Stacking the Shelves #42


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

For now on it will be hard to blog with me being at college and all!

 
Trade
 Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell 
Thank you, Bekka! I loved FANGIRL so much I can't wait to check this one out!

Won 
signed Storm Glass by Maria V. Snyder 
I participated in one of Maria's programs and this was my reward!



   What did you add to your shelves this week?

15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 4


The 15 day Book Blogger Challenge can be found here.
 
Christina from A Reader of Fictions, Mickey from I'm a Book Snark, Jessie from Ageless Page Reviews, and myself have decided to do this over the course of 15 weeks. One post will go up every Friday in order to teach you a little about ourselves.
 
~*~*~*~

The last book I flung across the room... ouch. That's a tie between two, but since one is an eBook, the physical copy wins out.

Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young


Caroline is at a crossroads. Her grandmother is sick, maybe dying. Like the rest of her family, Caroline's been at Gram's bedside since her stroke. With the pressure building, all Caroline wants to do is escape--both her family and the reality of Gram's failing health. So when Caroline's best friend offers to take her to a party one fateful Friday night, she must choose: stay by Gram's side, or go to the party and live her life.

The consequence of this one decision will split Caroline's fate into two separate paths--and she's about to live them both.

Friendships are tested and family drama hits an all-new high as Caroline attempts to rebuild old relationships, and even make a few new ones. If she stays, her longtime crush, Joel, might finally notice her, but if she goes, Chris, the charming college boy, might prove to be everything she's ever wanted.

Though there are two distinct ways for her fate to unfold, there is only one happy ending...

Basically, my review explains it all. You can find that here. This book pissed me off so much that Amazon won't even accept my review for it. 

If you want me to pinpoint a single thing that pissed me off about this book, it would be the fact that our main character, Caroline, left her dying grandmother to go to a party that was such a big deal because it was a college party. It's not like she can go to a college party whenever the hell she wants to come time for her to attend college or anything. I would not leave the side of a dying loved one no matter what, especially someone who I love as much as Caroline claims to love her grandmother. And because this happens so close to the beginning of the book, the rest just annoyed me.

Such a decision shouldn't even be a consideration, stupid girl.

Review: Something Like Normal by Trish Doller

Publication Date: June 19, 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 214 (ARC)
Source: ARCycling
When Travis returns home from a stint in Afghanistan, his parents are splitting up, his brother’s stolen his girlfriend and his car, and he’s haunted by nightmares of his best friend’s death. It’s not until Travis runs into Harper, a girl he’s had a rocky relationship with since middle school, that life actually starts looking up. And as he and Harper see more of each other, he begins to pick his way through the minefield of family problems and post-traumatic stress to the possibility of a life that might resemble normal again. Travis’s dry sense of humor, and incredible sense of honor, make him an irresistible and eminently lovable hero.
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

Wow. I don't even know what to say about this book. I was expecting to enjoy it, but I wasn't expecting to love it nearly as much as I did. This review is going to be short (well, short for me, at least) and to the point--sort of like the book. This story just caused too many feels for me to elaborate properly. It's rare a book shuts me up, you guys know that.

Travis is on a month look leave from the marines after spending some time in Afghanistan. Near the end of his first tour, his best friend died and he hasn't been himself since. His life seems to be falling apart even more when he returns home. His parents are on the brink of a divorce, his ex-girlfriend that left him for his younger brother while he was away won't leave him alone, his younger brother is still desperately trying to steal his life and his friends, and he isn't the Travis that left months earlier. He is desperately yearning to discover what it's like to be normal. And Harper may be the only girl who can bring normality to his world.

I loved Harper. She showed Travis mercy in a time of desperation. He's struggling really badly from post traumatic stress disorder and while most girls would have kicked him aside for treating her the way he did so many years ago, she gave him a chance. I respected that immensely and it made me love her, but that love only intensified when I learned that she's an all-around awesome girl who loves turtles. See, I have a stuff turtle from when I was two months old. If you love turtles, I love you. But that's beside the point, she's very relaxed and non-judgmental. She's caring and unique. She's simply a good person, and I think it's rare where we find people so pure in young adult fiction. 

In contrast to her, we have our main character, Travis. Though his life is twisted, his heart is in the right place. He's rooting for his mother who he genuinely loves, even though he doesn't know how to express it. He misses his old life, but is happy that he found something that he's good at...even if that means risking his life everyday to fight for his country. He has this awesome, dry sense of humor and an amazing sense of honor that makes him one of the best friends anyone can ask for, but he's messed up. He won't admit he has post traumatic stress disorder and watching him suffer is terrible. Because this story is told in his perspective, our temporary book reality bends really easily whenever he starts hallucinating. Such an experience is jarring as a reader, I can't imagine how terrible it is in real life.

This book paints an achingly real picture of what it is like for war veterans, both young and old. The rates of post traumatic stress disorder are soaring today. Suicide is too often occurring among army vets because they are struggling so much that they don't know how to re-assimilate into society. The raw struggles that this book paints and makes us feel in so few pages is unbelievably powerful and emotional. I've never appreciated those who risk their lives to protect me more. It sheds some light on a serious issue today, and it does it well. While I tend to avoid books about war, this is a book that I'm so happy I read. Also, Travis's army buddies rock, even if they are sex starved.

