Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Look at 2013: Statistics and Numbers


I have some statistics and facts that I'd like to share with you all. More than anything, this is for me, to keep track of what I have been doing. I'm not overly obsessed with the statistics.- like, I'm not setting insane goals for myself in terms of numbers and statistics.

I AM obsessed with numbers though - and I love to look at trends and whatnot. This is done with a purely mathematical interest - I'm not trying to brag or berate myself or tell myself to work harder or anything. It's just this nerd girl and her numbers!

- First book read: Heart Waves by Danielle Sibarium
- Last book read: Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare
- Total Pageviews: roughly 148,000
- Total blog followers (does not include Twitter, Facebook, or Goodreads): 3036
   - GFC: 865
   - Bloglovin: 851
   - Email/RSS: 274
   - Linky: 323
   - Pinterest: 213
   - Tumblr: 122
   - Google Plus: 388
- Goodreads friends/fans: 585
- Twitter: 1254
- Facebook: 393
- Number of reviews in 2013: 192
- Number of 1-star reviews: 7
- Number of 2-star reviews: 14
- Number of 3-star reviews: 38
- Number of 4-star reviews: 103 (okay, what? lol)
- Number of 5-star reviews: 31
- Average rating: 3.69
- Total books read in 2013: 181
- Total number of published posts in 2013: 616
- Days missed in publishing a post: 0

Data for Books READ in 2013 (not necessarily reviewed):

(NOTE: nothing is in percentages)

Review: Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare

Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare
Book One of the Castles Ever After series
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: January 28, 2014
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss

***Warning: this is an adult book, and for the eyes of mature readers***

Summary (from Goodreads):

In the first in Tessa Dare's captivating Castles Ever After series, a mysterious fortress is the setting for an unlikely love . . .

As the daughter of a famed author, Isolde Ophelia Goodnight grew up on tales of brave knights and fair maidens. She never doubted romance would be in her future, too. The storybooks offered endless possibilities.

And as she grew older, Izzy crossed them off. One by one by one.

Ugly duckling turned swan?
Abducted by handsome highwayman?
Rescued from drudgery by charming prince?

No, no, and… Heh.

Now Izzy’s given up yearning for romance. She’ll settle for a roof over her head. What fairy tales are left over for an impoverished twenty-six year-old woman who’s never even been kissed?

This one.

What I Liked:

Well, here it is! My last read of 2013. And what a read it was! I finished with a historical romance novel that is sure to be a fan-favorite. I've read a few other novels by Tessa Dare, and enjoyed them immensely, so I knew I would be in good hands. I can definitely see this book becoming extremely popular within the historical romance community.

There's a castle. There's a man living in the castle. And now, there is a woman who will be living in the castle, because the castle has fallen to her hands, much to the surprise of the man. But no matter. The man is determined to figure out the legal mess, and get his castle back. The woman is determined to have her castle, since she is poor and has just about nothing left.

The man is the Duke of Rothbury - named Ransom, and the woman is Isolde, "Izzy". I'm quite sure that this story is based off Beauty and the Beast, in a sense. Except, Izzy is NOT beautiful. But she is a dreamer, a storyteller of sorts. Ransom isn't exactly a beast, though he does have a disfigurement. There is no curse though - only a strange financial and legal matter that must be fixed. But everyone LOVES Izzy - just like everyone loved Beauty.

I really, really liked Ransom the most. He's the perfect amount of brooding, surly, handsome, gentlemanly... I don't care about his disfigurement/disability. He is perfect - probably one of my favorite historical romance heroes. Not probably - DEFINITELY. For me, this book was all him, and I loved it.

I didn't love Izzy (see below), but I thought the romance was awesome. The chemistry is powerful, right from the start, and it never stops. This is a very chemistry-filled and steamy historical romance novel - just saying! I loved how Dare infused chemistry and romance and somehow pulled it off without making the romance seem rushed or forced.

Overall, this book was GREAT. I hope the next books in this series are as lovely as this one! This is definitely a historical romance novel you do not want to miss!

What I Did Not Like:

There was really only one thing that bothered me, and to sum it up, it was Izzy. She was so annoying at times, and I feel like her character did not change AT ALL, from start to finish. She's so bothersome and pushy and doesn't know when to stop. Sometimes, Ransom needed to be pushed. But other times, he did not. 

Also, Izzy was stuck in her head ALL THE TIME. And this was one of the things that was not "fixed" in this book. She never had to give up anything for Ransom - her childishness, her stories, her fantasies. She never had to grow up, or give anything up, but Ransom had to give up or concede or yield. I hate that.

