Monthly Archives:: August 2014

Aug 28

Review * The Jewel by Amy Ewing

Reviews 1 ★★★★

I received this book for free from the publisher via BEA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review * The Jewel by Amy EwingThe Jewel by Amy Ewing
Series: The Lone City #1
Published by HarperTeen on September 2, 2014
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
Pages: 358
Format: ARC
Source: BEA
Add to: Goodreads
four-stars
The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty. But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty—because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring.

Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as #197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel’s glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.

Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence... and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess’s petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for.

What I Thought…

• The Jewel was one of the few “must haves” that I had on my list for BEA this year. Gorgeous cover. Cool premise. It sounds like something I would love.

• I absolutely LOVED the plot. It was different, creepy and disturbing all rolled up into one! Girls with certain talents are forced to be surrogates to the royal family, and when they are “accepted” they leave their families. Everything about this world completely sucks, but that’s what makes it awesome. The concept of the Royal families and the houses was well done and it was fascinating to watch things develop. The Jewel is filled with a lot of political games, some of which are very high stakes.

• I liked Violet ok. She was a bit of a brat at times, but some of that was understandable given her situation. At times she showed great moments of character, and at others she had me scratching my head, which I guess is normal teenage behavior, only she is not in a normal teenage situation.

• For as much as I loved the plot of The Jewel I disliked the romance. Insta-love doesn’t usually bother me, but it seemed extreme in this case. The romance didn’t start until 2/3 of the way into The Jewel and it took off like a rocket. I hate to say this, because you know I love my romance, but The Jewel would have been better without it. Or at least turning it into a slow burn instead.

• Despite the romance The Jewel is quite a page turner, especially once you get to the last 1/3 of the book.

• The ending killed me. Killed. Me. I know it’s a trilogy so there is going to be cliffhanger of some sort but this one was brutal! I also feel like The Jewel didn’t have it’s own story arc. The climax happened right at the end, with no conclusion about anything really. In trilogies/series I prefer for each book to have an arc that fits into the overall arc.

Overall I enjoyed the plot way more than the romance, but I have definite plans to read the next book. I have to know what happens next!

Kimberly



Aug 25

Review * Sway by Kat Spears

Reviews 1 ★★

I received this book for free from the publisher via BEA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review * Sway by Kat SpearsSway by Kat Spears
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on September 16, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source: BEA
Add to: Goodreads
two-stars
In Kat Spears’s hilarious and often poignant debut, high school senior Jesse Alderman, or "Sway," as he’s known, could sell hell to a bishop. He also specializes in getting things people want---term papers, a date with the prom queen, fake IDs. He has few close friends and he never EVER lets emotions get in the way. For Jesse, life is simply a series of business transactions.

But when Ken Foster, captain of the football team, leading candidate for homecoming king, and all-around jerk, hires Jesse to help him win the heart of the angelic Bridget Smalley, Jesse finds himself feeling all sorts of things. While following Bridget and learning the intimate details of her life, he falls helplessly in love for the very first time. He also finds himself in an accidental friendship with Bridget’s belligerent and self-pitying younger brother who has cerebral palsy. Suddenly, Jesse is visiting old folks at a nursing home in order to run into Bridget, and offering his time to help the less fortunate, all the while developing a bond with this young man who idolizes him. Could the tin man really have a heart after all?

A Cyrano de Bergerac story with a modern twist, Sway is told from Jesse’s point of view with unapologetic truth and biting humor, his observations about the world around him untempered by empathy or compassion---until Bridget’s presence in his life forces him to confront his quiet devastation over a life-changing event a year earlier and maybe, just maybe, feel something again.

What I Thought…

Sway is one of the few books I’ve read that I have seriously struggled with rating. Normally I pick a rating immediately upon finishing, and for the most part I am happy with those ratings in the future. Sway is different though and I’ve never wavered between two ratings so much.

Sway moves at a swift pace and was a compelling read in the way that I wanted, no needed, to know if Jesse could redeem himself.

Jesse is the main character in Sway and he is not an easy character to have as a narrator. He is brash, offensive and self-serving, so if those types of characters bother you, I don’t recommend you read Sway. I’ve read books with these types of characters before, and while they aren’t my favorite, I have liked them. Jesse is a bit different though as he only has one redeeming quality. I seriously couldn’t find anything to like about him except this one thing (I tried really hard to find two things). Even when he is “helping” people he’s either mean about it or uses things against them.

