Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Most Frustrating Characters

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Eight Most Frustrating Characters
1. A from Everyday by David Levithan. Perhaps what I most frustrated by is my lack of knowledge of A. My lack of understanding of A frustrates me to no end! How was A born? Did A have parents? Was A just soul or something more? I need more info!

2. Ruby from Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma. I think the stark contrast of Ruby's passive voice against Chloe's overly aggressive voice makes Ruby seem meek and easily manipulated. I really, really wanted Ruby to grow a backbone and be more assertive with Chole.

 3. The entire cast of The Pretty Little Liar series by Sara Shepard. Ok, so I admit, I was totally, 100% spoiled by the TV show (Which is awesome! If you haven't already watched it, immediately do so right now!) The show has built upon these characters, making them multifaceted, despite their shallow, vapid moments. The book series characters just fall flat in comparison, leaving behind snotty, selfish girls who are obsessed with themselves.  

 4. Veronica from Vintage Veronica by Erica S. Perl. Veronica tends to focus on her insecurities so much that she pushes people away and actively makes bad choices. I just wanted her character to grow-up and stop making stupid mistakes.

 5. Sophie from The Hex Hall series by Rachel Hawkins. At times, Sophie could be fearless. What left me frustrating was her choice in men. I wholeheartedly felt like she made the wrong choice. Her feelings for her chosen guy seemed underdeveloped and ultimately underwhelming. I would have been much more satisfied with the ending had she chosen differently.

 6. The twins from Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger. Specifically speaking, the younger set of twins. Now bear with me, it's been a while since I read this. However, I remember being irritated with the twins. They were selfish and co-dependent. Also, I was REALLY frustrated with the ending. Had it not been hardcover, I would have hurled it across the room.

 7. Sookie from The Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris. This series was great up until book #9. It should have ended there. Sookie should have picked one guy/vampire and ended it at that. Instead the series stretches on and Sookie can't seem to make up her mind. The storyline is running on fumes and Sookie's indecisiveness grates on my nerves. I haven't picked up the last volume in the series, but I will eventually, just to see this series through to the end.

 8. Sarah from The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott. Sarah is such a pushover when it comes to her friend Brianna. Just annoyingly passive, willing herself to get hurt over and over again. It's exciting when Sarah finally gains some confidence, but it's almost too little, too late. 

These are some of the most frustrating characters that I've encountered in reading land. What are some of yours?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Vintage Veronica by Erica S. Perl

Book Summery (Via Goodreads): Veronica Walsh is 15, fashion-minded, fat, and friendless. Her summer job in the Consignment Corner section (Employees Only!) of a vintage clothing store is a dream come true. There Veronica can spend her days separating the one-of-a-kind gem garments from the Dollar-a-Pound duds, without having to deal with people. But when two outrageous yet charismatic salesgirls befriend her and urge her to spy on and follow the mysterious and awkward stock boy Veronica has nicknamed the Nail, Veronica’s summer takes a turn for the weird. Suddenly, what began as a prank turns into something else entirely. Which means Veronica may have to come out of hiding and follow something even riskier for the first time: her heart.

Book Review:
I have never read anything by Erica S. Perl before. I was perusing the YA section of my local indie bookstore, and this little number caught my eye. I fell in love with the cover instantly. The blurb on the back piqued my interest and I was hooked. Honestly, I was expecting a whimsical little coming-of-age tale with some vintage clothing thrown in for flair. There was a lot more depth than I had anticipated. It took me a little bit to switch gears. I liked Veronica's character and related to her quite a bit. I did get frustrated that she let her insecurities affect her behavior so much. Also, I did not enjoy the dynamic between Veronica and her mother until the end. Lenny was by far my favorite character. I almost wish his story had been fleshed out a bit more. Also, I think the ending was a bit abrupt. A think another chapter or so would have left me feeling a bit more satisfied with the overall story. The vintage store setting is so much fun. "Seeing" the clothing through Veronica's eyes and her enthusiasm for fashion is such a refreshing take in YA. There were quite a few adult moments throughout the plot, which was surprising. However, I think this added depth to the storyline and its characters. Overall, a thought-provoking book that stirred up some emotional responses for me.

Favorite Quote:
"'I've got news for you,' she continues.  'Friendships -all relationships really- can be messy. The people that are worth knowing are the ones willing to roll up their pants and wade through the mess with you.' This from the queen of sparking counter-tops.

