Sunday, February 20, 2011

In My Mailbox (19)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren.

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (Goodreads/Amazon)
The Iron King by Julie Kagawa (Goodreads/Amazon)
The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa (Goodreads /Amazon)
The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa (Goodreads /Amazon)
...and a bunch of awesome swag!

From the Library:
Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr (Goodreads/Amazon)
Awakened by P.C. and Kristin Cast (Goodreads/Amazon)

Thanks to:
Casey @ The Bookish Type
Heather @ Book Savvy

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Book Review: Rival by Sara Bennett Wealer

Title: Rival (Goodreads/Amazon)
Author: Sara Bennett Wealer
Series: None
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: Feb. 15 2011
My Source: Recieved from Publisher

Goodreads Summary:

What if your worst enemy turned out to be the best friend you ever had?

Meet Brooke: Popular, powerful and hating every minute of it, she’s the “It” girl at Douglas High in Lake Champion, Minnesota. Her real ambition? Using her operatic mezzo as a ticket back to NYC, where her family lived before her dad ran off with an up and coming male movie star.

Now meet Kathryn: An overachieving soprano with an underachieving savings account, she’s been a leper ever since Brooke punched her at a party junior year. For Kath, music is the key to a much-needed college scholarship.

The stage is set for a high-stakes duet between the two seniors as they prepare for the prestigious Blackmore competition. Brooke and Kathryn work toward the Blackmore with eyes not just on first prize but on one another, each still stinging from a past that started with friendship and ended in betrayal. With competition day nearing, Brooke dreams of escaping the in-crowd for life as a professional singer, but her scheming BFF Chloe has other plans. And when Kathryn gets an unlikely invitation to Homecoming, she suspects Brooke of trying to sabotage her with one last public humiliation.

As pressures mount, Brooke starts to sense that the person she hates most might just be the best friend she ever had. But Kathryn has a decision to make. Can she forgive? Or are some rivalries for life?

My Review:

Rival is a contemporary high school novel that focuses on friendships rather than romance, as so many contemporary novels do these days. Brooke and Kathryn are total opposites, but also similar in so many ways. They're the best of friends and the worst of enemies- and they're also competing for the same scholarship that they both need.

Wow! I was really impressed by this novel. It was so easy for me to connect to that the pages just kept turning. I was so immersed in the story and the characters. Both Brooke and Kathryn are wonderfully written characters. I couldn't decide who I was rooting for, it was so easy to understand both of them, but also why they both hated each other. Awesomely written, I loved the rivalry and friendship. Since the story was told in alternating voices between Brooke and Kathryn, occasionally who was narrating became a bit confusing, but this was just a tiny problem, it wasn't too bad.

There were small amounts of romance, but it wasn't the focus. I liked this portrayal of high school- it's not all about guys, it's also about friendships, and even things like scholarships. Very well done.

My one complaint was the ending. It was fine and predictable, but didn't wrap up as much as the story I would've liked. It could've had an epilogue or something to wrap the story up better.

Being a long-time choir nerd who's always competing to be in the best choir or to get the solo, so I completely could understand how good friends can turn into bitter rivals in a second. I also appreciated the musical terms defined at the beginning of each section. I'm not sure if others who aren't into music as much would appreciate these details, but I'm sure they would enjoy this book anyway.

I really enjoyed this stunning, relatable, contemporary debut by Sara Bennett Wealer. It's a pretty quick, easy read and I recommend it if you love great characters who are so real you don't know if you love or hate them but you can't forget them, or contemporary high school stories that aren't entirely focused on romance.

4.5 out of 5 stars

Cover: 4.5/5 Very pretty flower with piano keys- completely relates to the book! And I really love it!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday: Between Shades of Gray

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Between Shades of Gray (Goodreads/Amazon) by Ruta Sepetys

This book releases on March 22, 2011.

Goodreads Summary:
Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they've known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin's orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously—and at great risk—documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father's prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.

