February 28, 2013

Review: Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

Unravel Me (Shatter Me #2)
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Release Date: February 5th, 2013
Page Count: 461
Source: Won from 4 Chicks and a Muse
Rating: ★★★★☆
it's almost
time for war.

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

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

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

In this exhilarating sequel to Shatter Me, Juliette has to make life-changing decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right. Decisions that might involve choosing between her heart—and Adam's life.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]

My heart is gone and I don't even know where to start looking for it. This book is FOR REALZ YOU GUYS.

Let's break this down:

I'm gonna start by talking about the plot. It might not sound like I am at first, but I am, so stick with me here.

I feel like Juliette's constantly on the verge of throwing the most annoying pity party on the planet, so I can see why some people might get annoyed at her, but since I have a really high tolerance for pity parties (not gonna lie, kids, I often find myself mid-pity party throwing), instead I'm just like: GOD THIS WORLD IS SO UNFAIR WHY CAN'T JULIETTE GET A DAMN HUG?

But then there's Kenji, who's kind of this wildcard character. I feel like not many books have a guy who's sole purpose is to be a BUDDY and not a LOVE INTEREST, who's there to push the MC forward and advance the plot. Kenji keep Juliette unstuck so she can keep US unstuck. 

SO even though one might say that Shatter Me and Unravel Me are one GIANT pity party plot-wise, I really don't think that's the case because progress IS being made. People are moving forward, learning things about their surroundings and themselves, owning their lives and all in all becoming the people we ALL KNOW they can be if they'd only stop with the nonsense and BE THAT PERSON. They just need to move forward in a realistic fashion. Like, could you imagine if Juliette embraced her superpowers without any self pity? Yeah. That'd be weird.

And I think all of the things I mentioned above are exactly what SHOULD go into a second book in a trilogy. I mean, trilogies are tough because, even though all of the readers want moremoremore, it's difficult to figure out how to fill those 1000-1500 pages. And a lot of the times second books get confused. Now, I can't say I'm a master of knowing how to write an unconfused Book 2, but I think Tahereh Mafi's pretty freaking good at it. She really uses Unravel Me to solidify relationships, deepen the complexity of her story and, most importantly, really make her characters living, breathing people, all while having actual things HAPPEN. I never, for a second feel like we don't need Book 2. And not just in a moving-the-plot-along capacity, but in a HI EVERYONE IS MY REAL FRIEND EVEN IF IT'S ONLY IN MY MIND capacity.

And of course, to do this, Tahereh Mafi utilizes the feels. I don't think there was a single chapter (two pages long or otherwise), when my head and heart weren't freaking out. My insides were frozen and my jaw was on the floor and everyone around me in the cafes and on public transportation I read this book in probably thought I was having a fit. Because. I. Was. Every page brought more and more emotions. Especially the mysterious Chapter 62, which was steamy, as promised, but more gut wrenching for me. And that's all I'll say on the matter of Chapter 62.

But before I wrap this up, now that I've spoken about Juliette and Kenji (my homeboy), I obviously need to mention Warner and Adam.

Warner kind of creeped me out by the end of the last book. He redeemed himself in Destroy Me, so when Unravel Me started up, I was like BRING IT - and he delivered in spades. Don't get me wrong, I'm not in love with the psycho (because he is kind of out of his mind), but I do think he's one of the most interesting fictional characters I have EVER read, villain or otherwise, and if I don't learn more about him immediately I might burst.

And as for Adam, I don't think it's a secret I was super suspicious and unsure of him in Shatter Me. Everyone else in this book, except maybe James (who I want to hug ALWAYS), seem to have ISSUES or hidden hurts or secrets but Adam just seemed too perfect. Too transparent. Too wonderful. I know, you're all thinking: GOD GABY HAS ISSUES (I do, I really do). But that's mostly because life has proven many a time that people like Adam just don't exist. And Unravel Me proves me right. Adam's just as screwed up as everyone else and just didn't really let onto that in Shatter Me. He was able to hide what everyone else, even Warner, couldn't. I'm glad he stopped hiding, though, because A) it totally pushed the plot forward, B) he's a much more believable character and C) now I can love him.

Oh, and because I have to choose or the world implodes: I want Juliette with Adam. Warner breaks me heart, but he's a lonely crazypants, like Juliette, and I don't think two lonely crazypants would do well together. Couples need to COMPLIMENT each other, not be the same as each other, y'know? (Relationship advice from the girl who's never been in a relationship, whatever.)

Anyway, I have a couple PREDICTIONS for this book, but I'm thinking I'll save that for the comments/emails if any of you want to ask me about that. I just don't want to put anything into anyone's heads unless they want said thoughts there.

The long and short of it?

Plot: A wonderful use of a second book in a series.
World Building: The expansion here is amazing. We really get an understanding of what it means to be apart of this future Tahereh Mafi has created.
Character Development: This book is FULL OF character development. Everyone flourishes. It really feels like they could walk right off the page and through the glass doors of the coffee shop I'm likely currently inhabiting.
Prose: Just as wonderfully heart wrenching as in Shatter Me. Never stop writing, Tahereh Mafi. Never.
Would I Recommend This Book?: If you're cool with strikeouts and amazing metaphors and superheroes and corrupt governments, pick up Shatter Me and love everything ever. It not, you should probably skip this series.

This insanely long review has finally come to an end. Now it's your turn to tell me: WHAT DID YOU THINK? WERE YOU DYING THE WHOLE TIME ALSO? Share your feels with me, please. And let me know if you want to talk Book 3 predictions because I obviously want to!

