Feb 27, 2014

Book Review: Revelations - J.A. Souders

Title: Revelations (The Elysium Chronicles #2)
Author: J.A. Souders
Release Date: November 5th 2013
Publisher: Tor Teen
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Finished copy from publisher
Six weeks after her arrival on the Surface, Evelyn Winters is no closer to unlocking the memories lost in her subconscious than she was when she first came. Isolated in a strange new society, Evie has only Gavin Hunter to remind her of who she once was.
But even with a clean slate, it’s easy to see that Evie doesn’t fit in on the Surface. And as her differences make her feel more and more alone, she can’t help but yearn for that place she doesn’t remember: the isolated city hidden in the depths of the ocean. Elysium. Home.
But she can’t exactly tell Gavin what she’s feeling. Not when he’s the one who helped her escape Elysium in the first place, and has the scars to prove it. Though the doctors say otherwise, Gavin believes that Evie just needs time. And if her memories don’t come back, well, maybe she’s better off not remembering her past.
But the decision may be out of their hands when Evie’s ever-elusive memories begin to collide with reality. People and images from her past appear in the most unlikely places, haunting her, provoking her…and making her seem not only strange but dangerous.
Evie and Gavin can’t wait around for her memories to return. They’ll have to journey across the Outlands of the Surface to find help, and in the end, their search may just lead them back to the place it all started…
(Spoilers if you haven't read Renegade.)

Revelations isn't quite the sequel I expected it to be, which doesn't make sense at all because it's not like I knew what to expect from this. Evie being out of Elysium and up in the Surface made for one unpredictable adventure all throughout, if nothing else. It was slow to start and I had trouble staying focused initially, but once the action started, it never stopped.

After suffering unknown injuries during their escape from Elysium, Evie feels lost and alone in a world she's never known before, and she keeps having "blackouts" where her brain seems to revert to her Enforcer training, endangering not only herself but everyone else around her as well. I knew that EMF field bit at the end of Renegade would come to haunt her, so this wasn't a surprise to me at all, but it sure was sadistically enjoyable to see Evie go through those blackouts because it just meant that her job in Elysium was far from being done.

As Evie travels the world topside, trying to find a cure to her strange illness, we now get to learn just how devastating the apocalyptic event that shook this fictional world was and how the humans above sea level coped with that. It irked me how Evie had it somehow easy at first, so I was relieved to find out that it was other people's hidden motives and not her charm that brought her where she needed to be.

In this sequel, Evie is quite the polar opposite of who had been in the first book, but it's understandable. Now, she's the one in a world new to her so she's the one who requires help, although that's not to say she was helpless. Oh, no. She may have lost her memory, but definitely not her willingness to take matters into her own hands when she sees fit. Admittedly, that put her in a lot of trouble, but what fun is a book without trouble?

With more time they spend together and the more people they spend it with, it is inevitable that Evie and Gavin's relationship would encounter its own hurdles. And, oh, man, I really thought they'd be done for. Gavin was with Evie through everything - well, almost everything - but that doesn't mean he agreed with her the whole time. He often irritated me because of how unreasonable and prideful he was, but turns out there is actually a reason for that - a reason that is yet to be known but has been hinted at a lot. Seeds of a love triangle were planted in this book, but for now, there is no reason to worry about that, and I sure hope Souders keeps it that way.

All in all, for me Revelations didn't surpass Renegade but although I feel like not much progress was made in this book with regards to the series' overall plot, I still enjoyed it and I'm really looking forward to the third book because that one has a lot to tackle.

