A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab
Publisher: Tor
Publication Date: February 24th, 2015
Pages: 398
Song(s) I Played While Reading: Lean On by Major Lazer & Outside by Calvin Harris
Rating: 4 stars

Kell is one of the last travelers- magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes connected by one magical city.
There's Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, and with one mad king- King George III. Red London, where life and magic are revered- and where Kell was raised alongside Rhy Maresh, the roguish heir to a flourishing empire. White London- a place were people fight to control magic and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London. But no one speaks of that now.
Officially, Kell is the Red traveler, ambassador of the Maresh empire, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each london. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpse of a world they'll never see. It's a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.
Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs into Delilah Bard, a cutpurse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him fro ma deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure. 
Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all the worlds, they'll first need to stay alive. 

And V. E. Schwab (also known as Victoria Schwab) strikes again! I expected good things from this book, and I wasn't disappointed. She's truly a talented writer, and it never fails to amaze me. It sucks you in and makes you forget about reality; when you stop you almost feel groggy, as if you were under a spell.
Don't be put off by the parallel universe aspect; besides her amazing ability to weave together words until they want to make you cry (seriously HER WORDS ARE BOOTIFUL), she makes this whole concept of traveling super easy to understand. Each London was super vivid and made you feel as if you were right there alongside Kell and Lila on their adventures.
The characters were really well fleshed out, making you want to know more and more about them. I have SO many questions on both Kell and Lila's past, something that's hinted at multiple times, and I really hope Schwab dives more into that in the next book. Kell was strong character, someone who was both at ease with himself and also understanding of his powers. He knows his limits, and doesn't try to push them. He's smart, kind, and funny.
Lila Bard was also quite the interesting character. She was a cross-dressing, sassy biotch who took shit from no one. She was a thief, stealing what she could so one day she could become a pirate of her own ship. She was cunning and fierce, which really balanced out well with Kell. She wanted an adventure, and by god she got one (honestly I'm a little jealous).
The plot was definitely darker then I originally thought, and it just made the story so much better. It also featured multiple pov's, and the love I have for that KNOW'S NO BOUNDS. Getting all those different view points adds such a huge depth to the story that we wouldn't usually see with a single narrator. We get the good and the bad side, and some poor souls who get stuck in the middle, and it's super cool to see the way the storyline weaves around them.
This was an absolute kick ass start to Schwab's new trilogy, and now I must hunker down in wait for the next book, which comes out February 2016. I'm an impatient biotch but somehow I function through these long periods of time between books *sighs*

"A delicious thrill ran through her chest, spurned on by the closeness of danger, and Lila wondered, not for the first time, if something was wrong with her. Barron used to say so, but Barron was a bore.
Looking for trouble, he'd say. You're gonna look till you find it.
Trouble is the looker, she'd answer. It keeps looking till it finds you. Might as well find it first. 
Why do you wanna die?
I dont, she'd say. I just want to live."

"He smells like flowers, she thought absently as she dragged his body across the floor."

""Aren't you afraid of dying?" he asked Lila now.
She looked at him as if it were a strange question. And then she shook her head. "Death comes for everyone," she said simply. "I'm not afraid of dying. But I am afraid of dying here." She swept her hand over the room, the tavern, the city. "I'd rather die on an adventure than live standing still."
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The Winners Crime by Marie Rutkoski

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Winners Crime by Marie Rutkoski 
Publisher: Ferrars Straus Giroux
Publication Date: January 1st, 2015
Pages: 402
Song I Played While Reading: Talking Body by Tove Lo
Rating: 3 stars

A royal wedding means one celebration after another: balls, fireworks, and revelry until dawn. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches she aches to tell Arin the truth: that she agreed to marry the crown prince in exchange for Arin's freedom. But can Kestrel trust Arin? Can she even trust herself? 
Kestrel is becoming very good at deception. She's working as a spy in the court. If caught, she'll be exposed as a traitor to her country. Yet she can't help searching for a way to change her ruthless world... and she is close to uncovering a shocking secret. 

I was SO excited for this book. It seemed promising, with her torn between Arin and her country, being a spy in court, plus living in lavish quarters and going to endless balls and parties. I'm a sucker for royalty, I cant help it!
But I was let down, more so then I was with The Winners Curse. The plot, and the direction it went, was interesting enough. But this just felt like being trapped in a box. It was frustrating and slow and a little hard to grasp at some points. As some of you may know, I don't like dramatic relationships. If written the right way, I can handle it. And I know these two had much more at stake then most contemporary relationships, but by the end of the book I wanted to tear my hair out. I understand why she choose to keep her reasonings a secret from Arin, but when desperate times call for desperate measures.. JUST SPIT IT OUT. I couldn't tell who I felt more bad for, Arin or Kestrel.
And oh boy did I feel bad. One thing Rutkoski managed to do was make Kestrel's situation feel as hopeless as trying to save a book from catching fire when thrown into a flaming ball of it. IT WAS SO SAD. The trapped box feeling reference was both from the secrets and in regards to Kestrels life, because she herself felt that way. She's stuck in a marriage to a guy she doesn't love with an evil, conniving, prick of a father-in-law, who also happens to rule the entire country. Her lover is sometimes within arms distancee, and she has to refrain from throwing herself at him. I, for one, would probably have either strangled the Emperor or myself.
From Kestrel's chapters, she's always stuck in the palace. This was the same issue in Curse; she was always stuck in one place, either her home or Arin's. Even with her spying and trying to uncover this mysterious secret and all the balls and parties she attends, it still felt a little slow at some parts. I don't know if its the way Rutkoski writes or just me (most likely me since everyone loves this book).
Even with these complaints, I still enjoyed the story. The writing was eloquent and Kestrel is an intriguing narrator, even if I did want to smack her upside the head a few times. What good characters don't piss you off sometimes? The ending felt a bit rushed, but was surprising nonetheless. I hope Rutkoski kicks ass in this last book because I WANT TO BE AMAZED LIKE EVERYONE ELSE. I feel like an odd ball for not absolutely dying over these books.

""You snored," Kestrel said.
"I did not."
"You did. You snored so loudly that the people in my dreams complained."

"An emotion clamped down on her heart. It squeezed her into a terrible silence. But he said nothing after that, only her name, as if her name were not a name but a question. Or perhaps that it wasn’t how he had said it, and she was wrong, and she’d heard a question simply because the sound of him speaking her name made her wish that she were his answer."

"Did I... say something I shouldn't have?"
Kestrel realized that he didn't remember waking, or the conversation. She could no longer tell if he had meant what he had said to her then. Even if he had meant it, had he meant to say it at at all?
He had, after all, been drugged.
An emotion leaked away. It came from a small cut that Kestrel couldn't close."

""A beheading would be spectacular," Roshar said as Arin steered up the canal. It was a clear day. "Don't you think? You're too heavy for a good hanging. Your neck would break the moment you dropped."
"Beheading's quick, too."
"Not if the ax is dull."
It was a typical conversation between Arin and Roshar, who had very helpfully taught Arin his country's words for various deaths by execution and reminded Arin on a daily basis that his life was in the prince's hands."

