The Blog Tour, "A Hard Act to Follow", run by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer, has been delayed due to hurricane Sandy. I was hoping to post an interview with the author today but I haven't received what I need yet. Also, this being the Christmas season, I have been very busy with all the normal stuff that goes on during the Holidays. I will post a review as soon as I can, but it may be after Christmas.

I hope all of you have a wonderful Holiday season.



Review: Ship Breaker

Title: Ship Breaker
Author: Paolo Bacigalupi
Rating: 8
Date of Release: May 1st, 2010

Summary: In America's Gulf Coast region, where grounded oil tankers are being broken down for parts, Nailer, a teenage boy, works the light crew, scavenging for copper wiring just to make a quota--and hopefully live to see another day. But when, by luck or chance, he discovers an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, Nailer faces the most important decision of his life: strip the ship for all it's worth or rescue its long survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl who could lead him to a better life... 

Let's start right off with first impressions. The cover goes very, very well with the story, it is what drew me in to reading the book in the first place. It isn't super common that a cover goes along well with the story, but this one does. Second, I hate that summary. Look at the first sentence. Thirty-nine words and five commas. Too much, just break it into different sentences for crying out loud! I'm a stickler for simplistic sentences, so that irked me.

About the story itself. For once, I preferred the characters to the plot, which usually isn't my view. The plot had promise, but at times it felt a little...flat. The final sea battle was confusing and I felt a little unfulfilled at the end. Plus, all of Nailer's choices seem 'right'. One of the rules of plot devices is that the first problem should just happen to the character, and the rest are caused by his or her choices. Look at Harry Potter, the Goblet of Fire. The whole Dark Mark thing in the beginning wasn't Harry's fault, but at the end, Sirius dies because of Harry's impulsive choices. Nailer made no such choices, and so the plot was a little iffy for me. It wasn't horrible, but I had an all-over 'meh' feeling about it.

The setting was great. Beached clippers, rusting all over the Gulf, destroyed cities, a "Life Cult". The lore of the story was great, I don't have much negative to say about it.

Now, the characters. As I mentioned above, the characters plus the setting are what gave this book its highish rating. Nailer was definitely not perfect, just a boy living in a imperfect world. His sense of morality has been dulled but not destroyed, as he finds when he looks into Nita's (the wealthy girl that was beached) eyes. The lingo used throughout is pitch perfect, rich people are 'swanks', there's 'light crew' and 'heavy crew'. And also, I'm so happy that this story had a male protagonist. Nearly all YA seems to have a female protag these days, or at least the popular books.Although this was written two years ago, I'm hoping to see more male protagonists in the future, just for diversity.

Will I read the sequel? Maybe. If I have time.

Final Rating: 8


Top Five: Most Annoying Characters (So Far!)

So, I've read several books so far (and reviewed them on this blog). So, as I love to complain, I think it's time to recap the most annoying characters I've come across on this blogging 'venture.

Mara Dyer - The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

Not smart. I didn't hate her, but she annoyed me after a while. She took a bit to long to get things figured out, in my honest opinion. Just a little dimwitted. That's all

Paloma - Elegance of the Hedgehog

Looking down her nose at everyone, obnoxious, egotistic, thinking she's got everything figured out, Paloma comes first in this top five. As I said before, I just wanted her to get around to dying already. I hated her guts. I don't know if she was meant to be this way, but the author turned me away from ever finishing that book because of her.

Matt - Revived

Hot, rich, brooding. Tall and handsome. Proclaimed 'perfect', several times by Daisy. Just ugh, I hated him. I wish he'd died instead of another person in that story (don't want to say who in case of spoilers, but I don't recommend Revived anyways)

Daisy - Revived

Look who it is! The neighborhood *censored*hole! This girl is self-centered, infatuated with the 'perfect guy' and acts like she's about four. And she's stupid. Really stupid.


Just no. Another 'perfect' person, except I had high expectations set up by the novel that dumped me on my face. Ian can go die somewhere, please.


Review: NERVE

Title: NERVE
Author: Jeanne Ryan
Rating: 5/10
Date of Release: September 13th, 2012
Summary: A high-stakes online game of dares turns deadly.

When Vee is picked to be a player in NERVE, an anonymous game of dares broadcast live online, she discovers that the game knows her. They tempt her with prizes taken from her ThisIsMe page and team her up with the perfect boy, sizzling hot Ian. At first, it's exhilarating--Vee and Ian's fans cheer them on to riskier dares with higher stakes. But the game takes a twisted turn when they're directed to a secret location with five other players for the Grand Prize round. Suddenly, they're all playing all or nothing  with their lives on the line. Just how far will Vee go before she loses NERVE? 

So. NERVE. Looked promising for a debut author, but the library took for-evah to let me have it. I got it, with the sizzling cover, and read it in two days. And? Meh.