February 27, 2013

Waiting On: Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt (13)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: Going Vintage
Author: Lindsey Leavitt
Release Date: March 26th, 2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury
When Mallory’s boyfriend, Jeremy, cheats on her with an online girlfriend, Mallory decides the best way to de-Jeremy her life is to de-modernize things too. Inspired by a list of goals her grandmother made in 1962, Mallory swears off technology and returns to a simpler time (when boyfriends couldn’t cheat with computer avatars). 
The List:
1. Run for pep club secretary
2. Host a fancy dinner party/soiree
3. Sew a dress for Homecoming
4. Find a steady
5. Do something dangerous
But simple proves to be crazy-complicated, and the details of the past begin to change Mallory’s present. Add in a too-busy grandmother, a sassy sister, and the cute pep-club presient – who just happens to be her ex’s cousin – and soon Mallory begins to wonder if going vintage is going too far.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]
I've always wondered what it would be like to ditch all of the STUFF and just BE, like my grandma. I want to write ACTUAL letters and have whole conversations without anyone looking at their phones and just be free of all of the things that rule our lives today. And I know, I know, there are a lot of things I'd miss (you guys, in particular!) but I think it'd be a novel idea, don't you?

Not to mention, everyone's been talking about this and the summary (as well as the cover) is just SO CUTE.

So that's what I'm excited for this week, dear readers. What's got YOU all tied up in knots of excitement this week? Let me know in the comment below!

February 26, 2013

Top Ten Authors On My Auto-Buy List (12)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
There are SO MANY authors I would put on my auto-buy list. Mostly because there is so much awesome out there and I apparently ENJOY being broke (no, not really, I just like books more than I like money, I guess). But here are my Top Ten. I feel like a lot of mine will be on a lot of your lists.

1. Sarah Dessen
ALWAYS Sarah Dessen. She is a contemporary genius. It's like she helped invent the feels. Or the word squee. Or both. I just can't imagine not pre-ordering something she wrote.

2. John Green
John Green is a genius I haven't known about for nearly long enough. Not only do I love the stories he tells, I love HOW he tells them. Not to mention, every time I read one of his books, my fangirling gets more and more serious because I realize JUST HOW CLEVER this man is.

3. Tamora Pierce
Tamora Pierce has been on my auto-buy list since I was a tiny, itty bitty reader. The worlds she crafts are just so magical and I want to soak up EVERY BIT of it in hopes that one day I'll find myself in those worlds. But until then: EVERY SINGLE BOOK WRITTEN BY THE GODDESS SHOULD BE MINE.

4. Gayle Forman
Gayle Forman is another author who probably helped invent THE FEELS. She's so awesome-pants I'm not even sure we're all worthy to read the words she puts on the page. She just knows how to tell a story, y'know?

5. Tahereh Mafi
I feel like there are a lot of authors who helped invent the feels. Add Tahereh Mafi to the list. I fall to pieces again and again with every word. I can't BELIEVE I waited so long to read her books, but I know I'm hooked now, to be sure, and will be buying everything she writes ever from now until the end of time.

6. Philip Pullman
I don't even know if Philip Pullman writes all that much anymore - a least not YA, but I DO know the man HONEST TO GOD knows how to weave an amazing tale. So I'll pretty much overlook any bizarre, angry undertones found in his work just for that.

7. Maggie Stiefvater
On more than once occasion I’ve noted that she could write about feet and I would still buy that book. And I meant it. Not to mention Maggie Stiefvater is entirely adorable, which makes me just LOVE HER EVEN MORE.

8. Rick Riordan
Honesty time: For the release date of the latest Percy Jackson book, I put an all-day event in my calendar entitled: PERCY JACKSON DAY. I regret nothing. But really, I just love what Rick Riordan does with mythology and I kind of hope he starts up another series about a different mythology group. Norse, this time? How many different mythologies are there? I don't even know, but I want this author to write a series about each one I can HAVE THEM.

9. Markus Zusak
I read The Book Thief and proceeded to buy everything else he’s written. Markus Zusak's writing style is SO DIFFERENT and so very heart breaking that I can't imagine my life without his books.

10. J.K. Rowling
But only if it’s YA. I took The Casual Vacancy out of the library a couple of months ago because I really wasn’t sure how I would like J.K. Rowling’s foray into adult fiction and, I’m not going to lie, I haven’t yet finished the book. But if she ever puts out another YA book, I assure you I’ll be buying it. And so will all of you, probably. And then we'll all freak out over it together. So I'm EXCITED.

So that's the list. I know, I know, so many obvious choices, but it's the TRUTH and I would never lie to you guys! Now tell me, who do we have in common and what are your other choices?

February 25, 2013

Review: Destroy Me by Tahereh Mafi

Title: Destroy Me (Shatter Me #1.5)
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Release Date: October 2nd, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Page Count: 103
Source: Purchased
Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Perfect for the fans of Shatter Me who are desperately awaiting the release of Unravel Me, this novella-length digital original will bridge the gap between these two novels from the perspective of the villain we all love to hate, Warner, the ruthless leader of Sector 45.
In Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me, Juliette escaped from The Reestablishment by seducing Warner—and then putting a bullet in his shoulder. But as she’ll learn in Destroy Me, Warner is not that easy to get rid of...
Back at the base and recovering from his near-fatal wound, Warner must do everything in his power to keep his soldiers in check and suppress any mention of a rebellion in the sector. Still as obsessed with Juliette as ever, his first priority is to find her, bring her back, and dispose of Adam and Kenji, the two traitors who helped her escape. But when Warner’s father, The Supreme Commander of The Reestablishment, arrives to correct his son’s mistakes, it’s clear that he has much different plans for Juliette. Plans Warner simply cannot allow.
Set after Shatter Me and before its forthcoming sequel, Unravel Me, Destroy Me is a novella told from the perspective of Warner, the ruthless leader of Sector 45.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]


In Shatter Me I was all: TELL ME MORE ABOUT WARNER'S PAST. And then Destroy Me came along and granted my wish. So I'm all:

Let's break this down: 

I'm not gonna lie to you guys: I'm not so into these short, mid-series novellas. It's one thing when they're on the longer side, or a whole bunch of different short stories, like with The Goddess Legacy by Aimee Carter. But it's another thing entirely when it's just an 100 page shortie. It frustrates me because it ultimately feels like money maker and that's not why I want to read anything. Not to mention, I honestly believe the words in these novellas can be conveyed in the main books of the series somehow. Like, I already knew Warner was damaged and not just pure evil. I just didn't know the who, what, where, when, why, hows of it all.

