Thursday, July 28, 2011

READING: Flawless by Lara Chapman

Flawless by Lara Chapman

Publication date: May 10th, 2011
Published by: Bloomsbury USA
Genre: YA Contemporary
Rating: --
Eligible for Debut Author Challenge 2011
Sarah Burke is just about perfect. She's got killer blue eyes,
gorgeous blond hair, and impeccable grades. There's just one tiny—all right, enormous—flaw: her nose. But even that's not so bad. Sarah's got the best best friend and big goals for print journalism fame.

On the first day of senior year, Rock Conway walks into her journalism class and, well, rocks her world. Problem is, her best friend, Kristen, falls for him too. And when Rock and Kristen stand together, it's like Barbie and Ken come to life. So when Kristen begs Sarah to help her nab Rock, Sarah does the only thing a best friend can do—she agrees. For someone so smart, what was she thinking?
Flawless is a very funny and sweet book. It's the modern retelling of Cyrano's story(we've all seen Roxanne). So this is a story of a girl, Sarah, who falls in love with a new hot transfer student, Rock. It so happens that Sarah's best and gorgeous friend Kristen, has also fallen in love with Rock and asks for Sarah's help to write him emails convincing her that if she wrote them herself they would sound childish and idiotic. At the end, Sarah ends up with Rock(duh)because they are both smart and like the same things, poetry for example. 

Now, I don't have any problem whatsoever with the book and the way it has been written. The original story isn't Chapman's, who admittedly did a great job in modernizing it and re telling it from a girl's prospective. What I object to however is the core of the story and the absurd level of unrealistic romanticism in it. 
I mean, come on. Let's be honest. When does a hot guy, a 10-9-8 if you want to talk numbers, ever dated an ugly 5-4-3 girl?
Let me think.
Once, twice…no. Zero times!That's how many times it's happened. At least from my personal and my social circle's experience . And when I say "ugly", I refer to the physical appearance only. Sarah in this case is a very bright and opinionated young woman(even though I found the emails she sent to Rock quite simple and easy to think up. I mean, it's not rocket science!) but is that all it takes? If it was so, people would be much happier and stripped of insecurities. I certainly don't blame the 10-9-8 guys or the 10-9-8 girls who look for someone equally hot, it's evolution, physics. They have every right to, it's their primal instinct after all. We see Sarah too looking for the 10, Rock, and practically drooling over him when she first saw him, regardless of his interests, behavior etc. She hadn't even talked to him at this point. He could have been a complete jerk and she would still be attracted to him physically, at least at first. 
When she considers dating another guy, Jay, she hesitates thinking yeah, he's good looking enough but he's not Rock (what does that even mean?) Further down the line she says something about them being a potentially nice couple(her and Jay)because "We're both blond, attractive and have great smiles". 1. You're not convincing me of your wits, Sarah! 2.Criteria that someone immediately takes into consideration in order to find the best mate(evolution, hello! Sarah must have read a lot of Dawkins but doesn't swear by him for some reason.) 
In other words, having a very handsome guy falling for a girl who repeatedly says that her nose is the size of America, makes me kinda angry because in my mind it's never gonna happen. It's utopian. I may be cynical and mean but I'd like to think myself more of a realist than cynical and pessimist.

What also really annoyed me was that Sarah's friend Kristen, she of the perfect hair, perfect smile, perfect body, is apparently not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Why? Is it like an innate thing, predetermined? Beauty comes with stupidity? What the hell? Enough with the stereotypes already!This is 2011! Personally i think that apart from treating Sarah like shit, Kristen was not stupid at all. I wanted to scream at Sarah when Kristen asked her what is she good at and Sarah couldn't think of anything. Oh yeah? Really? Why is she your best friend then? Like you're MIT genius because you read poetry. Geez! Sarah also had the indecency to think that Jay might best suit Kristen, a guy who she has not only rejected for not being good enough but was also said to be so dim that "the best thing he has to offer to a conversation is people impersonations". If you think so lowly of him why suggest he's right for your best friend? Ugh, whole thing makes me angry and I just don't get it.

