Reader's Choice Review #1: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Series: The 5th Wave #1
Publication Date: May 7, 2013
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 457 (ARC)
Source: Gifted
Recommended By: Krista
The Passage meets Ender’s Game in an epic new series from award-winning author Rick Yancey.

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

I'm disappointed, I have no other way to put this. I was really looking forward to this book and I so greatly wish I could sit here and say that it lived up to the hype. But, in reality, the hype just made my disappointment even more intense. Don't get me wrong, this is perhaps one of the most unique plot lines I have ever come across. The story as a whole is awesome. But there are several things that hinder the plot from reaching its true potential. If such things were corrected in book two, I'd be back to being blown away.

I think that the reason I tend to stray from post-apocalyptic novels is because they're often unbelievable. You know, you have to convince me that there's no hope left in the world. And props to Yancey because he did just that. At times, this book was so depressing and the odds of survival were so low that I was sick to my stomach and I had to put my book down. Despite the amazing plot, the reading experience was slow. I felt ever word on this almost 500 page book. It was a long journey from the beginning to the end, similar to ones journey of survival an apocalypse. I trudged, a lot, wondering when the end was near.

The beginning of this book was absolutely amazing. It was absolutely creeptastic and the atrocities committed in this world were weighing. I could not put it down. Cassie was a strong character. She was fierce, she was a warrior and she'd kill for her own survival. I loved her when she was alone, fighting for herself. And then she met other people. And I began to hate her because she transformed into this new person. She had all the fears and unnecessary worries and it seemed that the way she was written was altered altogether. I went from watching this girl who reminded me of a warrior princess to a girl who reminded me more of a brutish boy. There's a distinct line between a girl who can kick major ass and a girl whose so burly and brutish she reminds me of a boy. Her speech, her thought processes, everything reminded me of a young, immature boy. It almost seemed obvious that Yancey was trying to make his girl girly and in doing so he took her sarcasm and made it boyish. She literally said "playing kissy face" at one point. That's something I expect from a middle school boy, not a sixteen year old girl. You changed, Cassie for Cassieopia (of which we're reminded of repeatedly), and it ruined the story.

The other problem with this book was the point of view changing constantly. I counted five point of view changes and there was no warning for everything. Eventually, I learned the distinct voices, but I was thrown off repeatedly throughout the duration of this book and it did not make for an enjoyable experience. I'd prefer if I was given a little warning, Yancey. We have Cassie, Zombie, the Silencer, Evan, and her younger brother, Sammy. Sure, a little kid reads different than an alien or a teenage boy, but it completely threw me off and the frustration! I can't even begin to explain the frustration. I almost DNFed this book several times because I could not deal with the POV changes.

The other problem that I had is that I put everything together a lot quicker than the characters. I'm not explaining anything or ruining it for you, but I saw everything with Zombie's true identity and Evan's background from a mile away. I wanted to tell the characters to kick rocks because of their sheer surprise. If you survived four waves of an alien invasion, you'd think they were sharp. But nope, they're the dullest tools left in the damn shed.

The romance was perhaps one of the worst done as well. It was forced and random and bordered slightly on obsession. The awesome Cassie from the beginning disappeared the second the romance emerged where she was curious about love seemingly after the first (and unwanted on her part) kiss. She's comparing her feelings of Evan to this guy, Ben Parish, who she was obsessed with pre-invasion but he didn't know she existed because he was an Adonis and she was the girl in the background. She says she can't love Zombie because love is what she feels for Ben. Are you nuts?! The concept and understanding of obsession is non-existent in this novel even though there is no romance and only obsession. It frustrated me, a lot. The romance just seemed out of place as a whole.

The introduction of the side characters in Zombie's group eased my frustration because they really were characterized well. And the ending, wow! It was amazing. The action, the surprises, the revelations. I loved it. It made up for the fact that I couldn't deal with other aspects of the book and it brought me back to that amazing plot line that's unfortunately hindered by a bad romance, obvious plot twists, and frustrating perspective changes littered throughout the book.

All in all, a solid read if you're in the mood for it. It's deserving of the hype of Yancey corrects the issues stated above. The plot was so amazing that everything that hindered it was glaringly obvious and frustrating.

While I understand why so many enjoyed this, I understand why so many people couldn't get through it. I got through it out of sheer determination in my desire not to DNF, though such a desire reared its head several times throughout this novel. I can't tell you whether to pick this one up because it's not as if it's life changing. It's not as if I'm blown away or deeply disappointed. I'm just marginally satisfied. I can't shove it in people's face, but I can't rip it out of your hands. You have to decide for yourself on this one.

With that in mind, I think this is perfect for adult readers because of the description and beautiful writing style. It's also rather violent and I don't think younger readers would be able to handle some of the deaths in this one. 

3 stars



Is there anything that you would like me to read?

