Saturday, December 31, 2011

It's that time of the year...

...for people all around the world to make tons of lists of eeeeverything. They even make lists of their own lists! Well, I'll try to refrain myself from doing that. What I'm gonna do, is make 2 lists: one of the 10 awesomest books I read in 2011 (some were published before 2011) and one of the worst books I read in 2011. It seems only fitting if you gonna express your gratitude for the good ones, that you have the right to nag about the bad ones, too.
So here goes:

(books are not listed by preference)

1. A Song Of Ice And Fire series by George R.R.Martin
2. The Fever series by Karen Marie Moning
3. Halfway To The Grave by Jeaniene Frost
4. Wither by Lauren DeStefano
5. Where She Went by Gayle Forman
6. Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer
7. Daughter Of Smoke And Bone by Laini Taylor
8. Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire
9. The Ivy series by Lauren Kunze&Rina Onur
10. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson


1. Tris&Izzie by Matte Ivie Harrison
2. Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris
3. Hereafter by Tara Hudson
4. The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
5. The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab 
6. Flat-out Love by Jessica Park
7. Vicious Little Darlings by Katherine Easer
8. Possession by Elana Johnson
9. Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick
10. Wake Unto Me by Lisa Cach

Of course there are a lot of other books I loved and loathed in 2011 which didn't make it to the lists.
During 2011 I read 125 book and I'm very proud of myself, albeit exhausted from the stress of having to read books for reviews and posting reviews three times a week. So, I thought that if I want to continue having a book blog, I have to take it way less seriously and just relax and enjoy reading. 
Of any kind! Not just YA! Guys, read all kinds of books. YAs are fine but it feels amazing to expand your reading horizons every now and then. You never know what you might discover!
And with these words of wisdom, I bid you farewell.

I wish you a very very happy New Year :)

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Watch the SIRENZ trailer!

It's true! Trailer of SIRENZ by Charlotte Bennardo & Natalie Zaman is out!

Enjoy :)

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Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Since it's the holidays, I'll be updating sporadically. Once a week, if that.
After new year's however, everything will get back to normal!

Happy holidays everyone :)

ps. Karen, I hope you like the photo :P

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

READING: Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Publication date: December 27th, 2011
Published by: Egmont USA
Source: NetGalley
Genre: YA Paranormal, Sci Fi, Little bit of everything
Rating: 4,5/5
Every other day, Kali D'Angelo is a normal sixteen-year-old girl. She goes to public high school. She attends pep rallies. She's human.

And then every day in between . . .She's something else entirely.

Though she still looks like herself, every twenty-four hours predatory instincts take over and Kali becomes a feared demon-hunter with the undeniable urge to hunt, trap, and kill zombies, hellhounds, and other supernatural creatures. Kali has no idea why she is the way she is, but she gives in to instinct anyway. Even though the government considers it environmental terrorism.

When Kali notices a mark on the lower back of a popular girl at school, she knows instantly that the girl is marked for death by one of these creatures. Kali has twenty-four hours to save her and, unfortunately, she'll have to do it as a human. With the help of a few new friends, Kali takes a risk that her human body might not survive. . .and learns the secrets of her mysterious condition in the process.

This is the first book I'm reading by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. I've heard great things about the Raised by Wolves series but I never picked it up. I'm so glad I requested Every Other Day from NetGalley though, because it truly was awesome!!

Every Other Day sucked me in from the very first word. It is so eloquently written and with a spot on combination of sarcasm and humor, that I immediately knew we had a winner.
I loved the story and how original it was. First, I liked the idea that paranormal entities were not only known by the populace, but they were also scientifically recognised and accepted. It says at one point that Darwin's evolutionary theory includes, apart from the species known to man today, Homo Mortis, basically dead beings. I liked how she made zombies and vampires who are always so special in other books, seem like "ordinary" beings living on this planet since the beginning of time. Fun fact: hellhounds-endengered species, no hunting allowed. Yeah. It was THAT cool!

I liked Kali's character a lot. She had a little bit of Buffy in her, thankfully without the obnoxious parts! She was feisty, determined and willing to risk her life for others' without having a hero complex. Huge fan of the every other day concept: one day she's this bad ass fighter/killer, and the other she's just a plain mortal.
Her friend Skylar was OK, but to be honest I liked her brothers more, even if they didn't have as much book time as Skylar had.

I think what Barnes did in Every Other Day, was really daring: she added a guy character, Zev, the alleged "love interest", who did not come in contact with the heroine once in the book. He was constantly in her head. And we're talking about a one time deal here, a stand alone novel. It's not like it'll be a series and Barnes will have plenty of books ahead of her to build the relationship between them. And not only that, but till the end, I was not really sure that what they had between them was indeed romance, and not just the natural need to rely on each other even telepathically, in order to assuage the gravity of their situation. Zev was a cold voice in Kali's head throughout the whole book and the surprising thing is that it didn't take away from their incredible connection. I really have to applaud Barnes for doing something like that, because it takes some serious guts.

If you love paranormal adventures with a twist-with several twists, actually- and appreciate awesome writing, then Every Other Day is for you.
Totally recommend it. Read it!

