Sunday, March 16, 2014

Goodbye...(For Now)

Dean knows how hard it was for me to write this post.
Source 
I've been meaning to write this post for a very long time. Believe me, I have. Honestly, though, I just didn't have the heart to. I kept telling myself to give it a few more days. Maybe my mind would change. But after all of this time, my mind has not changed and with a heavy heart (or not so heavy; you decide), I'm saying goodbye to this blog and book reviewing for the time being.

I might want to blog about books again in the near future. Who knows, maybe during the summer my spark might come back. But for now, that spark is gone and I can not even fake my happiness.

When I began book blogging, I did it for myself. I wanted to talk about the books I loved and I wanted to share that love with the people I had formed connections with. But as time went on and I began reviewing books for publishers, my love, my initial draw to book blogging, faded away. It wasn't about me or what I wanted but what the publishers wanted.

I've always been a people pleaser and book blogging got added to that mix. It was not a good thing for me. As I started college last fall, I've come to realize that while I love reading, and I will always love reading, I'm no longer interested in reading for pleasure and blogging about it. Not only that but I don't have as much time for reading as I used to. My summers will now be spent interning or working or taking classes. The last time I checked my GoodReads, I was 5 books ahead of my reading goal of 100 books this year. I'm currently 12 books behind schedule.
It's been almost 6 YEARS SINCE I STARTED THIS BLOG
Source 
As of September 2014, I would be celebrating my 6th blogoversary. It's hard to imagine that I've had this blog for that long. And saying goodbye is made even harder by that number but it's okay. Maybe I will celebrate my 6th blogoversary. Maybe I won't. This year, I've taken to living everyday as it's come. You never know what might happen. So I'm going to leave off this post and this blog with:
Because who can say thank you like Zac Efron?
Source 
And Emma Watson
Source 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Review: The Exiled Queen, Seven Realms #2 by Cinda Williams Chima

The Exiled Queen, The Seven Realms #2 by Cinda Williams Chima 
Release Date:  September 24th 2010
Publisher: Hyperion Books
Source: Library  
Haunted by the loss of his mother and sister, Han Alister journeys south to begin his schooling at Mystwerk House in Oden’s Ford. But leaving the Fells doesn’t mean that danger isn't far behind. Han is hunted every step of the way by the Bayars, a powerful wizarding family set on reclaiming the amulet Han stole from them. And Mystwerk House has dangers of its own. There, Han meets Crow, a mysterious wizard who agrees to tutor Han in the darker parts of sorcery—but the bargain they make is one Han may regret.

Meanwhile, Princess Raisa ana’Marianna runs from a forced marriage in the Fells, accompanied by her friend Amon and his triple of cadets. Now, the safest place for Raisa is Wein House, the military academy at Oden's Ford. If Raisa can pass as a regular student, Wein House will offer both sanctuary and the education Raisa needs to succeed as the next Gray Wolf queen.

Everything changes when Han and Raisa’s paths cross, in this epic tale of uncertain friendships, cut-throat politics, and the irresistible power of attraction
**There are spoilers for the first book and this book! Read further at your own risk! You have been warned!**
Review: 
Have I told you guys that I bing read this entire series? The Exiled Queen clocks in at 586 pages all of which I read in one day because I was so utterly absorbed with what was happening that I could not wait to get back to reading if I had to stop. The Exiled Queen had more action than I had anticipated but it went away after a while but the world building, character development, and plot development kept me engaged. 

The book picks up a little after the events of the second book with Raisa on the run and Han on his way to Oden's Ford. Honestly, I'm going to say that Gavan Bayar is a crazy person like no other. I really, really don't like him. Anyways. There is so much adventure and danger in this book that I can't even handle it! Raisa will arrive in one place, think she's safe, and then BAM! something comes out and almost kills her! And this time, she's not alone so the lives of many others falls in her hands so I was exited to see how Raisa's emotions were incorpated into the plot. Honestly, the book becomes slow once Raisa and Han arrive at Oden's Ford but then of course it picks up at unexpected places! 

Furthermore, Raisa and Han grow and develop as the book progressed. The Exiled Queen shows a different side of Raisa because this is the first time she's not simply at the castle but in various parts of the world she is to one day rule and the other realms. Raisa truly realizes that she hasn't seen as much of the world as she had thought and there was more to ruling a county than simply knowing the boundaries of a country. Han, on the other hand, has to deal with the aftermath of his sister and mother's murder which really, takes a toll on him. Han is a much more different character and you truly feel for him. While he was aloof and strong in the first book, Han in The Exiled Queen is sad and angry and in need of vengeance. But he's also very smart and gifted and it's a pleasure to see how he grows as a wizard. 

I love me a good romance and the romance between Han and Raisa makes me so, so happy. While they're not just friends, they're not really more than friends. Han is too upset about the loss of his family to consider a girlfriend and Raisa is still hurt by the revelation that she and Amon can never be anything more than friends. Their friendship and gradual attraction is perfect because it doesn't happen all at once but at the same time, they're not completely in love either. There's more room for their romance to grow and I love that they're not an established couple already. 

