Friday, 21 April 2017

50/50 Friday - Favorite/Least Favorite Book in the Paranormal Romance Genre


This meme is hosted at Blue Eye Books and The Butterfly Reader

This week's theme is favourite / least favourite books in the _____ genre (choice of genre) 

I've chosen paranormal romance because it is one of my favourite genres!

Favourite

 Nevermore (Nevermore, #1)

My favourite paranormal romance....that's a tough one. I have a lot of favourites but one that sticks out is obviously Nevermore. But you all already know how much I freaking love this book. For the sake of variety, I'll add a few honorable mentions: Hush, Hush, Shiver, Vampire Kisses.

Least Favourite

 Fallen Angel (Fallen Angel, #1)

My least favourite paranormal romance....I didn't really like Fallen Angel. It's not the worst book in the world by any means but I felt like it kinda wasted my time. I didn't enjoy it. 
~ ~ ~ ~

So I was thinking about books lately (duh). And reviews (duh again). But specifically I was thinking about mini reviews. I read some books that I don't feel are worthy of a full length review, either because I can't say much without spoiling it, or I just don't have a lot to say about it anyways. I was thinking about posting little batches of mini-reviews every now and then. What do you think? Do you post mini reviews? Do you like them, do you hate them? 
Thanks for visiting my blog :) Have a great day, and happy reading!

Monday, 17 April 2017

The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die by April Henry


The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die

 Series: N/A
Author: April Henry
Page Count: 213
Published: June 11th, 2013
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
  5 Stars ★★★★★

She wakes up to two men arguing over whether or not to end her life. She doesn't know her name, she doesn't know where she is, and she doesn't know why one of her fingernails has been pried off of her hand. 

She manages to escape, but her ordeal is far from over. As she investigates herself, who she is, and what is going on, she gets help from an acquaintance who is determined to solve this mystery with her. Only one thing is for certain...danger is around every corner. 

It's hard to write a synopsis of this book without giving anything away. The complete mystery of what is going on made this book truly a five-star read, and as my second five-star April Henry novel, I know that I'll be reading her books again. 

The main character's fear was absolutely palpable from start to finish. I love that the author started the story off with the two men discussing whether or not to murder her, this absolutely drew my attention in and it didn't let me go until I turned to the last page. The little touches, like the main character's injured finger (ouch!) really gave the book an eerie vibe and built suspense. 

The characters themselves, from the main girl, to the boy who helps her figure out what is going on, worked well with the story, and I think that all of their personalities, relationships, and affiliations contributed to the awesome quality of this novel. As I mentioned, it's hard to say much without giving important pieces of the plot away, so trust me when I say that the explanations behind the characters' motives and situations were far from disappointing. 

There truly isn't much else that I can say, except that if you like mysteries, you should read this book! I can't say much more because I worry that I'll spoil it somehow!

I recommend this to those who like mysteries and thrillers where a lot is at stake. If you're into suspenseful young adult books, this one is for you.

Friday, 14 April 2017

50/50 Friday - Lightest/Darkest Book (themes or atmosphere)


This meme is hosted at Blue Eye Books and The Butterfly Reader

This week's theme is lightest / darkest book 

Lightest 

Vampire Kisses (Vampire Kisses, #1)

Vampire Kisses is a cute paranormal romance with quite a light atmosphere, especially for a vampire story. I've read contemporary romances that are darker than this series. It's a nice read for people who want a change from the more intense paranormal worlds in young adult fiction.

Darkest

 Captive in the Dark (The Dark Duet, #1)

Captive in the Dark has an extremely dark atmosphere, with many dark themes. There's lots of heavy stuff in this book, with many events that would upset a lot of readers. I am not one of those readers, I love books like this! But it's dark enough that I feel obligated to warn anyone considering reading it that there are many serious themes. 

I really liked both of these books. What did you think of them? What are some of the darkest or lightest books that you have read?

Monday, 10 April 2017

Watch the Sky by Kirsten Hubbard

Watch the Sky

Series: N/A
Author: Kirsten Hubbard
Page Count: 272
Published: April 7th, 2015
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
  3.5 Stars ★★★

Jory's stepfather, Caleb, is always watching for signs. Signs of what, Jory doesn't know, but what Jory does know is that Caleb cares for him, his mother, his step-brother, and Kit, the girl he considers a sister, so he doesn't question Caleb's claims. Jory spends time with other people from his school, and slowly Caleb's grasp on his mind seems to weaken. When his stepfather says that it's time to start digging a tunnel to prepare for what's to come, Jory has to make a choice before his family disappears into the ground, abandoning the outside world. 

This is a middle grade book, with Jory, the main character, around eleven or twelve years old. I mostly read young adult, and I'm expanding into the adult range as well, so reading a middle grade book was a nice change from the usual paranormal romances and contemporary dramas. 

I think the author did a great job of narrating what was going on through how Jory perceived the world around him. Written in third person, the story focuses on Jory's struggle to question Caleb, make friends, and choose what is ultimately right: to abandon Caleb's plan, or to go through with it without question. The theme of questioning what one has been told was very important, and I really appreciate that the author included this theme in a middle grade novel, because I think it's essential to introduce the idea that not everything you're told is right, from a young age. Critical thinking, and thinking for one's self, were things that Jory struggled with and ultimately inspired him to question the things that his mother just accepted for fact, and this to me made him seem like a strong character and a great role model. 

The other characters provided some interesting dialogue and situations, and they ranged from Jory's "normal" friend, Alice, to his mysterious stepfather. Alice, and the other children that Jory befriends, provide a way for Jory to feel like he's not completely alone outside of his family, and they are very likeable! They're smart, bright, and hopeful, which contrasts the uneasiness that Jory experiences at home. 

This uneasiness mainly takes the form of Caleb and his "signs". I disliked Caleb from the start, I thought he was suspicious, paranoid, and fairly controlling. I also didn't really like Jory's mother, for buying into Caleb's ideas so easily, and dragging her children into everything. Jory's sister, Kit, was an interesting character. While not his biological sister, they form a bond that remains important throughout the novel, and while she remains mostly silent in the story, I think she has a big impact on the way the story is told overall. If she wasn't in the book, I feel that it would be a much different book than it truly is. 

