• Splintered - AG HowardSplintered
  • A Matter of Fate - Heather Lyons
  •  inescapable - amy a bartol
  •  graceling - kristin cashore
  •  someone to love - addison moore
  •  breaking beautiful - jennifer shaw wolf
  •  the perfect game - j sterling
  •  the edge of never - ja redmerski
  •  independence - shelly crane

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Personal Announcement


Today is my 21st birthday!!!

It feels no different than being 16, 18 or 20.  There are only two things that change today:  my license becomes horizontal and I can legally buy alcohol.  It is all downhill from here.

On another note, I have finished reading Destiny Binds by Tammy Blackwell and hope to have that review posted by Thursday evening.  I just purchased the next book in the Timber Wolves Trilogy, Time Mends.  This review should be posted Saturday.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

{Review} Everneath by Brodi Ashton




Everneath
by Brodi Ashton
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 370
Source: Gift from my mom
Available as of January 24, 2012







Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath. Now she’s returned—to her old life, her family, her boyfriend—before she’s banished back to the underworld . . . this time forever. She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can’t find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these precious months forgetting the Everneath and trying to reconnect with her boyfriend, Jack, the person most devastated by her disappearance—and the one person she loves more than anything. But there’s just one problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who enticed her to the Everneath in the first place, has followed Nikki home. Cole wants to take over the throne in the underworld and is convinced Nikki is the key to making it happen. And he’ll do whatever it takes to bring her back, this time as his queen.

As Nikki’s time on the Surface draws to a close and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she is forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole’s queen.


Rating:


Review:
Upon reading the summary I was enticed and I had an idea of how it would end. I was completely wrong. When I began reading, I was sucked into a world of mythology and the unknown. Brodi Ashton caught my attention from page one and kept it to the very last word. I put off sleep and homework just to finish this book.  

In the beginning we are introduced to Nikki and Cole coming out of their cocoon after the Feed. Cole is shocked to see she is still seventeen and has survived. But the biggest shock comes when she says she is leaving, going home. A Shade attacks her and she wakes up in a convenience store with only one thought, "Jack."

Nikki is unlike many seventeen year old girls. She is empty of all emotion and she only has six months until she is taken back to the Everneath. She has spent one hundred years with Cole while he sucked the life force out of her and he wants her to come back to Everneath so they can become royalty, but she came back to the Surface to see Jack and say a proper goodbye. She pictured him, holding on to his image, for one hundred years and she wants to see him again. Cole is popping in and out of her life trying to convince her to go back. He says all she will do in the end is hurt Jack more, but she doesn't believe him. Jack is the quarterback on the football team who fell apart when his girlfriend left with no explanation and just wants her to talk to him again.

Brodi Ashton did a wonderful job switching between past and present to show the reader the kinds of relationships Nikki had before the Feed and how her leaving affected those bonds. I find this to be an integral part of the story. To have information revealed slowly affected how I felt towards each of the characters individually. In the beginning, I liked Cole more and didn't see what Nikki found in Jack but at the story progressed, I found Cole to be manipulative and Jack to be a sweetheart.

Overall, this book was wonderful and I would recommend it to anyone looking to read a book packed full of mythology and romance. I look forward to reading the next book in the trilogy.


This book satisfies one of my twelve books for the 2012 Debut Author Challenge.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

{Review} Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver



Before I Fall
by Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 470
Source: Self Purchased
Available as of March 2, 2010






What if you had only one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all: the world's most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High—from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life.

Instead, it turns out to be her last.

Then she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.




My Rating:





Review:
When I first read Before I Fall, I thought it was good. However, I never caught the little details, the bits of irony, or that maybe this was what Sam deserved for the way she lived her life; I was too caught up in wondering how each day would end. Would she wake up and live or would she have another repeat. Upon a second reading, I really thought about how I would feel if I had to relive the same day over and over again.  