BUT I WILL SAY that I devoured Warner's story. I really did want more from him after Shatter Me. I wanted to know him. And I wanted to have reasons for feeling for him (beyond the irrational). I feel like his reasons for being kind of monstrous are fairly obvious, but actually reading about them and wrapping your head around it is heart breaking.

This story in particular also helps bridge the time gap. And because Warner is IMPORTANT TO THE STORY, it helps me keep him in mind when he's not really mentioned at all at the beginning of Unravel Me.

Destroy Me also makes me CURIOUS. It makes me want moremoremore. I want to know WHY Warner initially wanted Juliette. I want to know WHAT is going to happen to him as the villain who's really just a damaged boy - like, is he TOO damaged? Can he ever be redeemed? I don't even know. What I do know is that I love him. I don't know about Teams or Ships or whatever for the story - I still think I'm pretty ambivalent about all of that. But I really, definitely love Warner.

The long and short of it? 

Plot: It's the bridge for the gap between Shatter Me and Unravel Me and it really does the job.
World Building: Totally consistant with what I thought Warner's story would be.
Character Development: Gives Warner the depth he truly deserves. Really.
Prose: The prose is different than in Shatter Me because it's form Warner's POV, not Juliette's and yet, I still find the whole thing entirely compelling.
Would I Recommend This Book?: Even though I don't love novellas, if you're reading the Shatter Me series, you really have to read this and I would recommend you do so before reading Unravel Me. Because who doesn't want the context?

February 24, 2013

Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Title: Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1)
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Release Date: November 15th, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Page Count: 338
Source: Purchased
Rating: ★★★★☆
The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.
The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war– and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.
Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

[Summary Source: Goodreads

I'm like the last person in the world to read this book. And yet I still think you should read what I have to say. So go. Get to reading.

Let's break this down:

I'm going to start with the boys, because I KNOW you all want to know who my heart belongs to.

Warner: MAYBE THE GREATEST VILLAIN I HAVE READ IN YEARS. There's dimension, there's attraction, there's sheer, unbelievable lunacy. He's the most sympathetic monster I have ever encountered and all I want to do is wrap him up in a million fuzzy blankets until his block-of-ice insides melt into something everyone in the whole wide world can love. And I think the craziest part is that I don't even know his first name. WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE?

Adam: So. Don't be mad at me. But I'm not Adam's #1 fan. On the one hand his loyalty to Juliette and his brother is so amazingly amazing my heart wants to wrap itself around him and never, ever let go. But at the same time I feel like there's something... missing? Like, he's the strong, loyal hero, but he's more of just Juliette's tag along. And I only know I'm supposed to love him through Juliette's adoring eyes, not through his own personality. Because we don't really hear him talk much, do we? He's really just either pretending to be a solider, making out with Juliette or injured. He's like the supporting actor. He pushes Juliette forward, but that's about it. But the truth is, I'm not entirely against this. The book is about Juliette, not Adam, y'know? I will say, though, that I don't love the trickery at the beginning. It makes me a little suspicious of Adam. Like, if he can put on an act for that long, what else is he hiding? I could just be super paranoid. AM I PARANOID YOU GUYS?

Kenji: Bro's my favskies. Never leave me, Kenji. Never leave me.

Castle and Winston: I don't even know why I'm listing them since they only show up at the end and don't really do TOO much. But man they make me curious. How much more do I NEED to know about both of them, RIGHT NOW?

Also. I did NOT expect the James plot point and I think he's SO VERY ADORBS.

So really, what I'm trying to say is that I ship no one. I'm very happy Juliette is happy with Adam and I want them to ride off into the sun together, but I don't really want to ask any of them to marry me. Especially not James, because that would be weird.

Now the rest:

Guys. WHY DID NO ONE TELL ME THIS IS A DYSTOPIAN SUPERHERO BOOK? I don't think I've made it clear just how big of a nerd I am, but I LOVE comic books. I've been reading comic books since I was 13. I was in, and eventually ended up running, the Comic Book Club in high school. I just... I can't.

Thanks, Cyclops

And as if my love for superheros wasn't enough, the prose in this book is... well, it's like this:

"My eyes are 2 professional pickpockets, stealing everything to store away in my mind." (61)


"My words wear no parachutes as they fall out of my mouth." (108)


"He's wrong he's so wrong he's more wrong than an upside-down rainbow. But everything he said is right." (125)


"I wondered if your eye color meant you saw the world differently. If thy world saw you differently as a result." (150)

There are also a lot of MEANINGFUL quotes I could list aside from these, but I feel like the four quotes above are examples of Tahereh Mafi's brilliant writing style. Like, y'know when you read a sentence and you're like "YES. YES THAT. MORE OF THAT PLEASE."? That was basically me every other page.

I feel like I should also talk about Juliette. She is our protagonist and all that.

First of all, the way the book is written REALLY lets the reader get to know the main character. Like, even though she's very "all by myyyyyseeeeelllfff" at the beginning and then proceeds to become a little boy obsessed with Adam, I'm still completely and totally with her the whole time.

Second of all, even if this story were from a different POV, I'd still be SUPER INTERESTED in Juliette. I mean, SHE'S A SUPERHERO. Or an X-Men (Man? Woman? Women?). Whatever. Not to mention, SHE IS ALL OF THE MYSTERY. I love mystery. And dear God, if I don't want all of the answers. Please, may I have them? Pretty please?

