Thursday, October 30, 2014

Poison Princess by Kresley Cole

Summary (from Goodreads):

She could save the world—or destroy it.

Sixteen-year-old Evangeline "Evie" Greene leads a charmed life, until she begins experiencing horrifying hallucinations. When an apocalyptic event decimates her Louisiana hometown, Evie realizes her hallucinations were actually visions of the future—and they're still happening. Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she must turn to her wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate: Jack Deveaux.

But she can't do either alone.

With his mile-long rap sheet, wicked grin, and bad attitude, Jack is like no boy Evie has ever known. Even though he once scorned her and everything she represented, he agrees to protect Evie on her quest. She knows she can't totally depend on Jack. If he ever cast that wicked grin her way, could she possibly resist him?

Who can Evie trust?

As Jack and Evie race to find the source of her visions, they meet others who have gotten the same call. An ancient prophesy is being played out, and Evie is not the only one with special powers. A group of twenty-two teens has been chosen to reenact the ultimate battle between good and evil. But it's not always clear who is on which side.
So, I definitely had a love/hate relationship with this book. I loved it in the sense that I had to keep reading, and had to find out what would happened, an had to order book 2 (I think I’ll be getting it today), but…there were so many things wrong too. There were a couple of moments when I almost put it in my dnf pile. In fact, it’s odd for me to keep reading a book that I had so many possible dnf moments with.
So, I know we are all so done with the Twilight comparisons, but I have to make just one. This book kind of read like Twilight for me. I knew what I was reading, was terrible, but I couldn’t stop. The Edward/Bella relationship was leaps and bounds healthier than the Evie/Jack one. So, if you are a Twilight hater, you will most definitely not like this book.
Before I delve further into the Evie/Jack sham of a relationship, I did find things I loved in this book (hence, why I kept reading). I loved the whole Tarot Card idea. I have never read anything like that. I love a good end of the world (post apocalypse) survival story, and this definitely fits that category. I also love a story where the main girl does or will eventually grow able to kick some serious butt. This book promises some crazy/awesome kick butt moments to come.
I also super enjoyed the way it was setup. I liked getting the perspective of the creep that invites Evie into his home. It was interesting getting Evie’s whole story this way, and I thought the author did a great job of weaving all the plot elements together.  I also loved the side characters. There’s so much more I want to know about all the Arcana.
Pretty much everything I didn’t like about the book can be wrapped up in the romance. I didn’t like Jack in the beginning (before the apocalypse). Between Jack forcing Evie up against a wall, and not letting her go (even though she tells him she’s not interested), Jack stealing her sketchbook, Jack being involved in stealing all her friends’ phones, Jack not caring that she has a boyfriend, etc in the beginning I knew this book would be a rocky ride for me. Also, what kind of terrible best friend tells Evie that she needs to put out for her boyfriend, even though she doesn’t want to?
Then the apocalypse happens. After Evie’s mother is injured, she tries to push Evie on to any available, single man who can protect her…Why not teach Evie how to protect herself? Why not see what powerful things she can clearly do? And of course Jack comes back and Evie is pushed on him. And he protects her through their journey, and he orders her around, he makes constant sexual comments, he won’t let her do anything or teach her how to defend herself, etc.  And I’m not even going into their heated/almost sex scene. Just know that happened.
Evie was a bit na├»ve, princess-like, and unprepared for the apocalypse, despite her clairvoyant drawings. And it was definitely interesting watching her survive. I wish she didn’t spend so much time thinking about Jack though.
Also, what happened? Why did the world do that? Why did so many people die? I hope I get more explanation for this later. Also, I need more Arcana and more past lives questions answered. And I hope Evie continues to embrace her strength and power in book 2 because I’m so tired of her trying to ignore it or having other characters declare her too weak. I’m somewhere in between loving and hating this book. I give it a 5/10.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (115)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.
This week I am waiting on The Heir by Kiera Cass (5/5/15):

Description on Goodreads:
Twenty years ago, America Singer entered the Selection and won Prince Maxon’s heart. Now the time has come for Princess Eadlyn to hold a Selection of her own. Eadlyn doesn’t expect her Selection to be anything like her parents’ fairy-tale love story. But as the competition begins, she may discover that finding her own happily ever after isn’t as impossible as she always thought.
Why I’m Waiting:
I adored Cass’ series. Just adored. I read them so fast. And I was heartbroken when it was all over. Sometimes authors release the info that there will be more, and I go, “Really? How will that work?” With Cass, I was more like “I don’t care how this works. I want this book now.” I love that it sounds a bit like book 1, but with a slight gender roll reversal. It goes from the Bachelor to the Bachelorette, and I’m excited to see what changes this means. Also, I’m drooling over the cover. I know people say they are tired of the pretty dress covers, and maybe I am too, a little bit. But, I have loved every single one of these pretty dress covers. And if I ever get a book published I hope I will be just as lucky with my covers.
What are you waiting on this week?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Glory O'Brien's History of the Future by A.S. King

Summary (from Goodreads):
Would you try to change the world if you thought it had no future?