Why I'm Anticipating:
Historical fiction... World War II... Debut Author... Yes, Please! I saw this book while browsing through the 2011 Debut Author list, and now I'm super excited to read it. Looks awesome.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Old Favorite Review: Running Out of Time by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Title: Running Out of Time
Author: Margaret Peterson Haddix
Series: None
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: 1995, republished in 2004

Goodreads Summary:

Jessie lives with her family in the frontier village of Clifton, Indiana. When diphtheria strikes the village and the children of Clifton start dying, Jessie's mother sends her on a dangerous mission to bring back help. But beyond the walls of Clifton, Jessie discovers a world even more alien and threatening than she could have imagined, and soon she finds her own life in jeopardy. Can she get help before the children of Clifton, and Jessie herself, run out of time?

My Review:

In elementary/middle school, my favorite author was Margaret Peterson Haddix. All of her books were so different. They were almost always sci-fi/dystopian/thrillers, and I devoured all of the strange new world concepts she presented. Haddix gave the first introduction to what has now become my favorite genre.

I debated which one of Haddix's books to feature for an Old Favorite Review, and decided on one of my favorites, Running Out of Time. Look for some of her other books as Old Favorite Reviews in the future.

When I read this book, the first thing I thought was that the plot was very similar to M. Night Shamalyan's The Village, but with more of an action/adventure feel than horror/thriller. (Well, to be honest, I read this in 5th grade where I probably didn't think that in depth about it, but looking back on it that's why I think now, anyway.)

This is a really fun and intense book, with such a facinating story concept. I really loved it. It was published back in the 90's, so it's a little outdated (I remember thinking it was outdated back in the early 20's!), with the technology and what year the book is set in. But it's still a really awesome book!

I would definitely recommend Running Out Of Time to younger fans who want to get into the dystopian/alternative world-within-a-world type books.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A General Post on Book Reviews...

Happy Valentines day... though this is probably my least-favorite Holiday (not that I hate it, there is chocolate involved!), but still don't expect me to post something too happy today. I've been wanting to post this post for awhile, and decided to do it day since I didn't have much else today, and it is a Holiday so I need something special. ;)

I apologize in advance if this post is boring, because it probably will be. But I want to post a few of my thoughts because I feel like I should say them somewhere. I guess I'm just explaining a few of the thoughts that have been going through my head about this blog...

I'm not a very "well known" blogger, I guess I would say. And I've only been blogging for about 8 months (and it does not feel like that long!), so that's understandable. So I don't come across a bunch of stuff that I think other more well known bloggers have to deal with (aka animosity towards things they post or their reviews, etc.) This doesn't really concern me right now, which is great.

But I still have a little issue. And here's where I might just be complaining a bit, so feel free not to listen. Most blogs I read (and love) are constantly reviewing ARC's or freshly released books. In turn, they get a lot of followers and commenters, and their blogs are very appreciated. People enjoy reading reviews on new releases.

I don't blog just to get followers and commenters, but seeing comments on my book reviews kind of makes me feel like putting the time I put into my blog is worth it. Book reviews are the most important thing I post on this blog, that's my sole object as a book blog is to review books and share the opinions I'm abounding with after I finish a book.

I don't get ARC's from publishers very often (I've recieved I think a total of 3, ever), but this doesn't bother me because I have a wonderful local library system that has just about every book you could ever want. I get 90% of the books I read from the library, and I have no problem with this. I love my local library, and usually go there at least 2 times a week.

As a result, I tend to read a lot of on the shelf books that have been out for awhile. (I just read Something, Maybe and Ink Exchange, which are both older books.) I love spreading the word about good books that aren't neccesarily new releases. (Though I review new releases as well!) I also love it when I see other bloggers who review older titles. I've just noticed those reviews don't get as many comments/views and such.

The shelf life of a book has absolutely no relation to it's awesomeness as a book. It seems really obvious, but I hope people don't forget it. ARC and new releases are great- in no way am I dissing them and people that review them all the time. I still love to get new releases and advanced copies just as much as the next person. I like my blog to have variety- new releases and older releases.

