October 31, 2014

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Source: bought hardcover
Publisher: Scholastic Inc
Age Genre: Young Adult
It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line.
Some riders live.
Others die.
At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.
Puck Cannolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn't given her much of a choice. So she enters the competition - the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

I find it fairly difficult -- perhaps even impossible -- to form my thoughts of this book in a coherent manner. It's a book that's hard to describe, with prose that's hard to find words for. It's a book that is both beautiful and terrifying; enchanting and brutal; apathetic and raw; Violent and majestic.

It's hard to describe such a book.

I can tell you people don't talk a lot in this book. Not with each other; sometimes not with themselves. There's value in silence in Thisby, and it is weighed with much meaning. But sometimes, I wished they'd just speak and hash it up. Less glares, more words.

I can tell you the main characters, Sean and Puck, were hard to connect to at first - they are both kind of antisocial. Focused on themselves and those they love, and not much else. But their voices worked together. They fit, and because of that you'll scream at the book for them to meet already, to see their interactions.

And once those interactions start, you'll be wanting for more. Waiting for some progress. And it's understated - there are no grand gestures or declarations, no discussion on their feelings between them. Just the way the act, and think, and move along each others rhythm. It was kind of lovely, while at the same time I wanted more. I wanted after. 

I can tell you this book lives and breaths death. It is disturbing and harsh and difficult and people die, and it's not really anything out of the ordinary in this book's reality, and people will gamble over their corpses, and no one will bat an eyelash at it.

I can tell you it's more "adult" than The Raven Cycle, the only other books I've read by Maggie. There are innuendos in the book - not by our MCs, but by the adults around. Words of beds and doing and it generally doesn't shy away from the fact people have sex. It's not crass, and we've nothing even remotely close to actually it in the book, but it's open about it. 

And I can tell you that whatever you're thinking you're getting into with this book - you don't really know anything. It will take you by surprise. Hopefully, a good surprise, but I can see why for some it's not.

This is not a book I'd give to my mother. She won't be able to bear the brutality of it.


October 24, 2014

DNF: Adventures of a Graveyard Girl by Milda Harris

Adventures of a Graveyard Girl by Milda Harris
Series: Funeral Crushing #2
Source: Bought kindle copy
Publisher: indie
Publication Date: April 23rd, 2012
Age Group: Young Adult
Kait Lenox is back! It's Homecoming Dance time and Kait is excited. It's her first dance with a date and that date is none other than one of the hottest, most popular guys in her school, Ethan Ripley! For once Kait doesn't feel like a funeral crashing weird girl and it's the most perfect romantic evening ever...at least until a girl gets murdered in the high school bathroom. Rumors fly, panic ensues, and Kait can't help herself, she assigns herself to the case!

Wow, a third DNF review in so many weeks. I know this makes me look bad, I do, but I swear things are not as bad as they seem. I only have thirteen books marked a DNF on Goodreads. I probably have a few more I didn't mark, but no more than twenty, twenty five - in three years of over 470 books. That's a pretty good percentile, don't you think? I don't DNF that often, or that willingly. At least, I didn't use to.

But I think I've also reached the point where I treasure the enjoyment I get from every book, and if I don't really enjoy it... well, there isn't much point in reading it, is there?
Still, I don't always review DNF books... Only if I can explain exactly why I didn't finish it, and I'd like to share that.

I picked up this book because a while back (like, two years ago), I read the first book and enjoyed it. It wasn't A-mazing, but it was cute and fun and I decided I wanted to continue with the series. But then I couldn't. At 48% of the book, I called it quits. My heart just wasn't in it. I kept looking at reading the book as a chore, which is never encouraging.

I had three big issues with Adventures of a Graveyard Girl.

1. It was way too... dare I say it?... childish to me. I don't need characters to be my age to enjoy them, but here they just read like immature 12 year olds, and not teenagers. And I've read and enjoyed books with twelve year old more than this. It was just... too exaggeratedly childish. Teenagers are allowed to have their immature moments, for sure, but not 100% of the time.

