Review: Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

Title: Daughter of Smoke & Bone
Author: Laini Taylor
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Angels

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

Synopsis (via Goodread)

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky. In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low. And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”; she speaks many languages–not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When one of the strangers–beautiful, haunted Akiva–fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

My Review:

I’m scared even saying this but I hated this book. Every blogger i follow and love has given it more than stellar reviews, some even went and boldly said it is their best debut of 2011. But…. it’s not for me. I tried enjoying it, and getting into this world  of angels and chimaeras but I just couldn’t bring myself to care enough to get invested.

When I read the beginning i was very confused, the names, the settings, all are foreign to me. I usually read books set in atleast an english speaking country but i got used to it, and to the weird names. I’m going to be totally honest here and say that i did not appreciate all the details written for everything in the book. It made me sort of detached from the characters. I was also confused, VERY confused. What are chimaeras, brimstone? who is Karou and what’s the deal with the teeth? i know ive said before i like mysteries but this just frustrated me. How was I supposed to continue reading a story I did not get AT ALL? But after 100 pages i started enjoying it, really enjoying it. Bits and pieces of the puzzle came together and i was happy, i can just mark this as a slow starting kind of book so everything was good.

Then the flashback. The 60 page flashback that basically ended this book for me. I am NOT a fan of flashbacks, especially if the story could live without it (and believe me this could) but 60 pages? happening exactly after a critical point of the story? I didn’t need to know the detailed past life of the protagonist since i’ve already found out most of these information from Akiva’s flashbacks (boy, many flashbacks here) and what i understood from what i’ve read so far of the present. Yes the flashback did clear up a few unclear points but it didn’t need to take 60 long pages.

The endings, i literally gasped out loud at the end. I was devastated since i might not have connected with the protagonist but there was a character i connected with, and its Brimstone. I have hope that the second book would be less confusing and more bearable to read so I will pick it up (at least to read the synopsis and see what i’ll be getting into).

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Books out this month, who’s excited?

Here are the books that I’ve been VERY excited for

Audition by Stasia Ward Kehoe

Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday

Eve by Anna Carey

Books that I’ve had my eye on and also excited about

 

If I Tell by Janet Gurtal

You Are My Only by Beth Kephart

Bunheads by Sophie Flack

Books that the book blogging community is excited for and hence I’ll check them out when they’re out

 

Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon

Variant by Robison Wells

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Which book are you anticipating and waiting to get your hands on for this month?

Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door

Author: Stephanie Perkins

Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary

Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis (via Goodread)

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit — more sparkly, more fun, more wild — the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket — a gifted inventor — steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

My review and thoughts:

I would first like to point out that my expectations were SO HIGH for this book that i was actually scared to start reading it because i didn’t want to be disappointed. I’m telling you, Anna and the French Kiss set the standards so unbelievably high i thought my disappointment would be inevitable. BUT, i’m glad that this did not happen! while this is no Anna and the French kiss, it is definetly one of the top contemporary YA novels i’ve ever read.

Lola, my adorable lola. I enjoyed every single one of her creations! the dresses she wore and the wigs! they made me smile at their descriptions. I loved how Stephanie Perkins gave her this cute and creative personality, saying i adored her is an understatement! Now on to Cricket. Let me point out that when i read his name i instantly fell in love with him. I wasn’t a huge fan of the name St. Claire in Anna but his hair and accent made up for it at the first encounter, but Cricket? Cricket! *squeel* and he’s tall so the name totally applies to him. I loved how Cricket would do anything for Lola, and that he would come all the way from his university just to see her! and i especially loved their quality time while they talked through their room windows.

I remember, chapter 3. This is when i screamed “OH MY GOD” because that was when Anna and St.Claire appeared. You don’t understand how happy i was! thank you Stephanie Perkins <3. Even though they appeared through out the book i didn’t count the pages until they appeared again (you would think that because of my love for Anna), but i was totally invested in Lola land. I would love to wear one of Lola’s creations.

