DNF: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Published September 18th, 2012
416 pages (Paperback)

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore. (From Goodreads)

Stopped reading at page 290 of 408.

I tried really hard with this one, but just couldn't get into the story.  I didn't feel a connection to any of the characters.  It's not that there was anything wrong with them, but rather that they just didn't fit my tastes.  I felt confused, and not in the good, can't-set-it-down way.  I had no clue what was happening, and, again, felt no connection to the story.  

That being said, I do understand why so many people love this book.  The writing is solid and I can see where the story would appeal to many people.  There is a maturity to the book that stands out.  There is also that complexity that I talked about above.  There was a brief period about midway through the book that I really enjoyed, and a plot twist that I thought was awesome.  Ultimately though, it just wasn't for me.


Review: Crash Into You by Katie McGarry

Published November 26th, 2013
474 pages (Hardcover)

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. (From Goodreads)

Geez, why do you do this to me Katie McGarry?

I like the cars.  Cars are sexy.  I know shit all about cars, but I like to drive fast and have spent a lot of time at the race track.  That's my way of saying that I liked how the book revolved around cars.  The addition of illegal activity and crime made the book.  I was reading the books and felt the adrenaline.  And then wanted to go see how fast I could make my '05 Pontiac Sunfire go down a back road (note that I didn't actually do this, but seriously considered it).  To go along with the cars, the writing was just hot, like always.  Be ready to fan yourself a wee bit.

When I heard this book would be about Isaiah, I was really excited.  I've wanted his story since Pushing The Limits, and I'm glad he didn't end up with Beth.  He is a far more complex character than past books suggested.  His interaction with Beth was well done.  His relationship with Rachel was a little bit too insta-love for my tastes, but the progression through the book was well done.  Rachel was a nice addition to the series.  Her internal struggle was great to follow.  My one issue was her family, which seemed unrealistically crazy.  The fact that no one noticed her health issues also threw me off.  I did really like her character, but not as much as I like Abby.  She needs her own book ASAP!

I loved Crash Into You.  It is a great addition to anyone's shelf, and I can't wait for the next book.  


"Waiting On" (Don't You) Forget About Me

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating!

Welcome to Gardnerville.

A place where no one gets sick. And no one ever dies.

There’s a price to pay for paradise. Every fourth year, the strange power that fuels the town exacts its payment by infecting teens with deadly urges. In a normal year in Gardnerville, teens might stop talking to their best friends. In a fourth year, they’d kill them.

Four years ago, Skylar’s sister, Piper, was locked away after leading sixteen of her classmates to a watery grave. Since then, Skylar has lived in a numb haze, struggling to forget her past and dull the pain of losing her sister. But the secrets and memories Piper left behind keep taunting Skylar—whispering that the only way to get her sister back is to stop Gardnerville’s murderous cycle once and for all.  (From Goodreads)

This is 100% because the cover is stunning.  This must be on my shelf.  This book sounds mysterious and awesome and I cannot wait to give it a read.  (Don't You) Forget About Me hits bookstores on June 10th, 2014.


Reading Shouldn't Be A Chore

This is something that has been bothering me for a while, and I think a lot of book bloggers and reviewers can likely relate.

I was looking back on the books that I read in 2013.  2013 was one giant book rut for me.  With a couple of exceptions (such as my binge on Star Cursed and Dark Triumph in June), I just didn't enjoy a lot of the books I read.  I think this is why I was in such a rut.  You can only read so many books you don't enjoy before reading becomes a tedious chore.

I want 2014 to be a better, more enjoyable year for reading.  I don't request many ARCs, so it really don't have an obligation to read anything in particular.  I want to go back to the days where I read books because I was legitimately interested in the story, not because I feel like I *need* to review it.

To go along with this, I often feel like I have an obligation to finish books.  I have a hard time justifying my ability to put a book down.  I'm not the fastest reader, and I need to review it.  This is the mentality I have gotten myself into.  It sucks.  Maybe if I read faster, it wouldn't be such a deal.  I cannot read 150+ books per year like some people.  In 2014, I want to escape this way of thinking.  I would rather write a DNF post about why a book just wasn't for me than a negative review about  why I really disliked a book.

Negative reviews are a thing that just have to exist.  There is no avoiding them.  No one wants to write them, but I feel like we have an obligation to be honest in our reviews.  I wrote way more negative reviews last year than I wanted to.

This extends into the fact that I have been overthinking about what I read.  I've felt like I've had to write deep, thought-provoking reviews.  Yes, that's great and all, but that isn't me.  

Therefore, for 2014, I am going to stop overthinking and be okay with the DNF.  I want to enjoy reading again, not feel like it's an obligation.  

Have any of you guys felt like reading had become a chore?  How did you deal with this?


Review: Prodigy by Marie Lu

Published January 29th, 2013
Putnam Juvenile
371 pages (Hardcover)

Injured and on the run, it has been seven days since June and Day barely escaped Los Angeles and the Republic with their lives. Day is believed dead having lost his own brother to an execution squad who thought they were assassinating him. June is now the Republic's most wanted traitor. Desperate for help, they turn to the Patriots - a vigilante rebel group sworn to bring down the Republic. But can they trust them or have they unwittingly become pawns in the most terrifying of political games? (From Goodreads)

Prodigy didn't do it for me.  I get the love for it, but it just didn't quite work for me.

