June Wrap-Up Post For 2012 TBR Challenge

Hello, everyone! Today marks the ending of the first wrap-up for the 2012 TBR Pile Reading Challenge for me! I've reviewed a whole ton of books this month, but these are the only ones applicable for the challenge from May - June, since I missed the May cut off date.

All novels below have been written in 2011 or earlier, following the rules for the challenge giveaways.


Stacking The Shelves #6


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

~*~Bought~*~


Struck by Jennifer Bosworth
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin 

I've heard nothing but awesome things about both of these books, so I'm excited to give them a shot!

~*~Library~*~ 
  
Demonglass and Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins

I sort of fell in love with Hex Hall and wanted to continue the series. You can find my review for Hex Hall here. I can't wait to get started on these. I wish I owned them.
 

Review: Hex Hall

Author: Rachel Hawkins
  • Series: Hex Hall #1
  • Published: March 2, 2010
  • Publisher: Hyperion Book CH
  • Reading Level: Ages 18 and Up
  • Pages: 336 pages
  • Source: Library
  •  
~*~Summary~*~
Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters. 

By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire student on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.



As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.
  

~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

Have you ever read a book that you thought you'd hate, so you were beyond pleasantly surprised when you realized you loved it? For me, this is one of those books.

Sophie Mercer is a witch. She was raised by her mother, a human, who left her powerful warlock father before knowing she was pregnant with Sophia because he waited so long to reveal his true identity. When a love spell at a school dance goes wrong, Sophie finds herself attending Hecate (Hex) Hall, a school for Prodigium that need help finding the right path. Even worse, she learns that her father is the head of The Council and responsible for sending her there. While having trouble dealing with the evil popular witches, crushing on the hottest guy in school, and trying to prove her best friend and vampire roommate innocent, Sophie begins to uncover some secrets about her family that were hidden under lock and key. Her powers, it turns out, aren't even the least of her worries.

I liked this book. The plot gave way to a lot of humor. I often found myself smiling and shaking my head throughout the book. Humor isn't an easy thing to pull off in books, but Hawkins pulled it off beautifully. While at first I thought the whole witches at school thing was reminiscent of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter, I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't, though aspects of the novel seemed to lack originality.

I especially enjoyed the plot twists in this book. They never stopped coming. Right when you think you had a character or event figured out, Hawkins would through another thing at you that left you sitting there in shock. This novel was full of unexpected surprises that strengthened the overall plot and told an awesome story.  

I have to say that a huge reason I loved this book is because of the main character, Sophie Mercer. She has a good head on her shoulders. She's stubborn and stands up for herself, evening the playing field with the evil witches that don't like her, but she's also forgiving. She's beyond entertaining and I love her for that. She carries the book beautifully. What I love about her is that she doesn't fall prey to the illness of insta-love that a lot of YA authors have their leads fall prey to. I mean, after all, the first thing that Archer Cross (the hot warlock on campus that is dating her arch-enemy) heard her say was, "Bad dog!" Not a recipe for insta-love, right? Yay for realistic romances that actually take time to develop! Archer is an interesting leading man. He's sort of a toned down version of Jace from The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare. He's arrogant and thoughtful and really enjoys teasing Sophie.

I have to say that I loved Sophie's roommate, Jenna. She's strong and I have to applaud Hawkins for putting a homosexual character in her book. It's rare that I come across such a thing. I'm a huge supporter of the LGBT community, so this made me smile. However, Jenna's sexuality is not in your face or anything. It is mentioned a few times in the book, specifically when she's talking about her past, but it's not anything that will make a reader uncomfortable. No worries.

The pacing in this book was done pretty well. It was a little hard for me to get into in the beginning, but once I got over that small bump in the road, I couldn't put the book down. I'm a bit bummed out that I took this book out from my library and don't actually own it. 
What I'm really surprised about is that the recommended reading level is 18 and up. That seems beyond odd for me. The writing is a bit juvenile and seems like it's meant for a 13 year old, which shocks me that the reading level is so much higher. There is nothing in this book that should give it such a high reading level requirement. If anything, there are a few deaths, but they are not gruesome and unsettling. I would disregard the reading level. Anyone of any age can pretty much pick up this book. It's like The Gallagher Girls series. It's loved by all ages because it's full of humor and all around cute, but it's reading level is pretty low and the writing isn't anything inspirational.

