November 26, 2015

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer 
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #2 
Source: Paperback copy
Publisher: Puffin Books
Publication Date: February 7th 2013
Age Genre: Young Adult
This is not the fairytale you remember.
But it’s one you won’t forget.
Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. The police have closed her case. The only person Scarlet can turn to is Wolf, a street fighter she does not trust, but they are drawn to each other.
Meanwhile, in New Beijing, Cinder will become the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive – when she breaks out of prison to stay one step ahead of vicious Queen Levana.
As Scarlet and Wolf expose one mystery, they encounter Cinder and a new one unravels. Together they must challenge the evil queen, who will stop at nothing to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner . . .
You see, I had a plan. I didn't just wait to read Scarlet until now. I had a very meticulous, well-thought out plan that I'm kind of hating right now because it made me delay reading this book. Anyways, the plan was: as Cinder already promised this would become a favorite series, I would just... wait. Until it was over. To binge read. That was the plan.

DID I MENTION THAT I NOW HATE THAT PLAN??

This book... just... asdfghjkl is the best adjective. The feels, man. The feels. Much in the fashion of Cinder, Scarlet doesn't beat around the bush of introducing us to the next duo in the series we're going to adore. Thy name is Scarlolf.

Err, I mean-- Scarlet and Wolf. (BTW, I don't really like their ship name. Can't we have ship names like OUAT for this series? Like Scarlet Wolf sounds way cooler lol)

Scarlet Benoit is looking for her grandma. Remember way when, as Nainsi booted up again mid-sentence and relayed information about the possibility of an ex-military pilot from the EF hiding the Lunar Princess? That's the one. Yeah, I had to rack my brain to remember to. Way to go Meyer.

So, Scarlet was delightful. She's a firecracker, but she's not stupid. She's kind of a hot-head but she's got the brains to make it a deadly combination. And she's really not afraid to shot you. All the girl wants is her grandma, her farm, and peace. Why can't anyone give that to her?!

Now Wolf....

What I Expected

What I got
....
....
....
....
I'M TAKING HIM AND NEVER GIVING HIM BACK! Seriously, what is this adorableness!? I wasn't expecting it! But I highly approve! Wolf is such a sweetheart! Yes, sometimes he shows some of that first gif but mostly he's just a precious cinnamon roll and I love him so dearly and asdfghjkjhgfd

And together??? The shipping is real guys. It's like, Cinder and Kai? Cuties. Wolf and Scarlet?
only with less rage and more heart-eyes
Seriously. Ruining me here Meyer!

Not only with Wolf, but with Cadet Captain Thorne too! Like, I didn't expect him to be in this book. I didn't expect half the novel to be about Cinder and him at all and I loved it. And him. Again, exception versus reality and reality is so much better! He is such a goofball! He made me laugh, and I kind of think Cinder really needs someone like him around *heart eyes*

ALL the males in this world ruin me. Take Kai for example - I was so afraid that he was going to go the bitter "she played me" route, and while he entertains the thoughts (because how can you not) he is not that at all. He still cares for Cinder, still can't think she's anything less than what she showed herself to be. He is listening to his heart and I HEART IT.

Is this a review? Is this a lovefest. I don't even know but I don't even care!

Speaking of things that ruin me negatively - Adri and Levana. I hate them both.

Like, I didn't hate Adri in Cinder (I really, really pitted her existence), but now I'm genuinely hoping Winter has a scene where Cinder becomes empress and Adri tries to mooch of it by saying she's always cared for Cinder and Kai steps up and be all like "remember that time you tried to send her to her death, accused her of all sort of things and said you wanted nothing to do with this aberration? yeah, fun times. GOODBYE BIYOTCH".

As for Levana... she is horrifying. And the scene from her pov? nope nope nope nope nope nope nope. Like, I don't want to read Fairest because that sounds so disturbing but now I kinda feel like I have to??

(BTW - is that wolf soldier gonna have more important meaning later on? I feel like he will)

Also - this book moves from the cutest thing ever to the gloom and doom in like three seconds flat. Be prepared to not be prepared for it coming at all.

FAN LUNAR CHRONICLES FACTS!
Levana in Hebrew means Moon. She is literally Queen Moon.
Ze'ev in Hebrew means Wolf. So Wolf's name is... Wolf. lol.

Nitzan

November 19, 2015

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
Series: Unearthly #1 
Source: Kindle copy
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date:  April 2011
Age Genre: Young Adult
In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees . . .
Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn't easy.
Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place and out of place at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side.
As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?
Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart.