2. Then there was the poorly edited text. There were a lot of missing punctuation marks, or places where I felt a dot should've been but weren't. There were a lot of duplicated words in a way that made no sense. A lot of describing sentences that lacked finesse. It felt like... well, like an amateur job. Like no one actually read over the book and corrected all of these. It was like reading a draft, and not a finished product. And I don't know about you, but that bothers me.

3. And finally, the repetition. How many times can you say the same thing on one page? apparently, a lot. Enough that I totally lost count. It was like Harris didn't trust we got the information the first time, so she mentioned it 50 times more just to be sure. In very similar wording. That's one of my major writing pet-peeves.

So in the end, despite enjoying the first book, I decided this is as far as I and this series go. It's just not for me, really.


October 23, 2014

Thursday Oldie: Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins

So as you guys know, I just moved here. And that means my old blog now lies abandoned... alongside all my old reviews. But because I feel like some of them don't deserve such an awful treatment, I'm going to slowly move my favorite reviews here, especially if my opinion differs than Megs. (though some editing may occur, as I'm a little OCD about my reviews, and the older they originally are, the more likely I am to have things I want to rephrase). 

Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins
Series: Sweet #1
Source: Kindle version
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: May 1th 2012
Age Genre: Young Adult
Originally published: May 27, 2013
Embrace the Forbidden
What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences?
This is the reality for sons and daughters of fallen angels.
Tenderhearted Southern girl Anna Whitt was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She's aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn't until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage and her willpower is put to the test. He's the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.
Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?
DNF at 50%
So, the last couple of oldies were dedicated to the gushing reviews of Kelly Oram's books, and that means I now need to balance it with the worst of the worst - starting with Sweet Evil. I don't normally rate books I didn't finish, unless the reason I didn't finish the book is that I found it completely awful and intolerable. Which is the case here. Big time.

Now, clearly, this is going to be a bad review. It is, in fact, a major rant. So, if you like the book and might find that offensive - don't read the review. I'm entitled to my own opinions, and I do not begrudge you for liking it. I simply didn't. So please, offer me the same respect, and don't comment hatefully.
This book ought to teach me never to trust hype. I saw the cover, saw the high score, saw all my friends loved it, and started reading it. I never looked at the summary, which is something I do sometimes when a book is highly recommended so I can let it take me by surprise. 

Not a good surprise, this one. Nothing sweet about this evil.

Now, I admit, if I had read the synopsis I might have decided not to give it a shot at all, what with the whole "life depends on being a bad influence thing", but I didn't, so...

By the time I reached 27% of this book, I had a page filled with written complaints about it. And, unfortunately for you, you are going to get a full list of them. Sorry.

The Very Beginning
I actually liked the very first 10%, minus that one really stupid moment in Anna's head ("Kai, like Thai, only yummier"). I really do enjoy the writing of the book, it's very flowing and easy to read. I will also mention that some of the conversations were very enjoyable! Now, to the bad.

Anna talking about drugs
I had a WTF moment when Anna talked about drugs.
Anna is the goody-two-shoe, the one who doesn't lie, who doesn't do drugs or alcohol, who always listens to her mother, who does all the homework, etc, etc. But when she started to talk about drugs, in her head, she freaked me out, because she talked of such longing toward to substance.
Now, I am well aware of the fact that is due to her heritage. That's why I said I might've opted not to read this book at all if I knew about all this, because this is just wrong to me on so many levels. It creeps me out. 

And at that party, when she was drugged? Her reaction to that? Total What the Fuck am I reading?! moment.
However, I could've gotten past that, because at the end, even though it greatly disturbs me, this is an interesting idea and plot. It's very different than other books in that aspect.


Anna - You Drive Me Bananas!
The girl has had supernatural powers her entire life, but when she finally finds out what she is, she says, and this is a quote: 
"Part of my brain, the realistic part, didn't want to believe a word...but the other half, the heartfelt spiritual part, knew without a doubt it was the truth".
a) you have a side that is "realistic" and doesn't believe in those things?! How do you explain yourself??
b) the reason you do believe is 'cause you're spiritual? What, the superpowers aren't enough!?

