Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday 69: Crash (Visions # 1)

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine

Name: Crash (Visions # 1)
Author: Lisa McMann
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: January 8th, 2012
240 pages
Add the book on Goodreads


If what you see is what you get, Jules is in serious trouble. Jules lives with her family above their restaurant, which means she smells like pizza most of the time and drives their double-meatball-shaped food truck to school. It’s not a recipe for popularity, but she can handle that.

What she can’t handle is the recurring vision that haunts her. Over and over, Jules sees a careening truck hit a building and explode...and nine body bags in the snow.

The vision is everywhere—on billboards, television screens, windows—and she’s the only one who sees it. And the more she sees it, the more she sees. The vision is giving her clues, and soon Jules knows what she has to do. Because now she can see the face in one of the body bags, and it’s someone she knows. Someone she has been in love with for as long as she can remember.

In this riveting start to a gripping series from New York Times bestselling author Lisa McMann, Jules has to act—and act fast—to keep her vision from becoming reality.


My Thoughts:
Ever since first reading Lisa McMann's Wake series a few years ago, I found that I loved her writing style. I have read several of her other books since then and liked them all very much! The plot of visions seems extremely interesting and definitely like something I would enjoy. Not to mention that I love the cover! I will definitely be picking up a copy of this book when it comes out in January!

What are you waiting for this week? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Deity Blog Tour: Character Interview!

I am extremely honored to be a part of this EPIC blog tour!  You can check out the full schedule HERE!
For Catching Books' stop on the tour, we get to interview the gorgeous Aiden! 
Below is the interview:

Describe your relationship with Alex in three words:
He sighs. "So very complicated."

If you could take Alex on a date anywhere, where would you go and why?
His eyes light up, turning a deep silver. "Easy. I'd take her to a petting zoo. Sounds lame, but she'd love that."
What's your favorite part about being a pureblood? Least favorite part?
"The expectations of our society, that we should behave a certain way is my least favorite part. And I don't think I even have a favorite part. Maybe it's the freedom, but the fact my kind subjugates another kind of takes away from that."

What's your favorite song?
"Brown eyed girl."

Favorite movie?
"Any James Bond movie."
Favorite memory?
"I have two: the last summer my parents were alive and the first time I saw Alex."
Isn't Aiden the best? Anyways I hope that gets you all super excited for Deity! Be sure to enter the following giveaways below:

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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Cursed by Jennifer L. Armentrout Review

Name: Cursed
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Release Date: September 18th, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Buy the book on Amazon
288 pages

Dying sucks-- and high school senior Ember McWilliams knows firsthand. After a fatal car accident, her gifted little sister brought her back. Now anything Ember touches dies. And that, well, really blows.Ember operates on a no-touch policy with all living things--including boys. When Hayden Cromwell shows up, quoting Oscar Wilde and claiming her curse is a gift, she thinks he's a crazed cutie. But when he tells her he can help control it, she's more than interested. There's just one catch: Ember has to trust Hayden's adopted father, a man she's sure has sinister reasons for collecting children whose abilities even weird her out. 
However, she's willing to do anything to hold her sister's hand again. And hell, she'd also like to be able to kiss Hayden. Who wouldn't? But when Ember learns the accident that turned her into a freak may not have been an accident at all, she's not sure who to trust. Someone wanted her dead, and the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she is to losing not only her heart, but her life. For real this time.

My Review:

Jennifer L. Armentrout has does it again, with another amazing YA fantasy romance book!  The reader cannot help but feel caught right from the beginning and all the way through to the very last page.  JLA has a way with writing YA romance scenes, broken, overprotective boys, and strong female characters, all of which she does an excellent job with in this book!