Finally, I feel just feel like she's an honest to goodness GOOD PERSON. Warner, bless his very warped, unhappy heart, doesn't seem to understand this, but she is. And I love good, non-whiny people (Juliette doesn't whine either. She just breaks stuff. Which I definitely approve of). They make me happy. The world should be made of only good, non-whiny people.

To wrap this all up, I want to talk about the world building. I like this the world in this story ISN'T about a plague or a catastrophe or whatever. It's just about a corrupt government screwing with everything (and, I guess, potentially, what gives Juliette her abilities). And while most dystopians (GOOD dystopians) are not-in-your-face cautionary tales, this book is so very real. I mean, there are already governments in this world that hoard the wealth and make its people live in squalor. ALREADY. So really, this book isn't even about the future. It's a social commentary of RIGHT NOW. Maybe the RIGHT NOW I speak of isn't so extremely bad and there are no X-Men (I can't say I'm entirely pleased about the latter), but it's a thing that's real and it's there and that makes this book SO SMART.

The long and short of it?

Plot: Love. LOVE.
World Building: A scary dystopian prospect that's somehow pretty true to real life. As it is. Right now.  (In some places in the world, that is.)
Prose: I've never read anything like this (strikeouts included) and, even though I kind of want this to become something more authors do (STRIKEOUTS), I feel like any other author who tries it A) won't be as good and B) will just be ripping Tahereh Mafi off.
Would I Recommend This Book?: Even if you don't like dystopians you should read this. It's different, it's clever, it's beautiful and it's HEARTBREAKING. Thank God I already have Destroy Me and Unravel Me otherwise I would not be a happy person right now.

So, my fellow lovable book nerds, TELL ME: Are you also into comic books? Who is your favorite superhero? HOW do you feel about Warner? Adam? Kenji? James? Juliette? Castle? Winston? But mostly I just want you all to TALK TO ME ABOUT THIS BOOK. Aaaaaand GO! (To the comment box, that is. PLEASE.)

February 23, 2013

Stacking the Shevles (12)

"Stacking the Shelves" is a weekly feature hosted by Tynga's Reviews
I, once again, did not buy very much this past week. It's really this whole abroad thing. I don't have space to schlep lots of books home and I'm not all that interested in e-books. Unless they're on sale. And the book in question isn't one I would normally buy full price in print anyway. So here are the few on sale e-books I bought this past week!

1. Destroy Me by Tahereh Mafi
I just started Shatter Me yesterday and I'm already 200 pages in. Imma need to read this one SOON.

2. Violins of Autumn by Amy McAuley
I love historical fiction. And, don't take this the wrong way, I love WWII. As in, I find it to be a really fascinating topic. I don't know as much about the British side of things (I know A LOT about the Holocaust, to be sure), but I'm always game to read any book set in this era.

3. Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omololu
HOARDERS? I want to read this please. And then I'll pass it to my friend who loves that TLC show.

The title alone reminds me of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. I don't think I actually finished that series, but I did enjoy what I read, so I'm exciiiited.


On Wednesday I told you guys how excited I am for Born of Illusion by Teri Brown to come out.

Thursday I said goodbye to The Goddess Test series by reviewing The Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter.

And then on Friday, I cried about how complicated genres have become. There are many gifs involved.

That's it for my week. How did yours go? Let me know in the comments below!

February 22, 2013

Genres - They Shall Be My Undoing

Fact: I don't like coffee. I just like saying Coffee Clutch in my best and deepest New York accent. Considering I'm a New Yorker, I'm pretty freaking good at it. So I've got my tea and I hope you have your heated beverage of choice, because it's time to gab the day away.

Recently I decided to organize my life on Goodreads (feel free to go friend me and whatnot). Honestly, I blame Cassie. She posted about TBR piles and I suddenly decided life would be be SO MUCH EASIER to pick my next book if I had lists. Lists of genres that is. Y'know, that way I can decide what I'm in the mood for and then find the right book to read without scrolling through an unspecific list.

David Tennant approves of my brilliant idea.

However, this whole shelving by genre thing failed on epic proportions. There are just SO MANY SUB- GENRES these days: high fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal, supernatural, contemporary, steampunk, dystopia, thriller, horror, romance, sci-fi, historical, mythology, fairytale retellings... Not to mention things like romance, horror, thriller, mystery and other classic genres can be folded into other genres like dystopian, steampunk, mythology, fantasy, etc.

Dean Winchester is overwhelmed. You should be too.

But I think the worst thing about these genres is that no one tells you what's what anymore. I mean, when I was little, everything was explained in simple terms. There was the make believe stuff, the scary stuff, the real stuff, the old stuff and a couple other bits and bobs. Now, as an older person, I feel like I don't know who to turn to in order to suss out what's what in the genre world anymore. I'd have to read the book first before I could tell you what genre it falls under, and that kind of defeats the purpose of the lists I'm making.


Aside from my DEEP FRUSTRATION over how to categorize certain books (and how is there NO official list of book genres compiled by someone even reputable-looking), since books today can't just live in ONE genre anymore, I ALSO have to question the genres I've listed above. I mean, some of them really seem to overlap. Take, for example, Paranormal and Supernatural. I had a whole conversation with Daphne the other day about the difference between the two - because I really feel like there is one - and basically what I came up with is that they both revolve around characters/story lines that defy nature/science but Supernatural is supposedly miraculous whereas Paranormal is darker. So like, angels vs. vampires, really.

The Angel vs. Vampire paradox. 