Stacking The Shelves #38

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

So, as some of you may know, I am on vacation in California with the lovely Gillian from Writer of Wrongs. A lot of my books this week consist of gifts from her, books I'm borrowing, and books from a signing we went to. I also got to meet the amazing Montana from the Book Belles at this signing!

signed Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima
signed Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay
signed Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross
signed Don't Expect Magic by Kathy McCullough

Borrowed from Gillian
Crown of Embers by Rae Carson
Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce
The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani
The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner

Gifted from Gillian (THANK YOU! <3)
signed Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney
The Wizard Heir by Cinda Williams Chima

Gifted from Montana (THANK YOU! <3)
Thornhill by Kathleen Peacock
The 100 Kass Morgan

Already Owned but got Signed
Starters by Lissa Price

Link me to your STS posts below!

Review: False Sight by Dan Krokos

Series: False Sight #2
Publication Date: August 13, 2013
Publisher: Hyperion
Reading Level: Young Adult, 12+
Pages: 328 (ARC)
Source: From Publisher for Review
All Miranda wants is a normal life. She's determined to move past the horrible truth of her origin as a clone so she can enjoy time with her boyfriend, Peter, and the rest of her friends at school. But Miranda quickly learns that there's no such thing as normal - not for a girl who was raised to be a weapon. When one of her teammates turns rogue, it begins a war that puts the world in jeopardy. Now Miranda must follow her instincts - not her heart - in order to save everything she's fought so hard to keep. with the image of a terrible future seared into her mind, what will she have to sacrifice to protect the people she loves?

Dan Krokos's sequel to the tour de force False Memory is a mind-blowing thriller with high-octane action that will leave readers begging for the final book in this bold and powerful trilogy.
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

Wowsa. This is one of the books that's nearly impossible to review because it went places you never would have imagined. After reading book one I knew that Krokos had the ability to take us on a rollercoaster ride of a lifetime. But wow. This is no normal coaster, people, this is Kingda Ka.

Krokos made our hearts beat fast from the very first page. There was no rest with this one. He threw perhaps the biggest bomb I ever would have expected to be thrown our way less than 35 pages into the book and he never let up. A book like this simply has to be read in a single sitting. The amazing writing style and the buffet of plot twists simply demands it.

The Roses are trying to start a new life as suburban teenagers. They want to fit in instead of cause complete chaos and destruction. Unfortunately, we all know that can't happen and the past comes to haunt them while they begin a journey one never saw coming. Normal simply is not a possibility for the crew, so naturally the plot would explode with action, fighting, scheming, and battles galore.

I think that what I loved most about this book was the usage of hallucinations being an actual thing. Miranda saw things, she felt them, she connected with them. What she saw I will not reveal, but it was a beyond unique way to lead the way to certain aspects of this story while maintaining the group and keeping us on our toes. I thought that it was very well done and unexpected. Combine this execution with an explosive adventure and you have this book in a nutshell. A wonderful little nutshell that will never be forgotten.

Miranda's character growth in this one was also spectacular because she learns more about her past, the truth, and what the future holds. She demonstrates new strength emotionally, physically, and psychologically. She grew immensely and it was amazing to watch her grow, watch her battle for feelings and risk her life in the battle between good and evil, right and wrong. Gah, just the love I have for this girl, people! It's hard to put into words. She's so sturdy and strong, stubborn and determined--the way a young adult heroine should me. And, of course, the other Roses were amazing as always with their plethora of attitudes.

And the ending! Don't even get me started. It's left me pining for book three, which is absolutely terrible because Mr. Krokos himself informed me that ARCs will not be printed. Why, Disney?! Why must you kill my soul this way?! Yes, people, the ending was that amazing. It was the perfect climax to a chaotic sequence of events that led you gasping for breath. It devastates you, it gives you hope, and it makes you realize that book three will be absolutely amazing in every possible way.

This book is essential to living if you are a sci-fi fan. That's all there is to it. Krokos has done it again and he officially has me addicted with his fast plots, beautiful writing, and strong emotional connections to his even stronger characters. This is a book that simply demands to be read in a single setting, and who are we but to comply?

4 stars


FTC Disclaimer: I did not receive any compensation whatsoever in return for my honest review.  

Review: Hopeless by Colleen Hoover

Series: Hopeless #1
Publication Date: December 19, 2012
Reading Level: New Adult, 18+
Pages: 327 (eBook)
Source: Borrowed from a Friend
Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies…

That’s what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried.

Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he’s nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn’t at all who he’s been claiming to be. When the secrets he’s been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky’s life will change forever.
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

I was really looking forward to this book because everyone seems to love it, but it just wasn't for me.

The beginning of this book hit a lot of my pet peeves. In the first 20 pages there was slut-shaming, hypocrisy, stupid and unreal high school drama, stereotyping of gays, and stereotyping of blondes. Let me explain, albeit, I'll be quick about it.

Literally the first chapter of the book is Sky explaining how she's got a reputation around town for being a slut, despite being home-schooled all her life. She goes on to explain she's not actually a slut because she's a virgin. So, if she were to suddenly lose her virginity, she'd be a slut? Really? This annoyed me a lot. It didn't help that her and her best friend, Six, tossed around the word "slut" as a form of endearment. 
This line in the first chapter really annoyed me:
"Reading has introduced me to the (perhaps dramatized) horrors of high school and first days and cliques and mean girls."
See, since Sky was home-schooled every day but her senior year and her Mom, Karen, had a vendetta against anything technology related, all Sky could do was read. And reading, she admits, dramatizes the horrors of high school. A lot. And you want to know what Colleen Hoover does? All she does is dramatize high school in an unbelievable fashion. Which you can find next...

