Sunday, December 25, 2011

Review: Crossed

Title: Crossed
Authors: Ally Condie
Date Released: November 1st, 2011
Pages: 367
Rating: 4 out of 5

Description:
Rules are different outside the Society.

Chasing down an uncertain future, Cassia makes her way to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky-taken by the Society to his certain death-only to find that he has escaped into the majestic, but treacherous, canyons. On this wild frontier are glimmers of a different life and the enthralling promise of rebellion. But even as Cassia sacrifices everything to reunite with Ky, ingenious surprises from Xander may change the game once again.

Narrated from both Cassia's and Ky's points of view, this hotly anticipated sequel to Matched will take them both to the edge of Society, where nothing is as expected and crosses and double crosses make their path more twisted than ever...


Review:
Crossed was almsot as exciting as Matched, but not really.  Crossed begins almost immediately after Matched, with Cassia on the search for Ky so they can reunite and be together again.  However, once Cassia finally finds where Ky has been, she learns that he has already moved on and left into the canyons.  So, naturally, she goes to follow him. Joining Cassia on her journey is Indie and joining Ky is Eli.  Once the four meet up again, they search for the Uprising, which Cassia believes in, but Ky isn't so sure of. 

This was definitely more of an adventure.  The four of them explore the canyons and a little settlement that they discovered.  There, they find books, newspapers, and maps- all of the things that they would never have been able to see in the Society.  They go through forests and rivers filled with poison.  They definitely went through a lot.

Plot wise, there wasn't a whole lot to it.  It was mainly Cassia looking for Ky, then the both of them looking for the Uprising while one of them doesn't want to go look for the Uprising.  To me, it felt like there weren't a lot of twists and turns, although there is one MAJOR shocker that I definitely did not see coming, and it involve Xander with his little bits of paper.  I kind of wished that a little bit more happened in Crossed.

Condie writes at this slow, but beautiful pace that really adds to the story.  It makes Cassia and Ky's romance so much more romantic.  She also adds a lot of descriptions that make the images more vivid and real and transports you into Cassia's world.

I really liked Crossed, although I didn't like it as much as Matched (maybe because it was like an introduction to a new world that made it exciting?).  Crossed did leave on another big cliffhanger though so I'm definitely excited for the third one to see how things play out since it is the final one. 

Cover Review:
This is a totally cool cover!  I like how the image in the center of the cover sort of symbolizes how Cassia's breaking the rules to try and be with the one she loves (or at least that's how I see it).  So far, the covers have also kept with the same layout, too, which is always cool.  Also, I heard that the colors of the cover are supposed to be related to the color of the pills, which are green, blue,  and red, and you can already kind of see that since Matched was green, Crossed is blue, and the coverholder (if that's the write term) for the third one is red.

Cleo :)

*Description and cover from goodreads.com
**Review copy purchased.

Happy Holidays!!


Merry Christmas!!!

I hope that those of you who celebrate Christmas have a safe and fantastic Christmas filled with lots of joy and presents!  I hope that you got all of the books and things you wanted and got to spend time with your family, relaxing, and reading :)

Hope you have a Happy New Year, too!


Cleo :)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Faves of TwentyEleven: Books


I figured that doing the Faves of TwentyEleven posts created by Nomes at inkcrush would basically sum up this year in favorites!  And boy do I have a lot of favorites, so this should be fun!


1.  Favorite Book Read in 2011
Oh dear.  This is an incredibly hard choice to make but I'll have to go with... Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins.  Ahhh, I fell in love with that book, and with the characters as well.  It makes me want to go to Paris so badly, too.

2.  Most Powerful Book
I didn't read any books about refugees or World War I this year, so the closest to the most powerful book I've read this year would probably have to be The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder.  I actually haven't finished it yet, but it seems to have that message that you should believe in miracles.

3.  Brilliantly Funny
This one is going to have to go to Beauty Queens by Libba Bray.  I think it's the only funny book I've read this year, but it is pretty insanely funny.  Just think about a bunch of beauty queens, some of them airheads, who are stranded on an isolated island.

4.  Best Ache-y, Heart-breaking, Tear-jerker Read
It's a tie between Where She Went by Gayle Forman and Delirium by Lauren Oliver.  Where She Went was just plain sad in how you got to see how Adam suffered because of the life-altering car crash that Mia was in and in Delirium, love basically doesn't exist between people and the ending was just... absolutely heart-breaking.

5.  Most Beautiful Story
Forever by Maggie Stiefvater was beautiful in that it... I don't know. It's sort of hard to explain.

6.  Delicious Rainy Day Comfort Read
Basically all of the books in the Summer series by Jenny Han.  They're so cute, warm, and bubbly :)

7.  Adrenaline-Fuelled Unputdownable Award
DIVERGENT BY VERONICA ROTH ALL THE WAY!  Duuuuude, I was about to ask for a restraining order for that book because it would NOT leave me alone.

8.  The Beautiful Prose Award
The two Maggie Stiefvater books that I read this year: Forever & The Scorpio Races.  She's an amazing writer!

9.  Most Atmospheric & Vivid Setting
Any of the Iron Fey books!!!  I always get sucked into this completely insane world of the fey that Julie Kagawa created.

