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Bloody Bookaholic's Commandment:

Thou Shall Read Till Thy Eyes Bleed

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Review: The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles #1) by Mary E. Pearson

The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles, #1)
Title: The Kiss of Deception
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Series: The Remnant Chronicles
Book #: 1
Pages: 492
Reading Level: YA
Book Rating: Photobucket
Goodreads Rating: 4.05
Published: July 8th, 2014

In this timeless new trilogy about love and sacrifice, a princess must find her place in a reborn world.

In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia’s life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight—but she doesn’t—and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighboring kingdom—to a prince she has never met.

On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, hopeful when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—even as she finds herself falling in love.

Taschima's POV:

Why must books end in GIANT cliffhangers? I hate them. I love them. Cliffhangers make sure that readers hang tight for the sequel, though The Kiss of Deception didn't need no cliff hanger to make it's reader's beg for more.
"I am a soldier in my father's army."
I have to admit that the beginning part of Kiss of Deception went by terribly slow for me. I immediately liked Lia, First Daughter and Princess of Morrighan. She is a wild spirit with an impulsive tongue. She is against tradition and resents all those who were involved into getting her engaged in a loveless engagement. Which is why she runs away with her best friend and tries to create a better live for herself. While I only liked Lia at the beginning I learn to love her by the end of the title. At the beginning she might seem a little selfish, leaving her whole kingdom to rot while she tries to find her HEA but she becomes such a strong woman by the end of the title that it doesn't even really matter. By the end she is the exact kind of princess little girls should all be looking up to.
"I wasn't a carefree tavern maid. I was Princess Arabella Celestine Idris Jezelia, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.
The one named in secret."
One of the most interesting things about the title was the mystery the author made up for us. The novel is mostly told from 3 POVs. Lia's is the main POV, but then we also read chapters from the POV of the assassin and the prince. Only, we get no description of these characters. So we, much like Lia, don't know who they are once they introduce themselves to her. We know the two of them because they somehow stick together, but we don't know who is which. Is the Assassin Rafe, or Kaden? Who is the prince? It is a mystery you are left to solve. It is kind of brilliant, you get to know them much like Lia without their titles. So if you are more inclined to like assassins, or princes, you may be quite surprised. It changes your entire perspective. Me? I'm team Rafe all the way, but that's just me.

The mystery did really drive me crazy though. I really wanted to guess right.

So while the beginning was slow for me, I might have put the book down once or twice, once Lia reached her destination it started getting into a good flow. Lia was learning new things and adopting a new way of life along with her best friend Pauline. Another thing I really liked about Kiss of Deception was the relationship between Lia and Pauline. Very strong girl friendship, these girls supported each other through thick and thin, and while Lia might have made some questionable decisions when it came to telling Pauline some truths she did it with the greatest of intentions.

I liked the world Mary E. Pearson created. I wish to learn a little more about the so called "Barbarians", I have a feeling they might very well be entitled to their rage. I would be if people kept calling me a barbarian. Also I was as confused about the so called "Gift" as Lia was. Is he Gift just really good intuition? What is so special about Lia, besides how awesome a character she is? I can't wait to find out.

The subject of war is also treated very realistically. You are shown both sides of the battle, emphasizing how good people are lost on both sides of the war, and a lot of innocent people also suffer. It kind of reminds me of [book:The Winner's Curse|16069030] and how you don't even know which side is right, because there is no clear answer. Should the Barbarians take revenge? Should they call a truce? Nobody knows, plus we don't have enough information yet to pick a side. All I know by now is that I am on Lia's side.

Lastly, Chapter sixty-eight. It warrants it's own mention. It will make you cry, it will make your heart hurt. This chapter just transformed Lia. From grieve the mighty shall emerge, and Lia is BOUND to kick some serious ass in the next book. I just wish it hadn't ended in such a huge cliff hanger (DAMN YOU!!!).

I am SO ready for Heart of Betrayal.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Review: The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (Absolute LOVE)

The Naturals (The Naturals, #1)
Title: The Naturals
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Series: The Naturals
Book #: 1
Pages: 308
Reading Level: YA
Book Rating: Photobucket.7
Goodreads Rating: 3.98
Published: November 5th, 2013

Seventeen-year-old Cassie is a natural at reading people. Piecing together the tiniest details, she can tell you who you are and what you want. But it’s not a skill that she’s ever taken seriously. That is, until the FBI come knocking: they’ve begun a classified program that uses exceptional teenagers to crack infamous cold cases, and they need Cassie.

What Cassie doesn’t realize is that there’s more at risk than a few unsolved homicides—especially when she’s sent to live with a group of teens whose gifts are as unusual as her own. Sarcastic, privileged Michael has a knack for reading emotions, which he uses to get inside Cassie’s head—and under her skin. Brooding Dean shares Cassie’s gift for profiling, but keeps her at arm’s length.

Soon, it becomes clear that no one in the Naturals program is what they seem. And when a new killer strikes, danger looms closer than Cassie could ever have imagined. Caught in a lethal game of cat and mouse with a killer, the Naturals are going to have to use all of their gifts just to survive.

