Review: Everlost

  • Author: Neal Shusterman
  • Series: Skinjacker #1
  • Published: November 10, 2009
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
  • Reading Level: Ages 12 and up
  • Pages: 336 pages
  • Source: Required Summer Reading for 2012
  •  
~*~Summary~*~

 Nick and Allie don’t survive the car accident, but their souls don’t exactly get where they’re supposed to go either. Instead, they’re caught halfway between life and death, in a sort of limbo known as Everlost: a shadow of the living world, filled with all the things and places that no longer exist. It’s a magical, yet dangerous place where bands of lost kids run wild and anyone who stands in the same place too long sinks to the center of the Earth. 
When they find Mary, the self-proclaimed queen of lost souls, Nick feels like he’s found a home, but Allie isn’t satisfied spending eternity between worlds. Against all warnings, Allie begins learning the “Criminal Art” of haunting, and ventures into dangerous territory, where a monster called the McGill threatens all the souls of Everlost.

In this imaginative novel, Neal Shusterman explores questions of life, death, and what just might lie in between.

~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

So, I am aware that this book is old, but it was my assigned Summer reading for this year. I was hoping to get Graceling, but so many people signed up for it that I got pushed onto this novel. I decided to read it now because I'd rather spend my summer reading time reading and reviewing novels that I want to read, not ones assigned to me. Frankly, this was a waste of a read in my opinion and I don't understand why so many people recommended it to me highly, but keep in mind that this review is just my opinions, not the opinions of the general consensus.

 The book begins with a car crash caused by a stray piece of scrap metal on the highway. Two occupants from both collision don't make it out alive: Allie and Nick, a boy covered in chocolate while preparing to go to a funeral in his last seconds of life. After a nine-month sleep, almost like an incubation period, they finally wake up in Everlost, a limbo stuck between the real world and whatever is beyond it. Soon, they discover that Everlost isn't exactly what it seems. It's full of kids from all different eras of life, stuck wearing what they were wearing moments before death. Yes, that means that poor old Nick will have chocolate covering his face forever. The eldest kids are of ages 14 or 15 and no adults have ever made it to Everlost because it is believed that adults always know where they are going, so they always make it to the end of the tunnel instead of getting lost and thrown into Everlost like many kids do. In Everlost, an individual cannot stand in a single place for too long or they will sink into the center of the Earth, so if they were to stand still, they must stand only on "dead-patches." These patches are places that people have died or things have gotten knocked down. For example, the Twin Towers are Mary Hightower's queendom and I do love this aspect of the novel. Shusterman is keeping a tragedy alive in our hearts and minds in Everlost.

Shusterman had such potential with this plot, but I felt like he didn't take it anywhere worth reading. There was just so many contradictions and oddities in this book that I had trouble wrapping my head around some things, but I did love the book passages at the end of some chapters that were there to explain specific aspects of Everlost through the words of mother-figure and writer Mary Hightower. They cleared many things up for both the reader and the characters in the novel. I'm going to try to explain my distaste for this book without revealing any spoilers. 

First of all, Everlost is sort of considered a Heaven-type place for kids since the kids didn't make it to Heaven and were stuck in the in-between. This was a place for good because they certainly were not in Hell. And this place was supposed to last forever because it was good. However, if it's a "good" place, or the "closest to heaven" that these kids will get, why are there monsters and evil kids? And if it's supposed to last forever, why does the McGill, the most feared monster of all, say that one day the world is just going to blow up and all souls in Everlost will be free to flee around the universe? I hate contradictions within novels!

Another thing that I had a problem with was the novel's lack of detail. It's such a big deal not to fall to the center of the Earth because that means that a kid would presumably be lost forever. However, near the beginning of the novel, there was a moment where Allie was pushed into the ground and it wasn't that descriptive. This is supposed to be such a momentous thing because it's so scary, but it just sort of happened and she just described being sunk to different levels of her body and then she felt like part of the ground. Brief descriptions like that stink and detail at such unique moments like that would be awesome! Same with the skinjacking. Allie's able to skinjack people, but by the way Shusterman described the process, it just happens. She simply leans forward and it just happens. Poof! She suddenly inhabits a living human! It doesn't work that way. It's made out to be such a complicated thing, but the process has so little detail to it that you feel jipped as a reader. It was such a potentially unique aspect of the novel that could have been executed so differently!


