Thursday, July 3, 2014

Review: Auracle by Gina Rosati

 

Auracle by Gina Rosati

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Genres: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal

Release Date: August 7th, 2012

Source: Won

 

Synopsis:

16 year old Anna Rogan has a secret she's only shared with her best friend, Rei; she can astrally project out of her body, allowing her spirit to explore the world and the far reaches of the universe.

When there's a fatal accident and her classmate Taylor takes over Anna's body, what was an exhilarating distraction from her repressive home life threatens to become a permanent state. Faced with a future trapped in another dimension, Anna turns to Rei for help. Now the two of them must find a way to get Anna back into her body and stop Taylor from accusing an innocent friend of murder. Together Anna and Rei form a plan but it doesn't take into account the deeper feelings that are beginning to grow between them.

My Review:

Auracle was one of those books I was dying to read before it came out, but I never actually got around to it. I’d been starting at it for forever before I randomly decided to pick it up this summer, hoping for something really unique in the over-done genre. While the concept was something I thoroughly enjoyed, overall, I just found this book to be so… meh.

One of the things that I did find was unique was this whole idea of astrally projecting. I’ve read quite a few books in the UF/Paranormal genre, but honestly, nothing quite like the idea presented in this book. It was so cool to see what the main character, Anna, could do and to see all the places she could visit. The power was well explained and I didn’t have any gaps in my understanding- which was a refreshing change from a lot of the random stuff I see sometimes in paranormal books. It truly was well done.

This book also managed to keep me pretty engaged. I pretty much knew how things would end up, but I was really curious as to what would happen to lead to that inevitable ending. The plot had enough twists to keep me interested, enough that I really had some issues putting this book down occasionally. I mean, it’s not everyday you read a book about someone’s body getting hijacked. The creativity really hooked me.

That being said, I honestly can’t say that this book was super riveting either. Because I knew how things would end up, like I mentioned, the book got a little dull at times. I didn’t really like the predictability with the romance, or some aspects of the plot. There was just a lot of potential that I thought wasn’t fully realized.

Overall, it’s pretty hard for me to talk about this book. It had an awesome concept and decently engaging plot, although there was nothing I could really rave about. Auracle is the kind of book that was good to keep me occupied for a few hours, but it’s not one that’s going to linger. I’d recommend it to those looking for a quick, unique paranormal read. Had there been a little more depth and more twists, I may have ended up liking this one a lot more, but unfortunately, this book turned out to be just a little too average.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (56)

Waiting On Wednesday is a meme where you basically share an upcoming book that you’re excited to read. It’s hosted over at Breaking the Spine by Jill.

The book I am waiting on for this week is: The Young Elites by Marie Lu.

I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.

Marie Lu has proved to be a talented author through her Legend series, for me at least, and so, I immediately added her new book when I first found out about it. I’m not the biggest fan of this cover, but I AM a huge fan of this synopsis. I am in love with how dark and twisted it sounds, and Adelina seems like a truly complex character.

This book will be released on October 7th, 2014.

What are YOU waiting on this week?

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (16): Overboard at the Library Edition!

Hello everyone! Welcome to my Stacking the Shelves post this week. You can find out all about the meme here. Basically, it’s hosted by Tynga over at Tynga Reviews, and it’s a way to share the books you received each week.

So apparently it’s summer for the rest of the world, but because I’m on summer break, I didn’t even notice. Winking smile The days have officially started to smush together (as in, I had no idea it was Sunday today, I definitely thought it was Wednesday…) although my sleep schedule is still semi-normal. Regardless, I finally had the chance to go to the library to get some summer reading books. I swear, I did my absolute best to be really picky about what I got, but, I still ended up checking out a TON of books…

So here we are! Book titles are bolded and linked back to Goodreads for your convenience, as always.

