Sep 27, 2013

Wild Cards (Wild Cards, #1), by Simone Elkeles

Release Date: October 1st, 2013
Age Group: Young Adult
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher through NetGalley
Overall: 5 Monkeys
Interest: Romance, Simone Elkeles
Categories: Contemporary, Sports, Romance, Stand-Alone, Family Issues
Goodreads Amazon / Simone Elkeles's Website
Read in September 2013


After getting kicked out of boarding school, bad boy Derek Fitzpatrick has no choice but to live with his ditzy stepmother while his military dad is deployed. Things quickly go from bad to worse when he finds out she plans to move them back to her childhood home in Illinois. Derek’s counting the days before he can be on his own, and the last thing he needs is to get involved with someone else’s family drama.
Ashtyn Parker knows one thing for certain--people you care about leave without a backward glance. A football scholarship would finally give her the chance to leave. So she pours everything into winning a state championship, until her boyfriend and star quarterback betrays them all by joining their rival team. Ashtyn needs a new game plan, but it requires trusting Derek—someone she barely knows, someone born to break the rules. Is she willing to put her heart on the line to try and win it all?
My Thoughts:

Simone has done it again! This woman can really make you fall for her characters! There are so many things I loved about this book, I'll just list them for you:

1. A strong female MC. Ashtyn is such a good and independent (American) football player that her teammates choose her over her boyfriend to be the team's captain. When she first meets Derek, she brandishes a pitchfork at him to protect herself. She can take care of herself and she lets everyone know it.

2. The bad boy with a soft heart. Admit it. You love them. I love them. We all do. Derek has the Elkeles stamp all over him: hard exterior, but really loving heart. I just wanted to hug him all the time.

3. A really cool set of secondary characters. I mean, how great are Ashtyn's boy friends? Her relationship with them is amazing. She's one of them, but she can be a girly girl, too. And I just LOVED them whenever they stepped up to protect her. Those are real friends.

4. A greatly built story that has actual meaning, as opposed to just being there for the sake of giving the characters an environment to meet and fall in love. Derek has lost his mother, his father is overseas with the Navy and his stepmother is a 25-year-old girl with a little son and a baby on the way. Ashtyn's mum is MIA, her father barely gives her the time of day (but for ACTUAL reasons, not just to be out of her way!) and her sister's coming back home after seven years of having no contact with her. These are the conditions in which Derek and Ashtyn meet, and they shape up their story in a beautiful, beautiful way.

5. Sports in a Contemporary book! I don't understand squat about American football, I just think about it like I would rugby, but Simone really made me like the sport! I usually avoid Contemps with sports, but since this was an Elkeles book, there was just no way I was going to miss reading it.

Yes, your heart will twinge a little in pain, but trust me, it'll live. This is just a really lovely book meant to be read when you want to feel a little bit of loving.

Pre-order the book now through the links listed above.
Happy reading,

Sep 18, 2013

WoW #24: Wings, by Elizabeth Richards & Panic, by Lauren Oliver

Wings (Black City, #3), by Elizabeth Richards
Expected publication date: 2014
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons BYR
Visit Elizabeth Richards's site

There's not even a summary yet, but I loved Black City, I'll be reading Phoenix shortly, and just... that cover. So shiny and pretty. I need this book to be out now. 

Panic, by Lauren Oliver
Expected publication date: March 14th, 2014
Publisher: HarperCollins

Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.
Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.
Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn't know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.
For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

A new Lauren Oliver (one of my top five all-time favourite authors) dystopia? Sign me up! I've been reading reviews from the lucky few who've read ARCs and they all say, yes, that blurb screams TGH, but it is nothing like it. So I have my hopes really really up for this one. 

