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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Book Review | Angelfall by Susan Ee

Title: Angelfall 
Author: Susan Ee
Publication: May 21st, 2011
Publisher: Feral Dream
Source: Borrowed from the library

Rating: 4 out 5 stars

Synopsis: It's been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.

Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.

Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels' stronghold in San Francisco where she'll risk everything to rescue her sister and he'll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again. 

Review: I went to this book sort of on a whim. I kept hearing amazing things about this one, it seemed that everyone was reading it and falling completely in love with it. I found this book at my local library and dived right in, dying to know what everyone was raving about. While I wasn't disappointed in what I found, I found myself blindsided by what I did find. 

Susan Ee creates a unique world that has yet to come close to anything I have read before. This apocalyptic world is realist - there's struggle, gore, horror, and violence which is what I would imagine a realistic apocalyptic world to be. Ee is the first I've seen to create a horridly disturbing world that everyone (including me) wants to divulge themselves in. If you're looking for a happy-go-lucky, beautiful angels and a world with occasional rainbows, this is not the book for you. But if you want a glimpse into what one imagines a destructive world would be like, and want to journey with two people trying to survive it, then pick this book up. 

I loved Penryn's character. While she's not a straight-forward kick-ass heroine, she's a girl you wouldn't want to mess with. Her strong and dedicated heart is something to root for. I was constantly admiring her for her strength and determination to find her younger sister. I loved her occasional smart-alec (or as I would say, cleverness) attitude that especially came between her and Raffe. Raffe is a character that grew on me, but is still somewhat of a mystery to me after finishing this book, but this is not a bad thing. I feel as though Raffe and Penryn's relationship is a very slow, slow burn that continues to grow throughout the novel and I loved watching it burn brighter. 

Lets talk angels. I think I've only read one or two other angel books and they weren't the best books I've read. I think angels are hard to do. Susan Ee does them unique and utterly fascinating. She did an absolutely amazing job of adding her own spin onto angels. I give high praise to Ee for her brilliance in creating an unparalleled story. 

Oh, the plot of this story. I was thrown for so many loops throughout this book. There are so many twists and turns that I didn't see coming. This story kept me on the edge of my seat and nervous as hell as to what was going to happen next. I'm currently reading the next book in this series, World After, and I'm enjoying it even more than I did this novel. I can't wait to see where this series goes. 

Have you read this one and if so, what did you think of it? Any angel books that you've read and recommended? Are there any books lately that you've read that have kept you on the edge of your seat?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Let's Talk Books | Series I Need to Finish

It's about time I start calling myself out for not finishing series. I've made it a goal to finish up at least 10 series as one of my 2014 Bookish Resolutions. I'm not very good about finishing series, and that's for a variety of reasons. With some series, I'm not ready for them to end... I don't want to leave the world, the characters or the story. Other series I just haven't gotten around to finishing them. I've slowly been changing my ways to more of a marathon style to avoid having all these outstanding series, but I still have these to complete. I'm ashamed that some of them, I only have 1 book left! I mean, seriously Katie, can't you just read the last book and end the misery of not knowing what happens/having yet another series you haven't completed.

Here are the series that I need to finish:

Uglies series 

I started this series probably about 5 years ago and only read the first two books. I really enjoyed what I read and this was one of the first dystopian series that I encountered. I've been urging myself to re-read these first two and finish up this series. 

Delirium series 

I read the first book in this series last December. I don't know what took me so long to start this series! I enjoyed Delirium and since all books are out, I want to finish up this series and find out what all the talk is about. 

Sookie Stackhouse series

I have 1 book left in this series. ONE BOOK. This series has 13 books and I've read 12 of them. This is another world that I don't want to leave. I have thoroughly enjoyed these books and I'm not ready for it to end. But it's time, time to wrap up this series.

Percy Jackson series 

This is another one that I have 1 book left. I marathoned the middle books of this series last summer and I don't know I didn't just finish it up. I think it's another series that I'm not ready to end. However, I want to start The Heroes of Olympus and need to finish this series before I do start that one. 

