Saturday, October 29, 2011

READING: The Ivy & Secrets by Lauren Kunze & Rina Onur

Ivy - Secrets by Lauren Kunze & Rina Onur

Publication dates: August 31st, 2010 - June 1st, 2011
Published by: Greenwillow Books
Genre: YA Contemporary
Ratings: 5/5 - 5/5

Congratulations! You have been admitted to the most prestigious university in the world. Now what are you going to do?
Callie Andrews may not have money or connections or the right clothes, and she may have way too many complications in her love life, what with
the guy she loves to hate ...
the guy she'd love to forget ...
the guy she'd love to love ...
and Matt
the guy she really should love ...
all vying for her attention.
But she has three fantastic roommates (best friends or her worst nightmare?) and a wholesome California-girl reputation (oops) and brains and beauty and big, big dreams.
Will it be enough to help her survive freshman year at Harvard?

Reputation, Reputation, Reputation.

You're a student at the most prestigious university in the country, and you've been tapped for the most elite social club. You've made it!
Now Don't Blow It!

Callie Andrews triumphed during her first semester at Harvard: she made incomparable friends, found the perfect boyfriend, and received invitations to the most exclusive secret societies. But she may have ruined every-thing with one ill-fated night. Now she's keeping secrets from everyone, including-
Clint the upperclassman who's too good to be true
Vanessa the best friend turned backstabber
Gregory the guy who's a total(ly hot) mistake
and Lexi the social queen who wants to bring Callie down.

But Callie didn't get into Harvard by giving up, and she isn't about to now. Besides, she's not the only one with something to hide. . . .
Could I be any more in love with the Ivy series? 
The answer is: hells no!!!!!

After a series of OK books, I finally found something I was completely obsessed about and loved with all my heart. And that is the Ivy series.
My friend M. and I have had endless conversations about books that we read and them being either too YA or too adult. We had yet to find the much coveted in-between book, the one that has good parts of each of the genres.
In other words: college. 

First came Beautiful Disaster by Jamie MacGuire which I absolutely adored. Unlike BD though, Ivy doesn't only focus on two college students' unrequited love, which is by no means bad, but rather on describing college life and in this case, life at Harvard University. Both authors attended Harvard, and though they don't admit to the books being biographical, they acknowledge that "..they are realistic". The places, the dorms, the parties, classes, professors, all of it is real. Personally, Harvard college life took me by surprise. I had no idea things like that happened at such a prominent, Ivy league university. I thought Harvard students were with their heads inside a book all day.
Yeah, right!

As it is very well known, partying and debauchery in general, always lead to epic romances.
Or epic mistakes.
This series had both in excess. Each time you felt happy and relieved, something would happen to make it all bad and chaotic again.
There's no question books are written around Callie and how she, a poor california girl, is adjusting to a new life in the East coast and how she struggles to hang in there and not crumble under the pressure of exams, initiations, mean girls and of course love!
I liked all the characters in the series equally. Yes, even Alexis! She was something all right, but I liked her. There are a lot of characters in Ivy and Secrets and no one falls under the radar, goes unnoticed. Every one has a distinct voice and is memorable.
In all honesty though, I cannot decide who is best for Callie. I like Clint and Greg both! I loved Greg right from the start because he is hot(duh!)and snarky, but Clint…I mean, what's there not to like? The guy is perfect. And I don't mean, boring perfect, I mean the right amount of perfect. I'm telling you, I did not want to be on Callie's shoes at the end of Secrets. Seriously.
Speaking of, Secrets's ending? Huge, mind-blowing cliff hanger!!!

If you read contemporary fiction there is NO way you won't like the Ivy series. I got through both of the books so quickly, I kinda regret it now. I wish I would have taken my sweet time and savor them :( 
Ivy and Secrets made me wish I was back in college. Yes. With all the studying and everything. That's how much I loved these books!

Rivals, book 3 in the series, is coming out March 6th 2012 by Greenwillow. 

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Friday, October 28, 2011

READING: The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

Publication date: November 15th, 2011
Published by: Margaret K. McElderry
Source: Simon&Schuster Galley Grab
Genre: YA Dystopian
Rating: 4/5
In the violent country of Ludania, the classes are strictly divided by the language they speak. The smallest transgression, like looking a member of a higher class in the eye while they are speaking their native tongue, results in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina has always been able to understand the languages of all classes, and she's spent her life trying to hide her secret. The only place she can really be free is the drug-fueled underground clubs where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. It's there that she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy named Max who speaks a language she's never heard before . . . and her secret is almost exposed.