Lastly, I want to take a moment to talk about Travis's mother. While his father absolutely sucks and thinks he's all high and mighty because he used to play for the Green Bay Packers which irks me because I am a Giants fan, his mother is a true mother. She's the way a mother is in real life and we need more mother's like her in young adult literature. She loves Travis to pieces and created her life around his existence. If he was playing sports, she was the ultimate soccer mom. When he went to Afghanistan she spent all her time working to put together care packages to make his struggle as simple as possible. She wanted her son to be happy, even if the worst of places. She'd do anything for him, and watching him struggle tore her to pieces. His pain hurt her more than her own. It was so refreshing to see a mother like this, and I applaud Doller for that.

All in all, I think this is a must read. For such a short story it is so powerful. It is raw and easily turns you into an emotional mess. I highly recommend it to everyone, and I'm excited at the prospect of picking up any of Doller's other books. 



5 stars

~*~Links~*~

Review: Rogue by Gina Damico

Series: Croak #3
Publication Date: September 10, 2013
Publisher: Graphia
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages:  324 (ARC)
Source: From Publisher for Review
Lex is a teenage Grim Reaper with the power to Damn souls, and it’s getting out of control. She’s a fugitive, on the run from the maniacal new mayor of Croak and the townspeople who want to see her pay the price for her misdeeds. Uncle Mort rounds up the Junior Grims to flee Croak once again, but this time they’re joined by Grotton, the most powerful Grim of all time. Their new mission is clear: Fix his mistakes, or the Afterlife will cease to exist, along with all the souls in it. 

The gang heads for Necropolis, the labyrinth-like capital city of the Grimsphere. There, they discover that the Grimsphere needs a reboot. To do that, the portals to the Afterlife must be destroyed…but even that may not be enough to fix the damage. Things go from bad to worse, and when at last the fate of the Afterlife and all the souls of the Damned hang in the balance, it falls to Lex and her friends to make one final, impossible choice.
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

I'm going to start of this review by saying that this was absolutely, without a doubt, one of the best endings to a beloved series that I have ever read. It kept me on my toes, it was unexpected, it made me laugh and cry and smile all at once. And it made me swell with emotion. At this point in time I'd like to consider Gina Damico a friend, and while it's never a good thing for a friend to make another friend cry the way she made me cry, I think I can forgive her this time (I now bestow you with a Wink of Trust).

Damico's signature hilariousness guided us through this one. It was plentiful and, as always, it was sheer perfection. I think that one of the hardest things to do is make a reader literally laugh out loud. I'm not talking about simply cracking a smile at a joke or acknowledging its hilarity, but being entertained so much that you legitimately laugh and have all of those people around you look at you like you're wearing a pair of the craziest crazypants to ever craze. Isn't that lovely? I just pulled a Driggs! Gina Damico seems to have this wonderful ability down and it always makes her books enjoyable. But while books one and two were simply great, book three has surpassed both and is so incredible that it has received the honor of a permanent place among my ultimate favorites. And this is, in large part, due to the masterful plot full of unexpected twists that was made all the more masterful by the aforementioned dry humor that I love so dearly.

Picking up exactly where book two left off, we watch our beloved band of Croakers go through some seriously powerful soul-searching while trying to rid the world of evil. The evolution of so many of our teens was amazing. They grew strong and questioned right and wrong, left and right. Lex, specifically, matured immensely in the sense that she embraced her leadership role and all the previous wrongs she committed full throttle. She felt guilt, she felt triumph, and she rolled with it. We learn a lot about Driggs and his character arc was a favorite of mine. Ferbus, as always, was a huge source of entertainment and his interactions with everyone, especially Elysia and their shared love of mini golf courses, never ceased to make me laugh. From Pip and Bang to Pandora to Marvelous Uncle Mort and his potential romance, I was truly invested in these characters. Which is why every time they hurt, I hurt. Every time they triumphed, I soared alongside them. And every time they were let down I took to twitter to abuse love Gina with horrid caps locks updates until I was happy again. 

With that being said, they're all still teenagers. They have the concept of banter down pat and they're emotions can be slightly erratic. A certain quote from Grotton comes to mind...

"Ugh, the children are emoting again."

Right they are, buddy, right they are. But it's perfection whether you like it or not! I know I'm not supposed to like you, but your sarcasm speaks to my soul. If an author can make you like a villain somehow, you've got an author to stick with. Villains are perhaps the hardest people to forge connections with, yet it's possible with Grotton!

ROGUE easily kept me on my toes. I never saw half the twists coming. I got the distinct feeling that every single chapter was practically its own mini story that always ended in a cliff-hanger. And I hate cliffies, but this was the perfect way to keep me turning the pages as if Norwood and his crazy minions were hot on my heels. The pacing was superb and I truly sit here completely satisfied. I could not have asked for a better book plot-wise. While book two promised adventure and epic battles that would ultimately and unfortunately end in deaths, I could not have imagined the true extent of Damico's genius until I turned the last page and was completely dumbstruck by it all.

But the ending...Don't even get me started! While it was so powerful and perfect, part of me wishes it turned out differently while the other part of me is overwhelmed with hope and satisfaction on unexplainable levels. This book contained the utmost of sacrifices and watching some of these characters on such a journey was a gift and pleasure. The tears flowed and the smiles surfaced and, in the end, I could not ask for anything to change. You know you have a powerful attachment if you cry, and if a book can make you cry you know you have a gem on your hands.