What confused me most is one of the main unspoken rules of Everlost. It's basically that the harder you want to remember things, the quicker you forget and the more you want to forget something, the more likely you are to remember it. While I thought that aspect of the plot could go somewhere as well, it just served to cause many contradictions throughout the novel. Barely anyone in Everlost remembers their name unless their surrounded by people to remind them who they are. Only when they move beyond Everlost may they remember their true name, so many people have odd names like Hammerhead or Pinhead because they can't remember their real ones. Yet, near the end of a novel, characters spoke the never-before-mentioned birth names of other characters. How is that possible? It makes no sense with the plot!

My other issue with the novel was some of the characterizations. Mary's supposed to be such an angel, but an angel doesn't lie. Yes, she lied to help out her kids and to keep them in Everlost, but in the process, she lied about a lot of things and hurt a lot of kids by keeping them from reaching their final destination point when they decided that they were ready to move on. She lied, manipulated, and kept things from people thinking that it was better for them, but she never gave them the choice to know what was truly better for them. It was her way or the highway. In her process of being good, she hurt a lot of people, so she's not that good of a person after all. She has good intentions, but they're not right. 

Allie also reminded me of a girl who would take no suggestions or listen to anybody. I understand that's typical of a 14 year old so that aspect of her characterization was spot on, but it was incredibly frustrating to like her at times. Nick seemed blinded by an infatuation with Mary that blossomed out of nowhere and the McGill and Vari are two completely different stories. Vari is a 9 year old boy that has been 9 for 146 years and is Miss Mary's most trusted assistant. He is obsessed with power and is incredibly conniving, but Shusterman chalks this up to the usual moodiness that a 9 year old experiences. No, no, that makes no sense at all! A 9 year old is moody, yes, but they're not evil! Moodiness does not translate into evil and weird attempts to maybe somehow have a hand in making someone competing for the affection of a respected individual disappear!

Lastly, there's the McGill. He just doesn't make much sense to me. He literally gets upset and feels hurt if people aren't talking about him and fearing him because he loves being a legend. He likes that people are scared of him and likes being the scariest creature in all of Everlost, so why is he so compassionate to Allie? He claims he's so smart, but he so easily falls into her trap and follows her directions on how to skinjack without any hesitation. He can treat a prisoner kindly, but he cannot treat his highest associate, Pinhead, kindly, even when Pinhead rescued him from the open embarrassment of defeat at a pier on Atlantic City. Not to mention the fact that such a scary creature actually lives his life off of fortune cookies. In Everlost, fortune cookies are all true, but the McGill follows the advice of fortune cookies as if it is his religion. As the book progresses and the McGill continues his weird mood swings, his identity is eventually revealed. Once such a thing happens, he suddenly goes from evil to good. Just because he doesn't have the same exterior doesn't mean he doesn't have the same interior. He did a complete 360 in a matter of seconds. That is so incredibly unrealistic for any human being, not just a character in a book.

Then, of course, there's the romance in the book. If you've been following me for even the shortest period of time, you know I love a good romance, though it is not an essential for me to read a book. In all honesty, I feel as if this book would have been better without Shusterman's attempts at romance. Nick's infatuation with Mary began out of nowhere and Mary was so adamant about not even acknowledging the smallest tidbit of feelings for Nick. Then, after a long journey, when Nick returns, she's suddenly kissing him and claiming that she's in love with him. And at the very end, they're "enemies" because they're fighting for two separate causes, but they're still in love. I just don't get it. It was such an unnecessary romance because it makes no sense and you're not enemies with someone you're in love with!


The list goes on, but I'm going to stop because this review is agonizingly long and I just want to retire this novel to my bookshelf. This novel had a lot of potential, but just wasn't for me. However, I do know plenty of other people that like it. I am giving it 2.5 stars for its originality and its level of uniqueness because it's not a story similar to anything else that I have read, besides the whole limbo aspect between the great beyond and the living world. However, I believe that it's full of plot holes, contradictions, and unecessary plot twists that took a lot of substance away from the novel. 