With all that being said, I'm giving this book 4 stars. As I said before, the writing, at times, was a bit juvenile. Because of this, it was a little hard for me to get into the book at first. However, I am now dying for the next books in the series and called up my Dad begging to borrow his car later so I can pick up the rest of the series from the library. Hawkins weaves a tale full of mystery, humor, and plot twists that you will never see coming. With that ending, I have to see Sophie's story continue. Any reader will adore this book and I encourage you to give it a chance!

 
~*~Cover~*~

The cover seems a bit childish to me, but it is repeated throughout the series, so that's a positive. Everything works well together. I don't understand the meaning of the cat. it's not mentioned in the book at all. Oh, well.

 


4 stars

 
~*~Links~*~ 
 

Review: Shadow and Bone


Author: Leigh Bardugo
  • Series: Grisha Trilogy #1
  • Published: June 5, 2012
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
  • Reading Level: Ages 12 and Up
  • Pages: 368 pages
  • Source: Gifted
  •  
~*~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.


~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

Words cannot describe how I feel about this book. I chose it as a past WoW on a hunch and, boy, am I happy I made the assumption that this would be a book worth reading. It is. If you haven't read this book, I highly recommend hunting a copy down because I have not read a story like it. This is a book full of magic and it had me under its spell at the very first line.

Alina grew up with her best friend, Mal, in an orphanage during a time where The Fold was slowly devouring everything around Ravka in its evil darkness. While at the orphanage, both kids failed the test to see if they were born with special powers that would make them Grisha. In a desperate attempt to earn money, they both joined the military; Mal as a tracker and Alina as a cartographer. While traveling through The Fold, Alina saves Mal's life by releasing a power within her that she hadn't known existed. She was a Sun Summoner, one of the most powerful Grisha's out there. Because of this, she found herself caught in the middle of a major power struggle in a world ruled by magic and evil secrets.

Honestly, I have no clue where to begin. I was drawn into this world from the very beginning of the novel. It's a world of magic, a magic that has not been written about in any other novel. And on top of that magic, the entire book has an evil undertone that forces you to read so you can find out what that evil undertone really is. It's fast paced and impossible to put down. It will leave you wanting more.


The world-building was done so well that I had no problem visualizing anything. I loved the Grisha magic and its development, like the use of amplifiers and the differences between the different types of Grisha. While I imagine this to be somewhat Russian, the lands seemed so different and so unique. They were war-ravaged for hundreds of years. People were desperate to be saved, but how could such a thing happen with a King that didn't know how to rule? All of these elements worked together to create Ravka, a world that is unlike any other you will ever come across. And while it so easily captivates you, it is not a world you would want to live in. At least, not unless you had Mal on your arm.

The characters were beyond amazing. I can't even describe how much I respect Bardugo for being able to write such a unique novel. Alina is a brave heroine. She's conflicted throughout a majority of the book, but she's still the perfect vessel to translate emotions through and see the other characters through her eyes. She hurts for all the right reasons, and was so perfectly written. The dynamic between her and Mal is fascinating. She's loved him ever since she was a child in the orphanage. Together, they are unstoppable. Apart, they hurt for one another. But Mal is a bit of a player and only views Alina as his best friend. She might as well be one of the guys in his eyes. Which gave The Darkling the perfect opportunity to step in and become this romantic love interest. He has an eery beauty that can translate into creepiness, but all Grisha vie for his attention, especially that of the romantic kind. When Alina becomes a favorite of his, no character makes her survival easy. But her and The Darkling possess insane powers. As easily as they can help to make each other more powerful, they can negate each others powers as well. After all, one is darkness and one is light.

The evil within the novel is a complete shock. It was lurking beneath everything, so clearly there, but you get so wrapped up in the lies that Bardugo weaves that you're just as shocked as Alina to learn for the truth. And once she does, you're just as determined to right all the wrong's committed. Her journey is one of self-discovery and then epic survival and you will not be able to put the book down until you turn the very last page. Even then, you will literally ache to read more. It is a battle between good and evil, and Alina is nothing but the most powerful pawn that could be used on either side. The mystery in this novel was done expertly.