Gina Damico, thank you so much for giving this series to us. I loved every minute on this wild and wicked journey. And while I am sad to see Lex, Driggs, Uncle Mort the potential game-show host, and the rest of the gang go, I look forward to all other works that you have in store for us. One thing's for sure: hilariousness is bound to ensue.

Warning: my one qualm with this series is the recommended age group. It's recommended for kids aged twelve and up. I think slightly older kids should read it. There is both natural swearing and then Gina's entertaining made-up swears. There is sexual innuendo, the daily struggle of teens trying to figure out those devilish bra clasps, sexual situations, drinking of Yorick's which is an alcoholic beverage, death, graphic violence, the mention of drugs and gangs, torture, and people alluding to suicide. While none of it is that bothersome to me, I don't think some 12 year old's could handle it all.

 

5 stars

~*~Links~*~

FTC Disclaimer: I did not receive any type of compensation in exchange for my honest review.  

Top Ten Most Memorable Secondary Characters


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.

This was such a hard list. In no particular order...


1. Max Vandenberg in THE BOOK THIEF

This guy is my favorite character of all time. He stands for so much and he is powerful. Just, gah. I can never get enough of him and his story--meaning both THE BOOK THIEF and his writings in the story.

But he is blonde! He is not a brunette! This pisses me off so much! The movie did not cast him well and it breaks my heart.









2. Dobby in HARRY POTTER

I think that this is pretty self explanatory. I also want to include...
  • Neville Longbottom
  • Ron 
  • Hermione
  • Everyone else in HP because they deserve it










3. Storm in the FIRE AND THORNS TRILOGY


I loved Storm. He went from being an unpredictable character to an amazing friend and trustworthy warrior. He was so unexpected, which is what makes him so perfect. His lack of understanding sarcasm also led to a lot of laughs, which was perfect. He's just perfect and he's stuck in my mind for so long now. He's unforgettable.









4. Vicky in THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE

I read this book recently, so this may be why it's sticking out to me. But it's an overall powerful story, and I think that Vicky's absence would have removed so much from it. She is what showed the main character that real people are out there. People can genuinely love you for who you are. She also served to show that anything can be overcome, including eating disorders.

I just loved everything she represented, and I wish she was real. She's the type of friend you kill for.






5. Hassan in THE KITE RUNNER

I cry when I think of this guy. I love him so much. He takes loyalty to an entirely new level, and it can never be compared to. Ever. Never ever.

I can't even stress how much I love him, right behind Max.












6. Iko in THE LUNAR CHRONICLES

Can Iko be in my life?! She is so perfect. She's the number on sidekick. Well... #2 next to Robin. And I love her to pieces. Everyone needs an Iko in their life.














7. Sam in the THRONE OF GLASS NOVELLAS

This is the way love should be. Even if it ends tragically. That is all.










 8. Toby in THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING


I love every character in this book and I wish I could use the two main characters, but, alas, I cannot. I loved Toby because he was used to deliver a huge ton of puns that left me cackling. But he is also an amazing friend. He never judges you and instead encourages you to be yourself. He's simply there no matter what, no questions asked. And I appreciated seeing a character like this.







9. George Cooper, King of Thieves in THE SONG OF THE LIONESS SERIES

This guy is so great. I love it when characters are a paradox. His title and reputation lead him to think one thing, but his general interactions with people (specifically Alanna and her crew) lead you to think something else. 3D characters rock, and he's the king of kings when it comes to being perfect and interesting. Absolutely unforgettable and easily lovable.









 10. Uncle Mort in the CROAK series

Everyone loves a mischievous adult. While Uncle Mort's methods are questionable, he always does the right thing in the end. He's not only hilarious, but he really loves his Croakers despite his odd way of showing it. He's also a genius. His sense of humor kills me and it's impossible not to love him. Just, gah! It's Uncle Mort!

Bookish Pet Peeves: Giveaway Goblins


I'm currently running this giveaway, guys. It's in honor of ARCycling's one year blogoversary. Jennifer and I are giving away a gift card, a BEA ARC, and a mystery box of books between the two of us. It's rare that I run giveaways because shipping sucks and I always want to give out a prize that'll be worth it to those entering, but I love running them. Knowing that whatever the prizes are will end up in great homes is such a nice feeling. It really, really is. And it's a great feeling to see someone beyond excited that they win. Trust me, guys. In those response e-mails we can tell who is faking enthusiasm and who is really enthusiastic.


One of the main reasons that I avoid giveaways on top of the aforementioned reasons is because of the dreaded GIVEAWAY GOBLINS!


These guys constantly send me running for the hills. I dislike what they stand for greatly. And what is a giveaway goblin, you may ask? Well, it's simple. It's a person who gobbles up all the giveaways.
  • They enter every giveaway they see, whether they want the book or not
  • They tend to win a lot since they constantly come back for the double entries (most normal people do this too, I've re-done entries for giveaways I really wanted)
  • Their Twitter feeds are nothing but hundreds of giveaway entries a day
  • They hoard their prizes or sell them or profit off of them somehow or trade them
If I see any of these things...specifically the Twitter feeds or the attempt to profit off of recent wins somehow, you go on my YOU WILL NEVER GET A DAMN THING FROM ME list.