MY FAVORITE PART was
"And what, pray tell, do you know about sexual practices that involve straps?" There's laughter in his voice.
I straighten my shoulders and lift my chin. "I am well-versed in the ways of mating." I frown. Where did that come from?
"You are, are you?" he says, still laughing. He threads my arm through his. "Well, then, do tell. I'm obviously not as 'well-versed' as you."
:))

RATING:

Feb 26, 2014

Book Blitz + Giveaway: Fifty First Times


Title: Fifty First Times: A New Adult Anthology
Authors: Julie Cross (creator), J. Lynn, Molly McAdams, Sophie Jordan, Roni Loren, Tracy Wolff, Lauren Layne, Andrew Shaffer, Cole Gibson, Myra McEntire, Carrie Ryan, Mark Perini, Gennifer Albin, Lisa Desrochers, Hannah Moskowitz, Lyla Payne, Alessandra Thomas, Melissa Landers, Melissa West
Release Date: February 25th 2014
Publisher: Avon/HaperCollins
You always remember your first time... 
Whether it's the couple who decides not to go through with it, the two boys who finally aren't ashamed, the newlyweds whose wedding night could very well be their last night together, the deaf pair who have no choice but to take body language to a new level--or, of course, the two young lovers fumbling and laughing, getting everything wrong. These are the memories that will never fade. 
Join nineteen fantastic authors as they pull back the curtain and give you a peek inside that one intense moment in their characters' lives when everything changes and nothing will ever be the same again. 
Featuring stories from some of the hottest names in New Adult, Young Adult, and Romance including New York Times Bestselling authors J.Lynn/Jennifer Armentrout, Molly McAdams, Sophie Jordan, and Carrie Ryan. 
NOTE: These stories are works of fiction. If you want to know about our first times, you'll have to buy us a pet monkey first.
Tell us about your story’s main character(s).
Andrew Shaffer: The unnamed narrator is a booksmart English major who spends too much time studying and not enough time partying—at least according to his best friend Allen.

Julie Cross: Audrey appears quiet and timid on the outside, but inside she has gifted intuition when it comes to reading people and a fierce loyalty to those she loves.

Lisa Desrochers: Rene Vargas' army unit was blown up by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan, and she's scarred in more ways than one. She's kickass is so many ways, but her whole life has changed, and now she's left to discover who she is...with some help from Rick Hamilton (Lexie's dirtbag ex from A LITTLE TOO FAR).

Mark Perini: Luke comes off a bit nerdy, but he’s got an inner Juno cool that he’s just now figuring out about himself. He wants that movie romance but doesn’t think it’s in the cards for him. Well not yet anyway.

Melissa West: Summer is strong and opinionated, and Blake is a classic guy's guy with a huge heart.

Myra McEntire: Ben is not your typical jock, but he is an amazing athlete. Liza is a go getter with a crunchy shell and a smooth center.

Giveaway!

Feb 24, 2014

Book Review + Giveaway: White Hot Kiss - Jennifer L. Armentrout

Title: White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements #1)
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Release Date: February 25th 2014
Publisher: HarlequinTEEN
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: ARC borrowed from Louisse of The Soul Sisters
One kiss could be the last.
Seventeen-year-old Layla just wants to be normal. But with a kiss that kills anything with a soul, she's anything but normal. Half demon, half gargoyle, Layla has abilities no one else possesses.
Raised among the Wardens—a race of gargoyles tasked with hunting demons and keeping humanity safe—Layla tries to fit in, but that means hiding her own dark side from those she loves the most. Especially Zayne, the swoon-worthy, incredibly gorgeous and completely off-limits Warden she's crushed on since forever.
Then she meets Roth—a tattooed, sinfully hot demon who claims to know all her secrets. Layla knows she should stay away, but she's not sure she wants to—especially when that whole no-kissing thing isn't an issue, considering Roth has no soul.
But when Layla discovers she's the reason for the violent demon uprising, trusting Roth could not only ruin her chances with Zayne…it could brand her a traitor to her family. Worse yet, it could become a one-way ticket to the end of the world.
I have a lot of things to say about this book, but if you're in a hurry and don't have time for my rambles, then this is all you need to know: I freaking loved White Hot Kiss. It's my most favorite JLA book right now - and that says a lot considering I loved every book of hers that I've read. It was so fun and easy to read because it had JLA's practically-signature wit and hilarity, but more, somehow.

