Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (47)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.
This week I am waiting on Infinityglass by Myra McEntire (8/6/13):

Description on Goodreads:
The stakes have risen even higher in this third book in the Hourglass series.

The Hourglass is a secret organization focused on the study of manipulating time, and its members — many of them teenagers -­have uncanny abilities to make time work for them in mysterious ways. Inherent in these powers is a responsibility to take great care, because altering one small moment can have devastating consequences for the past, present, and future. But some time trav­elers are not exactly honorable, and sometimes unsavory deals must be struck to maintain order.

With the Infinityglass (central to understanding and harnessing the time gene) at large, the hunt is on to find it before someone else does.

But the Hourglass has an advantage. Lily, who has the ability to locate anything lost, has determined that the Infinityglass isn't an object. It's a person. And the Hourglass must find him or her first. But where do you start searching for the very key to time when every second could be the last?
So, I’m kind of in the middle of the second book in this series right now. I’m not at what I’m sure will be an awesome cliffhanger yet, but I’m positive there is no possible way I will not absolutely need this book as soon as I’m done with book 2. I have just thoroughly enjoyed these books so far, and I can’t wait to see what this author will have to say next. Also, what interesting covers.
What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Good Week in Books (53)

So I’ve been falling a little behind in my reading/blogging. There have been holidays, mad cleaning sprees, traveling adventures, and trip-planning. And top it all off with BEA. So, I’m kind of posting my normal Sunday morning post on a Tuesday evening…But I wanted these books to be mentioned this week. Because next week, I will be talking about all the books I get at BEA! I am so excited for my trip!
By the way, I am seriously in love with my new library job. And my job not only got me a free VIP badge to the conference, but it in a way makes me feel justified for being so in love with YA (and children’s ) literature, not that any justification is really necessary. I guess I just know that I picked the right career path.
Any way, during some of my recent adventures, I came across a Harry Potter store….So, the first picture is of the first book I ordered online, and some fun Harry Potter merchandise. And then when I was in Boston yesterday, I found some seriously awesome bookstores, and I bought two new books (used)!

Gravity by Melissa West
Harry Potter 10 piece magnet set, “I solemnly swear, I am up to no good” key chain, and one bottle of butterbeer (aka: butterscotch creme soda).
The Summer Prince
by Alaya Dawn Johnson
In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters
How was your week in books? Maybe I’ll see you at BEA this week!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