Would I Recommend It:

This is one historical romance novel that I would highly recommend. It's like, the perfect package for a historical romance read. One thing that is totally different is that there is basically no interaction in society or with the ton - but I like this. Everything takes place in the castle, which I like!t


4 stars. Definitely a cute and enjoyable story! I'll be following this series for sure.

Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

Release Day Launch and Giveaway: Three Broken Promises by Monica Murphy

Welcome to the release day launch for Three Broken Promises by Monica Murphy! I've read and loved One Week Girlfriend, and I am thrilled to support Monica and the release of her latest novel. Enjoy the post and be sure to enter the giveaway!

Three Broken Promises by Monica Murphy
Book Three of the Drew + Fable series
Publisher: Bantam
Publication Date: December 31, 2013

Official Summary:

Breakout New Adult sensation Monica Murphy returns with a hot new contemporary romance—a heartfelt story of second chances, forgiveness, and redemption.

Commitment. That’s what I really want from Colin. Ever since my brother, Danny, died in Iraq, Colin’s done so much to help me, including giving me a job at his popular restaurant so I can leave my crappy waitressing job at the strip joint. But lying in bed with him every night to comfort him from his horrible nightmares isn’t enough anymore. I know he feels guilty about Danny’s death, about not going to Iraq, but I can’t keep living this double life. 

I love him desperately, but he’s got so many demons, and if he can’t open up to me now, then he’ll never be the real partner I need him to be. I gave him a month, and now I’m out of here. If he truly loves me like he says, he knows where to find me.

About the Author:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Monica Murphy is a native Californian who lives in the foothills below Yosemite. A wife and mother of three, she writes New Adult and contemporary romance for Bantam and Avon. She is the author of One Week Girlfriend and Second Chance Boyfriend.

The Excerpt:

“You’re going to turn me away yet again, aren't you?” she asks when I don’t say anything. The irritation in her voice rings clear as her entire body goes tense. “I can’t believe it. I offer myself up to you with no strings attached and you’re trying to figure out how to let me down easy. God, I am such a moron.”

Unable to hold myself back, I rush toward her, angry that she would insult herself. Panicked that she really is going to walk away and I’m going to lose my chance. Thinking too much sucks. I need to just let it happen. Take this opportunity that she’s presenting me.

And let her go when our time is up.

“You’re not a moron,” I murmur, reaching for her. I cup her face in my hands and position her so she has no choice but to meet my gaze. I skim my thumbs across her cheeks, feel her shudder at my touch. “You make an offer like that and a man needs to process it first.”

The unshed tears still glimmer in her eyes and one escapes, leaving a damp trail across her skin. Leaning in, I stop its descent with my lips, tasting the salt, hearing the catch in her breath. “We do this and it’s not going to be some half-assed thing, you know,” I whisper.

She closes her eyes, her tears tangled in her long, thick lashes. “What’s it going to be, then?”

“A discovery.” I nuzzle her nose with my own, breathing in her scent, her very essence. God, I could devour her! It’s taking everything within me to keep calm and not unleash all over her. “An exploration.”

“That sounds like . . . research.” Her breath hitches in her throat when I drop a tender kiss on the tip of her nose.

Chuckling, I shake my head. “It’s the farthest thing from research.” I drift my lips across her cheek, blazing a hot path on her petal-soft skin. “You’re right when you said I don’t do commitment. The closest thing I've ever been to commitment is . . . what I share with you.”

She tentatively places her hands on my hips, her fingers curling into the waistband of my jeans. Having her hands on me sends little darts of fire throughout my insides, making me harden in an instant. She has no idea what sort of effect she has on me. How much restraint I’m using at this very moment not to throw her over my shoulder like an oversexed caveman and cart her off to my bedroom.

“But it can be no more than friendship with added . . . benefits.” I lift my head so I can look into her troubled gaze. She doesn't like what I have to say and I don’t like it either, but I have to be honest. Stringing her along and making her believe this is something more is a mistake.

The two of us together would never work. I’m too damn selfish. I’d disappoint her. I’d hold her back when she needs her freedom. I’m not worthy of her. She’s everything sweet and good in my life, where there’s little sweet and good remaining.

I've kept her—and our relationship—as pure as possible even after all of these years. With the realization that she’s leaving me, that we’ll never be together again, I need to take my opportunities where I can.

Jen bites her lip and drops her gaze. “I can handle that.”