Maybe I'm overreacting, maybe I should just relax and think it's just another story, a fictional story. I don't know. It just rubbed me the wrong way, in the sense that I feel it gets totally wrong messages out to teenagers and people who read it in general, regardless of age. I like Chapman's writing and I would maybe like to read her future works, but right now I cannot possibly rate Flawless. Good/bad rating, both seem unfair under the circumstances. 
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Friday, July 22, 2011

READING: Firelight & Vanish by Sophie Jordan

Firelight - Vanish by Sophie Jordan

Publication dates: September 7th, 2010 - September 6th, 2011
Published by: HarperTeen
Source: NetGalley
Genre: YA Paranormal, Dragons
Ratings: 4/5 - 4,5/5
Jacinda is a draki—a descendant of dragons whose greatest defense is her secret ability to shift into human form.
Forced to flee into the mortal world with her family, Jacinda struggles to adapt to her new surroundings. The only bright light is Will. Gorgeous, elusive Will who stirs her inner draki to life. Although she is irresistibly drawn to him, Jacinda knows Will's dark secret: He and his family are hunters. She should avoid him at all costs. But her inner draki is slowly slipping away—if it dies she will be left as a human forever. She'll do anything to prevent that. Even if it means getting closer to her most dangerous enemy.

To save the life of the boy she loves, Jacinda did the unthinkable: She betrayed the most closely-guarded secret of her kind. Now she must return to the protection of her pride knowing she might never see Will again.
Back home, Jacinda is greeted with hostility and must work to prove her loyalty for both her sake and her family’s. Among the few who will even talk to her are Cassian, the pride’s heir apparent who has always wanted her, and her sister, Tamra, who has been forever changed by a twist of fate. Jacinda knows that she should forget Will and move on—that if he managed to remember and keep his promise to find her, it would only endanger them both. Yet she clings to the hope that someday they will be together again. When the chance arrives to follow her heart, will she risk everything for love?
Firelight: I didn't expect to like Firelight because of the unbelievable hype it got, but I really really did. Let me be clear about something here. A book having tons of hype is not a bad thing. Readers having expectations that these books are actually worth said hype, is.

Anyway, yes. I liked Firelight. First off, it's about dragons and I haven't read any other YA dragon-centered book. I don't think there are a lot of them about. First couple of pages in I was relieved that the protagonist, Jacinda, new from the start that she is a dragon, or should I say "draki", and she lived in the draki world all her life. I prefer that to the character learning later on in the book "Oh look!I can fly!"
I generally liked the story but honestly, it was all too similar with Andrea Cremer's "Nightshade". Jacinda like Calla have to be "alphas" of their species and in order to do that they have to "mate" or "bond" with the male alpha, Ren, or in this case Cassian. Until they find a boy from the outside world, Shay/Will and fall in love with him with dire consequences, of course. I didn't mind that it was similar because surprisingly enough, it was better than Nightshade. Jacinda payed little to no attention to Cassian so the pathetic love triangle was non existent. It's way better to read of a protagonist who knows what she wants and goes after it instead of one that goes "Um, what? I have to decide? No. I don't want to. Let them do it for me. They are both so hot, you see." At one point in the middle of the book I was a bit worried about the whole "I sensed him, I know he's in the room before I see him" crap, but fortunately it had a sufficient explanation in the end.
Characters I found most interesting is that of Cassian, his father Severin and Jacinda's mother(whose I can't remember the name right now).Especially her mother, I don't know. One minute I think she is so cunning and knows tons of secrets and the next that she is totally useless and a bad mother essentially. 

I guess we'll learn more in Vanish, which I was lucky enough to read immediately after (hehe)

Vanish:Vanish was as good as Firelight. Maybe even a little better towards the end.
The story now takes place where the draki live, a place we saw little of in the first book. So we learn about the draki ways and how Jacinda, Tamra (her twin sister) and her mother handle the situation. Jacinda misses Will like crazy, even though she has en eye on Cassian who has changed dramatically since Firelight. Personally, I don't see a reason why there should be a love triangle but there it was. It would have been fine without the drama, if you ask me. And Jacinda gets a little too emotional and angsty for me at some point. She can't decide who se likes more, all the while trying to convince herself that Will is the love of her life, only to have that little voice inside her head going "Yeah…but I like Cassian too…" . Even though you had us all hating him in Firelight, Jacinda darling. Just saying...