The main character, Vee, is a high-school student who wants to get out of the shadows. We got the cliche blonde chick as her friend, who is in all the plays and always gets the guy. They've been best friends for a long time, and Vee wants her chance to, for once, be in a spotlight herself. So she signs up for NERVE. First of all, kind of stupid reason. I know it's hard to be off to the side while others get the glory, but it's been that way for many years, and one stupid thing with an idiot guy sets her off to risk her life? O...kay?

The dares themselves were very fun, and the premise had a ton of potential. It's like Truth or Dare, except on a big scale. The pacing throughout was very fast and kept the action moving, which I really appreciated. Anyone realized Forsaken has been in the 'to review' for a while? 'Cause it's slow as heck. Plotwise, this book is great, except for one part. The ending was a little confusing and unsatisfying to me. All of a sudden, Vee gets the nerve to do something crazy, while all along she's been whimpering and being dragged along by her hot boyfriend.

Oh yes. Forgot about the frikken boyfriend. If there is one thing I hate, hate, hate, hate in YA books, it's the hot, perfect love interest. Ian is freaking annoying. He's hot, chiseled, dark, brooding, has a nice car (of course). I may have mentioned here, here, and here that I hate the perfect boyfriend cliche. Some cliches are good, nerd, chosen one, etc, but this one is all bad, and so prevalent I want to throw up. Did it start with Twilight's popularity that everyone decided to make their love interests hot and perfect so girls would read? Great. Another thing Twilight has screwed up for the rest of us.

*cough* Um, back to the book. The other characters didn't wow me. They were...okay? Not great. Doable for the story line. It worked, it wasn't horrible, but I didn't like it. Plus, I know the author must have been setting up for another book, because of the ending *SPOILERS* were Vee gets a creepy note from the NERVE guy *END SPOILERS*. But there were still plot holes. For instance, what's Ian's story? He mentions his father a few times, and his rewards are always escape oriented. So why? Why does he want out? Where's his mom? Where does his nice car come from? We know nothing about him except that he's freaking hot and wants to leave his home. And that he has a perfect jawline and listens to Rolling Stones.

And Vee's story? Yes, we got some of it, but you get the feeling that it's supposed to be this 'big reveal' about halfway through the book, and it really wasn't. So, she had an accident and that's why her family's so protective of her? Alrighty then, on with the story. In other words:

Final Score: 5


Review: The Way We Fall

Title: The Way We Fall
Author: Megan Crewe
Rating: 7/10
Date of Release: January 24, 2012
Summary: It starts with an itch you just can't shake. Then comes a fever and a tickle in your throat. A few days later, you'll be blabbing your secrets and chatting with strangers like they're old friends. Three more, and the paranoid hallucinations kick in.

And then you're dead.

When sixteen-year-old Kaelyn lets her best friend leave for school without saying goodbye, she never dreams taht she might not see him again. But then a strange virus begins to sweep through her small island community, infection young and old alike. As the dead pile up, the government quarantines the island: no one can leave, and no one can come back. 

Those still healthy must fight for the island's dwindling supplies, or lose all chance of survival. As everything familiar comes crashing down,  Kaelyn joins forces with a former rival and discovers a new love in the midst of heartbreak. When the virus starts to rob her of friends and family, she clings to the belief that there must be a way to save the people she holds dearest.

Because how will she go on if there isn't?

Firstly, that is a freaking long synopsis, no? I spent longer than I expected typing that out.

Okay, I have to say this book surprised me. A lot. Reading the synopsis, I thought it would be a zombie novel, and barely included it in my library hold shelf. That would have been a mistake.

Let's start with characters: I'm going to be honest, I wasn't dazzled. We got the stereotypical loyal, loving, hot boyfriend Gav. Not much to say there, there wasn't much to him except excessive loyalty and not much pride. Like, none, actually. Even when he's working his butt off helping the island, he spends his time moping that he isn't doing enough. I have to say I didn't really like him. I did like Kae. The book was written out journal-style, like she was writing letters to her best friend Leo. Her thoughts were interesting and I liked her. Which is pretty darn rare, since protagonists can get on my nerves.

The other characters were 'meh'. Meredith and Tessa, I didn't seem to get a good grasp of their characters  Tessa especially, she was really two-dimensional. Quentin, however, I liked. He made a good villain, and some scenes with him and Kae made me shiver.

Plotwise, this book was top notch. Got drama, action, family, all narrated from the journal perspective. I haven't seen much journal-style in the new YA market lately. There is a reason for that though, there is not as much suspense, since we know she made it out fine and is writing it to her almost-boyfriend back on the mainland. So when [SPOILERS] Kae gets knocked out by the virus, we know she's got to be fine, because there's like fifty-freaking-percent of the book left. [END SPOILERS]

If this was based on a zombie-type virus, it was a good twist. The virus was scary, and I caught myself scratching and itching nervously throughout the story. It was an easy read, not twisty or super over the top, but still heart-stopping at some bits.

However, things can move a little too fast. For instance, something bad happens to Kae, and she gets over it within the next two entries. What? For real? She really cares that little? My respect for the story went downhill after the first 70% or so. It just seemed to jump from plot point to plot point too fast, leaving the characters little time to have a breath. Maybe style, maybe just a poor writing choice, but I didn't like it.