"He did not want her to know.
He did not want her to see.
Look at me, he found himself thinking furiously at her. Look at me.
She lifted her eyes, and did."
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Happy Monday!

Hello, lovely internet friends!
I hope you had a fabulous weekend and are ready to kick some butt this week!
For some reason, I can't read after I work. I'm just too exhausted and want to eat something and stare into space and go to bed. Sometimes in that order. Hopefully I can get over this weird phase!

Finished This Week
Just One Day by Gayle Forman
Just One Night by Gayle Forman (novella)
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

Currently Reading
The Winners Crime by Marie Rutkoski

To Read 
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwabb
Magonia by Marie Dahvana Headley

I'm enjoying The Winners Crime, but just like with the first book, not as much as everyone else. I mean people absolutely raved about it, and I think it's good, but definitely not 5 stars. Mostly I just feel really bad for Kestrel. Hopefully the ending can save it for me!
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The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: August 20th, 2013
Pages: 452
Song I Read While Reading: Addicted To A Memory by Zed
Rating: 3 stars

The year is 2059. Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people's minds. For Paige is a dream walker, a rare kind of clairvoyant- and under Scion law, she commits treason simply by breathing. 
It is raining the day her life changes forever. Attacked, kidnapped, and drugged, Paige is transported to Oxford- a city kept secret for 200 years, governed by an otherworldly race called the Rephaim who seek to control the clairvoyants for their own purposes. Paige is assigned to the care of Warden, a powerful Rephaite. He is her captor. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if she wants to regain her freedom, she will have to get close to him, to learn something of his mind and his own mysterious motives. 

If theres one thing Shannon excelled at with this novel, it was the use of her wicked imagination. I mean this had depth. It was a completely new world, with a fresh take on clairvoyants and the Rephaim. If she had only tweaked her writing, making this world even a little bit more easier to understand, then I think this would have been a fantastic debut. I still really enjoyed it, but at some points it felt like a chore. I, of course, didn't notice the glossary in the back and had written out my own set of notes. So for anyone who hasn't read this yet and plans on it, THERES A GLOSSARY IN THE BACK. It'll help immensely.
Even with the info-dumping, I was still hooked. I found all the characters to be very interesting, especially Warden, and I couldn't see where the direction of the story was going. It left me guessing. Paige, though a solid and easily relatable character, was still only a okay protagonist for me. I didn't love her, but I didn't hate her. She was kinda blah, but I know for other people she would be the perfect heroine; not overly badass, but not completely weak either. She had her strengths and weaknesses, and the latter really helped her character development and overall appeal to me. We get a smattering of side characters while at Oxford, and they were all equally strong and able to stand on their own. We only see Paige's criminal underworld comrades through some of her memories, but I actually really liked them. They were lively and all had a surprising depth.
Warden was definitely my favorite character. Though his intentions are still pretty muddled, even with some shocking realizations at the end of the novel, I really enjoyed his aloofness. He was quiet and controlled and calm. It was really interesting reading about their background and how they ran Oxford.
The plot was pretty slow, but I was concentrating so hard on understanding the world and how it ran that I didn't really notice. Plus I never expect a first book like this to be action packed, so my expectations weren't too high. Her writing wasn't overly impressive, and sometimes I wasn't able to picture any of the things she was describing. I don't know if it was the slang or if they were just things I had never heard of, but I ended up imaging my own little world instead. And sometimes we would be in the middle of a scene and for some reason the words just wouldn't make sense. Like I'd be reading and something would happen, and the way it was formed just.. didnt fit. I don't know, it's super hard to explain and could just be all in my head. But at those times I lost my groove and it took a while for me to get back into it.
Overall, this was solid start to the series. It's unlike anything I've ever read before, and theres so many different possibilities! The ending definitely was the best part of the book, and I have to give credit to Shannon; it was awesome. Theres so many odds stacked against these clairvoyants, and I cannot wait to see what the author choose to do with them. She's got a 7 book deal, so I'm in for the long haul!

"He tapped his fingers on a mirror. "We might have another interesting season this year."
I tensed. "What?"
"Nothing, nothing. Just talking to myself. Best way to keep one's sanity after forty years.

"Knowledge is dangerous. Once you know something, you can't get rid of it. You have to carry it. Always."

""Yes, she does. But they are as much as her weakness as her strength." He took another sip of his drink. "The blood-sovereign suffers under the influence of her so-called angels."
"I'm sure the angels are sorry."
"They despise her."
"You don't say."
"I do." He was clearly amused by my disdain. "We have only been speaking for two minutes, Paige. Try not to waste all your sarcasm in one breath."
I wanted to kill him. As it happened, I couldn't."
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Top Ten All Time Favorite Authors

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

This meme is hosted by the lovely ladies at The Broke and the Bookish

Richelle Mead
One of the few authors I've loved since I was young, and also my auto-buy and the author I own the most books from, Mead had to be my number one all time favorite author. Everything she writes is amazing and well-developed and hilarious and just awesome. Vampire Academy was one of the first fantasy books I really go into, and I think I can say that this story really honed in on my love for fantasy. KEEP DOIN' YOU, RICHELLE!

Sarah J. Maas
My love for this woman and her books no absolutely NO. BOUNDS. I think I've topped off my love for her some days and then she'll tweet something or post a picture or I'll just flip through Tog and it's all over. I'll be on the floor bemoaning how amazing she is and why haven't I met her yet and oh my god I CANT STAND THE WAIT FOR QUEEN OF SHADOWS AND HOLY GUACAMOLE MY PRE ORDER OF A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES BETTER COME IN THE DAY IT COMES OUT PLEASE GOD JUST MAKE IT HAPPEN!!!! This happens at least 2 or 3 times a week. But seriously y'all, her writing is flawless and her stories and characters are just BEAUTIFUL and she's also Jewish and gluten free. Clearly we're meant to be best friends. 

Lauren Oliver
One of the first ladies who's writing literally put me under a spell, Lauren Oliver is another auto-buy. I've read almost all of her books (I just need to get Rooms) and none of them have disappointed in the writing or quality department (kind of). They're lyrical and fluffy and give me goosebumps and make me feel like I'm floating on a cloud. I got to meet her at Yallwest and she complimented my clothes too, which, in my book, means she's golden. If you compliment my clothes I'll probably love you forever.

Jandy Nelson
Okay I had to put these two ladies next to each other because I love them for the same reason; their writing. Jandy is more imaginative, with more metaphors and similies, while Lauren is more realistic. But oh god Jandy's books.. they're straight up magical. Like thats the first word that pops into my head. They're magical and have a depth that sucks you in and completely smothers you, but in a really really REALY good way. I enjoyed being smothered my Jandy's books. I hope that makes sense. Maybe I should stop now. I, for one, don't have a magical way with words (as you can probably tell).

