Tuesday, December 30, 2014

BEST Books I Read in 2014

Overall, I'd say 2014 was a good reading year. I mean, I had to lower my Goodreads challenge twice (hehe) and I didn't read as many books as last year. However, I do feel like I've read better books this year, mostly due to the fact that I've become better at discerning which books I'd like and which I wouldn't.

Anyway, here are my top books of 2014! Not all of them were published this year, but I did read all of them in the past year.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Happy 2nd Blogoversary To Me! + Giveaway (INT)


Two years ago today I made the decision to make a book blog, without a plan nor a goal--just a few scribblings on my notebook and a blog title that I had pulled out of the blue.

It was my first year of high school. I noticed all the students around me had talents and motivations and hobbies, while the only hobby I had was reading (not that there's anything wrong with that). I wanted to do something that would set me apart from my peers, something that would make me unique. After stalking a few blogs, (that I had discovered on Goodreads) I set about creating a blog during my Winter break, knowing little to nothing on reviewing and on blogging in general.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Throwback Thursday #1: NYC & The 50's

Throwback Thursday is an original feature I do in which I highlight some of my favorite historical fiction books from a specific time period. The first book featured is Strings Attached by Judy Blundell, which takes place in the 1950s in New York City! 

Strings AttachedTitle: Strings Attached
Author: Judy Blundell
Publication Date: March 1, 2011
Genre: Historical fiction
From National Book Award winner Judy Blundell, the tale of a sixteen-year-old girl caught in a mix of love, mystery, Broadway glamour, and Mob retribution in 1950 New York.

When Kit Corrigan arrives in New York City, she doesn't have much. She's fled from her family in Providence, Rhode Island, and she's broken off her tempestuous relationship with a boy named Billy, who's enlisted in the army.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Review: The Opal Crown, by Jenny Lundquist

The Opal Crown (The Opal Mask #2)Title: The Opal Crown (The Opal Mask #2)
Author: Jenny Lundquist
Publication Date: October 28, 2014
Genre: Fantasy
Action, romance, sibling rivalry and court intrigue combine for a page-turning read in this sequel to The Princess in the Opal Mask, which VOYA called “engaging and action-packed.”

In the year since she was betrothed to the crown prince of Kyrenica, no one has suspected that the Masked Princess has been a decoy. That Elara, the secret twin sister, has been pretending to be Princess Wilha all along. The royal family has kept Elara’s identity hidden from the world, and for the girls, swapping lives has not been easy. Galandra is quickly declining, and the sisters continue to be a pawn in the Guardian’s ever-changing endgames.

But the stakes rise when Elara and Wilha’s younger brother, Andrei, takes the Galandrian throne after their father's death, and he reveals the girls' deception to Kyrenica’s royal family. Viewed as traitors, Elara and Wilha realize they are now fighting for their lives—and for their country. However, with only one crown and one throne to overthrow, Elara and Wilha must decide who will become queen. Or rather, the next savior for their people. -Goodreads

3.5 Stars
This sequel to the exciting The Princess in the Opal Mask and conclusion to the duology did not disappoint, nor cease to keep my interest. Albeit a bit immature and watered down in terms of the political aspect, The Opal Crown was cute and fluffy and huggable after an influx of darker books.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Mini-Reviews: Haze & Daughter of Chaos

Haze (The Rephaim, #2)Title: Haze (The Rephaim #2)
Author: Paula Weston
Publication Date: September 9, 2014
Genre: Fantasy
Gaby Winters’ nightmares have stopped but she still can’t remember her old life. Still can’t quite believe she is one of the Rephaim—the wingless half-angels who can shift from place to place, country to country, in the blink of an eye. That she was once the Rephaim’s best fighter. That demons exist. That Rafa has stayed.

But most of all, she can’t quite believe that her twin brother, Jude, might be alive.

And Gaby can’t explain the hesitancy that sidetracks the search for him, infuriates Rafa, and sends them, again, into the darkest danger. -Goodreads

4.5 Stars
Thank you Tundra Books for sending me this copy for review!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Compulsion Book Blitz, Teaser, & Giveaway

Title: Compulsion (Heirs of Watson Island #1)
Author: Martina Boone
Genre: Fantasy
Publication Date: 10/28/14
Three plantations. Two wishes. One ancient

All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lives with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt’s South Carolina plantation instead--a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions.

Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who knows what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family's twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn’t what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

4 Contemporary Novels That Depict High School Realistically

Unfortunately, I'm still a student in high school. Which might have been a fortunate experience for some, but all I can say about these past three years is: ugh. (On the bright side, anything is better than middle school.)

Although a slightly smaller portion of my reading material is contemporary, I have read enough YA books in the genre to state that there are very few books out there that actually depict high school realistically. Sort of contradicts their being designated as "realistic fiction," doesn't it?