That's all I got for now.


Final Score: 7


Author Interview: Jennifer Dean

1) What is the name of the book you self-published, and what is it about? 

My novel is Bound.  Once finally back in her hometown of Washington, North Carolina, seventeen-year-old Emma Morgan learns the simple life she knew has changed from the moment she meets the charmingly, bright-eyed Liam Alexander. But when her brother, Sean, voices his disapproval of Liam, Emma’s loyalty stands between her new found curiosity of him. Only the more Emma tries to avoid Liam the more she finds him in her constant company. A risk that will expose his supernatural calling and both of their hearts. But what happens when Emma learns that Sean is the real one keeping secrets...

2) What was the hardest part of self-publishing Bound? 

The hardest part is trying to balance the responsibility of author and publisher. It can be quite a stressful process to manage editing, cover designs, author photos, etc.  At moments I would get lost in my own role, forgetting I was actually the writer too.

3) Why did you decide to self-publish? 

I had always gone back and forth with the idea of self-publishing but ultimately decided against it because of all of the negatives associated with the independent route. Then, finally this time after another rejection came from a publisher, I decided that I was going to go for it. The story felt right and life just seemed too short to wait around for a yes. I knew I had something even if no publisher or agent could see it yet.

4) Was there anything you found surprisingly easy about self-publishing Bound? 

I found the hands on process with my Lulu coordinator quite easy. Coming from the pressure of being my own publisher, it was nice to have someone I could voice my concern with on any issue, whether it be the final cover or manuscript.

5) If you had any advice to give to authors trying to go the self-publishing route, what would it be?

 Don’t fall into the statistics of bad self-published books because of poor pre-publishing. If you are going to take the time and energy to self-publish then really INVEST not just your money but your whole self. Yes, it will be alittle costly but it will be more costly to do the opposite. Throwing your work out to the world unpolished is like throwing a sheep to a pack of wolves.
6) Would you recommend self-publishing to a new author trying to get their book out there? Why or why not? This can be a quite complicated question for an author. I believe that is all in the agenda of the writer. What I will say is that authors should not give up on publishing just because of rejection from traditional publishers. I strongly believe from my own experience that a lot of us have just as much talent as traditionally published authors. We may just have to find another door to get into the party and self-publishing could be that option for new authors.

You can find Bound here.


I will be posting a review ASAP, but I'm doing NaNoWriMo this year and I've been super busy. Working on The Forsaken for y'all. In the meantime, enjoy the interviews.


Interview: Irene Helenowski

I recently had the opportunity to interview and obtain a sneak peak of Irene Helenowski's self-published novel, Order of the Dimensions. Below was our interview:

1) When did you first begin writing?  

I first began my book after I completed by dissertation and felt like I still needed something to do.

2) When did you know writing would be what you wanted to do? Was there any inciting moment when you decided to pursue a writing career? 

 I just started writing stories for fun and when I ended up with a complete book, I thought 'why not try to publish it'?  I also had several friends look it over first and they were very encouraging in terms of me publishing also.

3) What is your favorite genre to read, and why? Favorite book/series? 

I like all types of books, but particularly science fiction and I am a fan of Michael Crichton.

4) How do you get inspiration for your writing? Was there any specific inspiration for Order of the Dimensions?

 I became fascinated with the many-worlds theory, particularly with how we could be living totally different lives in different dimensions and thought that it would be interesting to write a story around the notion.  The protagonist is also in academia as I am in terms of my career, so it was natural for me to write about characters in that setting.

5) How long had you been working on Order of the Dimensions before you decided to publish it on Lulu? 

I worked on the book about six to seven months before I decided to publish on Lulu.

6) What group of people you think Order of the Dimensions will appeal to the most? Why?  

I hope everyone likes it, especially young girls who are perhaps interested in getting into the sciences.

She also provided us with a sneak peak of her work, below:

She turned her head to see Dr. Perkinds feverishly trying to make a call but to no avail. 
'My cell phone isn't working either," she confirmed with a slight unease.
Just then, several men with flashlights appeared and the audience became relieved, believing the men to be part of security. The lights went back on, and the audience noted the men were all dressed in black.
After a few moments, the figures in black began dragging individuals into the aisle and shouting; these men definitely were not security. A few of the men signaled to the ceiling, leading to ropes dropping down and several more black-dressed men sliding down the ropes to the floor of the hall and then to the stage. The room once again darkened, causing the anxiety of the audience to rise significantly. Beating and screaming could be heard everywhere.
Someone grabbed Jane's arm and dragged her to what she believed, in the dark, was the stage. She felt someone pushing her into a box. Was it possibly the Multiverser? Overwhelmed, she began gasping for air. She tried to scream but couldn't; she finally blacked out.

Order of the Dimensions is available on Lulu: here

Thank you Irene Helenowski for providing us with the interview and sneak peak!


