Monday, December 30, 2013

End of Year Book Survey [2013]

So I waited until the last minute to participate in this End of Year Book Survey (hosted by Jamie at the Perpetual Page Turner) because I knew I'd be finishing up some awesome books at the last minute and wanted to be able to include them. So... let's talk books, people!


1. Best Book You Read In 2013? (If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2013 release vs. backlist)

Contemporary YA – Definitely Eleanor & Park and Fangirl. I can't choose between the two. I don't care if that's cheating. You can't make me! Honorable mention to Anna and the French Kiss, by the way.

Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic – Requiem by Lauren Oliver

Historical Fiction – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Paranormal - Dark Witch by Nora Roberts. Yes, its paranormal romance, but it was my favorite.

Science Fiction - Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Fantasy - Cinder by Marissa Meyer. Would you consider Cinder to be fantasy? Its kinda sci-fi too, but I'll go with it.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

The Alchemyst: Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott. I eyed this book up for months at the book store, finally got it home and it left a bad taste in my mouth.

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2013?

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. I literally only picked it up because the hype was getting inside my head and I was so surprisingly in love with it that I stayed up all night finishing it.

4. Book you read in 2013 that you recommended to people most in 2013?

Probably Cinder. I know this sounds blasphemous but I don't recommend books that often (other than through my reviews) because most of my social circle doesn't crazy-read like I do. But I got my cousin to read it, mentioned it to a few people, and bought it for a friend for Christmas, so I think that counts!

5. Best series you discovered in 2013?

Across the Universe by Beth Revis. The only series that I read all the books back to back absolutely could not put down. Loved it!

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2013?

RAINBOW ROWELL. Absolutely. Hands down. She is amazing and a new favorite of mine.

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. I decided to read this book out of mere boredom and the fact that my sister had already downloaded it on my nook. It was not a book I would normally have picked up, but I enjoyed it so much and plan on reading his other books.

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2013?

Well, a book I absolutely couldn't put down was Eleanor & Park, but I wouldn't exactly call it thrilling. A thrilling read I couldn't put down was A Million Suns by Beth Revis.

9. Book You Read In 2013 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Cinder and Scarlet for sure since I want to re-read them before Cress comes out.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2013?

Hmmm... good question. I'm definitely going to go with...

and that's just the dust jacket. The actual book itself is gorgeous also, inside and out.

11. Most memorable character in 2013?

I'm going to go with Cath from Fangirl on this one. I have never understood and felt so "close" to a character before. She is me. She is all of us. If you haven't read this book, read it, and I guarantee you'll completely understand what I'm getting at.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2013?

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It may not have been a favorite of mine, but I can't deny how amazing the writing was and how hauntingly beautiful it was in its entirety.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2013? 

Gee, the biggest impact? I really don't know how to even answer that one... I suppose I'll go with The Book Thief because it invoked the strongest, darkest emotions in me.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2013 to finally read?

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares. The entire series, really. I think I read book 4 back when the 2nd movie came out, but it meant nothing to me then as it does now. Such a great series, and though I'm severely traumatized by the final book, I can't believe I waited so long to get to it.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2013?

Eek, that's a tough one. I don't usually remember quotes unless they come from a Jodi Picoult novel because her books are so chock full of them. Can I skip this one? I think I'll skip it. Thanks. :)

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?

Well, the shortest book that I actually counted toward my reading goal in 2013 was As They Slip Away by Beth Revis, at 48 pages, which was a novella to the Across the Universe series.

The longest book I've read in 2013 was Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix at 870 pages (a re-read). Honorable mention to A Game of Thrones at 801 pages.

17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!

Will it get old if I keep saying Eleanor & Park? The final moments of the book that absolutely killed me. I gave the book to my sister immediately so we could then discuss it.

18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2013 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).

Cath & Levi in Fangirl. Also, Cath and Reagan. They are fun together. But I can't not mention Eleanor and Park. 

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2013 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Strangely enough, most of my books this year were by authors I'd only started to read in 2013. So I'm going to go with Dark Witch by Nora Roberts. I read a couple of hers this year and this was the best one.

20. Best Book You Read In 2013 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:

I only read one book based solely on recommendation and that was The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Sadly, however, it was not a favorite of mine. As it stands, since it is the only one to make the list in this question, I guess it stays.

21. Genre You Read The Most From in 2013?

Fantasy - no surprise. Honorable mentions to Dystopian and YA Contemporary.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2013?

Park from Eleanor and Park. He's 16, and I want him to be my boyfriend. Judge me, go ahead.

23. Best 2013 debut you read?

Once again, most of the books I've read this year were debuts or sequels to debuts. So... I think I'll go with Across the Universe by Beth Revis.

24. Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2013?

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It was nothing if not detailed, I can say that for sure.

25. Book That Was The Most Fun To Read in 2013?

This is probably cheating because its a re-read, but the Harry Potter series that I spent the better part of the year re-reading was the most fun I had overall.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2013?

Book that made me cry the most? The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.
Books that made me cry (in order of buckets of tears shed): Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares, Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell, Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, Requiem by Lauren Oliver, A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, Harry Potter's 4-7.

27. Book You Read in 2013 That You Think Got Overlooked This Year Or When It Came Out?

The Pentrals by Crystal Mack. Great debut book that didn't get the attention it deserved.


1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2013?

This one goes to my best blogging bud: Amber from Paradise of Pages!

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2013?

I don't know if I can objectively choose my favorite review, but I can tell you the most popular one: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini... which is a bit of a surprise now that I realized that considering I'm quite immersed in the YA blogosphere... interesting...

3. Best discussion you had on your blog?

I haven't had very many, but the best, based on stats was one of my very first Harry Potter discussions of the first book, The Sorcerer's Stone.

4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else’s blog?

We see tons of thought provoking reviews and discussions throughout the year. I don't think it would be fair to try and name one considering I won't remember ones I read months ago and loved, so I'm sorry, but I have no answer :/

5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

I haven't been to any awesome bookish events but I did participate in Armchair BEA which was pretty fun and sparked my interest in going to the real BEA. It will happen!

