Monday, December 31, 2012

Blog Post: New Year's Readsolution

Now that we've all successfully weathered the apocalypse, it's time for us to welcome a new year! There's no telling what 2013 has in store, but I already have a couple books that I'm looking forwards to reading! But before I get to that, I'm going to first cover some of the best books I've read in 2012.  

1. Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
Wanderlove This was beautifully written, and it has an exotic tinge to it that made me want to  go backpacking in South America with a cute boy, too. Besides that, there are pictures! When was the last time you got to have a book with pictures and still get to call it a grown-up book? I haven't run into one of these since Illustrated Classics.
Quote:  "Wanderlust is like itchy feet. It’s when you can’t settle down. But Wanderlove is much deeper than that . . . it’s a compulsion. It’s the difference between lust and love."

2. Angelfall by Susan Ee
Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days, #1)  Most avid YA readers have probably already been privy to the hype that is Angelfall, but this is one of the books that I think is totally worth it. The ending is gut-wrenching, and it's dark but humorous at the same time. A couple days ago, I was driving home and saw the exit for Penryn, and I thought about this book. I think if some disturbing apocalypse of angels ever came to the Silicon Valley, I'd have to get a glimpse of Raffe before I got destroyed.
Quote: “I never kid about my warrior demigod status."

3. If I Lie by Corrine Jackson
If I Lie
I have to admit that I'm not such a fan of war stories, just because I like a little light-heartedness in the books I read. I took a chance with this book, and I'm really glad I did. What surprised me was how beautifully it was written. The prose really lends itself to the painful flashbacks that Quinn experiences, and the book has the sort of bittersweet message that depressed me yet satisfied me at the same time.
Quote: I wonder how much shame people can hold before they ignite.

4. Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor
Days of Blood & Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #2) I was already a fan of the magical world that Taylor had created in the first book of this series, but not so much of the relationship between Akiva and Karou. This book changed all of that, both because Taylor maintains the magic of her writing but also drives home a painful message about war and redemption. I'm on tenterhooks waiting for the third book to be released!
Quote: A dream dirty and bruised is better than no dream at all.

5. Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
Graffiti Moon This was a book that convinced me there must be something in the water that Aussie writers drink, and that I needed to get my hands on it. I really loved the descriptions of Ed's art and the fleetingness of that one night he and Lucy spend together. It definitely captured all the ephemeral magic in one adventurous night.
 Quote: If you treat glass right, it doesn't crack. If you know the properties, you can make things; the color of dusk and night and love. But you can't control people like that and I really, really wish you could. I want the world to be glass.

Those are some of the highlights for 2012, at least for me. These are the books I'm anticipating for 2013:

1. That Time I Joined the Circus by J. J. Howard
That Time I Joined The Circus
 A music-obsessed, slightly snarky New York City girl, Lexi is on her own. After making a huge mistake—and facing a terrible tragedy— Lexi has no choice but to track down her long-absent mother. Rumor has it that Lexi’s mom is somewhere in Florida with a traveling circus.

When Lexi arrives at her new, three-ring reality, her mom isn’t there…but her destiny might be. Surrounded by tigers, elephants, and trapeze artists, Lexi finds some surprising friends and an even more surprising chance at true love. She even lucks into a spot as the circus’s fortune teller, reading tarot cards and making predictions.

But then Lexi’s ex-best friend from home shows up, and suddenly it’s Lexi’s own future that’s thrown into question…

With humor, wisdom, and a dazzlingly fresh voice, this debut reminds us of the magic of circus tents, city lights, first kisses, last heartaches, and the importance of an excellent playlist.
2. Pantomime by Laura Lam
R. H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic is the greatest circus of Ellada. Nestled among the glowing blue Penglass—remnants of a mysterious civilisation long gone—are wonders beyond the wildest imagination. It’s a place where anything seems possible, where if you close your eyes you can believe that the magic and knowledge of the vanished Chimaera is still there. It’s a place where anyone can hide.

Iphigenia Laurus, or Gene, the daughter of a noble family, is uncomfortable in corsets and crinoline, and prefers climbing trees to debutante balls. Micah Grey, a runaway living on the streets, joins the circus as an aerialist’s apprentice and soon becomes the circus’s rising star.

But Gene and Micah have balancing acts of their own to perform, and a secret in their blood that could unlock the mysteries of Ellada.
3. Pivot Point by Kasie West
Pivot Point (Pivot Point, #1)
Knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice easier . . .

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through . . . and who she can’t live without.
4. Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt 
Going Vintage
When Mallory discovers that her boyfriend, Jeremy, is cheating on her with an online girlfriend, she swears off boys. She also swears off modern technology. Inspired by a list of goals her grandmother made in 1962, Mallory decides to "go vintage" and return to a simpler time (when boyfriends couldn't cheat on you online). She sets out to complete grandma's list: run for pep club secretary, host a dinner party, sew a homecoming dress, find a steady, do something dangerous. But the list is trickier than it looks. And obviously finding a steady is out . . . no matter how good Oliver (Jeremy's cousin) smells. But with the help of her sister, she'll get it done. Somehow.
5. What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick (cover pending)
17-year-old Gwen Castle's Biggest Mistake Ever, Cassidy Somers, is slumming it as a yard boy on her Nantucket-esque island this summer. He's a rich kid from across the bridge in Stony Bay, and she hails from a family of fishermen and housecleaners who keep the island's summer people happy.

Gwen worries a life of cleaning houses will be her fate too, but just when it looks like she'll never escape her past—or the island—Gwen's dad gives her a tip: her wealthy, elderly employer is redoing her will this summer, and that could be Gwen's ticket to the good life. But what will it mean for Gwen’s now life?

Sparks fly and secret histories unspool as Gwen spends a gorgeous, restless summer struggling to resolve what she thought was true—about the place she lives, the people she loves, and even herself—with what really is.
6. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3)
Danger intensifies for the Shadowhunters as the New York Times bestselling Infernal Devices trilogy comes to a close.

If the only way to save the world was to destroy what you loved most, would you do it?

The clock is ticking. Everyone must choose.

Passion. Power. Secrets. Enchantment.

