Monday, January 26, 2015

(ARC) Review for Tear You Apart by Sarah Cross

21520203Tear You Apart (Beau Rivage)
By Sarah Cross
Published by Egmont January 27th 2015
Recieved Ebook from NetGalley
384 pages

"Faced with a possible loophole to her "Snow White" curse, Viv goes underground, literally, to find the prince who's fated to rescue her. But is life safe in the Underworld worth the price of sacrficing the love that might kill her?" ~ Goodreads


Set in the magical town of Beau Rivage Tear You Apart holds so much promise of an exciting adventure, but didn't quite deliver.

I adored Kill Me Softly and being reunited with the characters was awesome. I love how the loose ends from the first book are tied up in this one (specifically Mira's family situation). Viv as a minor character in Kill Me Softly is great, her edginess fit into the Beau Rivage gang. However, a story starring her? Eh, no. I strongly dislike her. Yes, I do have sympathy for her (she get's into some horrid situations) but I really can't excuse her actions. She treats Henley like dirt. She is one of those girls who makes out with another guy to get the guy she actually likes jealous but then pushes the guy she likes away because they can't be together due to her curse but at the same time wants him to always be there for her. Inhale. Exhale. Henley deserves better. His anger issue is a little unnerving, but I admire how loyal, patient, and determined he is. As for Viv's prince and his family, they were developed well. Her stepmother's (the evil queen's) depth of character was surprising. 

 I have so much respect for Cross as she does not shy away from the original Grimm tales, instead she embraces them. Do not expect a fluffy fairytale retelling. There are dark going-ons. It amazes me how intertwined the various stories are and I love the original world Cross creates, it is entirely her own. The mystery was missing and there was quite a bit of lag time. It only really picked up at the end (now that part was very entertaining). Both books boast a solid ending - no need for panic over a cliff hanger.

I'd recommend Tear You Apart to readers who appreciate the Grimm tales and unique twists. Although not enjoying it nearly as much as the first (thanks a lot Viv), I think I will be on the look out for more!


"So." Blue flopped down on the bed. "Haven't seen you in a while. Thought maybe you were in your glass coffin already."
"Can you not tonight? I'm not in the mood."
"Sorry. Habit. You okay?"
"I'm just hungry," Viv said. "The food at the party was gross. Pate and caviar licked by a cat."
"That's what happens when you let a boots-wearing cat join your country club."
"He wasn't even wearing his boots."
"Scandalous. What happened to no shirt, no tiny boots, no service?"
Viv laughed. "I don't know. Standards are really falling at Seven Oaks. I'm going to see if I can find some food. I'll be right back."

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Stacking the Shelves and Weekly Recap (Jan 10)

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews (all credit goes to Tynga for this meme). It offers a chance to showcases the books we got over the past week. The recap includes a list of reviews and other posts published during the week.

A Week of Books

Books From Local Library

(click on links for Goodreads synopsis')


I thoroughly enjoyed Legend - see? - and so I cannot wait to continue the adventure in Prodigy and Champion. I'm so happy my library had the whole series! I haven't read or seen anything regarding Hold Still, so I'm going into it blindly. Which I figure is a good thing... no biased feelings that way.

A Week of Posts

*clears throat* 
Well, let's make that a couple weeks shall we...

Take your pick :)

What did you lovelies get? Leave links to your post and I'll visit. Thanks for reading!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Review for My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

12294652My Life Next Door
By Huntley Fitzpatrick
Published June 14th 2012 by Dial Books For Young Readers
Borrowed Paperback from Local Library
394 pages

"The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, messy, affectionate. And every day from her rooftop perch, Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs up next to her and changes everything.
As the two fall fiercely for each other, stumbling through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first love, Jase's family embraces Samantha - even as she keeps him a secret from her own. Then something unthinkable happens, and the bottom drops out of Samantha's world. She's suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?" ~ Goodreads


My Life Next Door is sure to steal your heart and if you're fortunate, give it back to you at the end. The odds aren't great.

