Thursday, February 27, 2014

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (31): Favorite Marauder

Harry Potter Moment of the Week is a meme hosted by Uncorked Thoughts. The aim of this meme is to share with fellow bloggers a character, spell, chapter, object or quote from the books/films/J. K. Rowling herself or anything Potter related! A list of upcoming topics can be found here.

This week's topic is:
Favorite Marauder

The Marauders—you can't help but love them all, even stupid Peter. But Sirius Orion Black is my favorite. Padfoot is actually my favorite character in the whole series. He's devilishly handsome, hilarious, talented, and charming. Padfoot is at the top of his class, alongside Prongs, and he barely even tries. He was able to overcome his family's awful prejudices and allowed no one to influence his morals or values. Sirius is one of the truest Gryffindors. All the cards were lined up for him to be sorted into Slytherin, but he wasn't. Padfoot's loyalty to his friends is another amazing quality of his. It must have destroyed him for people to think that he betrayed James and Lily. He would have gladly laid down his life for them or any one of his other friends. The Marauders were lucky to have Sirius.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Review: Tower of Obsidian by L. T. Getty

Tower of Obsidian by L. T. Getty
Tower of Obsidian
By L. T. Getty
Burst Books
Format: eBook
Source: Author

To Sum It Up: Friends since childhood and now engaged to be married, Aoife and Kale’s future together is put on hold when Kale must answer the call to battle. His return quickly becomes bittersweet when duty requires him to break the betrothal and marry a woman of higher rank. Not everyone in the court is pleased with this turn of events, and some underhanded plotting results in Kale’s capture first by corsairs and then by a cursed people in need of a hero to slay the witch responsible for their fate. As Kale embarks on this quest, Aoife has set out on one of her own—to bring Kale home.

Ally's Review: A book where the maiden has to rescue her warrior—sounds promising, right? The prologue of Tower of Obsidian made a very good first impression. I was excited to start reading, but the more I read, the more I disliked.

The premise of the book was great. I was all for a female protagonist who could take charge and lead a rescue mission. I was not expecting the whiny, annoying, red-headed Aoife. She was a huge disappointment. There I was, expecting a likeable female character only to be stuck with some bossy lady. I definitely admired her love and loyalty to Kale (her betrothed who managed to get himself kidnapped). I did not, however, particularly enjoy her lack of appreciation for the people who actually cared for her. Poor Aaron was pining over Aoife for the better half of the book. Aoife treated her “friends” like crap. She didn't think twice about leaving Aaron or Naguset behind. I can kind of excuse her abandonment of Aaron, seeing that he's a big boy and can handle himself, but Aoife was responsible for Naguset. It really upset me how Aoife treated her; she was too blinded by her love for Kale.

Another disappointment was Aoife's sister Fianait. It wasn't Fianait herself who was the disappointment; she was one of my favorite characters and an actual badass. Fianait didn't care about what others thought of her. She was definitely one of the most interesting characters. Her POVs were the only motivation for me to keep reading. And then she dropped off the face of the earth. About a quarter of the way through the book, Fianait disappeared. There were no more chapters with her point of view; she wasn't even mentioned. It wasn't like something happened to her to excuse her absence and it wasn't like she didn't have an interesting story line or anything. She was just forgotten. That royally peeved me off.

An aspect of the book that I did enjoy was the plot centering around the sorceress in the tower. That was cool. The book would have been much better off if it was based solely on that. There were dragons, magic, and other cool stuff. I just wish they would have been more prevalent in the story from the very beginning.

I honestly found Tower of Obsidian kind of boring. I don't want to say that I had to force myself to continue reading the book, but I wasn't looking forward to sitting down with it, either. It's kind of sad because it had so much potential.

All in All: Tower of Obsidian sounded so promising, but it definitely fell short of my expectations.

Lee's Review: Tower of Obsidian is the sort of book that neither blew me away nor inspired intense feelings of dislike toward it. The world is a creative mix of both Celtic and Norse myths and also features dragons (yay!). While there are some solid epic fantasy elements here, I couldn’t get into the story like I’d hoped to.