Ember has been dealt a truly unfair hand in life: she has a father who died in the car accident that almost killed her as well, she has a mother who is basically catatonic and just sits around the house all day, she has to care for her five-year-old sister, Olivia (who has the gift of bringing anything dead back to life) all by herself, she is constantly ridiculed, tormented, and called a freak during school, and not to mention that after her sister brings her back to life, anything (or anyone) that she touches immediately dies.  Ember spends part of the book feeling sorry for herself (which, I mean, I can't really blame her for), but even when she doesn't believe in herself she still remains a strong character.  She does not let anyone else tell her what to do, and when Jonathan Cromwell and his adopted son Hayden bring her and her family to their house of strange kids with "gifts", she may go with them, but she doesn't do so willingly.  Throughout the entire novel, Ember is always fighting to make sure her ideas and instincts are not only heard, but believed in.

Of course, one of the best parts about this book was the romance between Ember and Hayden!  It was absolutely wonderful to watch the progression of their relationship; after all, what kind of intimate relationship can they have if no part of Ember's skin can come into contact with Hayden's?  However, Hayden also has an interesting gift, and after some time and a great deal of arguing, the two make things work.  Hayden turns out to be another great JLA boy: lovable, sweet, caring, broken, and most importantly willing to do anything to make sure his love, Ember, is never hurt.  Probably partly due to the fact that Ember cannot touch Hayden without killing him, the two were really able to get to know each other as people before they did as partners, and I really enjoyed watching them learn about each other.

Although this book was a great read, it definitely was not as good as JLA's other two series, Lux and Covenant.  The entire middle of the book seemed to drag out a little slowly, but it was surrounded by an intriguing beginning and an absolutely thrilling ending.  I am unclear about whether this book is a series or a standalone, but I really hope that it is a series because I still have many questions about Ember's world that will take several more books to answer!  Either way, fans of romance and fantasy books (and especially those who love JLA) should definitely check out this book!

My Rating:

Friday, October 26, 2012

Matched (Matched #1) by Ally Condie Review

AuthorAlly Condie
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Release Date: 
November 30th 2010
Format: Hardcover
Buy the Book on Amazon 
369 pages   

Elizabeth Valchar-pretty, popular, and perfect-wakes up the morning after her eighteenth birthday party on her family's yacht, where she'd been celebrating with her six closest friends. A persistent thumping noise has roused her. When she goes to investigate, what she finds will change everything she thought she knew about her life, her friends, and everything in between. As Liz begins to unravel the circumstances surrounding her birthday night, she will find that no one around her, least of all Liz herself, was perfect-or innocent. Critically acclaimed author Jessica Warman brings readers along on a roller-coaster ride of a mystery, one that is also a heartbreaking character study, a touching romance, and ultimately a hopeful tale of redemption, love, and letting go.

My Review:

Matched is one of the best diystopian I read this year. I loved it. When I saw the summary I wasn’t really interested, it reminded me too much Delirium, and infact I initially took it for the gorgeous cover and for the really positive reviews I found on goodreads.
Condie’s writing style was beautiful. It reminded me a bit of Maggie Stiefvater, it was full of poetry and lyrics, and certainly was one of the main reasons I loved this book. 
I was really captured by the plot. I felt like I was inside the story, like I was living the world described by the author.
Cassia is one of the best heroine I ever met. At the start she was weak and frail, but her character and her way of thinking changes a lot through the book. 
When she begins to realize that her life isn’t the perfect and happy life she always believed in, and that all her convictions are completely wrong, Cassia doesn’t wait for someone to save her, but she tries to fight the society and at the same time to protect her family.
At the end of the book we found a brave, smart and strong Cassia, who is determined to live the life she wants, to make her choices, and to stay with the guy she loves.
I really liked the love story too. The relationship between Cassia and Ky was beautifully developed. There are so many authors that make their characters love each other immediately from the first chapter, it’s so unrealistic and I’m really annoyed when they do that, so I was very happy when I realized that Ally Condie wasn’t one of those authors.
Ky and Xander are both fantastic characters. Ky is the mysterious and cryptic guy, who has a lot of secrets and a story to tell, a story we get to know piece by piece, page after page. 
Xander was my favourite character at the start. I thought he and Cassia were perfect together, and I was even a little annoyed by Ky, but as I started to know him better I realized that he and Cassia are meant to be together.
My rating is 4 starts, nearly 4.5!Like I said early, Matched is one of the best dystopians I read this year, absolutely recommended to all fans of the genre!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday 68: Opal (Lux # 3)

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine
Name: Opal (Lux # 3)
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Release Date: December 11th, 2012
452 pages
Add the book on Goodreads


No one is like Daemon Black.

