Sunday, November 30, 2014

Leah's November Reads

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake
The Merciless by Danielle Vega
The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Don't Look Back by Jennifer Armentrout
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer by Laxmi Hariharan
The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda
A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
Under Different Stars by Amy Bartol
Unteachable by Leah Raeder

November was kind of a tough month for me book wise. I was in a big rut after finishing City of Glass and had a killer book hangover. I started and stopped at least four different books and just could not get into anything. It felt like every book I did read was pretty mediocre, so it was just adding to my hangover. Angela was feeling the same way, so we did a book swap. We both filled a tote bag full of books that we thought the other would enjoy and swapped. We have similar tastes, so it was the perfect way to find good books without having to search!

My favorite book this month doesn't have a clear cut winner. There was a tie between The Retribution of Mara Dyer, City of Glass, and A Thousand Pieces of You. Retribution was the final book in the Mara Dyer series, so it was like the end of an era. I got all the conclusion I needed for Mara and Noah, so while I am sad it is over, I am happy that I got what I needed. CoG is the best book of The Mortal Instrument series that I have read so far. It took me forever to get through it, but once I finally finished it... OMG. This is what put me into such a bad hangover. It was SO awesome that my brain was just completely dead after finishing. I just couldn't bring myself to read anything else because I just wanted more Jace, Clary, Sebastian, Simon, Alec, and Magnus. This series will be the death of me though because it is such an emotional roller coaster. It is definitely one of my all time favorites. ATPoY was sooooo good. I am loving the trend of time/dimension travel books lately, and this one just was so well done. The world building was breathtaking, and I just loved the characters. I can't wait to see where the series goes.

That was all until I read Unteachable by Leah Raeder. This book was in the bag I borrowed from Angela. When describing the book to me, she said two words: HOT TEACHER. So I went into it knowing there was a hot teacher and lots of steamy scenes. Within the first few chapters, I found myself blushing uncontrollably and feeling like this was the type of book I needed to read in private because it was so, SO detailed during the steamy scenes. I kind of kept up the impression that this book was just going to be lots of steam, but only surface deep as far as story.

Man, was I wrong. This book reached inside of my chest and grabbed my heart and twisted it before yanking it out and throwing it on the floor and stomping on it. Maise is such a kick ass character. In fact, I really want to take her and transport her into all other YA books that I've read just to see what she would do. She is raw and rough around the edges and slutty in all the wrong daddy issues kind of ways, but she knows it and she owns it. She knows her life is one big screw up, but she tries her hardest to just keep her head above water so she can not end up like her dealer mom. The relationship she has with Evan is so taboo and inappropriate on every tradition scale. But the funny thing about it all is that he is just as screwed up as her. They are both very broken and together they come together and force the pieces of themselves together to make something real. This isn't a happy love story. Yeah, there are happy parts, but like any real love story, their are parts that make you feel high as a kite and then kick your legs out from under you.


The last quarter of the book I cried my freaking eyes out. My heart hurt for Maise because of Evan, Wesley, Siobhan, the mom, Hyman (I know that's not her name but that's what I called that effing C U Next Tuesday in my head), and just whole screwed up her life really was. The ending of the book was perfect. It has you on the edge of your seat and biting down every last bit of nail you have...... and then the ending. Bravo, Leah Raeder. You successfully made me feel all the feels and made me identify with every single one of your characters in some way. This book is one of the best books I've read all year, and it definitely falls into the "holy cow I didn't realize how good this was going to be" category.

Just as a heads up, there is sex. Lots and lots of sex. Steamy sex that you probably want to read when you're by yourself with not even your dog in the room with you. Actually, you'll probably want to read most of the book in the shower to keep yourself from overheating. Also there is a lot of explicit language. Maise's favorite word is the F bomb, so if you're not a fan of that, then this isn't your book. If I could give this more than 5 stars I would. It was absolutely amazing.

5/5 stars


I have a HUGE.... HUGE TBR list for December. I have the books from Angela to finish as well as some recent purchases PLUS a huge book haul that is my Christmas present from my puppies (they helped me pick them out, of course). I feel super optimistic that next month will be better than next, so get ready for lots of reviews!

Angela's November Reads

Angela's November Reads: 
Hey ya'll! Can you believe it's already December?! Where did the year go? It's insane how fast this year has come and gone. Sorry Leah and I haven't been on for a few days. We've both been so busy with work, family in town, and we both had a few days off for Thanksgiving...That didn't however stop us from doing a ton of reading. 

We will be playing catch up this up coming week and will be posting a lot of reviews for the books we read in November. I read 20 books this month... THAT IS INSANE! Leah and I did a book swap while we waited to do our giant December book hauls. This gave me so many new and amazing things to read. Below is the list of everything I got my hands on and read in November. If there is already a review up for it you'll be able to click the titles and go straight to the reviews. If there isn't a review for them there will be soon!

A Thousand Pieces of You: Claudia Gray
Pure (Covenant 2): Jennifer L. Armentrout
The Chaos of Stars: Kiersten White
Beautiful Bastard: Christina Lauren
Under Different Stars: Amy Bartol
Fire in the Woods: Jennifer M. Eaton
The 100: Morgan Kass
Wallbanger: Alice Clayton
The Retribution of Mara Dyer: Michelle Hodkins
Unteachable: Leah Raeder
The Ring and the Crown: Melissa de la Cruz (broke up with)
Mystic City: Theo Lawrence
The Program: Suzanne Young
Blue Lily, Lily Blue (Raven cycle 3): Maggie Stiefvater
The Dream Thieves (Raven Cycle 2):  Maggie Stiefvater
In the Afterlight (Darkest Minds 3): Alex Bracken
These Broken Stars: Amie Kaufman &  Megan Spooner 
Beg: C.D Reiss
The Black Mage: Rachel E. Carter
The Jewel: Amy Ewing

As far as the best books I read this month hands down they have to be Under Different Stars by Amy Bartol, Unteachable by Leah Raeder, The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkins, and The Program by Suzanne Young. All four of those books have reviews on our blog and links are above. These four books have stolen my heart. Each was so different from the last and really made my November reading amazing. Of all four though Under Different Stars would be my top pick. It is the start of a new series (The Kricket Series) and I believe book two comes out in March so if you haven't had a chance to pick it up there's still time. And if you haven't read my review on it there's still time for that too! It's spoil free and amazing (not to toot my own horn lol).