I had some issues with the pacing. I think that at times the book dragged on, and at others, the events went by way too fast. While the idea of the book was very interesting, I think there weren't enough answers as to what exactly Caleb was preparing for, and why Jory's mother bought into his ideas so easily. 

Overall this was an enjoyable middle grade novel. While the pacing was a bit off and some pieces of the book seemed to lack context, the themes of questioning what one has been told, and the characters themselves made for an interesting read. 

I recommend this to middle grade readers who enjoy stories set in the contemporary world. If you're interested in a book that explores what it means to think for yourself, this book is for you.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Thoughts About Book Blogging

Hey everyone! Lately I've been thinking about book blogging, and why I love it, and how it's affected me as a reader and as a person. I wanted to share some of these thoughts with my readers to see if any of you have the same ideas as me, or if you've been affected differently!
 
My cat, Poe (Instagram)

I think that one major thing that book blogging has forced me to do is to face some of my social anxiety. My social anxiety isn't just an issue when it comes to in-person interactions....it's online as well! So whenever I make a blog post, I have to look it over a million times before and after I post to make sure I don't sound awkward, and while I love interacting with my followers and blogs that I love through commenting, I'm always anxious that I've accidentally left some horrible typo that will make me seem really strange! However, since I started blogging, this has gotten quite a bit better. I've had to move past my comfort zone to interact with people online and it's helped me a lot. Interacting with other bloggers has been a great experience for me, it's made me a bit more confident.

This was a nice pic I took (Instagram)

Blogging has also made me feel better about myself because every follower, every comment, every page view means that somebody cares about what I have to say about books, and I think that's awesome! Knowing that people want to know what I'm reading and reviewing, what covers I like, and my opinions on other book-related subjects makes me so happy. :)
 
 A picture from when I was re-arranging my bookshelf (Instagram)
 
Lastly, book blogging has introduced me to so many books that I want to read! I might not have come across some of them had I not stumbled upon a review on a blog that I follow. This is great because I'm discovering more books, but it's also a bit annoying because it adds to my ever-growing to-read pile! 


How has book blogging affected you?

Monday, 3 April 2017

Blue is for Nightmares by Laurie Faria Stolarz


477338

 Series: Blue is for Nightmares
Author: Laurie Faria Stolarz
Page Count: 284
Published: November 8th, 2003
Publisher: Llewellyn Publications
  4 Stars ★★★★

Stacey is a junior at a boarding school, a witch, and has been having nightmares about one of her best friends. In these nightmares, it is undeniable that Drea, her friend, is in trouble, and she soon worries that these dreams may come true when strange gifts and phone calls start arriving.

Stacey uses the magic that her grandmother taught her with hopes to reveal who is behind all of this. But will she be able to unravel the messages in time?

So the first thing I'll say is that this book is rather short, but the length works for the story. I was worried that it might be too short and that the ending could be rushed, but it was paced well and I enjoyed it quite a bit.

When I started this book I was expecting more of a paranormal or supernatural mystery, but instead what I got was more of a contemporary story with religious or realistic magic. Stacey wasn't the kind of witch who can summon lightning from her fingertips, rather she uses candle magic and reads cards for divination. 

I really liked this aspect of the story. Most of the witch or magic books that I come across, especially in the young adult genre or range, are more mystical and based in the witches and warlocks of fairy tales and movies. I was surprised to find that the character actually practiced Wicca, because I rarely find Pagans or Neo-Pagans in YA books! 

The mystery itself, of who was targeting Drea, was suspenseful and interesting but to be honest, it didn't feel very original. I was also somewhat disappointed with the ending and who turned out to be the culprit. Their motive didn't make much sense to me, it seemed slightly over the top for the situation. I thought the villain seemed kind of stupid, actually, for thinking that they could get what they wanted through scaring Drea? I can't say much else with spoiling it. 

Between this book and Deadly Little Secret, I can say that I definitely enjoy the writing of Laurie Faria Stolarz. I will be looking for her books in the future, however, I won't be absolutely rushing to get the sequels. I feel like while I like her books, I'm not absolutely blown away. 

I recommend this book to people who want to read a more realistic or diverse portrayal of magic! If you want a YA mystery, you may enjoy this one.


Friday, 31 March 2017

Unique Blogger Award


Picture

I was nominated on Paperback Darling for this award! Thank you very much!

The Rules:
- Share the link of the blogger who nominated you
- Answer the questions
- Nominate 8-13 people for the award
- Ask them three questions

Melanie's Questions:

Q: What was the one book that started your reading obsession?

A: Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy, for sure. I enjoyed reading before I found that book, but when I read it, my obsession truly started.

Q: If you could only pick one character, who do you relate to the most?

A: This is really hard to answer for me, because I relate to so many different characters for so many different reasons. I guess it'd have to be Varen from Nevermore by Kelly Creagh because we like the same style of clothing/music/etc, we've both been bullied and had family issues, and we're both AWESOME of course.

Q: Could you name three books you can never, ever part with and why? 

A: Nevermore by Kelly Creagh because the characters are awesome, the story is amazing, and the world is an interesting place to read about. Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy because I think the world of this series is the best world to just escape to for hours. Stolen by Lucy Christopher because it's my go-to emotional, bittersweet read.


My Questions:
1) What book do you recommend to everyone and why?
2) Why did you start blogging about books?
3) What book were you surprised to enjoy?

I nominate:

Carrie @ The Butterfly Reader  
Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight 
AngelErin @ Angel Erin's Books Obsession
Alice @ Married to Books
Lauren @ Always Me
Ashley @ Truth About Books by A Fae
Alex @ A Geek With Books
Edward @ Scaredy Engines


If anyone doesn't want to make a full post for whatever reasons, feel free to answer in the comments!!

