From the Notebook: Top 5 YA Trope Turnoffs

Hey guys! This week, I try to contain my ranting to a minimum while discussing the top 5 things that make it really unlikely for me to pick up a YA book. I even rank them this time around. My top choice even reveals an old sore wound of mine that has somehow gotten WORSE as I’ve written my last thesis chapter. Probably going to be more on that later!

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Review: “Poison Princess” by Kresley Cole

Poison PrincessPoison Princess (The Arcana Chronicles #1) by Kresley Cole

Goodreads | Amazon

Evangeline “Evie” Greene, 16, leads a charmed life until her horrifying hallucinations predict a disaster that decimates her Louisiana hometown. She joins classmate Jack – with his mile-long rap sheet, wicked grin, bad attitude – and 22 other teens, as an ancient prophesy re-enacts the ultimate battle between good and evil. But who is on which side?

Thanks to SimonPulse and PulseIt.com for this free read!

3 stars

Not since Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi have I had such a huge love-hate relationship with a book. I mean, seriously. At times I was steaming mad or annoyed, but I kept reading because OHMAHGOD SO GOOD. I swear this review sits at three stars just because that’s my middle of the road rating and I don’t know what else to do because I cannot tell if I love or hate this book. Let’s try to figure this out together, shall we?

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Top Ten Posts On My Blog That Give The BEST Picture of Me!

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish!

Hey everybody! I’ve been missing a few TTTs lately, but I really didn’t want to miss this one! This is a really interesting topic that may verge on me being pretty egotistical, but what’s new? 😛 Let’s get this started!

1. Stacking the Shelves #5 (08/04/12)

Okay, so, vlogs are probably a really easy place to go for this, because they ARE a video representation of me, but this gives you guys an EXCELLENT view of how out of control my reading habits are. 😛

2. Alpha Recap – So many goodies you don’t want to miss out! (7/30/12)

I made a point a long time ago to not make this blog about me, my writing and my books, but when my love of writing takes me places THIS AWESOME, I just HAVE to tell you guys. It’s like a side of me I only let the blog see every once in a while. 😛

3. My Epic Quest to Go See Cassandra Clare, Holly Black and Sarah Rees Brennan and Why It was Worth It. (7/16/12)

In this post, I not only ruminate about books but also my family, my birthday and HOLY CREATOR OF CHOCOLATE AUTHOR LOVE! Ahem. Anyways. I lose my mind a little in this post, for good reason!

4. Stacking the Shelves #3 (7/14/12)

I … attempt humor in this vlog. It doesn’t go well. But it gives you a window into my personality! …which you probably wish you could unsee, but whatever! I make no apologies for who I am. 😛

5. The Book Reviews I Couldn’t Give My Teacher (5/31/12)

This one has a disclaimer for those people who enjoy classic books because, well, I’m not one of them and I unleash the snark! There is 7 mini book reviews in this post and it’s STILL not overly long, which impresses me still to this day. 😛

6. ARC Review: “Wilde’s Fire” by Kystal Wade

Anyone who reads my blog regularly knows that I HATE cliché YA romance. HATE IT. And when it happens, I mention it. In this book, though, I was absolutely losing my mind over the weirdness of it all, and for that it kind of recaps the way I feel about YA romance in general.

7. On YA books that make abusive, stalkerish, horrible relationships seem like they’re okay–HERE ME ROAR (2/27/12)

Few books have ever made me outright angry. Actually, it was just this one. This post began as my review of Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey, the only book I have ever rated 1 star on this blog in its entire existence, despite having DNFed it. Usually I don’t write reviews of those, just a few lines on Goodreads as to why I personally stopped reading. This book made me SO ANGRY that I just HAD to say something or I would explode.

8. Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (12/11/11)

When I lose my mind about a book, I LOSE MY MIND about a book. Despite having waited to calm down to write this review, I STILL couldn’t get my thoughts in order when I wrote the post. Very few times do I write reviews were I’m just flailing for words, and this is one of them.

9. Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (11/26/11)

This was the very first 5 star review I ever gave on my blog, and OH BOY is there a lot of CAPS and general book love. I mean, it still rather frightens me to read it over because I was SO enthusiastic about the book.

10. Review: Mastiff by Tamora Pierce (11/11/11)

I like to think of myself as someone who can give truthful reviews, not just flail all over the place because it’s something my favorite author wrote. This is my favorite example of this. I tried so hard for WEEKS to forgive Tammy for this book–I mean, but this point I’d MET the woman and found out how fantastic she was when she taught a writing workshop I went to–but I just couldn’t do it. I generally think everything that comes out of Tammy’s fingers is gold, but even I have my limits.

Top Ten Books Whose Covers Made Me Buy It

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s TTT is actually a TTT Rewind, meaning I could pick whatever past topic I wanted. I chose this one because, a lot of times, I am ALL about the covers. I mean seriously. If it sparkles and sounds halfway decent, I am bound to pick it up. This has not always worked out for me, but sometimes it has been the best way to choose EVER. Get ready for some COVER EYE CANDY!

(All title links go to Goodreads. All links in the paragraphs go to my reviews.)

1. Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

If you have to ask why, you must not have seen this cover. And this book is just as gorgeous as the cover. There is way too much squealing in my review.

2. Wilde’s Fire by Krystal Wade

In a world where most girls are wearing black dresses and looking depressed, this girl was moving and very blue with magic or something. It looked exciting to me! However, I was not entirely impressed.

3. The Shapeshifter’s Secret by Heather Ostler

This cover looks freaking amazing and you cannot tell me otherwise. The font, her make up … everything. If only they had spent more money on the editing department instead of the cover, maybe I wouldn’t have DNFed this book.

