Saturday, May 31, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (47)

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!  It is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Pam's Weekly Haul
The Immortal Crown by Richelle Mead
City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare
Just One Night by Gayle Forman:  This was the last chapter we were waiting for!!
Tease by Sophie Jordan

From NetGalley:
Crushed by Eliza Crewe

What books did you add to your shelves this week?

Friday, May 30, 2014

Book Review: The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes

The Art of Lainey
Author:  Paula Stokes
Publisher: HarperTeen, 384 pages
Publication Date:  May 20, 2014

From Goodreads:
Soccer star Lainey Mitchell is gearing up to spend an epic summer with her amazing boyfriend, Jason, when he suddenly breaks up with her—no reasons, no warning, and in public no less! Lainey is more than crushed, but with help from her friend Bianca, she resolves to do whatever it takes to get Jason back.

And that’s when the girls stumble across a copy of The Art of War. With just one glance, they're sure they can use the book to lure Jason back into Lainey’s arms. So Lainey channels her inner warlord, recruiting spies to gather intel and persuading her coworker Micah to pose as her new boyfriend to make Jason jealous. After a few "dates", it looks like her plan is going to work! But now her relationship with Micah is starting to feel like more than just a game.

What's a girl to do when what she wants is totally different from what she needs? How do you figure out the person you're meant to be with if you're still figuring out the person you're meant to be?

Such a cute and fun read…I'm a sucker for the fake dating plot.  And the opposites attract plot.  The whole book just made me smile.

Poor Lainey, I felt bad for her.  She's been dating Jason since her freshman year and her entire identity is tied to being his girlfriend.  Who is she if she's not with Jason? Even though this book is romance heavy, it's also about Lainey figuring out who she is and she shows amazing character growth.  She gets out of her comfort zone, which is exactly what she needed to do.

Hated Jason given the way he broke up with her.  Who does that?  It would have made more sense  (the whole plot to win him back) if he hadn't been such a jerk, but it made it easy to root for Lainey and Micah.

Micah…incredible guy (still trying to picture the Mohawk, though…and like it).  I loved that he cared so much for his little sister.  Loved that he enjoyed baking. Loved that he didn't take crap from Lainey and he was so confident in who he was. Their fake dates were the best part of the book. An excellent contemporary…definitely recommend.

Posted by:  Pam

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: June Pick

Waiting on Wednesday features upcoming releases and is hosted by Breaking the Spine. This is our monthly post, where we pick book(s) that are coming out in the next month that we just cannot wait for. That we're absolutely dying to read. 

Our June Pick:

Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3)
Author:  Leigh Bardugo
Publisher:  Henry Holt & Co., 432 pages
Expected Publication Date:  June 17, 2014

From Goodreads:
The capital has fallen. The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation's fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova's amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling's secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

Oh Alina, Mal…how will this end???  And you Mal haters, how can you be rooting for The Darkling????  

Monday, May 26, 2014

Series Review: Everneath Series

Author: Brodi Ashton 
Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Everneath (Everneath #1)
Everneath Publication Date: January 24, 2012

Everbound (Everneath #2)
Everbound Publication Date: January 22, 2013

Evertrue (Everneath #3)
Evertrue Publication Date: January 21, 2014

Narrator: Amy Rubinate
Audiobook Publisher: Harper Audio
Everneath Listening Length: 9 hours and 42 minutes
Everbound Listening Length: 8 hours and 21 minutes
Evertrue Listening Length: 8 hours and 30 minutes

I have never been a fan of what I call Romeo and Juliet story lines where star-crossed young lovers either die for one another or are willing to die for one another.  So why I chose to listen to the Everneath series is a bit of a mystery even to me but I enjoyed it nonetheless. 

Here is my main complaint with this type of plot, I just don’t get it.  Some might say I’m not romantic enough and I would probably agree because I never experienced that head over heels, can’t think of anything else, all-consuming love that some teenagers experience.  I completely get the girl falls in love with best guy friend storyline so that is probably what kept me hooked with this series since both plots are running through the book.

While this is definitely a romance book it also has an epic journey and lots of world-building related to Greek mythology.  The basic storyline is Boy and Girl are childhood friends and Boy becomes super popular.  Girl quietly waits for Boy to notice.  Boy notices.  New older boy enters the picture and creates doubt and uncertainty.  Girl willing to die for childhood Boy friend.  Childhood Boy friend willing to die for Girl.  New older boy willing to die for Girl.  All must work together to save Girl. 

