False Memory by Dan Krokos Book Review

Thursday, August 30, 2012 10:00 AM
Title: False Memory
Author: Dan Krokos
Published: August 14, 2012
Publisher: Hyperion
Series: False Memory #1
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Pages: 336
Source: Purchased
Rating: 3 stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

“That's what people do when they're in love. They make crazy decisions. They do what they think is best, and sometimes it turns out to be a mistake.” 
― Dan KrokosFalse Memory

Synopsis
Miranda wakes up alone on a park bench with no memory. In her panic, she releases a mysterious energy that incites pure terror in everyone around her. Except Peter, a boy who isn’t at all surprised by Miranda’s shocking ability.

Left with no choice but to trust this stranger, Miranda discovers she was trained to be a weapon and is part of an elite force of genetically-altered teens who possess flawless combat skills and powers strong enough to destroy a city. But adjusting to her old life isn’t easy—especially with Noah, the boyfriend she can’t remember loving.

Then Miranda uncovers a dark truth that sets her team on the run. Suddenly her past doesn’t seem to matter...when there may not be a future. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts
False Memory started off at a fast pace from the very beginning. This book would make a great movie because it's action-packed and suspenseful. There's tons of fighting and the characters are constantly on the run. Not to mention motorcycles and memory loss and guns. Even swords and electrically charged staffs are used! The characters are full of spunk, and they love weapons and kicking ass! Kind of reminded me of Bourne Identity. 

The premise was unique and I have to give it to Krokos for thinking outside of the box. The concept of having the mental power to spread waves of fear and panic was just so unusual and kind of scary to even consider. The opening scene shows how terrifying this power can be and was a strong scene to start on. I love stories where characters become lethal weapons or have certain abilities. This concept of living weapons called Roses, who constantly lose their memory and need memory shots, was wildly imaginative. I kept reading because I was excited to find out more about them. 

While I found the story entertaining and there wasn't a slow moment, I wasn't really invested in the characters for some reason. At first, I found Miranda's loss of memory and her search to recover her memories fascinating. I sympathized with her troubles and her need to find out her identity. But then her need to make a decision between Peter or Noah became more important than finding out who she was. It seemed like Miranda just automatically trusted these people even though she shouldn't remember them at all. Yes, they were all close, but she should've forgotten about that. I guess I wanted her acting more like an amnesiac and spending more time trying to get to know these people, such as having more in-depth conversations. Instead, her first priority becomes picking between Noah and Peter even though they should be complete strangers. Even as some of her memories returned, I don't think the feelings would have been attached. I wanted Miranda spending less time thinking about the guys and more time recollecting everything. 

I also wasn't a fan of the whole she likes him but he likes this other girl and so on scenario. I've mentioned this before with other books, but I find this often distracts from the main plot. In this case, I felt the whole love quadrangle was unnecessary and was just used as a means to move the plot forward. I would have been fine with one guy and one girl interested in each other because the plot should just be action-driven. I wanted to just learn more about the Roses and the background, but the love complications took away some of my interest. 

If you love books full of action and made to entertain, with suspense and strong characters trained to fight hardcore, this is a book you must read. The romance and characterization was so-so, but I still enjoyed reading it and will probably read the next one thanks to the dark twists at the end (no spoilers). Plus, I would really like to learn more about the Roses. 

Happy reading,

Courtney 

Waiting on Wednesday (5) - The Murmurings by Carly Anne West

Wednesday, August 29, 2012 7:17 AM
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine where you post a book that you can't wait to be released.


The Murmurings by Carly Anne West
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Expected Publication Date: March 5, 2013
384 pages
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Synopsis
Everyone thinks Sophie’s sister, Nell, went crazy. After all, she heard strange voices that drove her to commit suicide. But Sophie doesn’t believe that Nell would take her own life, and she’s convinced that Nell’s doctor knows more than he’s letting on.

As Sophie starts to piece together Nell’s last days, every lead ends in a web of lies. And the deeper Sophie digs, the more danger she’s in—because now she’s hearing the same haunting whispers. Sophie’s starting to think she’s going crazy too. Or worse, that maybe she’s not…(Goodreads)

Why I'm Waiting I actually saw this on someone's WoW last week, and I was immediately drawn in. The cover looks so creepy and the book sounds awesome! I love how the synopsis is mysterious, hardly giving away anything. But the little it does give leads me to believe this book will be a scary, dark read! Loving it! I'm excited because there are strange voices in this book. Is that normal?

What's your WoW this week?