Scott Pilgrim graphic novels series

I've read the first two in this series of six, I think? I really enjoyed the two that I read and wanted to continue it but I never got around to them. I'm thinking that I'll have to finish these this year.

Perfect Chemistry series

I read the first book last year and just got the last two in the series for Christmas so now that I have all books, I have no excuse not to finish this series this year.

Pivot Point duology

The second book, Split Second, just came out this month. I read Pivot Point last year and really enjoyed it so I can't wait to see how this duology concludes. From what I know, this is just going to be a duology. 

Anna Dressed in Blood duology

I read this book last Halloween and it was so creepy and good. I can't wait to see what happens to Anna and Cas in the second book, Girl of Nightmares. 

The Clann trilogy

I started this series last year, while I was looking for a paranormal romance series that I hadn't heard of before. This book was delightful and just what I was looking for. The final book came out within the last six months I think, so I should just marathon the last two and figure out what happens.

Incarnate trilogy

I love the unique world in this series! I have only read the first one and the final book recently came out in the last two months so I need to get on finishing this series! 

Starcrossed trilogy 

I love Greek mythology and therefore loved the first book, Starcrossed, in this trilogy. The final book came out last year and I should get to finding out what happens in this trilogy. 

Please tell me I'm not the only one :)...what completed series do you have yet to finish? Do we have any in common?

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Book Review | Good Bye, Rebel Blue by Shelly Coriell

Title: Good Bye, Rebel Blue 
Author: Shelly Coriell
Publication: October 1st, 2013
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (According to Goodreads)
Source: Bought it

Rating: 3.5 out 5 stars

Synopsis: Rebecca Blue is a rebel with an attitude whose life is changed by a chance encounter with a soon-to-be dead girl. Rebel (as she's known) decides to complete the dead girl's bucket list to prove that choice, not chance, controls her fate. In doing so, she unexpectedly opens her mind and heart to a world she once dismissed - a world of friendships, family, and faith. With a shaken sense of self, she must reevaluate her loner philosophy - particularly when she falls for Nate, the golden boy do-gooder who never looks out for himself. 

Review: I read this book with my pal, Alyssa over at ACReads. I don't read too many contemporary books, but when I read this synopsis and opened to a page that talks about riding through Target on a shopping cart yelling something along the lines of "The British Are Coming" (I could be completely off with this quote, I borrowed the book out so I can't verify, my apologies). I couldn't help but think that the bucket list in this book was going to be the best one ever. While it was a fun read, it wasn't what I expected and what it was made out to be.

I really enjoy Rebel Blue's story. I felt that I could relate to her and I enjoyed seeing her grow throughout the novel. While I felt that story (and her decisions) were a bit predictable at times, but I felt that she made these choices true to her character. I enjoyed her relationship with Nate and they were a cute couple in the way that they compliment each other. They're complete opposites but their compassion for each other overcomes their differences and brings them together in ways that they don't expect. 

I was a bit disappointed with this book and what I thought I was going to read vs. what I actually read. I thought, as mentioned earlier in this review, that I was going to read a book with an outrageous bucket list but it turns out that that isn't the bucket list the Rebel works on completing. It turns out that the outrageous bucket list is Rebel's own bucket list while the one that she is competing is another girl's bucket list. This girl is Kennedy Green and she passes away early in the novel (not a spoiler! This is given in the synopsis). Rebel then works to complete Kennedy Green's bucket list, not her own (the hilarious one I thought she would complete). Kennedy's bucket list is a lot more of a "goody-goody" type list including volunteering, according to Rebel Blue. I think the book would have been hilarious if Rebel completed her own bucket list and that's mostly the reason I wanted to read this book. So while I'm disappointed that Rebel didn't complete her own series, I'm okay with her completing Kennedy's list. I felt that Kennedy's list challenged her in a variety of ways. The challenge she faces with Kennedy's bucket list made the story interesting and enjoyable. 