Seeing that list grow recently is what is prompting this post. If you are a giveaway goblin would I still talk to you and befriend you? Sure! But it's not like I can! Your Twitter is only used for giveaways!

Granted, I think everyone has gone through a stage where they were slightly giveaway crazy, but I always limited myself to books I wanted. I turned down several wins because I entered for a specific book and somehow obtained it before I was notified that I won and I didn't need a copy. Sometimes I took it not realizing I had another copy of that book en route to me somehow and I'd give it to a friend or occasionally trade it off. But I never entered giveaways for the purpose of gaining more books that I could profit off of. I see some people who shall remain nameless who have, like, 5 copies of the same book and I go to trade with them and they have three of those copies for trade because it's clear they don't need them. Just stop. That makes me so mad. Those books could have gone to someone who better appreciated them and really wanted them.


Instead of running giveaways, I tend to just gift my books to friends who I know really want them. Occasionally, I'll put a book I have up for trade if I think I could get something off my wishlist for it. Who would pass up a chance for wishlist books, y'know? But I won't give them to people who won't appreciate them. I want them to be appreciated, hence the trading because that person clearly wants it or the gifting it to a friend. I don't want them to be another book in another pile that will probably forever go unread or will be sold for whatever purposes.

You can sit here and claim you need the money for this or that. Here's an idea...sell your own books instead of giveaway books. Let the books be appreciated! Don't hoard them and be a giveaway fiend and be silently hated by everyone.

I'm really sick of seeing my list grow, guys. Every time a name on the list pops up in my giveaway I just go on to the next one to someone who deserves it! I just can't handle giving a book to a place where I know it's under appreciated. How do I know that? I check entries! I take a quick look at your blog and your Twitter and everything is obvious from there.


Conclusion: don't be a giveaway goblin. You're like the bikers of the book blogosphere. Everyone wants to secretly run you off the road, but it's not worth going to jail.



Reader's Choice Review #3: This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

Publication Date: September 17, 2013
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Reading Level: Young Adult, 12+
Pages: 288 (ARC)
Source: Bea 2013
Recommended By: Kierra
Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.

Told in a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice, THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together.
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE is pure perfection. There's no other way to put it. I totally wasn't expecting it to be as powerful as it was, especially when the book is on the shorter side. But, wow, this was absolutely breathtaking. Forgive me if my review isn't comprehensible, but this review isn't easy to write because of the emotions that I felt with this one.

Elise is different. She never really fit in with the kids at her school. This made her an easy target and she was often ostracized and made fun of for nearly everything. She was the unfortunate punch line to every joke simply because she had this social awkwardness that many children develop. She was never given the opportunity to prove herself, but she never stopped trying. When her final attempt at saving herself in high school failed, she goes home and grabs a razor. And while there was pain and blood, she saved herself by calling one of her few classmates with a heart that made sure the police got there in time.

I want to say that I think Sales handled this heavy subject superbly. I hate heavy subjects in books if they're not done well and in a respectful manner. Not only was this respectful, but it took me to the sort of low that made me understand why there is such a huge problem with suicide today. While I had my own issues in high school--really, who doesn't?--I can't relate to this feeling of complete isolation the way that Elise must experience it. I had my friends at school and I tended to prefer books at home and then I had my friends at work.

She didn't have books, but she had music. Unfortunately, she didn't realize music was her equivalent of my books until after her attempted suicide. However, when she discovered her calling the book finally began looking up and I felt my heart flutter with hope. The emphasis that this book put on music was so powerful. It was...amazing. It showed that when people find their passion, nothing can hold them back. And it made me love music even more. Books will always come first for me, though.

Elise's new love of DJing stemmed from her discovery of an underground night club. Her already immense love of music could now be put to use! But, I found that this night club showed her that life is worth living. While her DJ gig made her stand on her own two feet and helped her find something she was good at, giving her something to live for, it's the people in the club that caused her to grow.

These side characters are Mel, Pippa, Char, and Vicky. Vicky and Pippa were the first two people she met and I absolutely adored Vicky. Though slightly heavy, she's got a powerhouse voice and a love for good people. She serves as a great older sister-type friend to Elise and shows that you can find friends in the most unlikely of places. Pippa's a British bombshell and I was never really a big fan of her, mostly for personal reasons. She's territorial and loves to drink. Mel is the gay bodyguard whose age I don't really know because they're constantly bantering about the years he has under his belt, but he was almost like a second protective father to Elise.

And then there's Char. You know how first love can be blinding? You are head over heels for a person and their flaws simply are not visible to you. That's how it was for Elise in regards to Char. I struggled with him from page one just because he seemed like he hated every situation he could find himself in unless he was at the center of everything. If the world was not his dance floor, than the world was not worthy of his presence. That's the type of attitude he had. And even then it's glaringly obvious that the Char we know is not the Char that appears when the sun is out. But Elise feels for him and it was greatly reflective of the way first love is. I think that was a huge accomplishment for Sales.

Lastly, I think that the cyber-bullying that takes place in this was depicted perfectly. I despise bullies in general, but cyber-bullies have this special place in my heart just below terrorists, rapists, and murderers. Following someone who is already vulnerable in public and ruining their private life at home takes evil to an entirely new level, and the cyber-bullying that took place in this book was so real. Though it may seem fake and inconsequential to some, I know people that similar things happened to. And while the bully was completely unexpected and that was rather bothersome, the overall plot blew me away enough for me to overlook that small detail.