So, I’ve read a lot of great reviews for this one. To top off the good reviews is this blurb from the back, “Eleanor & Park reminded me not just of what it’s like to be young and in love with a girl, but also what it’s like to be young and in love with a book” from John Green! As soon as my library got this one in, I picked it up.
I wasn’t exactly sure what I was expecting. I wasn’t expecting this one to be as dark as it was. It’s a fantastic first love story. I had no idea how intense and sad Eleanor’s situation was going to be (this was not in the description I read). Eleanor’s situation though made her come off as so much more strong.
Any way, it’s about Park and Eleanor. Park isn’t popular, but he isn’t picked on at school either. In fact, in the beginning, he mentions working his hardest to not have the people in his town pick on him for being different. He’s half Korean and the whole world seems to refer to him as Chinese. He goes against all his self made rules about sticking out too much (granted he always wears black –usually punk rock t-shirts) when Eleanor gets on his bus one morning. There are no available seats left because all the kids picked their designated bus seats in the beginning of the school year.
It’s not exactly love at first site for Park. When he first sees her, all he sees are the ways the other kids will make fun of her: crazy, untamed red curls, really strange clothing, and a slightly chubby face. She definitely stands out from everyone else. He lets her sit in his seat even though he knows he might get picked on for it. Eleanor isn’t sure if Park is nice or if he’s being nice or if he’s actually as bad as the others because he’s not exactly friendly when he lets her sit down.
And poor Eleanor is not exactly welcomed at school either. She’s used to it though because she’s not exactly welcome at home (literally). Her mother and her new husband kicked her out of their house for a whole year. Eleanor was literally dropped off at her neighbor’s and left there until her mom came back for her a year later. Her mother’s new husband is abusive (to his wife), always drinking, and always saying crewel things to Eleanor and her many younger siblings.
Park isn’t ever really wanting for things economically. He always has food, clothes, and what he needs (unlike Eleanor who resorts to stealing toothbrushes from her biological dad). He doesn’t think too highly of himself because he’s short and doesn’t fit in well. He also has a hard relationship with his dad who doesn’t understand his interests.
After a few shared comic books on the bus, Park and Eleanor become friends. (Ah, the power of Watchmen!) Park helps Eleanor feel special and cared for. And Eleanor helps Park feel brave enough to be who he really is. Their friendship becomes more and the two go through all the awkward firsts: first kisses, first hand-holding, first introduction to the parents (Parks’ parents because Eleanor has to hide her relationship from hers), first fights, etc. But as the two become closer and closer, more and more problems arise with Eleanor’s home life.
And there’s the sad-ish prologue in the beginning that made it sound like the two weren’t going to make it…so it was hard for me to keep reading when things were getting really tough. However, I’m glad that I pretty much read this in one sitting and didn’t stop. Because the hard stuff made these two characters come off as even more authentic and believable.
There’s a lot of interesting topics covered in this one: gender discrimination, abuse, alcohol abuse, poverty, bullying, and love. The romance aspect gives things just enough fluffiness to keep this as a book that can easily be read in one sitting, despite the hard bits. The dialog and humor exchanged between the two main characters is my favorite element! The way they speak to each other, or didn’t speak was so spot-on. The other thing that was so spot-on was the lack of places to go!
I definitely remember having a lack of places to hang out as a teen. And with Eleanor’s home never being an option, their hangout locations were even more limited. And what teen wants to hang out with their crush in front of mom and dad anyway? I also loved Parks’ relationship with his parents. It wasn’t easy for him either. And while Eleanor’s situation was definitely the most awful, I felt so much empathy for Park when his father refused to speak him.
I also loved how the characters Rowell wrote were never just black or white. The mean girl, Tina, actually turns out to be not that bad. And while Parks’ dad does not seem the most accepting of particular life choices, he genuinely cares for Park and is so helpful at the end. Unfortunately, Eleanor’s parents were always pretty terrible. But, I guess not everyone can have really redeeming qualities.
This book is loaded with great dialog, wonderful characters, an epic love story, and some seriously tough subjects. I loved it. I give it a 10/10. And I definitely recommend this one to fans of Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (46)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.
This week I am waiting on UnSouled by Neal Shustermann (10/15/13):

Description from Amazon (Goodreads doesn’t have one yet):
Proactive Citizenry, the company which created Cam from the parts of unwound teens, is planning to mass produce rewound teens like Cam for military purposes. And below the surface of that horror lies a sinister layer of intrigue: Proactive Citizenry has been suppressing technology that could make unwinding completely unnecessary. As Conner, Risa, and Lev uncover these shocking secrets, enraged teens begin to march on Washington to demand justice and a better future.

But more trouble is brewing. Starkey’s group of storked teens are growing more powerful and militant with each new recruit. And if they have their way, they’ll burn the harvest camps to the ground, and put every adult in them before a firing squad—which could destroy any chance America has for a peaceful future.

How creepy is this cover? Also, how creepy is the story? Seriously, this story keeps getting darker and darker, and after book 1, I just didn’t think it could be any darker. Book 1 blew my mind in its awesome craziness. Book 2 took me a while to get into, but once I did, I absolutely ate it up. I was really surprised to see that Shusterman was turning his one book into a quartet, but I’m happy to keep reading. Bring it. I’m actually way more than happy. I cannot wait to get my hands on book 3. I’m excited to see all the new turns the story is taking.
What are you waiting on this week?

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Good Week in Books (52)

I had a light book week, but a good book week. I purchased two new books from Amazon (go Prime membership!) I know I received a few books to my old address, but I’ll write about them once they’re here at my new address.

by Susan Ee
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
How was your week in books?