Cassian, who we see a lot of in Vanish, is a complex character. Is he good, is he bad-what's his story? He seems honest about his feelings towards Jacinda, but then again he's his father son and he comes across so cold and distant that I believe draki will always come first for him and that's not what Jacinda wants. 
Now her mother is another story altogether. Her character fascinated me from the start, not in the sense of me liking her or not but more of wanting to see what will happen to her, her development after everything she's been through. I think in Vanish she just quit. She admits to herself that she has always been unhappy, being someone she didn't wanna be-that's why she let her draki die, and when she thought that maybe she could make a new life for herself she gets drawn back in the hell she took so long to escape from. She becomes a ghost of herself and loses control. 

In conclusion, Firelight and Vanish are two fast-paced, easy reads, that you don't want to put down. Vanish doesn't have a cliff hanger per se but we are left in the middle of a very important something and I really wish I had book 3. I've no idea when it comes out, but surely not soon enough!

*Vanish was given to me by NetGalley, free of charge.
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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

READING: Dead Rules by Randy Russell

Dead Rules by Randy Russell

Publication date: June 21st, 2011
Published by: Harper Teen
Genre: YA Paranormal, Dead people
Rating: 4,5/5
Eligible for Debut Author Challenge 2011
Till death

Jana Webster and Michael Haynes were in love. They were destined to be together forever.


But Jana's destiny was fatally flawed. And now she's in Dead School, where Mars Dreamcote lurks in the back of the classroom, with his beguiling blue eyes, mysterious smile, and irresistibly warm touch.


Michael and Jana were incomplete without each other. There was no room for Mars in Jana's life—or death—story. Jana was sure Michael would rush to her side soon.


But things aren't going according to Jana's plan. So Jana decides to do whatever it takes to make her dreams come true—no matter what rules she has to break.
When I picked up Dead Rules I thought it would be one of those silly YA books with dead/zombie -like kids in high school who fall in love blah blah. However, I soon came to the realization that that was not the case and that something deeper and more serious was going on in the world of Dead Rules.

Jana dies in a horrible bowling accident and goes to a place I wouldn't exactly call it heaven, since there's a school in it, but another plane of existence. She meets new people and seems to get along just fine in Dead school. The only problem is she left behind Michael, the love of her life, her soulmate. And she wants him back.

I loved Russel's writing. How he handled and chose to portray the deaths of students at Dead school was incredible. He didn't try to be all gloomy and dark but not silly and superficial either.The little bits when everyone told the story of how they died were brilliant. Especially Wyatt's story which you find out later links with someone else's and you can't help but go "Oh my God, wow!". Character's emotions, especially characters that died of a completely ridiculous cause, like bowling or they chocked because a bird flew in their mouth, were written perfectly by Russell.

As for the characters themselves, I liked them all. Except for one of course, who I think is one of the most disgusting and genuinely evil characters in YA history. Definitely in the top 5.
Thing is, Jana dies and she is so in love with her boyfriend ,Michael, that she wants him to die too. So when she starts fantasizing about killing Michael so they can be dead together and then wondering why hasn't he committed succeed yet, he didn't love her enough?, honestly I thought it was tons of creepy. It was so out of the charts selfish and generally not excusable in any way. I like that Russell chose to show a darker side to Jana, though. Instead of picturing only two sides to the story, the one black and evil and the other white and good, he chose to add a dash of black to the white just to make it more interesting. And he did. We only get to see what's on the surface of a teenager's heart and mind and close our eyes to the tragedy that lies underneath. Jana had plenty of that. Not only because of her love troubles but also because she grew up with an absent and kinda terrible mother. 
I also thought of Jana's character as a kind of "parody" homage to all the super teen agnsty characters in YA literature. How far is an emo teen willing to go to be happy and get what they want? 
I liked Mars with her, too. How he is the exact opposite of her and how they balance each other out perfectly: her good is his bad etc. Plus his last name is Dreamcote. Need I say more?