Happy reading,

Courtney

Top Ten Bookish Confessions (4)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012 12:27 PM

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the The Broke and the Bookish where you post a top ten list based on a bookish prompt. This week's Top Ten Tuesday is:

Top Ten Bookish Confessions

1. Peeking ahead - I have no patience when it comes to reading. I hate when I do it, but I will often skip ahead in the book for romance scenes or answers because I can't wait anymore. I will go back and read everything later, but then I already know what's going to happen. Not a great habit.

2. Staying up way past my bedtime - If I love a book, I will stay up insanely late, sometimes till dawn, to finish and then I'm tired the whole next day. But it's so worth it.

3. Don't hurt my books - I'm OCD when it comes to my books. I hate any dog-eared pages or creases. If there is anything wrong with my book and I'm aware of it, my eyes will constantly be drawn to that imperfection, and I'll be screaming inside. I also have to check every book before I buy it to make sure it's in pristine condition.

4. I sniff books - I'm in love with the smell of books and bookstores, especially when there's a cafe in the bookstore. There's nothing like the combined smell of coffee and books. If you see me taking a nice big whiff of a book, don't worry. I promise I'm mentally stable.

5. I'd rather buy new books than used ones - I go to Barnes and Noble way too much, and still don't have a membership. I spend so much more on books from there because I'm not a big fan of used books. I don't know where they've been.

6. I'd rather read than socialize - I have been known to read a book and be completely anti-social. I'll read all day, taking only breaks to eat, and talk to no one. It's unhealthy.

7. I'd choose fantasy over contemporary every time - I tend to avoid realistic fiction because I read books to escape reality. Although fantasy does echo the real world, I find some realistic fiction depressing or too close to my life for comfort. Not that my life's horrible or anything, but I'd rather read something unfamiliar. But I will read realistic fiction from time to time.

8. Prefer actual books to ebooks - I have so many books that I've yet to read on my Ipad because I always read the books I have in physical copy first. I prefer the actual book to the e-book. My poor Ipad, Ivy, gets neglected sometimes. Yes, I named my Ipad. Don't judge me. :)

9. I forget to read books that I own - There are books that have been sitting on my bookshelves for years that I have yet to read. I was just not in the mood to read them or I simply forgot they existed. I'm always discovering new books I don't even remember purchasing.

10. Not a multi-tasker - I cannot eat and read. It's too much multi-tasking for this challenged girl, and I'm always terrified I'll get something on my book (which brings me back to #3).

So, those are my humiliating book confessions. I know they're crazy. What about you? What bookish habits/quirks do you have to confess?

Happy reading,

Courtney

Review: DiSemblance by Shanae Branham

10:00 AM
Title: DiSemblance 
Author: Shanae Branham
Published: August 1, 2012
Publisher: CreateSpace
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Pages: 369
Source: Author (for review)
Rating: 3 stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Synopsis
Jason Tanner’s life has always been different from the ordinary citizen’s. It started when he was an infant and his parents were only teenagers. A computer science prodigy, Lloyd attended MIT but left a pariah in the eyes of the school’s dean—but a computer physics genius in the eyes of his primary investor. Then his theories and ideas created a holographic machine and their world shrunk as contact with the outside world became less and less frequent. A computer prodigy now himself, Jason is about to learn that the world never waits for you if you have the ability to change it: it will come for you.

Detective Bruce Durante has been handed the case of the Comfort Killer, a serial killer so named because he appears to abduct terminally ill patients before returning their corpses to their families in refrigerated coffins. When he picks up the trail, it leads straight to the home of Lloyd Tanner.

Jason has been living life through the world of Lloyd’s invention and wishing he could carry on a relationship with Boston, the beautiful girl next door. When his father is murdered and framed as the Comfort Killer, he is brought back to reality in a hurry. He is forced to destroy all of the planted evidence—and finds he is being targeted as the killer’s new fall guy. But the secrets of his father’s invention run deep and Jason, his brother Isaac,Boston, the Comfort Killer, and Detective Durante hurtle towards one another on a deadly collision course that leaves everyone’s life hanging in the balance. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts

DiSemblance had such a compelling, unique premise. Jason's father's invention allowed people to enter a holographic reality, either physically or mentally. If they entered mentally, the person had the ability to manipulate the programming, changing it from a beach to maybe a gladiator like stadium, with just their mind. If someone physically entered the program through a door, they could be physically harmed from anything that happened during the program's running time, which definitely raised the stakes. Besides the futuristic technology, there was a dark twist with the Comfort Killer. The Comfort Killer was a creepy but complex character, as he kidnapped terminally ill patients and killed them by denying them medical treatment. But what really fascinated me about the Comfort Killer was that he provided the coffins and funded the funeral services to help the grieving families. Spooky, huh? It was cool to see this science fiction theme and murder mystery collide and unravel together.