From the first time I heard about this book, I was already curious about this fictional world. Gargoyles versus demons? Um, yes, please. I also wanted to know more about Layla, the protagonist. Just how had a demon and Warden gotten over their differences and come together to create her? The mix of the two races in her created a struggle between which side she would act on, and that was really interesting to watch. Raised among the Wardens - the good guys - she was taught to hate demons, but that also meant loathing a part of her that always threatened to go out of control.

Now I'll talk about the two boys who confused Layla more than the two bloodlines running inside her veins. There's Zayne, the Warden whom Layla was raised with and may as well be her brother, and Roth, the demon with the anaconda tattoo and whose intentions were questionable at first. Zayne was swoony enough, but there's just no trumping Roth with his pets and respect for Layla's decisions. Also, out of all the bad boys I've read about before, he's the one who had me snorting with laughter the most.
Roth snatched the arm out of the air, face incredulous. "Did you just throw this at my head? My head? Are you insane?
But it's truly not Zayne's fault that he lost this fight, because he just wasn't in the spotlight as much as Roth was, and watching Layla fawn over Zayne wasn't nearly as much fun as watching her bickering while slowly liking Roth. Also, I enjoyed seeing them being more like siblings than lovers, though I hated how she'd get angry at him and then, moments later, give him a free pass and blame herself instead, and I hated it even more because Zayne would be like, "Hmm yeah, it is your fault, Layla." Ugh.

Addictive and unpredictable, White Hot Kiss will find at least one reason for it to stay in your hands until you've finished reading it, whether it's the entertaining characters or the action-packed plot. This book ripped my heart to shreds and had me despising free will, but most of all that its sequel is ten months away! :c

MY FAVORITE PART was the zombie in the school's basement =))

RATING:

Giveaway!

Feb 22, 2014

Stacking the Shelves {20}

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews, where bloggers share recently bought, borrowed, won, and gifted books (print or ebooks)!

I'm too lazy to take pictures of my new print books so today I'll be featuring my meager ebook acquisitions as of late lol.

Feb 21, 2014

Book Review: Faking Normal - Courtney C. Stevens

Title: Faking Normal
Author: Courtney C. Stevens
Release Date: February 25th 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: ARC from publisher
Alexi Littrell hasn't told anyone what happened to her over the summer. Ashamed and embarrassed, she hides in her closet and compulsively scratches the back of her neck, trying to make the outside hurt more than the inside does.
When Bodee Lennox, the quiet and awkward boy next door, comes to live with the Littrells, Alexi discovers an unlikely friend in "the Kool-Aid Kid," who has secrets of his own. As they lean on each other for support, Alexi gives him the strength to deal with his past, and Bodee helps her find the courage to finally face the truth.
A searing, poignant book, Faking Normal is the extraordinary debut novel from an exciting new author - Courtney C. Stevens.
Faking Normal turned out to be nothing like I thought it would. That blurb gave little clue as to what to expect, and I certainly didn't expect all these feels.
Faking normal is a skill I learned seventy-seven days ago.
I've read quite a handful of books that are similar to this, so it wasn't hard for me to guess what Alexi went through that fateful summer night, but Faking Normal differs from them all because it kept me guessing 'who' did it. I suspected everyone - and by everyone I seriously mean everyone, even her dad (messed up, I know) - so yeah, nice work, book, for keeping me confused.

Alexi is a complicated character. I questioned her way of thinking at first, because her reasons for a lot of things (this is me trying not to spoil you) were hard to fathom, and I actually thought I wouldn't understand them until the end. For most of the book it seemed like she had given up and I hated how she inflicted pain upon herself because she thought she was to blame for what happened. Her growth was slow enough to be realistic, and it truly was something to behold.

Bodee, on the other hand, is very easy to love. It's rather naive of me to say this, but I just don't think he can do anything wrong. We all knew at least one Bodee from high school: the outcast, the ignored, the forgotten. He isn't your run-of-the-mill, panty-dropping gorgeous male character, but he made me swoon. He is quiet and understanding and open-minded - just kind, proving that attitude trumps looks, any day. It was heartwarming to watch them evolve from acquaintances to friends, two broken people who found a common ground in their pain, and I really liked it when they decided to take things slow, not because it would complicate Bodee's stay in Alexi's house, but because they both knew that it wouldn't be right to start a romantic relationship with the way they were.