To placate this nuisance, which has been bothering me for the longest time, I've decided to highlight the best novels I've come across that actually make an effort to be accurate in their manifestation of hell high school. Granted, I could only find four, but that's mostly due to the fact that I've only recently began to broaden my horizons into this genre.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Review: On the Fence, by Kasie West

On the FenceTitle: On the Fence
Author: Kasie West
Publication Date: July 1, 2014
Genre: Contemporary
For sixteen-year-old Charlotte Reynolds, aka Charlie, being raised by a single dad and three older brothers has its perks. She can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows—including her longtime neighbor and honorary fourth brother, Braden. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn't know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world of makeup, lacy skirts, and BeDazzlers. Even stranger, she's spending time with a boy who has never seen her tear it up in a pickup game.

To cope with the stress of faking her way through this new reality, Charlie seeks late-night refuge in her backyard, talking out her problems with Braden by the fence that separates them. But their Fence Chats can't solve Charlie's biggest problem: she's falling for Braden. Hard. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high. -Goodreads

2 Stars
You could say that I am "on the fence" about this novel.


Meme creds: me.
Fellow pun lovers, were those perfect, or were they perfect? *snorts* Anyway.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

I Am Not Oppressed.

Since I'm already annoyed, I've decided I'd let out my anger in the form of a blog post, on a topic that really gets me heated.

Check this out: (click to enlarge)

It's a list of books featuring covers of girls donning Hijabs. That fact in itself is completely fine (yay for intercultural awareness!) but check out the list yourself, and scroll through the covers. Notice a pattern? Most of the girls are either wearing a Hijab (hair covering), Niqab (Hijab with face covering, but eyes show), or a Burqa (complete body covering) and are depicted as being despondent, miserable, and oppressed. Many, dare I say most, of the novels cover the topic of child marriage or something of the like, normally written by a Western author.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Chocolate Book Tag

Did someone say chocolate? *rummages through house for KitKat and/or Reese's*

Okay, I'm back. Before I get distracted by my chocolate cravings again, let me start by saying thank you to Anne @ Anne Books for tagging me! Here we go:

Friday, November 14, 2014

DNF Review: Exquisite Captive, by Heather Demetrios

Exquisite Captive (Dark Caravan Cycle #1)Title: Exquisite Captive (Dark Caravan Cycle #1)
Author: Heather Demetrios
Publication Date: October 7, 2014
Genre: Fantasy
Forced to obey her master.
Compelled to help her enemy.
Determined to free herself.

Nalia is a jinni of tremendous ancient power, the only survivor of a coup that killed nearly everyone she loved. Stuffed into a bottle and sold by a slave trader, she’s now in hiding on the dark caravan, the lucrative jinni slave trade between Arjinna and Earth, where jinn are forced to grant wishes and obey their human masters’ every command. She’d give almost anything to be free of the golden shackles that bind her to Malek, her handsome, cruel master, and his lavish Hollywood lifestyle.

Enter Raif, the enigmatic leader of Arjinna’s revolution and Nalia’s sworn enemy. He promises to free Nalia from her master so that she can return to her ravaged homeland and free her imprisoned brother—all for an unbearably high price. Battling a dark past and harboring a terrible secret, Nalia soon realizes her freedom may come at a price too terrible to pay: but how far is she willing to go for it?

Inspired by Arabian Nights, EXQUISITE CAPTIVE brings to life a deliciously seductive world where a wish can be a curse and shadows are sometimes safer than the light. -Goodreads

2 Stars

Thank you Balzer+Bray for sending me this copy in exchange for an honest review!

Oh, Lord. I hate to admit this, but I was relieved to call it quits after resentfully trudging through 162 pages of dryness. There were quite a bit of problems I had with this book--mostly personal issues as opposed to technical--and they all hindered my enjoyment of the novel tremendously. I was very much anticipating this book, and the issues I had with it coupled with the immense amount of hype it had been receiving resulted in a very disappointed girl.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Rant/Review: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, by E. Lockhart

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-BanksTitle: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
Author: E. Lockhart
Publication Date: March 25, 2008
Genre: Contemporary
Frankie Landau-Banks at age 14:
Debate Club.
Her father’s “bunny rabbit.”
A mildly geeky girl attending a highly competitive boarding school.

Frankie Landau-Banks at age 15:
A knockout figure.
A sharp tongue.
A chip on her shoulder.
And a gorgeous new senior boyfriend: the supremely goofy, word-obsessed Matthew Livingston.

Frankie Landau-Banks, at age 16: 
Possibly a criminal mastermind.

This is the story of how she got that way. 

1 Star

The synopsis should have set off sirens in my head.

From the summary alone, what does this seem like? The story of a Mary Sue obsessed with herself. Oh, goody. *eye roll*

In reality, this was a book about a girl who thinks she's better than the entire female population and spends the majority of her high school career trying to prove herself to guys.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Series Review: Cracked & Crushed, by Eliza Crewe

Cracked (Soul Eater, #1)Crushed (Soul Eater, #2)
Meet Meda. She eats people.

Well, technically, she eats their soul. But she totally promises to only go for people who deserve it. She’s special. It’s not her fault she enjoys it. She can’t help being a bad guy. Besides, what else can she do? Her mother was killed and it’s not like there are any other “soul-eaters” around to show her how to be different. That is, until the three men in suits show up.

