April 30, 2013

Top Ten Words/Topics That Make Me Pick Up A Book (21)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
I've already mentioned the power of buzzwords in a previous post that lists a couple of reasons why I'll buy a book. Since I wrote that post I've been thinking about what my actual buzzwords are (mostly because I knew this topic was coming up). Now I'm ready to share.

I will always give a book about NYC a chance. I love my city and I'll read just about anything that includes it. I always get absurdly excited when a specific location I live near is mentioned. It's not QUITE like when you see your supermarket in the backdrop of a movie or a TV show, but it's similar. Or at least for me it is? Furthermore, I have a strange fascination with NYC disaster stories. Hey now, Day After Tomorrow and Cloverfield. I don't know why I love. I just do.

I love retellings, especially of books/stories I love. Fairytale retellings really are the best, but retellings of the classics or whatever else work too.

Authors are so clever sometimes, especially when it comes to creating stories with mythology involved. I like Greek mythology the best, but I'm into the others as well.

I'm always curious when there's a male main character. It's rarer in YA fiction. I can't say I always love the result, but I'm very, very curious and will generally pick it up unless there's a good reason not to.

5. 1920'S
I FREAKING LOVE THE 1920'S. So much intrigue. I love mobsters and flappers and prohibition. All of these things TOTALLY make for an interesting story. Basically, someone write a YA Guys and Dolls and I will buy it.

This could stem from my love of all things Veronica Mars and old noir films - like Sunset Boulevard - but if a book has a noir feel, I'm all for it. ALL FOR IT. I also really like Agatha Christie books. Basically, if there's a good mystery involved, I'm interested.

I don't mean witchcraft - although I used to really like the movie The Craft - I mean MAGIC ala Harry Potter or Tamora Pierce or King Arthur/Merlin times. But anyway, the kind of magic I like is embedded in the universe of the book, which means I mostly read fantasy to find my magic fix.

I've always liked werewolves more than vampires, so any book that's werewolf based (hi Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater) has my attention. Either way, bottom line: NO MORE VAMPIRES. PLEASE.

Personally, I hated my prom. Maybe that's why I like to read about it? Or maybe it's because prom is ALWAYS super dramatic and I'm all about good, dramatic stories with pretty dresses and cute boys (because prom stories also always have cute boys).

It's always like pulling teeth to get me TO the beach but I always love it once I get there. I especially love books I can read once I get there (sometimes they even convince me to GO to the beach, which is even better). Now, everyone knows the best beach reads are books that take place on the beach themselves, so BRING THE BEACH BOOKS.

There are a lot of other things that make me pick up books - ESPECIALLY pretty covers - but this a pretty comprehensive list. What do you guys look for in a book/book summary? Let me know in the comments below!  

April 29, 2013

Bout of Books 7.0: Goals

Bout of Books
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 13th and runs through Sunday, May 19th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 7.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team
This is my second Bout of Books and I think I'm as excited as I was the first time around. Maybe more excited? Who know. I just want to read ALL OF THE BOOKS, busy or not. So once again I must extend a million thank yous to Amanda and Kelly, the lovely hosts of Bout of Books. Ladies, you are the loveliest.

This round of Bout of Books is particularly tricky for me because it takes place during Senior Week. Senior Week is a week full of events for about-to-graduate seniors at my university. While I graduated in December and have been very much enjoying my time NOT in school, I'm still going back for Senior Week to cuddle with all my friends. I've missed them VERY MUCH during my time not in school (said time NOT in school has taken place abroad, no where near said friends) so not only am I going back for Senior Week fun, I'm going back to cling to my college besties like a sloth. This takes priority over reading/blogging (although I will try to do both).

Given this limitation, I'm only going to commit to reading 2 hours a day. This means I'll be reading A LOT fewer books than my last Bout of Books Wrap Up post boasts. But yeah. I'm going to try my very, very best to read 2 hours a day - if not more. 

My goals this time around are a little less lofty than my goals from my first Bout of Books, but I'm still VERY EXCITED.
  • Read at least 3 books from the list below.
  • Participate in at least 1 Twitter chat.
  • Network with bloggers and make awesome new friends.
  • Participate in at least 2 challenges.

So again, I REALLY don't know how many of these I'm actually going to finish but I am going to try very, very hard to get through AT LEAST 3 of them. A couple of them are short and I'm in the middle of two of them so it's not ENTIRELY unrealistic. 

1. Defiance by C.J. Redwine
I started this a little while ago and never finished. I've actually even finished other books while working my way through it because I have it in ebook for and I still sometimes struggle through that (I MUCH prefer the hardcopy). But I'm HOPING to finish it this week!

2. The Boyfriend App by Katie Sise
This is the only book on this list that I didn't bring up to Boston with me this week so if I get to it, it won't be until this weekend, which might make it my Bout of Books grand finale. I kind of like that idea.

3. In the Hands of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce
This one's for #PierceFest. I'm half done but there's still another half to go!

4. Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill
Someone recently told me this one's ADORABLE and I'm ALL FOR adorable so get it to me.

5. Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt 

6. Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi
I read Under the Never Sky about a month ago and now I'm super, SUPER excited to read this one.

7. Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty
I've been talking about reading this one all year and I feel like it's a good, short, read-a-thon type of read so BRING IT ON.

8. Fire by Kristin Cashore 
I LOVED GRACELING so I can only imagine how much I'll love Fire. Trying to contain my excitement here is impossible.

9. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Claire [Audiobook]
I don't know if audiobooks count for Bout of Books but since this week is a week of bus rides - I CANNOT read on buses - I'll be listening to this on the rides. So I don't know if I'm gonna count it but I'm still going to list it here.

Are you guys joining in? Let me know in the comments below so we can chat about our insane life choices!