Danger closes in around the Shadowhunters in the final installment of the bestselling Infernal Devices trilogy.
Hmm, I noticed that there's a bit of a circus theme going on... These books all look like they're loads of fun, and I'm hoping this upwards trend in beautiful cover art will continue into next year. What are you all waiting to read in 2013? 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Review: Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Obsidian (Lux, #1)Book: Obsidian
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: Lux
Publication Date: May 8th, 2012
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Rating: 3.5 Stars

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.
THIS BOOK HAS MADE ME SO CONFUSED. If you look at the shelves I've placed it on in my Goodreads review, you'll probably think I have schizophrenia or some other terrible psychological disorder that only comes into play when I'm reading books.

I was so angry at the start of this book. To me, Kat (Katy? Kittycat? Kitten? WHAT THE HELL IS YOUR NAME?) was suffering from a severe case of Bella Swan Idiocy, what with her stumbling over tree roots and flat ground and ogling Daemon just because of his insanely good looks.

Even though I couldn’t stand him, and I actually think he might be the first person I ever hated, he was…he was a god. Who knew the kind of girls he was used to seeing in bathing suits.
She was every bit the annoying girl who doesn't know she's pretty, gets insanely jealous whenever another girl gets within ten inches of a guy she says she hates, and gets distracted whenever he takes off his shirt (which is a lot, in this book). 

I was sick of that. Frankly, I was ready to flip some tables and call it a day.

But then... something changed. Maybe it was around the time Katy dumped a tray of spaghetti over Daemon and his fake girlfriend's head, or maybe it was when her comebacks started getting better. At any rate, that was when I began getting interested. It amazed me that this book had such a high rating, and they definitely didn't skimp on the advertising, since covers popped up everywhere. My every step on GR was dogged by the stupid green cover with its flawless models with their glowy green eyes. Which led me to believe that there was something about this book that I was missing. In the first half, all I could think was two stars this book sucks two stars why would anyone read this piece of crap TWO ST-- 

I mean, it's horribly cliche-ridden. As I've already mentioned, we have the cutely clumsy heroine, who attracts the attention of a guy who's 1000000x hotter than her and his hot sister, they're hiding some freaky supernatural secret, and the heroine discovers this secret because she's stupid enough to walk in front of a truck. It's a recipe for disaster.

Strangely enough, it works. Not for the first half. That was just frustrating and made me want to stab Katy in the face. But after she discovers their secret, I looked forward to the book. One thing that I absolutely love, and that I have to commend Armentrout on, is that the woman knows how to write chemistry. Not only do they have a fuse-blowing make-out session (literally), Katy and Daemon have these sweet and hot moments together that made me root for them. The ending was a nice addendum to this, and it shows that Katy isn't a weak-spined character like I originally believed. Rather, she's pretty liberal with her middle fingers and insults.

Daemon fell to his knees beside me, pulling me into his strong, solid arms. “Kat, say something insulting. Come on."
There were just these moments that made me laugh, which contrasted with my eye-rolling in the beginning. I know a lot of people have issues with Daemon, but I have already come to this understanding with myself that I'm attracted to douchebags, so despite Daemon's controlling, possessive, and overconfident demeanor, I find it very endearing. Others might think I'm a whacked out freak who will end up calling the suicide hotline sobbing about domestic abuse, and I am perfectly fine with that. Just leave me to my own dysfunctionality, and we'll be good.

Barring the fact that I like assholes, the plot of the book was strangely intriguing, too. This is my second alien book, Gravity being my first. And I think I realized with this one how much liberty writing about aliens affords you. I mean, with vampires and werewolves there's all that stuff about sticking to the rules with the bloodsucking and silver bullets and garlic necklaces. But with aliens, all that's really required is that they're from another planet. That's it. They could look like Alex Pettyfer or a half-cooked pig with an apple in its mouth, and nobody would complain. Although I prefer Alex Pettyfer. Anyhow, the plot's not that incredible or special, but it was mysterious, and there are still a bunch of things that haven't been explained fully.

In conclusion, I am so bewildered. Everything inside me is screaming at me not to like this book because it smolders of cliche, but what has made us believe that cliche is bad? If it's written well, why shouldn't I like it? Why should I let the critical reviewer inside me say otherwise? Oh yeah, Katy's a book blogger too. It sort of annoyed me in the beginning, just because she annoyed me and so consequently everything about her annoyed me, but then I started liking it towards the end, especially since I empathize. It's been so long since I've read something that had legit chemistry, I think I'm okay with all the possible problems lurking in the book. I feel quite mellow right now.

If anyone was able to make sense of this garbled review, I applaud you. You guys should be running the nation, not those seat-warming nobodies. 
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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Review: Gravity by Melissa West

Gravity (The Taking, #1)Book: Gravity
Author: Melissa West
Series: The Taking
Publication Date: December 18th, 2012
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Rating: 3.5 Stars

In the future, only one rule will matter:

Don’t. Ever. Peek.

Seventeen-year-old Ari Alexander just broke that rule and saw the last person she expected hovering above her bed — arrogant Jackson Locke, the most popular boy in her school. She expects instant execution or some kind of freak alien punishment, but instead, Jackson issues a challenge: help him, or everyone on Earth will die.

Ari knows she should report him, but everything about Jackson makes her question what she’s been taught about his kind. And against her instincts, she’s falling for him. But Ari isn’t just any girl, and Jackson wants more than her attention. She’s a military legacy who’s been trained by her father and exposed to war strategies and societal information no one can know — especially an alien spy, like Jackson. Giving Jackson the information he needs will betray her father and her country, but keeping silent will start a war.
This was a book I was really looking forward to reading. I kept stalking its page on Goodreads for new reviews that would praise it. I enlarged the cover and mooned over it thousands of times because that blue is absolutely lovely. Also, I kept forgetting the publication date, so I kept hoping that it was earlier than I thought it was (it wasn't.).

In conclusion, I had very high hopes for this book. Very. High. Which will probably mean my review isn't too trustworthy and that this book is much better than I say it is. Because Gravity isn't a bad book. Not by a long shot. It's actually quite interesting, what with its synthetic foods and the existence of another planet that's basically paradise apart from earth. And in the middle of it all, we have Ari, who's the Commander's daughter and a future leader herself. In addition, she knows how to shoot a gun and disarm an enemy in ten seconds. Instead of crying at every turn, she holds back a scream. Which is an improvement, but not much of one.

