Friday, November 9, 2012

Crossed (Matched #2) by Ally Condie | Review

Crossed (Matched #2) by Ally Condie | ReviewCrossed by Ally Condie
Series: Matched #2
Published by Penguin Teen on November 1, 2011
Genres: Dystopian
Pages: 367
Format: ARC
Source: BEA
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4 Stars

The Society chooses everything. 

The books you read. 
The music you listen to. 
The person you love. 

Yet for Cassia the rules have changed. Ky has been taken and she will sacrifice everything to find him. 

And when Cassia discovers Ky has escaped to the wild frontiers beyond the Society there is hope.

But on the edge of society nothing is as it seems...

A rebellion is rising.

And a tangled web of lies and double-crosses could destroy everything.

It’s about time I got around to reading Crossed. I’ve been wanting to read this book since I first finished Matched but for some reason I kept putting it off. While Crossed was not quite as enthralling as Matched, I’m happy to say that I enjoyed it.

Crossed starts off shortly after the final events of Matched. I admit that I read Matched a while ago. I didn’t remember exactly what happened but I remembered enough that I could muddle through things. There were a few points where I was a little confused but lucky for me, those points were clarified. As for the rest of the story, while it was a little slow, it did a good job of showing what things were like outside of the Society. The Rising started to take shape in this book and many new questions were posed about what the Society was really up to. While there wasn’t much action to this book, there was enough new information for me to be intrigued and I never once thought about putting it down.

The romance seemed very toned down from the first book. It seemed like Matched spent a good portion of the book setting up the romance between Cassia and Ky. That wasn’t the case with Crossed. There were some mixed signals in the beginning when I thought Crossed would be Cassia and Xander’s book but that was definitely not the case. The romance between Cassia and Ky is still strong but it took a backseat to everything else going on with them. New characters were introduced as well as new dangers. Crossed also was more about Ky’s past than anything. He’s not nearly as big a mystery as he was in Matched.

Cassia was a little disappointing to me in Crossed. She was brave, smart, resourceful, and all I could want in a heroine but she just didn’t seem special in any way. She was exactly like all the other dystopian/fantasy/paranormal heroines out there. I wanted her to stand out to me and she didn’t. I’m not saying I didn’t like I her (because I did), I just really wanted more from her. Ky was more interesting to me than Cassia was. He was a very troubled character, both because of his past and his present. I felt for him and I really wanted to see him happy because it was clear, no matter what he did, he was a good guy. And yes there is some Xander in Crossed but not much. Honestly, I like Ky better just because I know him better than Xander. I have no issues with either boy. I think they are both great guys but at this point in time I am 100% Team Ky.

Overall, Crossed does a great job setting things up for the final book in the trilogy. It narrowly avoided the second book syndrome but in the end I was pleased with it. Things are relatively wrapped up at the end, it’s not a cliffhanger, and readers won’t mind the wait for the final book too much.

Looking for more reviews of Crossed?
Monday, November 5, 2012

Deity (Covenant #3) by Jennifer L. Armentrout | Review

Deity (Covenant #3) by Jennifer L. Armentrout | ReviewDeity by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: Covenant #3
Published by Spencer Hill Press on November 6, 2012
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 360
Format: ARC
Source: BEA
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5 Stars

"History is on repeat, and things didn't go so well the last time. "

Alexandria isn't sure she's going to make it to her eighteenth birthday--to her Awakening. A long-forgotten, fanatical order is out to kill her, and if the Council ever discovers what she did in the Catskills, she's a goner... and so is Aiden. 

If that's not freaky enough, whenever Alex and Seth spend time "training"--which really is just Seth's code word for some up-close and personal one-on-one time--she ends up with another mark of the Apollyon, which brings her one step closer to Awakening ahead of schedule. Awesome. 

But as her birthday draws near, her entire world shatters with a startling revelation and she's caught between love and Fate. One will do anything to protect her. One has been lying to her since the beginning. Once the gods have revealed themselves, unleashing their wrath, lives will be irrevocably changed... and destroyed. 

Those left standing will discover if love is truly greater than Fate...

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The Covenant series is now officially one of my all time favorite young adult series. I honestly wasn’t sure Deity could be as awesome as Half Blood and Pure but I was (gladly) proven wrong. Deity is just as unputdownable as the first two books and the wait for Apollyon might just be the death of me.