Don't let this book fall through the cracks, you guys. Randy Russell's debut novel is absolutely amazing! If you want to read a different approach to teenagers and the problems that preoccupy their mind even when they're dead, you should totally read Dead Rules. I don't know if it's gonna be a series, but count me in for book #2!
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Thursday, July 14, 2011

READING: WItches Of The East End by Melissa De La Cruz

WItches Of The East End by Melissa De La Cruz

Publication date: June 21st, 2011
Published by: Disney-Hyperion
Genre: Adult Paranormal, Witches
Rating: 3/5
The three Beauchamp women--Joanna and her daughters Freya and Ingrid--live in North Hampton, out on the tip of Long Island. Their beautiful, mist-shrouded town seems almost stuck in time, and all three women lead seemingly quiet, uneventful existences. But they are harboring a mighty secret--they are powerful witches banned from using their magic. Joanna can resurrect people from the dead and heal the most serious of injuries. Ingrid, her bookish daughter, has the ability to predict the future and weave knots that can solve anything from infertility to infidelity. And finally, there's Freya, the wild child, who has a charm or a potion that can cure most any heartache.

For centuries, all three women have been forced to suppress their abilities. But then Freya, who is about to get married to the wealthy and mysterious Bran Gardiner, finds that her increasingly complicated romantic life makes it more difficult than ever to hide her secret. Soon Ingrid and Joanna confront similar dilemmas, and the Beauchamp women realize they can no longer conceal their true selves. They unearth their wands from the attic, dust off their broomsticks, and begin casting spells on the townspeople. It all seems like a bit of good-natured, innocent magic, but then mysterious, violent attacks begin to plague the town. When a young girl disappears over the Fourth of July weekend, they realize it's time to uncover who and what dark forces are working against them.
Witches Of The East End was neither here nor there for me. It was good, but nothing special. Potential was all there, but it was a short book and kinda sloppy too, I think.

The story I liked a lot, I think it was very interesting and very clever of De La Cruz to mix deities from different mythologies, Norse and Greek for example. Although I was not clear on the fact of how daughters of a god are witches and not semi or full on goddesses themselves. 
In general, though the thought behind the story and the world building was genuinely good, I felt that De La Cruz kinda rushed it a little bit. So many things were explained very hastily and therefore were difficult to believe. We get a vague warning that the girls(Freya and Ingrid) and their mother (Joanna) should never under any circumstances use magic, a restriction that binds them since the Salem trials. But when they started breaking the rules they did it with unparalleled ease and not thinking about the consequences. The no-punishment kinda negates the whole idea of restriction. 

As for the characters, well yeah they were OK I guess. Kinda bland, not really memorable. Freya's and Killian's romance was awkward and just not believable. I liked her better with Bran. Don't you hate when a female character has an affair and she says "My lover is good and the sex is good but I love my husband and I know my place and I'm doing a mistake by having an affair", only to say in the end "I knew it!I knew my husband was not the guy for me" What???You knew?Really?Girl, please!
I liked Ingrid's character more than Freya's. Although she too had a quality I despise in a woman-not interested in a man but when he goes out with another woman then they think he's hot. Grow up!
Joanna, the mother, I think will play a bigger part in the next book, considering she played none in this one. Those of you who've read the book: don't you think she was kinda creepy with the little boy? I thought she was gonna steal him or something at some point.

What I really liked about WOTEE though was the ending, really makes you want to read the next book, and the little Blue Bloods crossover was really unexpected! 
So, De La Cruz's first attempt with adult literature was not very successful in my opinion. The one sex scene it had which would put WOTEE under the adult category, was very very short and more of a sensual scene rather than a hot sexy one.
However, beginning was also rocky for her Blue Bloods series but later and they got better and better. So I think I'll give book #2 a try.
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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

READING: Twisted by Sara Shepard

Twisted by Sara Shepard

Publication date: July 5th, 2011
Published by: HarperTeen
Genre: YA Contemporary, Mystery
Rating: 5/5
It’s been a year since the torturous notes from A stopped and the mystery of Alison DiLaurentis’s disappearance was finally put to rest. Now seniors in high school, Aria, Spencer, Hanna and Emily are older, but they’re not any wiser. The Pretty Little Liars have more secrets than ever - twisted secrets that could destroy the perfect lives they’ve worked so hard to rebuild.

