4 Stars
Wild Born - 4 Stars
Wild Born - Brandon Mull

This is as really great adventure book. It's been on my Arc list for a while and I'm glad I finally gave it a chance.
Each character has their own unique attributes. Rollan is shifty but funny and ready to jump into action. Conor is going to be the brave one who holds everyone's morals up and keeps them honest. Meilin is kind of a bitch to Jhi but I almost see that she's had a lot of pressure on her from her father on her to succeed. Abeke is still kind of a mystery, but she's tough.
I really enjoy the story. It's dystopian, but still has an element of fantasy. It's great that the four main characters represent different ways of life and social standing.

!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
5 Stars
The Summoning - 5 Stars
The Summoning - Kelley Armstrong
Loved this book. Loved the characters. Loved the suspense. Loved the mystery. Loved the twist at the end, even if I hate it at the same time.
Chloe is a strong female protagonist. She isn't afraid to be honest and stand up for herself. I love how brave she is with Derek, even after he hurt her. She still isn't afraid of him. I think it's great that she stands up to Tori as well. Somebody had to, and she didn't let the way Tori's mother treated her, make her feel too sorry for her either. Tori is responsible for herself and how she treats others.
Rae is the fun friend. I think she's going to be the wise-cracking sidekick and give Chloe the reality checks when she needs them. I really hope that she truly does have special powers. I want so badly for her to fit in with the other three.
I had a few laugh out loud moments with Derek. His gruffness is amusing. I feel bad for him because he is so hard on himself. He's done bad things but honestly, it was self defense. Or brother defense. Whatever. He can't help what he is, and he shouldn't have to. I feel bad for him and his odor. He can't help it. Though, that I would change. I can tell it hurts him the way people treat him differently, or at least affects him, even if he's too tough to admit it.
Simon definitely has an easier time than Derek, but he's still considerate. I think he's going to be the heart of the group. He comes off as a little naïve.
I think Chloe had more natural chemistry with Derek than Simon, but I think since Simon is more apt to admit it, they'll be the ones to hook up first and Derek will just let it happen. Don't let it happen! TEAM DEREK all the way.
I really hope they made it out and can save Rae and Chloe.

The plot was really well paced. There was enough suspense to keep me interested but it still gave some answers as it went along. Questions were left dragging out. I was shocked by Aunt Lauren. She's horrible. Go to Hell, Lauren! You're a terrible person. I want to know what's going on in the group home. Are they there just to be tested on or what? And do they kill the kids who don't meet the criteria or are uncooperative or whatever? What happened to Liz?


Reading progress update: I've read 1 out of 192 pages.
Spirit Animals Book 2: Hunted - Maggie Stiefvater

Getting started on this one tonight! Woot!

Reading progress update: I've read 216 out of 359 pages.
The Gathering - Kelley Armstrong

They're finally starting to pick up on the weirdness of their little town. 

Reading progress update: I've read 100 out of 384 pages.
Christopher's Diary: Echoes of Dollanganger - V.C. Andrews

This book is dragging for me.

Reading... Story of my life.

Reblogged from Hol
!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
4 Stars
Fairest - 4 Stars
Fairest - Marissa Meyer

Okay, this chick, Levana, she's got some issues. For serious.

Naturally, since I haven't read The Lunar Chronicles (I know, I know), I felt a tad lost when I started this one. Okay, Levana eventually becomes queen. Got it. But how does she get there? And am I rooting for her? Well, come to find out, No, I am not.

She's straight up cray-cray.

Her motivations are pretty well explained here, so she isn't the the-bunny-in-the-suit-told-me-to-do-it kind of crazy. She's the ambitious-I-will-make-you-love-me kind of crazy.

Her bounds of insanity begin with Evret, the guard. She has sort of fangirl crush on him, because he's a guard and that makes him sort of heroic or whatever. I can get that. I can even understand her being jealous when she finds out that he's married and his wife is pregnant. But you'd think the princess, even a burnt one that covers her face with glamor, but nonetheless a princess, would move on. Oh, no. Not this princess.