My biggest issue with the book is the lack of world-building. I didn't know the origin of half of the things that were mentioned, from how Earth was split up the way it was, to why people didn't want to go to Loge when it seemed like such a great place. Also, I didn't understand why Ari trusted Jackson so easily. Their love never seemed real. Rather, it felt contrived. I just didn't know why Ari threw away her connection to her father and her years of training because of a boy she's only seen from a distance telling her that her own side wasn't to be trusted. It made her seem way too malleable and manipulable, which contrasted with the whole strong, untouchable persona she's supposed to be portraying.

I liked the idea and Ari's parents, especially her mother. But as with the other components of the world that she lives in, the other people in her life are too one-dimensional. Her parents, Gretchen, Lawrence. We only get tiny glimpses that they're people other than the roles they're supposed to lead in the book, but it's not enough to convince us that they're worth rooting for. Maybe if I hadn't been expecting this book to exceed my expectations so much, I wouldn't have been so disappointed. It's an original idea, but the execution wasn't all that special. I was especially disappointed by the flop of a love story and how there was no reference to peeking except in the tagline of the cover. The entire book has made me despairing for a good love story, so if anyone has recommendations, I'll gladly take them!
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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Blog Post: The Search for Love

I'm looking for love. The sort of grand, majestic, sweeping love that comes through the most subtle of gestures and the simple locking of eyes. Love that isn't contrived and superficial. The sort of love that Elizabeth and Darcy have, based on witty comebacks and mutual acceptance. I'm so sick of people believing that love isn't love until there's an entire world based on whether a relationship fails, or something is always keeping two people apart, be it the main character's irritating case of insecurity or the guy's desire to "protect" her from him.

But that's what comprises all the books I've been reading recently. There's a multitude of young adult novels out there, from post-apocalyptic to fantasy. Every time, there's an entire civilization hanging in balance, screwed over by the main characters. Since when were a pair of stupid teenagers responsible for the fate of mankind? I think that's when the world will really be over. It's been a long time since I've read a book that's made me feel invested in the relationship, where I was cheering for them instead of hoping for one of them to die and put me out of my misery. Worse, there hasn't been a relationship that hasn't felt contrived, begun because of good looks or enigmatic smiles. I'm not saying all books are that bad; some are, but others do it better. But better doesn't mean anything. Better might mean that the characters get to know each other before declarations of love. Even if they do, there's still a lack of chemistry. I don't know if it's because I've become more cynical, that I can't accept this definition of love anymore.

When I think of examples of great love, I think of Pride & Prejudice, Angelfall, and Blood Red Road. When you think of Pride & Prejudice, it's not that complicated. It's the simple story of a girl with a crazy family who hates a wealthy man because of misunderstandings and his own warped sense of chivalry but learns to love him. There aren't any wars or blood shed, but I was excited for every moment they shared a moment, just because there were so few of them. In Angelfall and BRR, the love takes a backseat to the conflict going on. You can have a plot revolve around love, but there are few who can do it without making it seem cloying and obsessive. There are more important things than love sometimes, but what's important is that there's someone in the end, someone with whom you have an attraction beyond that of physical. Sure, the chemistry must be there, but there has to be other things that advances it beyond lust. And that's what's missing in books like Hush, Hush or Fallen or Gravity. They're books that are detailed by an ongoing dance between love interests that aren't sure whether to trust each other and are vulnerable because of their own crippling insecurity.

Anyway, this is one of my random blog posts where I just wanted to get annoyed because I haven't read a book that's actually kept me interested in the relationship. Call me a sappy romantic, but I like a good love story to go along with the plot. Authors know to deliver on the love story part, but not the good. I want a good love story, dammit. Is that so much to ask?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (10)

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

Invisible Girl by Natalie Whipple
Publication Date: May 21st, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen

  Plenty of teenagers feel invisible. Fiona McClean actually is.

An invisible girl is a priceless weapon. Fiona’s own father has been forcing her to do his dirty work for years—everything from spying on people to stealing cars to breaking into bank vaults.

After sixteen years, Fiona’s had enough. She and her mother flee to a small town, and for the first time in her life, Fiona feels like a normal life is within reach. But Fiona’s father isn’t giving up that easily.

Of course, he should know better than anyone: never underestimate an invisible girl.
 This sounds like a badass book. Breaking into bank vaults! Who doesn't want to try that? Besides, the cover is just gorgeous. Wow. There's no mention of a love story, so maybe this one won't be inanely cheesy and disgusting. What about you guys? What's a book you wish would come out before the world ends?


Review: Nevermore by Kelly Creagh

Nevermore (Nevermore, #1)Book: Nevermore
Author: Kelly Creagh
Series: Nevermore
Publication Date: August 31st, 2010
Publisher: Atheneum Books
Rating: 4 Stars

Cheerleader Isobel Lanley is horrified when she is paired with Varen Nethers for an English project, which is due—so unfair—on the day of the rival game. Cold and aloof, sardonic and sharp-tongued, Varen makes it clear he’d rather not have anything to do with her either. But when Isobel discovers strange writing in his journal, she can’t help but give this enigmatic boy with the piercing eyes another look.

Soon, Isobel finds herself making excuses to be with Varen. Steadily pulled away from her friends and her possessive boyfriend, Isobel ventures deeper and deeper into the dream world Varen has created through the pages of his notebook, a realm where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life.

As her world begins to unravel around her, Isobel discovers that dreams, like words, hold more power than she ever imagined, and that the most frightening realities are those of the mind. Now she must find a way to reach Varen before he is consumed by the shadows of his own nightmares.

His life depends on it.
I'd seen good ratings for this, so I decided to try it out, especially since I'm a fan of Edgar Allan Poe's creepier works. I'll admit I was wary about reading it because of the cover. But it's funny how the floofy pink dress Isobel is wearing on the back cover comes into play.

Damn, I loved the atmosphere in this book. Maybe not in the beginning fifty pages of the book, but the tone became really haunting. When I think about Nevermore, I can't help seeing smoky swirls of gray that resemble the background of the book. The entire thing is just really creepy and shivery, and it did a great job of bringing back the darkness of Poe's stories.