Monday, 27 March 2017

The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong


The Awakening (Darkest Powers, #2)

Series: Darkest Powers
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Page Count: 360
Published: April 28th, 2009
Publisher: HarperCollins
  5 Stars ★★★★★

Chloe has escaped from Lyle House, but she's been captured by the Edison Group and is staying in another one of their facilities. With Simon and Derek still on the run, Chloe has to escape by herself this time. While the group continues to pose as one that helps those with powers like herself, Chloe knows the truth, that there have been deaths... young people who have been subjects in the Edison Group's studies have died mysteriously in their care, and that she may have been genetically modified. 

When Chloe does escape, she leaves with Tori, a girl with a bad attitude, to find Simon and Derek. But there is a reward offered for her return, so Chloe has to travel in the shadows to safety... that is, if she isn't killed first. 

Kelley Armstrong has done it again! I remember loving The Summoning, and when I remembered that I already owned The Awakening, I decided that I had to find out what happened to Chloe, Simon, and Derek, next. I enjoyed this book as much as I loved the first one, maybe even more. 

In this sequel, the same interesting characters star in an exciting supernatural story. Chloe remains the likeable necromancer that she was in the first book, Simon and Derek, the two foster brothers, continue to be complete opposites of each other and friends with Chloe, and Tori is still the same annoying, stuck-up bully that she was in the first book. This cast of characters makes for a book of paranormal thrills, amusing dialogue, and lots of tension!

The author did a great job of making me feel what Chloe was feeling. This mainly consisted of concern for those she cared about, and fear of the Edison Group. Chloe's voice remained believable, and her struggles relatable, despite their often supernatural nature. I love when I can relate to characters in vastly different situations than my own, because it just makes the whole situation seem a bit more real to me, which greatly affects my reading experience. 

The writing style was incredibly easy to read, which made this book go by very quickly for me. I just devoured page after page because I couldn't stop reading! The book was packed with event after event, one after the other, and I was never, ever bored. I hope that the third book in this trilogy is as good as the first two!

I recommend this trilogy to fans of young adult paranormal stories. If you're looking for a story with different paranormal creatures, secret groups, and teenagers on the run, this book is for you.


Friday, 24 March 2017

50/50 Friday - Book Hype


This meme is hosted at The Butterfly Reader and Blue Eye Books

This week's topic is novel worth / not worth the hype.


Worth the Hype

 Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)

I thought that Throne of Glass was actually really worth the hype. I wasn't expecting it to be such a great read, I'd found myself disappointed by books with high ratings on Goodreads and lots of hype like this before, so I was pleasantly surprised to end up rating it 4 stars! I really enjoyed it. I really want to read the next one. 


Not Worth the Hype

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)

The Hunger Games wasn't a bad book. It just wasn't super amazing. I did like it, but it didn't blow me away and I didn't go on to read the next books in the trilogy. I like the story of The Hunger Games, but the book didn't live up to the hype for me.  


 
What did you think of these books?

Monday, 20 March 2017

Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin


Symptoms of Being Human

 Series: N/A
Author: Jeff Garvin
Page Count: 352
Published: February 2nd, 2016
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
  4 Stars ★★★★

Riley is the child of a congressman, loves rock music, and is genderfluid. They aren't out to anyone but their therapist yet, but they start an anonymous blog under the name Alix so that they can discuss their experiences as a genderfluid person. When Riley moves to a new school, they experience harassment and bullying, but they also make a few friends. Suddenly, their blog becomes extremely popular, and it appears that somebody may know Riley's true identity. Will Riley have the courage to come out before somebody reveals their identity to the world for them?

I was super, super, SUPER excited to read this book. There are very, very few genderfluid characters in books, and so as a genderfluid person myself I was really hoping that someday, a genderfluid character would appear. Then one day, this book was recommended to me, and my wish was fulfilled! I was certainly not disappointed with this book, though it didn't exactly blow my mind, either.

First off, I was impressed with the way that the author depicted gender dysphoria. Actually, by reading this book, I found another way to describe dysphoria, so I'm thankful! It appears that the author did his research concerning what its like to be genderfluid in a world where just the idea of someone being nonbinary provokes confusion or even mockery. I think that the author writing about a genderfluid character was a brave step, and I'm hoping that it's one that will help people to consider including nonbinary characters in their own books in the future.

Riley as a character, as a person, reminded me a lot of myself and of other nonbinary people I know! Riley's taste in music and clothing gave them a distinct image, and their struggle with anxiety and depression was incredibly relatable. While Riley seemed a bit reactive and dramatic at times, these flaws added to their character and deepened my understand of their flaws and struggles. It was interesting how Riley interpreted different interactions, and often their attitude really mirrored real life. 

My main issue with this book was the bullying. Bullying is certainly an unfortunately common occurrence, especially for LGBTQ people. However, the bullying depicted in this book seemed fairly unrealistic or just cliche. The bullying was at times even cheesy, and occasionally I feel it went a bit over the top, or became fairly over-dramatic. Maybe things are different where I live as opposed to where the author lives, but I interpreted much of the bullying that Riley deals with as based on stereotypes, as opposed to real life. Now, the cyberbullying was well depicted, with the various trolls, anonymous haters, slurs, and even the threat of the online bullying extending into real life. I also want to mention that there is an instance in the book where a sexual assault, or at least a near-sexual assault, occurs, and this might upset some readers, so I felt it was important to include a warning in this review. While I think that it's important for some books to exist which don't mention serious issues, serious crimes, like this, against trans people, I think that this book incorporated this assault very well and depicted it realistically. I think this part is obvious, but this book was at times a very emotional experience for me, especially since I have such a connection with the main character.

I also feel like there was a bit of an awkward use of pronouns within the book. For example, the author used things like "she/he" or "she...or he?" and similar pieces, when characters of indeterminate gender were present. At times this felt awkward to read as it didn't fit well into the sentences, and I'd suggest that authors make use of the singular "they", as it sounds smoother and also spreads the general awareness that there is, in fact, a valid gender neutral pronoun for people to use if necessary or requested.