10.  I-So-Want-To-Go-There Award
Die for Me by Amy Plum and Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins were both set in Paris, and they visited all of these totally awesome places and described it so vividly that I would kill to go there.  It would be amazing!

11.  Most Original and Imaginative Award
You've got to give credit to all of the dystopian novels out there, so I would have to go with all of the ones that I read this year which would be: Across the Universe by Beth Revis, Divergent by Veronica Roth, Delirium by Lauren Oliver, Crossed by Ally Condie, XVI by Julia Karr, Eden by Keary Taylor, Possession by Elana Johnson, and Wither by Lauren DeStefano.  That's a lot of dystopian!

12.  Best Under-Appreciated, Hidden Gem Book
I'm going to have to go with Rival by Sarah Bennett Wealer.  You don't really hear about it a lot in the blogosphere, but it's a pretty good book about friendship and it was also a debut author book as well.

13.  I-Had-No-Idea-I-Would-Love-This-So Award
The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June by Robin Benway because I sort of bought it on a whim, but loved it so much by the end of the story :)

14.  Most Haunting Story
If by haunting, you mean scary, then the closest to scariest book will have to be Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender.  It has ghosts and a creepy doll, so I think that that pretty much covers it all.

15.  Outside My Comfort Zone But Gosh How I Loved It
Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles.  I always heard about it but I was kind of like, "Ehh... It doesn't really seem like my type of book."  But when I read it... Sparks just kind of like exploded between me and this book.

16.  Series That I'm Loving
The Across the Universe series by Beth Revis and the Delirium series by Lauren Oliver are two series that I fell in love with this year :)

17.  Always Recommending This Book Award
Anna and the French Kiss!!!!!  I told like all of my book worm friends to read this and they did, and they fell in love with it, too :)

18.  Completely Awesome Premise Award
Can I just say all of the books I've read this year?  If not, then, I guess Passion by Lauren Kate was pretty cool because of how she had Luce go through all of her past lives which was pretty interesting to read about.

19.  Would Make the Best Movie Award
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater for sure!!  Imagine: an island off of Ireland, people with Irish accents, and killer, man-eating horses!!!

20.  Want To Re-Read Already
I'm not the best re-reader in the whole entire world, but the one time I want to re-read something, I don't even own the book, and that book would have to be Anna and the French Kiss.  Ahhh, that was definitely a favorite for this year!

I'm sorry that there were completely NO covers!!  I will admit that I was a little lazy to go look for all of them and then make them fit properly and try to have them not create extra spaces between the paragraphs.  I'm a perfectionist and as Baylee likes to say, a bit OCD, so if something goes wrong, it'll bother me everytime I see it.

Cleo :)

Review: Settling

Title: Settling
Authors: Shelley Workinger
Date Released: July 4th, 2011
Pages: 242
Rating: 4 out of 5

Description:
At the beginning of the summer, Clio Kaid was one of a hundred teens brought to a secret Army installation. But it was no ordinary camp and they weren’t ordinary kids…

Picking up where “Solid” left off, Clio and her friends realize that they aren’t ready to go home; they’re determined to stay on campus and continue their journey of self- discovery. But someone doesn’t feel the same way and will do anything to drive them away – even kill.

Friendships will be tested, abilities will evolve, and more secrets will come out as the teens race to stop the killer before he sets his sights on one of them…


Review:
The story continues with Clio and her friends in Settling as they settle into their new lives that they have come to terms with while at their camp.  However, mystery continues to surround the camp and a new murderer is on the rise. 

Settling was definitely pretty thrilling since there's a murderer going around the camp and there are no possible suspects.  Clio and her group of friends are also finding out more about themselves, especially Clio herself.  She comes to realize that she might possibly not just have the power to become invisible, but she might also have traces of other abilities, such as those of a "heavy" which are the really artsy/musically talented people. 

Clio also changes in personality significantly.  I really, really liked Clio in Solid, but in Settling, this life for Clio started to go a bit downhill as she had this change of personality that I really didn't see coming and it kind of upset me.  She started questioning her once untainted relationship with Jack and started to grow a bit distant from her friends.  I guess you could describe her new personality as "dark?" And I love Jack!  He seems so sweet and thoughtful and just absolutely perfect, so I really didn't get why Clio started to not like Jack as much.  All of Clio's friends really bring a variety in personality to the book as well since you have Garrett, the funny/athletic guy, Miranda, the perfectionist/sort of snobby one, Alexis, the artsy/slightly dark one, and Bliss, the slightly naive but nevertheless adorable one.  A couple new people are also added to the gang, too.

The ending was absolutely an adrenaline rush.  It was kind of rushed, which is what made it pretty intense, but the intensity was good.  The murderer was unmasked, and his/her's motives were revealed.  Everything was wrapped up pretty nicely mystery wise, except Clio's relationships were left on loose ends, but hopefully in the next book she'll be able to repair those relationships.

Settling was a great sequel to Solid and was enjoyable.  There were many changes in Settling, like new characters, different personalities, new killers on the move... They all added to the story, making it much more interesting as it moved along.  I'd definitely recommend this to anyone who likes reading books about superpowers and a lot of mystery.  I'll totally be looking forward to the next book, Sound, to see what's going to happen next!!