6. Best moment of book blogging/your book life in 2013?

Um.... it will probably sound inconsequential to you big book bloggers out there who've been doing this for a while, but I think the best moment was when I was approved for some netgalleys and ARCs that I really wanted... that was pretty awesome.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

Once again, oddly enough, it was that review of A Thousand Splendid Suns... weird...

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

All of my reviews... except of course for that pesky A Thousand Splendid Suns review, cause that one blew everything else out of the water.

9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?


10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

Aha! Yes, I was hoping you would ask. I started this year out with a goal of 40 books for the entire year and I made it to 59! Also, I had a goal to re-read the Harry Potter series and I pulled it off at the last moment!!


1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2013 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2014?

House of Hades by Rick Riordan. Bought it the day it came out, but I have been holding off due to plans to begin re-reading the entire (two) series next week. But I will get to it!

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2014 (non-debut)?

Cress by Marissa Meyer. I simply cannot wait!!

3. 2014 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

I don't really keep up on who's book is a debut or not. Is that weird? I generally only care about if fellow bloggers I trust have read it and recommend it, regardless of if the author is brand new or not.

4. Series Ending You Are Most Anticipating in 2014?

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2014?

Well I have a whole slew of goals for 2014 but I won't bore you with the details. The most important one in my opinion is my goal to read 60 books in 2014. I had a goal to read 40 last year and I killed it by 19, so I figured adding one more can't hurt. I think I can do it!

Well, guys... hasn't this year been something? We've had not-so-awesome things happen (My fiance tore his Achilles tendon and was out of work for 4 months, my mother and brother both broke their arms...), there were some awesome things that happened (I got engaged, I started my career as a paralegal, my fiance began his career as a correctional officer). We met new people, tried new things, and here we are on the cusp of a new year, a new beginning, and a chance to do it all over again! I hope you all make 2014 worth while, because I know I sure will!

Happy New Year to all of you!!


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Review: Girls in Pants by Ann Brashares

ISBN: 9780553375930
Source: Purchased
Series: Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants #3
Release Date: January 1, 2005
Find it on Goodreads
See my reviews on other books in this series

The Pants first came to us at the perfect moment. That is, when we were splitting up for the first time. It was two summers ago when they first worked their magic, and last summer when they shook up our lives once again. You see, we don’t wear the Pants year-round. We let them rest so they are extra powerful when summer comes. (There was the time this spring when Carmen wore them to her mom’s wedding, but that was a special case.)
Now we’re facing our last summer together. In September we go to college. And it’s not like one of those TV shows where all of us magically turn up at the same college. We’re going to four different colleges in four different cities (but all within four hours of one another—that was our one rule). We’re headed off to start our real lives.

Tomorrow night at Gilda’s we’ll launch the Pants on their third summer voyage. Tomorrow begins the time of our lives. It’s when we’ll need our Pants the most.

I enjoyed this book the most out of the entire series - maybe because I remember a time when I was leaving highschool on the brink of adulthood, wondering where the hell our lives were going to go.. I mean I didn't have four amazing "sisters" and a pair of magical pants, but don't you think we could all relate a little here?

I particularly enjoyed the character development Brashares gives us in this book especially and how well done these stories are. By the third installment, we've grown pretty attached to the girls, the pants and their adventures and it was a great feeling to "watch" them grow up.

I'll keep this short and sweet because, really, by book three, what else can I really say that I haven't already said? The writing is really good, the character development is evident and real. I have really grown to love this series and after I finished this one I picked up books four and five in quick succession because I just had to know what happened.

     RATING: ★★★★ 1/2

This was my favorite book in the series because the girls were slightly more grown up and showed the most development in this book throughout the series so far. I would recommend this book and series to anyone who enjoys young adult contemporary novels. Really, its just awesome!

Have any of you read this book/series? What did you think? Did you fall in love quite like I did? Love hearing from you guys!


Friday, December 27, 2013

Feature and Follow Friday: Look What Santa Brought Me!

HAPPY FRIDAY - AND MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! Did Santa visit you all this Wednesday? He sure did visit me!

I received:

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell from my sister

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Frostbite by Richelle Mead, and
Legend by Marie Lu all from my wonderful fiance.

My parents gave me a giftcard with which I proceeded to order (no pictures cause they haven't arrived yet):

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling
Quidditch Through the Ages by J.K. Rowling, and
Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling

I also got some books from my dear blogging bud Amber from Paradise of Pages, but I haven't opened them yet because my package to her is late (dang post office!), so I'm waiting.

What did Santa bring for you all! I can't wait to see!


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Review: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

ISBN: 9781250012579
Source: Purchased
Series: No, Stand-Alone
Release: April 12, 2012
Find it on Goodreads

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.

I read this book weeks ago and I still don't think I can form coherent thoughts about it. I am still one giant ball of wrecked emotion. How can I explain any of what I felt?

Well.... I can tell you that Rainbow Rowell's writing style is fantastic. I can tell you that her character development was beyond anything in this genre that I've ever read. I can tell you that she made me fall in love with the characters, she made me swoon over a 16-year-old boy (um, can we say ew in real life?) and want to be a friend to Eleanor when she had so few. The romance was never cheesy, I never wanted to roll my eyes or not be immersed in this book. I laughed so hard at times and cried so hard at times. I am big fat ball of WRECK over this book.

The small things that annoyed me were that every five sentences there was another 1980s movie or song reference, and yes, I was born in 1989, but I had no idea about any of these movies or songs. I didn't like feeling like I needed to do research in order to understand an young adult romance novel. So I hope I didn't miss anything important with those references as they were all lost on me.

Either way, I was all over the place emotionally with this book. I couldn't stop crying when it was over. I immediately gave it to my sister who finished it in two days and was also a wreck over it. This may very well have been the best book I have read this year. Thank you, Rainbow Rowell. Thank. You.

