Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Review: Passion

Passion (Fallen, #3) 

Author: Lauren Kate
Pages: 420
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Source: Library
Synopsis: Luce would die for Daniel. 

 And she has. Over and over again. Throughout time, Luce and Daniel have found each other, only to be painfully torn apart: Luce dead, Daniel left broken and alone. But perhaps it doesn’t need to be that way. . . . 

 Luce is certain that something—or someone—in a past life can help her in her present one. So she begins the most important journey of this lifetime . . . going back eternities to witness firsthand her romances with Daniel . . . and finally unlock the key to making their love last. Cam and the legions of angels and Outcasts are desperate to catch Luce, but none are as frantic as Daniel. He chases Luce through their shared pasts, terrified of what might happen if she rewrites history. 

Because their romance for the ages could go up in flames . . . forever.

Buy the Book (The Book Depository/Amazon)

I didn't expect much from Passion at all. The others books in Lauren Kate's series didn't inspire too much confidence in me and the story could have been much better. That being said, there is something that keeps me reading these books.

I was surprised that there were parts I enjoyed though. You can see I had really low expectations. For the first time, I may have actually rooted for Daniel and Luce. At first I thought their love had no substance. I didn't understand why they were together besides having been together forever. After reading Passion, I've concluded that there is no logical reason. They are simply "soulmates" and that should be that. After accepting the fact that they loved each other forever and ignoring the why, the story was much more interesting.

Journeying through the past was much more eventful than it sounded like. I loved the settings and I was so curious about the origins of the curse. There was good pacing as some of the scenes were awful, but in a good way. It made me understand the hardships Daniel and Luce went through. It also made me respect Daniel as a character more. He was pining for this one girl for over 5000 years and he never gave up. That could be incredibly stupid of him but I still admire his perseverance and determination.

The ending left me with hope (again!) that the next book, now the final, would be spectacular. A huge, epic battle between good and evil. The plot did advance and hinted to a showdown-ish event. Whether that will happen and more importantly, whether it will be satisfying remains to be seen. I will read Rapture though. I've gone through three of these books and by now it would be a huge waste of my time not to read the next. Plus I'm just curious to see if anything will happen with Cam.

Overall, I thought Passion was much better than Torment. There was lot of interesting scenes and revelations. Luce's lives were interesting and the story was easy to read. 3.5 stars,

*** & 1/2 *

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Review: My Beating Teenage Heart

My Beating Teenage Heart 

Author: C.K. Kelly Martin
Pages: 288
Publisher: Random House for Young Readers
Source: Library
Synopsis: Ashlyn Baptiste is falling. One moment she was nothing—no memories, no self—and then suddenly, she's plummeting through a sea of stars. Is she in a coma? She doesn't remember dying, and she has no memories of the life she left behind. All she knows is that she's trapped in a consciousness without a body and she's spending every moment watching a stranger. 

 Breckon Cody's on the edge. He's being ripped apart by grief so intense it literally hurts to breathe. On the surface, Breckon is trying to hold it together for his family and his girlfriend, but underneath he's barely hanging on. 

 Even though she didn't know him in life, Ashlyn sees Breckon's pain, and she's determined to find a way help him. As her own distressing memories emerge from the darkness, she struggles to communicate with the boy who can't see her, but whose life is suddenly intertwined with hers. In alternating voices of the main characters, My Beating Teenage Heart paints a devastatingly vivid picture of both the heartbreak and the promise of teenage life—a life Ashlyn would do anything to recover and Breckon seems desperate to destroy—and will appeal to fans of Sarah Dessen, John Green, and David Levithan.

Buy the Book (Amazon)

Initially, I wasn't very impressed with My Beating Teenage Heart. I didn't really care for the story or like the characters. What kept me reading was the emotion the author so successfully conveyed. I had tears in my eyes while reading.

The story is about death and grief. Breckon lost his sister and is struggling. Ashlyn is in this weird in between state where she's watching Breckon and trying to learn more about who she is. Both characters go through a lot, but Breckon's story had me far more upset. I think it was because his was actually happening while all Ashlyn had was memories. The way the characters dealt with grief was raw.

Nothing about this book felt cliché. This book is so different from other books. It feels like a contemporary novel, but there is a paranormal ghost/afterlife element. Ashlyn and Breckon don't fall in love. Ashlyn's identity isn't what you suspect. Breckon has real friends. It was so different in that way.

I couldn't deal with emotionally investing myself too much in this book. I was reading in public so a lot of the time I couldn't continue. The plot isn't exactly fast-paced but stuff does happen. It isn't in my taste but it made me cry. I feel full of contradictions when I think about this book. It's really weird, but I think I enjoy it. You don't have to like every story you read. Sometimes you can say "This was a good story to read" without liking the story. The darkness in the story, as well as the hope makes me happy I read it.

