Friday, September 27, 2013

Kiersten White's "The Chaos of Stars"


From Goodreads:

Isadora’s family is seriously screwed up.

Of course, as the human daughter of Egyptian gods, that pretty much comes with the territory. She’s also stuck with parents who barely notice her, and a house full of relatives who can’t be bothered to remember her name. After all, they are going to be around forever—and she’s a mere mortal.

Isadora’s sick of living a life where she’s only worthy of a passing glance, and when she has the chance to move to San Diego with her brother, she jumps on it. But Isadora’s quickly finding that a “normal” life comes with plenty of its own epic complications—and that there’s no such thing as a clean break when it comes to family. Much as she wants to leave her past behind, she can’t shake the ominous dreams that foretell destruction for her entire family. When it turns out there may be truth in her nightmares, Isadora has to decide whether she can abandon her divine heritage after all.

Gorgeous cover and a fun twist - Egyptian mythology! I did a report on Egyptian mythology in 5th grade and I'll never forget how awesome it all was. I was really excited to read this book - I really love Kiersten's "Mind Games" (someone send me an ARC of "Perfect Lies," please? pretty please? I'll mail you cookies!) and again, you know, pretty cover! 

The first two chapters of this book scared me. They were sort of mythology heavy and I wasn't sure that the book was what I wanted. But Kiersten is super nice so I kept reading - really, I kept reading because she's nice! And it was worth it. This is a cute, fun, original read, and I'm really glad I hung in. Also, if you're worried, the mythology stuff can sort of be pushed aside so you can enjoy the story without that.

I'm picking one quote, but it's one of my favorites.

He laughs, throwing back his head like the force of mirth is too much for his neck to handle. It is an avalanche of a laugh, a zephyr wind that sweeps me back with its warm surprise, and I realize too late I am smiling and laughing with him.

Okay, the first video is for Isadora early in the book, and the second video is for later.







Ranae Rose's "Hell Without You"

When I saw this as a digital ARC on Netgalley, I knew I had to request it, even though I was pretty sure it would be horrible. Of course, the male cover model is no Fabio (I mean that in the good way, of course) so maybe I should have had faith. I didn't. I was wrong.



From Goodreads:

Time changes everything, except what’s meant to be.

Seven years is a long time – long enough to transform Clementine from a small-town teenager with a broken heart into a woman ready to take on the world, but not long enough to make her forget about the man she was never supposed to see again. A temporary return to tiny Willow Heights thrusts her back into Donovan’s life and home, unearthing heartbreak and obsession that have stood the test of time.

He left seven years ago too, for war and other things Clementine can only imagine. Coming back to the town where he grew up in the shadow of poverty and drug addiction makes no sense, and neither do Clementine’s feelings for him. He could never forgive her for leaving, could he? Even if she had no choice.

Now, she has the freedom to choose … and so does he. Every day in Willow Heights makes it clearer: all he ever really wanted was her, and nothing will change that. Not even a taste of the hell that drove them apart in the first place.


The general story line is probably something most of us can identify with, at least a little. You have a high school love, you leave town (college, the military, travel, whatever) and then back you go. Assaulted by the past, the place you grew up in, the people you knew, the ghosts of your past. 

Of course Clementine and Donovan had a rougher time than most - Donovan grew up in a trailer with a drug addict for a mom; Clementine had a horrible stepfather and stepbrother and a clueless, ignorant, jerk of a mom. But this is a love story of understanding and overcoming and accepting happiness when it presents itself. Plus well written sexy times! 

I'm not going to get into specifics, not that my blog has a huge following, but just because. But vaguely, a lot of this book is a lot like my life. Without some of the worst parts, but with some of the bad parts. I definitely have to read more of Ms. Rose's books.


She was stuck in limbo, lost half in the past and half in the present with no light at the end of the tunnel. And it was comforting, in a way. At least she was lost with Donovan, instead of without him.


"Memories are all you've got over there," he said. "You have to fight them all the time - to be present..."


"The past doesn't change, no matter how much you think about it."



K.R. Conway's "Undertow"



I received a digital ARC of this book from Netgalley for review.

