Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Reading/Book Blog Goals for 2014

So another year comes to a close. I did manage to get some of my book goals done this year at least. Here are my new ones for 2014:

Book Blog Goals:
Be consistent with reviews. Some of you have probably noticed my funky posting as of late. Apologies. My work schedule got in the way these past few months due to the holiday season (the bane of retail workers everywhere). But it looks like it's going back to normal in January. Either way, I'm still going to try to be better about it.
I've decided that I'm no longer going to do reviews of single series books for things like UF. Particularly for long series. So instead of eight reviews of me going "yeah, I still like this series" for say The Elemental Assassin, you'll get one review for the whole series when I get caught up. Stuff like trilogies, I'll still review separately, but for series with more then five books, I'll probably just review the first book and then do one big review for the rest. Then of course, if the series is still ongoing, I'll review the new books as they come out.

Reading Goals for 2014:
Read at least 200 books. Two hundred seems to be what I average. So I think this is a more realistic goal for me.
Read four classics. I was bad about the classics this year (I only read one and I usually read at least 5). So I'm hoping to be better about it this year.
Get back into adult fantasy. This year I did adult urban fantasy. I feel I hit most of the ones that interest me. Now, I want to try and foray back into adult fantasy. I gave it up a bit due to getting more into YA and lack of creativity going on at the time. People assure me though, that there have been many awesome books as of late. So I'm going to try and get back into it.
Read the 2013 books I missed. Particularly Allegiant and Champion.
Try finishing up/get caught up on some of the adult urban fantasy series I started. Namely: The Hollows series, the Elemental Assassin series, Immortal Empire, etc.
Keep up on new releases. Now that I go to bigger library, this is more possible.
Authors/series to check in to this year: Sarah Dessen, the Gone series (no, I haven't read it yet), J. R. Ward (Black Dagger series).

Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 Favorites/Least Favorites Wrap Up List

So 2013 was kind of up and down for me, book wise.
Some books were really awesome. Some were massive disappointments. Some really surprised me, to the point of changing my original feelings towards a series/author (in a positive way, which is always a good thing in my book).

Trends I Noticed this year:
More steampunk (which as a steampunk fan, makes me VERY happy).
More historical fantasy (ditto, my favorite genre)
More science fiction
Really awesome sequels.

Favorites List

Favorite New Series/Trilogy: Memory Chronicles series (or whatever the publishers have decided to finally call it ;has seen like three different names for it;) by Lenore Appelhans
Arkwell Academy series by Mindee Arnett (Nightmare Affair was SO underrated)
Goddess War series by Kendare Blake (another underrated one)
Finishing School series by Gail Carriger
Hex Hall series Spin-off: School Spirits Book 1 by Rachel Hawkins
The Dispossessed series by Page Morgan
Altered series by Jennifer Rush
The Archived series by Victoria Schwab
The Madman's Daughter Trilogy by Megan Shepard
Pivot Point series by Kasie West
The Fifth Wave series by Rich Yancey

Favorite Continuations (please note, this was hard because the sequels really blew me away this year, this was actually a narrowed down list and it's not that small...):
Grisha Trilogy Book 2: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
Darkest Minds Book 2: Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken
Lynburn Legacy Book 2: Unbroken by Sarah Rees Brennan
Heist Society Book 3: Perfect Scoundrels by Ally Carter
Something Strange and Deadly Book 2: A Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard
Lunar Chronicles Book 2: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
Unraveling Book 2: Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris

Favorite Conclusions of a series/trilogy: Starcrossed Book 3: Goddess by Josephine Angelini (even if some of the twists were a complete one-eighty of characters)
Darkness Rising Trilogy Book 3: The Rising by Kelley Armstrong
Abandon Book 3: Awaken by Meg Cabot
Gallagher Girls Book 6: United We Spy by Ally Carter
Unearthly Trilogy Book 3: Boundless by Cynthia Hand
Across the Universe Book 3: Shades of Earth by Beth Revis

Favorite Standalones: Nobody by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Poison by Bridget Zinn
The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White