This is the first book in a series, but it can certainly stand alone. Perhaps the series will further detail a lot of the loose end problems that I've had with its prequel, but it's prequel disinterested me so greatly that I do not think I'll be picking up anything written by Neal Shusterman for a while. This is the type of read that you can get through on a rainy day. Not amazing, but something to get you by, though it's not something I'm running to re-read or even look at again anytime soon. 

~*~Cover~*~
 
What I have discovered is that many of Shusterman's novels are some sort of picture and then his name along the top and right side on a red banner. If he has a design going for him, stick with it. However, this cover was a bit creepy to me and I'm not one for creepiness, so I would not pick it off the shelves of my local Barnes and Noble. While it may be eye-catching to those who interpreted the cover as that of a mystery instead of the creepiness that I sensed, I was not the least bit impressed by it.


 2.5 stars

~*~Links~*~



Waiting on Wednesday #2


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme that spotlights upcoming releases and it is hosted by the fabulous Breaking the Spine.

My pick of the week is...

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
 

Date of Publication: June 5, 2012
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Reading Level: Ages 12 and up
Number of Pages: 368 pages

~*~Summary~*~
 Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha… and the secrets of her heart.


~*~Why I'm Waiting~*~

This novel is the first novel in The Grisha trilogy. I have been waiting for this novel to come out because I have seen nothing but positive reviews all over amazon, goodreads, and the young adult blogging community. It got me excited to read a novel that seems to be completely original with a concept that has not been used before in the young adult genre. I'm excited to get my hands on something new and entirely unique!

Top Ten Tuesday #2


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the fabulous The Broke and The Bookish.
Each week we highlight a new top ten list on a variety of topics.
This week's topic: Top Ten Books Written In The Past 10 Years That I Hope People Are Still Reading In 30 Years

The list is in no particular order...
Every series will have praises instead of summaries due to space...


Number One: The Book Thief
Author: Markus Zusak
Date Published: September 11, 2007
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Reading Level: Ages 12 and Up
Number of Pages: 576 pages

~*~Summary~*~

 It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

~*~Lili's Reflections~*~ 

This truly is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul. The main message that one walks away from after reading this book is that words are powerful. I connected with every single one of the characters, cried with them and for them, and smiled with them and for them. This novel, I believe, will be considered a classic in the future, rising among great classics like The Great Gatsby. 

~*~

 Number Two: The Kite Runner

Author: Khaled Hosseini

Date Published: April 27, 2004

Publisher: Riverhead Trade

Reading Level: Ages 18 and Up

Number of Pages: 372 pages


~*~Summary~*~

 The timely and critically acclaimed debut novel that's becoming a word-of-mouth phenomenon. An epic tale of fathers and sons, of friendship and betrayal, that takes us from Afghanistan in the final days of the monarchy to the atrocities of the present.

The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father's servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption, and it is also about the power of fathers over sons-their love, their sacrifices, their lies.

The first Afghan novel to be written in English, The Kite Runner tells a sweeping story of family, love, and friendship against a backdrop of history that has not been told in fiction before, bringing to mind the large canvases of the Russian writers of the nineteenth century. But just as it is old-fashioned in its narration, it is contemporary in its subject-the devastating history of Afghanistan over the last thirty years. As emotionally gripping as it is tender, The Kite Runner is an unusual and powerful debut.

~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

 Powerful is the only word I have to describe this novel. It's heart-wrenching and you'll find yourself crying as you progress through the novel because it's so vivid and real. like choice number one, I believe that this novel is going to be a future classic that came out of this era of writing.

 ~*~

 Number Three: The Hunger Games Trilogy
Author: Suzanne Collins
Date Published: September 14, 2008 - August 24, 2010
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Reading Level: Ages 12 and Up

~*~Praise~*~

"Whereas Katniss kills with finesse, Collins writes with raw power." —Time Magazine
"Collins has joined J. K. Rowling and Stephenie Meyer as a writer of children's books that adults are eager to read." —Bloomberg.com
"Perfect pacing and electrifying world-building." —Booklist, starred review
"A humdinger of a cliffhanger will leave readers clamoring for volume three." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"Forget Edward and Jacob... readers will be picking sides—Peeta or Gale?" —Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Leaves enough questions tantalizingly unanswered for readers to be desperate for the next installment." —School Library Journal, starred review

 ~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

 This trilogy rocked the world for the past several years. It has a legacy that cannot be easily forgotten because it was so beautifully written. These books will be around for a while.

