Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books That Were Totally Deceiving

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

“Totally Deceiving,” i.e., the covers or titles that don’t fit the book, books that were totally different from the summary, or books you thought were going to be fluff that turned out to be more serious etc etc

1. The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges

I would like to first direct you to the cover. This book has EVERYTHING in it – vampires, fey, necromancy, zombies, you name it – but the cover has a girl in a snow storm. Yes, Katerina is the main character and all, but that’s all they could come up with? Also, I don’t feel like the blurb – either click the title for Goodreads or here for my review – covers the book at all.

2. Illuminate by Aimee Agresti

To be fair, the cover gives you more of a hint to what’s going on in this book than the book ever does for like 300 pages. However, I actually called out the blurb in my review because it promised us a fast paced, exhilarating ride that never, ever came until the last 30 pages. Of a 500-something page book.

3. Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey

For the sake of everyone’s ears, I’ll try not to say too much about this book. I have already ranted so loudly about this book that someone linked to the post on their blog. But basically? Beautiful cover with a horrible, awful, toxic set of relationships in between.

4. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

I know, I know, this isn’t a YA novel! But I’m legitametly confused about this cover. Clearly it has deeper meaning that I don’t understand, but it’s so VERY bright yellow with … birds. Sure, this book screams HI HERE I AM on bookshelves in the bookstore, but otherwise leaves me befuddled. Also, on a purely design standpoint, I have never thought that yellow and purple should go next to each other like that. 😛 (In case anyone was curious, yes, I adored this book and yes, I adored the movie.)

5. Chain Reaction by Simone Elkeles

This cover really doesn’t cover this book. This IS a scene in the book, but it’s the epilogue and it doesn’t mean anything except for give you a closing scene. At least Perfect Chemistry tried to portray the book’s overall sweetness and Rules of Attraction used the biggest scene of the book. Chain Reaction? Not so much. Of all three of them, I also believe Chain Reaction was the least steamy, which the cover begs you to think isn’t true. I reviewed this book ages ago, so the minute details are slippery, but for certain this wasn’t the right cover for this book.

6. When It Happens by Susane Colasanti

Now, I understand that as a rule straight YA romance usually has cheesy covers, but I really didn’t get this one. There were several pivotal scenes in the book that could have captured the real message of this book that weren’t … this. It looks like an optical illusion picture gone wrong. Sure, it’s cute, but considering that the book tried to be real instead of cutesy, a cutesy cover image wasn’t the way to go.

7. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

I am putting this one on here solely for the sake of a friend of mine, who won’t go near these books because there is a bare-chested man on the front. This is NOT a penny romance, person whose name I’m trying not to say. Every single one of Clare’s books are strictly PG-13 and most of that is for language. Plus, they’re as funny as all get out. Nevermind the bare-chested man!

8. Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins

This one is basically here for kicks and giggles, because I need someone to answer a question for me: WHY is there a CAT on the cover? Did I miss this cat? Because I swear I don’t remember that cat, but it’s ON THE COVER. Anybody?

9. The entire reprint of The Song of the Lioness that was just released

As a Pierce megafan, these covers make me legitimately angry. These covers are just so wrong, especially The Woman Who Rides Like a Man. THAT’S A TWILIGHT MOVIE POSTER, not a cover for a Tamora Pierce book. Even Tamora doesn’t like them. 😛 Speaking of which…

10. Every Twilight book cover ever.

I’m not even going to put the pictures in – you know what they look like. There’s an apple and a ribbon and a chess set and a feather and none of it makes any sense. I understand that it’s supposed to have a deeper meaning, but not to me! I also didn’t like those books, so also that.

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Review: Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins

Review: Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins

Four stars

Talk about timing…

Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordinary magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. With her powers locked inside her, Sophie is defenseless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies–the Brannicks, a family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium. Or at least that’s what Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn’t so sure.

The only known spell that can help Sophie regain her magic is at Hex Hall–the place where it all began, and now the headquarters of the evil Casnoffs. Together with her best friend, the vampire Jenna; her boyfriend, Archer; her fiance, Cal (yeah, her love life is complicated); and a ghost for a sidekick, Sophie must battle an army of demons. But even with her friends at her side, the fate of all Prodigium rests on her shoulders alone.

Sophie’s bound for one hell of a ride… Can she get her powers back before it’s too late?