The novel’s pacing was the primary issue. I realize that quest-driven fantasy is almost always a slow build, but I need some kind of stepping stone points of interest to hold my, er, interest. I struggled here to stay focused on the story; not all of the subplots leading up to the scenes in the titular tower carried equal intrigue. For me, the novel finally got going once Kale, one of our heroes, began unraveling the mysteries of the tower and its resident witch, Aurore. In fact, I found myself wishing for the book to remain on his story line instead of continuing to check in on the other characters, like Aoife, the young woman who’s searching for him. While the narrative remains in the third person, you view the story from the perspective of multiple characters, a technique that varies in success depending on the character being followed. This echoes my feelings toward the subplots, in that some were better developed than others.

I thought it was a nice change to see the maiden dash off to save the knightly-type guy. I couldn’t help wishing, however, that Lady Aoife had put a tad of forethought into her rescue mission. Sure, she’s acting on a ton of impulse to find the man she loves, but once she gets out into the world, she has a tough time roughing it. She knew heading into her adventure that Kale had been taken captive by corsairs, so I didn’t have much sympathy for her upon discovering that life on the road/high seas was harsh. The thing about Aoife that frayed a nerve or two was that she possessed the initiative to take charge of Kale’s rescue, but she was prone to damsel in distress moments. Much better equipped to cope with Aoife’s situation are her sister, Fianait, and Naguset, her guide on her journey. Both are strong female characters whom I think would have made compelling leads instead of Aoife. As for the male characters, Kale was all right, but it was his friend, Aaron, who proved quite the hero. I love a good underdog story, and Aaron, the son of a smith, plays a huge role in saving the day.

By far the best scenes take place in the tower, which is guarded by some very special dragons. The book really hits its stride here as you await the fate of its heroes/heroines. Reaching this point, though, does take time and requires patience. I didn’t always find myself up to this challenge, which in turn affected my reading experience. Tower of Obsidian has its moments, but I needed them to be spaced closer together.

All in All: I love fantasy and am extra scrutinizing whenever I read it, so maybe the things that didn’t quite work for me in this book wouldn’t be of consequence to another reader.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Movie Review: Vampire Academy

Ally, Melissa, and I finally went to see the big screen adaptation of Vampire Academy over the weekend, and though this post represents only my take on it, as a group, the movie left us less than impressed. All three of us have read the entire series and loved it, so naturally we had to check out the movie. We'd heard that the reviews had been less than kind, so we didn't exactly enter the theater expecting to be blown away. That still didn't lessen our feelings of being let down that yet another beloved book series of ours didn't translate well to the screen.

I understand that filmmakers have a bridge to gap between movie goers who've read the book and those who haven't, but I thought VA went overboard with the exposition. There was a lot of telling rather than showing; the opening scenes with Rose and Lissa in hiding were very chatty. When the differences between the Moroi, dhampirs, and Strigoi were discussed, each term flashed across the screen. If there were concerns about non-readers of the book grasping what was going on, I think those efforts would have been better directed toward making the story flow more smoothly. The movie felt choppy to me, which I suppose is a challenge that all book-to-film adaptations face: what to cut. VA, in my opinion, really could have benefited from keeping a little more material from the novel to assist in transitioning between scenes. For example, if I hadn't already been familiar with Ms. Karp's story from the book, I'm not sure her appearances in the movie would have made as much sense.

The dialogue in the film was definitely less than spectacular, which is such a shame because that is not at all the case in the books. There was an obvious attempt to keep Rose's wit, but the lines felt forced, not because of their delivery but because of how they were written. At least Rose called Dimitri "Comrade," which still makes me laugh.

Ah, Dimitri. I'm sorry to say that I found his screen counterpart disappointing. His role in the movie seemed a little downplayed to me; he just didn't command the presence he does in the novels. Christian probably had as much screen time as Dimitri did, which was fine because he was one of the better developed characters in the film. Mason was very sweet in his handful of appearances (alas, no Eddie), and I also thought Natalie was spot-on, right down to what happens in the end.

The action scenes were very good and the Strigoi suitably creepy, but there was also a great deal of emphasis on the school drama at St. Vladimir's, like Mia's efforts to turn Lissa into a social outcast. Yes, that's all in the book, but whereas the book seamlessly blends the school stuff with the paranormal stuff, the movie didn't pull it off as deftly. Overall, this was an underwhelming adaptation of an amazing book that I hope doesn't get judged too harshly by anyone who saw the film first.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (52)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. It's an opportunity for everyone to share the new books that we've acquired.