~*~

Number Four: The Mortal Instruments Series 
Author: Cassandra Clare
Date Published: February 19, 2008 - March 19, 2014
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Reading Level: Ages 14 and Up


~*~Praise~*~

"The Mortal Instruments series is a story world I love to live in. Beautiful". (Stephenie Meyer, author of Twilight)

~*~Lili's Reflections~*~



This series is my favorite series out there. Cassandra Clare is an amazing writer and I have to read everything she writes. I hope her writing is around for a while!

~*~

Number Five: The Infernal Devices Series
Author: Cassandra Clare
Date Published: October 4, 2011 - March 19, 2013
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Reading Level: Ages 14 and Up


~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

Cassandra Clare's writing never ceases to amaze me. Like any of her other novels, I can never put these down. They tell and unforgettable story that I hope will be around for a while.

~*~


Number Six: The Harry Potter Series
Author: J.K. Rowling
Date Published: September 1, 1998 - July 21, 2007
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Reading Level: Ages 9 and Up


~*~Praise~*~

'J.K.Rowling has woken up a whole generation to reading' The Times 'The Harry Potter books are that rare thing, a series of stories adored by parents and children alike' Daily Telegraph 'The most remarkable publishing sensation for a generation ... the story is told with such momentum, imagination and irrepressible humour that it can captivate both adults and children' Sunday Express 'Hooray for Harry Potter ... [Harry's] adventures are as funny as Roald Dahl's stories and as vivid as Narnia books - and adults seem to enjoy them as much as their children' Daily Mail

~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

While I am still trying to complete this series, I believe it is safe to say that this series defines our generation. There was a loss in our hearts when the final movie concluded. This series will love on forever and I hope it's never forgotten.

~*~



Number Seven: Percy Jackson and The Olympians Series
Author: Rick Riordan
Date Published: July 1, 2005 - May 5, 2009
Publisher: Hyperion Books CH
Reading Level: Ages 10 and Up

~*~Praise~*~

I can't think of a child of 10-plus who could fail to enjoy Percy's adventures . . . the fusion of the magical with the mundane and modern gives the series its edge



“The clash of modern and classical worlds is both exciting and entertaining.” —The New York Times Book Review

”Riordan masterfully orchestrates the huge cast of characters and manages a coherent, powerful tale at once exciting, philosophical and tear-jerking. The best-selling series’ legions of fans will cheer their heroes on and rejoice in such a compelling conclusion to the saga.”— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)


~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

These novels are what got me into reading. This is the first series that I blew through in a matter of days and couldn't put down. For a while, I carried The Lightning Thief with me wherever I went. It will always have a place in my heart, and I hope that my children will grow up with Rick Riordan's writing in the future as well.

~*~

Number Eight: Graceling
Author: Kristin Cashore
Date Published: September 7, 2009
Publisher: Graphia
Reading Level: Ages 14 and Up
Number of Pages: 480 pages

~*~Summary~*~


Kristin Cashore’s best-selling, award-winning fantasy Graceling tells the story of the vulnerable yet strong Katsa, a smart, beautiful teenager who lives in a world where selected people are given a Grace, a special talent that can be anything from dancing to swimming. Katsa’s is killing. As the king’s niece, she is forced to use her extreme skills as his thug. Along the way, Katsa must learn to decipher the true nature of her Grace . . . and how to put it to good use. A thrilling, action-packed fantasy adventure (and steamy romance!) that will resonate deeply with adolescents trying to find their way in the world.


~*~Lili's Reflections~*~


I loved this book. It was so unique and painted such vivid scenes. Cashore is an amazing writer and I hope this novel sticks around because of how unique it is. I can't even begin to stress how phenomenal the world-building is.


~*~



Number Nine: Fire
Author: Kristin Cashore
Date Published: January 25, 2011
Publisher: Firebird
Reading Level: Ages 12 and Up
Number of Pages: 480 pages

~*~Summary~*~

It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. In King City, the young King Nash is clinging to the throne, while rebel lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. War is coming. And the mountains and forest are filled with spies and thieves. This is where Fire lives, a girl whose beauty is impossibly irresistible and who can control the minds of everyone around her. Exquisitely romantic, this companion to the highly praised Graceling has an entirely new cast of characters, save for one person who plays a pivotal role in both books. You don't need to have read Graceling to love Fire. But if you haven't, you'll be dying to read it next.