I wrote and re-wrote this review about three times. Maybe more. It took me about a month to finally post it at all, and I wasn't sure I was ever going to get there. For once, it's not because I don't have what to say. It's because I have too much and I just don't know how to put it down in writing or what to focus on and it's driving me nuts.

It's been such a long, long time since I've read such a solid and well balanced contemporary YA fantasy. And, to be honest, I really wasn't expecting this to be this good; this well rounded; to have all the elements I'm looking for in a story.

Frankly, I don't have that good a record with Angel stories.

Not this one. First of all, the whole concept here is refreshing and well thought out. It's obvious the author knew exactly what she was going for and not only that - knew what she wanted to develop it into. We don't learn everything in this book. Far from it. We're given enough so we understand everything that's happening, while making it clear a lot of vital information is still missing from this puzzle and will be unraveled in the future. I love that.

I loved Clara, the main character. Geez, when was the last time I read of a YA heroine who is level headed, logical, rational and real. Who fights for what she wants and for her life. Who is willing to listen. Who doesn't give up. Who is actively working on her life and not just... waiting for something to happen? Especially when the whole plot actually revolves around waiting for a certain even to happen?

This was so precious to me. I was 100% behind Clara and with her.

And then, the romance? My god. I was so afraid of the romance because the synopsis seems to tease Insta love and I am happy to inform the synopsis is lying! No insta love for this book, thank god. Just a case of insta attraction which is a-okay with me. Instead, we've got delicious, slow burn built up between two people who I think are meant to be together and asdfghjkl so many feels.

Is there a love triangle? Kinda. We do have two boys.

The first is Christian, the guy who Clara uprooted her whole family for. He's sweet, nice, kind of removed... but I didn't feel much towards him. He's, to me, not appealing. There isn't too much to him, and even when he was nice to Clara it never felt like he was really invested in her.

The second? Love of my life, light of my soul, what else could a girl want when she's got the sweet and layered rancher Tucker Avery in her life (romantically wise, anyways)? He starts off as the guy who teases and makes fun of Clara, in a rather fun manner. Then he grows to be more, showing her around the place and being sweet af and just... I can't with this guy.

Don't need to tell you which team shirt I'm gonna buy, is there?

Then we've got the surrounding relationships in the book which were all wonderful. The siblings in this novel love each other. They are also a pain in each other's butts, but when they need each other they are there for them. It's so realistic and heartwarming and I loved it.

Then we have the parental relationship between Clara and her Mom which was a big part of the story. I loved their relationship, even as we watched it begin to fracture underneath the weight of secrets and lies and destiny. But their love was never in question. 

And everyone in this story are such good friends to one another. Good, real, healthy friendships. You've no idea how much I miss those in literature sometimes. 

I highly recommend this novel to everyone who love YA and fantasy, and I will most definitely read the sequels! 

Nitzan

November 12, 2015

Nowhere but Here by Katie McGarry

Nowhere but Here by Katie McGarry
Series: Thunder Road #1
Source: Kindle Version
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: June 1st 2015
Age Genre: Young Adult
Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she's curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn't mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both.
Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They're the good guys. They protect people. They're…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club's most respected member—is in town, he's gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it's his shot at his dream. What he doesn't count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down.
No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.
This is easily my least favorite book by McGarry.

I'm a huge fan of this author - read all her books, and loved them all. She's got that rare ability to just suck me in until suddenly it's 4a.m. and the book is finished. And she does it even when the book is a huge, intimidating hardcover. Just like that

So I'm not saying this lightly - Nowhere but Here was, to me, severely lacking.  Did I still finish it in more or less one sitting? Yes. Did I get any of the feeels? Nope. 

Because this is such a loved author, I'm going to go on a rant here for a sec. Again, it doesn't mean I didn't like the book. It was just not on par with McGarry's other works for me. I still loved Oz (after I got over how judgmental he was to Emily at first). I still liked Emily. I loved the family dynamics between the club members, even if I didn't like much else revolving the club. But. BUT. 

Nowhere but Here sins in one of my biggest story peeves - the entirety of it is built on a truth no one is willing to share. Everyone but our mc, Emily, knows it. But no one will just own to it and tell it straight. Instead, they play this game of hide-and-seek with the truth. Everything, and I do mean everything, including the disastrous results, could have been avoided if even one person decided to share the whole truth with her. 

Gah. The book tried very hard to convince me everybody had excellent reasons for keeping num. I didn't buy it for a sec. 