I went shopping last weekend to buy groceries and obviously got totally distracted by the book section at the store. In fact, I think I ended up spending more on books than I did on food. I clearly have my priorities straight. XD

For Review:

Thrall by Jennifer Quintez
Thanks to Jennifer Quintez!


Game of Thrones Season 3 Blu-Ray
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken
Red Rising by Pierce Brown

eBooks Bought:

The Archived by Victoria Schwab

What did you add to your shelves this week? Please link me up!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (30): Best Spell

Harry Potter Moment of the Week is a meme hosted by Uncorked Thoughts. The aim of this meme is to share with fellow bloggers a character, spell, chapter, object or quote from the books/films/J. K. Rowling herself or anything Potter related! A list of upcoming topics can be found here.

This week's topic is:
Best Spell

Well, when I'm in a bad mood, it's clearly Avada Kedavra. No, no—just kidding! :D In all seriousness, Accio needs to be a real spell. You don't know how many times I've misplaced something (phone, keys, glasses, wallet, jewelry, etc.) and wished that I could just use Accio to find it. There are also the times when I'm lazy and the ability to summon an object would come in super handy. I could see myself using Accio all the time, really; it certainly proved useful to Harry for the first task of the Triwizard Tournament!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Review: Antigoddess by Kendare Blake

Antigoddess by Kendare Blake
Antigoddess (The Goddess War #1)
By Kendare Blake
Tor Teen
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library

To Sum It Up: The Greek gods and goddesses still exist among us in modern times—but barely. They’re dying, and Athena, for one, is determined to find a way to escape death. She and Hermes set out on a search for the famed seer Cassandra, who’s been reincarnated and is supposed to be the key to saving the deities. Cassandra recalls nothing of her past life, however, and is living in quiet Kincade, New York. Athena isn’t the only immortal looking for Cassandra, either, and these beings are willing to kill each other to reach her first.

Review: I never get tired of reading Greek mythology retellings. I love seeing how different authors put their own unique stamp on these legendary tales, and I was especially excited to see what Kendare Blake would do with these stories. I’d seen some mixed reactions to Antigoddess when it was released, and now, I find myself echoing their sentiments. While I really liked Blake’s imaginative portrayal of fabled figures such as Athena, Hermes, and Odysseus, the plot couldn’t seem to find its focus or momentum.

Antigoddess sports an intriguing premise—some of the gods and goddesses are dying, and in alarming ways. Athena’s body is sprouting feathers inside of it, while Hermes is growing thinner and thinner. The pair, spurred on by Athena’s drive to preserve their immortality, travels far and wide in search of a solution. And when I say Athena is determined, I mean doggedly so; all of her experience leading armies onto a battlefield really kicks into high gear. She can be arrogant and single-minded at times, focused only on halting death and doing whatever she believes is necessary to achieve her goal. I appreciated the fact that Athena and her fellow deities weren’t perfect, though; their character flaws lent them depth and made them seem quite . . . human.

Initially the novel switches between following Athena and Hermes as they attempt to track down the reincarnation of the seer Cassandra of Troy and the life of the present-day Cassandra herself. The latter has no idea who she really is/was and believes she’s just a high school student—who has visions of the future. It takes some time for the two story lines to converge, and I often found the chapters that focused on Cassandra and her friends slow going. I preferred reading about Athena and Hermes’s travels, which were heavier on the action. Once certain characters get (re)acquainted there’s a noticeable pickup in the book’s pacing, but I think the wait for that to happen is a tad too long.

I also found myself rather confused about the war between the gods and goddesses that’s supposed to be going on in this book. That meanie Hera and her cohorts are bumping off other immortals, but exactly why . . . I still don’t know. This remained a nagging question throughout the novel, and one that was never satisfactorily answered.

Thanks to a few bumpy spots here and there, Antigoddess falls a little short of Blake’s superb Anna Dressed in Blood. Antigoddess still manages some creep-tastic moments, though; if you ever wondered what the result of combining Greek mythology with a touch of scary would be, that book is right here. I certainly enjoyed this enough to continue with the series, despite the couple of issues I had with it.