Poor Solstice dies in childbirth, and Levana jumps on Evret like a lion on fresh meat. His wife just died! She's all 'It's fate! It's fate!' Whatever. You're cray-cray.

Then she's determined that he loves her when he doesn't even know her then decides to change her glamour to look like his dead wife. Sweetheart, if you have to make yourself look like his dead wife to get him to have sex with you, he doesn't love you! Move on.

Then she forces him into marriage because she's so convinced he loves her. Whatever.

Moving along.

Oh, she kills her niece. Yep, sets the girl little thing up to burn to death so she can remain queen. Any remorse? Not a bit.

Then the husband that she has obsessed over, yeah, she has him killed so that she can many an emperor on Earth. My head was ready to explode at that. For serious. All that trouble to get him and keep him, then kill him when you finally realize what he's been telling you for years. He still loves Solstice. Well, gee, since I can't win him, I'll marry this poor schmuck emperor and kill off Evret.

Honorable mentions: Channary, the sister, is a bitch, but at least she isn't insane. 

                                  Can't wait to find out what happens to Winter. Except I'll have to read Lunar Chronicles 1-3 first. Shucks. 

I'm fairly certain that Levana is the evil stepmother here. I think.

!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
3 Stars
Second Chance - 3 Stars
Second Chance: 2 (Left Behind: The Kids) - Jerry B. Jenkins, Tim LaHaye

I'm not going to lie. I feel sorry for these kids. Their all orphans and they really have no way to care for themselves. (Good (and convenient) thing Judd's dad was rich). 

However, I think that three of the kids, Judd, Vicki, and Lionel, were convinced a little too easily. I get that they grew up hearing about the Rapture, but they didn't even question it when it happened. Again, that seemed convenient to me. I would think that there would at least be a little bit of denial there. I think making them instant believers moved the plot along, and given that this is Left Behind: The Kids, Jenkins and LaHaye want to make the plot snappy to keep the interest of young people. And since I probably should be reading the adult books, which are probably more my speed (and I fully intend to get to those when I complete this series), I shouldn't complain too much. 

I think the only character who reacted realistically was Ryan, the obligatory skeptic of the group. Of course, he didn't want to believe that his parents died unsaved and went to Hell. What twelve year-old would? 

I'm very interested in what happens to them. Will they get to stay together in Judd's house? Will the authorities say they need adult supervision and split them up?

I'll find out :)

!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
3 Stars
Crystal - 3 Stars
Crystal - V.C. Andrews

Crystal's plot was plenty predictable, with the exception of the very end. It did not go in the direction that I'd thought.

When Crystal is adopted, immediately Thelma begins to explain why they can't have their own children, which doesn't seem all that unusual. I don't know from personal experience, but I think it's safe to say that when a child is adopted, they want to know why their new parents don't have any biological children. It's natural curiosity. I'd even wager to say that many of these parents would simply say that they were physically unable, and leave it at that, at least for the first day. However, Thelma feels the need to explain her husband Carl's low sperm count for their first conversation. I think that's when I realized that she was going to be the one with the issues between her and Carl.

And issues she did have. I know many people who watch their soap operas and are quite obsessed. Well, let's just say that this woman takes it to a creepy levels. I mean, making your husband pretend to be a soap character during sex and reciting lines. It was just too much.

I think the grandmother dying was overkill, no pun intended. It just added unnecessary drama.

Overall, your average V.C. Andrews

!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
3 Stars
Frostfire - 3 Stars
Frostfire - Amanda Hocking

I liked this book, I really did. 

I think it has a lot of promise as a series starter. However, as a stand alone, it didn't do much for me.

