Sunday, March 31, 2013

Things Spring Cleaning has Taught Me

This morning, I decided that I would clean out all of the junk from under my bed. While it didn't take as long as I had thought it would, I found a few things under my bed that I thought was interesting. I learned a few things about myself:

I am very sentimental:

While this might sound weird, I found so many drawings and various cards and posters under my bed given to me by friends. But seriously, I've kept posters of *ahem* boys I used to be obsessed with in middle school.

I really liked the Jonas Brothers: 

Um. Yeah. See above. I have....2 posters and 1 hand drawn picture by a friend. Needless to say, I am SO over them.

I was obsessed with Daniel Rdacliffe:

Yep. I have 2 posters of him and a picture of him that says "Happy Birthday-Daniel Radcliffe" given to me by my friend. Again, I am very sentimental.

I wrote a song about walking down a path with a friend: 

A hand made map of the fantasy world I created. 
It is titled "Down a Path" and the first stanza is: I'm walk'n down a path from tee ta tree. I see the birds fly'n I know that I'm try'n to be the best that I can be. Flowers are bloom'n I know that I'm mov'n on----yeah. Somethi'n goi'n on in my head. What the hell were we thinking?! Like seriously, that is what we wrote.

I was very weird. 

Oh man. I was weird

I am still very weird.

I'm still weird.

I like maps for fantasy novels: 

Still true today! But seriously, I was in LOVE.  I made a map of the "kingdom" for my story and broke it down into it's own countries. If that wasn't enough, I broke down the countries and made maps for them! Cities and towns were named and I even had legends for each (open circles for cities, dots for towns, blue lines for rivers, green arrows for mountains, etc.)

My main characters tended to be my age: 

When I was ten, my main characters were ten. The map you see above was for a book where my main characters were 13, three years older then my actual age. Plus, at ten, 13 was the coolest because you were officially a teenager.

I wrote down EVERYTHING:

Wow. I looked through a 2 inch binder and 3 FOLDERS to see that I wrote down everything I could about a character. And did I have a lot of characters. I had titles and synopsis for each and every book. I even had series titles and titles of the books in the series. I could probably tell you the eye color and height of 5 of my main characters from various books. I wrote historical fiction and fantasy and paranormal and contemporary (wow, SO MUCH contemporary!)

I miss my friends:

Man, I miss my friends in Atlanta. I moved away after 7th grade and I was so sad about it. Going through all of these things given to me by various friends, I became very emotional. Turns out, even if it was almost 6 years ago, the move hurt me a lot. It's not that I don't have friends here, because I have many friends and I won't trade them for anything. I think it was realizing that they knew this weird Kailia I had remembered after so long. In a way, I didn't want to remember the old days because it always reminded me of the fact that I left.

So, tell me guys: have you ever discovered anything about yourself after (or during) Spring cleaning? 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Case of the No-DNFer

When it comes to review books, I rarely mark a book as DNF (did not finish). I might out the book down and read it later but I hate it when that happens. For me, I can’t fathom writing a review for a book I can’t finish.

What my review pile looks like. Kinda. Source
Whenever I don’t finish reading a book, I feel like I am letting down the publisher and the author. Does anyone ever feel this way? The majority of the time, I will write a negative review for the book I disliked but only after I finish reading it.

I have realized that this can be a bad thing. Blogging is a hobby for me but the perfectionist/people pleaser in me can’t do things any differently. There is always a voice in my head that says writing a review for a book I didn’t finish is wrong. Since I didn’t finish the book, how could I possibly write a review for it? How would I know if the book improved past the place I stopped?

In another sense, I am always optimistic that as I read a bad book, the better it will become. One of my most recent reads, Between the Lines was a book I had heard nothing but good things about. Estelle loved the book and she and I tend to have the same feelings on books. I read the book, thinking that it was going to get better the entire time. Sadly, it didn’t capture my attention and I ended up writing a negative review for the book.

Yet, the most interesting aspect I’ve found about this is that when I read a book all the way through, no matter how bad, I tend to see both the good and the bad. For example, Easy was a book I had hoped to love. While I didn’t know much about the book, I knew that it has a good message and the subject matter was one we had to talk about. In my review, I acknowledge what I liked about the book. But I also listed what I didn’t like.

It seems like a double-edged sword but if I don’t like the book at first, I put it aside and read it much, much later. I began Easy and I was bored the first time around. I put it aside and I began re-reading it after a few weeks. When I began re-reading it, my prior feelings didn’t resurface and I was able to write a more honest review.
shrugging
Does any of this make sense? I hope so.
Basically, I don’t DNF review books in the sense that once I mark the book as a DNF, I will literally never read it. Again, this is review books ONLY. I DNF other books like no ones business.