From Goodreads:

Luckless Eila is unknowingly the last of her kind: Rare. Gifted. Breakable. Stunning Raef is her kind's historic enemy: Soulless. Lethal. Lost. A legendary death 160 years before would set their lives to collide, forcing a beautiful killer to become a savior, a simple wallflower to become a warrior, and ruthless destiny to become a death sentence.

SUMMARY:

High school senior Eila Walker knows that good luck skips over her like an Easter Bunny on Speed. So when she inherits her grandmother's million-dollar Cape Cod home, she is downright shocked. And yeah, her new town isn't perfect: the cheerleaders are heinous clones, the local undertow can kill ya, and her Great Grams was supposedly fried by lightning in the harbor square. Still, Eila is hopeful her luckless days are in the past . . . until history decides to repeat itself.

A self-proclaimed loner and previous-social reject, Eila thinks she's hit the jackpot when drool-worthy Raef O’Reilly becomes her friendly, yet weirdly protective shadow. But being hauled beneath the waves by an unnatural undertow slams the brakes on bliss – especially when Raef storms to her aid with coal-black eyes and iron-like strength. 

Eila, entirely freaked, demands an explanation and Raef comes clean, revealing that neither of them are average humans but rather the genetic remnants of an angelic pissing-match gone wrong. Eila supposedly can channel the power of human souls, while Raef is quite adept at stealing them. Even worse, the legend about her ancestor isn't such a myth, since Eila’s grandmother was one kick-ass warrior until her lightning-like power backfired. A power that is written all over Eila's DNA.

Now sought by Raef’s own family for her destructive ability, Eila must trust him to watch her back. But when a quest for information goes terribly wrong, Eila is suddenly left with only two options: become a weapon for the enemy or follow in her Gram’s fearless footsteps to save those she loves. Unfortunately she needs a willing enemy to ignite her suicidal energy and the only one she trusts has been guarding her butt and scorching her lips.


This book has an interesting and original plot idea and some interesting characters. Unfortunately, it wasn't very well written and I was unable to finish the book. Originally, I quit the book at 29%, but then I gave it a few days and went back to it yesterday to see if it was me or the book. It's the book. I quit for good at 48%, but I'm a little annoyed because I think it has great potential. I really hope this book gets a thorough editing so I can try it again

Sophie Jordan's "Breathless"


From Goodreads:

Sophie Jordan's breathtaking digital original novella set in the world of Firelight.

For Az, it's supposed to be a fun summer vacation with her family. Nothing complicated. Just a quick trip to test the waters as she prepares for a year on her own. That all changes when she rescues a drowning girl and meets Tate—the most gorgeous human boy she's ever seen. Tate throws her heart, her plans, and her life into upheaval, but the closer she gets to him, the harder it is to hide the secret of what she is. With no hope for a future together, the last thing that can ever happen . . . is love.

This stand-alone digital original is perfect for those new to the Firelight series as well as veteran fans.


I finished Sophie Jordan's Firelight trilogy about a year ago. These books are about descendants of dragons, draki, who have evolved to look like humans . . . who can fly. Pretty cool, and definitely original. This was a nice follow-up novella about the best friend of the main character in the series (Jacinda) - Az/Azure, who is a water draki. This story goes a little differently than I expected and it was definitely enjoyable.

This was a good read as a follow-up to the trilogy, but it would also be fine as a standalone.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Cora Carmack's "Losing It" + "Keeping Her"

So I decided that as long as I'm going to read some trashy NA/New Adult (aka Naughty Adult, because let's face it, most NA books are about the sex scenes) I might as well expand my repertoire. With this in mind, I decided to finally read some Cora Carmack books (mostly because Jennifer Armentrout said to, because I am a JLA junkie and will read whatever she writes and will frequently read what she recommends). 

I have one friend who loves trashy books with me. Just the one. It's Becca. And Becca didn't really love "Losing It," but I was pleasantly surprised. BUT. I hate the cover. I'm not posting it. The guy on the cover is all wrong, and quite frankly, he doesn't even look legal. 

From Goodreads:

Sick of being the only virgin among her friends, Bliss Edwards decides the best way to deal with the problem is to lose it as quickly and simply as possible - a one-night stand. But her plan turns out to be anything but simple when she freaks out and leaves a gorgeous guy alone and naked in her bed with an excuse that no one with half-a-brain would ever believe. And as if that weren't embarrassing enough, when she arrives for her first class of her last college semester, she recognizes her new theatre professor. She'd left him naked in her bed about 8 hours earlier.

