Monday, April 7, 2014

March Wrap-Up

March was nothing short of a fantastic reading month.  I had been in an epic slump since 2014 began.  I don't know if something in the Spring air(or forever summer, I live in Miami afterall) made me devour books at the rate I did.  But I can honestly say, I am never happier than when I read a great book and this month was FULL of great books.  In total I read 17 books: 3 Children's Books, 2 Novella's, 1 Adult Contemporary re-read, 8 YA books, 1 Lady Porn,  and 1 Middle Grade.
 
All ratings can be found on my Goodreads profile.
 

 
The Kissing Booth by Beth Reekles
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Destroy Me by Tahereh Mafi
Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi
Fracture Me by Tahereh Mafi
Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

 
Dream Animals: A Bedtime Story by Emily Winfield Martin
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce
The Dark by Lemony Snickett
My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Horten's Miraculous Mechanisms: Magic, Mystery and a Very Strange Adventure by Lissa Evans


Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
The Trouble With Being a Duke by Sophie Barnes
Austenland by Shannon Hale
Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberh
Adorkable by Sara Manning
Better of Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The final chapter in The Goddess Test series did not deliver



My goodreads review can be found here.
 
I really do not like to post negative reviews, I try to avoid them as much as possible.  But being that I have talked about my love for this series so many times before I felt like I needed to wrap it up in some small way.

I picked up this book mid-way through March, excited that I was finally getting around to finishing up the series.  I could tell from the moment I started that it was not going to deliver the thrills that I had anticipated.  I felt the story was predictable, the main character annoying and worst of all the death(s) in the story unnecessary. It took me 3 weeks to read and I had to force myself to open my Nook to read it.  I think the only reason I actually finished was because I told myself I would not read another book until I finished.  So I finished it. And it was just okay. And that is so dissapointing after following this series for as long as I have.

Rounded up from 2.5

 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

 
Review originally posted on Examiner
 
To be honest, I'm a bit over vampire stories.  If I'm being really honest, I am entirely over them.  I actually picked this up not knowing what the premise of the story was, but because I felt that it was high time I read a Holly Black book.  I recall several years ago when I was originally getting into The Mortal Instruments Series, her books were considered on par with Cassandra Clare's.  I made a mental note at the time to give her books a shot.  And then I never did.  The other reason I picked this book up was the cover. Simple and it manages to draw you in.
 
All that being said, I started the book and was immediately sucked into this dark world.  Vampires are typically romanticized in YA but this story painted a grim picture of what our world could be if it was overrun with blood thirsty creatures of the night.  I think my favorite bit of world building was the foreshadowing about the dangers of leaving the windows open at night.  Even if one just needed a bit of air.  An absentminded crack of the window is all it would take to change your life forever.
 
Holly Blacks, character building and writing style are wonderful and the only complaint I had on that front was that Gavriel wasn't as fleshed out as I would have liked him to be, but fot the sake of keeping a bit of mystery where he is concerned I can see why she chose to leave us a bit in the dark.  Tana, is a sympathetic main character and I found myself trying to stear her away from bad decisions with my mind.  Ms. Black really makes you feel like you are on this dark and twisted adventure with Tana and her companions. 
 
The other aspect of the story that I loved is how modern it is.  This is a story that is written for the world we live in.  A world where all races, genders and sexual orientations are represented and Holly Black made sure to give them all space. 
 
Overall, this was a great read and one that I would recommend to lovers of dark YA stories.
 
 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Fault in our Stars...an incredibly late review.



via redbubble



This review originally appeared on Examiner.com 

As an avid reader, I have often been told to read John Green. As a Young Adult reader, I have been shamed multiple times for not being a fan. I tried once, in my eyes reading 70 pages of An Abundance of Katherines, was more than enough time to decide wether or not I liked his work. I'm sure it's quite obvious that I did not, in fact, enjoy An Abundance of Katherines (AAoK). For the next few years, anytime someone would mention John Green to me I would rage at them that I really didn't get what the fuss was all about. I would explain how I not only found AAoK uninteresting but just plain boring. I would always end the conversation the way I do when I discuss authors that don't interest me, "They aren't for me."