Taschima's POV:

 description

For me it is much more difficult to write a review about a book I like than a book I dislike. Give me a book I dislike with a passion and I can write page after page of the many reasons why that book shouldn't have even been published, but give me a book I like and I freak out a little. Because I want to think of just the right word or sentence that will make you pick up this book, and not just because I liked it but because it is worth it. The Naturals is so worth it.
"And on it went—good natured ribbing, family jokes. I played the part, letting their energy infect me, saying what they wanted me to say, smiling their smiles. It was warm and safe and happy—but it wasn't me. It never was."
Not many books are instant likes for me. With a lot of books my liking it has to increasingly build up page after page until finally I am in love. With The Naturals it only took me a few pages for me to be hooked. The premise might have made me pick up the book but it was it's characters that made me stick around. Cassie is a misunderstood teenager, but not in the usual way. She keeps everybody at arms length and can't seem to connect with anybody, not even her family. Why? Because nobody quite understands her. They can't, they are not Naturals.
"People were people, but for better or worse, most days, they were just puzzles to me. Easy puzzles, hard puzzles, crosswords, mind0benders, sudoku. There was always an answer, and I couldn't stop myself from pushing until I found it."
The Naturals are a rag tag group of teens who have an ingrained gift. Cassie, for example, was born with the talent to profile people. She basically puts people in a box, she predicts people's behaviors and figures out personalities. Cassie's personality can be a little dry, so you may like her or you may not. I ended up loving her. She might not be quick witted but she is dark and smart and intuitive... She is also focused and driven.
"I realized suddenly that most people my age—most people any age—wouldn't be able to take reading these interviews. They wouldn't want to, and they certainly wouldn't lose themselves to it, the way I would. The way I already had. Friedman's interview was horrible and horrifying—but I couldn't turn off the part of my brain that wanted to understand."
The complete group of teens comprises of 3 girls and two guys. Lia is a natural at telling when people are lying, and at lying herself. Michael is a natural at telling emotions, he is a potential love interest. Dean is another natural profiler with a dark past. He isn't very talkative, unlike Michael. Guess who Cassie feels a stronger connection to?  Her and Dean have this undeniable chemistry. When they try to solve a cold case together Dean speaks in the first person perspective while Cassie works by talking in the second person perspective. "You" did this, as if she was reasoning with the killer itself, and Dean talks back to her as if he was the killer filling the blanks in the story. Their dance is a dark and sensual one, one that is bound to explode. I can't wait to read about it when it happens.

Lia is by far the most colorful female character of the bunch. She is alive. She takes live by the balls and doesn't let go. She also calls everybody on their bullshit and is pretty good with telling the truth (though you wouldn't know otherwise because she is a terrific liar). I have to give kudos to the author for not going the easy route and making Lia the villain, the girl who hates the MC's guts just because she gets the attention and so we grow to dislike her. Lia isn't as black and white as all that.
"You really are incredibly popular aren't you?" Lia said. "It defies all logic. I assumed you were just the new shiny. In a program with so few students, it would be weirder if the new girl didn't draw attention from the opposite sex. But neither Michael nor Dean would have a reason to mail you a package, so I can only infer that your, shall we say, appeal isn't limited to people who live here."
Did I mention I also love Lia? Because I do. The only character that falls short is Sloane, the girl who is "a Natural with numbers and probabilities."
"The first thing I noticed about the girl—other than the chipper tone in her voice and the fact that she has literally just defined normal—was her hair. It was blond, glow-in-the-dark pale, and stick straight. The ends were uneven and her blunt-cut bangs were too short, like she'd chopped them off herself."
So Sloane is the very bright girl, who happens to be blonde. I think that by trying to debunk the theory that all blondes are dumb by making her the genius Jennifer Barnes wasn't quite successful in making her not a stereotype. She is a new kind of stereotype- the super smart girl friend who happens to be there with the right information at the nick of time without having much of a back story herself. Also, she is blonde. I just wish I would have gotten to know Sloane better, maybe she, like the rest of the crew, has a dark and twisty past that will make her stand out. I am hoping we get to know her a bit better in the next book, and not just the superficial tid bits like she gets super hyper if she drinks coffee (somehow, not surprised).

The Naturals reminded me of [book:Killer  Instinct|18343196] in a way. Cassie's personality reminds me of Lane's, only Lane is more hands on while Cassie is more cerebral. In terms of plot, well, it has it's similarities as well. But While Killer Instinct is all about going at it solo The Naturals is more into the Scoobie Doo business which I really enjoy, specially if it is to be a series. For the record The Naturals was published before Killer Instinct, and other than some mild similarities they are completely different.

This is my first Jennifer Lynn Barnes novel so I can't compare it to her other books, but if her other novels are as imaginative and relatable as this little gem by gods I need to pick them up ASAP. I hope that with The Natural's sequel we get some more of the magic that has got me hooked so far and that we get a little more back story into the various characters. I have got to say, I am a fan.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

YA Excerpt: Silver Shadows (Bloodlines #5) by Richelle Mead (Chapters 1-5)

Silver Shadows (Bloodlines, #5)

"I WOKE TO DARKNESS.
This was nothing new, as I'd been waking to darkness for the last... well, I didn't know how many days. It could've been weeks or even months. I'd lost track of time in this small, cold cell, with only a rough stone floor for a bed. My captors kept me awake or asleep, at their discretion, with the help of some drug that made it impossible to count the days. For a while, I'd been certain they were slipping it to me in my food or water, so I'd gone on a hunger strike. The only thing that has accomplished was a forced feedingsomething I never, ever wanted to experience againand no escape from the drug. I'd finally realized they were pipping it in through the ventilation system, and unlike with food, I couldn't go on an air strike."
I am SO excited for Silver Shadows to be out. Sydney is in BIG trouble in this title, she was taken in by her fellow alchemists for dating Adrian. They plan to re-code her, make her something she is not. I wonder who is going to bust her out...

Silver Shadows is to be released on July 29th, 2014.