I'll admit, the beginning annoyed me because it seemed like the beginning of any cliche YA novel about the pretty, popular girl getting involved with the wrong guy and losing her friends in the process. But Isobel pleasantly surprised me. I liked her snarky comments because they added a degree of realism to the shifty dream world that composes the rest of the book. It really seems like two parallel stories going on at the same time, and in the end, when reality and the dream world begin to converge, I really felt it. Anyway, Isobel shows an interesting amount of spunk for a heroine, although there were times when she may have been toeing the line between cool and stupid (ie. when she leaves Reynolds's scythe there instead of picking it up, when she watches Reynolds and Death fight even when she should've run ten minutes ago, and when she attempts to sit by Varen. Really, what did she expect, that he would welcome her with open arms?). All in all, though, I was pleased by her behavior.

I can't say much for Varen. I honestly don't know much about him, and there's not much of a difference between him and any other angsty male who scribbles ranty poetry and glares at everyone, except his angst has literally created a world of its own. He was gone for most of the time, and Isobel was left to fight his battles for him. He retaliates once or twice, but I never really see him presenting himself strongly at any time in the novel. I was especially disappointed in the end, when he's sitting in his couch and all depressed and trapped. The book really is more about Isobel than it is about her and Varen, which is why I don't sense much character development on Varen's part. The only place where he's truly a person to me is when his dad catches him at home with the Chinese food. That was when I was crying for him (slightly), even though that scene isn't mentioned again.

The plot itself is really interesting. Isobel begins hallucinating, hearing voices and seeing people, and then she plunges into a figurative rabbit hole into Poe's/Varen's world. Things get really creepy once that starts to happen, and Creagh describes everything from the Nocs to the floating objects in Isobel's room with vivid detail. I especially liked the scene from Masque of the Red Death, when Isobel is inside Prince Prospero's multicolored rooms of doom. That scene really came alive for me, and I was pretty disappointed that Isobel didn't stay longer.

I can definitely see why this book got the good ratings that it did, but I do hope that some of the topics are explored more, and that Varen's character is developed further in the next book. And the Poe references sure help!
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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Review: Finale by Becca Fitzpatrick

Finale (Hush, Hush, #4)Book: Finale
Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
Series: Hush, Hush
Publication Date: October 23rd, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Rating: 1 Star

Will love conquer all?

Nora and Patch thought their troubles were behind them. Hank is gone and they should be able to put his ugly vendetta to rest. But in Hank's absence, Nora has become the unwitting head of the Nephilim and must finish what Hank began. Which ultimately means destroying the fallen angels - destroying Patch.

Nora will never let that happen, so she and Patch make a plan: lead everyone to believe they have broken up, and work the system from the inside. Nora will convince the Nephilim that they are making a mistake in fighting the fallen angels, and Patch will find out everything he can from the opposing side. They will end this war before it can even begin.

But the best-laid plans often go awry. Nora is put through the paces in her new role and finds herself drawn to an addictive power she never anticipated.

As the battle lines are drawn, Nora and Patch must confront the differences that have always been between them and either choose to ignore them or let them destroy the love they have always fought for.
It's been a long time since I've read a truly horrible book. The last time was Silence, I think. I just can't fathom why people would like this book. I have to admit that I didn't think it was that bad when I read Hush, Hush, or even Crescendo. Then the plot began becoming a clusterfuck of deux ex machina and random characters, and Nora continued her insufferable behavior.

Unlike many of my other wise fellow reviewers, I don't have that big of a problem with Patch. I can understand that he's a depraved character, and he should be thrown in jail for all his rapaciousness. But he doesn't manage to piss me off like Nora does, probably because I'm not following his train of thought. He's just a normal, hormonal male. Which is sexist of me, but what's there to expect when there are authors like Becca Fitzpatrick who write characters who wear all black, drive motorcycles, and kiss with "black fire"? You're just begging me to refer to men as chauvinistic pigs who only want a good lay.

So let's talk about what really pissed me off about this book, and what pissed me off in the last three books, too: Nora Grey. Exactly what sort of character development has she undergone in the past four books? She's the same, immature girl stalker as she was in the first book, except now she's controlling an army. What kind of idiot would give control of his army over to her, anyway? For all his supposed brilliance, Hank Millar wasn't very wise in naming a successor. Nora is exceedingly dull, and I didn't even realize she was a redhead until the last part of the book O.O Somehow, I missed that. Anyway, she uses everyone and is stupidly obsessed with Patch. She even pulls a Bella towards the last chapter by refusing to get out of bed and going into momentary depression because Patch is gone. And Fitzpatrick even draws from Kagawa with the whole vow thing they exchange at the end of the book, except it was way cheesier and vomit-inducing.

Also, authors, please, please stop giving your heroines/heroes a momentary bout of adrenaline that allowed them to defeat the invincible enemy just because one of his/her friends died. It worked before. It made sense in Vampire Academy. It made sense in The Mortal Instruments (I think it happened there...) But here, it was just laughable because of how utterly pathetic Nora was. Her voice was just so... immature. Her best friend, Vee, exists as a way to compare Nora's nice legs with Vee's rotundness (all those donuts that Nora likes to mention, I'd imagine), and PMS is just a way for her to excuse all bitchiness. I couldn't see how any rational human being--or supernatural creature--would ever designate Nora to any big role. She should've just been a dull, sideline character instead of the main event.

I won't even get started on the side characters. They were all almost comically evil, especially Dante. And Pepper. What kind of archangel is named Pepper? It just... Rarely do names bother me enough that I can't read the book, but this one definitely did. I kept thinking of Ms. Pepper Pots from Iron Man. And what role did the Nephilim play? They followed them brainlessly. I would've thought they'd be smarter than that. And Blakely, too... Ugh. I can't even give cohesive opinions on any of them because Nora was whoring up the big screen most of the time. They were all just conveniently there for her to order around. Also, I maintain that demoncraft is the most idiotic plot device ever invented. And now I am done. With this review, and with this entire, STUPID series. I FINISHED! What a bittersweet survival.


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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Review: Crewel by Gennifer Albin

Crewel (Crewel World, #1)Book: Crewel
Author: Gennifer Albin
Series: Crewel World
Publication Date: October 16th, 2012
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Rating: 3 Stars

Enter a tangled world of secrets and intrigue where a girl is in charge of other’s destinies, but not her own.

Sixteen-year-old Adelice Lewys has always been special. When her parents discover her gift—the ability to weave the very fabric of reality—they train her to hide it. For good reason, they don’t want her to become a Spinster — one of the elite, beautiful, and deadly women who determine what people eat, where they live, how many children they have, and even when they die.

