tattoos, soon to come.  Thrill seeker, check. It would be a fun faction.  Now what’s yours! (cheesy grin)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Review: The Day Before

Synopsis: Sometimes there's no turning back.

Amber's life is spinning out of control. All she wants is to turn up the volume on her iPod until all of the demands of her family and friends fade away. So she sneaks off to the beach to spend a day by herself.

Then Amber meets Cade. Their attraction is instant, and Amber can tell that he's also looking for an escape. Together they decide to share a perfect day: no pasts, no fears, no regrets.

The more time that Amber spends with Cade, the more she's drawn to him. And the more she's troubled by his darkness. Because Cade's not just living in the now--he's living each moment like it's his last.


My Review: When I opened this I was shocked to find that this was poetry.  Not that I don't like poetry, but I just wasn't expecting it.  Took me a little while to get into, but once I got a little ways I was hooked.  Plus, like all poetry, it reads super fast so I devoured this in one sitting. 

I really enjoyed Amber's character.  She's obsessed with music, loves P!nk, and likes to live in the moment.  We'd be best buds.  What I really loved in particular was the way the author gradually revealed why Amber was at the beach.  You don't get an explanation but are just thrown along for the ride.  We get to know what transpired through letters written in the past, so it was nice to have the story unfold as you read. I really sympathized with Amber.  I won't give anything away, but if I was in her situation I really don't know how I would react.  It's all so emotionally confusing, and her heart clashes with her head.  Truth be told I think I would have done the same thing she did.  Take a day to myself and just try and forget the rest of the world.

When Amber meets Cade sparks instantly fly.  I absolutely ADORED how they would go "Do you know that movie?"  Granted if I was looking at an aquarium full of jellyfish my first movie connection would have been Finding Nemo, but Seven Pounds would have been number two!  My dad and I play the same game except for we quote from the movie.  It is probably the cutest thing a couple in a novel has done, ever.  Maybe I'm biased because whatever guy I end up dating MUST love movies and be just as much of a dork as I am.  Still, it was super cute and it showed just how compatible they were.  Another romance where they have common interests!!! Woot! Cade and Amber are both looking to forget their own troubles and they find companionship in each other.  They vow to not ask questions and just enjoy the day together.  They're growing attraction was just so natural.  They both love music, Amber is a drummer and Cade writes his songs and plays guitar.  Their chemistry was just awesome.

I really enjoyed the carpe diem theme in this book.  Amber just wants to live one day in the moment before she has to turn back to her obligations.  Cade equally wants to live life to the fullest.  Amber's family thinks that what she's doing is being selfish, but in reality she just needs a day for herself.  I completely understood where she was coming from.  A lot of the realization's that Amber makes throughout her day really struck a chord.  The author had some really nice insights about life in general that I found really refreshing. 

I thought the ending was both bittersweet and perfect.  Cade and Amber only get to be with each other for a day, but I thought the ending was really sweet.  They still keep in contact and vow to meet up with each other as soon as Amber returns.  It was a very quick read and an absolutely adorable little love story.  I really enjoyed it and thought that it contained some good life lessons as well.  Very sweet story.  ^.^ 



Teaser Tuesday (13)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Mizb @Should Be Reading
-Grab your current book
-Open to a random page
-Share (2) teaser sentences from somewhere on that page
-no spoilers!
-Share title and author
 
OMG an actual post!  I almost forgot it was Tuesday! I haven't forgotten you all so easily.  This week's tease is from Divergent from Veronica Roth!  I have to say I am in LOVE with this book.  Oddly enough I discovered that I'm a Dauntless.  I dye my hair, love piercings, and would love some ink, and have a horrible obsession with thrill seeking.  Sky diving?  Hell yes! 
 

"I scrub at the lines in my palms and run one fingernail under my other fingernails to get the blood out."

" Sometimes crying or laughing are the only options left, and laughing feels better right now." 

Okay so gross part, but some poor dude just got stabbed in the eye with a butter knife. Ouch....just *cringe*

Monday, May 9, 2011

Review: Queen of the Dead

Synopsis: After being sent back from the light, Alona Dare - former homecoming queen, current Queen of the Dead - finds herself doing something she never expected: working. Instead of spending days perfecting her tan by the pool (her typical summer routine when she was, you know, alive), Alona must now cater to the needs of other lost spirits. By her side for all of this - ugh - “helping of others” is Will Killian: social outcast, seer of the dead, and someone Alona cares about more than she’d like.
Before Alona can make a final ruling on Will’s “friend” or “more” status, though, she discovers trouble at home. Her mom is tossing out Alona’s most valuable possessions, and her dad is expecting a new daughter with his wicked wife. Is it possible her family is already moving on? Hello! She’s only been dead for two months! Thankfully, Alona knows just the guy who can put a stop to this mess.
Unfortunately for Alona, Will has other stuff on his mind, and Mina, a young (and beautiful) seer, is at the top of the list. She’s the first ghost-talker Will’s ever met—aside from his father—and she may hold answers to Will’s troubled past. But can she be trusted? Alona immediately puts a check mark in the “clearly not” column. But Will is - ahem - willing to find out, even if it means leaving a hurt and angry Alona to her own devices, which is never a good idea.


My Review: It’s been a while since I read the Ghost and the Goth, but I was super excited to read Queen of the Dead.  The first one was one of those “cute” reads that are entertaining and a quick read, but I really felt that the sequel was firmly in the realm of a legitimate plot.  Maybe the writing improved, or the story was just that more developed but I really enjoyed it.  I was very pleased with where the story went.  Well…maybe not pleased, but I definitely thought it added a unique twist.  

Queen of the Dead picks up relatively right after the end to the first book.  Alona and Will are still the daring supernatural duo, trying to help ghosts settle their unresolved problems.  Their relationship is still on undefined grounds, but things quickly go from normal to just plain weird.  When Will meets another ghost-speaker he is suddenly desperate for answers and Alona feels like she is being abandoned.  Combined with the fact that her dad is having a new baby and her mother is getting rid of all of her stuff, Alona feels like Will is abandoning her too.  

I’m so glad the author decided to give us some background knowledge on the whole “ghost-speaking” thing.  There’s a whole secret society of people like Will and they are devoted to “serving the living” and that means trapping and studying ghosts.  What is even more puzzling for Will is that it seems that his father was once a part of this organization, yet he had kept it hidden from Will all his life.  It answered a few questions, but we’re still left wanting more.  The surface has only been skimmed and I feel that in the next book it is really going to be expanded on.  

Alona is still, well, Alona.  What can ya really say?  There are many things I like about her character, but her almost constant selfish-ness can be grating on the nerves at times.  I don’t really feel like it’s a serious character flaw, and it doesn’t stop me from liking her so I guess I don’t mind too much.  You just have to admire her stubbornness and her absolute determination to do what she wants.  What she ends up doing in this book though kind of bothered me.  Granted it was an accident, and she was panicking because Will was “leaving her behind” but still.  Poor lack of judgment.  I really don’t know how that particular twist is going to play out.  I’m very intrigued for the next one, because for the last 1/3 of the book I was glued.  

And then there’s Will.  I just love Will.  It was really sweet to see his developing feelings for Alona.  I really liked it when he said that he couldn’t imagine his life without Alona in it.  Just so cute! I kind of feel bad for him though.  He gets beaten up a lot in this book.  Well not literally beaten up, but cut and scraped and bruised.  The things he does for ghosts.  Haha.  

Overall a wonderful sequel.  I have a feeling that these books are just going to get better and better.  Plus well it’s still a cute little romance and the plotline is getting more and more intriguing.  I was very pleased and I cannot wait for the third one!