Faking Normal is another case of sad, beautiful, tragic, and it warmed my heart, made it bleed, and then messed with my tear ducts. A lot of lessons can be learned from this story of healing and loving one's self, and the beautiful prose doesn't hurt, either. There is a plethora of secondary characters who are just as complex and interesting as the main ones - I can give try to give you ten more reasons to pick this up but I'll go with read this!

MY FAVORITE PART was when Bodee covered the vent above Alexi's bed. My feels.

RATING:

Feb 20, 2014

Life of a Blogger {4}

Life of a Blogger is a weekly feature hosted by Jessi at Novel Heartbeat where bloggers chatter about random, non-bookish topics. This week's topic is introvert or extrovert?

Since I was a kid, I've always thought of myself as an introvert. I didn't talk unless I was talked to first; I hated being watched by everyone in class when I was called by the teacher; my hands shook when I read the First Reading for the Baccalaureate Mass during my grade school graduation, and if I hadn't read it enough times to memorize it, I surely would have knocked over the mic in my attempt to turn the missalette. What a nightmare that could've been.

But now that I'm turning twenty-one in less than a month and have been in college for almost five years, I don't think I'm that much of an introvert anymore. I've learned to start conversations lest I want to be a mute for most of my classes (especially now that I don't have friends in my new program). I'm not even afraid anymore to approach people for help, like, one time at this huge-ass mall with my older siblings, we couldn't locate a certain store because none of us goes to that mall frequently. They were intent on walking around for god knows how long just to find that store, but my feet were aching and I was starving so I asked one of the security guards for directions. You should've seen the look on my sibs' faces.

But just what makes an introvert?
[Introverts] are energized and excited when they are involved with the ideas, images, memories, and reactions that are a part of their inner world. Introverts often prefer solitary activities or spending time with one or two others with whom they feel an affinity, and they often have a calming effect on those around them.
So, yes, I'm still an introvert, but I think I'm less shy now. At least my mom knows she didn't waste her money when she enrolled me in a personality development class when I was eight lol.

What about you guys? I think most of us readers are introverts in one way or another, but raise your hand if you're the rare extrovert!

Feb 19, 2014

Storyboard: The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, & June by Robin Benway

Storyboard is my new weekly feature where I mash up photos that remind me of a certain book. Unlike real storyboards, there won't be a chronology of some sort to these images because I'm not that awesome lol. Hmm, to best describe this feature, think Pinterest? ;D

So this past Monday, I reviewed this pretty little book that I still can't get out of my head. It's so addictive, and it's one of those standalones that I badly wish was actually the first in a series. Sigh. Why can't I have everything I want? *whines*

Feb 17, 2014

Book Review: The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, & June - Robin Benway

Title: The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, & June
Author: Robin Benway
Release Date: August 3rd 2010
Publisher: Razorbill
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Bought from National Bookstore
Three sisters share a magical, unshakeable bond in this witty high-concept novel from the critically acclaimed author of Audrey, Wait! Around the time of their parents' divorce, sisters April, May, and June recover special powers from childhood--powers that come in handy navigating the hell that is high school. Powers that help them cope with the hardest year of their lives. But could they have a greater purpose?
April, the oldest and a bit of a worrier, can see the future. Middle-child May can literally disappear. And baby June reads minds--everyone's but her own. When April gets a vision of disaster, the girls come together to save the day and reconcile their strained family. They realize that no matter what happens, powers or no powers, they'll always have each other.
Because there's one thing stronger than magic: sisterhood.
For the record, April, May, & June (the complete title is a pain to type) was in no way mind-blowing, but I enjoyed it a lot because it made me laugh a lot. These sisters have very distinct personalities that made them clash most of the time, and I applaud Robin Benway for managing to make not two, but three characters sound like their own person. Yes, folks, there are three POVs in this book.