Aria’s jealous of her boyfriend’s new exchange student. Spencer’s getting a little too cozy with her soon-to-be-stepbrother. Hanna’s one scandalous photo away from ruining her dad’s Senate campaign. And Emily will do anything to get a swim scholarship.

Worst of all: Last spring break in Jamaica, they did something unforgivable. The girls are desperate to forget that fateful night, but they should know better than anyone that all secrets wash ashore … eventually.
Can I just say how much I love the Pretty Little Liars series? And how sad I was when I thought book 8 was the end? Fortunately, Shepard decided to write at least 4 more books in the series and after reading #9 Twisted, I am so glad she did!!
It's really great when you love a series and you read book 9 and you find out it's as good as the first books, maybe even better! Shepard has managed to do that, with a story that at first glance seemed to have a 3, 4 books-expiration date. 

Now that finally the Rosewood killer has been exposed, Aria, Spencer, Hanna and Emily finally feel free to have fun and just relax in beautiful Jamaica. Fast forward almost a year later, things are not what they used to be. New characters are introduced who have already started to shake up the girls' lives. A new family is staying at the Cavanaugh's old house. And the girls have a secret so big, that even their friendship can't survive it. 

Amazingly mysterious and suspenseful, Twisted could not be a better start to the new 4-book addition. I loved the new characters, from the sleazy photographer, the pervert dad, the out of bounds step-brother, to the hot Finnish vixen, they were all great and fit perfectly in Rosewood and the girls' lives. Also in Twisted there were times that I literally heard my jaw dropping. I mean, Emily?Damn girl!What have you done this past year?Unreal!
Even though I thought girls' Jamaican secret was not really a secret- it was pretty apparent what went down,at least to me- it doesn't take away from the story at all.

I don't care if the new 4 book thing happened because the show is successful or because of whatever reason. As long as the following books in the series are as good as Twisted, I'm a happy camper :D
For those of you who regard book #8 as the last book in the series and have vowed to never read Twisted, please please reconsider!You won't regret it!

*So sorry for the tiny review. Book #9 - anything I say is pretty much a spoiler at this point.
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Saturday, July 9, 2011

READING: Possession by Elana Johnson

Possession by Elana Johnson

Publication date: June 7th, 2011
Published by: Simon & Schuster
Genre: YA Dystopian
Rating: 1/5
Eligible for Debut Author Challenge 2011
Vi knows the Rule: Girls don't walk with boys, and they never even think about kissing them. But no one makes Vi want to break the Rules more than Zenn...and since the Thinkers have chosen him as Vi's future match, how much trouble can one kiss cause? The Thinkers may have brainwashed the rest of the population, but Vi is determined to think for herself.

But the Thinkers are unusually persuasive, and they're set on convincing Vi to become one of them...starting by brainwashing Zenn. Vi can't leave Zenn in the Thinkers' hands, but she's wary of joining the rebellion, especially since that means teaming up with Jag. Jag is egotistical, charismatic, and dangerous--everything Zenn's not. Vi can't quite trust Jag and can't quite resist him, but she also can't give up on Zenn.

This is a game of control or be controlled. And Vi has no choice but to play.
I never thought I'd come across a dystopian I wouldn't like. Possession taught me in the worst possible way that there's a first time for everything.

From the first pages of Possession I knew that something was horribly wrong. I was thrown into this futuristic, high tech world that I had no idea how it worked. How it came to be, how its people interacted. I thought to myself OK, relax. Stop regarding everything with suspicion and negativity, later on everything will be explained.It has to be!
Soon enough however, I came to the realisation that was not gonna happen. Nothing was explained. Nothing! I felt like someone throw a story at me and said "There. This is all you gonna get." No beginning, no end and no apparent reason for things happening throughout the whole book. Worldbuilding was laughable, to say the least. I don't really give much thought to the intricacies of worldbulding in dystopians. I don't mind how far fetched they are or how impossible. However, I do appreciate some structure especially when it comes to dystopian, where a writer has to invent a new world all of their own. I'm pretty sure Johnson had it all figured out in her head, but unless it's printed on paper I, the reader, have no way of knowing it. 
I know that everyone wants to write dystopian nowadays and that it's the next big thing and all that, but not EVERYONE can write it. Possession is a pristine example of that.