Leigh Bardugo
This woman deserves an award for the book hangover/sob fest I got from Ruin and Rising. I remember precisely how I finished the book, dropped it in my lap, and then stared into space for a good five minutes with tears streaming down my face, not believing that that was it. That I had to accept that sort of ending. That MY BABY NIKOLAI DIDNT GET HIS QUEEN *cries*. I met her at Yallwest and actually interrupted what she was saying BY HOLDING UP A FINGER AND SAYING "I HAVE SOMETHING IMPORTANT I NEED TO SAY TO YOU." LMFAO. I didn't even realize how rude that was until later that night and I almost started crying. But she didn't seem to mind and we had a discussion on Nikolai that actually pulled her editor (publisher? I don't remember) and Marissa Meyer into it, and we were all rooting for her to write a story from Nikolai's pov. After that I saw her at a couple of panels and let me tell you. SHE'S FUCKING HILARIOUS. I mean seriously she had me in tears and I can totally see where Nikolai got his sense of humor. 

Cassandra Clare
I loved loved LOVED The Mortal Instruments when I was younger and it was still only 3 books. I managed to get one of my friends to read it and I remember the evil smile I had on my face when she called me bawling her eyes out about how Clary and Jace were siblings. The self-control I used during that conversation still to this day astounds me. For me, the Mortal Instruments is one of those books you look fondly at, but are not completely obsessed with. You don't love it. You don't hate it. It's just kind of "eh". But The Infernal Devices completely blew my expectations out of the water and I love those books with a fiery passion. PLUS, you realize that Cassie is literally a fucking genius. The time and effort it must have taken to plan this whole time frame out, to put clues into The Infernal Devices that would lead to revelations in City of Heavenly Fire, or vice versa (LIKE THE EPILOGUE IN CLOCKWORK PRINCESS) just.. BLOWS MY MIND, PEOPLE. I'm beyond excited for her upcoming books and can't wait to see how she strings all of them together. I bet once she's done with the Shadowhunters, theres gonna be this huge revelation that will make my brain explode.

Sara Raasch
Snow Like Ashes was the first book I read this year, and honestly I couldn't have asked for a better one. It kicked ass. Usually I only ever cry in scenes that are sad, but Raasch wrote a scene that was so beautiful and inspiring that I literally bawled my eyes out. Even thinking about it now I get goosebumps. The world is rich and colorful and her characters are strong and real. WHAT MORE COULD YOU ASK FOR? Plus she's so adorable on tumblr and seems like such a genuinely nice person. 

Maggie Hall
I have to thank Mrs. Hall for my sudden bout of wanderlust. I mean this woman literally changed the direction of my life. I was in a rut (which I still kind am in now) and everything just felt.. blah. And then I read her book and it was like the entire world just opened up for me. It never even crossed my mind that I should travel. I've got the money and the time. Why the hell not?! So in 3 and a half months I'll be traipsing across Europe. THANKS GIRL.
Besides her vivid writing that made me feel like I was literally in the book, the way she weaves her story with our history is absolutely fascinating. I was enthralled and gobbled it up. I NEED BOOK 2 PLEEEEASE.

Erika Johansen
I just finished her debut novel, The Queen of the Tearling, a few days ago. And WOW was I impressed. It was a breathe of fresh air in the usual YA (er NA? Adult? I don't know?) fantasy. Her writing was fantastic, the plot intriguing, and her characters were strong and very well flushed-out. I'm a big fan of books that narrate from multiple characters, and this one features some of the strangest yet interesting characters to read from. This was another kick-ass debut and I can't wait for the second book!

Jennifer L. Armentrout
Even though I've only read The Lux series, people rave and RAVE about her other books, and just her general awesomeness. And I LOVED The Lux series, so getting to her other books is a high priority for me. She literally is a machine; she whips out books like theres no tomorrow. And they all (from what I've read) seem to be different and new enough where it all doesn't blur into the same story over and over again. She has a wicked sense of humor and Katy and Daemon had me doubling over in laughter at some points. I have high expectations for her other stories! 

Who're your 10 top all time favorite authors? :)
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Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Monday, April 20, 2015

Just One Day by Gayle Forman
Publisher: Speak (Penguin Group)
Publication Date: January 8th, 2013
Pages: 369
Song I Played While Reading: Anna Sun by Walk The Moon
Rating: 4 stars

Allyson Healey's life is exactly like her suitcase- packed, planned, ordered. Then on the last day of her three-week post-graduation European tour, she meets Willem. A free-spirited, roving actor, Willem is everything she's not, and when he invites her to abandon her plans and come to Paris with him, Allyson says yes. This uncharacteristic decision leads to a day of risk and romance, liberation and intimacy: twenty-four hours that will transform Allyson's life. 

The wanderlust bug has bitten me. The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall cracked open something in me that can't be stopped, and before I knew it I was googling European tours and volunteering abroad and it was like the possibilities were endless. So in between now and my month long traipse across Europe, I'm finding the next best thing; reading about it. Is anyone surprised? No.
I really enjoyed this book. It was inspiring and uplifting and just made you feel good, as if you had just eaten warm cookies and were now wrapped up in a blanket. There was a small blip in the story where it got a little dark, something that bothered me to no end and made me want to throw one of Allyson's antique clocks at her head, and the reason why I docked it a star.
But overall this was a story about getting lost and finding yourself in the process. I love the whole idea of abandoning responsibilities (for a short period of time, of course) and just being. Living for the moment, wandering around to new places, doing things you don't normally do. That's what this story is ultimately about. Allyson has had her entire life planned out since she was in elementary school. She didn't mind it because she didn't know any other type of way of living. She was comfortable. So this unplanned trip to Paris with a boy she barely knows shot an arrow through her head and heart and opened up her eyes to a different way of existing.
Allyson was an easy character. Though a little annoying at first, she quickly opened up and we saw the person she was meant to be while in Paris. It all comes full circle in the end, but let me tell you. The road there (especially in the beginning while at school) was a struggle to get through. It was both boring and sad, in the way where it made me itch to just jump into the story and fix everything. I hate seeing characters get stuck in such a rut.
Willem was an interesting character. I liked him, but something about him also rubbed me the wrong way. It was small things, so I could ignore it pretty well, but it still nagged at me when he would do them. There relationship was simple and "fluid", as Captain Jack said. I really enjoyed their banter and the way they acted around each other.
The writing was electrifying, sometimes giving me goosebumps and other times making me close my eyes and just picture all the places this book features. It was vivid and gorgeous.
The ending was pretty satisfying for an open-ended one. Usually I hate those with a burning passion, but surprisingly I didn't mind this one. I was so in-tune with Allyson that her choice to go you-know-where right at the end satisfied me in a way where I knew, even without actually reading it, that she would be okay with whatever happened. I'm sure this is what authors usually want a reader to feel when they have an open-ending, but this is one of the rare times when I actually felt it.
Overall, I highly recommend this (if you haven't already read it, which would be a surprise because I'm SUPER late to the Gayle Forman train), and think theres something in it for everyone; romance, travel, self-discovery, trying new things, going out of your comfort zone, and creating your own path in life.