     RATING: ★★★★★

Isn't it amazing how when you hate a book, you can go on for hours and hours about it? But when you love a book, you struggle to find the words to explain why? That's how I feel with E&P. I don't feel as if the words I have are sufficient to explain how much I adored this book. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. That is all I can say.

Have any of you read this book? Did you absolutely adore it as much as I did? I can't wait to read Fangirl (which I got for Christmas - woohoo!) and continue my love affair with Rainbow Rowell's writing. I can't wait to hear from you all on this one!


Monday, December 23, 2013

Review: Witchstruck by Victoria Lamb

ISBN: 9780373210978
Source: NetGalley
Format: E-Book
Series: Tudor Witch Trilogy #1
Release Date: July 5, 2012
*Disclaimer* I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Meg Lytton has always known she is different—that she bears a dark and powerful gift. But in 1554 England, in service at Woodstock Palace to the banished Tudor princess Elizabeth, it has never been more dangerous to practise witchcraft. Meg knows she must guard her secret carefully from the many suspicious eyes watching over the princess and her companions. One wrong move could mean her life, and the life of Elizabeth, rightful heir to the English throne.
With witchfinder Marcus Dent determined to have Meg's hand in marriage, and Meg's own family conspiring against the English queen, there isn't a single person Meg can trust. Certainly not the enigmatic young Spanish priest Alejandro de Castillo, despite her undeniable feelings. But when all the world turns against her, Meg must open her heart to a dangerous choice.

When I started this book, I thought it was pretty good. The writing wasn't bad, the story seemed interesting enough - overall, it seemed promising. Right off the bat I liked the fact that the story was slightly darker and "older YA" than I expected which was a pleasant surprise. Unfortunately, I regretfully report that there weren't too many more pleasant surprises in this one.

There was some insta-love.. okay, maybe insta-like, and sometimes that can work for a book, but it didn't work for this one. I felt no chemistry between the main characters, which made it even harder to believe.

There wasn't much plot movement right in the beginning, which I was okay with because I expected a historical fantasy novel to need some set up. Then there came a point where there still wasn't any plot movement and I couldn't figure out why. The plot, when it did move, was all over the place. It felt like a bunch of random plot points thrown together with no real segue and it was choppy and poorly executed. Some of the events that took place earlier in the book almost seemed to be forgotten after they happened and never really developed later on in the book.

Around the 80% mark, there was a plot resolution and I though to myself, 'okay, it wasn't great, but it was resolved in a way I can say was satisfying, and maybe I'll even read the next one.' Then I realized I still had 20% to go, and there was that much more plot (non)movement to trudge through. Frankly, the book should have ended with the denouement and Lamb should not have tried to add any more to the book, in my opinion. Actually, the last 20% of the book would have been an okay start to the next book. Wait.. strike that. This actually would've been a somewhat better book if it had been a stand-alone. Don't get me wrong, I'm a serial series-ist, but not everything has to be a series people! 

I didn't like the characters except for Alejandro who.. again.. the whole insta-like/love thing, so I just couldn't love him. Basically no character development, basically no world building in the sense of getting a feel for the magical world within the "real" one. The plot holes in this regard were just too much to bypass. Maybe these would be things I could easily overlook if I wasn't so bored with the story before the halfway mark.

What I'm getting at, I guess, is that this was not the book for me.

     RATING: ★★ 1/2

I am a big fan of historical fiction and obviously a huge fan a fantasy and I had hoped for something a little more intriguing and put together with some world building, too. I didn't get those things. The writing was pretty good and the basic premise was interesting, I just wish it had been executed better. When I finished the book, I was debating on whether I'd finish the series or not, but as I write this review I realize that it really is just not for me  and I won't be picking up the next one (even if the UK covers are gorgeous!).

Have any of you read this one yet? What did you think? Agree or disagree? Let me know!


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Review: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

ISBN: 9780439358071
Source: Purchased

Series: Harry Potter #5
Release Date: June 21, 2003
Find it on Goodreads
See my reviews of other books in this series


Harry Potter is due to start his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. His best friends Ron and Hermione have been very secretive all summer and he is desperate to get back to school and find out what has been going on. However, what Harry discovers is far more devastating than he could ever have expected...
Suspense, secrets and thrilling action from the pen of J.K. Rowling ensure an electrifying adventure that is impossible to put down.

I either say this or think this every time I review one of the books in this series - how can it even be reviewed? I'll keep it short and sweet I suppose, since really... they can't. Instead, I'll tell you about how the first time I read this book, I could barely get through it. This time, I couldn't put it down. Yes, it is long. Yes, Umbridge is the evilest of evil and insanely frustrating. Yes, Harry is a whiny 15-year-old boy all the time, and Ron and Hermione won't stop bickering. But... well you know all the reasons it is amazing, don't you?

Being the longest book in the series, it is so amazingly in depth and even if the characters can be annoying at times, it reveals so much about them, about the world, about the entire series plot as a whole. Its only the second time I've actually read this particular one (last re-read I stopped in the middle of 4), and I definitely discovered new things that hint at what is to come in books 6 and 7. Its fun to relive it all and it is absolutely enchanting... even if you do want to kick Umbridge in the face a few hundred times.

     RATING: ★★★★ 1/2

I always, always recommend this series to my friends and strangers alike. Once upon a time I'd scrunch my nose at the mention of book 5 and say... 'well... its not my favorite one..." but I definitely think it is one of my favorites in the series. I hope you all have read this one and if you haven't... what are you waiting for!?


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday - Awesome (New-to-Me) Authors

Happy Tuesday! I'm spending this light week catching up on all my blogging (cause I took a good two weeks off...yikes!) and that includes talking to all of you about our Top Tens today. This week's topic is:


8. R.L. Bartram - a self published author that I recently had the opportunity to review his book, Dance the Moon Down, and.. I loved it! I love his style and I know I'll be reading his next book when he publishes it!

7. Khaled Hosseini - I read A Thousand Splendid Suns this year and was absolutely captivated. I fully intend to read all of his other works.

