Monday, December 1, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday (1): Most Awaited 2015 Books!

So, guys, I’ve been avidly reading Top Ten Tuesday posts for quite a while now. I’ve always been meaning to jump on the bandwagon, and with the year wrapping up, there’s no better time!

For those of you who haven’t heard, TTT is essentially a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish in which you share 10 different books about a certain theme. This week’s topic is: Top Ten Books I’m Looking Forward to in 2015. Most of these are in the earlier part of the year, simply because there isn’t enough information on fall 2015 books!! That’ll have to be a later post in 2015, it seems. Winking smile

On with the list…

My Top Ten Most Awaited Books in 2015

   

  • The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski: So, I totally fell in love with The Winner’s Curse when I read it. It was just so… different. And completely heart-breaking. I can’t wait to see what Rutkoski brings next.
  • All the Bright Places by Jennifer Nieven: I’m not the biggest fan of contemporary, but there’s just something about the synopsis for this one that speaks to me. Plus, it’s set in Indiana, where I used to live, and novels set in Indiana are basically impossible to find. I have to say, I’m intrigued to see how good this one will end up (okay, fine, I’m dying to read it, okay?? I try to sound sophisticated sometimes.).
  • Magonia by Maria Headley: Honestly, the reason I first added this one to my TBR was the cover. No shame. After reading the synopsis though, I’m totally hooked. I think this one has the potential to be a big hit.
  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo: Despite the fact that I haven’t read the final book of the Grisha series (I know, I know!), I am in love with the concept for this book. The Grisha world is also so developed, so I can’t want to delve into it even more with this book. I AM SO EXCITED.

   

  • Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard: This book is going to become the Next Big Thing. I already know it, guys. I’ve been excited for what seems like forever, and the reviews thus far that I’ve read have been gushing.
  • The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows: AHHH this book is going to be A M A Z I N G. Okay? Okay. No more commentary needed.
  • 99 Days By Katie Cotugno: I was like the one person who didn’t fall in love with How to Love, but something about the synopsis of this book… I don’t know. The way it’s written seems gorgeous, and I’m actually super excited to see if I’ll like this one.
  • The Stars Never Rise by Rachel Vincet: Sisters! Immortal souls! Rogue friends! What doesn’t sound super enticing about this book?!

                       

  • An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir: I think I would do anything to get my hands on an ARC of this. Not only is that cover gorgeous, but that synopsis sounds so, so good, and actually reminds me of a the Legend series, which I totally enjoyed.
  • Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare: Yeah, yeah, I know that this is Cassandra Clare’s umpteenth book set in the same world. But I like her compelling writing style, and I always manage to get super emotional over her characters. I’m super interested to see what she brings with this new series.

Honorable Mention

  • Anything by Alexandra Bracken: So I’m in the middle of re-reading Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds series, and guys, I’m an emotional mess all over again. I don’t think I’ll be able to read the last one without major heartbreak. So, of course,  I seriously can. not. wait. to see what she’s going to write in 2015. If anything, I know there will be massive amounts of heartbreak and tears.


There you have it! There’s a lot of other books I’m pretty excited to read in 2015, so I already know it’s going to be an amazing year in books.

What books are YOU excited to read next year? Let me know!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Review: The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey

 

The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Genres: Dystopia

Release Date: May 7th, 2013

Source: Won!

 

Synopsis:

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker.

Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

Review:

I recognize the fact that I’m a little late to the bandwagon, but to be completely honest, I was a little scared to pick this book up. I had read review after gushing review, to the point where I got tired of seeing all the positive thoughts. It seemed like this book was definitely my kind of book, which only made me more nervous. I shouldn’t have worried though, because not only was The Fifth Wave extremely engrossing, it was also shockingly different.

I think what I appreciated most about this book was the grittiness. Yancey doesn’t pull anything back when it comes to the story. As each twist is revealed, the reader is shocked again and again by the horrors that plague this world. It was also so intriguing to see the background, and just how realistic this dystopian world was. Yancey creates a plausible idea, making everything even creepier, because it could actually happen. The struggle for survival is frightening, made ever so more by the realistic aspect.