When it came to books that disappointed me this month some of them were Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater, The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White, Beg by C.D Reiss and The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz. I know that I'm in the minority when it comes to Blue Lily, Lily Blue and I'm okay with that, and TR&TC is the only book I had to break up with this month. It had to many POVs and randomness to it I found it hard to connect too. BUT the biggest let down was Mystic City by Theo Lawrence I was so excited to read it. Everything from it's cover too it's description looked amazing. Sadly it wasn't. I already have a review up for it on the blog and the link is above like the others.

So yeah I guess you could say that November was a little heavier on the blah reads side, but the books that I loved this month really made it become one of my favorite months this year.
This week or next I will be posting my reviews for The Jewel, The Black Mage, Pure, and Beg. I can't wait to start my end of the year reading and wrap up!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren

Beautiful Bastard by: Christina Lauren

Hardworking, smart, sassy, and on her way to an MBA, Chloe Mills has only one problem: her boss, Bennett Ryan. He's exacting, rude, blunt, inconsiderate, and completely irresistible. Bennett has returned to Chicago from France to take a vital role in his family's massive media business. He never expected that the assistant who'd been helping him from abroad and has worked for his family for awhile now to be gorgeous and completely infuriating. Despite what people say around the water cooler, he's never been one for a workplace hookup. But Chloe's so tempting he might be willing to smash all the rules if it means he can smash her all over the office. As their appetites for one another increase to a breaking point, Bennett and Chloe must decide exactly what they're willing to lose in order to win each other.

If you read or follow our blog at all then you know that once or twice a month I like to break out my norm and read something a little more.... more... I'm sure you get what I mean. Well this month I read Beautiful Bastard. It was mmmm interesting. This probably wont be the longest review ever but I will give you some kind of sum up of everything.  

Chloe is a witty, silver tongued leading lady who can dish it out as well as take it in. As far as character development goes she doesn't really have any. She was funny but as the story went along I liked her less. At the start of the novel I really liked her bluntness and how up front she was about everything. As it went on though I started to care less and less for her. Everyone keeps saying how smart she is but yet she never really gets to display her intelligence. As for Mr. Bennett he was the complete opposite. As the story went on I liked him more and more. He went from this un-realistic to good to be true man to an actual person. He made the book interesting, and had the character development that we didn't get from Chloe.... Plus he sounds Smokin' Hawt!

As far as the plot goes, well, there really isn't to much of one. This story is based almost 100% on steamy scenes, and sometimes I was like:


 










Goodness gracious this is hot....

and sometimes I was like:













This is just a little too much, and not in a good way.  

Overall though this book is a quick, fun, and hot read with a few moments of ehh mixed in. I really liked how the story played out and the ending was actually pretty cute.

It was a really good book to read in between series, but I don't think I'll be reading book two. I just don't think there's really anywhere for it to go. 

7.5/10 Stars 

-Angela

 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White

The Chaos of Stars by: Kiersten White

Isadora's family is seriously screwed up which comes with the territory when you're the human daughter of the ancient Egyptian gods Isis and Osiris. Isadora is always living in shadows of someone so when she gets the chance to move to California with her brother, she jumps on it. She slowly learns through drama and complications that there is no way to have a clean break from your family.

I was so interested in this book because the cover art so is amazing on it. Then I saw all the mixed reviews around it and thought mmm this is even more intriguing to me. So I picked it up... and read... and read... and read... Then found myself looking for excuses not to read it. I became very bored with this book pretty fast. The reason I was so bored with it was because it was predictable and bland.

The leading lady is Isadora who is the mortal daughter of two Egyptian Gods. Since her family has had little a million kids she makes it VERY clear that she is over looked and normal. When I say VERY I mean VERY to the point where you'll wanna pull your nails off because it's rather annoying.

She moves out and goes to live with her brother in Cali, where she gets a job at a museum... Queue in convenient hottie in 3, 2, 1. Orion or Ry who just conveniently has the same name as the constellation she is always talking about. How... Yes convenient.

Then of course they can't be together but will try to find a way to make it work. Then White tries to throw in some Greek mythology. Oh and the hot mess express just arrived bring in the rest of the story.

Though the concept behind this star crossed love story was amazing it just didn't follow through. This story is sprinkled with some beautiful quotes.... Like this:

“I didn't fall in love with you. I walked into love with you, with my eyes wide open, choosing to take every step along the way. I do believe in fate and destiny, but I also believe we are only fated to do the things that we'd choose anyway. And I'd choose you; in a hundred lifetimes, in a hundred worlds, in any version of reality, I'd find you and I'd choose you”

Don't let your panties drop just yet, because the bad puns really overshadowed everything. I think if I heard "Whore Us" one more time I might just lock myself in my own tomb and die. Not only is the story over shadowed by bad puns the author felt it necessary to body shame pregnant moms everywhere.
 


This didn't flow well. It was (for me) really hard to get through.
Overall I can sum this whole story up for you in a short sentence. Two hotties fall in love mainly because they are both flawless hotties.

Your Welcome

3/10 Stars
-Angela

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Flesh-giving Giveaway!



We have officially been a blog for about three months now! Hooray! We have the best readers and friends on social media, and without all of y'all none of this would have been possible. We have gained SO many followers on Instagram through blog tours we have been apart of and by word of mouth. As a thank you and a happy Thanksgiving (or just happy Thursday to our international readers), we are hosting a Flesh-giving (get it? Flesh-giving? Cuz it is a zombie book and it's Thanksgiving? We're hilarious!) giveaway!


We have TWO copies of Rot and Ruin to giveaway to TWO lucky winners. All you have to do is comment on this post with your email and Instagram name (so we can contact you to get your address to ship you the book) and follow us on Instagram (@southernbredbooks).

The giveaway is open starting today (11/22) and ends on Thanksgiving day (11/27). Don't forget to comment with your email so we know how to contact you!! 


The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

I borrowed this book from Angela like three months ago because she told me how awesome it was. I'm going to be honest. It has taken me FOREVER to get through this book. It's fairly long (almost 500pg) and the middle gets a little muddy with details. All in all, it was a really good book and I am glad I finally finished it.

