Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (8)

A weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Publication Date: June 14th, 2012

“One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts. All the time.”

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy, affectionate. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs her terrace and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love, Jase's family makes Samantha one of their own. Then in an instant, the bottom drops out of her world and she is suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?
(Summary from Goodreads)

Despite the insane amount of Dystopian and paranormal I've been reading these days, I'm on a contemporary rampage. I've been devouring real life stories, living voraciously through characters that have way more interesting realistic lives than I do. My life next door sounds like an amazing story. For one, I'm a huge sucker for the boy-next-door stories, and this one promises family inclusion. One thing a lot of YA books are missing nowadays are strong families and good parents. This story promises it all.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Review: The Immortal Rules

In a future world, Vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity. 

Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.

Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked—and given the ultimate choice. Die… or become one of the monsters.

Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.

Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend—a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.

But it isn’t easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what—and who—is worth dying for.

(Summary from Goodreads)

Review: Sometimes there are books you love so much, it's difficult to vocalize what you liked about the book. When I first heard Julie Kagawa was writing a vampire book, I jumped on it. I'm not sick of the vampire trend as long as the vampires aren't sparkly fairy princesses. I've been a Julie Kagawa fan from the beginning--and not just because we share the same first name. With a series as long as The Iron Fey, she must have been used to Meghan's voice. The total 180 she did with Allie's voice shocked me, and so did the comfort she had with the character. Was this even the same author?

Why yes, yes it was.

One of the many things I liked about this story is the portrayal of vampires. They were hunters, plain and simple, and didn't do that nasty animal blood thing that's oh so popular in the YA market. Nope, vampires had to drink blood or else they'd go insane...and still have to drink blood.

The story starts out with Allie and her gang of Unregistered. The world building is fantastic from page one. She doesn't try to dump the information over you like a pot of freezing water and shock you into her world nor does she throw in random terms that you don't understand the meaning of until halfway through the novel. The system in her world is simple; vampires rule and the human serve them. Because Allie and her crew are Unregistered, the vampires ignore them and they have to fend for themselves. They don't have food rations or anything so everyday is literally a battle.

I loved Allie. She didn't appear to be a very nice person, and didn't seem to want to be a nice person, but took care of Stick, regardless of his uselessness. Allie was a butt-whooping, tough girl, always thinking about survival. I loved her refusal to sit down and be weak, which does make sense in her circumstances. If she was weak, she'd be dead already.

The character interaction in this story was brilliant. You could really get a sense of their different personalities and I never thought that they were just talking for the sake of dropping information. Yes, we did learn things through dialogue, but it never felt forced or like info bombing. Even though we didn't meet Zeke until halfway through the story, it was worth the wait. I love how in Julie Kawaga's books, the romance aspects never take over the plot of the story! Zeke was steady, sweet, and caring. He wasn't perfect but we love him anyway. He and Allie had similarities but the parallels between them made their romance believable. It wasn't just a "Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy, but here's my number, let's run away and get married and love each other forever and ever and ever." Their romance had to grow. Kanin, Allie's vampire mentor, was the classic mentor figure. He was still an intriguing character and the air of mystery that surrounds him makes me want to know more.

Julie Kagawa is probably the queen of action scenes. Her pacing is so natural and so smooth that it feels immediate. There's no clunky awkward prose from her. The plot is intense and the book is just addicting. As soon as you pick it up, you know you won't be able to put it down until you're finished, and even then, the characters and the story haunt your thoughts. Overall, this was a book about survival and change. 

Julie Kagawa took two popular trends in the YA market and created something so different and so original that it's a must read for everyone, even if you don't like dystopian or vampires. Read The Immortal Rules. You won't regret it. (I think she's some kind of magician.)

Rating: 5/5 stars

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (1)

A weekly recap on the blog that features books you've gotten this week hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Weirdly enough, I haven't borrowed any books from the library. That can be remedied in a few days, but wow! This must be a first for me.


(from Goodreads)

On the blog
~Reviewed Halflings

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (7)

A weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater 
Publication Date: September 18th, 2012

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

Maggie Stiefvater is one of my favorite authors. While I wasn't a huge fan of her Shiver series--it was all right--I loved The Scorpio Races. I remember a while ago on some website (I know, I'm being vague. My memory sucks.) they had a preview of the first few chapter in The Raven Boys. After I read the first chapter, I cursed the slow publishing industry for teasing me so far away from the release date. It shot up on my tbr list and I'm saving up money to pre-order it. It's in third person limited POV, which is something new to Maggie's published books, but it was great regardless. Physic families? Prep school boys? Creepy churchyards and ghost holidays? Count me in!

I'm waiting in so much anticipation. Can't September come sooner? 