Thursday, 24 July 2014

Review: Mortal Danger by Ann Aguirre

Mortal Danger (Immortal Game, #1)
Title: Mortal Danger
Author: Ann Aguirre
Series: Immortal Game
Book #: 1
Pages: 384
Reading Level: YA
Book Rating: Photobucket
Goodreads Rating: 3.76
Published: Aug. 5th, 2014

Revenge is a dish best served cold.

Edie Kramer has a score to settle with the beautiful people at Blackbriar Academy. Their cruelty drove her to the brink of despair, and four months ago, she couldn't imagine being strong enough to face her senior year. But thanks to a Faustian compact with the enigmatic Kian, she has the power to make the bullies pay. She's not supposed to think about Kian once the deal is done, but devastating pain burns behind his unearthly beauty, and he's impossible to forget.

In one short summer, her entire life changes, and she sweeps through Blackbriar, prepped to take the beautiful people down from the inside. A whisper here, a look there, and suddenly... bad things are happening. It's a heady rush, seeing her tormentors get what they deserve, but things that seem too good to be true usually are, and soon, the pranks and payback turns from delicious to deadly. Edie is alone in a world teeming with secrets and fiends lurking in the shadows. In this murky morass of devil's bargains, she isn't sure who—or what--she can trust. Not even her own mind...

Taschima's POV:
"Imagine a world where, if enough people believe in them, the nightmares come true."
...and with that single quote the whole intention of the book changes. I thought it was about revenge, but clearly it seems I was mistaken because there are other things that take precedence; like everything else. Let's just say that summary is a bit misleading.

description

There are so many interesting facets to Mortal Danger; the smart girl who was put down and rose from the ashes to take revenge on her enemies, the guy who comes out of the shadows to help her in her quest, the possibility of time travel, faustian favors, intrigue, forbidden love… Mortal Danger has it all. But then it continues adding facets and more facets to the story, monsters, Bloody Mary, weird firms that deal with the devil (which remind me of Wolfram & Hart from the Angel series), an overall game, obscure gods... It reaches too far. It tries to be so much it falls short in every category and ends up being this convoluted mess.

Mortal Danger is a mix of Mean Girls with Supernatural with Faustian favors with time traveling with... Basically it is a lot of things in one, so many things that it kind of loses perspective after a little bit. Set in a private high school while not solely basing all its intrigue in said high school social dynamic. Mortal Danger deals with supernatural forces that seemingly “help” those who have given up on life (and who have the brightest futures ahead of them); for a price. Which reminds me of crossroads demons from Supernatural, only in Mortal Danger you get three wishes in the span of 5 years and the business people find you.
"Some people might think this was a superficial request, but they wouldn't understand why I wanted it. Not just so I'd know-for once-what it was like to be one of the beautiful people. No, once I got inside the golden circle, I' dismantle it brick by brick. A sharp, angry smile cut free, and I didn't care what Kian thought. From this point forward, I had a goal-and planning was my forte."
The thing about Mortal Danger is that in the beginning it held much promise, which is why I stuck around. This broken girl was push to her inner edge and she was about to give up on life someone offers her the deal of a lifetime, to get revenge on those who have wronged her. It was intriguing and already the author had me hooked. But then it tried to incorporate too much too quickly. I was into it for the revenge factor, this girl, this smart girl who has a grudge that is justified, was going to make them pay. Only, she loses sight of her goals as soon as she is included in the inner club. Kind of reminds you of Mean Girls, don't it? She is still nice and all but she definitely steals the queen bee place from the ruling girl.

Edie is a smart cookie. She impresses me in that she pays close attention to details. But after a while she becomes extremely paranoid about everything and everyone around her. I love a little skepticism in my YA heroines, but she took it to the limit. The guy couldn’t say ANYTHING without her being like “Oh, look you can put three words together and say something charming, YOU MUST BE EVILS.” It got a little old too fast, which made me slow down my reading because I was annoyed with her.

It is kind of sad when less than half way in you already know the ending. It was too damn obvious. Some deaths I didn't see coming, but the ending? I nailed it. So it was a little, eh, boring.

The romance was neither here nor there. Edie for the most part  didn't trust her romantic interest, though she REALLY wanted to. She wouldn't even call him for help because she didn't want to become codependent. Am, if I am stuck in a supernatural world of trouble you bet your ass I am going to call the only person who might hold some information that may save me! And not just, make out with him and waste his brain full of information.

So, Mortal Danger main problem is that it tried to bite more than it could chew. What I thought was going to be one thing turned out to be something completely different, and slightly creepy. It would have been fine if I knew form the start what I was getting myself into... but I didn't know. I still sort of don't know. It felt like it was two different stories trying to merge together but they didn't manage to do this in harmony.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Review: Dissonance by Erica O'Rourke (Happy Release Day****)

Dissonance (Dissonance, #1)
Title: Dissonance
Author: Erica O'Rourke
Series: Dissonance
Book #: 1
Pages: 496
Reading Level: YA
Book Rating: Photobucket
Goodreads Rating: 3.96
Published: July 22nd, 2014

Delancy Sullivan has always known there’s more to reality than what people see. Every time someone makes a choice, a new, parallel world branches off from the existing one. Eating breakfast or skipping it, turning left instead of right, sneaking out instead of staying in bed ~ all of these choices create an alternate universe in which an echo self takes the road not travelled and makes the opposite decision. As a Walker, someone who can navigate between these worlds, Del’s job is to keep all of the dimensions in harmony.

Normally, Del can hear the dissonant frequency that each world emits as clear as a bell. But when a training session in an off-key world goes horribly wrong, she is forbidden from Walking by the Council. But Del’s not big on following the rules and she secretly starts to investigate these other worlds. Something strange is connecting them and it’s not just her random encounters with echo versions of the guy she likes, Simon Lane.