Okay, I should be noted I’m a total fangirl of these books. Did you not SEE my Waiting on Wednesday post a couple of weeks ago? So you can understand that I really, really wanted to like this book. And I did, I really did. But there was a problem.

THIS BOOK WAS WAY TOO SHORT.

Now, I’m really not saying that because I love these books and I’m sad that they’re over. I’m being downright  technically serious. So much happened in this book, and Sophie was bopping all over the place and it just went way too fast. I didn’t feel like I got a chance to really get to know any of the new characters (Izzy, anyone?) and some of the biggest, most heart wrenching scenes just … happened. And all the while Sophie is here, Sophie is there, Sophie is back there again and then gone and then–aiyee! You can’t process what just happened because it’s all just WHOOSHED right past. Now, you’re probably thinking, doesn’t she LIKE fast paced books? Didn’t she say she loved Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton because it read “like a rapid fire machine gun”? Yes, yes I did. But this … wasn’t that. It seemed way too choppy in places, and a lot of important things weren’t handled with as much care or as fleshed out as they could have been. It left my head spinning–and not in a good way.

That is basically the entire reason this book only got four stars, unlike the 5 I’d have given Demon Glass or Hex Hall. I wanted this to be the roaring, hysterical, funny finale to an amazing series, but in the back of my mind I was just always a little thrown off by the writing.

Yes, in the back of my mind. In case you were worried, Sophie is still entirely Sophie. I was still laughing out loud at her snark. I still want to be her best friend. Speaking of which, you don’t really need to wait that long in the worry that all her friends and family are missing. They start popping out of the woodwork in ones and twos in the first third or so of the book, which almost made me upset. Hawkins set up that tension so well, and then it kind of resolves itself.

If you were going to bring back Archer that early, there should have been more make out scenes. Just sayin’.

Two last things to discuss: Elodie and Cal. Let’s start with Elodie…

Okay, we get that the girl is a ghost tied to Sophie. Personally, her constant actions regarding Sophie didn’t really bother me too much. They seemed entirely like an angry Elodie would act. The problem was really when Sophie started leaning on said Elodie as a crutch, but that didn’t last all that long (as nothing did in this book) so I got over it pretty quickly. I know a lot of people have been annoyed with how much that certain event happened, but I kinda just took it in and went with it.

Now. Cal. (Please note that we are about to devolve into fangirl rantings, not a technical critique.) CAL. CAL. RACHEL HAWKINS. I… I… I FEEL ALL THINGS. THAT ENDING. THAT ENDING. Personally, I don’t find anything technically wrong with it. I thought it was actually poetic. BUT. BUT. THE FANGIRL IN ME DIED A LITTLE. AND THEN SOARED A LITTLE. AND THEN CRIED A LITTLE. And now you know.

I realize that this review doesn’t sound all that complimentary, but hey, that’s what a review is. It’s basically a place to nitpick at books. 😛 I gave it four stars for a reason. Spell Bound was a good ending to the Hex Hall series, and hopefully left it open for Hawkins to return to this world–hopefully from the eyes of Izzy. However, it wasn’t spectacular. Sometimes I think that the endings to series can never be everything you want them to be, but after I had closed the book I just had such mixed feelings. Everything that I had wanted to happen, happened. Just not in the way I wanted it to. Everyone has their own opinions about how they want series’ to end, and maybe I’m not capable of separating my fangirl from my critical reviewer. But I think BOTH of them wish that Spell Bound had taken a little longer to really give itself a finished polish.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books On My Spring To-Be-Read List

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish.

Okay, I have to face it, my to-be-read list is SKY HIGH. Picking ten for the spring is going to be … death defying. Let’s give it a try! (All links will go to Goodreads unless otherwise noted.)

1. Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins

In case you missed my Waiting on Wednesday post last week, I WANT THIS BOOK. If Amazon’s shipping department wasn’t the worst, I’D HAVE IT BY NOW. But I don’t. And the wait is KILLER.

2. The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges

Really, as far as I’m concerned, you can’t go wrong with this book. It’s historical fiction in the fact that it takes place in Russia circa 1888. It’s fantasy because the main character is both a Duchess and a necromancer. This book’s blurb caught me on the first look, and I can’t wait to read it.

