Friday, January 25, 2013

Too much glitter is not a good thing.

Need (Need, #1)Need by Carrie Jones

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

**Spoiler Alert**

This Review can also be found on Goodreads

This is the story of Zara, a girl who watched her step-father die, and lost her own will to participate in daily life. Her mother, fearing for her mental well-being, sends Zara to rural Maine to stay with her Grandmother (because everybody knows a mentally unstable person should be isolated in the wilds of a sparsely populated area). Zara is a regular encyclopedia of phobias (though it is never really explained why she knows them all well enough to list them, as she does...repeatedly). In Maine, she meets mean girls, hot boys and true friends all in one day. What she learns is that most of the people she now knows hide secrets about who, or what, they really are.

As she unfolds the story of a mysterious pointing man/stalker, who seems to have followed her from her home in South Carolina, with his trail of gold glitter - Zara comes to understand that the people around her that she thought she knew best are actually shifters. Her grandmother is a were-tiger, her boyfriend is a werewolf (or dog, as she liked to refer to him) and one of her friends is a ...were-eagle. Yes, Eagle.

As it happens, the gold dust apparently indicates that the mysterious man is a Pixie. No, don't laugh. Only Pixie Kings leave trails of gold glitter, so the King himself is after Zara. She believes he wants her to be his Queen. Why? Because she and her friends found it on the internet. Google is good, people.

“Pixies have to be invited in, like vampires. I read it on the Internet."

See now, I need to jump in here and say that this is one of the things that kind of bugged me about this book. Anything that was too hard to explain, or too difficult to dive deep enough to build a believable back story, was just explained away with the internet or a random library book. Come on now, work with me. Suspension of disbelief is expected in a Fantasy book...but give me the Fantasy part, not a lazy attempt at explaining away things that were never thought enough about to actually come up with plausible story!

OK moving, it turns out that the Pixie King is not after Zara to be his Queen. He is after her mother...because HE is Zara's FATHER. Hold on, I am having a Darth Vader moment ... ... Ok, better now. Yeah, so Zara is part pixie and is the bait to get her mother up to Maine so he can keep her and take part of her soul so he won't have to kidnap local boys (only boys will do) and suck their blood to maintain control and power. What? What part are you confused about?

Well anyway, Zara's mom falls for it and manages to get to the Pixie hideout to turn herself over to her Baby Daddy in exchange for Zara being let go. Zara doesn't like the thought of her mother being trapped in the Pixie Kings secret hideout (mansion) in the woods that is glamoured to the human eye forevermore. SO, she and her shifter grandmother, boyfriend, and 2 friends decide to use railroad ties, barbed wire and forks, spoons and knives to trap the pixies in the house (they don't like burns) with a rickety fence like structure - after her mother walks out the front door and makes it outside of the barbed wire circle unchallenged, of course. DO NOT ask me why duct-taped spoons and forks on the outside of the windows keeps the Pixies inside (and/or scared). I just don't know.

This is the first book in a series, so obviously there is no end or any hope at resolution in this book. So, be prepared if you like to see a story through to the end.

My thoughts:
First, the characters are superficial. I did like Grandma Betty...she had spunk. Zara was annoying at best and the rest were bland, undeveloped.

Second, the "romance" is contrived and based solely on how hot she thinks he is, and how cute he thinks she is...there is no substance. Her thoughts on her were-boyfriend are limited to how bulgy his muscles are and that his eyes are dreamy. His sole purpose is to 'protect' her. He is channeling his inner Edward. And Edward does it better.

Third, The whole introduction of pixies (to a girl who was not yet aware of the whole were-factor) was like 'oh, we think the pointing dude is a pixie' and Zara was all like 'yeah, i totally get that'. What the bloody #@*! ??

Fourth, Do I really need a fourth? Ok, fine. Fourth, the dialog was forced. It didn't flow, to the point where it was a little painful to read, where you could tell it was trying to be funny...but just wasn't.

Fifth, the plot was thin, lazy. There was hardly any back story to anything. The ending, which I assume was to be a climactic scene was very ... anti-climactic. A letdown. Uninspired.