Quick Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

Title: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Author: Michelle Hodkin
Rating: 6/10
Date of Release: September 27, 2011
Summary: Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.

There is.

She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love.

She's wrong 


This was very, very difficult to rate. I had a serious love-hate relationship going on for this book. I mean, read the summary. Sounds flippin' awesome. And some parts were.

Many people complained that this was confusing, or even nonsensical. I would disagree. For the careful reader (especially in the last fifty pages or so), things more or less make sense. I had two big drawbacks with this novel. Firstly, the romance.

Is there a YA book, anywhere, that doesn't include some cheesy romance with a smoking-hot jock? Noah, Mara's boyfriend, is smoking hot. Perfectly handsome. Even has an English accent. Rich, of course. Pretty much everything I hate in a  love interest. Just ugh. That whole subplot could have been dropped, make the book a lot shorter and less cliche.

The second gripe I have is the jerkiness of the whole story. Things happen too quickly, and then not quickly enough. One minute we have a kidnapping, crocodile murder, and escape from some sort of freak serial killer, and the next Mara is hunched in her room, thinking, and the next she and Noah are hanging out in his mansion. Too many strings were being pulled at once, it was too jerky and fast, not enough time to catch your breath, or else the romance scenes dragged on.

The biggest pro to this book was the story, and more specifically, the mind-bending, never-sure-what's-going-on-until-the-last-page story. I LOVED that aspect of this story, the cliffhangers, the surprises, discovering who Mara is and what she can do. I don't want to give away more than I have to, but it was a fantastic, original storyline that kept the reader on their toes.

So, I decided what I liked about this book outweighed what I didn't like, making it a little over 50/50. I'm still not positive on this rating. Be assured though, if you want a mysterious thriller, read The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. 


Review: Revived

Title: Revived
Author: Cat Patrick
Rating: 4
Date of Release: May 8th, 2012
Summary: As a little girl, Daisy Appleby was killed in a  school bus crash. Moments after the accident, she was brought back to life.
A secret government agency has developed a drug called Revive that can bring people back from the ead, and Daisy Appleby, a test subject, has been Revived five times in fifteen years. Daisy takes extraordinary risks, knowing that she can beat death, but each new death also means a new name, a new city, and a new life.
When she meets Matt McKean, Daisy begins to question the moral implications of Revive, and as she discovers the agency's true goals, she realizes she is at the center of something larger--and much more sinister--than she ever imagined.

[Warning: this whole article contains spoilers. While I do not recommend it, if you want to read it I suggest you don't read the review]

You would think, looking at this awesome cover, that Cat Patrick had brought us a very unique premise in sci-fi fiction. I grabbed it eagerly, ignoring the 'meh' reviews on Goodreads. It can't be TOO bad, right?

Above: Daisy

Where do I begin? Well, to start off, Daisy. So you've been given the chance to come back from the dead five times. What do you do? Complain about having to move each time, of course. Have a 'holier than thou' attitude to the agents who live in your house. Darling, in case you haven't noticed, Mason and Cassie have to move too, every time you forget your EpiPen and get stung by those meany bees. Daisy doesn't seem to care that other people in her life are affected by her move. 

As for the other characters, I liked some of them and hated some of them. Let's start off with Matt. If I have to read one more 'Ohmigosh he is so hottttt I'm going to die he's so cutttee and perffeect and I just love him and he loves me and we all eat rainbows and butterflies, yay!' story, this will be me:

Matt is perfect. He's rich. He lives with his pushover parents in a mansion and drives and awesome car. Even after his sister, dies, he's still perfect. Still has a car, and pushover parents, and can fly and see Daisy in her new home. And, while Audrey (Matt's little sister, dying of cancer) is sick, Daisy thinks telling Matt about how she has come back from the dead five times will result in anything except him demanding that Daisy steal it and give it to Audrey. Really? Did you even think that one over, Daisy? Of course, it doesn't work, because for some reason, it can work on a girl who was stung by many bees and is all swollen and filled with bee venom, but it doesn't work on cancer. Convenient?

Which brings me to another quick point. How does Revive even work? How is it possible at all to bring someone back from the dead? There was a lot of potential for some interesting sciency stuff or even philosophical stuff, but instead we got a long discourse about what Audrey's room looks like and how hot Matt is. For Science Fiction, the 'science' element was severely lacking.

One more point on the bad side before we move over to the 'pros' side. The plot in the middle meanders around. So Daisy goes out, get drunks, come back--with, guess who? (hint: ohmigosh he's so hotttt I'm going to dieeee). Um, so? Daisy goes a whole bunch of places, but it doesn't seem to affect the story a whole lot. Maybe the fact that I didn't care about the main character clouded my judgement, I can't know for sure. All I know is that 3/4 of the book was 'ohmigosh, he's so hottt' and 'ohmigosh, my new best friend is dying. That obviously means I have to tell her brother that I came back from the dead. But guess what, he can't use it to save his sister'. The last 1/4 was interesting, if only it had taken up more of the story.