He used and abused people and didn’t feel bad about it and everyone treated him like he was special or idolized him (this in particular at the end of the book really pissed me off) and he didn’t deserve it. I was especially bothered by his thoughts regarding the disabled kids he met through Bridget. I have a cousin who has Down Syndrome and that could be part of the reason why I was bothered. I know that lots of people have these types of thoughts but it’s a different thing entirely when you are in their head while they are thinking them.

Jesse’s main “job” is getting things for people. Drugs, papers, girlfriends, friends, money, etc. While I think that sometimes things might have been exaggerated (like being able to get people whatever they want) for the most part it seemed reasonable. Except one thing that had to do with the school that had soooooo much wrong with it. I just can’t believe that any kid would have that much pull at a school ever.

Throughout Sway Jesse is helping douchebag Ken become super sweet Bridget’s boyfriend. He decides he likes Bridget, but recognizes that he isn’t good enough for her, (which is true) so he backs off. Then things happen. View Spoiler »

Thank you so much to Jen at Jenuine Cupcakes for chatting with me. I’m not sure I would have been able to collect my thoughts otherwise!

Overall I still don’t know. I read it. I hated Jesse, but yet there was something compelling me to keep reading.

Kimberly


Aug 22

Review * Origin by Jennfer L. Armentrout

Reviews 0 ★★★★

Review * Origin by Jennfer L. ArmentroutOrigin by Jennifer L Armentrout
Series: Lux #4
Published by Entangled Teen on August 27, 2013
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 364
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Also in this series: Obsidian, Onyx, Opposition
Add to: Goodreads
four-stars
Daemon will do anything to get Katy back.

After the successful but disastrous raid on Mount Weather, he’s facing the impossible. Katy is gone. Taken. Everything becomes about finding her. Taking out anyone who stands in his way? Done. Burning down the whole world to save her? Gladly. Exposing his alien race to the world? With pleasure.

All Katy can do is survive.

Surrounded by enemies, the only way she can come out of this is to adapt. After all, there are sides of Daedalus that don’t seem entirely crazy, but the group’s goals are frightening and the truths they speak even more disturbing. Who are the real bad guys? Daedalus? Mankind? Or the Luxen?

Together, they can face anything.

But the most dangerous foe has been there all along, and when the truths are exposed and the lies come crumbling down, which side will Daemon and Katy be standing on?

And will they even be together?

What I Thought…

• Origin is my favorite in the series so far. We’ll see what happens in Opposition but Armentrout has her work cut out to beat Origin!

• Orgin was pretty fast paced, and kept me guessing as to what would happen next. There is also more information about what’s going on in Daedalus (it’s not good) and more info about the Lux, Arum and other extraterrestrial business.

• This is really the first time that I felt a lot of alien vibes in the series. I’m not a fan of aliens, but these ones are alright I guess so this are essentially just like humans, but with powers. Which I guess is my issue with the aliens. I find it hard to believe that an alien species from a planet far, far away would look just like humans, and be able to act just like humans and all that jazz. I just don’t buy that kind of alien, however it works for me because it’s the only kind of alien I can handle.

• TRUST NO ONE. EVER.

• Seriously, you can’t trust anyone. Between the last book and this one there was so much backstabbing and deviousness, it was crazy.

• The ending killed me. There was so much that I did not expect. View Spoiler » Origin had a big reveal, which I saw coming, and then a cliffhanger of an ending!

Overall I can’t wait to read the conclusion to the Lux series, I must know what happens next!

Kimberly


Aug 20

Waiting on Wednesday * Stay With Me by J Lynn

Waiting on Wednesday 1

WoW

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine to highlight upcoming releases.

Today I’m waiting on Stay with Me by J Lynn which comes out on September 23, 2014.

Stay with MeAt 21, Calla hasn’t done a lot of things. She’s never been kissed, never seen the ocean, never gone to an amusement park. But growing up, she witnessed some things no child ever should. She still carries the physical and emotional scars of living with a strung-out mother, Mona—secrets she keeps from everyone, including her close circle of college friends.