~*~Lili's Reflections~*~


The world-building in this novel is phenomenal as well. if you read one, you simply have to read the other, and in the process of doing so you will fall in love with Cashore's writing and amazing characters!


~*~





Number Ten: Fire
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Date Published: October 18, 2011
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Reading Level: Ages 14 and Up
Number of Pages: 416 pages

~*~Summary~*~

It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

I hope this book sticks around because it's so unique. Not only did I love the plot, but I loved the underlying messages that this novel contains about gender bias and social class standards. I feel like you can learn a lot from it if you analyze it when readin git at a young age.

~*~



So, I really enjoyed the topic for this week's Top Ten Tuesday. I hope you enjoyed my list! What lists do you have?

Review: Shatter Me


  • Author: Tahereh Mafi
  • Series: Shatter Me #1
  • Published: November 15, 2011
  • Publisher: HarperCollins
  • Reading Level: Ages 14 and up
  • Pages: 352 pages
  • Source: Bought  
  •  
~*~Summary~*~

Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color. 

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war-- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

In this electrifying debut, Tahereh Mafi presents a world as riveting asThe Hunger Games and a superhero story as thrilling as The X-Men. Full of pulse-pounding romance, intoxicating villainy, and high-stakes choices, Shatter Me is a fresh and original dystopian novel—with a paranormal twist—that will leave readers anxiously awaiting its sequel.

~*~Lili's Reflections*~

I bought this book at noon on Sunday (yesterday). I began reading this book at 4:30 the same day and finished by 9 that night, having to stop to eat dinner and do a few chores. I blew through this novel because I simply could not put it down. Tahereh Mafi's words held me captive while I read Juliette's story and I wasn't fighting to break free from her spell at all.

The novel began while Juliette was in an asylum. One day, a boy was put into captivity with her. That boy was Adam. When Juliette is forcefully taken out of captivity to help the leader of the Reestablishment, Warren, her life gets turned upside down. On top of her power to kill by skin-on-skin contact, she discovers new powers and a love interest that will change her life forever. And finally, as the first novel in what is promising to be an amazing series comes to a close, Juliette finds herself fighting on the side that she was destined to fight for.

I cannot describe to you how enthralled I was by this novel. I found it impossible to put it down. Mafi drags you in from the very first line because of the unique way in which she writes and because of Juliette's out-of-the-ordinary thought processes. After all, being held in captivity for almost a year makes one go a little crazy, so her lack of human contact and usage of her voice was to be expected. Be warned that you'll need a nice snack sitting next to you because this book will be one that will cause you to stay up into the night to finish, not even willing to run downstairs to eat dinner.

The characterization in this novel is amazing. Juliette started off wishing she were dead, hating herself. But as soon as Adam entered her cell, her character began to evolve. Ever-so-slowly she began to open up more and consider the possibilities. She began standing up for herself and her beliefs as the relationship she never thought she'd have blossomed. And last but not least, she realized she was given a gift, not a curse. While romance is a huge point of this story, this story also puts a heavy focus on Juliette's journey to self-discovery and realizations that she's not the monster society made her out to be. She, despite her extraordinarily dangerous gift, deserves to be loved.

This is a novel for all of you romance readers. The relationship between Juliette and her love-interest developed beautifully and their love was so pure and real. Literally, he was willing to die for her. Mafi wrote about their passion for each other so beautifully that you can't help but wish to have a relationship like theirs in your future. (I know I'm using the word beautiful a lot, but I can't describe their relationship any other way). No, I can't reveal the love interest because his identity is so essential to the plot. However, I will say that there's a pseudo love-triangle going. Between Juliette and one character, the feelings are mutual, but between Juliette and Warren, the feelings are not. Warren seems to be a love-sick psychopath drunk on ruling the world and would stop at nothing to get what he wants. I feel sorry for him, truly, as if he craves love from a powerful being because he may not have gotten it from his mother as a child. We don't know much about his mother besides the fact that he gets uneasy whenever she's brought up, so I hope this topic is explored more in the sequel to this novel, Unravel Me, expected to be in stores in the beginning of February 2013.