P.S. On another note, I'm going to my first book launch party on Saturday. Should I take pictures? Should I mention that I'm a book blogger if I have the chance? I mean, I don't have that many followers and I don't feel like a "real book blogger", but I don't want to miss this opportunity. Any advice?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Review: Halflings

After being inexplicably targeted by an evil intent on harming her at any cost, seventeen-year-old Nikki finds herself under the watchful guardianship of three mysterious young men who call themselves halflings. Sworn to defend her, misfits Mace, Raven, and Vine battle to keep Nikki safe while hiding their deepest secret—and the wings that come with.

A growing attraction between Nikki and two of her protectors presents a whole other danger. While she risks a broken heart, Mace and Raven could lose everything, including their souls. As the mysteries behind the boys’ powers, as well as her role in a scientist’s dark plan, unfold, Nikki is faced with choices that will affect the future of an entire race of heavenly beings, as well as the precarious equilibrium of the earthly world.

(Summary from Goodreads)

Review: I have a confession to make. While all the classy book bloggers are sick of the love triangle (or as I like to call it, a love angle) I still like them. Love them, even. There are a lot of angel books in the market right now and it's difficult to write one without evoking any religious opinions into a story. There was a lot of talk of Heaven and "falling", which was typical in an angel book. The halflings are exactly what they're called. They're half human and half angel.

The three halflings that help protect Nikki are called "the lost boys". They are drop dead gorgeous, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. You get the gist of it. Angels. Supa hawt YA angels. While I loved the contrasting personalities each boy showed, the insta!love that blossomed between Mace and Nikki irritated me. I know a lot of people believe in love at first sight (Trust me, I've had an hour long argument with my friend about it.) but I believe that love takes time. I believe in lust at first sight and attraction or interest at first sight but I also believe that it takes time for love to grow. Nikki's relationship with one of her two love interests popped out of no where. One second he was a shady guy, the next it's all "Ohmygosh, I luuurv him." Her relationship with the bad boy character actually had to grow from something, but even then I felt like it was a little bit rushed, even if nothing happened. From the guy's POV, I guess he was just desperate. His desperation and admiration fit his characterization, so I felt like it was okay for him to act that way. (Plus, I just love him. I have a thing for fictional bad boys because in fiction they can be all sweet and sensitive too.)

The prose was amazing, though. There were a few biblical references that I know I didn't understand, but I hope they didn't mean too much to the story. Heather Burch's writing style reminded me of Cassandra Clare's; beautiful and direct. It never got too flowery where the writing outshone the storyline. 

As a character, Nikki bothered me. Of course she was beautiful. Of course she was socially awkward around boys. Of course she had a black belt and was an amazing artist. Silly me. All teenage girls are perfection in motion. One thing I did like about her was her refusal to go down without a fight. She was steadfast and brave, which I admire in any character.

Halfling's had MPS, or in normal terms, Missing Parent Syndrome. Nikki's parents were there...but they weren't actually there. What kind of caring parent lets their teenage daughter zoom around on a motorcycle without knowing where their child is? Motorcycle...I can forgive. It's a death trap in my opinion, but it's a fun death trap and Nikki must've proven to be trustworthy around her parents in the past. They never really asked Nikki where she was going or who she was with. In the story, Nikki built up her parents to be kind people. They should've been more aware of their daughter. Nikki's a pretty girl. That should just ramp up their protective levels. I know that Nikki's parents were sort of shady *wink wink* but they seemed to really care about her. In theory. I think Nikki should stop saying how much her parents care for her and make her parents act it out.

Despite all my ranting, Halfling wasn't actually a bad book. I had a great time reading it the first time through because as much as Mace pissed me off, Raven was always lurking in the shadows. This book is pure escapism for a reader, through and through. 

Rating: 3/5 stars

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Book Haul

Based on some recent events, I will no longer be participating in the meme IMM. If you haven't heard about it yet, click this for more information. I'll be on the lookout for a replacement meme but for now it'll just be called a book haul. I enjoy sharing my new books with you guys and seeing what you've added to your collection.

Wow, I haven't been on for a while. I'll just update the newest books I've borrowed from the library and the few books I bought for myself.

From the library:

From Netgalley:


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Library Love

Hi, I know I've been rather absent lately. It's inexcusable, especially for such a new blogger, but things are crazy right now. For school, deadlines are slapping me in the face at an alarming rate, health things are iffy, and there's just a lot going on. I'm still reading--you can check out my Goodreads to see what they are--because I can't give that up or I'll go crazy. Like, seriously. (Ignore my shameless self promotion and don't check out my Goodreads. That'll show me, right? :D)

I feel sort of stupid with another update that isn't a review. I just thought I'd let you know that I'm still reading, I guess. I'm working on a few short reviews on some of the more recent books I've read. I'll upload them sometime this week. Don't fret! I'll be back soon. As soon as summer rolls around, a regular schedule will appear. (I know that's passive voice but I'm tired.)

Lately, because of my very low budget and enormous book appetite, I've been visiting the library. A lot. The librarians probably hate my guts because I'll arrive twice a week and check out 5-10 books every time. Before you go on about how I'm denying other teenagers books, I return them a week later at the most.

Well, other than my random pop ins, bye! See you on the other side.