Overall, this emotional book captured a lot of important details of what it means to be a genderfluid person. While I had issues with the somewhat cliche bullying and the awkward use of multiple pronouns, I was not disappointed and I hope to read more books by this author in the future. 

I recommend this book to readers looking for something with a genderfluid main character. If you are a fan of LGBTQ novels, and you like contemporary young adult stories, this book is for you.

(Note: the author uses "gender fluid" with a space, but I prefer to spell it as one word, "genderfluid", so I used my preferred spelling in this review).


Monday, 13 March 2017

Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter

8705784 

Series: Shadow Falls
Author: C.C. Hunter
Page Count: 398
Published: March 29th, 2011
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
  4 Stars ★★★★

Kylie is dealing with a lot, including breaking up with her boyfriend, being stalked by a strange man, and her parents' divorce. After being caught at a party, Kylie is sent to Shadow Falls, which is a camp for supposedly troubled teens. However, once she gets there, she learns the truth: this camp isn't for troubled teens, but rather for young vampires, werewolves, fairies, and others to learn how to deal with the world and each other despite tensions and feuds. 

There she meets some friends and some attractive "gifted" individuals, including Derek and Lucas. Derek falls for her quickly, and she remembers her secret history with Lucas. However, there's more to worry about than boys and crushes. She, and the others at the camp, are unsure of what kind of paranormal creature Kylie actually is. Having to deal with seeing ghosts complicates things, too. But Shadow Falls is in danger of being shut down, and when some start to suspect her and Lucas of having something to do with it, she must fight to figure out the truth before it is too late. 

So one thing that I will say about this book is that there was definitely some rather cliche aspects to it. The love triangle felt a bit out of place, although it wasn't too major of an issue within the book. The feud between vampires and werewolves seemed a tad unoriginal, but that didn't really take away from the story as a whole. 

My main issue with this book rested with the characters themselves. At times Kylie seemed really shallow. While the narration was not first person, the author did delve into the thoughts of the characters, especially Kylie, even while using third person. There were little things that made me dislike her, for example the long paragraph (on page 105 in my edition) where it is explained why Kylie "gets" the reason that Derek, who is half fairy, would prefer the term "fey". This reason is apparently due to the fact that "no straight guy would want to be called a fairy" (despite the fact that he is literally a fairy). Also notable is the fact that Derek is supposedly "overly female-loving male", whatever that means. I don't believe that books must remain politically correct or entirely inoffensive, because characters, just as real life individuals, aren't all going to believe the same things, they haven't all been raised the same way, et cetera. But because of my personal experiences, I found this to be something that affected me and my view of Kylie and the other characters, so I felt that it might be important to mention for other readers dealing with similar life circumstances or opinions. It seems fairly small, but as an LGBTQ person, it made me roll my eyes.

This wasn't my only issue with the characters. I feel like Derek fell for Kylie way too early in the book. It made his feelings for her seem superficial and I found this really annoying. I also don't really see what Kylie saw in Derek, to find herself attracted to him so early on as well? He seemed quite average. I mean, he could be spectacular and interesting and multidimensional, and in the next book this may become apparent, but the way that the author portrayed him within this book was really boring. 

The thing that I really enjoyed about this book was Kylie's ability to speak with ghosts and how that affected her.  Her struggle with accepting the fact that she wasn't fully human was reminiscent of the struggles that people may face in real life, and I felt that despite the fantasy or paranormal aspect, I could really relate to what Kylie was going through. Denying something that is an important part of you is something that lots of people have to deal with, including the changes that come with finally accepting that you're not who you thought you were. This theme or aspect was well discussed throughout the novel, in a way that I found redeemed Kylie's character enough to keep me reading and excited to pick up the next book in the series. 

I also really loved the setting! I've heard of many boarding schools for paranormal creatures used as a setting within books, but camps appear to be less popular. I thought that this was a unique twist on the idea, and I think that the setting made the story really interesting to read, especially considering some of the myths or legends surrounding the falls themselves. The idea that there might be some kind of sinister entities haunting the waterfall that the camp is named after was something that caught my attention quickly, and while I'm a bit disappointed that this wasn't investigated by the characters within this novel, I'm hoping that in the next books this will be a more important aspect of the stories! I want to know the truth about the falls!

So, while I took issue with some of the characters due to my life experiences and the way they perceived certain things, there were still many good things about this book! Kylie may not have been very likeable, but her struggle ultimately redeemed her, and the setting was captivating. I'm hoping that the next book in this series brings more excitement and character development to the story.

I recommend this book to those who like YA paranormal romances! If you're interested in a series that includes several supernatural or paranormal creatures, this would be a good pick. 


Friday, 10 March 2017

50/50 Friday - Best/Worst Royal Character


This meme is hosted at The Butterfly Reader and Blue Eye Books

This week's topic is best / worst royal character


Best 

 Between the Lines (Between the Lines, #1)

Prince Oliver from Between the Lines is an awesome royal character. He is a sweet, hopeful love interest, and I'm really glad this book got a sequel!


Worst

 Lament (Books of Faerie, #1)

For worst, I'm going for one of the royal characters that I despised the most. This would have to be the Faerie Queen from Lament. I mean, she wants the main character dead! And the main character is actually quite a nice person! No, I don't like this royal character at all.  

What do you think of the royals from these books???
 

Monday, 6 March 2017

Thirst No.1 by Christopher Pike


Thirst No. 1: The Last Vampire, Black Blood, and Red Dice (Thirst, #1)

Series: The Last Vampire
Author: Christopher Pike
Page Count: 594
Published: August 7th, 2009
Publisher: Simon Pulse
  4 Stars ★★★★

In this bind-up, readers get the first three books of Christopher Pike's series, The Last Vampire. This series features a five thousand year old vampire named Sita, or "Alisa", living in the modern world. The first book starts with Alisa discovering that somebody is investigating her, and after she promises a dying man to look after his son, she meets Ray. Alisa is drawn to Ray, but there is more at stake than friendship and love. Her life may be in danger, along with the lives of those around her.