As for the characters, ah. Major fail there too. I'm pretty sure Possession holds the record of the quickest insta-love in YA history, at least out of the books I have read.
Wait, it gets better.
We know right from the start that Violet, the protagonist, is "engaged" to a guy she knows since she was a kid, Zenn, and she loves him very much in a world where even holding hands is forbidden, mind you. In any case, I chose to believe her undying love for Zenn.
In page 24 she gets thrown in a cell which she has to share with Jag, another alleged male rebel. 
In page 40 she knows she's falling in love with him. 
Just like that. No precedent, no excuse, nothing. Even if I wanted to, I cannot and do not have respect for heroins like Violet. 

I wanted to give up on this book a million times. Maybe I should have. The ARC is 400 pages long so you must understand that reading it all mentally exhausted me. I don't think I can recommend this book to anyone. Feel free to read it of course, but don't say I didn't warn you.
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Thursday, July 7, 2011

READING: The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

Publication date: August 2nd, 2011
Published by: Hyperion Books CH
Source: Net Galley
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: 2,5/5
Eligible for Debut Author Challenge 2011
The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.

If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.

And there are no strangers in the town of Near.
These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.

But when an actual stranger—a boy who seems to fade like smoke—appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.

The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.

As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know—about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.
I really wanted this book to be amazing and awesome, but it wasn't :( For me at least.

First of all, I thought the world building lacked structure. In other words, there was none. We get thrown right in the middle of a situation when a girl suddenly appears and does her thing. We don't know where we are, except that the place is called Near and it's a village, what rules apply to this world, its history, how it came to be, something that will indicate its existence even in a fantasy world. I felt lost through the best part of the book.
Same goes with the characters. We learn close to nothing about Lexi and her family. I'm pretty sure we don't even learn her age. Helena, her alleged best friend, appears only 2 times in the whole book, even though I considered her presence to be imperative at parts. Also Lexi's "friend" Tyler, is kinda of a jerk and he was constantly hitting on her and not in a nice way. Why did she allow this behavior to go on, I don't know. Maybe their relationship and what they have gone through when they were children justifies it, but we don't learn anything about their relationship or past actions. All characters in the book were like that, very 2 dimensional for my taste. All except the sisters, who showed a lot of promise and had the potential to turn this whole thing around. Unfortunately their characters were not developed at all.

The story was an OK middle grade fairy tale, and admittedly a little spooky at times. It was very simple and everything was laid out in front of you from the beginning: what was happening, who was the big bad and what we can do to bring him/her down was apparent from the beginning. There are so many opportunities you can explore when you decide to write a fairy tale, so many stuff you can add, so many paths your story can take so it can be interesting and elaborate. This one, failed to catch my attention, I was never hooked.

The romance…ah, the romance. I will personally pretend it never happened because I didn't convince me AT ALL. I think it was there basically because every YA book MUST have one but for me it didn't work. They had a nice moment when Lexi named him, which was a nice touch, but that's it. They might as well have been brother and sister from then on.

Schwab's writing might be very good, I do not object, but good writing alone doesn't make a good book. If she tries another genre in the future, I will definitely pick it up.
I so wanted to love this book. I feel like a complete outsider, since so many people loved it and I am sure there will be a lot more. I guess The Near Witch just wasn't for me.

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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

READING: Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

Publication date: August 23rd, 2011
Published by: Razorbill
Genre: YA Paranormal, Vampires
Rating: 4/5
When alchemist Sydney is ordered into hiding to protect the life of Moroi princess Jill Dragomir, the last place she expects to be sent is a human private school in Palm Springs, California. But instead of finding safety at their new school, Sydney discovers the drama is only just beginning.
Bloodlines is without a doubt the most anticipated book of 2011 for me. Even though I was immensely dissatisfied by Vampire Academy series last book, Last Sacrifice, I believe in Richelle Mead and her writing. That, and also I was sooooo curious to see what happens to the characters I came to love all these years.
I can't say I was disappointed in Bloodlines but I was not exactly thrilled, either.