Combined with this is the character of Olivia. Also known as The Catalyst. I. Didn't. Like. Her. I hate people who are so blatant about the fact they think they know what's best for others, who basically dismiss their entire plans for life as wrong. And combine that with riddle-giving and vague info dumping and you get a major no-no from me.

Speaking of things I didn't buy? The whole surroundings and environment. The setting for this novel was so over-the-top that it was all a little ridiculous to me. Not to mention this first book is supposed to make me fall in love with this club. Instead, I loved the people, hated every time "proper" club activities came up. I was downright disgusted by it. Pouring drinks on your kids as celebration? Walls of bras and underwear gloriously displayed? Dens smelly and sticky from god-knows-what? Yes, very captivating.

Not.  

Even the secret was way over-the-top and the whole climax? It was so flat to me. They didn't even feel like real characters. Not only was I not excited, nervous or anxious, I was exasperated. It feels like McGarry was trying too hard to go at dangerous and edgy and whatnot while not really understanding the whole scene at all.  

Final point of aggravation? The relationship. McGarry is usually so good with making the feels real and with having me 100% believe the love. I didn't here. It was like, oh, yes, they're finally talking and becoming fri--WHAM WE'RE IN LOVE. 

Like, seriously. 

Nitzan

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October 29, 2015

The Libby Garrett Intervention by Kelly Oram


The Libby Garrett Intervention by Kelly Oram
Series: Science Squad #2
Source: arc
Publisher: Bluefields
Publication Date: October 24th 2015
Age Genre: Young Adult
Libby Garrett is addicted to Owen Jackson's hot lovin'. But the sexy, popular college basketball player doesn't appreciate all of Libby's awesomeness. He refuses to be exclusive or even admit to people that they're dating. The relationship is ruining Libby and she's the only one who can't see it.

When Libby's behavior spirals completely out of control, her best friend Avery Shaw and the rest of the Science Squad stage an intervention hoping to cure Libby of her harmful Owen addiction. They put her through her very own Twelve Step program—Owen's Anonymous—and recruit the help of a sexy, broody, hard as nails coffee man to be her official sponsor.
...
Adam Koepp has watched Libby Garrett for years. How could he not notice the sassy girl with the purple skateboard and helmet plastered with cat stickers? But in all the years he's crushed on her, Libby has failed to take notice of him. Why would she when he was just a nobody high school drop out who served her apple cider several times a week? Especially when she was hooking up with a guy like Owen Jackson—a guy with a college scholarship and more abs than Kyle Hamilton.

Adam finally gets the chance to meet Libby when his co-worker Avery Shaw recruits him to take Libby on the journey of a lifetime. With his ability to play Bad Cop and his experience with the Twelve Step program he's the perfect candidate to be Libby's sponsor. But will he be able to keep his personal feelings out of the matter and really help her the way she needs? And will Libby hate him when he forces her to take an honest look at herself?
It's not a secret that I love Kelly Oram's books. It's not a secret that I think her character are hilarious and her romances swoon worthy and her plots unique and interesting. And it's also not a secret that I think all these things about The Libby Garrett Intervention as well.

I absolutely adored Libby in The Avery Shaw Experiment, but Oram made a fantastic job making me really frustrated and upset with this character at the beginning of this story, showcasing the change Libby undergone due to her destructive relationship with Owen--Who refuses to admit there is a relationship and makes Libby doubt everything about her.

And seriously--I was so mad at her. Where is the crazy, confident, smart girl from book one? Where did she go and who is this selfish, stupid, self-centered person that replaced her?! Luckily, with the help of Coffee-Man--Err, I mean, Adam, the science squad decides to stage an intervention... and Adam is going to be mentoring Libby through it.

Adam has been in love--or in crush--with Libby Garrett for years. He couldn't care less about that weight she is so self-conscious about. All he wants is for her to notice him and a shot at proving to her how a real man will treat her. But he can't do that, because he needs to be her sponsor--and it's really important to him that she finds the old her again.

Adam is perfect. I mean, seriously, where does Oram keep finding these incredible guys? He is such a great guy, and he truly loves Libby for Libby. He's such an adorable puppy and he was forced to grow so fast I can't even deal *sniff* My little baby, you are worth ten Owens--stop putting yourself down!

Thanks to Adam, Libby regains the person she was before her relationship with Owen brought her down. He manages to make her realize what real love is, and what's really important--a stupid guy or people who have been her friends for years and truly love her?

Together they were tots adorable and way hot. Seriously, you might need to fan yourself while reading this story.

And, when have you ever heard of a story applying the 12 steps to get over an addiction to a guy? It's super unique--even if I would've liked a bit more details on those twelve steps and what each of them were, kind of like in Avery. 