Recommend A...Book With A Character That Plays A Sport (3)

Monday, August 27, 2012 12:00 AM
Recommend A... is a weekly meme hosted by Chick Loves Lit where you recommend a book based on a prompt. This week's is Recommend A...Book With A Character That Plays A Sport.


The Deep End of Fear by Elizabeth Chandler

Twelve years ago Kate's family left the Westbrook estate on a stormy night, just after young Ashley Westbrook drowned in an icy pond. Now Kate, alone in the world, has returned to the estate to tutor another spoiled Westbrook child, Patrick. The seven-year-old says he talks to Ashley by the pond. He does dangerous, deadly things because, he says, "Ashley dared me to." Just as Ashley once dared a shy, little Kate twelve years ago.

But at seventeen Kate is not so easily intimidated by "Ashley" or hostile members of her family or the forbidding housekeeper. Then Sam, the handsome stranger to whom Kate is irresistibly drawn, reveals a tragic piece of the puzzle that connects him to Kate. Sam tells Kate to leave -- either out of concern for her or due to a festering anger, she's not sure. But Kate will not abandon Patrick to the evil that is haunting him and threatens to destroy them all. (Goodreads)


This book is old school. This is the fourth book in the Dark Secrets series, but they are companion novels and don't need to be read in a certain order. Each novel has a different mystery and different characters, but all four take place in the same town. My favorite is probably the first, Legacy of Lies, but they are all great, fast reads. I reread this series SO MANY times in high school. Just countless times. I loved the creepy feel, the suspense, and the romances were always really sweet. They were my guilty pleasure. Plus, Sam plays ice hockey in this book. Probably one of the few books I've read where a character plays a sport. I'm horrible when it comes to sports. As in I'm a danger to everyone. So, I try to avoid reading books about sports. It can be traumatic. 

What's your Recommend A? 

Happy reading, 

Courtney

The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson Book Review

Sunday, August 26, 2012 11:24 AM
Title: The Sky Is Everywhere
Author: Jandy Nelson
Published: March 9, 2010
Publisher: Dial
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Pages: 288
Source: Library
Rating: 5 stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

“The sky is everywhere, it begins at your feet.” 
― Jandy NelsonThe Sky Is Everywhere

Synopsis
Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker, bookworm and band geek, plays second clarinet and spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulted to center stage of her own life - and, despite her nonexistent history with boys, suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two. Toby was Bailey's boyfriend; his grief mirrors Lennie's own. Joe is the new boy in town, a transplant from Paris whose nearly magical grin is matched only by his musical talent. For Lennie, they're the sun and the moon; one boy takes her out of her sorrow, the other comforts her in it. But just like their celestial counterparts, they can't collide without the whole wide world exploding. (Goodreads) 

My Thoughts
Wow. Just wow. My heart is still aching. This book was so beautifully written, in such a poetic style. Maybe the poet in me couldn't help but love it. Reading The Sky Is Everywhere was either like drinking a cup of sunshine or swallowing shards of glass, depending on the scene, because it was both lovely and painful. What can you expect about a book focused around grieving and coming to terms with a loved one's death?  I simply could not stop reading, as if I had no power over my eyes, and I finished this in a few hours last night. I can't believe how crushed I was when I finished, wishing I could start all over again fresh. 

The Sky Is Everywhere intermixed literature and poetry so well, the author made it look easy. As a Bronte fan, I loved how Lennie was obsessed with Wuthering Heights and read it again and again. All the classic literature, the music, and the scattered poetry added something so powerful to the story. I love when characters have a passion, whether it be writing or music or anything, because it makes them more 3-dimensional. And so many characters in The Sky Is Everywhere had passions, from music to writing to gardening to arboriculture to painting. I loved the addition of Lennie's poems between each chapter, written on to-go cups, napkins, or anything she could find. These poems were her way of exploring her sister's death. Then there was Gram, with her beautiful paintings all in green. And Uncle Big with his pyramids and exploding cakes. Toby with his horses and animals and Joe with his instruments. It was lovely how different people had different comforts. 