There is some violence within the book, but it's not super gory. Still, I wouldn't recommend it for a twelve year old. Thirteen and up would seem like a more accurate reading level. It's nothing that will unsettle anyone that doesn't have a good stomach. I can't stomach anything gory and I was so captivated by the story that I wasn't even the least bit fazed. You'll find yourself reading so fast that half of the story won't even register in your mind until it's all over. Then you'll sit there for a few seconds with your mind completely blown, the only word your capable of saying: "whoa."

Bardugo is a master of the written word. She transports you into Ravka and you live through everything alongside Alina. Your breath will quicken, your tear buds will dampen, and your anger will make itself known as you read. Anything that can evoke such powerful emotions is a story that is worth telling. Thus, this novel is receiving 5 stars! I couldn't put it down and when I was finished, I was left begging for more of this book. Its unique setting and plot is like an addictive drug that you can't get enough of. Its Russian undertones were a cute addition that I found interesting as well. I highly encourage readers to pick this book up if they ever have the time. You will not regret it.

A must read for any young adult reader. Seriously, I mean it. 

 
~*~Cover~*~

I LOVE this cover! It sort of reminds me of a kids book, the simplicity of it all, but at the same time it manages to ooze darkness, just as the book does. For such a simple design it is incredibly appealing to the eye and I do like it very much. Simplicity seems to be a lost art among some book cover creators, but you can never go wrong with just being simple.
 


5 stars

 
~*~Links~*~





Waiting on Wednesday #6

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...

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson 


  Date Published: July 3, 2012
Reading Level: 14 and up
Publisher: HarperTeen
Number of Pages: 304 pages 

~*~Summary~*~

Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. . . .

Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn't believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.

Peter is unlike anyone she's ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland's inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she's always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.

With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it's the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who's everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Peaches comes a magical and bewitching story of the romance between a fearless heroine and the boy who wouldn't grow up.

~*~Why I'm Waiting~*~

I will openly and proudly say that I am a Disney fanatic. I grew up with Disney movies and if a new one is going to come out, I am going to see it despite my being 17 years old. I loved Peter Pan when I was little, so I got really excited when I realized someone was releasing a book having to do with him, let alone a romance. I mean, what little girl didn't have dreams of falling in love with Peter Pan when they were 5? You would never have to grow up! So, this book obviously appeals to the child in me and I can't wait to get ahold of it. It's rare that themes from our childhood cross into young adult literature, so any self-loving Disney freak has to get this book on their shelves the second it comes out!

Top Ten Tuesday #6


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 Characters Who Remind Me Of Myself Or Someone I Know In Real Life.

1. Katy from Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout - I feel like Katy's a given. She's a book nerd like all of us! Her blog isn't her life, but it is most definitely important to her. She practically aches inside when her laptop breaks and she is unable to post her weekly Waiting on Wednesday post. Anyone who is reading this is like her. We're all wonderful book nerds that geek out over new releases and a great majority of us wish that we had a hot alien named Daemon living right next door.

2. Kat Bishop from The Heist Society by Ally Carter - Kat is very clever and she is the leader of her band of teenager thieves. I feel like I relate to her because of her leadership qualities and determination to finish everything she starts. I can't help but see a bit of myself in her.

3. Puck Connolly from The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater - I feel like everyone has a little bit of Puck in them because she was such a diverse character. I feel like I possess her stubbornness. Once I set my mind to something, I follow through with it, even if it's an insane idea that could put me in a lot of trouble. I won't let the opinions of other sway me. I stick to my guns. Isn't that what Puck's entire story is about?

4. Melanie Stryder from The Host by Stephenie Meyer - I feel like I possess Melanie's determination. She is determined to survive and I am determined to achieve my goals. She doesn't go down without a fight and doesn't make things easy for those who are against her (like Wanda in the beginning.) She's smart and thinks things through before acting out, but will never hesitate to do what she believes is right.

5. Katsa from Graceling by Kristin Cashore - I know this is a weird choice. By no means do I connect to her ability to kill people with her eyes clothes, but I feel like I see myself in her when she struggles to find her true self. She defies everyone around her to do what she believes is right, not what they believe is right. She follows her own heart and does everything she is capable of doing that will help those around her. In this case, she risked her life to save Bitterblue. While I may not go around risking my life like she does, I want to do everything in my power to benefit those around me.