What about you all? Do you have this issue with any books but especially review books? I personally think the mix of perfectionist and people please is SO not good for me.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Review: Catherine by April Lindner

Catherine by April Lindner
Release Date: January 2, 2013 
Publisher: Little, Brown 
Source: Publisher for Review via NetGalley 
A forbidden romance. A modern mystery. Wuthering Heights as you’ve never seen it before.

Catherine is tired of struggling musicians befriending her just so they can get a gig at her Dad’s famous Manhattan club, The Underground. Then she meets mysterious Hence, an unbelievably passionate and talented musician on the brink of success. As their relationship grows, both are swept away in a fiery romance. But when their love is tested by a cruel whim of fate, will pride keep them apart?

Chelsea has always believed that her mom died of a sudden illness, until she finds a letter her dad has kept from her for years—a letter from her mom, Catherine, who didn’t die: She disappeared. Driven by unanswered questions, Chelsea sets out to look for her—starting with the return address on the letter: The Underground.

Told in two voices, twenty years apart, Catherine interweaves a timeless forbidden romance with a compelling modern mystery.
Review: 
Wuthering Heights and I have a strong relationship: one of pure dislike. While I can see it’s merits as a classic novel, it is a novel that I strongly disliked reading for both pleasure (yes, I read classics because I want to) and for school. I was rather scared about beginning Catherine because of my pre-existing feelings with the book Catherine is a re-telling of. Fortunately, Catherine wasn’t the worst book I’ve read and I actually enjoyed it.

The plot was one I was familiar with, again, because I have read Withering Heights before. I personally wasn’t sure how this book would be re-told with much younger characters but interestingly enough, Catherine herself is a young girl and a grown woman by the time we come to Chelsea, her daughter. I’ll admit: many of the bands mentioned in Catherine are real bands that I had not heard of until I did some research. A music lover, I very much appreciated how much music played a part in this re-telling. I think this aspect of the plot helped April Lindner made this re-telling a little different and much more unique.

Told though the point of views of Catherine and Chelsea, I was surprised at how different Catherine’s and Chelsea’s voices were but being a mother/daughter duo, I could also see the resemblance between their voices. I liked both Catherine and Chelsea surprisingly. Both females (since Catherine goes from being a young girl to a woman, I can’t simply refer to her as “girl”) changed and grew throughout this book. Catherine’s blind devotion and “love” for Hence, much like Wuthering Heights, was on I didn’t approve of. Catherine was a strong willed girl and I wished that she had not fallen into Hence’s “love.” As soon as Hence enters the picture, Catherine loses all of her spunk and independence. She even considers not going to Harvard University because of Hence. Chelsea only wanted to know what her mother was like since she was so young when Catherine left her. While I do wish she had not run off, I only felt sympathy for her. But there wasn’t much else to the character of Chelsea, which was a big disappointment.

Hence, Connor and Quentin were characters I wasn’t sure I would love or loathe. Surprisingly, I liked Hence much more than Heathcliff but only by a little bit. Very much like Heathcliff, Hence was more obsessed with Catherine, in my opinion, and didn’t really love her as much as he said. Had he really loved her, Hence would have been willing to allow Catherine to follow her dreams. I also felt like that whole cheating aspect, though minor (and comparable to his character) was a draw back. Hence cheated on Catherine so that she wouldn’t leave for Harvard University and that made me mad. If Hence truly loved Catherine, he would allow her to go to this amazing school! I didn’t get to know Connor enough to like his relationship with Chelsea but he wasn’t the worst character. Quentin, on the other hand, was a character I loathed and if I remember correctly, his counterpart wasn’t the best either.

Going into this book, I wasn’t familiar with April Lindner’s writing style but I found that I actually liked it a lot. While there isn’t much different (well, there is) between the way people spoke in the 1980’s and today, I felt like the minor differences helped set the mood. Some how April Linder was able to differentiate between Catherine and Chelsea’s voice and I appreciated that a lot. In that way, she allowed for both girls to have some development.

But as you can see, this book has 3 stars. If I liked this much about this book then why did it only receive 3 stars? For one, and this may be way to nit picky, but what kind of a name is Hence? I get that Heathcliff I not technically a name but Heathcliff is much more of a name than Hence. Yet the biggest issue was the lack of literal growth Catherine and Hence go through. In Wuthering Heights, Catherine and Heathcliff are raised on the rugged moors and spend much of their childhood together, Catherine and Hence only spend months together as teenagers while Hence lives in Catherine’s dad’s nightclub. In my honest opinion, I do not think that such a strong “love” can be made between two people in a matter of months.