There wasn't as much action as I would have liked. Any bit of excitement happened when Konstantin was around, which wasn't enough for me. He's the only character that has any... umph, we'll call it. Probably, that's because he's the supposed villain here, and as we know, I have a soft spot those guys. I wanted more. I wanted to see Bryn do some major Tracker ass-kicking. There were a couple bouts with Konstantin, but nothing big and he pretty much let her win. I wasn't impressed.

The romance here was stale at best. I just didn't believe that Bryn was interested in Ridley, and considering he's sleeping and dating Juni (whom he's dragging along, in my opinion), he's not that into her either. It felt like a romance of convenience, like Hocking needed a "forbidden love" and that one made the most sense. It also gave her plenty of room to put them in awkward situations. 

Sending them as ambassadors together.

Her changing in the SUV while he changes just outside. 

Despite this, however, I still didn't feel any tension. Even when it was obvious there was supposed to be some. I mean, that kiss, the one I'm fairly sure we were supposed to be anticipating, did nothing for me.

What saved this book for me was the fantasy of it. I like learning about the Troll society, and we got some more of that than we did in Trylle, which was nice. 

Also, this one is even more political. There's more backstabbing and social climbing and those two things always make the story more interesting.

I'm looking forward to the rest of the story, and here's why: Because this is how Hocking works. She spends much of the first book introducing things. Setting. Characters. Relationships. Problem. Goal. Then the real story begins. 

Looking forward to the next book in May of 2015

!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
5 Stars
The Reckoning - 5 Stars
The Reckoning - Kelley Armstrong

Where to start with this book? What can I say? It was perfectly executed. Loved it. Fabulous. 

I've yet to read or hear a negative thing about this book...other than the love triangle. Well, news flash. There isn't one. Yes, Simon liked Chloe, but it was superficial and passing. He totally backed off when he learned she wasn't interested, and even asked if they could return to being friends, no hard feelings. And it wasn't until their failed date that Derek even admitted to his interest in Chloe, and even then, he never really admitted it. It just happened. So, buzz off, party poopers.

There was a lovely blend of action, suspense, and romance here. 

Yes, they were on the go again, but a good chunk of the time was spent with Andrew. The entire time I was wondering if they could really trust him, as were the characters. As it turns out, it was a mixed answer. 

The character growth here was pretty darn good, especially for Tori and Derek. Was Tori still a bit of a bitch at the end? Yes, but it was an amount of bitchiness that I can live with. She moved on from her bitterness toward Chloe, but she still called her out when necessary, as she did with Simon (whom I'm 99% sure is her half-brother) and Derek, which was pretty funny at times. But she grew up. She gave up the bulk of her diva antics, and even offered to clean Andrew's house for cash. That's definitely a step up from the haughty spoiled brat that she was in the first book.

Derek also changed a lot, in more ways than one. I think becoming a wolf, actually completing the transformation, took his edge off. Also, I think Chloe softened him up a bit. She actually made his ask for help when he needed it.

That was probably my favorite part of the book, and not because they were my ship. They challenged each other and made each other think and respond differently than they would otherwise. They're good for each other.

Normally I say Hell no! to the whole, he's mean because he's protecting me bit, but I don't mind it here. That's because Chloe stands up to him. She doesn't just take his words as gospel, but she does trust him when it's right.

However, I do kind of wish that some of the other characters had gotten to make decisions without having to consult with Derek first. I mean, it's true that they all could have ganged up on him and refused his plans, but they didn't. Whatever. He was usually right anything.

I also like the story here, and that goes for the entire series.

The idea of making suped up supernaturals was really new to me. I like the idea. The Edison Group was obviously the big bad here, but I understood their motivations. Still, that doesn't make it right. Make them super powerful, but kill them if they're too powerful to control. 

I don't really understand Royce's part in the story other than filler, much like the couple pages where Chloe was momentarily possessed. I thought they were going to take the story in that direction, which would have been interesting. 

Aunt Lauren redeemed herself by the end, and I was really worried about her for a while. I'm glad she finally came around to accepting Derek, even if she didn't like him. 