The main Greek myth around which this book is developed is the story of Hades and Persephone.  I enjoyed the world building related to the Everlivings and the Everneath.  There was just the right amount of description and action to keep the book interesting.  What I thought the story lacked however was conversation between the characters and I wish the secondary characters had been more fully developed.  As an audiobook, the narrator did a nice job even when she had to change the tone of voice for one of the main characters when he was suffering from amnesia. 

Overall good series but not one I would have returned to if I had to wait a year for the next book.  So I would recommend getting all three and just committing to the whole series if you are in the mood for Greek mythology, sacrifice in the name of romance, and a journey to destroy the Everneath. 

Posted By: Sheri

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (46)

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!  It is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Pam's Weekly Haul
From the library:
Sean Griswold's Head by Lindsey Leavitt
Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

The Rules for Breaking by Ashley Elston
The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes

From NetGalley:
Oblivion by Sasha Dawn
Sheri's Bounty of Books
The Chapel Wars by Lindsey Leavitt
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

YA SYNC (Free Audiobooks During the Summer):
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
The Reluctant Assassin (W.A.R.P. 1) by Eoin Colfer

What books did you add to your shelves this week?

Friday, May 23, 2014

Book Review: The Wizard's Promise by Cassandra Rose Clarke

The Wizard's Promise (The Hanna Duology #1)
Author:  Cassandra Rose Clarke
Publisher:  Strange Chemistry, 329 pages
Publication Date:  May 6, 2014
*ARC received from publisher via NetGalley

From Goodreads:
All Hanna Euli wants is to become a proper witch – but unfortunately, she’s stuck as an apprentice to a grumpy fisherman. When their boat gets caught up in a mysterious storm and blown wildly off course, Hanna finds herself further away from home than she’s ever been before.

As she tries to get back, she learns there may be more to her apprentice master than she realized, especially when a mysterious, beautiful, and very non-human boy begins following her through the ocean, claiming that he needs Hanna’s help.

I really wanted to like this book because I loved The Assassin's Curse (see my review here) and The Pirate's Wish (see my review here) and this book is set in that same world.  But honestly, it was just okay for me.  Hanna is a fisherwoman who wants to be a witch.  Her apprentice pretty much kidnaps her and she's stuck on the boat, having no idea what's going on.  She keeps asking, but he won't tell her.  Then there's a mysterious guy swimming alongside the boat, but he also won't tell her anything.  Hanna is frustrated and let me tell you, I was too.  Because that's all that happens for about half of the book.  Basically, nothing.  

The plot does pick up a bit after that, and by the end of the book, I was enjoying the story, but it came way too late for me.  It sort of read like a big introduction because almost nothing happens.  Hanna finally finds out what the deal is with her apprentice and with the mysterious guy, and then it ends.  Just when it was getting good.

I did like the world-building and the potential is there for a great story, but honestly, I was a bit bored.  

Posted by:  Pam

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Book Review: After the End by Amy Plum

After the End (After the End #1)
Author:  Amy Plum
Publisher:  HarperTeen, 352 pages
Publication Date:  May 6, 2014

From Goodreads:
World War III has left the world ravaged by nuclear radiation. A lucky few escaped to the Alaskan wilderness. They've survived for the last thirty years by living off the land, being one with nature, and hiding from whoever else might still be out there.

At least, this is what Juneau has been told her entire life.

When Juneau returns from a hunting trip to discover that everyone in her clan has vanished, she sets off to find them. Leaving the boundaries of their land for the very first time, she learns something horrifying: There never was a war. Cities were never destroyed. The world is intact. Everything was a lie.

Now Juneau is adrift in a modern-day world she never knew existed. But while she's trying to find a way to rescue her friends and family, someone else is looking for her. Someone who knows the extraordinary truth about the secrets of her past.

I loved this book and here's why:

1.  Juneau is such a strong character.  She knows how to hunt, make a fire, fight, etc.  She also never loses sight of her mission and even though she's overwhelmed with the modern-day world, she figures things out and adapts.  