But the safe cocoon Calla has carefully built is shattered when she discovers her mom has stolen her college money and run up a huge credit card debt in her name. Now, Calla has to go back to the small town she thought she’d left behind and clean up her mom’s mess again. Of course, when she arrives at her mother’s bar, Mona is nowhere to be found. Instead, six feet of hotness named Jackson James is pouring drinks and keeping the place humming.

Sexy and intense, Jax is in Calla’s business from the moment they meet, giving her a job and helping her search for Mona. And the way he looks at her makes it clear he wants to get horizontal . . . and maybe something more. Before Calla can let him get close, though, she’s got to deal with the pain of the past—and some very bad guys out to mess her up if she doesn’t give them her mom.

Why I’m Waiting…

I’m waiting because I loved Wait for You and Be with Me and I can’t wait to continue the series!

Kimberly


Aug 18

Review * Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Reviews 4 ★★★★★

Review * Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie PerkinsIsla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Series: Anna and the French Kiss #3
Published by Dutton on August 14, 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 339
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Also in this series: Lola and the Boy Next Door, Anna and the French Kiss
Add to: Goodreads
five-stars
From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.

Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and Étienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.

What I Thought…

• Obviously Isla was a long time coming, but it was well worth the wait. I devoured Isla in one sitting and it’s definitely my favorite of the three books.

• Isla is a quieter story, there is less outside drama (though there is some internal drama). The story focuses on Isla and Josh and pretty much nothing else, which I really liked. It’s still intense at times, especially near the end.

• Of the three girls Anna is still my favorite, but I really liked Isla. She’s pretty normal and is going through normal things and dealing with the fact that she has been in love with Josh for some time.

• Josh was the one who stole this book for me. He squeaks out Etienne by just a little bit. I loved that he drew all the time and did graphic novels (especially the two specific graphic novels). I liked they way he regarded his family (his dad is a politician) and that deep down he did know why he was doing the things he was doing, and why he didn’t want to admit it.

• Isla and Josh were also cute together.

• Page 313!!!!

• And chapter 32. This was where Josh officially overtook Etienne.

Overall Isla and the Happily Ever After was well worth the wait! I recommend Isla to all the people!

Kimberly


Aug 17

Ready… Set… It’s Bout of Books Time!

Bout of Books 10

BoB-200x200-NodateBout of Books 11 Starts Monday, August 18!!!! Learn all about it at Bout of Books. I’ll be updating my reading as the week goes on

Wrap Up

I always seem to overestimate how much time I’m actually going to be able to read during Bout of Books, so as normal I didn’t quite make my goal, but that’s ok because I had lots of fun anyway! I had some awesome conversations with people on twitter and read two AMAZING books (Silver Shadows, In Your Dreams) an ok book (Sway) and continued my seemingly never ending journey through Outlander (which I am seriously enjoying, but man is this book long!).

Time Devoted to Reading

I’m going to be doing lots of reading Sunday-Tuesday, and a fair amount on Wednesday & Saturday. Thursday and Friday I have to work (professional development… boo) so there will be less reading those days.

My Goals

To read and review as much as possible as I know that in September teaching will be consuming my life. My goal is to read:

3 BEA books (in blue)

1 NetGalley book (in green)

2 additional books

Finish Brutal Youth audio and start another one. Not sure I can finish Brutal Youth because it’s, well, pretty brutal, so I’m listening to Outlander instead.

Books to Choose From

  • Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead
  • Free to Fall by Lauren Miller
  • Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols
  • Open Road Summer by Emory Loard
  • Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt
  • Get Even by Gretchen McNeil
  • Sway by Kat Spears
  • Salt & Storm by Kendall Kuper
  • Even In Paradise by Chelsea Philpot
  • Famous in Love by Rebecca Serle
  • Not in the Script by Amy Finnegan
  • In Your Dreams by Kristan Higgins

Cumulative States

Pages Read: 1362

Minutes Listened: 560

Books Finished: 4

Updates

Monday 8/18

Pages I’ve read today: 338
Minutes I’ve listened to today: 45
Total number of books I’ve finished: 0
Books: Not in the Script by Amy Finnegan, Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead and Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (audio)

Well today was certainly a disappointment! I was distracted with some school things, which I know I should be avoiding right now so I can enjoy my last few days of summer, but I just couldn’t help myself. Goal for Tuesday: Finish Silver Shadows and start either Sway or Get Even.