6. Rae Carson - I didn't absolutely adore her Fire and Thorns series, but I did enjoy it a lot and Carson has something special that has the possibility of making me love her writing. I guess we will see on her next series!

5. Crystal Mack - Author of The Pentrals. I loved this book and have had an opportunity to interact with her a little through Twitter and snail mail. She's an awesome person and a great author. Can't wait for the next in the series to be released!

4. Marissa Meyer - Need I explain? Cinder. Scarlet. CRESS... which I haven't been blessed enough to get my hands on yet :( Love Meyer and her writing is amazing. This series is amazing. AMAZING.

3. Stephanie Perkins - I absolutely loved Anna and the French Kiss and loved her sequel, Lola and the Boy Next Door. I can't wait for Isla to be released. I love Stephanie Perkins!! There. I said it.

2. Beth Revis - Across the Universe was hands down one of my favorite series this year. I love her writing style and I am dyyinnggg for her to release something else. Please, I beg of you Beth Revis, release somethinggg.

1. RAINBOW ROWELL - hands down my favorite author of the year. I've only read Eleanor and Park, but as Jamie of The Perpetual Page Turner said... sometimes you have that FEELING. I cannot wait to read Fangirl!

Who are your favorite new-to-you authors this year? Do we have any in common? Can't wait to hear from you!


Monday, December 16, 2013

Review: The Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter

ISBN: 9780373210671
Source: Purchased
Series: The Goddess Test #3
Release Date: February 26, 2013
Find it on Goodreads
See my review of other books in this series


During nine months of captivity, Kate Winters has survived a jealous goddess, a vengeful Titan and a pregnancy she never asked for. Now the Queen of the Gods wants her unborn child, and Kate can't stop her--until Cronus offers a deal.
In exchange for her loyalty and devotion, the King of the Titans will spare humanity and let Kate keep her child. Yet even if Kate agrees, he'll destroy Henry, her mother and the rest of the council. And if she refuses, Cronus will tear the world apart until every last god and mortal is dead.
With the fate of everyone she loves resting on her shoulders, Kate must do the impossible: find a way to defeat the most powerful being in existence, even if it costs her everything.
Even if it costs her eternity.

I read this book shortly after reading Carter's first in her newest series, Pawn. I guess I'll just come right out with it - I didn't love this book either. When I read the first book in the Goddess Test series, I enjoyed it very much, but I think I was enjoying being immersed in another Greek mythology novel, and didn't look to deep into the rest of the story. When I read the second book, Goddess Interrupted, I couldn't find the love I had for the first book in the second one. I wondered idly if this was a case of middle book syndrome, a filler book, and that the third one would be more like the first. Well... it was not.

The plot in The Goddess Inheritance was poorly executed, and now I can see that the same goes for Pawn and the other two books in this particular series. It seems to me that Carter's strong suit is developing relationships in her novels and coming up with promising ideas for the plot, but she doesn't really follow through. There were some major plot holes, and (just like in the other books I mentioned) part of the way through, I started to become confused and wondered if I was missing something in the story altogether, because I couldn't figure out what the heck was going on. In some cases, this issue was resolved. In others, I just barreled forward and decided I didn't care enough about the story to try to figure out what I apparently misunderstood.

I disliked Kate a lot in this final installment. Don't get me wrong, she was whiny and weepy for much of the series, but this one... I just couldn't stand it.The only saving grace was that I actually liked Henry a lot in this one. If you have skimmed my past reviews in this series, you will see that there was not much there for me in the way of Henry and that I particularly disliked the way his dialogue was presented. I still hated that aspect, but Henry was a much stronger character this time around in my opinion... and almost a little swoon worthy.

Something else that bothered me... and this may sound a little ridiculous... but there is a baby in this book, and the baby is only a few days old through most of it from what I recall. Carter constantly wrote things describing the baby as reaching for someone or something or smiling or having some sort of emotion. I have been around a lot of babies in my life. The ones that just escaped their mother's womb yesterday generally do not reach for things during say, week one - at least not on purpose. It just annoyed me. I don't care how immortal this baby is.. it is NOT reaching for anyone!!

When I first finished the book, I was somewhat pleased with the way it ended... or maybe I was just pleased that it ended. But after some further thought, I realized that it all happened way too easily, just like in some of her other books. The ending was a bit of a cop out in a situation where more action could have been used (Carter has a problem with writing action scenes, too).

All in all, this was not a favorite series of mine and I don't really see myself recommending it to anyone who really values my opinion because.. well... I'd feel like a fool. I am in desperate need to read Percy Jackson right now to get the bad Greek taste out of my mouth and have some real adventure in my life.

     RATING: ★★ 1/2

For a girl who loves and is obsessed with Greek mythology, this one was a bit of a disappointment to me. I didn't expect anything to be as on point and amazing as PJ, but I guess I'd hoped for a bit more. I think it was a little too juvenile for my tastes without really meaning to be juvenile (hence all the sex). The writing was a bit too simple and the plot poorly executed, so all around, I am just not a fan.

Have any of you read this series in its entirety? What did you think of it as compared to how I feel? I'd love to hear why you all love it or don't love it!


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday - Winter TBR

Ahh..its good to be back, if only for a little while. My holidays are hectic and I've realized that I apparently don't have much time for blogging while Christmas shopping :) But I do have time to participate in TTT this week, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is:


I think I've mentioned before that I have a reading schedule planned out from now until the end of time, though sometimes I don't follow it exactly as I've mapped it out, but these are the next ten books I plan on reading this winter:

1. Forever in Blue by Ann Brashares (currently reading)

2. Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee (netgalley)

3. Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares

4. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

5. The Summer I Found You by Jolene Perry (netgalley)

6. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

7. Frostbite by Richelle Mead

8. Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (re-read)

9. Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan (re-read)

10. Divergent by Veronica Roth (re-read)

Have you read any of these before? Some of them are re-reads for me, but I've got a couple of first timers up there. What did you think of the ones you have read and are you planning on reading any that you haven't?