2.  I also liked Miles, although at first he's a jerk.  He's soft, spoiled, and used to getting what he wants.  I actually loved the contrast between Miles and Juneau because it was so different.  He practically throws up when Juneau hunts and kills a rabbit and skins it right in front of him (he calls her a bunny murderer).  Such a refreshing change to have the guy be helpless in the wilderness, you definitely don't see that often.  I enjoyed them both being suspicious of each other, but needing each other at the same time.  Juneau knows she can't trust him, and at first she thinks he's an idiot, and Miles basically thinks she's crazy.  But that changes and I loved the evolution of their relationship.

3.  The plot.  Having this group of people living in isolation and keeping all of these secrets and Juneau gradually putting together the pieces of why.  Fascinating.  There's a road trip, survival in the wilderness, bickering, and different groups chasing them.  

Yes, it ends abruptly with a cliffhanger, but other than that I have no complaints. I can't wait until the next one.  Enjoyed this one immensely!  

Posted by:  Pam

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Book Review: The Revealed by Jessica Hickam

The Revealed
Author:  Jessica Hickam
Publisher:  SparkPress, 314 pages
Expected Publication Date:  June 17, 2014
*ARC received from publisher via NetGalley

From Goodreads:
Lily Atwood lives in what used to be called Washington, D.C. Her father is one of the most powerful men in the world, having been a vital part of rebuilding and reuniting humanity after the war that killed over five billion people. Now he’s running to be one of its leaders.

But in the rediscovered peace on Earth, a new enemy has risen. They call themselves the Revealed – a powerful underground organization that has been kidnapping 18 year olds across the globe without reservation. No one knows why they are kidnapping these teens, but it’s clear something is different about these people. They can set fires with a snap of their fingers and create a wind strong enough to barrel over a tree with a flick of their wrist. No one has been able to stop them, and they have targeted Lily as their next victim.

But Lily has waited too long to break free from her father’s shadow to let some rebel organization just ruin everything. Not without a fight.

This book was fast-paced with an interesting premise, but I did have some issues with it.  Over the last five years 18 year olds have disappeared, taken by The Revealed.  Lily lives a privileged life, but she's basically a prisoner in her house because she's been targeted by The Revealed.  She's not allowed to go to school and she's counting down the days until she turns 19 when she'll be safe.  But somehow The Revealed keep leaving her threatening notes, in her house, so she knows there's no way to stop them and she's just waiting to be taken.  The set-up was fascinating, but I did have unanswered questions about the world.  Apparently there was a war, a lot of people died, and everyone lives on the east coast, with the west a wasteland.  At one point, nuclear war is mentioned, but that's it.  We're not told where bombs were dropped, who the enemy is, etc.  

I liked Lily, for the most part.  She's always been in the shadow of her father, getting a lot of attention because of who he is, which she doesn't enjoy.  She's unsure of herself and who she wants to be.  She grows and changes throughout the novel, becoming stronger.  

The romance…way too fast and underdeveloped.  They barely spend any time together, but he's all Lily can think about.  And what is his story?  It's never explained.  He was pretty awful to her in high school and he never tells her why and suddenly he cares about her.  What?

Finally, The Revealed.  Once that part of the story becomes the focus, the book seemed really rushed and some of it didn't make sense to me. Lily didn't seem to care about what they did to her, without her permission.  And the mission, with no one really in charge.  Finally, why wouldn't they try to explain themselves to the public?  

Overall, I enjoyed the book, it was fun read, but I did have some issues with certain aspects of it.

Posted by:  Pam

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Book Review: Rebel Heart by Moira Young

Rebel Heart (Dustlands #2)
Author: Moira Young
Publisher:  Margaret K. McElderry, 432 pages
Publication Date:  October 30, 2012

From Goodreads:
Saba thought her world would return to normal after they defeated the Tonton and rescued her kidnapped brother Lugh. The family head west for a better life and a longed-for reunion with Jack. But a formidable enemy is on the rise. What is the truth about Jack? And how far will Saba go to get what she wants?

My emotions are all over the place right now. I liked the book, but so many things made me crazy. It's raw, emotional, and dark. Horrible things happen. Saba is going through a bad time, and I felt torn about that. On the one hand, I hated badass Saba being so weak emotionally. That's what made Blood Red Road such an incredible read was having such a strong heroine. Her strength was her…strength. And not to have that….