"I turn to Melanie. It's on her now. She narrows her green eyes at Willem. "If you rape or murder my friend, I will kill you."
Willem tsk-tsks. "You Americans are so violent. I'm Dutch. The worst I will do is run her over with a bicycle."

""I think everything is happening all the time, but if you don't put yourself in the path of it, you miss it. When you travel, you put yourself out there. It's not always great. Sometime's its terrible. But other times..." He lifts his shoulders and gestures out to Paris, then sneaks me a sidelong glance. "It's not so bad."

""Here." Melanie shoves a drink into my hand. It's in a hallowed-out piece of pineapple. I take a sniff. It smells like suntan lotion. It is sweet and warm and burns slightly going down. "Good girl."
I think of Ms. Foley. "Don't call me that."
"Bad girl."
"I'm not that either."
She looks peeved. "Nothing girl."

"Part of me knows one more day won't do anything except postpone the heartbreak. But another part of me believes differently. We are born in one day. We die in one day. We can change in one day. And we can fall in love in one day. Anything can happen in just one day."
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Happy Monday!

Hi everybody! So usually I do the It's Monday, What Are You Reading? meme, but Sheila, also known as Book Journey, is currently going through a huge personal issue and will not be blogging for awhile. So I won't be doing that meme anymore but still like the idea behind it, so I'll just be posting something similar to it every Monday and just call it "Happy Monday!". Why not brighten the otherwise dull Monday's everyone seems to have? I for one love Monday's since I work the weekend but have the week off. It's backwards for me.

Finished Last Week
-An ARC copy of Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
-The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen 

Currently Reading
Just One Day by Gayle Forman. I really enjoyed the beginning, with her one day in Paris with Willem, but this whole "One Year" aspect is really getting on my nerves. Let's hope it picks up a little!

To Read
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon. This has been on my TBR shelf far too long and it's time I finally crack it open *rubs hands together gleefully*

Have a kick-ass Monday/week! :)
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Book Boyfriend: Chaol Westfall

Sunday, April 19, 2015

I hold a special place in my heart for fictional boys. I'm very picky, so not just any guy with a sense of humor can waltz in and snag a piece of my heart (though that definitely is one of my requirements). As they added up I realized they all had things in common; they're thoughtful, trustworthy, open-minded, determined (usually when getting the girl *sigh*), they have a sense of humor, are loyal, and protective.
For all my talk of every boy I read in a book or series being my favorite, I have a limited amount of legit book boyfriends. I wrote them out and I was like "Thats it?!" But I guess I would rather have a small but strong set of boyfriends then a lot of weak ones, right? RIGHT.
So lets get started!

Chaol Westfall
Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas

Described to be tall and muscular, with brown, closely-cropped hair and golden-brown eyes, Chaol Westfall is the Captain of the Guard in the King of Ardalans army. He's very young for his title, only 22, but is an old soul and is more mature and responsible then most men his age.
Sigh. Where do I even begin?
I was initially attracted to him because he's stoic. He's the Captain of the Guard, so he has to simultaneously blend into the background but be aware of every person or threat in the room. He has to put himself between his charge (let's not talk about who he guards, okay???) and the threat, every time. He watches everyone and notices everything.
And then every once in a while he would make snappy retort, and my heart would just swell. I love a dry sense of humor, and Chaol has that to the T. As we see with the progression of the series he's very loyal to the crown, almost to the detriment of his character to most people (I also DONT WANT TO TALK ABOUT THAT EITHER, OKAY?). I completely understood his struggles from the beginning, and only loved him more because he really is one of those rare characters that is selfless and will put anyone he loves before him. That combination is so attractive for me, so I had to have Chaol be my first fictional boyfriend. Even though I haven't had a lot of time with him (I only started this series last august), he's made such a huge impact on me that he will always have a place in my heart<3

"Did his parents have any idea that in the entire castle, in the entire kingdom, there was no one more noble and loyal than him? That the boy they'd thrown out of their lives had become the sort of man that kings and queens could only dream of having serve in there courts?

“As my friend, you should either bring me along, or keep me company."
"Friend?" he asked.
She blushed. "Well, 'scowling escort' is a better description. Or 'reluctant acquaintance', if you prefer.” 

"Believe me, Celaena, I know you can look after yourself,  But I worry because I care. God's help me, I know I shouldn't, but I do. So I will always tell you to be careful, because I will always care what happens."

"But he could do this for her. Even if he never saw her again, even if she abandoned her duties as Kings Champion and stayed with the Fae in Wendlyn forever- as long as he knew she was safe, that no one could hurt her.. He'd sell his soul again and again for that.

""How long was I asleep?" she whispered. He didn't respond.
"How long was I asleep?" she asked again, and noticed a hint of red in his cheeks.
"You were asleep, too?"
"Until you began drooling on my shoulder."
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The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen 
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: July 8th, 2014
Pages: 434
Song I Played While Reading: Never Sleep Alone by Kaskade
Rating: 4.5 stars

Young Kelsea Raleigh was raised in hiding after the death of her mother, Queen Elyssa, far from the intrigues of the royal Keep and in the care of two devotes servants who pledged their lives to protect her. Growing up in a cottage deep in the woods, Kelsea knew little of her kingdoms past... or that its fate will soon rest in her hands.
Long ago, Kelsea's forefathers sailed away from a decaying world to establish a new land free of modern technology. Three hundred years later, this feudal society has divided into three fearful nations who pay duties to a fourth: the powerful Mortmesne, ruled by the cunning Red Queen. Now, on Kelsea's nineteenth birthday, the tattered remnants of the Queen's Guard- loyal soldiers who protect the throne- have appeared to escort the princess on a perilous journey to the capital to ascend to her rightful place as the new Queen of the Tearling. 
Though born of royal blood and in possession of the Tear sapphire, a jewel of immense power and magic, Kelsey has never felt more uncertain of her ability to rule. But the shocking evil she discovers in the heart of her realm will precipitate an act of immense daring, throwing the entire kingdom in turmoil- and unleashing the Red Queen's vengeance. A cabal of enemies with an array of deadly weapons, from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic, plots to destroy her. But Kelsey is growing in strength and stealth, her steely resolve earning her loyal allies, including the Queen's Guard, led by the enigmatic Lazarus, and the intriguing outlaw known simply as "the Fetch."
Kelsea's quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun. Riddled with mysteries, betrayals, and treacherous battles, Kelsey's journey is a trial by fire that will either forge a legend.. or destroy her. 