It's been a long time since I've delved into a contemporary. I almost forgot how character driven they are and what an absolute joy it can be to get to know - in depth - a variety of characters. My Life Next Door is the perfect example. I'll only focus on the two main families because the cast is just so widespread (but I would like to give a shout out to Tim - you rule!). I would like to start with the Garrett family. Some would say chaos, mayhem, yada yada yada. I say grounded, loyal, fun, affectionate and in the fullest sense family. A real family. It baffles me how the author made every single one stand out. I loved them to bits - all ten of them! (Okay, George and Pasty have a special place in my heart.) They are just so full of life. It radiates from the pages through hilarious scenes and witty dialogue. In sharp contrast is the Reed family. Controlled, precise, planned. Two very different ways of living.

Sam and Jase. Sam and Jase. There of course is attraction at first, but no insta-love. They start off slow and steady. Progressing into a firm, solid relationship. It was beautiful really and what I hope is realistic (cause that would be aw-some). They made such a cute couple, it melted me. Jase is patient and understanding and Sam is open to being a better version of herself with him. They bring out the best in each other. It is so refreshing that there is no romantic conflict (no bringing in an ex or a new love interest) and that the boy is just all around good (I'm sure others exist out there). No teen aghast, too. My Life Next Door is centred on their growing relationship, their families and friendship.

Since this is a contemporary and one that focuses on day-to-day kinda life it is a slower pace. But I can guarantee you that it will be engaging - after all, it has an eight-kid family in there with a full serving of politics. Yeah. Things get real interesting. I do wish the ending wasn't quite as rushed, but it satisfied me. Throughout the whole book, I felt like I was vicariously living through Samantha. Getting to enjoy the ups and downs of life.

I highly recommend My Life Next Door to readers who enjoy contemporary and sweet romance. But it is so much more. It's like... no, that's not it. There is so much... I already said that. Remember when...gah. You know what? Just go read it!


"Is Jase already going to marry you?"
I start coughing again. "Uh. No. No, George. I'm only seventeen." As if that's the only reason we aren't engaged.
"I'm this many," George holds up four slightly grubby fingers. "But Jase is seventeen and a half. You could. Then you could live in here with him. And have a big family."
Jase strides back into the room, of course, midway through this proposition. "George. Beat it. Discovery Channel is on."
George backs out of the room, but not before saying, "His bed's really comfortable. And he never pees in it."
The door closes and we both start laughing.
"It's okay. I love him," I say. "I think I will marry him."
"You might want to think about that. Or at least be really careful about the bedtime reading."

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Review for The Eye of the Minds by James Dashner

16279856The Eye of Minds (The Mortality Doctrine #1)
By James Dashner
Published October 8th 2013 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Borrowed Hardback from Local Library
308 pages

"Michael is a gamer. And like most gamers, he almost spends more time on the VirtNet than in the actual world. The VirtNet offers total mind and body immersion, and it’s addictive. Thanks to technology, anyone with enough money can experience fantasy worlds, risk their life without the chance of death, or just hang around with Virt-friends. And the more hacking skills you have, the more fun. Why bother following the rules when most of them are dumb, anyway?
But some rules were made for a reason. Some technology is too dangerous to fool with. And recent reports claim that one gamer is going beyond what any gamer has done before: he’s holding players hostage inside the VirtNet. The effects are horrific—the hostages have all been declared brain-dead. Yet the gamer’s motives are a mystery.
The government knows that to catch a hacker, you need a hacker.
And they’ve been watching Michael. They want him on their team.
But the risk is enormous. If he accepts their challenge, Michael will need to go off the VirtNet grid. There are back alleys and corners in the system human eyes have never seen and predators he can’t even fathom—and there’s the possibility that the line between game and reality will be blurred forever." ~ Goodreads


The Eye of Minds had so much potential - a gamer holding players hostage in a game? yes! - but it felt very underdeveloped.

Was this a bad book? No. Was it really boring? No. However, it just wasn't what I expected... and not in a good way. The characters had personality, but it felt superficial. I couldn't understand why the government would choose Michael and his friends, Bryson and Sarah to try and track down a dangerous criminal in cyber world. I guess it became apparent later on that Bryson and Sarah actually possessed hacking skills, but Michael? Why Michael? They must have been getting desperate. He kept on going, even when things turned nightmarish. I guess that's a good quality to have. Anyway, I did enjoy the relationship between those three. Even though they had never met before in real life, there was a great sense of loyalty in the group. Their banter was cute too. As for the villian Kaine, well, not too much is explained about him (figure that's coming in the second book). He seemed like a formidable foe, though. 

