Friday, February 27, 2015

The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall

Summary (from Goodreads):
A fast-paced international escapade, laced with adrenaline, glamour, and romance--perfect for fans of Ally Carter

Avery West's newfound family can shut down Prada when they want to shop in peace, and can just as easily order a bombing when they want to start a war. Part of a powerful and dangerous secret society called the Circle, they believe Avery is the key to an ancient prophecy. Some want to use her as a pawn. Some want her dead.

To unravel the mystery putting her life in danger, Avery must follow a trail of clues from the monuments of Paris to the back alleys of Istanbul with two boys who work for the Circle—beautiful, volatile Stellan and mysterious, magnetic Jack. But as the clues expose a stunning conspiracy that might plunge the world into World War 3, she discovers that both boys are hiding secrets of their own. Now she will have to choose not only between freedom and family--but between the boy who might help her save the world, and the one she's falling in love with.
This was another crazy, fast read. It was super suspenseful and action packed. There’s been talk of it being a bit like a YA version of the Da Vinci Code. And well, I was all over that.
It did have even less believability for me than the Da Vinci Code. There were just too many circumstances in which a couple of teens were able to solve ridiculously hard clues, in a much faster amount of time than the adults who have been trying to figure the clues out for decades. I’m not sure I was buying that. There was also a bit more of the supernatural involved in this one. The mandate that sort of was the basis of the whole secret group was a bit like a prophecy. Also, the whole purple eye thing just didn’t make sense to me scientifically.
But, part of this book’s charm was it’s ability to get you to suspend your disbelief and forget about the loopholes that didn’t make sense. There was a nice, slow building romance. And plenty of international travel. Most of the book took place in Paris, but a nice little portion also took place in Istanbul. Have you ever read a YA book to take place there? There’s kidnappings, murders, threats, black mail, centuries old mysteries, prophecies, family secrets, and an evil organization called the Order, which has no qualms against attacking teenagers or even apparently babies.
There’s also masked balls, prom, slow-building romance, night clubs, private jets, and motor cycle rides. The description makes it look like this will be another love triangle, but it’s not. Though, I must admit there was a little more focus on romance then I was expecting. And maybe a little more focus on fashion then I was expecting too.  But, this just added to the crazy, unbelievable-ness and fun of the whole thing.
Avery was a bit too naïve for my liking. She wasn’t as scared by a boy having a photograph of her (that only he could have taken by spying) as I think she should have been. Also, she was totally willing to go to Paris with a stranger. Though, I guess, she learned to be a bit more guarded as the book continued. She learned to not tell everyone her secrets, or let others know her eye color. I guess I can tolerate a naïve character who learns and grows throughout the story.
All in all, I couldn’t put this down. The mystery and suspense were spot on. I didn’t like the main character so much at first, but she grew on me by the end. The romance was fun and slow-building. And while there were definite moments of crazy un-believability, for the most part this didn’t get in the way of the suspense, and I still really enjoyed reading this one. It gets an 8/10.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Re-read 2015: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

Summary (from Goodreads):
The Dursleys were so mean and hideous that summer that all Harry Potter wanted was to get back to the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. But just as he's packing his bags, Harry receives a warning from a strange, impish creature named Dobby who says that if Harry Potter returns to Hogwarts, disaster will strike.

And strike it does. For in Harry's second year at Hogwarts, fresh torments and horrors arise, including an outrageously stuck-up new professor, Gilderoy Lockheart, a spirit named Moaning Myrtle who haunts the girls' bathroom, and the unwanted attentions of Ron Weasley's younger sister, Ginny.

