Review: The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

May 28, 2012

Hardcover, 480 pages
Published April 24th 2012 by Harlequin Teen

Glasses:  4.25

In a future world, Vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity. 

Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.
Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked—and given the ultimate choice. Die… or become one of the monsters.
Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.
Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend—a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.
But it isn’t easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what—and who—is worth dying for.
My Thoughts

I'm really excited. Like I'm-going-to-wait-on-the-edge-of-my-seat-until-the-next-book-comes-out excited. The Immortal Rules is the amazing first book in the Blood of Eden series that introduces us to a new world filled with danger and vampires.

Allison, a human unmarked by vampires, lives on the streets, scavenging for food when she can find any as she struggles to stay alive. The book is split into parts as she moves onto different moments in her life. From human, to vampire, to wanderer, etc. The world that they inhabit is post apocalyptic america. Chicago is in ruins and vampire cities are scattered across the once country. Their society is complex and really interesting, not some thrown together imaginary world that just full of misfit vampires. However, if your looking for the angst filled romance akin to the Iron Fey Series you're going to be severely disappointed. She meets Zeke towards the end of the middle of the book and although there's a lot of angst, there wasn't a whole lot of romance. A lot more stuff happens but I don't want to ruin the book for you so I'll stop here.

But why, you may ask, did I not give it five glasses if I loved it that much? It's because it's the first book. Even though I thought it was super amazing it's only the beginning of the series. As a complex world it took some time to set the scene and introduce all the main players. The beginning I thought was sort of slow and there wasn't a whole lot of amazing plot development throughout the book. But despite its faults, it's just one of those books that's setting up the next one in the most amazing way possible. By the end of it, despite the doozy of a cliff hanger, you know that the next book has to make up for the lack of major plot in the first one, because even though the The Immortal Rules was amazing, I think it highlights the beginning of the accent to awesomeness. I don't think Kagawa meant for it to be the most exciting book in the series, but it certainly may be the most important.

I'm definitely looking forward to the next book, because if this is just the beginning, I can't imagine what'll come next. :)

Review: Don't Stop Now by Julie Halpern

Hardcover, 240 pages
Published June 7th 2011 by Feiwel & Friends

Glasses 3.3 

On the first day of Lillian’s summer-before-college, she gets a message on her cell from her sort-of friend, Penny. Not only has Penny faked her own kidnapping, but Lil is the only one who figures it out. She knows that Penny’s home life has been rough, and that her boyfriend may be abusive. Soon, Penny’s family, the local police, and even the FBI are grilling Lil, and she decides to head out to Oregon, where Penny has mentioned an acquaintance. And who better to road-trip across the country with than Lil’s BFF, Josh. But here’s the thing: Lil loves Josh. And Josh doesn’t want to “ruin” their amazing friendship.
Josh has a car and his dad’s credit card. Lil has her cellphone and a hunch about where Penny is hiding. There’s something else she needs to find: Are she and Josh meant to be together?

My Thoughts

I picked this book off the library's "New Book Shelf" off of impulse. I was tired of reading fan fiction and I needed something new and fresh, something I hadn't heard of before. Don't Stop Now seemed like a good pick. A short book about a girl and her best friend who she's in love with as they travel across the country looking for Penny, a girl they knew who faked her own kidnapping.

As much as I wanted to love this book, it reminded me too much of John Green's An Abundance of Katherines, maybe the only other road trip book I've read. (Is it just me, or do they all seem the same?) Two people, looking for themselves and something or somebody else as they drive across country unannounced. However, although An Abundance of Katherines engaged me from beginning to end with its witty humor and insightful teenage philosophy, Don't Stop Now did not. I think it was trying to hard to be interesting. While the cheese themed shirts, the crazy hotel rooms, and the House of Rock were all interesting, there was too much quirkiness, quirkiness overload. As they tried to deal with Penny's antics, sort of new boy friend in Seattle, and her troubled past, they have to deal with their own uncertain future and her hot best friend Josh (who by the way is shirtless half the book) and hi's daddy issues. Oh, and I kinda had a problem with the ending. I know it's meant to be like that, to let us know that the future's uncertain, la-de-dah, and all that, but I like myself a bit of closure if you know what I mean.

In the end, I loved the humor and the characters were likable enough. I didn't have a problem with the writing, but I though that it lacked the wit to be remarkable and the plot to be amazing, thus the 3.3. Despite that, I don't regret reading it. It's one of those books that leaves you feeling happy and warm inside,  while at the same time, makes you think about what you want out of life and whether or not Wisconsin cheese is really as good as they say it is.