All in All: I definitely think that Antigoddess is worth checking out for anyone who loves mythology retellings. It’s not perfect, but I really love Kendare Blake’s characterizations here; they’re fresh and creative and sometimes even a little frightening.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Review: Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

* SPOILER WARNING: This review contains spoilers for Ignite Me, as well as for the previous books in the Shatter Me series. *

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi
Ignite Me (Shatter Me #3)
By Tahereh Mafi
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

To Sum It Up: Juliette is lucky to be alive after taking a bullet to the chest, but the news that Omega Point—and possibly everyone in it—has been destroyed gives her little time to process what’s happened to her. She vows to obliterate The Reestablishment and its Supreme Commander, and she finds an unlikely ally in Warner. To carry out her mission, Juliette must finally learn to control her power because if she can manage to do so, not even the might of The Reestablishment will be able to stop her.

Review: This is going to be one of the messiest reviews I’ve written to date, and it just can’t be helped. Every time a series that I love comes to an end, I can’t assemble my thoughts for the review. I’ve had a few days to mull over Ignite Me, and I cannot. Find. The words. I try to go into every review with at least a rough outline of what I want to cover, but this book has thoroughly scattered my brain. Something else that I’m finding can’t be helped here: spoilers. I attempt to avoid them whenever possible, but I really don’t think I can discuss anything about this book without referring to specifics. I’m not even sure I can discuss anything coherently, so let’s see where this review goes.

In any other book/series, I don’t believe I would care much for Juliette. She’s often insecure, whiny, and too wrapped up in her own thoughts to notice much else. Granted, she’s had a miserable life and her parents locked her up in an asylum, but after two books, I really needed her to pull herself together. At the end of Unravel Me, it appeared that she was finally going to ditch the moping and start taking some action. And she does—eventually. I’m still up in the air with my opinion of Juliette’s character progression in Ignite Me. Despite her vow to avenge the destruction of Omega Point, Timid Juliette hangs around for a bulk of the book. When the time comes to plot the overthrow of The Reestablishment, Juliette volunteers herself as the post-Reestablishment leader. Umm . . . what? This announcement was on the of the last things I expected from her, and maybe that was the point, but given how wrapped up in herself she is for most of the novel, I was rather skeptical of her leadership skills.

As I said before, in another book, Juliette would have tested my patience, but the series has always maintained an awareness of her flaws, mostly in the form of Kenji. I love Kenji. He’s become one of my favorite secondary characters ever for his sarcasm and frankness. Most importantly, he calls Juliette on her wishy-washiness. Every. Single. Time. Kenji has been the voice of reason throughout the series, and he doesn’t limit himself to getting on Juliette’s case, either. There’s another character for whom Kenji has a stern word or two (or three), and that character is Adam.

The biggest shock of Ignite Me was the absolute drubbing Adam’s character takes, and I say this without even being a member of Team Adam. There’s some definite foreshadowing of his transformation in Fracture Me, but I’d really believed that his doubts about his love for Juliette in that novella were meant to fuel the mystery over the resolution of the love triangle. I was so, so wrong. Almost everything he says to Juliette in Ignite Me is laced with eyebrow-raising viciousness, and although I might be able to cut Adam a bit of slack for being upset over a certain turn of events, I can’t excuse all that he says and does. I do feel bad for his fans because he started out as such a decent guy in Shatter Me.

I’ve always been somewhat confused about what’s going on in this world, and I have to say, it’s become less and less important as the series has gone on. Normally I would take a dystopian novel to task for a shortage of details about the world, but I didn’t fall in love with this series for its dystopian elements. I fell in love with it because of Tahereh Mafi’s beautiful prose and because of one man: Warner.

I lost any ability to rate this series based on non-Warner factors way back in Shatter Me, when he first arrived on the scene. And I make no apologies for that. Never have I become so obsessed with a single character in a book or series that I lived to read every page he was in. I really didn’t give two hoots about whether or not the resistance succeeded as long as Warner was okay. I also wasn’t really fazed by the slow build-up to the finale, and then the book’s hurried efforts to wrap everything up. I know I should mind these little things, but they didn’t take anything away from reading about Warner. I can’t help finding him utterly, utterly fascinating. I can't. Bravo to Mafi for writing such a complex, mesmerizing, and unforgettable character. Believe me, I could have easily devoted this entire review to Warner and why Ignite Me deserves five stars because of Warner.

So yeah, I’m giving Ignite Me five stars. Because of Warner. This wasn’t quite perfect in all areas, but it was in the one that counted, and that was enough for me. Reading Ignite Me made me extremely happy, as five star books usually do.