But Del’s decisions have unimaginable consequences and, as she begins to fall for the Echo Simons in each world, she draws closer to a truth that the Council of Walkers is trying to hide ~ a secret that threatens the fate of the entire multiverse.

Taschima's POV:
"Nothing's done that can't be un-,
Nothing's lost that can't be found,
Make your choice and make a world,
Find another way around."

description

Fair Warning: do not pick up this book before you go to sleep. You will not like what happens. Dissonance is the kind of book that really requires your attention in order to take a grasp of the concepts: Echoes, Pivots, pitches… basically all the science side of things. I made the mistake of picking it up before I went to bed and I just had to start it again the next day cause I had no idea what was going on (I WAS half asleep). Once you have a clear head though you will come to appreciate the complicated science of it all.

I like how ethereal the cover looks, but it just doesn't reflect the story between the pages. When I look at this cover I think of Greek mythology, of a pretty girl somehow sacrificing herself and being delicate; couldn't be further from the truth. Del is tough, a trouble maker. Officially labeled the black sheep of her family she is also naturally talented at Walking; navigating between Echo worlds. She is studying to become a professional Walker, where she would fix disturbances in the real world that come from Echo worlds, or disturbances in the echo worlds that could potentially screw up with the real world. Her job is to protect the real world at all costs.
"It didn't seem possible that the multiverse could contain so much grief, no matter how infinite the branches were. Endless worlds and endless sadness, and I wondered if there could ever be enough joy yo balance it out.
There are a lot of concepts to understand while reading Dissonance, and if you don't understand one it is fairly certain you won't understand the rest of it all. Something that really helped (and made the story go on smoothly) is that at the beginning of every chapter there is a "lesson", a chapter from one of Del's Walker books that goes over the anomaly that the author is about to incorporate into the story. A great way to avoid info dumping all over the place.

Del is a trouble maker. They call her reckless,  Her sister is the perfect child who must please everybody around her at all costs, she is not above turning over family members if she must. Addie is a little insensitive but I still manage to somehow like the character because she had so many facets to her story (plus I loved to hate her a little as well). Did I mention Addie is into girls too? It isn't a major plot line or anything, just something mentioned in passing. How cool is that? A lesbian character that we don't have to like, her sexuality not having anything to do with it? I think this kicks ass.
"My cheeks heated. He'd told me something tragic and private, trying to make me feel less alone, and I responded by wondering what it would be like to kiss him. If there was a hell, I thought, looking out at the tilted, time-worn graves, I was definitely going there."
What can Del say, having other people bare their souls to her is kind of a turn on.

The romance was a little touch and go. I was kind of into it, but at the same time I thought things moved way too quickly. I liked the whole "being into multiple guys who are the same person from various universes" (though really she was only into one other version of Simon). It is incredibly messed up that she basically uses this echo in order to satisfy her need for intimacy with the boy who is unable to really see her, but it is a kind of messed up that is entertaining. Simon is a great guy, I REALLY like him. Though I don't know if I like horny Simon (that is what I call his echo, because he was always putting the moves on Del) or normal Simon more. They are kind of the same person, just some different facets.

One thing I did not like was the relationship between Del and her best friend, Eliot. I liked it because they were pals and they helped each other and whatever, but I did not like the pressure Eliot put on the girl. Like, him being in love with her gave him dibs. I did not like how the relationship was portrayed when the girl doesn't reciprocate, like she did something wrong just by not wanting their normal friend relationship to go to crap. Screw you Eliot. Eliot is of course the geeky friend who is totally in love with the MC. Only she is totally NOT into him, and the drama commences. Eliot isn't all bad, he is a great friend, but I just don't like how he acts throughout the second half of the novel. Not cool.

Dissonance was a fantastic read. After you get into the flow of things it is pretty easy to read it in one sitting. It is long though, and there are a lot of complicated concepts that kind of make sense but are rooted in so many explanations... your brain might start to hurt. But ride it out and you'll find yourself loving the multiverses, the echoes, the romance, the dialogue, and specially Delancey. I am so interested in reading what will come next, no matter how complicated it might be.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

So I Started Reading Dissonance by Erica O'Rourke

Dissonance (Dissonance, #1)

"A pivot directly connects two worlds, but once you're inside, you can use it to travel to any other Echo in the multiverse."
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 
"Echoes weren't real, but I was falling for one. Or was I falling for the real Simon, and using his Echo because it was the only way to be with him?I eased out of the bed, holding my breath. My backpack was still stocked from today's training session-duct tape, Swiss Army knife, matches, candy, and now, Monty's [grandfather] lock picks-and its weight was comforting. I might be reckless, but I wasn't stupid.I'd snuck out plenty of times before, but never with this much at stake. The smart thing to do was to stay here, figure out a way to make Eliot forgive me, and convince my parents I had learned my lesson.But ask anybody: Addie was the smart one."
I like how ethereal the cover looks, but it just doesn't reflect the story between the pages. When I look at this cover I think of Greek mythology, of a pretty girl somehow sacrificing herself and being delicate. Couldn't be further from the truth. Del is tough, a trouble maker. Officially labeled the black sheep of her family she is also naturally talented at Walking; navigating between Echo worlds. She is studying to become a professional Walker, where she would fix disturbances in the real world that come from Echo worlds, or disturbances in the echo worlds that could potentially screw up with the real world. Her job is to protect the real world at all costs.