When he set out to prove his feelings for me, he wasn’t fooling around. Doubting him isn’t something I’ll do again, and now that we’ve made it through the rough patches, well... There’s a lot of spontaneous combustion going on.

But even he can’t protect his family from the danger of trying to free those they love.

After everything, I’m no longer the same Katy. I’m different... And I’m not sure what that will mean in the end. When each step we take in discovering the truth puts us in the path of the secret organization responsible for torturing and testing hybrids, the more I realize there is no end to what I’m capable. The death of someone close still lingers, help comes from the most unlikely source, and friends will become the deadliest of enemies, but we won’t turn back. Even if the outcome will shatter our worlds forever.

Together we’re stronger... and they know it.


My Thoughts:
I don't think I can wait until December for this book! I loved loved LOVED the first two books in this series!! Jennifer Armentrout is one of my favorite authors and I absolutely love her books! I'm so glad that there will be five books in this series, instead of just three. Daemon and Katy are great together and I can't wait to read more about their romance! The second book, Onyx, ended in a bit of a cliffhanger and I'm dying in anticipation of what happens next! December can't come sooner! Also, don't you just love the cover?

What are you waiting for this week? Let me know in the comments!

Gravity Tour: Excerpt, Author Spotlight and Giveaway!!

Hi everyone! Today Catching Books is participating in the Gravity Tour! Make sure to enter the giveaway at the bottom of the post :)

Gravity (The Taking, #1)

 Excerpt from Gravity
Everyone and everything is silent. My gaze holds on Jackson. I try not to notice the way his blond strands shadow his eyes or the way his body flexes as he prepares to fight. These aren't things to notice in an opponent - especially not now. I feel my breathing escalate, hear it release in short bursts. I attempt to close down my mind, but I'm wrecked with thoughts and worry. 

What if he kills me during the fight with one of his abilities so I don't expose him? No, that would be too obvious. He'll have to fight like a human, and I can' beat a human. 

Suddenly, anger that he's been fighting me for months now, all the while pretending to be human yet knowing he had the advantage as an Ancient pits my stomach. I rush forward and jab, just as Jackson spins out from the contact. He wraps his arms around my waist, tosses me to the mat, and pulls back his arm to punch. I leap backwards and bounce around. I can't be on the defensive. I can't lose control. I pull my arms tight, adjust my focus, and force all fear from my mind. 

 I am the next Commander. 

 I whip around,surprising Jackson with a kick in the gut. He stumbles back with a breathless laugh. "Oh, really?" he says. Then he's in my face."Sorry, Alexander." And he punches me in the jaw. 

My head snaps back, my mouth fills with a metallic taste. I lick away the blood from my bottom lip and try to shake away the throbbing pain. Anger bubbles from my chest and I lunge for him, kicking and swinging, unsure of anything but the force of my movements. I want to beat him. I'm going to beat him. I pull away and he stumbles again, shock written across his face. I fight the urge to spit at him and instead push him further backwards. 

"Bring it," I scream, and then narrowing my eyes and lowering my voice, I whisper, "I'm not afraid of you." 
The arrogance drips from his face."You should be." And he flips forward, but my dad taught me well. I know the flip will alter the cushion around his brain just enough so when I slam my fist into his face it will do more than cause blood; it will lay his ass on the ground.

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.

Expected Publication: October 30th, 2012
Publisher: Entangled Publishing


Melissa  WestAuthor Spotlight:

Melissa lives in a tiny suburb of Atlanta, GA with her husband and daughter. She pretends to like yoga, actually likes shoes, and could not live without coffee. Her writing heroes include greats like Jane Austen and Madeleine L'Engle. 