Whats on your Winter TBR?



Friday, December 6, 2013

Discussion - Holiday Blogging Breaks

Boy, its been a quiet couple of weeks here at the blog. This is the first thing I've posted all week, and I kind of fell of the face of the earth around Tuesday or Wednesday of last week with it being Thanksgiving and all. Of course I'm not organized enough to have scheduled posts all ready to go - I'm a 'fly by the seat of your pants' kinda girl, myself.

Do any of you work retail or a job that gets much busier during the holidays? I work three different jobs, as a matter of fact, and one of them is a retail shoe sales job. I know - shoes... during the holidays? Doesn't seem like we'd get busy, but apparently a lot of people like to get shoes for Christmas. I work in a mall, actually, so as of this weekend, we start opening earlier and staying open later. Imagine working in the mall until 11:30 at night when almost no one is shopping - UGH!

Thankfully our extended hours only last a few weeks and then we go right back to normal. But to add to my crazy schedule these next few weeks, my beloved husband-to-be has a new job, and is away for training for the four weeks (we are at the end of week two today). You would think living alone for a month would mean I'd have more time to myself, but this, my friends, is not true. When I do find myself with a spare moment at home that I would normally use to pick up a book, I spend that time FaceTime-ing with Sean, because I'm a big baby and god forbid we spend more than a day apart or else I have a meltdown. -_-

Not only have I not been blogging much, but I've barely been able to read. I went a whole two days without picking up a book! I know! That's insane! I can't handle that kind of separation from my books! Oddly enough, it makes me feel a little low to go without reading for so long... as if two days is a lifetime, right?

How does your blogging schedule get during the holidays? Do you find you have more time, or do you feel overloaded like me? Do you keep schedule posts stocked up in case you don't have time to blog for a few weeks?

Do you get all sorts of sad and depressed if you don't have time to pick up a book for a couple of days, or do you and your books spend happy and comfortable time apart? Am I the only crazy one out there (somehow I dont think thats possible)?

Let me know how you guys make out during the holidays! Oh, and Happy Hanukkah (even though it ended yesterday) and Merry Christmas!Maybe Happy Kwanzaa... well... just... HAPPY HOLIDAYS! :)


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thankful Thursday - Happy Thanksgiving!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE! I hope everyone is at home (or at least not at work) on this holiday and really taking some time to be thankful for what they have. What are you thankful for?

I'm thankful for:

My Fiance: He's been through a whole lot this year, and though we went through it all together, I'm really grateful that we got through it all to begin with, and also for how far he's come and where he's gotten today. As for today, he unfortunately can't be with the family for Thanksgiving, but I'm thankful for modern technology, and we will be taking advantage of FaceTime later today. :) I love you, pookie! <3

My Jobs: I have three of them, and in a world where many struggle to just find one, I'm thankful that I've got them even if sometimes they make me wants to bash my head against the wall. I'm also very thankful for the friends I've made at these jobs that have become like a family. You guys are the best!

Books: Haven't you ever just been glad that, whatever else is going on in your life, there are books to make you forget about it, even for a little while? Aren't you sometimes glad that you can read, especially with all the people in the world who cant and don't  have the opportunity to learn? Hug your books today - they deserve it.

My Family: Another set of people who in equal parts keep you sane and make you insane - but how could I ever live without them. I don't think I need to elaborate on that one.

So, on this very special holiday, what are you giving thanks for?


Monday, November 25, 2013

Review: Finding Home by Lauren McKellar

ISBN: 9780857990914
Source: Netgalley/Publisher
Format: eARC
Series: No, Stand-Alone
Release Date: October 1, 2013
Find it on Goodreads
*Disclaimer* I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

When Amy’s mum dies, the last thing she expects is to be kicked off her dad’s music tour all the way to her Aunt Lou in a depressing hole of a seaside town. But it’s okay — Amy learned how to cope with the best, and soon finds a hard-drinking, party-loving crowd to help ease the pain.

The only solace is her music class, but even there she can’t seem to keep it together, sabotaging her grade and her one chance at a meaningful relationship. It takes a hard truth from her only friend before Amy realises that she has to come to terms with her past, before she destroys her future.

For those of you who know my reading tastes, you know I have a very hard time getting into contemporary reads. I can dig romance (because I'm a sap), but regular old contemporary novels are usually not for me - with the exception of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, which I'm enjoying very much. I didn't think I would like this one very much, but I was interested in the description and was able to get a review copy through Netgalley, so I thought I'd give it a shot.

I didn't necessarily love this book, but I enjoyed it for being something out of my comfort zone. It was a pretty dark novel - Amy was falling into alcoholism after her mother's death several months before. There was some sex, which usually I am okay with in YA novels because I like books that can portray true young adult relationships, but the descriptions took it a little far for me. Trust me, I've read wayyyy worse (e.g., Fifty Shades), but I wouldn't exactly be giving this one over to a young teen, say 13 or 14.

I liked Amy a lot (except for when she was being boy-obsessed, ugh) and I think watching her downward spiral then eventual rise above her circumstances was fascinating and inspiring. I also enjoyed Nick though he didn't get a lot of time, considering how obsessed she was with another boy throughout the better half of the book. Unfortunately, I didn't really like any of the other characters. Amy's best friend was a snot, her other "friends" were not very nice to her, her aunt and dad were barely even in the book. The book was extremely short, and had it been lengthened, it would've been nice to have a little more development in the other characters. Don't get me wrong, I like that the characters had their imperfections and the novel was a darker one on the YA spectrum, but I didn't like that some of the bad decisions the characters made were never acknowledged, rectified, apologized for... they were sucky people and everyone was just okay with it.

RATING:  1/2

I enjoyed reading Finding Home, getting a taste for a darker YA novel and watching Amy overcome some very huge, very real obstacles teens face today. I wish the supporting character development and writing had been a little better but overall a pretty good contemporary read.

Have any of you read this one yet? What did you think?