All of this wasn't horrible. There were parts I enjoyed, or actually cared about. Audrey was, by far, the best character in the story. Mason was good too, but he could get pretty unrealistic at times. So, I liked Audrey and her whole subplot. But again, I didn't think her death mattered much in the story. So. Daisy's sad, and she has to be there for Matt. Okay. But how does that stop the villain. I feel like her death was setting up for a whole philosophical side, but at most, that "side" got one page. I found too many problems with this story, and the bad outweighs the good.

Final Score: 4

Waiting on Wednesday: Fragments

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine. That is good, otherwise I would need spell check to know how to spell Wednesday :P I hate that word.

What book am I waiting on this week?

Fragments, by Dan Wells

As I mentioned before, when I reviewed Partials, this book wasn't AMAZING, but I really enjoyed it none the less, so I can't wait for the sequel to come out. February 26, 2013. Oh, why?

One gripe: they can't use a different image for the girl then they did for Partials? For real? That seems a bit lazy to me. Click here to see the other cover...with the same girl, down to the blowing hair.

But, Partials, Fragments. I see what you did there (wink)


Quick Update

Hey guys,

There are some exciting things ahead. Firstly, on October 30th, I'm posting an interview with author Irene Helenowski about her self published book, Order of the Dimensions. You don't want to miss this! Later, on December 10th, I'm getting either an interview or a guest post for I Am a Reader, Not a Writer's book tour for A Hard Act to Follow, a non-fiction book about Johnny Carson.

Meanwhile, I'm waiting to get some new books to review from the library, and I'll post two new short reviews, most likely tomorrow.



Review: Fair Coin

Title: Fair Coin
Author: E. C. Myers
Rating: 9
Date of Release: March 27, 2012
Summary: Sixteen-year-old Ephraim Scott is horrified when he comes home from school and finds his mother unconscious at the kitchen table, clutching a bottle of pills. The reason for  her suicide attempt is even more disturbing: she thought she'd identified Ephraim's body at the hospital that day.

Among his dead double's belongings, Ephraim finds a strange coin--a coin that grants wishes when he flips it. With a flick of  his thumb, he can turn his alcoholic mother into a model parent and catch the eye of the girl he's liked since second grade. But the coin doesn't always change things for the better. A bad flip can destroy other people's lives as easily as it rebuilds his own.
The coin could give Ephraim everything he's ever wanted--if he learns to control his power before his luck runs out.

I was intrigued by this story from the synopsis to the cover. I mean, this is a pretty epic cover. But the story was just as good, if not better, then the cover.

The story follows Ephraim as he tries to change his not-so-good present into the life he always dreamed of, with the 'magic' coin. I expected magic, some cheesy moments and an okay story. I wasn't expecting the head ride this book was. Ephraim soon [minor spoilers] realizes that the coin isn't magic at all, in fact it has a root in principles of alternate universes.[end spoilers]. The whole premise was very interesting. For some readers it might be too much theory and not enough clear-cut action, but I really enjoyed that whole aspect of the book.

Ephraim is a sympathetic character. I feel that I would have made the same blunders and done the same things he would have if I had a 'magic' coin. Sure, he didn't have a huge presence in this story, but because the plot was so cool I let that pass. He does his job in the story, but no more. The other characters were also good. Not great, but good. This book might dip into a bit of the classic cliches: the cute geeky girl, the mildly perverted sidekick, and the stupid bully jock, and that was one thing I didn't really like. Then again, there is a difference between archetypes and cliches, and the characters in Fair Coin toe that line.

Altogether, there isn't much I have against this. There were some pacing problems, a few points where I just wanted them to get on with it (especially about 4/5 the way through), but when the plot came back it came back with a vengeance. I will be looking out for Fair Coin's sequel, Quantum Coin, when it comes out in three days (Oct. 23)


Top 10: To Be Released Covers

The graphics sure are bee-yoo-ti-full this year...while perusing goodreads I've drooled over a few. These are the top ten covers of yet-to-be-released books! Huzzah!


Date of Release: October 23, 2012
Why I like it: It's a freaking superhero. A superhero. Standing at the edge of a building. Slanted. Yes please.


Date of Release: March 12, 2013
Why I like it: Besides the cool little bit of pizzaz pulling at her face, the whole cover reeks of awesome, science fiction goodness. Now if I only knew if it was pronounced 'Miya' or 'Milla'.


Date of Release: February 19th, 2013
Why I like it: The overlay on the girl is very cool looking, and if you look closer you realize they're actually photos. I love pretty much everything about this cover, and the summary sounds epic as well. I sense a review around February 20th, 2013!


Date of Release: October, 2013
Why I like it: Simiplistic, but goes with the title so well. Instantly we know. Premeditated murder, gun, female protagonist. The cover says it all.


Date of Release: October 16, 2012. I know this was already released, but it was three days ago and I was drooling over this gem before it was released. So hah.
Why I like it: What the heck is it? No idea! But it's intriguing all the same. So much to look at, I could gaze at this for a while, and the little curlicue around the 'C' brings it all home.