And while it seems like there's really no distinction in what I just said, based on what I'm trying to do here, there REALLY IS. You see, in case it wasn't clear, I'm trying to separate the 959 books on my Goodreads shelves into specific genres I can refer to in order to find THE BOOK I'm in the mood for. And I guess I could make distinctions like ANGELS, MERMAIDS, WEREWOLVES, GHOSTS, ZOMBIES... but that's not the point is it? The point is to find that specific FEEL I'm interested in feeling in that moment. So is that all a genre is? A FEEL? As in, for as long as I FEEL a difference between paranormal and supernatural (which I do, I just couldn't really tell you about it. It's like when there's a word in another language that doesn't have a translation into English. Only that language is the language of feels), then there's a difference?

Aaand a Mean Girls gif. Of course.

Ugh. This whole post makes my head hurt. But I hope it makes some sense to all of you out there in the Great Wide Interwebz. And I hope that SOMEONE can please help me make a more definitive list of genres. Or just take my Goodreads shelves and organize all the books so that when I want to read a book that reminds of Doctor Who, I can easily find THAT and when I want to read a book that'll creep the pants off me, I can easily find THAT as well. And then when I need something a little more normal feeling to calm me the heck down, I'll have a whole list of suggestions for THAT too.

If Sherlock's asking for help, you know it's serious.  Or a ploy.

Okay. I'm turning this over to you guys. CAN YOU HELP ME? Or are you just as frustrated as I am? Let's talk about our issues. The comment box below is a SAFE SPACE, I promise.

February 21, 2013

Review: The Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter

Title: The Goddess Inheritance (Goddess Test #3)
Author: Aimee Carter 
Release Date: February 26th, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen 
Page Count: 384
Source: ARC won from author on Twitter
Rating: ★★★★☆
Love or life.
Henry or their child.
The end of her family or the end of the world.
Kate must choose.

During nine months of captivity, Kate Winters has survived a jealous goddess, a vengeful Titan and a pregnancy she never asked for. Now the Queen of the Gods wants her unborn child, and Kate can't stop her--until Cronus offers a deal.

In exchange for her loyalty and devotion, the King of the Titans will spare humanity and let Kate keep her child. Yet even if Kate agrees, he'll destroy Henry, her mother and the rest of the council. And if she refuses, Cronus will tear the world apart until every last god and mortal is dead.

With the fate of everyone she loves resting on her shoulders, Kate must do the impossible: find a way to defeat the most powerful being in existence, even if it costs her everything.

Even if it costs her eternity.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]

I'm a BIG fan of all of these real/modern world + Greek mythology stories. But my love for Greek mythology aside, this book was actually a pretty satisfactory end to a trilogy. I had all the requisite conclusion-y feelings at the end of it all (seriously, read that last chapter and try not to feel fulfilled. I can't even imagine). But I will say some of the plot annoyed me. A little. Not a lot, but a little.

Let's break this down:

The book picks up 9 months after the end of the last one: AKA with Kate giving birth. Way to bring the feels early, Aimee Carter. Way. Kate spend a little more time Cronus (who really becomes more dimensional in this book), Calliope (who, after a phenom short story, kind of regresses, which was annoying) and Ava (oh Ava), and then gets the hell out of dodge.

There are tons o' probs, of course, and the war continues, good(ish) vs. evil (crazytown). I think my favorite part about this series is that no one is truly good. Except MAYBE Kate. And the baby, clearly. But all of the gods had eons to mess everything up, so obvs they did.

What I didn't love was how said war kind of goes around in circles for a while, especially in regards to Kate. She tries to do this one thing, fails and then goes back and tries again. LIKE THREE TIMES. This repeating cycle drove me absolutely bananas to anxiously work my way through time and time again. The character development, as well as the growth in the relationships between the characters (especially Henry and Kate), did a whole lot to keep me interested in the story, but there were times when I wanted to smack Kate and tell her to FIND A NEW ANGLE. She gets there eventually - otherwise the ending of this series would be REALLY bleak - but it's kind of annoying.

But that's just what bugged me about this story. HERE'S WHAT I LOVED:

First of all, the Henry/Kate dynamic is ah-freaking-mazing. It's like they FINALLY get their acts together, which is WONDERFUL because, as heartbreaking as I found their relationship in the first two books, I was so ready for the love. And it was there. It was so there it basically knocked me over. I loved every second.

Additionally, now that Kate is sure of Henry's love, we can move on from the "he loves me, he loves me not" plot point, to the "Kate does stuff to help" plot point. It takes a little while for her to figure out how to help - ie: the beating of the dead horse mentioned above - but she tries. She does stuff. And she begins to wrap her head around what it means to be a god - the responsibilities, the consequences, so on and so forth. It's like, in the middle of the last book, Kate found her footing with the council and now she's ready to try and make a go of it (even though she can't really fight in the traditional sense).

I think, ultimately, this book is about Kate internalizing this new life of hers - immortality and all of its consequences (a lesson Walter never learned, CLEARLY), the importance of family and the weight those relations really carry, the meaning of death and so on and so forth. We also get a clearer understanding of the philosophy and virtues of the gods. Which, even though maybe traditional Greek mythology isn't heavy on morals, makes sense and goes a long way to explain how a ruling council might be able to be philandering and duplicitous while still deserving of ruling humanity.

The long and short of it?

Plot: A little circular at first but other stuff happens too and all in all: I like.
World Building: Some people have issues with the tests Kate is put through because none of the Greek gods are even a little virtuous. Well, I think this book goes a long way to show that the gods aren't SUPPOSED to be totally virtuous and neither is Kate, really, although she does try rather hard.
Character Development: Kate, Henry, Ava, Walter and Cronus all flourish in this book. Although, Calliope kind of returns to her one-dimensional-crazy-town self.
Prose: Straight to the point. Although, the scenes between Henry and Kate are particularly lovely. ESPECIALLY WITH BABY MILO.
Would I Recommend This Book?: It's more of a "Would I Recommend This Series?" question at this point. And I would. If you're into Greek mythology like I am, it's definitely worth it. Just be patient with Kate, would you? Immortality's a tough concept to wrap your head around, even if you've kind of been groomed for said concept your entire life.