Charlie is intensely attracted to Max, even though she can't be sure where his real loyalties lie. As the emergency drills give way to real crisis and the violence escalates, it becomes clear that Charlie is the key to something much bigger: her country's only chance for freedom from the terrible power of a deadly regime.

The Pledge is Kimberly Derting's first try at the dystopian genre. I won't say the renowned "it could have been worse", because a)duh and b)it's kinda lame to say that, even if I have definitely said it more than once in the past. It was a very good first attempt, which would have been brilliant for me if not for the infamous *drumroll* insta-love.

Yeah. It was regrettably one of those. And what made it worse was that the heroine, Charlie, fell instantly in love with *drumroll #2* the bad guy. Well, add a lot of quotations in the word "bad" there, you know how these things are. Thing is, Charlie has an ability that she and her family must, under any circumstance, keep a secret because if the Queen or any of her officers found out, she would be executed. And she chooses to fall madly in love with a guy in the military plus let him *ahem* accidentally find out her secret which I repeat, will cost her life. I don't say don't fall in love with him, these things are kind of unavoidable and what's a YA book without a romance, but there were so many ways it could have played out and still be a great, believable love story between a girl with a secret and a man that's never meant to discover it.
When you have a secret, which if known would be fatal for you and probably for your family, you can't accept messages from the queen's guard pledging his eternal fealty to you and swearing up and down that he will protect you no matter what, having met him once! and feel your heart flutter and birds singing and rainbows doing whatever rainbows do. You just can't. It's so circa 2009!

Insta-freaking-can-you-please-stop-using-it-in-books-love aside, the world building in The Pledge was great. I liked the fact that it had a fantasy feel to it, like if you didn't know it was dystopian, it could have easily be a beautiful fantasy novel with Charlie and co. living in wooden shacks under a tree in the forest and so forth. Story was good too, which, again, could have easily belonged to a fantasy novel. Different dialects, hierarchy and casts, Queens, magic, epic stuff.

All in all, I'd urge you to consider reading The Pledge. If you're completely anti-instalove, you'll be a bit pissed for sure. But hopefully you'll find that good story telling makes up for it in the end.
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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

READING: Eve by Anna Carey

Eve by Anna Carey

Publication date: October 4th, 2011
Published by: HarperTeen
Genre: YA Dystopian
Rating: 2,5/5
The year is 2032, sixteen years after a deadly virus—and the vaccine intended to protect against it—wiped out most of the earth’s population. The night before eighteen-year-old Eve’s graduation from her all-girls school she discovers what really happens to new graduates, and the horrifying fate that awaits her.

Fleeing the only home she’s ever known, Eve sets off on a long, treacherous journey, searching for a place she can survive. Along the way she encounters Caleb, a rough, rebellious boy living in the wild. Separated from men her whole life, Eve has been taught to fear them, but Caleb slowly wins her trust...and her heart. He promises to protect her, but when soldiers begin hunting them, Eve must choose between true love and her life.

There are two things that seriously went wrong in this book:

1. Major plot holes and
2. Major character fail

The story is placed in the future when, after a deadly virus has eradicated most of earth's population, girls and boys were snatched at age 5 , each for different purposes. Eve, while her whole family has been infected and ultimately died, she does not. Why some people survived and others didn't? We don't know. What was the virus, how did it work and what caused it? We don't know. Who is this big bad, the King? We don't know.
Anyway, Eve is brought up in all-girls school where apparently there are taught from a very young age to be terrified of men and never ever trust them because they say that it was them that brought the plague upon the populace. Now, I can only assume the writer means that those men were politicians and people in high places in general. Why only men? This is 2032. I am assuming that before the plague, Eve's world was the same as ours. So, weren't there any women in power?
Personally, I never figured out if Eve's world before the plague was indeed the same as ours. There are some culture references which prove that it is (songs, movies, books). Also at one point Eve is air quoting and I couldn't help but wonder how a little girl who was brought up in an overly conservative environment where simple leisure tasks are forbidden know about air quotes? I'm really sorry if you think that I'm picking the book apart but these are legit questions to which I never got answers. 
There is also the matter of topography. Story takes place in America obviously and Eve expresses her desire to go to Califia where she can live her life freely. I guess (notice the word "guess"? That's because I never really found out) that Califia is California. Why Carey does not say California then? Every other place she mentions is real, like San Francisco, Golden Gate Bridge, Arizona. It just seemed so weird and unecessary to me. When you're making up a whole new world after a terrible catastrophe, a world that you or anyone else has never lived in, you must have some basic structure and stick with it throughout the whole book, otherwise it just falls apart.