The Walker family was wonderfully strange. Their quirks, beliefs, and secret rituals made them endlessly entertaining. I loved how the garden kept coming up, with its flowers and their supposedly secret influences. And it was touching to see how much her family loved Lennie, trying to protect her from her mother's absence. Even Bailey, absent from the book obviously, had secrets to reveal and a significant place in Lennie's memories. She was always present in someone's thoughts. I loved all the characters, from Gram to Uncle Big to Sarah, the goth-grunge-punk-hippie-rocker-emo-core-metal-freak-fashionista-brain-geek-boycrazy-hiphop-rastagirl, who was an awesome friend to Lennie. I love seeing close, meaningful friendships in books because usually the romance is only focused on. Then there was Toby and Joe who were complex, Toby such a shattered person and Joe such a wonderful but vulnerable guy. 

I will be honest and say that I didn't always love Lennie. I sympathized with her pain and her grieving, but I didn't necessarily like how she mourned her sister. Some people might take drugs or participate in reckless behavior, but Lennie mourned by exploring her sexuality with two different guys. Hard-ons came up a lot in this book. And I don't mean came up as in conversation because they literally came up. Joe and Toby had to hide their hard-ons frequently. It was amusing. But while I hated how Lennie couldn't decide between the two gorgeous guys, I tried to understand how she was stuck between two choices. One guy was sharing her grief and was a memory of the past and Bailey, while the other was a chance for true love and happiness and a way to move on from Bailey. It was painful at times to read this book, but while I didn't agree with some of Lennie's decisions, I loved how the book came together and the story was devastatingly beautiful. Plus, the romance was too sweet. 

So, I am finally finished gushing about this book. I requested it from the library, but I can see myself eventually buying the book because I loved it that much! A new favorite! It had so many great quotes. Here's one: 

All her knowledge is gone now. Everything she ever learned, or heard, or saw. Her particular way of looking at Hamlet or daisies or thinking about love, all her private intricate thoughts, her inconsequential secret musings – they’re gone too. I heard this expression once: Each time someone dies, a library burns. I’m watching it burn right to the ground.

To make a long story short, read The Sky Is Everywhere.

Happy reading,

Courtney

Feature and Follow Friday #5

Thursday, August 23, 2012 10:26 PM

Feature & Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. Two blogs are featured weekly, chosen from last week's Feature and Follow participants. This week's features are Book Me! (I'm an old follower) and Awesomesauce Book Club! The meme also helps bloggers find new blogs to follow and gain more followers. For more details, click the button above. 

This Friday's question is: 

Worst cover? What is the worst cover of a book that you've read and loved? 

Heart of the Falcon by Suzanne Robinson 

Those who know me well know I love anything ancient Egypt (I have an ankh necklace) so I was ecstatic when I discovered this book takes place in ancient Egypt. This is easily one of the ugliest covers I've ever seen, but I loved the book. It was recommended by a friend who loves anything Egyptian too, and it is such a good story and a steamy romance. Definitely adult though, but I wasn't complaining. 

What's your worst cover? 

Happy reading, 

Courtney 

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green Book Review

12:00 AM
Title: The Fault in Our Stars 
Author: John Green
Published: January 10, 2012
Publisher: Dutton Books
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Pages: 313
Source: Purchased
Rating: 4 stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

“My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations.” 
― John GreenThe Fault in Our Stars

Synopsis
Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now. 

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault. 

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind. (Goodreads) 

My Thoughts
This is my first John Green book. Please don't judge me. I try to avoid cancer books because I've lost too many family members and animals to cancer. I just can't handle the waterworks. I'll be curled up in a ball, rocking myself, going why why as Niagara Falls pours down my face. Okay, dramatic, I know. But this was like The Book Thief all over again. Two things I can't handle emotionally: cancer and the Holocaust. Oh, and dying animals (p.s. no animals were harmed in the writing of The Fault in Our Stars).  

Despite the tears and the inevitable sadness of Stage IV thyroid cancer, I still loved The Fault in Our Stars. The Fault in Our Stars was beautifully written, even the sad scenes. Despite the ever-present subject of dying, Green managed to skillfully intertwine humor and sadness, making the story all the more poignant. One moment, I would be fighting off tears, and the next I'd be laughing out loud. I honestly don't know how he did it. And there was poetry! As a poet, I'm all about poems in YA books or any books. Green fit philosophy, literature, and poetry into the story, and all of it was relevant to the plot. It flowed naturally, and it didn't seem like he was simply including quotes in order to appear highly intellectual. And "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" is one of my top favorite poems EVER. Good job Green! 