Cover Review:
I really like how so far the covers have the same sort of theme and font!  When I first saw this cover, I never really understood why there were fireworks in the background and why the two people were facing away from each other, but as I read the book, it easily became apparent as to why this particular image was chosen.  It's a pretty symbolic image.

Cleo :)

*Description and cover from goodreads.com
**Review copy received from Shelley Workinger for review.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Review: The Future of Us

Title: The Future of Us
Author: Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler
Date Released: November 21st, 2011
Pages: 356
Rating: 3 out of 5

Description:
It's 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They've been best friends almost as long - at least, up until last November, when Josh did something that changed everything. Things have been weird between them ever since, but when Josh's family gets a free AOL CD in the mail,his mom makes him bring it over so that Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they're automatically logged onto their Facebook pages. But Facebook hasn't been invented yet. And they're looking at themselves fifteen years in the future.

By refreshing their pages, they learn that making different decisions now will affect the outcome of their lives later. And as they grapple with the ups and downs of what their futures hold, they're forced to confront what they're doing right - and wrong - in the present.


Review:
One day in 1996, when Emma sets up her new computer that her dad sent her and Josh gives her an AOL CD, the two discover Facebook.  Now, we all know that Facebook wasn't created until 2004, so what could this possibly mean?  Emma and Josh are completely confused as to what this could possibly mean.  Josh thinks that it's a prank, while Emma, on the other hand, is completely enthralled and obsessed with Facebook.  The two eventually find out that Facebook is from the future and anything that they do can alter their futures, whether it's as harmless as deciding to join a biology course or life-altering as calling your future husband.

This is pretty bad, but I had pretty high expectations for The Future of Us, mainly because I read Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (one of the contributing authors) and that was absolutely amazing.  The other reason would be that I have a Facebook, sooo... that was a pretty lame excuse ;)  The Future of Us was a little bit lackluster.  I think that it might have been the characters who were just not completely genuine.  The whole concept was pretty interesting though, but I couldn't really wrap my head around the idea.

I think it was Emma's character who fell flat for me.  I think the thing about her was that she was a little annoying because she wasn't happy about what her future on Facebook was.  She constantly tried to do things that would manipulate her future so that she could get something better, even though it always made her unhappy.  Josh was a much better character, although he was much more realistic than Emma.  The one thing about him that was a little off sometimes was that he could sort of be like a little baby.  For example, when he spots Emma making-out with her boyfriend, Graham, he goes all whiny and mopey. 

The Future of Us was definitely very interesting, but I just didn't get where it was going with the whole Facebook thing.  I think that when you're reading it, you can't see the whole Facebook concept as everything that the book is about.  It's just sort of there to help the relationship between Josh and Emma move along.  You have to see the relationship between Josh and Emma as what the story revolves around and how it changes throughout the course of the novel.

I think that the thing that really kept me motivated to read the book was what was going to appear next on Emma and Josh's Facebooks because it was constantly changing with everyday.  Like for Josh, he didn't really try all that hard to change his future into something else, but everyday small things were changing, like how many kids he had. 

Overall, The Future of Us was intriguing, but not at all what I expected from it.  Sometimes the dialogue was a bit weird, other times the 90s references weren't exactly subtly used, and Emma could be a tad annoying, too.  I really had mixed feelings about this book, but I've gotta say that the ending was pretty cute :)

Cover Review:
Umm... That is one spectacular cover!  I like how they used the binary number sequence thingy-ma-bob to make up the cover and used different colors and shading to get the models and objects on the cover right.  Although, I think that it would've been cool if they used like the trademark Facebook font for the title and the names of the authors because when I look at the "f" on "future" my first reaction is, "What kind of an 'f" is that supposed to be?" and it doesn't really scream Facebook at all.  The rest of it is really cool though.

Cleo :)

*Description and cover from goodreads.com
**Review copy purchased.

2012 Sophomore Reading Challenge!


For next year, I've decided to participate in another challenge along with the Debut Author Challenge.  The Sophomore Reading Challenge hosted by Chick Loves Lit really sounded like a good idea because this year I did read a lot of really good Debut Author books that were the first in a series, and I'll definitely be reading their sequels, so why not participate in this challenge? 

You only need to read at least 10 YA/MG sophomore novels.  It can be the second in a series, a standalone from the author, or the beginning of a new series. 

Some of the books that I have on my list so far are:
Are you up for the challenge?  Umm... I'm pretty excited!  I can't wait for any of these books to come out!  Come on 2012 and move along a little faster, please!  Some people are a little impatient ;)

Cleo :)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Review: The Iron Knight

Title: The Iron Knight
Author: Julie Kagawa
Date Released: October 25th, 2011
Pages: 361
Rating: 5 out of 5

Description:
Ash, former prince of the Winter Court, gave up everything. His title, his home, even his vow of loyalty. All for a girl… and all for nothing.

Unless he can earn a soul.


To cold, emotionless faery prince Ash, love was a weakness for mortals and fools. His own love had died a horrible death, killing any gentler feelings the Winter prince might have had. Or so he thought.

Then Meghan Chase—a half human, half fey slip of a girl— smashed through his barricades, binding him to her irrevocably with his oath to be her knight. And when all of Faery nearly fell to the Iron fey, she severed their bond to save his life. Meghan is now the Iron Queen, ruler of a realm where no Winter or Summer fey can survive.