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Thumped by Megan McCafferty

I seriously don’t know why it has taken me so long to get to this book. Everything this author writes is wonderful. I absolutely loved the first book in this series (Bumped). I love her other series that for some reason is usually put in the adult section of libraries/stores. And I guess this book just kind of got lost in my giant TBR piles. When I moved though I found it again, and went, “Why have I not read this yet?”
Time is running out for Harmony and Melody, two twins who are pulling off the ultimate scam. Harmony is back to living in Goodside, where she is ostracized by her peers for leaving in the first book. There are some seriously scary moments where characters all hint at Melody’s punishment to come. And this is without everyone knowing that her unborn twins actually do not come from her husband…Who knows what these people would do to her if they knew she slept with Jondoe.
And Melody, the twin who was supposed to sleep with Jondoe –and who is actually being paid an astronomical sum to do so, is fake pregnant with a seriously high-tech fake baby bump. Melody and Harmony are supposed to have the same due dates for their two sets of twins, but Melody doesn’t have twins; she’s actually still a virgin. The only boy she wants to sleep with is the one she is in love with, Zen. But sleeping with Zen would break her contract and Zen wouldn’t make her nearly as much money as Jondoe would.
When Harmony finally sees how awful it would be for her babies to live in Goodside, she decides to escape again (at the last minute). It’s the last minute because her due date is awfully close. She’s barely home with Melody for a day before she goes into labor. And then of course the girls have to figure out how to handle the consequences of their scam. Zen thinks it the perfect opportunity to talk about how wrong society has been, but Melody isn’t exactly sure what to say until she says it.
This book is loaded with romance, politics, scandals, babies, paparazzi, love triangles, social media, lies, and an intense feeling of doom. You know it can’t end well for the girl who is scamming the whole system. And I might have put the book down for a minute when Melody was arrested… However, I’m so glad I picked it up again because wow. She gives such a crucial press conference-type speech at the end. A speech that really has you thinking! And I guess what it all comes down to is what people are willing to forgive and how much people are able to actually see.
This book, while not probably categorized with other dystopias, really defines dystopia for me. It’s in the future. It takes place after something bad happens (aka: the adult population is unable to give birth any more, but teenagers still can). It demonstrates both the direct and not so direct consequences such a bad thing can have on the population at large. And the extent to which McCafferty writes about the indirect consequences is insane! So many details went into this story. There’s the language (or the slang), the advertisements, the propaganda, the change of the education system, buses for pregnant teenagers, maternity clothing, high tech pretend baby bumps, PR, social media, etc. It is almost too easy to get lost in the words of the story, and like all the characters –particularly the main character, forget that anything is wrong.
But just when you forget something is wrong, McCafferty reminds you otherwise by showing you girls who are drugged out at school (forced to medicate so they can produce more babies). Or she’ll throw in a tidbit about kidnapped girls or the legal ban on all condoms. Or there will be the random horror stories of the girls who don’t want to give up their babies for adoption after all.
It’s also amazing to see how political things are. The most liberal are the ones that most support teen pregnancy as a way for girls to fund the rest of their lives. It’s kind of like how professional athletes make money for the limited time they are at the peek of their game, but then have enough to live on for the rest of their lives and more. Except, in this scenario, we’re talking teen girls.
And the more you think of what is happening, in depth, the more you realize how stupid you were for getting sucked in to the language and not thinking of how awful this really is. It should never be okay for girls to be forced or talked into sleeping with someone they don’t love. And the major reason I loved the twins is because both of them, on some level, always understood the wrongness of the world they live in. Harmony has always questioned things and is not nearly manipulated enough to be as docile and subservient as her highly religious (somewhat Amish sounding) culture demands. And Melody is not nearly as rebellious or vocal about her opinions as her hidden boyfriend, Zen, but she’s smart enough to see problems with the way things are run. When a girl cannot have intimate relations with a guy she’s actually in love with, but is encouraged to have relations with someone she doesn’t know, something is off.
And the most dystopia-type quality of this story is just how scary it is to be a woman. When the only options are God and early marriage or selling oneself for a better future, it does not seem like women’s rights have gone in the right direction. And scariest of all is that I can totally see our country heading in such a backwards direction if something as awful as adults not being able to give birth, were actually to happen.
This book is loaded with amazing quotes, but most of them are at the end and I don’t want to spoil things. With each step back I take from this story, I see more and more parody. This author could be writing about our current society’s view on gender, on sex, on women’s rights. And she also could be writing about today’s society’s view on social media, language, advertisements, and more. I haven’t read a book with this many layers in it since Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens, which surprisingly is also written with such a humorous voice. McCafferty has already proven to have the whole, witty teen angst humor thing down. But she goes above and beyond with it here.  I recommend this series to fans of Libba Bray, definitely. But, I think I just recommend it to everyone. Seriously, go read it. It gets a 10/10 from me.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindl

I actually kind of have a funny story about this book. I was at Barnes and Noble this weekend, browsing all the new books. And I came across a book a new cute looking book. It took my reading of the whole back cover to realize it was a description of the same exact book I was reading at the time. Apparently, there’s a new publication of this book, and both publications pulled my eye to them. However, the new one isn’t as pretty, in my opinion.
This book is so beyond cute! I keep seeing it being compared to Austen, and I’m not sure I would go that far, but I do see some similar characteristics. It’s kind of like a sugar coated, slightly more modern Austen. Though, I mostly kept comparing it to my favorite Meg Cabot historical romances (like Nicola and the Viscount) or even one of my all time favorite books (and movie): I Capture the Castle.
There seems to be a fad right now that revolves around giant, fancy, Downton-type British estates. And I’m all for embracing this fad. Bring on the British drama! This one is about Althea, a teen girl who knows she has to marry well. She’s known for her beauty, and has that in her favor. However, her family is broke. And her giant, fancy estate is starting to crumble into ruins (literally). She has two mean stepsisters who refuse to help with anything financially (even though they definitely could afford it). And she has a good friend in both her mother and her little brother.
Althea wants her little brother to have a future and an estate to live in, and to make sure this happens, she will need to marry someone of means. At first, she doesn’t seem to care much about falling in love. She doesn’t seem to mind ugly physical attributes either. But, as the book goes on, it becomes abundantly clear that Althea isn’t actually as shallow as she views herself to be. She judges and makes decisions about people based upon their strength of character and level of intelligence, instead of the size of their pockets.
There’s a classic love/hate type romance setup between Althea and Mr. Fredericks, a friend staying with Lord Boring (a man Althea has set her sights on). But like most novels that take place in this setting, nothing is simple and drama runs amuck. There’s balls and horse rides. There’s etiquette and castles. And between all the flirting are some hilarious moments where either Althea or Mr. Fredericks cannot control what comes out of their mouths.
Althea has a lot to learn about love. But, she is so smart in almost all other areas. She plots, schemes, and does anything to help save her home. She is a true Austen heroine. And I could not get enough of her. I read this book in one day, and it was not because of the familiar plot line. It was because of how awesome this main character is.
I recommend this one to historical YA fans. It was really nothing but fun to read. I give it a 9/10 and I have a feeling I might be tracking down this author’s other works real soon.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (45)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.
This week I am waiting on Allegiant by Veronica Roth (10/22/13):

Description on Goodreads:
One choice will define you.

What if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?

The explosive conclusion to Veronica Roth’s #1 New York Times bestselling Divergent trilogy reveals the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.
So, I was kind of hoping that with the release of the cover, there would be more description about the book, but that is wishful thinking… I do really like this cover. I think it goes perfectly with the covers from the earlier books in the series. I also guess the book doesn’t need more description to get people to want to read it. After that ultimate cliffhanger from book 2, the world needs to read this one. Seriously. October is far away. It comes out the day after my birthday though, so in a way, it’s a birthday present. I am so excited for this book’s release.
What are you waiting on this week?