She holds a B.A. in Communication Studies and an M.S. in Graphic Communication, both from Clemson University. Yeah, her blood runs orange. 

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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Elixir (Covenant # 3.5) by Jennifer L. Armentrout Review

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Release Date: November 27th, 2012
Format: Ebook
Buy the book on Amazon
80 pages

Aiden St. Delphi will do anything to save Alex.
Even if it means doing the one thing he will never forgive himself for.
Even if it means making war against the gods.


My Review:

I was absolutely thrilled when I found Elixir on Jennifer Armentrout's blog a little over a week ago.  I was not expecting this novella for at least another month and receiving it early, not to mention for free, made me want to jump up and down and squeal in happiness.  However, I can safely say that I did not want to jump up and down and squeal in happiness as much then as I did after I finished reading it!

Just a quick disclaimer: do not read this novella if you have not already read Deity!  It has major spoilers and starts off right after the third book's cliffhanger ending.  That being said, I do not want to ruin the plot for anyone, but I absolutely loved how this little novella explained the events that transpired after Deity's cliffhanger!  I have been dying to know what happened and this is exactly what I have been waiting for.  I do wish, however, that it had been longer than 80 pages, but 80 pages of plot from JLA is still better than many other books I've read!

I also loved how it was in Aiden's point of view!  I feel as if I had already known Aiden so well because Alex sees him through a very shrewd lens, but it was still awesome to be inside of his head, especially in this difficult time.  No matter what happens throughout the series, it is evident that he loves Alex with all of his heart and will do anything he needs to - even if it means risking himself, both physically and mentally - to make sure that Alex is kept safe.

This novella was an excellent, quick read and I am so happy that I was able to read it so soon.  Fans of the Covenant series will love this little insight into Aiden's mind and this glimpse into what happens after Deity's major cliffhanger.  After reading this, I don't think it's physically possible for me to wait until April for the next book, Apollyon, to come out.  Everyone should definitely check out this book right after reading Deity, and if you haven't already read this series, then you definitely should - I promise you won't regret starting it now!

My Rating:

Friday, October 19, 2012

Between by Jessica Warman Review

Author: Jessica Warman
Publisher: Walker & Company
Release Date: 
August 2nd 2011

Format: Hardcover
Buy the Book on Amazon 
464 pages   

Elizabeth Valchar-pretty, popular, and perfect-wakes up the morning after her eighteenth birthday party on her family's yacht, where she'd been celebrating with her six closest friends. A persistent thumping noise has roused her. When she goes to investigate, what she finds will change everything she thought she knew about her life, her friends, and everything in between. As Liz begins to unravel the circumstances surrounding her birthday night, she will find that no one around her, least of all Liz herself, was perfect-or innocent. Critically acclaimed author Jessica Warman brings readers along on a roller-coaster ride of a mystery, one that is also a heartbreaking character study, a touching romance, and ultimately a hopeful tale of redemption, love, and letting go.

My Review:

I picked up Between mainly for its cover, but it was the synopsis that made me buy it.
I really like ghost stories, and when i discovered this book on Goodreads i was sure i'd love it. And so i did. 

Elizabeth, called Liz, has everything. A beautiful look, a lovely boyfriend, a rich father who gives her all she wants, and a step-sister who is also her best friend. So she's really shocked when she wakes up and discovers that she is actually dead. 

With no memory of what happened, Liz finds herself between the world of the living and the world of the dead. Soon she meets Alex, a school mate died by car accident two years before, and who seems to hate her. Liz and her friends in fact were the ones who mocked and tormented him at school. 

But now that she's dead, and she has no one expect Alex, Liz must accept his company and his help. She's determined to discover how she died, and convinced that this is the only way to go on in the real afterlife. So Liz starts to visit her family and her friends, hoping they know something about that night. 
But everyone she love hide many painful and shoking secrets, and one of them could be also the responsible for her death.

I loved Liz. She's the typical mean and popular girl who thinks she's better of everyone, so it was really interesting see her realize the gravity of her actions and change through all the novel. 