Alex has really shaped up since the turmoil of Pure. She is back and better than ever. She is one of the most bad-ass heroines in YA these days and I adore that about her. She is such a strong character, even after everything she has gone through. There are a few times where she really does need someone to save her (and that someone may be a guy) but those times are balanced with all the times that she manages to save herself and even save others. She is the perfect balance of strong yet needy. She knows when she can’t handle something on her own and she is willing to ask for help. That’s the best part about her.

The boys are also back and better than ever. I mentioned in my Pure review that you get to see a different side of Aiden briefly in that book and you get to see more of his softer side in Deity. I was very pleased to find out more about his back story and what exactly happened to make him choose to be a Sentinel. He’s a much deeper guy than he originally appears to be and you really get to see that in Deity. As for Seth, I like him more than I did in Pure but I’m pretty sure I can’t be won over to his team at this point. All I can see is Alex with Aiden and I love them together. They have such a great relationship that is based on so much more than just desire. Seth is a very complex guy who has some demons of his own but he just does not seem right for Alex. I would however like him to get some sort of happy ending. Even though he royally pissed me off in Deity.

Things get really, really crazy in Deity. You have the Furies pissed off, you have the Gods getting pissed off, and then you just have some crazy people who want to take over the world. Well, maybe not the world (just yet) but it’s only a matter of time before that becomes their goal. I was really surprised by a lot of the things that happened in Deity. Sure there were hints that made me see some things coming but I was still supremely shocked. Nobody is completely trustworthy and a lot of people aren’t exactly who they say they are.

Overall, Deity is probably my favorite book in the Covenant series so far. Things just keep getting crazier and this series just keeps getting better. Fans of the first two books need to get a copy of this one as soon as possible.

Looking for more reviews of Deity?

Magical Urban Fantasy Reads’ review
The Book Goddess’ review

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Alice In Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles #1) by Gena Showalter | Review

Alice In Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles #1) by Gena Showalter | ReviewAlice In Zombieland by Gena Showalter
Series: White Rabbit Chronicles #1
Published by Harlequin Teen on September 25, 2012
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 404
Format: ARC
Source: BEA
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5 Stars

She won’t rest until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.

Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real….

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies….

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Alice in Zombieland is my favorite Gena Showalter book so far and that is saying something since I adored her other YA series. The writing is fabulous, the characters are some of the best I’ve read, and the story is awesomely creepy!

Alice is a tough character to like at first. Her whole family was killed in a car accident caused by zombies and she thinks she is going crazy since she seems to be the only one who can see those zombies. She’s paranoid, afraid to let anyone close to her, and rather cold to the people she cares about. Kat starts to change things for Alice. She won’t take no for answer and she wants Alice to be her new best friend. She kind of takes Alice under her wing at school and forces her to come out of her shell. Cole completes the transformation of Alice from scared and weak to bad-ass and awesome. Cole is dark, mysterious, and pretty dangerous but for some reason Alice has a serious connection with him. She quickly learns that she’s not crazy and that Cole and his friends can see the zombies too. Not only can they see them, though, they can also fight them. And Alice wants to learn how.

Like I said, while Alice is a tough character to like at first, by the end of the book you will love her. She handles her grief kind of badly but she definitely sees the error of her ways. Throughout the book she grows into an awesome character who is smart, kind, funny, and strong. The banter between Alice and Cole was great. Probably one of my favorite parts of the book. I also loved Alice’s comebacks. Kat was also very humorous. She was smart, funny, stubborn, and kind. She helped Alice through her grief and she was willing to put up with Alice even when Alice didn’t think she needed anyone. Kat’s relationship and banter with Frosty was another awesome part of the book. Kat’s not afraid of anything! And now, the character you’ve all been waiting for: Cole. Cole is so not your typical love interest. He’s not conventionally good looking, he doesn’t have girls drooling all over him, and while he is protective of Alice, he’s not controlling. He’s very sexy in a dark and brooding sort of way and yet he has such a cute soft side. Seeing the progression of his relationship with Alice was great.

The story takes a bit to get into but after the first 75 pages or so it really is impossible to put down. These aren’t your typical zombies and it’s not your typical zombie story. The zombies can’t be seen by everyone but they can hurt everyone. The teens who fight the zombies put their life in danger every time they do it but not only that, they put their souls in danger. Alice In Zombieland is not some fluffy zombie story. There is death and destruction and I found myself tearing up a few times.