Overall, I recommend My Beating Teenage Heart for those who enjoy emotional stories that promise hope. It's a hard story to read, but rewarding. 3.5 stars,

*** & 1/2 *

Saturday, January 14, 2012

See You Soon!

Hey guys, it's that time of year again.

Exam time.

Summative time.

Way too much school time. Whenever there's too much school work it interferes with blogging. I can't really focus on posts or reading right now  or over the next two weeks. Don't worry I'll keep reading when I can and writing awesome reviews, I just won't have time to post those reviews.

You may see me post occasionally... but I don't think that will happen too often.

Thank you all for being awesome, and I look forward to seeing you in two weeks or so.

See you soon,

- P.E.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Cover Wars: The Selection vs Illuminate

Welcome to Cover Wars! Cover Wars is a fun little feature of Tantalizing Illusions all about the appreciation of beautiful covers. Every week two covers will head off in a battle. Last week's winner, the Defender will go up against this week's hopeful, the Challenger. The winner is determined by your votes and your support!

Last week was another week where The Selection absolutely dominated the voting. This week, can it continue to do so against our new challenger, the very pretty Illuminate by Aimee Agresti?

The Selection (The Selection, #1)vsIlluminate

Both covers have the most gorgeous distinctive font and are pretty girly. Both are side shots but leaning in different ways. And of course, it's the classic red or blue! They're looking good!

Now comes the hard part. We've seen the pretty, now we need to see which is your favourite cover. Which cover appeals to you more? Remember to vote on the poll to the right on the side bar.

Let the Cover Wars... BEGIN!

*For more exciting Cover Wars, visit The Book Faery. *

Monday, January 9, 2012

Review: Imaginary Girls

Imaginary Girls

Author: Nova Ren Suma
Pages: 348
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Source: Library
Synopsis: Chloe's older sister, Ruby, is the girl everyone looks to and longs for, who can't be captured or caged. When a night with Ruby's friends goes horribly wrong and Chloe discovers the dead body of her classmate London Hayes left floating in the reservoir, Chloe is sent away from town and away from Ruby. 

 But Ruby will do anything to get her sister back, and when Chloe returns to town two years later, deadly surprises await. As Chloe flirts with the truth that Ruby has hidden deeply away, the fragile line between life and death is redrawn by the complex bonds of sisterhood. 

 With palpable drama and delicious craft, Nova Ren Suma bursts onto the YA scene with the story that everyone will be talking about.

Buy the Book (The Book Depository/Amazon)

Imaginary Girls was not what I was expecting. It was a haunting story full of creepiness and sisterly love.

I can't say much about the characters. I didn't really like any of them. Not because they were badly written characters and lacked depth and stuff, but because some of their actions didn't sit right with me. Chloe for one didn't have much of a personality without her sister Ruby. Ruby was fabulous but also so cold. I wouldn't be sure whether to love her or to run away from her if I met her. London I just didn't like, no matter how much she went through. The characters were so odd but their interactions so interesting.

The plot of Imaginary Girls is very subtle. Questions keep building up till the very scary realization, and still there are questions. Not all of them are answered. The book is very unique, no one could possible doubt that. The suspense is crazy. Nova Rena Suma lulls you into a false sense of security before she strikes.

The story, while enchanting, wasn't my kind of solid story. There was a lot of events that were seemingly random and nothing made sense until the end where a lot of stuff still didn't make sense. At times, I didn't like the pacing. It felt like nothing important was happening because the plot was unconventional and I had no idea where it would lead. The book didn't hook me in and make me want to finish it right then and there. The story just didn't seem to work for me. I appreciate it as a creepy story (oh, and I'm NEVER swimming in a reservoir so it served as a warning too) but I didn't really love it.

That being said, there was some great writing here that will appeal to many readers. 3.5 stars for this creepy story.

*** & 1/2 *

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Review: Hourglass

Hourglass (Hourglass, #1)

Author: Myra McEntire
Pages: 400
Publisher: Egmont
Challenge: Debut Author Challenge 2011
Source: Library
Synopsis: One hour to rewrite the past . . .

For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn’t there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents’ death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She’s tried everything, but the visions keep coming back. 

 So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson’s willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may change her past. 

Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he’s around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should have happened? 

 Full of atmosphere, mystery, and romance, Hourglass merges the very best of the paranormal and science-fiction genres in a seductive, remarkable young adult debut.

Buy the Book (The Book Depository/Amazon)

After finishing Hourglass, I'm so surprised. I actually liked the story!

Okay, I know that sound bad but for the for the first part of the book I was bored. I thought Emerson was okay, Michael was a bit too perfect, and I was a bit underwhelmed by everything that was happening. My favourite characters were Dru and Thomas for that part. I was tired of Michael's lies, and Em not trusting him. Then we got to the good stuff which completely changed how I viewed the book.