Cover Art Commentary:
LOVE IT! How could you not? The polka dots and the dress with the lace detail at the bottom? So adorable! :)


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Shades of Earth (Across the Universe #3) by Beth Revis

Book Summery (Via Goodreads): Amy and Elder have finally left the oppressive walls of the spaceship Godspeed behind. They're ready to start life afresh--to build a home--on Centauri-Earth, the planet that Amy has traveled 25 trillion miles across the universe to experience.

But this new Earth isn't the paradise Amy had been hoping for. There are giant pterodactyl-like birds, purple flowers with mind-numbing toxins, and mysterious, unexplained ruins that hold more secrets than their stone walls first let on. The biggest secret of all? Godspeed's former passengers aren't alone on this planet. And if they're going to stay, they'll have to fight.

Amy and Elder must race to discover who--or what--else is out there if they are to have any hope of saving their struggling colony and building a future together. They will have to look inward to the very core of what makes them human on this, their most harrowing journey yet. Because if the colony collapses? Then everything they have sacrificed--friends, family, life on Earth--will have been for nothing.

Book Review:
Well, I can honestly say I didn't know what I was getting into when I originally picked up the first book in the series, Across the Universe. I thought it couldn't get any better, then came along A Million Suns, and I was proved wrong. Needless to say, I was chomping at the bit for Shades of Earth to be released. I will admit, It's been quite a while since I was as eager to read the next book in a series, as I was to read Shades of Earth. Revis has created an original tale, unlike any other I have read. I crave more of her writing! She has a voice that is much needed in YA!

Now that I have read the entire series, I can look back and see the maturity and evolution of Amy and Elder's characters. I really enjoyed this aspect. Amy and Elder were practically adults by the time I read Shades of Earth! I was looking forward to 2 things upon starting this book. 1. Meeting the frozens. I was anxious to see the difference between the frozens and the shipborns. 2. Catching a gimps of Centauri-Earth and its inhabitants. I don't want to give too much away, but it was well-worth the wait on both accounts.

Overall, I am really sad to see this series come to an end. I would love just one more book! Maybe Revis has something of the like up her sleeve? I can only hope. It's been a wonderful journey, from my first step on board of Godspeed, to my first peek of Centauri-Earth. I couldn't have asked for a better ending to this intriguing series.

Favorite Quote:
“What is in our hearts is real whether we name it or let it exist only in darkness or silence.” 

Cover Art Commentary:
It's not that I don't like this cover, rather I'm a fan on consistency. I like the new covers (pictured below), but would have liked them better if they had first released the covers like this.

I have the first editions (first 2 pictured below), and would have liked to keep them all the same. I found the third image on goodreads, and imagine that might have been the original cover for the third book. I, for one, like this cover and like that it is consistent with the other 2 originally released.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Settings I’d Like To Visit

Top Ten Tuesday: Literary Settings I'd Like to Visit

1. Prauge
Image found here
Inspiration(s): Daughter of Smoke and Bone

2. Outer Space
Image found here
Inspiration(s): Across the Universe, Firefly

3. The Southern U. S.
Image found here
Inspiration(s): Beautiful Creatures, The Magnolia League 

4. A Bakery
Image found here
Inspiration(s):  Bittersweet, The Probable Future, Personal

5. Russia
Image found here
Inspiration(s): Shadow and Bone

6. A Music Shop
Image found here
Inspiration(s): Nick & Nora's Infinite Playlist, Personal

7. Canada
Image found here
Inspiration(s): Darkest Powers, Darkness Rising

8. A Vegetable Farm
Image found here
Inspiration(s): Ten Miles Past Normal, Farm-to-table restaurants 

9. Romania, Specifically Transylvania
 Image found here
Inspiration(s): Personal

10. A Bookstore
Image found here
Inspiration(s):  Dash & Lily's Book of Dares, Nevermore, Personal

Most of these are places that I love and/or would like to visit. Some are the settings to some of my favorite books.
What literary settings would YOU like to visit?

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1) by Alexandra Bracken

Book Summery (Via Goodreads): When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.