Unrealistic and Unbelievable High School Stupidity.
Upon her immediate arrival, the entire school knows that Sky's a slut/whore and reminds her every second they can in the hallway or my sticking notes on her locker. And they do this by shoving over thirty single dollar bills into her locker with a note apologizing that they didn't have a pole for her. Really? Really? This is so unbelievable dramatized, I can't even.

Stereotyping of Gays and Blondes.
The blond thing really annoyed me, especially in relation to blondes. Just look at this:
"Aren't you in my Science class?"Shayna/Shayla asks.
"English," I correct her.
She shoots me a condescending look. "I did speak English," she says defensively. "I said, 'aren't you in my Science class?'"
Nobody is that stupid. Stupid blonde jokes aren't even that stupid. I get the whole stereotype, but that is

The gay thing is a personal pet peeve because I have many gay friends that you wouldn't know were gay unless they told you. Yes, some people have rather flamboyant taste in clothing, but they can be straight or gay. I have many straight friends that have an out-of-this-world fashion sense. So to pick out the gay guy immediately because of how he dresses really grinds my gears.

Now that we're past the first 20 pages, allow me to continue. The overall story was interesting, and the ending was totally unexpected. At times, Sky really made me feel and she was a rather redeeming aspect to this story. However, I liked the brave outspoken Sky from the beginning of the book more than the Sky I met in the middle of the book. She returned slightly near the end, and I liked that. She's the only one to truly bring out emotions in me.

But I struggled with Holder. While I understand how so many people love him, I couldn't connect with him. He flew off the handle so easily in the beginning of the book and I just couldn't deal with it. I just knew it was going to happen again and again and it got old, especially because Sky eventually just kept forgiving him. Even if he ignored her for a month and wouldn't apologize. I didn't like this characterization.

I also hated the way that Sky and Holder interacted. They're 17 and 18 years old, they don't talk like psychologists. Seriously, they analyzed each other and even did self-reflection exercises and my mind is blown at the weirdness. There's one scene where they're doing some rather intimate things and he analyzes her connection to him. I don't get it! I do not. I do not. I do not. If you want to be a psychologist, send them to one instead of having them psycho-analyze themselves like they know what they're doing.

And perhaps the biggest issue I had with this story was how dark it suddenly turned. I didn't realize for it to go where it went or for it to get so serious. It almost seemed like it happened out of nowhere. I mean, there is a graphic suicide and disturbing realizations from the past coming to light. I wish the transition was more fluid. And, to make matters worse, I hated how it all came about. Sky's seventeen years old and she's suddenly just remembering everything out of nowhere. Bam, the memories just start coming back to her suddenly. It all seemed really weird to me.

With all that in mind, Hoover does have an amazing writing style and she does know how to tell a powerful story. I understand why it's widely loved. I just can't bring myself to love it because I found too many issues within the story that I cannot get over.
Warning: this book contains suicide, rape, sex, other sexual situations, periods of drunkenness, and cursing. It is incredibly graphic.

3 stars


ARCycling One Year Blogoversary Giveaway!!!!

So, if you've followed me for a while you will know that every Sunday I work with my best friend, Jennifer, and we run ARCycling. ARCycling is a way to pass on finished copies and ARCs to other bloggers so that they can be reviewed and generate more publicity. If you're interested in joining, please check out all the rules. It's very hard for us to answer questions day of because we're in a scramble to get everything set up for you guys to (hopefully) get your books. You should also head over to the blog to check out an amazing GIF post Jennifer put together in which she insults me by calling me a giant green rage monster, but I love every minute of it.

Well, this amazing program officially turns one today and we want to celebrate! Jennifer is offering up a BN gift card worth $25 to one winner and I am offering up an ARC of ROSE UNDER FIRE to another.  We're also throwing together a mystery box of books for a third winner. Three winners, three different prizes! This is your chance to enter below!

  1. Must be 13 years or older
  2. One entry per household
  3. US only; there are no BN's in Canada and I can't pay for shipping, sorry
  4. Must fill out every question asking for an answer or you will be disqualified
  5. Cheaters will be disqualified from any and all giveaways and we have the right to skip any winners we deem as cheaters
  6. Winners will have 48 hours to respond or we will be forced to pick new winners
  7. Good luck!

Top Ten Words/Topics That Would Make me NOT Pick up a Book

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

1. Horror- I really hate this genre. It makes me not sleep, so I try to avoid it.

2. Zombie- I clearly can't stand horror and well, zombies are as horrible as you can get. I really love Susan Dennard's books because despite the fact that they have zombies, it's not in your face disgusting, let me eat your brains!

3. Love-triangle- These are only great if done well. And most of the time they're not done well.

4. Insta-love- No, just no. Get out of my life.

5. A Bunch of Random Adjectives In the Description- If a books description has a bunch of random adjectives in it describing its supposed amazingness, odds are it is overcompensating for a huge lack of adoration towards it.