During the "good part", we met Kaleb (who I lurve) there's more action, more happens, more tension, more's at stake... Everything is more. The plot expands, there are startling revelations and I finally start liking Em and Michael. Especially near the end. Basically, this is the part that got me hooked on the book.

I really liked the way time traveling was done in Hourglass. It was cool that it had something to do with science and matter. The powers that the people had weren't too out there. Myra McEntire made it work. It was fresh and different from the regular time travel stories, even if you ignore the twists.

Now that I know how good Hourglass was I can not wait for the sequel. I want to spend more time with the characters to get to know them better. The story has me wondering what will happen next and it's just good. 3.5 stars,

*** & 1/2 *

Friday, January 6, 2012

Review: The Running Dream

The Running Dream

Author: Wendelin Van Draanen
Pages: 332
Publisher: Knopf
Source: Library
Synopsis: Jessica thinks her life is over when she loses a leg in a car accident. She's not comforted by the news that she'll be able to walk with the help of a prosthetic leg. Who cares about walking when you live to run? 

 As she struggles to cope with crutches and a first cyborg-like prosthetic, Jessica feels oddly both in the spotlight and invisible. People who don't know what to say, act like she's not there. Which she could handle better if she weren't now keenly aware that she'd done the same thing herself to a girl with CP named Rosa. A girl who is going to tutor her through all the math she's missed. A girl who sees right into the heart of her. 

 With the support of family, friends, a coach, and her track teammates, Jessica may actually be able to run again. But that's not enough for her now. She doesn't just want to cross finish lines herself—she wants to take Rosa with her.

Buy the Book (The Book Depository/Amazon)

The Running Dream is an incredible, inspirational read. My first thought after the initial shock of awesome I got after finishing the book was why haven't more people read this book? I haven't seen it getting the attention it deserves.

After one of the best points in Jessica's life, the future looks good until tragedy strikes and Jessica loses a limb. Jessica is a runner so losing one her feet is like a musician losing their sense of sound. It's plain awful. I felt for Jessica as she tried to come to terms with what was happening. Her emotions and feelings were so real. There were times where she was acting angrily towards other people and I understood that completely. Jessica's reaction were so true that I instantly loved and supported her character. Her journey was a great one.

It wasn't just Jessica's character that was awesome though. Every single character had depth and made me smile in a way. Her mom, her best friend, her sister, her dad, they all were real relationships that I couldn't help but read about.

The Running Dream was split up into 5 parts. Inside the parts there were chapters that ranged from one page to seven or eight pages. I loved this format because the prose was so powerful and raw. The writing was engaging and conveyed the emotion so beautifully. I never looked at the page count because I was so invested in the story I didn't even care about the pages.

The story itself is the kind of story that first makes you appreciate what you have and second make you want to do something important. Anything. Jessica succeeded but with the help of her friends and family, and community. They stood by her and it was just moving to see all they did. I know this happens every day though. People lose limbs, get disabilities or gain them early on. These people are fighters. Survivors. They have my eternal admiration.

Overall I'm very happy with this book. Wendelin Van Draanen has written an enchanting and powerful story so I recommend you read it. 4.5 stars.

**** & 1/2 *

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Cover Wars: The Selection vs Darkness Before Dawn

Hey everyone! Welcome to another brilliant edition of Cover Wars, hosted at Tantalizing Illusions! Cover Wars is a little feature all about appreciating covers. Every week there is a showdown between two covers- a "Defender" (last week's winner) and a "Challenger" (a new cover). Both covers will fight for the most votes and the winner will continue on to next week's battle. This is my way of appreciating the beauty of YA covers. 

Last week The Selection dominated The Golden Lily. This week it's back to fight against a new, darker cover, Darkness Before Dawn by J.A. London. 

The Selection (The Selection, #1)vsDarkness Before Dawn

What do you guys think? Both covers feature girls in pretty dresses that have layer. Both covers have the girls hiding their faces in some way. They both manage to have very different vibes and I'm really curious to see which cover will come out on top. 

Now that you've seen the competitors, it's time to VOTE!! Vote for your favourite cover on the right and be sure to let me know your choice and your thoughts in the comments. Or if you have any suggestions for future Cover Wars, also let me know. 

And if you like Cover Wars at Tantalizing Illusions, you'll love The Book Faery's Cover Wars! 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Book Blogger Confessions (1)

I know I'm a little late joining, but I really wanted to participate since I think this sounds like a great meme.

Book Blogger Confessions is a meme hosted by Tiger from All Consuming Books and Karen from For What It's Worth Reviews all about blogging experiences, issues, whatever. It will be be posted on the first and third Monday of every month and I strongly encourage you to check out their blogs for more information, as well as a linky to everyone else's answers. 

Or for more information, read this post. 