Favorite Old Books That I Finally Read This Year: A Curse Dark As Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
All the John Green (but particularly The Fault in Our Stars)
Inheritance Trilogy Book 1: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin
Millennium Trilogy Book 3: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest by Stieg Larsson
Song of Ice and Fire Book 4: A Feast For Crows by George R. R. Martin

Favorite Retellings: Woodcutter Sisters series by Alethea Kontis
Lunar Chronicles Book 2: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
Across a Star Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund (to be reviewed)
The Madman's Daughter Book 1 by Megan Shepard
Still Star-Crossed by Melinda Taub

Favorite Fantasys: City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster (underrated)
Grisha Trilogy Book 2: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
Shadows by Robin McKinley
Poison by Bridget Zinn

Favorite Steampunks: Finishing School Books by Gail Carriger
Something Strange and Deadly Book 2: A Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard
Stoker and Holmes Book 1: The Clockwork Scarab by Collen Gleason

Favorite Historical Fantasys: Born of Illusion by Teri Brown
Dispossessed Book 1: The Beautiful and the Cursed by Page Morgan

Favorite Dystopian: Legend Book 2: Prodigy by Marie Lu
The Fifth Wave Book 1 by Rick Yancey

Favorite Witch/Magic People Books: Lynburn Legacy series Book 2: Unbroken by Sarah Rees Brennan.
  Spellcaster Book 1 by Claudia Gray
Cahill Witch Chronicles Book 2: Star Cursed by Jessica Spotswood

Favorite Paranormal/Ghost Books: Goodnight Family Book 2: Spirit and Dust by Rosemary Clement-Moore
Legion series Book 1: Unbreakable by Kami Garcia
The Dead and the Buried by Kim Harrington
Ruined Book 2: Unbroken by Paula Morris
The Archived Book 1: The Archived by Victoria Schwab

Favorite Fae/Faerie Books: The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa
American Fairy Trilogy Book 2: The Golden Girl by Sarah Zettel

Favorite Vampire Books: Blood of Eden Book 2: The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black (currently reading and am loving the hell out it)

Favorite Mystery Books: Also Known As by Robin Benway
17 and Gone by Nova Ren Suma
Prep School Confidential Book 1 by Kara Taylor

Favorite Historical Fiction Books: Spirit's Princess Book 2: Spirit's Chosen by Esther Friesner
The Fire Horse Girl by Kay Honeymoon
His Fair Assassin Trilogy Book 2: Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers
Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

Favorite Realistic Fiction Books: Just One Day/Just One Year by Gayle Forman
Pretty-Girl 13 by Liz Coley

Favorite Urban Fantasy Books: Elemental Assassin series/Mythos Academy series by Jennifer Estep
Shades of London Book 2: The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson
Mind Games Book 1 by Kiersten White

Favorite 2012 Books I Missed But Finally Got to Enjoy This Year: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
Seven Kingdoms Book 3: Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Woodcutter Sisters series Book 1: Enchanted by Alethea Kontis

Least Favorites

Book I Wish Had Been Better: The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe-I had tried Smoke Thief but didn't get what the big deal was. Figuring maybe the YA series was better, I tried that. It wasn't. Have come to the conclusion that Abe just isn't for me. Which is a shame because dragons! In historical fantasy setting!
Several Adult UFs that I tried out but wound up shrugging at. I actually didn't even bother reviewing them here because I had very little to say beyond, "read this before. Same old."
Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black-So much potential. So many uses of the familiar and tired cliches.
Poison Princess by Kresley Cole-Yet another popular author I can't get into.

Books That Make Me Question the Popularity Game Hard: Matched Book 3: Reached by Allie Condie-Most boring and predictable conclusion of a dystopian I've ever read. I don't get why people like this trilogy so much, I really don't. Clearly, I'm missing something.
The Magicans by Lev Grossman-Dull and pretentious as hell. Seriously, why did people rave about this so much? Better than Harry Potter my butt.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn-I'm sorry I can't get into books where every character is a jerk. I'm funny that way. I could maybe forgive it if the story was good, but no, it was rather predictable as well. No, I don't count the horrible makes-no-sense ending as a twist. Sorry.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Book Review: Blythewood