The whole science of it is very interesting, complicated, and needs your full attention. The story so far is pretty long at 496 pages but I havent found myself bored at any given point. I like Del, she has got spunk! Her sister is another story (a goodie two shoes who must always be perfect, her name is Addie). So far other than Del we have the lovable, yet maybe slightly out of it, grandfather who seems to know secrets about their profession that he is keeping under wraps until the opportune moment. I like him, he is entertaining and serves a purpose. The romantic interest is steamy, though I seem to be more into his Echoes than the original boy. We'll see what happens, after all I am only half way through so far.

Friday, 18 July 2014

YA Sneak Peek: The Stars Never Rise by Rachel Vincent (June 2015)


Rachel Vincent posted a sneak peek of The Stars Never Rise on Facebook...

description

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Well, let's just say...

description

Unfortunately this title is not going to be published until June 9th 2015...  The horror!

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Review: Taken by Erin Bowman

Taken (Taken, #1)
Title: Taken
Author: Erin Bowman
Series: Taken
Book #: 1
Pages: 360
Reading Level: YA
Book Rating: Photobucket
Goodreads Rating: 3.77
Published: April 16th, 2013

There are no men in Claysoot. There are boys—but every one of them vanishes at midnight on his eighteenth birthday. The ground shakes, the wind howls, a blinding light descends…and he’s gone.

They call it the Heist.

Gray Weathersby’s eighteenth birthday is mere months away, and he’s prepared to meet his fate–until he finds a strange note from his mother and starts to question everything he’s been raised to accept: the Council leaders and their obvious secrets. The Heist itself. And what lies beyond the Wall that surrounds Claysoot–a structure that no one can cross and survive.

Climbing the Wall is suicide, but what comes after the Heist could be worse. Should he sit back and wait to be taken–or risk everything on the hope of the other side?

Taschima's POV:
“Maybe it takes going crazy to face the truth.”
"The rage in this one, the anger, the bitterness, the fire-that is real. That is what is left of a Heisted boy, a life plucked from one world and thrown without background into another."
Taken was a thrill ride, but what really shines in this novel is it's characters. Gray is stubborn, reckless, and prideful. A bit of a dick at the beginning, he is everything that his brother isn't; his exact opposite. While Blaine would try his best to make life easier for everyone Gray kept to himself and couldn’t give less of a crap how everyone else felt. He was true to himself, which made him seem like a dick to the people around him. He also hated the system they were raised on, so instead of accepting it like everybody else he rebelled. He wouldn't conform, which made him an outsider. He acts before he thinks, he is led by emotions. I liked him.
"You don't understand," I say. "I'm doing it for me, because that's what I do. We talked about this on our very first trip to the lake. I think about myself, my needs, and I act on them. I need the truth, all of it, and I'm going to get it. I can't spend my entire life not knowing."
Gray and Emma are slatted together. Basically they make the men and women in the colony hang out and sleep with each other so that their population wont dwindle. Gray likes Emma, but he doesn't like the idea of anybody telling him what to do. So he makes a plan with Emma, she hangs out with him and pretend they are having a relationship and maybe that will keep people off their backs. Emma accepts, and so their budding friendship begins. At first Emma dislikes him (I mean who wouldn't, the damn kid has a chip the size of Texas on his shoulder) but soon enough she starts to trust him, and like him. Their relationship is an easy one, one built on childhood friendship and convenience. I have a feeling it is more real for Gray than it is for Emma.
“I don’t know what caused me to latch on to Bree the way I have, but whenever she leaves, I am slightly lost. I miss her fire, her scowling face and wild nature, her snide remarks. Each time she returns, I think of telling her this, but I never do. I sometimes even think of asking her if she still wants that kidd. But then Emma will creep into my mind—Emma who has been a pain in my chest for months, an ache I pray to extinguish in reunion every single day. And so I always let the feelings for Bree—the ones that creep up on me when she flashes me a smile or playfully punches my arm—fade way.”
Which is where Bree comes in. The love triangle in this book (yeap, there is one) is very subtle. It is not shoved at us and making us like it, it is justified. I like both Bree and Emma, though Bree has more of the qualities that I look for in my female bad asses. Emma is quieter, a healer, smart. She is more like Blaine than Gray, and Gray is more like Bree. I am curious to see if in this instance opposites will attract, or if Gray will stick with the person who shares more of his qualities. It could definitely go either way.

Other than the characters I liked the plot. Boys getting heisted at 18 for no obvious reason. It kind of reminded me of Michael Grant's [book:Gone|2536134] series, which kids disappearing after they reach a certain age. I never continued that series so I don't know if they have anything else in common. What drives this series for the most part though is Gray and his curiosity. He keeps fighting until he find the truth. It is a good series that focuses heavily on the dystopian world. I thought more background on the war was needed and hopefully this will be addressed in the sequel. Even though I figured out the "major mystery" early on I still enjoyed the book and plan to continue on reading the series.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

So I Started Reading The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The Naturals (The Naturals, #1)
"People were people, but for better ot worse, most days, they were just puzzles to me. Easy puzzles, crosswords, mind benders, sudoku. There was always an answer, and I couldn't stop myself from pushing until I found it."


I am a little in love with this title already. It's like being inside the mind of little Sherlokians. Cassie is a profiler, she takes note of little details about people and profiles them. She is what they call a Natural profiler. She is just gifted, as is Sherlock Holmes. Ther eare various profilers in the story so Cassie is not the "chosen one". Right now there is no disernable "thing" that makes these kids have these special abilities, they just have them. There's a boy who is a Natural at reading people's emotions, a girl who is a Natural at telling when people are lying (she is also a natural at lying herself), another girl who is good with diserning patterns and statistics (she is a genius), and another Natural profiler in the bunch (a boy named Dean).
"I realized suddenly that most people my age—most people any age—wouldn't be able to take reading these interviews. They wouldn't want to, and they certainly wouldn't lose themselves to it, the way I would. The way I already had. Friedman's interview was horrible and horrifying—but I couldn't turn off the part of my brain that wanted to understand."