 Lia is the princess of the kingdom of Morrighan. She is the only girl out of five kids, which makes her the First Daughter of her family. Traditionally, Morrighans believe that First Daugthers have a "gift" and are highly treasured. The book opens with Lia being betrothed to the prince of Dalbreck and it is time for their wedding. Lia doesn't want to marry him because she has never met him and has no idea anything about this dude other than their marriage is a key alliance in a war against the Kingdom of Venda (the barbarians). Lia and her chamber maid Pauline dip out and escape like minutes before the wedding is supposed to happen. They end up going to this town that Pauline grew up in and work/live in an inn of a friend of hers. While at the inn, Lia meets Rafe and Kaden. One of which is an assassin sent by the Kingdom of Venda to kill her and the other is the Prince of Dalbreck that she stood up, but she just thinks they are two regular guys. They are both super hotties and very mysterious. I was Team Rafe the whole time because he looks like Theo James in my brain and I just loved how angsty and passionate he is. Kaden doesn't disappoint either, though! I pictured him to look like Colton Haynes (Teen Wolf) and that in itself is enough to read the book. Kaden is very charming and warm and inviting. It really is a toss up to which guy you will prefer depending on your personal tastes and who you guess to be the assassin and prince.


Let's just take a moment and appreciate the beauty.



Ok.. Sorry. Got weird for a second. ANYWAY. The most unique thing about this book is the alternating POVs. You keep Lia's POV primarily, but you also get the POV of the assassin, the prince, Kaden, and Rafe. You don't know who is the prince and who is the assassin. It gets really intense because Lia develops a relationship with both of the guys but you have no idea which one is the bad guy and which one is the good guy. I was taking notes on my bookmark and I still ended up getting it wrong!!! I was so surprised that I guessed wrong. I really thought I had it all figured out, but the twist really threw me for a loop.

I really like Lia's character. From the beginning she is so against everything that everyone wants from her. Yes, that makes her selfish and sometimes irrational but she doesn't take crap and doesn't just go with the flow for the sake of keeping peace. She isn't afraid of hard work and actually makes a point to prove to everyone that she isn't a delicate little princess who needs to be doted upon. She can hang with the boys and doesn't mind getting down and dirty when necessary. Even with everything that happens, she still stays strong and doesn't waiver. She does grow as a person as the book goes on and goes from thinking mainly of herself to thinking about the bigger picture. I really can't wait to see her in the next book because I think she is going to go cray and burn down everything in the whole world.

Like I said before, the book does get a little muddy in the middle. It draaaaaaags on and on (which is why it took me so long to finish. I kept starting and stopping), but once you get over the hump it is ALL downhill. The last quarter of the book goes super quick because you are freaking out over everything that is happening. The ending is OMG worthy. It leaves on a huge HUGE cliffhanger and I really don't know how I am going to make it until July when the sequel comes out. I was literally flipping pages at the end of the book to see if I missed something because I was like "THAT CAN'T BE HOW IT ENDS ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME ABOUT TO BLOW UP THE WORLD." Definitely check this book out! It will not disappoint!!

 4/5 stars

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Under Different Stars: Amy A. Bartol

Under Different Stars: Amy A. Bartol
"Kricket Hollowell is normally not one to wish upon stars; she believes they’re rarely in her favor. Well versed at dodging caseworkers from Chicago’s foster care system, the past few years on her own have made Kricket an expert at the art of survival and blending in. With her 18th birthday fast approaching, she dreams of the day when she can stop running and find what her heart needs most: a home. Trey Allairis hates Earth and doubts that anyone from his world can thrive here. What he’s learning of Kricket and her existence away from her true home only confirms his theory. But, when he and Kricket lie together under the stars of Ethar, counting them all may be easier than letting her go. Kyon Ensin’s secrets number the stars; he knows more about Kricket's gifts than anyone and plans to possess her because of them. He also knows she’s more valuable than any fire in the night sky. He’ll move the heavens and align them all in order to make her his own.

When everything in their world can be broken, will Kricket rely upon love to save her under different stars?" [taken from goodreads]

First off I had no earthly (pun intended) idea what this book was about when I ordered it. I've never known anyone whose read it either. I bought it because of the cover. When I received the book in the mail it was as amazingly stunning and well built in person. I mean look at it is so pretty! It's image and title are both so suited to this book. Second this book got me out of a reading slump. Third I really don't think the description of this book does it justice.

With that out the way the way lets get on to the review. This book has to be one of the best intros to a series I've read in; I don't even know how long. Under Different Star reminds me a lot of Throne of Glass. It has the same feel too it and the writing styles are similar along with the two leading ladies. But they are still very different... I mean that in the best way ever because I loved both so much.

The characters in this book are great!!! I'm not just talking about the main characters... I'm talking all the characters' sub and all. Kricket is a breath of fresh air. She isn't four feet tall weighing 90 pounds. She is Five eleven, curvy, and I loved it. Kricket is an truly wonderful LT.  She is witty, comical, wild, free, smart, and has no filter. She has easily become one of my favorite fems if not my actual fav. I really liked her that much. Her passion for life is something so special to read. The reason this book reminded me so much of Throne of Glass is because Kricket is a Phoenix. She has never had it easy and rises from the ashes of a hard upbringing. She's been abused, forgotten, and nearly killed but refuses to let that be what defines her. She was born with special gifts. Her mother was a priestess and passed along her powers. The one we know of really early on is that she can tell if people are lying or not (too a point) the other things she can do are slowly revealed and I think more will come as the series continue. Every thing about her is strong.


"I'll survive." "Really?" He asks with a surprise in his tone. "Yes." I nod once. "All alone?" "Yes." "It will take a very hard, very determined personality to survive what is ahead for you without help." "Got it," I growl through clenched teeth, anger flaring up in me at the sympathy in his voice. "You're tough?" "I'm stone." "Stone can be broken." Tilting my head toward him, I meet his eyes. "Don't worry about me. I'll be fine. I'm used  to holding on to nothing as tight as I can." 

Like wow right! She is this poetic and put together the whole book.


