Sunday, December 25, 2011

Review: Crossed

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

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...

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
**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

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…

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
**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

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.

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
**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

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.

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
**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 :)