My biggest concern with Legend was the characters.  I can't say Prodigy really solved those concerns for me.  I still didn't buy in to either Day or June.  I still felt like the characters were older than the writing suggested they were.  It's a difficult thing to explain, but neither character felt *real*.  I didn't feel a connection with either. 

The romance did improve slightly.  I'm still not digging the insta-love, but there is at least some tension now.  The tension comes in the form of a love triangle (Rectangle?  Quadrangle?), which isn't fantastic but at least it added some tension.  Seriously, these two are just a pair of horny teenagers and their insta-love makes no sense to me.  Hookup?  I get it.  Undying love?  I need some serious convincing.

The world-building was all over the place.  You thought you knew what was happening, then you didn't and then we're on another track.  It worked though.  The society here is complex and each country and group has a different perspective on the situation.  I found it a little confusing, but it definitely worked.  Similarly with the plot, it was back and forth.  One minute the Elector is to be hated, then loved, and back and forth until I just gave up trying to figure out where the story was going.

And I was *sooo* bored for a good half of the book.  Nothing was happening and I just wanted some action or something.  I am shocked that I actually finished the book.  I was a good two/thirds through the book before I got interested whatsoever, and you know what got me interested?  ACTION and RELATIONSHIP TENSION.  Serious.  If it weren't for the "oh-no-he-didn't" moment at the very end, I'd likely give up on the series here.

Prodigy didn't work for me.  There was a brief chunk that I did really enjoy, and it was mostly because shit was hitting the fan.  Fans of Legend will likely enjoy the sequel.  As for me, I am going to give Champion a shot, if only for the events of the last couple of chapters in Prodigy.


Review: Alice In Zombieland by Gena Showalter

Published September 25th, 2012
Harlequin Teen
404 pages (Hardcover)

She won’t rest until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.

Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real….

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies….

I wish I could go back and do a thousand things differently.
I'd tell my sister no.
I'd never beg my mother to talk to my dad.
I'd zip my lips and swallow those hateful words.
Or, barring all of that, I'd hug my sister, my mom and my dad one last time.
I'd tell them I love them.
I wish... Yeah, I wish.  
(From Goodreads)

This book has been sitting on my shelf for so long.  Let's just say I am glad that I finally gave it a shot.

Alice in Zombieland was NOT what I expected.  I was expecting it to be more of a Alice In Wonderland retelling, but besides the references to the original story, it is an entity of it's own.

The world-building was great.  There is this complexity to the world that felt very straight-forward.  We've got these zombies that only certain people have the ability to see.  After her parents death, Ali gains the ability to see these zombies and eventually joins a crew of zombie fighters.  There are complexities in how the zombies are seen and killed, as well as the visions, that left me semi-confused, but the world just worked for me.

This book is engaging from the very first page.  The first chapter/prologue thing drew me in and I never turned back.  I also liked the balance here of action, development, and sexytime.  The action wasn't spectacular, but I truly enjoyed it.  The development of the plot and characters throughout the book worked really well.  As for the sexytime, you can tell this isn't the first rodeo for Gena Showalter.  I felt interested and engaged throughout the novel.

I was a fan of these characters.  The only issue I really had was with Emma, and it was that the dialogue didn't fit with an eight-year old.  Clearly, that is a very minor issue.  I'm really excited to see Ali develop through future books.  She has the potential to be a kickass heroine and I'm excited to see her character grow and reach her potential.  Even more though, I loved Kat.  Snark.  Snark snark snark snark SNARK.  I just love the humor and level of sincere friendship her character brings.  Finally, let's just take a moment to acknowledge the pure hotness that is Cole.  Like I said, this isn't Gena Showalter's first rodeo.  Cole is a hot douchebag at times, but then he does something and I just could not hate him.

I really enjoyed Alice In Zombieland, despite it not being what I expected whatsoever.  I love the characters and the plot and cannot wait to see what happens next!


"Waiting On" Ruins

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating!

Kira, Samm, and Marcus fight to prevent a final war between Partials and humans in the gripping final installment in the Partials Sequence, a series that combines the thrilling action of The Hunger Games with the provocative themes of Blade Runner and The Stand.

There is no avoiding it—the war to decide the fate of both humans and Partials is at hand. Both sides hold in their possession a weapon that could destroy the other, and Kira Walker has precious little time to prevent that from happening. She has one chance to save both species and the world with them, but it will only come at great personal cost.  (From Goodreads)

Oh my god, am I ever pumped for this conclusion.  I loved both Partials and Fragments, and cannot wait to give this one a read for two reasons: Samm and the sciencey-ness.  Samm may not be completely human, but I don't care.  I love his character and the way he has grown through the series.  I also love the science and biology here, even if some of it *seems* a little far-fetched (I'm not exactly an expert).  I'm curious as to how it all ends, but am definitly going to need a reread of the series before Ruins hits shelves on March 11th, 2014!