Her body language is more than telling me she doesn't really want to handle that, but I can’t worry about it now.

I want her too damn much.

The Giveaway:

Monday, December 30, 2013

Review: Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi

Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi
Book Three of the Under the Never Sky series
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: January 28, 2014
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss

Summary (from Goodreads):

The earth-shattering conclusion to Veronica Rossi's "masterpiece" Under the Never Sky trilogy and sequel to the New York Times bestselling Through the Ever Night (Examiner.com).

Their love and their leadership have been tested. Now it's time for Perry and Aria to unite the Dwellers and the Outsiders in one last desperate attempt to bring balance to their world.

The race to the Still Blue has reached a stalemate. Aria and Perry are determined to find this last safe-haven from the Aether storms before Sable and Hess do-and they are just as determined to stay together.

Meanwhile, time is running out to rescue Cinder, who was abducted by Hess and Sable for his unique abilities. And when Roar returns to camp, he is so furious with Perry that he won't even look at him, and Perry begins to feel like they have already lost.

Out of options, Perry and Aria assemble a team to mount an impossible rescue mission-because Cinder isn't just the key to unlocking the Still Blue and their only hope for survival, he's also their friend. And in a dying world, the bonds between people are what matter most.

In this final book in her stunning Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi raises the stakes to their absolute limit and brings her epic love story to an unforgettable close.

What I Liked:

First: this review will NOT contain any spoilers, at least for this book. I can't guarantee that I won't spoil things for books one or two. But book three (this book) is safely unspoiled in this review.

That being said, this review will probably seem to be extremely vague. I would hate to ruin any part of this conclusion novel for anyone, even by mentioning just the slightest specific thing. It would seriously break my heart. I wouldn't appreciate it if someone trusted with an ARC of a conclusion novel spoiled something for me in their review. 

This book picks up around the time that the second one ends - maybe a few weeks after it ends. The Tides is still having problems - food shortages, restlessness, difficulty shelter from the aether storms. Cinder is gone. Everything points to the Still Blue. Everything about this novel is about the Still Blue.

So, that's as far as I go with the plot. Rossi does an excellent job of keeping the plot moving, keeping it interesting, and keeping things unpredictable. Twist after turn, Rossi does not give Aria, Perry, Roar, and crew, a break. I love this aspect of the novel - I couldn't stop reading, once I started!

I LOVE that there is no love triangle in this entire series. To me, there never was a hint of one, or the possibility of one. It was always Aria and Perry. Rossi never fails to deliver on the chemistry in this book, but also on the romance. She allows readers to see how much Aria and Perry want each other, but also, how much they need each other and depend on each other.

Rossi allows does a really good job of torturing and testing her characters. EVERYONE suffers in this book, one way or another. I promise I'm not spoiling anything - because the suffering is physical, mental, psychological, and emotional. No one is left not scarred, and I really like this. It shows how well Rossi can develop a story, bruise her characters, and make things REAL.

Overall, I really could not have asked for a better ending to an awesome trilogy. I LOVED book one the most, mostly liked book two, and enjoyed book three. Series should end like this one - not heart-wrenching and painful and angst-filled. Of course, now I'm filled with all the sadness because I really enjoyed this series!

It's funny though - I don't actually finish a lot of series. I start them, usually because the first novel in a YA trilogy is an author's debut (usually). So, I'll read the debut, and then kind of not read the second or third book. Oops? Well, I finished this series! SCORE!

What I Did Not Like:

I'd say the only thing that I really didn't like was that the first, hmm, one-third of the book? Was a bit slow. I saw one person on Goodreads marked this book as "DNF", because she didn't finish. She probably stopped within the first one-third of the book. It was a tiny bit slow, and I kind of skim-read parts.

But honestly, it wasn't that bad. I personally was in no danger of NOT finishing this book.

One other thing that bothered me really doesn't have much to do with the content of the book - the summary. It seems to make the book (and series) focus on Perry and Aria's love/relationship, rather than what is basically the world ending under aether storms. Seriously?! The romance is important, but it wasn't the most important part of the series, like in the  Shatter Me series or The Selection series or something.

Would I Recommend It:

I would! I highly recommend reading this novel, especially if you've come this far! So to speak. If you've read books one and two, read book three. If you've read book one, read books two and three. If you haven't started this series, you should.


4 stars. A beautiful end to a lovely trilogy! THIS is how a trilogy should end. *cough cough*

Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

One-Year Blogoversary Celebration and Giveaway!