Overall, Alice in Zombieland is added to my list of favorite zombie books. While the ending was not a cliffhanger I’m definitely eager for the next book!

Looking for more reviews of Alice in Zombieland?
Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Burn For Burn (Burn for Burn #1) by Jenny Han and Siobahn Vivian | Review

Burn For Burn (Burn for Burn #1) by Jenny Han and Siobahn Vivian | ReviewBurn For Burn by Jenny Han, Siobahn Vivian
Series: Burn For Burn #1
Published by Simon & Schuster on September 18, 2012
Pages: 358
Format: ARC
Source: BEA, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
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4 Stars

Postcard-perfect Jar Island is the kind of place where nobody locks their doors at night, where parents can sleep easy, knowing their daughters are tucked away safe and sound in their beds. 

But bad things can happen, even to good girls . . . and sometimes, the only way to make things right is to do something wrong. 

Lillia used to trust boys, but not anymore. Not after what happened this summer. And she’ll do whatever it takes to protect her little sister from the same fate. 

Kat is over the rumors, the insults, the cruel jokes made at her expense. It all goes back to one person--her ex-best friend. Someone needs to teach her a lesson, and, with Lillia and Mary behind her, Kat feels up to the task.

Four years ago, Mary left Jar Island because of a boy. But she’s not the same girl anymore. Now that she’s got friends who have her back, he's going to be in big trouble.

Three very different girls who come together to make things right. Will they go too far?

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Burn For Burn is a big branch out for Jenny Han and Siobahn Vivian.  It’s a unique contemporary that will appeal to tons of YA readers.  It seems like a great start to this trilogy.

Burn For Burn is the story of three very different girls who all want the same thing; revenge.  Kat, Lillia, and Mary have all been wronged and they are not willing to let it go.  They want to get back at the people who hurt them and they are willing to go to great lengths.  But what happens when they go too far?

Kat is the mastermind of the three.  She has been treated horribly by the people at her school and she is not going to take anymore.  Lillia would put up with being treated badly but she won’t allow it to happen to her little sister.  Anything else she would handle but that one thing causes her to join Kat.  Mary came back to the island with revenge in mind.  She was never treated fairly by one person and she’s not okay with it anymore.  She will get back at him and it just so happens that Kat and Lillia are more than happy to help.

Kat is the loner of the three.  She is pissed off at most of the world, falling for the wrong guy, and called trash one too many times.  Her reasons for revenge are clear but at times seem a little petty.  Lillia is a total sweetheart with a backbone of steel when it comes to her little sister.  She gets wronged horribly in the book but instead of looking for revenge for herself, she wants it for her sister. Lillia was a good person at heart and probably the easiest to relate to.  Mary is the most seriously wronged of the three and it’s easy to see why she would want revenge.  However, she’s a very confused girl and her plans don’t always work out for her.  She seemed the least developed of the three but hopefully that will be remedied in the next book.

Now the revenge methods were pretty good.  Some were a little crazier than others but some were actually quite funny.  The interactions between the girls and the revenge methods are really where you see Jenny Han and Siobahn Vivian’s humor come out.

The one thing that was a little odd about the book is that it seems contemporary for about 3/4 of the book and then at the very end there seems to be a hint of something paranormal.  It kind of came out of nowhere and I’m not sure how I feel about it.  It’s really something that will have to be developed in the next book.

Overall, Burn For Burn is quite different from Jenny Han and Siobahn Vivian’s previous works but I definitely enjoyed it.  I’m excited to see where the story will go next.

Looking for more reviews of Burn For Burn?
A Good Addiction’s review
Pen To Paper’s review

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Pushing The Limits (Pushing the Limits #1) by Katie McGarry | Review

Pushing The Limits (Pushing the Limits #1) by Katie McGarry | ReviewPushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
Series: Pushing the Limits #1
Published by Harlequin Teen on July 31, 2012
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: BEA
Buy on Amazon
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5 Stars

No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.

But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.

Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.