Eve. I didn't like Eve's character at all. Wherever she went chaos ensued because of her. They only thing left, was to hear her say "Oopsie!" after people were killed because she made a stupid mistake. She didn't seem to know what situation she was in half of the time, she didn't understand its seriousness, and ended up hurting a lot of people not because she was a bad person, but because she was an idiot.
Also dear Eve, when someone tried to rape you and later you are asked if you like that someone, your answer should NEVER EVER be "I don't know".
For a girl who was raised to hate boys, she locked lips with them no problem (I don't care how hot Caleb was). Speaking of, the last scene in the book with her and Caleb was the most obscene scene I have ever read. It rendered what had happened up until that point purposeless and frankly I was royally pissed about it.

Granted, it was a very fast and easy read, you didn't want to put it down. That was not nearly enough, though. I wish Carey had paid more attention to details and wrote a more wholesome story with a better lead character.
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Saturday, October 22, 2011

READING: Lost In Time by Melissa De La Cruz

Lost In Time by Melissa De La Cruz

Publication date: September 27, 2011
Published by: Disney Hyperion
Genre: YA Paranormal, Vampires, Angels
Rating: 5/5
After their beautiful yet brief bonding ceremony in Italy, Schuyler Van Alen and Jack Force are forced to separate. To fulfill the Van Alen Legacy, Schuyler travels to Alexandria to search for Catherine of Siena and the Gate of Promise. But Schuyler quickly discovers that everything she believed about the Gate to be wrong. Meanwhile, Jack makes the difficult decision to return to New York to face his twin and former bondmate, Mimi. But instead of a bitter reunion, he is faced with a choice for which there is no good option.

Mimi, with a most unexpected travel companion in Oliver Hazard-Perry, jets off to Egypt, too, to search for Kingsley Martin, her long lost love. With all roads leading to Hell, Mimi learns that not all love stories have happy endings. But she'll have to put her own feelings aside if she's going to save her crumbling Coven.

*Lost In Time is the 6th installment in the Blue Bloods series.I write this review assuming that you have read all the Blue Blood novels up until this point*

Lost In Time is once again split into 3 parts. One part is about Schyler and Jack and their journey to Alexandria and Cairo in order to find the gate and protect the guardian. Another part is about Mimi and Oliver going to Alexandria as well, to descend into Hell and bring Kingsley back, and the last part is focused on the past and tells the story of Allegra and Ben(Schyler's parents),how they came to be together and finally the mystery of Allegra's illness. Parts are alternating and are written in 3d person.

Love it loved it loved it!!!! Never thought De La Cruz would have so many aces up her sleeve for the second to last book in the series. Turns out her insanely dense plot is so carefully weaved, that even this far in the series when usually stories have become weak and readers have lost their interest, everything clicks perfectly into place and there is still enough space for surprising twists.

I liked all 3 parts in Lost In Time. All 3 were connected and they all presented you with long-awaited answers. Especially the part with Allegra and the reason that she ends up in the hospital(as we get to know her in book #1) is beautifully written. Honestly, I didn't expected it but in retrospect it explains a lot. The one tinsy tiny thing I wanted from Lost In Time and didn't get was more Deming time. But that's OK. Book managed to be awesome even without the kick-ass Venator.
I still believe Mimi is the most well developed character. She is miles away from the spoiled rich girl we met in book 1. She has grown and matured beyond my expectations but also has managed to still show the perky and fun side of her whenever and to whomever she wants to. At some point in the book the difference between the old Mimi and the new Mimi is made perfeclty clear and I have to say I've forgotten how scary the old Mimi was! You'll see what I mean.