There was also this one part of the book that really stuck out to me. The popular girl that everyone hates got personal with Elise for all of one second in regards to her scars and attempted suicide. It shows that you may not know everyone as well as you think you do. Everyone has secrets and everyone acts different when alone. Not everyone is one dimensional.

All in all, this book is a must read. It's quick, it's powerful, and it's full of a bunch of firsts that every teenager experiences. It took me to the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I recommend this to everyone. Truly, this is one to pick up whether you love a powerful story, real happenings, relatability (which is my favorite non-word), and/or music. 

 
5 stars

~*~Links~*~

Disclaimer: I did not receive any form of compensation in return for my honest review.  

 ~*~*~*~
 
If you have any book that you'd like me to read because you're unsure about it or you think it would be awesome to torture me with a terrible book, submit it below!
  

Stacking the Shelves #41


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


So, this is two weeks worth of books because my last STS decided not to post! Pretty much only three books from this list are not mentioned in the video. Oh well. Look at that terrible still.... lol

For Review
A Little Too Far by Lisa Desrochers

 Bought
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Trade
 The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
On Dublin Street by Samantha Young
My Life in Black and White by Natasha Friend
The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges
My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Ashes on the Waves by Mary Lindsey
The Demon Trapper's Daughter by Jana Oliver

Gifted
Doon by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon
Crown of Embers by Rae Carson

ARCycling 
Gated by Amy Christine Parker

Review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Series: Throne of Glass #2
Publication Date: August 27, 2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 416 (ARC)
Source: BEA 2013
An assassin’s loyalties are always in doubt.
But her heart never wavers.


After a year of hard labor in the Salt Mines of Endovier, eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien has won the king's contest to become the new royal assassin. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown – a secret she hides from even her most intimate confidantes.

Keeping up the deadly charade—while pretending to do the king's bidding—will test her in frightening new ways, especially when she's given a task that could jeopardize everything she's come to care for. And there are far more dangerous forces gathering on the horizon -- forces that threaten to destroy her entire world, and will surely force Celaena to make a choice.

Where do the assassin’s loyalties lie, and who is she most willing to fight for?
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

This is one of those books that makes it nearly impossible to write a review because you adored it so much. I loved this more than book one, which is saying something. I know that book one got mixed reviews upon its release because it is such a polarizing story, but those who continue on with this series will be nothing short of utterly blown away by this sequel.

Before I begin, I want to throw out the fact that reading the novellas really enhances your experience when reading book two. Several aspects of Celaena's past are mentioned in this book and their overall stories are told in the novella. It gives you more back story to the summarized endings that are mentioned throughout this book. It also gives you a ton of back story as to why Celaena is the way she is, especially in regards to her love life.

If you ask me, the driving force of this magnificent series is the characters. I care about them in ways I never thought I would. I mean, our main character is a freaking assassin and I love her to death! I identify with some of her emotions! An assassin is supposed to be possibly the most despised and unlikable character out there, yet Maas made me so easily adore one. As King's Champion she is already being sent on assignments and being forced to bring back severed heads as proof of her mark's death. But it's really amazing to watch Celaena figure out what is right and wrong and find ways around the wrong to make them right. For an assassin she has a very healthy and respectable conscience, and while part of me was sitting there with bloodlust for her assassin abilities, she brought them out several times only when necessary. I mean, don't deny it, the scenes where this girl mows people down are absurdly awesome--and that's coming from someone who hates death and gore to the umpteenth power.

I also adore Chaol. I mean, it's Chaol! I am 100% Team Chaol. He's so delicious and complicated and can only be described as perfect. He's got the biggest heart and he's torn between his honor to the King and his honor to the woman he loves. I also really adored Dorian in this one because some really awesome new plot points came out evolving around him that promise chaos and fun in the future novels. He also begins to stand against his father for what he thinks is right, which is very satisfying since we all know his father sucks. Nehemia is easy to love because she is Celaena's soul friend, though she's frustrating and secretive as usual. And even Fleetfoot has a special place in my heart, too. If you want a loyal dog, deem thy dog Fleetfoot. Without feeling such immense emotions for this plethora of characters this book would not have been as amazing as it was. My love for these people is indescribable.

When these characters hurt, I hurt alongside them. Which, unfortunately in this one, was a lot. When they soared, I soared too. And when the romance blossomed, I was rooting for them until my fist couldn't pump anymore. The romance in this one was expertly done because it shows first love and adoration slowly blossoming on Celaena's end and it was great to hear the reciprocated thoughts from the male end as well. It was the way a romance should be, and while it satisfied my taste for love it did not deter from the overall plot for a single second. If anything, the passionate positive and negative emotions driven by this romance made the plot even more believable and powerful. These are very emotionally driven characters, after all.

Speaking of the plot, I was thrown for a million loops. I met people I didn't think I'd ever meet and the plot was taken places I never thought it would go. With that being said, looking back on it I felt like some of the things I thought were so awesome could have been explained. In the moment when there was mention of a new dimension I thought it was awesome. But when I completed the book I was sitting here wondering how the hell that dimension was even brought into the story. It was just there, it didn't make that much sense. Little things like this need more detail behind it instead of unexplained character knowledge.