TITLE: Blythewood
Book 1 in a series?
AUTHOR: Carol Goodman
PUBLISHED: October 2013
GENRE: Historical Fantasy, Faeries
PREMISE: A girl goes to a mysterious boarding school full of secrets.
MY REVIEW: This is yet again, a book that with a lot of polishing/editing, could have been ten times better then what it was. Instead, what we get was a trope ridden, cliche, mess of a book.
Because man, were there tropes in this. Girl with power she can't explain? Check. Mother who has secrets from her daughter? Check. Mysterious guy showing up just in time to save her and becoming love interest? Check. Mean rich girl? Check. Plots that somehow only girl can solve despite there being tons of competent adults around? Check. Magical boarding school? Check. So on and so forth. Everything here was so damn predictable. There was even a forced love triangle. The purple prose writing, did NOT help matters.
All in all, it added up to a dull, overly long, and predictable book. The ending leaves me to believe that the author is planning a sequel of some kind. If there is, she's going to have to step it up a notch to keep people reading.
WHO SHOULD READ: Those who don't mind cliche after cliche
MY RATING: Three out of Five I've seen this plot before feelings

Book Review:Hero

Book 2 in the Woodcutter Sisters series
AUTHOR: Alethea Kontis
PUBLISHED: October 2013
GENRE: Fantasy, Adventure
PREMISE: Saturday gets her own adventure as she seeks to fix a mistake she made...
MY REVIEW: So I finally got around to reading Enchanted about a month or so ago (I'm slow like that) and fell in utter love. It was fun and quirky, just how I like my fairy tale retellings.
Hero is very much more of the same, but this time it's centered around my favorite Woodcutter Sister: Saturday. It was just as enjoyable and fun as I hoped it would be. Also, we finally get an entrance from Jack Woodcutter.
The next book is going to be about Friday. Just like this one, I can't wait.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of Enchanted, Fairy-tale retellings/mash-up fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five kick ass girls with swords

Book Review: The Burning Sky

TITLE: The Burning Sky
Book 1 in the Elemental Trilogy
AUTHOR: Sherry Thomas
PUBLISHED: September 2013
GENRE: Fantasy, Adventure
PREMISE: Iolanthe gets mixed up into politics when her elemental powers get discovered.
MY REVIEW: You ever have one of those books where you wish you could give it a higher rating, but can't really because of quality level? This is me and Burning Sky. On one hand, it's awesome having more fantasy. I always want to give fantasy authors extra points because coming up with fantasy worlds is freaking HARD. Seriously, try it sometime, it's hard. I am working on one right now and I haven't even begun the actual writing part of the story and I started about six months ago (hence why my reviewing here has been funky as of late).
But...this is a very paint by numbers sort of fantasy? The writing is...average and does a lot of telling instead of showing. A lot of the things that happen are things I've seen done in other fantasy books (complete with the girl passing as a boy in a boys school). Characters weren't terribly complicated. Stuff was... predictable if you've read a lot of fantasy. Maybe stuff will ramp up in book two but honestly this one was a bit...dull, I'm sorry to say. It doesn't help that it drags in the middle. I'm pretty sure you could have cut a hundred pages and nothing would have been lost.
It saddens me, because I have a feeling this could have been much better if there had been more editing/polishing of the story. Unfortunately, taking time with stories seems to be a thing of the past in the publishing world.
WHO SHOULD READ: fantasy fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five elemental powers

Book Review: Unbreakable

TITLE: Unbreakable
Book 1 in The Legion series
AUTHOR: Kami Garcia
PUBLISHED: October 2013
GENRE: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
PREMISE: A girl's life changes when she is haunted by a ghost.
MY REVIEW: First off, I'll state the first question everyone is probably asking about this book: No. It's not as good as Beautiful Creatures. But, it's not horrible. I enjoyed it quite a bit despite the fact that it was a little too similar to Supernatural for my taste. How similar, you ask? Well, you could change one or two things in it, and this basically could be a book set in the Supernatural world about another group of hunters. That's how similar they were. This just doesn't have Supernatural's problem with female characters.
So I can't exactly give this one many points for originality. But at if you're going to do a rip-off, you should at least make it enjoyable and Garcia certainly did that. While there were several tropes here, I could have done without (forced love triangle with the brothers for instance), for the most part I got a kick out of this. I went into it wanting just a fun romp with ghosts and a fun romp with ghosts was what I got.
So original, this book is not. But it is at least a fun unoriginal book.
WHO SHOULD READ: Supernatural fans, Beautiful Creatures fans, Anna Dressed in Blood fans, paranormal fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five ghost traps