I still don't get why werewolves are looked down on, though. It can't really be because they're more dangerous, because all of those groups have their defenses, etc.

Overall, I'm pleased with how the trilogy ended. I felt like all the loose-ends were tied up.

2.5 Stars
Shadow & Bone - 2.5 Stars
Shadow and Bone - Leigh Bardugo

As the cover says, this book is unlike anything I've ever read.
First, the setting. I'm not sure yet what to make of it. Obviously, we aren't anywhere on earth as we know it. I'm fairly certain that two of the other nations in this book represent Asia and Russia, but that could be completely wrong.
So far, I've gathered that they're near water, the Unsea, obviously. I'm guessing the climate is temperate.
Ugh, this is why I don't do high fantasy. I try to relate too much to the real world.
They don't have modern technology or more leisure-work, so to speak.
By the end of the book, however, I gave up trying to reconcile it to our world and moved past it.
I felt that our protag/heroine, Aline, is weak. She pretty much followed Mal around like a pup. Then she was so eager to please The Darkling, that she didn't dare ask any questions of him. Even after she knew what he was intending, she would have went along with it if Mal hadn't been in trouble.
And Mal. I don't think I care for him either. He spent years man-whoring around, but as soon as Alina has moved on and became super powerful and might have the interest of another guy (one who happens to be the most powerful male on the planet) he's into her? Whatever.
Honestly, she had more chemistry with The Darkling. He may have been evil in the end, but I felt like what they had was more real. And despite his not being honest about his motivations, I think there may have been times when he was sincere with her. He really did think of her as an equal until she ran away.
The plot dragged in the beginning, picked up in the middle, then dragged again in the end because you sort of knew where it was heading. The Darkling would still go after the stag, just like Mal and Alina, and of course, he would get to it right as they did. Predictable. He would use Mal against Alina. Predictable. She would bow down to his wishes then make her final stand to save... Mal. Predictable.
I'm continuing this series, however. I really want to know what happens to The Darkling. That's right. I don't care about the weak heroine or her bandwagon boyfriend. In this book, the villain is just more interesting.

5 Stars
The Awakening- 5 Stars
The Awakening - Kelley Armstrong

You know, I really didn't think that this book could get any better than the first, but it did. It's everything The Summoning is, only more.
The stakes are higher. The chemistry is more intense. The action is more edge-of-your-seat. It's just more, plain and simple.
First of all, let me say, my'ship, the Good Ship Chloe/Derek, is only getting better. I like that it isn't rushed. In fact, we have no real guarantee that it's actually going to happen, but there's just too much chemistry there for it not to. Derek is still gruff with Chloe sometimes, but she hardly cowers from him the way others might do. She just gives it right back to him, and I think we can all respect her more for that. He harps on her a lot, but it's mostly for her own safety. Normally, I don't condone the whole 'He's mean to me because he likes me' crap. That's just a cover-up for abuse most the time. However, Chloe doesn't let him get away with it. She does what she wants so long as it's just herself she's endangering and not anyone else. She's brave and resourceful, and she knows it. I think that means something to Derek.
Of course, it also means something to him that she doesn't simply lie down and let him control everything. Not to mention she has stayed with him through two near transformations now when everyone else, including Simon, probably would have left him alone. She's seen him weak and vulnerable, and not only does she not make him feel bad about it, but she doesn't embarrass him by telling everyone else.
There's also something going on between Tori and Simon, but it's hardly romantic. I suspect some sort of family relationship, my guess, siblings.
Tori is her own sort of beast in this book. She pulled out some serious magic against her mom. Points for Tori!She's tough, but behind it, it's obvious there's a softness. She's obviously jealous of Chloe, and really, I don't blame her. Chloe gets all the attention, and she's yet to do anything remotely, well, wrong. She's made mistakes, but it doesn't seem like there's a a non-perfect bone in her body as far as getting angry or anything like that. I can see where Tori would be frustrated by that. Chloe is perfection. She'd never hurt anyone. Never make anyone feel unwanted. She'd share her cookies with the school bully. She's just that kind of person. Besides, she makes friends wherever she goes and has a father who will do anything to see her home safely. How could Tori compete with that? Her jabs are Chloe are on target. but still, she doesn't have to be such a bitch.
Personally, even I'm at the point where I want to see Chloe act selfishly or rash at this point. Prove that she's human.
As I said, the action is non-stop here. I was seriously rooting for them in spots, anticipating their next move, hoping that they would make a quick escape. They had so many close calls. My favorite bits, of course, were the ones with just Chloe and Derek. It was nice to see the softer, funnier side of him for a change. The part where he had just transformed and he's holding her ankle in his sleep is adorable. I totally ship it!
The bickering between Tori and Simon is humorous, which leads me to my sibling theory.
There were some good questions left at the end. Who is this Andrew guy, really? Maybe he's turned since the falling out with Simon and Derek's dad? Can he really be trusted? And is Aunt Lauren really dead? As much as I hated her in the beginning of this book, I really hope she isn't, even if just so she can make it up to Chloe.
On to The Reckoning!

