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3 Stars
iDrakula - 3 Stars
iDrakula - Bekka Black

When I picked up this retelling, I was hesitant. There have been so many Dracula knock-offs and I didn't want this one to feel as stale as the others. 

It didn't.

I think the difference in iDrakula is the technological narration. The story is modernized and told through emails and texts as well as the occasional scene shot. I was surprised by how well it summarized the story.

Our main characters are teens, and so, a love triangle of some sort is inevitable. Here it's actually more of a square. 

Abe (who wants) Mina + Jonathan (who slept with) Lucy (best friends with Mina) + Abe

I have to wonder what Stoker would think of his beloved characters as hormone crazed teens.

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4 Stars
Because I Am Furniture - 4 Stars
Because I Am Furniture - Thalia Chaltas

Because I Am Furniture covers so much in such a short novel, written in verse. 

Here Anke deals with an abusive father, beating her brother and raping her sister. Her family remains silent as his abuse worsens, fearing his wrath should they anger him further by telling.

The saddest part of this story for me is that Anke feels that her father loves her less because he doesn't include her in his outbursts or molestation. 

Finally, after he has broken her leg, Anke's family had no choice but to admit what he'd been doing to them. 

What the book never says, and I was wondering the whole time, was what made her father this way? I can understand that drinking excessively can make someone angry, even abusive, but it does not make them rape their child on a nightly basis. I wish the story had included that.

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4 Stars
Nightshade - 4 Stars
Nightshade - Andrea Cremer

First, let me tell you what I didn't like about this book. 

There's a list, so hold on.


1. Calla made it clear to Shay that a relationship between them could never happen. Fine. That's fine. He still pursued her. Again, that's fine. He's not the one with the issue. In fact, he just wants her to make her own decisions. Good for him. But then, she is the one who can't control herself. In the same breath as telling him it can never happen, she asks him to kiss her. She asks him to kiss her. Not her kissing him, even. She asks him to kiss her. But then gets mad when he won't back off. I don't know, here, Calla, maybe stop holding the boy's hand during your secret meetings and giving him non-answers about your feelings for Ren. 


2. Then there's Ren. Okay, Calla is coming off a tad slutty to me. She wants Ren. She wants Shay. She makes out with both of them. That's all well and good. No slut-shaming here. IF she weren't downing Sabine for being on Ren. You can't go after two boys, play coy, then claim virtue, Calla. It just doesn't work that way. Even when she's running away (let's be honest, here- to be with Shay) she's kissing Ren and telling him she doesn't know who she wants, but needs him to buy them some time to get away. Whatever. 


3. Calla is all about independence from Ren and making up her own mind when she is with him. But then turns around and tells Shay that she thinks it's right. No. No. No. Make up your mind!


4. Why does it always have to be a big deal when a character is gay in YA books? Seriously. No one is ever just gay and happy (no pun intended). It always has to be an issue. I know that in reality, gays face prejudice. Sure, but there are some that don't. Besides, maybe if we didn't have to make it an issue in media, then it wouldn't be so bad in real life? Whatever.


However, I did give this book 4 stars. Why? Because I liked the suspense of it. I want to know who the real good guys and bad guys are. I'm not surprised that the Keepers are liars. I'm not. That much was a given. Any time one group makes another group feel grateful for being enslaved (for all intents and purposes), they're hiding something. 

I want to know more about the Searchers, and I think that's where the story is heading. There's some old mystical, magical history there, and I think it'll be good. 

And what's with Shay being the Scion and a Guardian? Will those interfere with each other?

And how much should we really trust his uncle? For some reason, my Red Herring bulb lit up with him. Maybe he does care about Shay? Or maybe he's using him to complete some ritual? Or as a weapon? There are a lot of angles to consider here. And if he were going to cover up his Scion mark, then shouldn't he have made it so that NO ONE could see it? I mean, it doesn't take much for someone to mention it to him.

There are a lot of questions floating around right now and I can't wait to read book 2.