Bloodlines takes place in Palm Springs immediately after the events in Last Sacrifice. Well, if not immediately maybe after a couple days, a week tops. Jill is sent to a boarding school to disappear among humans and Eddie and Sydney are sent there too, to watch over her.
That was my first objection. Why Sydney? Why not another dhampir, who is strong and know how to fight? Who would protect Jill from a Strigoi attack?Sydney?Seriously? Also, let's not forget the fact that Sydney has the personality and charisma of a paper napkin(harsh but true)so why she's protagonist material, I'll never know. I hope there's a reason to it, which we'll get to see in the next Bloodlines books. Actually, I got that a lot while reading Bloodlines, the -this will be explained later on-feeling. BL is introductory, like Vampire Academy was. However, unlike VA, Bloodlines lacks the passion and the drive characters in VA had. They fell kinda flat and unfortunately not only Sydney, which I expected. But Adrian? Come on! Don't get me wrong, he was still he's annoyingly adorable self but I guess he was brooding too much for my taste. Yeah, Rose and Dimitri did a number on him(and we see Richelle admitting it through Sydney's voice in the book-thanks, Richelle!)but please can't he get over it already?Rose wasn't worthy of him then and she won't certainly be now or in the future. No need for him to continue to cry over her(thankfully, no real crying took place).Also plot wise, there was some things that were really unnecessary and trivial. Jill's promising modeling career? Please.

OK this is getting long, I have to finish up here.
So basically I think Bloodlines, although different from VA as far as the characters are concerned, its structure is completely the same. Jill is the royalty(Lissa)who lives in a boarding school(St.Vladimir's)and has people protecting her: Sydney(Rose) and Eddie(Eddie). And that's only the half of it!There are so many similarities that are a bit spoilery so I can't mention them here. But you'll understand when you read the book. As for Adrian, I don't know what his part is in all this. Is he like Dimitri?No way. But then again, he is kind of the male protagonist. I don't know, lines are blurry and I hope everything will start to clear out in the next installments.

What I did like however, was the information we get about Alchemists and their way of life and upbringing. I knew they kinda hated vampires, but man! They really really hate them! As in, they can't stand the mere sight of them! They also hate magic which I wouldn't thought possible since that tattoo of them that heals them?Yeah, kinda magical.
I also think Sydney's relationship with her father and sister was very interesting and I hope we get to see more of that in the future.
Whatever had to do with the spirit and spirit users was very interesting too.

Will I continue to read the Bloodlines series?Ha! Of course I will! 
But given Richelle Mead's undeniable writing skills, I expected a lot more out of the first book. Here's hoping the next will more than make up for it!

*Question:do you guys know if the next book will be from Sydney's POV?Because what's the point in having THAT ending in BL #1, only to have Sydney narrate in BL#2?

*Also about the cover - Guys, guys ... *shakes head* what were you thinking?

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Sunday, July 3, 2011

In My Mailbox (41)

::Thanks to the Story Siren for hosting IMM::

*She's So Dead To Us by Kieran Scott (GoodReads | My Review)

*The Ghost And The Goth by Stacey Kade (GoodReads)
Is this any good? Opinions?

*The Lying Game by Sara Shepard (GoodReads | My Review)
Can't wait for the series and book #2 Never Have I Ever, in August)

*Lock & Key by Sarah Dessen (GoodReads)

*Wither by Lauren De Stephano (GoodReads | My Review)
Ah!One of my favourite books of 2011. Amazing.
Thank you Savannah @ Books With Bite :)

*Glass Houses by Rachel Caine (GoodReads)
Which I got from Kylie @ The Talking Teacup 
Thanks Kylie! And it's signed!!

What did you get in your mailbox?