YAY! Can you believe it!? One year ago, I decided to switch from Webs to Blogger, and start blogging and reviewing for real. I've survived college applications, AP exams, moving out, starting a new life and school, FINALS WEEK... all while never missing a single day of blogging. All while so so so SO many people were supporting me, and my blog.

Before I do my Grammys/Oscars/Academy Awards Thank You Speech, let me share with you some blogging milestones/achievements that I have hit over this year of blogging:

- 600+ published posts
- 150,000 pageviews
- Nearly 3000 total blog followeres
- Almost 200 reviews published
- Harper, Harlequin, Harlequin TEEN auto-approval on Edelweiss
- Macmillan auto-approval on NetGalley
- My first requested ARCs from Disney, Amazon (Skyscape), Harlequin TEEN, Harper, Simon and Schuster, Scholastic, Penguin Teen, Macmillan (mailing list for Macmillan)
- Have not missed a day of posting... at all. Ever. 


And, as with everything, there are some people that went the extra mile for me, that helped and supported me in so many ways, that gave my blog some love even when they were too busy with their own life, or that just rock.


- Jess of Lovin Los Libros: it's funny, because we met because she started blogging and I gave some advice about blogging. Jess started blogging a few months after me, and even though I had only been blogging for a few months, she took my advice. She's a fabulous blogger now (though in no way can I take credit for that). She lets me borrow books, and she even went to a C.J. Redwine event, and bought and shipped to me a signed hardcover copy of Deception! WHO DOES THAT FOR RANDOM STRANGERS ON THE INTERNET?! Jess did. And I will never, ever forget it.

- Nereyda of Mostly YA Obsessed: if you all haven't heard of Nereyda or her blog, then you are MISSING OUT. Nereyda is flat-out talented. Her Book Looks posts are genius! And Nereyda is a blogger that is super dedicated. She let me borrow (and have) ARCs of hers! HUGGLES!

- The Team at The YA Bookcase: I've never met such a nice team of young adults who are wild about books! Most of the teens are younger than me, which is awesome because I love following their college admissions :D Shout out to Rachel and all the other seniors - you got this! And everyone, follow them on Twitter, because they like to give away pre-pub ARCs. Very, VERY pre-pub ARCs.

- Jessica of Step Into Fiction: I've never met this Maryland blogger, but she ROCKS! She's always commenting on my blog, or replying to my tweets on Twitter! And she sees and follows my Goodreads updates! SHE IS THE ONLY ONE THAT I KNOW THAT DOES THAT! :D

- Meredith of Pandora's Books: for letting me give her advice, whenever she asked questions. Meredith is about half my "blogging age", but she is already a terrific blogger. She's also a wonderful person. You need some nice in your day? Hit her up on Twitter :D

- Christina of Ensconced in Lit: this lady is a very successful blogger, and she is a fellow math/science nerd YAY! There are like, ZERO math/science bloggers out there, so when I find one, I get excited. Most of you all are teachers and English majors and whatnot. NOT that there is anything wrong with that. Anyway! Christina is fabulous, and she is writing a novel! She helped me with my first Twitter party, which was a huge success. I hope we can do that again sometime! :)

- Jessica of Read My Breath Away: my lovely Canadian friend! This girl is awesome. She's a fellow college student, so I feel extra bonded to her because she knows all about blogging and college and THE STRUGGLE OF STUDENT LOANS. Also, we both love historical fiction. *fist bumps*

- Alexis of Alexis Adores Books: another college blogger who is simply fantastic! I'm not sure when she started following me on Twitter, but she did, and she would always reply to my tweets. Shame on me for not following her sooner. The persistence pays off, Alexis! Thank you :)

- Rachel of Paper Cuts: a third college blogger! This girl is awesomesauce! I love commenting on her blog, because I know that she will always reply with a sassy and terrific and unique comment. Also, she is one of the few people that followed MY college admission process, and was excited with me when I got into JHU, and when I was moving in, and when finals week came around, and so on. Rock on, girl!

- Nikki of Fiction Freak: there's only one way to describe this girl: A GIANT BALL OF ENERGY :D Seriously though, Nikki is one of the most energetic and excitable bloggers I know. She and I both have an eye for detail and organization - something that I don't find often. I love knowing someone younger than me, even if she has over a year of blogging and experience on me. More power to her!