Overall, an okay re-telling of Wuthering Heights that I felt could have been better. While I would recommend this to many people, those who have read Wuthering Heights and love it very much might not like Catherine all that much. While I disliked Wuthering Heights and I read Catherine was as much of an open mind as possible, I couldn’t help but compare the two as it is a retelling. While this was a fast paced read and not the worst re-telling I have read, I honestly cannot give it more than 3 stars.
Rating:
3/5
Cover Comments: 
First thoughts: Hm. I wonder how this matches the story? 
Comments: Simple and elegant, I like this cover a lot. While it seems to mostly represent Chelsea, I love the foggy New York City in the background! 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Follow via BlogLovin

Hey everyone!

So, as you know, Google Friend Connect is probably going away this year and we know for sure that Google Reader is going away so I decided to why not join the bandwagon and get a BlogLovin for this blog?

In all honesty, I've begun using Feedly and I LOVE it. BlogLovin' isn't for me but I know many, many of you who love it so I've made it easier for you! Of course, if you want to (or already have) subscribed via e-mail, that will not change. RSS subscription is also available!
  Follow on Bloglovin

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Review: Trinkets by Kirsten Smith

Trinkets by Kirsten Smith
Release Date: March 12th 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown 
Source: Publisher for Review via Netgalley 
Sixteen-year-old Moe's Shoplifters Anonymous meetings are usually punctuated by the snores of an old man and the whining of the world's unhappiest housewife. Until the day that Tabitha Foster and Elodie Shaw walk in. Tabitha has just about everything she wants: money, friends, popularity, a hot boyfriend who worships her...and clearly a yen for stealing. So does Elodie, who, despite her goodie-two-shoes attitude pretty much has "klepto" written across her forehead in indelible marker. But both of them are nothing compared to Moe, a bad girl with an even worse reputation.

Tabitha, Elodie, and Moe: a beauty queen, a wallflower, and a burnout-a more unlikely trio high school has rarely seen. And yet, when Tabitha challenges them to a steal-off, so begins a strange alliance linked by the thrill of stealing and the reasons that spawn it.

Hollywood screenwriter Kirsten Smith tells this story from multiple perspectives with humor and warmth as three very different girls who are supposed to be learning the steps to recovery end up learning the rules of friendship.
Review: 
Trinkets was a book I normally wouldn't read. Shoplifting? No thanks. But when I decided to give it a chance and I'm still unsure if I liked this book or not. For one, the book is told through the three different point of views: Elodie's are in verse, Moe's are in shot, diary formats, and Tabitha's are in normal paragraph form. I've always been hesitant about books told in dual (or in this case, triple) POVs because it's rare that actual character development occurs and sadly, that seemed the case with trinkets as well.

As I said, Trinkets was told through the point of views of Elodie, Moe, and Tabitha and this book itself was rather short. The plot surrounded the beginning friendship of these three girls who seem to have nothing in common. When all three meet at Shoplifters Anonymous, they become friends gradually. I think one aspect that bugged me was the continuation of theft, even after entering SA. In many cases, like excessive drinking, I couldn’t really understand how these girls could feel better after shoplifting. Sadly, the plot focused more on the girls becoming friends and their own issues and the problem of shoplifting took a seat back. Hopefully that made sense.

In all honesty, Elodie was the only character I actually liked. For one, Moe just seemed angry for no reason what so ever and her short diary entries made it hard to understand her. Tabitha, on the other hand, really does not have any reason to shoplift but does it so she won’t owe her father any money. That reasoning really didn’t make any sense to me but even after that, I didn’t hate her. Elodie, like I mentioned, was my favorite of the girls and I guess it’s because I connected to her. While I wasn’t ever on the newspaper staff, I always (feel?) felt like I was in the in-between at school. Not only that, but I remember being the new girl in school and how hard that was.

I do think I have to say something about the writing though because somehow Kirsten Smith managed to write a book in three point of views with various serious issues (death of a parent, being new, etc.) and the book was still enjoyable. Trinkets was a rather fast read and it many aspect, I did enjoy reading about the girls. While Elodie was the one I connected with (besides the death of a parent), I didn’t mind Moe or Tabitha all that much. Even though all three girls didn’t have any reason to be shoplifting, I felt like Kirsten Smith wrote them in a way that I didn’t completely dislike them.

Overall, Trinkets was a quick read that could have easily been heavy and boring but was enjoyable. While dual (or in this book’s case, triple) point of views seems to not work for me, I didn’t completely dislike it in this book. In an essence, it even worked for Trinkets, which is rare, in my opinion.
Rating:
3/5
Cover Comments: 
First thoughts: Eh. Not really interesting. 
Comments: Hmm. If there was one more girl, it might fit the book more but overall, it's an okay cover. Not one, honesty, that I would pick up from the bookstore. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Adult Review: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Release Date: December 31, 2012
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books/ Viking  
Source: Library 
Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.
Review: 
Had it not been for Swapna's amazing, I would have never 1) found this book and 2) picked it up to read. But after finding it at my library, I thought why not give it a try? Last night, I was in desperate need of a good book that wasn't part of my review TBR pile. So I picked up Me Before You thinking I would read a few chapters and go to bed. I began and finished this book in one siting.This is one of the hardest reviews I’ve found I have to write because this book is simply amazing. Heart wrenching. Wonderful. Sad. Hopeful.