!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
3 Stars
The Rising - 3 Stars
The Rising - Kelley Armstrong

Here lies my dilemma with this book: I don't think I'm being fair with it. I'd had such high hopes for Darkness Rising series because I absolutely loved Darkest Powers series. Normally, I try not to compare books like that, even if they are by the same author, because if you really like one book, the other just isn't going to rise to the challenge, especially reading them back to back. This goes back to my "the sequel is never quite as good" principle. It's just that this series was meant to be a continuation, so I thought I was justified in my comparing.
This simply wasn't as good. I felt that the characters were carbon copies of the cast in Darkest Powers. I went over this in my reviews for the first two installments in this series, and the third was much of the same. You have the perfect female lead (Maya/Chloe), the funny initial love interest (Rafe/Simon), the responsible back burner love interest (Daniel/Derek), the bitchy side female who is soft under the surface (Hayley/Tori). You have the adult family member of the perfect female MC that you aren't sure if you can trust because they work for the Cabals but genuinely seem to want to help at the end (Lauren/Antone). It's just too much!
The plot did pick up in the second half of this book, and I think we have the DP cast to thank for that. Our group wasn't just running around aimlessly like they were in the last book. They actually had a plan. If it weren't for the DP cast, they'd probably still be scrambling around in the forest, lost and starving.
I wasn't overly impressed with the end.
First, I really liked Maya and Rafe. I think he challenged her more than Daniel did. He made her think. Daniel was just the comfortable choice and she went with it.
And I hate that they ended up right where they started in everything but location! They seriously went through all that just to go back to living in some quarantined town that's been staged by the people who tested on them and plan to control their lives. I mean, isn't that what they were running from. They should have just let the pilot take them wherever they were going and saved themselves all this trouble.
I think my favorite part was the addition of Ash. He complements Maya well, which makes sense, since their twins. He's just as protective as Daniel, but he lets her take risks and doesn't sugarcoat for her. I'm glad that he finally got a family at the end. Of course, I'm sure that if Maya weren't there, he'd leave her parents, but it gives him some stability.

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5 Stars
Fifty Shades Freed - 5 Stars
Fifty Shades Freed - E.L. James

It's over. It's really over. A huge part of me just wants to crawl up in a ball and cry. These three books took us on such a crazy adventure and now that adventure has come to a close. I grew to truly care about these characters. I wanted Christian to heal. I wanted Ana to stand up to him and help him grow. And I think I got both of those things.
I really didn't know what I was going to get with this final book, but I knew it was going to be more than sex. Don't worry, there's still plenty of that, but it's more. They aren't doing it out of carnal lust *mostly* but because they love each other. They have actually grown to deeply care for each other and let each other care.
Christian jumped from controlling Dominant to loving husband. He still made me plenty mad. I mean, he finds out the woman he loves is pregnant and he goes to Mrs. Robinson?! I was furious. Ana needed him and he went to her. Oh, talk about a twitching palm.
But then the phone call at the bank, Christian really thought she was leaving, and it broke my heart. Still, he deserved it for going to HER. Harsh, I know, but I don't care. I hate her. She hit on him after knowing he's happily married and having a child! I hate her. Hate her. Hate her.
I'm glad Ana broke down his walls. Only she could do it, and she did it well. Tough love all the way.
I didn't care for the Jack Hyde plot. I just didn't. I think the culprit should have been someone else involved in the story. It was just unnecessary.
I think that was just another loose end to the up.
I feel like that's what a lot of this book was. Tying up loose does. Leila, Elena, Ana working ~since this started with her graduation~ and Christian coming full circle from abused child to loving parent.

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3 Stars
Through the Flames - 3 Stars
Through the Flames: The Kids Risk Their Lives - Jerry B. Jenkins, Tim LaHaye

I really feel bad for Lionel, whom this book centers around. He really thought he could get through to his uncle Andre, but in the end he couldn't. He tried in every way to save him, but he feels that he failed. That's not a fair burden for a kid. 

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3 Stars
Earthquake - 3 Stars
Earthquake!: The Young Trib Force Faces Disaster - Jerry B. Jenkins, Tim LaHaye, Chris Fabry

So, I missed a lot between books, it would seem. Good thing each one starts with a recap since my library refuses to order the ones that are missing. *Grumble*

It's still hard to believe that Bruce is dead. Where is the leadership? With the Young Trib Force scattered, it doesn't seem like they'd have much leadership even if he were alive.

Chaya tried to reach her father, and though he'd disowned her for abandoning her Jewish faith, he was obviously heart-broken over her death. Maybe that's enough make him question his beliefs. 