Thrust into the opulent Western Coventry, Adelice will be tried, tested and tempted as she navigates the deadly politics at play behind its walls.  Now caught in a web of lies and forbidden romance, she must unravel the sinister truth behind her own unspeakable power.  Her world is hanging by a thread, and Adelice, alone, can decide to save it — or destroy it.
So after I stopped mourning over the fact that I couldn't read the galley of this because MacMillan took it down, I finally got down to business when this book came out and read it. And well, it was interesting. The world is definitely as enigmatic and intriguing as the cover, and I think what this book really has going for it is the originality that's been incorporated through the world that Albin has created. But if we step back and really look at what this book stands for, we see that it's no different from any other doomy dystopian novel. There's the government that controls everything the people does, the President Snow-like commander who calls all the shots and crushes all opposition, and what I like to call "the other side of the fence," the convenient deux ex machina that chooses to make itself known at the most opportune time so there's always a place for the heroine to escape.

I honestly cannot pinpoint my feelings about this book. On one hand, it kept me flipping pages because I wanted to discover more about the world of the Creweler. I like the idea of having threads that make up people. But the world is not enough for a book. I liked Adelice. I especially admired her quick comebacks and her rebellious nature, but sometimes I wouldn't understand why she would do certain things. Also, I just didn't see why she loved Amie so much. I know they're sisters, but it seemed more like she thought of Amie as a burden than anything else. And her parents are mentioned at sparse intervals. It's another classic example of using the dead family to motivate the heroine, but in this case, Adelice never made her love for her family very clear.

Then, we have the bitchy, bitter shell of a woman who also isn't as good as the heroine. Naturally. And the two equally attractive men but of course Adelice chooses the one with the dark past. I liked Jost, though. Actually, for a while I was gunning for Erik, just because I like the whole well-groomed-but-rebellious shindig he had going before I realized he was way too one-dimensional. Then we have a whole host of characters who help Adelice but pay the price for doing so. Naturally. Also, the ending was just this big cliffhanger that involves the characters going to the "other side," which is the worst excuse for an ending ever. I'm worried about the dystopian genre. It's becoming way too predictable, which should never be the case for an end-of-the-world book. Here's to hoping that some book will break out of the mold and wow us all. 
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Friday, November 30, 2012

Feature & Follow Friday (9)

 Follow Friday is a meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. Basically, follow me and say hi in the comments, and I'll follow you back!  

 This week's features are: Novel Reveries and Oh! Paper Pages.

 Q: Activity! Who is your to-die-for book crush? What do you think they look like? Add an image to make us all happy.

A: God, this is so hard. I had to refer to my Goodreads list of swoon-worthy men to decide. One of them would probably be Raphael from Angelfall, just because I have a thing for ass-kicking, snarky angels (who are written well). And I have a very fitting picture for him too: 
 Also, I really like Ash from Iron Fey because I totally dig his whole chivalry thing. For him, I chose Adam Gregory! 

 Now I want to reread these books again! 


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Review: Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Paranormalcy (Paranormalcy, #1)Book: Paranormalcy 
Author: Kiersten White
Series: Paranormalcy
Publication Date: August 31st, 2010
Publisher: HarperTeen
Rating: 3 Stars

Evie's always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she's falling for a shape-shifter, and she's the only person who can see through paranormals' glamours.

But Evie's about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

So much for normal.
Don't you love it when true love triumphs between two inexperienced teenagers who happen to save the day because of their great capacity for emotion? It's so precious. It makes me weep.

Don't get me wrong; Paranormalcy isn't that bad. In fact, it can be even argued that it is one of the saving graces of the genre. The problem is that it just isn't anything new. Sure, I laughed, and I felt a little bit when characters died. But my general feelings are ambivalent. And when you read a book, is your only expectation that it not be gruesomely terrible, or even not bad? Especially after reading something like Days of Blood & Starlight, I needed something light, and this book did that for me. But I couldn't find any of the sort of depth and humanity that I did in Karou and her friends.

It was just so... meh. I can think of more thinks I didn't like about it than what I did like. For example, I didn't like the main character, Evie. Maybe it's a product of growing up, but I thought she didn't act her age. I can understand that she's been isolated from society, but does that really mean she has to go around calling everything cute and obsessing over pink things? There is this one part I remember where she said, "I even got a cute last name, Green." And the freaking out over lockers and high school things? It was cute (oh God, I sound like her now) in the beginning, but then it just became redundant. I got the fact that she was inexperienced. Also, Easton Heights sounds really dull. I prefer Gossip Girl.

The plot was... nice, I guess. It wasn't really anything new. Reth really interests me, though. He's so cruel yet attractive. Wow, I'm as bad as those Mary Sues. But Lend was too boring for me, especially compared with someone like Reth. If you're going to make one of your love interests a faery, you'd better match up. Lend is interesting, but in the end, if we deconstruct him, he's a teenage boy who reacts to things quite boringly. There wasn't even much wittiness tossed in there. He's supposed to provide a dose of normal, but I didn't quite like the normal that I got. Everything was mostly predictable, although I didn't expect what happened to Lisha.

I've been ragging on the book enough, though. I'm not giving it 3 stars for no reason; I did like some of the things that happened. Although the dialogue wasn't very witty, the way the book was written was very light-hearted, despite all the intense stuff happening. In that way, the normalcy helped ground it. I liked reading about Evie's interaction with the paranormal creatures that she bags and tags; there just wasn't enough of that. As far as supernatural YA goes, this is pretty decent.  
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Monday, November 19, 2012

Review: Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor

Days of Blood & Starlight (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #2)Book: Days of Blood & Starlight
Series: Daughter of Smoke & Bone
Author: Laini Taylor
Publication Date: November 8th, 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown Books
Rating: 4.5 Stars

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

This is not that world.

Art student and monster's apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she'll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.

But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?
A dream dirty and bruised is better than no dream at all.
I'm amazed how this book is so much bigger than what it is. There's something about the world that Laini Taylor has created that is so... universal. It's so difficult to explain, but while I was reading it, I literally felt like I'd entered an alternate universe that was magical but realistic. Unlike its predecessor, Days of Blood & Starlight is not centered around just a group of people or a painfully dramatic love story. It is, at its very heart, a book about war, death, and sacrifice.