4. The Selection by Kiera Cass

Yeah, yeah, I know, opinions about this one abound. However, I picked it up because it looked like fun, sugary fluff and I was entirely right. And I enjoyed it too.

5. Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey

Look at that cover. How could that cover contain a book any less than awesome, right? Wrong. This book inspired a rant so fierce I was afraid to post it. But I did. Because *CUE ANGRY GRETCHEN*

6. Wither by Lauren DeStefano

I had actually had a friend whose opinion I respect tell me she hadn’t enjoyed this one, so I was rather wary about picking this one up. Then I saw the cover and decided to take a chance. And I’m so glad I did.

7. The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

I have no idea if I picked this up more because of the gorgeous cover or because of the fact that Tamora Pierce’s blurb is on the front cover. Either way, it was a really spectacular decision. So much love for this book right here.

8. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Okay, I totally picked this up for other reasons too. HOWEVER, once I saw the cover, I just had to pick this up to ask the girl on the cover, “What in the name of all that’s chocolate forced you to put on THAT?” The book then went on to inspire the mother of all reviews, so I guess that was worth it too.

9. Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Actually, I’m pretty sure it was the font that got me on this one. I just have a THING for this font. And the color purple. So that. And the book wasn’t half bad either! (The second one was better.)

10. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Yeah, so, sometimes the girls in dresses utterly and completely hook me. This is one of them. And the book was such a quirky, fun ride I was glad it caught me!

Review: Fever by Lauren DeStefano

Fever

 by Lauren DeStefano

Four stars

“Rhine and Gabriel have escaped the mansion but haven’t outrun the danger. One the outside, they encounter a landscape as mysterious and threatening as the one they left behind. Despite the perils, the two are determined to get to Manhattan and to relative safety with Rhine’s twin brother, Rowan. But in a world where young women only live to age twenty and young men to age twenty-five, time is precious. Even worse, they can’t seem to elude Rhine’s father-in-law Vaughn, who is determined to bring Rhine back to the mansion … by any means necessary.

In the sequel to Lauren DeStefano’s harrowing Wither, Rhine must decide if freedom is with the price–now that she has more to lose than ever.”

(This book review is from an Advanced Review Copy, won from Goodreads)

First off, let me just extend a thank you to Goodreads, Simona & Schuster and–of course–Lauren DeStefano for getting this book into the world and then gifting it to me early. This is the first ARC I’ve ever gotten and the first early review I’ve ever done, so I’m just going to do my best and also try not to spoil anything. It is going to be freaking hard, because I want to squeal SO MUCH. Where to start…

The beginning is always a good place to start! Let me tell you, Fever is aptly titled. The first part of this book–until about Chapter 9 or so (out of 27 chapters)–reads like a haze. DeStefano has a very lyrical way of writing, and its infused with a sort of haze all throughout the beginning that gives the book a sense of surrealism. Usually, I hate that kind of thing. Hey, have you seen my review of Shatter Me? Usually lyrical writing–overdone like that–really turns me off. But it works rather well with the surrealism of Rhine’s current situation, somehow. It still doesn’t completely jive with my particular taste in style (part of the reason this isn’t a five star review), but I found myself stuck reading…and reading…and reading. After Chapter 9, the book falls into the saner rhythm, with the lyrical phrasing and such more interspersed–the way Wither was written, basically. There is still a tinge of the “fever,” though, which helps to connect the switch.

Another thing found in those first few chapters? DeStefano’s other magical ability, to take on a situation that has such a bad stigma to it and make it work for her story. It was polygamy in Wither, and it’s prostitution in Fever–neither of which are small change! You clearly don’t get the feelings of approval or anything, but… Well, it’s hard to describe. Anyone who’s read Wither knows what I mean. (Wait a sec. If you haven’t read Wither, what exactly are you doing here? Go check out my review of the first book and check back in here later! :P)

The pace of the entirety of the book is FAST. There are a few moments of peace for the characters, but even then there is hectic undertone that makes you keep reading and reading until the book is all gone and you go WAIT GIVE ME MORE. Of course, I’m getting ahead of myself. Fever was also great about answering a few questions but then opening up a hundred more. (Read “great” with AGH I WANT TO KNOW accents.) I, for one, prefer fast paced books where things are just hitting me one after the other because it’s the only way I can keep my interest in it, and this book delivered.

I wish I could go into my other reasons for docking a star from this review, but in my efforts to stay spoiler free I must say rather little. Actually, they are a lot like the issues I had with the first book. Most of them came from character development, nominally Rhine and Gabriel, whom I’ve had issues with since Wither. There is an aspect of falseness to their relationship still, though events in Fever suggest this might be intentional. (Though I am still completely befuddled by the whole Rhine-Linden dynamic.) Also, the tempo. Despite being fast paced, I was never utterly and completely invested in characters such as Rhine, yet I found myself liking the characters of Lilac and Maddie (don’t worry, you’ll meet them soon) right away. Thus, when things happened to Rhine, my heart wasn’t pulsing like it should have been. As I said in my review of the first book, perhaps DeStefano’s way with words is one reason the plot never got to my heart rate, but I refuse to put too much blame there because she has a way with words.

Fans of the first book, of course, just want to know one thing (besides the entire plot and all the spoilers that they can’t get til Fever hits shelves, but you know): Does Fever measure up to Wither? The answer is yes. Totally and absolutely yes. If you were having sequel anxiety, worry not! If you loved the first book, you’ll be heading head over heels for the second one. Your unbearable wait for February 21 will be worth it, I promise.

Now, Goodreads, you’ve got the expected release date for the third book set as April 1, 2013. How sweet do I have to be to get an early copy of that? 😀