Green developed his characters so well. I felt like I knew them, and I wanted them to be real simply because I felt connected to them. I felt what they were feeling, whether it was happiness, despair, or anger. I loved their quirks, their ability to find happiness in the bleakest of situations. I loved their strengths and their weaknesses, their compassion and their hobbies. The video games, the books, the oxygen tank named Philip, and the little sayings they said to comfort each other fit wonderfully into the story. I couldn't help adoring Hazel and Augustus and Isaac. Especially Augustus. His energy and affection for Hazel was adorable.  I think it's so hilarious though that he's a gorgeous, blue-eyed (Elijah Wood) cancer patient who knows big words and loves V for Vendetta. And they said so much in their conversation. I learned things I didn't want to know about the world and humanity and mortality, and it was all so meaningful. 

But I was not a fan of the 35 year olds trapped in teenage bodies. It distracted me from the main plot and messed with my head. Okay, maybe cancer changes you, or forces you to leave childhood behind earlier than you'd like. But even the adults in this book were taken aback by Hazel's and Augustus's behavior. Their parents even recognized their children were weird. Because they were really weird. Sometimes it was endearing, but other times, it was annoying. It was a little too much for me, even if I chose to suspend disbelief or something like that. Augustus admits he's pretentious, and I have to agree. I just can't imagine teenagers saying what these two said. It was as if they had recited speeches for every minute of the day. 

Besides that, I really did enjoy The Fault in Our Stars. While it made me cry, I know it will last in my memory for a long time! It was definitely a more than worthwhile read. 

Happy reading, 

Courtney 

Waiting on Wednesday (4) - The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

Wednesday, August 22, 2012 7:16 AM
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine where you post a book that you are anxiously awaiting.

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Expected Publication Date: December 18, 2012
496 pages
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Synopsis
When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have been cursed with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby has spent nearly half her life desperately trying to hide the fact that she’s outwitted the camp’s sorting system—that she isn’t powerless, or safe. She’s one of the dangerous ones… and everyone knows what happens to them.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of teens who escaped their own camp, pursued along the way by terrifying bounty hunters. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close to him. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Before the end, Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living. (Goodreads) 

Why I'm Waiting
A mysterious disease? And frightening abilities they can't control? Count me in! Ruby sounds like she's a kicka** heroine which is a definite plus. Seems like my kind of read. Some suspense, romance, and a dystopian world. And bounty hunters. I love me some bounty hunters. That's a unique touch. This book looks fantastic. And I'm just loving the cover for some reason. It calls to me. Yes, I'm that strange. 

What's your WoW?

Happy reading,

Courtney

Blood Red Road by Moira Young Book Review

Tuesday, August 21, 2012 10:00 AM
Title: Blood Red Road 
Author: Moira Young
Published: June 7, 2011
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Series: Dust Lands Trilogy #1
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Pages: 459
Source: Purchased
Rating: 4.5 stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

“I never knew that missin somebody could hurt, I says. But it does. Deep inside. Like it's in my bones. We ain't never bin apart till now. Never. I dunno how to be without him. It's like... I ain't nuthin.” 
― Moira YoungBlood Red Road

Synopsis
Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving only landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That's fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around. But when a monster sandstorm arrives, along with four cloaked horsemen, Saba's world is shattered. Lugh is captured, and Saba embarks on an epic quest to get him back.
Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the world outside of desolate Silverlake, Saba is lost without Lugh to guide her. So perhaps the most surprising thing of all is what Saba learns about herself: she's a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. And she has the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization. (Goodreads)
The Book 
I loved, loved, LOVED this book! Did you hear I loved this book? Because I did! This was a hidden gem. I discovered it on someone's blog, and I had never heard of it before. I'm so happy I came across it!

This book defines the word dystopia. This dystopia has cage fighting, a band of women freedom fighters, and flipping huge man-eating worms that come out at night from underground with huge claws! It even had bad grammar! If that's not a dystopian world, I don't know what is! The bad grammar actually worked because no one's speech was flawless, and it didn't bother me. It was more authentic. Saba's adventures are wild and, well, adventurous. She isn't always saved in the nick of time. She doesn't have any magical wishes or a knight in shining armor. She does have a crow though. I love Nero! 

Saba is fierce. She is kickass! In the absence of her twin brother, she discovers she's a force to be reckoned with. While Jack saves her a couple of times, she also saves him. And she fights like a pro. All of the women in this book are amazing! I almost wanted to scream girlpower! a couple of times. No lie. The Free Hawks are just as fearsome and vicious as Saba, but they become fast friends of Saba's and loyal to the death. I loved them all! Even Epona who made me think of Link's horse from Legend of Zelda. I kept expecting to hear her neigh. Even Saba's little sister Emmi earned my respect with her bravery and devotion. 