Aside from dealing with their newly-reemerged powers whilst coping with their parents' divorce and trying to be normal in a new town and new school, nothing much actually happens in this book, but that's fine because these characters and their dilemmas just entertained me. Their constant bickering bordering on fighting irritated me at one point, though. Like, I have three older sisters and one older brother and I can count the fights I have with all of them every year in one hand. But anyway, these sisters' verbal showdowns were epic laughter moments so even though it slightly got on my nerves, I was still chuckling.
"Look, this is way different," she said as she glared at June. "You have a guy who's coming over to tutor you. I have a psychic vision with no basis in actual reality. There's no legitimate suitor potential."
"Stop reading Jane Austen. You sound like Emma crossed with Star Trek."

My only problem with this book is the lack of explanation on how the girls got their powers and why they had lost them in the first place, because we later find out that they were aware of these abilities when they were kids. There are hints of it being hereditary and only appearing when there are three sisters in one generation, but there is never enough light shed on this aspect.

A hilarious and heart-warming tale about family, romance, and friendship, The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, & June took me by surprise, and I totally regret letting it sit amongst my other books for months, ignored and gathering dust. I love how we don't find out what the Big Event is until it actually happens, because April's power is mighty reliable like that lol. If you're looking for something light and fun to read on a lazy day, then I can't recommend this book enough!

MY FAVORITE PARTS were May and June teasing April about Julian :))

RATING:

Feb 15, 2014

Stacking the Shelves {19}

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews, where bloggers share recently bought, borrowed, won, and gifted books (print or ebooks)!

Last month, the amazeballs National Bookstore organized a trade show event for us bloggers where they shared with us some of the upcoming titles that will hit their shelves this year and some awesome bookish events that I'm really excited about! Anyway, after that they gave each of us a huge loot bag with books. And then they brought out more free books! Pretty sure my face was like *____* the whole time lol. Here are the books I got that day:

So I finally got Allegiant and have completed the trilogy! I've yet to read it though (I'm bad with series-enders) and I have to re-read the first two books, anyway. I think I'll get to that before the movie comes out on March, so that's really soon. In the loot bag I mentioned earlier I got Rebel and Ask Again Later but I traded the latter for Steadfast because I couldn't resist the pretty cover. So now I have to get copies of Reboot and Spellcaster. *looks at wallet* *weeps*

From the book pile I also got City of Bones: The Official Illustrated Movie Companion and Lighthouse Island. The movie companion looked too good to pass up so I just grabbed it - and I also really loved the movie so it'd be great to see more of what happened behind-the-scenes. I already leafed through it but I've yet to read it in its entirety. Lighthouse Island, on the other hand, is a post-apocalyptic dystopian novel, and I'd read any one of those. *not pictured* is Never Fall Down which is YA historical fiction. I've heard good things about that one so yeah, grabbed!

I'm obviously trying to drag out my January book haul. Yep, there's another part coming next week! I am officially on a book buying ban now because I have movies to watch (Vampire Academy, Robocop, X-Men, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Book Thief, etc.) and book signings to prepare for. 

What books did you guys get this week? Or maybe even last month, if you're a procrastinator like me? XD Leave links to your own book hauls in the comments below!

Feb 14, 2014

Book Review: Ignite Me - Tahereh Mafi

Title: Ignite Me (Shatter Me #3)
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Release Date: February 4th 2014
Publisher: HarperCollins
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Bought from National Bookstore
The heart-stopping conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Shatter Me series, which Ransom Riggs, bestselling author of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, called "a thrilling, high-stakes saga of self-discovery and forbidden love".
Juliette now knows she may be the only one who can stop the Reestablishment. But to take them down, she'll need the help of the one person she never thought she could trust: Warner. And as they work together, Juliette will discover that everything she thought she knew - about Warner, her abilities, and even Adam - was wrong.
In Shatter Me, Tahereh Mafi created a captivating and original story that combined the best of dystopian and paranormal and was praised by Publishers Weekly as "a gripping read from an author who's not afraid to take risks." The sequel, Unravel Me, blew readers away with heart-racing twists and turns, and New York Times bestselling author Kami Garcia said it was "dangerous, sexy, romantic, and intense." Now this final book brings the series to a shocking and climactic end.
The final book in the Shatter Me trilogy picks up right after the events in Unravel Me, but I highly suggest that you read Adam's novella, Fracture Me, before you dive into this one. Just so you'd have better perspective of... stuff. More than action and blood and explosions, I love how Tahereh Mafi seemed to focus this book on wrapping up the characters' relationships because they are what I love most in this series. I can seriously read about them hanging out in one room for hours and not get bored - that's how interesting they are. And good lord, just how much they've all changed!