6. Gore/Bloody- I like to sleep and not have nightmares about murders, thank you.

7. Non-Fiction- Sends me running for the hills all day every day.

8. Poetry- I do not understand you, therefor I do not like you.
9. Incest- I get some people like this, but I don't. I avoid these books at all costs. THE POSTCARD KILLERS by James Patterson was a huge DNF for me because of the random incest that was never mentioned in the synopses or I would not have wasted my money on it.

10. Twilight- If a book is like this book, I won't like it. If it is a fan-fiction of this book, I DON'T WANT TO KNOW.

11. Religion- Please don't shove my beliefs down your throat. Thanks.

Review: Suddenly Royal by Nichole Chase

Series: Suddenly #1
Publication Date: April 17, 2013
Reading Level: New Adult
Pages: 465 (eBook)
Source: Bought
Samantha Rousseau is used to getting her hands dirty. Working toward a master’s degree in wildlife biology while helping take care of her sick father, she has no time for celebrity gossip, designer clothes, or lazy vacations. So when a duchess from the small country of Lilaria invites her to dinner, Samantha assumes it’s to discuss a donation for the program. The truth will change the course of her life in ways she never dreamed.

Alex D’Lynsal is trying to keep his name clean. As crown prince of Lilaria, he’s had his share of scandalous headlines, but the latest pictures have sent him packing to America and forced him to swear off women—especially women in the public eye. That is, until he meets Samantha Rousseau. She’s stubborn, feisty, and incredibly sexy. Not to mention heiress to an estate in his country, which makes her everyone’s front-page news.

While Sam tries to navigate the new world of politics and wealth, she will also have to dodge her growing feelings for Alex. Giving in to them means more than just falling in love; it would mean accepting the weight of an entire country on her shoulders.

~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

Both Christina and I went at this one with positivity in mind. We decided to do a new adult read-a-long centering around this new adult re-telling of the Princess Diaries because we've struggled with a lot of new adult lately. We took to twitter with high hopes and hilariousness ensued because of our sheer hatred for this novel. I've been sitting on this review for a while simply because I disliked it so much. Disappointing does not begin to cover it and its lack of redeeming qualities. Really, this is just a list of everything that made me hate this book. There will be spoilers and intense sarcasm because I can't bring myself to write a thoughtful review after stewing over my supreme

The insta-love was infuriating. It was pretty much love at first sight. I was hoping it would be lust at first sight. But no, it was love. Cheesy, sucky, annoying love that progressed at a terrible rate. And let me tell you, one of these people was a Prince. Alex, you did not need to try so hard. Yet you did. All the time. Really, you are the most game-less player I have ever seen. You need to stop because you just had me rolling my eyes all the damn time. You're like a Monopoly board with no dice and all the cash. People play with you only because they have the potential to be rich, but all you do is waste their damn time. Nichole Chase, you sure you didn't you team up with Lady Gaga? This is nothing but a bad romance. A bland, bad romance with cringe-worthy flirting.

But, I must admit...I experienced a moment of true love upon meeting the wonderful, I SAID GOOD DAY, SIR! mug! <3

The love interest should not be Prince Yummy, he should be Prince Stereotypical. Why, hello there walking, Prince Charming! It's not as if I've never met you before. You're blonde, you're hot, you secretly have a heart, you're apparently amazing in bed. Oh? You've had your ass plastered all over the Internet by an evil ex who used you for sex and money and got pissed when you wouldn't marry her? If it hurts you so much, you're a freaking Prince! You can pay everyone off to take that shit down. Prince Yummy, you ain't yummy unless you have a brain. And character. You have neither. Buh-bye!

The pacing was non-existent. There was none. I don't know how long this book lasted, but almost every chapter began with "another week passed" or some variation of the aforementioned terminology. Oh, and it doesn't take six hours to play a game and a half of Monopoly. I've flown to Ireland, just stop. If you want to play games for chapters and keep our interest, play strip poker. Even then, I don't think this book could be interesting.

There must be no world since there's no world building. Seriously, none. I have absolutely no clue about anything relating to Lilaria. It's in Europe, you have to stop in Ireland to get there. They were invaded by the Nazi's once, and they have a strong alliance with the French. A lot of characters seem to have Italian names. They speak Lilarian that's never mentioned since everyone can conveniently speak English in this country. My guess is that if this country were real, it would be located where Switzerland is located. But I wouldn't know since I was never told because there is no world building. This country must actually be located in space.

Our main character has no character. Really, this felt like one long never ending sequence of her being annoying and ungrateful. I'm sorry you don't want to be surrounded by security detail, but you are suddenly royal, therefore you need protection. Therefore you have to stop complaining and grow up. And become interesting. And you are not any of these. Why? Well, that's easy...BECAUSE YOU SUCK, SAM. I just can't connect with you, nor did I really want to. Your thought processes reminded me of a petulant teenager who was jealous with anything that has legs. Seriously, your ignorant and stupid ideas of what constitutes as flirting has me convinced that Alex will go and bang a wax figurine since he must flirt with everything. And it seems that everyone in the book has cosmetics surgery since the repeated proclamation of too much cleavage showing from large-breasted girls took place in a million chapters. Way to have trust in your man, girl. On top of that, your new nickname is Captain Obvious. The entire book there is a picture talked about but avoided when you come into the room. Clearly it is of you. 