But each of these seem minor annoyances when the real trouble begins, and someone--or something--starts turning Hogwarts students to stone. Could it be Draco Malfoy, a more poisonous rival than ever? Could it possibly be Hagrid, whose mysterious past is finally told? Or could it be the one everyone at Hogwarts most suspects...Harry Potter himself.
Re-reading these books was one of the best decisions I could have made this year. Seriously, I am having so much fun. The weird thing is I remember this book being one of my least favorite in the series, growing up. It wasn’t because I didn’t like it, so much as I remember not liking the re-reading of it. Once you know why Harry is hearing the voices, and who opened the Chamber of Secrets, it was hard to re-read and not want to yell at the characters while they were trying to figure it all out.
However, several years between readings is a sufficient enough amount of time to not want to yell at all the characters. Again, like with my re-reading of book 1, I found myself forgetting how much humor was in this. Everything from Moaning Myrtle, to Ron’s broken wand (and slug curse), to all things Gilderoy Lockhart, had me laughing out loud.
I can see why my younger self had issues re-reading this one. However, it was so interesting for my adult self to re-read and make all the connections in the world to book 7. This had to be the one book loaded with the most foreshadow. Everything from horcruxes, to hints of Voldemort’s history, to Harry/Voldemort connections is here in this one. And again, I’m awestruck at the level in which Rowling had the whole series mapped out.
This one also had wizarding duels and the flying car. How can you not love these things? I forgot that the car comes back to help in the forbidden forest. And I also forgot about Hagrid being taken away. Harry had a lot of help at the end of he book from the hat, the phoenix, the sword, and then a basilisk fang. Yet, not everything came so easy. Azkaban was introduced. And Dumbledore was voted out. Again, with the foreshadow. And I guess what I’m trying to say is that the dark times start pretty early, and this book really begins to put the darkest of all things in motion.
Also, I felt like I really began to know and understand the characters a bit better in this one. After some time at the Burrow, I definitely grew into knowing the Weasley’s more. And it was cool seeing Malfoy a little more too. And I know Lockhart is no one’s favorite character, but he is such a character!
Book 3 was always my favorite. And I’m so excited to start reading it soon. It’s two books away for me at the moment, and I can’t wait to dive back in. I’m wondering if it will remain my favorite. Also, I’m not sure I’m going to be able to give any of these books anything but a 10/10/ But, we shall see. This one certainly gets a 10/10.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (131)

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 Off the Page Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer (5/19/15):
Description on Goodreads:
From #1 New York Times bestselling authors Jodi Picoult and her daughter and co-writer, Samantha van Leer, comes OFF THE PAGE, a tender and appealing romantic YA novel filled with humor, adventure, and magical relationships.

Sixteen-year-old Delilah is finally united with Oliver—a prince literally taken from the pages of a fairy tale. There are, however, complications now that Oliver has been able to enter the real world. To exist in Delilah’s world, Oliver must take the place of a regular boy. Enter Edgar, who agrees to take Oliver’s role in Delilah’s favorite book. In this multilayered universe, the line between what is on the page and what is possible is blurred, but all must be resolved for the characters to live happily ever after. Includes twelve full-color illustrations, and black-and-white decorations throughout.

Full of humor and witty commentary about life, OFF THE PAGE is a stand-alone novel as well as a companion to the authors’ bestseller Between the Lines, and is perfect for readers looking for a fairytale ending. Fans of Sarah Dessen and Meg Cabot are sure to appreciate this novel about love, romance, and relationships.
Why I’m Waiting:
Does this not sound super adorable? I love a good fairytale. I also love a good fairytale sequel.  Add that to the fact that book characters are coming to life, outside their pages, and well, this is my fantasy. I enjoyed the first book a lot. It wasn’t my favorite book, but I do remember having a lot of fun reading it. Again, how can I not love the concept that is this story? Also, how wonderful is the cover? It’s one of my new favorite covers of the year.
What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

All Fall Down by Ally Carter

Summary (from Goodreads):
This exciting new series from NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Ally Carter focuses on Grace, who can best be described as a daredevil, an Army brat, and a rebel. She is also the only granddaughter of perhaps the most powerful ambassador in the world, and Grace has spent every summer of her childhood running across the roofs of Embassy Row.