This novel is now among my favorites. It's hard to find a novel that I have no complains about, but this is one of them. Thus, it is easily receiving a 5. If I could give it a 6, I would, but the rating system unfortunately ends at 5. This novel appeals to romance readers, dystopian readers, and paranormal readers. It's truly a book for the masses and there's no complaint in any department besides the cover. It's beautifully written and employs a unique sense of writing to follow Juliette's slightly skewed thought processes at the beginning of the novel. This novel is a must read for any reader. It has a little bit of everything and I guarantee you that it will pull at your heartstrings. Tahereh Mafi is a new author to look out for and I hope with all my heart that she sticks around and continues to gift us with such amazing and original plot-lines that cannot be rivaled.

~*~Cover~*~

In all honesty, I am not a fan of the cover. I loved the book and I feel as if the cover doesn't do it justice. The dress looks awkward and unappealing to me, looking nothing like the dresses that Warren made Juliette wear in the novel. However, I do like the crossed off contradictions on the top of the cover because this repeated throughout the novel. Same thing goes for the shattering effect of the title that was for every chapter title. Cute use of creativity in that aspect, but I'm hoping that they'll come out with a new cover that better suits the novel.


5 stars

~*~Links~*~


 |Sequel|



Stacking the Shelves #1


Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

I am so excited to take part in this meme. So, below are the books that I have added to my shelves this week, accompanied by my cat, Luna, who cuddles up to any book I get because she seems like them just as much as I do!


~*~Bought~*~

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare
Article 5 by Kristen Simmons
Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins
Of Poseidon by Anna Banks


Just 5 for this week, but they are five books that I've been dying to get my hands on! Can't wait to get started on these so that I can post some reviews! 

For future reference, all of my Stacking the Shelves posts will be on Saturday, but I picked up my books late this week.

What books did everyone get and what are your opinions on mine?



Review: Taken at Dusk

  • Author: C.C. Hunter
  • Series: Shadow Falls #3
  • Published: April 10, 2012
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
  • Reading Level: Ages 12 and up
  • Pages: 400 pages
  • Source: Bought 
  •   
  •  
  • ~*~Summary~*~
Step into Shadow Falls, a camp for teens with supernatural powers.  Here friendship thrives, love takes you by surprise, and our hearts possess the greatest magic of all.

Kylie Galen wants the truth so badly she can taste it. The truth about who her real family is, the truth about which boy she’s meant to be with—and the truth about what her emerging powers mean.  But she’s about to discover that some secrets can change your life forever…and not always for the better.

Just when she and Lucas are finally getting close, she learns that his pack has forbidden them from being together.  Was it a mistake to pick him over Derek? And it’s not just romance troubling Kylie. An amnesia-stricken ghost is haunting her, delivering the frightful warning, someone lives and someone dies. As Kylie races to unravel the mystery and protect those she loves, she finally unlocks the truth about her supernatural identity, which is far different—and more astonishing—than she ever imagined.



 ~*~Lili's Reflections~*~
Yet another great addition to the Shadow Falls series! Once more, this novel picks up exactly where the previous one left off. And, once again, it will end in a cliff hanger that will make you go wild for the fourth book in the series that has yet to have been released. I so regret blasting through the first three books in a matter of days because I have to wait so long for the fourth, but then again, that is always a positive telltale sign of an amazing series that leaves you wanting more.

Kylie's journey of self-discovery continues as she unravels the mysteries that were exposed in Awake at Dawn. She discovers a new ghost with a new prophecy that sends chills to your bones and even learns how to properly channel her ghost whispering abilities in a nearby cemetery. A new character is introduced in this novel, too. I won't say what she is and how she is important to this novel, but I will say that her name is Ellie and originally I disliked her, but she grew on me rather quickly and I am sure she will do the same for you. 

And last but not least, the love triangle continues, but it seems that the scales are now tipped! Kylie is so desperately trying to make her decision--handsome werewolf Lucas has always been there for her, after all--but learning that his pack does not welcome her in its ranks because she would pollute Lucas's pure bloodline proves to be a major hindrance to their relationship. Will Lucas follow his heart or follow his pack? Read to find out! ;) Derek seems to be a bit annoying in this novel as well, but his presence is essential the continuation of the love triangle. 