Juliette's transformation is simply something to behold. Far from the scared, timid girl she used to be, she now knows what she wants and is not afraid to unleash her power to get it. I was so surprised when she didn't let a certain douchebag insult her anymore, because she knows she doesn't deserve that kind of treatment. I don't think I've ever seen a character grow this much before and every time I think about her Hulk-smashing her enemies, I just smile like a proud parent.

It's no secret that I love Warner. I've loved him since book one, no matter what that says about me, because he is one of the most complex characters I've ever encountered. He's fine with being viewed as unapologetically ruthless and he doesn't deny his selfish ways, but he also actually cares about the civilians. I love where his relationship with Juliette is at by the end because they push each other to be better. Without Juliette, Warner would have continued believing that it's impossible to redeem himself; without Warner, Juliette would have never thought herself capable of using her power to achieve extraordinary things. Oh, and I just adore that detail about him loving fashion because who doesn't love a well-dressed not-so-villain?

Aside from Warner, this series gave me another one of my favorite fictional characters: Kenji Kishimoto. He takes things very seriously but he's also very jovial. He knows his friends are in desperate need of amusement and he really couldn't have entertained me more. Funny Guy of the Year, yes? And I really appreciated his friendship with Juliette - they're such BFFs, even Warner was jealous - because God knows she needed that purely platonic relationship, and who better to help her with her love problems than her sanest male acquaintance.

I never had much liking for Adam - he really does have as much charisma as the rotting innards of unidentified roadkill - but in this book he single-handedly made himself unlikable in just about every way. And I knew, halfway through, that even if he tried to make up for it towards the end, it wouldn't be enough because you don't tell a girl that you'd much prefer her dead than with another guy, no matter how angry you may be.

The absolutely perfect conclusion to the series, Ignite Me gave me all the answers and revelations I wanted. No stone was left unturned, and it was compelling ultimately because of the dynamics between the characters. (I just about died giggling when James kept peppering Warner with questions ♥) This is, undoubtedly, my favorite in the series, if only because it made me laugh the most, and can anyone blame me if I'm desperate for more?

MY FAVORITE PART would have to be when Warner finally found out about the Adam and James situation. Good God.

RATING:

Feb 13, 2014

Life of a Blogger {3}

Life of a Blogger is a weekly feature hosted by Jessi at Novel Heartbeat where bloggers chatter about random, non-bookish topics. This week's topic is plans for the future!

Feb 11, 2014

Mini-Reviews: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children; Fracture Me

Title: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children #1)
Author: Ransom Riggs
Release Date: June 7th 2011
Publisher: Quirk Books
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Bought
A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs. 
It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive. 
A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.
Miss Peregrine's caught my eye the moment I spotted it in the bookstore, but it wasn't until Ransom Riggs' book signing last year that I finally picked it up. I didn't know what to expect from this book but because of the weird, creepy photos - I was so creeped out that, at times, I closed my eyes before turning the page, but they really made it easier to immerse into the story - I seriously thought this was a horror story or something. It's not.

Dark yet funny, this book is a slow-building and atmospheric mystery. I really admired how Jacob tried to unravel his grandfather's life so he could move on with his, especially when he first explored the old house in Cairnholm Island because I've watched enough horror movies to know that if I were him, I would have ran away from there, screaming like a banshee.