On the other hand, her falling apart made the book, and Saba, feel more realistic. She has been through a horrific things. Being a prisoner, having to fight, killing Epona, etc. She was so focused on getting to Lugh and now that she accomplished that, it makes sense that she would start feeling everything she had pushed down. So it all bubbles to the surface and about the first quarter of the book Saba is basically freaking out.

Then it's another journey. To find Jack. There are two things that bother me about this. First, that's what Blood Red Road was about, only instead of finding Jack it was finding Lugh. So it was a bit repetitive as far as that goes. And then Jack. He's barely in the book! I hate when the author chooses that route to keep the main characters apart. And then when he is in the book…Jack, you are a stupid stupid guy and I'm disappointed in you. You make me wonder how much you actually care about Saba.

And then DeMalo. And the heartstone. I can't say anything because it will spoil things, but let me just say. No. Freaking. Way. I don't like where this is going. And Lugh. I couldn't stand him in this book. Obviously he went through a lot being a prisoner, and we don't get to find out what, but still. The way he just kept on and on about Jack. Before there was even a reason to think anything bad. Although, in the end, I have to admit that he has a point, and I actually agree with him.

I love Molly…and Maev…and Emmi. Tommo…I'm worried. I love the animals (crow, wolfdog, camel, horse), who have as much personality as people and who play a large role in the book.

I know this review makes absolutely no sense if you haven't read the book, but this is what happens when I write a review right after reading the book. But I'm about to start the next one so I wanted to go ahead and write it. I still highly recommend this series, and I guess the fact that I feel so strongly about the characters and what is happening speaks volumes.

The world Moira Young has created is eerie, stark, dangerous, and brutal.  

Posted by:  Pam

Monday, May 19, 2014

Book Review: The Chapel Wars by Lindsey Leavitt

The Chapel Wars
Author:  Lindsey Leavitt
Publisher:  Bloomsbury USA Childrens, 304 pages
Publication Date:  May 6, 2014

From Goodreads:
Sixteen-year-old Holly wants to remember her Grandpa forever, but she’d rather forget what he left her in his will: his wedding chapel on the Las Vegas strip. Whatever happened to gold watches, savings bonds, or some normal inheritance?

And then there's Grandpa's letter. Not only is Holly running the business with her recently divorced parents, but she needs to make some serious money—fast. Grandpa also insists Holly reach out to Dax, the grandson of her family's mortal enemy and owner of the cheesy chapel next door. No matter how cute Dax is, Holly needs to stay focused: on her group of guy friends, her disjointed family, work, school and... Dax. No wait, not Dax.

Holly’s chapel represents everything she’s ever loved in her past. Dax might be everything she could ever love in the future. But as for right now, there's a wedding chapel to save.

This book is freaking adorable.  I loved it and here's why:

1.  Holly.  She's an amazing main character.  Her voice is funny and fresh.  She's smart, witty, with a dry sense of humor.  

"What was there even to tell so far?  We'd kissed twice.  We'd exchanged a few texts.  I thought about him constantly.  I'd named our first three children."

"Shirtless, I fully believed he had the manly capacity to chop down trees, wrestle a bear, and eat three steaks in one sitting."

2.  Dax.  So darn cute.  A good guy, but with some flaws so he felt real.  

"Really, numbers girl.  You couldn't count all the ways you have my heart."

3.  Holly and Dax together.  Their banter.  I laughed out loud so many times.  
Best. Dialogue. Ever.

"Moths are also the most intelligent winged insect."

"Have you heard the expression, 'like moths to a flame'? They're idiots."

"You're a dream crasher."

4.  Family.  It's such an important part of this book.  Holly loved her grandfather so much and his chapel means everything to her.  She's loyal and will do whatever it takes to keep the business going.  The family dynamic in this book just works.  The mom and dad…divorced but still working together.  Holly's little brother…ignored by his parents and having some anger issues.  It's messy, but oh so real.

5.  It's set in Las Vegas.  Loved that.

Writing this review just makes me want to read it again.  