Character-wise, my only concern would be Red. If you've read this series, you know who Red is and just how twisted he actually is. However, this book seems to bring a whole new aspect of Red to light. He has uncanny abilities like Kylie and has no problem putting them to use to create some super creepy moments throughout the novel, but what will be more surprising is his final moments in this book. Maybe the Red we knew in the prior books wasn't the real Red at all. However, that doesn't change my opinion of him and just makes me angry about his characterization. Looking back on the novel, though, one can tell his characterization changed subtly and Kylie was too stubborn to see it at first. The evolution of his character is quite fascinating and I'd look out for it in this novel.

And, drum roll please... we finally learn what Kylie is! Yes, you heard me correctly, Kylie's identity is exposed. We know what she is and by the name of it, one can logically infer what her identity entails, but we have to wait until the next book to have a magical elaboration on what her powers and identity truly mean for her future (and possibly the future of her relationship). Which is why I am so desperately waiting for the next novel. Maybe I'll find a way to receive my first ever ARC for the fourth book. That will probably never happen, but one can certainly dream. I guarantee that anyone reading this review will be in the same boat as me once they complete this novel, so I'd highly consider putting this book off until the release date for the fourth book is nearer so you can avoid going insane while you wait for it like I am.

With everything being said, I'm taking this series back up to a 5! The wishy-washyness from the previous novel regarding the love triangle is not present in this book, making it an amazing read that I blew through in one sitting. Plus, all of Kylie's moments with Lucas were amazing portions to read, especially when time drew nearer to the full moon and Lucas' inner-werewolf came out to play ;). The plot twists were unforgettable and unexpected, but weaved together to create a plot that one wouldn't expect in their wildest dreams. The characterization of all the characters in this novel was intense and fascinating and I can't wait to continue to watch them grow in book four. More than anything, I want to know exactly what Kylie's identity will mean for her future. We'll find out in the next book! C.C. Hunter, you never cease to amaze me!


~*~Cover~*~
This cover reminds me a lot of the cover for the second book in this series, Awake at Dawn. It's the same concept. A would-be Kylie in a dress, back facing us, looking out an amazing landscape. The colors of this cover contrast beautifully with that of the second book, going from a soft blue to a subdued red, but I don't like this one nearly as much. The view is barren and not as appealing to the eye as the other two novels in this series are. Awake at Dawn will be a hard cover to beat for this series, but I like the whole design that they're starting to pick up on with book 2 and book 3.
  
 
5 stars


 
  ~*~Links~*~

| Review of Shadow Falls Book 1 | Review of Shadow Falls Book 2 |


~*~Question~*~

Before you jump into this amazing novel, what do you think Kylie is?  

Review: Awake at Dawn

Author: C.C. Hunter
Series: Shadow Falls #2
Published: October 11, 2011
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Reading Level: Ages 12 and Up
Pages: 400 pages
Source: Bought 

~*~Summary~*~ 
Step into the world of Shadow Falls, a camp that helps teens tap into their special…talents. Once you visit, you’ll never forget it—and you’ll never, ever be the same. 

From the moment Kylie Galen arrived at Shadow Falls Camp, she’s had one burning question: What am I?  Surrounded by vampires, werewolves, shape-shifters, fairies and witches, Kylie longs to figure out her own supernatural identity…and what her burgeoning powers mean. And now she’ll need them more than ever, because she’s being haunted by a new spirit who insists that someone Kylie knows—and loves—will die before the end of the summer.If only she only knew who she was supposed to save. And how…
But giving Kylie the most trouble is her aching heart. Gorgeous werewolf Lucas left camp with another girl, but he’s still visiting Kylie in her dreams. And Derek, a sexy half Fae who’s always been there for her when she needed him, is pushing to get more serious—and growing impatient, especially when Lucas returns. Kylie knows she needs to decide between the boys, and it’s tearing her up inside.  

Yet romance will have to wait, because something from the dark side of the supernatural world is hiding in Shadow Falls. It’s about to threaten everything she holds dear…and bring her closer to her destiny. 

~*~Lili's Reflections~*~


What a great way to continue this series! It picks up exactly where the previous novel left off and it has no shortage of Kylie's lovable quirkiness. She continues her journey of finding out exactly what she is, while the love triangle between Derek and Lucas continues to heat up. Not to mention that Kylie has a whole new meal on her plate: somehow convincing her overprotective mother to allow her to go to the new and improved Shadow Falls Boarding school! This girl's life never seems to not be busy.