With the (unwelcome) company of his archrival, Summer Court prankster Puck, and the infuriating cait sith Grimalkin, Ash begins a journey he is bound to see through to its end— a quest to find a way to honor his solemn vow to stand by Meghan’s side.

To survive in the Iron realm, Ash must have a soul and a mortal body. But the tests he must face to earn these things are impossible. At least, no one has ever passed to tell the tale.

And then Ash learns something that changes everything. A truth that turns reality upside down, challenges his darkest beliefs and shows him that, sometimes, it takes more than courage to make the ultimate sacrifice.


Review:
The last book in The Iron Fey series, The Iron Knight, was absolutely phenomenal.  I did not want it to end... at all. 

The Iron Knight was more of an adventure throughout the Nevernever, with Ash on the quest to figure out a way for him to be with Meghan forever.  BUT!  It was an epic adventure.  Ash, Puck, and Grimalkin, a very unlikely group, meet new people, rekindled relationships with old friends, and journeyed to the end of the world- literally.

This was definitely a treat for me, and anyone else who is rooting for Team Ash.  Being able to get the point of view of Ash just added so much more the series and the relationship between him and Meghan. It also made it so much more romantic being able to see how much Ash missed Meghan and wanted her so badly, and the sacrifices he was willing to make in order for him to be with her.

The plot was definitely really intense.  The Nevernever is very unpredictable so you never know what's going to happen to Ash and his group.  They could meet unexpected people in one part of their trip or get sidetracked by a monster...  Every step of the way was crucial because once something bad happened, you'd be all like, "NOOO!! ASH HAS TO MAKE IT! HE WAS MEANT TO BE WITH MEGHAN!" It was just full of suspense and twists and turns.  Oh.  Don't even get me started on Ash's actual test to gain his soul.  That brought intensity to a whole new level.

Throughout The Iron Knight, you see Ash change from a cold-hearted Winter fey into caring, compassionate Winter fey, and he also learns what it means to be a human- that you will be weak, have a conscience, and eventually fade away.  This is the book where you see major Ash's developments into a completely different type of Winter fey.

The Iron Knight was absolutely magical.  The Iron Fey series is not a cutesy little fairy story.  Julie Kagawa brings out the dangerous side of faeries, whether it be the cold and icy Winter fey, the prankster fey, or just creepy creatures in the forests of the Nevernever.  If Julie Kagawa could keep writing Meghan and Ash's story until I died, I think that that would make me pretty happy old lady ;)

Cover Review:
Ahhh, the cover.  It really brings out the whole Winter fey concept with the icy white and blue swirls, the frost that is building around the edge of the cover, and the little snowflakes.  And then we get to Ash.  I always imagined him with longer hair, but this is just perfect because personally, I'm not a big fan of guys with long hair.  His eye just pops out on the cover.  I really like how they kept with the same theme for all of the covers in the series!

Cleo :)

*Description and cover from goodreads.com
**Review copy purchased.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cover Release: The Immortal Rules!


IT HAS ARRIVED!!  And it's totally cool and awesome!  It's just sooo flippin awesome! It's making me even more excited for it's release!  The cover is like completely creepy with the blood dripping down her face, but insanely cool at the same time. 

Also, I woke up this morning and immediately went to MTV Hollywood Crush as fast as I could to see it, and I only saw a little bit of it because then I had to go to school, but it looked amazing in the little snippet that they showed.

Also, did anyone notice on the bottom that it says "Includes an excerpt from the next Iron Fey novel"?  Is that supposed to be the spin-off?  Because I think there's supposed to be a spin-off... Right?

Anyways... Look for this awesome cover on shelves on April 24th, 2012!

Cleo :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

All I Want For Christmas Is...

All I Want For Christmas Is... is a meme hosted by Danya at A Tapestry of Words to get into the spirit of the holidays!  Basically, all you have to do is post a book that's on your wish list that you would like to receive for Christmas :)

Today, I want...


Lost in Time by Melissa de la Cruz

After their beautiful yet brief bonding ceremony in Italy, Schuyler Van Alen and Jack Force are forced to separate. To fulfill the Van Alen Legacy, Schuyler travels to Alexandria to search for Catherine of Siena and the Gate of Promise. But Schuyler quickly discovers that everything she believed about the Gate to be wrong. Meanwhile, Jack makes the difficult decision to return to New York to face his twin and former bondmate, Mimi. But instead of a bitter reunion, he is faced with a choice for which there is no good option.

Mimi, with a most unexpected travel companion in Oliver Hazard-Perry, jets off to Egypt, too, to search for Kingsley Martin, her long lost love. With all roads leading to Hell, Mimi learns that not all love stories have happy endings. But she'll have to put her own feelings aside if she's going to save her crumbling Coven.

Packed with heartache, twists, and vampiric folklore, Lost in Time is sure to satisfy hungry fans' cravings for more Blue Bloods adventure.
The last book wasn't all that impressive, but I've been seeing a lot of good things about Lost in Time, and it seems to be a lot bigger than Misguided Angel, so, why not?

What do you want for Christmas?