I feel like I might be saying this just because I don't have a lot of access to ARC's and money to buy new releases. Maybe that's the truth... I guess I rarely email publishers for ARC's because I feel guilty when I know I have a huge resource of books at my local library that are completely free and that I know I will enjoy just as much. But I'm not complaining that I don't get ARC's often. I'm completely okay with that, as I hope you've realized from what I just said.

On a sort of different note, I also updated my Review Policy. I mainly added stuff surrounding the fact that I read for PLEASURE. Recently, I've started to think reading is becoming like a chore sometimes. (I have to read now, because I have to get this book review up by Monday... blah, blah...). I hate this feeling because it makes reading a lot less fun. Sometimes I think I enjoyed reading more before I started blogging. In an attempt to go back to that enjoyable feeling, I'm going to stop forcing myself to read books I'm genuinely not interested in. Now, I'm only taking review requests for books I think I'll like, and I'm not guarenteeing that I will finish and review the book if I don't like it. (Authors and publishers- don't let this stop you from sending me your review request though! I still accept a large majority of the requests I recieve, and usually end up enjoying them immensely.)

I love reading and reviewing books. It's a lot of fun and makes the whole deal worthwhile when people read my reviews and share their thoughts. It's why I started this blog in the first place and why I continue. That's the most important thing here, really, I think.

I understand if that was completely boring, or if you didn't read that whole thing, or if you completely bypassed this post altogether. But I feel better after having said a few of my thoughts. Please don't take offense if you're a blogger who reviews a lot of ARC's. I completely understand that a lot of people get them without even asking, or even if you do ask for them, I'm not saying that's wrong. (I do it sometimes, too.) I'm kind of just wondering if people appreciate the older books, too.


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Book Review: Bloody Valentine by Melissa de la Cruz

Title: Bloody Valentine
Author: Melissa de la Cruz
Series: Blue Bloods Novella
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH
Release Date: December 28, 2010
Other Books In Series:
Blue Bloods

The Van Alen Legacy
Misguided Angel

Warning: Summary and review contain MAJOR spoilers for books 1-5. Read at your own risk!

Goodreads Summary:

Vampires have powers beyond human comprehension: strength that defies logic, speed that cannot be captured on film, the ability to shapeshift and more. But in matters of the heart, no one, not even the strikingly beautiful and outrageously wealthy Blue Bloods, has total control. In Bloody Valentine, bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz offers readers a new story about the love lives of their favorite vamps - the passion and heartache, the hope and devastation, the lust and longing. Combined with all the glitz, glamour, and mystery fans have come to expect, this is sure to be another huge hit in the Blue Bloods series.

Also, witness the bonding of Jack and Schuyler.

My Review:
As this is a novella, I'm not going to judge it against other books and rate it. When a series has a novella, I typically don't read them at all because they're usually rather disappointing- I'd rather not read a mini story, I would prefer a whole book.

This book enforced that belief for me. It wasn't bad, I was just a bit irritated with how short each story was! That is the point of a novella though, so I can't really complain.

This book is told in three parts: The first story is about Oliver, Schuyler's Conduit and best friend. His story is one of being healed over his love for Schuyler, since he knows they'll never be together. I expected it to be more of a romance- it wasn't, really. I want to see Oliver fall in love with someone, not just be cured by magic. This story did do one positive thing though- it introduced a character who will be coming up in Melissa's new adult series, The Witches of East End, which I'm assuming is set in the same world as the Blue Bloods, but about witches. It certainly got my attention and I'm now looking forward to that series as well as the continuation of Blue Bloods.

The second story goes back in time, explaining how Allegra, Schuyler's mother, fell in love with a human, which was how Schuyler was born. I liked this story at first, but completely didn't understand the ending. Wouldn't her choice in the end have prevented Schuyler from being born and Allegra going into a coma at all? Maybe there's going to be a further continuation of her story later. I also really didn't like her love interest, Bendix, because he felt very flat, and so did the whole romance. I think this was because the story wasn't more than 40-50 pages long.