I'm most worried about Ryan. His letter to Vicki was so sweet. He's matured so much. I wish he'd gotten a bigger role through the books. It seems like he was always left out of everything, and the sad part was, he sort of got used to it. Really hoping he lives.

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3 Stars
Death Strike - 3 Stars
Death Strike: The Young Trib Force Faces War - Jerry B. Jenkins, Tim LaHaye, Chris Fabry

Okay, Janie is a spoiled brat. Bruce is kind enough to take her in, give her the benefit of the doubt and what does she do? Completely disrespects him. He hadn't given her a lot of rules, but she couldn't  wouldn't follow any of them. It was horrible.

Normally, I would write her off, but then Bruce happened. I can't believe he died. He was the one character that I thought would make it to the end. I really did. Who will lead them now? Who will give them guidance? :(

!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
5 Stars
Fifty Shades Darker - 5 Stars
Fifty Shades Darker - E.L. James

Well, I wanted to know more about Christian, and I certainly got it. 

But first...
Mrs. Robinson- how I loathe her. How dare she intrude on  the first healthy relationship Christian has ever had?! What gives her the right?! Because she taught him to "fuck"? She was his molester, so now she gets to control who he can and cannot be with?! And her line, "Make her understand." Like he has to make Ana understand his past "relationship". Her bloated sense of self-importance had me boiling. She got a taste of what she deserved, however, thank goodness. And Christian saw her for what she was. Yay!

Now that's out of my system.

Leila. She was crazy and I felt bad for her. But she was one of Christian's ex's. And he bathed her?! I was furious. She just snuck into Ana'a apartment with a gun, ready to kill God knows who, and he bathes her?! Then dresses her in Ana's clothes?! Not the clothes he bought her, but her own clothes?! I get that he feels responsible for her (though I don't get why. She's an ex and it was a professional relationship, at most.) but that was wholly inappropriate. What was he thinking? Then he goes straight from that to proposing to Ana?

And I am so glad she made him wait. He needed to. He's so hypocritical. She can't see Jose for drinks without him being angry, but he can bathe his ex sub AFTER SHE TRIES BREAKS INTO ANA'S HOUSE WITH A GUN!? Yes, I was less than pleased.

Okay--rant over.

We do learn more about Christian and I can begin to understand his self-loathing. He was treated horribly as a child. I understand that he wanted to punish women who looked like his mother, because that was cathartic. What I don't get is why he would want to have sex with them as well? Creepy.

Again, five stars for pissing me off. :) 

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5 Stars
Fifty Shades of Grey - 5 Stars
Fifty Shades of Grey - E.L. James

When I picked up this book, I expected it to be dirty, smutty sex. And I was right. But I didn't expect to love it. The book, I mean, not the sex.

Honestly, the sex didn't do anything for me. It was there. In heaps. Like, as in, a lot of sex. Tons in each chapter. I really don't think people can do it that much and not break themselves somehow. But Ana and Christian manage. And yes, the sex was hot and graphic and ...unusual? But still, it didn't do anything for me.

What I loved about the book was learning about the characters. I want to know more, especially about Christian. Why does he do what he does? I have my thoughts. Probably it's about his mother. He definitely has some mommy issues to sort out, and I think Ana can help him. 

I love that she stands up to him and makes him reconsider things that he's so firm about. I expected her to be this submissive waif, and she's not at all. At least, not when it isn't sexually gratifying for her. She lets him know that she wants to be independent, and I think that means a lot to him. It's refreshing. 

I already hate Mrs. Robinson. And as bad as it sounds, it's not because she took advantage of Christian, but because he can't see that she took advantage of him. How can he have any respect for this woman? She's horrible and I hope she dies a horrible death.

Kate, on the other hand, is wonderful. She's brazen and fun. She's the best friend that everyone wants to have. 

The story centers strongly around Christian and Ana, and given that it's a romance/erotica, I can accept that. Normally, I need a side story, but not so much here. As long as they can keep it fresh, their back and forth is good enough for me.

What made this book a 5 star for me was how it made me feel, and not in a sexual sense. You could take all that out, and I'd be fine with it. I feel Ana's humiliation and self-doubt. I feel Christian's anger. I'm laughing at Kate and fuming at Mrs. Robinson. 