Sneak Peak Sunday (12)

Hardcover, 304 pages
Expected publication: July 10th 2012 by Simon Pulse

In this humorous love story from the author of Two-Way Street, an unlikely romance is the best sort of surprise—but the wrong secret can ruin everything. Kelsey’s not going to let one mistake ruin her life. Sure, she got kicked out of prep school and all her old friends are shutting her out. But Kelsey’s focused on her future, and she’s determined to get back on track at Concordia High.
Isaac’s been kicked out of more schools than he can count. Since his father’s a state senator, Isaac’s life is under constant scrutiny—but Concordia High’s his last stop before boarding school, so Isaac’s hoping to fly under the radar and try to stay put for a change.
When Kelsey and Isaac meet, it’s anything but love at first sight. She thinks he’s an entitled brat, and he thinks she’s a stuck-up snob. So it surprises them both when they start to fall for each other. Kelsey’s happy for the first time in months, and Isaac’s never felt this way about anyone before...But nothing’s ever completely perfect. Everyone has secrets, and Isaac and Kelsey are no exceptions. These two may have fallen hard, but there’s one thing that can ruin it all: the truth.
Pre-Order it HERE.

Cute summary, weird cover.
Why?! Why would you do that? *Groan*

Initial Reaction:

As much as I'm looking forward to reading this - because believe me, I really, really, really want to read it - I don't think I can take it to school without feel like Mr. Darcy. The story sounds cute and romantic, but the cover is just plain weird.
I mean, why would they do that?! It's just sorta weird with the hair and the face, and the general awkward position they put those two people in.

Sneak Peak Sunday (11)

May 20, 2012

Hardcover, 400 pages
Expected publication: July 24th 2012 by HarperTeen
The year is 1876, and there’s something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia…
Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about. Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she’s just read in the newspaper—
The Dead are rising in Philadelphia.
And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor…from her brother.
Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she’ll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including their maddeningly stubborn yet handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.
SUPER excited for this book. When the tag line is:
Something Strange and Deadly
is the first in a trilogy 
that will thrill lovers of mystery,
the macabre, and all things Victorian.
I can't help but fangirl. They compared it to the Clockwork Angel. If it's not nearly as good I'm going to be severely disappointed.

Review: The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

Hardcover, 323 pages
Published November 15th 2011 by Margaret K. McElderry

Glasses: 4.2

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.
In a distopian world where United States has turned into a monarchy ruled by a totalitarianian queen, people are split up in classes by the language that they speak. Communication between languages is punishable by death and people are almost nearly expendable. However, Charlie is in the vendor class and has the ability to understand everything anyone's ever said.

After randomly picking this book up I'm really happy it was so good. I had no idea what it was about and just really wanted to see if Derting could write something as good as her Body Finders series. And I'm glad to say she did.

I love the world they live in, I mean, not that I'd want to live in it, being oppressed by the man (or in this case the woman). It sorta reminds me to Divergent with awesome underground clubs and rebels that know what their doing. It's not long in the story until Charlie meets Max, a mysterious guy who hangs out at the clubs and takes a liking to him. Who Max turns out to be isn't really a huge sercret, I figured it out almost instantly, but adds to the awesome angst none the less. Their relationships drives the story. Their chemistry  is undeniable. *swoon* Why can't you be real Max? Huh?

With the Royal Crown at her heels wanting her for who-knows-what and mysterious bombing attacking the city, Charlie has to rely on her best friends Aron and Brooklyn to help keep her and her sister safe. The only thing that got me was the lack of appearance of Aron who I thought was going to be a bigger part of the story. I mean, if I can't have Max, I'll have him. Sophie, the ex-bully, seemed sort of pointless, she's there at the beginning, and when they don't need her anymore she's gone. Xander on the other hand was amazing. After she meets him at an underground club her life gets even more complicated. He helps save her life and wonderfully adds to the story. I really wish we got to see more of him.

I really, really liked this book. It's a weird romantic distopian version of Princess Diaries, minus the idealism of Disney and the happy-feel-y stuff. Read it!