Overall, I felt that this book was an enjoyable read. It kept me intrigued and I enjoyed the characters. I thought the story was unique, fun and I would recommend this one to anyone that enjoys contemporary. Also, if you enjoy bucket list stories, both bucket lists in this book are fun to read about.

Have you read this one and if so, what did you think of it? Do you have a bucket list, and if so what's one of your tasks?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Novella Mini-Reviews | Destroy Me & Fracture Me by Tahereh Mafi

Title: Unite Me: Destroy Me and Fracture Me 
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Publication: February 4th, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Bought them individually on Nook

Rating: Both 4 out 5 stars

Synopsis: Destroy Me tells the events between Shatter Me and Unravel Me from Warner's point of view. Even though Juliette shot him in order to escape, Warner can't stop thinking about her - and he'll do anything to get her back. But when the Supreme Commander of The Reestablishment arrives, he has much different plans for Juliette. Plans Warner cannot allow.

Fracture Me is told from Adam's perspective and bridges the gap between Unravel Me and Ignite Me. As the Omega Point rebels prepare to fight the Sector 45 soldiers, Adam's more focused on the safety of Juliette, Kenji, and his brother. The Reestablishment will do anything to crush the resistance...including killing everyone Adam cares about. 

Review: Just to clarify: I did not read Unite Me as a whole book. I bought both Destroy Me and Fracture Me as separate ebooks on my Nook before I knew they were going to be released together in a physical form. I also read them in order that they follow, so I read; Shatter Me, then Destroy Me, then Unravel Me, followed by Fracture Me (and currently reading Ignite Me!!!). 

Mini Review of Destroy Me: It is very rare that I will switch "teams" in a series. I think that this was the first time it has ever happened to me in all honesty. At the end of Shatter Me, I loved/hated Warner. He was so evil, but he made such a good bad guy and that's what made me like him a little bit. After reading Destroy Me and seeing that there is so much more to him made me "team" Warner. Like holy moly, he is unlike any male character I have ever read about before. He is constantly surprising me and taking turns that I didn't see coming. To see this whole other side to him that makes him a deeper, kinder, and more meaningful character was something unexpected but worthwhile to read. 

Mini Review of Fracture Me: I wasn't very impressed with this book that comes from Adam's perspective. I have a soft spot for Adam and really appreciated him throughout Shatter Me, I found myself drifting away from him in Unravel Me and Fracture Me just got me kind of annoyed with him. I felt like there was not enough about Juliette, I was so hard to get a sense of him and Juliette when he barely expressed his feelings for her. I felt a lack of passion from Adam, a lack of drive to protect and love Juliette which was something that I was hoping to get from him in this book. I wanted to hear more about their relationship, more about how he felt about her, and I felt dissatisfied in that category. However, I did enjoy getting a piece of Adam's story as I do enjoy him as a character, as well as Kenji. 

Overall Review of both Novellas: I would recommend reading both of these novellas in order with the series. I think that they both add more to the story that I found valuable and worthwhile. I think that there would be pieces missing if I had not read them in order since not only are the novellas from a different perspective than Juliette, but they also follow events as they are happening in between books. They are quick easy reads that help to transition into the next book in the series. I highly recommend this series, novellas included!

Have you read this one and if so, what did you think of it? Are you "team" Warner or "team" Adam?

Monday, February 10, 2014

Book Review | Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

Title: Perfect Chemistry 
Author: Simone Elkeles
Publication: December 23rd, 2008
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Source: Bought it

Rating: 5 out 5 stars

Synopsis: A fresh, urban twist on the classic tale of star-crossed lovers.

When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created 'perfect' life is about to unravel before her eyes. She's forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she's worked so hard for: her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect.

Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more. 

Review: Reasons I never picked this book up before now include the cheesy cover, the hype, and the premise, none of these factors made me want to read this book. While I'm always curious about hyped up books, the hype drives me away. However, this one was highly recommended by a good friend of mine, Rachel, who I did a video book review of this book with (click here to check that video review out). With Rachel's strong recommendation, I decided to check this book out and I'm so glad that I did. This book is more than a cheesy cover, is worth the hype and the premise is so much more than what it sounds.