Library

IMG_3149[1]

  • Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott: Honestly, I can’t believe I haven’t read this book yet. It totally sounds like my kind of thing, plus, Victoria Scott is a local author. I know for a fact that this book is going to be one heck of a ride!
  • Control by Lydia Kang: I’ve been craving a sci-fi read lately, honestly, and so Control sounds like the perfect book. Also, the cover is absolutely gorgeous, so there’s that.
  • Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay: This is another one that I can’t believe I haven’t read yet. I’ve seen the most amazing of reviews, and this sounds like such an intriguing dystopian, which I love.
  • Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy: This book is also by a local author! I’m sure all by fellow local Texan people are smacking their faces right now because I haven’t read books by authors who I like, see at events and stuff. I’m lame, I know, but at least I’m remedying the solution by reading SEMV soon!!
  • The Uprising by Lisa M. Stasse: So I saw this at the library, and having just finished The Forsaken, I decided to pick it up in hopes that it would be better than the first. I’m currently reading this one right now, and unfortunately, I’m thinking it might end up being a DNF.
  • The Program by Suzanne Young: The concept of this book seems pretty simple to me, but I’ve had a lot of close blogger friends say they thought it was amazing, so I think it’s about time I picked this book up to see for myself!
  • The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider: Despite this book having some mixed reviews, I decided to get it anyways, mainly because I have seen some good blogger friends recommend it, and because I thought I’d need something lighter and quick to balance out all my other heavy, dystopian reads.
  • The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler (not pictured): This book is currently upstairs in my sister’s room, who is sleeping (because I had no idea it was Sunday and so I’m doing this post early in the morning, oops), so I have no picture for you all. However, I’ve been super excited about this book for a while, and I think it’s just going to be a fun contemp in general.
  • The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski (not pictured): I’m forcing my sister to read this book as well, which is why it’s not in the picture, because it’s also in her room. I just finished this one because I needed something hardcore good, and just AHHH. My feels. Torn to shreds. I don’t even know how I’ll be able to write a review for this one, but just a friendly note: GO GET THIS BOOK.


Well, that’s it for me! I’ve been pretty stingy with buying books, because, well, I’m waiting for my (first!!) paycheck to buy books with my own money (yes, you can probably anticipate a giveaway when that paycheck comes along!). I’ve also been avoiding NG because I’m terrible about reviewing NG books, honestly. I’ll get on it one day. Maybe. Winking smile 

What did YOU get in your mailbox this week?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Review: The Forsaken by Lisa Stasse

 

The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Genres: Dystopian

Release Date: July 10th, 2012

Source: Bought on Kindle

 

Synopsis:

As an obedient orphan of the U.N.A. (the super-country that was once Mexico, the U.S., and Canada), Alenna learned at an early age to blend in and be quiet—having your parents taken by the police will do that to a girl. But Alenna can’t help but stand out when she fails a test that all sixteen-year-olds have to take: The test says she has a high capacity for brutal violence, and so she is sent to The Wheel, an island where all would-be criminals end up.

The life expectancy of prisoners on The Wheel is just two years, but with dirty, violent, and chaotic conditions, the time seems a lot longer as Alenna is forced to deal with civil wars for land ownership and machines that snatch kids out of their makeshift homes. Desperate, she and the other prisoners concoct a potentially fatal plan to flee the island. Survival may seem impossible, but Alenna is determined to achieve it anyway.

My Review:

I’m not quite sure what I expected with The Forsaken, probably something more The Darkest Minds-esque, but what I got was something very different. That’s not to say this book isn’t enjoyable, because it is. I think I was just hoping for more emotion, more connection, which unfortunately, we didn’t really get with this book. Nonetheless, this was quite a riveting dystopian novel that I overall enjoyed.

Alenna, our main character, was admirable. She seemed a bit distant at first, but as the book progressed and explanations were provided, I began to understand her more. Her strength and determination was truly enjoyable to see. She’s a tough girl, for sure. For the most part, I liked Alenna. She was independent on top of everything, so she definitely got some respect points there. The secondary characters were mainly well-developed as well, and seeing Alenna’s interactions with them was actually really interesting.

The plot was also another aspect that kept me engaged. Things move along quickly, and I’m surprised to see how much Stasse could fit into a single novel, because it was a lot. It was really addicting because of the stakes that were set up, and Stasse made it clear from the beginning that she was pretty ruthless. It was definitely an edge-of-your seat kind of thing. The author’s creativity to some of the elements in this book was also surprising and really upped the stakes as well, making this book stand out a little in the midst of a genre clogged by Hunger Games look alikes.

However, one aspect of this book really ruined a lot for me.

The romance.