Sep 16, 2013

Black City (Black City, #1), by Elizabeth Richards

Release Date: November 13th, 2012
Age Group: Young Adult
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons BYR
Source: Bought
Overall: 5 Monkeys
Interest: Dystopia, Paranormal, Series
Categories: Dystopia, Paranormal, Vampires, Romance
Read in August 2013

A dark and tender post-apocalyptic love story set in the aftermath of a bloody war.
In a city where humans and Darklings are now separated by a high wall and tensions between the two races still simmer after a terrible war, sixteen-year-olds Ash Fisher, a half-blood Darkling, and Natalie Buchanan, a human and the daughter of the Emissary, meet and do the unthinkable—they fall in love. Bonded by a mysterious connection that causes Ash’s long-dormant heart to beat, Ash and Natalie first deny and then struggle to fight their forbidden feelings for each other, knowing if they’re caught, they’ll be executed—but their feelings are too strong.
When Ash and Natalie then find themselves at the center of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to pull the humans and Darklings back into war, they must make hard choices that could result in both their deaths.
My Opinion:

I'm so glad I paid attention to the many reviews for Black City! If you think like I do, that there are so, so many new dystopian books coming out and you're getting a bit tired of them, and why don't authors just write something other than dystopias, thank think again about reading Black City

This is a book that can be qualified as Dystopia/Paranormal (much like the Juliette Chronicles by Tahereh Mafi), a genre on the rise. 

Black City is told from the two alternating POV's of Natalie and Ash (it's got to be at least the fourth book in a row I read with multiple POV's). Like any other dystopia, it's got its over-domineering government and the growing resistance, but what makes it so unique are the characteristics of both sides.

Natalie is the youngest daughter of the city's Emissary, something much like a mayor. She is human, and she's been brought up to believe that Darklings are bad creatures. Ash is a Darkling stuck on the human side of the town. He's what they call a twin-blood, the son of a Darkling mother and a human father. 
They meet under some very stressing circumstances, but through the book they manage to make it. Kinda.

We're told from the start that Natalie's got a scar along her chest, and it's this simple detail what will help Richards give the story a really great turn and closure. I won't say more about it, but that it was very well thought out.

This is a dark book, and I mean dark. The human government uses its power (and here I couldn't help but compare its Purian Rose to TGH's President Snow, they're so similar) to slowly wipe out the Darkling population. There are some pretty gruesome scenes, but it just makes the book that much better.

I just have one complaint: Somewhere to the third quarter of the book we're introduced to a new character, Evangeline. And she's a pretty important character. So much so, that it's her intervention what manages to twist the future of our characters in a significant way. I just wish we could have known about her sooner, or in a different way. Her appearance just felt too out of the blue to me.

There's a big secret surrounding Natalie's family; I loved learning it and can't wait to see how it influences the next books! Ash's secret is pretty big too, and it definitely helps make his story really interesting.

Black City's secondary characters enjoy the spotlight a lot too, so kudos to Richards for making intriguing secondary characters that readers will remember.

The book's political plot is very nicely built. Natalie will learn a lot, being the Emissary's daughter, and she'll have her own opinion made out by the end of the book. Beetle, Ash's best friend, has an important role in the Humans for Unity resistance. Even Beetle's aunt, Roach, is a character with a little of backstory.

All in all, a great read. For its 374 pages, I read it in two sittings. It was that great.
Happy reading,

Sep 13, 2013

If you were looking for the Draco Trilogy by Cassandra Claire...

...I've updated my review post, here, and added new links for easy download.

I think I'll be re-reading these soon.

Sep 10, 2013

I have high hopes for the TFIOS film

This video was just uploaded to the vlogbrothers YT channel, and being a TFIOS fan, I watched it immediately. I was not a very big fan of Shailene Woodley playing Hazel, mainly because I had this image in my mind of how Hazel should look and she didn't fit into it. 

But looking at this now, at her and Ansel (who's playing Gus) being together and looking like their respective characters, I can say that I think this will be a good film. Not like many of the films coming out now, based on YA books. Like Beautiful Creatures, which I haven't watched but I've been told that it's a very free adaptation of the book. Or TMI: City of Bones. And many other YA books that are already optioned for film. 

I think many people are with me on this: we become so overprotective of our favourite books, that we just want to burn cities when their films aren't as good. It happened to me with Eragon and The Lightning Thief (thankfully it looks like Sea of Monsters will be better). Good books turned into bad films.

Also, being a film student, I'm learning that there are many kinds of adaptations. But still, being a bookworm comes first, and we all want to see the film look just like what we pictured in our minds. 

So, I've started to change my mind about the TFIOS film. It's got a nice cast, and I'm hoping, a great adapted script.  