Now, at age sixteen, she's come back to stay--in order to solve the mystery of her mother's death. In the process, she uncovers an international conspiracy of unsettling proportions, and must choose her friends and watch her foes carefully if she and the world are to be saved.
I am a big Ally Carter fan. I was so excited to see another series by this author. I ate this book up in a day (another snow day). Grace isn’t my favorite character, but I loved the story. Grace is another one of those YA main characters whose sanity you are meant to question. She’s gone through a lot of therapy. And well, has called wolf a few times.
She witnessed her mother’s murder at the age of 13. However, she’s the only one who believes it to be murder. According to all the evidence found, her mother died by accidental fire. Grace can’t get the image though of a scarred man, shooting her mother out of her head. And after a few run-ins with scarred men who ended up not being her mother’s killer, Grace sort of built up a reputation of craziness. Or at least as being the girl who cried wolf.
And while I can get why people might not believe Grace over scientific evidence, the one thing I hated about the book, was how adamant all of Grace’s remaining family was that she was crazy.  Why would she make up a scarred man killing her mother? Seriously, her grandfather, brother, and father all refused to believe her or listen to her or trust her. And I cannot imagine such an awful family dynamic.
On the plus side, I’ve never read a YA book to talk about politics in quite this way. I loved the metaphor Grace made about the teens on Embassy Row acting as a younger, more attractive version of the UN. Each teen in this book represented a different country. I loved the politics between the teens. And I loved the skills and personalities they all developed because of their crazy, amazing life-styles.
I wanted Grace to be stronger, like some of Carter’s other main characters. And I really am tired of the non-trustworthy, possibly crazy main character thing as a whole.  I did enjoy reading about some of the side characters. And I loved the mystery. I was dying to find out what actually happened to her mom. And I needed to know who was in on it, and so much more.
Unfortunately, not all the answers are revealed at the end. If anything, a million more questions pop up. I was also not expecting the ending at all. I’m curious to see where things end up with the mystery and with Grace. I give it an 8/10.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead

Summary (from Goodreads):
The epic conclusion to Richelle Mead's New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series is finally here...

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.

After their secret romance is exposed, Sydney and Adrian find themselves facing the wrath of both the Alchemists and the Moroi in this electrifying conclusion to Richelle Mead’s New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series. When the life of someone they both love is put on the line, Sydney risks everything to hunt down a deadly former nemesis. Meanwhile, Adrian becomes enmeshed in a puzzle that could hold the key to a shocking secret about spirit magic, a secret that could shake the entire Moroi world.
I loved this one. Then again, it would be a huge surprise if I didn’t. I love all the books by Richelle Mead. I was a little hesitant to finish this book because I knew it was the last of the series, and I couldn’t exactly cope with that.
I’m just not really feeling like this story is quite over. I liked the ending. And I liked all that was accomplished in this final installment. I just want more. I want more with Jill. I want more with Lissa. I want more with Sonya. I want more of a new character, Declan. And how can I not want more Rose and Dimitri or Sydney and Adrian? Maybe I’m just not ready to say goodbye. I am kind of hoping that Mead comes out with another side series like she did with this one after the Vampire Academy series.
A lot went down in this final book. A lot of loose ends were wrapped up. Add that to the sizzling romance, the side story with more spirit-use discovery, and the politics of the court, and well this was not a boring book. I also liked how things from book one were tied in too. The illegal tattoos from book 1 came back. So did a certain vampire-hating organization.
There’s a bit of a wild goose chase that happens in the middle that I’m not sure was really that necessary, but I can’t complain. It was more time with all these fantastic characters. And it gave certain other side characters the ability to have some resolution as well.
It was fun watching Adrian’s mother learn to tolerate Sydney. It was also interesting to see so much prejudice and hate on both sides of the couple: the alchemists and the vampires. There were a bunch of little twists thrown in about families, fathers, and spirit dreams.
The book started a little slower than normal. But in no way did this hinder my reading. The only thing that slowed down my reading was my fear of saying goodbye. This was a fun last installment to a fantastic series. I give it a 10/10, and I hope to see more from this author soon.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (130)

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 Copper Gauntlet by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare (9/1/15):