She's the kind of character that you hate at the start, but that you love at the end. At one point, mostly when she has several flashback of her life, i started to really understand her and how she became what she is. 
Certainly this doesn't justify all her awful actions, but make you realize how people can change so badly. 

Between is a beautiful and well written story, not only about a dead girl, but also about the redemption, the ability to change in a better person, the decisions we make. I'm definitely look forward to read the other books of this author!

My rating is 4 stars!Reccomended to all fans of Young Adult and ghost novels!

Doomed by Tracy Deebs Review

Name: Doomed 
Author: Tracy Deebs
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Release Date: January 8, 2013
Format: ARC
pages: 480


Beat the game. Save the world.

Pandora’s just your average teen, glued to her cell phone and laptop, surfing Facebook and e-mailing with her friends, until the day her long-lost father sends her a link to a mysterious site featuring twelve photos of her as a child. Unable to contain her curiosity, Pandora enters the site, where she is prompted to play her favorite virtual-reality game, Zero Day. This unleashes a global computer virus that plunges the whole world into panic: suddenly, there is no Internet. No cell phones. No utilities, traffic lights, hospitals, law enforcement. Pandora teams up with handsome stepbrothers Eli and Theo to enter the virtual world of Zero Day. Simultaneously, she continues to follow the photographs from her childhood in an attempt to beat the game and track down her father, her one key to saving the world as we know it. Part The Matrix, part retelling of the Pandora myth, Doomed has something for gaming fans, dystopian fans, and romance fans alike.

My Review:

I started Doomed with high hopes. Judging by the summary, it had everything I love in a book - a potential apocalypse, a strong female protagonist, hot guys, family drama, and a Greek mythology connection. Unfortunately, all the different elements of the story came together in a way that ultimately didn't really work for me. 

Perhaps the biggest problem was that I felt disconnected through the entire plot. The main character, Pandora, never quite felt real to me. Although the author described what she looked like multiple times, I couldn't picture her as I read the book. I didn't find myself relating to her or caring about her problems for the first third of the novel; and even when the action picked up, I just wasn't as emotionally invested as I had expected to be. 

One of the things I'd been most excited to read about was how the digital connection would fit with the Greek mythology aspect of the story, but that also disappointed me. When it did show up, it seemed contrived and forced - like a good excuse to add the "Pandora's Box" angle into the tale instead of actually moving the story along. However, one thing I really did enjoy was how Tracy Deebs managed to make Pandora playing the game and Pandora's real life adventures equally interesting. Unfortunately, most of Pandora's real life adventures involved a whole lot of her love interests, and...well...that didn't work for me either. 

One of my biggest pet peeves (and one of the biggest tropes) in YA literature these days is the inclusion of the obligatory love triangle. When both boys in the love triangle are in the same family, well...let's just say there were times when I actually glared down at my iPhone (I read this on my Kindle app) and shook my head. Yes, Theo and Eli were solid, likable characters on their own. No, I didn't really buy some of the stuff they did. And yes, I saw the contrived resolution to the triangle coming a mile away. 

Despite these problems, however, I was still mostly enjoying the book's fast-paced action and the author's awesome depiction of a world teetering on the brink of apocalypse...right up until the abrupt, anti-climactic ending. I don't think Tracy Deebs intends to write a sequel to this, which makes the way she cut things off even worse. Very little is resolved, and the questions that are answered are ones the readers could've guessed at hundreds of pages ago. 

In the end, I walked away from Doomed with the feeling that Tracy Deebs simply couldn't handle the scope of all the plot elements she had placed in the story - and therefore didn't do a great job with any of them. While the writing was solid, this story was definitely more of a miss than a hit. 

My Rating:

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill Review

Name: Meant to Be
Author: Lauren Morrill
Publisher: Delacorte
Release Date: November 13th, 2012
Format:  E-Book ARC
256 pages 
Pre-Order the book on Amazon

Thank you Random House and Netgalley for sending me a copy of this book for review!
Meant to be or not meant to be . . . that is the question.