Review: Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Title: Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky #1)
Author: Veronica Rossi
Release Date: January 3rd, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Page Count: 374
Source: Purchased
Rating: ★★★★☆ 
Aria has lived her whole life in the protected dome of Reverie. Her entire world confined to its spaces, she's never thought to dream of what lies beyond its doors. So when her mother goes missing, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland long enough to find her are slim.
Then Aria meets an outsider named Perry. He's searching for someone too. He's also wild - a savage - but might be her best hope at staying alive.
If they can survive, they are each other's best hope for finding answers.
[Summary Source: Goodreads]

After a brutal Aether storm, Aria suspects something VERY BAD has happened to her mother. To get info, she cozies up to a crazy guy and, long story short, gets herself exiled into the wasteland. BAD NEWS. Until Perry shows up and saves her ass. Perry, like Aria, is seeking someone - his kidnapped nephew. This unlikely pair - Aria, the mole and Perry, the savage - join forces to hunt down their loved ones and figure out the best way to survive a dystopian society that's going to crap.

Let's break this down:

I mostly loved this book. Mostly.

What did I love?

Well, I love me some Aria and Perry. Like whoa. This is a relationship I want all of the more of - partially because they're freaking adorable and awesome and they actually grow to like it other in an believable way. They also have the whole Pocahontas/John Smith vibe going for them. But in reverse. And seeing as though I love Pocahontas, I'M DOWN. Seriously. Definitely one of my favorite Disney movies.

If anyone mentions John Rolfe, I'll throw a hissy.
Oh, and, Aria and Perry are also pretty kick ass as individuals.

I ALSO LOVE ROAR. He's the best friend sidekick ala Kenji in Shatter Me and, like Kenji, I freaking adore everything about him. EVERYTHING I TELL YOU. He's just so wonderful. I haven't read the Roar & Liv novella, but I'm excited to read all about relationship because it's bound to be made of amazing.

All the other characters in this book are pretty stellar as well. Even the psychos in the story are just so deliciously psychotic and 3-dimensional. And you guys know I like my villains believable and somewhat sympathetic, so this book really works for me in that regard.

I guess I have some issues with the writing. Sometimes I feel like I didn't understand how the book got from point A to point B. Like, there'd be a fight and things would just get glossed over. But it was only with the characters actions, not with descriptions. The descriptions of the landscape are really amazing.

But it's just the physical description of the landscape that really works for me. The explanation of some of the stuff still alludes me. I get that Aether is like this cloudy swirly thing that causes mass destruction when angry (kind of like a really bad thunderstorm/hurricane?) but where did it come from? Why it is a thing? What is this turning point they keep talking about in the book? A lot of things are slowly unveiled over the course of the story, so I'm not sure why this is kept from the reader.

That being said, I did like all of the plot twists. Everything that goes on with Aria is killer and explains SO MUCH about her. All the stuff with Perry and his family also work really well. I especially like that there are twists in this story that directly affect Aria and then there are twists that directly affect Perry. Since they're kind of a unit, they both have to deal with everything, but the twists hit home more for one or the other. Which makes sense since the story's told form both of their POVs, but somehow I feel like this isn't the usual. But maybe I'm wrong.

The long and short of it?

Plot: I like. The sci-fi aspect helps it stand out in the sea of dystopians, but it's nothing TOO different. Although, I will say the romance is really special in this one.
World Building: I feel like a lot of the world-building here REALLY WORKS but some of it is lacking. But I tend to let dystopian series have at least 2 books to really get the world in working order before I get judge-y. So, not bad, but not the best either.
Character Development: I love the way the characters progress throughout the book. Everyone just seems to come into their own (protagonist or otherwise) and I love.
Prose: For the most part, sharp, clear and descriptive. However, there are times when the writing is a little TOO vague.
Would I Recommend This Book?: I think everyone was right to recommend this book to me. It's definitely one of the better dystopian series, but it's not full of the feels like I think I thought it would be. So if you're looking for good dystopia with brilliant romance, give it a go. If you're looking for something a little more feels-y, despite the genre, maybe pass for now.

Did YOU feel the feels from this one? Or was it the romance that wow-ed you? If nothing had you loving this book, I'd also like to hear about that! Also, PLEASE talk to me about Pocahontas - even if all you have to say is: "I love John Rolfe" (GROSS). 

Sorry. I needed one more Pocahontas gif and I love Meeko.

April 28, 2013

Veronica Mars Watch-Along Week 6

[Graphic designed by the lovely Judith of Paper Riot]
So, how does this work, super sleuths? Go check out the Watch-Along kick off post for the skinny. I'll give you a second just in case...

All caught up? Good.

In case you already know the basics and just forgot what episodes are up today, here's the list:
  • "Drinking the Kool-Aid"
  • "An Echolls Family Christmas"
And, for NEXT WEEK:
  • "Silence of the Lamb"
  • "Clash of the Tritons"
No big developments on the Lilly Kane case, but there is what to be said of Veronica's parental situation. Or well, THERE REALLY COULD HAVE BEEN if Veronica hadn't destroyed the results of her paternity test. I'm so mad I can't even tell you guys. I mean, V had this impressive inner monologue:

"I sent off for those test results because I wanted the truth. But can a lab tech really see the shape of my soul in a drunken conga line of genes? Jake Kane could be my father but whether he is or isn't, would I really claim him as such and deny the man who raised me?"

So her thoughts/feels/whatever make sense to me, therefore I can't be TOO annoyed at her. But I STILL.

We also find out a little bit more about why Lianne ran. Someone from Kane Software (Clarence Wiedman) stalked V to push her out of town. By the end of "An Echolls Family Christmas" it's pretty clear Jake Kane isn't the guy who gave the order - rather, it was his wife, Celeste. Which makes sense. If your husband was cheating and you could get rid of his lurver, you'd do it. Maybe. Or maybe Celest's just a psycho. Whichever.