The frustrating part about the plot was that it was in fact intriguing, but underdeveloped. It was like Dashner was trying really hard to make his complex ideas simple. It backfired as I would have liked more details. But at the same time I was getting confused during certain parts. As you can tell, it is hard to please me. The variety of worlds and scenes that the trio visit was amazing and it was very easy to visualize them. It was a crazy set of events they went through. Cra-zy. The pace really picked up by the middle of the book and it totally engaged me. A couple times my butt was even on the edge of my seat. And the twist at the end was surprising! But even when things were explained towards the finish it was hard to comprehend how everything fit together. 

suggest The Eye of the Minds to readers who enjoy books that center around gaming (obviously) because in that regard it lived up, as well as those who like adventure. There was a lot of that! It's still under debate as to whether I'll be reading the second book.


 Mikethespike: Just meet me back at the deli. One hour. Get Sarah there, too. I gotta go shower. I smell like armpits.
Brystones: Glad we're not meeting in real life, then. Not too fond of the B.O.
Mikethespike: Speaking of that - we need to just do it. Meet for real. You don't live THAT far away.
Brystones: But the Wake is so boring. What's the point?
Mikethespike: Because that's what humans do. They meet each other and shake real hands.
Brystones: I'd rather give you a hug on Mars.
Mikethespike: NO HUGS. See you in an hour. Get Sarah!
Brystones: Will do. Go scrub your nasty pits.
Mikethespike: I said I SMELL like them, not... Never mind. Later.
Brystones: Out. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Review for Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien

Birthmarked (Birthmarked #1)Birthmarked (Birthmarked #1)
By Caragh M. O'Brien 
Published October 11th 2011 by Square Fish
Borrowed Paperback from Local Library
384 pages

"In the future, in a world baked dry by the harsh sun, there are those who live inside the walled Enclave and those, like sixteen-year-old Gaia Stone, who live outside. Following in her mother's footsteps Gaia has become a midwife, delivering babies in the world outside the wall and handing a quota over to be "advanced" into the privileged society of the Enclave. Gaia has always believed this is her duty, until the night her mother and father are arrested by the very people they so loyally serve. Now Gaia is forced to question everything she has been taught, but her choice is simple: enter the world of the Enclave to rescue her parents, or die trying." ~ Goodreads


Birthmarked is not your average dystopian. Although it has the traits of one (independent, brave female heroine, unjust future society, rebelling etc.) it felt different.

The respect I had for Gaia was unmeasurable. You had to hand it to her... she delivers babies at sixteen years old. Yeah. Plus, she was ostracised her entire life over her appearance (she had a burn scar on her face). This girl was just about ready to do anything for her family. I admired her strong will and resolve. For those who are wondering, yes, there was romance. However, it was a slow build up kind of romance since a great deal of trust had to be built between them. A more realistic version, yeah? The chemistry wasn't a bunch of fireworks for me, but their relationship was endearing. It also was not the centre of the story. I managed to locate another book that puts more emphasis on family. How nice! I found her romantic interest very intriguing. His character was the type of person who fits the phrase "there is more than meets the eye". 

Maybe it was just my lack of concentration or I'm not adept in understanding a more complicated plot, but at times I felt lost on the reasoning behind this futuristic-world-that-I-kept-picturing-as-set-in-medieval-times (fail on my part). I loved the idea of "advancement" (it was new and exciting), but the underlying reason for it all was a bit fuzzy. There were so many needless details, I wish they would have been directed instead to the world building. The pace was rather slow because as I said, details were there. It never became overly dull, though, since there was always that suspense as to what was going to come next. It felt like a long, eventful quest. The ending reminded me of The Giver (read it and see why). 

recommend Birthmarked to readers who can tolerate a slower pace, who enjoy an on the side sort of romance, and just want to read a different sort of dystopian. 