There is not a dull moment in Lost In Time. There are equal parts mystery, action, heartbreaking romance and suspense. There are tons of stuff going on and all of them important to the story. I hope you took my advice and kept some notes because I for one know that if I hadn't read my notes before I started Lost In Time, there was no way I could read it. Lost In Time for real! I have no idea how people decided to start the series reading this book. It really is beyond me.

Lost In Time is amazing-go pick it up immediately! After reading the previous 5 books, of course :)
Unfortunately next book will also be the last,The Gates Of Paradise.
Says in Melissa's web site: "The seventh and final novel in the first Blue Bloods cycle will be published January 2013."
I think I fainted a little bit.
2013???????Seriously, that long???? UGH!!!!
On second thought, maybe you want to keep Lost In Time for a "little" while longer and read it after the last book comes out so you won't have to wait. 
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Thursday, October 20, 2011

READING : Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake

Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake

Publication date: August 30th, 2011
Published by: Tor Teen
Genre: YA Paranormal, Ghosts
Rating: 4,5/5
Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story. . .

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn't expect anything outside of the ordinary: move, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, but now stained red and dripping blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

And she, for whatever reason, spares his life.

Anna Dressed In Blood is a book about super creepy and gory ghosts, with blood everywhere and bodies slashed in half. And it's awesome!

First off, I love it when books have male leads. I think after reading hundreds of YA books with a female protagonist, I sometimes feel like I just don't want to read about girls and their feelings anymore. I wanna read about distant and cool boys! And that's what Theseus Cassius was. I kid you not, that was his name. But everyone called him Cas, so the kid survived school. Not that being made fun of at school was his biggest problem. But we'll get to that.

You can tell when reading Anna that there was a lot of thought behind Cas's character. Blake didn't chose the easy way out. She didn't make him super hot or super popular. She didn't make him emo, angsty or the "student by morning-brooding poet by night" type. Cas was a "normal" teenage guy and acted as such. Granted, with a lot of baggage because of his father's death and let's face it, because of the fact that he has to kill disgusting ghosts. But other than that he doesn't act like the whole world is on his shoulders, or that  he has to be the ultimate hero and save the world one ghost at a time, none of that. He is a kid who's been brought up in a certain way of life from a very young age. He does what he needs to do dutifully and without complaining, always keeping at the back of his mind that his father was murdered and that he would get his revenge when he was ready. With no unnecessary complications, the pure simplicity and the realistic way that Cas is portrayed, is what made this book so amazing, in my opinion.

The great story in the background, also helped a lot. Along with the blood-soaked scenes of dismemberment in graphic detail and a bunch of other very cool things that happened. Spooky and terrifying things aside though, the story was believable and with a nice flow and structure(distinct beginning-middle-end).

Other characters were also important and blended right in the story. I liked Thomas his grandfather and Cas's english friend, Gideon, who I hope we'll see more in the sequel (Girl Of Nightmares). I didn't quite see Carmel's place in the whole thing and how she jumped right into the paranormal freakish stuff she had never heard about or believed in, when before Cas's arrival she was this popular, queen B type of girl.
Anna was OK I guess. Nothing special for me, just a girl. I think what make her stand out is that a) she was a bad ass ghost and b)Cas was always around her. Cas did bring the whole thing together, I'm telling you.

Those of you who haven't read Anna Dressed In Blood yet, you should. I get why you might be a bit sceptical, I was too. Trust me though, you won't be disappointed. THE perfect read for Halloween!  
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Monday, October 17, 2011

Sirenz Back In Fashion Cover Reveal Bomb!

The Sirenz Back In Fashion Cover Reveal Bomb is ON! Sirenz Back In Fashion, the sequel to Sirenz by Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman will be hitting the shelves in June 2012—but for now, enjoy the new cover! 

We’re having a mega-giveaway to celebrate. The Sirenz Back In Fashion cover is debuting simultaneously on SEVEN different blogs. Visit all of us to enter and win prizes—yes, that’s PRIZES as in more than one!

How will the adventures of Meg and Shar continue? Visit these blogs to see if you can figure out what happens next:

Each blogger is giving away a very special charm necklace which symbolizes something from Sirenz Back In Fashion. It could be an important object, or represent a significant place or character… or god!
This is the dice charm:

and the dice necklace:

Leave a comment on what you think of the new cover and what you think that particular charm means, along with your email address to enter. You can comment to win on EVERY participating blog! This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL—let’s spread the Sirenz love around the world!