Love this movie.
As for the individual episode mysteries, the whole cult with Casey was kind of boring. Yeah, I feel BAD for Casey, but aside from proving Veronica's inability to listen to/trust her father completely, nothing else really happened. In fact, at the end of the episode, Casey's deprogrammed and it's like the whole episode never even happened.

So lame. Tell 'em JT.
The second episode, "An Echolls Family Christmas" has an amaaaaaaaazing mystery that I love to pieces. How V can break it down and solve the crime like that? Bomb dot com. Not only do I love the glimpse into Duncan and Logan's friendship - a friendship that still doesn't make any sense to me what so ever - but Weevil's also an interesting study. I like his brute force attitude.

Wallace: "You better recognize."
Veronica: "Thank you, for being my own personal Springer audience. Should I check myself before I wreck myself?"

Logan (to Weevil): "If you're asking me to the prom again, the answer is still no."

Veronica: "I love the smell of testosterone in the morning."
Logan: "This is why I suggested attack dogs, but no, my mother wanted an alpaca."

Oh and this.
Guys. I can't help that most of my snark quotes have Logan in them. I just can't.

I've already mentioned how V can't listen to her father in this post and every other weekly recap post. It's SO FRUSTRATING. I seriously want to punch her in the face. I mean, we all know she LOVES her pops (SHE WANTS TO SEND HIM TO PADRES CAMP) and he loves her (HE GOT HER A WATERBED), but she can't seem to listen or trust him. This clearly can't end well in the grand scheme of mystery things. 

I also have a lot of issues with Logan's parents. Obviously I hate Aaron. No question. But Lynn wants to SAVE him from threatening letters when she knows what he's doing to her kid. And then she's stabbed and she's all worried and LOGAN'S calling 911? I just... I dunno what I want to happen, but what did happen sucked. SUCKED. I hate Aaron. So much.

I love these boy breakdowns. I also love (hate?) how Logan and Duncan bury the hatchet. It's like, "We cool bro?" and then a nod of the head. I don't get how boys communicate like this.
  • Duncan: He's all "Hey" and I'm all GO HOME DUNCAN, GO HOME. Also, he faked drunk to try and win a poker game? BOOOOO.
  • Logan: He always has the best lines. THE BEST. He's racist and crude, but I can't help but adore him. Is it because his father's abusive? Maybe. I dunno. Guys, I just love him.
  • Weevil: I've already mentioned I like his attitude. He gets shit done.
  • Connor Larkin: Just a little eye candy, I suppose. I like how he called Logan out on his racism, but all in all he's like an annoying older brother I never want to hear from again. Also, does this boy - a MOVIE STAR - not have anything better do to on Christmas Eve than play poker with a bunch of dudes in a pool house? Mystery or not, there's nothing Weevil can do to him.

Clarence Wiedman, the head of Kane Software security, seems like an interesting kind of guy we should all probably pay attention to. There's also Connor, but I don't really care about him.

In the beginning of "An Echolls Family Christmas" Logan and Duncan are pictured wearing the same pair of boxers. This is interesting because usually Logan wears greens/browns and Duncan wears blues. Why, you might ask? UPN (the network that originally aired Veronica Mars) was worried viewers would have a hard time telling Jason Dohring (Logan) and Teddy Dunn (Duncan) apart, so this was implemented to make sense of it all (Source: IMDb).

So a not so favorite and one of my all time favorites for this week. How did the episodes fall out for you guys? And would you mix up my boyfriend with Duncan? God knows I wouldn't, but who knows? Let me know in the comments below!

  • "Silence of the Lamb"
  • "Clash of the Tritons"

April 26, 2013

Picking Your Next Read: Creature Comforts VS. Branching Out

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.

Sometimes I feel like the order in which I'll read the next couple of books on my TBR are similar to my eating habits.

Me too, JLaw, me too.
I bet you're wondering: Huh?

Well, there are people (mostly kids, but also some grown ups), who can eat THE SAME THING every meal, every day. When my brother was younger, he couldn't get enough hotdogs.When I was a kid I consumed so much mac and cheese I can't even tell you (this is still true today, but I try to moderate. With breakfast foods and sushi. CALL ME. LET'S GET DINNER). 

Patrick picks hamburgers.
Then there are people who CANNOT eat the same thing twice in one week. They just get sick of it. It's either TOO MUCH pasta or TOO MUCH chicken or TOO MUCH whatever else. Someone once told me we couldn't get pizza because they'd had that for dinner the night before. I was like... SO?

I feel like these tendencies are similar how people choose their next read.

Some people who like to read contemporary novel after contemporary novel. And then there are others who eat up every paranormal book they can find. They like a genre and they STICK WITH IT. Every now and again they'll read something else, but they're comfortable consuming the same genre of book over and over again and never get sick of it.

But then there are people who CANNOT read the same genre over and over. They'll read a contemporary, then a fantasy, followed by a paranormal, a dystopian, maybe some sci-fi or a historical and then maybe come back around for some more contemporary (not to say people have a schedule like that, but you get the gist). Whether it's a boredom thing or other, they just can't read the same genre two books in a row.

Where do I fall?

I have a tendency to mix it up A LITTLE. Basically what happens is I'll read something that needs SERIOUS world building (dystopian, fantasy, paranormal...) and then need to go back to something a little less magical (contemporary, historical...). Y'know, to help my brain distinguish between worlds and stories or whatever with a dose of reality. But there are no hard-fast rules. If something interesting pops up, I'll skip whatever else is in my immediate TBR pile and read that, regardless of what genre my last read was. Or if I suddenly decide I want to read these three awesome looking (non-series) retellings in a row, I'll do it. So basically what I'm saying is:

I WILL say that I can't bringe read too many series in a row. It's like, y'know how some people can go out and drink Thursday, Friday and Saturday night? Yeah, I can't. Feels are akin to alcohol and I don't do hangovers for either.

