Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Top 13 Books of 2013

I just finished reading my last book of 2013, so now I can officially create a Top 13 list. Yay!



I almost completely forgot about reading this book, but then I saw it on my 2013 reads and I was reminded of how much I enjoyed Allie and Levi's story.



This is kind of a cheat, but if I had to choose one specifically it would be The Runaway King. I used to read sooooo much middle grade fantasy in my younger years and these books totally reminded me of why I loved the genre as much as I did. So thanks for taking me back, Jennifer A. Nielsen.



Unlike a majority of the YA community, I just finished this book one day before the new year. While Legend was just kind of okay, Prodigy managed to step up the series for me. And I think I might have a thing for Day. 



I still remember going nuts over this series when it first came out. C.A.M. is an awesome writer and it hurts me inside to end a series that started my first major fangirl moment. 

P.S. I love you, Will! 



This book might seem kind of weird to be on a Top 13 list, but whenever I was reading it I was in a Greek mythology class, so it was pretty neat reading Carter's spin on Hera, Aphrodite, Persephone and Hermes. She also made me like Hermes, which I never normally did before.



I can't believe that this beautiful angel series is over. WAH! Unearthly was so lyrical and lovely and will always remain one of my favorite paranormal books of all time. Why Boundless is so far from numero uno is simply because Tucker was barely in it until the end. Oh, and yes, I was very happy with the ending. ;)



This is another cheat. Sorry. If I have to pick, I'd choose Scarlet simply because I loved Wolf. He's adorable, yet not. Does that make sense? Plus, the ending of Cinder left me furious with a few unmentionable characters.



I don't know if I've ever mentioned this on here, but I'm a HUGE superhero fan. My dad and I always go and see the newest DC or Marvel movie together in theaters, so reading a book about evil superheroes and the human trying to take them down was very cool.



I get so many feels when I read Ashton's books. This one wasn't as epic as the first one, probably 'cuz Jack wasn't as prominent, but I still seriously enjoyed it. And I do love Cole. Just not as much as Jack.



Putting all thoughts about I how much I hate this cover aside, this book was fantastic. It scared me. A book managed to freak me out. Plus, Jared's pretty sexy.



Alice in Zombieland is one of my favorite books! Though the sequel wasn't quite as amazing in my opinion, I still loved it! I can't wait for more Cole!



This book just makes me want to stroke it. It's so beautiful inside and out. Deliverance needs to be in my hands ASAP. 


 I still can't get over how amazing this book was! Cath and Levi are two awesome characters and I just want another Rainbow Rowell book. RIGHT. NOW.

So there you have it. Those are my (sort of) Top 13 Books Read in 2013. What was some of your favorites?

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Review: Crash Into You by Katie McGarry

 The girl with straight As, designer clothes and the perfect life-that's who people expect Rachel Young to be. So the private-school junior keeps secrets from her wealthy parents and overbearing brothers...and she's just added two more to the list. One involves racing strangers down dark country roads in her Mustang GT. The other? Seventeen-year-old Isaiah Walker-a guy she has no business even talking to. But when the foster kid with the tattoos and intense gray eyes comes to her rescue, she can't get him out of her mind.

Isaiah has secrets, too. About where he lives, and how he really feels about Rachel. The last thing he needs is to get tangled up with a rich girl who wants to slum it on the south side for kicks-no matter how angelic she might look.

But when their shared love of street racing puts both their lives in jeopardy, they have six weeks to come up with a way out. Six weeks to discover just how far they'll go to save each other.

 My Review: 

This is definitely my favorite book in this companion series. I wasn't really a huge fan of Isaiah at first, I had thought that he was simply Noah's sidekick, but this book totally changed my mind.

 I went into this book not really knowing what it was about, just that I enjoyed the other two books by McGarry so this one would more than likely be a good read. The plot was really different from its predecessors, it was extremely serious. The drag racing aspect of the story was really thrilling and Rachel seriously earned major kudos from me for being able to understand car lingo. I totally wish I could do car-related things. However, when Rachel gets into trouble for drag racing, my emotions didn't know what to feel. I was majorly scared for Rachel and Isaiah. What really ticked me off about this book though was Rachel's family's dilemma. I wanted to smack her relatives for not seeing what they were doing to their own daughter/sister.

Isaiah really shined in this book. He finally got to become his own character and I couldn't believe how delicious his personality was. He wasn't as messed up as Beth, or even Noah, mentally. But once Rachel and him get involved his situation becomes a lot more dire. He was so protective and sweet that I think I might have gotten a cavity.

The last thing that I have to talk about is that ending. Holy cow! At first I'd kind of predicted what was going to happen, it was fairly obvious how the major plotline would be resolved, but that last tenth of the story had my mind totally blown!