Also, those plot twists. The build-up was ever so subtle, but things punched me in the face every time they were revealed. I had my suspicions, and some were proved correct, others, not so much. The suspense in the way things were set up really moved the story along for me, especially given the back and forth of the timeline. It’s this back and forth that really allowed the plot twists to be that more powerful, because everything was timed extremely well, too. I also really enjoyed how everything came together so well at the end, as all the plot lines were connected.

One of my favorite aspects of this story, however, may have been one of the main characters, Cassie. I could relate a lot to her; after all, she used to be just another teenager. But given the state of the world, she was forced in to survival, and although she had to fight for her life, she was a scared girl. It was the combination of her fierceness yet vulnerability that made me love her that much more. Of course, she made her own stupid decisions, but I still really enjoyed her POV. It was to the point where I wished that her POV was the only one that we got.

Along with that minor issue, the biggest deterrent for this book was just how flat out dark it was. I’m not normally turned off by darkness at all, in fact, it’s something I believe adds a lot of depth to a novel. Yet, there were parts that were just really hard to read because they were so dense. I actually had some issues getting into the book in the beginning because of this. I craved something a little lighter (the romance didn’t do anything for me- I wish it just didn’t happen, in fact) to help move the book along.

Overall, The Fifth Wave largely lives up to its hype. I loved the plot twists, and one of the main characters, although I most definitely had my issues with the book. Hopefully the next book will pack even more of a punch than this book did, but in a better way.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Giveaway: A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

It’s been far too long since I’ve done a giveaway around here, so I’m super thrilled to be giving away A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray! I recently reviewed this one, and overall, thought it was really great. I accidently received an extra copy of the book, which means its up for grabs for one of you lovely people!

Of course, there are a few rules that you need to look over (lame, I know, but necessary).

The Basic Rules

  • Only US followers, unless you’re willing to pay shipping- then feel free to enter! I’m sorry guys, but I’m still a poor high school student.
  • Must be 13 years or older (for you youngsters out there: go ahead and have your parent enter for you if necessary!)

  • Winners must respond within 72 hours, or else a new winner will be chosen.

  • I am not responsible for any damages once the book gets sent. I’ll package it like crazy, though, and truly do my best. Sorry, but that’s how the cookie crumbles.

  • Giveaway ends 12/22/14! (Interesting how that date correlates with the end of finals…)

  • Most Importantly: Do NOT cheat. If you do, you will be restrained from ever entering any giveaways on this blog again and I will frown upon you deeply. I WILL be checking entries! So don’t try it.

What’s up for grabs:

A Thousand Pieces of You

It’s as pretty as it seems - trust me, you guys want this one!

Good luck everyone! May the odds be ever in your favor.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 17, 2014

Review: A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

 

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Genres: Science Fiction

Release Date: November 4th, 2014

Source: Publisher

 

Synopsis:

Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.

A Thousand Pieces of You explores a reality where we witness the countless other lives we might lead in an amazingly intricate multiverse, and ask whether, amid infinite possibilities, one love can endure.

Review:

I think it’s impossible to argue that this isn’t one of the pretties covers in existence, so you can imagine my excitement when I was offered up the chance to review this book. You can also probably imagine the amount of times that I stopped and stared at the cover for a good while before continuing to read; it was that enchanting. Overall though, A Thousand Pieces of You was an intriguing read, despite the fact that there were some flaws that prevented me from falling head over heels in love with it.

I think for me, hands down, the most enjoyable part of this novel was the world-building. I got  a little caught up with the technical terminology, but overall, not only were the details relatively easy to understand, but everything was so thorough. Whenever dimensions changed, the setting was painted so intricately, and I was always thoroughly immersed. It was always interesting to see the contrasts between the new dimension and our own, and to see how the main character reacted and adapted to each. I never felt like any were underdeveloped, which was a pretty great feat, considering how much things shifted throughout the book. I think having vivid backgrounds really enriched my experience, and made reading about the different dimensions that much more interesting.