Description on Goodreads:
From Holly Black and Cassandra Clare comes the second entry in the New York Times bestselling series that defies what you think you know about the worlds of good and evil.
Why I’m Waiting:
So, I know not everyone loved book 1. But, I did. I loved the world-building. I loved the big twist. I loved the setup for what looks to be a really amazing series. I wish the description could have given the tiniest bit more of information, but that’s okay. I know I will have to read this one no matter what. Also, the cover is a little scary, but, also kind of epic looking for a middle grade fantasy.
What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Re-Read 2015: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

Summary (from Goodreads):
Harry Potter has never played a sport while flying on a broomstick. He's never worn a Cloak of Invisibility, befriended a giant, or helped hatch a dragon. All Harry knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley. Harry's room is a tiny cupboard under the stairs, and he hasn't had a birthday party in ten years.

But all that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to a wonderful place he never dreamed existed. There he finds not only friends, aerial sports, and magic around every corner, but a great destiny that's been waiting for him... if Harry can survive the encounter.
It feels weird reviewing this book. I can honestly say that this book, along with the 6 others, helped make me become the person I am today. I grew up with them. I first read this book when I was 11, and I have read it many times since. Every kid has those books their parents would wish they’d grow out of. The books they read over and over and refused to stop talking about. These books were that for me. I am a huge fan. I have read and written fan fiction. I was the president of my college’s Harry Potter Club. I have been to the theme park in Orlando. I have also been to one Leaky Con.
I haven’t had the pleasure of re-reading these books since I was in college, which now is 6 years ago. I skimmed over this first book a little last year because I hosted a kids book club that discussed it. But, I have not had the pleasure of really reading it again in so long.
I feel like my appreciation for Rowling has grown to an all time maximum. It was fun re-reading this book now as an adult, and seeing all the foreshadowing and all the hints as to what is to come. I was making all kind of connections from book 1 to book 7. And I’m a bit in awe in how much of this story it appears she planned from book 1.
I forgot how long it took Harry to get to Hogwarts. Half of the book is his introduction to the magical world. And as a kid, I remember skimming a lot of this on re-reads. I didn’t need to be re-introduced. On this re-read though, I enjoyed it. I loved reading about Harry’s first trip to Diagon Alley, and watching him continue to attempt to pick up magical letter after magical letter.
I forgot about Peeves! He was left out of the movies, which I have seen more recently than I have read the books. How could I possibly forget about him? I also forgot about the extent of the Weasley twins’ humor. I laughed out loud while reading this. The long-standing joke of toilet seats never ceased to amuse me. Also, I forgot how Malfoy and Harry really first met. And I loved getting to see the spark of the beautiful friendship between Harry, Ron, and Hermione.
I never saw this book as my favorite one in the series, but it is so crucial and necessary for the rest of the more intensive plot to come. Not only did this book remind me how much of a master of her craft J.K. Rowling is, but it reminded me what it was like to read this for the first time. Rowling had me remembering and reaching back to my childhood in a way I don’t see any other author quite capable of managing. 
I wish I could read these books again for the first time. And I love seeing kids at my library experiencing this very thing. This re-read though felt as close to reading it again for the first time as I could get. I’m older, wiser, and much more able to pick up on clues in this go-round, but Rowling really had me feeling like a kid again while I read it. And what better praise can a children’s author receive? Seriously, these books are magical and I cannot wait to get on to re-reading book 2. I give it a 10/10.

Monday, February 16, 2015

A Good Week in Books (100)

I cannot believe this is my 100th “A Good Week in Books” posting.  I guess it’s safe to say I’ve been blogging a long time now. I had a nice little book week. I purchased 3 books. One book was a pre-order that pleasantly surprised me when it came. I’m so glad I can purchase books in advance and not have to worry about release dates. I may have also already read it…There was a snow storm, and when a girl’s trapped inside a lot of movies and books happen. One book is an adult book (I do occasionally pick those up too). And one is a sci-fi book 3 I’ve been waiting for.