Friday, November 22, 2013

Feature and Follow Friday Tag

Happy Friday.. Aahh, still coming off my high of seeing Catching Fire last night. It was amazing in case you were wondering.

Well this week's Feature and Follow is a rather simple one:

Q: You Are It! We are playing #FF tag this week. Comment on as many blogs as you can, even if they aren’t participating in #FF. Just say Happy #FF! At the end of your comment. Keep a running total if you want and update your post with it. The bigger the number the more impressed we will be!

So lets play tag, you guys! See you around!! :)

Tagged : 27 bloggers
(updated 11/22 11:35 a.m. EST)


Catching Fire! - The Movie

How many of you went to see Catching Fire last night?! I went last night to the 10 p.m. showing with my sister who is an equal fan of the series, and a friend who had stopped reading mid-Catching Fire and I had to convince to come see the movie because she'd lost interest.

(If you have not read Catching Fire, or seen the movie, please note that this post has spoilers. If you want to know more about Catching Fire, see my spoiler-free book review here)

To give you an idea on how we felt about it, my sister and I spent the entire time covering our faces and whimpering because we knew what horrible thing was coming next (i.e., speech in District 11, Quarter Quell announcement, Cinna, Mags...). My friend sat through it all silently and occasionally curled up and whimpered also. At the end, my sister and I immediately made plans to go back on Saturday and see it again. My friend didn't say much until we got out of the theater and she exclaimed "I'm so impressed!" She went on to say that this movie was so much better than the first, she can't believe how good it was, and that she wants to come back with us on Saturday to see it again. WE. LOVED. IT.

I saw some tweets immediately after about it being good despite the changes. I say, who cares about the changes, it was amazing! They did leave some things out and change the way some things happen, most notably:

     There are no escapees hiding in the woods trying to get to the fabled District 13, so Katniss has no idea of District 13 until the very end.

     Gale gets whipped not for selling game but for attacking a Peacekeeper.

     Katniss doesnt get whipped in the face, just punched.

     There are a ton of scenes with President Snow and Plutarch Heavensbee that don't actually happen in the books, but for some reason I actually like them. Especially the ones with Snow and his granddaughter... good set up for the next two movies, especially.

There were many other little changes, and probably some big ones I didn't care enough about to remember. I think the changes made were good for the movie adaptation and I absolutely loved it. The action was so well done, so exciting to watch. All of the emotions that leave us so bereft in the books come to life and do it to you all over again in the movie. By the time we left, I was so emotionally drained.. I just wanted to curl up in my bed for a few days. I will be seeing it several more times over the next few weeks, you'd better believe it!

So, please, please, please tell me - have you gone to see this movie? If not, are you going some time soon? I need to discuss how amazing it was!


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Review: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

ISBN: 9780439023498
Source: Purchased
Series: The Hunger Games #2
Page Count: 391 pages

Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. After all, she has returned to her family and her longtime friend, Gale. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol - a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.
Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest she's afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she's not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol's cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can't prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying.
I always thought I  liked Catching Fire better than The Hunger Games. Now I remember why! The Hunger Games was a shock to my system the first time I read it, the first (and only, in my opinion) of its kind. After the elation the reader feels when Peeta and Katniss make it out of the arena, you can only wonder what the author can do to to keep us interested (and pray she won't find a new way to break our hearts... which she does!).

Collins uses the emotional high we're still riding on to propel us through the aftermath of Katniss and Peeta's victory. For those of you living under a rock, I'll keep this entirely spoiler free, but there is 10000% more emotion in this book than the last, and thats saying a lot considering how high strung I was reading Hunger Games the first time.

I still do find the writing to be a little on the simple side, but with everything going on, I can't be mad about it. I'm glad I didn't have to decipher hidden meanings and philosophical standpoints, because all I cared about at this point was Katniss, Peeta, Gale, Haymitch... oh and Finnick <3.. etc.

I felt more and more of Katniss and Peeta's relationship that I seem to have missed (or turned a blind eye to) the last time. I love it, and even though I think it rightfully takes a back seat to the action, it was almost perfect. I say almost because I didn't like the fact that Katniss kinda loses a little of her identity for a short while in this book. She's always flip flopping between who she should be making all of her decisions for, Peeta, Gale, Peeta, Gale.. In book 1, the decisions Katniss made were for her family and herself, and when it was necessary and logical, Peeta. I didn't like that she couldn't decide who she loved while still staying true to herself. On the other hand, I suppose being in the area truly did break her and she was no longer the same person before she left, so I guess I can forgive that.


Ah well, enough pondering the inner working of Katniss's mind. How many of you are going to see the movie this weekend? Any of you going today!? I am, with a few co-workers and my sister, and I'm beyond excited! I am obsessed with midnight showings, except they are releasing the movie earlier today and we are going to the 10:00 p.m. showing. I'm so pumped! I'll be posting a book-to-movie review also, probably tomorrow or Saturday. If any of you have done any posts in anticipation for the movie, leave me a link so I can come visit!


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Harry Potter Read-Along/Discussion [20]

RECAP - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - Chapters 23-29

Harry is convinced he is being possessed by the Dark Lord until Ginny points out that she has been possessed by the Dark Lord and she doesn't particularly think Harry is being possessed. That just about snaps Harry out of his sulking and things are looking up, but then Snape informs Harry that the Headmaster
wishes for Harry to take private lessons with Snape - Occulmency lessons - to learn to shut his mind to the probing of Voldemort.

The horrible Occlumency lessons have left Harry exhausted and so mentally weak that he dreams of  the Department of Mysteries almost every night. However, once again, even with the craziness all around him, Harry finally asks Cho out to spend Valentine's Day with him in Hogsmeade and she gladly says yes. The mass breakout of Death Eater's from Azkaban does put a damper on things though. It doesn't help either that Hermione has asked Harry to meet her halfway through his date with Cho, and Cho does not take that very well. It seems she thinks there is something else going on between Hermione and Harry, and doesn't quite give Harry a chance to explain before she storms out of their date, crying.