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Book Review: Just One Year

TITLE: Just One Year
Book 2 in the Just One Day Duology
AUTHOR: Gayle Forman
PUBLISHED: October 2013
GENRE: Realistic Fiction, Romance
PREMISE: So why did Willem not meet Lulu? Well, here's why.
MY REVIEW: As most of you know, contemporary romance isn't normally my thing. I have nothing against it. I know it can be done well. It's just normally, I just find it hard to care. Because normally, most contemporary romance is predictable. Especially YA contemporary romance.
But not Forman and especially not with this set of books. Forman takes all the expected tropes and chucks it out the window. It's not often where a contemporary romance doesn't end up where I totally expected it too, but this one did. For that reason, I can understand why this one didn't make too many people happy. There's this expectation sometimes that the main couple they want will of course wind up together in the end. This one says, why? Why should that automatically be the case? Personally, I loved that, and am thus one of the few who doesn't mind the ending.
This one is maybe not as engaging as Just One Day. But it's nothing really to do with the ending. It's more to do with the wandering plot and I honestly just don't like Willem as much Lulu. But it is nonetheless refreshing to read a contemporary romance that doesn't go the expected route.
WHO SHOULD READ: Just One Day fans, Gayle Forman fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five kissing couples

Friday, December 20, 2013

Book Review: The Cuckoo's Calling

TITLE: The Cuckoo's Calling
Book 1 in the Cormoran Strike series
AUTHOR: Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowing)
PUBLISHED: April 2013
GENRE: Mystery
PREMISE: A PI gets called to investigate the apparent suicide of a famous model.
MY REVIEW: Back in April this book had a quiet release. Mystery buffs were gushing over it and it was getting good reviews, making good sales, and was being optioned for movie/tv (not sure which). Then shit hit the fan when people discovered that actually Robert Galbraith was in fact JK Rowling. People were confused. Why would she do such a thing?! Then there were those who acted like she somehow "tricked" them (to which I say HUH?). I said it in my review of Casual Vacancy and I'll say it here: the backlash pretty much shows WHY she wrote it under a different name. She basically proved that you dear readers, have author bias. That author bias effects how you think or feel about a book. Perhaps instead of getting upset at Rowling, you should maybe think about why you would not have picked up this book, or enjoyed it, if you had known she wrote it beforehand.
Now, as for the book itself? It's good. It's very old school PI mystery. Which is good, because I like that sort of thing. Sometimes it does wander. I think some of the middle bits could have been cut without missing a thing. But for the most part, it's a good old school detective sort of story with Rowling's usual great commentary on social issues.
I sort of wish that lawyer (or whoever he was) had kept his mouth shut because there's so much here to discuss other then the fact that Rowling wrote this under a different name. But sadly, now that the cat is out of the bag, that is likely all that will be discussed about this book. Not the stuff about racial issues, not the class issues, not even the fact that the main character has a disability and still manages to have a life. Nope. Mostly people will discuss about whether this is as good as Harry Potter. This makes me kind of sad. Also, that right there, is probably another reason Rowling wrote under another name.
WHO SHOULD READ: Mystery fans, those willing to give something Rowling wrote an actual chance and NOT compare it to Harry Potter
MY RATING: Four out of Five snarky PIs

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Book Review: Entangled

TITLE: Entangled
AUTHOR: Amy Rose Capetta
PUBLISHED: October 2013
GENRE: Science Fiction, Adventure
PREMISE: A girl's life changes as she learns she was created in a lab.
MY REVIEW: This was a interesting little read. I mostly picked it up because 1) The awesome cover. Kudos cover artist. and 2) There's not much straight up sci-fi in YA (though that has been changing these past few months).
Like I said, this one was interesting. It was mostly about Cade's personal journey and her making connections with people and honestly, it was kind of refreshing reading a story that was mostly about friendship. Some things about it could have used a little work. Such as rushed pace. But mostly, it was an enjoyable read.
This one isn't what I would call a must read though. It was fun and cute but that was about it. Mostly it was just nice for me because it wasn't the usual stuff you find in YA nowadays and I always try to give props to authors who do different things because I appreciate when authors try to break the mold and there needs to be more of that in YA.
WHO SHOULD READ: Those looking for books that aren't strictly about romance, sci-fi fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five guitars