Overall, yet another win for this series! While The Exiled Queen was faced fasted then The Demon King, it still lagged at times. But like the first book, I was too invested in the characters and their lives to truly let it bother me. I love the world too and I think Cinda Williams Chima has a gift for writing because as much as I love the world and the characters, her writing is what really brings the book to life! 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Series Review: The Demon King, Seven Realms #1 by Cinda Williams Chima

The Demon King, The Seven Realms #1 by Cinda Williams Chima 
Release Date: October 6, 2009
Publisher: Hyperion Books
Source: E-book via OverDrive via Library  
One day Han Alister catches three young wizard setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea. Han takes an amulet away from Micah Bayar, son of the High Wizard, to ensure the boy won’t use it against him. The amulet once belonged to the Demon King, who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. With a magical piece so powerful at stake, Han knows that the Bayars will stop at nothing to get it back.

Meanwhile, Princess Raisa ana’Marianna has her own battle to fight. She’s just returned to court after three years of riding and hunting with her father’s family. Raisa aspires to be like Hanalea, the legendary warrior queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world. But it seems that her mother has other plans for her—plans that include a suitor who goes against everything the Queendom stands for.

The Seven Realms will tremble when the lives of Han and Raisa collide in this stunning page-turner from best-selling author Cinda Williams Chima.
Review: 
I've heard a lot about this series. From bloggers to my brother, everyone has talked about how much they love this series. But this hype scared me away. What if I didn't like it? So I didn't read it until I decide to pick up this book when I was browsing my library's catalog on OverDrive. Needless to say, I read this entire series (this book is 506 pages; the entire series is 2207 pages long!) in about a week. In my opinion, The Seven Realms Series has everything I'd want in a fantasy novel: a kick ass main character (in this case, TWO!), romance, the world building, politics, danger, adventure, magic, and you know, everything else! To be fair, The Demon King was a slow book but it was wonderful none the less. 

In terms of plot, this book is very, very slow with it. Even though it's 500 pages, a lot of it is establishing the two main characters and the world in which they live. There is some action and adventure and the first few pages gets your really excited but the majority of The Demon King kind of felt like a prologue. I would have been bothered by this but for some reason, it just worked with this book. It's probably because the world building takes center stage and it is one heck of a world (AND THERE IS A MAP OF THE WORLD IN THE BOOKS; I LOVE MAPS IN BOOKS!). With clan people and wizards and the people of the Fells, not to mention the others of the Seven Realms and all of the politics, there is a lot going on in this book but it never feels overwhelming. I loved every big of it! 

Oh Han and Raisa, how I loved both of you! While they're so different, Han and Raisa have some characteristic in common: they're both stubborn, brave, flawed, occasionally impatient, don't always think before they do or say something, and they're both very passionate about the things they care about. Han is a thief and a street lord but there is something regal about him. He has a tough exterior and does not always seem like a nice guy but he has his moments. Raisa, too, is three dimensional and has her own issues to deal with. In many fantasy novels, the main character is the rich, powerful one with zero power and while Raisa fits into this mold as well, her attempts to go beyond a pretty face and a princess do not seem cliched. Instead, I rooted for her all the way through this series. 

And this is going to get it's own paragraph but I love, love, love how Raisa's sexuality is portrayed. Too often in this situation and in YA books especially, girls who kiss multiple boys or have had a few boyfriends in their past are branded as sluts. But Raisa, the future Queen of the Fells has kissed more than one boy. Raisa describes kissing more than one boy on more than one occasion and it doesn't seem ridiculous or slutish. I love that kissing is just that: kissing. Raisa knows her own limits and she refuses to be judged for her actions. 

Overall, I loved this book. I won't lie: it is slow. Like S---L---O---W. But it is so worth the read. I know people will give up a little ways but believe me when I say that you'll come to appreciate all of the world building and set up Chima does in The Demon King. It left Chima plenty of room to add as much action in the next three books as she wanted. I honestly hope fans of high fantasy or fantasy in general will give this book a chance! 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

New Adult Is My Escape

It's no surprise that I've written about my dislike for new adult, the new "genre" (is it actually a genre now? I have no idea) that is emerging in the book world. It's supposed to be the bridge between YA and Adult books but I've stayed away from them. I rarely read an NA book and I never searched/read reviews for them.

That is until I got to college.

That's not to say that I like NA now or I think it should exist. I've mellowed out about it but I've still not joined the bandwagon. But if you're confused as to why I read NA books now, you have every right to be. Honestly, I was confused too. It made no sense to me at all. Why, after arriving in college, did I have this intense need to read NA books? Even books I simply didn't enjoy?
I'm just....boring. 
I realized that it was because things that happen in NA books will probably never happen in my life. For example, I will probably never agree to foreplay with some guy at a bar like in Foreplay by Sophie Jordan. I just wouldn't. I could never agree to be someone's fake girlfriend for a week (One Week Girlfriend) or ask some guy (or pay him actually) to be my boyfriend (Charade).

If I'm going to be honest, I love bad boys. Yep, it's true. I love them. I mean, what girl can resist the tall, dark, handsome, tattooed guy? Not many and I'm one of those girls. But I'm not the type of girl to go after the guy. Or you know, flirt. Or talk to them. Hell, I'd probably say something really random and awkward and just ruin all the fun.