It's one thing to fall head over heels into a puddle of hazelnut coffee, and quite another to fall for the—gasp—wrong guy. Straight-A junior Julia may be accident prone, but she's queen of following rules and being prepared. That's why she keeps a pencil sharpener in her purse and a pocket Shakespeare in her, well, pocket. And that's also why she's chosen Mark Bixford, her childhood crush, as her MTB ("meant to be").

But this spring break, Julia's rules are about to get defenestrated (SAT word: to be thrown from a window) when she's partnered with her personal nemesis, class-clown Jason, on a school trip to London. After one wild party, Julia starts receiving romantic texts . . . from an unknown number! Jason promises to help discover the identity of her mysterious new suitor if she agrees to break a few rules along the way. And thus begins a wild goose chase through London, leading Julia closer and closer to the biggest surprise of all: true love.

Because sometimes the things you least expect are the most meant to be.


My Review:
Meant to Be is one of those contemporary romances that are SO hard to put down, and when I do have to go do other things I find myself just thinking about what's going to happen next! Overall, I really enjoyed Meant to Be, it has just the right amount of great aspects that makes me say this is definitely up there as one of favorite contemporary romance books!

As most of you know, I am a huge sucker for anything British..so I was so happy to see that this book took place in London! It was really fun to see Julia travel around my favorite city and see all the different sites. The fact that she was really into Shakespeare made me like her even more because I really do love Shakespeare. Anyways, the main character Julia is a really great main protagonist! I love how much she believes in love and how she wants to find the "one." I enjoyed seeing her out of her element, and seeing her experience different things that she would have never done at home. Jason (who is awesome btw) really brings out a different side of Julia that I really like. Yes, at times he can be a class clown and kind of a jerk to Julia, but deep down he really likes her and cares about her.

Another aspect of this book that I really liked was the writing style! Lauren Morrill writing style is perfect for this type of book and like I said early, makes the character relatable by making her voice sound like one that is of a typical teenage girl. I could totally see myself being friends with Julia, which is what I like to see when I read contemporary romances. The romance in this book was super sweet too, even though this book takes place over the span of ten days, I didn't think the relationship was rushed or anything. It felt very real, and it was sweet to see Julia and Jason together.

In the end, Meant to Be was a quick and adorable read! If you are looking for a fun contemporary romance check this one out!

My Rating:

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday 67: Reached (Matched # 3)

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine

Name: Reached (Matched # 3)
Author: Ally Condie
Publisher:  Dutton Childrens Books
Release Date: November 13th, 2012
384 pages
Add the book on Goodreads


Cassia faces the ultimate choices in the long-anticipated conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Matched Trilogy

After leaving Society and desperately searching for the Rising—and each other—Cassia and Ky have found what they were looking for, but at the cost of losing each other yet again: Cassia has been assigned to work for the Rising from within Society, while Ky has been stationed outside its borders. But nothing is as predicted, and all too soon the veil lifts and things shift once again.

In this gripping conclusion to the #1 New York Times bestselling Matched Trilogy, Cassia will reconcile the difficulties of challenging a life too confining, seeking a freedom she never dreamed possible, and honoring a love she cannot live without.


My Thoughts:
I love the cover of this book! I started reading this series several years ago and discovered that it is the type of book that finds itself stuck in the back on my mind. I enjoyed reading the two previous books, and often surprised myself by thinking about the plot at random times throughout the year, comparing it to other books and wondering what would happen next. That being said, I can't wait to read the third and final book in the series. I hope it is just as good as, if not better than, the first two!

What are you waiting for this week? Let me know in the comments!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Two or Three Things I Forgot to Tell You by Joyce Carol Oates Review

Author: Joyce Carol Oates
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: August 21st, 2012
Format: ARC Copy
Buy the book on Amazon
228 pages

It wasn't like she had not warned us.
It wasn't like she had not prepared us.
We'd known that something was wrong those last several months.
But then, Tink hasn't actually vanished. Tink is gone, and yet--she is here somewhere, even if we can't see her.
Tink? Are you--here?