Posted by:  Pam

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Book Review: My Own Mr. Darcy

My Own Mr. Darcy 
Author: Karey White
Publisher: Orange Door Press
Publication Date: July 15, 2013

From Goodreads:
After being dragged to the 2005 movie Pride and Prejudice by her mother, sixteen-year-old Elizabeth’s life changes when Matthew Macfadyen’s Mr. Darcy appears on the screen. Lizzie falls hard and makes a promise to herself that she will settle for nothing less than her own Mr. Darcy. This ill-advised pledge threatens to ruin any chance of finding true love. During the six intervening years, she has refused to give any interested suitors a chance. They weren’t Mr. Darcy enough. Coerced by her roommate, Elizabeth agrees to give the next interested guy ten dates before she dumps him. That guy is Chad, a kind and thoughtful science teacher and swim coach. While she’s dating Chad, her dream comes true in the form of a wealthy bookstore owner named Matt Dawson, who looks and acts like her Mr. Darcy. Of course she has to follow her dream. But as Elizabeth simultaneously dates a regular guy and the dazzling Mr. Dawson, she’s forced to re-evaluate what it was she loved about Mr. Darcy in the first place.

So my last Pride and Prejudice redo was such a disaster that I immediately tried again and I am so glad I did.  I ABSOLUTELY loved this book. I should say up front though that this is not YA.  The main character is a year out of college and she is dating two men several years out of college.  That said, the content and story are appropriate for YA and the book serves as a great reminder for not letting one's "dream guy" limit who one actually dates.   

This book was a really creative take on the age old question of, why do we fall for the  jerk when there is a wonderful person just waiting for us to notice?  Since there is absolutely no surprise about who the MC is going to end up with I don't think I need a spoiler alert at this point but if you haven't figured it out from the Goodreads summary you should stop reading now. 

I loved Chad and  I generally liked Matt.  I was really glad the author, Karey White, kept Matt as a mostly nice guy who simply wasn't the right person for Elizabeth.  In doing this she gives the reader the opportunity to really understand why this decision was such a struggle for Elizabeth.  I also truly appreciated how she worked in the standard Austen themes of family life and social class.  If you want to read a book that has a predictable plot, is a little bit sappy, and has you rooting for the good guy then this is the book for you!

Posted By: Sheri

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (45)

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!  It is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Pam's Weekly Haul
After the End by Amy Plum
Rebel by Amy Tintera
Free to Fall by Lauren Miller
Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae

From the Library:
Raging Star by Moira Young
Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

From Edelweiss:
Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld
True Fire by Gary Meehan

What books did you add to your shelves this week?

Friday, May 16, 2014

Help! Should I Read the Last Book?

I recently read the first two books in a series written by an author I love (I've read two of her other series and loved both of them).  For some reason, before I started reading the last book, I looked it up on Goodreads, was scrolling down, and read a spoiler (without any warning, I might add).  This spoiler informed me that the main character ends up with a different guy.  I couldn't believe it.  And now I don't know if I should finish it.

This got me to thinking about love triangles.  Now, to be honest, most love triangles aren't really love triangles.  There's another guy, but usually there's no contest.  The main character is clearly in love with one guy, and this other guy is just there to muck things up.  But recently I have read two other series where the first love interest (not a boyfriend to start with, that's a whole other thing) turns out not to be the guy she ends up with.  And you know how that happens?  By turning the first love interest into a bad guy.  One of these series is very well known and I could mention it, but I'm not mentioning any books or authors so I don't spoil anything for anyone. That one made me crazy.  But then I read another series, and the first guy suddenly turns evil.  I mean, EVIL.  There is some explanation, but I was shocked.  And so she ends up with some guy that was barely in the first two books (to be honest, I don't even know if he was in the first book).  

Part of me thinks this is a good thing.  Shakes things up.  It's unexpected.  But what annoys me is that it's because the first guy changes into someone else.  Versus the girl just realizing that he's not the one.  

So that leads me to my dilemma.  Should I read this last book?  I'm telling you, this guy is amazing.  He is wonderful.  And if the author turns him evil, I will be incredibly angry.  But it's hard for me to know this and not read it and see how it all happens.  This author has never even had a love triangle in any of her other series, so this was different to begin with, and then for this to happen.  Help!  What should I do? 

And have you read many books where the girl ends up with a different guy from the first guy?  Where she ends up with the interfering guy?  