Date of Release: April 16, 2013
Why I like it: The colors are really cool, and the 'k' being lifted above the rest of the words. Just the cover makes me want to read it, a tree, a shiny, sci-fi looking ground, and a guy and a girl.


Date of Release: January 22, 2013
Why I like it: Keys, smoke, a face. Awesomeness. The objects go very well with the title, and the color scheme brings a touch of eerieness to the whole thing.


Date of Release: January 29, 2013
Why I like it: Bright colors, a shimmer, cool font placement. This cover really stood out to me in the lineup. These last three covers were  so close...they're almost tied.


Date of Release: April 23, 2013
Why I like it: While I liked the cover for The Selection more, this one stacks up pretty well. A cool girl in a cover in front of ice blocks or something? Bring it.


Date of Release: November 13, 2012
Why I like it: Why are you looking over here? Look at the cover. Need I say more?

Did I miss the 'best cover EVAH'? Be sure to point it out in the comments!


Review: Ashes, Ashes

Title: Ashes, Ashes
Author: Jo Terggiari
Rating: 6
Date of Release: 6/1/11
Summary: A thrilling tale of adventure, romance, and one girl's unyielding courage through the darkest of nightmares. Epidemics, floods, droughts--for sixteen-year-old Lucy, the end of the world came and went, taking 99% of the population with it. As the weather continues to rage out of control, and Sweepers clean the streets of plague victims, Lucy survives alone in the wilds of Central Park. But when she's rescued by a pack of hunting dogs by a mysterious boy named Aidan, she reluctantly realizes she can't continue on her own. She joins his band of survivors, yet, a new danger awaits her. The Sweepers are looking for her. There's something special about Lucy, and they will stop at nothing to have her.

I expected a lot from this book. Cool cover, interesting synopsis, nice setup...it had all the necessary components to make it insta-book love. Unfortunately it fell short.

First of all, I didn't really care about the main character, a girl named Lucy who lives survives by herself in what was once New York. I didn't dislike her, but I had no feelings to really care about her. So, sure, her life kind of sucks and she meets a hot boy who saves her from a pack of feral dogs. I didn't really care at all.

The other characters were slightly better. Aidan, the boy who saved her, is cute, but we never really know about him. Why does he like Lucy, aside from the fact that she's the female main character and that kind of thing is written in the literary stars? Where did he come from? Why does another character, Del, like him for? I feel the author was setting up for another story to answer some of these, but I'd have liked a lot less secrets and a few more answers. 

In the same way, we never know how this plague that killed much of the earth's population 'mutated'. The characters use the phrase 'it mutated', but we never know how, are what that entails. The plot had holes, and more than I touched on here for the sake of spoilers. There were too many scenes of Lucy doing work, flirting with two different guys or just thinking about superfluous details--like how to get meat off a turtle--that when you get to the end of the story you realize how little real plot went on between the 342 pages that wasn't some long, detailed treatise on how Lucy's house looked before she moved out.

But, for all its shortcomings, I cannot say I derived no enjoyment in reading Ashes, Ashes. I did. Maybe because, as I stated before, I really love this genre, or the fact that everything was directing me to read this first out of all the new library books I picked up. So while there were many things I didn't like about this novel, they didn't stop me from reading it. If you don't look too hard at the plot holes or annoying main character, some could enjoy this book.

Final Rating: 6


Quick Review: Divergent

Title: Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth
Rating: 9.5/10
Date of Release: May 3rd, 2011
Summary: In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is--she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. As she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves...or it might destroy her.
The reason this is a short review is because nearly anyone at least partially well-versed in YA books knows this title. And nearly everyone likes it. I mean, it was on the bestseller list for twelve weeks. But I just wanted to drop my two cents down the reader's well and say how much I liked this book.

Tris was an awesome character. Four is awesome. The characters I loved, although I would have wanted to get a little more knowledgeable about the other characters. Their backstories, motives, etc., but I get that in a 300+ page book anything ambiguous has to be cut. I just hope I get to know more about Christiana, Caleb, and the others in the next two installments.

The plot was really interesting. If I had anything negative to say, it would be that Tris got hurt a LOT. And then was fine. And then got hurt again. After a while it got a little unrealistic, but that was okay because Tris was doing other awesome stuff. The simulations were my favorite part, even though 'dream sequences' (which the simulations are very similar to) are usually lifeless and dead to me, these were unique and interesting.

All in all, this is getting a place on my 'favorites' library! I've been hooked on this story, even if tiny little things bugged me.

Final Score: 9.5

In one gif:


Review: The Hunt

Title: The Hunt
Author: Andrew Fukuda
Rating: 6.5
Date of Release: 5/8/2012
Summary: Don't sweat. Don't laugh. Don't call attention to yourself. And most of all, whatever you do, don't fall in love with one of them.