The third story was the best and most appropriate for the length. It merely described Schuyler's and Jack's bonding, and a small ordeal with European Venators that had to be overcome before the ceremony. It was probably my favorite because Schuyler and Jack were characters we already knew, and the shortness felt appropriate because it was meant just to tell a small part of their journey together, as opposed to Allegra's story where 40-50 pages was supposed to convey Allegra's and Bendix's whole relationship.

If you're a Blue Bloods fan, I'd recommend the novella, but don't have high expectations for it. I figure you might be able to skip it entirely and just go onto the next book in the series when it releases.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Blog Tour: Guest Post w/ Melissa de la Cruz (Bloody Valentine)

Today I have a guest post from author Melissa de la Cruz. This is a part of the Bloody Valentine blog tour, celebrating the release of the latest Blue Bloods novella Bloody Valentine. (Which I will have a review of tomorrow!)

Author Bio:
Melissa de la Cruz is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of many critically acclaimed and award-winning novels for teens including The Au Pairs series, the Blue Bloods series, the Ashleys series, the Angels on Sunset Boulevard series and the semi-autobiographical novel Fresh off the Boat.
Her books for adults include the novel Cat’s Meow, the anthology Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys and the tongue-in-chic handbooks How to Become Famous in Two Weeks or Less and The Fashionista Files: Adventures in Four-inch heels and Faux-Pas.

She has worked as a fashion and beauty editor and has written for many publications including The New York Times, Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Allure, The San Francisco Chronicle, McSweeney’s, Teen Vogue, CosmoGirl! and Seventeen. She has also appeared as an expert on fashion, trends and fame for CNN, E! and FoxNews.

Melissa grew up in Manila and moved to San Francisco with her family, where she graduated high school salutatorian from The Convent of the Sacred Heart. She majored in art history and English at Columbia University (and minored in nightclubs and shopping!).

She now divides her time between New York and Los Angeles, where she lives in the Hollywood Hills with her husband and daughter.

Books I’ve Read in 2010: What I Read That I Loved Lately By Melissa de la Cruz

Half Empty: David Rakoff

Funny and sardonic and subtle and cutting, Rakoff writes diamond-sharp barbs at the idiocy of life. I loved his story about Olivia Goldsmith, the author of The First Wives Club, who died from plastic surgery, and how horrible she was to work with, and how she treated everyone who worked for her publisher with such high-handed drama. It’s a reminder of how you’ve got to keep grounded in this business, because everyone will talk about you if you’re a diva.

Rat: Fernanda Eberstadt

About a fourteen-year old girl living in the grimy part of the South of France, and how she journeys to save her brother and find her father whom she’s never met. A great great heroine, very brave, reminded me a lot of Mattie Ross from True Grit. Girls who had to deal with a lot in a young age and be wiser than the adults around them. Just a fabulous book.

I Shudder: Paul Rudnick

Paul Rudnick can do no wrong in my book and “I Shudder” is campy, hilarious, laugh-out-loud, a total riot. I loved the story about the crazy coke-snorting producer in Miami and how “Sister Act” (which he wrote) got made.

The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook: Ben Mezrich

The movie was great, and I wanted more, so I read this. Great story, Mezrich makes everything so thrilling. Really fun stuff, and I love stories about smart overachievers.

The Privileges: Jonathan Dee

One of those books that stay with you, about a young ambitious couple in New York and their journey to the top of the hedge-fund pile. I love a literary soap opera.

True Prep: Lisa Birnbach

The sequel to the Official Preppie Handbook, a book I read when I was 13, and treated as a guidebook. I had no idea it was a satire, and I grew up in the Philippines, we had no idea what Nantucket was, but we wanted to be part of it. At least I did. I love this update. According to this book, I can now consider myself a preppie (Prep school, Ivy League, check). Success!

Squirrel Meets Chipmunk: David Sedaris

Sedaris can do no wrong, and this is so mean and true and funny you cannot miss it.