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

READING: Hallowed by Cynthia Hand

Hallowed by Cynthia Hand

Publication date: January 17th, 2012
Published by: HarperTeen
Genre: YA Paranormal, Angels
Source: NetGalley
Rating: 2,5/5
For months part-angel Clara Gardner trained to face the raging forest fire from her visions and rescue the alluring and mysterious Christian Prescott from the blaze. But nothing could prepare her for the fateful decisions she would be forced to make that day, or the startling revelation that her purpose—the task she was put on earth to accomplish—is not as straightforward as she thought. Now, torn between her increasingly complicated feelings for Christian and her love for her boyfriend, Tucker, Clara struggles to make sense of what she was supposed to do the day of the fire. And, as she is drawn further into the world of part angels and the growing conflict between White Wings and Black Wings, Clara learns of the terrifying new reality that she must face: Someone close to her will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning.

I was not the biggest fan of the first book by Cynthia Hand, Unearthly. I liked it fine, but I was not crazy about it. Of course, I wouldn't miss a chance to read part 2, Hallowed, when I saw it on NetGalley. I don't know if it's the books' fault or mine though, because I think I enjoyed Hallowed even less than Unearthly.

I felt like Hallowed kinda lacked the innocence and playfulness Unearthly had. It seemed to me that it was more dark in a way and more fatalistic. Certainly glummer and more morose than its predecessor. Granted, the books are about the fight between the good angels and the bad, so one would think that as the story moves forward, books will get even darker and more ominous. Thing is though, there was no story evolving in Hallowed. Apart from one thing that was very important in Clara's life, there is nothing else going on to justify the creation of a whole book consisting of 416 pages! Obviously, Hand wanted to develop her characters and there was plenty of that in Hallowed. Everything that's in there has to do with Clara's relationship with either Tucker or Christian and how these relationships move forward or take a step back. We also take a peek at Clara's relationship with her mother, which I personally wasn't fond of, since Clara's mother is definitely not my favorite character.

The feeling I got while reading Hallowed is that Clara comes across as this very wise, learned, 80 year old woman. And she shouldn't have because she is 16! From the way she was written and her lines, I thought that she was a miserable girl that had to carry the whole world on her shoulders and she hated every minute of it. Naturally, seeing that she is a teen and wants nothing more than normal teenage-y stuff, like having boyfriend trouble, hanging out with friends and not doing her homework. What I got from Carla though, was that, even when she was with a boy and felt happy, she later felt regret for feeling happy because she had all these problems to solve and everyone depended on her to solve them. In other words, she had savior-syndrome. I think it was too much burden for a young girl to handle and eventually it cost the book its "frivolity", small amount of which is absolutely necessary in YA books.

I just wish there was more going on in Hallowed. That way the characters could get involved in action instead of sulking and brooding all the time, worrying about their dismal future. I'm not even gonna dwell on the triangle and who Clara ends up with blah blah. Clara's relationships with the boys is the whole book. If that's what you're into, then I absolutely recommend Hollowed.
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Thursday, December 1, 2011

READING: Working Stiff by Rachel Caine

Working Stiff by Rachel Caine

Publication date: August 2nd, 2011
Published by: Roc
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy, Crime
Rating: 4,5/5
Bryn Davis knows working at Fairview Mortuary isn't the most glamorous career choice, but at least it offers stable employment--until she discovers her bosses using a drug that resurrects the clientele as part of an extortion racket. Now, Bryn faces being terminated--literally, and with extreme prejudice.

Wit the help of corporate double-agent Patrick McCallister, Bryn has a chance to take down the bigger problem--pharmaceutical company Pharmadene, which treats death as the ultimate corporate loyalty program. She'd better do it fast, before she becomes a zombie slave--a real working stiff. She'd be better off dead...
Being a huge fan of Rachel Caine, I was really surprised(and dissapointed)at seeing Working Stiff having such low ratings. I shamefully admit that was the reason I avoided reading WS sooner. I didn't want to face the fact that Caine might actually have written something other than fantastic. Fortunately, I didn't have to, because Working Stiff was awesome!

OK I get it. Maybe not so many people want or need to know about the funeral home business. It's morbid and in generally not what you want to read on a nice, Sunday morning. But, to put simply, who cares? The story is not about the funeral home or how uncomfortable it makes you feel. It's about the characters and the semi-crime, semi-urban fantasy story behind it. 

One of the reasons I love Rachel Caine's books is their characters, and how she makes the reader care about them, no matter how bizarre or unrelatable they are. You are with them, you root for them every step of the way. You care enough to want to finish the book and find out what ultimately happened to them, how they ended up. I don't know how she does it, but my hat's certainly off to her. 

As for the story, it was original, interesting (funeral home included) and complex. That's why people didn't seem to like it, I suppose. I love complex stories, though. Aren't you guys bored of the same stuff being repeated over and over again? Don't you yearn for something different? If yes, go and pick up Working Stiff. You won't regret it.
And don't let the bad reviews out there mislead you :)

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