Gene is different from everyone else around him. He can't run with lightning speed, sunlight doesn't hurt him and he doesn't have an unquenchable lust for blood. Gene is a human, and he knows the rules. Keep the truth a secret. It's the only way to stay alive in a world of night--a world where humans are considered a delicacy and hunted for their blood.

When he’s chosen for a once in a lifetime opportunity to hunt the last remaining humans, Gene’s carefully constructed life begins to crumble around him.  He’s thrust into the path of a girl who makes him feel things he never thought possible—and into a ruthless pack of hunters whose suspicions about his true nature are growing. Now that Gene has finally found something worth fighting for, his need to survive is stronger than ever—but is it worth the cost of his humanity?

Again, another review. I promise I won't do only reviews, but this book was another one I whipped off real quick. I was trying to read 'The Keeper's Tattoo', but it was so unutterably dull I took a break for something more exciting.

For any of its faults, you cannot say The Hunt isn't exciting. The action sequences were the best part of this book, and what gave it a higher rating then I would have otherwise from me. Also, something I was glad to see, The Hunt isn't full of the weak, palsy, sparkly variety of 'vampire'. I use the word 'vampire', even though they aren't expressly called 'vampires' in the novel, that is basically what they are: beasts who hunt 'hepers' (humans) for their blood and who cannot be in contact with sunlight. These are the true vampires, the ones that suck blood and go into rages. That being said, there were holes. How did the 'vampires' take over this futuristic world? Did they evolve? Did they come through magic? We never learn exactly how. All we know is that the humans, called 'hepers' by the 'vampires', have almost gone extinct, and Gene is one of the few left.

Gene wasn't my favorite character. He didn't seem to have much personality, or character to him. Many times throughout the novel he remembers the phrase his father told him 'never forget who you really are' while he tries to blend in as one of the 'vampires'. But I didn't know who he was. I didn't see much in him but love for a girl and a primal urge to survive. Also, one of the "big plot reveals" could have been seen a mile away. I can't say if I want to keep this spoiler-free, but to anyone who knows how a writer might think, it was painfully obvious that would happen from the beginning.

The other characters were forgettable. The main female character, Ashley June, is smart and drags Gene's sorry behind through the survival process, but again, a weak character I didn't really care for.

The thing that saved this from a very low score was the interesting plot. A dystopian with vampires isn't the classic formula, and the idea of the Heper Hunt was intriguing. But, again, [minor spoilers], there was no heper hunt! Most of it was full of Gene waking up, shaving, eating, dancing, thinking about Ashley June and the other hepers, and then sleeping. When there is some real action within the last pages, all one can think is 'Finally!'.

This book was not my favorite, but not bad either. I would give it a 'meh' score. That being said, I might look out for the sequel only to get another action fix.

Final score: 6.5


Review: The Elegance of the Hedgehog

Title: The Elegance of the Hedgehog
Author: Muriel Barbery
Rating: 5
Date of Release: 9/2/2008
SynopsisWe are in the center of Paris, in an elegant apartment building inhabited by bourgeois families. Renée, the concierge, is witness to the lavish but vacuous lives of her numerous employers. Outwardly she conforms to every stereotype of the concierge: fat, cantankerous, addicted to television. Yet, unbeknownst to her employers, Renée is a cultured autodidact who adores art, philosophy, music, and Japanese culture. With humor and intelligence she scrutinizes the lives of the building's tenants, who for their part are barely aware of her existence.
Then there's Paloma, a twelve-year-old genius. She is the daughter of a tedious parliamentarian, a talented and startlingly lucid child who has decided to end her life on the sixteenth of June, her thirteenth birthday. Until then she will continue behaving as everyone expects her to behave: a mediocre pre-teen high on adolescent subculture, a good but not an outstanding student, an obedient if obstinate daughter.
Paloma and Renée hide both their true talents and their finest qualities from a world they suspect cannot or will not appreciate them. They discover their kindred souls when a wealthy Japanese man named Ozu arrives in the building. Only he is able to gain Paloma's trust and to see through Renée's timeworn disguise to the secret that haunts her. This is a moving, funny, triumphant novel that exalts the quiet victories of the inconspicuous among us.
Not so much.
Before I go on, let me say I really wanted to like this book. Translated from French, interesting premise, critically acclaimed. Full of philosophy and art and meticulously researched. And yet, for me, it fell short. I didn't want to read past chapter fourteen, so I didn't. Maybe it got a whole lot better and more interesting, but now I'll never know.
The novel is about Renee and Paloma, two people from very different lifestyles that share a building. Paloma, a genius 12-year-old, plans to kill herself. As horrible as this sounds, at about the third chapter I wanted her to just get on with it already. Each of her 'chapters' (a one to two page journal entry from her POV), was full of wandering thoughts and philosophy, and such a snide, full-of-herself voice that I wanted to smash my head against the wall. I get that she has some character development to do, but jeepers-creepers, I didn't like her one bit for the whole fourteen chapters I read. If I met her in real life, I'd punch her in the face. The author and writing didn't make me care for her at all.
Renee is a slightly different story. If this story was just about her, I -might- have read on. She has likeable and unlikeable qualities, which makes her believable character with an interesting personality. However, her chapters were too full of obscure artistic references and it seemed not much happened, which made me restless.
I'm sure some people love this story, with its large philosophical side and different base. I wish I liked it, then I could put on the airs some readers wear when they read all these thick, muddy, philosophical novels while poor un-enlightened I traipse through my YA novels ravenously. (joking, by the way, though I have met some people like that). But I didn't. And thus I stand. But, older audiences might enjoy this more then flighty hard-to-please moi. 
Final Rating: 5