Imperial Bedrooms: Bret Easton Ellis

No one does spooky LA noir, deep ennui and Hollywood savagery like Easton Ellis. I loved Less Than Zero, and I love this sequel. Creepy and haunting and beautifully written. He told my agent he liked Blue Bloods, and even tried to option it when it first came out, and I still find it such a great compliment. I’ve forgotten why it didn’t work out but it’s still thrilling to know he liked it. One of my literary heroes. And when I first moved to LA I met the “real” Blair, his high school BFF who inspired the character. She was really nice! I met Blair! Can you imagine? Still tickles me.

Await Your Reply: Dan Chaon

One of the best books I’ve read in ages. The plot is perfect, and it’s rare to read a literary novel that has such a tight structure. Rave, rave, rave. A real masterpiece and a wonderful book about brotherhood, love, loss, the lies we tell ourselves. One of those books you can’t describe because you don’t want to give the secret away, you can only say “YOU’VE GOT TO READ THIS!”

The Maze Runner: James Dashner

I met James at a conference in Texas, and he had the cutest most enthusiastic boy fan and it intrigued me to pick up his book. An old-fashioned cool sci-fi story, told with imagination and gusto. Also from the YA aisle I heartily recommend the highly entertaining books from my friends Ally Carter (Gallagher Girls) and Elizabeth Scott (my favorite is Perfect You) and my fellow Smart Chicks alums: Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely series, Alyson Noel’s Immortals, Kelley Armstrong’s Darkest Powers, Kami Garcia and Margie Stohl’s Beautiful Creatures, Carrie Ryan’s The Forest of Hands and Teeth, Rachel Caine’s Morganville Vampires. So much good stuff!

I have a ton of books on my TBR pile.

I still have to read Franzen’s Freedom, a couple of the new Julia Glass books (Three Junes was one of my favorite books ever). I want to catch up on my Edith Wharton (I never read The Buccaneers) and the new Laura Lippman. I want to read Swamplandia, I’ve heard such great buzz, and I’m looking forward to reading Allie Condie’s Matched and Beth Revis’s Across the Universe.

Thanks so much so the post, Melissa! I know I'll be checking out some of those book recommendations. Especially Rat... doesn't that one sound awesome? And I agree about Across the Universe- I have it sitting on my shelf and can't wait to get to reading it!

Find Melissa online:

(I have linked all of these books to their Goodreads pages.)

My Most-Read Authors

I was inspired to write this post by Kristi of The Story Siren, who wrote one first. It was such an interesting idea, I had to copy it!

Thanks to Kristi, I learned there is a place on Goodreads where you can see your "Most Read" Authors. That is, the authors of whom you have read the most of their books. I was really surprised by how some of my favorite authors aren't even on this list, while so-so authors are.

I'm not sure this is entirely accurate, since often, especially with series, I neglect to mark all of the books as read- something I've been trying to fix, but I may have missed a few!

1. Suzanne Collins

8 books. No surprise there... she wrote two of the best series ever, The Hunger Games and Gregor the Overlander, which I've read all the books in both of those series.

2. J.K. Rowling and P.C. and Kristin Cast

7 books each. I bet you can guess which ones J.K. Rowling's were. And for P.C. Cast, that would be her vampyre series, House of Night, in which I have read all but the most recent installment, Awakened.

3. Scott Westerfeld

6 books. Includes the Uglies series (one of my favorites), plus a few of his other books, So Yesterday and Leviathan.

4. Stephenie Meyer, Melissa de la Cruz, Rick Riordan

5 books each. A vampire series, another vampire series, and a Greek God series. I am surprised by how many of these authors on this list have written vampire series! The only one left I need to read it Vampire Academy, which I've heard is awesome.

5. Cassandra Clare and Anna Godbersen

4 books each. Cassandra Clare... I love her Mortal Instruments and Clockwork Angel series. And I've read all 4 Luxe books by Anna Godbersen, which are great historical fiction.