There are also two huge plot twists in this one that will leave you reeling. One is at the very end, the other close to the end. To put it simply, I saw them both coming, especially the huge one at the end. It's very easy to get caught up in this story and sit back and be shocked. Heck, I was, but the second that shock wore off I was shaking my head and going into my twitter account, viewing old conversations where I totally predicted this would happen. While it's a bummer that the two biggest plot twists of this book were so transparent to me, most of the book wasn't, which makes me very happy.

And, again, while it is a bummer that the predictability in regards to the end was somewhat high, these two plot twists promise even more chaos to ensue in the future. There will be more secrets, more lies, more heartbreak, and of course, delicious catastrophic events under the threat of war and annihilation. What would Adarlan be without chaos?

I'm sitting here shaking in anticipation for book three because the plot progressed so much in book two. While I was initially hesitant about this series being six books long, I'm totally welcoming of the awesomness that will undoubtedly ensue after so many promising twists in this book with more to come in the future. I have to say it...I truly think Maas has mastered the high fantasy genre.


5 stars

~*~Links~*~

Disclaimer: I received no form of compensation in exchange for my honest review of this book picked up at BEA 2013.  

15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 3: Blogging BFFs


The 15 day Book Blogger Challenge can be found here.
Christina from A Reader of Fictions, Mickey from I'm a Book Snark, Jessie from Ageless Page Reviews, and myself have decided to do this over the course of 15 weeks. One post will go up every Friday in order to teach you a little about ourselves.
~*~*~*~
Oh, gosh, this is terrible! I have made so many friends because of blogging, so this may be a long one!
Gillian at Writer of Wrongs is perhaps one of my best friends in the entire world, and to think that I found her from blogging is absurd. Our friendship started over completely different opinions on FALLING KINGDOMS and it blossomed from there when I experienced a crisis to end all crises three days before BEA. I've visited her since and I've bonded with her over many, many things. She's pretty much my go to for freak out's, rants, and anything else. I just love this girl and her amazing sense of humor that often has me cackling.

Jennifer at Novel Thoughts Blog is the person who I run ARCycling with. Her family is nutty enough to rival mine for the craziest family on the planet. This girl was perhaps my first ever blogging friend and it's been over a year now since we've talked. I'm so happy to have her in my life, she's like the older sister who I can always rely on. 

Krista and Becca at Nawanda Files are the coolest twins out there. Not only are they amazingly talented writers, but they're so kind. I mean, Krista actually started using her cell phone so we could talk. I love having conversations with them, I love their movie reviews, and everything about them. Their blog is quirky and amazing and reflects their personalities perfectly.

Christina at Reader of Fictions and I have not been talking long. It happened randomly on Twitter, but she's pretty much my read along buddy. We have the same sense of humor and similar thought processes and we just click. While our friendship hasn't been in existence for long, I can imagine it existing for a while. This would be the perfect place for a Casablanca GIF, but I can't find one that works and gah! The perfect opportunity has been wasted!
Inky at Book Haven Extraordinaire is my words with friends buddy. She's someone I can always rely on and she's so sweet. Her vlogs make me laugh out loud and her blog explodes with her personality. I seriously can't not smile when I'm talking to this girl.

Montana at The Book Belles is so sweet I can't even begin to explain it. I met her briefly while in California and I absolutely adore her. She's fun to be around and her blog is awesome. She is one of the kindest people I have come across in the blogosphere and I think the people that she calls her friends are really lucky.

And, gah, there are so many more! I feel so terrible if you're not listed above, but some super awesome honorable mentions include:
Again, there are so many more of you, but I'm currently exhausted and exhaustion equates to insane forgetfulness. 

Review: Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: August 27, 2013
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 294 (ARC)
Source: BEA 2013
Caroline is at a crossroads. Her grandmother is sick, maybe dying. Like the rest of her family, Caroline's been at Gram's bedside since her stroke. With the pressure building, all Caroline wants to do is escape--both her family and the reality of Gram's failing health. So when Caroline's best friend offers to take her to a party one fateful Friday night, she must choose: stay by Gram's side, or go to the party and live her life.

The consequence of this one decision will split Caroline's fate into two separate paths--and she's about to live them both.

Friendships are tested and family drama hits an all-new high as Caroline attempts to rebuild old relationships, and even make a few new ones. If she stays, her longtime crush, Joel, might finally notice her, but if she goes, Chris, the charming college boy, might prove to be everything she's ever wanted.

Though there are two distinct ways for her fate to unfold, there is only one happy ending...
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

I have not read any books written by Cat Patrick or Suzanne Young prior to picking up this book. I was fascinated with the concept, though I know that it draws comparisons to PIVOT POINT, which I plan on reading soon. I went into this book with an open mind only to be quickly disappointed. It is an admittedly quick read because the writing is very simple--possibly a little too simple because, at times, I felt like I was reading something any of my classmates could have written. It lacked the complexity and attention to detail I tend to enjoy in books. And, to make matters worse, it was incredibly obvious to tell that this book was written by two authors. I only like co-authored books when the narration flows, but it was beyond obvious to me that the GO chapters and the STAY chapters were written by two different individuals. The GO chapters actually flowed and tended to stay away from cliche, though they did have some. The STAY chapters were choppy, full of cliches, and all around lacking connection. In this battle to find the lesser of two evils, GO (and whoever wrote those chapters) wins.