I know, it sounds terrible, I KNOW. And the beginning is pretty terrible, but it definitely gets better. The male love interest in this book is a hot British professor/actor! He's sensitive, even though she's basically crazy! I mean, I get it. Being a 20-something virgin has to be a bit embarrassing to some people. But being crazy should be more embarrassing.

There's a follow up to Losing It, but it's not nearly as good, and quite frankly, it stressed me out. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler's "The Future of Us"


From Goodreads:

It's 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They've been best friends almost as long - at least, up until last November, when Josh did something that changed everything. Things have been weird between them ever since, but when Josh's family gets a free AOL CD in the mail,his mom makes him bring it over so that Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they're automatically logged onto their Facebook pages. But Facebook hasn't been invented yet. And they're looking at themselves fifteen years in the future.

By refreshing their pages, they learn that making different decisions now will affect the outcome of their lives later. And as they grapple with the ups and downs of what their futures hold, they're forced to confront what they're doing right - and wrong - in the present.

Something exciting for those of us in our 30s - a YA book with teens who would be about our age today, hurray! I wanted to really love this book, and I almost did, but there was something about it that didn't quite click for me, but I'm not sure what it is. In general, this book feels a little more reflective of my high school experience than most books, so that's cool.

One of the things that bugged me about this book was Josh. Understandably, he thinks Emma is a little crazy for believing in this mysterious Facebook page that shows what her future is like. However, he still gets really mad at her when he thinks she is doing things to specifically mess with her/their future(s).

Favorite quote - some advice a lot of us could use.

"You're a go with the flow guy," he says. "You've always been that way. And that can feel great because it means you don't have to make any hard decisions. But sometimes you need to figure out what you want, Josh. If that means you need to swim against the tide to get it, at least you're aiming for something that could make you very happy.





Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Leigh Bardugo's "Shadow and Bone"



From Goodreads:

The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.

Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite—the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free?

The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfill her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.

But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?

Glorious. Epic. Irresistible. Romance.

I finally got around to reading this book and I am so glad I did! I don't have a lot to say on what happens in this book - I'm afraid anything I say might spoil it. The story seems predictable, but I was happily surprised. 

I'm glad I was behind in reading this book because now the 2nd book, Siege and Storm, is waiting for me at the library!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Maggie Stiefvater's "The Dream Thieves"




I admit it, I stalked NetGalley for a little while in the hopes of getting an ARC of this book because I just didn't want to wait a moment longer. The first book in this series (there will be four books), The Raven Boys, started a little slow for me but by the end I was hooked and couldn't wait to find out what happened next. 

Before I read the ARC of The Dream Thieves (book 2), I went looking online for a good summary of what happened in the book, since I read The Raven Boys in January (2013). Luckily I found a great chapter by chapter summary! This is definitely one of those series that I'm going to have to read from start to finish whenever the fourth and final book comes out, to make sure I get everything I can out of the series.

This is a long book and, like the first, it takes awhile to get going but then it's pretty amazing. It's a good thing that this was a digital arc, or else my highlighter would have run out of ink after I highlighted all the great parts and lines (57 of them!!). Maggie Stiefvater is an amazing writer. She creates complex and likable characters who live in a beautiful, richly detailed world. Also, Blue and I are about the same height, so let's hear it for short girls.

Some of the many quotes I love:

"The ringtone was an Iglu & Hartly song that the gray man knew but couldn't condone." (I hope it wasn't this one, which I kind of like.)

"Maybe the potential you bring out in other people is your something more."

"If you never saw the stars, candles were enough."

"For a brief moment, he imagined life as Gansey must live it. The car keys in his pocket. The brand new shoes on his feet. The careless glance at the monthly bills. They couldn't hurt Gansey. Nothing could hurt him; people who said money couldn't buy everything hadn't seen anyone as rich as the Aglionby boys. They were untouchable, immune to life's troubles. Only death couldn't be swiped away by a credit card."

"Sometimes, Ronan thought Adam was so used to the right way being painful that he doubted any path that didn't come with agony."