They can do what she can do. They’re like her. Meda might finally have a chance to figure out what she is. The problem? They kind of want to kill her. Before they get the chance Meda is rescued by crusaders, members of an elite group dedicated to wiping out Meda’s kind. This is her chance! Play along with the “good guys” and she’ll finally figure out what, exactly, her ‘kind’ is.

Be careful what you wish for. Playing capture the flag with her mortal enemies, babysitting a teenage boy with a hero complex, and trying to keep one step ahead of a too-clever girl are bad enough. But the Hunger is gaining on her.

The more she learns, the worse it gets. And when Meda uncovers a shocking secret about her mother, her past, and her destiny… she may finally give into it.

Click on the cover to be directed to their book pages!

Overall series rating: 4.5 stars!

My dear Soul Eaters series, you have succeeded in trapping my soul and heart in your firm clutches. I didn't think I'd be this invested in your books, though. I'm not really into horror, and although the books aren't shelved as thus, you still give off that creepyish-horror vibe that has never appealed to me as a reader. 

Everything about you appealed to me. Your writing was hilarious and authentic. Your action had me gripping my Nook in anticipation. Your down-to-earth-ness had me applauding because I have never read a fantasy book that is this honest. (How can a fantasy book be "honest?" I don't know; you'll just have to read it for yourself.)

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Review: Madame Tussaud's Apprentice, by Kathleen Benner Duble

Madame Tussaud's ApprenticeTitle: Madame Tussaud's Apprentice
Author: Kathleen Benner Duble
Publication Date: August 1, 2014
Genre: Historical Fiction
In 1789, with the starving French people on the brink of revolution, orphaned Celie Rosseau, an amazing artist and a very clever thief, runs wild with her protector, Algernon, trying to join the idealistic freedom fighters of Paris. But when she is caught stealing from none other than the king's brother and the lady from the waxworks, Celie must use her drawing talent to buy her own freedom or die for her crimes. Forced to work for Madame Tussaud inside the opulent walls that surround Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, Celie is shocked to find that the very people she imagined to be monsters actually treat her with kindness. But the thunder of revolution still rolls outside the gates, and Celie is torn between the cause of the poor and the safety of the rich. When the moment of truth arrives, will she turn on Madame Tussaud or betray the boy she loves? From the hidden garrets of the starving poor to the jeweled halls of Versailles, "Madame Tussaud's Apprentice" is a sweeping story of danger, intrigue, and young love, set against one of the most dramatic moments in history. -Goodreads

3 Stars

At first, I absolutely adored this book. After further contemplation and after the initial buzz settled, my love wasn't quite as strong.

Madame Tussaud’s Apprentice can easily be summarized as thus: it is a story of a girl unwillingly caught up in the midst of one of the most contentious periods in history--The French Revolution. She is torn between joining the revolutionaries and staying impassive, a choice which will ultimately determine her fate in this war.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Crushed Blog Tour: Interview with Eliza Crewe

Title: Crushed (Cracked #2)
Author: Eliza Crewe
Publication Date: September 22, 2014
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Meda's back. This time, she has a friend.

The battle is over; the choice has been made. Meda Melange has officially hung up her monstrous mantle and planted her feet
firmly on the holy and righteous path of a Crusader-in-training. Or, at least, she’s willing to give it a shot. It helps that the Crusaders are the only thing standing between her and the demon hordes who want her dead.

The problem is, the only people less convinced than Meda of her new-found role as Good Girl are the very Crusaders she’s trying to join. So when a devilishly handsome half-demon boy offers escape, how’s a girl supposed to say “no?”

After all, everyone knows a good girl’s greatest weakness is a bad boy. -Goodreads

Buy Links:

A few weeks ago, I read and devoured Cracked, the first in the series, and knew that this series and I would always be BFFs. While I haven't yet read Crushed, (and I totally intend to correct this asap) I am honored to be a part of this blog tour and had a chance to interview the talented author, Eliza Crewe!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Review: Cress, by Marissa Meyer

Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3)
Title: Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publication Date: February 4, 2014
Genre: YA Fantasy
In this third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

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

When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has. -Goodreads

5 Stars
It should come as no surprise that despite finishing this about eight months ago, I still get hit by a train wreck of feelings and gush whenever I so much as glance at the cover. In short: I LOVED THIS.

And why shouldn't I? I went in with high expectations and finished with my expectations fulfilled and more.




As for Thorne, I ship him with myself. *grins*

Monday, September 29, 2014

Review: Brazen, by Katherine Longshore

BrazenTitle: Brazen
Author: Katherine Longshore
Publication Date: June 12, 2014
Genre: Historical fiction
Mary Howard has always lived in the shadow of her powerful family. But when she’s married off to Henry Fitzroy, King Henry VIII’s illegitimate son, she rockets into the Tudor court’s inner circle. Mary and “Fitz” join a tight clique of rebels who test the boundaries of court’s strict rules with their games, dares, and flirtations.  The rules of court were made to be pushed…but pushing them too far means certain death. Is true love worth dying for? -Goodreads

“If you only do as others say, be who they want you to be, you will lose yourself. And that will be the greatest loss of all.”