All in All: It’s all over! *Sobs* I’m going through a denial phase right now, where I keep rereading my favorite parts (*Ahem* Chapter 55). Reading this series has been a fantastic experience (Thank you, Warner!), and now you’ll have to excuse me because I need to go reread Chapter 55.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Fictional Setup

We are actually not big on celebrating Valentine's Day (though we do love eating candy!), but we thought we'd have a little fun today by choosing book boyfriends for each other. Ally went all out for this post by drawing all three couples, which we now present:

Ally & Ronan Lynch

Written by Melissa

Lee and I decided to pair Allison up with Ronan Lynch from The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater as her book boyfriend. Now, if you've read the The Dream Thieves, you know that wouldn't really work out, but luckily enough he's fictional, so it wouldn't work out anyway. :P

Allison and Ronan are perfect for each other! They like to be all cool and tough. But, we all know they have soft spots. Ronan for his pet raven, Chainsaw, and Ally for our dog, Tyler. They would have a ton of fun being mean to people and doing thrill seeking deeds, like street racing and paragliding and stuff. You're welcome, Allison. Enjoy your fictional relationship!

Melissa & Peeta Mellark

Written by Lee

Ally and I think Peeta, from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, would be the perfect fictional boyfriend for Melissa. First, she loves him. A lot. Like, a lot a lot. They're very compatible personality-wise, too, and they're both artistically talented. Plus, Peeta has an aptitude for baking, and Melissa loves baked goods of every sort: bread, muffins, cupcakes, cookies, etc. So really, these two are just destined for each other.

Lee & Fitzwilliam Darcy

Written by Ally

I am scarily good when it comes to figuring out who belongs with whom, in the relationship sense. If Lee could have a fictional boyfriend, I believe the best match for her would be Mr. Darcy from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. They are just inevitably perfect for each other. Lee loves British accents; Darcy has a British accent. Lee loves sarcastic gentlemen; Darcy is one the most sarcastic, rude gentlemen in the fictional sphere. Lee would prefer a man with money and an estate in the English countryside, and what do you know, Darcy has both of those things. The fact that Darcy and Lee are both full-grown adults doesn't hurt their compatibility, either. In all seriousness though, Lee would make a great Mrs. Darcy. She and Fitzwilliam have the same temperament. They'll both be able to give each other the time and space that they would need. They'd also have to be able to accept each other's family. Lee would have to be able to accept Georgiana, and Darcy would have to be able to accept us (meaning me, Melissa, etc.) We'd also have to approve of Fitzwilliam too, which we definitely would.

Do you have a special fictional someone? Please feel free to share in the comments!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (29): Favorite Moment in Book 6

Harry Potter Moment of the Week is a meme hosted by Uncorked Thoughts. The aim of this meme is to share with fellow bloggers a character, spell, chapter, object or quote from the books/films/J. K. Rowling herself or anything Potter related! A list of upcoming topics can be found here.

This week's topic is:
Favorite Moment in Book 6

For me, Half-Blood Prince is probably the saddest book in the series, thanks to, you know, That Moment That Must Not Be Named. I need to pick a lighter moment for this week's topic, so I'm going with Slughorn's Christmas party. I thought it was so sweet how Harry took Luna to the event. I also laughed at Hermione's attempts to avoid Cormac McLaggen all evening; I loved how that was incorporated into the film version of HBP.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Review: Transfusion by Nikki Jefford

Transfusion by Nikki Jefford
Transfusion (Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter #1)
By Nikki Jefford
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased

To Sum It Up: Aurora Sky can’t wait to graduate high school and say goodbye to life in Alaska, but a car accident halts all of her plans for the future. She’s revived by none other than the government, which needs her and her rare blood type for its secret program to eliminate vampires. Aurora wants no part in this, but she has no choice if she wishes to stay alive. Without her monthly injection that only the government administers, she’ll die. And so Aurora embarks on her career as a vampire hunter, all while trying to complete her senior year.

Review: It’s been a while since I read a vampire book, and Transfusion was a nifty little vampire read. It’s not every day that you’re brought back to life by government agents who now want you to kill vampires for them in exchange for the whole saving your life bit. That’s exactly what happens to our heroine, Aurora, and her subsequent adventures keeping Alaska safe from her fanged foes are quite thrilling.