In short, I will not be spending more time with this series.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Flight...doesn't quite soar with me

Flight (The Crescent Chronicles, #1)Flight by Alyssa Rose Ivy
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

2.5 stars *Spoiler Alert!*

Started my review...deleted...started again...deleted.  Can I really begin my review with 'Well, I didn't hate it'?  Because I really really wanted to like it.  I read the synopsis and thought...Yes, ok - sounds interesting.  And really, I did like the premise of the story originally!  Reality is...well, I didn't hate it.

Our girl Allie is on her way with her flirty/boy-crazy BFF, Jess to New Orleans so they can work in Allie's (mostly absent) father's newly renovated hotel for the summer.  Allie has just broken up with her boyfriend and she has decided to swear off men.  They enter the Crescent City Hotel and Allie immediately locks eyes with a hot guy in the lobby.  So much for the no men thing.
Meet Levi...the hot (aggressive, confident, arrogant, bossy, doesn't-know-how-to-take-no-for-an-answer, infuriating, yet once in a while sweet) guy and his group of friends. After a couple of outings, Jess goes too far for her own comfort with one of Levi's friends and decides to leave the job, the boy and her friend behind to go home. Inexplicably, this also causes a rift in the friendship to the point she and Allie barely speak.  Umm, ok *shrugs*.  Enter Hailey, one of Levi's friends, to take the newly available BFF spot. (#convenient)

After hanging out for a couple weeks, Levi decides to tell Allie his secret...or show her, rather. See, he and his friends are shifters...crow shifters to be exact. Yes, I said in the bird.  They have big wings that come out of their back, but they stay humanoid otherwise - and they can fly (as Allie discovers when Levi pulls her off of a tall building), they are strong...and surely have some other super-human powers that we will discover in the next book.  And there are things like vampires (at the bottom of the paranormal society totem pole...they suck blood, you see), werewolves and werecats as well.  And the crow shifters are the leaders of this hierarchy.  Oh, and they are rich. Of course.
And Allie's reaction to all of this is, not a mental break with intensive psychiatric, she doesn't freak and get the hell out of dodge...not at all. She is cool with it - no biggie!  Well. Ok.

So, after knowing each other for a couple months...Levi takes Allie out on a 'real date' to a fancy restaurant and gives her this bright shiny ring with rubies on it.  She is a little wary (she believes this is a summer fling that will end when she goes away to college).  But yeah, she still takes the nice ring.
On the way home, there is kissing, groping and steaminess - a veritable spike in hormonal activity, which leads these two back to the 2BR Hotel suite Allie's staying in (did I forget to mention that earlier?) to explore their hormones in the dark together.  Soooo, the next morning things are all good...until Allie discovers she can't get the ring off.  Huh!
Hailey, being the good crow-shifter BFF, explains that the ring and the er..consummation..while wearing said ring, now makes Allie tied to Levi as his 'mate'.  Yup.  (And the ring can't come off.  Well, maybe if she amputated her finger or something, but apparently its like fused on there good.) Yeah, Levi did that...without telling her what it meant.  Douche!! Jackass!  Controlling, manipulative asshole!  WTF??!  Etc.

Allie THEN freaks and leaves town.  What the BFF neglects to mention is that her new 'mate' is the crown-Prince of ...well, whatever this paranormal society is called...oh wait!  I believe its The Society (Yes, that makes her the Princess) and, she is unsafe outside of New Orleans - which is the seat of power.
(Just stay with me here...)
Long story condensed...kidnapping, attempted rape, rescue, returned to New Orleans, talks to/doesn't forgive Levi for asshole-ishness, she is told she cannot leave the city for her safety (and to keep her other family safe  - it would be bad if she were to expose them to this life) so forget Princeton, and then onto a forced engagement party.  The End.
Wait, what?!  Oh that's right.  Book 2.