It was bad. Like, cringe-worthy bad. It was sloppy and completely rushed. Totally unbelievable. It was the basis for a lot of the book as well, and the Alenna’s emotions, but I couldn’t buy into it a tiny bit. I’m not picky at all about romances, but honestly, there was no connection built, nothing. The romantic scenes were basically “they kissed passionately” (yes, that sentence appeared in the book). If the romance was going to be such an integral part of the book, then I needed something. Some sort of emotion, or feels, or anything. Unfortunately, there was none of that.

Also, I worry a bit about where this book is heading. It seems like The Forsaken is going towards the stereotypical YA dystopian that all of us have become familiar and, honestly, quite bored with. I’m holding on hope that this series will take a turn towards the unique, but with that (slightly predictable in a way) ending, I’m not so sure.

Overall, this book had its good moments with the wonderful main character Alenna, and a riveting plot. However, that romance. It ruined the book for me in a lot of ways. Plus, I’m not sure if this series is going to be something new in this over-done genre. I’ll be reading the next book, but with freshly lowered expectations. I’d recommend this one to dystopian fans looking for an addicting read, but be wary of that romance.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday (55)

Waiting On Wednesday is a meme where you basically share an upcoming book that you’re excited to read. It’s hosted over at Breaking the Spine by Jill.

It has been ages since I did a WoW post, and so I’m really excited to be sharing a new and upcoming book that I think will be amazing!!

The book I am waiting on for this week is: Winterspell by Claire Legrand.

The clock chimes midnight, a curse breaks, and a girl meets a prince . . . but what follows is not all sweetness and sugarplums.

New York City, 1899. Clara Stole, the mayor's ever-proper daughter, leads a double life. Since her mother's murder, she has secretly trained in self-defense with the mysterious Drosselmeyer.

Then, on Christmas Eve, disaster strikes.

Her home is destroyed, her father abducted--by beings distinctly nothuman. To find him, Clara journeys to the war-ravaged land of Cane. Her only companion is the dethroned prince Nicholas, bound by a wicked curse. If they're to survive, Clara has no choice but to trust him, but his haunted eyes burn with secrets--and a need she can't define. With the dangerous, seductive faery queen Anise hunting them, Clara soon realizes she won't leave Cane unscathed--if she leaves at all.

Inspired by The Nutcracker, Winterspell is a dark, timeless fairy tale about love and war, longing and loneliness, and a girl who must learn to live without fear.

Honestly? They didn’t really need this whole summary. All I needed to see was ‘inspired by The Nutcracker’. I was a HUGE fan of this story as a child, and totally played piano music from the ballet in middle school. So to see a book inspired by this story?

YES.

The rest of the synopsis sounds amazing as well. I really, really can’t wait to get my hands on this book and just devour it.

This book will be released on September 30th, 2014 (thank goodness, soon!).

What are YOU waiting on this week?

Monday, June 16, 2014

Review: Panic by Lauren Oliver

 

Panic by Lauren Oliver

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Genres: Contemporary, Thriller

Release Date: March 4th, 2014

Source: Edelweiss

 

Synopsis:

Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn't know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

My Review:

There was one real reason as to why I picked Panic up in the first place: redemption. I really enjoyed Lauren Oliver’s Delirium series, and her debut novel Before  I Fall. However, the last book in the Delirium series really left a sour taste in my mouth after I finished, and I wasn’t too keen on reading more Oliver after my experience with Requiem. However, when I saw this book, I just couldn’t resist, and so I requested it hoping that this was going to be phenomenal. I hoped Lauren Oliver would redeem herself. Unfortunately, that just wasn’t the case, because while this was a decent read, there were too many issues for me to fully enjoy Panic.

One of the things I truly did like, however, was the concept. I mean, the whole idea of a game called Panic sounds very dystopian, but this is actually a contemporary book. The idea is just flat out creative in my eyes, similar to what’s been done before, but unique in its own way. While I have to admit a lot of the challenges were subpar, the idea behind them was always neat to read about. It was also interesting to see how the game even developed in the first place, and the effects it had on the players and judges.

Interestingly enough, I also enjoyed the family issues touched upon in this book. Family is something not even touched upon in the summary, and this certainly doesn’t seem like the kind of book that delves into the topic of family. Yet, it does, and it was those moments that I truly liked. Heather’s family life is so disrupted, and it’s interesting to watch her struggle through everything and try to find people to trust. It was an intriguing background for the game to play out on, and I’m glad Oliver decided to include this aspect in the book.  It was touching to read about and added some much needed depth.