A CLUE from Natalie Zaman:

"Oooo are Shar and Meg lucky... or unlucky?"

Good luck :)

Contest CLOSED

Once all blogger drawings are complete, another drawing of ALL entries from ALL blogs will take place for a grand prize to be
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Saturday, October 15, 2011

READING: Betrayal by Lee Nichols

Betrayal by Lee Nichols

Publication date: March 1st, 2011
Published by: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
Genre: YA Paranormal, Ghosts
Rating: 4/5
Emma Vaile is the most powerful ghostkeeper in centuries. Which is great when she's battling the wraith-master Neos, but terrible when she's flirting with fellow ghostkeeper (and soul mate) Bennett. When ghostkeepers fall in love, the weaker one loses all power, and that's not something Bennett can handle. Heartbroken and alone, Emma tries to lose herself in school with fellow ghostkeeper Natalie. When a new team of ghostkeepers arrive-one a snarky teen boy, the other a British scholar-Emma finds solace in training for the battle against Neos. But as the team grows stronger, they are threatened by an unknown force. One they thought was good.

(I apologize in advance for this sorry excuse for a review. I've been in front of the comp a lot these past few days looking for a job and writing cover letters blah blah that my mind is kinda tired. I really liked Betrayal though, a lot! So go pick it up!)

Betrayal succeeds in keeping the plot still interesting while having the same easy breezy style as Deception.

I liked that we get to see the Knell in action and we learn a lot about it and how ghostkeepers operate. I like the new characters Lukas and Simon because a)they're english and b)they did a very good job filling in for Bennett, who was regrettably absent in Betrayal. I missed him *snif* and mostly the chemistry he has with Emma. So it goes without saying that Betrayal lacked a little bit in the romance department unfortunately. However, brace yourselves for Surrender(coming out December 6th!) because I have a feeling we'll be seeing a lot of Bennett and Emma! 

Fast paced and as mysterious and dark as its predecessor, Betrayal is worth picking up, especially if you liked Deception

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

READING: Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick

Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick

Publication date: October 4th, 2011
Published by: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Genre: YA Paranormal, Angels
Rating: 2/5
The noise between Patch and Nora is gone. They've overcome the secrets riddled in Patch's dark past...bridged two irreconcilable worlds...faced heart-wrenching tests of betrayal, loyalty and trust...and all for a love that will transcend the boundary between heaven and earth. Armed with nothing but their absolute faith in one another, Patch and Nora enter a desperate fight to stop a villain who holds the power to shatter everything they've worked for—and their love—forever.

Ah. Silence.
How I wish Becca had kept hers and not have written a 3d book. Because it was really really bad.

I was looking forward to reading Silence. Not because Hush Hush series is the literary gem of the century or that I absolutely love it, no. Hush,Hush I thought was OK and Crescendo not that good but what they both had in common is that at least you had fun while reading them. You're fully aware they're kinda crappy but you don't mind because you're enjoying the hell out of them.
Silence was not like that.
It was mind-blowngly boring and with no real purpose. Since I never leave books unfinished, I kept saying "Please end already!" somewhere around the middle so I could finally get some peace! But the book didn't end! It kept going on and on and on without saying anything, really! I think I'm not exaggerating when I say that Silence is one of the most bland and meaningless books I have ever read. And it's the 3d book in a series. Not good.

Where did all the good stuff go? Patch and Nora and their ridiculously funny encounters? A warning to all the Patch-lovers out there, Silence-Patch is nothing like Hush,Hush or Crescendo Patch. Not by a long shot. He must have been lobotomized and Becca forgot to mention it(that would make an interesting story actually, hm). He was mellow and good and nice...WTF???? We don't want good and nice! We want snarky and smug and dangerous. Really unexpected turn as far as the characters are concerned because let's face it: love him-hate him, Patch and everything Patch related monopolized about 70% of the previous book. So whoever that guy in Silence who answered to "Patch" was, I sure as hell don't know him!