6. Nora Grey from Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick - Aside from her angel bloodline and arguing with Patch, Nora is a writer for her schools eZine and a sleuth in training. Like her, I take writing for my school newspaper very seriously and it's something that I love. I put a heavy emphasis on my academic achievements as well. While I may not be choosing between Yale and Harvard like her, I do know that I earned my ticket to some well respected universities. And like her, I can't help but to uncover some mysterious around my school if there's something I'm curious about.

7. Alina Starkov from Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo - This may sound off, but I see my naivety in Alina. Like her, I want to believe everything that everyone tells me, but when I step back and think about things I may discover how easily I was led into lies. While I do try to avoid this, there are still many things in the world that I'm naive, too. And there's no way to mature but to admit that you don't really know everything.

8. Kylie Galen from The Shadow Falls Series by C.C. Hunter - I see Kylie's goofiness in me. She truly is just one big cheeseball that somehow managed to have two insanely hot guys war over her. But she's a dork and I am most definitely a dork as well.

9. Kait Swanney from The Lure of Shapinsay by Krista Holle - I see my love in Kait. Once she found Eamon, she'd do anything for him. She didn't allow others to sway her opinions on him and instead focused entirely on him. When there's someone out there that's truly worth my heart, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't the same way. They become very important to me, thus a large part of my life and my heart.

10. Terra Cooper from North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headly - Terra is a beautiful girl that struggles to fit in because of a huge birthmark on her face. She doesn't feel like she can be herself and often second guesses herself because of this. My old neighbor was the exact same way as Terra. She was very beautiful, despite a huge birthmark on her forehead, but she was constantly scared of people staring at it and worried about how they would judge her because of it. Like Terra, she eventually learned to accept herself the way she was--birthmark and all. They're both beautiful. (This is the only choice I did that reminds me of someone else and not myself.)

Review: Unearthly

Author: Cynthia Hand
  • Series: Unearthly #1
  • Published: January 4, 2011
  • Publisher: HarperTeen
  • Reading Level: Ages 13 and Up
  • Pages: 435 pages
  • Source: Bought
  •  
~*~Summary~*~
In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees . . . 

 Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn't easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place—and out of place at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side.

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make—between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart.


 
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

Since I recently joined the 2012 TBR Pile Reading Challenge, I decided to take a book off of my TBR pile that's been sitting in my room forever. I bought this book when it first came out and just never got around to reading it, probably getting distracted by a book I was pining for. But recently, I've been seeing a lot of "Team Tucker" banners on some of the blogs I followed and I thought, "huh, I own that book! I should see what all of this is about." After finally reading this book, let me say that I am officially "Team Tucker" as well.

Clara Gardner is part angel. Because of this, she has a purpose. After receiving her purpose through visions, Clara's family moves away from California to Jackson Hole, Wyoming where she meets Christian Prescott--the boy whose life she is supposed to save. While struggling to fit in and dealing with the oddities that involve growing into her part angel side, Clara makes new friends that are both human and angel and finds love in the oddest of people. But is her love for her best friend's brother distracting her from her destiny with Christian? She has to choose between her destiny and her heart.

The pacing in this novel was done pretty well. I have to admit, the beginning was slightly slow for me, but once we got past the introductions to all the characters and finally got to know them a bit better, things began to pick up. And the last quarter of the book passed by in a blur of page-turning action that left you breathless. This book definitely doesn't feel like it's over 400 pages long, which is a good thing in my book.

 For an angel book, the plot is not something that you're likely to come across again. I have never seen an angel book done from this angle. An angel in training fighting to fulfill her purpose so young is not something I've come across before, so it's definitely unique. It isn't religious either. Normally, when dealing with angels, a book may contain plenty of religious references, but the only portion of this book that is even remotely religious is when Hand is explaining what glory is. And in that instance, I found its meaning beyond interesting.

I also fell in love with the characters in this novel. For an angel, Clara has a huge stubborn streak in her. It's refreshing to find an angel that isn't 100% goody-goody, not that she's anything far from angelic. You'll easily fall in love with her.