The Ruby Circle
by Richelle Mead
Collide by Melissa West
Defending Jacob by William Landay
How was your week in books?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (129)

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 Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith (9/1/15):

Description on Goodreads:
On the night before they leave for college, Clare and Aidan only have one thing left to do: figure out whether they should stay together or break up. Over the course of twelve hours, they'll retrace the steps of their relationship, trying to find something in their past that might help them decide what their future should be. The night will lead them to friends and family, familiar landmarks and unexpected places, hard truths and surprising revelations. But as the clock winds down and morning approaches, so does their inevitable goodbye. The question is, will it be goodbye for now or goodbye forever?

This new must-read novel from Jennifer E. Smith, author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, explores the difficult choices that must be made when life and love lead in different directions.
Why I’m Waiting:
I love all the books by Jennifer E. Smith. I love that her books aren’t simple romance stories. They tend to be about making romance work and the hardships involved in maintaining romance. She separates her characters by long distances and jobs, and she always makes them think about what matters most. I feel like we have been long overdue for another book by this author. Also, I love the cover (and how the publisher has been trying to keep them all consistent). I recommend this author’s books all the time to fans of Sarah Dessen and Stephanie Perkins. September just seems so far away.
What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Summary (on Goodreads):
The second installment in the epic Starbound trilogy introduces a new pair of star-crossed lovers on two sides of a bloody war.

Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac should never have met.

Lee is captain of the forces sent to Avon to crush the terraformed planet's rebellious colonists, but she has her own reasons for hating the insurgents.

Rebellion is in Flynn's blood. Terraforming corporations make their fortune by recruiting colonists to make the inhospitable planets livable, with the promise of a better life for their children. But they never fulfilled their promise on Avon, and decades later, Flynn is leading the rebellion.

Desperate for any advantage in a bloody and unrelentingly war, Flynn does the only thing that makes sense when he and Lee cross paths: he returns to base with her as prisoner. But as his fellow rebels prepare to execute this tough-talking girl with nerves of steel, Flynn makes another choice that will change him forever. He and Lee escape the rebel base together, caught between two sides of a senseless war.
I love these books. The first one blew me away, and I was a little worried that this one wouldn’t come close to my expectations, but it did. I now know I can trust these authors to write some serious sci-fi magic.
I loved the characters in this one. Lee is one kick-butt girl main character. For starters, she’s a captain. Then, there’s the whole thing about her being immune to the crazy disease that happens to soldiers who stay on her planet too long. She thinks fast, acts on instinct, and knows how to use awesome sounding sci-fi weapons like the best of any video game character. Seriously, she was a fun character to read about.
I’m not sure I always loved Flynn. I feel like his character was trying to be too much. He was the sweet-hearted peace-keeper. He wanted to solve problems with words instead of mass murder. He was always fighting for peace. Yet, he was also supposed to have this sort of player type attitude that just didn’t seem to fit him. It felt a little like the writers were trying to combine Peeta and Gale into one person, and well, they really can’t be one person. Though, I did like how he balanced out Lee’s toughness.
I also was not expecting a war book. This book was all about war, guerilla warfare, bombings, and rebellions. And while most dstyopias and sci-fi YA novels of late involve some kind of rebellion, not so many of them go into the gritty detail of it all. Between hiding in caves, hidden attacks, weapons storing, and solider training this book was all about the war. That, and a conspiracy theory of sorts that involve the strange yet brilliant alien creatures of the first book.
Add to the conspiracy (involving a disappearing army base no one knows about) and the war, a little bit of genocide, some scary Prisoner of War scenes, escapes, a creepy and muddy swamp landscape, a little space travel, and some friendly faces from book 1, and well this book was not lacking in the action department.
I’m not the biggest fan of war stories, and I certainly wasn’t expecting this much of it, but I ended up really liking this one. There were moments where I definitely felt like the book could have been slimmed down some in this department, but again, that might just be because I’m not that into war stories. There was a lot of back and forth though between one character being captured, then the other character. And then one character being a fugitive, and then the other. I’m not sure there needed to be such equilibrium between the plot line. I think I would have liked it more if there wasn’t; it would have felt a little more believable to me.
All in all though, I loved the suspense. I loved the conspiracy. I loved the characters. I loved seeing characters from book 1. I loved the romance. And I even loved the war heavy plot. I do wish some of the war elements didn’t go quite as long as they did. And I’m not sure I ever liked Flynn as much as Lee, but I did like the balance of their relationship. I give it a 9/10. And I’m anxiously awaiting what’s next.