Samantha Kingston begins day one, Cupid Day, as a selfish, judgmental, irresponsible follower of Lindsay Edgecombe. She is the epitome of popular and because of her status she can get away with anything knowing there will be no consequences for her actions. She has no respect for herself or her teachers and looks down upon all other students. And then it happens, upon leaving a party Lindsay loses control of her vehicle and goes careening off the road. Sam dies and begins to dream of falling.  She wakes up at 6:50 AM to her little sister Izzy saying she is going to be late for school. She begins reliving Cupid Day all over again, but this time she gets to make new choices. As the story progresses, Sam realizes she doesn't like the person she has become and tries to fix herself in order to, hopefully, live to see the next day. 


Throughout the novel Sam takes breaks to talk to the reader directly. She makes comments asking us to think about ourselves before judging her for her actions. I enjoyed these little snip-its the best because I got to take a break and reflect upon my own life. I asked my self questions like:  how will I be remembered, am I who I want to be, and do I do at least one good thing a day? This book made me question myself and my morals.


Lauren Oliver did a great job weaving in ironic statements for the characters. The most memorable statement for me was a quote of Sam's saying, "When my grandmother was still alive we would visit her, and even thought I was no more than six, I remember thinking:  I hope I die young." All I could think after reading this was, "Well, you get what you hope for."

Overall, this book was a wonderful read. Granted the chapters are long (only seven!), they are sectioned off by headers to make finding a good place to stop easy.   


This book satisfies one of my twenty books for the 2012 Completely Contemp Challenge.


Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Five Day: Books I Always Recommend




This weeks topic of Friday Five Day is books I always recommend to friends.  All the books I am listing today are recommend because they have had an impact on me in some way, be it mentally, emotionally or socially. 








Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Jay Asher couldn't have set this novel up any better.  He chose a tricky topic and wrote it from the viewpoint of two characters who couldn't find each other when they needed to the most.  He was too late and she broke his heart.  She was beyond repair and he wanted to save her.  He blames himself and she blames other people.  I cried my heart out for both of them and was left with a sense of relief and closure for Clay.  He did what he could but in the end Hannah was determined to follow through with her plan.



Sometimes It Happens by Lauren Barnholdt
At first, I didn't think I would like this book based on its concept: boy cheats on girlfriend with her best friend.  I am not a fan of cheating, you might as well just break up with the person if you are going to go that far.  However, sometimes it happens.  Before this book, I never would have thought about how horrible the best friend might feel or how hard she fought against the attraction.  This book has allowed me to step into the other persons shoes and I believe that is something that most girls don't think about when it happens to them.



The Pact by Jodi Picoult
Out of all the books on this list, this book has affected me the most.  I know many readers do not enjoy flashbacks, however, Jodi Picoult did a wonderful job balancing between the past and the present.  The impact this books has had on my life is immense.  I never thought about how a single person can cause such turmoil between two families or turn an entire community against a seventeen year old boy who only loved her.  This book made me realize that you can't make other people happy, they have to want to be happy.  And most importantly, don't make promises you may not want to keep.


October Breezes by Maria Rachel Hooley
When beginning this book, I could have never imagined what story would unfold.  Skye is a 16 year old girl with major trust issues.  Her dad walked out when she was young and her moms new boyfriend is trying to convince her that he isn't like the other men who have been in and out of her moms life.  The star quarterback is looking in her direction, and so is his best friend.  And then it happens.  She gets raped and now she has to deal with the repercussions of one boys actions.  This book taught me a lot about trust, it can not be given freely, it must be earned.  Assuming that everyone is trustworthy will, at times, result in an uncomfortable situation that may be difficult to get out of easily.


Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley
If I had to sum this book up in one word it would be charming.  Corrinne is forced to move to Texas and live with her grandparents when her father loses his job.  She would do anything to get back to her life of shopping sprees and boarding school until she lives life a little in a small hick town.  Corrinne grows from a spoiled rich girl with shallow tendencies to a girl who is down-to-earth with just enough spunk.  This book taught me that sometimes you just have to make the best of a situation, learn and grow from the hand you are given and maybe one day you will find happiness where it's least expected.





I hope I have inspired you to pick up one of these books and maybe learn something new.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Catching up!