Sam can be summed up with the following explanations: No originality, too much repetition around thoughts, annoying jealousy of everything with legs, so oblivious she wouldn't realize a good book if it hit her in the face and was titled, "Best Book Ever!"

The birds were never used! This book had this awesome little note about how Samantha makes a living out of working with birds. And of course Prince Yummy's country is obsessed with birds. And, obviously, that has to serve to get the two together. And then they're never mentioned again. They were a really interesting plot aspect that could have been great and instead were forgotten in favor of a bad romance. 

The writing was weak. There wasn't much detail and the author doesn't seem to be aware of the term "show don't tell." I often felt as if I was being told everything instead of shown everything because of the lack of detail. We were literally just flat out told people's names and how they act instead of discovering it for ourselves. The editing wasn't the best. I mean, apparently the character has the "hot is" for someone instead of the "hots." This book read like a young adult novel instead of a new adult novel and there was no originality to it. I stood here the entire time drawing direct comparisons to the Princess Diaries. Where was the originality? Not here. The author relied too much on annoying and easy-way-out explanations instead of adding plot lines. Alex apparently has two siblings, but we only meet one because she's somehow essential to the plot and the other one that isn't essential to the plot is absent due to "middle child syndrome" and then never thought of again. I really don't like explanations like this, they show no thought and focus on cliche that takes away from the overall plot.

The wording was off. This goes along with the above point. Chase often tried to avoid certain words by replacing them with awkward ones that stopped sentence flow because they were so awkward. An ass isn't really an ass, it's actually a rump or rear. And the repetitiveness was frustrating and interrupted the flow as well. Sam, you were panting while he was taking off your pants?! And then you panted some more?! Not like you were say, breathing heavy, out of breath, taking in lungfuls of air, gasping for air, or anything. 

On a positive note, I now love the following three words: froufrou, frumpy, and scrumptious.

The only thing that makes this book new adult was sex, and if the sex wasn't even good then our relationship is clearly over. That pretty much explains this book. I struggled through insane and unnecessary thoughts and chapters and I get to the sex, which is the only plot point that makes this new adult and O made an appearance rather quickly. Alongside jokes while they're doing it about how they're equivalent to God, which is stupid as shit. And then there's more sex in different positions. O makes more quick appearances. Our main character suddenly realizes that it is possible to have sex without facing your partner (not like you're in graduate school or anything, dumb ass), and the world is suddenly a happy place because they rocked each others world. Did I mention that apparently the sex was an amazing workout. I mean, damn, I think I lost a solid five pounds after laughing so hard from that one. Now that was an amazing work out.

The ending was the cliche of all cliches. What, you knew each other for six months and now you're getting married? Girl, go take them naked pictures fast so you can get some mad cash like his ex! This is not the way that a relationship is supposed to be.

I'm done, I can't even rant anymore. The fact that I somehow managed not to throw out an f-bomb every other word was a miracle in itself because this book really made me give up on new adult currently. 

Other people seemed to really enjoy it. But this clearly was not for me because, well, in my opinion, it sucked. Do I think that Chase has a decent sense of humor if she's not trying to involve sex? Sure! But I think she needs to come up with a completely original plot instead of re-working a well loved one if she wants to reach a level of true success. I think that those who truly loved the Princess Diaries the way I did will leave this book feeling nothing but extreme disappointment. And if you hated the Princess Diaries, than you'll probably hate this one more.  

 1 star


Stacking the Shelves #37

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

As I explain in the beginning of the video below, New Jersey is experiencing a heat wave and it's making everyone go slightly insane. So, sorry for the weird voices, exaggerated movements, and the awkward dancing at the end of the video.

You gotta admit though, the light that looks like it's coming out of my head in the awkward movie still below makes me look like an angel. ;)

For Review
Anatomy of a Boyfriend by Daria Snadowsky
Anatomy of a Single Girl by Daria Snadowsky

Grasping at Eternity by Karen Amanda Hooper
Time After Time by Tamara Ireland Stone


Pivot Point by Kasie West (it was on sale)
Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep (it was on sale)
Slide by Jill Hathaway (free) 
The Enchanter Heir by Cinda Williams Chima
The Time Fetch by Amy Herrick

The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson (Thank you, Montana!)

The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller (Thank you, Gillian!)

Sylo by D.J. MacHale (Thank you, Aeicha and Razorbill!)
a SIGNED Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland (Thank you, Grace!)

Review: Earthbound by Aprilynne Pike

Series: Earthbound #1
Publication Date: July 30, 2013
Publisher: Razorbill
Reading Level: Young Adult, 12+
Pages: 352 (ARC)
Source: ARCycling
Love, fate, and power collide in this new series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Aprilynne Pike!