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Echo is one severely damaged girl. Something traumatic happened to her one night close to the end of her sophomore year. She has scars on both her arms but she doesn’t remember anything about how she got them. That night changed everything for her and she has never been the same girl since. Now it’s her senior year and she’s finally trying to get back her life. She is scared, confused, lonely, and a lot of the time angry. Life has gone on without her and everyone is trying to shove her back into her old life and she just doesn’t fit. She’s such an easy character to like and connect with. She’s very raw and real and she’s very sarcastic inside her head (and sometimes out of it.) She may be damaged but she still has a great sense of humor and it’s clear that she’s a very smart girl. She’s a well-rounded, supremely awesome main character.

Then there is Noah. What is it about guys named Noah? So far every one that I have read about, I have loved and this Noah is no exception. He’s the quintessential bad boy but there is so much more to him. The book is told in alternating point-of-views so you get a glimpse inside Noah’s head and he’s a wonderful guy no matter how he acts on the outside. Sure I liked Echo but I was so invested in everything that happened with Noah. I have to say that his story may have been more interesting to me. Everything that happened to him broke my heart and I found myself sobbing by the end of the book, both about what happened to Echo and what happened to Noah. They are both very broken people but together they are so perfect. Also, Noah’s friends, Isaiah and Beth help make this book so awesome. They are hilarious and they really are like family to Noah. Beth’s story is the next book and I have very high hopes.

The romance in Pushing the Limits is some of the hottest I have read. Simone Elkeles blurbed this book and that kind of gave me a clue but I was still surprised by how sexy and steamy it was. I would honestly have to compare this one to a Simone Elkeles book, both with the romance and with how much I loved it. The story is addicting and I dare you to put this one down once you’ve started it. It’s damn near impossible.

Overall, Pushing The Limits is a must-read for every YA reader out there. Heck, even if you aren’t a YA reader (if you aren’t, why are you on my blog?) you must check this one out. Katie McGarry is an author to watch!

Looking for more reviews of Pushing The Limits?

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Statistical Probability Of Love At First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith | Review

The Statistical Probability Of Love At First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith | ReviewThe Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
Published by Little Brown on January 2, 2012
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 236
Format: ARC
Source: BEA, Publisher
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5 Stars

Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. Having missed her flight, she's stuck at JFK airport and late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon-to-be stepmother Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's sitting in her row.

A long night on the plane passes in the blink of an eye, and Hadley and Oliver lose track of each other in the airport chaos upon arrival. Can fate intervene to bring them together once more?

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The Statistical Probability Of Love At First Sight is a cute, fun, very quick read that I adored.  Jennifer E. Smith has me up late into the night reading.  It really is one of those books that you just have to read for yourself.

Hadley is not a happy character.  She is sad, confused, lonely, and she feels abandoned by her father.  She is not looking forward to his wedding and so when she misses her flight she isn’t too torn up about it.  Especially not when a cute British boy named Oliver ends up being on her new flight.  Oliver has his own demons that you don’t immediately find out about.  He still manages to be sweet and funny with Hadley even though his problems are a lot bigger than hers.  These two were perfect for each other.

I think my favorite thing about this book is that the whole story happens in one 24-hour time period.  It really is a story of love at first sight and how it plays out.  Also, in this case, I wouldn’t call it insta-love because that is a bad thing and that was not the case with this book.  It was a very good thing!  Also, a lot can happen in the course of one day and Hadley and Oliver learned a lot about each other in that time.

Overall, The Statistical Probability Of Love At First Sight is one of my new favorite contemporary romance stories.  It really is the perfect book to sit down and read straight through.  And it will leave you wondering if maybe you could find your own love at first sight.

What others are saying about The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight:

Respiring Thoughts’ review: So while The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight isn’t my favorite book ever, it’s most certainly a very enjoyable one.

Book Brats’ review: “The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is the perfect choice for fans of contemporary YA romance with a touch of quirky fun and just enough references to tough issues to give it even more emotion.”

Bookaholic In Therapy’s review: “The only sad thing is that Smith writes so, so well that the reader has no choice but to become attached to these characters, which leaves one longing for more when it’s all over.”