As with many of the books I own, I found this at a thrift shop. I'd enjoyed Christopher Pike's Remember Me, so I could not resist buying myself a copy of Thirst. After reading six of his books - three in the Remember Me bind-up and now another three in this one - I have come to the conclusion that Pike's stories are addictive. 

While his writing style isn't the best writing that I have ever come across, once I start reading it, I find it hard to stop. This was true for Thirst, as I gave the first book only three stars, but the next two went up to four stars. His writing got better and better as I went along. 

The main character, Sita, or "Alisa", was absolutely captivating. Written in first person, the reader gets to hear all of her thoughts, memories, and fears, and I think that the author did a marvelous job of putting me in the head of a five thousand year old vampire! She was extremely intelligent, with a nice mix of ruthlessness and compassion mixed in. She was truly a bloodthirsty vampire, though she held on to pieces of her humanity. There was nothing boring about the main character.

The origin of the vampires in this book was very unique from what I've read in other novels. There is an interesting mix of Indian mythology and religion in Sita's past, and it made for a very memorable read! This was a nice change from the usual vampire myths and legends.

The characters around her, from other vampires, to the humans she gets to know, were interesting as well and all played important roles in her story. My only issue is that sometimes, the author wrote the characters' dialogue too much like Sita's. For example, some of the main teenage characters spoke like our five thousand year old protagonist at times, which got on my nerves. This did get better as the books progressed.

The books were very short, and it took me very little time to get through them. While it was nice to have some short reads after getting through some longer books, I think that the books could have been a little longer. Some things happened too fast, particularly this sort of insta-love with Ray. While I don't always mind this instant love or attraction, the author didn't do a great job of writing it so it got on my nerves. Their romance didn't seem that believable. Other situations could have been a bit more drawn out as well, this would have added more tension and suspense to the stories!

Overall, I enjoyed this and I'm glad I picked it up. I'll definitely be continuing the series, and I hope to read more books by Christopher Pike in the future. 

I recommend this book to readers looking for unique vampire stories. If you're interested in a bind-up containing short novels with a very interesting main character, this book is for you.

Friday, 3 March 2017

50/50 Friday Best/Worst Book Read in February


This meme is hosted at The Butterfly Reader and Blue Eye Books

This week's topic is best / worst book read in February


Best

 The Awakening (Darkest Powers, #2)

The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong! It was a quick, exciting read, and I enjoyed every page of it.


Worst

 Watch the Sky

I didn't read any horrid books in February, but I liked this one the least, I think. It wasn't bad, I've just preferred other books.  


Monday, 27 February 2017

The Dying of the Light by Derek Landy

18131799 

 Series: Skulduggery Pleasant
Author: Derek Landy
Page Count: 605
Published: August 28th, 2014
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
  5 Stars ★★★★★ 

Darquesse is on the loose and is planning to end the world. Skulduggery is working to find her and stop her before it's too late. With his friends and colleagues, he searches for Darquesse with hopes to save Valkyrie as well, and to separate her from the evil that has taken over her. 

Will they find Darquesse in time? Will Skulduggery be able to save Valkyrie along with the world? Or will the world end, everybody dying with it?

I can't really talk about my feelings about this book, the ninth book in the Skulduggery Pleasant series, without talking about what I think about the series itself as a whole, and all of the other books within it. Every book moves the greater story-line a bit further along, with unique and exciting situations arising within each one. I think this combination of having different issues within each book along with a progression towards the concluding events of the series itself really makes this book special. 

What else makes this book, and series, special? Everything. Literally everything. The characters are amazing! Everything from their names to their backgrounds to their powers makes for an extremely entertaining read. This is the only series where I've found characters with epic names such as Valkyrie Cain, Ghastly Bespoke, Anton Shudder, and of course, Skulduggery Pleasant. There are evil characters, good characters, and lots of characters who fall somewhere in between. Some are serious, some are silly, and some find the perfect balance between humorous and solemn. I have liked every single character within this series, including every villain, because they are all just so interesting and entertaining!

Of course there are the personal relationships that form between these characters as well. There are business or work relationships, such as Valkyrie and Skulduggery's arrangement with the Sanctuary. Then there are friendships, such as the one that forms between Valkyrie and Skulduggery, Tanith and Valkyrie, and existing friendships such as that between Ghastly and Skulduggery. This series focuses a lot more on friendship than on romance, and as a reader I got to care about the characters in the same way that they cared about each other. This made me shed tears at times, for example times when Valkyrie thought she lost Skulduggery forever, or when various other characters found themselves in unfortunate circumstances. 

Considering this book in specific, I had put off reading it because until recently, everybody thought that it was the last book in this series. As a serious, long-time fan of this series, I really didn't want it to end. Then, Derek Landy announced that he'd be writing another book, and possibly more after that, so I finally picked this one up and read it. 

As usual with the other novels in the series, I was completely blown away. I cannot wait for the tenth book, and I really hope the author writes even more novels featuring Skulduggery and Valkyrie when he is finished that one. 

I think that everyone who loves stories about magic should read this book! If you like books with elements of horror and humor, including some emotional elements and amazing characters, this series is definitely for you. 


Friday, 24 February 2017

50/50 Friday - World Building


This meme is hosted at The Butterfly Reader and Blue Eye Books

This week's topic is most / least intricately built world.


Most Intricately Built World

 Skulduggery Pleasant (Skulduggery Pleasant, #1)

As if there were any competition for me on this one. The world of Skulduggery Pleasant is so well built, that if I traveled to Ireland and ran into the skeleton detective himself, my surprise would be minimal. The author makes it seem perfectly plausible that there's some secret world of sorcerers, and that's just one of the many things that I adore about this book.

Least Intricately Built World

 Halo (Halo, #1)

This was a tough one. Most of the worlds that I've read about in books have been built fairly well, from contemporary small towns to boarding schools for paranormal creatures. While Halo wasn't a bad book (I actually rated it 5 stars) the world-building in the first book wasn't the most amazing thing ever. In the second book it got a lot better, but as for book one, I remember preferring the characters themselves over the actual world.