Tavia Michaels is the sole survivor of the plane crash that killed her parents. When she starts to see strange visions of a boy she’s never spoken with in real life, she begins to suspect that there’s much about her past that she isn’t being told. Tavia will soon discover that she’s an Earthbound—someone with the ability to create matter out of nothing—and that she alone holds the key to stopping the Reduciata, an evil society that manipulates global events for its own shadowy purposes. Tavia will ultimately have to make a choice: to come into her powers and save the world from the evil Reduciata or to choose free will and a love of her own.
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

Tavia is the only survivor of a plane crash that killed all other occupants, including her parents. She's gone through many surgeries and different kinds of therapy, and after spending months in a small town flying under the radar with her Aunt Reese and Uncle Jay her life is finally beginning to have some semblance of normality. It does help that she has a crush on the cute librarian aid, Benson, that is easily reciprocated. But then weird things start happening. She sees people flickering, weird objects begin to appear and then disappear, and the most beautiful boy she has ever seen suddenly finds her repeatedly, but nobody else but her can see him. Long blonde hair pulled into a ponytail and clothing from the 1800's, how could she not be fascinated and immediately smitten with this unknown entity? But Tavia would have never guessed that this being would turn her world upside down.

I commend Pike for tackling such an insane plot and for executing it rather amazingly. While there are certain issues, like Tavia's impulsiveness and the weird love triangle, I can't complain much. My one issue is that there is a lot going on and because there is so much unforeseen action everything is coming at the reader at once. I had to re-read a few times because the transition from life on the run to a huge potentially life-altering event was near instantaneous. I think that there could have been more fluidity to the introduction of such action sequences or memories because they were slightly confusing.

And the love first my red flag went up, but I came to love it. It was rather genius, really. One boy who echoes her past despite the fact that Tavia's never met him and one who represents nothing but her present and her potential future in stepping forward and moving beyond the accident that ruined her life. Both on different sides of the spectrum, both completely interesting in their own way. Well done, Aprilynne Pike.

And I have to say that I loved Tavia. She was stubborn and steadfast in her beliefs and she would not allow the past to rule her present or future, but she couldn't help but allow such trauma to weigh her down. She was strong and believable, though slightly impulsive. She failed to see the big picture at times and while she had trust issues, she was too quick to trust certain people and gloss over obvious flags. There was one character that had knowledge of many things he should not have. I called his association with certain things about half way through the book and Tavia didn't even suspect it until the big reveal. She was slightly oblivious and all too willing to ignore the signs, especially as someone who spent the recent parts of her life being suspicious of nearly everyone. It seemed out of character for her to be so blind.

Let's not forget Quinn Avery, the mysterious boy with the beautiful blonde hair that I much prefer when it's not in a ponytail. Really, who likes a guy that can wear a ponytail? It's weird. I really enjoyed him. There's not much I want to reveal about him because it could potentially give away hints of the plot, but wow, is his relation to Tavia deliciously complicated and complex. I could not get enough of his involvement and role in the story!

And, of course, there's Benson. Tavia's present day Romeo that'll listen to everything she has to say while risking his life to protect her. Her emotional baggage does  not effect him and he's cute in the nerdiest of ways. He's the boy in the bubble on the left of the cover while Quinn is the one on the right. Equal parts interesting and alluring, but both on completely opposite sides of the spectrum. Either way, we need more guys in the world that love so openly and passionately. With that in mind, you often have to remind yourself that Benson and Tavia's feelings for each other were building months in advance before the beginning of the book so you realize that this truly isn't a case of insta-love.

The action and suspense in this one is incredibly intriguing. While the beginning was slightly slow, it was impossible for me to read fast enough once I got over the initial hump. The plot kept going and it never slowed down, because the amazing supernatural lore wouldn't allow it to. And the ending! Not only did I not see the big twist coming, but my heart may have skipped a beat or two. With a great flow and awesome characterization, I am anxiously awaiting book two. It almost seems like this book has come full circle with that abrupt, yet totally enticing, cliff-hanger. 

If you have loved any of Pike's previous books, you definitely need to give this one a chance. Perhaps her most daring book of all, it's one that can't be ignored!

Tell me, Aprilynne, will you be willing to take a life supply of cookies in exchange for book two? ;)

4 stars


Discussion: Gay Characters in Young Adult Fiction

Before I Begin...
In my eyes, everyone's entitled to their own opinion. If everyone agreed with each other, the world would be a boring place. But I think that everyone needs to present themselves in a respectful manner. I will never approach others, especially ones that disagree with me on a highly debated topic, and shove my thoughts down their throat. And if I were to voice any of my opinions, I would do it in a respectful way and then leave. I don't cause drama. And I'm asking everyone else to act the same way in regards to this post. Agree or disagree, this is going to be a place where we respect each other. Clearly, this post is going to be in favor of gay rights but it will attack the negative and annoying portrayals of homosexuals in young adult literature. If this will at all bother you, I prefer you turn away now.

Now, for the post...

Review: Losing It by Cora Carmack

Series: Losing It #1
Publication Date: October 15, 2012
Reading Level: New Adult, 16+
Pages: 204 (eBook)
Source: Bought

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

Before I begin I have to say that this is the most atrocious cover ever. I understand that a lot of people find it to be attractive. But look at the guy. He does not scream attractive to me. He looks young, and skinny, and just, young. He is no Garrick. Have you read this book?! If you haven't, you will because I'll hunt you down and make you, but that boy does not do Garrick justice. Garrick is a man and damn, does this cover annoy me in that sense. Attractive level: negative four.