Monday, February 9, 2015

A Good Week in Books (99)

I had a nice, little book week. I received two new books for review. Thank you Macmillan and Hachette. One has a seriously creepy cover, but an amazing Supernatural sounding plot, and the other is a sequel for a book 1 I haven’t read yet (but do own and plan to read soon).

by Courtney Alameda
Invaded by Melissa Landers
How was your week in books?

Thursday, February 5, 2015

A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall

Summary (from Goodreads):
The creative writing teacher, the delivery guy, the local Starbucks baristas, his best friend, her roommate, and the squirrel in the park all have one thing in common—they believe that Gabe and Lea should get together. Lea and Gabe are in the same creative writing class. They get the same pop culture references, order the same Chinese food, and hang out in the same places. Unfortunately, Lea is reserved, Gabe has issues, and despite their initial mutual crush, it looks like they are never going to work things out.  But somehow even when nothing is going on, something is happening between them, and everyone can see it. Their creative writing teacher pushes them together. The baristas at Starbucks watch their relationship like a TV show. Their bus driver tells his wife about them. The waitress at the diner automatically seats them together. Even the squirrel who lives on the college green believes in their relationship.

Surely Gabe and Lea will figure out that they are meant to be together....
I can honestly say I have never read anything like this before. I’m not used to squirrels and benches having points of view in stories (especially contemporary/non fantasy ones). The only thing I can remotely compare this to is A.S. King’s Please Ignore Vera Dietz, in which a certain place had a point of view. I knew it was going to be something I’d either love to pieces or get utterly sick of. And well, I guess, both kind of happened.
At first, I loved it. First off, one of the key factors connecting the two main characters was a mutual affection for Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I immediately loved them and their creative writing teacher after a small moment in which the musical was quoted. Yes. This was awesome. I also found it completely hilarious to hear a bench talk about people’s butts. And I loved the squirrel who knew who to go to for crumbs. I took it as a bit of an over the top comedy for a college romance, and what’s not to like about that?
I liked the point of view switches. And I loved learning that I’m possibly not the only one alive who creates stories about strangers in their head. I loved the idea of baristas, waitresses, and bus drivers making their day more interesting by creating a romance in their minds. This is definitely something I’ve done.
However, after a while, the humor kind of loses its luster. The bench talking about butts was mostly funny the first two times. And I’m not sure how believable the extent and length all these strangers, at the same time, go for people they don’t know. It goes just a tad past over the top, to a little overdone for me. I was super looking forward to a resolution, by half way through the book. And it took a long time to come.
I can see this book not being for everybody. I wish some of the jokes ended a little bit sooner. Yet, I love that this author did something quirky and different. I like reading things I have not read before. And I certainly love a good college romance. I give it an 8/10.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (128)

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 Hello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout (6/9/15):
Description on Goodreads:
A teen escapes to a boarding school abroad and falls for a Korean pop star in this fun and fresh romantic novel in the vein of Anna and the French Kiss.

Grace Wilde is running—from the multi-million dollar mansion her record producer father bought, the famous older brother who’s topped the country music charts five years in a row, and the mother who blames her for her brother’s breakdown. Grace escapes to the farthest place from home she can think of, a boarding school in Korea, hoping for a fresh start.