TALK TO ME, MY PRETTY READERS! Do you stick with your creature comforts, do you branch out or do you do a mix of both like I do? Let me know all about your food/book picking habits in the comments below!

April 25, 2013

Review: Mind Games by Kiersten White

Title: Mind Games (Mind Games #1)
Author: Kiersten White
Release Date: February 19th, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Page Count: 237
Source: ARCycling
Rating: ★★☆☆☆  
Fia was born with flawless instincts. Her first impulse, her gut feeling, is always exactly right. Her sister, Annie, is blind to the world around her—except when her mind is gripped by strange visions of the future.

Trapped in a school that uses girls with extraordinary powers as tools for corporate espionage, Annie and Fia are forced to choose over and over between using their abilities in twisted, unthinkable ways... or risking each other’s lives by refusing to obey.

In a stunning departure from her New York Times bestselling Paranormalcy trilogy, Kiersten White delivers a slick, edgy, heartstoppingly intense psychological thriller about two sisters determined to protect each other—no matter the cost.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]

In Fia's world, there are some girls who have... special powers, shall we say. Most girls are either Seers (like Fia's sister Annie), Feelers or Readers. Fia, while gifted with these special powers, is none of these things. Instead, she has perfect instincts. After Fia and Annie's parents die, they're brought to a special school that helps girls with said special powers, develop their abilities. But obviously it's not a loving, kind school. No. That would be too easy. Instead, it seems like this school is run by bad guys. Which is how we have a story.

Let's break this down:

So the premise here is pretty interesting. Sounds a little superhero-y and you guys know how I love me some superheros. Yet, I didn't quite love this book. Like at all.

I'm told this book was written in 9 days. Which is mega cool and I am down for that. Well, actually, I'm down for that only if the finished product doesn't read like the the whole thing was written in 9 days. And I don't mean that there was bad grammar or misspelled words - because that's not something that's really likely to occur. I just feel like there should have been more editing and tweaking.

How would this book have benefited from editing and tweaking? Well, first of all, the two protagonists/POVs we hear from? They kind of sound the same. And yeah, they're sisters, so maybe it makes sense that they would sound SIMILAR, but it shouldn't be THE SAME. And then there's the flashbacks. All of the info in the flashbacks was necessary - we needed to understand why Fia was so angry and Annie was so... well, Annie. But I felt like the flashbacks took away from the now. Especially since until the later flashbacks happened, I was still SUPER CONFUSED about so much of the story.

And then I felt like Fia and Annie's characters were very black and white. Fia was just ANGRYPANTS and Annie was all woe-is-me and I guess Fia's anger appealed to me more than Annie's wah-wah attitude, but I can't say either had TOO much depth. I also didn't get what James's deal was. WHY does he flirt with everyone? And why is he ALWAYS lying?

I really just feel like a lot of facts were just dropped on pages and weren't pulled together right. Like, I could totally see this story being AWESOME, but it's not.

All of this being said, I did like the backstory (aka what the flashbacks provided, if not HOW they provided it). I think Fia's had the foundation to be really complex and interesting but in the end she took the martyr role too seriously and I couldn't handle it. And James, even though he's a lying jerk, actually turns out to be someone worth paying attention to, I think.

I dunno, this book just tried to play to the feels A LOT instead of developing the world the story takes place in or the character's voices. I mean, the world building is mostly limited to the room Annie's confined to, which means the reader gets no feel for the universe Kiersten White creates and I've already talked about how Annie and Fia sound like the same people even in their own chapters. And as much as I LOVE feels, these feels are really only here to serve as a blunt, angry/defeatist object that will hit you on the head repeatedly until you can't remember what feels are. There's no real hope at all until the last like 5 pages of the book and even then you don't know what to hope for because we don't really know what's going on.

Also. Adam. He seems a little too nice and normal? And to not want to kill him because he's nice to a puppy? I don't know. I know he's supposed to be super smart or something, but that doesn't make him Perfect Man, the superhero who comes to save everyone always. His character just doesn't seem to fit with the rest of this incredibly angsty story. That being said, I think I'd be WAY more interested in reading a book from HIS point of view.

Okay. Now I'm confused again (I say again because I was this confused when I first finished the book), so I'll stop here.

The long and short of it?

Plot: There was a WHOLE LOT going on and yet nothing really happened. Which sucks.
World Building: I have no idea what the outside world looks like. Is Earth carrying on, business as usual, while girls who have power are just kinda chillin? How have they not been found? Has X-Men taught us nothing?
Character Development: I think the flashbacks explain why our characters are the way they are NOW, I'm just not sure the flashbacks were the most efficient way to do that NOR am I totally satisfied with the fact that we only see past development, not present-to-future growth.
Prose: Despite it's flaws, this book is a quick read because the language is very fluid and easy to get through.
Would I Recommend This Book?: Eh, not really. I might skim the next one depending on how long it is and how busy I am, but yeah, no reason to start.

Have you read this one? Did you like it more than I did? How about Kiersten White's other books. Are they better? Should I give those a try? Let me know in the comments below!

April 24, 2013

Waiting On: You Look Different in Real Life by Jennifer Castle (21)

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

Title: You Look Different in Real Life
Author: Jennifer Castle
Release Date: June 4th, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
The premise was simple: five kids living their real lives, with a new movie about them every five years. But the six-year-olds who shared the same table in kindergarten have become teenagers who are hardly friends. And Justine, whose edgy sense of humor made her the surprise star of the first two films, now feels like a disappointment.