This week's question is: 

How has the "job" of book blogging changed your reading habits? Both pro and con.


I read much more and I realize the value of a book so much more. 

Blogging has made me read more than ever. Reading isn't some solo, individual act I do anymore. It's not something I feel alone in doing. Before blogging, I thought no one else ever read as much as I did. I knew other people that read similar books, but not as much. It felt like I was weird to read so much and care so much about books. Ever since I started a blog I've realized other people care about books as much as I do, and even more! There are so many fabulous blogs showing such dedication that just really enhances the reading experience. 

Seeing posts everyday about books and all the cool books people are excited about as certainly expanded my TBR. I don't think I'd have read even a 1/4 of the books I do if not for blogging. For example, before blogging I would not read contemporary. My only experience with contemporary was Gossip Girl, The A-List, The Clique and all and those are fine books but after a while I felt like I got tired of them. Blogging has introduced me to many more contemporary reads like If I Stay, Between Shades of Gray and The DUFF to name a few. 

Nowadays, every time I read a book I think of all the work that went in it. I read the blurbs carefully, I think of what the cover is trying to say, and I all out examine the book in a completely different way. I am much more respectful of books since I now have an inkling of what publishers and authors go through for each book and I can fully appreciate a book even more. 


Reading is now much more stressful. I have more to read, I have to read it "better" (more carefully, questioning how I feel about the book) and I have to read it faster. It means I have to change my reading habits and reading is more than just a hobby now. I can't just simply pick up a random book. I have a whole schedule I need to follow. It's kind of overwhelming. 

I miss the days when I could just simply enjoy a book without having to explain to myself why I enjoy it. Analyzing a book makes its faults more apparent so I think- and this is awful, but it may be true- that I like books in general less in some level. Reading slumps are more common and reading feels like a job sometimes.

And since I'm not the kind of person that can end on a negative note:

But blogging is exactly what I needed, as a reader. I think my reading would have slowed down if I didn't take the step to the "next level". I'm passionate and always 100% into my interests. Without people to talk books to, I wouldn't have continued reading half as much as I do now. 

I know sometimes I complain about how reading feels like work now that there's so much pressure behind it, but sometimes that's a good thing. Reading is even more rewarding than ever. Every time I get a comment on a review, it instantly brightens my day. Having a review request for a book I really want makes me jump up and down. Even though blogging has gotten me to reach new reading lows, it's also gotten me to reach highs that I would never have had if I hadn't started a book blog. 

My point? It's worth it. 


*ahem* Sorry for that reaallly long answer... did I mention how much I love to talk? Anyway, thanks for visiting and I'd love if you'd share your thoughts in the comments. Happy blogging!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Review: Hereafter

Hereafter (Hereafter, #1)

Author: Tara Hudson
Pages: 404
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Library
Challenge: Debut Author Challenge
Synopsis: Can there truly be love after death? 

 Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she's dead. With no recollection of her past life—or her actual death—she's trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive.

 Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit named Eli is doing everything in his power to destroy their newfound happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world . . . forever. 

 Thrilling and evocative, with moments of pure pleasure, Hereafter is a sensation you won't want to miss.

Buy the Book (The Book Depository/Amazon)

Hereafter is another title to add to the list of "nice ghost stories". There's romance, death, and some really creepy spirits.

Reading this book was a breeze. The second I started it I was wrapped into the easy prose. Very easy to get into and to read I was surprised how quickly I finished the book. It's 400 pages or so, but it doesn't feel like 400 pages. The story isn't very complex and is very much a love story. Hereafter isn't a plot driven story, it's driven by characters instead. Which means most of what happens is Amelia's thoughts, feelings, reactions and fears.

After finishing Hereafter I'm not sure what to think of Amelia. I think she's nicer than me and has a better temper to start with but that doesn't say very much about her. She seems like an average girl. Part of the problem is that Amelia doesn't remember her past at all except for brief flashes. So since she can't remember what she has done, and she's a ghost so she has very limited interactions, it's hard to make her more of a real person and less of a character. Right now I think of her as a lovestruck yearning spirit that's on the verge of finding the light.

I said before that Hereafter was a love story and that's partly why I wasn't in love with the book. I like a romance being in the book but not the first or second main focus for 50%-75% of the book. I did like Joshua as he was really sweet and nice and he was good for Amelia. I would have liked to see him in more action though. Maybe more danger? I think the problem is that Joshua and Amelia are in an adorable and sweet relationship. I like more danger and darkness in a relationship. So me not liking it was based on my tastes.

Despite my complaints I did like Hereafter. Some of the ghost stuff was really cool, once you got to the good stuff. The end was interesting and I'm curious to see what happens next. Do I think this book is a must read? Not really. There are lots of cool points to it which is why many people probably will enjoy it. I'm giving it 3.5 stars,

*** & 1/2 *
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...