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Friday, July 1, 2011

READING: She's So Dead To Us&He's So Not Worth It by Kieran Scott

She's So Dead To Us - He's So Not Worth It by
Kieran Scott

Publication dates: May 25th, 2010 - June 7th 2011
Published by: Simon&chuster
Genre: YA Contemporary
Ratings: 4/5 - 5/5

Two years after she and her mother fled Orchard Hill under cover of darkness to escape the shame of her father's failing hedge fund, Ally Ryan is finally coming home. Not that everyone is happy to see her, especially her former friends(now enemies)who lost their trust funds in the fallout. Ally is determined to put the past behind her and make a fresh start. But she gets more than she bargained for when she meets Jake Graydon. He moved to town after she left and, while he knows nothing of her shame and certainly knows he likes her, he doesn't want to betray his friends. Ally and Jake could be on their way to happily ever after if the road wasn't covered with jealous and vindictive speed bumps. Beacuase the only road her "friends" want to see Ally on is the one that leads back out of town.

First her “friends” humiliate her. Then Jake lets her down. Again. Then her MIA father reappears and acts like nothing has changed. Then her mother wants to spend the entire summer at her new boyfriend’s beach house. Breaking point, meet Ally Ryan.
After the year she had, all Ally wants is to be let alone. Unfortunately, the Jersey Shore is not the place for privacy. And if she gets one more text about what Jake Graydon has been up to all summer . . .
Labor Day cannot come soon enough.
I suggest you read the She's So Dead To Us first before reading the review for He's So Not Worth It

2nd read (Mar 2019)
A little bit sillier and a lot more shallow than I remembered. Doesn't compare with the maturity of Han and Vivian's writing in Burn for Burn series (similar setting and target audience) and the matters they tackle. SSDTU is more about boy crushes, mean girls and rich life than actual teenage struggles. It's still entraining though, and in my defense I was 26 when I first read it so it definitely appealed to me more then. 

1st read (Jun 2011)
There's nothing I love more than a light, fast-paced summer read. She's So Dead To Us and He's So Not Worth It were exactly what I needed in these long, hot summer nights!

She's So Dead To Us: I liked SSDTU soooo much! I loved Ally and Jake and their relationship. Ally didn't give Jake the time of day before finally succumbing and he was so cute when he was all stubborn and angry because of it. I loved Ally's old Crestie friends because even though they all pretty much acted the same(ahem spoiled brats ahem)each of them had a very distinct character and their own voice. I knew who Shannen was, who Hammond was, who Faith and Claire was at every point in the book. 
Also all the pranks they pulled on Ally? Whew! MEAN!

She's So Dead To Us is about unfinished business, frenemies and hot romance. Need I say more?

He's So Not Worth It: OMG!! He's So Not Worth It was so much better than I could ever have imagined!
Things get even more complicated as Jake, Ally Cresties, Norms, shore locals are knee-deep in trouble. I must admit that Ally annoyed the hell out of me at parts, mostly because she was being such a drama queen and acted so immaturely. In fact I was so fed up with her at some point, that I almost wished she never got back together with Jake because she didn't deserve him. The way she handled the situation with Cooper was ridiculously wrong. And I don't even blame Cooper for this because he gave her so many signs and hints as to who he really was as a person, he might as well have written it on his forehead. I mean, the guy smelled "jerk" a million miles away! And it was more than obvious that Ally was for him nothing more than a summer fling, if that. I know that Ally was going through her rebellious stage at the time, but does she really value herself so low?
Plus, what the eff was her attitude towards Annie about? No idea!

As for Jake, granted, he too made a bad decision or two but at least something good came out of it. He started studying and got his act together. Let's not forget the kind of guy Jake was before Ally returned to Orchard Hill. He was a player. He hooked up with a different girl every day. So going from that to almost not even kissing anyone for 2 months it equals becoming a monk in Jake's mind, and it's true.

A few drunken parties, break ins, divorces, marriages and professors with silly english accents later, the end comes. Which was a jaw-dropping one, to say the least. I don't think Scott could possibly write a bigger cillfhanger! (totally jinxed it, she's so gonna!)
Keep that in mind and also the fact that She's So Dead To Us #3 comes out September 2012!!!WAY too long!Why is it so long??I wanna know what happens next!NOW!!

Do yourself a favor and read She's So Dead To Us and He's So Not Worth It. You're in for a treat!
Perfect for beach reading 
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