I'd like to say that my life is like: 

But really, it's more like this:

So, yeah. New Adult? It's more like my sense of escape. I want to attract some hottie and have loads of sexual tension and all that fun stuff. But realistically, I'm not that kind of girl. I like Paris and strolls on the beach under moonlight. I like the single, red rose and the guy who plays a guitar. I love movies like Pride and Prejudice and Beauty and the Beast. 

I want that fun and that rush of excitement. I want some super tall, sexy guy to look only at me. But it's not likely to happen. Which, I guess, is where the books come in. After all, a girl can dream right? 

What about you all? Do any of you have books or certain genres that act like an escape for you? Sometimes it's fun to put yourself in the place of the heroine and imagine that you're the one being pursued by the bad boy, right? Especially, like me, if you're so awaked people use the word "awkward" to help pronounce your name. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Blogs I Love!

I'm all about the blogger love and I love finding new blogs to read. As I've slowly delved into the world of Adult books last year, I've found that there are certain blogs I love going to to find recommendations. So here are some blogs I love that I think YOU should try out!
**All images are screenshots but all images belong to their respectable owners! Only used for creative purposes!**

G Reads!

I've followed Ginger's blogs for years not but somewhere in the realm of all the other blogs I follow, I ended up not reading it as often. But I've found myself back to her blog and boy am I glad I did! Ginger has a great mix of adult and YA book reviews and they're always thoughtful and so much fun to read. You really get a feel for how she felt about the book and I always appreciate that! But her discussion posts are amazing too. For example, a recent post, GReads! Interrupted: Holiday Edition, Ginger shares some holiday music, crafts, books, and more. Her post, A Letter to My Mother, written on the 10th anniversary of her mother's passing had me in tears.

The Book Barbies


I LOVE Sharon and Racquel. I talk to both girls on Twitter and I'm often scouring their blog for more adult romance books to read. They, like Ginger, have a great mix of adult and YA book reviews and their blog is just so much fun to read. Plus, both girls have such distinct voices and personalities and it's really fun to read their separate posts but also their joint posts. This past Christmas, Sharon posted lots of fun Christmas themed posts as part of her Fortnight of Festivities. And if you're looking for any adult romance novels to read, don't go any farther than this blog. The girls love a good romance novel and their love for this genre shines. Of course, they also review young adult books as well so it's a great package!

Good Books and Good Wine

Does anyone not know April in the book blogging world? From having almost 500 (or did she pass that?) reviews posted on her site to posting almost daily, April and her two co-bloggers Allison and Cassie made Good Books and Good Wine a blog anyone would want to read and re-read! If there's anything I love about this blog, I love that these ladies review not only young adult novels but adult and middle grade novels too. Not only that, but they mix it up by reviewing audio books as well. April also came up with her 15 Days Book Blogging Challenge , one that I have not participated in but I might this year! April's also no afraid to speak her mind as she showcases in posts such as  Relax, it's NOT a Competition and Dude, You TOTALLY Have time to Read. She's also an unabashed fan of Marcus Flutie so it makes her an automatic awesome person! I'm also a big fan of her post on Legitimacy, Professionalism And Book Blogging and I think that anyone who is a book blogger should read it!  

So Obsessed With

You have no idea how happy I was when I stumbled across this blog. I'd heard some things about Hannah's blog but I'd never actually read it. So I read some reviews and I liked it enough to subscribe to it via Feedly. And then earlier this year, I came across her post about Collecting Pride and Prejudice and I subscribed to her via email. Like, the second I finished reading the post, I put in my email.  Let me tell you, I NEVER subscribe to a blog via email. I prefer to have the blogs on my sidebar but it's rare that I'll email subscribe. And here's proof of my love for Hannah's blog: 
So I can read and reread
She's a Pride and Prejudice/Janeite guys! I LOVE Pride and Prejudice so it's nice to find someone else who's as obsessed as I am. AND she loves classics and wants others to read them too and she loves costume dramas and she wrote an amazing post on Pride and Prejudice's 200th Anniversary  and basically, Hannah's AMAZING. But, um, her book reviews are good too (actually, they're amazing but you get the idea!) and she's just got an amazing blog. 

Shae Has Left the Room

I've been a fan of Shae's since she was blogging at Bookshelvers Anonymous  and I loved her discussion posts such as Shelver's Confessions and More Shelver Confessions . As a non fan on New Adult, I loved reading her posts centered around this new "genre": New Adult; or There Be Rough Waters Ahead Matey and The New Adult Category Revisited. Both posts make strong arguments for New Adult and have lots of snark, which I love! Holiday Celebrity Gift Guide is FANTASTIC. Featuring the likes of Jennifer Lawrence, Tom Hiddleston,Benedict Cumberbatch, Richard Armitage, David Tennant, and more, you can scroll through and find books based on the celebrity! It's like the best post I've read in a long, long time guys. Also, Shae's blog is one of the other email subscribed blogs for me so you know it has to be amazing ;).