As for the romance, I loved Jack! At first, he comes off as the stereotypical, bad boy. But he really isn't. He shows a sweeter side, and he isn't an a**hole which is refreshing. Plus, he actually lets Saba do her own thing! When she wants to save someone's skin or go off on an adventure, he doesn't pull her back and say let me do it, I'll protect you. He encourages her! He might join her, but he doesn't try to stop her. Holy crap! They work together. Jack complements Saba's tough, prickly attitude. Though she did start to annoy me after awhile because she can be so awful to Jack. But he keeps coming back, with a smirk on his face, like some masochist. He even sings to her, but I do like the song he sings, even though she's clueless it's about her.

So if I loved this book so much, why did I give it a 4.5? First off, I missed having quotation marks. There were none. It was a different approach and I didn't like it. Sometimes, I had to backtrack and figure out if Saba was thinking or speaking. But the main reason was because the ending was a little too predictable and just not as amazing as the rest of the book. But while this is a part of a series, the ending could have been a real ending. It wrapped up very nicely, if predictably, and provided some closure. So, that's a definite plus!

I cannot wait for the sequel Rebel Heart coming out October 30th! 

Happy reading,

Courtney

In My Mailbox (1)

Sunday, August 19, 2012 11:43 AM

This is my first In My Mailbox! In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren where you showcase the books you received, bought, borrowed, or whatever in the past week. I can't wait to read all of the books shown below! 

Purchased (Books for Less): 
Delirium (Delirium #1) by Lauren Oliver
The Riddle (Pellinor #2) by Alison Croggon
The Mysterious Howling (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place #1) by Maryrose Wood
Unearthly (Unearthly #1) by Cynthia Hand
Hallowed (Unearthly #2) by Cynthia Hand

From library:
Terrier (Beka Cooper #1) by Tamora Pierce
Goliath (Leviathan #3) by Scott Westerfeld
Angelfire (Angelfire #1) by Courtney Allison Moulton

Purchased (Amazon):
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Blood Red Road (Dustlands #1) by Moira Young 
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Oh, and I almost forgot this one. 


E-book (for review): 
Colonization (Paradise Reclaimed #1) by Aubrie Dionne

And I just realized, stupid me, that I checked out the third Leviathan book when I haven't read Behemoth yet. Not the smartest thing I've done. I'm reading Blood Red Road right now! Awesome book so far!

Happy reading, 

Courtney

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta Book Review

Saturday, August 18, 2012 10:14 PM
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: August 28, 2006
419 pages
Rating: 5 stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble

“My father took one hundred and thirty-two minutes to die."
― Melina MarchettaJellicoe Road

Synopsis
Abandoned on Jellicoe Road by her mother at the age of eleven, Taylor Markham is now the reluctant leader of her boarding school dorm at age seventeen. Hannah, the closest thing Taylor has to family and her House coordinator, disappears. And Taylor's confronted by the past when Jonah Griggs comes back to town as leader of the Cadets, making the territory wars all the more difficult with his intense stare. 

With each clue Taylor finds, she has more questions, such as where has Hannah disappeared to, why did her mother dump her, what did the Hermit whisper in her ear before he killed himself, why does Jonah affect her so, and who are the five teenagers in Hannah's manuscript? As she uncovers the secrets of the past, she learns more about herself than she ever knew. 

My Thoughts
So, I finally got around to reading this. Wow. Just wow. I've read Marchetta before, and while I was less than impressed with Froi of the Exiles, I loved Finnikin of the Rock, and Jellicoe Road was my favorite of all. Despite all the recommendations and positive reviews for this book, I originally read the plot synopsis and thought this isn't my type of book. But I love when I'm proven wrong! Jellicoe Road was a phenomenal read, and there were shivers going down my spine when I finished. 

While the book started off slow and a little confusing, Marchetta masterfully developed the tension between the feuding territories and the chilling mysteries of Jellicoe Road. I liked how the story sort of eased into itself, and it wasn't long before I couldn't put this book down. I was fascinated by Taylor's haunting story and eager to find answers. Every chapter was written beautifully, and the story flipped smoothly between Taylor's POV and Hannah's manuscript. Hannah's story was reminiscent of The Breakfast Club, with a group of close friends tested by tragedy, and it was touching and poignant. I found myself loving each and every one of the characters. All of the mysterious five in Hannah's manuscript, Jessa, Raffy, Ben, Santangelo, Santangelo's dad, Hannah, and the Brigadier. And can't forget Chairman Meow. No one was hanging in the background, fading into insignificance, because everyone played their role. 