My thoughts:
OK. So, I liked the setting of New Orleans.  The description of the locale was pretty great. I actually liked the premise of different shifters, and a society of these paranormal beings with a royal hierarchy. It could have been really good.
I liked the IDEA of the main characters...they had real potential.  Levi was a guy, if done well, you would love (and love to hate).  Allie is a girl you could really like (smart, independent, stands up for herself) as lead character - but there was just something missing.

What was missing:
1.The characters.  Yes, I just got done saying I liked them...or really WANTED to like them.  However, there was no depth.  Very little character development whatsoever.  It was all ...they did this, they did that, they said this...blah, blah.  But you never really feel the relationships between the characters. You never really gain any insight into what any of them are thinking...even Allie's thoughts are shallow and vague...flat. The different relationships between ALL characters in the book are surface only, and makes it hard to really care about them (or believe they really care about each other).  Extremely disappointing, because I think that it could have been really good with proper development.

2. The dialog.  Holy crow (see what I did there?), it was bad.  I had to actually force myself not to skip dialog. Honestly, I found myself adding descriptors into the sentences as I read them (about how the words would be said, the expressions on the faces, the little impressions that give insight and feeling to the words) that were just...missing.  When I read some of the dialogue I thought - no, this is not how a college Freshman going to Princeton (!), and a guy going into his Senior year at Tulane would have a conversation.  It was immature and unrealistic (read:middle school).  The thought processes/arguments for the events that took place the way they did, were weak and didn't appear to be well thought out...contrived.  Pet peeve of mine was the seemingly excessive and gratuitous use of "Really?" and "cool" by our girl Allie.

3. Major glossing over of LARGE parts of the whole supernatural world that was introduced, but never all... in the book. Yeah, secret basement headquarters under the Hotel (read:upscale batcave?).  Levi says Allie can ask anything she wants, but refuses to answer pretty much everything.  Then Allie just doesn't ask anymore.  There are so many loose ends and unexplained elements to the whole 'Society' - that it leaves you confused as to why it was ever brought up to begin with.

4. The fact that the ending of this story is that the girl must essentially give up her family (to keep them safe), her Ivy League education (because she won't be safe on her own), and be engaged to a guy who tricked her (by lies of omission) and took away her choice for her future due to his own selfishness.  But, yay...she is a Princess.  (Kill me now.)
And yes, I get the concept of letting go of one version of your life to start another...I just don't believe this was executed well in this story.

#Frustrated.  I wanted to like this story a lot.  I liked the idea of it, and parts were ok. I wanted SO much more.  I am not sure I will be able to continue in the series...which kind of irritates me because I think the story line could be interesting.  I just do not think I could endure the lack of development and dialog for another whole book.

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Too many choices!  My issue right now is that I have a TON of books yet to be read, and I cannot decide which to start first.   This usually means I end up reading 2 at once.  Plus, I have a few reviews that I have not posted yet ( Slammed as well as Hopeless - both by Colleen Hoover, Opal by Jennifer Armentrout, Just Listen by Sarah Dessen and The Selection by Kiera Cass).  #procrastination  

So, should I continue in Addison Moore's Celestra series (I am now due to read #5 Vex).  Or, do I start James Dashner's  The Maze Runner, or finish up the Shelly Crane's Significance series with Independence, or start Through The Ever Night by Veronica Rossi, I am still due to read the Premonition series by Amy Bartol and I have yet to begin Victoria Smith's  The Crimson Hunt and E.M Tippets  Someone Else's Fairytale AND Noboby's you see my dilemma??   Sigh.  My day job is seriously interfering with my reading.  

Oh!  Great news - run over to B&N or Amazon to pick up Fallen Too Far by Abbi Glines for $0.99!!
Its a celebration, as over 100k copies have been sold!  Don't miss out...

Monday, January 7, 2013

Someone To Love

Someone to LoveSomeone to Love by Addison Moore
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 Stars

Someone to Love is a hot, steamy, sexy romance between two people who did not believe in the possibility of real love until they fell into each other.

Cruise had his heart broken by his cheating ex-girlfriend, someone he thought he loved and wanted to spend the rest of his life with.  To avoid being hurt again, he decides love isn't the way...and sleeps his way through campus with any available female...but feels nothing.