Also, the girl has no phone, shares HUGE secrets with a guy she doesn't know, has a hard case of Insta Love I don't care for, and many more stuff I would mention in regards to other sections. Yeah, she will never be on my list of favorite heroines!

The guy is our love interest. He's hot, a musician, filthy rich. What's not to like? Oh, he also happens to be half demon, the son of the Duke of Lust. It basically means this:
The guy is a man-slut. He is kind of forced into it by his creepy father who demands he 'work' (yes, they treat and call it as work. It is actually whoring. Another reason to be creeped out by this book). 

Which means, I am not swooning over Kaiden. He doesn't drive me crazy like Anna does, but I'm not swooning. I mean, he is a man-slut, by choice or not. And I guess I would've been more forgiving if I did feel he had no other choice, but he didn't appear to be fighting it all that hard. And he's kind of a jerk. I find it hard to fall for a character like that...

On a side note, I don't really get why he has to sleep with them if he's promoting lust, because people lust after him just fine without him sleeping around, but whatever.

Patti - Try at Consistency!
Patti is Anna's very overprotective adoptive mother. She is the kind of mom who only lets her daughter go to a party after she makes sure it's supervised, who calls every hour if her daughter goes out (but doesn't get her daughter a phone so she could directly contact her rather than through her friends'), who repeats the dangers of the world to her daughter all the time.

So you can see why it is completely unbelievable and stupid that it's THIS mother who suggests said daughter go on a road-trip with a guy she had just met, whom she has warned her daughter from before, because she knows him to be half a demon - a creature meant to seduce humans to sin. 

What is this, Fuck Logic and Character Consistency Day?...
And THE worst part about all this? That dear Anna decides she'll "trust Kaiden once and for all" if her mother decides to let him take her on that trip. Seriously? You're leaving the decisions of trusting a guy you don't know once and for all to your MOTHER? 

Higgins tried to ease the effect of this later with Patti suddenly growing anxious and thinking she was stupid at suggesting all this (which she is), but the damage is done the moment she suggested it. She didn't just agree or something. 

Also, that woman cries so easily! It's annoying and kind of weird. 

The Romance... Kill Me, Kill Me!
Arrg, Insta Love alert.

Anna doesn't know Kaiden at all, but already the thing she wants 'most and least in the world' is to be stuck with him in a car for days, staying overnight. Seriously? Oh, and she trusts him with her biggest secrets after, like, two seconds. But Anna is not the only one faulted with this ridiculous response. Oh, no, Kaiden is, too. He knows her for a day or two when he tells her his favorite place to be is with her. But at least he has some form of logical explanation to it.

Oh, and do you know how long it takes Anna to think the L word about him? (and take off her clothes for him?) A freaking week, more or less.
If that's not enough, Kaiden doesn't really need to give excuses to his bad behavior (and there's abundance of that) or anything, because she's from those girls who gives meanings and excuses to the douches all for free! Just, because. They're actually not douches - they're kind. In their own brutish ways. Riiiight. 

Sex, Sex, Sex - Come Again? This is a Young Adult Book!?

One of the most disturbing things in this book? The emphasize on the sex, especially considering they're only 16 and 17. Now, true; teenagers today know and talk about sex. Some of them have it too. Ignoring it completely will be stupid

But must you make it so important and emphasized in the plot? Must every few conversations talk about sex in one way or another? Must you make your main characters sleep with everything that moves? Must you make every kiss much more erotic and sensual than YA really calls for? Must you make them take off their clothes and talk about virginity and stuff like that ALL THE TIME?

It drove me crazy! I wouldn't mind so much in New Adult and probably not at all in Adult, but this is marked Young Adult and the characters are minors, and the fixation with it is disturbing. I hope there is someone monitoring kids don't get their hands on this book and parents shouldn't let them! Seriously! I would never let a younger audience read this... and young adult carters to kids from 12 to 18!

Oh, and the real kick about this book?

Here I shall conclude the rant. I still had about a page more of things to say, but I decided I was drilling on your nerves enough as it is.

Again, please don't hate me for disliking and DNFing the book!


October 19, 2014

I'm Enlisting

This short post it to tell you guys that for a while, I probably won't be available on the blog. That means there won't be any special posts or anything but the currently scheduled reviews, and I might be slow to respond to comments.