Due to my extreme book hangover, I've dedicated the past couple of days to befriending Google and stalking Mary and Henry Fitzroy and, naturally, proceeding to be a complete history nerd.

I have to admit: Fitz doesn't look that bad. He’d be pretty good-looking as a girl:

ANYWAY. No, I don’t spend my time judging historical figures based on their portraits. Who do you take me as? *chuckles nervously*

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Six Degrees of Seperation {Book Version}

In case you didn't know, I am a huge fan of the indie band, The Script.

And in celebration of their upcoming album release, I'm dedicating an entire post to them! And singing the lyrics! And relating everything to books!

I've been a fan of them for a while, and one of my all-time-favorite songs from them is Six Degrees of Separation, which is one of their more popular songs.

It's intended to be a break-up song, but as I was listening to it for the upteenth time the other day, it hit me how much it resembles that heartbreak every reader feels at the end of a particularly heart-crushing book.  

So I'm going to break the lyrics down, (mostly the chorus) and explain how it relates to the PAIN EVERY READER ENDURES. Do feel free to sing along! ;)

And because I know you're tempted:

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Blog Tour & Guest Post: Haze, by Paula Weston

A few days ago, I finished reading Haze, by Paula Weston, and subsequently resorted to uncontrollable fangirl gushing. Easily, one of the best paranormal books I've read this year. Should I be surprised? Shadows, the first installment, was just as amazing as this one.

To say I was ecstatic to be a part of this blog tour does a great injustice to my feelings. 

Today the talented Paula Weston, who is going to discuss her musical inspiration for Haze, is visiting the blog. But first, here is some information about the book which I demand that you read:

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Review: Heir of Fire, by Sarah J. Maas

Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass, #3)Title: Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publication Date: September 2, 2014
Genre: High fantasy
Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy.

While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love? -Goodreads

3 Stars

Thank you Bloomsbury for sending me this copy, which did not affect my review in any way!
Slight spoilers for Throne of Glass.

Oh, hey, there. Were you reading this review to decide whether or not you should read Heir of Fire? Well, let me warn you from here: I myself am horribly conflicted and this uncertainty will reflect throughout the entire review. If you enjoy reading a review with a teen girl sputtering on and on, then you are welcome to be entertained at my expense.

Based on complicated thought processes and hours of analyzing (not really) I've come to the conclusion that Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas will receive my normally default rating of 3 stars. We shall begin.

(I hope you read the above paragraphs in a facetious tone because I certainly did.)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Summerfall, by Claire Legrand Teaser Blast + Giveaway

Hey guys! Today, I'm showcasing a prequel novella--which publishes today--to a book I think EVERYONE should read (ehem Winterspell). 

Rinka is a faery, passionate and powerful, determined to maintain the tenuous peace between faeries and humans.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Chips, Metaphors, & Ehhs: A Review of Compulsion


Title: Compulsion (The Heirs of Watson Island #1)
Author: Martina Boone
Publication Date: October 28, 2014
Genre: Fantasy/Southern Gothic
Three plantations. Two wishes. One ancient curse.

When loss is all you know, how do you find true love?

Beautiful Creatures meets The Body Finder in this spellbinding new trilogy.

All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lived with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt’s South Carolina plantation instead--a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions.

Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who knows what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family's twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn’t what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead. -Goodreads

2 Stars
*Thank you Simon Pulse for sending me this copy, which did not affect my review in any way.*

Compulsion is like a bag of chips.

Before you exit that browser and mutter how much of a loon I am (which may or may not be true) let me explain. See, it's a metaphor for this book I'M HUNGRY OKAY. Take a look at this picture:

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Why I'm Stingy with 5-Star Ratings

Well, "stingy" is kind of a strong word, but hey, I'll be the first to admit that I'm prone to dramatics. Eh.

sherlock animated GIF
Yes, yes I am, Watson.
The other day, I was going through my Goodreads reviews and noticed how rarely I give out five stars--most of the time going the more safe route and giving the book 4.5 stars. And when I looked at my rating statistics, only 18% of my books are bestowed with the honor of 5 stars, while 26% are given 4 stars.

(In all honesty I believe the 18% to be a bit inflated, because when I love a series, say Harry Potter or Percy Jackson, I give the entire series five stars. So if it weren't for that, the percentage would most likely decline.)

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Mini-Reviews: Of Beast and Beauty & What Happened to Goodbye

Of Beast and BeautyTitle: Of Beast and Beauty
Author: Stacey Jay
Publication Date: July 23, 2013
Genre: Fantasy
In the beginning was the darkness, and in the darkness was a girl, and in the girl was a secret...