Nora, Nora, Nora...
Just when I thought you couldn't get any stupider after the stunts you pulled in Crescendo, you go and prove me wrong. If you don't feel the urge to slap Nora at least 50 times by the end of the book, you're a hero in my book and I humbly applaud you. Thing is the way Patch turned out, now they are a perfect fit. Seriously, they deserve each other.
Her mom was obnoxious and moronic(I guess Nora didn't take after her dad, uh?), who did nothing but show she only cares about herself and doesn't give a damn about her daughter. And no. It wasn't the mind control.

Story was completely bogus and had holes as big as Nora's head. What Becca decided Nora should remember or forget after the kidnapping was super cool and all, but the thing is that she wasn't supposed to remember any of it!
Silence was quite long, and at least half of it could be edited out, as it was about dress-shopping and restaurant-eating which of course had nothing to do with the plot. Whole chapters of not moving the story forward, which maybe I'd get if the story was so unbelievably awesome that the writer felt the need to prolong the suspense a little bit. But it was just plain OK and a bit predictable so the filler parts were unnecessary.

Silence was brutally boring and a huge disappointment in a series that could definitely do without it. I don't know what came over Becca and wrote such a sloppy book. Honestly, I don't know if I'll pick up the 4th one.
Yes, that's right. There will be a 4th one!

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Friday, October 7, 2011

READING: The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa

The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa

Published by: Harlequin
Publication date: October 25th, 2011
Genre: YA Fantasy, Faeries
Source: NetGalley
Rating: 4/5
My name—my True Name—is Ashallayn'darkmyr Tallyn.
I am the last remaining son of Mab, Queen of the Unseelie Court. And I am dead to her.

My fall began, as many stories do, with a girl…

I love the Iron Fey series and when Iron Knight was announced I was more than thrilled to read it. Who cares if Kagawa initially said she'd write a trilogy and then changed her mind? Did she do it for money? Well, duh. That's her job and she gets paid for it. If she did it for free would people stop having problems with the 4th book all of a sudden? Geez, some of you need to seriously lighten up.

So, Iron Knight.
Iron Knight is an adventure book through and through. Ash, Puck, Grimalkin along with some unexpected additions, travel to the End Of The World where Ash will forego a number of trials in order to become human and return to the Iron Kingdom and live with Meghan until the end of his days. Now when I say adventure, you have to realise that I mean the whole package: magic, sword fighting, quests -the whole nine. IK is a pure,100% fantasy-faery novel. Which added to the fact that the book was quite long, got a bit tiring at times. Also reading about 4 guys on a fantasy adventure-quest, felt like I was a 13 year old boy with light sabers hanging over my bed and tons of sci-fi DVD box sets on my shelves. Nothing wrong with that, other than I am a 29 year old woman :)
Anyway, I'm sure I'm overreacting. It's just that the book was long and it gives you the impression that the quest along with the guys' testosterone levels, goes on and on and on. Also Ash, you know I love you but sometimes your emo-ness is off the charts, even for you babe.

World building was awesome as always. The places Ash and the gang had to travel through in order to get to the End Of The World, the new characters, the final trials, everything was very well thought out and fell in to place nicely. Which goes to show that Kagawa didn't leave anything to chance and Iron Knight was NOT another way for her to earn money(like that's a bad thing!) I specifically loved the flash-forward chapter. It was so creepy, it added a gothic touch to the fantasy and I liked that a lot.

I was pretty contempt with how Iron Queen ended, I wouldn't mind if there was no book 4. But it was heartily welcome, as will every book that Kagawa writes from here on. Those of you who are HEA suckers, you will absolutely love the Iron Knight!

*This book has been given to me by NetGalley free of charge 

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

READING: Lola And The Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Lola And The Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Publication date: September 29th, 2011
Published by: Dutton
Genre: YA Contemporary
Rating: 4,5/5
Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit -- more sparkly, more fun, more wild -- the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket -- a gifted inventor -- steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

First off, I'd like to say how I absolutely love Stephanie Perkins and her writing. Anna And The French Kiss blew me away and touched me deeply. Of course I was looking forward to Lola like crazy. I tried to get my hands on an ARC but I couldn't, so when my hardback copy came in the other day, I was super excited and I read it in a day.
Let me tell you know in one sentence what I thought of Lola and then analyze it a little bit.
Lola was good but it was not Anna.
Yes, I'm afraid comparing these two is inevitable.
And Anna is way better than Lola. My opinion.