Still, they've all shared the painful details of their lives with countless viewers. They all know how lonely it is to have fans instead of friends. So when the latest movie gives them the chance to reunite, Justine and her costars are going to take it. Because sometimes, the only way to really see yourself is through someone else's eyes.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]
This one's being compared to the works of Sarah Dessen and DEAR GOD does that make me excited. I really hope it's not all hype, but you never know. All I can say is that the cover's pretty, the concept is new and exciting and the author's last name is Castle, which I like a lot. All in all, I feel like this is another Waiting on Wednesday beach read for me. Which is great, because I need excuses for beach days. Or do I need excuses to read beach read books? I really couldn't tell you guys which causes what, but it's all good because I end up on the beach with a book. I'm too pale for my own good.

Have you heard of this one? Does it sound interesting/Dessen-y to you? And how about this streak of Waiting on Wednesday Beach Reads I've been on? Should I shake it up or is this the info you guys are looking for? Let me know in the comments below!

April 23, 2013

Top Ten Books I Thought I'd Like More Than I Did (20)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
I thought about doing this list half and half, but unless there's a book with a summary I FREAK OUT OVER, most books interest me. There are some I'll pass on, but not many. So instead of wracking my brains for 5 books I thought I'd like less, I'm just going to do the full 10 of books that let me down. Which sounds bad. Because you never want anything to disappoint you, but you can't love every since book, y'know?

1. You Have Seven Messages by Stewart Lewis
I just didn't love this one. Absentee parents and a lack of mystery, among other things. I didn't HATE it, I just wanted more from it. It really is a great premise, but that's pretty much where my interest in this book ends. [My Review]

2. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Everyone either loves or hates this one and I just kind of fell in the middle. I really did think I was going to like it. I'm not sure why. Probably because of the historical bits. I love that kind of stuff. But I dunno. This one just didn't do it for me. I'm pretty sure I even liked the movie better. [My Review]

3. Crewel by Gennifer Albin
I WANTED TO MUCH TO LIKE THIS BOOK. Really. The cover is brilliant, it was very much anticipated and the summary's GREAT. But at the end of the day this one was just a giant fail for me. I STILL can't picture what Weaving looks like, which drives me asbolutely crazy. [My Review]

4. The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
I don't know what I thought this book was going to be, but I read the first 80 pages and then DNFed it. A bunch of my books were due back in the library in the next week or so and I was more interested in getting through those than plowing my way through J.K.'s adult fiction. I might give it another go, but it's never going to be what I want it to be, is it?

5. The Selection by Kiera Cass
I WAITED SO LONG TO GET THIS BOOK FROM THE LIBRARY. Truth? I was so DESPERATELY disappointed. It didn't feel dystopian and no one mattered to me except Prince Maxon. I'll still be reading The Elite, but I'm not sure I'm going to be happy about it. [My Review]

6. Requiem by Lauren Oliver
I think A LOT of people wanted to like this one more. I wasn't a HUGE fan of the series but I felt like the last book was a major cop out. Also, I'm still spinning for the abundance of characters featured. Seriously. I need a character map. [My Review]

7. Death & Co. by D.J. McCune
I'm not sure what I thought this book was going to be, but I wanted it to be better. I think I was optimistic because I had JUST finished Ferryman which is another book revolving around Death/a Grim Reaper type character and I LOVE IT. But this one just let me down big time. [My Review]

8. The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell
I read this one as part of a read-along on my blog back when the TV show hit the airwaves. But I didn't like it. Just another book that wasn't what I wanted it to be. I did like the TV show. That was cute. And a lot more of what I wanted both it, as a TV show, and the book to be. [My Review]

9. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
SO MANY PEOPLE love this book and I am just not one of them. I read the first three a while back and I hated myself for it. But once I started the series I couldn't not finish (it's a disease, I swear). I'm still debating as to whether or not I want to read The Infernal Devices series and I think I'm going to. I just hope I don't hate myself for that decision as well. 

10. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
Good old J.K. *sigh* What can I say about this one? I think I got mad at this series at the end of book 5 when Sirius died and nothing J.K. could say or do would make it better. But there's definitely more to it than that. I've had whole hour-long conversations regarding my negative feelings towards this book. It's not that I didn't want the magic to end. I was ready for it by the time this one came out. I just didn't think the final installment did the series justice. 

Tell me, did any of these books let YOU down as well? Or did you write a post about the Top Ten Books You Thought You'd Like Less? That's a much happier list, don't you think? Let me know in the comments below!

April 22, 2013

Review: Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

Title: Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School #1)
Author: Gail Carriger
Release Date: February 5th, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Page Count: 307
Source: Purchased
Rating: ★★★ 
It's one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It's quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to Finishing School.
Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners—and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.
But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine's, young ladies learn to finish...everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but they also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage—in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year's education.
Set in the same world as the Parasol Protectorate, this YA series debut is filled with all the saucy adventure and droll humor Gail Carriger's legions of fans have come to adore.
[Summary Source: Goodreads]

Sophronia is your average, vaguely rebellious teen. She makes lots of trouble for her mother until she's sent off to a finishing school. But this isn't your average finishing school. It's a finishing school for future assassins. An unconventional Finishing School, if you will (you like that pun, don't you?). As the first book in a series, Etiquette & Espionage introduces Sophronia to a Steampunk world filled with exactly what the title suggests: etiquette and espionage.

Let's break this down:

Okay. This book was great because it totally provides some exciting additional STUFF to Gail Carriger's adult Parasol Protectorate series (of which I've read the first 3 books - all 3 of which I ADORED). But it's great for a whole bunch of other reasons as well.

First of all, HEY NOW BOARDING SCHOOL. I love boarding school stories. It gives the characters so much room to flourish away from their parents. Sure, there are teachers and holidays and whatever, but there's something about a quirky bunch of kids who are mostly left to their own devices that really makes for an awesome book. And since this book mostly takes place on a dirigible, I'd say the level of hijinks and such that students are able to get into are tripled. I mean, just Sophronia's discovery of the Sooties was enough to provide me immense joy.