In the domed city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra, a Smooth Skin, is raised to be a human sacrifice whose death will ensure her city’s vitality. In the desert outside Yuan, Gem, a mutant beast, fights to save his people, the Monstrous, from starvation. Neither dreams that together, they could return balance to both their worlds.
As secrets are revealed and Isra’s sight, which vanished during her childhood, returned, Isra will have to choose between duty to her people and the beast she has come to love. -Goodreads

4 Stars
Oh, how refreshing it is to read a YA fantasy novel that is not part of a series.

How invigorating it is to read of a fairytale that stays faithful to the original while deviating from the standard to create a world that is incomparable in characters and prose.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Review: Dreams of Gods and Monsters, by Laini Taylor

Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #3)Title: Dreams of Gods and Monsters (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #3)
Author: Laini Taylor
Publication Date: April 8, 2014
Genre: Fantasy
By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her, if there can even be a future for the chimaera in war-ravaged Eretz.

Common enemy, common cause.

When Jael's brutal seraph army trespasses into the human world, the unthinkable becomes essential, and Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people. And, perhaps, for themselves. Toward a new way of living, and maybe even love.

But there are bigger threats than Jael in the offing. A vicious queen is hunting Akiva, and, in the skies of Eretz ... something is happening. Massive stains are spreading like bruises from horizon to horizon; the great winged stormhunters are gathering as if summoned, ceaselessly circling, and a deep sense of wrong pervades the world.

What power can bruise the sky?

From the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond, humans, chimaera and seraphim will fight, strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy.

At the very barriers of space and time, what do gods and monsters dream of? And does anything else matter? -Goodreads

3.5 Stars
Ughhhhhhhhhhhh. You do not know how much I hate myself right now, how much it physically hurts to give this book any less than five stars. I AM DYING INSIDE. *hyperventilates*

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Blog Tour: 3 Reasons to Read The Fire Wish + Giveaway!

The Fire Wish (The Jinni Wars, #1)Title: The Fire Wish (The Jinni Wars #1)
Author: Amber Lough
Publication Date: July 22, 2014
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: 3.5 stars
A jinni. A princess. And the wish that changes everything. . . .

Najwa is a jinni, training to be a spy in the war against the humans. Zayele is a human on her way to marry a prince of Baghdad—which she’ll do anything to avoid. So she captures Najwa and makes a wish. With a rush of smoke and fire, they fall apart and re-form—as each other. A jinni and a human, trading lives. Both girls must play their parts among enemies who would kill them if the deception were ever discovered—enemies including the young men Najwa and Zayele are just discovering they might love. -Goodreads

I just finished The Fire Wish a couple weeks ago, and OH MY GOD YOU GUYS HAVE TO READ THIS. There are Jinnis, princesses, princes, magic, palaces - basically, if you love fantasy, this book will satisfy you and go above and beyond your expectations. Yes, there are flaws, but most of them I was able to ignore.

Here are 3 Reasons to Read The Fire Wish!

1. Because it's far more authentic than the watered down Disney version (ahem, Aladdin) 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Book Reviewers Would Make Awesome Authors.

I created this post because I've noticed many people are down in the blogging community, so it's meant to be a pretty positive post. *sprinkles pixie dust and showers you with chocolate*

This isn't intended to "toot my own horn" or to establish bloggers as the kings and queens of the interwebz or maybe it is - and what's wrong with being proud of who you are, anyway?

Also, I'm including both book reviewers and book bloggers. Not everyone is both, but I'm sure most of us are book reviewers.

So, here are the reasons I believe book bloggers/reviewers would make AWESOME authors:

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Puns, Whales, & Tattoos: Review of Salt & Storm

Salt & StormTitle: Salt & Storm
Author: Kendall Kulper
Publication Date: September 23, 2014
Genre: YA Paranormal
A sweeping historical romance about a witch who foresees her own murder--and the one boy who can help change her future.

Sixteen-year-old Avery Roe wants only to take her rightful place as the witch of Prince Island, making the charms that keep the island's whalers safe at sea, but her mother has forced her into a magic-free world of proper manners and respectability. When Avery dreams she's to be murdered, she knows time is running out to unlock her magic and save herself.

Avery finds an unexpected ally in a tattooed harpoon boy named Tane--a sailor with magic of his own, who moves Avery in ways she never expected. Becoming a witch might stop her murder and save her island from ruin, but Avery discovers her magic requires a sacrifice she never prepared for. -Goodreads

3 Stars
Thanks to Netgalley and Little, Brown for this copy, which did not affect my review in any way.

Salt & Storm was weird as hell. Whether that's a good or bad thing is completely debatable.

There are those books that no matter how many battles, how many risks they take, how much danger they're in, the reader knows that in the end, the characters will end up all right. Sure, there is always that near-death moment where the author tries to convince us that the protagonist is about to die and we should be gripping the book for fear of this, but if you've read a variety of YA books you can easily see through this ploy.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Genes, Sobs, and Marchetta: Review of One Past Midnight

One Past MidnightTitle: One Past Midnight
Author: Jessica Shirvington
Publication Date: July 22, 2014
Genre: YA Paranormal
Name of overseas edition of Between The Lives.

Above all else, though I try not to think about it, I know which life I prefer. And every night when I Cinderella myself from one life to the next a very small, but definite, piece of me dies. The hardest part is that nothing about my situation has ever changed. There is no loophole.
Until now, that is...