Transfusion features some hard-hitting action scenes and totally delivers on the vampire hunting. Poor Aurora tangles with a super crazy vamp early on in her training, and as cool as her job sounds, I’m not sure I’d like to try it. It’s actually really, really dangerous, and though not all of the vampires Aurora meets want to exsanguinate her on sight, the ones who do are pretty scary. Something that I found rather funny was the gung-ho attitude of Aurora’s fellow hunter and assigned mentor, Dante, toward the vampire extinguishing business. Aurora’s first mission is to take out some big, bad vampire, and Dante isn’t concerned in the least; in fact, he’s supremely confident that she can dispose of her target with ease. Aurora’s heart belongs to someone else, but she and Dante make an awesome team professionally.

In addition to making the action exciting instead of run-of-the-mill for a vampire book, Transfusion’s other strength is its characters. They’re drawn really well, especially the secondary ones, like Aurora’s friend, Noel. While I did think that Aurora should have figured out what was going with a certain character sooner than she did, overall I found her to be a solid protagonist. She kicks some major vampire ass, and that demands a certain amount of respect.

Having read more than a few vampire novels in the last few years, they aren’t as guaranteed nowadays to reel in my interest, but Transfusion is a cut above other titles of its type. Although these vamps aren’t too different from the norm, the well-paced story keeps Transfusion from feeling like standard vampire fare. I really dig the secret government agent angle of this, too, and eagerly anticipate reading about Agent Sky’s next mission.

All in All: I enjoyed this and think it’s worth checking out for fellow vampire fans.

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Post-Ignite Me Post (Contains Spoilers!)


If you have not read Ignite Me, DO NOT CONTINUE READING THIS POST. There are spoilers ahead! If you are still reading this and you have not read the book, STOP! Don't do this! Read the book and then come back! Please! For your own sake! You have been warnered. I better not hear you whining in the comments about how we ruined the book for you because The Melissa WILL CUT YOU!

To give you a chance to click away from this post if you need to, here's a photo of Melissa and Ally's dog, Tyler, to fill up some space before the rest of the post continues:

Last week, we (Melissa & Lee) collaborated on a post theorizing how the Shatter Me series would end. We both finished Ignite Me over the weekend and thought we'd discuss our reactions.

The Melissa: The Melissa was RIGHT! BAM! Mwahahaha!

Lee: Oh. So I see we have "The Melissa" back again today instead of plain, old, regular Melissa. Mind you, I am actually related to "The Melissa." Do you see what I have to deal with here?! And you know, Melissa (I refuse to acknowledge your "The" today), there is such a thing as an ungracious winner. This means you, Melissa.

The Melissa: The Melissa can't hear you over the sound of her rightness. Readers, don't let her fool you. If she had been right (which she wasn't), she'd be a lot worse! And she does enjoy my strangeness because it's entertaining! Anyway, I'll put my gloating aside (for now) to talk about Warner—I mean the book. I WAS RIGHT! Okay, I'm done for now.

Lee: I only finished reading Ignite Me on Saturday, thanks to the Post Office delivering our copies of the book a day late as well as being extra busy with work this past week. It's Sunday as I write this, and I'm still processing everything.

The Melissa: I was so mad the books were late. I almost set the mailbox on fire! Guaranteed Delivery means Guaranteed! That was the only thing that got me through my math class and IT WASN'T THERE! Then, The Melissa had to wait for Lee to finish. Stupid WORK! >:O

Lee: Just remember, it's thanks to work that you also got a copy of the book. Anyway, my brain is kind of a wreck after reading this. I love Tahereh Mafi's writin—it's just so . . . pretty. I obviously loved every word, sentence, and paragraph that pertained to Warner. And yet I also find myself . . . I don't know how to explain what I want to say. The book just kind of ended and felt a little anti-climactic in comparison to how long the build-up was to the finale.

The Melissa: I love TM's writing style. She's an artist! And while I loved everything about the book, I too found the ending to be a bit abrupt. Also, I was a little upset with how she treated Adam. It was like he was a different person. I felt like he was completely out of character. All of the Adam fans (including me) really got shafted. TM didn't just make Adam look bad, she made us look bad, too!