"Honest to God, his penis should be classified as a weapon of vaginal destruction"

Kendall is a transfer student (and virgin) who has seen her mother's string of marriages and relationships all end badly, and left her with a poor image of love and it's sustainability.

"If you don't give your heart away, you can't get it broken"

Kendall and Cruise are thrown together at a party, where Kendall discovers her dorm housing was never taken care of by a friend of the family (though, really...who would leave that kind of thing to someone else!?), and she has nowhere to go. Cruise rescues her from being forced to sleep in her car, when he invites her to stay in his spare bedroom. Sparks fly, attractions are denied, a crazy plan is hatched (don't hate the player...) and these two begin to like each other more than roommates.

What I liked:
The romance is sweet (and on FIRE) and I liked Cruise a lot.  The dialogue and thoughts of both characters made me LOL at times (earning me funny looks from my husband).  I liked that both Cruise and Kendall were smart and motivated (I mean, Cruise is a Grad student looking to earn his Doctorate).  I liked that I got my fairytale ending.

What I didn't like as much:
The antagonist in this was Blair (ex-girlfriend who cheated on Cruise). She is back in school and causing trouble.  However, despite ALL her actions and the trouble she caused...there was no confrontation or consequences.  No resolution.  I wanted to bitch-slap her...come on!
The climax of the story was kind of a typical formula misunderstanding because someone overheard someone else and didn't bother to trust in their relationship enough to TALK to each was a little annoying.  But, I got over it quickly because I liked Cruise that much.
Oh, and for a virgin who didn't believe in love...Kendall sure had sex on the brain.  A lot.

Unanswered Questions:
Does Cruise get to finish his schooling elsewhere?
What happens with Cruise's father and Kendall's mother?? (awkward!)

In the end, Love conquers all and that's all that really matters.

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Saturday, January 5, 2013

Love for Fallen Too Far

Fallen Too Far (Fallen Too Far, #1)Fallen Too Far by Abbi Glines
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Goodreads synopsis:
To want what you’re not supposed to have…
She is only nineteen.
She is his new stepfather’s daughter.
She is still naïve and innocent due to spending the last three years taking care of her sick mother.

But for twenty-four year old Rush Finlay, she is the only thing that has ever been off limits. His famous father’s guilt money, his mother’s desperation to win his love, and his charm are the three reasons he has never been told no.

Blaire Wynn left her small farmhouse in Alabama, after her mother passed away, to move in with her father and his new wife in their sprawling beach house along the Florida gulf coast. She isn’t prepared for the lifestyle change and she knows she’ll never fit into this world. Then there is her sexy stepbrother who her father leaves her with for the summer while he runs off to Paris with his wife. Rush is as spoiled as he is gorgeous. He is also getting under her skin. She knows he is anything but good for her and that he’ll never be faithful to anyone. He is jaded and has secrets Blaire knows she may never uncover but even knowing all of that…

Blaire just may have fallen too far.

4 Star Review

I like Blair - especially in the very beginning and the end. She is sweet but knows how to take care of herself. She took care of her sick mother for years prior to her death, alone. She has a great sense of responsibility and survival instinct.  She is humble and doesn't realize her own beauty.
At first, I didn't really like Rush all that much.  He is spoiled, rude, cold and a womanizing man-whore. In fact, it wasn't until much later in the book where I stopped disliking him, and grudgingly thought he was...ok. He was still an ass that didn't treat Blair right and was hiding major secrets. And it wasn't until the end of the book that I found myself willing to give him a chance, because I could see the real Rush behind the facade.

The story is rather addictive, in that I didn't want to put the book down until I finished it (in one day).  Be warned that the love scenes are steamy and may induce a need for cold showers.  There are sad events, moments of happiness, people you want to smack...repeatedly, twists & turns that you may not be expecting, love and heartbreak...and a little mini-cliffhanger ending (no, not enough to make you want to jump off said cliff...just enough to want to pick up the next book immediately!).  What is not to love?  Well, unless you count the wait for the next book to be released (Never Too Far - March 13, 2013).  I for one will be putting it to the top of my To Read list!