The premise is just so very interesting! The characters are fun to read, the writing just flows... I am having a blast reading this title. I can't believe I didn't pick it up sooner!

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Review: Elite (Eagle Elite, #1) by Rachel Van Dyken (No... Just, no.)

Elite (Eagle Elite, #1)
Title: Elite
Author: Rachel Van Dyken
Series: Eagle Elite
Book #: 1
Pages: 256
Reading Level: NA
Book Rating: Photobucket
Goodreads Rating: 4.23
Published: July 9th, 2013

For Tracey Rooks, life with her grandparents on a Wyoming farm has always been simple. But after her grandmother's death, Tracey is all her grandfather has. So when Eagle Elite University announces its annual scholarship lottery, Tracey jumps at the opportunity to secure their future and enters. She isn't expecting much-but then she wins. And life as she knows it will never be same . . .

The students at Eagle Elite are unlike any she's ever met . . . and they refuse to make things easy for her. There's Nixon, gorgeous, irresistible, and leader of a group that everyone fears: The Elect. Their rules are simple. 1. Do not touch The Elect. 2. Do not look at The Elect. 3. Do not speak to The Elect. No matter how hard she tries to stay away, The Elect are always around her and it isn't long until she finds out the reason why they keep their friends close and their enemies even closer. She just didn't realize she was the enemy -- until it was too late.

Taschima's POV:

description

I can't even count how many times I rolled my eyes while reading Elite. There were too many things that deserved the eye roll: Tracey, Nixon, the romance, the story... Elite definitely isn't what I thought it was going to be. It kind of disappointed me with not only the story but the characters. The setting of the novel was an utter joke. A college that acts like a high school in every which way. The students are immature a hell, there are cliques, uniforms, etc. It was basically a high school that was given the name "college" just so nobody would be pissed with how sexually charged many of these pages were. Also, no adult supervision.

Let's start off with the main character, Tracey. Tracey, Tracey, Tracey. Sometimes I liked Tracey, at least at the beginning I did. She stood up for herself, she had a spine, and she was spunky. That is, until she got involved with the "Elite", the "college's" most powerful clique. Then she became the BIGGEST CRY BABY. She was "bursting into sobs" with every other page over EVERYTHING. She couldn't "keep it in". She never could! She LOVED playing the victim.
"I sighed. It would be impossible to forget to breathe, to forget I had a heart, so what made him think it would be possible to forget Nixon?"
description

At the beginning she was good at standing up for herself, after 15% in? Not so much anymore. She needed some serious saving. She was pathetic. And did I also mention she was completely clueless? There were SO many signs regarding what Nixon was and what was going on around her, but she was of course completely clueless. I cannot respect this girl, she doesn't deserve the reader's respect and I am not even sure why not only one but TWO guys are trying to get her attention. Yeap, here comes the love triangle.
"Open" I opened my eyes and my mouth, since I really didn't have a say in the matter. But then again, it was Nixon. I wasn't given a vote. Ever.
Nixon, Nixon, Nixon. God's gift to earthly women everywhere. Only... not. He is a prick. Not only a prick, he is a mobster! Like, he is only 20 years old and he is already running the family business. Are you kidding? Why is he still attending the "college" which isn't really a college (more like a high school... they make then wear uniforms) from which he was already supposedly graduated? It makes no sense. I dislike this guy so much. He isn't dreamy, he isn't a dangerous bad boy, he is a mobster who thinks the world has to answer to his every beck and call.
"Sobs racked my body until I couldn't breathe or see straight for that matter. I didn't even know which direction I was running. I just knew I had to get out of there. Away from him and away from my broken heart that had just shattered at Nixon's feet."
Don't worry, this isn't unusual behavior for Tracey. She is always bursting into sobs. Hey Nixon, do you mind stepping on that heart for good measure? Thanks.
"Chase's face was suddenly in front of me. Wordlessly, he lifted me into his arms and carried me out of the classroom, damning the mafia to hell the entire way."
Why couldn't Clueless Sobbing Tracey go for Chase? Because he is the nice one of course. But the minute things went wrong with Nixon Tracey ran unto Chase's arms. It's like a bad cheesy chick flick. Then the author tried to quickly assemble together something that looked like attraction between the two characters and we were supposed to buy it. Yeah, no. I need a little more detail in my relationships if I am going to believe this girl is torn between the two guys. Seriously? Chase is the only character I really liked. The only character I would like to get to know better. Well, him and maybe Monroe.

Now let's talk about the girl side characters. Monroe. She is Nixon's twin sister. Being the only other girl in the story of course she gets the "slut" treatment package. Her dresses are too short, she is too beautiful, she is only seen as being interested in partying and guys. She does come to Tracey's rescue when needed however. Even if Tracey doesn't seem to have the best thoughts about her appearance.
"Don't worry, I think I've got the perfect dress." My stomach launched into nervous somersaults. If it was anything like the dress she was wearing now, then I was going to be put in prison for prostituting myself out."
description

I don't even blame Tracey. No, she just HAD to be the MOST SPECIAL girl in the book. Of course she is a virgin with little to no experience. She is the SPECIAL girl. Everybody take note! Monroe is no good because she dresses "slutty" and is rich and beautiful and so very cliche.