3. Die for Me by Amy Plum

Okay, Anna and the French Kiss maaaay have made me have an instant love of books set in Paris, which I discovered at line 2 of the blurb. Then I read the REST of the blurb and went DUDE. Let’s see if the plotline is cool enough to overcome the star-crossed lovers thing! You can bet you’ll hear which way this one goes as soon as I get my hands on it.

4. Balthazar by Claudia Gray

I’ll admit, my interest in the Evernight series continued to wane as the books went on, but it seems that this one is completley unrelated to the Evernight books and characters except for Balthazar, so sign me up! I was a huge sucker for this guy, and I’m not ashamed to admit it!

5. The Selection by Kiera Cass

Okay, this is one book where I read the blurb and I went I WANT NOW. NOW. I have no idea why, but I just fell in love right there. Plus, the CW is making it into a TV series so DUDE. I have to at least read the book so I can watch how much the series messes with the plot line. 😛

6. City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

GUYS. GUYS. CASSANDRA CLARE. THAT IS ALL.

7. Insurgent by Veronica Roth

This is the sequel to Divergent, which I thought actually lived up to a lot of the hype it got. Enough is said.

8. The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead

MORE VAMPIRE ACADEMY WORLD. MORE ADRIAN. GIVE ME NOW. If you don’t believe the CAPS is pertinent, read my review of Bloodlines!

9. Grave Mercy by R. L. LaFevers

Girl escapes arranged marriage, becomes assassin. Seriously, do I need to tell you anymore? Also, for the life of me I can’t get this cover to actually show up here, so you’re just going to have to click the link to check it out. 😛

10. For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

I am a horrible person who judges books by their cover–only literally, I swear! However, CHECK OUT THIS COVER. Then CHECK OUT THE BLURB. Really interested in getting my hands on this one!

Waiting on Wednesday: “Spell Bound” by Rachel Hawkins

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Waiting on Wednesday is a feature hosted over at Breaking the Spine that highlights upcoming releases that we really, really can’t wait to read!

Title: Spell Bound

Author: Rachel Hawkins

Publication Date: March 13, 2012 (Yes, I know this was yesterday and this is a little bit cheating BUT, read on for me to make sense.)

Summary from Goodreads: Hailed as “impossible to put down,” the Hex Hall series has both critics and teens cheering. With a winning combination of romance, action, magic and humor, this third volume will leave readers enchanted.
Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordinary magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. Now Sophie is defenseless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies—the Brannicks, a family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium. Or at least that’s what Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn’t as confident.
Sophie’s bound for one hell of a ride—can she get her powers back before it’s too late?

Why I’m Waiting: BECAUSE I HAD TO ORDER FROM AMAZON. Anything other than that, you guys clearly haven’t lived life correctly because you haven’t read these books. These books have EVERYTHING, I love to read. Great plot? Check. Great main character who also happens to be a real teen girl who’s not afraid to stand up for herself? Check. Hot guy(s)? Check check. Humor that STILL makes me laugh out loud, multiple rereads later? Check. This is a third in a series and the end of a trilogy, and AMAZON NEEDS TO MOVE FASTER BECAUSE AAGGGHHHH!!

Ahem. I’m … I’m going to move away from my keyboard slowly now. If you want to see me making MORE of a fool of myself about these books and others, the Hex Hall series was also mentioned in my Books are the Best Medicine – Here’s My Preferred Prescription! post a while back, and Spell Bound made my list of Books I Can’t Wait to Read in 2012.

Countdown to 2012: Books I Can’t Wait to Read (Part 1)

Does anyone else write down book release dates on their calendar? Because I do. The second I get a date, it’s scrawled on the calendar in a colored pen so fast the ink gets mussed. I got a calendar as a present and that was the first thing I did. Thank you, Goodreads. Here’s a list of books I’m waiting for and their release dates! If you see one that’s on yours too, SQUEE WITH ME. If there are ones that aren’t on here, and that fact BLOWS your MIND, tell me in the comments! You can never get too many books.

JESSICA RULES THE DARK SIDE by Beth Fantasky (Jessica #2)

Release Date: Jan 10

Why: Because I’m honestly curious what Fantasky is going to do, since I was so sure the first book–Jessica’s Guide to Dating the Dark Side–was a stand alone novel. It certainly didn’t leave any loose ends or anything. It was genuinely interesting and a new take on vampirism, so I enjoyed it. I may or may not be a sucker for “what happens after the fairytale ending” stories. Plus, Lucian was a hot vampire. Sign me up!