Monday, May 13, 2013

This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

I have been waiting on this book for a long time. I absolutely loved Smith’s other book, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. And while, I love a lot of the YA contemporary authors that keep writing awesome books, it’s good to get a fresh new voice for this genre too.
The story is sort of a classic romantic comedy “You’ve Got Mail” type story. It begins with an accidental email that Graham sends to Ellie about his pet pig, Wilbur. How could Ellie not respond to that email, even it were an accident? The two build up a virtual friendship with a near constant correspondence. And much of my favorite lines of the book come from their witty email dialogue.  (Note that while this book seems thick, definitely thicker in length than Smith’s other book, keep in mind that a lot of pages have very few words on them –emails take up page space).
Well, it turns out that Graham is a movie star (and he most definitely did not tell Ellie this), and that his next film location is in the small town in Maine, where Ellie lives. Technically, Graham fought for this location because he knew it was where Ellie was from. However, unlike Ellie’s best friend and the rest of town, Ellie seems to be the only one who doesn’t want a movie crew taking up space.
Ellie has a secret she’s never told anyone (especially not Graham), and as the two meet, and become real life friends, Ellie’s secret has a way of putting up major boundaries in regards to this friendship growing into anything more. Ellie’s secret means she needs to avoid cameras at all costs! And cameras follow Graham absolutely everywhere.
This book is loaded with friendship and family drama. It deals with money issues (for Ellie), and success issues for Graham. It’s about two completely different teens finding someone they can trust, no matter what. And it is just so much fun too! Between the boat adventures, the film sets, the dates, the secret beaches, the Fourth of July fireworks, the ice cream fiascos, and the secrets, it was quite honestly impossible to put this book down.
Was the book realistic in the slightest? Not really. How often do we find ourselves in mysterious correspondence with movie stars? And I’m not sure how in love I am with the book condoning digital relationships turned real relationships, because in most cases a girl will not realize the person she is talking to is actually a teen heart throb. However, Smith takes this fantastical (every girl dreams of this happening) idea and gives it authenticity by making the characters so real. Even Graham has his flaws and I found myself often finding myself feeling more sorry for him than for Ellie.
I loved that it takes place in a town with a season (like the town I’m living in). And I found Ellie’s secret to be so amazing! I’m not sure if I’ve ever read from the perspective of a character that’s been through what she has before. So, even while the story is a sort of classic romantic concept, there were definitely new elements thrown in as well. Also, Smith just wows me with her characters. I loved everyone from the main characters, to the best friends, to the people working for Graham, to Ellie’s mom.
This book makes the perfect beginning of summer read. Take it outside and read it in the sun, and it’s even better. It makes me want to go on a YA contemporary binge. I give it a 9/10. And I look forward to anything else this author has to say.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Good Week in Books (51)

I had a decent book week. I purchased two new paperbacks this week. Both are books I’ve actually read already, but I know that at some point I would like to re-read because they were super good. I also checked out one library book.

Eleanor and Park
by Rainbow Rowell (library book)
Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry (new paperback!)
A Temptation of Angels by Michelle Zink (new paperback!)
I’ve also realized that I’ve had some books sent to my old address. So hopefully, next week, I’ll have a lot more new books…We’ll see how this works. How was your book week?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (44)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.
This week I am waiting on Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier (10/8/2013):

Description on Goodreads:
Gwen has a destiny to fulfill, but no one will tell her what it is.

She’s only recently learned that she is the Ruby, the final member of the time-traveling Circle of Twelve, and since then nothing has been going right. She suspects the founder of the Circle, Count Saint-German, is up to something nefarious, but nobody will believe her. And she’s just learned that her charming time-traveling partner, Gideon, has probably been using her all along.