The book starts off with Caroline--affectionately given the stupidest nicknames in the world of Coco and Linus--learning that her beloved Gram is in the hospital on her deathbed. The cancer spread and it's the end. This is especially devastating to her because she lives with her Gram and has forged a connection with her that her other siblings cannot relate to. During the aftermath that was their parents divorce, Caroline turned to her grandmother to be a mother figure in her life since she struggled with her own mother too much. That's when the chapter split starts. She can choose to STAY at the hospital with her Gram or GO to a party and come back the next morning.

At this point, I got severely pissed off. The overall concept of the GO chapters shouldn't have even been fathomable. This party was such a big deal because it was a college party. News flash, Caroline, college comes right after high school. You can go to a college party every weekend at some point in your life if you want to. But you decide to go to this one instead of being with your dying grandmother who is the most important person to you in the world. Mere minutes before this decision you were crying about the prospect of losing her. You, Caroline, are just an overall sucky person. I would not want to be your friend because you have a brain the size of a walnut and no common sense whatsoever. To make matters worse, her best friend, Simone, was pushing her to go to this party. Way to be a good friend. This entire decision just annoyed me and I couldn't get over that.

But, ironically enough, despite the fact that I hated the fact that the GO chapters even existed, I enjoyed them more than the STAY chapters. Not only were they written better, which I explained above, but they also told a better story. I found the STAY chapters to be the ones trying to mimic the GO chapters. Badly, I may add. The emotions were flying, the characters were even more off-the-wall, and they didn't flow at all. Begrudgingly, I must admit that I'm happy the GO chapters existed because if the entire book was STAY chapters it would probably be a DNF for me.

Our main character is one of the most frustrating characters that I have come across in a while. I actually have a strong dislike for her just because she's stupid. She's impulsive and annoying. For example, sometime throughout this book she loses her virginity to someone who shall not be named. She chose to take it that far even though she didn't feel uncomfortable, she was given several chances to stop it but chose not to, she then immediately fled the scene of the crime when it was all over and regretted what she did. I don't know, why didn't you stop it if you weren't ready? You didn't want it, but you were totally willing. Not once did you verbally or physically object, you simply thought about how this was not what you wanted to happen. Grow a damn backbone and save yourself the humiliation and awkwardness. Coco, Linus, whoever the fuck you are, you sincerely piss me off. Don't complain about your mistakes when you had the chance to do something about it and chose not to. And why did you choose not to? Well, it's because you're rather idiotic.

Moving on from our intolerable main character, most other characters were terrible too. In reality, I only liked Chris and Teddy, but I'll get into that later. I want to take a second to focus on Natalie. Natalie is Caroline's older sister and she's terrible. In one set of chapters she is a complete bitch and in the other she turns into this perfect sister that was once a bitch, but no longer is. Either way, I despised her. I don't understand how you can patch a relationship up so quickly in mere seconds when Natalie treats Caroline the way she did. Some of the things that spewed from this girls lips actually had me curling my lips in disgust. No wonder Caroline doesn't have a good relationship with her mother, her mother let's Natalie treat Caroline like dirt. It reminds me way too much of how my younger sister gets away with treating me, and this just enraged me even more. The hatred between these two was over-done and over-the-top. While I can relate to it, it was taken to an extreme here that was obviously fake. And while the intended hatred of Natalie came through full force, it sucked that I even had to come across a character like her. Siblings should not be able to treat siblings the way she treated Caroline at times, especially with an adult present. Talk about bad parenting.

Simone is Caroline's best friend. Obviously, in the GO chapters she gets Caroline to go to a party, and in the STAY chapters she encourages her to stay. But what I don't understand is how in one chapter she can be so beyond concerned for her friend that she nearly cries and in the other she is such a terrible person to her friend that I'd drop her right then and there. It doesn't make sense.

There's somewhat of a love triangle. She goes for Chris in on chapter and she goes for Joel in the other. Joel (who reminds me way too much of my uncle and therefore should not exist in this book) is this rocker-type asshole in high school who she has had a crush on for quite a while. I really disliked him and I don't understand what Caroline saw in him. Blinded by love, I suppose. Chris was actually a great character. I loved how he was written, I often looked forward to his appearances, and he was entertaining. He was great and not at all written the way your typical college freshman are, which I enjoyed. However, both boys claimed strong feelings for Caroline way too quickly. This book takes place for a little over a month, so at most she could have been with these boys for a month and they're suddenly in love. Agh.

Speaking of enjoying characters, Caroline's older brother, Teddy, was great, as was her Dad and her step-mother, Debra. But characters with such minor appearances are not enough to save this disaster of a story.

One thing struck me while I was reading and that was the fact that one character in particular was obsessed with the concept of fate. He used the word nearly every chapter he was in. Way to be subtle, Patrick and Young. It was obvious who she would end up because of this. Though the ending is somewhat open, you can figure it all out because of his usage of the concept of fate. Sometimes it seemed almost like an obsession. 

I, however, did enjoy the similar happenings between the two chapters. The same overall plot point would be reached in different ways between the two. If someone ended up in crutches, it happened two different ways. If Caroline was crying over something, it happened two different ways. I especially enjoyed the nearly full circle ending we had, but I disliked the true clarification of exactly what road she took in the last chapter. I get it, she can choose to go or stay and this is what happened. In the end she learned from both, but which one did she pick? I was at the point that this book annoyed me so much I just wanted to know which she picked so I could decide to like her or a little more or a little less.