Tracey said and did a lot of stupid things. Like, a lot of them. Look at this little gem:
"Tears threatened again. "Sometimes, Cahse... it's the emotional wounds that hurt the most." I pushed back the anger and sighed. "I'd rather he beat me. Cuts heal, bruises fade-but broken hearts? They carry scars for a lifetime."
 description

I am done. I can't even continue to keep writing about the many things that are just wrong with this book. I can't. I won't. Good luck if you want to read it. I won't be picking up the second one anytime soon, not when there are so many other wonderful things I could be spending my time with.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Review: Idols (Icons #2) by Margaret Stohl (Happy Release Day!)

Idols (Icons, #2)
Title: Idols
Author: Margaret Stohl
Series: Icons
Book #: 2
Pages: 432
Reading Level: YA
Book Rating: Photobucket
Goodreads Rating: 4.00
Published: July 8th, 2014

The Icons came from the sky. They belong to an inhuman enemy. They ended our civilization, and they can kill us.

Most of us.

Dol, Ro, Tima, and Lucas are the four Icon Children, the only humans immune to the Icon's power to stop a human heart. Now that Los Angeles has been saved, things are more complicated - and not just because Dol has to choose between Lucas and Ro, the two great loves of her life. As she flees to a resistance outpost hidden beneath a mountain, Dol makes contact with a fifth Icon Child, if only through her visions. When Dol and the others escape to Southeast Asia in search of this missing child, Dol's dreams, feelings and fears collide in an epic showdown that will change more than just four lives -- and stop one heart forever.

In this riveting sequel to Icons, filled with nonstop action and compelling romance, bestselling author Margaret Stohl explores what it means to be human and how our greatest weakness can be humanity's strongest chance at survival.

Taschima's POV:
"Every day is a battle, since the Lords came. Every day is a battle for everyone."
I had no expectations when going into Idols. While Icons was not my favorite read I feel like Idols is a step in the right direction, if only because it kicked Dol so hard to the ground there is no way to go but up. We got scarce scenes of that pesky romance which only seemed to bring the book down, hurrah for that! We also got a better picture of the entity that makes the rules for the big bad aliens. Overall Idols was an easier read than Icons and more entertaining to boot.

How can you like the book if you do not like your MC? Dol and me don't have the best relationship. I think she is annoying, a bit pathetic, and too passive. Plus it doesn't help she is all doey eye towards Lucas, and I dislike Lucas with a passion.
"You know. Your little love beam. The thing where you make people do things they don't want to do. Because they looooove you. About time you turn it on someone besides Dol." Ro smiles at me, and I respond with a withering look. Which is better than Lucas punching him in the face, which from the looks of it is a real possibility."
He is murky and I don't trust him. It doesn't help he has the power to compel people. The ones I do like are Ro and Tima. Tima has changed a bit in this book though. She isn't as badass as she was in Icons, she is subdued. Now she is only described as being kind of like a teacher, a quiet teacher at that. Is this to make Dol shine? I don't know, but I didn't like it. Tima is pushed to the background, while Ro shines brighter than ever. Ro may have a temper but at least he is honest. Ro also directs his temper to those who deserve it, so he is dangerous but the kind of dangerous that will help humanity.

But even though Dol might not be my favorite character at the beginning enough things happen to her throughout the story to roughen her up. Hopefully it sticks in the next book. On the other hand the romance is awful. It really brings the whole book down. Dol is literally caught between the two guys. She keeps telling herself she loves Lucas, but then she questions herself at every turn. Or more like every time she remembers Ro is around.
"A nightmare? Will I wake up and find myself asleep on the dessert floor? Or better yet, on the floor of the misson, in front of the stove, with Ro by my side?"
I am all up for her to forget about Lucas and stick with Ro, but that ain't gonna happen any time soon.

My point is the less the book focused on the romance the better off it was. I say let's concentrate more on the aliens! Where do they come from? Do they really want to exterminate all life on earth? What do they exactly look like? We've only seen the technology the aliens brought to the Earth but little else. I want to know more about the enemy these kids are trying to fight. I want to know more about the character Null. I liked reading the conversations between it and Doc, which are plugged into the book between chapters. How are these kids supposed to battle these beings what have invaded the earth? The only one who even seems to have a shot at it is Ro.

Overall Idols was a step up from Icons. So if you liked Icons you are sure to enjoy Idols, if you were iffy about it (like me) then you have a better chance at enjoying Idols. Now what I can't wait for is the sequel. With the way things are left off, and the main characters that dies at the end there... There has to be a sequel. I can't wait to read it, because it seems it can only get better from here on out.
"Not everything that comes from the sky is an angel. It's true. And not everything that lives on the Earth is a human. Also true."

Friday, 4 July 2014

So I Started Reading Take Me On by Katie McGarry...


Haley:
Is this all we are? Continual actions and reactions? No control over our futures? One pink slip and we lose our house and I lose my father? One decision to date the wrong guy and I lose Jax and Kaden? One step off the wrong curb and my life is entangled with a stranger's?
If that's true, then life is one pathetic and sick game.
West:
I'm in love with you. I'm in love with you and I don't know how to make you better. I'm in love with you and I shouldn't be. I'm in love with you and once you figure out who I am, you're not going to love me. I'm in love with you and I seem to fuck up the ones who love me back.
Take Me On follows the same sort of set circumstances that the past novels have. Boy and girl in fucked up places in life? Check. Circumstances that makes them have to spend time together? Check. Attraction? Oh  hell yes checked. But even though on the surface it may feel like a formulaic way to write a novel what matters is the execution. And boy does Katie McGarry nails it. I mean, if we are going to talk about formulaic then look no further than one of my other favorite series The Black Dagger Brotherhood, and that series is on their 12th book and not stopping for breath! What both series have in common is that the authors are good writers and they know how to make you look past the formula and into the itty gritty parts of the novel.