Posted by:  Pam

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Two for One Review: Dangerous Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Dangerous Creatures (Dangerous Creatures #1)
Authors: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers, 368 pages
Expected Publication Date: May 20, 2014
*ARC received from publisher via NetGalley

From Goodreads:
Ridley Duchannes will be the first to tell you that she's a bad girl. She's Dark. She's a Siren. You can never trust her, or even yourself when she's around. Lucky for her, Wesley "Link" Lincoln can never seem to remember that; quarter Incubus or not, his heart is Mortal when it comes to Ridley. When Link heads to New York City to start a music career, Ridley goes along for the ride-and she has her own reasons. As if leaving small-town Gatlin for the big city, trying to form a band, and surviving life with a partially reformed Siren isn't hard enough already, Link soon learns he has a price on his head that no Caster or Mortal can ever pay.

Sheri's Review:
Having previously listened to the Beautiful Creatures series this was my first experience with the written words of Garcia and Stohl who have a lovely writing style in my opinion. Even though the main characters, Ridley and Link, have moved to New York I still felt the pull of Southern culture thorough out this story. Since I loved this aspect of the original series it helped me to continue to feel connected to the Beautiful Creatures series. That said, I don't think you need to read Beautiful Creatures to enjoy this book. The character of Ridley and her backstory and her choices are interesting enough. Learning more about Sirens and their place in Caster order was fascinating. The complexity of the relationships between Casters and Incubuses continues to intrigue me.

Link continues to make me laugh but he also makes me feel melancholy about the fierce attachments young people make even when the relationships are not good for them. I thought the new characters making up the New York band were inventive, fun, and just creepy enough.

I would definitely recommend this book to fans of the Beautiful Creatures series or to readers who have no idea who Ethan and Lena are and why Gatlin is such an important place.

Questions for Others: There was something not quite right in the timeline presented in the book regarding Ridley, her time in Barbados, and the new "friends" she makes in New York. I can't wait to hear what others think about this.

Pam's Review:
I enjoyed this book, but I felt like I was dropped right in the middle of it with no explanation. The authors definitely assume you have recently read the Beautiful Creatures series. It's been awhile for me and I would have liked more reminders on who people were and even the world and how everything worked.

Ridley was an interesting main character. I didn't really like her in the Beautiful Creatures series and I didn't like her for a lot of this book, but she grew on me. Part of the reason she did is because she grows and changes throughout the book. She's struggling with her fate, her destiny to be dark, and wanting to be different. The authors include scenes between Ridley and Lena from when they were young, before Ridley was claimed by the dark side, and those scenes added to the complexity of her character and made me feel more sympathetic toward her.

Link…still not the biggest fan of him and he doesn't add a lot to this story except for being Ridley's connection to being good, even being human.

There was one character whose name I won't mention so I don't spoil things, but I didn't get why that character cared so much about Ridley. It sort of came out of nowhere, and I would have liked to see that relationship develop rather than have this character so deeply affected by a couple of conversations with Ridley.  I just wasn't feeling it, although I'm interested to see how all of that plays out.

I did like the new New York characters and I think the series has potential, but to be honest, not a whole lot happens in this book.  Except for the ending.  Yet another middle of the scene cliffhanger.  

Monday, May 12, 2014

Book Review: Definitely, Maybe in Love

Definitely, Maybe in Love
Author: Ophelia London
Publisher: Entangled Embrace
Publication Date: October 28, 2013

From Goodreads:
A new adult novel from Entangled's Embrace imprint...

Her theory of attraction is about to get a new angle...

Spring Honeycutt wants two things: to ace her sustainable living thesis and to save the environment. Both seem hopelessly unobtainable until her college professor suggests that with a new angle, her paper could be published. Spring swears she’ll do whatever it takes to ensure that happens.

“Whatever it takes,” however, means forming a partnership with the very hot, very privileged, very conceited Henry Knightly.

Henry is Spring's only hope at publication, but he's also the ├╝ber-rich son of a land developer and cash-strapped Spring’s polar opposite. Too bad she can't help being attracted to the way he pushes her buttons, both politically and physically. As they work on her thesis, Spring finds there's more to Henry than his old money and argyle sweaters…but can she drop the loud-and-proud act long enough to let him in? Suddenly, choosing between what she wants and what she needs puts Spring at odds with everything she believes in.

Definitely, Maybe in Love is a modern take on Pride and Prejudice that proves true love is worth risking a little pride.