Having read Swapna’s review, I knew I should expect a lot more than the synopsis told me but I did enter this book with some skepticism. Would this book be that good? In an essence, it was that good. In another essence, it was even better. While the plot seems simply at first, some parts even predictable, the rest of the plot throws you for a roller coaster ride. There were so many twists and turns and changes that made my heart soar and then broke my heart into little tiny bits. The plot took a realistic look at the effects of the recession on different families and their struggles and Lou’s family struggles felt so real. And of course, there was Will. His plot line was the one I wanted to unfold the most and my gosh, it was one of the most heart breaking. Jojo Moyes does not hold anything back in this book and the reader is given an in-depth look at how a man in a wheelchair might live. Some of the easiest tasks we take for granted would take all of the energy Will had to perform them.

The characters in this book are some of the best characters I’ve read about in a long time. Our protagonist Lou is sassy and funny and witty but she’s vulnerable too and she’s far from perfect. But she does the best that she can on a daily basis and her unfathomable love for her family and friends is so palpable. Lou was such a determined young woman that she got up every time she fell. Will, on the other hand, goes though a great (and very obvious) character development, making you love him with all your heart in the very end. In the beginning he is angry and bitter but Jojo Moyes, as I said, did a great job of showing that Will wasn’t always like he is. He can barely perform a simple task like feeding himself without his body hurting. Lou and Will’s relationship also changes and while it may seem that this book is simply a love story, it is so much more than that. Believe me when I say that this book has heart and their budding relationship is slow and builds on friendship and trust.

Yet, the dark aspect of this book surprised me the most. While books with moral questions might make some readers uneasy or weary, I sincerely hope that that does not stop you from reading this book. The moral questions presented in this book not only give this book a somber, almost melancholy mood but one of hope. It makes you question what it means to live and how to live in the best (and sometimes the worst) way possible. I think it’s because of these questions that in the very end, I wasn’t sure how I felt about the end result. Was I utterly happy or utterly devastated? Did I have a right to even want the alternative to the ending? So many of these questions have been swirling in my mind and I’ve yet to come up with an answer. Not many books make me seriously think about their subject matter but some how, Jojo Moyes did just that in Me Before You.

Overall, I want to buy a copy of Me Before You and that is a rarity for me. Me Before You has one the best most complex mix of plot and characters that I have ever come across and I wasn’t expecting to love this book as much as I did. I know some will not love it as much and that is understandable. I am still angry at Jojo Moyes for ending it the way she did but at the same time, I am so utterly relieved by the ending. Do you see my predicament? So, please read this book and see for yourself. Read it with an open mind with little to no judgments before hand and I’m hoping you’ll love it as much as I did.
Rating:
5/5
Cover Comments: 
First thoughts: WTH is this?!
Comments: This cover does this book NO justice what so ever. On the other hand, what kind of cover would fit this book?
Reviews Around Blogosphere: 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Break from Blogging for School

Hello lovely readers!

 If you haven't noticed, I haven't posted on the blog for a while and I have a reason for that: school. And not just high school, but college also! I've got to take the next few days (and maybe even weeks but I won't be gone that long!) to fill out and find scholarships and narrow down where I want to go to school.

I'll be hearing back from my 4th and final (and absolute #1) school on April 1, which, yes, is April Fool's Day, and after that, I will have to narrow down where I want to go. Money is, of course, a big deal so I'll have to make sure I'm finding all of the scholarships I can!

I will be reading throughout this time off but I will not be visiting any blogs or commenting! I need to concentrate on college information for now.

Thanks for understanding! I hope you all have a great rest of the week!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Review: Between the Lines (Between the Lines #1) by Tammara Webber

Between the Lines (Between the Lines #1) by Tammara Webber
Release Date: April 29, 2011
Publisher: Self Pubbed 
Source: Bought 
When Hollywood It Boy, Reid Alexander, arrives on location to shoot his next movie, his goals are the same as always—film another blockbuster hit and enjoy his celebrity status to the fullest while doing so. His costar is a virtual unknown with whom he had blazing hot chemistry during her auditions. The universe is lining up nicely to grant whatever he wants, as usual, until he’s confronted with unexpected obstacles on location like a bitter ex-girlfriend and a rival for the first girl to spark his genuine interest in years.

Emma Pierce just got her big break after more than a decade of filming commercials for grape juice, department stores and tampons, and more recently, bit parts in made-for-TV movies. Nailing the lead role in a wide-release film sent her agent, father and stepmother into raptures, and should have done the same for her. The Problem? Emma is experiencing a building desire to be normal, and starring in a silly, modernized adaptation of one of her favorite novels—opposite the very hot Reid Alexander—isn’t going to advance that aspiration.