So the rating should be 4/5, and for a Perkins book 4/5 is like 2,5/5 for "regular" books. But I added that 0.5 just because it IS a Perkins book.

I digress. As Always.
Let's get the bad out of the way first.
I couldn't connect with either of the protagonists. Well actually, I connected more with Cricket than with Lola. Lola is a person I never knew, not even remotely, someone I never hang out with, someone no one I know knows. She is a complete stranger to me in every way. I found her a little bit over dramatic(the whole almost-fainting thing when she found out that Cricket moved back in the house next door was not necessary), over spoiled, over the top in general about eeeverything.

The't like them at all. They were unnecessarily strict, doing more harm than good. They treated Max like dirt and no, I don't think Max was a jerk. Not at all. He treated her parents with nothing but respect and they were really rude to him. And why? Because he happens to be 22. Pffff big freaking deal!!!Like guys Lola's age can't possibly be colossal douches! But if he was say a company exec or a rich kid, I doubt they would think twice about his age. But noooo. He's 7 years older than our precious little flower AND he's in a band. Ew. Yuck.
What was admittedly wrong, was his behavior towards Lola's BFF. But you know what? That's Lola's fault, too. She could have either set some boundaries right from the start, or she didn't have to put up with it and just dump him. He must have shown signs earlier on. Or did he just conveniently went from being THE ONE to a complete tool just because Cricket came back? That's the problem with triangles in YA. Current boyfriend is super awesome and hot and cool until new guy comes along and the girl tries to justify her attraction to the new guy by suddenly realizing that her current boyfriend is not good enough for her and that she deserve better.
Anna @ Books To Brighten Your Mood actually pointed this out after a discussion we had about Lola. And I completely agree.

Lola herself was veeeery insecure, in my opinion. Granted, the relationship she had with her mother and her mother's condition in general have always weighed down on her.
She was obviously jealous of Calliope (who I really liked by the way, don't know why she was portrayed as such a bitch at first), jealous of her boyfriend(gonna find someone his own age and leave her. Like she couldn't do that. Wait. She did. Oops), jealous of Cricket(when she heard her friend's voice in Cricket's room she grew suspicious??? Give me a break! She is your friend and she has a boyfriend. Chill!)

Cricket. He was such a sweet guy. Very nice, really.
For a friend.
I couldn't see Cricket as a boyfriend. I tried, but failed. I don't know, it just felt that the "romance" part of him was dormant. The attraction between them was totally believable, I was just not attracted to either of them.
I also wanted to know a little bit more about Lyndsey, Lola's BFF. She was just standing by in case Lola needed her, she had no character and no background.

What I really really loved was the Nancy Drew reference. I am a huuuuge fan of ND video games, I played each like 4 times!, and I competely agree with Perkins: George and Bess, they do nothing to help Nancy solve mysteries. No help whatsoever! They only want to gossip and bicker at each other. Ned on the other hand,  is a sweet and understanding boyfriend who supports Nancy and helps her. She was right to pick Ned for a nick.
So yeah, if you don't know who the hell Nancy Drew is, skip the last paragraph.

And last but certainly not least, the writing, this amazing talent Perkins has to just suck you into her world. Its flow, it almost has a cinematographic feel to it, like you're watching a movie through the pages. Absolutely beautiful! So despite the fact that I wanted so much more from Lola, I will without a doubt continue reading Perkins's future works.
Because she totally rules. Simple as that.

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Sunday, October 2, 2011

In My Mailbox (43)

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

*Lola And The Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins (GoodReads)
(Since BEA, God knows I tried to get an ARC of Lola but to no avail.
Thank you Savannah from Books With Bite for getting it for me :D)

*Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia&Margaret Stohl (GoodReads)

*Knife(Faery Rebels #1) by R.J.Anderson (GoodReads)
(a.k.a. Spell Hunter)

*Rebel(Faery Rebels #2) by R.J.Anderson (GoodReads)
(a.k.a. Wayfer)
(Last 3 books are from Evi. Thanks <3)


*A Feast For Crows(A Song Of Ice And Fire #4) by George R.R.Martin (GoodReads)
(I've recently become obsessed with this series and you should too.
Yes, you should. Because it's freaking amazing.
Look at the size of this monster, yikes!)

What did you get in your mailbox? :)
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