Now, for the two love interests. I understand that this was supposed to be a love triangle, but it seemed like one of the boys was more favored over the other. Christian wasn't characterized perfectly in my eyes. He seemed to be really materialistic and fake at times. He cared about what others thought and didn't really stand up for what was right. People liked him for his looks, and while he had some deep moments, he just didn't connect with Clara the way Tucker did. It's like Clara liked him just because of her destiny, but didn't feel a real connection with him. With Tucker, she had a true connection. This is where my problem with the synopsis comes in. Hand makes Tucker out as a huge bad-boy that appeals to Clara's less angelic side. He's not. He's a cowboy with an amazing body that works his ass off at many jobs so he has money. He rides in rodeos with his horse Midas and has his own form of popularity because people just gravitate towards him and naturally like him. He's not all looks and no talk like Christian. The only way that he may appeal to Clara's less angelic side is that he's constantly teasing her and calling her Carrots because of her obnoxiously orange hair. But he loves her and she loves him and they're so perfect together. I was just shocked to find out that he's supposed to be the "bad-boy."

The ending of this book will take you by surprise. That, I promise you. It's unexpected and will leave you breathless. The plot twists are amazing and unexpected besides the few that were supposed to be intentionally predictable. I'm giving this book 4 out of 5 stars. I just wish I could connect with some of the characters better and the beginning of the book was more intriguing. With all that being said, I'm still dying for the sequel and I greatly regret not picking this book up sooner. For over a year, I've had a gold mine of a story sitting in my room and I've been too stupid not to pick it up. This is a nice read, but set some time aside to read it. It is over 400 pages after all, but it's 400 pages worth reading!

 
~*~Cover~*~

I constantly hear people raving about these covers. I don't really see it. Yes, they're appealing to the eye and all, but they don't blow me away or anything. It's just a girl standing there, looking bored. However, I am crazy about the font used for the title and I do like how the same theme for the cover itself is repeated throughout all of the novels in this series.

 
4 stars
~*~Links~*~ 

Review: The Lure of Shapinsay

  • Author: Krista Holle
  • Format: Kindle Ebook
  • Published: December 19, 2011
  • Publisher: Sweet River Romance
  • Pages: 272 pages
  • Source: Bought on Sale
  •  
~*~Summary~*~

Ever since Kait Swanney could remember, the old crones of the village have been warning her to stay away from the selkies. They claim that like sirens of old, the seal men creep from the inky waters, shed their skins, and entice women to their deaths beneath the North Sea. But avoiding an encounter becomes impossible when Kait is spotted at the water’s edge, moments after the murder of a half-selkie infant.

Unexpectedly, Kait is awoken by a beautiful, selkie man seeking revenge. After she declares her innocence, the intruder darts into the night, but not before inadvertently bewitching her with an overpowering lure.

Kait obsesses over a reunion deep beneath the bay and risks her own life to be reunited with her selkie. But when she lands the dangerous lover, the chaos that follows leaves Kait little time to wonder—is it love setting her on fire or has she simply been lured?


~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

This is my first selkie read. I love paranormal books and I've recently been reading a lot of mermaid novels, so I figured why not give selkie books a try. They're the closest thing to mermaid novels after all and the weekend that I bought this e-book, it was a dollar cheaper than usual. And let me tell you, Krista Holle did not disappoint.

Kait Swanney lives on the island of Shapinsay. Since before she was born, the older inhabitants of the island have warned of the selkies--dangerous beings who lured unsuspecting women to their death in the surrounding sea. The story begins with the birth of Kait's friend, Astrid's, bairn. And everything escalates from there. Despite repeatedly being warned to avoid selkies at all times, Kait finds herself drawn to one she dubs Eamon after he unintentionally put a lure on her while visiting her late in the night, debating on avenging the murder of a selkie pup by murdering her in return. What both were unready for was a whirlwind romance that would change their lives forever.

For those who don't know, a bairn is a child. It's Scottish, I believe, and most of the book is written with terminology like this. If you have no prior knowledge of words like this, you'll still be able to understand everything easily, and even get a giggle out every now and then when Holle mentions one of the characters putting on their pampooties. But do not expect this book to be written the same way as the average young adult novel/e-book. It's not.

The characterization in this novel was so creative and captivating. Kait was stubborn and strong-willed. She did not care what others thought of her, but what she thought of herself. And all she knew was that she loved Eamon and needed to be with him, despite those legends. A love like hers could not be from a lure, after all. It could be nothing but real. Eamon is a young, orphaned selkie. Honor means everything to him, which is why he fights so hard to rid Kait from his life. But when he realizes he is too weak to do so, he devotes himself to Kait on land and turns away from the sea to show that he is fully honoring her and only her. Honor means everything to him and he is torn between two worlds: his love with Kait and the sea calling to his inner selkie. He has no sense of self if he is not honorable. Will it be their undoing or their salvation?