Now that I got that out of my system...

I loved this book for a plethora of reasons. It was not only entertaining, but it was incredibly realistic and Bliss was a character that was easy to relate to. It made the book have a high level of relatability my never favorite word that's not really a word and it made it a very quick read that I could not get enough of. In fact, I only wanted more. I cannot wait to read FAKING IT, companion to this one, because Carmack's writing is truly genuine.

I think that perhaps what resonated with me most in this book was the focus of Bliss being a 22 year old virgin and not being ashamed of it. See, I had this brief period where I thought I would have to give up on the new adult genre because so many characters seem to be ashamed of having their v-card still safely tucked in their back pocket and that pissed me off. There is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of if you choose to wait, societal pressures suck and you shouldn't let them rule your life. So it was nice to find a girl who really had no issue with being the way she was, and only felt ashamed when others, like her sex-crazy best friend, Kelsey, made her feel as if she was unworthy or something because her v-card is still in her possession. And not only that, she's a virgin who wants to have sex, but doesn't at the same time. The constant contradiction comes from her wanting to feel what it's like to truly be loved, but she's got an over-analytical brain that stops her from doing anything with someone that she doesn't feel is right by making her compare herself to everyone she knows. Bliss doesn't think she's worthy because of her lack of knowledge that everyone her age seems to have. Face it, doesn't everyone have that moment where they're like, "what if I suck?!" when the prospect of losing their virginity becomes a reality? I told you, this book is easy to relate to and her over-analytical brain was like a storyline taken directly from my own life. Carmack nailed this aspect of the plot.

But her humor shined through as well. From Bliss's intellectual wit and awkward Shakespeare sex references to the usual college party whose battle cry is a loud and proud, "VODKAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!" I was constantly tittering into the late hours of the night, doing my best not to wake my sister up and have her ruin this glorious book for me at 3 in the morning. Plus, I have to admit, the evil gray female cat named Hamlet often had me rolling with laughter. You go girl, suck up to the sexy guy and fight your competition owner who wants him. You got your priorities straight, little kitty!

Cade was a very interesting male best friend and the side characters were superb. I could remember their names easily and their personalities even better because they not only stood apart, but they all added to the story in some entertaining way, shape, or form. But Cade's on an entirely different level because while he is no Garrick, he's a very good runner up. The brief love triangle in this book was done amazingly well because it showed heartbreak and I'm damn happy that Bliss had the balls to stop leading love interest numero dos on and tell him that they just weren't meant to be. It's the way a love triangle should be written. Instead of taking away from the plot, it added to it.

And perhaps the best part of all was Garrick. Not only could I imagine his British accent being totally hot in my head, but he was a respectable character that is easy to fall in love with because he has a trait that most men seem to lack: the ability to be understanding. Take a hot British guy who doesn't sound sleazy when he refers to people he likes as "love" and add compassion for theater, a heart of gold, and the genuine desire to do good and you have one untouchable character. But of course, he's got to have a bit of a bad streak in him if he's going to take on a student. From the sick stories to the frustrating lack of visibly showing their affection, he never gave up. He wanted what he wanted and he went for it in a respectable manner that had no piggish actions to it. I loved that. This, ladies, is the way a real man should be.

And, as mentioned above, Carmack managed to nail the teacher-student relationship. I was totally worried about this book because there was actually this huge scandal three towns over from me recently because of a teacher-student relationship in high school. And while this is college and we're talking about a girl whose 22 and a guy who just got out of grad school so he's probably 24/25, there's still an authoritarian and their pupil and it crosses societal boundaries that shouldn't be crossed. I think that the paranoia and the occasionally awkward moments depicted this relationship well, and somehow Carmack even got me rooting for these two when I was determined not to simply because I don't approve of such a relationship. But outside of the classroom people are different only in this case because these two deserve to be together. No other teachers should ever date students, ya hear?

However, I did have two small qualms with this one. I have to say that the insta-love police in me was on high alert because this did happen rather fast. One semester in college is not that long and these two got together fully with a month to spare. Rather fast, even if your love is as strong as theirs. And the epilogue just took this to an entirely different level that bugged me slightly. I'm not a huge fan of those epilogues that read "six months later" in huge, blocky letters because the odds are only a select few things are going to happen. And while I can say I am a fan of Simone Elkeles's mastery of such an art because she wrote a story that could work well with the cheesy cuteness, I don't think that Garrick and Bliss's story was meant to be cheesy. It was meant to be real, full of passion and soul and love, and the road shouldn't be entirely easy. That was the way it was in the beginning, so why did Carmack have to go and change all that up in the end? I get the cuteness and the romance lover in me was squeeing, but the analytical review in me and the part of me that is focused solely on logic was sitting there scratching their head, trying to work out this change of pace. It was out of place, though it was rather interesting to get in Garrick's head for a small portion of time. 

I have to give props to a girl who can make a book simultaneously awkward and sexy. You go, Cora, you go. There is nothing left to say about this one besides the fact that any true new adult junkie should pick it up. It got me out of my stupor, and it will do wonders for anyone who gives it a go. And everyone should. Seriously.