Because as of tomorrow morning, I'm part of the army. That's right, I'm enlisting. Here, where I live, we have mandatory army services. It's supposed to happen at eighteen (two years for girls, three for boys) but I furthered my education and I'm joining the service only now, at twenty.

A lot of stuff happened with my studies, actually, and even though I was designed to go to a certain area, I'm not. So I have no idea what I'm going to do. That terrifies me. I'm also excited - this is a right of passage here, and it's also a chance to give back to my country.

But regardless, I have it on good authority that while at boot camp, I won't have time to deal with the blog. And I have no idea how long I'll be in boot camp - it could be somewhere between two months to two weeks, from what I understand.

I'll know more tomorrow, but tomorrow I will not be able to write anything.

So, the blog is going to be kind of empty for a while.

October 17, 2014

Cinder & Ella by Kelly Oram

Cinder & Ella by Kelly Oram
Source: ARC
Publisher: Bluefields
Publication Date: October 1st, 2014
Age Genre: Young Adult
It’s been almost a year since eighteen-year-old Ella Rodriguez was in a car accident that left her crippled, scarred, and without a mother. After a very difficult recovery, she’s been uprooted across the country and forced into the custody of a father that abandoned her when she was a young child. If Ella wants to escape her father’s home and her awful new stepfamily, she must convince her doctors that she’s capable, both physically and emotionally, of living on her own. The problem is, she’s not ready yet. The only way she can think of to start healing is by reconnecting with the one person left in the world who’s ever meant anything to her—her anonymous Internet best friend, Cinder.

Hollywood sensation Brian Oliver has a reputation for being trouble. There’s major buzz around his performance in his upcoming film The Druid Prince, but his management team says he won’t make the transition from teen heartthrob to serious A-list actor unless he can prove he’s left his wild days behind and become a mature adult. In order to douse the flames on Brian’s bad-boy reputation, his management stages a fake engagement for him to his co-star Kaylee. Brian isn’t thrilled with the arrangement—or his fake fiancée—but decides he’ll suffer through it if it means he’ll get an Oscar nomination. Then a surprise email from an old Internet friend changes everything.
*Sigh* Ladies and gentleman, she has done it again. I don't know how, and I'm jealous as hell, but this amazing woman has written and published yet another fantastic story to go down my Favorite list.

When I first heard of Cinder & Ella, I had to get it. A Movie Star x Normal girl romance with a Cinderella vibe from Kelly Oram?
I laughed, I cried, and I had the hugest goofy grins on my face in between. I've got to admit, I was kind of surprised by the "cried" part. I'm used to Kelly's contemporary books being just about the most adorable thing since kittens, so I wasn't prepared for how painful and emotional this book is at times. But don't worry, it still retained a huge amount of the adorable, the cute and the down right KYAA worthy.

And I suppose it makes sense - Ella went through a huge tragedy, and she'll never be the same. The issues she deals with are all understandable and you can't help but tear up for her. And she can't be without them, either. And despite those issues, despite the fact she cries a lot - she's not a crier or a whiner, not really. She's strong and brave and deals with everything a lot better than I would've in her stead. All I wanted to do while reading the story is give her a hug, tell her she's beautiful and slap her family silly for the idiotic way they phrase things! Tact people! Learn the word, learn it's meaning and practice it!

Then there's Brian, aka Cinder. Kelly Oram, WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH ALL THE BOOK BOYFRIEND YOU CREATE FOR ME!? This is becoming a problem! My only reprieve is that all of them have their soul mates, so the fantasizing is not that bad, but geez, woman! Stop (or actually, never ever stop) creating such swoon worthy specimens!

Cinder was downright delicious. He had the Kelly Oram trademark - cocky and sure of himself, but so sweet your teeth will ache and so loving and loyal to the girl it'll make you weep because you don't have that in your life (or, maybe, that's just me. I dunno).

Then we had maybe my favorite part of the book - Ella's family. Keeping to the Cinderella theme, it starts off rocky, with a lot of bumps and misunderstanding and pain. But Kelly knows human and human behavior, and unlike the fairy-tale, none of Ella's family are truly evil, and the journey they go through to understand each other and grow closer was beautiful to watch and very touching.