Monday, December 12, 2011

Half-Blood (Covenant #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout | Review

Half-Blood (Covenant #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout | ReviewHalf-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: Covenant #1
Published by Spencer Hill Press on October 18, 2011
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 281
Format: ARC
Source: BEA
Buy on Amazon
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5 Stars

The Hematoi descend from the unions of gods and mortals, and the children of two Hematoi-pure-bloods-have godlike powers. Children of Hematoi and mortals-well, not so much. Half-bloods only have two options: become trained Sentinels who hunt and kill daimons or become servants in the homes of the pures.Seventeen-year-old Alexandria would rather risk her life fighting than waste it scrubbing toilets, but she may end up slumming it anyway. There are several rules that students at the Covenant must follow. Alex has problems with them all, but especially rule #1:Relationships between pures and halfs are forbidden.Unfortunately, she's crushing hard on the totally hot pure-blood Aiden. But falling for Aiden isn't her biggest problem--staying alive long enough to graduate the Covenant and become a Sentinel is. If she fails in her duty, she faces a future worse than death or slavery: being turned into a daimon, and being hunted by Aiden. And that would kind of suck.

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Wow!  Half-Blood is the book that would be produced if the Vampire Academy series and the Percy Jackson series had a baby!  It was a mix of all my favorite elements: fighting, romance, and Greek gods!  I might have to add this to my favorites list!

Half-Blood is one of those books that starts with a bang.  From the very first line to the very last, this book was full of action.  It never slowed down!  There were also lots of surprises in Half-Blood.  So many things that happened, I never saw coming.  I love a book that keeps me guessing and Half-Blood definitely did that.

The characters really made this book though.  The plot was great and fast-paced but the characters were what made me want to keep reading.  I felt connected to each and every character and I was very interested in their stories.  Alex was just like a regular teenage girl as far as emotions, boys, and fitting in.  She was so easy to relate to.  I felt for her and I wanted to see her get a happy ending.  It was the same with Caleb, Deacon, Olivia, Aiden, Seth, and even Mia.  Each character was so different and had such unique personalities that I couldn’t get enough of them.  Aiden and Seth were some of my favorites though.  Aiden was sweet, sensitive, and kind of bad ass.  Seth was rude at times, cocky, and a total bad ass.  What can I say? I like the good and bad boys.

Overall, Half-Blood is a fantastic novel that I recommend checking out.  I can’t wait for more!

 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Forever (Wolves Of Mercy Falls #3) by Maggie Stiefvater | Review

Forever (Wolves Of Mercy Falls #3) by Maggie Stiefvater | ReviewForever by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: Wolves of Mercy Falls #3
Published by Scholastic on July 12, 2011
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 386
Format: ARC
Source: BEA
Buy on Amazon
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5 Stars

then.
When Sam met Grace, he was a wolf and she was a girl. Eventually he found a way to become a boy, and their loved moved from curious distance to the intense closeness of shared lives.

now.
That should have been the end of their story. But Grace was not meant to stay human. Now she is the wolf. And the wolves of Mercy Falls are about to be killed in one final, spectacular hunt.

forever.
Sam would do anything for Grace. But can one boy and one love really change a hostile, predatory world? The past, the present, and the future are about to collide in one pure moment - a moment of death or life, farewell or forever.

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Forever is the perfect ending to the Wolves Of Mercy Falls trilogy. Maggie Stiefvater has earned the title of favorite author and these books have earned the title of favorite trilogy.  I give you fair warning:  this review is basically me gushing about how amazing it is.

The ending of Linger was a huge cliffhanger.  Forever picked up quite some time after that ending and it was interesting to see how things had changed.  All the characters had changed so much and while it was sad to see then lose their innocence it was very refreshing to see them grow in such a real way even if the reasons are not so real.

The writing was, as always, absolutely amazing.  Maggie Stiefvater is such a lyrical writer. Her books just have to be savored.  I pretty much shut myself away so I could read uninterrupted and really take it all in.

I have to say something about the relationship of Sam and Grace:  that is the way it is supposed to be!  They face so many obstacles but they know that if they have each other they can make it.  Sam is sweet, romantic, and he cherishes Grace.  And she does not take that for granted.  She is always there for him and they truly love each other.  That is how I see love and Maggie Stiefvater did it perfectly with Sam and Grace.

Overall, Forever is a bittersweet ending to the Wolves Of Mercy Falls trilogy.  I laughed and I cried and I never wanted it to end.  I think this book will greatly satisfy fans of the first two books.  I can’t wait for whatever is next from Maggie Stiefvater.