- Eileen of Singing and Reading in the Rain: this girl was one of two bloggers that answered the like, two questions I had when I started my blog. The other was Annabelle of Sparkles and Lightning. I was shy and didn't ask much, but both ladies did not hesitate to answer my questions and help me. *squishes*

- Hannah of The Irish Banana: HANNAH BANANA IS SO NICE! I *finally* met her (and Jen) at the Baltimore Book Festival this year. Hannah gave me books! And hugs! She's an incredible person and a wonderful blogger - check out her ARC Essentials posts sometime!

- Jen of Jenuine Cupcakes: CUPCAKES. That is all you need to know ;D But in all seriousness, Jen is one of the kindest bloggers I know. All that time and money and effort she spends making cupcakes is much appreciated! And somehow, she STILL has time to blog, do YABC editor things, and have a family. Rock on, lady!


- Paula Stokes/Fiona Paul: this lady is probably one of my favorite authors out there, and it has very little to do with me loving her books. Granted, I DO love her books. But I didn't love Venom, Fiona's debut. In my review, I kind of ripped apart the book. BUT. Fiona read my review, and contacted me personally to tell me that she saw some of the things I pointed out, and thanked me for reading and reviewing. She sent me the first ARC of Starling, and I believe I was the first blogger reviewer. You bet I felt special. Anyway, my point is, Fiona/Paula didn't just get mad about my review and shun me. She thanked me for the review AND enlisted my help with the third book. That's incredible, people. I don't know many (if any at all) authors that would do that.

- Livia Blackburne: my favorite debut author of 2014! No offense to the authors. I've been squeeing over Midnight Thief for many, many long months (way early this year). I've also being squeeing over Livia herself, because she is like, my role model. She went to Harvard and MIT, she studied neuroscience, and she writes fantasy novels. I'm going to Johns Hopkins, I'm studying environmental engineering, and I would love to write fantasy books. Score! Plus, she sent me her novella, Poison Dance, and I believe I was the first blogger reviewer to read and review it. Special feels!

- Kathleen Peacock: she's putting my name in the acknowledgements of Hemlock book three. Because I recommended Radioactive (Imagine Dragons). WOW! That's so nice, right?! Also, I believe I won the first ARC of Thornhill, from Kathleen. I was NOT the first blogger reviewer, but hey, I read and reviewed the book eventually! :D

- Amy Butler Greenfield: AMY IS SO SUPER SWEET! I feel like I bug her a lot about Chantress and things, but she takes it all in stride. *thumbs up*

- Patty Blount: one of the nicest authors I know! Her books are definitely under appreciated - meaning, I think more people should read her books. Tough issues, real characters, beautiful writing. She let me beta-read TMI last year around this time! I was supposed to beta-read Some Boys around this time as well... I can't even come up with a good excuse for not reading it. Finals, maybe? Mushy brain? Shoot. ***EDIT: she sent me the final version and I read it and OMG NOBODY MISS THIS BOOK IT IS AMAZING!!!***

- Ellen Oh: she is a Maryland author! WOOHOO! Also, Ellen crossed all of her fingers and toes and joints for me on Regular Decision Day (March 28th). When I told her I didn't get into UPenn, she was like, there is still your Hopkins decision! And then I got into Hopkins, and she was so proud of me. LOVE YOU, LADY!

- Sara Walsh: another Maryland blogger, and a lovely person! When The Dark Light was released, I believe I won a signed copy from her. I was totally going for a poster, but a signed book is great too! But I had been entering so many poster contests, and I didn't win any, and Sara saw this. She saw just how much I wanted one, and you know what she did? She contacted me personally, and sent me not only a giant poster, but a mini-sized poster as well. *dies* SO NICE! I'll never forget that kindness done to me - it made me tear up. And Sara has worked with me here on the blog before, and she is a joy to work with. Seriously, there is no one cooler than Sara!

- J.R. Johansson: one of my favorite debut authors of 2013! She's a Friday the Thirteener (my favorite thirteen debut authors of 2013), and she is fantastic! I won a prize package that included her book, and I read and LOVED Insomnia. Apparently, I gushed over it so much, Jen remembered this, and enlisted me to help reveal the cover of Paranoia (which was revealed on only a select few blogs)! I was touched, because try as I might, I never get to do exclusive (or semi-exclusive) cover reveals! Just group ones. So, thank you, Jen!