Taylor and Jonah were my favorite characters. The romance was wonderfully set up because it was realistic. Both of them were broken and haunted by their pasts, and it took them some time to trust in each other. There were no rainbows or puppies, but their relationship just worked so well and developed naturally. Nonetheless, there were some sweet, touching moments shared between them. I just couldn't get enough of these two together. 

I'm still a bit confused about the schooling system in Australia, as this story takes place near Sydney. But it didn't confuse me enough to interfere with my enjoyment. I loved how they spelled curb kerb and how French kissing is pashing. The territory wars were so entertaining to read about, and there were some hilarious scenes that I enjoyed so much. Plus, the connection between all of the students at Taylor's school was adorable and heartwarming. 

As for the mystery, it was wonderful how every element was beautifully interwoven. Everything came together in such a surprising, clever way. It was genius. Which explains my shivers at the ending. 

Jellicoe Road is a new favorite! I'm in love with this incredible, awe-inspiring book! 

And here's Fat Cat again because she read Jellicoe Road too! She gave it one out of five tails because she was confused. She's not a big fan of mystery, but she loved Chairman Meow. 




Happy reading, 

Courtney 

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan Book Review

Friday, August 17, 2012 9:31 PM
Title: The Forest of Hands and Teeth 
Author: Carrie Ryan
Published: March 10, 2009
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Series: The Forest of Hands and Teeth #1
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal, Dystopian
Pages: 308
Source: Library
Rating: 1 star
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

“I want to sleep, I want dreams to pull me from this world and make me forget. To stop the memories from swirling around me. To put an end to this ache that consumes me.” 
― Carrie RyanThe Forest of Hands and Teeth

Synopsis
In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. 

But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. 

When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death? (Goodreads)

My Thoughts 
I wasn't a big fan of The Forest of Hands and Teeth. I hate writing negative reviews, but I have to be honest. This book is what would happen if one girl decided she just had to go to the beach for vacation, despite the fact that zombies are everywhere and everyone might die. 

I couldn't stand Mary. She's the type of girl in scary movies that makes you want to yell at the screen he's right behind you because she's just so stupid. Instead of running for her life when zombies attack, she just stands there and takes the time to think about life. Or Travis. She thinks about Travis so much. You're not going to get with Travis if you're dead or a zombie, Mary. So move! Or she would reach out to the zombies like she wanted a handshake. I had no sympathy for her. She makes the stupidest decisions with the dumbest logic, and puts everybody at risk. Plus, nothing is ever good enough for her. She just has to get to the beach. They're safe, but she needs to see that flipping ocean! 

I also can't stand the whole she loves him but he loves her but she loves the other guy thing going on in The Forest of Hands and Teeth. It was too A Midsummer Night's Dream. I love A Midsummer Night's Dream, but that was a comedy. The romance in this book wasn't for comedic effect, and it just didn't work at all. It made absolutely no sense. There was no reason why Travis wasn't Mary's betrothed from the beginning, but everyone said it had to be that way. Mary had to be engaged to Harry from the start despite the fact that she loved Travis. Yet her best friend Cass, Travis's betrothed, doesn't even love Travis. She loves Harry! See! Isn't that confusing? There was really no explanation why everybody had to be heartbroken. The Sisterhood just wanted everyone to be miserable, apparently? 

I felt absolutely no connection to any of the characters in The Forest of Hands and Teeth. Some of them were just mean. Like Mary's brother, Jed, and I found it difficult to like him later on in the book. Travis kept saying Oh, Mary. Oh, Mary. Harry was oblivious, but he was adorable, and I don't know why Mary found him to be such a repulsive choice as husband. As stated before, Mary made stupid decisions and she still went after Travis despite his engagement to her best friend. Not cool! Cass never stopped whining or crying, making the whole situation worse. Plus, Cass was a horrible best friend. She was engaged to Travis, and I'm pretty sure she knew Mary loved him. Still, not an excuse for Mary to go after him. Here's the lesson learned from this: don't ever let a guy ruin your friendship! Not that they seemed to be that close after all. 

The Forest of Hands and Teeth was a little slow as well. I did like the name of the forest: The Forest of Hands and Teeth, obviously. Very creepy. And the premise had potential, but there were just so many questions left unanswered about their history, the Return, and the power of the Sisterhood and the Guardians. Plus, I wasn't satisfied with the ending at all.

I apologize for all the negativity, but The Forest of Hands and Teeth just wasn't my type of book at all. So, I won't be reading the next one. 

Happy reading,

Courtney 

Feature and Follow #4

12:35 AM


Feature & Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. It's an awesome meme that allows you to find new book blogs to follow and gain followers all at the same time! They also feature two book blogs every week. 