And, that ending. Gosh, I want more! I want to see my perfect babies have perfect babies! I want to see more interviews with Brian where he's gushing over Ella and calling her Wifey and stuff (he would totally do that). I want to see him bring Ellen photos of his daughter being to most proud and dotting father ever. I want to see Ella meet his mother, and I want to see her reading a book with their daughter sleeping on her, and I want to see her making her way as a scriptwriter (book adaptations mostly) because she's decided that if Hollywood never gets it right on their own - she'll just have to help them along the way. So, Kelly. Write this for me? Pretty please?

(and yes, I totally continued the story years ahead and I dreamily sigh at the result. Don't judge me!)

Two things you need to take from this reviews - Read Kelly Oram books, it's good for the soul, and read this book, because HELLO, HAVE YOU READ MY REVIEW!?

 About the Author

Kelly Oram wrote her first novel at age fifteen—a fan fiction about her favorite music group, The Backstreet Boys, for which her family and friends still tease her. She's obsessed with reading, talks way too much, and likes to eat frosting by the spoonful. She lives outside of Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, four children, and her cat named Mr. Darcy.

Author Links:
Facebook Goodreads
Twitter and My Website

October 16, 2014

Who Wore it Better: Gone by Michael Grant

Who Wore it Better is an original meme I brought with me from Drugs Called Books. In it, instead of discussing fashion or cloths, we discuss book covers from different countries, and who has the best cover. The meme is co-hosted with the lovely Amanda from The Book Badger and will be featured on her blog every other week, so check her out as well!  

So last week Amanda reviewed the different covers in Shadow Kiss, and this week we're starting a new series. This time... Gone series, by Michael Grant!
I confess: I haven't read the book. All my opinion are based on the synopsis and the prettiness of the cover (shallow alert!!)
I own Gone, but I have a huge fear of dystopias and I tend to take a long while to decide to read one. On the bright side, making this week's WWIB definitely made me want to pick it up, so maybe this will be the push I needed!

**click to enlarge**
English One – Err... well, okay. Two teenagers looking blankly into... something. Yeah. This is... well, it's not the worst cover I ever seen, that's for sure. But it really gives nothing of the story, and it's not really the most attractive cover out there, is it? This cover is half the reason why I never read these books. Only half because now I own a much prettier looking cover, and yet I still haven't read it... 

English Two – Now this is the one I own, and I really really like it. I'll also throw it out there that the pages are lined with yellow. Not trying to make you want to buy it at all ^-^ Anyways, I love the simplicity of it. I also love the void of the cover - from the summary of the book, and the title, you can tell some important... things, we'll call them, go missing. I feel like the cover emoides that, as well as the urgency and the danger using the running figure in the O.

English Three - Ohh, I really really like this one. I love it for all the reasons I loved English two, and I adore the face the O is literally gone! Like, how genius is that?! This is just such an ominous little cover ^0^

English Four - Once again, I like this cover! It definitely gives off ample vibe of danger. You can tell it's supernatural by the... well, power surge at the background. And you can also tell it's about teenagers, because the silhouettes are distinctively young. That's a lot to learn from one book cover!

Spanish – Hmm... what do I say about this one?... It makes the book appear to be a cheesy paranormal romance. And it gives the strong impression of a female protagonist, and I'm pretty sure this book is mostly from a male point of view. I suppose the part inside the bubble is alright. Sounds fitting. But it's really not the part that grabs your attention on this cover, is it?... (that honor goes to the photoshopped girl...)

DutchI actually like this one! It took the original image, shrouded it with some mystery, darkness, a sense of urgency and comradeship. And it emphasizes the void and separation by a large blotch of black in the middle!

Portuguese This one is alright, I suppose. Nothing great or horrible about it. Very Middle Grade ish, though. Is this book middle grade?...

Swedish No. Just... no. 

All in all, I really like three of the English covers, and think the rest are kind of meh. In house won this round!