At the beginning, I was agitated because Akiva and Karou were leading separate lives. I desperately wanted them to meet up and renew what they'd had, but as the book progressed, I realized that this desire wasn't realistic. The book begins with Karou as the new resurrectionist, making new bodies to resurrect the chimaera soldiers of Eretz. The White Wolf watches her constantly, and she's not happy. It starts off heavy and dark, unlike the last book, which I remember as starting off with her idiotic ex-boyfriend. Instead, there are the deaths of Brimstone and the rest of Karou's chimaera family suffocating her. Many of my fellow reviewers have expressed their surprise and apprehension at the bloodiness, but I welcomed this facet. The title has blood in it; we can't really expect flowers and rainbows.

What I really want to credit Taylor on is her perfect balance of hope and pain. I never knew how things would end, and there were always different conflicts popping up out of unexpected places after a problem was solved. It was really emotionally draining, actually. Karou is suffering at first, under the tyrannical rule of the Wolf, but then Zuzana and Mik find her and they add this beautiful atmosphere of sweet love and loyalty that I found enjoyable. Their relationship is much more fleshed out in this book, and it was realistic and adorable, which grounded the forbidden love part between Akiva and Karou. Their presence made the other chimaera seem more human, and I like that Taylor took the time to explore all these different characters and make them seem real. The book isn't told from just Karou's or Akiva's perspectives, but from the eyes of many different characters. Some of them only live for three pages before they die, but it adds a very holistic view, shedding light on what's happening in every corner of this alternate universe.

Also, like the last book, this one is not lacking in plot, especially since there are multiple plot lines running through the story. In the middle of the book, I think there are like... 10 deaths within 50 pages. Taylor brings her way with words back to this one, and everything is told in such gorgeous style. Her prose is the fairy dust on top of an already magical story. Although I'm a bit upset with how little Akiva/Karou time I got in this one, the ending was the perfect balance of desolation in hope. I am in awe.

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Friday, November 9, 2012

Review: Iron's Prophecy by Julie Kagawa

Iron's Prophecy (The Iron Fey, #4.5)Book: Iron's Prophecy (short)
Author: Julie Kagawa
Series: The Iron Fey
Publication Date: September 1st, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN
Rating: 4 Stars

Meghan Chase is finally getting used to being the Iron Queen, ruler of the Iron Fey. Her life may be strange, but with former Winter prince Ash by her side at last, she wouldn’t have it any other way.

But when they travel to the Summer and Winter courts’ gathering for Elysium, the oracle from Meghan’s past returns with a dire prophecy: “What you carry will either unite the courts, or it will destroy them.” Now Meghan faces a devastating choice that may determine the future of all fey—and her and Ash’s unborn child…
Meghan and Ash's UNBORN CHILD?

Excuse me while I try to breathe.


Edit (11/8/12):
Finally stopped hyperventilating over Meghan and Ash's UNBORN CHILD to read this. Reading it made me realize how much I've missed Ash and Meghan. They're just so perfect together. Gahh. Also, Kagawa's wonderfully creative mind strikes again. I really liked that transition part where Meghan enters the Dream Pool, and of course the Wishing Tree was lots of fun too (big snakes yay)! The Lost Prince was kind of ehhh for me, since I didn't really like reading from Ethan's POV. It makes me wonder what it would be like to see something from Kierran's eyes, since he's the special one with three powers and whatnot. I'm all nostalgic, now. I'll have to go back and read that quote again where Ash pledges his undying loyalty to Meghan.

"My name is Ashallyn'darkmyr Tallyn, third son of the Unseelie Court...Let it be known--from this day forth, I vow to protect Meghan Chase, daughter of the Summer King, with my sword, my honor, and my life. Her desires are mine. Her wishes are mine. Should even the world stand against her, my blade will be at her side. And should it fail to protect her, let my own existence be forfeit. This I swear, on my honor, my True Name, and my life. From this day on..." His voice went even softer, but I still heard it as though he whispered it into my ear. "I am yours.”


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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Review: Rebel Heart by Moira Young

Rebel Heart (Dust Lands, #2)Book: Rebel Heart
Author: Moira Young
Series: Dust Lands
Publication Date: October 30th, 2012
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Rating: 4 Stars
It seemed so simple: Defeat the Tonton, rescue her kidnapped brother, Lugh, and then order would be restored to Saba’s world. Simplicity, however, has proved to be elusive. Now, Saba and her family travel west, headed for a better life and a longed-for reunion with Jack. But the fight for Lugh’s freedom has unleashed a new power in the dust lands, and a formidable new enemy is on the rise.

What is the truth about Jack? And how far will Saba go to get what she wants? In this much-anticipated follow-up to the riveting Blood Red Road, a fierce heroine finds herself at the crossroads of danger and destiny, betrayal and passion.
We ain't got time fer you to yell at me or fer me to tell you everythin that's happened, so I'm jest gonna cover the main points real quick an then I'm gonna kiss you, he says.

I think this book should've been titled LACK OF JACK instead of Rebel Heart. Just sayin'. For the second book in a series, it can be argued as a pretty darned good one. I still think the first was better (probably because there was more Jack), but this one is still pretty good. The old elements are there: the writing style that keeps the pace fast, the high adventure on the dustlands, and old characters like DeMalo and Maev, in addition to new ones like Molly and Slim, this crazy quack doctor guy who traffics weapons. Yup.

Young has definitely got a lot in her bag of tricks. The book started off slightly slow, but by the halfway point, I was flipping pages with fury. Last time, in Blood Red Road, the scene with the giant worms is what stays in my mind. This time, it's the river of snakes and the headhunters. Very intense. It was a bummer that Jack didn't come in until the last twenty-so pages, but I'm not disappointed at all with the direction of the book. There were always new problems arising, and it kept my mind off of Saba's failed long-distance relationship.