"All the whimsy of Dollar City was ruined."

"Blue was a fanciful but sensible thing, like a platypus, or one of those sandwiches that had been cut into circles for a fancy tea party."

Okay, I have to stop. Those are only some of the lines I loved in the first 1/3 of the book!! If you liked The Raven Boys, this is a must read. It takes awhile to build, but hang in there, because it's so worth it. 

There are some amazing special things offered with the purchase of this book, just look here to see what your options are.

Also, I generally don't like fairy/faerie/faery books, but Maggie's Books of Faeries books are a good read.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Jennifer Armentrout's "Origin"

On July 1st of this year I participated in the cover reveal for the latest installment in Jennifer Armentrout's Lux series, "Origin." Again, I present the cover for you to admire.


Hey Daemon . . . how you doin'? No, I don't know why he couldn't put a shirt on to look for Kat, but he's on a mission, don't distract him. 

From Goodreads:

Daemon will do anything to get Katy back.

After the successful but disastrous raid on Mount Weather, he’s facing the impossible. Katy is gone. Taken. Everything becomes about finding her. Taking out anyone who stands in his way? Done. Burning down the whole world to save her? Gladly. Exposing his alien race to the world? With pleasure.

All Katy can do is survive.

Surrounded by enemies, the only way she can come out of this is to adapt. After all, there are sides of Daedalus that don’t seem entirely crazy, but the group’s goals are frightening and the truths they speak even more disturbing. Who are the real bad guys? Daedalus? Mankind? Or the Luxen?

Together, they can face anything. 

But the most dangerous foe has been there all along, and when the truths are exposed and the lies come crumbling down, which side will Daemon and Katy be standing on? 

And will they even be together?


Of course I pre-ordered, and I was giddy when it arrived on release day (from Amazon - Barnes & Noble wronged me grievously and I am not getting over it). It. Was. Amazing. It had a few grammatical errors which irked me (her books always have minor grammatical errors - and I am unemployed - so, if anyone wants me to edit her books, just go ahead and shoot me an email! Kidding. Not really.: ) 

Jennifer is an amazing storyteller. She writes these amazing hunky but selfless guys and these likable girls in these amazing compelling situations and you just get caught up immediately and you can't put the book down until the end. Wow. 

Her biggest problem? It isn't really her problem, it's ours. Because the woman writes a cliffhanger that will drive you insane like no one else. On that note, book 5 in the Lux series, "Opposition" is due out in just under a year. Nooooooo! In happier news, the woman is a writing machine so there are about a bazillion other books by her out in the mean time. I am most excited for "Sentinel," the conclusion to her Covenant series. That series starts a little like Vampire Academy but then it goes off onto it's own fabulous storyline. 

Also, Jen loves Supernatural, so she's a keeper. 


"The whistle makes me their God."

Monday, September 2, 2013

Rainbow Rowell's "Fangirl"

I spent months entering contests for free books on Goodreads without winning a single giveaway, and I was beginning to wonder if I'd ever win when I hit the jackpot. I won a copy of Rainbow Rowell's unreleased "Fangirl" and I was so anxious to receive it. Of course my mailman took that time to have a postal service breakdown, wherein he decided I didn't actually live where I live, and I was seriously afraid that my copy of Fangirl had been returned to sender. But finally, it came.



From Goodreads:

A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love. 

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .

But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

I never doubted that I would love this book, and I am really relieved that it was as awesome as I had hoped it would be. The protagonist in this book is Cath, a fanfiction writer who goes my the screen name Magicath. Cath, with some assistance from her twin sister, Wren, writes fanfiction (and slash) based on books about a magician named Simon Snow. This means that in addition to writing "Fangirl," Rainbow also wrote Simon Snow stories to put into the book! Two books in one! The ARC I received has 404 pages - I don't know if this count is the same in the final copy - but this is a long book, and while I normally would have been annoyed and wished for the book to end, I loved being able to stay immersed in this world for as long as possible. These characters and the story are just - perfect. 