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Book Review: Never Fade

TITLE: Never Fade
Book 2 in the Darkest Minds series
AUTHOR: Alexandra Bracken
PUBLISHED: October 2013
GENRE: Dystopian/Urban Fantasyish
PREMISE: Ruby gets involved in the one organization she shouldn't in order to find Liam.
MY REVIEW: This series is one of the more interesting dystopians to come about in the recent year or so. I honestly hesitate to even call it dystopian sometimes because there's a bit of urban fantasy in it as well.
But whatever genre it is, it is a great ride. Bracken deftly mixes plot, intrigue, character stuff, and romance and never sacrifices one for the other. If you read YA you know this is a rare thing. Now, I will warn, if you're the squeemish kind, this series probably won't be for you. There's violence, cursing, and bad things happening to children. Basically, if you had trouble getting through Hunger Games, I wouldn't try this because this is like Mockingjay times ten and Bracken doesn't shy away from cursing.
However, if you don't mind the dark stuff and loved the first book, definitely check out the sequel. I actually think the sequel is a bit better then the first. This is yet another great sequel to a great first book from last year. I'm going to have a hard time choosing the best sequel of the year this year, they've been that good.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of Darkest Minds, Hunger Games fans, dystopian fans
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five potty mouth girls with guns (guess who was my favorite in the book?)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten New to Me Authors I read in 2013

This is a weekly meme hosted by the girls over at The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten New to Me Authors I Read in 2013:

1) John Green-This year I finally read all of the John Green. While I may not hold him as high up in quality as the literature crowd (his stuff is enjoyable for sure, but hardly groundbreaking), I am happy I finally read his stuff and I look forward to his next book.

2) Alexandra Bracken-I discovered the Darkest Minds series earlier this year instead of last year and I'm so happy I did. It proves that the dystopian is not totally dead. There are still new things to do with it.

3) Ruta Sepetys-No, I didn't read Between Shades of Gray, but I did read her latest, Out of the Easy and thought it was really good. I will probably be checking out Between Shades of Gray next year.

4) Rick Yancey-Yancey has actually been writing books in YA for awhile. But he made a breakthrough this year with The 5th Wave which is another book that proves the Dystopian genre can still have some good stuff in it.

5) Alethea Kontis-I finally read Enchanted a month or so ago and Hero is in my current batch of library books. I'm in love with this adorable retelling series.

6) N. K. Jemisin-I picked up Hundred Thousand Kingdoms because one of the websites I frequent was reading it and I'd never heard of it. I'm so glad I picked it up. It's one of the most interesting adult fantasy books I've read in awhile. I will be reading the second as soon as possible (meaning next year).

7) Juliet Blackwell-Cozy mystery author who writes a series about a witch solving murders that is so much fun.

8) Stephen Chbosky-Yes, I finally read Perks of Being a Wallflower this year. Granted, I wasn't as into it as a lot of people are but I think Perks is one of those that is best read when you're actually a teenager. I'm sure my teenage self would have related to it much more then my current adult self (especially as I went to high school in the nineties like the characters in this book).

9) Barry Lyga-Like Yancey, Lyga has been around for a bit. But he had a breakthrough last year with his book I Hunt Killers which I finally read this year and enjoyed quite a bit despite some reservations about it. Hopefully I'll be reading the sequel soon.