In the end, I know several people who enjoyed this book. Actually, as I write this review, not one of my Goodreads friends has given it a negative rating. So, give it a chance if you're a fan of alternate reality and fast reads. If you're not a fan of such things, than I think you can avoid this book without missing much of anything.



 1.5 stars

~*~Links~*~

FTC Disclaimer: I did not receive any form of compensation in exchange for my honest review.  

Rogue Blog Tour + Giveaway

I am so happy to be part of this tour for ROGUE, book three in the CROAK trilogy by Gina Damico. If you don't know my opinions on this series than you must not have been following me for long. This is my go-to series for absolute hilariousness. My review of book three will go up at the end of the month and while I will reveal nothing in the review just yet, I'll say that books one and two earned a solid four stars from me, but book three upped that rating to a solid five. Do with that what you will!

Now, this is not a normal tour. Gina gave everyone participating a series of pictures to help depict important moments in the story. It'll help you piece together the major events in your own way before you get to read the final installment for yourself!


Lex is a teenage Grim Reaper with the power to Damn souls, and it’s getting out of control. She’s a fugitive, on the run from the maniacal new mayor of Croak and the townspeople who want to see her pay the price for her misdeeds. Uncle Mort rounds up the Junior Grims to flee Croak once again, but this time they’re joined by Grotton, the most powerful Grim of all time. Their new mission is clear: Fix his mistakes, or the Afterlife will cease to exist, along with all the souls in it. 

The gang heads for Necropolis, the labyrinth-like capital city of the Grimsphere. There, they discover that the Grimsphere needs a reboot. To do that, the portals to the Afterlife must be destroyed…but even that may not be enough to fix the damage. Things go from bad to worse, and when at last the fate of the Afterlife and all the souls of the Damned hang in the balance, it falls to Lex and her friends to make one final, impossible choice.

~*~A Message from Gina~*~

Hey hey Croak fans! Welcome to my blog tour / photo hunt / Roguestravaganza!

From now until ROGUE's release on September 10th, each stop on the tour will reveal an image that represents a chapter in the book - could refer to setting, plot, an important object, mood, or whatever other diabolical visualizations with which I feel like tormenting my dear readers. Each image also contains a hidden letter...though really, they're not that well hidden. (If you have eyes, you should be able to spot them.) Collect the letters every day, and at the end of the tour I'll hold a contest, the winner of which will receive signed and annotated copies of the complete trilogy. (For a complete description of the contest, tour schedule, and links to the stops you might have missed, check out the blog tour page on my website.)

This photo is for Chapter 7. I will let the image do the talking.



~*~Giveaway~*~

To enter this giveaway, simply comment below with your thoughts on the picture and an e-mail address to contact you by. What do you think it symbolizes in relation to the story? I jumped for joy when I got this picture because this chapter opened up a huge fan of "holy shits!" from me for the rest of the story.

The prize for this giveaway is a Croak prize pack! This prize pack contains a scythe pendant, three signed bookmarks, three signed bookplates, and three magnets. I will choose the winner within a few days and contact them immediately. I expect a timely reply in return. (:

~*~Trailer~*~

Top Ten Things That Make My Life as a Reader/Book Blogger Easier


TTT is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.

So, I never realized how many things make my life easier until I did this post.

In no particular order....

1. Goodreads - So, yeah, goodreads is basically facebook for bookies. I love it. I love how I've found new books because of it, I love how I can see the books I've read, find books similar to the ones I love, watch my friends to see what they love, and I love that it keeps track of all of my progress.
Really, I love everything about Goodreads. Except for maybe the fact that the app on my phone sucks.

2. Library - I work at a library, so I love it anyway, but prior to blogging I didn't actually take many books out of the library. Now, if someone makes me die for a book I practically have it at my fingertips with the 75 library consortium that my library is part of.

3. Netgalley/Edelweiss - I can now get books before they come out! While eARC formatting sucks, this is still so amazing and I love it. I do, however, hate it when a publisher denies me. haha

4. Twitter - I only started using Twitter because of book blogging. Now I can communicate with other bloggers, publishers, and authors. Plus, I tend to find myself dying of laughter throughout the day because of it. Plus, networking!

5. iPad - I love my iPad. I have Nook, Kindle, and iBooks at the tip of my fingers all on a single device. It's rather amazing if you ask me.

6. Other bloggers - You guys not only share an immense love of reading with me, but you are some of the best friends a girl could ask for. Our similar interests mean we never run out of things to talk about. Plus, you guys keep me sane! We all have the same escape from reality.

7. Memes - STS, TTT, and WOW have become my favorite posts behind discussions and reviews. I
enjoy the fact that these are not only fun, but they keep my blog alive with bookish topics. It gives me some time to breathe between books and it keeps my blog fun!

8. Books of Wonder - This store is what helped me discover a love of indie bookstores. Plus, it showed me that signings exist where you can meet authors! It's so amazing!

9. My readers - I love the fact that you guys follow me and actually appreciate my opinion. Every time you comment, I smile. You guys keep me going when blogging becomes slightly troublesome.

10. My blog - I REMEMBER SHIT NOW! That's really why I created this blog in the first place. If you gave me a series I could not remember what happened in book one when I was reading book two. I can do that now. But, more importantly, my blog was my outlet to meet so many of my best friends now, and I'm so thankful for that.