- Maurissa Guibord: this lady is sweet and oh-so talented! I LOVED her 2011 release, Warped, and when I found out that she had another book coming out in 2013 (Revel), I was all over the promotion for that book. I contacted Maurissa, and she worked with me on a post and giveaway on my blog. She is so giving and inspiring - I really appreciate her :)

And finally... all of you. Every single person clicked on a link to my blog, or read a review on my blog or Goodreads or Amazon or Barnes & Noble, or commented on my blog, or entered a giveaway, or tweeted at me, or retweeted my promotional tweets, or did SOMETHING for me... thank you. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you, and hope that one day, your kind deeds will be repaid. Blogging is NEVER easy when you don't have an audience. And I may not be the most popular blogger out there, but I love all of you who read and support my blog. *huggles*

The Giveaway:

You've survived my Thank You speech! Not too bad, right?! ;D

Anyway, the giveaway prize is a giant box of finished copies of books, or a giant box of ARCs. The finished copies box has about 20-30 books in it, and the ARCs box has around 20 books in it. Most of the ARCs are recent.

Two winners, INT welcome! Read the GIVEAWAYS page and/or the Terms and Conditions in the Rafflecopter. Good luck! And THANK YOU!

Review: Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi

Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi
Book Two of the Under the Never Sky series
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: January 8. 2013
Rating: 3 stars
Source: hardcover copy given as a gift

Summary (from Goodreads):

It's been months since Aria learned of her mother's death. 

Months since Perry became Blood Lord of the Tides, and months since Aria last saw him.

Now Aria and Perry are about to be reunited. It's a moment they've been longing for with countless expectations. And it's a moment that lives up to all of them. At least, at first. 

Then it slips away. The Tides don't take kindly to former Dwellers like Aria. And the tribe is swirling out of Perry's control. With the Aether storms worsening every day, the only remaining hope for peace and safety is the Still Blue. But does this haven truly exist?

Threatened by false friends and powerful temptations, Aria and Perry wonder, Can their love survive through the ever night? 

In this second book in her spellbinding Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi combines fantasy and sci-fi elements to create a captivating adventure-and a love story as perilous as it is unforgettable.

What I Liked:

Let me tell you a story, about this story. I started reading this book on January 20th (2013, of course). I was sooo excited to be reading the sequel to one of my favorite books of 2012! I got about 180 pages into this book, and stopped. I couldn't take it, I couldn't handle this book (I'll explain why in the next section). So, I put the book down, and moved on.

Of course, I ended up getting an advanced reviewer's copy of Into the Still Blue in the fall, so I couldn't just NOT read book two, could I? So, I picked up book two, and here I am. What a journey Through the Ever Night has been for me. I knew I wasn't going to not finish this book, but it all depended on when I got a copy of Into the Still Blue. Which easily could have been sometime in 2014. 

Anyway, I didn't love this book, but I'm really glad I finished it. It picks up months after book one ends, but it starts with the reunion scene that is in the epilogue of book one (I think it was an epilogue, and not a chapter). Aria's presence in Perry's tribe makes the tribe uneasy and untrustworthy of her. And the aether storms grow worse, weakening the tribe. Aria still has to find Sable, and the Still Blue, in order to get Talon back. How will Aria and Perry's relationship survive?

One of the things I really enjoyed about this book (and was also present in book one) is the dual points-of-view, and the third-person narration. It's not easy to pull of third-person narration in YA, especially since most books are in first-person narration. It's even harder to do third-person narration in split points-of-view. I LOVE getting to see things from Perry's eyes AND Aria's eyes - and I love that both are told in third person. Props to Rossi for that!

The plot and story was kind of slow, which was one of my biggest problems with this book. BUT. It served its purpose - the final showdown that will occur in book three is pretty showy and big. I cannot wait to see how things shake down in book three!

The romance is rocky in this book. Perry is heavily tested in this book, more so than Aria. It's more like he is more tempted than she is, more easily swayed to see things that are not there. However, I didn't get too annoyed with him (or Aria), because nothing was serious to go pointing fingers and screaming, "LOVE TRIANGLE!". Both Perry and Aria were tested, and they survived, and I think that is a great way to have a relationship progress in YA literature. See? You don't need a love triangle...

In general, this was a pretty good sequel - it didn't suffer from sequel syndrome, and the author didn't do horrible things to the male and female protagonist. Yay.

What I Did Not Like:

I spent way to long "reading" this book. Granted, I really only spent two days reading it: January 20th, and December 28th. But seriously - it should NOT take me almost an entire year to read/finish a book. On January 20th, after 180, I had zero motivation to finish this book, and I very clearly remember why.

The first 180 pages were painfully boring. For me. Not much happens, and what happens doesn't happen in a way that captured my attention. Things don't really pick up until about fifty pages later, or when some characters find Sable. THEN things start to get interesting, and I really wanted to know what was going on.