The leading men in this book are Trey and Kyron...
Oh Trey! He jumped high up on the book boyfriend list. The above six foot Cavar with tattoos and a sassy attitude stole my heart. Everything from his honesty, to his sexy attitude had me praying he would  come take me away from Earth. I had to stop a few times and fan myself. It's hinted/pretty much done/said early on that Kricket and Trey will have a relationship. Before it happens though they drive each other insane. Their first encounter probably didn't help that case *hint* it involves mace. Trey is use to giving orders and she's use to not listening to them. Their relationship is something I loved reading. It's starts off so slow but builds. They go from pretending to be lovers to wanting to be lovers. The things they say to each other, whoosh, so freaking sweet. The moments between them had me swooning all over town. One of those said moments is when they are traveling back they have to keep Kricket's identity hidden till they have her safely in Rafe. Her and Trey pretend to have have a terrible time on their honeymoon and that she lost her ID. On the way back some soldiers ask about the wedding and I won't go too into detail about what revolves around that, because I loved this whole scene so much. 


“I told him that when we first met... I felt like a butterfly trapped in a net. But... I told him that the more time I spent with him, the more I began to realize how much he means to me I told him that since it seems to be my destiny to dodge raindrops... I was grateful to be dodging them with him. So, I promised him that it would always be his name on my mind when I start my rotation... and when I go to bed each evening... and every quiet moment in between. It will be his name... savored on my lips... stretched across my heart... worshiped by my body... and branded in my mind... until death do us part... and forever after that.”
Trey and Krickets relationship will have you falling in love. 

Kyon isn't a superstar, a there 24/7 character but I would still consider him a leading man. He is evil though... Evil; but sadly still sexy. He wants Kricket to marry him since she's been promised too him. 
"You belong to me Kricket. I'm here to take you home," he replies and he's not lying. He believes every word he just said. "I've come with ambassadors from Alameeda and Wurthem. We'll work out the terms for your release. It will be just a matter of negotiations. "Hold up... can you go back to the part where you said I'm yours? Because that's where I stopped listening to you." 
He's multiplicative, crazy, and brings the drama. The sub characters in this book are some of my favorites. Jax and Wayra were both hilarious. Their reactions to things like lacy bras, toenail polish, salsa dancing, and the statement "you bet your ass"  had me holding my sides. They were just so perfect and are part of the many reason I'm looking forward to book two.
This book was like watching a movie. I could see everything playing out in my head. Even with a bunch of worlds I was never confused. Even when there's not a whole lot of action going on I was never once bored. I was looking forward to the times of the day when I could get my hands on it and just binge read. Most of the high pace action comes towards the end, but the from start to that point is just flawless. At one point I was raging so hard I almost tossed my book at a wall and fell out my seat. There's a twist and a big surprise that happens as well which had me FREAKING OUT!!!! 


  
This book was so much more that I expected. Didn't expect to fall so hard for this novel, but I did. I will be counting down the days till book two comes out. 

15/10 Stars... yes 15 

-Angela
 

The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer by Laxmi Hariharan

First off, I would really like to say how honored are that we were asked to be apart of this blog tour! If you want to transport yourself to another part of the world and read an action packed book, this is your chance. Ruby Iyer is a quick read full of witty banter and thrills around every corner that will keep you guessing. Thank you again, Laxmi, for giving a chance to participate and thank you for writing such an awesome book!



RubyIyer-TourBanner
NOW AVAILABLE: The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer by Amazon bestselling author Laxmi Hariharan!?
This is a character-driven YA thriller with an awesome female protagonist, and she's set to take Bombay by storm, even if it means putting her life in the balance.

Read The Ruby Iyer Diaries, the Ruby Iyer prelude, on Wattpad.



About The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer

ManyLivesOfRubyIyer_cover_purple (1)
A girl desperate to rescue her best friend. A cop willing to do anything to save the city he serves. A delusional doctor bent on Bombay's annihilation. When Ruby Iyer's best friend is kidnapped by the despotic Dr Kamini Braganza, she will do anything to rescue him. Anything, including taking the help of the unpleasant Vikram Roy, a cop on a mission to save Bombay. The city needs all the help it can get, and these two are the only thing standing between Bombay and its complete annihilation by Doctor Braganza?s teen army. As Bombay falls apart around them, will Ruby be able to save her friend and the city? Will she finally discover her place in a city where she has never managed to fit in? And what about her growing feelings for Vikram?

Add The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer?to your Goodreads TBR pile. Read The Ruby Iyer Diaries, the Ruby Iyer prelude, on Wattpad.

About Laxmi Hariharan

Lax.selfieA near life experience told Laxmi Hariharan to write. She never stopped. Laxmi is the creator of Ruby Iyer, and the Amazon bestselling, eLit Gold winner The Destiny of Shaitan (Bombay Chronicles, 1). She has been a journalist and a global marketer with NBCU and MTV. Laxmi also blogs for Huffington Post, among others. London is where she writes. Bombay is what fires her imagination. Reach her @laxmi or at http://www.laxmihariharan.com/. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Moon Tortured: McKenzie Hunter

Moon Tortured: McKenzie Hunter

Skylar's death unlike most came at her birth. In a final ditch effort to save her unborn dying child Skylar's mother, a witch, scarifies herself  to get a super shade to inhabit Skylar's body. For twenty-three years, Skylar lived a life of oblivion, content with her simple job, loving adoptive mother and the monthly inconvenience of a full moon hangover after being sedated and caged when she changed into a wolf. After waking up one night in a strange room in Illinois, lacking memory and banged up she's rescued by the mid-west pack. Sounds good and all, but Skylar isn't sure she can really trust them.

I was gifted this book by McKenzie Hunter in exchange for an honest review. 

There are a lot of thing about this book that I liked. Skylar's 23, not an odd age like 15, and that she's a fem werewolf. The start of this book really gets things going. Skylar is attacked by vampires and her adoptive mother is killed. This face paced-ness keeps up through out the book. Skylar is sassy, sarcastic, and nosy all the things I love a leading lady to have. She did start out a tiny on the blah side but did grow to be more loveable. This urban fantasy read has a lot of world building as well. Something I felt a lot of books I've read lately haven't had. The only thing lacking in MT was the romance... Yeah I know, I know not all books need to have a romance to strong. But I felt like when one is sort of introduced that the author so go through with it and I think McKenzie with the writing style she has would write and amazing romance between Skylar and Ethan. I'm hoping as well with the next book that Skylar does branch out a little more and stops being such a lone wolf (pun intended).