Reading the premise, I thought that this would be some type of rom com book that was superficial and just a light quick read. This book had much more depth, character development and love than a rom com. I didn't expect to get involved with this book as much as I did. We all know this is a love story, but it's much more than a love story. It's two people that are learning to not only coming to terms with loving each other, but coming to terms with the consequences of their love, as well as learning to love themselves. 

Brittany and Alex were developed so well throughout this book that I was rooting for both of them on a consistent basis. They became one of those couples that just feel right, they are meant for each other and everyone agrees with that. I loved the way they interact, especially their bantering back and forth and the way that they tend to mess with each other. I loved that they realistically fell in love, there is no insta-love in this book. 

Another reason I love this book is the realistic portrayal of a high school relationship, or even a general relationship. Brittany and Alex felt much more mature than some of the other characters in the novel, or even people in high school today. The alternating perspectives helped to see each side throughout the novel and I think gave a deeper meaning to their relationship as well as their personal struggles. 

If you like romance, even a little bit, do yourself a favor and check this book out. I can't believe it took me so long, but I'm glad that I finally got to experience Brittany and Alex's story. I hope you get to too and you enjoy it. 

Have you read this one and if so, what did you think of it? Have you read any of the other books in the series?

Friday, February 7, 2014

Book Review | Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

Title: Unravel Me 
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Publication: February 5th, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Bought it

Rating: 5 out 5 stars

it's almost
time for war.

Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. It is a place for her people like her - people with gifts - and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance. 

She's finally free from The Reestablishment, free from her plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch.

Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more that she ever thought possible.

Review: This is one of my favorite series of all time. It's thrilling, passionate and addicting. I can't get enough of this series! 

I have never switched "teams" before. Once I have made up my mind I tend to stick with it. After reading the novella, Destroy Me, which falls in between Shatter Me and Unravel Me, I was understanding and liking Warner a little bit more. After reading Unravel Me, I am not only understanding Warner more but I am loving him more. I have to say that I have switched teams and am now a Warner girl. Of course it's more than the infamous Chapter 62 (*fans self*). 

The development of all the characters throughout this novel is fantastic. Tahereh Mafi does such an awesome job with her characters and the world that they live in. I loved watching Juliette grow stronger and more confident, as well as Adam gaining more of a softness to his character and Warner becoming something I never thought he could be, a somewhat decent person. Not only did I have the pleasure of watching these characters grow, but I enjoyed how their relationships grew as well (especially between Juliette and Warner). 

I have to give special recognition to Tahereh Mafi for her writing. I cannot get enough of her writing. I love the poetic stream of thoughts that flow so beautifully onto the page. I have not encountered such beautiful writing before. I truly appreciate the beauty of the writing as well as the story in this series. I hope that Tahereh Mafi never stops writing and I can honestly say that I will pick up and read anything she writes. 

If you haven't gotten into this series yet...what are you doing?! No but really...please, please, please read this series. I cannot recommend it enough and I can honestly say that those that I have recommended it to ended up loving it. I hope you love it too!

Have you read this one and if so, what did you think of it? Are you team Warner or team Adam? Are you excited/nervous/sad/anxious for this series to end with Ignite Me? 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

ARC Review | Cress by Marissa Meyer

Title: Cress 
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publication: February 4th, 2013
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (Macmillan)
Source: Borrowed from a friend (Thanks Rachel!)

Rating: 5 out 5 stars

Synopsis: Rapunzel's tower is a satellite. She can't let down her hair - or her guard.

In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they're plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army. 

Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker - unfortunately, she's just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.

Review: This series keeps getting better with each book I read. I enjoyed Cinder, found Scarlet to be more of what I was looking for and Cress to top the charts. This book comes out this week (today!) and I don't think you'll regret running to the store to pick this one up.