Ivy Book Bindings 

Keertana's blog is one blog is one of my all time favorite. I've read almost all of her posts and I check her blog every morning. She reads super fast and have reviews ups almost daily. I'm always in awe at Keertana's ability to write such beautiful reviews. Literally every review she's written has either made me want to read the book or skip it. Really, her long, wonderfully written reviews make my heart happy. I read in general because it not only makes me happy, it also calms me down. Keertana's reviews are just...fantastic. Really, there isn't much I can say except that you need to read one review and tell me you aren't in awe of this girl. Some reviews I've loved: How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr and This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales and some great discussions like Self Discover in Films: Looking for Alibrandi and Center Stage and Time Management (one of my favorites actually!)

Alexa Loves Books

I'm not sure what to say about Alexa's blog. Not only is is Alexa's blog a mix of reviews of adult and young adult books (see a pattern yet?) but she has some of the best personal posts I've come across anywhere on the blogopshere. You can check out her Our Greatest Story, her post about her beautiful wedding. And it was On Death and Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda that made me cry because not only was it personal, it really made me thankful for all that I have. For me, while I love reading reviews, I also like getting to know the blogger behind the blog. She also have a great feature called The Monday Mix where she links all sorts of posts from around the blogosphere. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Review: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Release Date: December 10, 2013 
Publisher: Disney Hyperion  
Source: Requested via NetGalley 
Summary (via GoodReads): 
It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.

A timeless love story, THESE BROKEN STARS sets into motion a sweeping science fiction series of companion novels. The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.
Review: 
To say I was excited for this book was an understatement. I could not wait to get my hands on this book! Not only did I love the cover but These Broken Stars sounded like a great sci-fi YA novel. After I was approved on NetGalley, I began reading it immediately but I was sad to find that I didn't love this book as much as I had hoped. It's not to say that These Broken Stars wasn't a good book and it clearly has a lot of fans but while I didn't love this book with all my heart, I wasn't the biggest fan. 

Being the nerd I am, I knew the story of Icarus from Greek myth and my intuition that it would play a large part in the plot for this novel was correct but it didn't play as large of a role as I had hoped. I guess in a way, it couldn't. Yet the plot of this novel was a huge let down. While I was expecting there to be plenty of that "sweeping science fiction," the sci-fi didn't come into play until about the end of the novel. Really, this story is about how Lilac and Tarver would survive the crash and if they're make it back home and for much of the novel, I felt like the plot dragged on and on. It took me a good 13 days to finish this book and unless you're about five hundred pages or so, it shouldn't take me that long to finish a book. But it's not to say this is a bad plot. Really, These Broken Stars has a great, almost original plot (okay, look, Titanic, BUT there is more to it!) but it just didn't always work for me. 

Tarver and Lilac were also two very interesting characters. While I liked both of them, I didn't truly care for them or their romance. I sound like a heartless soul and I promise I'm not but I was just never truly engaged in their story. The plot was boring and didn't make me want to read and that made me not care too much for the characters. Sure, they're both broken and hurt and come from two different worlds but so what? I will say, I liked them. I liked reading about them and seeing how their love progressed but I wasn't completely engrossed in it. I mean, again, it took me 13 DAYS to read this book. For lots of people, Tarver and Lilac have become favorites but for me, they were disappointing.  

And I know the romance is being compared to the Titanic and I can see it. I really, truly can see it but...I didn't care for it. Basically, my thoughts for this book were generic. I could see the originality and all but it didn't do anything for me. Plenty of people loved the romance and the swoon and for me, it wasn't anything new. I honestly can't say why because I'm the die hard romantic ya know? Oh, well. 

If there's anything about this book I loved, it was the writing. There was such a...melancholy tone to the writing and it was just beautiful and lyrical at the same time. As long as it took me to read this book, the writing was magnificent! There really aren't enough words to describe it but this is one hefty book (almost 400 pages!) so the writing needed to be good enough to keep my attention even when I read it. 

Overall, I didn't hate These Broken Stars and I do plan on reading the rest of the books in The Starbound Trilogy but I wasn't the biggest fan either. If I could describe my feelings towards this book, it would be: meh. The plot, the characters and everything about this book has clearly worked for others (many, many, many others) but for me, I was just left wanting more. And more. And I never quiet received it all. 
Recommendation:

Cover Comments: 
If you read the summary and see the cover, you think it's ridiculous and basically just a pretty cover on a book. But it is not only gorgeous but depicts the book really, really well. Like the green dress and the guy's outfit are basically straight out of the book! 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Adult Series Review: The Rules of Scoundrels by Sarah MacLean

I've decided to change things up with my reviews! When I read a few books in a series or trilogy together, I'll make a series review! I will NOT to adding the descriptions but the links will go to each books GoodReads page! 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I've never read a Sarah MacLean book in my life so when I had the opportunity to grab these three books from my library, I took the chance. Racquel and Sharon of The Book Barbies are huge fans of Sarah MacLean and on their recommendation, I picked up the books! While I didn't love every book, I have to say, I am wholly invested in this series and the three scoundrels of these novels have each taken a part of my heart. Admittedly, Cross is my favorite, but I liked the others none the less. Now I really, really want the fourth and final book since it's Chase's book! 