If you haven't read a Kelly Oram novel yet, I really suggest you do. They are addictive!


   Nitzan

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About The Author
Kelly Oram wrote her first novel at age fifteen–a fan fiction about her favorite music group, The Backstreet Boys, for which family and friends still tease her. She's obsessed with reading, talks way too much, and loves to eat frosting by the spoonful. She lives outside of Phoenix, Arizona with her husband and four children.

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October 22, 2015

Axel by Harper Sloan [Spoilery Rant]

Axel by Harper Sloan 
Series: Corps Security #1
Source: Free kindle copy
Publication Date: July 7th 2013
Age Genre: Adult
Isabelle has learned the hard way how hard life can be when fate isn’t by your side. It can hand you dreams on silver platters, but it can snatch them right back and hand you nightmares. One thing Isabelle knew for sure fate was consistent with was taking away everything she ever loved.
For the last two years Isabelle has been slowly clearing the clouds of her past. Happiness is finally on the horizon. She has a thriving business, great friends, and her life back. All she has to do is jump over the last hurdle…her ex-husband.
When problems start causing her to fear her new life, and memories that are better left forgotten start rushing to the surface the last thing she needs is a ghost from her past to come knocking on her door.
Axel never thought he would look into the eyes of Isabelle West again, and he wasn’t sure he wanted to now. He’s carried his anger for so long he isn’t sure he can just turn it off, but when he is faced with protecting her and an unexpected desire to have her again, life gets a little more complicated.
How will Axel and Isabelle deal when all their cards are put on the table and everything they thought was true blows up in their faces?
This book makes me want to curse until I'm hoarse. This is my way of warning you guys that there is going to be a lot of those in this review. So if those bother you... please don't read on.

The thing that got me so fucking frustrated was the fucking "misunderstanding" that the author fucking refused to solve, no matter how ridiculous it got. In the core of things, you've got two characters who've been fed wrong information that caused their long separation.

Everyone around them sees their two versions don't match up so something's up. But does anyone come up to them and say "Hey, dude, she thought you were dead/Hey girl, he thought you left him?" Err, no. They just sprout some nonsense bullshit about this not being their story to tell and the two "need to talk". This crucial plot point could've been solved eons ago instead of after 70% of the novel if some of their "friends" got over themselves. 

Or if the stupid as fuck couple involve in this got over their shit. I mean, seriously, Izzy. Someone told you he was dead but lo and behold he's alive. Wouldn't you want to figure the fuck out? To talk to him and see what the hell happened because obviously someone lied to you? Instead you get it into your head that he abandoned you? And you refuse to talk about it because it seems cut and dry to you? Even when people are vaguely hinting that it's really not? Are you fucking kidding me? 

And you, Axel--what. the. fuck. First you're angry at her because after four and a half years of no communication she got married to someone else. Four and a half years. Are you off your freaking rocket? But okay, at least you demand the two of you talk--oh fuck me, you just want to talk about the husband situation. Not the whole what happened twelve years ago. Right.
If you'd just opened your fucking mouths and talked then this book wouldn't have been the nightmarish experience it was. 

Seriously, I can't handle this bullshit. Especially because the moment they finally put all that crap behind them and talked (a conversation that needed only a minute and a half for both of them to figure out they've been lied to, so why did it have to drag the entire book is beyond me!) the book got good. They got good.  I could actually enjoy and occasionally smile at the remaining 25% of the book. It's the only reason I considered maybe giving this three stars.

Even though I hate Axel's entire attitude, and can't understand how a woman who's been through what Iz has can even deal with his possessiveness and jealous-ness. There is sexy alpha-male and then there is taking that a level too high... If I had an abusive husband, I'd probably shy away from other controlling men, even if I knew deep down that they won't hurt me.

But I guess a woman like Izzy, who hasn't overcome one single issue on her own and all her problems simply go away with a man, needs that?

Speaking of which, I didn't find his dirty talk hot in any way. It felt kind of weird and too forced to me, not to mention highly inappropriate considering how Brandon used to talk to Iz. But whatever, whatever floats your boat... 

Will I read more books from this author? Maybe. Ultimately, I hated her method of milking the stupid misunderstanding dry, but I had no issue with her writing and I liked the characters. In fact, they interested me ten times more than the sex scenes, all of which I skimmed, and that's actually a good thing.