This stunning conclusion picks up where Sapphire Blue left off, reaching new heights of intrigue and romance as Gwen finally uncovers the secrets of the time-traveling society and learns her fate.
I have absolutely adored these books! I love the main character. She is just so normal (you know, aside from the whole time travel thing). I love the sense of humor of this author. And I love the romance. I’m dying to see what will happen next. I hate that it has to be over soon, but I am so beyond excited for this last installment. I need answers as much as Gwen does!
What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Dead Silence by Kimberly Derting

So, it’s kind of impossible for me to hold on to any book by this author for any extended period of time without reading it. I just got it, and had to read it immediately. There’s something about intense romance mixed with serial killers that is just so positively addicting…Granted, my favorite tv shows are Gilmore Girls and Dexter…Weird mixture, right? But apparently not because this book seems to exist for fans like me.
My favorite part of all of these books are the sizzling scenes with Violet and Jay. Things have gotten a little more complicated with Rafe in the picture. And in this book, Rafe now attends Violet’s school, along with the rest of her supernatural team. Violet has to go to mandatory therapy sessions that she tolerates because of the sleeping pills she is awarded at them. Apparently sleep is only something for people without non-stop echoes in their heads. Violet had to kill someone in the previous book, and she has to live with the aftermath. The aftermath for her is a lot more than guilt; it’s the living with the incessant noise of the echo of the kill.
On top of the not sleeping thing, Violet also has headaches and a constant music box type song stuck in her head for forever. She still gets the impulse to find other bodies. And the book begins with her finding the bodies of a whole family who were brutally murdered. The weird thing about this family is that the kid has no echo. He’s clearly been murdered and Violet has never not felt an echo for someone killed before.
Violet’s mother has given her a box full of her grandmother’s things and in that box are journals. Violet learns a lot about her grandmother’s romantic life. She also learns a lot about her own mother as a child. And best of all is what she learns about her grandmother’s abilities and the team she was recruited for that reminds Violet a lot of her own murder-solving team. Violet’s team is not all that it seems, and she slowly comes to realize who she can most trust.
Violet shares her secret with someone else in this book. She finds more bodies. She goes to metal concerts. She fights with Jay, and makes up with Jay. There’s some love triangle-type moments. There are some great best friend moments. And then of course there are all the points of view moments of the serial killer. This serial killer is a control freak who abducts girls, administers serious drugs, and wishes he was part of a particular metal band.
I always find these scenes to be so interesting! At first I’m always sad to deter from the teen drama, but then I get so into the story of the killer too. These books are the perfect mixtures of teen drama, supernatural suspense, and thriller. Everything all comes down to Violet needing to be honest, honest with Jay, honest with her parents, honest with her teammates, honest with herself. It’s hard for Violet to learn to control her impulses to go after killers, but she’s really working on it in this one.
I love how real Jay and Violet’s relationship is. They have their ups and downs like any couple would. They have a lot of that common YA soul mate type stuff, but it’s believable because nothing is ever too easy in regards to them. And I love how realistic this stuff is. I also love all the suspense with Violet’s team. I super loved her grandmother’s journals and learning about how her grandmother dealt with the same abilities. Though, learning about those killed with no echoes was a little too easy with these journals. I mean the timing was a little too spot-on. It’s nice getting a little more details/history about everything because I’ve almost become accustomed to just not having any answers.
I liked all the scenes at the music clubs. I wish there were more moments with the girls dressed as metal fans. And then of course things get more personal when the killer goes after Violet’s friend. And I love how strongly determined Violet always is to protect those who are close to her. She genuinely seems to be embracing her abilities lately, and wanting to use what she has to help people.
This one is not my favorite book in the series, but it’s not my least favorite. My favorite ones are probably the more romance heavy ones. But, still, this one is not lacking in that department. I hope Derting keeps writing these. I want to know what will happen with Violet’s team. I want to know what happens with a couple of other things too. I give this books a 9/10.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Chosen at Nightfall by C.C. Hunter

