Wednesday, July 6, 2011

W...W...W...Wednesday (7.6.11)

W...W...W...Wednesdays is a weekly meme hosted be ShouldBeReading. To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

--What I Am Currently Reading
Die For Me - Amy Plum
My life had always been blissfully, wonderfully normal. But it only took one moment to change everything.
Suddenly, my sister, Georgia, and I were orphans. We put our lives into storage and moved to Paris to live with my grandparents. And I knew my shattered heart, my shattered life, would never feel normal again. Then I met Vincent.
Mysterious, sexy, and unnervingly charming, Vincent Delacroix appeared out of nowhere and swept me off my feet. Just like that, I was in danger of losing my heart all over again. But I was ready to let it happen.
Of course, nothing is ever that easy. Because Vincent is no normal human. He has a terrifying destiny, one that puts his life at risk every day. He also has enemies . . . immortal, murderous enemies who are determined to destroy him and all of his kind.
While I'm fighting to piece together the remnants of my life, can I risk putting my heart—as well as my life and my family's—in jeopardy for a chance at love?

--What I Recently Finished Reading
Anna and The French Kiss - Stephanie Perkins
I wasn't completely impressed with the books. In a nut-shell, Anna gets sent to a boarding school in Paris. She falls in love with an unavailable guy. Said unavailable guy falls in love with her, but refuses to make himself available because of various cop-out reasons. You can read my review here.

--What I Think I Will Read Next
Unearthly - Cynthia Hand
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.

Sooo...What are your W...W...W...Wednesdays? Be sure to share your blog post in the comments. =)

'Till Next Time!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Anna and the French Kiss - Review

Anna and the French Kiss
Stephanie Perkins

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris - until she meets Etienne St. Clair: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.

As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near - misses end with the French kiss Anna - and readers - have long awaited?

This book falls into what I like to consider the "Fluffy Books" category. I think others may also refer to the category as Chick Lit. Fluffy just sounds more appealing to me. It's fluffy because it's basically the Chick-Flick of books. Average female, devastatingly handsome male, ensue cutesy love story and goofy grins. While this may not be my preferred genre, I'm still a female and enjoy a dose of sappy love once in a while.

I was looking for a quick read with a cute love story. This book definitely fit the bill easily enough. I was up until 3 in the morning reading this sucker. Whether that was due to the fact that I took an uncharacteristic nap that day, or the book was just that addicting remains to be seen. Fact of the matter is, I was hooked. All of Anna's friends were unique and charming. I liked the chemistry between them all. I also enjoyed the descriptions of Paris. I've never been myself, but I felt like I got a brief glimpse into the city.

"So Crystal, It's obvious you liked the book. Why did you only give it 3 stars?"
Well, I'm glad you asked. Let me explain. As much as Anna made me like St. Clair, after finishing the book and looking back on it, I found him to be a bit weak and quite-honestly, a coward. *ducks from all the St. Clair swooners*

I mean come on, their "not yet relationship status" dragged on to make up over 3/4 of the book. At the end when St. Clair finally has the balls to admit his feelings out loud to Anna (mind you this wasn't until after they shared a kiss) we find out that the only reason he hasn't broken up with Ellie is because he is scared to be alone and wasn't sure if Anna felt the same way about him. Umm..hello! There's a little thing known as Communication. It probably would have come in handy a looong time ago, instead of little hints and flirts. Which were cute at first, but at some point stuff has to be aired out, preferably before you cheat on your girlfriend (mentally or physically). That's just not cool man.

Oh well, at least I picked up a new word out of the deal. Callipygian...look it up. I'm determined to slip this into a conversation sometime in the near future. =)

I rated "Anna and the French Kiss":

'Till Next Time!

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer - Review

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer
Lish McBride

Sam leads a pretty normal life. He may not have the most exciting job in the world, but he’s doing all right—until a fast food prank brings him to the attention of Douglas, a creepy guy with an intense violent streak.

Turns out Douglas is a necromancer who raises the dead for cash and sees potential in Sam. Then Sam discovers he’s a necromancer too, but with strangely latent powers. And his worst nightmare wants to join forces . . . or else.