This Friday's question is: 

What blogger inspires you? 

This is a toughie because I follow so many blogs I love. But I think my greatest inspirations are Poetry to ProseReading Writing Breathing, and The Bookshelf. But I am inspired by so many more blogs. Like Chapter by Chapter and Nice Girls Read Books. I'm failing majorly at picking just one. Sorry, but all of the blogs I follow are awesome and I am motivated by their awesomeness. 

Plus, my friend inspired me to start a book blog like her. And I love her so much and all of her help! Late Nights with Good Books! Couldn't have done it without her! 

What blogger inspires you? 

Happy reading, 

Courtney 

Review: Speechless by Hannah Harrington

Thursday, August 16, 2012 12:32 AM
Title: Speechless
Author: Hannah Harrington
Published: August 28, 2012
Publisher: HarlequinTeen
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Pages: 288
Source: Netgalley
Rating: 3 stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
“Hate is... It's too easy. Love. Love takes courage.”
― Hannah Harrington, Speechless

Synopsis
Everyone knows that Chelsea Knot can't keep a secret

Until now. Because the last secret she shared turned her into a social outcast—and nearly got someone killed.

Now Chelsea has taken a vow of silence—to learn to keep her mouth shut, and to stop hurting anyone else. And if she thinks keeping secrets is hard, not speaking up when she's ignored, ridiculed and even attacked is worse.

But there's strength in silence, and in the new friends who are, shockingly, coming her way—people she never noticed before; a boy she might even fall for. If only her new friends can forgive what she's done. If only she can forgive herself. (Goodreads)
My Thoughts
I have been reading books at a rip-roaring speed because this is my last week off before I start at my new job! Yay! Exciting and nerve-wracking! So, I have been trying to make a dent in my TBR pile before I start. Even though I will have less time for reading, my book blog will still be a BIG part of my life. Since reading will always be a BIG part of my life. I need to read. Okay, onto the book review.

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows Book Review

Wednesday, August 15, 2012 2:12 PM

Speechless by Jodi Meadows
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: January 31, 2012
374 pages, Newsoul series
Rating: 4 stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble

“There's always the option of deciding for yourself who you are and what you'll become.” 
― Jodi MeadowsIncarnate

Synopsis
New soul

Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

No soul

Even Ana's own mother thinks she's a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she'll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?

Heart

Sam believes Ana's new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana's enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else's life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all? (Goodreads)

My Thoughts
Incarnate was a phenomenal read. Anything with dragons and a masquerade is most likely my kind of book. I was surprised by its mixed reviews. It was such a fascinating read and the world Meadows built was breathtakingly beautiful. I can see why many people might find it a little strange. I mean, Sam has lived many lifetimes and is actually very old despite his young looks while Ana is only 18 years old. Plus, people have been reincarnated as different genders, so everyone has been both female and male. But I didn't find this unsettling. First of all, we all love vampire romances, and vampires are just as old, if not older, as Sam. And I found the reincarnation insanely creative and amusing as people were romantically involved in one life and related in another. 

The world Meadows builds in Incarnate is wild. It has so many otherworldly creatures, like sylph, unicorns, centaurs, and dragons. The city of Heart is actually alive, and its walls have a pulse. Everything outside the city walls has a deadly beauty. There were some creepy aspects. A doorless temple rising endlessly into the sky, an empty city just waiting for settlers, and the haunting moans of the sylph. 

Ana and Sam were wonderful together. As anybody can tell from earlier books I've read, I love me some romance though it isn't necessary for an awesome book. This romance developed at a leisurely place, but that made it all the more meaningful. Sam was such a sweetie, and I found myself sympathizing with Ana. She had been through a lot after being raised by a hateful mother. Li was one evil b***h. Despite all of her years of suffering, Ana managed to be strong. She really was a lovely character. 

And the masquerade. Got to love the masquerade. My favorite scene in the entire book!

I would have liked a little more action. And I don't mean Sam and Ana ripping each other's clothes off. There were a couple of dragon fights and sylph attacks, but I wanted to see more creatures and interactions between Ana and other characters. There was a lot of scenes with Sam and Ana, and also Stef and Sine from time to time, but I wanted more about the other characters. I know. I'm greedy. I have so many questions unanswered as well. About Heart, the reincarnations, the fantasy creatures, but I'm sure they'll be answered in the upcoming books. 

Overall, Incarnate was a fantastic read and I'd recommend it to any YA fantasy lovers. I cannot wait for the sequel Asunder which is expected on January 29, 2013! 

Happy reading,

Courtney
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