For as long as she can remember, Sabine has lived two lives. Every 24 hours she Shifts to her ′other′ life - a life where she is exactly the same, but absolutely everything else is different: different family, different friends, different social expectations. In one life she has a sister, in the other she does not. In one life she′s a straight-A student with the perfect boyfriend, in the other she′s considered a reckless delinquent. Nothing about her situation has ever changed, until the day when she discovers a glitch: the arm she breaks in one life is perfectly fine in the other.

With this new knowledge, Sabine begins a series of increasingly risky experiments which bring her dangerously close to the life she′s always wanted... But just what - and who - is she really risking? -Goodreads

4.5 Stars
Thank you Bloomsbury for sending me this copy, which did not affect my review in any way.

Beware of slightly unintelligible gushing and if you hear a fangirl sobbing in the distance, that's probably me.

Sabine is a high school senior in her last weeks of school. She lives two lives; one that is seemingly flawless, while the other is - flawed, to say the least. After an unfortunate butt-in-the-air accident, Sabine finds that her physical body is only affected in one life, and not in the other. She decides that she must choose one life - which is far easier said than done.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Favorite Books from My Childhood

This post is inspired by Amber from Mile Long Bookshelf's wonderful post!

I've always been into reading. According to my mom, she wanted to instill in me a love for the written word because she has always hated books. (Don't really know how that's possible.) Because of this, I have an overabundance of children's books on the bookshelf in my garage that I've held dear to me since my childhood. 

Get ready to witness A BLAST FROM THE PAST: *dramatic background music*

(Aside: Tierra also created a neat flowchart showcasing "The Years of My Life (in books)." You should check it out!) 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Eyeshadow, Yawns, & IDGAFs: Review of The Body in the Woods

The Body in the Woods (Point Last Seen, #1)Title: The Body In the Woods
Author: April Henry
Publication Date: June 17, 2014
Genre: Mystery
In this new series told from multiple perspectives, teen members of a search and rescue team discover a dead body in the woods.

Alexis, Nick, and Ruby have very different backgrounds: Alexis has spent her life covering for her mom’s mental illness, Nick’s bravado hides his fear of not being good enough, and Ruby just wants to pursue her eccentric interests in a world that doesn’t understand her. When the three teens join Portland County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, they are teamed up to search for a autistic man lost in the woods. What they find instead is a dead body. In a friendship that will be forged in danger, fear, and courage, the three team up to find the girl’s killer—before he can strike one of their own.

This first book in April Henry’s Point Last Seen YA mystery series is full of riveting suspense, putting readers in the middle of harrowing rescues and crime scene investigations. -Goodreads

DNF - 1 Star
Thank you Henry Holt for sending me an Advanced Readers Copy of this book, which did not affect my review in any way.

I don't know why this is labeled a "thriller" when it definitely was not a thrill to read.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

#WeNeedDiverseBooks Spotlight: Mornings in Jenin, by Susan Abulhawa

Mornings in Jenin
Title: Mornings in Jenin
Author: Susan Abulhawa
Publication Date: February 2, 2010
Genre: Historical Fiction
A heart-wrenching, powerfully written novel that could do for Palestine what The Kite Runner did for Afghanistan.

Forcibly removed from the ancient village of Ein Hod by the newly formed state of Israel in 1948, the Abulhejas are moved into the Jenin refugee camp. There, exiled from his beloved olive groves, the family patriarch languishes of a broken heart, his eldest son fathers a family and falls victim to an Israeli bullet, and his grandchildren struggle against tragedy toward freedom, peace, and home. This is the Palestinian story, told as never before, through four generations of a single family.

The very precariousness of existence in the camps quickens life itself. Amal, the patriarch's bright granddaughter, feels this with certainty when she discovers the joys of young friendship and first love and especially when she loses her adored father, who read to her daily as a young girl in the quiet of the early dawn. Through Amal we get the stories of her twin brothers, one who is kidnapped by an Israeli soldier and raised Jewish; the other who sacrifices everything for the Palestinian cause. Amal’s own dramatic story threads between the major Palestinian-Israeli clashes of three decades; it is one of love and loss, of childhood, marriage, and parenthood, and finally of the need to share her history with her daughter, to preserve the greatest love she has.

The deep and moving humanity of Mornings in Jenin forces us to take a fresh look at one of the defining political conflicts of our lifetimes. -Goodreads

5 Stars
Since its birth a month ago, I have been an avid supporter of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign. I mean, besides the fact that I'm part of a minority, I've noticed that there seems to be one type of protagonist that publishers look for, and this in turn leads to a horribly un-diverse cast of fictional protagonists. I, like many other readers, am sick and tired of this uniformity.

Friday, June 27, 2014

{June Book Haul}

Stacking the Shelves
Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Now that school is over, you'd think I'd be flying through books, right? WRONG. I've had a book slump since school ended a few weeks ago - and when I say book slump, I mean that I send my time stalking book blogs instead of reading.