Then there's Sophronia, who's a stubborn, exciting protagonist. And I think now is a good time to say that this book really does remind me of Harry Potter just a little bit. I mean, there's the school itself: an out of the ordinary boarding school with a building/location that can't QUITE be pinpointed - yeah, Hogwarts. But it's more than all that. Sophronia reminds me a lot of Harry himself because she really is brought into a world she had no idea existed. She wasn't one of the girls who was picked up because she was a legacy. She was brought in and introduced to this brand new world she had no idea existed. Furthermore, she's not like the other girls. She hangs out with Sooties, adopts an illegal mechanimal and is overly curious. She's super nice, doesn't have an agenda and REALLY wants to know what the heck is going on at this school.

But y'know what? I don't think we ever really find out what's going on at this school. That's where a lot of my issues with this book come from. At the end of it all we kind of find out how Sophronia got to the school, but I still don't really understand the structure of the institution. Also, how LONG is Sophronia in this school? Hogwarts is explained fairly quickly so the reader AND Harry can (sorta?) know what's going on, but Sophronia just runs around getting into trouble because... what? Why is she potentially endangering herself for a school that kind of kidnapped her?

This confusion didn't make me dislike the book, however. Maybe it's because I'm a lover of the adult series. I really, really enjoyed Vieve, Sidheag and Captain Niall's backstories. Like whoa, I was so happy every time their names appeared on the page. I also LOVE Gail Carriger's Steampunk world and this expansion of it made me SO VERY happy. I think I'm intrigued with this Finishing School idea. To be honest, I was definitely way more excited at the end of the first book in the Parasol Protectorate series, but I'm still interested in finding out where this goes.

The long and short of it?

Plot: The idea of a literal finishing school is PRETTY FREAKING COOL. Especially when it's made up of girls in Victorian style dresses who have to combat the supernatural element.
World Building: A little iffy. I'm not totally sure what's going on at this school but I'm interested in finding out.
Character Development: Sophronia really does seem to grow into a lady, but not a stuck up lady very much unlike the girl she was at the start of the book. She's just more of a refined lady who still sticks up for the little guy and does things HER OWN WAY. And then, of course, there are the characters from the Parasol Protectorate series that pop up and I LOVE learning more about them.
Prose: Prim and proper, just like the Victorian era, I suppose.
Would I Recommend This Book?: I can't tell if my interest and like for this series comes from my interest and LOVE of the Parasol Protectorate series or otherwise. I think I'd recommend the adult series and if you like that, go back and read the Finishing School series.

Do you like Steampunk? How about boarding schools? Gail Carriger? Werewolves? Vampires? Ghosts? OH MY INDEED. Let me know what you guys thought about this one in the comments below!

April 21, 2013

Veronica Mars Watch-Along Week 5

[Graphic designed by the lovely Judith of Paper Riot]
So, how does this work, super sleuths? Go check out the Watch-Along kick off post for the skinny. I'll give you a second just in case...

All caught up? Good.

In case you already know the basics and just forgot what episodes are up today, here's the list:
  • "The Girl Next Door"
  • "Like a Virgin"
And, for NEXT WEEK:
  • "Drinking the Kool-Aid"
  • "An Echolls Family Christmas"

Now I don't have balloon animals for you guys, but I think it's time to get this party started. 

The beginning of "The Girl Next Door" is SERIOUSLY OMINOUS. Okay, maybe V was a little dramatic since things didn't turn out as badly as they clearly could have, but all of her sleuthing was pretty impressive. Because even though she totally got her dad involved at all of the right moments (except for at the very end), she really did solve this one all on her own.

The micro mystery in "Like a Virgin" was also pretty badass. First of all: I love Mac. Second of all, it really demonstrates just how terrible the 09ers on. Kimmie and Pam are actually the worst. I don't even know how anyone would put up with that. But it's definitely nice to see that SOMEONE is still nice to V. I'm not totally sure how Meg can hang out with those awful people, boyfriend aside. She seems like THE NICEST. 

As for the LARGER mysteries:
1. V's Mom/Duncan's Bizarre Behavior
I think pairing these two episodes together was pretty (unintentionally) genius of me (because, y'know, I totally plan this stuff). In "The Girl Next Door" we find out Duncan's Dad and V's Mom were totes in LURVE in high school. Which is kinda gross, but okay. And then we find out when V asked Lilly to find out why Duncan suddenly dropped her without explanation, Lilly just can't seem to be honest with her bestie. And then when V goes to visit Abel Koontz in prison at the end of "Like a Virgin", he's all: "YOU'RE JAKE KANE'S DAUGHTER" and then I just can't even.

Neither can V
2. Lilly's Murder
SOMETHING IS FUNKYTOWN HERE. Koontz won't admit to anything. He also happens to be incredibly creepy so I WISH he'd actually done the deed, but he DIDN'T. So aside from getting to actually see his face at the end of "Like a Virgin" we don't actually learn anything new. I just wanted to point out how creeeptastic he is, y'know?

Principal Clemmons: "Mr. Echolls, I was wondering if I could have a word."
Logan: "Anthropomorphic, all yours big guy."
Principal Clemmons: "Your father has generously offered to donate a pair of books for a school fundraising auction."
Logan: "Not the ones made for walking. God I love those boots."

Teacher: "This is punishment, gentlemen, not party time."
Logan: "Well that would explain the absence of balloon animals."

Veronica (to Wallace): "Our bond goes stronger everyday He Who Has Satellite Dish"

Veronica: "Meg, you're the last good person at this school. I'd believe cartoon birds braided your hair this morning."