Reblogged Quote
“I’m more influenced by my own interests than anyone else’s. Writers have to entertain themselves, or they can’t entertain anyone else.”

~ Laurell K. Hamilton

Reblogged from Bookloving author and publisher
4 Stars
Cat- 4/5 Stars
Cat - V.C. Andrews

This is definitely the most disturbing of this series.
Cat deals with issues that none of the other girls had to. This wasn't arguing parents or legal disputes or even absentee dads. This was serious psychological abuse.
She grew up thinking that her body was something to be ashamed of because of her mother's own fear of anything remotely physical. Then he father reinforces that idea in the opposite way by taking advantage of her naivete and loneliness in the worst, most disgusting way possible.
She was sexually assaulted by her schoolmates, which just make the trauma that much worse.
The fact that she is as normal as she is, is a miracle.
I found her the easiest to relate to as a narrator in terms of social status. She wasn't raised in the ghetto, but she wasn't super rich either. She had what could have been a normal, average American home life if her parents hadn't been freaks.
I was shocked at the end to learn that her mother was her sister.I fell like there's more to the story than that. With V.C. Andrews, there always is. I'm sure those things will be addressed in Into the Garden. 

4 Stars
A Living Nightmare - 4/5 Stars
A Living Nightmare - Darren Shan

This story is brilliant in its simplicity. It's clear from the beginning that this series was written for the Goosebumps graduates. The writing is simple and well paced. There isn't a lot of down time with the plot. It moves along well. That combined with the familiarity of the vampire, makes this quite easy to follow.
I liked Darren in the beginning. I felt like he was the sensibility to Steve's recklessness. He thought things through. He was kind to his sister and tried to be fair with his friends. He was the All-American Boy. Then Madame Octa happened.
He acted like any other boy his age would. He saw this crazy cool spider and had to have it. He stole it, which was wrong, but given that this whole story is kind of remarkable, I can forgive him that trespass. What got me, though, was 1) that he'd refused to give up information they could save his friend's life and 2) how easily he accepted becoming a half vampire.
Steve would have died before Darren admitted that it was a spider bite. That seemed very selfish to me. Then when Mr. Crepsley told him that he must become his assistant to save Steve, Darren didn't seem all that upset about it. I would have expect at least a little internal conflict. But no, he just went with it.
Other than those two details, I really enjoyed the book. I really hope Darren and Mr. Crepsley catch up top the Freak Show. I think that would be a wonderful setting. The idea is original and unique. I can't wait.
I also want to get to know the other performers. They sounded fascinating.
The end left a lot of room for good action. Will Darren adapt easily to the life of a vampire? Struggle? Will Steve make good on his threat? Will Darren see his family again?
I can't wait to find out.

currently reading

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