So tell me: Did you get your grabby hands on an ARC of this one?  If not, how excited are you to finish off the series? Let me know in the comments below!

February 20, 2013

Waiting On: Born of Illusion by Teri Brown (12)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: Born of Illusion
Author: Teri Brown
Release Date: June 11th, 2013
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Anna Van Housen is thirteen the first time she breaks her mother out of jail. By sixteen she’s street smart and savvy, assisting her mother, the renowned medium Marguerite Van Housen, in her stage show and séances, and easily navigating the underground world of magicians, mediums and mentalists in 1920’s New York City. Handcuffs and sleight of hand illusions have never been much of a challenge for Anna. The real trick is keeping her true gifts secret from her opportunistic mother, who will stop at nothing to gain her ambition of becoming the most famous medium who ever lived. But when a strange, serious young man moves into the flat downstairs, introducing her to a secret society that studies people with gifts like hers, he threatens to reveal the secrets Anna has fought so hard to keep, forcing her to face the truth about her past. Could the stories her mother has told her really be true? Could she really be the illegitimate daughter of the greatest magician of all?

[Summary Source: Goodreads]

LOOK AT THE PRETTY. *Pets pretty* I wants it. And yes, I did just go all Smeagol/Gollum on you guys. In an attempt to be less creepy, I said pretty instead of precious, but I think you should all be worried for my mental health. Maybe. If you're the worrying type.

No, but seriously, when books take place in the 1920s and in New York City, I perk up like a dog who hears someone approaching the front door. I want, I want, and now I must impatiently wait. >.<

PS: It's worth mentioning that Teri Brown has an AWESOME website I could probably stare at all day. Fair warning, it makes a little noise, which I don't usually love, but this time it works for me. And it's totally mininal. AND THERE'S A CAT. I've linked you to the pretty website (to match the pretty book cover), so GO LOOK AT IT.

So TELL ME. What pretties are you guys anxiously anticipating this week? Please, share with me in the comments below!

February 19, 2013

Top Ten Favorite Characters in Fantasy/Contemporary (11)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
I’m cheating this week (as you could probably tell from the title of this post) and am doing Top Five Favorite Characters in TWO DIFFERENT genres. I did this mostly to stop myself from compiling a list consisting of ONLY Tamora Pierce characters. So really, you should all support my cheating.


1. Alanna of Trebond (The Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce)
Alanna is my homegirl. I really don’t feel the need to say anything more than that. BUT I WILL. She's strong, brave and honestly, one of the most compelling characters I have ever read. Ever.

2. Veralidaine Sarrasri aka Daine (The Immortal Quartet by Tamora Pierce)
I love Daine just about as much as I love Alanna. She's similarly wonderful but in her own way. And she makes for an awesome hero.

3. Remus Lupin (Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling)
I have a VERY SERIOUS crush on Remus Lupin. But the Remus Lupin of books 1-6, not the Remus Lupin of book 7 because, seriously, if you think the Remus Lupin of book 7 even vaguely resembles the Remus Lupin of books 1-6, we cannot be friends.

4. The Darkling (Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo)
So I could have picked Alina or Mal (BECAUSE I LOVE THEM BOTH), but The Darkling is the character in this story who really threw me for a loop and, as such, I had no choice but to pick him for this particular list.

5. Lyra Belacqua (His Dark Materials Series by Philip Pullman)
To this day, I think my absolute favorite part of Lyra is her name. I mean, she's totally badass and I love her to bits and pieces, but hello, her name is Lyra Belacqua.


1. Adam (If I Stay and Where She Went by Gayle Forman)
I just want to HUG Adam FOREVER. Sorry Mia… But seriously, reading Where She Went absolutely broke my heart and it's crazy to think of his transformation between and during both books.

2. Hazel (The Fault in Our Stars by John Green)
Oh Hazel. I cry just thinking about you.

3. Augustus (The Fault in Our Stars by John Green)
If you have to ask why I picked both of the protagonists from The Fault in Our Stars, we can’t be friends anymore. Just a heads up. (Clearly I'm whittling down my list of friends this blog post... oh well.)

4. Chloe (Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe by Shelley Coriell)
I love Chloe. I don’t know if she and I would be friends, but I love her. She's just so whimsical and wonderful and flawed. 

5. Owen (Just Listen by Sarah Dessen)
No list is complete with Owen. NO LIST, I TELL YOU. He's the quiet strong type that makes me swoon big time. Not to mention he likes music, so we could bond over that.

I could make lists like these for every genre under the sun. But this particular topic says I can only pick the Top Ten, so I'll have to stop here. What genres did you guys make lists for? I'm all excited to read about who everyone else loves, to be sure to share in the comments below!

February 18, 2013

Review: The Goddess Legacy by Aimee Carter

Title: The Goddess Legacy (Goddess Test #2.5)
Author: Aimee Carter
Release Date: July 31st, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Page Count: 275 (in the Nook e-book edition)
Source: Nook e-book
Rating: ★★★★☆
For millennia we've caught only glimpses of the lives and loves of the gods and goddesses on Olympus. Now Aimée Carter pulls back the curtain on how they became the powerful, petty, loving and dangerous immortals that Kate Winters knows.

Calliope/Hera represented constancy and yet had a husband who never matched her faithfulness….

Ava/Aphrodite was the goddess of love and yet commitment was a totally different deal….

Persephone was urged to marry one man, yet longed for another….

James/Hermes loved to make trouble for others; but never knew true loss before….

Henry/Hades's solitary existence had grown too wearisome to continue. But meeting Kate Winters gave him a new hope.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]

For me, reviewing a compilation of short stories is a lot more difficult than reviewing one longer story. Or well, it is when I come across a compilation where I ABSOLUTELY ADORE half of the stories but couldn’t care less for the other half. Which is kind of what happened to me here.