I have never been happier to be wrong. After dragging my feet for almost a year, I sat down late this summer to read The Fault in our Stars (TFioS). I knew the premise of the book going into it, honestly, a story about a teenager fighting cancer did not seem like something I wanted to subject myself to. But for some strange reason, I decided to read it on my birthday of all days. Aside from it being a hugely busy day for me, and one that would not allow for a ton of free time, I thought that being so overwhelmed with plans would prevent me from getting overwhelmed by the emotion of the book. And I was right. Thank the lord. 

I cannot imagine how incredibly sad I would have been had I sat down to read TFioS in one sitting. The story itself is not, in my opinion, meant to be sad. The tone of the story is more hopeful than doom and gloom. Hazel and Gus are full of life and love despite the harshness of the reality they live with. And somehow, despite how sad the story actually is, it leaves you feeling optimistic and in my case raring to take on the world. I think that with TFioS, John Green did the impossible, he wrote a cancer book that isn't actually about cancer, but about the joys of living your life despite it. A book, that I thoroughly recommend to all readers, not just the YA fans. And even though I am sure it goes without saying, I'm going to anyway: I am a John Green fan. DFTBA.






Thursday, March 28, 2013

A girl who reads

No this isn't a review.  And these are not my words.  But I had to share.





You Should Date A Girl Who Reads
Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes, who has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.
Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she has found the book she wants. You see that weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a secondhand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow and worn.
She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.
Buy her another cup of coffee.
Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or if she would like to be Alice.
It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas, for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry and in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.
She has to give it a shot somehow.
Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.
Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who read understand that all things must come to end, but that you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.
Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.
If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.
You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.
You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.
Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.
Or better yet, date a girl who writes.
Rosemarie Urquico

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Clockwork Princess: An Epic Finale to a Masterful Series



Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

Review Excerpt for full review visit Examiner.com
In what is probably one of the most highly anticipated books of the year in the Young Adult genre, Cassandra Clare finally brought her spin-off series The Infernal Devices (TID) to a close. Clockwork Princess is an ending so wholly satisfying that I couldn't find one loose end that needed tying. But let's start where we should, at the beginning.
Years ago, when I began reading The Mortal Instruments (TMI), I never expected that I would still be reading a series that I considered mediocre at best. Not to mention a completely new story, spun off from the Shadownhunter/Downworlder mythos and based on the ancestors of the original heroes. As I've previously written, in the years since I read my first TMI book, I have fallen in love with the characters and the world and consider myself a true fan of Ms. Clare's work. Despite that, I picked up the first book in TID out of pure curiosity not loyalty to the author. As a fan of period books, I was curious to see how Cassandra Clare would tell a story in Victorian times.  I have long found her writing to be extremely mature and an author who doesn't cater her writing to her readers but tells the story she intended to tell without sacrificing her voice. She doesn't dumb-it down because her audience is predominantly teenagers, she writes an elegantly crafted story and is an author who expects and (I imagine) hopes, that her readers will pick up on all the nuances she intricately weaves into the characters and their long story arcs.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Jennifer Echols does it again with The One That I Want




This review originally published on Examiner.com 

It seems that so many of the Young Adult books published these days fall into one of two categories:  Fantasy or Hardcore Angst.

I fluctuate between the two categories depending on my mood.  When I am looking to escape I veer towards the Fantasy YA books and when I want to revisit my teenage years I amp up the angst.  Sometimes, I want a break from it all.  Those are the moments that I look for an author that I know is going to tell a sweet story that isn't rooted in some sort of childhood trauma or whose main character has just discovered a hidden "talent" that has manifested.

Jennifer Echols is one of my go-to authors when I'm in this mindset.  Over the years I have read quite a few of her books, some are a bit more bubble gum and cotton candy while others are the perfect blend of real teen drama and fluff.  The One That I want was the latter.

The subject matter wasn't all that heavy; girl sees boy, develops crush, best friend steps in and jealousy ensues.  But it was all too relatable.  I think most people can say they had that one friend in high school that kept you close for the simple joy of watching you fail and one upping you every chance they got.  Manipulation hidden behind a sweet smile.  Jennifer Echols exploration of the struggle one goes through while trying to do what's best for your friend, while making yourself happy in the process was spot on.

Gemma, the main character was incredibly relatable.  Having been overweight all her life and just recently shed the pounds, you could easily see why she allowed herself to be pushed around by her so called best friend Addison.  And why, when it came time to speak up about the boy she couldn't stop thinking about, she stayed quiet and suffered in silence.  Gemma's story was heartfelt and a genuinely enjoyable read.

Recommended for readers 14+.