Veronica (to Keith): "Overstepping if your main form of transportation."


Also, the whole thing with Wallace's mom was pretty messed up, but Keith basically became my favorite person ever when he fixed the issue. DON'T MESS WITH PAPA MARS. Unless you're his wife, in which case feel free to cheat? (returns back to my complete and utter WHAT moment found in the last paragraph). God, Lianne Mars, you have SO VERY MUCH to answer for.

In this episode Logan and Weevil get along a little. But not really? Because I don't think they can ever REALLY get along, based on all of the things we learned in these two episodes. It's really too bad because I love them, especially together. That detention scene (and ALMOST everything that came after) was FUN.

  • Duncan: I think they're trying to make him seem like a nice guy at this point? But really I'm still bored. Not to mention, he's still totally lying to V and I'm not interested in that either. I don't know why Pam would get all fussy over him, but he's rich, I guess.
  • Wallace: This boy is the bomb dot com. That's really all I have to say. 71% good, 100% pure awesome.
  • Logan: I just love how snarky he is. Don't you? Really. I don't think Lilly understood what she had, otherwise what comes next wouldn't happen.
  • Weevil: WEEVIL HAD A THING WITH LILLY. THEY WERE A THING. LILLY CHEATED ON LOGAN. Ugh. Ugh ugh ugh. I just can't even. I 

Clothes. In the toilet. Really? Dear GOD. This school takes their bullying really seriously. First slashed tires, now clothing in toilets? And then this password stealing and purity test rigging? I get the rumors but this is a whole new level. GET REAL HOBBIES YOU WEIRDOES.

Tina Fey: The Queen of the Eye Roll
Cliff gets a more prominent role in this episode, which I like, but the new characters introduced this episode are Mac and Meg. Ms. Mackenzie is sly, clever, fairly savvy and one of the character I want to see moremoremore of. Meg's also pretty awesome. She's sweet and seems to actually like Veronica. Yeah, I have issues with her since she's still friends with a ridiculous bunch of jerks, but she's not the worst, so I'll take it.

I thought it would be cool to throw this bit in since we just met Meg. Apparently, the actress who plays Meg, Alona Tal, tried out of the role of Veronica Mars. Kristen Bell clearly took the cake, but Rob Thomas like Alona Tal so much, he created the recurring role of Meg for her (Source: IMDb).

Did you know my fun fact? How do you feel about Mac and Meg? What about the whole Weevil-Logan-Lilly triangle. I mean, whoa, right? Oh, and speaking of whoa: WHO IS VERONICA'S DADDY? Talk to me in the comments below, would ya?


  • "Drinking the Kool-Aid"
  • "An Echolls Family Christmas"

April 18, 2013

Review: Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe by Shelley Coriell

Title: Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe
Author: Shelley Coriell
Release Date: May 1st, 2012
Publisher: Abrams
Page Count: 299
Source: Purchased
Rating: ★★★★☆
Big-hearted Chloe Camden is the queen of her universe until her best friend shreds her reputation and her school counselor axes her junior independent study project. Chloe is forced to take on a meaningful project in order to pass, and so she joins her school’s struggling radio station, where the other students don’t find her too queenly. Ostracized by her former BFs and struggling with her beloved Grams’s mental deterioration, lonely Chloe ends up hosting a call-in show that gets the station much-needed publicity and, in the end, trouble. She also befriends radio techie and loner Duncan Moore, a quiet soul with a romantic heart. On and off the air, Chloe faces her loneliness and helps others find the fun and joy in everyday life.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]

Chloe skates through life on kickass vintage heels. Yeah, she has problems, but she pretty much goes through life without much strife. Until her best friends stop talking to her, her Junior Year Project gets all messed up and her mother and Grams start really going at it. Now, Chloe, the outgoing friend to all, finds herself alone - something she's never been before. But Chloe's not the kind of girl to just sit down and take it. Nah. Homegirl finds fun and family in the strangest of places and she does in style.

Let's break this down: 

I love, love, love this book. I've read it twice now and both times I couldn't put it down.

First of all, I love the characters. Chloe is so much fun. She's headstrong and sweet and charismatic - all things I love about a main character. My one glaring issue with her is the way she characterizes herself as super loyal - and even comes off as super loyal throughout the course of the book - and yet it seems that the big blow out with her bestie took place because she was a flake. So... I don't know. I mean, she's charismatic, so she loves the limelight, but enough to fail her bestie big time? I don't know.

In general, I also kind of wish the bestie conflict was discussed more. It's kind of glossed over. And I get that it's the push off for the book and therefore it had to happen, but it's never TRULY dealt with. So it's awkward.

But the rest of the book is so fabulous and fun and thoughtful that I can't even be TOO annoyed about that aspect of the book. Like, I totally forget about the best friend blow out plot hole until it's highlighted a few times throughout the course of the book and I'm forced to focus on it. I mean, Chloe really is a force to be reckoned with. And the way she views life is so refreshing. She't not even a little "woe is me." Her negative feels take a major backseat because she knows she has to work to fix what's causing said negative feels (AKA help make things better for the people she loves). It's that kind of eternal optimism that admire because I know it exists, I just don't have it.

Also, I totally love Duncan and Chloe's Grams. I like everyone else, too, but Duncan and Chloe's grandma really are my favorite. And I love how they interact with each other. AND I really, really love what Chloe does for both of them. I mean, it's not totally selfless or anything, since she benefits from improving their lots in life, but I've never met a selfless teen, so that feels right.

I definitely also need to mention Chloe's radio station family. And what really needs to be stressed here is the word FAMILY. Everyone in that module is so incredibly different. They're the outcasts, I guess you could say. And they've FOUND EACH OTHER in high school, which is even more astounding. Reading about them is like reading about everything I always wished I had in high school and it kind of gives me hope. Not to mention, the interaction between Chloe and this group of radio outcasts is really interesting. As in, Chloe doesn't REALLY belong, but she does all at the same time and seeing how she fits in, helps them and whatever else is really complex and exciting (and totally makes me forget about Chloe's other friendship plotholes).