Nitzan
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October 15, 2015

No Interest in Love by Cassie Mae

No Interest in Love by Cassie Mae
Series: All About Love #2
Source: E-Arc from Netgalley
Publisher: Loveswept
Publication Date: December 22nd 2015
Age Genre: New Adult
When Jace Carver snags a minor part in his buddy’s zombie flick, he suddenly starts getting noticed all over the place. Even Hollywood megastar Carletta Ocean—known for her extensive “research” with her male co-stars—wants Jace for her new rom-com. The role could be a game-changer . . . if Jace nails the audition.
As Jace’s agent, Shaylene Kwak is all business, and isn’t about to let her favorite client blow this opportunity. Since their college years, Shay has been immune to Jace’s charm and rock-hard body. But long hours in close company have a way of wearing down even the best defenses, and when their platonic teasing turns into serious flirting, Jace and Shay are no longer able to resist what’s been right in front of them the entire time.
Shay knows Jace’s love-’em-and-leave-’em history with women. She’s not about to be just another notch in his belt. And it’s true, Jace has never wanted more than a one-night stand—until now. But at the end of the line, he’s got a choice: sleep with Carletta and seal the deal, or risk his career for a shot at true love with Shay.

For those of you who don't know, I love Cassie Mae and her stories. I love her romances. I love her characters, and the plots. So, it's really no surprise that I quite enjoyed No Interest in Love. 

The story here is quite simple - it's a road trip story, where two people who have known each other for years are now forced to be in such close proximity for such a long time that they start noticing each other's... appeal. Even if they swore they will never go there with each other. 

Telling the story is Jace, an aspiring actor who is really all about the women acting will get him. He follows the "Stinson" approach to life--Barney Stinson. And while he had a heart of gold underneath it all, I didn't like his attitude about his job. Was he serious about it? Absolutely. Did he do it from the right reasons? Nope. 

The most interesting aspect about Jace was his struggles with reading and writing, and I kind of wish we got to see more of that. It gave his character much needed vulnerability that helped ease his otherwise slight douche-ness and making him more of a lovable jerk

Shay is a strong girl known mostly for being Elmo girl. You know, from the meme? Yep. She's also Jace's manager. She is this strong girl who never shows weakness and is known for her (attempt at) poker face. 

The best part about this book is hands down seeing two people fall in love. This book really does bring across the little moments that make them attracted to one another. The small things the other person does that makes it impossible not to fall in love with them. 

That said, I didn't like this one quite as much as I did Doing It For Love... though maybe I'm being unfair, because I freakin' ADORED that one. 

Mostly because of a couple of things. 

The most prominent one was the lack of actual showbiz in this book. I love a good road-trip story, but the motivation behind this one is an audition. It's a love story between an actor and his manager for god's sake! But we get very little about showbiz. Barely any line rehearsals, with only one being meaningful. 

We get almost nothing on Shay's side of things, either. Like, the managing bit. I still don't quite understand what Shay's role is, because apparently she is not exactly Jace's manager. In general I felt like we got very little on Shay's side of things. I didn't get to know her half as well as I did Jace.

And then at the end... what happened with that uber important job? We learn nothing about it! It's like the whole subject of their careers is used as nothing more than a MacGuffin--a plot device, and therefore it's not really important what happens with it. But it shouldn't be this way. At least not to me. 

All these things bothered me. They were like little nuggets of information that I needed for the experience to be complete but didn't actually get to experience. 

However, I still enjoyed this book. And I would definitely read the next one Mae writes. 


 Nitzan

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October 8, 2015

Whispered Visions by Tammy Blackwell

Whispered Visions by Tammy Blackwell
Series: Shifters & Seers #3
Source: Kindle version
Publisher: Indie
Publication Date: September 8th 2015
Age Genre: Young Adult
Where do you go when there is nowhere left to run?

For years the Society for Human Preservation has been waging a quiet war against the Shifters & Seers of the world, and now they've taken two of the Alpha Pack's own.

With the ability to See inside a person's mind, Lizzie Anders is one of the most powerful Seers in the world, but all that power comes with the responsibility of protecting herself and others from what she can do. And now, after years of suppressing her Sight, the SHP is intent on tearing down the walls she's carefully constructed to further their cause.

Layne Hagan is the boy no one wanted. Abandoned by his mother when he was a baby and orphaned by his father in Scout's battle to become Alpha Female, he was handed off by his grandparents to live with Charlie and the rest of the Alpha Pack. He's never had a place or purpose... until now.

With no one left to rely on but each other, Lizzie and Layne must learn to put their past behind them and learn to trust each other - and their hearts - again.
   