Graham Douglas doesn’t fear playing the part of a nerdy dimwit; when it comes to choosing film roles, if it pays, he’ll do it. Besides, his friend Brooke Cameron snatched up the role of the bitchy hot girl and could use his help as a buffer, because her ex is the star. Graham has no problem keeping a handle on the situation, until he finds himself attracted to Reid’s costar, Emma, the girl Reid is pursuing full-throttle with his standard arsenal of charm, good looks and arrogance.
Review: 
As part of my challenge to read more new adult books before I make a decision about it, I bought Between the Lines by Tammara Webber, the same author who wrote Easy. Thankfully Between the Lines was only $3.99 and rather cheap or I would have felt really bad. Honestly, I wasn't sure what I was expecting but after disliking Easy as much as I did, I really wanted to like Tammara Webber's other books. After all, she's been picked up for publication! Sadly, Between the Lines didn't do it for me. 

For starters, the characters were not the best in the world. Honestly, I didn't care for Reid or Emma, both of whom were rather annoying. Reid was a class a jerk and I think he was simply there to allow another certain gentlemen shine in his presence. Reid was the class Hollywood bad boy: a guy who only cared about sex and money and sex. He doesn't change throughout the entire novel but rather begins as the nice guy who turns out to be a jerk. There honestly was no room to love him or his relationship with Emma. Emma was a girl I wanted to love. She was stubborn and strong and independent but I think she could have made different choices. She didn't really speak up to her father and step mom when I felt like she really should have. I guess the biggest issue was the fact that I didn't even care for her. While I didn't want her to end up with Reid, I wanted her to wake up and see the reality. A girl who likes to think that she's not like all the other girls who fall for Reid Alexander, she becomes the girl who see the train wreck well before it happens but does do anything to stop it. 

The writing wasn't the best either and there was a lot of passive voice. Nothing that happened made me excited or happy or sad. Anything the characters did wasn't a big deal, it just happened. Though the story was told through Emma'a and Reid's point of views, it didn't help anything. Once again, I felt like this was more Emma's story than Emma and Reid's so I wasn't sure why his POV was there (besides to make him look extra bad of course). The plot was predictable also excited for the one big revelation at the very end that I honesty wasn't expecting. And that itself made me question why it was put into the narrative. 

Overall, I was unimpressed with Between the Lines and I honesty wonder what people saw in this book that I didn't. I really, truly did begin reading this book with an open mind but I wasn't able to shake this annoyance I had. 
Rating:
2.5/5
Cover Comments: 
First thoughts: Um. What? 
Comments: So what does this cover have anything to do with filming a movie and all? I get that it's Emma and some guy but really, generic and boring.  

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Adult Review: How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf (Naked Werewolf #1) by Molly Harper

How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf (Naked Werewolf #1) by Molly Harper
Release Date: February 22, 2011
Publisher: Pocket Books
Source: Bought 
Northern Exposure Even in Grundy, Alaska, it’s unusual to find a naked guy with a bear trap clamped to his ankle on your porch. But when said guy turns into a wolf, recent southern transplant Mo Wenstein has no difficulty identifying the problem. Her surly neighbor Cooper Graham—who has been openly critical of Mo’s ability to adapt to life in Alaska—has trouble of his own. Werewolf trouble.

For Cooper, an Alpha in self-imposed exile from his dysfunctional pack, it’s love at first sniff when it comes to Mo. But Cooper has an even more pressing concern on his mind. Several people around Grundy have been the victims of wolf attacks, and since Cooper has no memory of what he gets up to while in werewolf form, he’s worried that he might be the violent canine in question.

If a wolf cries wolf, it makes sense to listen, yet Mo is convinced that Cooper is not the culprit. Except if he’s not responsible, then who is? And when a werewolf falls head over haunches in love with you, what are you supposed to do anyway? The rules of dating just got a whole lot more complicated. . . .
Review: 
I honestly don't remember getting this book. I was reading one of my favorite blogs, Ivy Book Bindings, one day and I came across her 4.5 star review for this book! Now Keertana does not give such a high rating to any book, especially an adult paranormal romance so I knew I just had to read this book for myself! How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf was just as much fun as the cover and Keertana's review alluded to and Molly Harper is an author I can't wait to read more from! 

I absolutely loved Mo, who at almost 30, decided to change her life by leaving her Mississippi home and move to Alaska. While she's 29 and I'm only 18, I felt for her and even understood her frustration! Sometimes I feel like leaving everything and moving far away too. But to make then worse, Mo's parents are very hippie like and unconventional and very much involved in their daughter's life (which is unwelcome of course). Like I said, I felt for Mo. She's stubborn and weird and hilarious but she's such a down to earth person. She simply wants to fit in and at her age, she wonders if it's too late to really figure out where you belong. I loved her voice and had Molly Harper told the story in any other point of view, I'm not sure I'd have enjoyed it as much!