The main focus of this novel is the continuation of Kylie's journey of self-discovery, as well as the love triangle and the blossoming of a side-romance between Holiday and Burnett. (Oh, come on, I'm not spoiling anything, we all knew it was going to happen even though Holiday is still her stubborn self and isn't really letting it happen! But it's getting there!) To add to everything, Kylie's powers are making themselves more pronounced. Whether it's dealing with new ghosts, running super fast, or suddenly growing a cup size, shoe size, and a couple inches overnight, her powers are coming in all shapes and sizes that make her identity crisis even more of a mystery since it seems she has a little bit of everything in her. Seems like a magical version of puberty, eh? Sounds like it if puberty included talking to ghosts and picking up some other uncanny abilities that you'll have to find out by reading the book yourself!

Now, we all love a good romance, and the love triangle is definitely a central portion of this story, though it has a lot of wishy-washy moments in it. I suppose my biggest problem with the execution of the love triangle is that she could ignore Derek for Lucas one minute and then ignore Lucas for Derek the next, but Derek cannot ignore her. That aspect of her took away from the lovable quirkiness and goofiness that is Kylie Galen and made her seem the tiniest bit bratty in the romance department. While I get that a good love-triangle has to have a lot of moments where you favor one over the other and then suddenly go back to the other to keep it juicy since your heart and mind are telling you two different things, that doesn't give you the right to get mad when they try to make something better for themselves. So, at times, Kylie was a bit frustrating in this one.

Kylie's boy troubles led her to claim to Holiday that she hates them and is seriously considering becoming a lesbian in one portion of the book. If I read this book a year ago, I'd probably shake my head and laugh, but it's not a year ago and that particular piece of attempted humor didn't register well with me. I suppose I should explain why. One of my close friends since a young age has been dealing with problems regarding her sexuality. Whatever sexuality she has, I'd love her no matter what, and it only recently became apparent to her that homosexuality seems to be more up her alley, not bisexuality like she originally believed. Thus, I know how much it bugs her at times when girls make comments like, "I hate boys! I should just become a lesbian." She is a girl who loves girls, not because she hates boys, but because she is not attracted to them and love girls and doesn't have a choice with who she loves. However, in a relationship, she experiences the same problems that a girl could experience in a heterosexual relationship, but she does not sit there saying, "I hate girls. I should be straight again!" You love who you love and you shouldn't make tiny jokes at the expense of another sexuality, especially a minority who is not entirely accepted in this country, that can hurt them depending on how it's used. Now, that doesn't subtract from the book for me, but I wanted to get that out there for my friend's sake. I, too, am guilty of saying such things as a joke, only now do I understand how others may view my joke offensively, even if not meant so.

With that aside, I'll assume the review. I have no other qualms about this book besides the fact that all the girls seem to be really wrapped up with Holiday's sex life. While I totally love Holiday because she's a best friend first and an authority figure second, she is still an authority figure and you shouldn't be concerned with her sex life as if she is a sixteen year old girl. If this was real life, I'd be a little uncomfortable in an instance like that. But, just as in my previous review, I do believe that we need more people like Holiday in the world.

After saying everything above, I am giving this book a rating of a 4.5! All of Kylie's new powers make you curious as to how much of a role they will play in the next novel in this series. My gut is telling me that they will be of great importance, so I can't wait to type of the review for that next book. However, with the love triangle being of such importance in this novel, the wishy-washy moments made you a bit frustrated. You just wanted to shake some sense into Kylie at times because she was so wrapped up in her moments and troubles that she forgot to consider how she was effecting and treating others, especially Derek, Della, and Miranda. This is still a must read series because the need to find out Kylie's true identity is becoming greater and greater and there is  no shortage of unexpected plot twists.

~*~Cover~*~

I like this cover more than I do the cover of the prequel. This one is more eye-catching and it evokes a sense of mystery with the falls, though anyone who reads the book knows exactly what those waterfalls are ;). The cover is beautiful and the girl, presumably Kylie, stands out perfectly. If I were to randomly see this book on a shelf without its prequel nearby, I would still be tempted to pick it up and take it home. Bravo to whoever designed it!


4.5 stars

~*~Links~*~