Graduating from high school is a time of limitless possibilities — but not for Glory, who has no plan for what's next. Her mother committed suicide when Glory was only four years old, and she’s never stopped wondering if she will eventually go the same way... until a transformative night when she begins to experience an astonishing new power to see a person’s infinite past and future. From ancient ancestors to many generations forward, Glory is bombarded with visions—and what she sees ahead of her is terrifying.

A tyrannical new leader raises an army. Women’s rights disappear. A violent second civil war breaks out. And young girls vanish daily, sold off or interned in camps. Glory makes it her mission to record everything she sees, hoping her notes will somehow make a difference. She may not see a future for herself, but she’ll do everything in her power to make sure this one doesn’t come to pass.

In this masterpiece about freedom, feminism, and destiny, Printz Honor author A.S. King tells the epic story of a girl coping with devastating loss at long last—a girl who has no idea that the future needs her, and that the present needs her even more.
So, I practically read this whole book on one plane ride. And I absolutely need to go find all of King’s books and read them all. This is only my second book of hers (I got the ARC signed at BEA!), and I am again blown away, just blown.
It’s a weird one, and I think because of some initial weirdness it might not be for everyone. The two best friends drink a bat, literally. And because of the bat, they can now see people’s histories and futures. I guess it can sort of be comparable to being bitten by a radioactive spider?
Any way, there are some mixed reviews for this one. The two things I’ve seen mentioned a lot is that the notion of feminism is sort of shoved down your throat in a preachy way, and then there’s also slut-shaming. In regards to the first criticism, I didn’t feel like the book was preachy at all. I felt like it finally addressed some topics that have only barely skimmed the surface of other YA books. I loved having a main character who saw how other women behaved and then decided that she wanted nothing to do with it. She didn’t want her life to revolve around men, and because of this, I found myself wanting to know her and give her a high five.
And in regards to the second criticism, there is some definite slut-shaming in this book. When I first read it, I stepped back and was a little confused by the main character’s word choice. But, as the story continued, I sort of got why the words were chosen. I believe it was more of an example of how lacking in equality our culture is if even feminists feel the need to call other women/friends sluts. I don’t believe that King is at all validating this; I think she’s merely pointing out that anti-women words are a normal part of the average person’s vocabulary. And this added to the story for me. And it kind of made everything that happens, and everything that is supposed to happen in the future, even more powerful.
Any way, I loved Glory. She was not the easiest person to get along with. I get her need to push people away, and I even understood her reaction to people in general because who can grow up like that and not have issues with people? I liked that she didn’t know what she wanted to do. I liked that she didn’t know if she was crazy or not. I loved that she was into photography and it wasn’t just some fake hobby given to the main character to make them seem more interesting. Her photography references, photo journals, and way of thinking just screamed: artist/photographer to me.
I found her best friend and her family life to be super interesting. I like that Glory never thought of it as a cult before. I like that growing knowledge of her mother’s story doesn’t really defect her relationship with her friend. Like with the other book I read by this author, I loved the relationship with the father and how the two grew together to deal with their grief. The terrifying future was also really interesting. I like that Glory only got pieces/explanations for it in small doses (one stranger at a time). I was dying to know more.
I’m not sure how believable this future is for me. I’d like to think it were impossible, but I’m not so sure. It does really make me wish more women were in congress, more women were paid fairly, and more women did things for themselves and not for the attentions of a guy. This is the kind of book that you read on one plane ride. It’s also the kind of book that sticks with you long after you finish it. It would make a great book club book. I just want to talk about it with other readers so bad. It was powerful, interesting, feminist, and a little strange. I loved it. I give it a 10/10.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

A Good Week in Books (90)

I’m back from my vacation and my birthday fun. And I had another great week in books. One of my most anticipated books of the year finally came out! I purchased a collection of short stories that I absolutely must read soon. And I received one finished book for review (Thank you, Hachette).
My blogging/reading might slow down a bit this next month. I officially signed up for NaNoWriMo, and I’m going to attempt to write a YA novel in one month. Wish me luck? I’ve already started outlining a brand new story. I’m taking a break from what I was working on earlier, and I need a new project to focus on. We’ll see how this goes.
Anyhow, these are my lovely books from this week:

Blue Lily, Lily Blue
by Maggie Stiefvater (I’ve already started it…)
Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis
My True Love Gave to Me Edited by Stephanie Perkins
How was your book week?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (114)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.
This week I am waiting on The Wicked will Rise by Danielle Page (3/31/15):

Description on Goodreads:
In this dark, high-octane sequel to the New York Times bestselling Dorothy Must Die, Amy Gumm must do everything in her power to kill Dorothy and free Oz.

To make Oz a free land again, Amy Gumm was given a mission: remove the Tin Woodman’s heart, steal the Scarecrow’s brain, take the Lion’s courage, and then Dorothy must die....

But Dorothy still lives. Now the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked has vanished, and mysterious Princess Ozma might be Amy’s only ally. As Amy learns the truth about her mission, she realizes that she’s only just scratched the surface of Oz’s past—and that Kansas, the home she couldn't wait to leave behind, may also be in danger. In a place where the line between good and evil shifts with just a strong gust of wind, who can Amy trust—and who is really Wicked?
Why I’m Waiting:
I’m interested in knowing what happens next! I want to know more about Oz and Ozma. I want to know what made Dorothy and her shoes so evil. I want to know if Amy finds Dorothy. I’m excited for another round of Oz retelling, and I’m also excited to see how Kansas is involved. I think I liked the first cover better than this one, though I do like how they are consistent. This is definitely a series I can’t wait to read more of.
What are you waiting on this week?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Good Week in Books (89)

So, I was actually not expecting to do one of these posts this week. I’m flying to Texas today! And I normally get books from publishing companies on Monday. And I know I’m getting a much anticipated book that I pre-ordered on Tuesday. Some might call it lucky that one of their most anticipated books of the year comes out on their birthday. I consider it a birthday present (good timing, Scholastic and Maggie Stiefvater!). Any way, these lovely books were also a birthday present (thank you, Mom!)
So you can probably tell these books are not YA. And you might be sensing a theme. My family is going to Paris in the spring. We had a tough year this year with my dad passing away, and we will be remembering my dad in Paris –the place he and my mom first met, just one year after he passed. I haven’t even looked at Paris books yet, but my mom sent me an early birthday present. I’ve already spent quite a lot of time flipping the pages of the Food Lover’s Guide…Also, one book is a picture book involving Mary Cassatt, one of my favorite impressionists. I do own quite a bit of picture books too (I am a Children’s librarian).
Any way, thanks for the early birthday present, Mom! I’m so excited for Paris (and Texas) and books!

City Secrets Paris: The Essential Insider’s Guide
by Robert Kahn
The Food Lover’s Guide to Paris by Patricia Wells
Charlotte in Paris by Joan MacPhail Knight and illustrated by Melissa Sweet
How was your week in books?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (113)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.
This week I am waiting on A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin (5/19/15):

Description (on Goodreads):
The launch of a captivating new YA series set in Regency England that #1 New York Times bestselling author Meg Cabot calls “completely original and totally engrossing.”

It’s 1814. Napoleon is exiled on Elba. Europe is in shambles. Britain is at war on four fronts. And Stranje House, a School for Unusual Girls, has become one of Regency England’s dark little secrets. The daughters of the beau monde who don't fit high society’s constrictive mold are banished to Stranje House to be reformed into marriageable young ladies. Or so their parents think. In truth, Headmistress Emma Stranje, the original unusual girl, has plans for the young ladies—plans that entangle the girls in the dangerous world of spies, diplomacy, and war.

After accidentally setting her father’s stables on fire while performing a scientific experiment, Miss Georgiana Fitzwilliam is sent to Stranje House. But Georgie has no intention of being turned into a simpering, pudding-headed, marriageable miss. She plans to escape as soon as possible—until she meets Lord Sebastian Wyatt. Thrust together in a desperate mission to invent a new invisible ink for the English war effort, Georgie and Sebastian must find a way to work together without losing their heads—or their hearts.
Why I’m Waiting:
This sounds wonderful! It sounds like a mixture of The Agency series by YS Lee, the Sally Lockhart series by Phillip Pullman, and The Finishing School series by Gail Carriger, all series’ close to my heart.  History, feminism, spies, and romance –count me in!
What are you waiting on this week?