I was really questioning my sanity last week, reading yet another final installment of a series. 2013 really seems to be the year of the final installments. And it’s making my whole year bittersweet, in the reading department. So many endings! I need some more beginnings, seriously.
I say I want beginnings, yet I also absolutely have to read all these endings too…And this was definitely an ending I was anticipating. The previous book finally gave us some much-awaited answers about Kylie’s supernatural status and abilities. And it ended with a big betrayal by the one she loved most. It ended with such a cliffhanger. I almost needed to know what would happen next more than I needed the closure of the last installment.
(Spoiler Alert. Stop reading if you have not read the prior books in the series)
Any way, it all starts with Kylie living around those of her kind. She left the camp at the end of the last book to go live with other chameleons. And apparently the chameleons are just as strict and set in their ways as the werewolves Lucas had to live with. It’s good and it’s bad for Kylie. It’s nice to be around her grandfather. And it’s nice to learn so much about her abilities from people who experience the same things she does. However, the chameleon kids aren’t ever allowed to leave the compound because chameleons are always in hiding. Apparently, in the olden days people hunted them down and experimented and tortured them (and by people I mean the FRU).
So, the way the chameleons have made it is by constantly hiding and cutting off all communication with pretty much everyone. So, no camp phone calls for Kylie. At first, she’s grateful for this because she really doesn’t want to have any communication with Lucas at all. But, she misses her camp leaders and her roommates. She also still feels like an outcast. Before she felt like one because she was the only non-known supernatural being. Now, she stands out among the outcasts because she’s stronger. She has abilities that most of the others don’t get until well into adulthood. Also, the whole marrying off chameleons to their proper partner things is way too backwards-thinking to Kylie.
Everything changes though when some old friends find her and explain that they think Kylie’s old enemy, Mario, is back and working his hardest to find her. Kylie then decides it’s smartest to return to camp where she can have the upmost protection (even though it means dealing with Lucas and what he did). This book really couldn’t take place anywhere but camp for very long. There’s the whole running from Mario thing, on top of dealing with a ghost who’s apparently killed lots of people, learning to live with (and trying to forgive) Lucas, more love triangle business, some best friend drama, big wedding news, and a lot of revelations.
Stuff goes down with Kylie’s mom. Stuff goes down with Kylies chameleon family. Stuff goes down with Lucas, and Derek. And stuff pretty much just continues to go down through the whole thing. So many questions are answered! The romance is more sizzling than before. The action is not disappointing. It’s fun to see all the people who stand by Kylie no matter what. It’s fun to watch her share her secrets with others. And there’s all the cute, teen angst humor from the previous novels.
Was it the perfect end? No, but I loved it. It was a little too good for me in some ways. There’s this part where Kylie and Holiday are talking about the future and it seems like Kylie and her roomies are going to all go to the same school, and all come back to camp after, with the perfect jobs…And they talk about this as a very plausible possibility and it was a little too good, you know?
I liked how stuff resolved on the romantic side of things. I liked how stuff resolved with Kylie’s mom. And I loved how strong Kylie has become. She spends much of this book learning how to sword fight…Because she actually needs to know how to do this to defeat Mario. Some of the sword fighting training scenes were my absolute favorites. And it was pretty epic. Overall, I was super impressed with this last one. And I was even more impressed with this fun series. I give it a 10/10 and I look forward to reading the author’s spin-off series that will come out next year.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Elite by Kiera Cass