Quiet the summary, eh? Impressed? In awe? YOU SHOULD BE. This book was fantastic beyond words. Now, before I get into my review, I just want to say that this is not Young Adult. I'm assuming everyone thinks this is because the main character is 19, and the publishing company didn't really try to promote this as an adult book either. I don't even know what type of genre you could make this to be. New Adult? Besides a few scenes where theres some lewd content and references, this could be YA. Don't let this deter you from reading it! (I'm a great role model, right?).
This book was not at all what I was expecting. Goodreads has a different synopsis, one that I don't think adequately describes this book (and should really be changed), so I went into this thinking it would be different. Not in a huge way, but in a different direction nonetheless.
I understand what some people don't like about it. It can be slow at some parts. There's A LOT of information and characters to remember. And this book is told from multiple pov's. That's not everyones cup of tea. But for me? Thats my fucking slice of chocolate cake. Reading multiple people's viewpoints on an idea or situation is absolutely fascinating. Getting their backstories, seeing why they think the way they do, really adds a depth to the story. Even though it can be challenging for me to remember all the names, I get it down after a while. And this book features some wicked characters to narrate from; the main character, who is one strong-willed, badass bitch that wants nothing more than to help the people of her realm; the Red Queen, who is crazy and scary and slightly cool; a Guard Gate; a priest (for some reason I find them to be extremely interesting); and Kelsea's uncle. It's such a wide range of people who all play a part in this intricate story and you can't help but be amazed at how every single person, no matter how small, can significantly impact the outcome of a situation.
The world was another confusing aspect, one that I understood but was the reason why I docked it half a star. For all the information we got on the people in the story, we got maybe a smidgen on the history of the world. This takes place in the future, but the people have revoked modern technology and our ways. We don't know why or how. Something happened to our world that made it collapse and it seems like modern technology was the culprit. So they threw it all away and sailed off to a different land. I want to know why! How? Where? Who? What? I'm hoping in the next book we get more information on that.
Our main character, Kelsea, is strong and brave and very easily relatable. Though this takes place in a different time and she has way more responsibilities then most young girls these days, she also has her insecurities. She's not the beautiful heroine we see a lot these days. She struggles with accepting the way she looks and her weight. She wonders how different people would treat her if they perceived her to be beautiful. Don't we all? I do at least.
Overall, this book was incredible. The writing was eloquent, the characters were well flushed out and lively, and the world was fascinating. I will definitely be getting my hands on the next installment in this trilogy! And eagerly awaiting news on the movie, which is rumored to feature Emma Watson as Kelsea *squeals and dances* woohoo!
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Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon (ARC review)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Publisher: Delacorte Press/ Random House
Publication Date: September 1st, 2015
Pages: 307
Song I Played While Reading: Aquaman by Walk The Moon
Rating: 4 stars

My disease is as rare as it is famous.
Basically, I'm allergic to the world. I don't leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.
But then one day a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He's tall, lean, and wearing all black- black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares. I stare right back. His name is Olly.
Maybe we can't predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with                 Olly. It's almost certainly going to be a disaster. 

I mean, how does one NOT want to grab this book and devour it? I had the unbelievable luck of being at the right place at the right time at Yallwest, because I just standing around, wondering where to go next, and noticed her table. And the gleaming stack of arc copies she had. And I booked it. As in, shoving any damn person that got in my way, probably wacking a crap ton of people with my surfboard as well (don't worry, it was only a cardboard one). I probably made some inhuman noise too because people were giving me weird looks. But I didn't care. This was my chance at obtaining an arc copy I actually wanted and no one was going to stop me.
Mrs. Yoon was an absolute pleasure to meet. She was so sweet and open to all my questions and ramblings. She signed my surfboard, an arc copy, and I walked away on cloud 9. As soon as I got home, I cracked open this book and didn't stop until I finished it. I laughed. I cried. I swooned.
This book was just about flawless from start to finish. I loved how it wasn't written in normal chapters; instead, it was told from diary entries, IM's, emails, lists, charts, drawings, and so on. It made the story feel more real, as if Madeline was a girl I personally knew and had shared memories with. The plot left me guessing because I really didn't know what to expect. Is she going to die? Is there going to be a cure? Is OLLY going to die, a la The Fault in Our Stars style? The story almost always took a turn I didn't see coming. It was exciting.
Madeline is definitely one of my favorite narrators. Even though she knew no other way of life, she accepted her disease and didn't complain. There was no moping or wishing for more (at least in the beginning, pre-Olly). She was very mature for her age and had a good relationship with her mom (something I can relate to very much), and loved to read and write reviews online. Does she not sound awesome or what?! Though at some points she acted a little too recklessly and made some decisions I didn't necessarily agree with (the only reason why this isn't 5 stars), overall I thought Madeline's character development was perfect.
Let's get on to my next favorite character: OLLY.
First of all, I love that name. It fits him perfectly. It's quirky and energetic, which is exactly what Olly is. I loved how accepting he was of Madeline's disease. He took it in stride, not even once considering how complicated a relationship could be. It was slow and sweet and absolutely hilarious, the perfect way to get into a relationship. No annoying insta-love here.
Yoon managed to capture the teenage mind (even if this wasn't your average girl) to the T. Her writing was simple and sweet, filled with hope, love, laughter, and a level of profoundness that leaves you grateful for all the things you have and are able to do. This is a stunning debut novel and I can't wait to see what Yoon writes next!

"Olly's window is wide open, the blinds are up, and the lights are off in his room. The indestructible Bundt is sitting on his windowsill wearing googly eyes that are staring right at me. The cake trembles and the tilts forward, as if contemplating the distance to the ground. It retreats and trembles some more. I'm trying to see Olly in his darkened room when the Bundt leaps from the sill and plunges to the ground.
I gasp. Did the cake just commit suicide?"

"Olly: are you knocked up? do you have a boyfriend?
Madeline: Oh my god, you're insane! I'm not pregnant and I don't have a boyfriend! What kind of girl do you think I am?
Olly: a mysterious one
Madeline: Have you spent all day thinking that I was pregnant?
Madeline: Have you?
Olly: it crossed my mind once or twice or fifteen times"

"I look down at my shoes. "I have nine pairs of these exact same shoes."
"And you complain about my wardrobe choices?"
"You only wear black! It makes you look sepulchral."
"I need a dictionary to talk to you."
"Of or relating to a sepulcher."
"Not that helpful of a definition."
"Basically you're the angel of death."
He grins at me. "The scythe gave me away, didn't it? I thought I hid it so well."

"I'm not doing this just because of Olly. Or maybe I am. I don't know. I don't know how to explain it. It's Olly and it's not-Olly. It's like I can't look a the world in the old way anymore. I found this new part of myself when I met him and the new part doesn't know how to stay quiet and still and just observe."

""Be careful!" Olly calls out from somewhere behind me.
I'm not sure what that means in this context. Be careful because I may drown? Be careful because I may get sick? Be careful, because once you become a part of the world it becomes a part of you, too?
Because theres not denying it now. I'm in the world.
And, too, the world is in me."
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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Hi guys! This past weekend I was fortunate enough to attend Yallwest in Santa Monica, the sister book festival to Yallfest in South Carolina. This was the first year and they rolled out the red carpet for some crazy awesome authors: Veronica Roth, Richelle Mead, Leigh Bardugo, Tahereh Mafi, Ransom Riggs, Marie Lu, Victoria Aveyard, and waaaaay more! It was insane.
This was my first book festival and I went alone, so I was pretty nervous at first. But the combination of the crazy and excited atmosphere, and realizing other people had gone alone too, quickly made me feel at ease. Plus everyone working there was super nice and open to any questions (which I had a bunch of), so before I knew it was talking to other people in line and running around without a single care. My favorite day was the second one. Everything had gone much smoother, the lines weren't as long (or maybe I was just used to being in line for an hour straight), and I got to meet way more authors and my favorite booktubers. Plus I got this cool ass surfboard!