Crash Into You set the bar for any further Katie McGarry, or even any other contemporary book, that I read.

 *Note: I received a copy of this book to review from Netgalley. This in no way altered my opinion/review.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Review: Phoenix Island by John Dixon

The judge told Carl that one day he'd have to decide exactly what kind of person he would become. But on Phoenix Island, the choice will be made for him.

A champion boxer with a sharp hook and a short temper, sixteen-year-old Carl Freeman has been shuffled from foster home to foster home. He can't seem to stay out of trouble, using his fists to defend weaker classmates from bullies. His latest incident sends his opponent to the emergency room, and now the court is sending Carl to the worst place on earth: Phoenix Island.

Classified as a terminal facility, it's the end of the line for delinquents who have no home, no family, and no future. Located somewhere far off the coast of the United States and immune to its laws, the island is a grueling Spartan-style boot camp run by sadistic drill sergeants who show no mercy to their young, orphan trainees. Sentenced to stay until his eighteenth birthday, Carl plans to play by the rules, so he makes friends with his wisecracking bunkmate, Ross, and a mysterious gray-eyed girl named Octavia. But he makes enemies, too, and after a few rough scrapes, he earns himself the nickname "Hollywood" as well as a string of punishments, including a brutal night in the sweatbox. But that's nothing compared to what awaits him in the Chop Shop: a secret government lab where Carl is given something he never dreamed of.

A new life. . . .

A new body. A new brain.

Gifts from the fatherly Old Man, who wants to transform Carl into something he's not sure he wants to become.

For this is no ordinary government project. Phoenix Island is ground zero for the future of combat intelligence.

And for Carl, it's just the beginning...

Release Date: January 7, 2014

My Review:

I don't want to make this review sound like I'm embracing stereotypes or anything, but this book would be fantastic for boys. There's so much action and punching and blood that it's safe to say that a young version of Stallone could play in it with no problems. In fact, there was so much action and fighting lingo that I had some minor issues knowing what the terms meant. Regardless, I'm totally psyched about this book becoming a TV show. Although I'm not sure why they changed the name to Intelligence, or why the creators couldn't stick to young adult characters. 

Carl is a character that you don't see everyday in YA books. He stands up to bullies with no thoughts for himself and he's pretty selfless throughout the entire story. He's also like a kick-butt Four with the attitude of  Katniss. Octavia, the love interest, wasn't all that appealing to me. Dixon never really delved into her character as much as I wanted him to, the same can be said for a lot of the side characters in the story. Also, I know why Octavia's random POV's were put into the book, but I felt like they just intruded on Carl's narration.

 The beginning of the book had me seriously wanting to know what the heck was going on, why these people were doing what they were doing, etcetera, however, as I got into the middle of the book I felt a little bored with the plot. Things just weren't moving along very quickly. But it all picked up by the end. And even though most of the ending was predictable, I still really enjoyed it. 

I have no idea if this book is going to have a sequel, and while I might not be foaming at the mouth to get my hands on a copy, I am excited to see what's going to happen to Carl next.

 *Note: I received a copy of this book to review from Netgalley. This in no way altered my opinion/review.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Review: Wrecked by Priscilla West

“There would be no happy ending for us. He was too damaged. I was too broken.”

Two years ago, Lorrie’s mother was murdered. But that wasn’t the end of it. Reeling from the tragedy, Lorrie’s father spiraled into alcohol, depression, and finally suicide.

The two most important people in Lorrie’s life are both gone but she’s still alive.

Trying to recover from the tragedy, Lorrie returns to campus, ready to pick up the pieces of her life. All Lorrie wants is to get back to “normal.”

Then she meets Hunter. The man, the legend, “the Hammer.”

Hunter is a cage fighter who takes on every fight like he’s got nothing to lose. His life is a tangled mess of girls, booze, and fist fights. And while it may seem like he’s got a devil-may-care attitude, he’s fighting a private cage-match with a monster he can’t defeat.

Lorrie knows that Hunter is the exact type of guy she should stay away from, especially in her fragile state, but Hunter has other ideas.

As Hunter and Lorrie grow closer together, will they be able to overcome their pain and heal each other? Or will they both end up wrecked?

My Review:

This is going to seem really mean, and I don't entirely want it to be, but this book is one of the reasons I've stopped reading New Adult.  At first the story was good, we meet both characters, Lorrie and Hunter, in a nontraditional way and their relationship is cute (I loved the hockey game scene). But, less than a quarter of the way through, things take a turn for the worse.