The solider moved toward the door, and Gaia thought he would open it to say good-bye. When he paused there, she looked up again.
"What happened to your face?" he said.
She felt a familiar kick in her gut, and then a stab of disappointment. Twice in one night,. She had assumed he would be too polite to ask, or that he, with any background knowledge of her family, would already know the story.
"When I was little, my grandmother was making candles and she had a big vat of hot beeswax in the backyard," she said. "I walked into the vat." Usually that ended the conversation. "I don't remember it," she added.
"How old were you?" he asked.
She tilted her face slightly, watching him. "Ten months."
"You were walking at ten months?" he asked.
"Not very well, apparently," she said dryly. 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Review for Legend by Marie Lu

9275658Legend (Legend #1)
By Marie Lu 
Published November 29th 2011 by Putnam Juvenile
Borrowed from Local Library
305 pages

"What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbours. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.
From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets." ~


Filled with determined, sharp minded characters and plenty of action to go around, Legend will be the cause of those piled up dishes and overflowing hampers.  

At the beginning we get to experience two extremes of Lu's dystopian society, namely the elite's lifestyle and the slum's lifestyle through alternating POVs. June lives a very privileged life and over time realizes the flaws in her world. It was great that she wasn't blinded by what she was taught from a young age and had the maturity to properly questions things. It was apparent from the start that June's a genius - she sees every detail and makes conclusions based upon the information she gathers. I had great respect for her. As for Day, he is the male version of June - ability wise. Very intuitive and clever, his character is like an onion (giggle). He has many layers to him. Both June and Day were amiable (Day more so) and easy to root for, but I must say they came off as much older. I kept on picturing them at like eighteen, not fifteen. I would also like to note the relationship between June and Metias. It was so wonderfully sweet and well portrayed I was completely heartbroken for June! Actually, instead of centering the plot on romance, Lu decided to focus more on each one's family. That was very refreshing!

The beginning was a little slow for me but it picked up quickly. It progressed at an excellent pace, always holding my attention. The Republic was explained adequately and the issues beneath the surface were interesting to uncover. Going in directions I wasn't anticipating. Questions were answered and situations were wrapped up, yet it was easy to see there is a lot of adventure still in store for Day and June. Everything is set up nicely for book two! 

highly recommend Legend to dystopian lovers who enjoy dynamic characters, a family oriented plot, slight romance and of course action. It was a solid dystopian and I can't wait to read the next one!


"When you stand out there," John continues in a hoarse voice, "keep your chin up, all right? Don't let them get to you."
"I won't."
"Make them work for it. Punch someone if you have to."
John gives me a sad, crooked smile. "You're a scary kid. So scare them. Okay? All the way until the end."
For the first time in a long time, I feel like a little brother. I have to swallow hard to keep my eyes dry. "Okay," I whisper.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Review for Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George

7199667Princess of Glass (Princess #2)
By Jessica Day George
Published May 25th 2010 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Ebook from Library
266 pages

"Hoping to escape the troubles in her kingdom, Princess Poppy reluctantly agrees to take part in a royal exchange program, whereby young princes and princesses travel to each other's countries in the name of better political alliances--and potential marriages. It's got the makings of a fairy tale--until a hapless servant named Eleanor is tricked by a vengeful fairy godmother into competing with Poppy for the eligible prince. Ballgowns, cinders, and enchanted glass slippers fly in this romantic and action-packed happily-ever-after quest from an author with a flair for embroidering tales in her own delightful way." ~ Goodreads


In a reading slump? Want a book you can pick up and finish in two sittings? One that leaves you feeling uplifted and content? Princess of Glass is the match for you.

I enjoyed this one much more than the first. Probably due to the fact that I loved the main character-Poppy's fiestiness and sass made things entertaining. The royal family she was staying with were sublime. The tender relationship between Poppy and her mother's cousin's daughter (mouthful there) was so sweet. They paired together really well and had each other's back. The visiting prince may not have been the one for me, but he had some very redeemable qualities. He was witty, courageous, and very caring towards Poppy. Plus, he was different from Galen (first book), which I quite liked. The villian didn't have me shaking in my boots, but I was very uncomfortable. As for the person who was the equivilent of Cinderella, she annoyed me at first. As time went on, that changed slightly, but I never came to fully appreciate her character.