Tuesday 8/19

Pages I’ve read today: 181
Minutes I’ve listened to today: 130
Total number of books I’ve finished: 1
Books: Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead (finished), Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, Sway by Kat Spears

Wednesday 8/20

Pages I’ve read today: 263
Minutes I’ve listened to today: 30
Total number of books I’ve finished: 2
Books: Not in the Script by Amy Finnegan (finished), Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, Sway by Kat Spears

Thursday 8/21

Pages I’ve read today: 100
Minutes I’ve listened to today: 15
Total number of books I’ve finished: 3
Books: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, Sway by Kat Spears (finished)

Friday 8/22

Pages I’ve read today:131
Minutes I’ve listened to today: 15
Total number of books I’ve finished: 3
Books: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, In Your Dreams by Kristan Higgins

Saturday 8/23

Pages I’ve read today: 169
Minutes I’ve listened to today: 85
Total number of books I’ve finished: 3
Books: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, In Your Dreams by Kristan Higgins

Sunday 8/24

Pages I’ve read today: 180
Minutes I’ve listened to today: 240
Total number of books I’ve finished: 4
Books: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, In Your Dreams by Kristan Higgins

Kimberly


Aug 15

Review * Onyx by Jennifer L Aremntrout

Reviews 0 ★★★★

Review * Onyx by Jennifer L AremntroutOnyx by Jennifer L Armentrout
Series: Lux #2
Published by Entangled Teen on August 14, 2012
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 366
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Also in this series: Obsidian, Origin, Opposition
Add to: Goodreads
four-stars
Being connected to Daemon Black sucks…

Thanks to his alien mojo, Daemon’s determined to prove what he feels for me is more than a product of our bizarro connection. So I’ve sworn him off, even though he’s running more hot than cold these days. But we’ve got bigger problems.

Something worse than the Arum has come to town…

The Department of Defense are here. If they ever find out what Daemon can do and that we're linked, I’m a goner. So is he. And there's this new boy in school who’s got a secret of his own. He knows what’s happened to me and he can help, but to do so, I have to lie to Daemon and stay away from him. Like that's possible. Against all common sense, I'm falling for Daemon. Hard.

But then everything changes…

I’ve seen someone who shouldn’t be alive. And I have to tell Daemon, even though I know he’s never going to stop searching until he gets the truth. What happened to his brother? Who betrayed him? And what does the DOD want from them—from me?

No one is who they seem. And not everyone will survive the lies…

Warning: There will be spoilers for the first book in the series, Obsidian.

What I Thought…

• It’s quite possible the romantic tension between Katy and Daemon will kill me. There is so much and I just want to yell at them to get over it already.

• Katy is going through lots of weird stuff in Onyx. After Daemon healed her in Obsidian she is having some very uncomfortable after effects.

• There is a new student at school, Blake. I was really worried that this was going to turn into a love triangle, but even though it kind of almost was a love triangle, it really wasn’t. Every time she was with Blake she was thinking about Daemon.

• Daemon does quite a bit of changing in Onyx. He’s still a bit of jerk, but since he’s decided to stop fighting his attraction to Katy he’s being much nicer. He goes through a couple of not so nice phases, but you kind of understand why.

• TRUST NO ONE!!!!

• Seriously, Armentrout does not allow you to fully trust anyone. Things can change on a dime.

• We see a lot more of the other Luxen siblings, Adam, Andrew and Ash. Ash was impossible in Obsidian, but I’ve come around to her a bit in Onyx. I like that the Luxen themselves are like a family and will protect one another the best they can.

• My heart broke a little bit at the end. It’s just not fair for authors to do that! View Spoiler »

• I still feel that aliens that look like humans is a bit of a cop out, but I suppose that’s the only way that you could get this whole human/alien thing to work. I guess the reason why these alien books work so well for me is because I don’t really feel like I’m reading about aliens, which is fine with me as I don’t really like them. (I also really like that we’re just chillin on planet earth).

Overall Onyx is a great second book in the series and I can’t wait to read the rest!

Kimberly


Aug 14

Why Writing Isn’t For Me

Random Thoughts on Books and Blogging 0

RTB

Random Thoughts on Books and Blogging is my opportunity to discuss my bookish and blogging thoughts, whenever I feel like!