I previously identified five Jane Austen spin-offs that I wanted to read in 2014 and Definitely, Maybe in Love was at the top of my list for a particular reason.  Even though the book is a take on Pride and Prejudice the main character is named Knightly!  So of course I wondered would the book have elements of Emma as well?  It turns out no, but it was a an updated version of Pride and Prejudice.

So what did I like:  I liked the fact that the author chose to have Spring and Henry divided by more than social class.  I liked that Henry's character was multidimensional and interesting but I didn't like that Spring was a stereotyped version of a closed-minded liberal feminist.  Oops, I went to something I didn't like. Unfortunately what I didn't like far surpassed what I liked for two main reasons.  First, in what world does a female undergraduate attending Stanford in 2010 rely on a male law student to help her write HER senior thesis? This was such an offensive part of this story it was almost enough to make me stop reading it.  My second moment of exasperation was when Jules (the equivalent of Jane Bingley) makes a horrible decision that leads to a horrible outcome that the author is too quick to dismiss in my opinion.  Without sounding too much like a member of the women's studies faculty, I truly believe that this book perpetuates two myths that need to be obliterated on college campuses. 

So in the end I crossed off one of my five spin-offs but I would definitely NOT recommend this particular book.

Posted By: Sheri

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Book Review: Something Real by Heather Demetrios

Something Real
Author: Heather Demetrios
Publisher: Henry Holt BYR, 416 pages
Publication Date: February 4, 2014

From Goodreads:
There’s nothing real about reality TV.

Seventeen-year-old Bonnie™ Baker has grown up on TV—she and her twelve siblings are the stars of one-time hit reality show Baker’s Dozen. Since the show’s cancellation and the scandal surrounding it, Bonnie™ has tried to live a normal life, under the radar and out of the spotlight. But it’s about to fall apart…because Baker’s Dozen is going back on the air. Bonnie™’s mom and the show’s producers won’t let her quit and soon the life she has so carefully built for herself, with real friends (and maybe even a real boyfriend), is in danger of being destroyed by the show. Bonnie™ needs to do something drastic if her life is ever going to be her own—even if it means being more exposed than ever before.

I was not expecting to like this book as much as I did. For some reason, the whole reality TV plot just didn't appeal to me, but then I read a review by Lauren at Love is not a triangle and I decided to read it. I'm so glad I did because I absolutely loved it. It was such an emotional book and the characters were so well done. Chloe (Bonnie™) has spent the last four years without the TV cameras following her around and for the past year has even attended public school. New name, dyed hair, thousands of miles away, she has friends and a crush. But then she finds out the show is going back on the air and knows it's all going to fall apart. 

 Chloe was an amazing MC. All she wants to do is live a normal life. She was literally born on camera and at first loved being a part of this reality show, but then it was becoming too much for her and a tragedy when she was thirteen led to the show being cancelled. I just have to point out how horrible her mother was. Worst. Parent. Ever. I just wanted to smack her. I couldn't believe that she would do this to Chloe after all she had been through. I mean, I understand she has thirteen children who she has to support, but why not keep Chloe out of it?  Every single decision this woman makes is horrible.  I can't believe she didn't take Chloe's objections seriously.

I loved Chloe's brother Benny.  They have a great relationship, relying on each other and supporting each other.  Such a connection between these two.  And I loved loved loved Patrick.  He gets the best boyfriend award.  Seriously.  Hands down.  Now he's way too perfect to be real, but come on, who needs reality when reading fiction?  :) Just go with it and enjoy him.  Swoon!!

This book is fun and entertaining, filled with humor, but at the same time it deals with important issues, especially the issue of privacy and the price of fame.  What impact do these shows have on the children, children who do not necessarily have a choice in being on them?  And what does the fact that these shows are so popular say about our society?

"Whether it's Facebook photos, blogs, or reality TV, it's like nobody is content to just live life."

(Should I feel guilty for having a blog??)

It's a beautiful novel.  It. Has. All. The. Feels.  Read it!!!!

Posted by:  Pam

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (44)

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!  It is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Pam's Weekly Haul
The One by Kiera Cass
Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson
The Chapel Wars by Lindsey Leavitt

From the Library:
If I Stay by Gayle Forman 
What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

From NetGalley:
Just Like the Movies by Kelly Fiore

Sheri's Bounty of Books
Everneath by Brodi Ashton
Everbound by Brodi Ashton
Evertrue by Brodi Ashton

What books did you add to your shelves this week?