In order from left to right: the band Tiger Beat, which consisted of Libba Bray, Daniel Ehrenhaft, Barnabas Miller, and Natalie Standiford; the Smackdown, which was an hour long panel of fun games and stories they had written when the authors were younger; a horrible picture of balloons that said Yallwest (it was super windy, sorry people); the Booksplosion Booktube meetup with my favorite booktubers Kat, Christine, and Jesse (they left me in tears because they were so funny); the kickoff conversation between Marissa Meyer and Leigh Bardugo (another riot act, EVERYONE WAS SO DAMN FUNNY THERE); and I finally managed to track down the three book tube amigos and have them sign my surf board while I stood there in awe of their tallness and overall awesomeness and get a picture (I didn't get one with Jesse, something I severely regret because he complimented my instagram and then proceeded to follow me on there and I almost had a heart attack NOT EVEN KIDDING, YOU GUYS) 
I wanna give a huge shoutout to my grandma and aunt for driving down there with me. Lucky for them I didn't drag them to the festival, so they were frolicking on the beach all weekend.
BUT, I did drag them to The Last Bookstore. I missed one opportunity to go there when I visited my friend at UCLA, so I wasn't missing this one. And it was glorious. I felt like such a noob for taking so many pictures but I couldn't get enough of it. Granted, the YA section there was a little pathetic, but I was mostly there just to ooh and ahh over the tunnel of books and all the other cool book sculptures they had there. 

Finally, let's get to the books I got over the weekend!

Let's Get Lost by Adi Alsaid / Mostquitoland by David Arnold / Just One Day by Gayle Forman / Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon / Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway / 99 Days by Katie Cotugno / Unchanged by Jessica Brody / Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson / Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

Thank you to everyone that put in the work to create and run this awesome book festival! I couldn't have asked for a better first experience and hope this continues :)
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Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: March 10th, 2015
Pages: 368
Song I Played While Reading: Wildest Dreams by Taylor Swift
Rating: 2.5 stars

Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before – before Dara kissed Parker, before Nick lost him as her best friend, before the accident that left Dara’s beautiful face scarred. 
Now the two sisters, who used to be so close, aren’t speaking. In an instant, Nick lost everything and is determined to use the summer to get it all back.
But Dara has other plans. When she vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just playing around. But another girl has vanished, too—nine-year-old Madeline Snow—and as Nick pursues her sister, she becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances may be linked.

didn't think it was possible for me to ever rate a Lauren Oliver book below 4 stars. But it happened. And it was a sad day. 
It was promising in the first half; Nick and Dara's relationship was complex and intriguing, and I really enjoyed all the supporting characters. Parker and Alice were my favorite. They were the comic relief, and both super sweet. Honestly I felt a little bad for Parker. Being stuck between these two sisters seemed like such a headache. 
Each chapter was a before or after, or sometimes a diary entry from the girls. Though it was a little hard to understand the timeline in the beginning since we didn't know when the accident was, and I had trouble figuring out if this was happy or sad Dara and Nick. There were also pictures, emails, and blog posts, something I always enjoy because it breaks up the dizzying array of words in a book. It makes it more realistic, especially the pictures. As always, I loved the writing, though it wasn't as strong as her other books. But thrillers usually aren't known for their lyrical and fluffy writing, so I shouldn't really complain. 
Now, the story is a little slow until the last 100 pages. And by slow, I mean the girls are living their every day lives, working and dealing with their emotional issues and ignoring each other. So I didn't mind the pace. I actually preferred that than the onslaught of information and action we got in the last section. Nothing starts really connecting and making sense until Nick starts hunting for information, and shit just gets weirder and weirder until it all explodes in our faces.
I should've seen the twist coming. The instant I read it, I groaned and thought "Of course!". And the only reason why it bothered me was because I had read something similar in January. And for me, its such a huge revelation and completely changes the story that, I cant read it twice without thinking the second person ripped off the idea. Which I know is ridiculous, but the thought won't leave my head. And the more I think about it, the more completely unrealistic it seems. Theres no way this could go on for months and no one would realize. 
I hate that the ending ruined the whole book for me. Because I really was enjoying it. Mysteries are my shit. And I love reading about complicated family dynamics. But the way this story was written and executed just made it seem like Oliver got tired of prolonging this huge revelation, and dumped it all right at the ending. It didn't flow with the pace of the story. 
I do recommend reading this because this is one of those books where people either loved it, or hated it. And I'm always interested in seeing other people's opinions. So if you're a fan of any of her books, I recommend grabbing this one. Plus its Lauren Oliver and she'll always be one of my auto-buy authors. Just because I didn't enjoy the story doesn't mean I'm not glad I read it! (Plus its GORGEOUS on your shelf)

"The funny thing about almost-dying is that afterward everyone expects you to jump on the happy train and take time to chase butterflies through grassy fields or see rainbows in puddles of oil on the highway. It's a miracle, they'll say with an expectant look, as if you've been given a big old gift and you better not disappoint Grandma by pulling a face when you unwrap the box and find a lumpy, misshapen sweater."

"Being around Parker makes me hyperaware of my body, as if I've been taken apart and put together just a little bit wrong- which I guess I have."

"We stay like that for a long time, side by side, holding hands until the crickets, obeying the same ancient law that pulls the sun from the sky and throws the moon up after it, that strips autumn down to winter and pushes spring up afterward, obeying the law of closure and new beginnings, send their voices up form the silence, and sing."
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The Wrong Side of Right By Jenn Marie Thorne

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Wrong Side of Right By Jenn Marie Thorne
Publisher: Dial Books
Publication Date: March 17, 2015
Pages: 400
Song I Played While Reading: Sun Goes Down by Robin Schulz
Rating: 5 stars

Kate Quinn's mom died last year, leaving Kate parentless and reeling. So when the unexpected shows up in her living room, Kate must confront a reality she never thought possible. She does have a father. He's a powerful politician. And he's running for U.S. president. Suddenly, Kate's moving in with a family she never knew she had, joining a campaign in support of a man she hardly knows, and falling for a rebellious boy who may not have the purest motives. But when her true feelings fly in the face of the campaigns talking points, Kate must decide who she really is. Will she turn to the family she barely knows, the boy she knows but doesn't necessarily trust, or face a third, even scarier option? 