The story was wonderful, even though the settings and outcome are predictable (which is the case for most contemporary novels) but the HOW they got there is what’s so special about this book. I liked her best friend’s obsession with Nancy Drew and mysterious (I was a huge fan of the Anime Conan). Personally I didn’t find Lola’s birth mom interesting at all and she just made me frown for taking precious pages from the story but i loved Nathan and Andy. I’m a fan of Andy. They remind me of Modern Family’s Mitchell and Cameron ;). As for Alex (Lola’s boyfriend at the beginning), i was slightly heartbroken when they broke up because i truly thought that he did love her and treated her well, not like the usual douches in some contemporary YA novels. To round it up, i am a huge fan of Lola’s individuality and independence, i would never in a million years be courageous enough to wear clothes like hers and not be bothered about people’s opinions (well most of the time).

I was hesitant to write this review since it would mean that i am officially done with Lola and i have to wait another year for Isla *cries*. I’m going to miss Lola and Cricket’s window adventures. I believe Stephanie Perkins writes the most amazing, addicting books that nake you end up in withdrawal mode for days, MONTHS even. Stephanie Perkins, please never stop writing.

Review: Remembrance by Michelle Madow

RemembranceTitle: Remembrance

Author: Michelle Madow

Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Synopsis (via Goodread)

New Hampshire high school junior Lizzie Davenport has been reincarnated from Regency Era, England … but she doesn’t know it yet.

Then Drew Carmichael transfers into Lizzie’s school at the beginning of the year, and she feels a connection to him, almost like she knows him. She can’t stop thinking about him, but whenever she tries talking with him about the mysteries behind her feelings, he makes it clear that he wants nothing to do with her. Reaching him is even more difficult because she has a boyfriend, Jeremy, who has started to become full of himself after being elected co-captain of the varsity soccer team, and her flirtatious best friend Chelsea starts dating Drew soon after his arrival. So why can’t she seem to get him out of her mind?

Even though Lizzie knows she should let go of her fascination with Drew, the pair of them soon find that fighting fate isn’t going to be easy.

 

My thoughts and review:

I LOVE books that deal with unrequited love, forbidden love (in the sense of girl being in love with her bestfriend’s boyfriend, etc) and basically the tension and awkwardness that manifest in some of the scenes between the protagonist and the other ‘guy’. The synopsis of this book raised my curiosity and i had to read it! my sister had it on her ibooks library so i borrowed it from her and started reading. I loved the beginning, exactly the type of book i always look forward to read, girl has a boyfriend, boyfriend being careless and too busy for her, girl meets new guy and instantly falls for him, new guy is taken! oh no! *giggles*.

One thing that kept me from being totally invested in the story is its similarity to pride and prejudice, the names of the characters all sounded too familiar “Lizzie – Elizabeth, Drew – Darcy, etc), ive seen too many pride and prejudice remakes and i hoped this wasn’t one. So throughout the whole story I kept on wondering whether it’ll be another pride and prejudice remake (which im glad it wasn’t at the end).  I really liked Jeremy, throughout the book i had a hidden hope that he would end up with lizzie, i just felt really bad for him because he was in the way of fate. I kept on hoping Lizzie would give him the explanation he deserved but it never came, which is why I was frustrated at Lizzie.

I give Chelsea kudos for being so level headed about Lizzie and Drew being together, she was a good friend to Lizzie and im just sad that she didn’t get her happy ending, nor did Jeremy. (I guess you can tell I loved Chelsea and Jeremy more than Lizzie and Drew 😛 ).

I honestly loved the beginning of the book more and the ending for me felt a bit unfinished, but it was an entertaining and fun read; One that i would recommend to people who love contemporary retellings and destined love. I would definitely pick up any new book that Michelle Madow writes. She’s got a way to make you keep reading.

 

Novels Released in the upcoming week. Who’s excited?

This next week is this year’s book heaven. Some amazing books i have been waiting months for them and others I’ve been drooling over are finally being released.