The men who do have big roles in this book are DeMalo and Lugh. One is a loon, and the other is a dickhead. That's just how it is. I share the sentiments of many of my fellow reviewers in that I think Lugh is a stuck-up, stubborn douche. From start to finish, I had no idea why Saba loves him as much as she does. He does nothing except complain and throw a block into their plans, then sulk because people don't trust him enough to do what he wants to, since he was rotting in a room for the longest time. And then he treats Maev like trash, then refuses to tell her he loves her, and finally blames Saba for everything. There is literally nothing redeeming about him. Speaking of Maev, though, I didn't understand why they would love each other. There was no indication of any budding relationship besides a mutual attraction because they were both hot-blooded, male and female, and not related. Not good ingredients for a relationship. DeMalo, in contrast, is this cold-hearted bastard, which doesn't really surprise me. What he convinced Saba to do, however, did.

I was pretty disappointed in Saba throughout the book. Although she has the same skill with weapons and fighting, she shows it less and spends more of her time being confused by all the men in her life and obsessing over Jack. She seemed less independent, I guess, and I didn't like that she always had a whole team of people backing her up, especially because she took responsibility for so many of their deaths. She made a lot of bad decisions in this book, and some of them were unwarranted, which is why I don't really like her in this book.

Jack does come back, and I think Young gives him and Saba a satisfactory ending. He seems better than he was in the last book, but there's not much for me to fully gauge his personality. But I do hope that he stays in the next book. Anyway, Rebel Heart didn't disappoint. It had all the elements of BRR, though it still lacks that strong characterization that I would like. Hopefully, Young also clears up the confusion about the Wrecker civilization and is able to solve this big problem that she's created in the first place. But she's awesome, and I have complete confidence in her.

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (9)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. 
Ink by Amanda Sun 
Publication Date: June 25th 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Ink (The Paper Gods, #1)

I looked down at the paper, still touching the tip of my shoe. I reached for it, flipping the page over to look.

Scrawls of ink outlined a drawing of a girl lying on a bench.

A sick feeling started to twist in my stomach, like motion sickness.

And then the girl in the drawing turned her head, and her inky eyes glared straight into mine.

On the heels of a family tragedy, the last thing Katie Greene wants to do is move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn’t know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks, and she can’t seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.

Then there’s gorgeous but aloof Tomohiro, star of the school’s kendo team. How did he really get the scar on his arm? Katie isn’t prepared for the answer. But when she sees the things he draws start moving, there’s no denying the truth: Tomo has a connection to the ancient gods of Japan, and being near Katie is causing his abilities to spiral out of control. If the wrong people notice, they'll both be targets.

Katie never wanted to move to Japan—now she may not make it out of the country alive.
Look at that cover! So gorgeous and artsy. And the blurb sounds kickass, especially the part about Tomohiro. Any guy with connections to the gods is a guy I'll like. Reminds me of that one TV show I loved watching when I was a kid about the magic chalk that could make characters come to life... I can't for the life of me remember what it's called, though! 


Monday, November 5, 2012

Review: The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke

The Assassin's Curse (The Assassin's Curse, #1)Book: The Assassin's Curse
Author: Cassandra Rose Clarke
Series: The Assassin's Curse
Publication Date: October 2nd, 2012
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Rating: 2.5 Stars

Ananna of the Tanarau abandons ship when her parents try to marry her off to an allying pirate clan: she wants to captain her own boat, not serve as second-in-command to her handsome yet clueless fiance. But her escape has dire consequences when she learns the scorned clan has sent an assassin after her.

And when the assassin, Naji, finally catches up with her, things get even worse. Ananna inadvertently triggers a nasty curse — with a life-altering result. Now Ananna and Naji are forced to become uneasy allies as they work together to break the curse and return their lives back to normal. Or at least as normal as the lives of a pirate and an assassin can be.
"How could he not see all the beauty that was out there--the starlight leaving stains of brightness in the water, the salt-kissed wind?"

I kept waiting for The Assassin's Curse to get better, but it remained a clusterfuck until the very end. I mean, I can't say there weren't good things about it, because there were. After all, just look the blurb. I like pirates and loot and rum and all that good stuff. I also like assassins, because who doesn't love killing? So I go into this book expecting lots of arrrr matey type things, and adventures swinging on a ship, but I got none of that. Instead I get poor character development and the barest mention of ships and some obscure assassin club (I think that's what it is...). 

Clarke promised us a lot of things with this book. With the cover, with the premise, with everything. Unfortunately, she didn't deliver. My biggest problem with this book is that there's way too much stuff integrated for it to make sense. First you've got your pirates, then you've got your wizards and witches, and then you've got assassins who can do magic too, except it's blood magic. It's way too much information to stuff into one book without making things sound ridiculous and random. When Naji and Ananna get stuck on the island, I thought that they were there because the island was supposed to help them. But then Naji mentions this wizard dude, and I'm like "what the hell is going on?" This happened multiple times. Sure, it's easy to get lost in the adventure of Naji and Ananna zipping around from place to place, but if you stop and think about it, why are they going to all these places? It's like a goose chase that they already know is futile, yet they keep doing it anyway. The ending to the book is even more ridiculous, even cheesy. I really expected more than that. It was such a bullshit blowoff so Clarke could write another book. 

That's the plot. The characters are just... ugh. Naji sulks, Ananna moons after him, and generally their attitudes put me in a bad mood. Which sucks, since Ananna actually gave me hope. In the beginning, when she knees her fiance in the balls, I was cheering for her. But then she meets Naji and she turns all gloomy and moans over her plainness, and I just knew this wasn't heading for anything good. There wasn't even a damned kiss in this book. Granted, it would've been weird and even more out of place if there had been one, so maybe Clarke used some good judgment there. I found no reason to believe that she'd fallen in love with him, especially since he treats her like crap sometimes and completely shuts her out otherwise. Nothing about him caused me to like him, especially the way he totally fell under Leila's spell in the beginning. Not cool, bro. 

In short, I got through this book relatively painlessly, but when I separated myself from the situation, I realized that this book misses so many things. That's why I feel so apathetic towards it. It's a good example of a situation where too many good things mashed up together can make the entire project go sour. 
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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Review: The Storyteller by Antonia Michaelis

The StorytellerBook: The Storyteller (Der Märchenerzähler)
Author: Antonia Michaelis
Publication Date: January 1st, 2012
Publisher: ABRAMS
Rating: 4.5 Stars

A good girl.
A bad boy.
A fairy tale that's true.
A truth that is no fairy tale.