Before I start this review, I have to tell you that it's impossible to express how sad I am that this series is over. I love this world. I love the characters. I love everything about it and NOW IT'S OVER *sob*

Whispered Visions starts off where Infinite Harmony ended, with Layne and Lizzie being kidnapped by the insane group called Society for Human Preservation. The two are imprisoned alongside a mother and her daughter and forced to work for SHP while they think of an escape plan.

I've been shipping Lizzie and Layne for a while now, and have been so excited for their story! I can't say I was disappointed, though I was definitely surprised. This book was very far from what I thought it will be.

First of all, it's hella dark. There are some really gory parts here--it's bloodier than I'm used to seeing in this world. The madness is... really scary. Specifically as it comes in the form of a young man who is willing to cut a finger off a two year old in order to drive his point home.

Oh, sorry, did I just send a chill down your spine? didn't mean to.

Aside for that, I was expecting some sweet, funny, hate-to-love type of romance.

It's not sweet and funny. Does Lizzie and Layne's sarcasm positively killed me sometimes? yep. But the romance itself is not sweet and funny at all. It's very complicated, it's very deep, and it's intense as heck. 

Which might be due to the fact this is not hate to love at all. This is pretend-hate to okay-I've-been-in-love-with-you-for-years-I'm-sorry-alright?! Layne and Lizze have been in love for ages, they've just being hiding it from one another for... reasons. 

And can we just take a moment to be mad at everyone for treating Layne the way they do??? The guy is so sweet and loyal and he is everything. Look underneath his really sarcastic cares-about-nothing facade, please!

If Lizzie can do it--so can his family! I mean, have you seen the way he is around Caro? Have you noticed the way he protects everyone around him??? STOP BULLYING LAYNE! 

Now let's talk Caroline. Has there ever been a cuter three year old? Everybody are wrapped around this little precious cinnamon roll's finger, but can you really blame them? Can you?? I'd be at her feet if I were in their shoes as well. 

I really hope we're going to see more of this world - preferably in the form of Angel's story, and maybe a couple of short stories about the futures of our favorite couples. I would LOVE to see Scout and Liam's children *wink wink*

Nitzan

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October 1, 2015

Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock

Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock
Series: Hemlock #1
Source: Kindle Version
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: May 8th 2012
Age Genre: Young Adult
MACKENZIE AND AMY WERE BEST FRIENDS.
UNTIL AMY WAS BRUTALLY MURDERED.
Since then, Mac's life has been turned upside down. She is being haunted by Amy in her dreams, and an extremist group called the Trackers has come to Mac's hometown of Hemlock to hunt down Amy's killer:
A white werewolf.
Lupine syndrome - also known as the werewolf vius - is on the rise across the country. Many of the infected try to hide their symptoms, but bloodlust is not easy to control.
Wanting desperately to put an end to her nightmares, Mac decides to investigate Amy's murder herself. She discovers secrets lurking in the shadows of Hemlock, secrets about Amy's boyfriend, Jason, her good pal Kyle, and especially her late best friend. Mac is thrown into a maelstrom of violence and betrayal that puts her life at risk.
Kathleen Peacock's thrilling novel is the first in the Hemlock trilogy, a spellbinding urban fantasy series filles with provocative questions about prejudice, trust, lies, and love.
Hemlock is one of those books that has been on my tbr for ages, alongside Unearthly, Shadow and Bone and a few others that blew up around the same time. I was always enticed by the general love my friends had for it--but the actual summary didn't really compel me to pick it up immediately.

To be honest, I'm not sure how I feel about this book. I left it feeling very confused - did I like this book?? Didn't I like this book???
I swear to god, I can't decide.

I mean, it's not a bad book. It's not a bad story. But at the same time I feel like I spent more time wishing I could just fast forward to the moment Jason's eyes are finally opened, Mac would finally clue it to what everyone but her already knows and exasperated at Kyle's righteous self torture than actually enjoying the plot.

So, basically, I kind of... wanted it to be a completely different story? A feeling that was consistent until the very end of the story, as I wished for a completely different ending as well.

Can you understand my uncertainty? I didn't dislike the book, but at the same time can I say I liked it...?

Also, I was very annoyed with the "romance". Mostly because we are told Kyle and Mac are best friends, right? They have this entire huge history that we never got to experience and their whole relationship is based on feelings that sprang from that history. And yet, I didn't feel like they knew each other so well or were such great friends or were in love for a long while or anything.

So basically - the book tells us they're in love, but I never once felt it.

Not to mention the love-triangle that you can see coming from a country away but still manages to smack you in the head with the whhhy-ness of it.