Since I'm pretty sure my husband doesn't read this blog (he reads my vegan food blog over at imnotstarving.blogspot.com) I can tell you that I am in love with the male lead in this book. Love love love him. Sad the book is over and we can't hang out together anymore. Sad that this book isn't even out yet so there's no fanfiction waiting for me to read it. Alas. Also, there's this intimate scene between Cath and said crush-worthy boy that has absolutely nothing to do with sex and yet it is so intimate and amazing.

Cath living in her little fanfiction world totally mirrors me and my first semester at college, where I spent hours on IRC chatting. (#cafebleu, undernet, woo!) Internet quote! "There are other people on the Internet. It's awesome. You get all the benefits of 'other people' without the body odor and the eye contact."

Quote on being introverted. "In new situations, all the trickiest rules are the ones nobody bothers to explain to you. (And the ones you can't google). Like, where does the line start? What food can you take? Where are you supposed to stand, then where are you supposed to sit? Where do you go when you're done, why is everyone watching you? . . . Bah." A BAH even! Rainbow is in my head. 

Cath even believes in my idea to work Murphy's law in my favor. "But she could worry about it, and as long as she was worrying about it, it probably wasn't going to happen. Like some sort of anxiety vaccine. Like watching a pot to make sure it never boiled."

Funny quote! "But you're so helpless sometimes. It's like watching a kitten with it's head trapped in a Kleenex box."

A great quote where I redact a name, just in case. "But ______ wasn't a nerd; he liked real life too much."

"Real life was something happening in her peripheral vision."

Okay, look. Just go read it. If you'll excuse me, I'm going to go buy a copy of Eleanor & Park now because I just feel the need to own everything Rainbow writes until the end of time. 



Sunday, September 1, 2013

Jodi Meadows' "Asunder"

While I've already posted on the awesomeness that is Jodi Meadows' Newsoul series, I'm here to expand a bit on the awesomeness of Asunder. 




From Goodreads:

DARKSOULS
Ana has always been the only one. Asunder. Apart. But after Templedark, when many residents of Heart were lost forever, some hold Ana responsible for the darksouls–and the newsouls who may be born in their place.

SHADOWS
Many are afraid of Ana’s presence, a constant reminder of unstoppable changes and the unknown. When sylph begin behaving differently toward her and people turn violent, Ana must learn to stand up not only for herself but for those who cannot stand up for themselves.

LOVE
Ana was told that nosouls can’t love. But newsouls? More than anything, she wants to live and love as an equal among the citizens of Heart, but even when Sam professes his deepest feelings, it seems impossible to overcome a lifetime of rejection.

In this second book in the Newsoul trilogy, Ana discovers the truth about reincarnation and will have to find a way to embrace love and make her young life meaningful. Once again, Jodi Meadows explores the extraordinary beauty and shadowed depths of the soul in a story equal parts epic romance and captivating fantasy.


In "Incarnate" we learn about Ana, a newsoul who took the place of Ciana, a soul who was supposed to be reincarnated. She meets Dossam (Sam), a musician whose works she has always appreciated. Sam stands up for Ana when the citizens of Heart stand against her, believing she is a nosoul, someone who is an omen of bad things to come. This line in the summary says it best - "Many are afraid of Ana's presence, a constant reminder of unstoppable changes and the unknown." 

In "Incarnate" we learn about what's happening, and in "Asunder" we learn the why and the how of what's happening - how are the souls being reincarnated and why? Here's where I nervously hope I haven't lost all the knowledge I gained in high school - to me, the major themes of the story so far are: the fear of change - fight it or accept it? The idea of learning to love yourself and to trust yourself. 

I really loved these books, as evidenced in that I read them and love them despite the fact they aren't very kissy and they're kind of heavy. I said it my other post, but I'll say it again - if you're looking for great books, give these a try. If you want kissing and giggles, you should probably look elsewhere, after all . . . BAD THINGS HAPPEN.

Favorite quotes:


Why? Why would he endure all this for me? Was this what it meant to be loved? If you loved someone, could love make you strong like that?


"You challenge us, make people think and open their eyes to the truths that we've been ignoring for too long . . . our immortality is not without a price."


"I played of sunsets and snow, the way the leaves shifted and fell, and the anticipation of a kiss."

Coming Tuesday! Newsoul book #2.5, "Phoenix Overture" from Dossam's POV!



And coming in January, the final book in the trilogy, "Infinite."