It begins the day Anna finds the child's doll on the floor of the student lounge. When it's claimed by Abel, the school drug dealer, Anna becomes determined to learn more about this mysterious boy with the military haircut and deep blue eyes. She follows him after school and discovers a secret: Abel is caring for his six-year-old sister, Micha, alone. Anna listens in as he tells her a fairy tale, the story of a little orphan queen pursued by hunters across the oceans for the treasure she carries: her pure, diamond heart.

It's a story with parallels to reality. Social services and Micha's abusive father could take her from Abel if they discover the truth.

Despite friend's warnings, Anna is drawn to Abel and Micha, and falls under the spell of the story of the little queen and her desperate voyage.

But when people Abel has woven into his tale turns up dead, it's Anna whose heart is in danger. Is she in love with a killer? And has she set out on a journey from which there is no return?
"...big, burst droplets of blood the color of poppies. A sea of blood, a red endless sea, crimson waves, carmine froth, splashing color..."

Lately, I've been having this problem. I've been wanting to go to Neverland. I want to experience the worlds of pirates, assassins, princesses, and golden apples again. And I have. But the problem is that I just don't believe anymore.
Somewhere, a fairy is dying...

The thing about The Storyteller is that it made me believe again. It was spellbinding in all the right ways, and it was the perfect book to urge me back into the world of dark fantasy. Michaelis combines a fairytale and reality, and she does it so well that even Abel's and Anna's story seems like something out of a dream, despite all the mentions of study dates and spilled hot chocolate (by the way, if Micha drinks that much hot chocolate, she must be a very happy--and chubby--little girl indeed). It gives this element of reality, yet when Anna and Abel are together, it seems so much more magical. Which is weird, since they're just being coupley. I'm chalking it up to Michaelis's writing style; the fairytale that Abel tells seems to weave its way into reality.

I'm still pretty awed at the genius of the book, the way the fairytale matches up with everything that's going on in Anna's and Abel's lives. Michaelis is essentially tells two stories at the same time, paralleling them exactly. That takes some serious skill (and probably hardcore outlining).

I was surprised at how dark this book is. I mean, you kind of get that from the blurb, but there's other stuff that's not hinted at in the blurb. It really took me by surprise. I had no idea there'd be so many mentions to problems that afflict children and different castes (Abel hates me for saying that word, but I can't think of something else).

It really reminds me of Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma in that there are these momentary gleams of happiness that make the darkness brighter and more real. Because without those moments, can we really count as humans? We need the happiness and the sadness, too. As with Forbidden, this couldn't have had a happy ending. The hope is there, and so is the fairytale, but in the end, reality triumphs. But there is hope that continues in the heart of a little girl.

The mystery added to the darkness, something that always lurked in the background and wouldn't come to light. Michaelis throws out so many different hints, and I totally thought I suspected the right person, but in the end I was still wrong, and I admire her for leading me on such a goose chase. The only thing that's keeping me from the 5 stars is that I didn't like Anna until towards the end. She seemed too fickle and irresponsible, even if she was doing the things she did for Abel. But Michaelis has executed almost every aspect of this story well, from giving all the characters different motives and traits, to making the plot twist and turn but ultimately come to a satisfactory conclusion.

I feel so melancholy now. Going to listen to some Leonard Cohen.
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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Review: Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake

Girl of Nightmares (Anna, #2)Book: Girl of Nightmares
Author: Kendare Blake
Series: Anna
Publication Date: August 7th, 2012
Publisher: Tor Teen
Rating: 4 Stars

It's been months since the ghost of Anna Korlov opened a door to Hell in her basement and disappeared into it, but ghost-hunter Cas Lowood can't move on.

His friends remind him that Anna sacrificed herself so that Cas could live—not walk around half dead. He knows they're right, but in Cas's eyes, no living girl he meets can compare to the dead girl he fell in love with.

Now he's seeing Anna everywhere: sometimes when he's asleep and sometimes in waking nightmares. But something is very wrong...these aren't just daydreams. Anna seems tortured, torn apart in new and ever more gruesome ways every time she appears.

Cas doesn't know what happened to Anna when she disappeared into Hell, but he knows she doesn't deserve whatever is happening to her now. Anna saved Cas more than once, and it's time for him to return the favor.
There is no eloquent way to say it, so I guess I'll just come right out and say...


I was pretty ehhh after reading Anna Dressed in Blood. It didn't make that much of an impact on me, so I wasn't expecting much from this one. But WHOA did it blow my expectations out of the water.

The beginning starts off kind of slow, with Cas moping around, thinking about Anna, getting himself into life-threatening situations. Same ol', same ol'. Then there are Thomas and Carmel. I never felt that many warm, fuzzy feelings about Carmel to begin with, so she didn't really please me with her attitude. 

So I was flipping pages, all bored and stuff with my chin on my hand, and I'm leaning on my elbow thinking about school and grades and stressful things that this book is not distracting me from...

When all of a sudden...

I CARE. I care about what's happening. Cas's masculine voice stops moping and starts ass kicking again, and Thomas is wobbling around in the background like his dorky voodoo loving self, and I'm just like WHOAAA shit just got real. 

Because it does. Kendare Blake writes very well from the male perspective, not just because of the well-placed f-bomb or anything, but because Cas thinks like a teenage guy would probably think. It's perfect, and I kept finding myself admiring Blake's writing when he added a quip in an otherwise serious situation.

She also does a spectacular job with the horror aspect, and the description of hell made me shiver down to my toes. It's pretty cold over here, so that might have had something to do with it. But it was still really sharp and hot and red in my mind, so hot and red that I shivered from the image. Whereas with the last book, I was kind of like "h'okay blood and black veins everywhere cool," this time I was freaking out and picturing everything. The Suicide Forest? That is some scary shiat. Especially when the corpses started closing in, and I knew they were going to get out alive because there were still like 50 pages to go, but I didn't know. You know? 

I'm not making much sense right now. I am crippled by grief and sickening excitement, for some strange reason. Also, I'm listening to Taylor Swift.

Anyway, the ending to this was perfect. I love how there's this moral lesson woven in about letting go and just living our own lives. Sometimes, it's too much to care about others when they're doing fine. As Cas says, it's a lie, but it's a damned good one. If this book is anything, it's deliciously horrifying and unique. Kendare Blake has my eternal approval for making me do a complete 180 on my opinion towards her books (not that she cares, since she's awesome anyway).  

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