October 10, 2014

Flame Moon by K.J Jackson

Flame Moon by K.J Jackson
Series: Flame Moon #1
Source: Free Kindle Copy
Publisher: AWD Publishing
Publication Date: August 3rd, 2012
Age Group: Adult
Skye Walters thought waking up on the side of a river with no memory was her biggest problem. She had no idea that the man who had saved her from drowning, the man she now depended on, Aiden, was more than mere mortal. A warrior of ancient.
No memory, nowhere to go, Skye stays in the mountain town, only to discover she herself, has unexplained powers. Her life, her destiny, are soon out of her control, as are her feelings for Aiden. The deeper Skye gets sucked into Aiden’s hidden world, the more the past, and who she really is, threatens her future, her love, her sanity.
ALL HAIL THE TBR JAR for making me find this hidden gem! I got Flame Moon as a free kindle book at some point of my life. Yeah, not even sure when - could've been last week, could've been last year. I download so many free Kindle books it's hard to follow - which is why I probably would've never read it if I hadn't drawn in out of the TBR jar. Thank god for little miracles, because Flame Moon was surprisingly... great.

Skye wakes up one morning, soaked in a river, with an intimidating man staring at her. She has no idea how she got there or why - she hates water! - but that becomes of little concern when she realizes she's no idea who she is, period.

Skye is a great main character. She is strong and brave, handling all the shit--forgive the language--that gets thrown at her with amazing strength and acceptance. Even though, save for the three friends she makes, she doesn't get much of acceptance herself.

Then there's Aiden. Brooding, silent, tough guy Aiden, who makes Skye his responsibility - as he's the one who took her out to the water and pulled her out when she nearly drowned--sans her memory. Aiden was a tough nut to crack. He could be a bit of an ass (sometimes an overbearing one), but he was actually extremely kind, extremely warm and extremely loyal. All traits I consider positive.

Charlotte and Triaten, the two main supporting characters, were both excellent. They added to the story, and were quite enthralling themselves. Kind of made me wish to read their story too (which seems like I likely would be doing in book 2!)

The romance was really great in my opinion, too. It didn't take that much time to happen, but it felt like they were together all that time before that so it made sense. Besides, physical want and love are not the same thing, and I got the feeling they fell more and more for each other from the time they got together to the finale I-love-yous which I adored.

The writing was great and flowing, and the story-line intriguing and engrossing. I must admit to have been quite surprised with what exactly everyone in this book are.

The only minor issue I had with this book had to do with the Big Betrayal. I felt like there was no build up toward that, no hint of what might be coming prior to the seconds before it did. The complelte change in personality was also jarring. It just seemed like there should've been hints - but there weren't any.

Aside for that, I absolutely loved the book, and can't wait to read the next one!

October 9, 2014

Thursday Oldie: Being Jamie Baker by Kelly Oram

Being Jamie Baker by Kelly Oram
Series: Jamie Baker #1
Source: own paperback & Kindle version
Publisher: Bluefields
Publication Date: May 4th 2013
Age Genre: Young Adult
Originally published: Oct 4, 2012
"Most superhero stories start with a meteor shower or a nasty insect bite, but mine actually starts with a kiss..."

An accident that should end in tragedy instead gives seventeen-year-old Jamie Baker a slew of uncontrollable superhuman abilities.
To keep her secret safe Jamie socially exiles herself, earning the title of Rocklin High's resident ice queen. But during a supercharged encounter with star quarterback Ryan Miller she literally kisses anonymity goodbye. Now the annoyingly irresistible Ryan will stop at nothing to melt the heart of the ice queen and find out what makes her so special.
Unfortunately, Ryan is not the only person on to her secret. Will Jamie learn to contain her unstable powers before being discovered by the media or turned into a government lab rat?
More importantly, can she throw Ryan Miller off her trail before falling in love with him?

As I told you guys last time, to celebrate Kelly's release of Cinder & Ella, I'm dedicating a few Oldies to this lovely lady and her lovely creations. Following up The Avery Shaw Experiment, is one of the funniest, funnest, best feel-good books I own - Being Jamie Baker. 

I've read this book about three times so far. I have forced my cousins to read it (which in turn, they are now forcing their dad to do the same), and both of them completely fell in love with Ryan the story and the characters. 