And finally, the prose of this book is just as fun and delightful as Chloe is. I really like when the tone of the book matches the personality of the main character. Even if the book's not first person, it just seems RIGHT to me. 

The long and short of it?

Absolutely adorable, totally delightful and really fills the reader with hope. Oh, and there's a really cute boy who has some communication issues but knows how to fix stuff, so... yeah. One of him for me, please.
World Building: Chloe's BFF drama is a little rough around the edges, isn't fully dealt with and doesn't really fit with the story beyond being the starting point for the book (which seems major but somehow doesn't bother me so much), but other than that the structure here is good.
Character Development: Chloe really gets her shit together. She splits away from her popular clique and realizes that there's so much more to life than just what's happening around her. Not to mention there's a lot of growth for Duncan and Chloe's Grams as well - have I mentioned how much I love those two yet?
Prose: Cute, quirky and bold, just like Chloe.
Would I Recommend This Book?: If you can stomach the inconsistencies in the backstory, ABSOLUTELY. I love this book so much I even did a guest post on Molli's blog (Once Upon a Prologue). Seriously. The only reason this isn't a 5-star read is because of the plot holes. Even though the feels totally got me in this book, I can't ignore the plot-holes.

I feel like I always have to ask what you guys thought of the boy, SO, who's got the hots for Duncan? And how about Chloe? Did her eternal optimism grate on your last nerve or did you love it as much as I did? Sound off in the comment below! 

April 17, 2013

Waiting On: All I Need by Susane Colasanti (20)

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

Title: All I Need
Author: Susane Colasanti
Release Date: May 21st, 2013
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
The last night of summer is only the beginning.

Skye wants to meet the boy who will change her life forever. Seth feels their instant connection the second he sees her. When Seth starts talking to Skye at the last beach party of the summer, it’s obvious to both of them that this is something real. But when Seth leaves for college before they exchange contact info, Skye wonders if he felt the same way she did—and if she will ever see him again. Even if they find their way back to each other, can they make a long-distance relationship work despite trust issues, ex drama, and some serious background differences?

Teen favorite Susane Colasanti returns to the alternating-voice style of her beloved debut When It Happens in this Serendipity-inspired story about summer, soul mates, and the moments that change our lives forever.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]
I love Susane Colasanti for a lot of reasons, but mostly because she's one of those authors I can depend on to write good, solid stand-alones that make me feel all the requisite contemporary happy feels. Not to mention the summary of this book seems a little more mature, which I've come to appreciate recently. Oh, and, if this book doesn't SCREAM beach read, I don't know what does, so I'm pretty sure that's what I'm gonna save this one for. 

Are you a Susane Colasanti fan? More importantly, how much do YOU want to take this to beach this summer? Let me know in the comments below!

April 16, 2013

Top Ten Books Everyone's Read But Me That I'm Dying to Read (19)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
It's Top Ten REWIND week! So I went on The Broke and the Bookish blog, looked at the list of previous topics and decided to COMBINE two topics. So I'm taking Top Ten Books Everyone's Read But Me and Top Ten Books That I'm Dying to Read and rolling it all into one. Because why would I be dying to read all these books that my blogger friends have read and raved about?

1. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
I've actually already purchased this book. It's sitting on my bed back in NYC, waiting for me to reenter the country and pounce on top of it. Which I will, partially because everyone loves it and because my friend Leah once told me that whenever she shows the author pictures to our friends back at school they ask if I've aged, taken on a pseudonym and written a book. Because apparently I'll look like Rainbow Rowell in a couple of years? I don't know. 

2. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
I actually have plans to read this one with Rachel and Gillian as soon as I can download the ebook from my library website. Which could take a while. But a lot of people I know have been raving about this book recently (notably Judith), so I should get on that. 

3. The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
I LOVE fantasy and everyone tells me this one's REALLY GOOD. And Margot's always raving about it on Tea Time. So basically I have a million incentives to read this one, so I just need to DO IT, y'know?

4. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
This is another book I'm just about to start. Again, I love fantasy so I'm excited for this one - partially because everyone loves it, but also because all three books are already out so I won't have to wait. 

5. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
I only hear good, squeal-y things about this book. And I love squeal-y books. But I'm waiting until the cover redesign to buy all of the books in the series. 

6. Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty
I think everyone read this series back when I was devouring Tamora Pierce books/only had eyes for fantasy books. So I guess I need to backtrack and work my way through this series.

7. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Confession time? I'd never even heard of Melina Marchetta until a couple of months ago when my friend Leah (yes, the same Leah from #1 on this list) told me she was her favorite (this is when I confessed my love of Tamora Pierce to her). I bought Jellicoe Road soon after but haven't gotten around to it yet. Soon, Leah. Soon.

8. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
My friend Lexi has been pushing me to read this one since LONG before I was a blogger. And then I became a blogger and you guys were all READREADREAD. I'm getting there, guys, I promise. Especially since book 2 is coming out super soon. And Sarah J. Maas is going to BEA. All exciting.

9. Across the Universe by Beth Revis
This is another complete trilogy. And it's about outer space? I like outer space. I didn't always - I wasn't that little kid who wanted to be an astronaut or anything. But the recent development of my obsession with Doctor Who has changed a couple of things in my life, to be sure.

10. Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
Yet another finished series. Everyone FREAKED OUT when Boundless came out, so angels or not, I REALLY want to read it. 

Considering one of the qualifiers of this list is "books everyone's read," tell me, WHICH SHOULD I READ FIRST? Let me know in the comments below!