My Review:

I just could not get into this book.  I had pretty high expectations and expected to at least enjoy Oates's writing style, if nothing else.  However, that was not the case.  The writing was choppy and all over the place, the characters were melodramatic and frankly just unlikable, and the plot line was ridiculously unrealistic.

The book was split into three parts, each revolving around a different character.  The first section is about Merissa, a young girl who is deemed "The Perfect One", but does not feel quite so perfect.  After the suicide of her friend Tink, a punk rocker type of girl who was inevitably the ring leader of the friend group, Merissa decides to start cutting herself because she finds that more unique than developing an eating disorder.  However, at the end of her section she miraculously stops cutting herself with no warning or explanation whatsoever.  The second section is told from a 3rd person point of view - I had originally thought it was from Merissa's point of view, but now I am not so certain - about Tink's life before her suicide.  The third section is about Nadia, another friend of Tink's whom the entire school calls a slut; she also thinks she is fat at 119 pounds and she develops an unhealthy crush on her teacher that gets her into a whole load of trouble.

To me, these characters were completely unrealistic.  I understand that Merissa is upset about everyone thinking that she is so perfect, but is that really a reason to cut herself?  And if it is, cutting is a serious problem.  How would she just suddenly just wake up one morning and decide not to do it anymore?  Nadia, on the other hand, falls in love with her teacher after he comforts her in a completely normal, teacher-like way with a sort of remote compassion.  It just seemed completely unreasonable for her to think her teacher loved her because of that, but I suppose Oates was pointing out how Nadia's unrealistic actions were a coping mechanism for Tink's death.  Both girls contemplate suicide, but each see and speak with their dead friend Tink, who convinces them that suicide is not the answer.  It is unclear whether Oates was saying that the girls were merely imagining their friend in their times of need, or if Tink was actually there talking to them.

Overall, this book was not for me.  I don't think YA is a great genre for Oates, who seemed unable to make realistic high school characters.  It was a relatively quick read, however, and if you still think you want to give this book a shot, the best thing I can say is that, while somewhat ridiculous, the plot still had moments of high drama that some people might find exciting.

My Rating:

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

Name: The Mark of Athena
Author: Rick Riordan
Publisher: Hyperion Books
Release Date: October 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
pages: 608

Summary: Annabeth is terrified. Just when she’s about to be reunited with Percy—after six months of being apart, thanks to Hera—it looks like Camp Jupiter is preparing for war. As Annabeth and her friends Jason, Piper, and Leo fly in on the Argo II, she can’t blame the Roman demigods for thinking the ship is a Greek weapon. With its steaming bronze dragon masthead, Leo’s fantastical creation doesn’t appear friendly. Annabeth hopes that the sight of their praetor Jason on deck will reassure the Romans that the visitors from Camp Half-Blood are coming in peace.

And that’s only one of her worries. In her pocket Annabeth carries a gift from her mother that came with an unnerving demand: Follow the Mark of Athena. Avenge me. Annabeth already feels weighed down by the prophecy that will send seven demigods on a quest to find—and close— the Doors of Death. What more does Athena want from her?

Annabeth’s biggest fear, though, is that Percy might have changed. What if he’s now attached to Roman ways? Does he still need his old friends? As the daughter of the goddess of war and wisdom, Annabeth knows she was born to be a leader, but never again does she want to be without Seaweed Brain by her side.

Narrated by four different demigods, The Mark of Athena is an unforgettable journey across land and sea to Rome, where important discoveries, surprising sacrifices, and unspeakable horrors await. Climb aboard the Argo II, if you dare. . . .

In The Son of Neptune, Percy, Hazel, and Frank met in Camp Jupiter, the Roman equivalent of Camp Halfblood, and traveled to the land beyond the gods to complete a dangerous quest. The third book in the Heroes of Olympus series will unite them with Jason, Piper, and Leo. But they number only six--who will complete the Prophecy of Seven? 