Title: A Rogue by Any Other Name (The Rules of Scoundrels #1) by Sarah MacLean
Source: Library
Review: I was warned that not everyone loved this book. For one, Racquel didn't like this book and neither did Keertana but I'm that person who has to read the books in order if I am able to do so. A Rogue by Any Other Name is the story of Lady Penelope Marbury, a woman who is not interested in a quite marriage  and Marquess of Bourne, once an aristocrat, now cast away from society. Honestly, I was on my way to liking Penelope's and Bourne's story but then the plot of this novel just made me...not angry, but disappointed. The thing is, I expected the slow burn romance, the banter and jealousy to come before the sexytimes but instead, the plot worked the other way around. I just could not put my mind around it. The early events of this novel left me not caring much for whatever else would happen but I continued anyways. The book got a little better as it went on and Penelope and Bourne's love blossomed but I was just never as invested in it. 

I actually liked Bourne much more than Penelope to be honest. Penelope, and I understand the time period and all, was annoying. So, so annoying that I wanted to slap some sense into her. She'd been hurt by love and I got that but I wish she had the courage to just shake herself out of it. After all, the events had happened years and years ago. Bourne, cast away from society for doing something foolish when he was young, was the tall, dark, stranger type and I loved it. He was rough around the edges by his and Penelope's past always seemed to get in the way. 

Overall, this book was a miss for me. While I ended up caring for the characters in the end, I wasn't in love with them. Nor did I, to be honest, care too much about how they overcame their obstacles. Sarah MacLean can write, though, there's no doubt in my mind but sometimes, the writing isn't enough to garner a favorite book. 
Title: One Good Earl Deserves a Lover (The Rules of Scoundrels #2) by Sarah MacLean
Source: Library
Review: This is by far my favorite Sarah MacLean book yet (I've only read three) and I only wished all of her books were as good as this one. Quirky and funny and sexy and romantic, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover tells the story of Phillipa Marbury, the daughter of an duke and Cross, an owner of the most prosperous gambling hell in London.

Phillip Marbury is by far my favorite heroine of this series. She was funny and adorable and awkward and well, nerdy. She come's to Cross for help in a scientific experiment and their banter was perfection. Pippa is naive in the best sense of the word because it works for her and it makes sense in the historical context. Not only that but Pippa would rather read a book than attend a ball or an extravagant party. All in all, Pippa was wonderful and I couldn't help by laugh at her thoughts and actions. Pippa and Cross definitely have a slow burn type of romance and I love, love, love this kind of romance. Plus, it was fun to see how Cross and Pippa brought out the best in each other and how their  love blossomed.

Cross is getting his own paragraph because Cross is amazing and adorable and sexy and brooding and just...yeah. I think thus far, I like Cross the best. I mean, he's really tough and can be scary (if he wants to be) which is huge given the fact that he's not as muscular as the other scoundrels. Yet he care for Pippa and has a soft side that he shows on more occasion than one. Like the other scoundrels, he made a mistake in his younger years that he's still trying to make up for.

Overall, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover is the best mix of funny, sexy, and romance around. Pippa is such a different character from what you'd expect, especially from that time period, and you can't help but love her. Cross and Pippa's banter will make you smile and laugh and the ending will make you very, very happy.
Title: No Good Duke Goes Unpunished (The Rules of Scoundrels #3) by Sarah MacLean
Source: Library
Review: I'm still unsure as to how I feel about this book. While I loved Mara and Temple, I wasn't as invested in their romance as quickly as I was with Phillipa and Cross. It's not to say that I didn't like this book but I'm a little disappointed. It kinda makes me sad that I didn't love this book as much as the second book because Mara and Temple both bring a different type of character in this book.

Mara Lowe has been in hiding for twelve years but when her brother gambles away all of his and her money, she has to come out of the hiding to get her money back. Of course, by now, Temple is one of the owners of The Angel where her brother lost all of the money. Temple also happens to be the man accused of killing Mara. Mara Lowe is very much different from the first two ladies of this series: unlike the ladies, Mara has to save herself from the assumptions of the public. People already think she's dead so revealing the truth can cause even more problems for her. But Mara has to do the right thing. For me, it's not to say that Mara was a bad character. She actually was written very, very well but I could not feel empathetic to her. After all, she came back after twelve years simply because the money that was hers was wrongfully spent. There is a good reason for her need for the money but I found it selfish. Attempting to give Mara a chance, I was unable to fully grasp her situation. In the end, the frustration at her actions was too large for me to ignore. So I didn't dislike Mara. I just didn't like her either.

Temple fared better than Mara and I will admit that one of the biggest reasons I liked this book as much as I did was because I cared for Temple. The poor guy did noting wrong but drink a little too much when he was young and was seduced by a young, beautiful woman. I'm not excusing his actions but his actions seemed so minimal to Mara's. I understand that she made a mistake but at the same time, I felt it was wrong for Temple to go down the way he did. I'm honestly not trying to bash oh Mara. I did feel for her after her situation was revealed but for some reason, I felt worse for Temple.