What did you think about the worlds in these books?
Has my constant praise of Skulduggery Pleasant caused you to add it to your to-read list yet?

Monday, 20 February 2017

She Loves You, She Loves You Not... by Julie Anne Peters

She Loves You, She Loves You Not...

Series: N/A
Author: Julie Anne Peters
Page Count: 288
Published: June 1st, 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  3 Stars ★★★

Alyssa's father doesn't react well when she comes out to him as a lesbian. She ends up disowned, broken up with her girlfriend, and taken in by Carly, her birth mother, a woman she barely knows at all. Adjusting to her new life proves to be tough, as she must deal with the pain of rejection, the heartbreak from her failed relationship, and her mother's own secret past. Along the way she meets Finn, a new friend in this new town, a friend who might just turn into something more. 

I have a few things to say about this book. First, I really liked the portrayal of an LGBTQ person struggling with bigotry from within the family. I feel Alyssa's situation was incredibly well written, and that the author did a great job of expressing Alyssa's feelings on the matter and how it impacted her in her day to day life, both before and after coming out.

I also enjoyed reading about all of the different characters, from Carly (Alyssa's biological mother) to Arlo (the manager of a store who lives his life in a wheelchair). However, there was one issue with the characters: I didn't really like the main character! I was able to empathize with Alyssa considering her issues coming out and being rejected, but as a person, I didn't find her very likeable. She was a bit too judgemental for my taste, she wasn't the kind of person I'd like to be friends with in real life. 

I also feel like the pacing was a bit too slow for me. While I read this book fairly quickly, there wasn't truly much going on. I understand that contemporary fiction can sometimes be a bit slower than fantasy fiction, for example, but there has to be some excitement. While there certainly were exciting pieces, such as Carly's past and the mystery surrounding it, much of the excitement was jammed into the last thirty percent of the book, which made the rest of the book seem so slow, and the ending way too fast! 

There really isn't much else to say about this book. It was short, and while it portrayed a situation that unfortunately is all too common in the real world, the main character wasn't really likeable and the pacing was too slow for my taste. 

I recommend this book to those looking for YA contemporary featuring LGBTQ characters. If you want to read a book about someone dealing with rejection due to their sexuality, this novel provides a look into the thoughts, hopes, and worries of a teenager struggling with that situation exactly.


Saturday, 18 February 2017

Beautiful Cover of the Day

I have not posted about the lovely covers I come across on Goodreads for a long time, and I recently came across one that I think is amazing and I'm super hyped for the book to be released, so I thought I'd post about it! I hope you don't mind my inconsistency on here for the last while, there's been so much schoolwork!

Anyways, today's beautiful cover belongs to Mask of Shadows

Mask of Shadows (Untitled, #1)

From Goodreads

Perfect for fantasy fans of Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo, the first book in this new duology features a compelling gender fluid main character, impressive worldbuilding, and fast-paced action.

Sallot Leon is a thief, and a good one at that. But gender fluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robber and get closer to the upper-class―and the nobles who destroyed their home.

When Sal steals a flyer for an audition to become a member of The Left Hand―the Queen's personal assassins, named after the rings she wears―Sal jumps at the chance to infiltrate the court and get revenge.

But the audition is a fight to the death filled with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. And as Sal succeeds in the competition, and wins the heart of Elise, an intriguing scribe at court, they start to dream of a new life and a different future, but one that Sal can have only if they survive.


Just look at that cover. It's freakin' awesome! It's gorgeous! 

And the main character is genderfluid! Finally more genderfluid people, I am so excited. This sounds so awesome, I can't wait. 
  
What do you think of the cover? 

Monday, 13 February 2017

Fjord Blue by Nina Rossing

Fjord Blue

 Series: N/A
Author: Nina Rossing
Page Count: 256
Published: March 10th, 2016
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
  3 Stars ★★★

Benjamin arrives in Norway after crashing his father's car, expected to work on his grandparents' farm for the summer. After acting out because he has discovered that he is gay, he spends his days getting up early and working with the other employees on the farm, including Even. 

Benjamin soon develops feelings for Even, feelings that only become more distracting when they move into the same bedroom. What starts as a friendship might turn into something more, if Benjamin is willing to take a risk. Benjamin isn't the only one dealing with his own problems, and he'll soon learn that love can come from the most unexpected of places. 

Most young adult books that I read take place mostly in North America, so reading about rural Norway provided a pleasant change from the usual American setting. This was one of my favourite things about this book, reading about the way of life for those living in rural Norway, the descriptions of the landscape, it all seemed so different, and at times beautiful. 

Benjamin, the main character, seemed to clash with the beautiful scenery described in the novel. Rebellious, angry, and uncertain of the future, his mind is filled with worries and fears. While I connected with his struggle concerning his sexual orientation and I really understood that part of his story, that was where my positive feelings for him ended. As a character, he wasn't truly likeable. I don't expect all main characters in books to be likeable, but sometimes, it affects the way that I perceive a book overall, and for Fjord Blue, that was definitely the case. Benjamin was, to me, quite immature for a seventeen year old, and his first person narration gave me insight into some of his thoughts, often riddled with sexism and judgement. I found myself cringing at some of the things that he said and thought, and while I wished him well, I really wanted him to evolve as a person. He did evolve a bit, but not as much as I'd have liked. To be perfectly honest, his thought processes reminded me of those of fifteen year old boys trying to be edgy upon entering high school. 

Even, his roommate and crush, was much more mature and likeable. He had his own struggles, some of them similar to Benjamin's, and reading about them broke my heart. His family situation reflected real life far too vividly, but I really appreciated the discussion of bigotry and judgement from one's family that was present in this book. As for Benjamin's parents and grandparents, I can't say that I truly liked them, but I didn't really hate them, either. Some of their actions made them seem like positive role models for Benjamin, but others had me shaking my head. Either way, the cast of characters, whether I liked them or not, provided a decent way for the author to convey Benjamin's journey of self-discovery and change. 