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Friday, January 4, 2013

Coming Soon (to my Nook)

There are no shortages of Series to choose from when reading YA or NA novels...and yes, I read (have read) a lot of them.  The following books are due to come out soon, and I am looking forward to getting my book-hoarding little hands on them!  Soooo in love with my e-reader (and the people who created them), so that I can buy all my faves (without having to find a physical place to put them all)!   If you haven't already, check these out - and let me know what YOUR favorite series are!

Through The Ever Night by Veronica Rossi
Available January 8th, 2013
I am awaiting the return of Perry and Aria after reading Under The Never Sky.   
                                    The third installment (Into The Still Blue) is due out in 2014.

Clockwork Princess (Infernal Devices Series #3) by Cassandra Clare

Available March 19th, 2013
I love love love the Mortal Instrument and Infernal Devices series.
So looking forward to this (and the Mortal Instrument series Book 6 - 
City of Heavenly Fire -which is due out in September 2014...that wait hurts to think about and kills me a little inside.)

Boundless by Cynthia Hand
Available January 22nd, 2013 
This is the third and final book in the Unearthly series (follows Unearthly and Hallowed).  

Pandemonium AND Requiem by Lauren Oliver
Pandemonium to be Available February 5th, 2013
Requiem to be Available March 5th, 2013
These are the second and third installments to the Delirium trilogy (following Delirium).
You can also check out the additional Delirium Stories of Hana, Annabel & Raven, which all provide more insight and depth into this dystopian world.

I am also looking forward to the next book in the Divergent series by Veronica Roth.  According to her blog, the next book is due out Fall 2013 -as yet Untitled. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

CrushedCrushed by Dawn Rae Miller
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 Stars

Goodreads Synopsis:
For seventeen-year-old serial womanizer Fletch Colson, life is a game and if he plays by the rules, he’ll win it all: his dream college, his parents’ money, and a hot (if a little vapid) girl on his arm. Really, it couldn’t be easier. All he has to do is get good grades, live a privileged boarding school life, and try not to mess up too much.
However, when he accepts the seemingly impossible bet to change his ways and be “just friends” with smart, beautiful, tempting Ellie Jacobs – a girl who seems hell bent on confusing him - Fletch’s whole world is turned upside down.
Suddenly, what seemed simple and clear, no longer feels right and Fletch must decide if winning it all is worth losing a piece of himself.

My thoughts:
What I really enjoyed most about this book was that it was written entirely in the Male POV - something fairly rare, by my experience.  It was a refreshing change to hear Fletch's voice throughout (even when I didn't particularly like what he was saying).

What I enjoyed least about this book was the frequent (and sometimes detailed) drug use, frequent and excessive alcohol consumption, and the multiple random sexual partners by Fletch and his crew of friends.  Though this book is labelled as NA (16+), it seemed rather gratuitous at times, without purpose to the plot.

Fletch is a boy who has had no control over his life, and who is expected to follow in the footsteps of his wealthy father...his entire life has been mapped out for him down to the boarding school he goes to, the dorm he stays in, the University he will attend and the girl he will marry.  Our main character is kind of a ladies man (read: man whore) during the school year, but during summer breaks has a pseudo-relationship with the girl of his parent't expectations.  Over a bout of testosterone infused male bonding, a wager is made against Fletch being able to be 'just friends' with an attractive girl.  This is where we meet Ellie Jacobs, who with her smarts and beauty, thoroughly turn-on our poor boy Fletch, making it hard for him to keep his hands to himself.  Ellie knows of Fletch's reputation and can see right through it to the real person underneath. She inserts herself into Fletch's life and gains his (and his horny brood of friends) respect and honest friendship.

Fletch, despite his family's wealth, feels trapped and forced into leading the life that is expected of him regardless of his personal dreams and goals.  This book focuses on his growing to realize that he can make his own choices, take chances and achieve the life he wants for himself.

Overall, a good and enjoyable read.

*Disclosure: A copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange of review.

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