Overall, I liked this book a lot more than A Rogue By Any Other Name but not as much as One Good Earl Deserves a Lover. I should have liked No Good Duke Goes Unpunished a lot more than the other two: everything about it was my kind of novel but it just felt a little off. Maybe I should re-read it to see how I like it then but for now, I'm in the middle with this book. There is no doubt that Sarah MacLean knows what she's writing about and while I'm not the biggest fan, I do like her work. I honestly can't wait for the fourth book, especially after that cliffhanger (which sadly, I had an inkling about and I got it right.)

Cover Comments: 
I'm indifferent to the covers because they're very much like other romance novels around but I will admit: the dresses do come to play in each book so I appreciate that. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Review: The Summer I Found You by Jolene Perry

The Summer I Found You by Jolene Perry 
Release Date: March 1, 2014
Publisher: Albert Whitman Teen
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Summary (via GoodReads): 
Jolene Perry's THE SUMMER I FOUND YOU, about a teenage girl trying to cope with her new diagnosis of type one diabetes and a teenage male veteran who is learning how to embrace his new life after losing an arm, who come together by using each other as an escape, only to discover through love and struggle that your life is what you make of it.
Review: 
Before I begin this book review, this title is so misplaced. The majority of this novel takes place during the school year so it’s not really “the summer” right? Anyways. The moment I saw this book on NetGalley, I requested it. Not only did The Summer I Found You sound amazing, the cover wasn’t too bad either. The second I was approved; I downloaded it and began reading it. By the end, I had mixed feelings. On one side, I liked this book a lot but on the other, I was so annoyed with the characters. I’m still unsure of exactly how I feel about this book.

The Plot

Honestly, this book sounded great. Such two different people connecting and finding love? It almost sounded too good to be true. While there was so much potentiona for this book to be amazing, the plot fizzled because of the execution. Besides the fact that it was set during a school year and not the summer, the plot’s pacing was slow in the beginning and a last fifty or so pages were fast paced. It didn’t work too well for the book.

The Characters

Kate: I have lots of family members who have diabetes. It’s noting to be ashamed of and I really could not connect to Kate and her horrid ways of taking care of herself. One of the biggest issues I had with Kate was her inability to take care of herself. I don’t know what it’s like to be diagnosed with this disease but after being told repeatedly that I could die if I didn’t take care of myself? The message would be clear to me. Even more so, after her relationship with Aiden took another level, Kate still did not tell him about her diabetes. She’s not a bad character but this aspect bothered me a lot. Along the same lines, I don’t think Kate developed as a character throughout this entire novel. I mean, it wasn’t until the last twenty pages that she realized she could die. It was frustrating and annoying.

Aiden: I don’t really know him so I can’t dislike him. But I don’t love him either. Of the two characters, I liked Aiden more. I was surprised that he didn’t let the loss of his arm affect his way of looking at life and the possibilities of love.

The Verdict

Overall, I liked this book enough. Sometimes the characters really frustrated me but other times, I really liked them. The plot for this book actually sounded great but I didn't think it was written as well as I had hoped it would.
Cover Comments: 
Eh. Boring. Like, really, really boring. Had it not been for "Melina Marchetta," I wouldn't have picked up this book to read! 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Review: Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt

Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt 
Release Date: March 26, 2013 
Publisher: Bloomsbury 
Source: Library
Summary (via GoodReads): 
When Mallory’s boyfriend, Jeremy, cheats on her with an online girlfriend, Mallory decides the best way to de-Jeremy her life is to de-modernize things too. Inspired by a list of goals her grandmother made in1962, Mallory swears off technology and returns to a simpler time (when boyfriends couldn’t cheat with computer avatars).

The List:
1. Run for pep club secretary
2. Host a fancy dinner party/soiree
3. Sew a dress for Homecoming
4. Find a steady
5. Do something dangerous

But simple proves to be crazy-complicated, and the details of the past begin to change Mallory’s present. Add in a too-busy grandmother, a sassy sister, and the cute pep-club president–who just happens to be her ex’s cousin–and soon Mallory begins to wonder if going vintage is going too far.
Review: 
Currently Listening To: Royals by Lorde
I've been a fan of Lindsey Leavitt since I read her Princess for Hire series for middle grade readers. I instantly fell in love with the cover for Going Vintage and the synopsis. Going Vintage sounded like such a fun, cute book and I got exactly what I wanted. But I have to admit that I was disappointed. Going Vintage had a lot of heart but it wasn't as...deep, as I would have liked. To be honest, I didn't expect it from this book but there was always that little sense of hope. Going Vintage isn't a bad book but it's a fun book to read when you're in the mood for something light and fun.

If we talk about characters, I'd say I liked Mallory. I mean, I liked reading about her life and her struggles, especially after she finds out about her boyfriends girlfriend but there wasn't much development to her. It's not to say that I didn't like her but I just felt she acted a little younger than a junior in high school. It's not to say that she can't act a little childish or foolish because lets be real, we all act that way sometimes, no matter our age. I have to say though, Mallory kind of got boring to read about. Personally, I liked when other side characters were in a scene with Mallory: from her eccentric younger sister Ginnie to her grandmother to Oliver.