I am immensely enjoying Take Me On, the fourth book in the Pushing the Limits series. I love Haley, she is bossy and smart and knows what she is doing. West, as Haley says, has a lot of heart. I think he is, stupidly, blaming himself for what happened to Rachel. He feels like he doesn't belong with his family, like he failed them, and since his father can act like a total prick he doesn't make things easier. I like them together, I like how they push each other. I like them so much I wouldn't mind reading another novel from their POV. Now that's love.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Bookish Question: Reading Stats

How Many Books Do You Read?

In a year, what is your set challenge? Do you even set a challenge? When you create an account on Goodreads every year it asks you if you want to set a "challenge" for yourself. How many books do you cant to read a year? Last year I challenged myself to read 80 books. I read 76. I think my initial intention was to read 75, but then I got cocky.

The year before that I also challenged myself to read 75 books and read 76. 2011's Challenge... I dont even want to talk about it. The truth is every year I didn't have a game plan. I just read for the sake of reading. Because I love it, because I wanted to immerse myself in another person's world.

This year is slightly different. I finished College, graduated, and got a part time job (finding a full time job is a pain in the butt). So I have the time. Most importantly, I have a plan. 
 
https://www.goodreads.com/challenges/1914-2014-reading-challenge
 
Every week I try to read 3 books. I started this recently, since I got my part time job. With 26 weeks left in the year, and if I read 3 books every week...

26 x 3 = 78 books

 I have the potential to still read 78 books this year if I keep to my schedule! But still, this system also leaves room for weeks where I am just not feeling it or something happens. That way I can still complete my 2014 challenge! I know I am not competing with anyone but challenging yourself is a great way to get things done, and with all the great books coming out this year I needed an extra push.

So how many books do you read in a year? In a week? What is your self-challenge?

 

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Review: Mirror X (The Van Winkle Project #1) by Karri Thompson

Mirror X (The Van Winkle Project, #1)
Title: Mirror X
Author: Karri Thompson
Series: The Van Winkle Project
Book #: 1
Pages: 318
Reading Level: YA
Book Rating: Photobucket
Goodreads Rating: 3.60
Published: June 30th, 2014

Cassie Dannacher wakes up in a hospital over 1,000 years into the future after her space capsule is retrieved from space. She soon learns that 600 years prior to her arrival, the earth was struck by a plague, killing over half of the world’s population. Na├»ve and desperate, Cassie, who longs for home and is having trouble adjusting to the new, dictatorial 31st century government, is comforted by Michael Bennett, the 20-year old lead geneticist at the hospital where she was revived.

But why is Cassie in genetics’ hospital in the first place, and why do several of the people around her seem so familiar, including Travel Carson, the hot and edgy boy she is fated to meet? Soon she discovers there is a sinister answer to all of her questions – and that they want something from Cassie that only she can give.
Taschima's POV:

The beginning of Mirror X was slow and infuriating. It's main character, Cassie, was a little hard to stomach, her overcharged emotions and instant distrust of everything and everyone around her making her unlikable therefore making it hard for me to connect to her. The world building is flimsy, even though we get a sense of how the world is built much like Cassie we are kept in the dark about not only the outside view but the governmental structure. Overall Mirror X was a hard one to get through, but for some the second half of the novel (which is filled with elaborate escape plans, emotions that match the situation, and actual excitement) will make up for it's clunky start.

"This was a society that wanted to forget its past. I was a part of the past, a new plague in this world."

While I have to admit Cassie was put in an impossible situation I have to say I thought she could have been a more gracious character. She wakes up in the future and instead of being grateful that she is alive, or even grief stricken due to the loss of everybody she ever loved, the first thing she starts to do is complain. About... everything. Why can't I have a window? Where are the trees? I NEED GRASS AND THE SUN! She was an outdoorsy girl in the past but it was still annoying to hear her complain about these inconsequential things while she was recovering from being in a comatose state of over one thousand years. Oh, and immediately upon awakening she already had her eyes set on the cute doctor, I swear she gave him more page time than she gave her old family. I didn't really feel she was mourning the death of the ones she loved until much later in the story. But then, she gets better. Finally toward the half of the novel her emotions start making sense and matching the scenarios. She becomes less superficial I guess and starts to really think about not only herself but the entire world. Kudos, took you TOO FRICKING LONG.

The world... The parts I have trouble with I cannot discuss it without really giving away some of the juicy bits of the story. I just have to say that I had questions. First off, everywhere for every other thing there was a robot doing the job. There were basically almost no nurses, no janitors, etc. What do the people living in this society do for a living? Second...(view spoiler) Third, the whole story was riddled with coincidences. Too many, making it hard for me to keep myself from rolling my eyes.

The moral and ethical concerns tackled on this book were one of the things I most enjoyed. The question of thinking about sacrificing one person so that the rest of the human race may survive, the issues concerning privacy which led to a more safe society but which wasn't really free... Overall it was interesting the way the main character reacted to some of these issues versus the way that I would have reacted in her stead. 

Overall Mirror X failed in its execution. Cool ideas, really. It could have easily been a stand alone novel and I am not even sure I will be picking up the second novel really. The second half of the book might have been better than the beginning but the second book will need to improve upon plot, world building, and character development. I just don't see myself willingly picking up the sequel.

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