As I mentioned, I loved reading the pieces where the author describes the landscape and scenery in rural Norway, however, other parts of the writing style didn't quite reach my expectations. Mainly, I had an issue with the way that Benjamin's narration would trail off and go on and on about the different experiences he'd had and the things that he had dealt with. I feel like these aspects of Benjamin's life could have been added into the story in much more effective ways, honestly I felt like I was reading somebody's diary at times and it threw me off. I'd forget what was actually going on in the present, and when I finally emerged from the paragraphs of Benjamin's personal thoughts, I'd have to go back a bit to remind myself of what the current situation had been. 

Overall, this story offered some great insight on the struggles that LGBTQ youth may experience, but the main character wasn't very likeable. I loved that this book took place in Norway, but Benjamin's thoughts often trailed off and interrupted the flow of events. 

I recommend this book to readers looking for LGBTQ books that take place outside of America. If you're interested in young adult books about gay teenagers and family problems, you may enjoy this book. 


Friday, 10 February 2017

The Friday 56

Happy Friday, everybody! I've decided to participate in the Friday 56 this week, hosted at Freda's Voice.


Rules:
Grab a book
Turn to page 56 or 56% if it's an eBook
Find a sentence or a few, and post them!
(Full rules with original phrasing found on the blog linked above) 
 
 I am currently reading Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin
 
 Symptoms of Being Human
 
Page 56:

"That can't be right; when I wrote my first post yesterday, I had precisely one follower. How could that jump to almost sixty overnight?"


What are you reading?

Monday, 6 February 2017

The Demon Trapper's Daughter by Jana Oliver

The Demon Trapper's Daughter (The Demon Trappers, #1)

Series: The Demon Trappers
Author: Jana Oliver
Page Count: 355
Published: February 1st, 2011
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
  4 Stars ★★★★ 

Riley Blackthorne is training to become a professional demon trapper, just like her father. The job can be dangerous, and it soon becomes even more dangerous when the demons start to take an interest in her over the other demon trappers. She doesn't know why, and neither does anyone else, but she knows that she has her father to count on. That is, until tragedy strikes. 

Now Riley has to make ends meet her own way, taking dangerous risks, both possibly costing her her life or her heart. As discoveries come to light, she doesn't know who she can trust. 

First, I have to mention that I love the demons that the author included in this world. I was expecting sexy monsters and a paranormal love triangle, but that wasn't what I got at all. Instead, I got scary demons with seriously evil plans, along with a few smaller, harmless ones. I could only imagine the fear that Riley felt living in this world, where demons could wreak havoc in libraries, malls, schools, and in addition, having to be the one to trap them. 

Aside from the great take on the demonic side, the romantic aspects were also well done. There were hints of a love triangle, but nothing concrete, although I do suspect that this will change in the next book. Simon, Riley's eventual boyfriend, was extremely sweet and I could understand why she would want to be with him. Besides the romantic aspects, her relationship with her friends, Beck and Peter got complicated at times, which was also interesting. She seems to have a love-hate relationship with Beck, one moment they were arguing, the next she was thankful to have him in her life. As for Peter, he was a loyal friend who cared a lot about her, and worried about her too. I thought that they were great characters to have within the book, and although they weren't main characters in the sense that Riley was, I think they were definitely fleshed out enough to seem as real as she did.

I've read many books where those in paranormal situations are rich or at least well off. When things get tough for Riley, she has to support herself in a horrible economy and a world plagued by demons, which is completely opposite what I'm used to. I liked this because it merges real life issues, like young people dealing with stress and low income, with fictional ones, such as demon trapping. I love when books do this because it gives me more to focus on, more problems that the characters have to face, and it makes the whole situation all the more believable. Jana Oliver succeeded in this book!

My only issue with this was the explanation, or lack thereof, of the world that Riley lived in. It seems like some kind of alternative world where people are just used to having demons around....there wasn't much explanation as to how the demon issue became so bad, or even came to be in the first place. If this world had been dealing with demons forever, the author still could have added a mention of some sort to convey this to the reader, but I feel like this wasn't effectively explained and I still find myself unsure as to whether there was some kind of event concerning the demons or if it is just a natural part of this world. 

Overall this was a very enjoyable novel with an interesting take on demons and great characters. While the world-building had something missing, mixing up real life problems with paranormal problems made Riley's situation seem all the more believable. 

I recommend this book to YA readers interesting in books about trapping or hunting paranormal creatures. If you want a book with great writing, interesting characters, and demons, this book is for you.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Shelf Control: Throne of Glass


Shelves final

Shelf Control is hosted at Bookshelf Fantasies

What books do you own that you haven't read yet? This feature is all about the unread books on your bookshelf! 

Today I am featuring Throne of Glass !

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)

From Goodreads:

In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king's champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass--and it's there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena's fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.


How I got it:

  I ordered it from Chapters


When I got it:

A few weeks ago! I only recently received it.


Why I want to read it:

I've seen so much praise for this author, everyone is talking about this series, and it sounds really interesting! 

Have you read Throne of Glass?

 (Also, sorry that my blogging schedule is a bit all over the place.....lots of school and events!)

Monday, 30 January 2017

Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel

10048874 

 Series: Gone With the Respiration
Author: Lia Habel
Page Count: 470
Published: October 18th, 2011
Publisher: Del Rey
  4 Stars ★★★★

In 2195, Nora is living in New Victoria, a place that models it's values and social norms from the Victorian era, but is far ahead in terms of technology. When she returns home from school for the break, she finds herself attacked by a group of zombies, and saved by another group of them as well. Within this group is Bram, an undead soldier from the Punks, the enemy of New Victoria.

Amongst political unrest and savage zombies, Nora is surprised to find herself trusting Bram and the others dealing with 'The Laz'; the virus that causes the dead to rise. Along with her determination to get to the bottom of what's really going on in New Victoria, she will face uncomfortable and surprising truths about her family and her homeland. But will they be able to defeat an opposing zombie army before New Victoria is entirely infected?

