Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday (57)

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: In the Afterlight (The Darkest Minds #3) by Alexandra Bracken.

Please be mindful of spoilers if you haven’t read the first two books!

Ruby can't look back. Fractured by an unbearable loss, she and the kids who survived the government's attack on Los Angeles travel north to regroup. With them is a prisoner: Clancy Gray, son of the president, and one of the few people Ruby has encountered with abilities like hers. Only Ruby has any power over him, and just one slip could lead to Clancy wreaking havoc on their minds.

They are armed only with a volatile secret: proof of a government conspiracy to cover up the real cause of IANN, the disease that has killed most of America's children and left Ruby and others like her with powers the government will kill to keep contained. But internal strife may destroy their only chance to free the "rehabilitation camps" housing thousands of other Psi kids.

Meanwhile, reunited with Liam, the boy she would-and did-sacrifice everything for to keep alive, Ruby must face the painful repercussions of having tampered with his memories of her. She turns to Cole, his older brother, to provide the intense training she knows she will need to take down Gray and the government. But Cole has demons of his own, and one fatal mistake may be the spark that sets the world on fire.

So I may or may not have saved this book for my WoW post for today, so that when I posted about it, I wouldn’t have a very long wait. I got Never Fade as a gift from some of my book blogger buddies who went to ALA and managed to grab me an ARC. So, I have actually been waiting FOREVER for the final conclusion to a series that defines “heartbreaking” for me. I know Alexandra Bracken will mess with my feels even more in this book, but I can not wait to see how everything goes down (although I will truly miss all the characters in this book).

This book will be released September 16th, 2014.

What are YOU waiting on this week?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Review: Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

 

Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Genres: Contemporary

Release Date: March 18th, 2014

Source: Library

 

Synopsis:

What if you'd been living your life as if you were dying—only to find out that you had your whole future ahead of you?

When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, her prognosis is grim. To maximize the time she does have, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs—however she sees fit. She convinces her friend Harvey, who she knows has always had feelings for her, to help her with a crazy bucket list that's as much about revenge (humiliating her ex-boyfriend and getting back at her archnemesis) as it is about hope (doing something unexpectedly kind for a stranger). But just when Alice's scores are settled, she goes into remission.

Now Alice is forced to face the consequences of all that she's said and done, as well as her true feelings for Harvey. But has she caused irreparable damage to the people around her—and to the one person who matters most?

Julie Murphy's Side Effects May Vary is a fearless and moving tour de force about love, life, and facing your own mortality.

My Review:

I think it’s truly safe to say that this book surprised me. Although it wasn’t in the good way, really. I was expecting more of a fun contemporary where a characters tries to finish her bucket list, and realizes that she’s still got more time left. So when I got a gritty and pretty deep book, I have to say, I was more than a little surprised. Despite SEMV having elements that I truly appreciated, a lot fell flat for me.

Surprisingly, one of the things I enjoyed most about this book was the jumping timeline. Very few times have I seen the whole “now” and “then’' thing work out well, because most of the times, things turn out to be super confusing (yes, I’m looking at you, Pandemonium). However, that definitely wasn’t the case here. I actually really enjoyed when little clues from the past were dropped into the story to help keep the story moving, but also providing background knowledge that really added some depth. The story still flowed well despite the back and forth, and I appreciated how Murphy wove the two threads together so effortlessly.

Also, I liked the grittiness that was incorporated so fully into this novel. Like I said, it was unexpected, but I liked it. Murphy didn’t hold anything back, which I also really enjoyed. This book got pretty dark at times, but it worked. It wasn’t too depressing, but it didn’t make light of the situation either. Even with the good characters, there was some darkness in them that shone through, the main example being Harley. The grittiness with him was unexpected, but realistic. The author certainly didn’t shy away from anything dark. 

However, our main character, Alice was so, so irritating. As in, I wanted to slap her so. many. times. I’m all for having an unlikable character, but when said character keeps making the same mistakes over and over again, despite knowing what’s right, I can’t help the irritation. I actually wanted to sympathize with Alice, but she made it impossible to do so. I wanted to slap her so many times, it was honestly a little ridiculous. I even wanted to slap the other main character, Harvey, occasionally, because he was so stupid. Both characters needed some common sense. And a slap to the face.

Speaking of these main characters, the back and forth between the two (mainly due to Alice) was extremely annoying. The romance just flat out didn’t work for me. It was obvious who was supposed to be together, and it would happen, then not happen (it truly is as strange as it sounds). I didn’t really see the point of the back and forth, and I certainly didn’t enjoy it. It took a lot away from what could have been a great story about two growing characters.

Overall, this book could have been so much more. I was surprised by the grittiness and how well the shifting timeline was executed, but the main characters totally ruined this book for me. I’d recommend this one only to people with a lot of patience looking for a gritty contemporary read. Hopefully, Julie Murphy’s next book turns out a little better for me.

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Teen Talks (15): A Personal Note & On Stepping Out from Your Comfort Zone

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.

If any of you follow me regularly on the blog, you’ve noticed that I’ve been quiet for a little while. If you follow me on Twitter, than you’ve probably noticed that I just recently got back from an international trip. So yes, that’s why this blog has been so quiet this summer. Between camp, family, and this relatively impromptu trip, this summer hasn’t been the picture of tranquility that I imagined it to be.

Nonetheless, going out of the country to visit a few countries in the Middle East area was such a humbling experience. You can always say you’re grateful for something, but when you have to go without basic necessities like electricity for 48 hours (yes, this happened to me), you really realize how lucky you are. It was an eye-opening trip for me, and so I’m really happy I had the opportunity to go. Plus, I got to visit family I haven’t seen in (5!!) years, which was also awesome.

Here’s the thing though: I’ve been back over a week now. And I’m just now getting around to writing this blog post. I’ve had plenty of time, and I’ve spent a lot of hours on the computer. Whenever I sat down to write a review though, I just wasn’t feeling it.

So I did something different.

For the first time, I “stepped out” of the book blogging world. I’ve always been a book blogger through and through, so I’ve only read and followed book blogs. However, lately, I’ve been all over the blogosphere, reading all kinds of blogs, from inspirational to lifestyle blogs.

And you know what? It’s totally out of my comfort zone, but it’s incredibly refreshing.

Source: Pintrest

Now I’ve been inspired to read some (gasp) non-fiction books that might be pretty applicable in my life. I’ve been inspired to make my blog just a little more personal. I’ve been inspired to incorporate different mediums into my blog, to experiment, to make this blog truly stand out.

It’s amazing feeling, really, despite my hesitance all this time. The blogging community is amazing, and there are so many accomplished bloggers out there who are blogging about so many things, and trying so many new things, too.

So this weird blogging rut I’ve had since coming back has led me to really come out of my comfort zone, and that’s left me feeling inspired. Luckily, that’s exactly what I need right now.

What about you? Have you recently gone on a trip or stepped out of your comfort zone? Let me know.

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.