It's a book you just kind of have to love. I dare you to read it and not end up grinning so widely your jaw hurts. 

This is seriously one of these books more people need to know about - because it is fabulous! So, even before this review really starts, I'll spoil the ending of it for you - get this book. It's good for your soul. 

This is one of those books that make you feel all warm and fuzzy with yourself at the end. One of these books that make you smile and laugh out loud, and you can't even care less when you get the "are you crazy?" looks from your friends when you do it, because it's just so good.

One of these books that make you desperately wish these characters were real.

And really, what more can you even ask from a book?

Jamie, the main character, is lovable and snarky and uses sarcasm like a well loved and honed sword, which I absolutely love. She is also very, very human in her actions and thoughts, which mean that sometimes... well, sometimes, I didn't agree with them. But for me, that's perfectly alright. Because, hey, I don't always agree with what my friends do. And I consider Jamie a friend, as wacky as that sounds. 

Ryan Miller, Jamie's other half, is so high my Book Boyfriend list he might actually be the king of it. I swear, I fangirl over this guy like there's no tomorrow. I may be a whole lot little bit in love with him. He is just the perfect blend of adorableness and sweetness, with cockiness and a bit of condescension. He's not afraid to tell Jamie what she feels, and he basically wills it to be true with sheer sureness of it. He's not one to give up. Like, ever. You might as well concede defeat when he starts. 

And the romance between them... sigh. It's just so good. Like a romance I would want for myself - they bring the best out in each other, you know? And the chemistry between them... Let's just say it's electrifying. 

The only less than stellar part about this book is the reason Jamie got her superpowers... it's not exactly satisfying. However, as I actually don't consider that aspect of the book the main crux of it, I really didn't mind it. It didn't stop me from feeling so silly good after finishing it. 

I finished the book in one sitting - all three times I've read it. Its grip on you is not any less strong the second, third, and dare I say even forth or fifth time. You still smile and laugh and shake your head at Jamie and swoon over Ryan in all the right places. It's the kind of book I'll never get tired of.

If you're looking for a great book to cheer you up and make you feel all is right with the world - pick this one up. It's perfect for you. 

October 3, 2014

Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins.
Series: Anna and the French Kiss #3
Source: Bought hardcover
Publisher: Dutton
Publication Date: August 14, 2014
Age Genre: Young Adult
Love ignites in the City That Never Sleeps, but can it last?
Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart.
Featuring cameos from fan-favorites Anna, Étienne, Lola, and Cricket, this sweet and sexy story of true love—set against the stunning backdrops of New York City, Paris, and Barcelona—is a swoonworthy conclusion to Stephanie Perkins’s beloved series.

Honestly, it pains me to write this review. I've read and loved Anna and Lola, and I've been eagerly awaiting and expecting Isla. The many five stars reviews that flooded the net before and after the publication stoked my excitement even more. I couldn't wait! I opened the book the very same day I got it, and at first, it seemed perfect. But then, something shifted. The veil has lifted, if I was to be dramatic about it, and I realized... well, I realized this book was nothing special.

At first, I was thrilled (and, honestly, surprised) we didn't have to wait the whole book for them to get together. They were so sweet and adorkable, and it made me happy. But I guess here is the problem with this book; because it didn't have 300 pages of not being together to occupy the plot, there had to be some other problems ahead of them--and those "problems" were really annoying, and made me hate Isla, the main character.

From the moment their "problems" started popping up (mainly Isla being impossible and stupid and mad at the silliest things that Josh couldn't help any more than she can! He has a past! So do you! Get over it and stop being a bitch!) it was SO hard for me to read this book. And those are words I never thought I'd use for a Stephanie Perkins novel. I had to convince myself to continue, and mostly I found other things to occupy my time (like, the internet). It took me five days to finish the book, and for me that's a lot. Especially for a book I was so excited for, whose seniors I've finished in a day each.

At the end, this book never managed to get me to fall in love together with Josh and Isla. Frankly, it couldn't even convince me of that love. That's right - I didn't believe the love in a Stephanie Perkins book. I know, this is probably blasphemy. But it's the unfortunate truth. At a certain point I was just like "why are they so in love? Like, seriously. What's holding them together?"