Throughout this book I was left wondering who to trust and who not too, which keep this story from being overly predictable. The ending was unexpected and that really what you want out of a story.


6/10 Stars 

-Angela 





Sunday, November 16, 2014

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

There have been a lot of time traveling YA novels lately. It seems like it is the new "thing" that is becoming popular to read about, where dystopian novels used to be. That on top of mixed reviews about this book led me to be a little skeptical as I got ready to read. It has such a beautiful cover (one of the best of the year for sure), but experience tells me that sometimes the best books are the one with the cheesy covers and the ones with the beautiful covers seem to use that as a marketing ploy to make up for a so-so book. Thankfully this theory did not prove true for A Thousands Pieces Of You.

Marguerite is the black sheep in her family. She is the artist in a family of scientists, but she is still incredibly close to her family even though she doesn't understand what they are talking about half of the time. Her mom and dad have recently made a huge breakthrough with something her mom has been working on a for a long time- traveling through different universes. Seems crazy, right? That's exactly what everyone told them until finally they develop it enough to attract attention from a huge corporation called Triad that helps fund their experiment. They develop a device called "Firebird" that allows people to travel through different dimensions in the universe. Marguerite's parents also have the help of two grad students, Theo and Paul, in their major breakthrough.

All of this is great until Marguerite's dad ends up at the bottom of a river after someone cut the brakes on his car. That someone just happens to be Paul, right after he trashed all of their data in their lab. Now Paul is MIA. He took the most recent and most developed Firebird and has hopped into another dimension trying to escape the murder he just committed. The family is heartbroken. Theo comes to Marguerite one day and tells her that he has salvaged the prototype Firebirds and has updated them enough that he is going to travel to find Paul and bring him to justice. Of course there just happens to conveniently be two of the Firebirds, so Marguerite insists on coming too. Their journey takes them into a futuristic London, then to Russia where the technology is so behind that they still use steam engines and horse drawn carriages. After those two (which are the most important, I think, besides the final one) they go to two more before the big finale at the ending. There are some major surprises in each of the "worlds."

I will say that even though there were several big twists in this novel, I had the basic plot figured out pretty early on. It's pretty predictable, but it doesn't stop you from enjoying it. The world building in this book is absolutely incredible. Each new dimension you are taken to, you really a full view of the world and how the characters are so different in each one. Marguerite learns so much about herself by experiencing the different versions of herself. She started on the journey on a wild goose chase because she wanted to avenge her dad, but when the ending came she had grown SO much and definitely was not the same girl that started.

I guess you could say that there is a love triangle (don't worry, it isn't insta-love) between Marguerite, Paul, and Theo. It isn't really that simple. I really started off shipping Marguerite to Theo instantly. I wanted her to be with him in London SO bad, but as time goes on you realize that he isn't the best fit for her. He is sassy and handsome and reckless and brilliant... All the perfect makings of a bad boy, but he just isn't the right fit for Marguerite. You learn so much about Paul that by mid-novel you have no idea what to think. He is introverted and mysterious and handsome in a shy why that he doesn't understand, but he cares so deeply for Marguerite. It's hard to go into a lot of the love triangle without giving away spoilers. I will just say that Russia was my favorite and my heart ached for Marguerite. I think that dimension complicated things every more than they were to start with (which seems crazy). What happens there and the ramifications it causes brings a very unique spin on the (not so) love triangle for the rest of the book. I'll just say that I love Paul and think he is perfect for Marguerite.



The love story reminds me of Peeta, Katniss, and Gale. Yes, Gale is the super hot one and the bad boy and the one that Katniss had the history with. She cared about Gale so much, but after she goes through everything, she realizes she cares for him on a different level than Peeta. Peeta would do absolutely anything for Katniss and proves his love over and over. The love that Peeta and Katniss develop is gut wrenching and passionate and desperate, but they belong together. That's how I feel about Paul and Marguerite. The ending made me feel hopeful, but I am excited to see where the series goes. I know a lot of people will be on team Theo (just like they were on team Gale), but for me the attraction is merely that... attraction. The love I developed for Paul was so much deeper than the surface deep emotions that I felt for Theo. Yes, Marguerite cares for Theo, but it is just not even in the same universe as the way she cares for Paul.

Like I said before, I had all the basic twists and the plot figured out pretty early on, but I wasn't sure how Gray would end the book. I was pleasantly surprised by a solid ending where most of the loose ends are tied up. Enough is left open where the series can continue, but there isn't some crazy cliffhanger leaving you dangling (I have a love/hate relationship with cliffhangers.. mostly hate, especially when the second book is long away from being released). Another surprising thing about the plot is the focus on Marguerite's grief. The way she expresses herself is so easy to relate to, especially if you have ever lost anyone close to you. I really appreciate how Gray made Marguerite's grieving and feelings the same for someone who isn't traveling through dimensions and other crazy things. Grief is grief no matter where you are.

"Now I know grief is a whetstone. It sharpens all your love, all your happiest memories, into blades that tear you apart from within. Something has been torn out from inside that will never be filled up, not ever, no matter how long I love. They say 'time heals,' but even now, less than a week after my father's death, I know that is a lie. What people really mean is that eventually you'll get get used to the pain. You'll forget who you were without it; you'll forget what you looked like without your scars. This, I think, is the boundary line of adulthood. Not the crap they claim it is-- graduating high school or losing your virginity or getting your first apartment or whatever. You cross the boundary the first time you're changed forever. You cross it the first time you know you can never go back."

Overall, I am pretty impressed with this book. It was sweet and unique in all the right ways. I was skeptical in the first few chapters with all of the science talk that made my eyes feel like it was going to cross, but thankfully that was just there to set up the scene for everything that was going on. I really enjoyed the world building, the character development, the plot progression, and the ending. I am really excited for this series to continue, and I just hope it will be as good as the first. Because of the different dimensions, I think this book will appeal to fans of a lot of different genres. It's contemporary, but there's fantasy, dystopian, and even some historical. I think this book is a must read for everyone, and I am definitely adding it to my "2014 favorites" list.