Thankfully Harry's meeting with Hermione quite takes his mind off of that. She's brought him to meet Rita Skeeter who interviews Harry and publishes an entirely truthful account of what really happened the night Voldemort returned - not that anyone would believe something printed in the Quibbler... or would they?Things start to look up at Hogwarts when a few of Harry's acquaintances begin treating him a little better as if they might believe him, but of course Umbridge bans all students from reading the Quibbler.

To add to her list of atrocities, Umbridge sacks Professor Trelawney, and Dumbledore hires Firenze the Centaur as the new divination teacher and lets Trelawney stay on as a guest at Hogwarts. Things don't seem to be able to get any worse, but then somehow, Umbridge finds out about the D.A. Meetings! Harry is brought in to be questioned by Umbridge and Cornelius Fudge and finds out that Cho's friend Marietta snitched on them. Harry pretends he knows nothing and Dumbledore tells Umbridge and Fudge that the whole thing was his idea and he has plotted to overthrow Fudge. Before he can be arrested though, Dumbledore knocks everyone out, disappears, and Umbridge is crowned the new Headmistress of Hogwarts to everyone's dismay. Things only get worse, if that's even possible, with Umbridge naming Malfoy and a bunch of his Slytherin friends as the Inquisitorial Squad that do her bidding. On top of that, Harry accidentally intrudes on a memory of Snape's of Harry's dad and his friends bullying Snape back in the day, and Snape ends all future Occlumency lessons with Harry.

As the students of Hogwarts have about had enough, Fred and George decide to go all out in terrorizing Umbridge, set off fireworks and other tricks they've invented and leave Hogwarts behind to open up Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, leaving Umbridge to deal with the aftermath of their pranks.


Here we are with Cho once again, and boy am I glad she she's done and over with. After that fiasco on their Valentine's Day date, yikes! I don't know who would want to date Cho. Little snot. But I won't get into that again considering I spent a fair amount of time bitching about Cho anyways.

I wanted mainly, today, to see who could help me clarify something on Legilimency and Occulmency. Maybe I should just look it up because there are enough wiki-pages with tons of Hogwarts info. In the book, Snape has to say (or think) the spell "Legilimens", cast it on Harry, then proceed to look through his thoughts. Seems straightforward enough except that the characters make it seem as though Voldemort can basically read minds using legilimency, that he can tell when people are lying. Does he cast the spell too? Is he so powerful that he doesnt have to? He is described as a gifted Legilimens, but I just wish I knew more about this, how Voldemort uses this 'gift' of his. Anyone else have any better ideas than I do?

Oh and that little witch (no pun intended) Marietta Edgecombe who snitches on the D.A.... if she didn't get what she deserved with that permanent acne advertisement on her face, I'd say I'd like to smack her myself. What's worse is that Cho even defends Marietta, saying her mother works for the ministry and thought she was doing the right thing. That's all fine and good, but when they all realize Voldemort has actually returned, Marietta is going to be sorry she ruined her face for a bit of tattling!

...well anyways, on another note, after having skipped a week of my Harry Potter discussions, I realize that I am dealing with a bit of a slump as far as reading and posting goes, and these HP posts take a lot out of me. I am not going to end them altogether, no, but I am going to make them less frequent. Instead of every week, I'll be doing every other week. I know I'll still see you guys around.

Talk to you all soon!


Monday, November 18, 2013

Review: Dark Witch by Nora Roberts

ISBN: 9780425259856
Source: Purchased
Series: The Cousins O'Dwyer, #1
Release Date: October 29, 2013
Page Count: 342 pages
Find it on Goodreads

With indifferent parents, Iona Sheehan grew up craving devotion and acceptance. From her maternal grandmother, she learned where to find both: a land of lush forests, dazzling lakes, and centuries-old legends.
County Mayo, to be exact. Where her ancestors’ blood and magic have flowed through generations—and where her destiny awaits.
Iona arrives in Ireland with nothing but her Nan’s directions, an unfailingly optimistic attitude, and an innate talent with horses. Not far from the luxurious castle where she is spending a week, she finds her cousins, Branna and Connor O’Dwyer. And since family is family, they invite her into their home and their lives.
When Iona lands a job at the local stables, she meets the owner, Boyle McGrath. Cowboy, pirate, wild tribal horsemen, he’s three of her biggest fantasy weaknesses all in one big, bold package.
Iona realizes that here she can make a home for herself—and live her life as she wants, even if that means falling head over heels for Boyle. But nothing is as it seems. An ancient evil has wound its way around Iona’s family tree and must be defeated. Family and friends will fight with each other and for each other to keep the promise of hope—and love—alive…

I think we can all agree that Nora Roberts has a very... predictable storytelling style. Her trilogies always feature three friends, or brothers, or sisters, or in this case, cousins... There's always the different personalities, one bubbly, one caring and sensitive, one broody... its always the same set up with just a different plot put in behind it.

But for some reason, I've always loved Nora Roberts, not in spite of, but because of her predictability. Yes, sometimes things can get old, but reading a Roberts book (trilogies especially) makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. The relationships she develops within the story makes you feel like you're sitting down with a few good friends - in other words, she draws you in.

I was kind of annoyed by the fact that the Ireland natives in the story sounded like they were talking in circles. Instead of simple yes, no, maybe, etc., It took an entire ridiculous sounding dialogue for them to get their points across. By the end of the book, whenever it wasn't Iona, the American, talking, I wanted to roll my eyes a bit.

However, regardless of the redundancy and the cheesy dialogue, her novels, as always, are masterfully put together. Nora Roberts is the queen of descriptive passages in modern writing, and I admire her for that. I can always picture a scene perfectly, right down to the little bee buzzing near a flower, and I love that.

In skimming through some other reviews, I noticed a comment about how Boyle, the romantic interest in this one, was a harder male character than Roberts has written in a long time, and the relationship lacked a little chemistry. I agree 100%. Boyle didn't have many soft spots and I remember some situations where he'd say something and I'd think, 'gee, I'm glad I'm not dating that guy,' or 'wow, Sean would never say that to me.' I mean, men aren't perfect, but usually Roberts gives her token rough male character a little flexibility.