6. Cornelia Funke, Christopher Paolini, Gail Carson Levine, Libba Bray

3 books each. I find it funny that all four of these authors were ones I read LONG before I started blogging. Mainly books I enjoyed in elementary/middle school.

I'm stopping there, because I have TON of authors whose books I've read only 2 or 1 of. Here's the weirdest thing I've learned from this: Every single author on this list, with the exception of Melissa de la Cruz, I started reading before I started blogging. I think this is because now I read so many more Debut authors and review copies than getting into series the way I used to.

The other thing I've learned is that I need to read more! I really just should and that's all there is to it.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday: Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton

This book releases on May 24, 2011.

Goodreads Summary:

For Nick Pardee and Silla Kennicot, the cemetery is the center of everything.

Nick is a city boy angry at being forced to move back to the nowhere town of Yaleylah, Missouri where he grew up. He can’t help remembering his mom and the blood magic she practiced – memories he’s tried for five years to escape. Silla, though, doesn’t want to forget; her parents’ apparent murder-suicide left her numb and needing answers. When a book of magic spells in her dad’s handwriting appears on her doorstep, she sees her chance to unravel the mystery of their deaths.

Together they plunge into the world of dark magic, but when a hundred-year-old blood witch comes hunting for the bones of Silla’s parents and the spell book, Nick and Silla will have to let go of everything they believe about who they are, the nature of life and death, and the deadly secrets that hide in blood.

Why I'm Anticipating:

2011 Debut... plus Tessa Gratton writes with Maggie Stiefvater and Brenna Yovanoff at Merry Sisters of Fate... both of whom are amazingly talented writers! I have no doubt Ms. Gratton will be just as talented and amazing in her debut. I can't wait!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Book Review: Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr

Title: Ink Exchange
Author: Melissa Marr
Series: Wicked Lovely #2
Release Date: May 1 2008
Publisher: HarperTeen
Previous Books In Series:
Wicked Lovely
My Source: Library (audiobook)

Goodreads Summary:

To 17-year-old Leslie, the tattoo is a thing of indescribable beauty, a captivating mark that she must make her own. But this subtle web of eyes and wings brings with it a transformation that no sweet young girl would ever imagine or welcome. Like its predecessor, this stand-alone sequel to Wicked Lovely plunges its youthful heroine into a faery world of almost constant peril. A tantalizing urban fantasy that won't let go.

My Review:

I listened to this book on CD, but I don't believe that affected my review or perception of the book. It was a good choice of a book to listen to- the narrator's voice wasn't annoying at all, and it was easy to follow, so I would recommend the audiobook, if you prefer to listen to books rather then read them (something I rarely do).

This is the second book in the Wicked Lovely series. I read the first book, Wicked Lovely, over two years ago, and I don't even remember most of it, though I didn't really love it, I didn't hate it either. I've been meaning to pick up the second one ever since then, and now I finally have.

This book is strange, not a typical YA romance story at all, which I really liked. The plot focuses around Leslie, who has a terrible past that always haunts her. She chooses to get a tattoo that draws her to Irrial, the king of the dark faery court. Figuring out how the faery courts work was a little confusing, probably since it's been a little while since I read the first book. I definitely recommend reading that one first even though this is a companion novel, not a sequel. It deals with some pretty intense stuff. I felt like Leslie was only a pawn in the true plot, she had no real say in anything that happened, except the ending. The conflict is really about Irial, the king of the Dark Court, and Naill a faery of the summer court whose alleigences are tested once he finds himself assigned to guarding Leslie. Naill was easily my favorite character, he was tortured and confused, but powerful too. I loved what happened at the end with Naill.

I would caution that this book is very dark, and I would not recommend it to anyone looking for a lighter faery read. It seems like there's no moral standard in the faery world, and this proves quite disturbing at times. There was no resolved feeling by the end of all the drama either. It was like the end came and Melissa Marr said, neither side is good or bad, nobody wins, the end. I get the point, but I like having more of a resolved feeling.