5/5 stars

Fire in the Woods: Jennifer M. Eaton

Fire in the Woods: Jennifer M. Eaton

When a plane crashes in the woods near Jess’s home, the boy of her dreams literally falls right out of the sky. David needs Jess to help him avoid being taken by the military and to get back to his ship. This might be a little hard with her dad being a Major and all. As Jess finds herself falling for the strangest, sweetest, cutest guy ever she'll find out that she might have to choose between saving her world or his. As they race through the woods with Major Dad and most of the U.S. military one breath behind them, Jess and David grow closer than either of them anticipated. David has a secret that could change everything. Time is ticking down to Armageddon, and Jess must think fast if she's to save the boy she's falling in love with, without sacrificing Earth and everyone on it. 

Fire in the Woods is a sweet fall read. The Lux Series meets Alienated, this book will have you feeling giddy. If you know me then you know I LOVE ALIENS!!! I can never get enough. But what do I love more than just aliens??? Star-crossed alien human love! I don't think I can stress enough how sweet this book was. When Jess is running to the store to pick up some photos she decides to head through the woods where she is struck with a headache and then stumbles upon the mysterious David. With David having nowhere to go, injured, and with Jess feeling oddly obligated to trust him and help him, she decides to sneak him around and let him stay at her house.


"You see Dad, I can't stay in the house. There's this drop-dead gorgeous guy in the woods, and I promised to bring him ice... Nah. That wouldn't go over well. Certain things a girl should just keep to herself."


The thing I loved about Fire in the Woods was that when the aliens came here they think our planet is too cold. I've felt like when we do discover that there are aliens on our planet (because I know we will) that they would comment on it being too warm... So I really appreciated that Eaton took a different spin on this. The other  new spin on the alien genre I liked was that David took his appearance from Jess' thoughts. And since she was thinking about two smexy actors she just saw on a movie ad, it made hearing about David a lot easier... If you get what I mean... HE SOUNDS SO HOT!!! All muscles and turquoise eyes. Swoon. Jess and David's relationship is fun and entertaining. I loved that David is so clueless to how the human world works and how Jess soaks up every moment of it...

"Muddling around, he felt different parts of the door, and finally found the handle. A smile crossed his lips as he lifted the latch and the door opened. I did my best to hold back a smirk as he stepped out. 'You can fly a space ship, but you can't get out of a car?' his eyebrow arched. 'Do you know how to trigger a stagnant preemptory reaction in an overheard visualization module?' I folded my arms 'How would I know how to do that?' 'Any six year old can do that where I come from.' Well I wasn't born on a space ship.' 'And I've never had a reason to get out of a car before.' I smiled. 'Touche.'"

Yes, the whole book is that adorable. And thankfully there was no love triangle... THANK THE ALIEN GODZ THERE WAS NO LOVE TRIANGLE! Even though the love to me started super fast what can you really expect from a book?! At least it wasn't insta love. When the romance does start picking up and playing out it is as equally as adorable as the rest of the book. I love how the both of them had two completely different ways to show affection and that they were both so clueless to when the other one as flirting.

There isn't a whole lot of world building or sub characters in this book, but I felt that that was actually a plus for how this book played out. There is her dad and best friend but neither of them (in my opinion) were
super highlighted characters. I think my favorite thing about this book was the sprinkled in Alien references that we all know and love. This book kept a fast pace through out the whole time.The way Fire in the Woods ended was perfect. It did come with a sample for the first chapter of book two and I told myself I wasn't going to read it, but I caved and I'm so mad I did because I need to know what is going to happen.

Fire in the Woods does lean more towards the book Alienated than it does The Lux Series with it's light and care free attitude. I see why so many people are gushing about this book. Overall it's a quick fun and entertaining read alien fans everywhere will enjoy. It's been a good while since I've read a really good alien book and Fire in the Woods provided a much needed dose. 

8/10 Stars 

-Angela 

Unteachable: Leah Raeder

Maise O’Malley is an eighteen-year-old high school senior. All Maise wants is for her mother to be her mother. To get into film school. And to not screw everything up. When Maise meets Evan at a carnival one night, their connection is like no other. However Maise only does hookups, no relationships. After their wild random hookup she can't seem to get Evan out of her head...
 It makes it even harder to get someone out of your head when they turn out to be your new film teacher.
 Maise and Evan try to stay away from each other, but that is easier said than done. People start to notice, rumors fly, and the truth will slowly be revealed.


“Part of falling in love with someone is actually falling in love with yourself. Realizing that you're gorgeous, you're fearless and unpredictable, you're a firecracker spitting light, entrancing a hundred faces that stare up at you with starry eyes.” 

What did you just do to me Leah Raeder?!?! Was my heart just beautifully broken?? I think so. 

Unteachable is about a student and a teacher falling hopelessly in love. Emphasis on the hopeless part. Saying that Maise is an average teen would be a lie. Forced to grow up at an early age and take care of herself, she sees things different than most people her age. She also seeks out older male lovers to fill the void of a male figure in her life since her father left her. A void that she says "can only be filled with dick.". Maise is a ball of cocky attitude and insecurities. She is a character that you wouldn't think you would find funny, but with her F this attitude you'll find yourself loving her. As far as NA protagonist go she feels more real than any other leading ladies I've never met recently. 


 

After a steamy evening at the carnival with a man who instantly takes her breath away she discovers him to be her new film teacher. Instead of calling things off they take to seeing how far they can push their relationship.

Mr. Evan Wilke is the 32-year-old heartthrob teacher that was all passion and mystery. Despite finding out that he is her teacher he can't stay away from her. They end up sneaking school make-out sessions and hot mini sexy getaways together. Evan is all sorts of adorable. I'm use to the leading males in NA novels being cocky, rude, and a lot of times controlling. It was refreshing to have him be the super vulnerable one. He had me hardcore swooning with his way with words so much during this book.

“...You should love something while you have it, love it fully and without reservation, even if you know you'll lose it someday. We lose everything. If you're trying to avoid loss, there's no point in taking another breath, or letting your heart beat one more time. It all ends." His fingers curl around mine. "That's all life is. Breathing in, breathing out. The space between two breaths.”
  