Lorrie is extremely confusing. I understand that she wants some space due to her parental situation, but whenever she starts complaining about not having a relationship with Hunter, she hasn't even mentioned her parents since like thirty pages ago (about a week or so in the book's time). Then, when she finally decides to date Hunter, she just throws all of her doubts out the window. Her entire demeanor seemed bi-polar. And, West never even mentions what Lorrie looks like. I think she might have blonde hair, but I don't know.

When the main couple does end up hooking up, all they do is have sex. This was about halfway through the book and I was so tired of it that I just started skipping the sex scenes. And just because you make your main characters college students does not make your book New Adult. The scenes in this thing were raunchy. If someone talked to me like that whenever we were being intimate, I'd freaking castrate them. 

Another thing that bothered me was the repeated idea of "gossiping." I'm a college student and I know for a fact that you walk by hundreds of students each day who have no clue who you are. Just because Lorrie's situation was on the news did not mean that people would know who she was and what happened to her. Plus, a lot of college kids don't watch the local news. So all of these people who knew Lorrie and Hunter and kept talking about their relationship and yadda yadda made me really mad because that is absolutely not how college works.

Lastly, there are the kittens. This isn't a major deal, but those kittens seem to only be alive whenever the author conveniently needs them to be. If the main characters aren't feeding them, petting them, etcetera, those kittens don't move. They sleep. 

So, I know this is a huge rant, but this book just made me really angry. Plus, it's the first book in a long time that I had to actually skip parts of in order to finish. If you don't mind all of the things that are listed above, then this book isn't a bad choice for you, plus the ending was actually pretty good. But, it does have a major cliffhanger to set up Book #2, so be prepared.

*Note: I received a copy of this book to review from Netgalley. This in no way altered my opinion/review.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Stolen Songbird

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. 
This week, what's really got my pages in a twist is...

For five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the ruins of Forsaken Mountain. Time enough for their dark and nefarious magic to fade from human memory and into myth. But a prophesy has been spoken of a union with the power to set the trolls free, and when Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she learns there is far more to the myth of the trolls than she could have imagined.

Cécile has only one thing on her mind after she is brought to Trollus: escape. Only the trolls are clever, fast, and inhumanly strong. She will have to bide her time, wait for the perfect opportunity.

But something unexpected happens while she’s waiting – she begins to fall for the enigmatic troll prince to whom she has been bonded and married. She begins to make friends. And she begins to see that she may be the only hope for the half-bloods – part troll, part human creatures who are slaves to the full-blooded trolls. There is a rebellion brewing. And her prince, Tristan, the future king, is its secret leader.

As Cécile becomes involved in the intricate political games of Trollus, she becomes more than a farmer’s daughter. She becomes a princess, the hope of a people, and a witch with magic powerful enough to change Trollus forever.
Release Date: April 1, 2014

I'm not normally a high fantasy reader, but this book, this sounds fantastic! I can't wait to be able to read this beautiful book!

What book are you waiting for this Wednesday?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Review: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.
Elisa is the chosen one.

But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can't see how she ever will.

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And he's not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people's savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.

Most of the chosen do.

My Review:

I wanted to have some fantasy in my book life, so I picked up this baby here. I'm glad I did because I had heard so much about it, and I wanted to know what all of the hubbub was about.
First off, I loved the idea behind the story. Not the Godstone part, but the idea that a princess is going off to marry a handsome king and become something much more than just a royal with a crown. However, I feel like the storyline could have been done better. I was all for Elisa being a bigger girl, heck I'm a bigger girl, and I like having a normal non-size zero in my stories, but Carson overdid it. Elisa was constantly thinking about food. She compared everything to pastries and just wouldn't stop talking about sweets and meat and more! Larger people don't think about things in terms of food. 

Another thing that bothered me was how Elisa kept going on and on about her largeness. Like I wrote earlier, I'm a bigger girl. I understand Elisa's self-consciousness, BUT she wouldn't stop complaining about it. 

The side characters of the story were enjoyable, but I didn't feel myself loving them. Rosario was probably the cutest one, and even then he kind of angered me at points. Humberto and Hector were my favorite characters, Hector more so, they were much more realistic than the other ones, or perhaps Carson just gave them better depth.

My biggest pet peeve with the story was the religious ideal. I had no idea that this story would be centered so much around religion. I'm not a big fan of reading about it in general, and this story is full of it. If I had known that, I probably wouldn't have requested it for review. I couldn't understand how Carson created this unique fantasy land, but she couldn't create a god/goddess who wasn't already provided from real life.

All in all, I'm a little disappointed with this read. It wasn't bad, but I don't really recommend it to anyone who wants an action-packed fantasy read.

*Note: I received a copy of this book to review from Netgalley. This in no way altered my opinion/review.