Cooper, Cooper, Cooper. I loved Cooper from the very beginning. And because Keertana mentioned that he reminded her of Mr. Darcy, he reminded me of Mr. Darcy. He was just as aloof and weird and awkward as Mr. Darcy and than some! But I loved that even though he came off as a jerk at first, he never didn't anything that would make him a jerk. He ignored Mo and would often push her buttons and this showed me that he liked her a lot, even from the beginning. Of course, once Mo finds out about his secret, Cooper changes to become a stubborn, awkward, sexy guy that I felt was perfect for Mo. Their banter was funny and sweet and both characters grew and changed with each other. 

The mystery was pretty interesting but sadly, I guessed who the real culprit was. How, I honestly do not know but in the end, I wasn't as surprised as I could have been. I did like that the mystery did feel like a mystery and a big part of the plot. Obviously, the romance was important (after all, it is a romance novel) but the mystery wasn't pushed on the back burner. Yet another great aspect about the mystery dealt with every change it was a catalyst for: for example, Mo and Cooper's relationship was tested and their love was made stronger (in my opinion), Cooper's strained relationship with his family (especially his sister), and Cooper's role as the Alpha of the pack. 

Overall, I loved How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf and I've already got three other Molly Harper books! I think it was a great introduction to adult books for me and I can't wait to read! Just as funny, heartwarming, and sexy as expected, How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf was a great read!  
Rating:
4/5
Cover Comments: 
First thoughts: Aw, it's so cute and flirty looking! 
Comments: Honestly, I wasn't expecting to love this book as much as I did! It was funnier than I had expected and I enjoyed it a lot!

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Review: Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

Something Strange and Deadly (Something Strange and Deadly #1) by Susan Dennard
Release Date: July 24, 2012 
Publisher: Harper Teen
Source: Publisher for Review
The year is 1876, and there’s something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia…

Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about. Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she’s just read in the newspaper—

The Dead are rising in Philadelphia.

And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor…from her brother.

Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she’ll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including their maddeningly stubborn yet handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.
Review: 
I love historical fiction. I will probably read any historical fiction book that catches my eye (and most do) because there is something fascinating about history. Books about zombies, though, are ones I am less likely to pick up but coupled with historical fiction, it’s a book that demands to be read. I wasn’t sure what I was going to get with Something Strange and Deadly, Susan Dennard’s debut novel but man, I am so glad it came in the mail for me! Something Strange and Deadly was a unique look at zombies and well, I loved it.

For starters, Eleanor was a character I knew I was going to love. She’s winey and can act like she’s a big deal and while most of those characteristics would be bad, I liked it in this case. The book is set in the 1800s and it’s quiet accurate. The fact that Eleanor has such a character change makes this book ten times better. It takes a while for Eleanor to change and accept people for who they are and it was good character development. And while she might have wined, she was still a very strong girl. She had to take care of her mother and in a time where women were not given much power, it was a lot for her to handle.

One of the biggest issues I have with people not liking Eleanor’s mother and other girls in this book is the fact that it is accurate to the time that the story is set in. in today’s society, a young girl doesn’t have to get married and most moms don’t have to worry about that. But it was completely different in the 1800s. Women couldn’t do much but get married and raise a family and take care of the house. As much as we, 21st century females like our independence, it would be inaccurate to make it that different in a (zombie) historical novel.

Anyways.

The plot was fantastic and I loved how Dennard included all of the new inventions of the time that were, well, new. The experience of seeing something new and inventive makes a person excited and I felt like Dennard captured that feeling quiet well in this novel. Though an aspect was rather predictable, my favorite part has to be the fact that while this book has romance, it was not the main focus. The romance develops and deepens as the story continues and well, I loved that! The ending was perfect and open ended enough for anything else to happen but again, that aspect allowed this to be a book about Eleanor stepping out of her comfort zone and seeing the world in a whole new light.

I guess I have only a few complaints about this book. For one, I think the romance of the book was very formulated. It was the basic girl-and-boy-meet-and-they-hate-each-other-but-then-begin-to-like-each-other. While I liked the romantic interest, I wanted more from him. Second, I didn’t like that the zombies weren’t the main focus because after all, they are the ones ravaging Philadelphia! I’m sure the second book will address it and I understand that the author needed to set up the character and the world. Thirdly, the villain was way to obvious. I’ve guessed the villain in a mystery movie less than half way through, so for me, it was obvious who the bad guy was.