As for the plot, it was rather slow and well, boring, until Oliver comes into the picture. I liked reading about Mallory family dynamics and her love for antiques but after a while, it all seems overly repetitive. Sometimes, I just wanted more. Other times, I really wanted to just put the book down and read something else. And if there is anything I'll give Lindsey Leavitt, it's her ability to present family issues in connection to everyday life. Did I think there were too many plots going on at once? For sure. I also don't think all of the plot threads got a good amount of attention but that's okay.

Overall, Going Vintage was a quick, entertaining read. I didn't get a deep, throughout provoking read but sometimes, you're just in the mood for something to simply pass the time and to entertain. If anything, I thought that the idea of going vintage wasn't completely terrible. I think if people can learn to live without technology for a little bit, it would be a better world.
Cover Comments: 
I actually like this cover. It's a little silly but it fits the book perfectly and sometimes, the silly, cute books are the best. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

NA Review: Foreplay by Sophie Jordan

Release Date: November 5, 2013
Publisher: William Marrow 
Source: Borrowed 
Summary (via GoodReads): 
Before she goes after the life she’s always wanted, she’s about to find the one she needs.

Pepper has been hopelessly in love with her best friend’s brother, Hunter, for like ever. He’s the key to everything she’s always craved: security, stability, family. But she needs Hunter to notice her as more than just a friend. Even though she’s kissed exactly one guy, she has just the plan to go from novice to rock star in the bedroom—take a few pointers from someone who knows what he’s doing.

Her college roommates have the perfect teacher in mind. But bartender Reece is nothing like the player Pepper expects. Yes, he’s beyond gorgeous, but he’s also dangerous, deep—with a troubled past. Soon what started as lessons in attraction are turning both their worlds around, and showing just what can happen when you go past foreplay and get to what’s real…
Review: 
Currently Listening To: Heart Attack by Demi Lovato 
If there’s anything I will give New Adult, it’s the fact that I can always read the book for a good time, quick and easy, light and fun. When I heard that Sophie Jordan was writing a new adult, I was neither surprised nor disappointed. After all, I’m not the biggest fan of NA. But I was a fan of Sophie Jordan’s so I had some expectations wit this book. Foreplay, sadly, wasn’t the new, fresh NA I was hoping for. Instead, while it was an enjoyable read, it was fairly predicable, with nothing new to add.

The Plot 

Nothing new. As I kept reading Foreplay, I wasn’t surprised by anything. Nothing seemed new and fresh and original. For a “genre” that is just getting it’s start, is this not a little sad? Sure, I liked the idea that Pepper and Reece weren’t originally falling in love and the sexual tension was there to keep me engaged, but again, nothing new. I also wanted a little more with this book. The plot was too fast: Pepper and Reece fell in love too fast, the pace was too fast, there wasn’t enough background to really understand either Pepper and Reece.

The ending was also way to perfect and cookie cutter. Reece and Pepper were madly in love and all of their baggage and issues were resolved. For example, certain issues in Reece’s life were introduced in this book that weren’t looked into. It was just a touch on the surface and by the end of the book it was gone completely.

The Characters 

Pepper: I liked Pepper to be honest, more than I thought I would. She was broken and had a tough past but she didn’t let it define her. She was also a very smart girl who made some stupid mistakes. But unlike most of the mistakes girls in NA books make, Pepper’s were more concurrent to her character. The mistakes weren’t life changing but rather mistakes a girl makes when she likes a guy. I smiled and laughed at Pepper but I also loved her. while her characterization could have been stronger, and I think she didn’t develop as much as she should have by the end of the book, Pepper was fun to read about.

Reece: Okay, I liked Reece. He’s my type of guy: tall, dark, handsome and a little bit older. But my biggest issue with Reece was that we never really get to know him. What are his interests? What does he like to do? What are his hobbies? I mean, I didn’t want his entire characterization but Reece was basically just the hot, sexy bartender throughout this entire novel.

The supporting characters: Georgia and Emerson were my favorites. Not only because I could identify each girl with my friends in real life, they were always there for Pepper. None of the supporting characters were developed enough but they had enough personality to tell them apart.

The Writing 

I’m not sure there’s anything new or exciting about this writing. It’s really light and quick to read. The diction is really conversational and there aren’t any big words to be confused by. Honestly, it’s one of the better written books and I’ve found that it comes with the territory.

The Verdict 

Foreplay was simply a quick, fun read. I was in the mood for something light that would make me smile but I knew I wouldn’t get any life changing advice from. While the plot was so much like many of the NA books I’ve read, I liked Pepper a lot. I think it’s really because I can see myself as Pepper. There wasn’t enough character development or background and I think the book ended too nicely but what can you do?
Cover Comments: 
This cover is boring and generic and like so many of the other new adult books out there. Really, change it up please! 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

College and Book Blogging and Failure

So on December 8, 2013 I came home after taking my last final exam for my first semester of college. I was feeling excited and elated! I'd finished college! I'd some how survived school. If there's anything I was to preface this post by saying, I'll mention these three things:

1) I have issues with anxiety and panic attacks. I make it sound worse than it is but anxiety is much more common for me. I hate taking tests of any kind, let alone college exams.
2) I'm a people pleaser. I've been working on this a lot but it's a process and I know that it's going to take time before I've moved on.
3) I'm a perfectionist. I don't like failure and while I'm not OCD, I do like things to be done a certain way.