It's not that I have no books to read - quite the opposite, actually, as the pictures below clearly prove. Here is my book hoard haul for June:

Monday, June 23, 2014

Snarkfest: Overly Badass Heroes & Heroines

I'm sure most of us, if not all, love a heroine/hero with a considerable amount of "spunk." Girls like Katniss and Celaena makes us girls proud, and guys like Ash and the Darkling make us swoooon.


For some, there comes a time when you encounter a hero/heroine who is just WAY too badass and extremely unrealistic. Yeah, yeah, it's fiction, but we crave a character with flaws, who isn't perfection incarnate, and who makes mistakes. Sometimes, I think, authors take the badassery way too far and end up creating a character whose only purpose is to defeat the bad guys. There's no personality, no imperfections, NADA.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Support Strange Chemistry!

Strange Chemistry

This support blog hop was created by Kaye at Watercolor Moods.

It's super depressing to hear the news of Strange Chemistry, a young adult imprint of Angry Robot, closing down. Authors who were supposed to publish their books in the coming months are no longer able to, such as Eliza Crewe, author of Cracked.

So, in honor of them, I shall make a list of the awesome things they have brought to the YA world:

Friday, June 20, 2014

City of Heavenly Fire & Other Rant-y Things

City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6)
DNF at page two-hundred or three-hundred and something

Once upon a time there was a twelve-year-old girl who loved reading. She read anything she could get her hands on - but unlike other girls her age, she refused to read Twilight. No, she was far too good for that. Instead, she devoured the Mortal Instruments series, which she believed was far more well-written, more complex than that worthless Twilight.

Fast forward two years later, and Summer is eagerly waiting for the next installment in the series, City of Lost Souls. The previous one wasn't as good as the others, but she believed that this would be the one. To kill the time, Summer browsed a website she recently discovered: Goodreads. Mind you, she did not make an account, but she did spend a considerable amount of time reading reviews of her Favorite Series of All Time.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Review: Cinderella's Dress, by Shonna Slayton

Cinderella's Dress
Title: Cinderella's Dress
Author: Shonna Slayton
Publication Date: June 3, 2014
Genre: Historical Fiction/Fantasy
Being seventeen during World War II is tough. Finding out you’re the next keeper of the real Cinderella’s dresses is even tougher.
Kate simply wants to create window displays at the department store where she's working, trying to help out with the war effort. But when long-lost relatives from Poland arrive with a steamer trunk they claim holds the Cinderella’s dresses, life gets complicated.
Now, with a father missing in action, her new sweetheart, Johnny, stuck in the middle of battle, and her great aunt losing her wits, Kate has to unravel the mystery before it’s too late.

After all, the descendants of the wicked stepsisters will stop at nothing to get what they think they deserve. -Goodreads
2 Stars

*Thank you Entangled Publishing for providing me a copy for review.*

DNF at 75%.

Slayton's Cinderella's Dress is a lovely example of amazing concept, bad execution.

Go on, read the synopsis yourself. It's trivial how a book with so much promise can be so lacking. You have historical fiction, which I love, fairy tale elements, which I adore, and a hint of feminism. What's not to love?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Review: Shatter Me, by Tahereh Mafi

10429045Title: Shatter Me
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Pub. Date: November 15, 2011
Genre: Dystopia, Romance

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.-Goodreads

Warning: This review will be filled with spoilers and and a lot of ranting about Shatter Me

2 Stars

Is it bad that I hated this book that everyone else seems to love? Everything about it annoyed me; the characters, the badly executed storyline (that could have had potential), the million love interests and the writing style... don't even get me started on the writing style. and what was with all this?

Summer and I have agreed that Shatter Me is just one of those books that we love to hate. Sure, I will admit that both the storyline and the writing had huge potential and from just the blurb I thought that it would be a book I would enjoy, but then why did I finish Shatter Me feeling frustrated and angry and here's a short(ish) list why.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Blogger Me vs. Real Me

This is not my normal type of post; it's not entirely bookish-related, but it does pertain to the book-blogging community.

The other day, I had an epiphany of sorts. I was musing on how ah-mazing it would be to attend BEA and meet tons of book bloggers in the flesh and blood. (No, that choice of phrase is not odd). And based on what other bloggers have said, it seems like a pretty cool experience to finally meet someone you've been interacting with online in person.  

In my highly improbable BEA daydream, I wondered how I would react to meeting other book bloggers. Would I be completely speechless, or would I be as talkative as I normally am?

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Review: Cruel Beauty, by Rosamund Hodge

Cruel Beauty

Title: Cruel Beauty (Cruel Beauty Universe)
Author: Rosamund Hodge
Genre: Fairytale retelling
Publication Date: January 28, 2014
Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl's journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.
Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex's secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love. -Goodreads

3-3.5 Stars
As a child, Belle was always one of my favorite Disney characters. (I related to her so much. Probably because we both love reading and have brown hair xD). And as such, Beauty and the Beast was one of my favorite fairy tales. So, I was expecting to love this.

Did I?