 The pacing in this novel was superb. It was not too fast and not too slow, but the middle dragged the tiniest bit. All essential information was given and the back-plot is extremely interesting. The fact that parts of the novel was in Eamon's POV helped this along. Because of this, I especially love the character of Tipper when she comes into play.

If you are a romance lover, this is a novel for you. The entire novel is based upon a romance that should be forbidden. Selkies are creatures of the sea and Kait, a human, belongs on land despite her love of the sea. Eamon eventually turns his back on all that he knows for Kait and her land, but it begins to weaken them and their relationship. Forbidden love, for them, is not all that it chalked up to be. Desperate to salvage her relationship, Kait will stop at nothing to save her selkie mate. Thus the ending will not only put a smile on your face forever, but linger within your minds weeks after you finish reading. This is not a novel that can easily be forgotten.

With such a heavy emphasis on romance, I feel obligated to point out that there are some intimate scenes in this novel. While nothing is graphic, you know what's going on. You're told what's about to happen, but you do not actually read what's happening. It is left to your imagination. Holle showed their relationship and their intimacies beautifully in this sense without taking it to an unnecessarily graphic level. Instead it was what love should be: two people loving each other without an audience.

I am giving this novel 4 out of 5 stars. It didn't disappoint. While it did not leave me breathless and craving for me, I truly enjoyed reading Eamon and Kait's story. It was not the easiest relationship and they endured a lot of hardships. They're both stubborn characters that take you for quite a ride, but their story is unforgettable and worth reading. 

This is a definite read for any romance lover. It's quick and easy and will satisfy any reader. 

~*~Cover~*~
I like this cover! It's as if Eamon is using his selkie lure to grab our attention for the book. Although, I have to admit, I imagined Eamon to be much more pale than he is depicted as being on the cover. Otherwise, everything matches up pretty perfectly. The cover is beautiful and inviting. Good choice.


4 stars

~*~Links~*~


Stacking The Shelves #5

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

~*~Won~*~


 Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore

I've heard nothing but amazing things about this novel, so I jumped at the chance to win a copy of it on Netgalley and somehow I was lucky enough to win! I can't wait to read it. I'm dying to pick it up.

~*~Bought~*~

 
The Lure of Shapinsay by Krista Holle

I don't know about you, but I've really gotten into mermaids lately, so I figured why not give a story about selkies a go? I saw someone doing a giveaway on it. While I didn't enter the giveaway, I just decided to buy it for myself for $3 so I could still enjoy it!

~*~Library~*~


Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

I've been on my library waiting list for this novel for months! Only now was it my turn to get it. I'm itching to begin it!


Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

I put this novel on my top ten Summer TBR reads because I think it'll be a perfect Summer book. I figured that I should get a jump start on that list now, so when I picked up the previous book from the library, I spotted this one and grabbed it, too!

~*~Gifted~*~

 
Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock




Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

I just got my license Tuesday, so my Aunt decided to allow me to celebrate by sending me two books from my wishlist since she's in California and couldn't celebrate properly. I sent her a list of about 20 books and she chose what she believed were the most interesting: Hemlock and Shadow and Bone.

~*~

What did everyone else get this week and what do you think of my additions?

The Liebster Blog Award

Before I launch into this post, I have something to say. I follow many people that declared their blogs award free zones because they don't have the time to give them to other people. Originally, I was debating on doing the same thing, but finding out I got this award put a smile on my face. As a new blogger, it feels good to know that someone out there that follows me loves my blog and my posts, therefore they love my mind. It doesn't take long to make someone else happy, only 10-15 minutes to write out this post and hopefully make 10 other people smile the way that Morgan made me smile. It's a cute little idea that spreads happiness and warmth. I would encourage people to take part in awards for the opportunity to make others feel appreciated through a very sweet gesture. I can say that I feel really appreciated now. :) Thank you, Morgan.


The Liebster Blog Award is given to upcoming bloggers who have less than 200 followers and Liebster is a German word which means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing and welcome. How sweet is that??
 