But my perfectionist side mixed with my people please and my anxiety? It's not a good mix. Especially when I began college this fall.

In August, I had this plan: I was not only going to rock this blogging thing but I was going to do amazing in college. I would read dozens of books and I'd get straight As. But somewhere, this idea changed. I didn't blog as much as I wanted to but I didn't put the focus on school, as I should have. School's always been important to me but this past few months have made me realize that sometimes, too many expectations can lead to failure. Or failure in our own terms.

I didn't do as strongly this semester as I wish I had. There isn't much I can do about it now except work hard next semester. Or, in my own words, work my ass off. But one big thing will for me: blogging is going to take a step back in my life but in the right way.

I love book blogging too much to stop it completely but not enough to realize that there are other things more important in my life than blogging.

I've always thought it was cliched when people would say that it takes some bad turns to help you get on track but it seems to be the case with me. I'm not perfect at all and this proves it. But really, I guess I wrote this for all the younger readers of this blog. Learn from my mistakes and realize now that school and family and friends should come first before blogging. It's not about dismissing one aspect of your life as inferior to others but rather about realizing that you need to prioritize.

And I didn't write this post for any other reason but to be honest with not only myself but all of your. Admitting you did something wrong--like not working hard enough in school--is hard but worth it.

But tell me lovely readers: have you ever given something more power than it should have? Have any of you struggled to balance blogging and college and life?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Review: The 100 by Kass Morgan

**I've adapted a new review system but this review was written before I developed it! THIS review will be in the same, old format!**
Release Date: September 3, 2013 
Publisher: Little, Brown 
Source: For Review from Publisher via NetGalley  
Summary (via GoodReads): 
In the future, humans live in city-like spaceships orbiting far above Earth's toxic atmosphere. No one knows when, or even if, the long-abandoned planet will be habitable again. But faced with dwindling resources and a growing populace, government leaders know they must reclaim their homeland... before it's too late.

Now, one hundred juvenile delinquents are being sent on a high-stakes mission to recolonize Earth. After a brutal crash landing, the teens arrive on a savagely beautiful planet they've only seen from space. Confronting the dangers of this rugged new world, they struggle to form a tentative community. But they're haunted by their past and uncertain about the future. To survive, they must learn to trust - and even love - again.
Review: 
The 100 sounded amazing when I first heard about it. I’m not the biggest fan of dystopian/post-apocalyptic books but when I was given the chance to read this book, I took it. While it was a clear struggle to get through this book, I finished it with a confused mind. For one, I didn’t like this book very much. There were so many things wrong with this book (later) but it makes so much more sense for this to be a television show. While the writing wasn’t bad, the four different narrations weren’t as different and the characters didn’t have enough gumption for me to care about them.

There are four main characters in this book: Clarke, Wells, Bellamy, and Glass. Three of the four end up on Earth and one is able to stay in space. All four have different backgrounds and different stories and throughout the book, we’re given small glimpses into how they ended up where they are. I really didn’t care for any of the four main characters. For one, all of the chapters alternate between each character so its hard to get enough information to really get to know the characters. Secondly, they didn’t really do anything. I though Bellamy would do something that would pick up the pace and cast the plot into a faster story. Secondly, there was just nothing about the characters that would get me to care for them. Glass, for example, had a story line I should have been saddened by. Instead, it just happened and I moved on.

I think the biggest issue I had about this book was that it didn’t seem like a book. See The 100 is a TV show and while I haven’t watched it, I can clearly see the events of this book translate into a show. I feel like this book was written for the sole purpose of truing it into a TV show. There are just those books that don’t have much character development, the plot isn’t engaging enough and the writing is mediocre at best.

Overall, I didn’t care for this book. It was a quick, fun read but nothing more. I’m sure the TV show is better (I haven’t watched it yet) but this book was highly disappointing. There are a lot of things, like character, world, and society development, I hope will be addressed in the show.
Cover Comments: 
Eh. Boring. Like, really, really boring. Had it not been for "Melina Marchetta," I wouldn't have picked up this book to read! 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Rating System

Since

Love You Like A Sibling 
You love this book like it was family. You know, in case of a fire, you’d save this book. It’s amazing, stunning, and mind blowing. You would re-read this book lots and lots of times. It might even be a favorite. You would recommend this book to EVERYONE, EVER.

Best Friends Forever 
This book is pretty great but it’s missing something that would make it extremely special. You might re-read this book, possibly more than once. You would recommend this book to lots of your friends and some of your colleagues.
You like this book. You might even love this book but it's missing a few things. You would re-read this book if you wanted something good to read. You would recommend it to some people but with reservations.
It’s an okay book. You don’t dislike it but you’ll probably not re-read this book. You would recommend it to some people but it won't be the first book to pop into your mind.
Not the worst you’ve read but far from amazing. It can be read in a few sittings and it’s not special. You would not recommend this book to anyone.
You don’t think about this book. You don't want to recommend it to anyone. You might have even hated this book. You would not even think to recommend it to anyone.