Overall, Something Strange and Deadly was a much more likable book than I thought. I am very much scared of scary thing like zombies and (sadly) the zombies weren’t scary in this book. Eleanor was a great protagonist and the love interest was great. I also learned a lot of Creole French, which is differently spelled than France French. Though it had its issues, Something Strange and Deadly is a book I’d recommend to lots of people!
Rating:
3.5/5
Cover Comments: 
First Thoughts: A girl in a pretty dress? Really?
Comments: It's a historical fiction novel with zombies and the cover fits! I personally love the dress and it is very much the 1800s version of Coah (or your preference of designer clothing.) 
Reviews Around Blogosphere: 

Monday, March 04, 2013

What’s True in a REAL Teen’s Life: Parents and School

**This was originally written a year ago and I've added to it!**
DISCLAIMER: This is not the reality for ALL teens. There are just MY observations and MY opinions.

Here are the realities (for ME anyways) when it comes to these clich├ęs:

 ➢ Parent(s): 

parents
Source
I’m pretty sure it’s Gone by Michael Grant that has all the kids alone with no parents, right? I’m quickly believing that this is what is happening in YA books. WHERE ARE THE PARETNS IN YA BOOKS? Or, why is one of them dead or divorced? Well, if they’re dead, then they’re dead, but why are so many of them dead? What does this accomplish, really? And for divorced parents, I have plenty of friends whose parents are divorced and BOTH parents are in their (my friends) lives. Why CAN’T they be a part of the plot? Why can’t they be good parents who have a good relationship with their kids? For instance, Lola’s dads in Lola and the Boy Next Door. They love Lola and they’re in her life and it ADDS to the story and plot. I loved seeing Nathan and Andy. My parents are a part of my life. Do I have issues with them sometimes? Of course! What person on this entire planet has never had an issue with their parents? Contrary to what it seems in YA, parents care for and love their kids. Yes, there are some crappy parents but there are great ones too.

Added

I am now 18 years old and my parents are still very, very much a part of my life. Most of my friends have parents very much involved in their life. Sometimes it's unwanted but the majority of the time, it's important. Since I'll be going to college next year, both of my parents are trying to get me ready. My mom worries that I won't be able to cook and clean and well, live, without her and my dad is trying to teach me how to handle money business (as in checking my credit card and writing checks). In another aspect, both are still surprised that their younger daughter is going off to college. My sister is six years older than I am so they've got the "my kid is going off to college" thing down pack.

But it surprised them. My mom and I have been having more arguments as of late because she can't accept that her crazy younger daughter is all grown up. In an essence, I am very much like my mom when it comes to personality. We're both perfectionists (even though she won't admit to it) and we like order. We both love to cook and we have certain ways of doing things. My point is, without them, my life would be incomplete. I have friends whose parents are not as involved as I am but that too makes them who they are. One friend has only a dad and her mom isn't in the picture, but they make it work. Another friend has parents who are both like her best friends and the parent. Wether they only have one  parent, divorced parents, or both parents under the same roof, you can't ignore them in YA books.

➢ School: 

Source
For most teens, school is important. Even though I love blogging and reading, school has to come first. I have to get good grades and do well on my SATs/ACTs and all that jazz. So why is it that school aren’t in many YA books? I get that they are mentioned, but for instance, next year is going to be a very, VERY busy year for me. I’ll be a senior and while I’ll be thinking about prom, I’ll be worrying about my grades and colleges and graduation. Though I haven’t read the Jessica Darling series by Megan McCafattrey, it gives me the impression that school is important to Jessica and that it is frequently mentioned in the books. A lot of teens worry over grades and projects and tests. It’s normal and natural and I want to see more of that.

Added: 

See? Told you I wrote this a year ago! I am now a senior and wow, school. Very important. One of the things many teens do not understand is that senior year is as important to your future as junior year is. For example, if I only take easy classes and don't continue to challenge myself, it won't look as good on my record as an honors or AP class. That is just the facts ladies and gents!

Source
Not only that but it's stressful. Last semester went by so fast but I had tests to take and loads of applications to fill out. Not only that but I had to order graduation supplies and apply for scholarships and then there's FAFSA. During this semester, we're going to be getting everything set for graduation which includes superlatives and figuring out who our valedictorian will be and so much more. Prom, by the way, is very important. At least it is to me.

The point is, school is very important to teens and needs to be represented accurately in YA books. For some, it might just be a social gathering but for others, it's actual hard work. I have worked my butt off these four years so that I have a future, what ever it may be. School can be exceptionally stressful and demanding. I've cried a lot in the past four years but I've laughed ten times more. I've learned how I take in information and how I learn best. I know know what subjects I'm going to need to work on in college and what comes easier to me.

And this is not to offend anyone and I'm not saying that people without degrees aren't smart but how many publicists, authors, agents, etc. do you know that don't have an education? For me, education is important and it's the same for others as well. I've complained about bad grades and the time consuming projects but I've also learned time management because of it.

My overall point it: YA needs to represent school accurately.

What about all of you? How do you feel about the representation of parents in YA books? What about how school is portrayed? 