Until now, though, I'm still not sure why Miss Peregrine's didn't amaze me much. It was highly-original and suspenseful, but for the first half I had a hard time staying focused on it. I also think Jacob and Emma's relationship progressed a bit too fast for my liking. But if you're looking a breath of fresh air in the YA genre, then this is the book you'd want to get your hands on.

MY FAVORITE PART was (this is just a tad bit spoiler-y)
"Millard! Who's the prime minister?"
"Winston Churchill," he said. "Have you gone daft?"
"What's the capital of Burma?"
"Lord, I've no idea. Rangoon."
"Good! When's your birthday?"
"Will you quit shouting and let me bleed in peace!"
:)) 

RATING:



Title: Fracture Me (Shatter Me #2.5)
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Release Date: December 17th 2013
Publisher: HarperCollins
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Bought
Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository
In this electrifying sixty-page companion novella to the New York Times bestselling Shatter Me series, discover the fate of the Omega Point rebels as they go up against The Reestablishment. Set during and soon after the final moments of Unravel Me, Fracture Me is told from Adam's perspective.
As Omega Point prepares to launch an all-out assault on The Reestablishment soldiers stationed in Sector 45, Adam's focus couldn't be further from the upcoming battle. He's reeling from his breakup with Juliette, scared for his best friend's life, and as concerned as ever for his brother James's safety. And just as Adam begins to wonder if this life is really for him, the alarms sound. It's time for war.
On the battlefield, it seems like the odds are in their favor—but taking down Warner, Adam's newly discovered half brother, won't be that easy. The Reestablishment can't tolerate a rebellion, and they'll do anything to crush the resistance... including killing everyone Adam has ever cared about.
So. In my efforts to put off reading Ignite Me because I just don't want this series to end yet, I've finally read this. I actually bought a Kindle copy when it was first released but I decided to wait because of all the... negative things I've heard.

Who's laughing now? Us who've been in Team Warner all along, of course! ;D

But first I'll focus on the good. Through Adam's eyes - because let's admit it, Warner is about three steps away from Juliette's level of sanity - we see just how unstable yet kind Juliette is. We also see more of Adam's relationship with James. He's the kid's brother but due to the life they've endured, he's actually more like a father. His top priority is James' safety and well-being, and that's nothing short of admirable. I know some people hate that he chose James over Juliette but think of it this way - if he chose to run after Juliette instead, wouldn't you just hate him more? I know I would.

There's actually only one thing I hated in this novella: Adam's view of Juliette. He thinks he's got her - and everyone else, too - figured out, and he thinks of Juliette like she's a scared, weak, little girl who would cower in a corner at the first sight of gore.
She would've been so much safer if she'd stayed behind. Why does no one ever listen to me?
Because unlike you, Mr. I Have A Practically Useless Special Power, Juliette can punch through walls and start earthquakes. Yeah. Definitely someone I'd want on my side of the battlefield.

There's no denying now that Juliette and Adam have no reason to stay together. She loves Warner, and Adam will never be able to give Juliette enough of himself because of James. He thinks so low and weak of her while Warner has so much faith in her strength and kindness. And when Adam actually sees her being strong, it doesn't make him proud or happy - it scares him.

*waves my Team Warner flag*

MY FAVORITE PART was James asking Adam to tell Juliette not to eat his pudding :)) 

RATING:

Feb 8, 2014

Stacking the Shelves {18}

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews, where bloggers share recently bought, borrowed, won, and gifted books (print or ebooks)!

This is my December 2013 and half of my January 2014 book haul. I went a bit crazy since my mom surprised me with a bookshelf so I don't have to save up for that anymore lol.