Well, I read this one in a matter of hours…This author always lucks out with gorgeous covers. Really, I can’t take my eyes away from this one, again. I was kind of hoping this would be a book series of 2 books because I knew having to wait on Prince Maxon’s final choice for a third book would be unbearable. Alas, there will be one more in the series, and I now have some serious waiting to do.
The Elite immediately follows the actions of The Selection. Prince Maxon is down to the elite of his girls. There are six left, including America. The competition is tight at the castle, with girls resorting to all sorts of behavior. America, as before, is ever indecisive of what and who she really wants. Also, the rebel attacks have been becoming more violent, and more frequent.
America is always asking the men in her life for more time. Does she clearly love both? Yes. Does she know if she can be a princess? This, she doesn’t know. Maxon is still enamored with her, no matter how America pushes him away. And Aspen has become a worthy opponent in the love triangle, always attempting to get a moment alone with America and remind her of the wonderful past they had once shared.
There’s more challenges, more parties, more hiding from violent attacks on the castle, and so much more world–building! America gets her hand on a historical diary and with this book, the history of her very disturbing, yet also believable caste system becomes explained. There’s a lot more politics in this one, a lot more history, and a lot more drama!
A lot of the book is about America realizing that no choice is perfect and that no one is perfect either. We learn a lot about Maxon and his evil father. And we learn a lot more about the remaining selected girls. There’s terrifying confrontations, rebellious live TV moments, dancing, debating, and one terrifying moment that actually caused me to step back in shock. I was crying for these characters and I was fighting against them too. What it all comes down to for America is not just who she loves the most, but how willing she is to make a difference.
This was definitely an interesting sequel. A lot was learned about this world in turmoil. A lot was learned about Maxon. And a lot was learned about America and what she is capable of handling and accepting. I sort of had a love/hate relationship with America though. What I loved most about her was that she was always willing to hear all sides of an argument. She listens to the hired help as much as she listens to the queen. She gets all sides of an argument before making a decision. This also caused me to hate her for stringing these two young men around for so long.
I also found myself on multiple occasions kind of wanting to slap some sense into America. Yes, she was always listening to everyone, acting as the one moral compass of the entire cast of characters. But, she changed her mind too often, all the time. Aspen would piss her off and she’d run to Maxon. Maxon would allow some atrocity to take place, and she would ache for Aspen. I just don’t think love works this way. I think it’s clear which boy she loves more. She’s just letting so many other things get in her way, and maybe rightly so.
I guess my major problem with America was I just kept hoping for her to be tougher/stronger. I wanted her to come to the realization that she could change things for the better much quicker. I want her to want to be queen. I want her to want to change the horrible world she lives in. And above all else I want her to stand up to the king! I kept hoping for the book to take a more rebellious plot turn, but it never really went there.
I get that it’s a far step from musician to leader, but America has all the things a great leader needs; I just wish she saw that. Maybe she comes to this conclusion in the final book? And maybe all the things I keep hoping for, will all come to pass. I’ll have to wait and see.
I enjoyed all the wake-up call moments for America. The hardest one was the unfair treatment of a close friend, and while this pulled at my heartstrings, I also see how this can act at the turning point for America and it needed to happen. I also like that Maxon came off as much more human in this one. He’s not just prince Charming any more. He has a lot of serious flaws. I also love how important books and history have become here. The rebels were stealing books!
And of course there is all the Bachelor-type drama that happened in book 1. It is so addicting, reading a book that reads like a reality show. It’s an easy read (though slightly more intense now). It’s fast paced. There’s a love triangle to end all love triangles. There’s rebellions and politics. There’s dances and fear. I give it a 9/10. And I’m dying to keep reading. Please hurry, Kiera Cass!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (43)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.
This week I am waiting on Untold by Sarah Rees Brennan (10/10/2013):

Description on Goodreads:

Free from bonds, but not each other
It’s time to choose sides…On the surface, Sorry-in-the-Vale is a sleepy English town. But Kami Glass knows the truth. Sorry-in-the-Vale is full of magic. In the old days, the Lynburn family ruled with fear, terrifying the people into submission in order to kill for blood and power. Now the Lynburns are back, and Rob Lynburn is gathering sorcerers so that the town can return to the old ways.
But Rob and his followers aren’t the only sorcerers in town. A decision must be made: pay the blood sacrifice, or fight. For Kami, this means more than just choosing between good and evil. With her link to Jared Lynburn severed, she’s now free to love anyone she chooses. But who should that be?
The first book was my favorite book of 2012. Saying I’m waiting on this one is an understatement. The ending of book one had me gasping in shock/surprise. The description sounds super good. I’ve read a little extra too on the author’s livejuournal. And I am so flipping out and anxiously pacing to get my hands on this one. I’m not a big fan of this cover. I kind of loved the first cover and all of it uniqueness. This one kind of looks like every other YA cover out there, and I’m not that impressed. However, I don’t care about the cover enough to let it defer me. I’m so excited for this one. Can you tell?
What are you waiting on this week?