   

Lola and the boy next door by Stephanie Perkins (September 29th)

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson (September 29th)

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (September 27th)

A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies (September 27th)

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (September 27th)

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Honorable mentions: Covers of books released this week that i love

Zelah Green by Vanessa Curtis (October 1st)

The Mephisto Covenant by Trinity Faegen (September 27th)

My Beating Teenage Heart by C. K. Kelly Martin (September 27th)

I am pretty satisfied with all the covers of these books. But how pretty is Zelah Green’s cover? ive never heard of the book but that cover is SO PRETTY! 

Click on the titles to direct you to the synopsis via Goodreads

REVIEW: “Where I Belong” by Gwendolyn Heasley

Title: Where I Belong

Author: Gwendolyn Heasley

Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary

Rating: ★★★★☆

Synopsis (via Goodread)

Meet Corrinne. She’s living every girl’s dream in New York City—shopping sprees at Barneys, open access to the best clubs and parties, and her own horse at the country club. Her perfect life is perfectly on track. At least it was. . . .

When Corrinne’s father is laid off, her world suddenly falls apart. Instead of heading to boarding school, she’s stripped of her credit cards and shipped off to the boonies of Texas to live with her grandparents. On her own in a big public school and forced to take a job shoveling manure, Corrinne is determined to get back to the life she’s supposed to be living. She doesn’t care who she stomps on in the process. But when Corrinne makes an unlikely friend and discovers a total hottie at work, she begins to wonder if her life B.R.—before the recession—was as perfect as it seemed.

My Review and thoughts:

Let me just start off by saying that i am not a big fan of reading books about spoiled rich girls (ie: Gossip Girl). I picked this book up for its BEAUTIFUL cover (you know me and pretty covers, its an addiction). I started reading this book a while ago then put it down after a chapter. I hated how spoiled Corrinne acted and how selfish she was. It annoyed the hell out of me. So a  month later i promised myself i’d finish reading it (that’s what always happens to me right? 😛 ). So i did. I read it with gritted teeth whenever Corrinne acted like a selfish cry baby.. but she got better! i was quite surprised with how fast she adjusted (even though she kept denying her adjustment). Then came Rider, the singer wannabe working at the stables she started working in *gasp*. I knew from the beginning he would be a douche looking for a way in to the entertainment industry. But bubby, i LOVED bubby. The highschool quarterback. He was adorable with his teasing of Corrinne every 5 seconds. Somehow nowadays the quarterbacks get all the girls.. back in the day the quarterbacks were the douches and the tortured souls (singers, writers) got the girls.

Corrinne proved that she wasn’t superficial, that all she needed was a reality check to change her perspective. Kitsy (highschool classmate) helped her find that perspective. I loved kitsy’s bubbly personality and kidness. I didn’t expect Kitsy to stick around at the beginning but i give her credit for sticking. The book turned its charms on later in the book and i loved it. Corrinne finally turned from tolerable to an awesome protagonist. I especially loved it when her best friend from Manhattan (Weaverly) visited and she saw how everyone saw how SHE acted at the beginning: too good for this place and them.

I would have been sad to see her and Weaverly’s friendship dissolving, so i was happy with how the book patched up all the relationships. What i found cute about this book is the weird names of all the characters: Bubby, Rider, Jenny Jo. Definetly names that’ll stick in your head for a while!

It was a cute read, it was a bit hard to get through the beginning couple of chapters but after that i was looking forward to reading it whenever i had free time. Also my decision to read a book based on the book cover hasn’t let me down yet again 😉

Upcoming September release: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

I’ve been pining for this book by Michelle Hodkin ever since i saw this BEAUTIFUL countdown on The Story Siren blog. I am pretty sure you are all familiar with this fact, but i am a sucker for pretty book covers. Along with the water movement of this countdown, im helpless. But the cover and countdown  aren’t the only reason for this amount of excitement; the synopsis of the book upped my excitement a thousand volts. I’m always eager to read books like this. Plus noticed its a paranormal book so can’t wait to find out in which way makes it paranormal.