It's difficult to explain, I just feel like nothing really happened with the plot- most of the book was the same things happening repeatedly. It became predictable and sometimes boring. I didn't love any of the characters enough to make the tensions worth it. The romance was flat too- I didn't see why Irial, or Naill, was ever really attracted to Leslie. And she was such a messed-up girl, it just worked weirdly.

Overall, I just wasn't really impressed, but in that way, it was a lot like Wicked Lovely. If you enjoy darker paranoraml fey stories, this is a decent series. I'll probably get the 3rd book on CD also.

3 out of 5

Cover: 3.5/5 Pretty standard, not hugely attention grabbing, but decent.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

In My Mailbox (18)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren.

Nomansland by Lesley Hauge
Firelight by Sophie Jordan

From the Library:
Past Midnight by Mara Purnhagen
Torment by Lauren Kate
Something, Maybe by Elizabeth Scott (see my review)

I didn't mention in the video, but I also got an e-book of In The Storm by Karen Metcalf for review.

Thanks to:
Amelia at The Authoress
An Unknown Person... (Watch the video for explanation!)

Happy Reading everyone!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Why the Love Triangle?

I was tempted to call this post "In Defense of the Love Triangle" but I thought that might turn some people away. In all honesty, I'm not defending the Love Triangle, but I'm looking at it from maybe a different angle. It just seems like everybody complains about them- which I completely understand. Anyway, on to the post...

Love 'em or hate 'em, they're always there, in the books we hate and the books we love. And I've seen plenty of bloggers complain- er, talk about- the overuse of the love triangle. But does anybody ever question WHY the love triangle is so popular?

Did it start with Twilight? That's what a lot of people like to think. While Twilight capitalized on the love triangle, I'm pretty sure Stephenie Meyer didn't invent it.

A little while ago, I came across a blog post on this very subject by Carrie Ryan, author of a fantastic series The Forest of Hands and Teeth which contains a love triangle. She does a great job of explaining the real purpose of a love triangle. I'll share just a little bit of the post, though I encourage you to check out the whole thing if you've read her books and don't mind the spoilers you'll find there:

To me, that's the essence of a love triangle -- each man is a viable choice for the heroine but each speaks to a different part of who she is. The heroine isn't choosing between two men, she's choosing who SHE wants to be and that will dictate who the right match is.

There you have it, thanks to the fabulous Carrie Ryan! I think this is why love triangles are so popular in YA- they allow the heroine to choose between who she wants to be in the end, and allow for that side of her character to grow.

I'm not saying they aren't overused, though. It would still be really nice if authors could start coming up with new ways to grow and change their characters, without involving the choice to be between two boys. But I'm also pretty sure you can't claim you HATE books with love triangles. They can be an awesome asset to a book.

Having said that, I hesitate more to pick up a book when it's clear there's a love triangle from the summary. (Example: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand. I've heard so much about the love triangle, that I'm not all that interested because it seems so generic.)

And sometimes I think there's a love triangle when there doesn't need to be. Example, Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers. I'm one of those people who LOVED Luc, but couldn't even understand why Frannie was ever even attracted to Gabe with Luc around. Sure, I get the point was making the choice between Heaven and Hell, but while reading the book, I didn't feel like Gabe or Luc represented either on of them, actually. And a lot of people wished for Gabe's POV, while I just wished he would leave! This might just be me, though! It was still a great book, I just wish it didn't have a love triangle, it would've been even better.

But on the other hand, I could make a decent size list of books that are good because of the love triangle. The Hunger Games and Nightshade are two prime examples.

It's also frustrating as a reader to have to make the choice between two great guys (à la Nightshade) but it's even worse to see the guy who doesn't get chosen be left off on their own. I am so sad for characters like Simon in City of Bones and Oliver in Blue Bloods- I hope both of them get some of their own romance in the upcoming installments of their respective series!

Bottom line: When it comes to love triangles, they're WAY overused, but... I still like a lot of books with them anyway, because it's hard to deny they usually make for a great plot device and source of choice and growth for the heroine.