10) Megan Shepard-Hangman's Daughter was one of my favorite debuts of the year. I can not wait for the sequel, which comes out next month.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Book Review: Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer

TITLE: Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer
AUTHOR: Katie Alender
PUBLISHED: September 2013
GENRE: Mystery, Paranormal
PREMISE: A girl travels to Paris just as people are being beheaded by a serial killer.
MY REVIEW: I confess, I was very disappointed in this one. I had read the Bad Girls Don't Die series and really enjoyed it. It was silly, yes, but it was sort of a self-aware silly that had some great social commentary squeezed into there as well. So I was expecting more of the same here.
Unfortunately...the author went a different route then expected and while sometimes that can be a good thing (such as The Dark Unwinding series), in this case...it was not. It was more of a disappointment. From the cover/summary I was expecting a awesome mystery about Marie Antoinette who goes around beheading people. Instead, this is more about Colette and her annoying friends. Which, okay. I could get behind a book saying being popular isn't everything under the sun. But this one did it in a particularly condescending way. Especially where Hannah was concerned. God, what a two-dimensional character Hannah was. Literally she was just there for the reader to hate on. She had no real use whatsoever other then to say "don't be like this girls! Being like this is bad!"
Then there's the fact that, Colette is just plain unlikable. Even after she gets the whole "lesson about popularity" thing. Then there's the apologetic attitude towards Marie Antoinette herself which drives me nutty. Yes, Marie was handed a raw deal politically (she didn't exactly ASK to be queen of France). No, she wasn't AS bad as people said. But...she was still bad. She still was responsible for a lot of crap. To wave away all she did and say the peasants were just being unfair about her and using her as a scapegoat...um no. That shows a complete lack of understanding about what was going on during that time period. Yeah, sorry, the peasants had every right to revolt and be mad at her. I may not be into the painting Marie as a heartless villain thing that history likes to do, but I'm also not into the excusing all the bad stuff because people were "unfair" to her thing that Marie sympathizers like to do either. This book did that a LOT and I could tell that was mostly author opinion and not actual use of facts/research/character opinion.
There were some good things about it. The mystery was entertaining. The descriptions of Paris were nice. I liked Audrey. But this ultimately wound up being not as awesome as it could have of been.
WHO SHOULD READ: Katie Alender fans
MY RATING: Two and a half out of Five could have been better sighs

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Book Review: Hereafter

TITLE: Hereafter
Book 2 in the Shadowlands Trilogy
AUTHOR: Kate Brian
PUBLISHED: October 2013
GENRE: Paranormal, Mystery
PREMISE: Rory must now deal with the consequences of knowing the truth about her hometown.
MY REVIEW: This series is kind of a guilty pleasure for me. It's not totally original. There are funky messages throughout it. Writing...is passable but nothing to brag about. But it's just intriguing enough, that I keep reading despite its faults.
I do sort of like the set up here. The author is sort of decent at building up intrigue. I say sort of because a couple of things were pretty obvious from the start. I mean, was ANYONE surprised about mean girl who hated Rory for no apparent reason being one of the culprits? Anyone? Didn't think so. Subtlety is not this series strong suit, but it manages to get the job done just enough to keep you reading.
This series is what I call a good library read. It gets you your paranormal fix, but it's not something I would spend money on.
WHO SHOULD READ: Kate Brian fans, Paranormal fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five obvious villains being obvious

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Book Review: The Dark Between

TITLE: The Dark Between
AUTHOR: Sonia Gensler
PUBLISHED: August 2013
GENRE: Historical Fantasy, mystery
PREMISE: Three teenagers get drawn together in a mystery.
MY REVIEW: I don't really have much to say about this one, to be honest.
It had its good things (historical details, interesting idea) and its bad things (obvious romantic shenanigans, usual YA tropes, typical YA characters). So it made for a interesting but ultimately predictable read.
I'd recommend this to historical fiction readers more than paranormal readers though. The paranormal stuff was there, but it played a really tiny role in the overall plot.
WHO SHOULD READ: Historical fiction fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five ghosts