4 stars


Top Ten Authors Who Deserve More Recognition

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.

In no particular order...

1. Brigid Kemmerer- Her Elementals series has completely blown me away. But she's so small that my library doesn't carry her books. Her publisher is Kensington! Why is she not sold in the book stores near me?!

2. Sarah Fine- One of my favorite authors ever and a good friend. When I mention the name of her book, people often don't know what I'm talking about. So I make them pick it up and then they love me. She deserves to be known.

3. Gina Damico- Possibly one of the most hilarious authors I've ever come across. Why is her CROAK series not on a best-sellers list?

4. Susan Ee- She is the master of delicious and dark mixed in a post-apocalyptic angel world. And she loves what she does. She pushed back the pub date of the sequel to her debut, ANGELFALL, because she wasn't happy with it and didn't want to give us, her readers, something she was disappointed in.

5. Tammara Webber- I know EASY has blown up, but I still don't think she has the recognition she deserves. Again, my library can't carry her books yet because our system won't acknowledge them and it's been months!

6. Page Morgan- Her historical fiction debut with gargoyles completely blew me away. She needs to be better known!

7. Fiona Paul- She deserves to be a best seller. Why are her books not sold everywhere?! VENOM is my favorite murder mystery historical fiction with a delicious romance ever.

8. Cora Carmack- Just...everyone who reads new adult needs to read her books. And libraries need to carry them!

9. Jennifer A. Nielsen- I wish more middle grade age kids actually read her work, because it can get even the most stubborn readers addicted.

10. Bethany Frenette- DARK STAR was among my favorite superhero books ever. Love, love, love. <3

Review: Frigid by J. Lynn

Series: Frigid #1
Publication Date: July 30, 2013
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary
Reading Level: New Adult, 18+
Pages: 260 (ARC)
Source: BEA 2013
For twenty-one-year-old Sydney, being in love with Kyler isn't anything new. They'd been best friends ever since he pushed her down on the playground and she made him eat a mud pie. Somewhere over the years, she fell for him and fell hard. The big problem with that? Kyler puts the 'man' in man-whore. He's never stayed with a girl longer than a few nights, and with it being their last year in college, Syd doesn't want to risk their friendship by declaring her love.

Kyler has always put Syd on a pedestal that was too high for him to reach. To him, she's perfect and she's everything. But the feelings he has for her, he's always hidden away or focused on any other female. After all, Kyler will always be the poor boy from the wrong side of tracks, and Syd will always be the one girl he can never have.

But when they're stranded together at a posh ski resort due to a massive Nor'easter, there's nothing stopping their red-hot feelings for each other from coming to the surface. Can their friendship survive the attraction? Better yet, can they survive at all? Because as the snow falls, someone is stalking them, and this ski trip may be a life-changer in more ways than one.
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

This is going to be a rather quick review for me because this book left me speechless.

I was really excited for this book because of my immense love of both the new adult genre and the amazing Jenifer L. Armentrout. But I was slightly worried going into this one. One of the last books I read from JLA didn't wow me to the same degree that she normally does, so I was worried that my love affair would be over. And, in all honesty, I think Kyler is a really stupid guys name and my younger sister is named Sydney, so I was beyond worried I couldn't get over the awkwardness and distaste of the main character's names. But, hey, I was able to do just that and instead entered a story that I absolutely adored in every way possible.

I was worried that this would be a cliche "two best friends turned lover stories" and while that is the overall premises of the book, there was a lot of unique twists thrown in. Frankly, one of the things I found to be most interesting was the horror scenarios that occurred during the snowstorm at Kyler's posh ski resort house. It added some interesting story and emphasized how finding solace in each other's arms was almost a necessity. I mean, buckshots breaking windows, someone cutting off the generator, sounds like someone's messing with them. And it allowed this story to take on a slight mysterious air as opposed to simply a love story. Admittedly, it was beyond obvious to me who was behind everything and I was rolling my eyes from Sydney and Kyler's shock, but I thought it added to the story nonetheless.

I also thought there was a huge air of realism in regards to the emotions and the progress of the story because they were often tripping over their words. It was one of those cases where you know exactly what you want to say, but you can't put it into proper words which, in turn, causes a lot of problems and misunderstandings. While this may bother some, I thought it was realistic because that problem's practically the story of my life. It showed just how badly they wanted each other, but didn't know how to show it. I mean, we're talking about a guy who used to sleep with nearly anything that has two legs and a girl whose only sexual experience was losing her virginity--they're on two completely different playing fields and while there's somehow a world between them sexually, they couldn't be anymore on the same page about each other.

A fast and quick read, JLA delivers her signature steaminess and ability to make anyone enjoy a story. I've fallen in love with her characters yet again. And, according to Goodreads, there will be a second book. She's got me even more curious than I ever was before. A definite recommendation to romance nuts that are members of a mature audience. Keep in mind, there's an emotional journey to them getting together which I believe strengthens their bond. This is not a book for those who are just looking for some sexy times, and that's what made me enjoy it even more. It's realistic and at times, awkward. It's the way a new adult should be to us new-adult-age readers.

5 stars