The rules:
1. Each person must post 10 facts about themselves
2. Answer 10 questions the tagger has given you and give 10 questions for the people you’ve tagged.
3. Choose 10 people and link them in your post.
4. Tell them you’ve tagged them.
5. Remember, no tag backs.

Ten Random Facts About Me:
  1. Despite being only 17 years old, I have been a dedicated vegetarian for over a decade.  It was a personal choice that my family supports, but does not take part in.
  2. As of yesterday (Thursday, June 21, 2012) I finished my Junior year in high school and am officially a Senior! I'm still in shock as I write this.
  3. I have a little sister who makes me want to run head first into a wall 99.9% of the time, but I love her anyway.
  4. Ever since I was little, my dream has been to work in a book-publishing house in New York City for young adult novels.
  5. I am still touring colleges, but my heart is telling me that I am going to end up in Massachusetts unless one of my newer prospective schools completely blows me away. I'd die to attend Northeastern, Emerson, or UMass Amherst.
  6. My mother is from Baltimore, Maryland and my Dad constantly moved between Brooklyn and Queens before heading to college. Because of this, when I was little, I had the worst accent you could ever imagine. It took my Mom years to coach me out of it. I still laugh whenever I think about it.
  7. I was born in New York City even though I have never lived outside of New Jersey. I hate it here and can't wait to get out.
  8. My best friend recently came out of the closet and I fully support gay rights. It's one of the few political topics that I actually pay attention to. It effects people that are very near and dear to my heart.
  9. I love traveling. I've traveled outside of the country more than I have within it because I was fortunate enough to serve the country as a Student Ambassador. While I've been to the Caribbean Islands and all over Europe, I've never been off the east coast in this country and the wannabe world-traveler in me absolutely hates it.
  10. Books have been my sanctuary all my life. I don't know what I'd do without them. Seriously. 
Questions That Morgan Has For Me:
  • How long have you been blogging?
    • I started blogging on May 20, 2012. So I've only been blogging for a month and 2 days!
  • Why did you start blogging?
    • I started blogging because none of my friends are as crazy about books as I am and I wanted to be able to record my thoughts. I wish I stumbled across this community sooner because I already feel like I'm part of the family.
  • Who is your favorite author?
    • That's a tie between Cassandra Clare and Jennifer L. Armentrout!
  • What is your favorite book?
    • My favorite books that I would blog about are The Mortal Instruments Series. How could you go wrong with those? But, overall, the book that I will always love the most is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.
  • Do you have any ARCs right now? If so, what?
    • No, I don't! I hope to own some someday, though! I recently beta read a book, so I know that I'll have an ARC waiting for me if it ever makes it to print, which I surely hope it does because it was amazing!
  • What are your favorite genres to read?
    • Anything young adult fiction obviously! I love romance, so paranormal romance seems to be my top genre. I also read urban fantasy, dystopia, and sci-fi fantasy. I've been trying to get into contemporary literature and historical fiction.
  • How many books are in your TBR pile?
    • About 200/300. My real TBR list is on my laptop, not on Goodreads. I've been too lazy to transfer all the books to Goodreads. lol. I have about 40 books in my home that I still need to read, but I'm constantly adding new ones to the list that seem to be taken off before the old ones. Some have been on there since 2009!
  • If you could be a book character for a day who would you be? Why?
    •  I'd probably want to be Anna from Sweet Evil. I absolutely love the world that Higgins created for her with all of the Dukes that worked for the devil. It mesmerized me. Why wouldn't I want to live in it for a day or two? Spending time with the Son of the Duke of Lust, hello!
  • What is your favorite place to read? Why?
    • I love to read  on the patio at my Dad's house. I like the sun to beat down on me as I read and a nice breeze is awesome, too. He has these awesome cushioned chairs that are so comfortable. I can't read on my Mom's patio because our neighbor has a dog that barks constantly next door and I lose focus.
  • If you could live in a different time period what would you choose? Why?
    • Ah, I can't answer this one! I recently watched a movie in my Italian class from the 60's all the way to 2003. I guess I'd want to live in Italy right after the Sicilian judges cracked down on the mafia. It seemed like a beautiful place.
Blogs I Tagged:

I wanted to tag 10 blogs like everyone else, but apparently most of the people I follow seem to have over 200 followers and many of those who are under 200 followers haven't gotten the award yet. Oh, well.
  1. Book Haven Extraordinaire
  2. Little Miss Bookworm
  3. Read, Write and Read Some More
  4. Heise Reads and Recommends 
  5. Book Lagniappe

My Questions For Them:
  1. How long have you been blogging?
  2. Why did you start blogging?
  3. Who is your favorite author?
  4. What is your favorite book?
  5. Do you have any ARCs right now? If so, what?
  6. How many books are in your TBR pile?
  7. What is your favorite place in the world? Why?
  8. What is your favorite place to read? Why?
  9. What is your favorite thing about book blogging?
  10. What are your favorite genres?
THANK YOU!