Lee: I've been utterly, ridiculously in love with Warner from the very beginning, but even I have to say that I was extremely surprised by the turnaround in Adam's character. I think it's really hard to like him in Ignite Me. Some of the things he says to Juliette . . . geez.

The Melissa: I really liked Adam in the first book and by Ignite Me, he wasn't Adam anymore! :( I was super happy to find out Warner wasn't a big meanie, though! Lee, I knew you liked Warner because he was psychotic. Did this new info change the way you thought of him?

Lee: No.

The Melissa: * stares expectantly *

Lee: I mean, you're 100% right. I loved Warner in Shatter Me because he came across as completely unhinged. But you know, I never once questioned his love for Juliette, even before you got to see that he had a human side in Destroy Me I loved where his character went over the span of the series, but I would still love him even if he had remained the Warner we first met in Shatter Me. Am I making sense anymore? Thinking about Warner renders me incoherent. God, I still have a review of Ignite Me to write. I got nothing! (BTW, this post was Melissa's idea. It's her way of worming out of writing a formal review of Ignite Me. I'm on to you, dear cousin!)

The Melissa: Hmm. You caught on sooner than expected. :-p I don't think I could write a review for this book without a ridiculous amount of spoilers!

Lee: Yeah, I'm definitely facing that problem. I do believe I'll be employing another spoiler warning when the review goes up. Switching gears, I'd like to share this little tidbit about Melissa. If you want to drive her to hysterics (the angry kind, not the haha kind), just text her some pics of some of the, er, more PG-13 pages from Ignite Me. (I may or may not have learned from firsthand experience that this is a guaranteed way to enrage Melissa.)

The Melissa: More liked rated R! The Melissa cannot handle the awko-taco scenes! Give me the hand holding and that's as far as I want it to go! I'm not old enough for that other stuff! :O

Lee: You are 18 now, Melissa.

The Melissa:

Lee: And on that note, we're going to wrap up this post. I am certainly basking in all the Warner love that Ignite Me showed him.

The Melissa: Remember, NO WHINING about spoilers! Peace out!

Lee: I apologize for Melissa's rudeness. She *thinks* she's hilarious.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (51)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. It's an opportunity for everyone to share the new books that we've acquired.

As a gigantic fan of the Shatter Me series, I was beyond thrilled for the release of Ignite Me this past week! I'm only about halfway through thanks to work, but with the weekend finally here, I'm looking forward to finally spending some quality time reading it! And at last, I broke down and bought a copy of These Broken Stars.


Don't Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski


The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
Unite Me by Tahereh Mafi
Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi
Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

What did you add to your shelves this week? Please link me up!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The War Over Warner: How Will Ignite Me End?

Well hello there, fellow Shatter Me fans! It's Melissa and Lee here, gearing ourselves up to start reading this little prettiful today:

We looove this series a lot, and we wanted to do something special to mark its end. We considered shooting a vlog, but that involved an amount of work that appealed to no one. Instead, we've decided to write down our thoughts, conversation style, about the series coming to a conclusion. *Sniffle* We've been arguing quite a bit over what we think is going to happen, so this should be fun . . . .

The Melissa: Hello my peeps! After reading Fracture Me, I was rather infuriated to say the least. Don't worry, I have a whole rant to write about that shite! Before that, I had thought Adam and Juliette were meant to be together; now, not so much.

Lee: Gee, Melissa, you sound a little upset . . . .

The Melissa: The Melissa is very upset! WTF, man?! It's obvious that Tahereh Mafi used the novella to make Adam look like a douche tart so Warner can be with Juliette! >:0

Lee: Well, you know I have absolutely no problem with that, mwahaha! By the way, have I ever told you how much I love Warner, Melissa? I love him a lot. He may be just a tad psychotic, but I love him.

The Melissa: I like Warner, too, but it doesn't seem like he was supposed to get Juliette from the beginning! First book, without a doubt, it was Adam. But TM decided she liked Warner better and decided to get rid of Adam!

Lee: I don't think that's true. The conspiracy theorist in me says that TM just wants you to think that Juliette is going to end up with Warner, but ultimately, she'll go with Adam.

The Melissa: The second book and novellas are obviously a segue into Warner becoming Juliette's love interest.

Lee: Hey Melissa—remember Chapter 62 of Unravel Me? Yeah, I just went there. And I really, really don't think you should count Adam out. He's totally going to have an epiphany, realize he loves Juliette, and go after her.