What also made the book really interesting was the main character, Marguerite. She was a relatively typical YA heroine, but I liked how easy she was to relate to. There’s a fierce stubbornness and innate kindness that’s just really hard not to like. Of course, she makes her own lame mistakes, but throughout the book, she makes some good decisions and is always wondering about the consequences of her actions, which is quite a refreshing change from the norm. Combined with the awesome sauce world-building, the book was actually really riveting. I had a hard time putting it down.

Even with that though, there were definitely some draggy parts. This book’s plot is essentially put on hold for a while just to develop the romance, and even a slightly shaky one at that. I’m not the biggest fan of romance, but even for those who are, I don’t think it’s justified to take out a large chunk of the story simply to allow for the romance to grow. I missed the action in that part of the story, and I feel like if there was more happening during that portion of the book, it would have progressed the story regardless.

One of my biggest qualms with this book, however, lies in the fact that very little is actually progressed besides the romance and world-building. I definitely enjoyed the latter, but in terms of the answers we were looking for, I’m totally lacking. The overall story arc almost didn’t progress at all. Pretty much, all we know who the bad guy is. Nothing about the plot, the threats, or even what’s happening or what’s going to happen in the future. There was a lot more potential to move things along, but overall, this book leaves me feeling like the main objective was to just get the story set up for future books.

Overall, I can definitely say that I enjoyed A Thousand Pieces of You. While the book doesn’t exactly live up to that insanely gorgeous cover, I really enjoyed the world-building and the perspective of the main character, which made for one heck of a riveting read. Even with the draggy parts and the lack of real progression in the story, this book definitely has piqued my interest. I’d recommend it for all time travel lovers, and those looking for a story with a colorful setting. I’m looking forward to seeing where Claudia Gray takes things next.

Thank you to the publisher for sending me a review copy of this book in exchange for my honest thoughts.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

A Bit of an Update & On Having to Find Closure

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So it’s been a while since I last talked with all of you.

I think it’s long past due for an explanation, so you guys can get a bit of insight of the craziness that has been my life lately.

Essentially, I got wrapped up into some huge drama, right before school started. It involved my best friend- one of my only close friends at all, actually- and it prevented me from getting my summer assignments done.

It went all downhill from there.

My grades suffered, and for the girl who’s in the top ten percent of her very competitive class, grades are everything. What was far worse, was that I suffered. I was being suffocated beneath all the drama, and the failures that had been presented to me.

As you can imagine, things didn’t get a lot better. They slowly spiraled out of control, each small issue becoming larger and larger until things simply blew up in my face.

It got to the point where this drama was really affecting me emotionally. My parents got wind, other people got involved, and now I’m left here, completely drained, staring at a mediocre report card, and without a best friend (and without a phone, too).

It’s been a crazy whirlwind of events, and I can honestly say that I’m looking forward to being done with high school and the major drama that plagues every single day (although I get the feeling I’ll have to face some in the future).

Closure
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In the aftermath of everything, I’m left with a need to find some closure. I have to find a way to rewrite who I am, to scratch my visions of the future and start all over again.

Essentially, I have to find who I really am.

In the midst of all the drama, I lost the essence of who I am. I’ve been forced into questioning the very basis of me and my morality, and it’s been extremely rough, especially without the person I used to lean on. I’m supposed to weave myself together back again, using the pieces of who I used to be, to create a new me. Someone stronger, maybe. Someone who knows who she is, what she believes in, and why she believes the things she does.

Too bad it’s far harder than it seems.

I’m in the very beginning of the process of finding closure- which is the one thing I realized that I needed all along. It’s been better this week, but I’m absolutely terrible at letting things go; yet, I find myself in a position in which I have to do exactly that. It’s hard, but I think maybe time will alleviate the pain and help me truly redefine myself and my beliefs.

I’ve also gone back to reading more and more, and that’s helped to create a refuge and provide the perspective I crave. Books are always there when I need them, and so I’m relying on them now. There’s just something about being able to take a step back from everything and delve into someone else’s problems that I’ll always love. Hopefully they’ll continue to help me, as they already have.

High school is an insane rollercoaster, guys. I guess all I can hope to do is hold on, enjoy the ride, and see where I end up.

What about you? Have you ever had to redefine yourself? Have you been through any sort of drama recently? Let me know in the comments.

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.