Cleo :)

*Description and cover from goodreads.com

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cover Crazy (33): The Selection

Cover Crazy is a weekly meme that was created by Tawni over at The Book Worms to show which cover(s) you are absolutely going crazy over!

This week, I love the cover for The Selection by Kiera Crass!

The Selection

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself- and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

Here's why I love it:
  • The dress!  'Nuff said.  Actually, I'll elaborate a little bit.  It kind of reminds be of a cake, but in a good way because it's like one of those really beautiful cakes!  The fluffy skirt is just beautiful.
  • The overall color of the cover gives me this cold, shivery feeling, but I really like it.
  • It's also really cool how she's being reflected in one of those infinity type mirrors.  They actually really creep me out but it adds a lot to the cover.
  • The crown on top of the title really gives you a clue as to what it's about, which is that the book is about a competition for the heart of Prince Maxon and the crown.
Tell me what you're going crazy over today!

Cleo :)

*Description and cover from goodreads.com

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Review: Hereafter

Title: Hereafter
Author: Tara Hudson
Date Released: June 7th, 2011
Pages: 404
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Description:

Can there truly be love after death?

Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she's dead. With no recollection of her past life—or her actual death—she's trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive.

 
Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit named Eli is doing everything in his power to destroy their newfound happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world . . . forever.
 
Thrilling and evocative, with moments of pure pleasure, Hereafter is a sensation you won't want to miss.

Review:

Hereafter was more of a romantic story than a creepy story that was meant to scare you, with some mystery weaved in.  Originally, that's what I thought it was about since it is about a ghost after all, but it was far from that. 

The story centers around Amelia who can only remember three things: her first name, her age, and how she died, but not why she died.  She cannot remember a single thing from when she was alive, but everything changes when she rescues Joshua, the boy with the midnight blue eyes, from drowning at High Bridge which is notorious for its accidents.  The two almost immediately have a connection and as they spend more and more time together, Amelia starts remembering everything from her past life, her mother, her father, and eventually how she died.  But Eli, another ghost who haunts High Bridge, wants to keep her as an apprentice and drag her away from the mortal world that she has become attached to.


The storyline was really cool and was definitely not meant to scare you.  It centers around the love of a ghost and a boy and it was really sweet seeing the attraction grow.  Although, at times it felt a little weird because it made me think, "What if someone saw him making out with no one?  What would they think??" their relationship pretty much worked. 


Where Hudson set Hereafter was perfect as well.  The creepy bridge was perfect and the netherworld that she created seemed just as creepy. 


The thing that kind of threw me off a bit was the plot.  Sometimes, it dragged on a bit and it would get a little bit boring, so I'd start skimming a little bit.  It's not like it was a horrible plotline, but there were just a few things that were sort of not very attention grabbing.  Although, I really loved the whole romance aspect and the the story itself.


I found both Amelia and Joshua to be okay characters.  Amelia seemed like a really cool character.  She was kind of like the lost wandering soul, who was lonely, although sometimes, she would go into that sort of pouty girlfriend mode.  Joshua was pretty cool, too, with his midnight blue eyes, although I found it just a bit weird how he moved their relationship waaay too fast.  There was also one incident that really confused me.  He got really angry at Amelia because she randomly left him on accident, and it was just really... weird how he got sooo angry at Amelia. 


Hereafter was an interesting ghost story mainly concentrating on the romance with a bit of mystery intertwined.  Sometimes it would drag on a bit and I'd lose focus.  However, I think that it was a great story overall and I really liked the idea, so I'll be looking forward to seeing what happens in the next book, Arise!


Cover Review:

I absolutely love this cover!  The colors that they chose are just sooo calming, and now that I've read the book, I understand why they have the river in front of Amelia with the forest right behind it.  I think it's also cool how her dress becomes transparent.  It's a really cool cover overall!

Cleo :)


*Description and cover from goodreads.com

**Review copy borrowed from library.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!!

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I just want to wish everyone in the US an awesome Thanksgiving filled with tons of turkey, and stuffing, and cranberry sauce, and mashed potatoes, and apple and pumpkin pie, and anything else that you can think of that is absolutely yummy in your tummy :) 

In the meantime, you can watch this video on Things That Ruin Thanksgiving by nigahiga!  I just watched it and it's pretty funny, so, enjoy!

Nevermind... Apparently Youtube and I do not get along very well together.  Oh well.  But you can click here if you still want to watch it!

Cleo :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

All I Want For Christmas Is...

All I Want For Christmas Is... is a meme hosted by Danya at A Tapestry of Words to get into the spirit of the holidays!  Basically, all you have to do is post a book that's on your wish list that you would like to receive for Christmas :)

Today, I want...

The Body Finder (The Body Finder, #1)

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her "power" to sense dead bodies—or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes that the dead leave behind in the world... and the imprints that attach to their killers.

Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find the dead birds her cat had tired of playing with. But now that a serial killer has begun terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he's claimed haunt her daily, she realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.

Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet on her quest to find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved to find herself hoping that Jay's intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she's falling intensely in love, Violet is getting closer and closer to discovering a killer... and becoming his prey herself.
Is it bad that the main reason why I want this book is because of it's cover?  The story sounds equally amazing, but the cover is just waaay too gorgeous!! 