Please, share your thoughts! I'd love to hear them. :)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Book Review: Something, Maybe by Elizabeth Scott

Title: Something, Maybe
Author: Elizabeth Scott
Series: None
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: March 24, 2009
My Source: Library

Goodreads Summary:

Everyone thinks their parents are embarrassing, but Hannah knows she's got them all beat.

Her dad made a fortune showcasing photos of pretty girls and his party lifestyle all over the Internet, and her mom was once one of her dad's 'girlfriends' and is now the star of her own website.

After getting the wrong kind of attention for way too long, Hannah has mastered the art of staying under the radar . . . and that's just how she likes it. Of course, that doesn't help her get noticed by her crush. Hannah's sure that gorgeous, sensitive Josh is her soul mate. But trying to get him to notice her; wondering why she suddenly can't stop thinking about another guy, Finn; and dealing with her parents make Hannah feel like she's going crazy. Yet she's determined to make things work out the way she wants only what she wants may not be what she needs. . . .
Once again, Elizabeth Scott has created a world so painfully funny and a cast of characters so heartbreakingly real that you'll love being a part of it from unexpected start to triumphant finish.

My Review:

I've read one other book by Elizabeth Scott, Living Dead Girl. Needless to say, that book and Something, Maybe couldn't be more different. While I loved and was terrified by Living Dead Girl, I knew Something, Maybe was a completely different genre and style. So I was nervous and excited to read more by Elizabeth Scott. I hate to say, I don't think this nearly lived up to her previous book, though it still had the some of the same awesome writing stuff.

Hannah, for having such non-normal parents as can be, is a very real character. She goes through quite a transformation in the course of the book, and it was great to watch. Unfortunately, I was really annoyed with her character for the first half of the book, because it really felt like she wasn't opening her eyes to stuff that should be obvious all around her. By the end, I liked her a lot more, but even then, she still annoys me a bit. I get that she was the worst dad in the world and a mother who loves her but is very non-traditional or motherly, but that doesn't mean she has to be so closed off to looking pretty, having friends at school, or being noticed by anybody. I get that she changed over the course of the book, but it really drove me crazy in the beginning.

Josh is the guy for 3/4 of the book Hannah calls her "soul mate". Yeah, this annoyed me too, when there was another guy (Finn) who was actually her friend and actually obviously liked her, it just took the whole book for her to see it. The love triangle was extremely predictable, even though there was one minor twist towards the end, it was easy to see coming.

But Finn, oh how I loved Finn. Even though so much of this book drove me crazy, I really, really, really love him. He was simply the perfect guy- that's all there was to it. But this made me dislike Hannah even more- he was so perfect for Hannah but she never noticed him throughout the whole book, she was just focused on Josh for no reason! But the end was very, very cute.

The plot about her father, Jackson James, was predictable too. I get why she hated him, but I guess I felt like nothing really happened there, either. She didn't really learn anything new about him by the end.

Well, this book was pretty short and a very easy read. It wasn't boring, just kind of annoying. I still liked it, but nothing more than that, and probably only because of Finn. I think I'm going against the grain with my semi-dislike. A lot of people loved this book a lot more than I did. I would recommend it for contemporary teen romance fans (a genre I unfortunately rarely read anyway).

3 out of 5 stars

Cover: 4/5 Simple, but pretty! Love the colors.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

What's Happening...

First of all, I want to apologize for my lack of presence in the blogging community in the past few days... It might continue for a couple more days, but I promise I'll be in full swing once the weekend comes, and I'll schedule a bunch of posts and be on top of everything again. I've been out of town, and busy, so yeah. I haven't even finished a book in the last week. So sad I know!

But I wanted to share that starting today, I will be participating in the Loving the Reviews Challenge, hosted by Blokosiner's Book Blog and Sniffly Kitty's Mostly Books. What you do is review books all through the month of February, and subsequently enter giveaways. That's it!

I'm pretty excited to start! Anybody else participating?