Fifty Shades is a wonderful surprise.

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3 Stars
The Calling - 3 Stars
The Calling - Kelley Armstrong

I had high hopes for this book, and perhaps that was my downfall. 

I wanted it to be as good as the Darkest Powers series, and considering it's a continuation, I thought those hopes were justified. Nope.

This book got repetitive. 

Maya (a Chloe knockoff) spends her time ignoring the blatant flirting of the guys around her (just like Chloe) and she runs in circles in the woods, "leading" the group. Okay, at least Chloe was in the city and things happened. The repetition killed me here, Chloe comparisons not withstanding. This book could have easily been cut at least fifty pages of just her sniffing around in the woods. There just wasn't much action as I'd hoped. 

There were a couple injuries, but nothing life-threatening (no, that would have created some suspense). 

There was Rafe sacrificing himself, but come on, we know he isn't dead. He's the only exciting one in the bunch. He has a little bit of mystery about him. Of course, he's only in about twenty pages total. At least, if he'd been in the forest, he could have helped, but, no, that would take glory away from perfect Maya, who is the only reason any of them can go on living. Can you hear my sarcasm through the screen?

Oh, and we wouldn't want any tension between him and Daniel. Because you know, Daniel is the good guy who girls fawn over, but he's simply too humble to recognize it. Gah. Daniel would never be hostile towards Rafe, because that would mean he isn't flawless, and then he and Maya couldn't make the perfect couple. Gag me.

So, why did I like this book? I liked it for the not so perfect girls, i.e. every girl but Maya. Is Armstrong really that afraid of her female MC having any competition that Sam, Nicole, and Hayley have to be crazy or bitches or crazy bitches.

Maya is our angel girl. We get it. That doesn't mean that none of the other females can have good qualities.

I'm looking forward to the Darkest Powers gang in the next book. It's pretty much the only reason I'm reading it.

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3 Stars
Busted - 3 Stars
Busted! (Left Behind: The Kids #7) - Jerry B. Jenkins, Tim LaHaye, Chris Fabry

So Vicki gets busted for the Young Trib's Force's  newsletter, The Underground. 

Okay, here is my issue. How is she being sent away to a detention center for hardened young criminals with no proof? I understand that things have gotten extreme, but really?

Of course, she breaks out. Or is "fostered" out, but she ruins that immediately.

I get that she's on a mission from God, and all that, but could she not take a few minutes to enjoy the fact that she just totally lucked out? These people chose her to take care of, and what does she do? Contact their daughter, the one thing they couldn't tolerate.


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4 Stars
The Gathering - 4 Stars
The Gathering - Kelley Armstrong

Okay, I really would have liked this book...if I hadn't read The Darkest Powers series first. The Catch-22 of that is that you kind of have to read the Darkest Powers first. Well, that was a lie. You don't have to. But it certainly makes a lot more sense if you do.

I can't help comparing this to The Summoning. So much of it is similar. The characters. The plot. Just about everything but the setting.





On and on.

Of course, the plot here is the same. These kids are born with supernatural abilites, theirs however, are part of Project Phoenix (bringing back extinct or near-extinct supernaturals) rather than Project Genesis (creating super-powered supernaturals). Regardless, it's the Edison Group behind it.


The Ships...

I really want Maya to choose Rafe, despite his pretty much tricking her into telling him about herself. I understand his motivations. He wants to help his sister and needed to find someone like them- Skin-walkers. To me, the Native American Skin-walker thing is a bit cliche. Find something else. Anyway, back to the 'ship. It doesn't have the intensity of Derek/Chloe, but I still like them better than Maya and Daniel, and though he's obviously into her (which she is too blind to see, but don't get me started), I think they have more of a friendly, almost sibling relationship. That may change as the story progresses.

The one thing that Daniel and Maya have in common is that they are both oblivious to the opposite sex. ~Looks like I'm starting, after all, huh.~ Daniel is into Maya, just like every other guy in town. And Every girl is desperately in love with Daniel, except for Maya, but he's clueless.