Cleo :)

*Description and cover from goodreads.com

Review: Rival

Title: Rival
Author: Sara Bennett Wealer
Date Released: February 15th, 2011
Pages: 336
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Description:
What if your worst enemy turned out to be the best friend you ever had?

Meet Brooke: Popular, powerful and hating every minute of it, she’s the “It” girl at Douglas High in Lake Champion, Minnesota. Her real ambition? Using her operatic mezzo as a ticket back to NYC, where her family lived before her dad ran off with an up and coming male movie star.

Now meet Kathryn: An overachieving soprano with an underachieving savings account, she’s been a leper ever since Brooke punched her at a party junior year. For Kath, music is the key to a much-needed college scholarship.

The stage is set for a high-stakes duet between the two seniors as they prepare for the prestigious Blackmore competition. Brooke and Kathryn work toward the Blackmore with eyes not just on first prize but on one another, each still stinging from a past that started with friendship and ended in betrayal. With competition day nearing, Brooke dreams of escaping the in-crowd for life as a professional singer, but her scheming BFF Chloe has other plans. And when Kathryn gets an unlikely invitation to Homecoming, she suspects Brooke of trying to sabotage her with one last public humiliation.

As pressures mount, Brooke starts to sense that the person she hates most might just be the best friend she ever had. But Kathryn has a decision to make. Can she forgive? Or are some rivalries for life?


Review:
I really, really liked Rival.  It was perfect how it alternated between Brooke and Kathryn's point of views.  It really shows how people would think differently of the same situation that they're in.

Rival is about the the relationship between Kathryn and Brooke and how they bonded over music.  Kathryn was like the typical nobody; she had one best friend, who was a geek himself, too, and she was really smart.  On the other hand, Brooke was the insanely popular A-lister who doesn't really know why all of this popularity was handed to her, but she accepts it.  Like most popular girls, she has her insecurities.  When Kathryn started turning into a total popular snob, Brooke decides to end things, but not in the nicest way. 

Now, the two compete for the ultimate prize, winning the Blackmore competition.  As the competition date nears, you see Brooke change and realize that Kathryn was probably her only true best friend while Kathryn can never get over what Brooke did to her, making her even more paranoid than ever. 

I really liked the characters.  They just seemed so real and they put up this facade that's only half of what they really are, like Brooke.  Brooke is probably my favorite one out of the two because she realizes these things and sees how people have changed, like her "best friend" Chloe, and Kathryn after she gets into the crowd of A-listers.  She also has that secret that's really her insecurity.  Kathryn was the type who seems like a really nice girl, and she really was, until she got all... for lack of a better word, weird.  She just started really becoming insecure and almost paranoid that Brooke was going to repeat what she did to her the year before.  It was just very annoying of her to do that.

Plot wise, I love how everything developed and got so much more intensified as the competition got closer.  Throughout the course of the novel, you see Brooke and Kathryn change from the person that they were before, into two different people. 

I really liked Rival overall.  It was a story of friendship and how it can unravel in the blink of an eye.  It kept me completely captivated the whole entire time I was reading it.  I would recommend it anyone who likes contemporary novels, but without romance (I might have forgotten to mention that there is no major romance involved in the book... Sorry!).  It was a really great debut from Wealer and I'll definitely look forward to future books by her!

Cover Review:
I really love this cover!  I love the piano keys with the bold, fiery, redish orange flower on top.  The flower is really beautiful.  I'm also really big fan of the somewhat elegant font with the swirly designs on it.  It's a pretty simple cover, but I really like it!

Cleo :)

*Description and cover from goodreads.com
**Review copy borrowed from library.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Cover Crazy (32): Rapture

Cover Crazy is a weekly meme that was created by Tawni over at The Book Worms to show which cover(s) you are absolutely going crazy over!

This week I'm in love with the cover for Rapture by Lauren Kate!


Here's why:
  • I'll start off with a simle question, What is there to not love about this cover?
  • I love the colors of the cover and how it creates this somber atmosphere.  A somber mood totally fits with the title since who wouldn't be sad about a rapture?
  • That dress is absolutely gorgeous!  Even though you can only see the back, I love how it looks all light and fluffy while flowing with the wind. 
  • I really like how for all of the covers in the series they have kept with the same theme and basically the same photographer, if that's what you would call her. 
  • I think that this maybe my favorite out of all 4!
All of the covers in this series are absolutely gorgeous!  If I were to order them from favorite to least favorite, it would have to be Rapture, Torment, Fallen, and Passion (sorry Passion!).

How would you rank them & Which cover are you going crazy over today?

Cleo :)

*Cover from goodreads.com

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Follow Friday!

Today's Question

Letter to Santa: Tell Santa what books you want for Christmas!

I'm pretty sure that I could go on and on and on about what I want for Christmas :)  I'll just name a few because it is very likely thatmy list will be the size of Santa's not naughty list (if that makes any sense at all...).  So, here it goes:
  • Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (I've actually already read this one, but I want my own copy soooo badly!  This one was absolutely flippin' amazing)
  • The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Macklyer (It's not even out yet, but I've already heard good things!  Hey!  At least it'll be out before Christmas)
  • Legend by Marie Lu (This one's not out yet either, but it will be before Christmas, too!)
  • Crossed by Ally Condie
  • Reckoning by Lili St. Crow
  • Lost in Time by Melissa De La Cruz
  • Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini
  • Forgotten by Cat Patrick
  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
  • Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn
Those are just a few of the books that I really, really want :D  I also do the All I Want for Christmas Is... meme that is hosted by the lovely Danya @ A Tapestry of Words which highlights books that you really want for Christmas, too.  So, there are a few that I've done in those posts that I haven't put here.