I’ve been asked more than once what I write or if I’m planning on doing NaNoWriMo and other similar questions. I’ve been asked these questions by bloggers and non bloggers, readers and non readers. Some people are even surprised when I tell them that I don’t write (but you read, so you must like to write! You have a blog, that’s writing!). A lot of my blogger friends do write, and I think that’s totally awesome. Whether they are published or not, they are doing something amazing and I hope they continue doing it. I also have blogger friends that are like me, who just want to be readers, which is also awesome. Here is why I will never be a writer:

1. I don’t want to.

Obviously this is the biggest and most important reason why I’ll never be a writer. The thought of sitting down and doing all that writing – ugh! There are so many other things I would rather be doing like laundry or cleaning the bathroom or washing dishes.  Then beyond the writing there are all the other things, and you know what? I’m kind of  lazy and I know I wouldn’t want to do any of those other things.

2. I have nothing to say.

I am creatively handicapped.  I have no ideas for a story. Anything I would think of has already been done before, and much better than I ever could. The things that writers come up with are awesome, I just have no imagination for it. People talk about having a burning need to write or tell a story and I think that’s awesome, but that’s not me.

3. I don’t proofread. ever.

When I am done writing, I am done writing. I don’t proofread my blog posts (you may have noticed). I sometimes skim the post when it shows up in my reader, but mostly I don’t. I’ve never actually proofread a single paper or essay I’ve ever written. Ever. Back in the day when I first starting writing papers (4th grade? 5th grade?) my mom used to type them for me so she would do the proofreading. Once I learned how to type and started typing my own papers when I was finished I would print them and she would read them and correct them for me. I did this in middle school, high school, college and even in the class I took last semester. When I’m writing I will make adjustments as I go but that’s about it. I could totally be wrong about this, but as a writer I assume that you would have to read what you’ve written quite a bit, and I don’t really want to do that.

4. I wouldn’t know how to say it.

Sometimes it takes me a long time to write a review for a book because even though I have thoughts on the book, I just don’t know how to say them. I will stare at a blank post for a long while or I will compulsively check Facebook or Twitter or GoodReads just to waste time. I am not good with words (this post seriously took forever, and it’s not even that big).

Are you a writer and a reader, or only a reader? What are your reasons for writing or not writing?

 

Kimberly


Aug 12

Top Ten Tuesday * Books I’m Not Sure I Want to Read

Top Ten Tuesday 7

TTT

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the awesome people at The Broke and Bookish, who love lists as much as I do!

Top Ten Books I’m not sure I want to read.

If I Stay1. If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Everyone seems to absolutely love If I Stay. On the surface it totally seems like a book I would like, but I’ve also heard it makes people cry and I’m not really a fan of books that make me cry or books that are “realistic fiction.”


Outlander2. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

I know people love Outlander. And there is a TV show coming out which kind of intruigues me, but it’s historical fiction and they don’t always work for me, plus Outlander is a billion pages long.


Sloppy Firsts3. Sloppy Firsts

I absolutely know I would love this one. It’s contemporary and from what I hear awesome characters. But the pressure to like this one is HUGE and I just don’t know if I’m up to the pressure.


Jellico Road4. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Jellicoe Road suffers the same fate as If I Stay. I just don’t know if I’m up to reading it.


Time Traveler5. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

I bought this when it was becoming a movie, but over time I became uninterested in reading it.


Speechless16. Speechless by Hannah Harrington

I’ve heard so many great things about Speechless but I just don’t know if I can handle it.


Scarlet17. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

I enjoyed Cinder but as more time passes I just don’t feel a need to continue the series.


Belladonna8. Belladonna by Fiona Paul

I absolutely LOVED Venom, but for as much good things that I heard about Venom things have been quite and the other two books in the series, and that worries me a bit, what if it’s just not that good?


Coldest Girl in Coldtown9. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

I loved the Curseworker Series but this one seems maybe a little too dark for me, so I keep putting it off.


Sense and Sensibility10. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

I didn’t like Pride and Prejudice so I feel like I won’t like Sense and Sensibility, despite how much people love it. Part of me wants to give it a try, but the other part is screaming to stay away, far, far away.


Kimberly