I really don't think I read Nora Roberts for a romance fix anymore, because her books are more about the relationships and dynamic among the entire group than one couple. Also, I love a good, sensible, strong female character. I admire Roberts for always, always giving us heroines we can look up to. Maybe Iona was a little too sensible for me, cause I know I'm nowhere near that sensible, but I love that the women are always kick-ass chicks.


All in all, no matter how predictable her novels are getting, Nora Roberts never fails to capture me with her amazing characters, their development and relationships, and there's always an interesting back story with surprising twists and turns along the way. For romance fans, for Nora fans, this is one that you should definitely read!

Have any of you read this yet? What did you think? Let me know!


Friday, November 15, 2013

Feature and Follow Friday - Book to Movie Adaptations

This week's Feature and Follow (hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read (just almost met the President!)) topic is:

Q: Are there any book to movie adaptations where you think the movie is (almost) better than the book?
YES! Well maybe not better than the book. I don't think I could ever go that far, but there are a couple that come pretty damn close:

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - we all know the Harry Potter movies change a lot of the intricate details which can be super annoying, but this movie is the only one I think I enjoyed more than the book because it gets all the issues and emotions across without taking 800+ pages to do so. I recently read OotP and though I loved it as I do all Harry Potter books, I wouldn't have minded it being maybe 100 pages shorter?

The Time Traveler's Wife - one of my favorite books of all time. I cried for like a week after I read that book... then I took my mom, sister and cousin to see the movie... Lets just say at least we were able to laugh after we made fools of ourselves sobbing like small children in public. (omg I literally might cry just looking at some of the movie poster.. I'm pathetic)

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones - definitely not one that it better than the book, but I enjoyed it so much I wanted to see it again, and I think it brought a lot of the action to life when I was struggling to connect with Clare's writing.

oh and how about
The Vampire Diaries - I know this is a show, but as far as adaptations go, I love the show 103876827 times more than the book. I couldn't even finish the first book, but I am obsessed with the show and the spin-off show, The Originals.

How about you? Any movies you think are better than the book? Or like me, almost better? Cant wait to hear from ya!


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Review: Pawn by Aimee Carter

ISBN: 9780373210558
Source: Netgalley
Series: The Blackcoat Rebellion #1
Release Date: November 26, 2013
Page Count: 352 Pages
Find it on Goodreads
*Disclaimer* I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

For Kitty Doe, it seems like an easy choice. She can either spend her life as a III in misery, looked down upon by the higher ranks and forced to leave the people she loves, or she can become a VII and join the most powerful family in the country.
If she says yes, Kitty will be Masked - surgically transformed into Lila Hart, the Prime Minister's niece, who died under mysterious circumstances. As a member of the Hart family, she will be famous. She will be adored. And for the first time, she will matter.
There's only one catch. She must also stop the rebellion that Lila secretly fostered, the same one that got her killed, and one Kitty believes in. Faced with threats, conspiracies and a life that's not her own, she must decide which path to choose and learn how to become more than a pawn in a twisted game she's only beginning to understand.

Have any of you read Carter's Goddess Test series? I've read the first two and an e-novella and am currently reading the last one in the series. I wasn't a huge fan of the series, though I did enjoy it enough to finish it, but I've come to realize that writing adaptations of Greek myths is a tough one and its hard to judge an author on something like that. With that being said, I only found some similarities between The Goddess Test series and and Pawn, and I think Carter's writing was much stronger in Pawn.

I love the premise for this series - a society based on an IQ test of sorts. It's an idea I had toyed with in the past, though not to this extreme. In the world Carter creates, people are given the life they "earned", and hey, if they are average or below average in intelligence, then they work crap jobs, aren't allowed to buy certain luxuries such as oranges (crazy, right?!) and only are allowed one child. Talk about population control.

I liked Kitty well enough as the heroine, though I think she was a little too focused on her boyfriend Benjy, considering every decision she makes in the book comes with the prerequisite "how will this affect Benjy" inner monologue. I also liked that Carter made Kitty unable to read... probably dyslexic from what I can tell. Kitty was a smart, self-sufficient, caring, and kind of bad-ass heroine who was not perfect. She couldn't read, but she still managed to score a III (out of VI) on her aptitude test, which may sound horrible to her, but at least she wasnt sent Elsewhere. I don't even want to get into Elsewhere, which I found to be a a lot creepy.

This novel was very character- and relationship-centered, as there wasn't a ton of plot movement, though there was some. However, Kitty did spend most of her time in the Somerset mansion (just like Kate does in The Goddess Test) and that kind of keeps the plot stagnant.

As far as world-building goes, I think there was a good amount of it right at the start of the book, then we see some information interspersed throughout the book, but with such an promising world to work with, I wish there had been more.

Its hard for me to say if I feel more than just... *shrug*... about this book, because everything was kind of so-so on the Amanda-ratings scale. The world building, when it was there, was good and fresh and unique. The characters, when they did develop, it was interesting and they were strong, but then they kind of went... flat. Plot... moved along well enough, but there was only so much action before Kitty found herself sitting around somewhere again. Not to mention Carter skimming over some parts of the plot that I felt she definitely could've gone into more detail with, like the speeches Lila gave.

Also, and though the dialogue itself never came off as awkward or unrealistic, there were times when I felt myself saying "huh?". I felt as though I had missed something important in the dialogue or plot movement and found myself confused about what was going on a couple of times.

I do have to say though, by the end of the book I was gasping and slapping my forehead in surprise at the twists the story took and I think Carter did a good enough job setting up for what has the potential to be a very good series.

RATING:  1/2

I enjoyed this well enough and thanks to a couple of good plot twists and a world with a ton of potential, I think I'll be coming back to read the next one when it is released, probably some time next year.

Have any of you read this book? If, so what did you think? If not, will you be picking up a copy when it is released on November 26? I'd love to hear from you!