While this book is rather large, I felt that the pages went by too fast. There was constant action and some great character development as we not only got to know Cress, but Captain Thorne as well. And oh boy, I can say that I am a Thorne girl all the way. I absolutely loved Cress and Thorne, their interactions, their flirting, they are one of my favorite YA couples. I adore Cress, she's just so cute, and awesome. She's like that little sister that you want to take with you everywhere, that little sister that you care for and cheer for. 

Also, I am a huge fan of the way that Meyer incorporates diversity into her novels. There are characters of multiple ethnicities and I loved seeing that in a novel. I feel that it gives a more realistic picture to the characters as well as the world that they are living in. 

I have never read a Rapunzel retelling and I am amazed by how, yet again, Meyer did such a fantastic job of putting her own twist on a classic fairytale. I absolutely love the sci-fi elements that she incorporates into these retellings as well. The fact that Rapunzel was a computer hacker was pretty awesome to begin with. Along with her story, her writing flows so well that the story is more like a movie playing out in my head. 

This book ends on a pretty big cliffhanger so I can't wait to read the next one. I can't wait to see how Meyer puts her own spin on the next book, which I hear is a retelling of Snow White, with a girl named Winter. All around, this book was fantastic and my favorite one of the Lunar Chronicles thus far. 

Have you read this one and if so, what did you think of it? Have you read a retelling of Rapunzel before?

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Monthly Wrap Up | January 2014

The first month of 2014 has ended. I can't believe it's 2014 and already February! I started the spring semester a couple weeks ago so I haven't been reading as much as I want to, and some of the books I read were required reading. So let's get onto what I read in January. Along with some things that happened on the blog this month.

Books Read

A Clash of Kings (Song of Fire and Ice series, #2) by George RR Martin - What a massive book to start the new year off with. While I didn't think this book was quite as good as A Game of Thrones, I loved it nonetheless. I can't wait to continue on with the series. I've also started watching the tv show and enjoying it so far! Gave this one 4 out of 5 stars.

Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab: A Mystery with Electromagnets, Burglar Alarms, and Other Gadgets You Can Build Yourself by Bob Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith - This was a quick, fun read. It was the perfect thing to pick up after finishing such a massive book. Check out my full review of it here. Gave it 4 out of 5 stars.

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway (Required Reading) - I had to read this one for my Lit class. I love Hemingway and this one was no exception to his talent. While it was slow at times, I still enjoyed Hemingway's writing and the story overall. Gave this one 4 out of 5 stars.

Angelfall by Susan Ee - I've heard some amazing things about this book and I'm so glad that I read it. While it didn't blow my mind, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was a refreshing take on angels and a different dystopian society. I have World After, the second book, out from the library currently, planning to read it soon and can't wait to dive back into this world! Gave this one 4 out of 5 stars.

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan (Required Reading) - This was another book I had to read for my Lit class. It has received some great critic reviews, but I didn't catch what was so great about it. I enjoyed the stories told, but I just found it boring at times and the characters were not relatable to me. Gave this one 3 out of 5 stars.

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry - Another book that has been well received and recommended all around. I think sometimes the hype gets the best of me and I expect too much of the book. While I really enjoyed this one, it didn't exceed the too high expectations I had for it. I still really enjoyed this book, the characters and the romance. Gave this one 4 out of 5 stars.

Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher - I was so excited to read this book after reading the synopsis. I wasn't sure what to expect from it and I'm glad I went into it mostly blind. The unique premise of this book drew me in and the story kept me reading. This was a quick read that I ended up really enjoying. Gave this one 4 out of 5 stars.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel (Required Reading) - Yet another book I had to read for my Lit class. I went into this book with very low expectations, I was anticipating not liking it when I ended up really liking it a lot. I really enjoyed the survival story and the companionship between Pi and Richard Parker (the tiger). Gave this one 4 out of 5 stars.

January Reviews on the Blog

A few other fun posts I did last month