HALLOWED by Cynthia Hand (Unearthly #2)

Release Date: January 17

Why: I linked to my review of the first book, Unearthly, which will talk more about my feelings about the book, but I will say again that I am genuinely curious how Hallowed is going to unfold, not just plot-wise but also writing style-wise. Unearthly was good but slow, though I was too intrigued by Hand’s take on angelicism to put it down. I think without the time constraints that she was limited to by her own plot conventions in the first book, Hand can really do something special with this one. Or at least I’m hoping. You’ll certainly be the first to know when I figure it out! I’ve already got it pre-ordered.

EVERNEATH  by Brodi Ashton

Release date: Jan 24

Why: THIS BOOK SOUNDS SO COOL. Alright, blurbs can often be very misleading, but, come on. This book has a really, really neat concept as described here. It’s been advertised on inkpop and all over Goodreads, and I can’t help but cave. It probably won’t be on my instantly pre-ordered list because of all the series I’m excited to further and finish, but I most definitely want to pick it up when I get the chance.

WINGS OF THE WICKED by Courtney Allison Moulton (Angelfire #2)

Release Date: Jan 31

Why: Angelfire made me go gaga, plain and simple. Just…gaga. The storyline is awesome, the mythology is awesome, the twists were awesome, the romance is awesome and the guy is one I would love to date. Need I say more? Because I will, actually. The end of book one left opened up twists that I sure as heck didn’t see coming and left more questions than answers, and I NEED ANSWERS. It’s already been preordered and I am counting down days.

FEVER by Lauren DeStefano (The Chemical Garden #2)

Release Date: February 21st

Why: Alright, yes, my book review of the first bookWither–wasn’t completely complimentary, but I can’t help but be intrigued. DeStefano handled some really tough issues really well and wrote in some great relationship stuff (and some not great, but I hold onto hope)…and the blurb talks about Rhine and Gabriel ending up in a “twisted carnival whose ringmistress keeps watch over a menagerie of girls.” Maybe I’m a sucker. Maybe I’m a big sucker. But come on. This is crazy enough it just might work, and Wither was good enough that I’m not ready to give up on this world quite yet.

SPELL BOUND by Rachel Hawkins (Hex Hall #3)

Release Date: March 13

Why: WHY DO I NEED TO TELL YOU? Ahem. Anyways. Have you read these? Because you need to read these. Yes, girl at magical boarding school has been tried and tried again, but I am in LOVE. LOVE. LOVE with this books. They are interesting, they are funny, they are will written and the love interest(s) are to die for. Oh, and it is SO NOT FAIR how Hawkins just leaves you hanging again and again. …I am very impatient when I just NEED to know what happens next, you may have noticed. I tend to pre-order by month, so you know what I’ll be doing March 1st instead of celebrating my father’s birthday.

INSURGENT by Veronica Roth (Divergent #2)

Release Date: May 1

Why: Divergent may or may not have been overhyped for a reason. It isn’t groundbreaking amazingness, but it is pretty darn near close. I’ve yet to read a dystopian that I’ve enjoyed this much. It was the realist, and the one I connected the most with. It had pretty much everything I look for in a book, plus I truly enjoy reading Roth’s writing. It’s easy but it sends a message clearly, which is really hard to do. It started a new wave of dystopian trends for a reason. If you haven’t read it yet, READ IT.

CITY OF LOST SOULS by Cassandra Clare (The Mortal Instruments #5)

Release Date: May 8

Why: CASSANDRA CLARE. That should be enough for anybody. I’ll admit,  I was almost a little upset when Clare decided she was going to write 3 more books in this series instead of keeping it at a trilogy as planned, but that doesn’t stop me from being a freakish fan girl. Jace and Clary make me so amazingly happy–not to mention Alec and Magnus and Simon and–everybody. Let’s just go with everybody. The last book wasn’t great; it was almost like Clare was actually making stuff up to keep the series going. Now, half of the people I talk to are pretty sure she was actually doing that, but goodness don’t SHOW it. Either way, sign me up for this one and all the rest. I just can’t put these books down EVER.

There were just too many books for this post, so you can find part 2 here!