Feb 6, 2014

{Blog Tour} Book Review + Giveaway: Rise of the Arcane Fire - Kristin Bailey

http://www.itchingforbooks.com/2013/12/blog-tour-sign-uprise-of-arcane-fire-by.html

Title: Rise of the Arcane Fire (The Secret Order #2)
Author: Kristin Bailey
Release Date: February 4th 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: eARC from Edelweiss
After her parents died in a fire and her grandfather disappeared, Meg Whitlock thought her life had come to a standstill. But when she learned that the pocket watch her grandfather left her was really an intricate key, Meg, with the help of a stable hand named Will, uncovered the Amusementists: members of an elite secret society dedicated to discovery and shrouded in mystery.
Now the Amusementists are convening in London, and Meg is determined to join their ranks. But being the first girl in the Order has its difficulties, and with Will away in Scotland Meg fears she can’t trust anyone but herself. Her worries are only supported by the sabotage happening at the academy, with each altered invention being more harmful than the last.
With threats lurking around every corner, and while trying to prove her worth as the first female Amusementist, Meg must uncover the identity of the academy’s saboteur before the botched devices become deadly. And after she finds evidence of a sinister and forbidden invention, Meg must stop it - or risk the entire future of the Amusementists.
I'm not usually one to read synopsis for sequels, so I started reading Rise of the Arcane Fire with little to no idea as to what could happen. And it sure surprised me.

After finding out the truth about her family and the secret society they'd been involved in, Meg has settled in to a simple life in the toy store, tinkering about and studying her best friend's deceased husband's notes on Amusements. She knows the danger isn't over, and that proves true when the attempts on her life start once again. But when given the chance to run away from it all with Will, she chooses to stand her ground and get to the bottom of it, all whilst proving herself worthy of her place among the traditional-to-a-fault Amusementists.

Even though it put a chink in their relationship, I liked how both Meg and Will were ambitious and wanted to make something of themselves. They knew love alone wasn't enough, so they each set out to fulfill their dreams. And so because Meg didn't have Will to back her up this time, she had to learn to stand up on her own against her enemies, namely the judgmental male members of the Order,
"I bet the only pi she knows is in the kitchen!"
I took a step forward with my head held high. Righteous fury burned through me, and I did my best to imitate the daunting presence of the queen herself. In a sweet voice I said, "You're right, I do keep pies in the kitchen." The laughter died down as everyone looked to me. "Exactly three and one, four, one, five, nine, two, six, five, three, two, four, nine seven, one..." His eyes widened, and I knew I had him. 
and the insipid female members of Society,
"Oh, you think you are so clever. You should be careful, dear. Men don't enjoy the company of plain women with keen minds." Now her entire face had taken on a crumpled look, and her forced smile reminded me of a growling dog.
Plain. Honestly. She'd have to do better than that. As if she were some great beauty. "If that is true, and men do in fact prefer the company of frivolous women with dull minds, you should have no shortage of suitors." I shrugged and went back to my figures.
Yeah, I think she did well.

In this sequel, we learn more about the inner workings of the Order, and I certainly didn't expect it to be so complex and widespread. And then there is also the matter of David, Earl of Strompton, top one in Meg's class of apprentices, and now the third side to a love triangle. But no, please, don't run away screaming from this series if you hate those, because I assure you that this is one of the rare few triangles that work. It didn't distract from the plot, instead it pulled me in even more during the rare stagnant moments.

Although this sequel truly surpassed the first book in just about every aspect, I feel like it lacked something. But still, Rise of the Arcane Fire is a thrilling adventure that had me glued to my seat. I loved all the new characters and seeing the growth in all the old ones, especially how Meg learned that someone's last name shouldn't be taken against them. I have a few theories as to what could go wrong next, and, man, that list is long, so I sure am looking forward to the third book!

MY FAVORITE PART was Meg finally forming friendships with her fellow apprentices. I loved how they bantered and had each other's backs.

RATING:

About the author:
Kristin Bailey grew up in the middle of the San Joaquin Valley in California. As a kid she enjoyed visiting the beach, camping and skiing with her two brothers.

Now she is a military wife and mother of two young children. She is also terrible about spoiling her pets. She has one fluffy mutt, two cats who think they own the world, and a fish tank with a quartet of fat fish, and two secretive striped ninja-assassin snails.

In the course of her adventures, she has worked as a zookeeper, balloon artist, and substitute teacher. Now she enjoys writing books for teens who enjoy mystery and adventure as much as she does.

Giveaway!