Review: Partials

Title: Partials
Author: Dan Wells
Rating: 8
Date of Release: February 28, 2012
Synopsis: The human race is all but extinct after a war with Partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by RM, a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island while the Partials have mysteriously retreated. The threat of the Partials is still imminent, but, worse, no baby has been born immune to RM in more than a decade. Our time is running out.

Kira, a sixteen-year-old medic-in-training, is on the front lines of this battle, seeing RM ravage the community while mandatory pregnancy laws have pushed what's left of humanity to the brink of civil war, and she's not content to stand by and watch. But as she makes a desperate decision to save the last of her race, she will find that the survival of humans and Partials alike rests in her attempts to uncover the connections between them—connections that humanity has forgotten, or perhaps never even knew were there.

~ ~
I know today is supposed to be a writing-tip day, but I had a library trip yesterday and nabbed this little beauty off the shelf. It's synopsis intrigued me and I read the entire 500 pages in nine hours. May I note this genre of book is my absolute star-crossed favorite. That being said, not everything was sunshine and roses with this book.

The main character of the book is Kira, a sixteen year old medic/researcher. Even though she's a teenager, in her world she is treated as an adult and expected to act like one, so we don't get any whiny teens in this story, which is a refreshing change for a YA novel. That being said, Kira can be obstinately stubborn, which can get a little annoying.

Her boyfriend, Marcus, didn't hit it off with me. His character plays the whole humor angle, and while there are some chuckle-worthy jokes he makes, sometimes it's off color and that jarred me from the depths of the book to make me read over the jokes again, trying to 'get it'. While he does lighten the mood of the otherwise dark book, his humor can get a little annoying.

Xochi is one of the best characters of this book. She's funny and cool, and reminds the reader that even though this is set in post-apocalypse, teenagers are still the same, music-blasting, rebellious, sometimes a bit too full of themselves. I enjoyed her throughout the whole novel.

Altogether, the characters weren't my favorite part of the book. I found that I didn't care a whole lot about them. They got a little bit annoying after a while, and that's the main reason I deducted points from the overall score. The two characters I liked were Xochi and another person, for who the sake of spoilers I won't mention in this review. Rest assured that there is another person who I couldn't help loving.

The plot, though, takes the cake of this entire book. The reason I couldn't put this down was the interesting plot. Sure, sometimes it dragged and sometimes it sped too fast, but the story is what roped me to my chair to keep reading. Just when you think all the secrets are out in the open, another one hurtles into you like a runaway bus.

I had only two gripes with the plot. One, there are a lot of travel sequences, which dragged on a bit. I found myself trying to skip through those paragraphs and had to more or less force myself to read every word. As soon as the action or tension comes, your back into the world of Kira and the others, but the scenes where they're just hanging out in a wagon were definitely not my favorite.

The other one was the scientific jargon. This was more of a personal taste issue, but as Kira is a medical researcher there are more then a few pages of her musing on the nature of some small particle. While the jargon did help me get into her world, at some points it made me feel like I was reading a medical biography. Again, this is a personal taste issue, and not everyone will feel the same as me. It is SCIENCE fiction. But I just thought I'd throw that out there.

One of the biggest points that I liked where that you never knew who the 'bad guy' was until the end. It's not a clear cut, traditional, over-bearing government-we-must-rebel-against-dystopian.

Altogether this was a solid book. I enjoyed it (as I think would be evident from reading it in nine hours). There were some slow parts that I feel could have been cut, but I would recommend it as a fun, dystopian science-fiction book.

Final Rating out of Ten: 8


So...What is this For?

Okay, so if you're reading this you're probably wondering what the heck I'll even do on here. I created this blog as an outlet for opinions, reviews, graphics, contests, and more. As more and more people read this blog, it will become much more interesting. Here are some of the things we'll do here:

  • Review books. I give a 1-10 score and a detailed review of books, published and unpublished. Sometimes, I won't review the entire book if it bores me or if I have enough information to make an informative review. Do you have a book, published online, that I can read for free? I'll do 'most anything.
  • Give random tidbits of advice: I have gathered some ideas of plot, character, and all that good stuff from my literary travels, and if you are willing to listen I happily will pass it on. 
  • Do fun contests and writing prompts: the more people who read this, the more I'll do it.
  • Give a random word of the week, along with the article of the week which will link to informative, important internet articles. 
Sound good?


I hope you enjoy reading as much as I'm sure I'll enjoy writing.