I think Maya, like Chloe, is too perfect. Even when she makes mistakes, everyone coos over her, telling her it's okay. She can do no wrong. She never does anything selfishly or carelessly. She's always self-sacrificing. It gets old. Why can't they slip up just once? Every female except for the protag is either crazy or a bitch. Or in some cases, a crazy bitch. Why? Is Armstrong really that reluctant to give her female MC any competition with anything? Brains? 'Cause Maya is a straight-A student, easily. Body? 'Cause, her MCs are the hottest girls around. But they never realize it. Oh, no. They're modest, above all else. Come on. Flawless characters are boring characters!


The story is pretty much the same as The Summoning. Too late these kids realize that someone is messing with them because they have powers. Here though, they aren't meant to think they're crazy. Oh, no. They're just kept on a private little Canadian island with everything right there for their convenience. Why? Because the medical lab that pretty much owns everyone keeps them there. Too me, it's odd to buy an island for your employees to live on, but maybe that's just me. 


Hoping for more from book 2.


3 Stars
Athena the Wise - 3 Stars
Athena the Wise - Joan Holub, Suzanne Williams

I really like Athena in this story. I expected her to be bossier, thinking she was better than other people because she's the GoddessGirl of Wisdom, which is brought up several times in this book. Rather, she seems to be embarrassed by it.

She helps Heracles, not just because her father requested it, which he did, but in the end, because she wanted to. I think she'd be a good friend.

I like that she always thinks her way out of problems instead of using Heracles' methods of violence and force.

The only time she really acted out of anger, which seems very unusual for her, is with Arachne, whom sort of deserved it. However, I don't know that the punishment fit the crime, which is exactly what she was telling Ms. Nemisis. She just didn't follow her own advice.

I like that this story followed the myth of Heracles so closely. Well, except for number 9. But that was a cute addition. :)

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4 Stars
Secrets of Foxforth - 4 Stars
Christopher's Diary: Secrets of Foxworth - V.C. Andrews

Sadly, this story has been a borefest this far. Something needs to happen. pg. 43

Pg. 51
I don't care how proud you are of your figure, who asks their twelve year old son to wash their back in the bath and leaves the door open so he can see in when you bathe? I don't care if he does want to be a doctor, there's something wrong with that.
And now the daughter wants her brother to wash her back too? No wonder they ended up like they did.

Pg. 86
Here we go. The tale we all know and love.

Pg. 197
Okay, what high school student orders pizza and salads for their wild-my-parents-are-out-of-town party? And does Kristin not see that Kane is totally gonna try to hook up with her at this party? Come on.

Pg. 274
Wow. This Kane guy is pulling out all the shots.

Goodness gracious, was this book ever addicting, which is surprising since I've already read the original Dollanganger series. Still, hearing the series from Christopher's POV was fascinating, mostly due to analytical, optimistic personality. I have a better understanding of why he defended his mother, knowing that he was responsible for keeping his siblings happy.

!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
4 Stars
Selection - 4 Stars
The Selection - Kiera Cass

Okay, so I admit, I want to know what happens next. Despite my complaints, all of which I've listed nicely in my status updates, I am truly interested in what happens to these characters.
And what do the Rebels want? Equality? Revenge? Food? What are they looking for when they search through the palace?
And who will America choose? The way I see it, both Aspen and Maxon are on an even playing field. She's known Aspen longer and they are more committed to each other, but he did make her sign up for the Selection in the first place. Besides, if he hadn't sent her off heartbroken then it wouldn't have been so easy for her to develop feelings for Maxon.
Maxon has the prince thing going for him too, but I really don't think that means anything to America. He's awkward, sure, but that's to be expected when the only female thus far go his life is his mother. He really seems to care about what she says. Except when it comes to Celeste, though her pretty much admitted that he kept her because she'd make a good *proper* queen.
I am so glad Marlee is still in the running. I think she would make a good queen. She would be fair and kind. Too bad she and Maxon have zero chemistry by her own admission.
I really do wish there had been more plotting and backstabbing in the story. I mean, these girls aren't just fighting for a husband, but a crown. Where's the real competition?
Also, I'd like to know more about this world. I'm going to go out on a limb and say this is dystopian, but they still seem to have all our technology. What's the year? I know there was a world war, but where does the country formally known as America stand in the line up?
Overall, this came across to me as a Princess Diaries meets Hunger Games crossover.

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