But, Perry's life with the tribe? Did not interest me. I didn't really care. I understand why Rossi spent so much time and pages showing and telling the problems with the tribe, about shelter and food and trust and the aether storms - to show how difficult things were for Perry, to help develop Perry's character, and so on. But it was painful. And boring. And painful.

I had to skim-read the first 180 pages, to familiarize myself with what I read so long ago, and I could remember what I had been thinking at the time. I thought it was boring then, and I thought it was boring now (when I was revisiting the content). There's a problem there.

It was probably possible that I didn't need to read this book. It didn't feel necessary to the series - it felt like a filler novel. And it filled the spot of a sequel well. But I wasn't in love with this book. It didn't break my heart, or make me super happy, or make me rage. It just me bored and tired.

But I am very, VERY excited to read book three next. I have it, and I am going to read it next.

Would I Recommend It:

I would still highly recommend this book, if you liked/loved book one. And if you're contemplating reading this series at all, do it! This sequel isn't amazing, but it fills the spot of a sequel pretty well, and it continues the story appropriately. I'm quite sure book three will blow readers away, just like book one did. 


3 stars. It was a great sequel, but I'm just really excited to read book three. I feel like I could have skipped this book completely, and could have just jumped right into book three. Oh well!

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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (#53)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews, in which bloggers share the books and swag they've received in the past week!

So, what did I get in the week of Sunday, December 22nd to Saturday, December 28th?

(all links to Goodreads are provided!)

In the mail:

Thank you, Scholastic!

Thank you, Jess! I cannot wait to actually read this one :D

From NetGalley:

Loved the first one! Can't wait to read this companion novel.

Last Stacking the Shelves post of 2013! It's been quite the year, hasn't it? :)

Friday, December 27, 2013

Review: Perfect Ruin by Lauren Destefano

Perfect Ruin by Lauren Destefano
Book One of the Internment Chronicles
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 1, 2013
Rating: 2 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

On Internment, the floating island in the clouds where 16-year-old Morgan Stockhour lives, getting too close to the edge can lead to madness. Even though Morgan's older brother, Lex, was a Jumper, Morgan vows never to end up like him. She tries her best not to mind that her life is orderly and boring, and if she ever wonders about the ground, and why it is forbidden, she takes solace in best friend Pen and her betrothed, Basil.

Then a murder, the first in a generation, rocks the city. With whispers swirling and fear on the wind, Morgan can no longer stop herself from investigating, especially when she meets Judas. He is the boy being blamed for the murder — betrothed to the victim — but Morgan is convinced of his innocence. Secrets lay at the heart of Internment, but nothing can prepare Morgan for what she will find — or who she will lose.

What I Liked:

I don't think I have spoilers in this review. But it's possible.

I'm not even going to bother summarizing this book. It was a really bad experience for me, you all. I had such high hopes for. It sounds so dreamy, right? Like there is so much potential in this book. The synopsis really sold me, and any doubts I had were banished by the lovely cover. 

No, wait. I SHOULD summarize this book. Basically, Morgan lives in a city in the sky. She wonders what is on the ground. Things happen, the dominoes start to fall, and suddenly, everyone is ALL ABOUT getting off Internment, and finding out what is on the ground.

The writing is what gets this book two stars, versus one star or zero stars (yes, I have thought to give a book zero stars, if possible. Unfortunately, Goodreads doesn't let me give books zero stars). The writing is gorgeous, lyrical, poetic. I love the flow of the writing. It's almost like reading an epic poem or something. Sometimes, I'd pick out bits of prose, and whisper the words out loud. If there is one thing that Destefano did REALLY well, it is crafting her writing style. It's wonderful.

But that's just about the only "wonderful" thing about this book.

What I Did Not Like:

How do I begin. I have no idea how to start. And you know, usually when I give a book a low rating (two, one, or zero stars), I get all fired up, because there something (or things) about the book that makes me angry. I get all passionate and riled up, and it comes across that way in my review. Well, with this book? I feel more resigned than anything else. Apathetic, I suppose. I'm almost disgusted. It took me TWO DAYS to read this book, rather than the usual two hours.

While I LOVE the writing style, the book itself is SO BORING. I think one of my Goodreads status updates said something like, this book isn't boring, just dense. Well, that was about 35% into the book. And that 35% was VERY boring. I didn't think it was that bad at the time, because I reasoned that I was still less than halfway into the book.