So, yes, I have complaints, but as you can see - the rating I gave this book is still pretty good. It's because that this book flies by, and I can definitely see most of you guys enjoying it to the fullest. I'm just kind of over a lot of the themes and tropes in this book.

Nitzan

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September 24, 2015

Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha #1
Source: Kindle Edition
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Publication Date: June 5th 2012
Age Genre: Young Adult
Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.
Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.
Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

Shadow and Bone is the first installment in Leigh Bardugo's Grisha Trilogy.
“I'm sorry it took me so long to see you, Alina. But I see you now.”
Look who's really really late to join the bandwagon! Me! I've been itching to read this book for a really long while, but something was holding me back. The right mood finally came upon me and I started it. 

From page one, I was in love with the writing style of this book. There is just something so... beautiful about it. I can't really put my finger on it (plus it took me so long to write this review that it's not as fresh in my head as I'd like), but I was addicted to it. 

We're already off to a good start, aren't we? Then there's Alina, the main character of the story. I loved her voice. I loved her character. I loved that she was brave yet scared. Toughed yet so weak. That she had such a good heart in a world that doesn't often appreciated it. That she was human enough to sometimes break her own heart with the actions she had to take. 

Now we have the supporting characters. All were great in my opinion, all added something--whether if to the story or the layers of the world or whatever.

But, can we just say-- I FEEL SO BETRAYED RIGHT NOW. Seriously, I did not see that twist coming. I was having fun, strolling down the plot when BAM I AM UNDER ATTACK MAYDAY MAYDAY *explosion*. 
Seriously, what? why? who thought this was okay? I don't know how to deal with this! My shipper heart is flailing around in distress. 

I DID NOT SEE THAT COMING.

Which, I guess, is what makes this book interesting. It's what makes it different than the rest of the books in the genre that work on the same vibe. It surprises you and makes you want to continue with the books so you could see where does it go--and what surprise does Bardugo has prepared for you next?

But... still. I was not prepared to hate a character that I've learned to love! 

Nitzan

September 17, 2015

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Uprooted by Naomi Novik 
N/A
Source: Gifted Hardcover
Publisher: Macmillan
Publication Date: Published May 21st 2015
Age Group: Mature YA
Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.
Her people rely on the cold, ambitious wizard, known only as the Dragon, to keep the wood's powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman must be handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as being lost to the wood.
The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows - everyone knows - that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia - all the things Agnieszka isn't - and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.
But no one can predict how or why the Dragon chooses a girl. And when he comes, it is not Kasia he will take with him.
From the author of the Temeraire series comes this hugely imaginative, engrossing and vivid fantasy novel, inspired by folk and fairy tales. It is perfect reading for fans of Robin Hobb and Trudi Canavan.
Let me tell you something - this book is huge. It's only 438 pages but the size of this gorgeous hardcover? MASSIVE. So you'll understand just how excited I was for this book that I started it without hesitation the day after I got it, and it only took me that long because I had a prior book to finish.

I wasn't even two pages in when I knew I would adore this book. I was absolutely right.

The main character and narrator is Agnieszka, and even though I'm pretty sure I've never once pronounced her name right, I knew from the second she opened her mouth that I would love her.

She is a Dragon-Born girl, which is the term for a girl born on a Dragon year - every ten years, the valley's wizard the Dragon takes one seventeen year old girl to live with him in his tower. But Agnieszka and her family aren't really worried, because the Dragon always seems to take the best girl, and Agnieszka's best friend Kasia is a the sure choice that year.

But, surprise, Nieshka is chosen and now she has to deal with being uprooted (see what I did there??) and living with a surly, neat-freak, perfectionist wizard who won't try even a little bit to make the transition bearable.  

From that point on, things get real interesting.

First of all, let me say this - the bromance (is there a female term for bromance??) between Nieshka and Kasia is lifeI was worried that Uprooted will follow in Cruel Beauty's steps with more hate than friendship, but it totally didn't. Nieshka and Kasia are real, honest to god, best friends. They're practically sisters. It was beautiful, seriously. 

Then there is the Dragon. The Dragon is not an actual Dragon and I was shipping him and Nieshka from pretty much the first time they met. They just clashed so beautifully - she with her spontaneous, outdoorsy, clumsy manner and him with his straight laced, dignified order. It made from some hilarious interactions, and you could see from the get-go that those interaction rattled both of them.

In the best way possible.

I mean, it's sort of a hate to love relationship, and it is executed perfectlyYou fall in love together with these two characters, and the best part is that neither of them need to voice their feelings to know they are there. 