Since January of 2011 I have read over 150 books with a kitty or two either on my lap or causing high jinx near by, especially the little boy shown here.  This is my two year old kitten named Tut Tut and does he ever want to play the moment I sit down and start a book.  Anyways, until recently, I never considered blogging reviews on books.  But after reading so many and finding that when I go back and reread them that they don't hold the same level of enjoyment for me as they did when they were new, I figured it wouldn't be a bad idea.  That being said, I am going back and rereading my books (and taking notes this time around) so I can provide fellow readers with honest, understated, reviews.  I will still be reviewing the new releases that I have on my "Must Read or I Will Die" list as soon as humanly possible.

With rereading books I tend to find things that either annoy the crap out of me or details I missed the first time around.  For instance, I never realized how much some female characters annoy me with their non-stop banter about a guys looks.  It's like, "Okay, I get it, he is the hottest thing since that coffee I had this morning that burned all the way down my throat.  Can we please move on now?!"  This is the reason I could not go back and read The Twilight Saga a second time when I tried.  Loved it the first time around, second time not so much.  I don't think I made it past the halfway point in Twilight before I set it back down and said "Nope, not happening."  But on the flip side, I also saw all the small details that make the scene playing in my head ten times better.  This is especially true when I reread the Fallen series by Lauren Kate when Passion  was released.  I fell in love with the books and their characters all over again. 

Better get off of here and head to bed. 



P.S.  Aiming for 1/28/12 for my next book review to be published then no books until I get through my first set of exams next week!



Tuesday, January 24, 2012

{Review} Switched by Amanda Hocking

Switched
by Amanda Hocking
Series:  Trylle (#1)
Self Published
Pages:  504 (ebook version)
Source:  Self Purchased

Version currently available:
Publisher:  St. Martin's Griffin 
Pages:  293 - paperback
Available as of January 3, 2012
When Wendy Everly was six-years-old, her mother was convinced she was a monster and tried to kill her. It isn't until eleven years later that Wendy discovers her mother might have been right. With the help of Finn Holmes, Wendy finds herself in a world she never knew existed - a world both beautiful and frightening, and Wendy's not sure she wants to be a part of it.


My Rating: 


Review:
This is the first book I purchased when I received my nook on January 31, 2011 (my birthday!). I have never been a big fan of reading since elementary school when a girl in the 5th grade told me reading was stupid. It was then, with only one chapter of Charlotte's Web left to read, that I put books down and stopped reading. Switched did much to change my outlook.  

When I picked this book up I couldn't put it down. I was drawn into the world of Trylle, an immersion that was impossible to break. I'm not sure if it was because the prologue set the stage in drastic clarity or if it was the way I could picture every moment like I was a bystander, but the relationships and tribulations that follow are believable and easy to fall into. Because of this, I stepped into Wendy's' shoes and left my own behind.

Lost in the familiarity, I don't feel like I was fully introduced to some of the main characters. This could be due to the author wanting the characters to grow and change throughout the trilogy or because they don't play a big part. Wendy, the main character, is a 15 year old girl who feels she doesn't fit in with others her age. She is often bratty, selfish and sometimes whinny like most adolescence. She is thrown into a new life where she must mature and embrace her destiny. Matt, her older brother, would do anything in his power to help and protect her.  He is the ideal big brother but otherwise his character lacks depth. Finn is set on bringing Wendy to her rightful home no matter what it takes and often defies authority. As her assigned tracker, he is put in the position to guide her through her journey. Her biological mother, Elora, is cold and distant, refusing to form a bond with her own blood for reasons we have yet to learn.  

The first time I read this book I loved Finn; as such, I frequently overlooked his demeanor toward Wendy. After a second reading, I feel like they bring out the worst in each other. Wendy's internal dialogue revolves around Finn and his temperament which is often a product of her discourse.

While reading this book, I had questions about Elora, Wendy's relationship with Finn, and secondary characters' involvement. Because this is the start of a trilogy, very few of these questions are answered by the closing of the book.

Overall, I enjoyed reading Switched and would recommend it to anyone with a penchant for YA paranormal fiction. However, it is not a book that ends at a solid point, more like an uphill marathon caught by a cliffhanger. If you do read this book, I recommend reading Torn and Ascend following completion of Switched


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