It varies.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

7 Reasons to Read Revolution, by Jennifer Donnelly


Title: Revolution
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Genre: Historical fiction/Contemporary
Publication Date: October 12, 2010
From the privileged streets of modern Brooklyn to the heart of the French Revolution, Jennifer Donnelly, author of the award-winning novel A Northern Light, artfully weaves two girls’ stories into one unforgettable account of life, loss, and enduring love. Revolution spans centuries and vividly depicts the eternal struggles of the human heart.

BROOKLYN: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she’s about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights’ most prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break.

PARIS: Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn’t want—and couldn’t escape.

Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There’s comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal’s antique pages—until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine’s words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present. -Goodreads

5 Stars

"I am not afraid of beatings or blood anymore. I’m not afraid of guards or guillotines.
There is only one thing I fear now - love.
For I have seen it and I have felt it and I know that it is love, not death, that undoes us."

What the heck did I just read?

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly goes right up there with novels like I Am the Messenger, A Northern Light (also written by her), and Jellicoe Road. And trust me, I do not honor any book with as prestigious a rank as this.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Mini-Reviews: Trouble and Delirium

Author: Non Pratt
Genre: Contemporary
Publication Date: March 6, 2014
In this dazzling debut novel, a pregnant teen learns the meaning of friendship—from the boy who pretends to be her baby’s father.

When the entire high school finds out that Hannah Shepard is pregnant via her ex-best friend, she has a full-on meltdown in her backyard. The one witness (besides the rest of the world): Aaron Tyler, a transfer student and the only boy who doesn’t seem to want to get into Hannah’s pants. Confused and scared, Hannah needs someone to be on her side. Wishing to make up for his own past mistakes, Aaron does the unthinkable and offers to pretend to be the father of Hannah’s unborn baby. Even more unbelievable, Hannah hears herself saying “yes.”

Told in alternating perspectives between Hannah and Aaron, Trouble is the story of two teenagers helping each other to move forward in the wake of tragedy and devastating choices. As you read about their year of loss, regret, and hope, you’ll remember your first, real best friend—and how they were like a first love. -Goodreads

Meh. That's what I thought of this book. It wasn't amazing and it wasn't terrible, just meh.

3.5 Stars

The first half of Trouble I loved! The storyline was interesting, the characters were realistic and so were their problems and then suddenly all of that seemed to change. The storyline got sort of boring, the characters started to really annoy me and the whole book seemed to be exactly like the sort of gossip you read on bathroom walls.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

How to Tame Your TBR Pile

Some days I find myself scrolling through my recommended books Goodreads and adding an endless amount of books to my To Be Read pile. Today happened to be one of those days and I was left with a TBR list of 104 books. As a rule I try to stay below 100 so I think it's time that I clear it all up a bit and at the same time teach you all my three easy steps so that you can also tame your TBR list!

The Official Guide to Taming Your TBR List (as told by Tierra)

Step One. Move books that you have already read or are currently reading. This one may sound simple, but there's always a chance that you accidentally put a book on the wrong place. I always find at least one book that shouldn't be where it is and today was no exception.

Was: 104 | Now: 103

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Mini-Reviews: If You Find Me, and The Diamond Thief

If You Find Me

Title: If You Find Me
Author: Emily Murdoch
Genre: Contemporary
Publication Date: March 26, 2013
There are some things you can’t leave behind…
A broken-down camper hidden deep in a national forest is the only home fifteen year-old Carey can remember. The trees keep guard over her threadbare existence, with the one bright spot being Carey’s younger sister, Jenessa, who depends on Carey for her very survival. All they have is each other, as their mentally ill mother comes and goes with greater frequency. Until that one fateful day their mother disappears for good, and two strangers arrive. Suddenly, the girls are taken from the woods and thrust into a bright and perplexing new world of high school, clothes and boys.

Now, Carey must face the truth of why her mother abducted her ten years ago, while haunted by a past that won’t let her go… a dark past that hides many a secret, including the reason Jenessa hasn’t spoken a word in over a year. Carey knows she must keep her sister close, and her secrets even closer, or risk watching her new life come crashing down. -Goodreads
3 Stars

I hadn't anticipated the depth and power of If You Find Me when I first acquired it. I didn't expect it to be such a dark, deep novel. It tells the story of a girl who has lived in the woods her entire life, along with her sister and drug-addicted mother. She is completely disconnected from society, and has trouble adjusting into the life of a normal teenager.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Review: Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein

Code Name Verity

Title: Code Name Verity
Author: Elizabeth Wein
Publication Date: February 6, 2012
Genre: YA Historical fiction

Oct. 11th, 1943-A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. But only one of the girls has a chance at survival.

Arrested by the Gestapo, "Verity" is given a choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution. They'll get the truth out of her. Only, it won't be what they expect.

A Michael L. Printz Award Honor book that was called "a fiendishly-plotted mind game of a novel" in The New York Times, Code Name Verity is a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other.
3.5 Stars
"Must be lovely flying in peacetime." 
Five tries. It took me five tries, over the course of a year, to actually finish this novel. Not to say it was bad - on the contrary, actually - but  the confusing plot combined with my relatively short attention span made it difficult to actually finish Code Name Verity.
*pages of details on airplanes*
Me: Oh, look, a fly!