Jessica Day George is a master of fairytale spin-offs. She incorporates characteristics from the original, yet twists them to suit her own needs. It's so effortless and smooth. Based around the tale of Cinderella, Princess of Glass may not be what you expect. The originality of it all was fascinating! The ending didn't make a whole lot of sense to me as I felt it was rushed, but I accepted it. As for the pacing, well let's just say I couldn't put it down! There was always something happening.

I highly recommend Princess of Glass to readers who enjoy original fairytale retellings, Jessica Day George ('nuff said there), sweet romance, twists, and simply a smooth, easy read. It makes me so happy to know there is a third book in this series!


"We are equals," she said, "though I am not my father's heir. Why don't you just call me Poppy." She had always thought that "Princess Poppy" sounded too much like a name for a small dog.
"And you must call me Christian," he said, giving her an even warmer smile. Yes, he was terribly handsome.
"Oh, pooh!" Marianne said as she came down the stairs. "I've taken to long and now you're dear friends and I shall be left out."
"That will teach you to spend all day primping," Poppy said, winking at Christian and taking his arm. "Five more minutes, and we would have eloped." 
"I wouldn't put it past you," Marianne said, with a pretend pout. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Review for Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky

8665876Awaken (Awaken #1)
By Katie Kacvinsky 
Published May 23rd 2011 by HMH Books for Young Readers
Ebook from Local Library
309 pages

"Maddie lives in a world where everything is done on the computer. Whether it’s to go to school or on a date, people don’t venture out of their home. There’s really no need. For the most part, Maddie’s okay with the solitary, digital life—until she meets Justin. Justin likes being with people. He enjoys the physical closeness of face-to-face interactions. People aren’t meant to be alone, he tells her. Suddenly, Maddie feels something awakening inside her—a feeling that maybe there is a different, better way to live. But with society and her parents telling her otherwise, Maddie is going to have to learn to stand up for herself if she wants to change the path her life is taking." ~ Goodreads


Awaken exposes us to a world that may not be so far away and reveals the consequences that come with it.

I loved Maddie in the first half of the book because even though she was experiencing (in her mind) radicial things she took it in stride with an open mind. Better yet, she allowed her desires and human inclinations to grow. In the second half of the book, this resilient Maddie was still present but completely love sick. She became that girl that can't live without the love of her life. She lost major points with me on that front. It was the same with Justin. In the first half, I loved him to bits - he was mysterious, caring, super cool (he had a wicked car), and had so much passion for what he did it was contagious. But then, he started pushing Maddie away - only to be reeled in again. I know he had good reasons, but still. That whole you-shouldn't-want-me-Maddie-I'm-no-good-for-you stick got old really fast. On one hand I really liked their relationship, but on the other hand it was annoying.

There is no doubt that Katie Kacvinsky knows how to write. At times it was deep and insightful, wonderful. (Certain phrases did repeat themselves quite often though.) I believe she did a great job with the world building and the whole backstory on how DS came into effect was solid. It was thought out. The theme she incorporated is an important one and I know everyone will take something away after reading Awaken. If it wasn't for the push-and-pull (pushing done by boy, pulling done by girl)  kind of romance, I would have enjoyed the ending more. The pace was steady and it wraps up in a decent way. There is definitely room for a sequel/second book.

I recommend Awaken to readers who enjoy dystopias, adventure, books that make you think, and well, who don't mind a romance that at times may be frustrating. The first half was incredible - read it just for that!


"So, why are you really here?" I whispered. "You're not paying any attention to this."
Justin looked at me as if the answer was obvious. "To be around people. It's one of the only ways I can."
I creased my eyebrows at him and had to make an effort to whisper. "What? Are you nuts?"
He leaned closer. "I think people are nuts to shut themselves inside all day long. We're cutting ourselves off from each other and it's only going to get worse."
I felt goose bumps rise up on my arms. I grinned at him.
"And you think going to study groups and doodling in your notebook is going to change things?"
Justin smiled back, a plotting smile that held uncountable meanings.
"I have a plan," he said.