 

Seriously, stop being so perfect and breaking my heart Evan! 
As the relationship builds and as the characters spend more time together you start to slowly question the motives of the relationship. You are left wondering what's keeping their relationship going. Is it the love or the forbidden-ness that is holding it together? Along with the amazingly built characters came the wonderfully lyrical written romance scenes. And there are A LOT of steamy scenes in this book. 





My face basically looked like this the whole time

We're talking next level hot. 
As much as I loved the two main characters this story did however have a few flaws. Towards the middle of this book the story kind of drifts too this odd side story. It involves her mom and some random side characters, Hiyam and Park. I really didn't enjoy any of them. I wanted to feel a little more connection to her mother, but was left wanting more. Even knowing the connection would be one of negativeness I still wanted it. I did love when she finally starts to take control of her life and tells off her B of a mom.

 She stared at some central point on my face, not quite my eyes. "This how I raised you? To make fuckin' threats about disowning me?" "No," I said quietly. "This is how I raised me." 

Hey mom, need some help with that BURN! 

The side character I did like was Wesley. He was so cute and I was hoping him and Maise would end up together. The witty and real dialogue they zap back and forth between each other is amazing. The plot of this story was so strong that it more than made up for the few tiny flaws. Even though I figured out the "big twist" before it happened the way it was presented still had me flipping and failing everywhere screaming "NOOO!! I DIDN'T WANT IT TO BE REAL! WHY DID I HAVE TO BE RIGHT!!! WHY???!!"


Laeder's writing style was amazing, breathtaking, and unforgettable. The way she perfectly twisted in a movie theme, that now has me loving Casablanca even more, and the way Maise uses past tense in her mind was something I found so interesting. The ending of this story left me with so many feelings. It gave me the perfect combination of wanting more and being completely satisfied. This might have (even from my description) sounded like just another F'd up love story, but it was so much more than that. It was of loneliness, desperation, and about how hard it is to grow up. If you're a fan of Colleen Hoover's Slammed or Tabitha Suzma's Forbidden then you'll love Unteachable.

9/10 Stars 
-Angela

Saturday, November 15, 2014

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

I'm going to start this post off with my obligatory statement on how the following will contain spoilers, because I really don't feel like I can review this book without giving away a spoiler to SOMETHING. So if you haven't read CoG or the first three Mortal Instruments book, don't read any further!

It took me over a month to read this book in its entirety. Every time I would start to read, I would get frustrated by one of the characters to the point where I had to put the book down. The big one was when Simon gets thrown in a cell by the new Inquistor around page 100 that I put the book down several weeks. I was SO frustrated that poor Simon (who still is one of my favorite characters, btw) kept getting the crap end of every situation! When Alec just handed him off to the guards, I was literally yelling at the book saying "YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KITTEN ME!" 

Anyway, I finally picked this book back up because I really do love the series and I felt ready to fight through my frustration and see what happens. I pushed on and am really glad I did. I spent most of this book wanting to punch Jace in the face for acting like a douche bag. He really says some awful stuff and ends up hurting almost everyone who he is close to with words or actions at some point. I get his frustration and why he was acting the way he was, but CALM DOWN DUDE and stop man-strating.


I also really felt bad for Clary for a large part of this book. The series has progressed enough where a lot of information is finally getting revealed about why things are the way they are, and I really felt like Clary was getting dealt a bad hand in this book. Jace really hurts her with his words and she is left alone, truly alone except for Sebastian (and we see how well that worked out!), for a large part of the book. Her mom is a in a coma, Jace basically says that he spends all his time cleaning up her messes and he wishes she would GTFO, Simon is in a jail cell, Luke is off with his pack somewhere, all the Lightwoods are giving her the cold shoulder for Jace's sake, and her father is freaking Valentine. On top of all that she is in a country she has never been to, staying in a house with a strange lady, and is trying to find some elusive warlock to break her mom's coma/spell. Where I felt she was really whiny in other books, I really felt bad for her in this one. The one thing I really highfived her for was stepping up and just saying EFF EVERYONE and getting things done herself. Yeah, she doesn't exactly do things the best way the first way, but she gets things done. She really learns a lot about herself and finally learns to use her rune power for good. She basically is the reason why the New Council is formed at the end.

I also highfived her when her mom shows up in Idris for not just running and giving her a hug, but for being super pissed at her. Can you blame her? I mean, her mom lied to her for her entire life about basically everything and it isn't until her mom falls into a freaking coma and is kidnapped that she has to figure out everything on her own and on top of that she falls in love with her freaking (not so) brother! I'd be pissed too! Jocelyn is pretty B.A. though. I really enjoyed how once she started explaining everything, she explained EVERYTHING. The whole past of her and Valentine and Luke and the Herondales and Jace and Jonathan/Sebastian is revealed. Finally! I knew before reading the spoiler about Jace not really being her brother, but I was so dang ready for it to be revealed in the book! Plus I really wanted to find out who his actual parents were and what is real story is

This book is my favorite of the series so far because all the questions so far have been answered. Plus there is finally some really sweet romance! The night that Jace dips out on his suicide mission to find Sebastian and Valentine, he spills his whole heart to Clary and tells her that he is in love with her. I had real tears in my eyes during this (mostly because my heart was aching because I knew they weren't related) because his profession is so sweet and so desperate for her to understand how he feels that you can't help but feel his sorrow that this may really be the last night he sees her. The ending is so sweet and heart wrenching as Clary has Raziel save Jace. The desperation of their love is what really tugs at my heart strings, so I am interested to see how that progresses in the future.  Also, Magnus and Alec finally get over their boy drama. I love them as a couple! I really love that Magnus plays a big part in this book. He is definitely one of my favorite characters too. I love that Jocelyn and Luke finally get together (I was shipping them from the beginning!). I also even like that Simon is now hot commodity and has Isabelle and Maia fighting for his attention. I hope he goes for Maia, but I really love that he was there for Isabelle when things got bad..... which leads me to the saddest part of this book. Poor Max. I didn't see that coming from a mile away. I really thought it was Isabelle that was dead. Again, real tears fell for when the nine year old died. It was so sad for all the characters.