Book Review:
There are some stories that stick in your head. The Darkest Minds is one of those stories. I polished this off a few days ago and woke up today thinking about it. Bracken takes the reader on journey through the eyes of Ruby. Ruby has an ability that is both amazing, yet terrifying. Descriptions of the "youth camps" set my teeth on edge. They reminded me of the concentration camps from world war II. The journey that Ruby takes is a daunting one. There are twists, and turns, and obstacles aplenty. Living in a world where you could never be sure of who to trust is downright terrifying. Some of the people that Ruby meet along the way are decent, kind, and compassionate; while others are deceptive, lying, and just plain horrible people. The ending just left me unsettled. I am happy to discover that this is the first book in a series. I'm curious as to what will happen next. I found pacing to be an issue. There were times that I tore through the pages, and others took a lot of effort to get through. Despite some of the minor issues I had, I will definitely be picking up the next book in the series.

Favorite Quote:
"Liam reached over and put the parking break on. 'You did a good job,' he began. his voice was quieter than I expected. 

Unfortunately, it did nothing to calm the pissed off snake that was coiled tight around my stomach. I reached over and puchned him in the arm. Hard.

'Ow!' he cried, pulling away from me with wide eyes. 'What was that for?' 

'That was not like riding a bike you asshole!'"

Cover Art Commentary:
I really like this cover. However, I am nervous that the subsequent covers in the series will get changed, as covers that don't feature characters do. I really hope they stick with the original theme!


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: 2013 Debuts

Top Ten Tuesday: 2013 Debuts Hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

Antigoddess (Antigoddess #1)
by Kendare Blake
Add on Goodreads
Expected publication: September 10th 2013
Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School #1)
by Gail Carriger
Add on Goodreads
Expected publication: February 5th 2013
The Archived (The Archived #1)
by Victoria Schawb
Add on Goodreads
Expected publication: January 22th 2013
Crash (Visions #1)
by Lisa McMann
Add on Goodreads
Published January 8th 2013
Going Vintage
by Lindsey Leavitt
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Expected publication: March 26th 2013
Mind Games (Mind Games #1)
by Kiersten White
Add on Goodreads
Expected publication: February 19th 2013
Snow White Sorrow (The Grimm Diaries #1)
by Cameron Jace
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Expected publication: February 2013
School Spirits (School Spirits #1)
by Rachel Hawkins
Add on Goodreads
Expected publication: May 14th 2013
by A. G. Howard
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Published January 1st 2013
This is What Happy Looks Like
by Jennifer E. Smith
Add on Goodreads
Expected publication: April 2nd 2013

What debuts are you looking forward to in 2013?

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Dead and Buried by Kim Harrington

Book Summery (Via Goodreads): Jade loves the house she's just moved into with her family. She doesn't even mind being the new girl at the high school: It's a fresh start, and there's that one guy with the dreamy blue eyes. . . . But then things begin happening. Strange, otherworldly things. Jade's little brother claims to see a glimmering girl in his room. Jade's jewelry gets moved around, as if by an invisible hand. Kids at school whisper behind her back like they know something she doesn't.

Soon, Jade must face an impossible fact: that her perfect house is haunted. Haunted by a ghost who's seeking not just vengeance, but the truth. The ghost of a girl who ruled Jade's school — until her untimely death last year. It's up to Jade to put the pieces together before her own life is at stake. As Jade investigates the mystery, she discovers that her new friends in town have more than a few deep, dark secrets. But is one of them a murderer?

Book Review:
Wowzers! I honestly did not expect to enjoy this as much as I did!  I really enjoyed Harrington's Clarity series. So when I discovered she was working on this little beauty, I immediately put it on my TBR list! I'll be honest about something, I LOVE haunted house stories, and this one doesn't disappoint. The "creepy" factor begins shortly into the first few pages. Jade is a wonderful main character, trying to make the best out of a less-than-ideal situation. I honestly don't know what I would have done had I been placed in her situation. I love the mention of the gemstones, such a great touch. The supporting characters really make this story. Watching Jade interact with them were some of my favorite parts of the story. Oh, and the diary! While, the reader gets snippets of the Kayla's diary, I would have liked it in its entirety at the end of the book. Each entry was darker than the rest. Overall, a great mystery that I highly recommend!

Favorite Quote:
"When I was little, I'd loved ghost stories. And I'd been completely convinced that ghosts were real. But then I grew up and figured they were just part of legend - like vampires and werewolves. Haunted houses were just old, run-down places whose 'ghosts' could be experienced by drafty windows, loud pipes, or lying tenants looking for attention."

Cover Art Commentary:
This isn't my favorite cover. I'm not a fan of dead people on book covers.