However, that’s where the good mainly ends for me,  unfortunately. The main issue I had with this book was that it was just so… MEH. That was my final thought upon finishing Panic. For a book that was supposed to be high-stakes, edge-of-your-seat there was just way too little suspense. I found that if I wanted to, I could simply put this book down and not really be bothered to pick it up again. The drama, the tension, all of just seemed missing to me. A lot of that can be attributed to me not really connecting to the characters, although I liked them enough. There wasn’t enough depth to any of the characters for me to truly form a bond with them, and so that made this thriller quite un-thriller-y (yes, we’re just going to pretend that’s a word).

Also, I’m not really sure what to make of this book’s plot. If you can really call it that, actually. This ‘plot’ really just seemed like more of a random confluence of events. Nothing seemed connected, and the plot seemed haphazard at best.  There were some really good opportunities to make this book’s plot into something truly amazing, but unfortunately, that didn’t happen at all, which is quite surprising with Oliver, who can normally write a riveting plot.

Overall, Panic was a book with a wonderful concept. It delved into some family issues that added a lot of depth. However, that’s where the good really ends. The suspense in this so called thriller was lacking, because I couldn’t find much depth in the main characters, and the plot seemed random. This book was supposed to be Oliver’s redemption for me, but it unfortunately fell short of the line. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Teen Talks (14): Falling (Back) in Love with Blogging

The Teen Talks is a semi-regular discussion type feature here on the blog, that allows me to talk about a variety of things from my teen perspective.

I know I typically try to do this feature on Fridays, but I’m making a bit of an exception here because I think it’s important. I know I’ve also been gone quite a while; school had simply swallowed my soul. However, I’ve been out for 5 days now, and despite sitting down and starting post after post and thinking endlessly about my blog, I haven’t written anything publishable in those 5 days.

So, I think it’s time to go back to the basics.

What made me fall in love with blogging?

Most of you know that I started out as a co-blogger, and made the leap when the person whose blog I wrote on suggested I go ahead and start my own. The idea was so alluring. I would finally have my own littler corner of the expansive world wide web. Something that was totally and completely mine. Something I could tinker around with, mess up, and generally have fun with.

So, with that, this blog was born.

As time went on and the blogosphere changed, especially the book community, this blog was a constant. I kept posting my reviews, doing a few memes, and just generally doing what I wanted. However, consistency was something I was always so angry with myself about. I needed to be consistent with my posts, after all. How would my blog ever be successful? How would I gain loyal readers? How would I be successful?

It’s interesting, however, that we live in a world that is marked by inconsistencies. We live our lives in a routine for a while, until something comes along that changes the course of our lives. When we look back at our life and the key points, we see that those key points were the inconsistencies.

And there I was trying to maintain consistency in a world where inconsistency is what almost always ends up happening.

So after having so much time to think about blogging, I think I’ve finally come back to the reason of why I even began in the first place, although I don’t think I consciously realized these reasons when I began.

I blog for me. I blog because it’s one of the things I myself control, and no one else.

I blog because sometimes, just sometimes, I end up writing something beautiful, even if it’s only a phrase, and when I go back to look at it, I can’t help but thinking, “Are those… my words?”. There is a sense of pride and happiness and accomplishment of seeing what I’ve written that I think is actually good that I don’t think I can ever let go of.

I also blog because of the community. It’s irrevocably changed since I first began (saying this makes me feel old, but apparently I’ve been around for a while- who even realized?). Drama seems to fill every corner, but even after I returned to Twitter this week, I realized that there is still so much good in the community. So much passion. So much love.

I blog for the beauty of words, and because sometimes, I need to read and review just to remind myself that my problems aren’t the biggest in the world. There’s just something about reading near-death scenes and emotional breakdowns from a perspective of a teen that has gone through thing 90498374 times worse than me that really helps me come to terms with my own issues, and how relatively, they’re not that bad.

I blog for me, I blog to find the beauty in my own words and others, and I blog because I can.

Sometimes, it’s as simple as that.

This is why I fell in love with blogging, and I know for a fact that this is exactly how I’ll fall back in love with blogging as well.

So, why do YOU blog? Have you ever lost sight of your reasons for blogging? Have you ever fallen out of love with blogging? Let me know!