Let's break this down:
There are five stories here: Hera/Calliope, Aphrodite/Ava, Persephone, Hermes/James and Hades/Henry. (For the remainder of this review, I’m going to stick to calling everyone by his or her Greek names, for simplicity’s sake.)

Hera’s story comes first and, oh dear God Aimee Carter you are THE WORST because you’ve made it all impossible me to blindly hate the villain. Before this point I guess I felt a little bad for Hera – just based on Zeus being the worst husband on the planet. But it wasn’t until we made it through this story that I was like… O_O. This story really provides the reader with an idea of why Hera’s doing what she’s doing. It even makes you want to root for her. Until you get out of her head and back to reality and realize the lady’s completely out of her mind and needs to be put into one of those white, padded cells.

Next is Aphrodite’s story. I can’t say I’m not interested in her origins, but I really didn’t sympathize with her at all. I mean, I guess the whole thing was a little heartbreaking, and she is the goddess of love, so truly being in love with more than one person should be possible for her, but she didn’t really pull on my heartstrings the way Hera did. To be completely honest, I would have much preferred to hear Hephaestus’s story.

I don’t even really want to talk about Persephone. She had the longest story, but it honestly made me feel nothing for her. Arranged marriages suck and everything, but she treated Hades so terribly that I honestly couldn’t care less for her. Maybe if the reason she couldn’t bring herself to love Hades had made more sense, I would have been able to get into it. There were one or two points where we almost get an explanation but it gets swept under the rug and, since I’m never really given a chance to empathize with her, I really just never want to hear from her again.

Hermes is the fourth story in the compilation and OH DEAR GOD I never thought I’d care for him after finding out how awful he was in Persephone’s story. But I do. And I almost cried in public over this one. That’s all I’m going to say about it because I might get all upset again just thinking about it.

Last is Henry. His story gave me so much glorious insight into the makings of this series: why Henry was in danger of fading (the book totally made it sound like it wasn’t his choice before. At least as far as I recall), what the what happened with Ingrid, his relationship with Kate… I just love it all, ESPECIALLY the end with Hermes. I can’t. I cried. NBD.

So, I cared lots for 3/5 and was kind of eh towards 2/5. And yet, even though logic would dictate I give this book a 3 star rating, I went with 4. This is mostly because the 3 stories that I loved, I really LOVED. They were wonderful and emotive and just so UGH. Also, this particular short story compilation provides the reader with a lot of insight. We finally understand what’s going on with Hades and Hermes. And we get a reason for the new names. And we get to sympathize with Hera. AND INGRID. I love Ingrid, really.

The long and short of it?

3 of the stories wowed me like crazy while 2 of them could have used a little more work.
World Building: Amazing background info for a trilogy I’m really into.
Character Development: It’s through these stories that the gods in Kate’s life truly flourish and I love.
Prose: Emotive. Aimee Carter really makes sure you know exactly what the characters are feeling through exposition.
Would I Recommend This Book?: If you’re into the series, I would definitely read this one. Although I might suggest that you read it sooner, rather than later. I provides a lot of information the reader should really know.

February 17, 2013

Review: Summer and the City by Candace Bushnell

Summer and the City (The Carrie Diaries #2)
Author: Candace Bushnell
Release Date: April 26th, 2011
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Page Count: 409
Source: Borrowed from the Boston Public Library
Rating: ★★☆☆ 
Summer is a magical time in New York City and Carrie is in love with all of it—the crazy characters in her neighborhood, the vintage-clothing boutiques, the wild parties, and the glamorous man who has swept her off her feet. Best of all, she's finally in a real writing class, taking her first steps toward fulfilling her dream.

This sequel to The Carrie Diaries brings surprising revelations as Carrie learns to navigate her way around the Big Apple, going from being a country "sparrow"—as Samantha Jones dubs her—to the person she always wanted to be. But as it becomes increasingly difficult to reconcile her past with her future, Carrie realizes that making it in New York is much more complicated than she ever imagined.

With her signature wit and sparkling humor, Candace Bushnell reveals the irresistible story of how Carrie met Samantha and Miranda, and what turned a small-town girl into one of New York City's most unforgettable icons, Carrie Bradshaw.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]

The other day I reviewed The Carrie Diaries and even though I didn't like it so much, I picked up Summer and the City within a day. Why, you ask? Because I needed to know how Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte enter Carrie's life. As such, Summer and the City became a vital, and fairly trashy, read.

Let's break this down:

I think my biggest problem with this book is one that I had with The Carrie Diaries. I really just feel like this is watered down adult fiction. There's sex and drinking and drugs but it's not as graphic as it would be. It just didn't feel like teens doing all this stuff, it felt like little adult doing it. Does that sound weird? I don't know.

In any case, I picked up this book to get to know Samantha and Miranda, really, and I wasn't disappointed. The two of them are absolutely brilliant in this installation of the series. In fact, I pretty much finished the book for Miranda.

And where was Carrie, you might ask, given how much we all know I love her? Well, she kind of annoyed me the whole book. It wasn't my annoyance at her obsession with Bernard (which was annoying) or even the way she somehow behaved like a giant baby the whole book (which she did). It was more about how, yet again, nothing really happens in this book.

Basically, Carrie goes to Manhattan for this writing program, hardly ever goes to class, goes to a bunch of parties, gets drunk a lot, contemplates having sex, pines over boys and writes a bad play. It's typical Manhattan decadence and nothing really happens. We don't learn anything about Carrie, really, aside from how she met Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte, nor does her character seem to change at all. It's depressing and kind of boring.