Well, honestly, this book NEVER picked up the pace. Even when something specific happened to Morgan and her parents, I was like, *rolls eyes*, why couldn't that thing happened to Morgan as well? Like, honestly, the book is so boring. Most of it dealt with Morgan moaning and complaining to herself that she is different, that she is too curious, that she dreams too much. Her "musings" are so whiny and ridiculous, in my opinion. And that's like, THE WHOLE BOOK. Oh my gosh, I feel so unsafe, the city is unsafe, oh and I want to look down at the ground, because I'm different, and my family is different, and everyone is watching me, oh I'm so special, la dee dah!

Barf. Grow up, little girl. Morgan acts like such a child, with a child-like mentality. She approaches everything with a stupidity that baffled me. Go after the murderer? Yeah, GREAT idea, that will DEFINITELY make you feel safer. Go after Pen because you want to say goodbye? SO SMART, because, you know, everyone in the city ISN'T after your empty head. Right. Genius, really. Instead of spending so much time with your head in the clouds (quite literally), try actually USING your brain, and think about your survival. Morgan might have seen that the specialist was especially creepy when it came to the tea or drink or whatever. Idiot.

I didn't connect with any of the characters. Just saying. They all seemed one-dimensional and stuck-up, if you ask me. Very flat, with no personality. WAIT, except Morgan - she had a personality. But I HATED her personality. It is dull and dry and scared and whiny and stupid and weak. I hate weak people. I especially hate weak people who are weak in the beginning of a book, and are still weak at the end of the book. Zero character development whatsoever.

Oh, and let me tell you all about this very predictable plot. Internment is like paradise. Well, the phrase "trouble in paradise" basically sums up this book. Out of nowhere, in Morgan's time, there is disruption of the peace. A rebellion of some sort is taking place. So, obviously, what do you think is going to happen? Because, you know, Morgan wasn't daydreaming about leaving Internment and seeing the ground for nothing. You KNOW it's coming. Everything is so predictable UGH! 

The only that thing that I thought was coming that didn't (at least, not in this book) was a possible love triangle. Basil and Morgan are paired together, as all citizens of Internment are paired before birth. So, when a different male who does not have his partner appears in Morgan's life, I was like, here we go with the love triangle business. Well, it DIDN'T happen (yet?), thank goodness. Small mercies.

Basically, I really hated how I wasted two days of my time reading a book that really just did NOT get to the point. I felt like each page I read was the same thing, over and over. Morgan wants to see the ground. Morgan wants to be safe. Morgan thinks things are suspicious, but does nothing to protect herself. Blah blah blah. Morgan is so stupid and very dense and not brave AT ALL. There was this one passage, in which one of the characters tells Morgan that she was very brave. BULL. Morgan was a wimp. Morgan is a wimp.

And tell me why there is so much emphasis on what Internment looks like, the outside of the city, and yet, when it comes down to it, we never actually get a clear idea as to what it looks like from the outside. I was so FURIOUS about that. You can't do that!

Also, there are quite a few plot holes, with the world-building of Internment. Like, where do they get new resources? How do they manufacture their goods? Where does the waste go? Do you know how deadly waste from electricity harvesting, and water coolant from refrigeration and whatnot can be? And with a small city like Internment, you can't just dump it in a field like a landfill. And since Internment is (apparently) like a floating chunk of earth, you can't just shove it deep into the soil, because then it will just fall through the island of dirt. Right? And water? Where does the water come from, and go? The recycling plants? The industries? The inconsistencies of this "perfect" place drove me nuts.

And the ending! What BULL! Everything happens so quickly, and there are no explanations to anything. I didn't know what was happening with the bird. I didn't know if things were going up or down or sideways. I know the main thing that happened, but the HOW is the problem. Too much of the ending is spent on coddling Morgan. Are you alright, Morgan? Are you hurt? Are you okay? STOP. JUST STOP. TELL ME WHAT IS GOING ON OUTSIDE. THROW HER OUT AND MAKE HER DESCRIBE EVERYTHING TO ME. THAT WOULD HELP IMMENSELY.

Okay, maybe I did get passionate about why I disliked this book. I'm still extremely disgusted with this book. We'll see about the sequel.

Would I Recommend It:

Contrary to what most of the other reviewers would say, no, I would NOT recommend this book. It makes no sense, it's boring, and it didn't do me any good by reading it. I got no sense of love, accomplishment, happiness, or any positive feelings from reading this book. I hate to say it, but I really could have gone through my life without reading this book. 


2 stars. There is a good chance that I'll still read the next book in the series, if only to assuage my curiosity. I have so many unanswered questions. I hate unanswered questions.

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