Review: Hush, Hush

Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
  • Series: Hush, Hush #1
  • Published: October 13, 2009
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Reading Level: Ages 14 and Up
  • Pages: 400 pages
  • Source: Bought
  •  
~*~Summary~*~
 
For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her...until Patch comes along.

With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment, but after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure whom to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is far more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.

For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life
 
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~
 
I read this book when it first came out and picked up its sequels, but never got to them. So, years later, I decided to settle myself into Patch's and Nora's world once more because of the hype that the final book is getting, which I am now dying to read. Let me tell you, reading this book was better the second time around. It's impossible to find any faults within this. I loved this book so much that I'm going to give it a shorter review. I'm sure you don't want to see me blather on about a book and reiterating the same points millions of times within a review because that's all I'm going to be capable of doing. Yes, I loved this book so much that it left me speechless. Me--the girl who seems to always unintentionally write reviews over a thousand words long. (I don't really know how long my reviews are, but I try to keep them long and detailed and honest.)
 
Fitzpatrick created a wonderful world for Nora. After her father's murder, she struggles to attend school and focus on academics as usual. However, with a seating arrangement in biology, her world will forever be turned upside down. Patch Cipriano will not make Nora's life easy. Mysterious, flirty, and dark--he's the guy that Nora should avoid. But her curiosity gets the better of her and she can't help but be drawn to him while fighting to uncover not only his secrets, but the causes behind the potentially fatal occurrences clouding her life ever since his arrival in town. As the mystery begins to unfold, Nora realizes that Patch's secrets may be worse than her wildest dreams.

The plot was very fast-paced. Because of this, it's nearly impossible to put the book down. I advise you to grab a nice snack and some tea and settle in for a few hours to be taken on the journey of a lifetime. Filled with plot twists that will blow your mind and some steamy scenes between Nora and Patch that will satisfy any romance lovers hunger, this novel will quickly take a place on your favorites shelf and entice you into continuing Patch and Nora's journey.
 
The characterization is perfect. Nora is determined and focused in school. Her main focus is her future, not love, which is why she was so shocked to have Patch suddenly become such a huge part of her life. Vee is her best friend and she brings a huge air of humor to the story. Boy crazed and sex hungry, Vee will never cease to make you laugh. Together, the two best friends and untwins will take their sleuthing powers to the next level. No longer will they work just for the school eZine, but they'll uncover the secrets that are hidden in Patch Cipriano's life. Patch is so perfect. Dark, mysterious, and deadly, I'd kill to have one of him for my own. All he ever wanted was to be human, and his unintentional selfish desires would change his life forever. Initially for the worse, but as he chased after the mysterious Nora, he realized it may be for the better. But those secrets from his past that he fought so hard to keep hidden are lurking in the shadows, waiting to tear them apart forever. Ulterior motives run rampant throughout this book.
 
Fitzpatrick weaves a tale of romance, mystery, and fallen angels that will hold you captive from the first page. 5 stars for such a well-written book that I couldn't seem to put down. While no world-building was necessary, the darker world that Patch found himself in instead of Nora's safe ways was unique and intriguing and defined his personality perfectly. Patch and Nora so easily represent good and evil. So, what will happen when the two of them collide? I don't want to give away any spoilers, but I can tell you that their journey will leave you breathless.
 
A must read for any young adult lover. 
 
~*~Cover~*~

I absolutely love the cover of this book because it seems to almost have an air of mystery. The gray in the background contrasts beautifully with the falling angel. The falling angel hints at the story within and is intriguing to the eye. Seeing his fall from grace is almost intimate. It's a beautiful cover, alluring, and it's what caused me to take this book off of the shelf so many years ago.


5 stars
 
~*~Links~*~