Review: Lover Reborn by J.R. Ward

May 14, 2012

Hardcover, 572 pages
Published March 27th 2012 by NAL

Glasses: 3.5

#1 New York Times bestselling author J. R. Ward’s “different, creative, dark, violent, and flat-out amazing”* Black Dagger Brotherhood continues as a vampire warrior crosses the line between life and death…into a world of dark dreams and darker desires.
Ever since the death of his shellan, Tohrment is a heartbroken shadow of the vampire leader he once was. Brought back to the Brotherhood by a self-serving fallen angel, he fights again with ruthless vengeance- and is unprepared for a new tragedy. Seeing his beloved in dreams—trapped in a cold, desolate netherworld—he turns to the angel to save his former mate, only to despair at the path he himself must take to set her free. As war with the lessers rages, and a new clan of vampires vies for the Blind King’s throne, Tohr struggles between an unforgettable past, and a future that he doesn’t know he can live with… but can’t seem to turn away from.

My Thoughts
After loosing his shellan in one of the earlier books Tohr must learn to love again in order to save her from the inbetween, the limbo that's neither the Fade or hell. I told this synopsis to one of my friends and she said it was stupid. And I sorta, kinda, tinsy bit, have to agree with her.

When I first started reading this series I thought Ward was crazy. Why did she like to torture her characters? Why did someone have to die? Why can't they all be happy? But as you read more and more of her books you get used to it. You realize that no one can have a perfect happy ending. So when I heard Tohr would finally get his own book, I was sort of nervous. What could she possibly write to make his pain go away?

And then I read it, and I have to say I wasn't very surprised. The romance and chemistry between Tohr and No'One wasn't perfect, but was something that was definitely believable. But there were a lot of things that I didn't like either.

I've gotten over her weird slang, but the amount of brooding and emotional angst in this book is sometimes overwhelming. If I had the chance to slap Tohr for all the stupid things he did, his face would be the color of a cherry. Although, on the other hand, Lassiter would have done that job for me.

Finally, if you're a Blay and Quinn fan, you might be a bit disappointed. There's no development in their relationship and I seriously doubt that they're going to have a book anytime soon. And the thing with Xcor and Layla? Come on woman, stop being so wishy-washy.

John and Xhex aren't all good either while they go through similar marital problems like the last book. I wasn't a huge fan of Lover Unleashed, but Lover Reborn redeemed itself. It's not my favorite book by any means, but do not skip out on it. :)

Sneak Peak Sunday (10)

May 13, 2012

Hardcover, 306 pages
Expected publication: May 22nd 2012 by St. Martin's Press

The first book in a magnificent new series about a girl who can navigate between the worlds of the living and the dead by #1 New York Times bestselling author Alyson Noël.
Lately strange things have been happening to Daire Santos. Animals follow her, crows mock her, and glowing people appear out of nowhere. Worried that Daire is having a nervous breakdown, her mother packs her off to stay in the dusty plains of Enchantment, New Mexico with a grandmother she’s never met.
There she crosses paths with Dace, a gorgeous guy with unearthly blue eyes who she’s encountered before...but only in her dreams. And she’ll get to know her grandmother—a woman who recognizes Daire’s bizarre episodes for what they are. A call to her true destiny as a Soul Seeker, one who can navigate between the worlds of the living and the dead. Her grandmother immediately begins teaching her to harness her powers—but it’s an art that must be mastered quickly. Because Dace’s brother is an evil shape-shifter who’s out to steal her powers. Now Daire must embrace her fate as a Soul Seeker and find out if Dace is one guy she’s meant to be with...or if he’s allied with the enemy she’s destined to destroy.

I have high hopes for this series. Despite the fact that I didn't really like her Immortals series and that Dace sounds like the stereotypical male love interest, I'm determined to look past all that. I think I could read it. I think Daire might be the strong female protagonist that Immortals was missing. *crosses fingers* We'll see, won't we? >.<

Review: 12 Things to Do Before You Crash and Burn by James Proimos

Hardcover, 128 pages
Published November 8th 2011 by Roaring Brook Press

Glasses: 3.7 

It’s Wes Anderson meets Holden Caufield in this wry and funny novel about a boy who is sent to live with his uncle when his father (a bestselling self-help author) dies.
James “Hercules” Martino has until the end of the summer (a.k.a. two weeks) to accomplish the twelve tasks given to him by his Uncle Anthony. The tasks will take him to the far reaches of Baltimore, lead him to a Beautiful and Unattainable Women, and change the way he sees his past, present and future.
My Thoughts:
When Hercules goes to stay with his Uncle till the end of the summer after his famous father dies he's given a list of things to do: twelve things to do before you crash and burn. The list includes things like read a book under a tree to apply for seven jobs.
But what made this book stand out was its length.

It's short. Like really short.