Book Review: A Spark Unseen

TITLE: A Spark Unseen
Book 2 in the Dark Unwinding series
AUTHOR: Sharon Cameron
PUBLISHED: September 2013
GENRE: Steampunk, Historical Fantasy
PREMISE: Katherine's life gets complicated as people come after her Uncle's machine...
MY REVIEW: Dark Unwinding was one of those underrated books of 2012. It wasn't marketed heavily. It wasn't the usual steampunk, with something happening every page. It was quieter. So, it got overlooked. Which is a shame because I enjoyed it quite a bit.
A Spark Unseen continues that not going the expected route. This one does suffer a bit from sequel syndrome but the ending leaves me to believe we're getting to the good stuff in the next book. I also wouldn't read it purely for romance, because, romance isn't a huge factor here. It's there (and enjoyable) but a large part of this series is focused on Katherine's journey. Which I confess, is part of why I like the series. It's rare to get a YA series that is mostly focused on the main characters personal journey. Usually, that takes the backseat to romantic shenanigans or adventure.
But going against usual story tropes means this series won't be everyone's cup of tea (hence all the mixed reviews on Goodreads). But if you're willing to give this series a shot, I totally encourage you to do so.
WHO SHOULD READ: Dark Unwinding fans, steampunk fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five clockwork devices

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books on my Winter TBR List

This is a weekly meme hosted by the girls over at The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Books on My Winter TBR List

For my sake, I narrowed this down to books from now until the end of February and not counting the books I already have that are waiting to be read (aka Coldest Girl in Cold Town, Dream Thieves, Battle Magic, Curties and Conspiracies, and A Dance of Dragons. I'll get to you guys soon, I swear).

1) Starters series Book 2: Enders by Lissa Price-Released Jan. 7th-Do you know how long it's been since Starters? Well over a year. Which is kind of mean considering where it left off.

2) Archived Series Book 2: Unbound by Victoria Schwab, Released Jan. 28th-I've said it before, and I'll say it again: The Archived was one of 2013's underrated books of the year.

3) Under the Never Sky Trilogy Book 3: Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi-Released Jan. 28th-Can't wait to see how this one ends!

4) Madman's Daughter Trilogy Book 2: Her Dark Curiousity by Megan Shepherd-Released, Jan. 28th-Madmen's Daughter was another underrated book of 2013 (though thankfully slightly more read then The Archived). I can't wait to see how the author ties in Frankenstein to an already awesome series.

5) Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge-Released Jan. 28th. Fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast? Bring it.

6) Lunar Chronicles Book 3: Cress by Marissa Meyer-Feb. 4rth-You all are probably sick of hearing me whine about how much I have to wait for Cress so I'll spare you.

7) Altered series Book 2: Erased by Jennifer Rush, Released Jan 7th-Altered was a pleasant surprise for me. I wasn't expecting much from it, what with the half naked guy on the cover and the cheesy sounding summary, but this is one of the many cases where poor packaging sometimes hides a awesome book. Not to say it doesn't have its cheese, but it's fun cheese.

8) Pivot Point series Book 2: Split Second by Kasie West-Pivot Point was another pleasant surprise from this year. I hope the sequel is just as fun as the first one was.

9) Defy by Sara B. Larson-Released Jan. 7th-New one about a girl disguising herself as a boy and joining the royal guard. I'm a sucker for those kinds of books. Blame the Tortall series, which I'll be judging this book by, so be warned author.

10) Tsarina by J. Nelle Patrick-Released February 27th.-Historical fantasy taking place in Russia during the time of the Romanovs. Hells yes.

Book Review: Gone Girl

TITLE: Gone Girl
AUTHOR: Gillian Flynn
GENRE: Mystery
PREMISE: A woman goes missing and her disappearance brings out all sorts of dirty little secrets.
MY REVIEW: Dear Best Seller List: well, here we are again. This is yet another book you swore to me up and down was spectacular, oh so suspenseful, wonderfully written, etc. etc. ;insert hyperbole here; Once again, I am stuck asking: did we read the same book? Because...yeah, I don't get it. Which doesn't always mean anything. Sometimes there are books that are good that are just not for you. I don't like Wuthering Heights all that much but Wuthering Heights is beautifully written and I totally understand why it became a classic. It's just that self-absorbed, star-crossed lovers, who suffer due to their own stupid actions aren't really my thing.
But see, this is a mystery! That's totally my genre! I should love this. But...I kind of hated every minute of it. I get it author, people are horrible to each other, including to their spouses. If you thought this was brand new information and you were being revolutionary, you really weren't. But hey, I can deal with horrible characters if maybe the plot is decent. But alas...this is predictable mystery du jour that ends pretty much how I predicted it would when stalker guy was mentioned early on. On top of that, this was an extremely judgmental book. It judged EVERYONE. But it was especially harsh on women to the point of being vaguely sexist. Considering this was written by a woman, that's mildly disappointing.
I just don't understand at all how this became a best seller? The writing isn't that great. There's nothing really engaging about the story. It's predictable as hell (aside from that makes no sense ending) and made me eye twitchy as I read it. Why on earth do people like this so much? To the point that there's going to be a movie next year? I just...don't understand the book world sometimes.
WHO SHOULD READ: Gillian Flynn fans, uh...if you want to I guess
MY RATING: Two out of Five characters I want to strangle