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Expanding Horizons + Challenge

I recently read and fell in love with an adult book. My first ever adult book and it go a 4 out of 5 stars!

It's all because of Keertana that I read How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf, a book I realized I owned. She gave it a 4.5 out of 5 stars and for an adult romance, it was rare. I read the book within a day!

So I am officially adding adult books to the mix. While this blog will be a primarily Young Adult book blog with more Middle Grade, I might have a few adult book reviews here and there. This also brings out the issue of New Adult books.

Those books are the mix of the after high school but not yet complete adult and I think it would be unfair for me to read adult books and not new adult (which is such a ridiculous name, by the way.) I'm still not completely sold on new adult but here are the books I've gotten in the past week or so:

Have you read any of these? What did you think of them? I'm rather excited for the change to adult reviews as I am growing older and while Young Adult will always be part of me, I like change. 

Review: Opal (Lux #3) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Opal book 4 in the Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Opal (Lux #3) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Release Date: December 11, 2012 
Publisher: Entangled Teen 
Source: Borrowed from Friend 
No one is like Daemon Black.

When he set out to prove his feelings for me, he wasn’t fooling around. Doubting him isn’t something I’ll do again, and now that we’ve made it through the rough patches, well... There’s a lot of spontaneous combustion going on.

But even he can’t protect his family from the danger of trying to free those they love.

After everything, I’m no longer the same Katy. I’m different... And I’m not sure what that will mean in the end. When each step we take in discovering the truth puts us in the path of the secret organization responsible for torturing and testing hybrids, the more I realize there is no end to what I’m capable of. The death of someone close still lingers, help comes from the most unlikely source, and friends will become the deadliest of enemies, but we won’t turn back. Even if the outcome will shatter our worlds forever.

Together we’re stronger... and they know it.
Review: 
While I thought both Obsidian and Onyx were good books, Opal is a great book. Amazing even. By far the best Lux novel to date, Opal is one heck of a crazy ride with twists and turns at every corner. The character development is astounding and the plot is engaging. In all essence, Opal is everything everyone has said it is.

Starting of with the character: oh my word the development! In Onyx, one of the changes I didn’t like was the change in Katy’s character. She wasn’t the kick ass, spunky girl I had met in Obsidian but in Opal, she was kick ass and than some. Katy was exceptionally strong and vulnerable and none of her emotions seemed fake or forced. When she needed to be strong, she was strong enough to satisfy the situation but she didn’t lose that little touch of vulnerability that makes Katy Katy. Hopefully that makes sense. She’s now more than capable of keeping herself safe and she truly can kick some ass.

Daemon has to get his own paragraph because honestly, I wasn’t the biggest fan of his in Obsidian and I almost loathed him in Onyx. But in Opal, Daemon was a changed man and changed for the better. He was nicer and sweeter and much less of a jerk and his relationship with Katy flourished. One of the best moments in this entire novel for me was when Daemon protected Katy but at a distance. He finally, in my opinion, truly saw Katy as an equal and accepted that she can protect herself without him. I feel like the two of them created a far stronger bond then ever before and after that cliffhanger, I think the bond might be the only salvation for whatever happens next.

After all of the events that transpired in Obsidian and Onyx, I wasn’t sure what Armentrout would do next with the plot but I wasn’t expecting what I got. The plot was fantastic and I was very, very engaged in everything that was happening. I furiously flipped the pages (or tapped? I read it on my iPad) to find out what would happen next, my mind racing and palms sweating. I knew there was a huge cliffhanger and thankfully, no one ruined it for me! And yes, I too will say it: what a cliffhanger indeed! For the first time in a long time, I felt like the cliffhanger actually helped the book. After so much had already happened, had Armentrout continued the plot in this book, it would have been information overload!

Jennifer L. Armentrout’s writing continues to improve with every book and I must say that I am very impressed. The writing was less choppy then before and the sentences flowed without problems!

Overall, Opal is my favorite of Jennifer L. Armentrout’s books that I have read and the best yet in the Lux series. I sincerely can’t wait to see what happens in the next (and final?) Lux novel but after that cliffhanger, anything would be good! The writing improved, both Katy and Daemon were multidimensional and lovable but kick ass at the same time. The cliffhanger was killer and I am eagerly awaiting book 4 in the Lux series!
Rating:
4.5/5
Cover Comments: 
First thoughts: I like that they're keeping the whole Daemon and Katy thing. 
Comments: I kind of find their postures awkward but oh well. It's actually my favorite cover in the series!  
Reviews Around Blogosphere: 

Friday, March 01, 2013

March TBR Pile

I never do one of these but I've found that having a post on the blog with the books I need to read each month helps a lot. Since I used to rely on Stacking the Shelves posts for this and I've stopped doing those posts, I thought why not do a March TBR pile! So here are the books I want to read:


 
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