I read it in about half and hour and I really enjoyed it. Because the fonts so large and the chapters are so short the story really gets to the point. There are no super detailed descriptions or unbelievably complicated plots, it just is. The story has this poetic quality that I really liked (at one point he even goes to a poetry reading). His Uncle, one of the meanest and heartfelt men in his life, is a great contrast for the flash backs Hercules has of his dad.

The story is a short bundle of wittiness that I can guarantee will have you hooked. I promise that by the first chapter you will either be smiling or somewhat slightly appalled (but most likely the first one.)

Eventful Week (Well Sorta)

I have only having time to post on Sunday's now. Every Sunday night it's like I'm blogging multiple posts and it's beginning to bug me. I wish I had more time, but with AP testing going on and finals fast approuching, school's going to get hectic. *Sigh* 

Week Recap:

  • I sat on my glasses and now everything is blurry. (R.I.P. my dear beloved(s). I'll miss you.)
  • I bought City of Lost Souls! (Sadly I can't read it until after AP testing, but I will. I WILL!)
Other than that my life has been pretty uneventful. 

So, my good people. Goodnight.

(Quality blogging, right?)

Sneak Peak Sunday (9)

May 6, 2012

Hardcover, 352 pages
Expected publication: May 8th 2012 by HarperCollins Publishers 

Kate and Vincent have overcome the odds and at last they are together in Paris, the city of lights and love.
As their romance deepens there’s one question they can’t ignore: How are they supposed to be together if Vincent can’t resist sacrificing himself to save others? Although Vincent promises that he’ll do whatever it takes to lead a normal life with Kate, will that mean letting innocent people die? When a new and surprising enemy reveals itself, Kate realizes that even more may be at stake—and that Vincent’s immortality is in jeopardy.
In Die for Me, Amy Plum created a captivating paranormal mythology with immortal revenants and a lush Paris setting. Until I Die is poised to thrill readers with more heart-pounding suspense, spellbinding romance, and a cliff-hanger ending that will leave them desperate for the third and final novel in the series. 
Below's the extended trailer. As a self proclaimed Francophile I love this book. I read the first book last year at a small Burger King after my volunteer shift at a hospital and the entire time I imagined I was in a cafe in Paris. Plus, I mean, Vincent's pretty awesome too. Sigh. Why can't I live in France?

Plus, here's a link to Amy Plus reading part of Until I Die at Pere Lachaise Cemetary, Paris.

Review: The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff

The Space Between
by Brenna Yovanoff
Hardcover, 365 pages
Published November 14th 2011 by Razorbill

Glasses: 3.0

Daphne is the half-demon, half-fallen angel daughter of Lucifer and Lilith. Life for her is an endless expanse of time, until her brother Obie is kidnapped—and Daphne realizes she may be partially responsible.
Determined to find him, Daphne travels from her home in Pandemonium to the vast streets of Earth, where everything is colder and more terrifying. With the help of the human boy she believes was the last person to see her brother alive, Daphne glimpses into his dreams, discovering clues to Obie’s whereabouts. As she delves deeper into her demonic powers, she must navigate the jealousies and alliances of the violent archangels who stand in her way.
My Thoughts:

I'm slightly ambivalent about it. I really liked it, but I didn't love it. The books about  Daphne, a demon who doesn't quite belong down below, but not exactly on earth either. But when her brother Obie disappears up above, she has to leave hell to go find him on earth. With the help from Truman, a boy who was the last person to see her brother, they go out  From this entire book, the thing that I loved most was the plot. It was riddled with mystery. action, romance, and filled with emotion to the brim. I'm not afraid to admit that I teared up a little bit during math class, well it was that and the crazy hard derivatives we're supposed to be learning - but that's besides the point.

I read it quickly and really enjoyed it. The romance between Daphne and Trueman is cute enough to want to cheer for them, but I think it lacked a little chemistry. I mean, I know he loves her, but... *shurgs* I just couldn't get into them. And Raymie? I'm sorry, but that baby was just weird. I was say anymore because I'll be spoiling some stuff, but she freaked me out. It's like Renesmee all over again. The mystery made up what I liked in most of the book. Find out who was who and what was happening kept me turning the pages.

I wasn't a big fan of the end. Maybe it was because I didn't get it the first time I read it, but I think the bath tub was unnecessary (just read it and you'll know what I'm talking about). Other than that, if you're into dark depressing stuff, a quick romance that tries to be dark, but just ends up being sort of light, or just want a good book to read try The Space Between. :)

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