"There is no pretending," Jace said with absolute clarity, "I love you, and I will until I die, and if there's a life after that, I'll love you then."

I'm happy with the resolution of this book, but I'm scared as to what is to come. You know something is going to come back and bite Clary in the butt for turning down the Seelie Queen. Also we know that Sebastian/Jonathan isn't dead, so I'm sure he will take on the new role as the big evil they are fighting. I hope the next book has a lot more Clary and Jace romance. I also hope we find out more information about Simon and what happens now that he is has this awesome rune on him.

On to book four! Hopefully it won't take me as long to read this one, but TMI has definitely taught me that book hangovers are a real thing and I have a hard time with reading a really long series consecutively. I like to read a book then break it up with a completely different book then come back to the series. I think it helps me appreciate the series more in the end by doing it this way. I want to be able to absorb all the information and not feel burnt out.

5/5 stars

Friday, November 14, 2014

Mystic City: Theo Lawrence


Mystic City: Theo Lawrence 
"For fans of  Matched, The Hunger Games, X-Men, and Blade Runner comes a tale of a magical city divided, a political rebellion ignited, and a love that was meant to last forever. Book One of the Mystic City Novels."

Aria Rose, youngest child of one of Mystic City's two ruling rival families, is set to marry Thomas Foster, the son of her parents' sworn enemies. The union of the two will end the generations-long political feud. This marry will unite the Uppers of Aeries, and keep the banished mystics who dwell below in the Depths. The only problem is Aria doesn't remember falling in love with Thomas. She just wakes up one morning and is told she Over-dosed on mystic drugs and lost her memories. When Aria meets Hunter the rebel from the wrong side of the tracks, she start to have some recollection and Hunter might just know more than he leads on.
The description sounds awesome right? The cover is undoubtedly gorgeous! BUT! This book couldn't have been more predictable than if I wrote it myself. I once said that I set a new record by predicting an entire book by page 50... I did it in a total of 6 pages this time. I kid you not, I knew exactly where this book was going IN SIX PAGES!  There was not a single twist or turn that I didn't see coming. Not only did I find this book utterly predictable I found it lacking... Well everything. Mystic City to me had only a beautiful cover going for it.

My main problem with this book are the characters. They lack depth. I had no connection to Hunter or Aria. They were both *yawn* boring. Throughout the story I found myself giving no Fs about what happened to either of them.... At one point I had my fingers crossed that something tragic would happen to them. Aria is annoying!!!! Oh and has no brain. (Hunter isn't far behind her.) Also Aria is the most gullible character in all book history. Anytime anyone, even complete strangers, tells her something she believes them. She says at least ten times in this book "why would they lie to me"!!!! SERIOUSLY!!!! WHY WOULD THIS PERSON YOU'VE NEVER MET OR SPOKEN TO LIE TO YOU!!! Think about it for a second... But not too hard because we know how difficult thinking is for you. She's is so daft it's annoying!!!
It's clear from the get go that the person she is set to marry, Thomas, isn't who he is said to be... Trust me when I say I wont need to give out spoils you'll know in a few pages what's so "off" about him.

Hunter is pointless... And come to think of it for someone who is suppose to be so important in this book, I don't really remember him really even being that apart of it... Like I know he was there, and I know he was doing stuff, but I don't at the same time. Plus he's a mystic which means he has all these badass powers which he uses all the time; EXCEPT when it comes to saving his girl friend. He will defend her randomly in a dark alley but if someone tries to do real damage he just gives up and surrenders. He'll turn a stranger into a freaky fiery glow stick but someone points a gun at his girl and he throws his hands in the air like he just don't care. I seemed to have failed to also mention that he is a stalker who wants to be jack from the movie Titanic... Seriously there's a scene where she almost falls off a ledge and he saves her, and it was straight ripped off the big screen. This book relies so much on a relationship that doesn't play out well. When Lawrence is describing these characters I'm just gonna say that Thomas sounds smoking hot, his brother sounds hot, Aria's dad even sounds hot... Hunter however sounds like he suffers from a small case of butter-face... You think with how dumb Aria was she would have been fine with the lack of memories since she seemed to get an upgraded hottie. It's whatever though.
If you've read anything by me in the past you know I love sub characters and love to talk about them. There's only one in this book I want to touch base on and that's Kiki. I don't think I've ever disliked a character so much in my life. I DIDN'T GET THE POINT OF HER!!!! Plus she says idiotic b.s the whole book...  


I laughed "you always have to make a wild entrance. Remember at my birthday party    two years ago-" "when I dressed up like a baby"Kiki shrieks. "People nearly died. Or should have. No one else could have pulled off a high fashioned diaper" 
 


Seriously??! Like wtf, really? And this girl complains the whole book that she can't find a man... MMMM I WONDER WHY?!?!

The plot was lacking along with anything descriptive. I felt there was so many holes in this book and everything is so crammed together.  I don't even have the faintest idea of when this book is taking place except it's in the future. All I know is that there is all sorts of crazy global warming going on. Things are revealed in such odd and bland manner that it turned me off.  Her family is just evil but it mainly seems like it's for no reason. At least not one solidly given to us. Actually all the villains aren't really villain-y. The Mystics are riddled with super powers like healing, making themselves look like others, and walking through walls but yet they can't take down like five guys with a few guns. If this was like X-men like the description said then I think the people would have acted more like mystique and went all badass on their enemies. The whole thing just doesn't piece together. Oh and in this far far future people still tweet, text, and have iPods. Bet the makers of tweeter and apple products are super pumped about this. So in this magical, mystical future, we have technology that can erase very specific memories, but there's a surprisingly lack of technological advancements. Like Aria gets a job filing papers... Why not just store them in your super computers... You have scanners and pods that can take you around the city yet you don't have excel anymore?? I just can't.





It also seems frowned upon to travel but yet you can still go places like Bali... and that being said this craziness also seems to only be effecting New York. Or maybe I just missed something?!? Because Hunter is obsessed with just running away because the problem isn't outside of what seems like just Manhattan honestly.

Mystic City tried way to hard to be different and failed. It aimed to be like Black City but failed. It will also fail on being a book I recommend. Had high hopes for this series, but yes you guessed it, it failed.  I will fail to continue this series.


2/10 Stars 

-Angela