Hope you guys have a lovely Friday!!

ALSO!  Who's going to go see Breaking Dawn today (or tomorrow, depending on when you read this post)???  I KNOW I AM!  Although I'm not a totally Twi-hard anymore :(  Sadly, I have passed that phase, if there is even a phase that you can go through.  It's just really exciting to see how they did it this time, especially since this one has "the scene" if you know what I mean.

Cleo :)

Review: Abandon

Title: Abandon
Author: Meg Cabot
Date Released: April 26th, 2011
Pages: 304
Rating: 4 out of 5

Description:
Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can't help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she's never alone . . . because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.

But now she's moved to a new town. Maybe at her new school, she can start fresh. Maybe she can stop feeling so afraid.

Only she can't. Because even here, he finds her. That's how desperately he wants her back. She knows he's no guardian angel, and his dark world isn't exactly heaven, yet she can't stay away... especially since he always appears when she least expects it, but exactly when she needs him most.

But if she lets herself fall any further, she may just find herself back in the one place she most fears: the Underworld.


Review:
Abandon had a really cool sort of modern twist on the Hades & Persephone myth that was really intriguing to read about. 

Basically, this story is about Pierce, who died, met the mysterious John Haden, and then came back to life.  However, coming back to life has its' consequences, especially when that person really wants you back.  Pierce has moved back to her mother's hometown on Isla Huesos, where she tries to start fresh and leave behind the scandal she was involved in at her school and the memories of her death.  However, wherever Pierce goes, John goes, too.

I couldn't stop reading Abandon, although I felt like a majority of the book was mostly made up of the background of her story and flashbacks.  It wasn't until towards the end where things definitely started clicking and getting a whole lot better.  I've got to say though, this one leaves on a pretty huge cliffhanger that will keep you impatiently waiting for the next one!

The characters didn't leave a big impression on me either... Or at least Pierce didn't.  Pierce just sort of seemed to lack personality.  She was a little flat.  I don't know if it's because she was brought back to life or what, but I just found her to be kind of boring personality wise... Definitely not life wise.  Her life is pretty adventurous.  John on the other hand... I think that I'll basically fall for any bad boy, but his love for Pierce was just waaay too cute!  He also sort of fit that bad boy stereotype and had that mysterious-ness surrounding him because, well, he looks like any other teenage boy, but what the heck is he doing in the Underworld?  I thought he was a pretty cool character.

I will say though that the whole idea was really cool and definitely different from some of the other Meg Cabot books I've read, which have only been Teen Idol and All-American Girl, so there's a major difference in genre, too.  Maybe mixing Greek mythology with modern day things wasn't all that clear.  For example, since when did Furies have to do with a guy who is like Hades, but isn't exactly Greek?  Anyhoo, I liked the idea of re-creating the myth of Persephone but in a more modern way.

Overall, I really liked Abandon.  It's one of those books that will completely suck you in and you'll probably end up reading it really fast to find out what happens, but some of it would just be okay, like the characters and what the plot focuses on, which I found to be mainly the background of her story and flashbacks.  I'll definitely be looking forward to Underworld when it comes out though because Abandon left on a total cliffhanger!  I'd definitely recommend it if you're looking for a quick read full of intrigue and some suspense!

Cover Review:
I love this cover!!  I really like how the gold swirly designs and accents stand out against the brown background.  It pretty much fits the story with its mysteriousness.  However, I will admit that the little blurb thing under the title is a little corny.

Cleo :)

*Description and cover from goodreads.com
**Review copy borrowed from local library.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Review: The Scorpio Races

Title: The Scorpio Races
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Date Released: October 18th, 2011
Pages: 404
Rating: 5 out of 5

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

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

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


Review:
The Scorpio Races was absolutely phenomenal! It just simply blew me away with all of its amazing-ness.

This book follows the lives of Puck and Sean as they prepare for the Scorpio Races, which is a race among the water horses that live in the ocean around their little island of Thisby. Puck is the first female racer to ever compete in the races, while Sean has won for the last four years. This year, the two race for personal reasons- Puck races because she thinks that it will keep her brother from leaving, and Sean races to keep his horse, Corr, and quit his job.

The Scorpio Races was super duper fascinating since it was about something that you don’t normally see written about- water horses. I don’t think that I’ve ever heard of water horses until I heard that Maggie Stiefvater was writing another book, but now I know that they’re really cool and interesting mythical creatures.

The writing flowed so well throughout the novel, and it goes at this nice and mellow pace that’s not too fast and also not too slow. The plot eventually built up to that final day and as the day of the race drew nearer and nearer it got very intense.  Twists and turns were absolutely shocking and sucked me into the story even more. 