Friday, December 6, 2013

Book Review: Untold

TITLE: Untold
Book 2 in the Lynburn Legacy series
AUTHOR: Sarah Rees Brennan
PUBLISHED: September 2013
GENRE: Urban Fantasy, witches/wizards
PREMISE: The residents of Sorry in the Vale try to rise up against Rob, with consequences for all.
MY REVIEW: Unspoken was one of my top reads last year so I expected big things from the sequel. Boy did Brennan deliver, continuing the awesome sequel/continuation trend that has been going on in 2013.
Brennan swiftly brings you back to Kami and crew and doesn't stop from where she left off. There's loads of plot developments/twists that both make me squee with delight (such as the gang all hanging out together and trying to deal with this stuff) and moan in despair (damn Lynburns. Just...damn them). All of it is done with that delicate balance of feels and humor that Brennan has that has made me love her stuff so much.
In short, this was a excellent sequel. I am already pining for the next book and I have a year to wait. Damn it all.
WHO SHOULD READ: Those that have read Unspoken, Sarah Rees Brennan fans, Mortal Instruments fans (this is like MI but ten times more better handled)
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five evil cliffhangers (no seriously, EVIL)

Book Review: Relic

TITLE: Relic
Book 1 in The Books of Eva Trilogy
AUTHOR: Heather Terrell
PUBLISHED: October 2013
GENRE: Fantasy/Dystopian
PREMISE: Hoping for answers, a girl takes her brother's place in a dangerous game...
MY REVIEW: Okay YA summary authors, please repeat after me: I will not try to make a reader think this is going to be anything like Game of Thrones ever again. Because seriously, no YA series is ever going to be like Game of Thrones because Game of Thrones is adult fiction. It can go where YA can't because...honestly I'm still a little fuzzy on the rules that YA seems to have upon itself but I just know that there's very little chance of any YA series matching Game of Thrones when it comes to bloodshed/what the hellness/etc. Promising me that this book will do that, is basically setting me up for disappointment. This is like the third YA book I've tried that promised me Game of Thrones for YA and failed to deliver. That isn't even going into the fact that this has NOTHING to do with Game of Thrones. I can sort of see the Hunger Games comparison. But where the hell did the Game of Thrones comparison come in? Have you people even READ Game of Thrones? Because it's got nothing in common with this. At all.
Honestly...this book isn't even Hunger Games league. It's got its moments but there are so many plot holes that I just couldn't get into it. It also relied on the usual YA tropes: love triangle, girl being able to do everything magically, etc. Also, don't get me started on the rampant sexism in the society. I'm sorry but if you're going to have deep sexism that is totally accepted like this in a future society, you better give me a damn good reason for it. There wasn't any reason given. It was just there. Why? Who knows. I do know it made me side-eye the author hard.
All of this combined with flat characters and a very predictable plot made for a rather boring book. I probably won't be reading the rest.
WHO SHOULD READ: Hunger Games fans looking for lulz
MY RATING: Two and a half out of Five sighs

Book Review: Bad Girls Don't Lie

TITLE: Bad Girls Don't Lie
AUTHOR: Jennifer Shaw Wolf
PUBLISHED: September 2013
GENRE: Mystery
PREMISE: A girl looks into the death of her best friend.
MY REVIEW: This review will be short because I don't have much to say about this book.
It was a typical YA murder mystery. Some things were good. Most were average. It wasn't terrible. But it didn't blow me away either.
So...it's okay. You could do worse. It's good for if you're looking for a murder mystery. But that's about all I can say about it.
WHO SHOULD READ: Murder mystery fans
MY RATING: Three out of Five shrugs