I'm a big fan of the All American-Girl duaology by Meg Cabot. I don't read many contemporaries that take place in or around politics, especially in relation to a major campaign like running for president. So as soon as I could, I got my hands on this beaut. Lets take a moment to appreciate this cover, shall we? Round of applause for the designer.
This book blew all my expectations. Its by far one of the best contemporaries I've read this year, quite possible of my entire life. I knew it was a winner the first time I had to set it down and squeal, wiggling in my spot on my bed. I only do that when I really, really like the book.
Kate was a strong and simple character. She was honest, kind, fair, and an absolute blast to read about. She's a regular girl, worrying about college and what her plans are for the summer, when her life is flipped upside down. She struggles with who she is and what she believes in, firmly standing by her decisions even though everyone around her is telling her to believe in something else. The story is mainly focused on her internal struggles and I found myself easily relating to them. She was real.
I loved the dynamic relationships with her new family. It wasn't squishy and warm all the time (though this book definitely had a lot of those moments). They all struggled with this shock in their own ways, sometimes doing or saying the wrong thing (sometimes I just wanted Kate to punch Gracie :))))))), but in the end they all proved that family is stronger than any scandal or douchey evil Chief Strategist.
I almost forgot there was a love interest aspect to the story! I was so caught up in this fascinating world that the love interest didn't register until we finally meet him, over 100 pages in. I knew right away who he was, and I loved the added drama of it. Andy was sweet and funny, the perfect guy to help Katie along her journey. He was described as rebellious but I never really saw it. He was a total gentlemen, with a dry sense of humor and strong morals. He didn't let anyone write something for him or try to change for the sake of his image. I absolutely adored their phone calls.
I was completely swept up in the story, loving how Thorne managed to balance all different aspects of life in here. Theres something for everyone; first love, family dynamics, political hot topics, personal discoveries, death, and the always wonderful coming-of-age storyline. I can't recommend this enough!

"I'll be on tomorrow," I'd said. "Just to listen to speeches. Not to make any."
"What are you wearing?"
"Not sure yet."
"No, right now."
"Shut up."
"Fuzzy slippers. Nothing else. Got it."

"This doesn't bother you?" Andy motioned to the graves
"Not really." I tried to smile.  "She was cremated. After the funeral, we sprinkled her ashes up the coast at her favorite beach."
"In the ocean?" Andy stood next to me and turned toward the view.
I nodded, watching a boat draw its wake across the water. Andy's pinkie grazed mine.
"That's smart. You don't have to go to a specific grave to visit her. The earth is seventy percent water, and its all connected. So in a way, you're visiting her right now."
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Top Ten Characters I'd Like To Check In With

This meme is hosted by the lovely ladies at The Broke and the Bookish

Rose Hathaway
I know we get scenes of Rose in the Bloodlines series, but I'm talking Rose in her 20's. How's Lissa and Christian? What other laws has she passed? Are they married? ARE YOU AND DIMITRI MARRIED? Tell me about your craziest guardian stories! Where do you live? Does it look like that one fantasy you had in Blood Promise?

Juliette Ferrars
Let's cut the crap. I just want to hear about you and Warner. Aaron. Whatever you call him. PLEASE.  I WANNA HEAR ALL THE CUTE STORIES AND THE DATES AND THE CHRISTMASES AND THE THANKSGIVING'S. I should be courteous here; have you reconnected with your parents? How's Kenji doing? Has he found a pretty little lady to finally appreciate him? Is Adam still creeping on quiet girls?

Tessa Grey (while married to Will)
I know we got their little life story in the epilogue of Clockwork Princess (I DONT WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT) but since I know the ending, I wanna hear about everything that happened in-between. Did Will finally teach you self-defense? Is he still afraid of ducks? Hows Gideon and Sophie? And Gabriel and Cecily? Who got married first? Oh oh and how's Charlotte and Henry doing?! So many people I need to keep up with. Did you and Will find another book you both love? You better have a wicked cool library in your house!

Nikolai Lantsov
The day Leigh Bardugo writes a spin-off series from Nikolai's POV is the day I can die happy (along with one from Kenji, YOU HEAR ME TAHEREH MAFI?). Honestly I care about nothing else except this; did you find a Queen? Because I might know a girl who's been head over heels in love with you since you were a redhead and would gladly be your wife. All she asks for is chocolate and a library she can store all her books in. 

With the abrupt ending in the Death Cure, I want to know everything. How're you and Brenda? How Minho? Has he found someone yet? Has the island supplied you with everything you need? Where do you work? Is it scary knowing you're the first generation in a new world? No pressure or anything, right? 

Ruby Daly
What's it like finally feeling safe? To know you have a home, a family, and friends, and won't ever have to look over your shoulder again? It's gotta be amazing. How's Liam, Chubs, Zu, and Vida? Did you give Cole the proper burial and goodbye he deserved? Have you and Liam finally gone on an official date? You two should reenact the story Liam was talking about at the end of The Darkest Minds. That would be adorable! Are you helping with the child placement process? Have they set up places for orphaned kids? It's the least the damn government could do. 

Katy Swartz
If you follow Jennifer Armentrout on Wattpad you'll see that she's posted some stories in the Lux world. Some are just retelling's from Daemons pop (cause honestly who wouldn't want that??) but she also posted their wedding and Katy being pregnant. EVERY AUTHOR SHOULD TAKE NOTE. Hows the baby doing? Are you guys still in Colorado? What did you decide to do with your career? Is Daemon working? Is it bad that I can't actually see him working? Knowing him he's probably modeling or something. He could make big bucks from that. Hows Dee and Archur? Dawson and Bethany? 

Sydney Blake (thats her last name, right?)
I'm just picturing her and Ridge signing to each other and its making ME TEAR UP NOOOO STOP. How many more songs have you written? Is the band super famous now? Have you thought about sining alongside Brennan? How's Warren and Bridgette? Have you become a musician? Do you ever catch up with Maggie? Hows she doing?

Kylie Galen
Though I thought she was a little twit in the beginning of the Shadow Falls series, Kylie quickly grew on me with her major character development. So of course I want to catch up with her and her smokin' boy, Lucas. How're you two doing? Was the hotel room as romantic as you thought? Did all of Holidays predictions come true? And oh my god how's her kid? Is Burnett doing okay with it? I know he was nervous but I have total faith in him. Please tell me Dallas is with Steve. He probably had to work his ass off to get her, but in the end it totally would have been worth it. And Miranda and Perry? How're they doing? Ugh I miss camp. Have you controlled all your abilities? Kicked any more butt? (Not like Lucas would really let you)

And since I just finished this... Kate Quinn
Please tell me you and Andy are still together. He's literally the perfect specimen. Where did he go to college? Is he going to follow in his fathers footsteps? And speaking of fathers.. did yours run for presidency again? I hope so. He would be awesome. What did you end up doing with your career? Politics? You've definitely got the mind for it. How's Meg? Still teaching? And the siblings? I hope Gabe did something with his amazing artistic ability. And I could see Gracie being.. a lawyer. She's definitely strong enough for that. Hows Penny and her family? Do you and Andy look back fondly on the little scandal you two caused? I would frame the newspaper article and tell my kids "So this is how it all started.." 