Synopsis (via Goodread)

Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.

There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.

She’s wrong.

Expected publication: September 27th 2011 by Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing

I AM SOLD.

Review: “Love Story” by Jennifer Echols

Title: Love Story

Author: Jennifer Echols

Genre: Young adult, Contemporary, Romance

My rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis (via Goodread.com)

For Erin Blackwell, majoring in creative writing at the New York City college of her dreams is more than a chance to fulfill her ambitions–it’s her ticket away from the tragic memories that shadow her family’s racehorse farm in Kentucky. But when she refuses to major in business and take over the farm herself someday, her grandmother gives Erin’s college tuition and promised inheritance to their maddeningly handsome stable boy, Hunter Allen. Now Erin has to win an internship and work late nights at a coffee shop to make her own dreams a reality. She should despise Hunter . . . so why does he sneak into her thoughts as the hero of her latest writing assignment?

Then, on the day she’s sharing that assignment with her class, Hunter walks in. He’s joining her class. And after he reads about himself in her story, her private fantasies about him must be painfully clear. She only hopes to persuade him not to reveal her secret to everyone else. But Hunter devises his own creative revenge, writing sexy stories that drive the whole class wild with curiosity and fill Erin’s heart with longing. Now she’s not just imagining what might have been. She’s writing a whole new ending for her romance with Hunter . . . except this story could come true.

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My Review and thoughts:

I really enjoyed reading the contemporary novel ”Love Story” by Jennifer Echols. I had to get past the first 30 pages to really start enjoying it. I picked up this book almost a month ago, read the first 20 pages then got bored and put it down and never went back to it. Every time I was considering what to read next I’d read a page of the book and then choose something else. Today I put a stop to this nonsense and made myself sit down and READ at least 50 pages or so and if I still didn’t like it, then I can tell myself at least I tried.

The story started off with a short story, the heroine “Erin”, wrote for her creative writing class. It took a while for me to get through that story as I didn’t understand what was going on and why it was set in the past when clearly the book is present day contemporary. However I kept going and understood it was a story the heroine wrote. I REALLY started to enjoy the story when the main male lead “Hunter” (can I say how much I LOVE this name?) is enrolled in the same creative class! And guess what her story is about? HIM!. I got a few laughs, embarrassing ones for her too, on the situation she was put it. Her short story wasn’t just a teen love story, ehh it was quite ‘mature’ in content. This is when I knew I would love this book.

I couldn’t put the book down. I ignored all the shows I had waiting for me and couldn’t stop. I even passed up on sleeping just so I can finish this book! Hunter was dreamy, he was sweet, and his grins made me squeal! (I’m a sucker for a guy with a ‘lopsided grin’ or dimples!). Another thing I loved is how independent Erin is. Even though she is what some might call “A spoiled rich kid” I found her very confident in her decision to leave the riches behind and pursue her dream. I had my doubts on her façade and thought she wouldn’t be able to keep playing the ex-rich girl who is now poor because she is pursuing her dream of being a writer. I thought she would crack down at one point in the story and go back and obey her grandmother so she can get back her credit cards.

This was definitely a page turner, I couldn’t put it down. It was a very enjoyable contemporary read and I’m glad I finally gave the book a chance, because anyways its Jennifer Echols. I’ve basically read everything by her. I shouldn’t have doubted how awesome this book would be.