With only a week to figure things out, Sam needs all the help he can get. Luckily he lives in Seattle, which has nearly as many paranormal types as it does coffee places. But even with newfound friends, will Sam be able to save his skin?

Ok, I loved this book. Not because it had an incredibly thought-provoking plot. Not because the characters were deep and insightful. But because it was unique, relate-able and was quite fun to read! It's set in Seattle, bonus points right there for the simple fact that I LOVE the city of Seattle. I loved revisiting it through this book. The titles of each of the Chapters were lines from various songs, all somehow related to the content of the chapter. Those who love music will appreciate that. The characters were funny and unique. There's a college drop-out, a talking head, a Fey-hound, a spirit who bargains for waffles, a potential man-bear (pig?, witches, necromancers (obviously), zombie pandas, witches, and probably even more unique things I can't remember at the moment.

It was fast-paced, action packed, and quite funny. The story was told from 3 different perspectives, but the only time they changed was at the start of a chapter. So it was easy to keep up with.
Quite honestly, this book was a fresh of breath air. There's no dreaded love-triangle and no doomed relationship (that I could tell). Just Sam and his friends trying to figure out what the heck was going on.

I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who likes the paranormal genre, witty unique character, and just the right amount of romance without overpowering the story. I don't think it is incredibly well known right now, but I'd love to see this book skyrocket in popularity. It's just that awesome. I can't wait to revisit these characters when the next book comes out.

I am rating "Hold Me Closer, Necromancer":

'Till Next Time!

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Review

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Ransom Riggs

A mysterious island.
An abandoned orphanage.
A strange collection of very curious photographs.
It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.
A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

I'll be honest, I've been putting off doing this review for a while. I don't really know how to review it. I'll start by getting my disappointment out of the way so I can move on to more positive aspects. (My father always had a saying "When a review starts like this it's all uphill from here.)
I feel a bit let-down. Judging on the cover alone, this book promises to be the ultimate creep-out fest. I mean come on, a little girl levitating in creepy woods...not to mention that creepy font. Sign me up. I guess I'm a glutton for punishment. I wanted this book to scare the beejesus out of me. I wanted to be afraid to go to sleep at night because this book was so haunting. Sadly, it didn't even come close. The 'Peculiar Children' had supernatural abilities sure, but they were almost comical. Not anything that sent shivers down my spine in the least. The 'romance' felt like an afterthought and quite honestly, I think it would have been just fine--if not better--without it.

Okay, putting my initial disappointment aside, this was still an entertaining book. I enjoyed reading it for the most part.  It's my fault for going into it with such high and specific expectations. It felt a little disjointed at times, but the vintage photos made for a nice touch. The story was unique, even if I didn't completely understand the loops part. There were a lot of unique characters, and I found myself rooting for his Grandfather and was happy to find out he wasn't crazy after all.

I'll be completely honest here, I don't really know what else to say. I'm left feeling torn about this book. I gave it 3.5 stars because it really wasn't that bad. I just don't know how to articulate what I felt was missing. So I recommend you read this book for yourself. I'd love to hear someone else's opinion and review of it. So if you pick it up, feel free to post a link to your own review here.

I am rating "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children":

'Till Next Time!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Nevermore - Review

Kelly Creagh

At once an homage to one of America's greatest writers and a page-turning psychological mystery that is equal parts horror, humor, and romance, NEVERMORE is the story of Varen -- a Poe-fan and goth -- and Isobel -- a cheerleader and unlikely heroine. When a Lit. project pairs the two together, Isobel finds herself steadily swept into Varen's world, one that he has created in his notebook and in his mind, one where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life. Isobel slowly learns that dreams can be much more powerful than she'd ever expected, and that pain and despair come in all sorts of shades. As labels of "goth" and "cheerleader" fade away, she sees more in Varen than a tall, pale outcast, and a consuming romance is braced against the ever-clearer horror that the most terrifying realities are those within our own minds.

When Isobel has a single chance to rescue Varen from the shadows of his own nightmares, will she be able to save him -- and herself?