Oh, and they are hot. Sometimes in an explicit sort of way--but don't worry, that content is not overboard and it's very tasteful. Novik isn't scared to go past PG-13 and it fits the mood, the story and the characters to a boot. 

Now lets talk a little about the world because it was beautiful and horrifying and magical. Novik did a wonderful job flashing out the world without info-dumping it on you, letting you learn the ins and outs through the characters and their experiences. In this world, some rare people have magic. And the biggest threat to all the kingdom's people is not the war always brewing on the horizon, it is the Wood.

Yes. When was the last time you read a book where a Wood was the main antagonist? And not just any antagonist - a manipulative, cruel, mind controlling one who will do anything in his power to devour all the land and kill everyone in it. 

What, you're scared now? You should be. 

Alongside Nieshka, Dragon and Kasia, there are many side characters, such as the other magicians, the (kind of hateful) prince, the king, and the villagers. They were all, even when they were kind of awful, charming in their own ways. Mostly because no one in this book is really evil. 

Oh, and you should know - this book doesn't pull any punches. There are deaths. From a certain point there is a death almost every page. And some of it is hella gory. But even so, it's still so damn charming.

GAh, I don't know. This book does stuff to me. 

Uprooted is everythingThe only reason it's not a full five star is that I just want more of this world and characters so damned much that I can't deal with this being the end.

  Nitzan

September 10, 2015

Heart-Shaped Hack by Tracey Gravis-Graves

Heart-Shaped Hack by Tracey Gravis-Graves
Series: Kate and Ian #1
Source: Bought Kindle
Publisher: Indie
Publication Date: August 25th 2015
Age Genre: Adult (explicit)
When Kate Watts abandoned her law career to open a food pantry in Northeast Minneapolis, she never dreamed it would be this difficult. Facing the heartbreaking prospect of turning hungry people away, she is grateful for the anonymous donations that begin appearing at the end of each month. Determined to identify and thank her secret benefactor, she launches a plan and catches Ian —a charismatic hacker with a Robin Hood complex—in the act.

Ian intrigues Kate in a way no man ever has. But after learning he’s snooped around on her personal computer, she demands retribution. Impressed with her tolerance and captivated by her spirit, he complies and begins to slowly charm his way past her defenses. Time spent with Ian is never boring, and Kate soon finds herself falling for the mysterious hacker.

But Ian has enemies and they’re growing restless. In the hacking world, exploiting a target’s weakness is paramount, and no price is too high to stop an attack. And when Kate learns exactly how much Ian has paid, she’ll discover just how strong her love is for the man who has hacked his way into her heart.
Before I start this review, I need you to understand that I find this book absolutely perfect. I started it and just could not stop. It was captivating without ever needing to sprinkle DRAMA everywhere, sweet without it ever being so much your teeth ache with it, heartwarming while not being cheesy.

It far suppressed everything I hoped it will be.

If you're looking for a strong, fearless, real main female character, look no farther than Kate, who is all of these things and more. I never failed to be amazed at this woman and her outlook on life. I sometimes felt like she was sitting right next to me. 

If you love male characters who are confident and cocky but in the most effing charming manner, main character who, despite their sure attitude, treat their women like queens and will never, ever want to hurt them, then I've got just the guy for you in Ian Smith Merrick Bradshaw. I mean, seriously, the guy is total swoon. I would fall for him.

And the romance? Well, if you like romances you believe in, romances that suck you in, romances that make your heart beat like crazy and make you wish for a similar experience... than yes, this book is for you. Because the romance does all that. Repeatedly. 

This book doesn't have much in the action department, because it doesn't need it to spice things up and consume you. There isn't much drama for the exact same reason (which I am eternally grateful for). It's fast paced but still makes you feel like the characters have known each other for years instead of weeks. It's that good. 

Ultimately, what you're experiencing in this book is the forming of love. And it's not a hard love - it's an effortless, swift, right love. It comes easily but doesn't let go even in the toughest of storms. It's... perfect, while being imperfect. 

And really, what else are you looking for in a romance? 
“So you want a nice guy, but you don’t want him to be boring.”
“Yes. Nice and not boring and not into threesomes and no cocaine. I mean, is that too much to ask?”
“No, although I feel compelled to point out that the threesome thing is pretty universal.”
“Oh for God’s sake,” she muttered.
“That doesn’t mean we’re all going to try to convince you to participate in one. It’s just that very few guys would be like, ‘Go away, extra girl,’ should one happen to climb into our bed when you’re already in it. That’s all I’m saying.”
  Nitzan