On to the characters, Puck was okay.  She sometimes had a temper, which was her unflattering characteristic, but what made up for that was her courage to be able to do what she did.  There was never another girl before her and never a normal horse riding in the races before her either, which pretty much just screams that she is one brave girl.  Sean was totally cool.  I kind of imagined him as a calm, but sort of a loner type of guy who can stand up for himself when he needs to.  I think I might have formed a crush on Sean...

Honestly, go and get The Scorpio Races!  I'm sure that it will not disappoint!  Maggie Stiefvater just has this way of crafting amazing stories with romance, intensity, and action.  Definitely pick this up, especially if you love all of her other books!

Cover Review:
Really cool cover.  It's like the cave paintings that were described on the book, but with Puck on her horse instead.  I really like it and I think that it fits the book.

Cleo :)

*Description and cover from goodreads.com
**Review copy purchased.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

All I Want For Christmas Is...

All I Want For Christmas Is... is a meme hosted by Danya at A Tapestry of Words to get into the spirit of the holidays!  Basically, all you have to do is post a book that's on your wish list that you would like to receive for Christmas :)

Today, I want...

Crescendo (Hush, Hush, #2)

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick

Nora Grey's life is still far from perfect. Surviving an attempt on her life wasn't pleasant, but at least she got a guardian angel out of it: a mysterious, magnetic, gorgeous guardian angel. But, despite his role in her life, Patch has been acting anything but angelic. He's more elusive than ever and even worse, he's started spending time with Nora's arch-enemy, Marcie Millar.

Nora would have hardly noticed Scott Parnell, an old family friend who has moved back to town, if Patch hadnt been acting so distant. Even with Scott's totally infuriating attitude Nora finds herself drawn to him - despite her lingering feeling that he's hiding something.

Haunted by images of her murdered father, and questioning whether her nephilim bloodline has anything to do with his death, Nora puts herself increasingly in dangerous situations as she desperately searches for answers. But maybe some things are better left buried, because the truth could destroy everything - and everyone - she trusts.
I've read Hush, Hush already, but for some reason I haven't gotten to Crescendo yet!

What do you want for Christmas?

Cleo :)

*Description and cover from goodreads.com

Thursday, November 10, 2011

2012 Debut Author Challenge!


YEP!  I'm totally participating in the Debut Author Challenge again!  And you should too if you haven't signed up yet!  You can do that here at the lovely Story Siren :)

The main objective of this challenge is to read a minimum of 12 debut author books from January 1st, 2012-January 31st, 2013!

Here are some books that I plan to read next year:
Are you up for the challenge?  I know I am!  It was really awesome getting to read all of the debuts of 2011... A lot of them were incredible and it really surprised me because you never really know what to expect! 

Cleo :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What's Your District?



Maybe you don't know, or maybe you do know that there's a website where you can get put into a district, exactly like the ones from The Hunger Games!  You can go here to do it if you haven't yet!

My District 11 ID!  I think that I'll be able to fit in, considering that
I'm really tan in this photo :)  But I'm kind of posing and I'm pretty sure
that the people in District 11 wouldn't be posing. 
I got put into District 11.  I don't know if I should be happy about that since the awesome Rue was in that district, or if I should be unhappy since it is one of the not-so-great districts and my job is a farmhand -_-  I think it could be an awesome job if I liked picking things, I guess... If that's what farmhands do. 

On the other hand, lucky Baylee got put into District 5, which should be way better than District 11, right?  She hasn't sent me her ID yet, but once she does, and if she decides to, I'll post it here for you to see.  Or maybe I'll forcer her.  Who knows.  I also just sent the link to
MarMar, so hopefully she'll do it and perhaps she'll be in the same district as me? 

If you've already done this, what district are you in?

Cleo :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

All I Want For Christmas Is...

All I Want For Christmas Is... is a meme hosted by Danya at A Tapestry of Words to get into the spirit of the holidays!  Basically, all you have to do is post a book that's on your wish list that you would like to receive for Christmas :)

Today, I want...


Beautiful Days by Anna Godbersen


For the bright young things of 1929, the beautiful days seem endless, filled with romance and heartbreak, adventure and intrigue, friendship and rivalry.
 
After a month in New York, Cordelia Grey and Letty Larkspur are small-town girls no longer. They spend their afternoons with Astrid Donal at the Greys’ lush Long Island estate and their nights in Manhattan’s bustling metropolis. But Letty’s not content to be a mere socialite. She is ready at last to chase her Broadway dreams—no matter the cost.
 
Cordelia is still reeling from the death of her father at the hands of Thom Hale, the man she thought she loved. Now she is set to honor Darius Grey’s legacy . . . and take her revenge.
 
Promised to Cordelia’s half brother, Astrid is caught up in a world of dazzling jewels and glittering nights—and the sparkle is blinding. Charlie Grey is a gangster playing a dangerous game; and for Astrid, Cordelia, and Letty, the stakes could be deadly.

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Luxe comes the second book in an epic series set in the dizzying last summer of the Jazz Age.
I totally want this one and wouldn't mind getting it for Christmas!  Anna Godbersen writes the most delightful and romantic, yet suspenseful historical fiction.  If you haven't checked out her Luxe series or this one, Bright Young Things, I definitely recommend that you do!
 
What are you hoping will be under the tree for you this year?
 
Cleo :)
 
*Description and cover from goodreads.com