I've only read a handful of books including zombies so I was unsure what to expect going into this one. I can say that this book really blew my mind and was almost flawless! Despite it's nearly 500 page count, I read it in a matter of a few days and I found myself reading it whenever I possibly could. 

The world-building in this book was absolutely incredible. I feel like everything, from the actual city of New Victoria to the problem of 'The Laz' was perfectly thought out and tied together nice and neatly. I found it very easy to understand the society that Nora lived in and to picture the world that she had to navigate every day of her life. This includes settings other than her hometown, including her location when she is rescued by Bram and the others. 

My favourite character was Bram. He was so full of life, despite technically being dead. I found him funny and sweet and I appreciated his tragic background story. He is one of the best male love interests I have ever come across within the YA genre. Nora was a great heroine and I found her to be strong, loyal, and determined. These two characters, and their romance, stuck out to me from many other YA paranormal romances I have read and this made the novel all the more enjoyable. The other zombies that Nora and Bram worked with made for a great cast of characters as well with their humor, tensions and drama. Much drama amongst the humans, for example Nora's friend and her family's situation, was present as well and made for a captivating read altogether. 

My issue with this book was that I found it hard to follow at times. I'd wonder what was going on as occasionally things would seem a bit rushed or scenes jumped a bit too rapidly for me. For example, this book uses several different points of view, and sometimes I felt like one character's chapter would end too abruptly, or wouldn't end with any kind of explanation, which might be good to keep the reader going but I found that it made it hard to concentrate on the following chapters, told by other characters. It got a bit distracting. If this hadn't been an issue, this book definitely would have gotten five stars!

I absolutely recommend this book. While I found it a bit confusing at times it was worth the read and I am really glad that I bought the sequel while it was on sale! I recommend this for fans of YA dystopian books and romance. If you like futuristic books, romance, and zombies, then this combination of all three of these elements is sure to blow you away. 



Monday, 23 January 2017

Easy by Tammara Webber

 16056408

Series: Contours of the Heart
Author: Tammara Webber
Page Count: 336
Published: November 6th, 2012
Publisher: Penguin Berkley
  4 Stars ★★★★

Jacqueline is a student in university, a musician, and dating her long-time boyfriend, Kennedy. That is, until he breaks up with her. When she is attacked at a party by one of Kennedy's friends, she is rescued by Lucas, a tattooed "bad boy" who happens to be in her economics class.

Her friends push her to use Lucas as a rebound hook-up, which happens to be really easy, because it turns out he has feelings for Jacqueline. But the person who attacked her that night isn't giving up on hurting Jacqueline, and Lucas is not as honest as he seems. 

Overall I really enjoyed this book, and it was almost a five star read for me. It was interesting from the start, as the attack and meeting Lucas happens within the first few chapters, and the rest of the plot continues to develop at a steady pace from there. I was certainly never bored. I found the romance between Lucas and Jacqueline sweet yet complicated, with a great evolution from lust to actual genuine feelings for each other. 

However, a few things prevented this book from getting a five star rating from me. First, I didn't like Jacqueline very much. I didn't hate her or anything, but she definitely doesn't fall into my list of favourite characters. I feel like she was kind of judgemental at times, particularly based on peoples' appearances, and while nothing she thought or said seemed outright rude, I just got a really judgemental vibe from some of the stuff that she said. 

I also think that the author failed to portray Lucas as a "bad boy". I'm pretty sure that this was the image she was going for, considering the way that the characters continually refer to Jacqueline's quest to hook up with Lucas as "Operation Bad Boy Phase".  At one point, Jacqueline actually thinks "he was cocky and self-assured" (pg 65). Self-assured, sure. But cocky? I just didn't see that in him.

I feel like the author used stereotypes, such as tattoos and piercings, to try to frame Lucas as some type of rebel or bad boy, but it really didn't work. His actions, aside from keeping secrets and some deceptive behavior, was respectful, flirty, and implied intelligence and artistic talent. Sure, he certainly wasn't perfect, and had his faults. However, he did not, in my opinion, fall into the "bad boy" category. I think that this was a case of trying to develop characterization through "telling" or thoughts, as opposed to the actual actions of the characters, which I really don't like in a book. As for Lucas himself, and the way I perceived him, I actually really liked him. 

In the end, while this was an enjoyable book, it failed to get five stars from me because I didn't exactly like Jacqueline, and Lucas didn't come across as Jacqueline and her friends claimed they perceived him. 

I recommend this book to those who like contemporary romances. If you're into new adult books and aren't sure what to read next, this would be a great choice. 


Saturday, 21 January 2017

Happy Birthday to Me + Holiday Book Haul

Sooooo it's my birthday!!!!!!!!! I'm 19 today (but though I may be 19, I will always be 15 inside, to be honest). Because my birthday and Christmas/Yule are so close together, I got a LOT of gift cards to bookstores in these few weeks. This year's holiday book haul was massive, the biggest haul I have ever done! So, I thought that in celebration of my birthday, I'd share it (show it off!) with all of you.

I got....

Book Outlet
Armageddon Outta Here
Afterlife
Balthazar
Desires of the Dead
Symptoms of Being Human
Wolfsbane
Game
The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die
Black Ice
Sublime
The Creeping
Visions (Crash, Bang, Gasp)

Chapters
The Dark Heroine: Dinner With a Vampire
House
Still Waters
The Alchemy of Forever
Birthmarked
Demon Road
Red Queen
The Killing Woods
Throne of Glass

Total Items: 21
Total Books (including all books in bound omnibus): 23

So, I bought 21 bound books (or 23 novels including the books in the Visions omnibus) within a few weeks, all from money given to me for Christmas/Yule/my birthday! I had to share this with all you awesome book worms! I also wanted to know if any of you have read any of the books that I got? What did you think of them? Are there any that you want to read as well? What was your biggest book haul? I'm excited to read all your comments :)


Picture found here