Also, book-wise, it felt to me like this book tried too hard to be... sexy? And I know, the word "adorkable" and "sexy" sound weird in the same context, but there you have it anyway. The "heat" in this book is umped up, and I can't say I loved it because it didn't feel natural to me.
Plus, I really disliked Isla telling Josh's story through his memoir. I don't know, it kind of bored me, even though it shouldn't have.

BUT, all that being said, I did enjoy the beginning and end of the book (from the moment Isla got over herself). And I do think this is a fun contemporary. It just didn't live up to the standard I've come to expect from Stephanie. And, I'm a minority, so don't let my rant-ish review to deter you from reading this book, okay? ;-)


October 2, 2014

Who Wore it Better: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Who Wore it Better is an original meme I brought with me from Drugs Called Books. In it, instead of discussing fashion or cloths, we discuss book covers from different countries, and who has the best cover. The meme is co-hosted with the lovely Amanda from The Book Badger and will be featured on her blog every other week, so check her out as well!  

So after last week Amanda reviewed the different covers in Magic Study, we'll be starting a new series this week. So without father ado... Vampire Academy!
This series is probably one of the most well loved out there. It also has an unfortunate knack for shitty covers. See for yourselves - and I chose the best there were!

English One – well, this is probably the most well known cover of the series. It’s also the one I own. And I kind of think it’s butt ugly (it’s why I took ages to pick up these books). But I like it, just cause of the sentimental value, you know?... I mean, I hate faces on covers. And why did Angelina Jolie get cast as Rose, anyway? But whatever. It’s the content that matters. Though, I wouldn’t say I’m head over heels in love with the content, either… oh well.

English Two – this is the most recent cover redesign and… What. The. Fuck? Seriously? You redesigned the covers for this?! It has the exact same Angelina Jolie photo, only less opacity, the series name is WAY BIGGER than the title – which makes it hard to realize what is the title, and it’s mostly just this pink-red color. Worst redesign (almost) ever!

English Three – Well, hi there Mean Girls! Fancy seeing you here! Honestly, this one is bad too. It doesn’t bring any of the correct feelings for this book. There should be a vibe of danger, darkness, a bit of sexiness, action, friendship, etc… Yes, there is some vibe of Mean Girls in the book, but it’s hardly the main thing, is it? I would not pick up a book with this cover without a rec.

English Four – I love these covers. They’re so simple, yet perfect and beautiful. A Rose. Just a single Rose. And what’s our MC’s name? ROSE! And the background being blood red is also perfect. If I could’ve gotten these covers, I so would’ve.

Dutch cover – okay. Well, objectively, I suppose this cover is pretty. But what does it have to do with the book? Is her hair turning into butterflies? Or are those crows? What…

Turkish Cover – *coughcoughbuttshituglycoughcough*

Spanish cover – ohhh, me likey! It’s simple, yet perfect in a poetic sense – a rose covered in blood. And our main character is a Rose in a society of vampires. It fits! Plus, it gives the feeling of danger, hints at vampires, and appears quite dark. All in all, not bad at all!

Estonian Cover – again, objectively the cover is not bad. But it also feels like a poor representation of the story. Also, the model doesn’t feel like Rose (that’s not how a kickass Guardian would look like). Maybe it’s Lissa, but it feels strange that they’d put someone other than the MC on the cover of the first book…

Turkish 2 - Hello Photoshop! How have you been doing? Working your magic for Halloween, I see. That is indeed one creepy Barbie doll! I see someone broke her head and had trouble putting it back correctly. Oh well. 
Clearly, I find this cover completely disturbing with the bad photoshop and hella ugly.

Vietnamese cover - Okay I kinda… like this one?! I like the fact the background is all dark, with a girl in the night. Gives the right vibe – creatures of the night and all that, a bit dark and dangerous. Then there is Rose. She may not be how I imagine Rose, but I love the contrast – Rose is alive, Rose is firey, Rose is volatile. I get that feel through the cover. 

All in all, I really only like the forth English cover, and maybe the Spanish one...