So really, all the rating I give this book is for Miranda. She's wonderful. And for all that we don't learn from Carrie in this book, we absolutely do learn from Miranda. And yeah, I like Miranda in Sex and the City, but she is by no means my favorite (I <3 me some Carrie for sure), so it was weird to me that this whole book is only salvageable on her account.

And I guess I should mention some of the other characters too. Maggie's annoying, Walt's adorable, Carrie's family is still kind of an under-developed footnote, Ryan's a jerk, Capote's the cutest, L'il makes my heart break just a little bit and Bernard and all the rest of Manhattan's high society can shove it, for all I care. But really, my quick, halfhearted evaluation of all of these characters represents how underdeveloped they are in the book. Maybe it's because there are so many characters' story line to follow or maybe because none of them are particularly important to the story line (except maybe Bernard and Capote, except, really, any two guys would have serve the same purpose as they did. Neither seem to have their own merit), but not a single one of them is all that compelling. As in, usually when I finish a GOOD BOOK, I kind of hope one or two of the secondary characters gets a spin-off book. But this time, I just don't care. I mean, I feel for Walt and L'il, but I don't need to hear from them ever again, y'know?

The long and short of it?

Plot: Booooring. Except for Samantha and Miranda.
World Building: Still looks like the 80s to me.
Character Development: Blah. I just feel all kinds of blah towards everyone. EXCEPT SAMANTHA AND MIRANDA. More of them two, please.
Prose: As flat as the first one.
Would I Recommend This Book?: Just like with The Carrie Diaries, if you guys love Sex and the City and want a little context, grab a copy from the library. If not? Skip it.

Do you love Sex and the City enough to read this one? Let me know in the comments below!

February 16, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (11)

"Stacking the Shelves" is a weekly feature hosted by Tynga's Reviews
Another e-book haul. They were all on sale, so I spent a little less than the cost of one paperback. It's exciting and all, but I miss being able to buy an actual book without worrying about the weight requirements with the traveling and flying and what not.


1. Lament by Maggie Stiefvater
I love everything Maggie Stiefvater and I'm sure this book will be just as lovable.

2. The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross
Steampunk. I adore all of the steampunk.

3. Sweethearts by Sara Zarr
 LOOK AT THAT COOKIE. I want it. And so I want to read this book.


Sunday and Monday I took a break from the blog. Sorry 'bout that. >.<

Tuesday I compiled a list of my Top Ten Favorite Romances. It was hard. I cried A LOT.

On Wednesday I told you all JUST HOW EXCITED I am for The Ward by Jordana Frankel to come out.

Thursday I posted a review for The Carrie Diaries. There's a GIVEAWAY for a book turned into a TV show attached. It's all apart of this Read-Along I did with Harley Bear Book Blog. It's all very exciting.

Friday I talked about book boyfriends - who mine are and just how happy they made me on Valentine's Day (and just about every other day, to be honest).

So I didn't buy a lot of books this week, but I did have a lot of fun on the blog! What did you get? Did you post anything fun I should check out? Tell me all about it in the comments below!

February 15, 2013

Book Boyfriends

Fact: I don't like coffee. I just like saying Coffee Clutch in my best and deepest New York accent. Considering I'm a New Yorker, I'm pretty freaking good at it. So I've got my tea and I hope you have your heated beverage of choice, because it's time to gab the day away.

Yesterday was Valentine's Day, AKA Singles Awareness Day/Candy Day/Grisha Day (or maybe that's just what I call it because of all of Leigh Bardugo's awesome Tweets yesterday). Usually I spend Valentine's Day hiding or eating my feelings. This is because I am forever alone. Single as the day I was born. Boyfriendless.

I promise I'm not this sad. I just <3 David Tennant & this gif.

Now, I don't know how Valentine's Day would go down if I did have a boyfriend. I imagine we'd snark about it once we remembered it was coming up, but on the day of he'd do something small and sweet like get me flowers or chocolate or a book or something. Maybe we'd stay in and watch a movie instead of worrying about spending a million dollars at a restaurant neither of us care to be at. Perhaps we'd take part in all of the commercialism. I really couldn't tell you. But I really don't want you guys to feel bad for me or worry about my single-hood-dom. Because the truth is, this past Valentine's Day, for the first (and probably not the last) time ever, I spent the day with my book boyfriends.

This is how excited I was.

Truth Time on the Blog: Book boyfriends are THE BEST boyfriends. I say this with no real life boyfriend experience to speak of, but I still think it's the truth. And even if I'm wrong, book boyfriends are and always will be wonderfully wonderful and worthy of our praise. Which is why, even though I spend probably too much time during my work days sighing over made up men, I spent even more time day dreaming about them yesterday.

I spent the morning baking with Peeta (Hunger Games).

Then Mal (Shadow & Bone) accompanied me to work and hung around for a bit to distract me from this research project I have to do.

I had lunch with Jesse (The Mediator Series). He cooked us this delicious lunch and whispered sweet nothings in my ear for an hour.

The afternoon involved a music swap session with Owen (Just Listen).

After work, I borrowed Michael Moskovitz (Princess Diaries) from a fellow blogger. He escorted me home. He was incredibly chivalrous.

And, finally, I had a quiet night in with my book husband, Remus J. Lupin (Harry Potter). We read some books, watched a little television, and ate some chocolate. The perfect end to an incredibly dreamy day.

Okay. Reality check? None of this actually happened. But in my head it did and as such, my Valentine's Day was absolutely brilliant. I know, I know, my book boyfriends (and even my book husband) are no substitute for the real deal. I want to find Prince Charming (or the real life version of him) just as much as the next girl. But until I do, I have fiction to fill in the gaps for me. Especially on particularly gap-tastic days like Valentine's Day.

So who are your book loves? Yesterday I polled Twitter and names like Jace, Jase, Oliver and Four came up, but, since I love book boyfriends more than I can express in a blog post, I would like for more of you to share with me in the comments below.