Imaging the real conversations with these characters and what could have been was so much fun! What characters would you want to catch up with? 
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It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Monday, April 6, 2015

Hello everyone! It was quiet on the blog over the weekend cause I started my first weekend of work, which went really well. And no offense to spring, but I'm counting down the days until its over because this whole itchy eyes, can't-breathe-out-of-my-nose thing? Yeah, its getting old. GO AWAY POLLEN.
This meme is hosted by the lovely ladies at Book Journey :)

Finished This Week
Even in Paradis by Chelsey Philpott
Volition by Lily Paradis

Currently Reading
The Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie Thorne (currently LOVING with a fiery passion)

Upcoming Books
Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

Happy readings :)
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Volition by Lily Paradis

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Volition by Lily Paradis 
Publisher: Empire Books
Publication Date: January 16th, 2015
Pages: 394
Song I Played While Reading: Faded by ZHU
Rating: 4 stars

You know that feeling in the pit of your stomach that stays with you, then tears you apart slowly at first, and all at once shreds every fiber of your being? 
It’s because you’re contradicting the universe. 
Everything lines up so perfectly that you couldn’t have imagined it to work out better, but then you have to go and do everything humanly possible to ruin it because you can’t stand to have it go right? 
That’s what I did. 
I did it because there’s a darkness that surrounds me, and I think I want it there. 
My name is Tate McKenna, and my soul is blacker than my heart.

I think the only way to properly read this book is to not know anything about it. Read the synopsis above, make your predictions, and then jump into the story blind. I'm not going to bother making a spoiler free review. SO LEAVE AND READ THE BOOK AND THEN COME BACK. Then you can try and untangle your thoughts like I'm going to be doing here.

I honestly had no idea what to expect. My first thought was that this was a fantasy book. She's got the power to kill people with a simple look or touch or thought. That would definitely taint your soul a little. And then I figured the author purposely made the synopsis vague and semi-creepy so I should respect her wishes and not going hunting around for the answer. 
What I didn't expect was.. a romance. I mean, thats not exactly the right word for it, but I really can't come up with anything else. It's a dark romance. It features two completely different guys, one Tate is running away from and one Tate unintentionally caught the interest of. I didn't like Jesse, especially in the beginning. And I didn't understand their relationship. They were soulmates, but they hated each other and had no connection. They also kissed once and it was awful. So I struggled to relate and understand that. I mean, I knew the gist of it and could kind of see what was going on, but the physical reaction she had to him left me a little baffled. I hated how he treated her and wished he would rot in hell, even as we got our answers at the end during his chapter. 
Hayden, on the other hand, was absolutely perfect. I was rooting for him from the beginning, and was seriously worried that Tate would just drop his ass and completely break his heart. I could see Paradis doing that just to fuck with our emotions. When we first meet him, he's like Christian Grey; the perfect specimen, with smoldering eyes and a deep voice. He's young and successful and knows how to work a crowd. But the more we got to know him, the more we realized that he's a total sweetheart. I mean the guy literally would drop everything just to help Tate. He went from a brooding hunk to a little puppy in the span of one date. And for some reason, this reminded me of Fifty Shades of Grey. Technically, the only parallel would be the elevator scene when they first kiss. It's spot on. But the rest is different. I'm thinking its only because Hayden reminds me of Christian in the sense that he physically looks like him and is super wealthy. 
I really, really liked Tate. I'm morbidly curious, and whenever I find a character who is like that, and more, I'm always comforted. My thoughts mirrored hers at times and I would laugh out loud at her decisiveness because its so me. She's definitely not as dark as you'd think, at least in my opinion. I think her only fault (if you even want to call it that) would be that she doesn't hide the dark side everyone has in them. She's brutally honest, doesn't shy away from death, and enjoys being mean and destroying things. She has her people (Colin and Catherine) and doesn't need anyone else so why does she need to please everyone? I admire that about her. 
I'm not saying she didn't do some things that had me a little weirded out (definitely won't be writing on my to-do list to lay in my future boyfriends casket with him), but she wasn't as crazy as she thought she was. 
With her track record, I'm a little surprised she didn't knock Jasmine out. I was rooting SO BADLY for her to do something. I fucking loathed Jasmine. It's rare for me to really hate a character, but oh man. IT WAS BAD. Honestly I'm disappointed she didn't do anything. I know its petty of me to think that because Tate is a new person BUT STILL. SPILL A LITTLE BLOOD, THE BITCH DESERVED IT. My favorite chapters were of Tate as the editor-in-chief in the journalism class, mostly because she hated Jasmine and had no qualms about showing it. 
I enjoyed the alternating chapters because it made me think. It was like having only the pieces that made the border of a puzzle, and each flash back was one more piece added. What finally pushed Tate to leave? It was a little anti-climatic, but that was only because I couldn't relate to her feelings on the cemetery and how sacred it was to her cause of her parents. I wholeheartedly approved of her shoving Jesse and Jasmine into the grave though, good girl!
I adored the relationship between Tate and Colin. Platonic relationships between a guy and a girl are the absolute best, and I thought he was so good for her. Both him and Catherine helped her so much along her journey and I know for a fact she wouldn't have survived without them. They were the yin and yang to Tate's black soul. 
I encourage everyone to read this. It's dark and gritty, but not so much that you feel like you need to put the book down and breathe for a few minutes. It's thought-provoking, funny, and brutally realistic. 

"We’re like oil and water, only someone put the oil on the bottom and then dumped the water in, so I’m forever trying to get over him while simultaneously going through him as the pieces of me try to connect on the other side."

""Oh, Jasmine you'll get used to it." 
That was what I told her, but in my mind, I decided I was going to make her wish she'd never left her pretty little New York City penthouse for the south." *evil laughs* YEAH TATE YOU TELL HER!

"I think he's about to shove her down the ladder when a man swoops up to grab her in his arms, and I'm pretty sure I've just witnessed the beginning of a love story or Stockholm Syndrome based on the way she looks at him as he carries her off into the darkness." 

"Steak and potatoes. Thats what I want for my last meal when they put me in prison for manslaughter because I'm going to kill Jesse Elliot today. I probably contributed to killing my best friend for her, and I would do it again a thousand times. I've wanted to kill Jesse ever since he transferred to our high school to torture Tate, and today, I'm going to exact my revenge. Yeah, steak and potatoes sounds good. Add some gravy. Maybe some apple pie for dessert."

(Image and synopsis from Goodreads)
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March 2015 Wrap Up

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Who can believe that its already April?! I can't! I don't think a month has ever flown by so fast for me. It was an okay reading month, in the beginning I read some incredible books but it kind of went downhill. The last 3 books I've read have only been 3 stars or below, so heres to hoping April brings some kick ass books with it :)

- Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

- Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover

- Even in Paradise by Chelsey Philpott

- Walking Disaster by Jamie McGuire

- Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

- Wanderlove by Kirstin Hubbard

- The Winners Curse by Marie Rutkoski

- The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall

- Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

My favorite books this month were The Conspiracy of us, Red Queen, Ugly Love and Maybe Someday. I've officially become a Colleen Hoover addict. Theres no going back. Lets pray my heart can handle the rest of the books.

Cheers to a new month! 
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