I'll be honest, what drew me to this book was the dynamic of the main characters. Books that don't have some type of love interest I find a bit more boring. But I am so over this whole, "From the moment I laid eyes on him I KNEW I loved him" crap. I prefer it when the two main characters don't like (dare I even say hate?) each other. It is far more entertaining to see them claw, bite, and scratch to get where they end up together. One reason I didn't give this book 5 stars is because I didn't really feel it when Isobel realized she was in love with Varen. She mentioned that he peaked her curiosity, but I think I must have missed where that curiosity transformed into full-blown love. The only reason I believed her is because I WANTED to, not because the book made me feel it so much that there was no doubt otherwise. That being said...this book had a WHOLE lot more than just a love story that I wasn't expecting.

There were so many times when I was reading and mentally screaming, "What is flip is going on?!". They don't give you alot of answers up front, which keeps you hooked in a desperate need to understand. There is also a lot of descriptive detail. It was, at times, and bit overwhelming, but Creagh does a great job of giving a long as I stayed focused.

The other reason I am not giving this book 5 stars is because there was a stretch there when I was just ready for it to be over already. I didn't understand what was going on and got overwhelmed. But by the time it wrapped up, alot of those questions were answered and I will definitely be reading the second book Enshadowed when is comes out in *gasp* January of 2012.

I am rating "Nevermore":

'Till Next Time!

My Soul To Take/Save - Review

My Soul to Take and part of My Soul to Save
Rachel Vincent

She doesn't see dead people. She senses when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally.

Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest guy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about her need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who'll be next.

I don't even know how to start putting my disappointment into words. I guess I'll start by saying that this review covers the entire first book and the first few chapters of the second. I couldn't even finish the second one. I REALLY wanted to like these books. I thought the story was unique. The characters were believable enough. There was a love interest. But there were just too many stinking contradictions. There were several small ones in the first book. They were small enough that I don't remember exactly what they were, save for one instance. There was a scene where Nash and Kaylee were somewhere and Nash asked her if she wanted something to drink and she said she wasn't thirsty. Well on the next page she orders a Coke. ???. There were several small things like that that made me go "Wait, What?".

But they were forgivable, until the second book. When Nash's mom was helping Kaylee reign in her scream and she failed, she went on to describe how a Banshees scream to a fellow female Banshee(forgive my not-politically-correct spelling) is just as annoying and unpleasant as it to humans. (This was another Wait, What? moment). I even went back into the previous book to where Nash's mom screamed to save her cousin's soul, and Kaylee described it as "the most beautiful thing she has ever heard" or something to that effect.
All together now..."Wait, What?!"

I don't know, I just felt that, if the author couldn't even keep track of her own story, how was I expected to believe it. I was really bummed to hate it so much. As you can tell from other reviews, I'm in a small majority. So I would still recommend you to pick it up and give it a shot for yourself. What bothered me may not bother others.

I originally gave My Soul to Take 3 stars and My Soul to Save 1 star since I couldn't even finish reading it. So let's just average them out and make it:

'Till Next Time!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Entwined - Review

Heather Dixon

Azalea is trapped. Just when she should feel that everything is before her . . . beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing . . . it's taken away. All of it.

The Keeper understands. He's trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. And so he extends an invitation.Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest.

But there is a cost.
The Keeper likes to keep things.
Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.

This was such a fun read. I didn't realize this until about half-way through, and am a little ashamed to admit. But apparently this a retelling of a childhood fairytale "The 12 Dancing Princesses". I have never heard that story growing up, but I am glad to have been introduced to it now.

This is definitely an enjoyable read for nostalgic adults, but would also be great for younger girls. It contains death, loss, grief, anger, rebellion, consequences, owning up to mistakes, repairing relationships, forgiveness, love, and a happy ending. It was charming, light-hearted with a dose of dark to represent the battle between right and wrong/good and evil. It portrays the strength of sisterly bonds and rewards of overcoming obstacles.

It was a great little dose of 'happy' to throw into the mix. I'm just going to go on record and say that I would LOVE to see a movie adaptation of this book. I'd be first in line at the midnight showing. :)

I am rating, "Entwined":

'Till Next Time!