She wants nothing to do with music, but when her roommate Sophie’s twin brother Jason turns out to be the newest Korean pop music superstar, Grace is thrust back into the world of fame. She can't stand Jason, whose celebrity status is only outmatched by his oversized ego, but they form a tenuous alliance for the sake of her friendship with Sophie. As the months go by and Grace adjusts to her new life in Korea, even she can't deny the sparks flying between her and the KPOP idol.

Soon, Grace realizes that her feelings for Jason threaten her promise to herself that she'll leave behind the music industry that destroyed her family. But can Grace ignore her attraction to Jason and her undeniable pull of the music she was born to write? Sweet, fun, and romantic, this young adult novel explores what it means to experience first love and discover who you really are in the process.
Why I’m Waiting:
Look how adorable the cover is! The cover grabbed my attention. Then, I read what it was about, and my attention is not letting go. This sounds like a fun romantic comedy. It sounds like it might get a bit cheesy with the drama, but sometimes a girl wants something bit cheesy with the drama. I also love that it takes place in Korea and involves a type music I don’t believe I’ve ever seen in YA before. All in all, this sounds like a ton of fun.
What are you waiting on this week?

Monday, February 2, 2015

Firefight by Brandon Sanderson

From the #1 "New York Times" bestselling author of Words of Radiance coauthor of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series, and creator of the internationally bestselling Mistborn Trilogy, Brandon Sanderson presents the second book in the Reckoners series: Firefight, the sequel to the #1 bestseller Steelheart.

They told David it was impossible--that even the Reckoners had never killed a High Epic. Yet, Steelheart--invincible, immortal, unconquerable--is dead. And he died by David's hand.

Eliminating Steelheart was supposed to make life more simple. Instead, it only made David realize he has questions. Big ones. And there's no one in Newcago who can give him the answers he needs.

Babylon Restored, the old borough of Manhattan, has possibilities, though. Ruled by the mysterious High Epic, Regalia, David is sure Babylon Restored will lead him to what he needs to find. And while entering another city oppressed by a High Epic despot is a gamble, David's willing to risk it. Because killing Steelheart left a hole in David's heart. A hole where his thirst for vengeance once lived. Somehow, he filled that hole with another Epic--Firefight. And he's willing to go on a quest darker, and more dangerous even, than the fight against Steelheart to find her, and to get his answers.
It took me way to long to read this book. I’d been waiting and waiting for it to come out. I was the number one person on the hold list for it at my library. I enjoyed it; it just moved rather slowly for me in the beginning. And if I’m being totally honest, I need to add that I had a terrible cold this week that came with a terrible sinus headache/migraine that made reading impossible for a few days. Still though, 10 days is a long time for me (sickness or no).
I still will end up ranking this rather high because I did still love it. The world-building has escalated to an all time amazing high. We get to see a futuristic/post apocalyptic/dystopia New York City overrun by gangs and super villains. It was so, so interesting. Imagine the NYC of I Am Legend, but mostly underwater, still somewhat populated, and coated in glowing, neon paint (oh, and no creepy zombie type creatures). Okay, it’s a little hard to imagine, but this book just paints it wonderfully.
Also, I kind of loved the new cast of characters. I loved seeing how other Reckoners worked. I loved seeing more crazy, evil High Epics. I also got to learn some serious history about David’s mentor, and some seriously interesting facts about David’s “crush.”
The ending was, as I’m learning about all Sanderson books, epic. So much action happens at the end that I went from always wanting to put the book down, to just not being able to. Some mind-bendy conclusions are reached. And I am definitely excited for another installment.
Also, through out the whole thing is the almost Percy Jackson-ish sense of humor. There lots of bad jokes and silliness thrown in. And I can see how this can come off a bit cheesy (at least at times), but for me, I guess, it just defines the voice of this story. It’s loaded with action, super powers, evil villains, and humor. Oh, and there’s a smidgen of romance; I can’t forget that.
My only qualms are about the rather slow start. There’s certainly action and Epic-killing from the beginning, but it all moved slowly for me and seemed a little repetitive after book 1. It did end up picking up though. I loved the extended world building. I loved the new characters. I loved the awesome ending. I give it an 8/10.