My Review:

I was first introduced to Rick Riordan's books when I was twelve. I picked up a copy of The Lightning Thief at a book fair, started reading it, and was instantly hooked. Six years and eight books about demigods later, I am still a huge fan. Both Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians quintet and the sequel series, Heroes of Olympus, have more than their fair share of humor, character development, and smart, quick writing that both reluctant and avid readers enjoy. The Mark of Athena wasn't just up to standard - it went above and beyond, crafting a complex story with familiar characters and easily becoming my favorite book so far in the Heroes of Olympus series. 

One of the things I loved the most about this book was how well Rick Riordan balanced multiple plot threads. The novel is split up into four different characters' points of view, which in most authors' hands would be a complete mess. Riordan, however, handles it remarkably well, juggling Piper, Leo, Percy, and Annabeth's individual thoughts with the story's overall plot. In a novel with seven main characters, that's not an easy thing to do. 

The story picks up where the last one left off and moves quickly, taking our pack of demigods - some of whom are more experienced than others - on a madcap quest through the United States and, eventually, across the Atlantic Ocean. The stakes, as always, are high: if they don't succeed, Romans and Greeks will never be able to settle their differences, allowing the evil Gaia to take over the world without a fight. The only clues they have come from something in Annabeth's possession: the Mark of Athena.

As a reader who watched Annabeth grow and change over the course of a series and a half, it was awesome to finally get inside her head. I've always loved Annabeth's character, but I feel like I just got to know her all over again. Although the other main characters are still important, this is really her story - something that will be a huge treat for fans that have been reading Riordan's books for years. Seeing the enormous sacrifices she's willing to make for her friends and the future only solidifies her as a strong, amazing character. 

I don't want to spoil any of the plot, but let's just say the book ends on a typical Rick Riordan cliffhanger that will leave readers waiting eagerly for The House of Hades, the next installment in the series. Too bad it won't be released until next fall...

My Rating:

Friday, October 12, 2012

Paranormalcy (Paranormalcy #1) by Kiersten White Review

AuthorKiersten White
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: 
August 31st 2010

Format: Paperback
Buy the Book on Amazon 
355 pages   


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.

My Review:

When I started Paranormalcy, i thought it would have been just another YA full of cliché and with a boring and annoying protagonist. But I couldn't have been more wrong. 
I don't think i ever found a book so original and innovative. Every single scene was completely different from what i expected, and there are so many original elements!I've never been bored and the constant addition of characters and twists to the story made me stay reading awake almost all night!

I didn't really read the plot when i started Paranormalcy, i loved the cover and that was enough to convince me to read it!I expected a book about vampires or werewolfs, the classic "Mary Sue" heroine and a tortured not-human love interest, but Paranormalcy is so much more than that!

Evie has a special and very unusual ability. She can see through the layer of glamour that paranormal creatures use to hide their real, horrible aspect. 
When IPCA, an agency who controls all the paranormals, discovers Evie and her really useful power, takes her to the centre of the IPCA, where she lives since she was a child.
So now Evie hunts all the paranormal creatures who killed somebody, and takes them to the agency. 
She likes her life, but she desperately wants to be a normal and ordinary girl, who goes to school and to the annual prom, who has a boyfriend and a family who love her. 
At the agency she has only Lish, her mermaid best friend, and Rachel, who is like a mother to Evie. 
But at the IPCA someone is killing a lot of paranormals, and Evie and a really intersting and unique guy, Lend, must discover who, or what, this someone is, before it's too late.

I loved Evie!She's funny, sassy, smart, strong and decisive, a very kickass character!And Lend...Like i said before, he's unique!I never read about a paranormal creature like him, and i really read a lot of paranormal novels!Plus he's really sweet and protective with Evie!And their relationship isn't instant, but it grows through all the book!

And there isn't any love triangle in sight!Yes, there is Reth, Evie's farie ex, but  he isn't really interested in Evie, and i don't think his feelings will change in the other books of the series!

My rating is 4 stars!If you are in search of a light, fun and original book, Paranormalcy is definitely the perfect read for you!