The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman [AB]

Release Date: June 18th, 2013
Age Group: Adult (All Ages, really)
Publisher: HarperAudio
Narrated by Neil Gaiman
Source: Bought
Overall: 5 Monkeys
Interest: Fantasy, Neil Gaiman
Categories: Fantasy, Child's POV
Goodreads Amazon  - Neil Gaiman's Website
Read in July 2013


It began for our narrator forty years ago when the family lodger stole their car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed. Dark creatures from beyond the world are on the loose, and it will take everything our narrator has just to stay alive: there is primal horror here, and menace unleashed - within his family and from the forces that have gathered to destroy it. His only defense is three women, on a farm at the end of the lane. The youngest of them claims that her duckpond is ocean. The oldest can remember the Big Bang.

My Opinion:

I had never read a Gaiman book. I had no idea what all the fuzz was about. I have friends who love him, and they were all really excited to see Ocean hit the stores. So, when it came out, I had to have a copy for myself (thank God for online shopping, because it hasn't made it to Argentina yet). 

I started listening to it one day while cleaning, early in the morning. Neil's voice instantly caught me. It is such a deep and soothing voice, I would have listened to it even if the book was about advanced chemistry. I had finished listening to the entire thing by that same night. 

Neil's voice brings his narrator to life, a middle aged man coming back home for a funeral. His home town brings back memories he thought he'd lost, and suddenly he finds himself walking towards a familiar place, from when he used to live there. 

From then on, he remembers his childhood and we see it all through a kid's perspective. Everything that surrounds this little kid, his family and the friendships he makes, it's all told beautifully. 

I remember smiling a lot while listening to the ab. This seven(?)-year-old who sees everything clearly, who loves his new friends and who has no trouble believing in magic. I want to know more kids like him.

You really don't need me to tell you more about its plot (only that it involves a lot of magic, dark forces trying to rule over a piece of land that is not theirs, and a pair of kids trying to fight it off). You just need to know that this is a book that will rock you to the core, make you grin like a fool a lot, and just leave you feeling good about life. 

It is a masterpiece, and I'm so glad it was my first Gaiman novel. I'm currently reading American Gods and it is great, too. Diferent, but great. Ocean is already in my All-Time Favourites list. 

Sep 9, 2013

Linger (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #2), by Maggie Stiefvater

Release Date: July 13th, 2010
Age Group: Young Adult
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Source: Bought
Overall: 3 Monkeys
Interest: Series, Werewolves
Categories: Werewolves, Paranormal, Romance
Goodreads - Amazon - Maggie Stiefvater's Website
Read in August 2013

the longing.
Once Grace and Sam have found each other, they know they must fight to stay together. For Sam, this means a reckoning with his werewolf past. For Grace, it means facing a future that is less and less certain.

the loss.
Into their world comes a new wolf named Cole, whose past is full of hurt and danger. He is wrestling with his own demons, embracing the life of a wolf while denying the ties of being human.

the linger.
For Grace, Sam, and Cole, life is a constant struggle between two forces -- wolf and human -- with love bearing its two sides as well. It is harrowing and euphoric, freeing and entrapping, enticing and alarming. As their world falls apart, love is what lingers. But will it be enough?
My Opinion:

I read Shiver a few years ago, I don't know what took me so long to continue reading this series. 

While I loved Shiver, I only liked Linger. I was expecting something different, something with a little more action thrown into the story. 

Linger is purely a character driven book. It's all about what's happening to Grace, with a bit of a side story starring Isabelle and a new wolf, Cole. To be honest, I enjoyed Cole's and Isabelle's interactions more than Grace's and Sam's. They were more spicy, more dramatic. Grace and Sam's story fell a little flat to me in this book. 

Throughout it, Grace becomes seriously ill, and it's not until the last few chapters that we're told what's happening. And it's in those same chapters that a solution to her problem comes along. I just wish Maggie would've developed her illness differently, and also how it affected everyone around her. 

I also think that Isabelle's dad, Tom, could be turned into a nice villain, which is what this story is lacking. (Not a villain in a purely evil sense, just an antagonist strong enough to carry some drama into the mix.)

Linger is a very sweet book, full of romantic moments, but it just didn't cut it for me, action wise. I have Forever waiting on my shelf; I'll see if I like it soon. 

Sep 8, 2013

I'm coming back!

I miss the book blogging world terribly. I miss finding new reads, and WoW's, and chatting with bookworms like I used to, and Armchair BEA, you name it!

So I'm coming back into this wonderful world.

See ya soon!
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