Review: “If I Stay” by Gayle Forman

Title: If I Stay

Author: Gayle Forman

Genre: Young adult, Contemporary, Romance

My rating: *★★★★★

Synopsis (via Goodread.com)

In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen year- old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck…

A sophisticated, layered, and heartachingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make -and the ultimate choice Mia commands

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My Review:

I have a love hate relationship with Gayle Forman’s “If I Stay” Novel. Ever have a relationship like that with someone? It’s usually someone you’re in love with or will eternally love. You hate things about them but at the same time without those things they wouldn’t be the ones you love. That is exactly how I feel about this book. Last time I loved a book this much was when I read “Shout down the moon” by Lisa Tucker almost 3 years ago. If I Stay by Gayle Forman is a book that breaks your heart from the first 15 pages… then breaks it again 30 pages later… and again 50 pages later until your face is streaked with tear marks and you’re emotional as hell. I locked myself in my room and when my sister came to ask me something I told her I was at a VERY emotional part and she should come later. She saw my blotchy red face and the tears that never stopped spilling and literally sprinted away.

I officially declare myself an idiot for having this book on my shelf since may (4 months ago) and only now deciding to read it. I’ve read reviews about it but then I read the synopsis and decided it was another silly teen romance. This book is beautifully written. It felt like I was part of their world. While reading a chapter towards the end, I’d remember things I read at the beginning of the book as if they were a part of my memory, like I was there, with the characters, which is why I felt so invested in the story. Also, the book could have ended up in two ways and while I’m usually up for the happier ending. This time I didn’t know where my heart swayed. One page it was to the left, and the next page it was to the right.

I cried buckets and the book is filled with tear marks.. and even now, while writing this review I’m tearing up, because this book touched my heart. It made me thank god that I have a family and a life that many people end up losing.. when they least expect it.

Book 2 came out for this series. It is called “Where She Went” and I got it in ebook format. The covers for these books (the one with girl on them) are BEAUTIFUL. They’re so breathtaking… that’s what actually first attracted me to the book. I’m a sucker for eye catching book covers.

The book i had was the hardback and its cover is the one above. These two are the paperback covers

She’s So Dead to Us/ He’s So Not Worth It Review

Rating:
She’s So Dead to Us : ★★★★★
He’s So Not Worth It: ★★★★☆

So these books, which are two books from a trilogy have been on my ipad waiting for me to read them for a while. When i got the first book of the trilogy “She’s So Dead to Us” i found the synopsis intriguing. An ex-rich popular girl ends up leaving her hometown “Orchin Hall” poor and fatherless because her runaway father lost all his family’s money along with millions of dollars from the other rich families that live in their Crestie neighborhood (sort of like the zip code 90210 of beverly hills). However the story starts 18 months later when the girl “Ally”, now 17 years old, and her mom end up moving back to her hometown and enrolls Ally in the same school she previously went to. This time she’s not the rich kid in the fanciest house at crestie, but a poor kid living in a small condo at one of the poorer areas of Orchid Hall. She also finds out the hard way that her ex-friends aren’t as forgiving as she thought they would be, and it becomes a struggle when she meets a cute boy who’s currently in their “clique”.

The cover is pretty, the synopsis is intriguing, but i have no idea why i didnt pick it up and start reading it. The second book  “He’s So Not Worth It” also came out, and i also got it, but my TBR list was (and still is) HUGE so it was put in the back burner. Later, when i read somewhere that the series is a page turner, i promised myself id start reading it. Because lets face it, lately all the books are paranormal and you can hardly find a good and mature  book (ie, not a tween YA book) that is interesting and fun to read.

boy was i hooked. I finished the first book in less than a day and tackled the second book straight away. Here im glad i only started reading the first when i got the second because Kieran Scott is apparently big on cliffhangers. However the cliffhanger of the second book is 10 times worse than the first book so i still have to wait 8 months until the final installment is released (May 1st, 2012). However even though the first book was slightly more enjoyable and thrilling than the second, i still loved the second book and can’t wait to find the end of this fabulous trilogy.

The books are addictive, Kieran Scott knows how to grip her readers, and i recently found out she uses the pen names Emma Harrison AND Kate Brian, both of whom are authors of books i greatly enjoyed. From now on this author(s) will be on my radar for any new published books, because for a lazy day of coffee drinking and lounging her books are EXACTLY what i need.