The Melissa: Ewww! You sick bitch! You are unhealthily obsessed with that chapter! Anyway, Adam's brother is and always will be his first priority. That is not going to change. Juliette is Warner's number one and probably always will be. Juliette is broken; she needs someone to be fully devoted to her, and that person is Warner.

Lee: Language, Melissa, language! I would say that your strong reaction to the mere mention of Chapter 62 of Unravel Me means that you're attempting to hide something, i.e. your love of that chapter. Anyway, I actually agree that Warner is wholly devoted to Juliette, but I just have this gut feeling that his love for her is going to him hurt. Maybe literally.

The Melissa: Yup. I agree. With the bit about Warner getting hurt. NOT ABOUT CHAPTER-TOO-ADULT-FOR-THE-MELISSA. However, he will not die and they will be together forever.

Lee: Look, I'm all for Warner getting a lovely, happily ever after ending, but I don't see that happening because he doesn't have that kind of luck. Fracture Me was a setup to get readers to think Juliette didn't necessarily rank first in Adam's heart so that when he inevitably pulls himself together in Ignite Me, everyone will be surprised when he wins her heart back. So there.

The Melissa: You're theory is stupid!

Lee: You used the wrong "your." Who's stupid now?! Let's get back to the topic at hand.

The Melissa: NOOOO!!! In my extreme rage, I made the most horriblest of mistakes. Do you see what your stupidness is doing to me?!

Lee: I'm not the one referring to myself as "The Melissa." What is UP with that?!

The Melissa: The Melissa does not answer to you! But, just to clarify, it just kinda happened. Putting "the" in front of things seems so grand!

Lee: This "conversation" is collapsing quickly. Any final, Ignite Me-related thoughts?

The Melissa: I can't wait to gloat when I turn out to be right!

Lee: You mean you can't wait to sulk when you turn out to be wrong! It's OK. I won't remind you about it too often. Maybe only every 5 seconds.

The Melissa: I guess we'll just have to see. And the winner (me) will have a gloat post.

And just in case you need a refresher on the previous books/novellas in the series, here are their reviews:
• Shatter Me
• Destroy Me
• Unravel Me
• Fracture Me

Monday, February 3, 2014

ARC Review: The Tyrant's Daughter by J. C. Carleson

The Tyrant's Daughter by J. C. Carleson
The Tyrant’s Daughter
By J. C. Carleson
Alfred A. Knopf
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley
Publication Date: February 11, 2014

To Sum It Up: Following the assassination of her father by her uncle, fifteen-year-old Laila, along with her mother and younger brother, suddenly finds herself adapting to a new life in the United States. Not only must she grapple with a complete change in cultures, but for the first time, Laila gets a hard look at the perception of her father outside of her homeland. As she struggles to cope with everything that’s happened, her mother pursues her own agenda—one that involves making deals with the CIA.

Review: I rarely read current events-related books, but I couldn’t help being intrigued by the synopsis for The Tyrant’s Daughter. The fact that the author is a former CIA officer also piqued my interest in a title that otherwise would not have caught my eye. The expectations that I formed in my head based on the blurb and the author’s background didn’t quite line up with how the story actually played out, though.

The narrative is told from the perspective of fifteen-year-old Laila, who was until very recently a princess, the daughter of the ruler of a Middle Eastern country that is never named. Laila’s royal world came crashing down the day her uncle killed her father and seized power. Laila, her mother, and little brother, Bastien, have fled to America, where the family is living in drastically reduced circumstances. Although Laila comes across as a fairly sympathetic character who’s caught between her past and present lives, I found her narrative voice detached for the most part. I couldn’t muster much emotional investment in her story, not because there was anything blatantly wrong with the prose, but it just didn’t jump off the page at me.

I read a little too much into the part of the book’s summary that references Laila’s mother, Yasmin, negotiating with the CIA to put her son on the throne. I was hoping to see the author’s personal experience with the agency lend a unique angle to the novel, but the events in the book don’t venture too far from what you’d find in a collection of news stories. Yasmin does engage in some slick maneuvering to get what she wants, but the results, while not completely lacking surprise, aren’t exactly jaw-dropping, either. There’s also a bit of an info dump toward the end of the book.

This review has been a challenge to write because although I didn’t have any particularly salient issues with The Tyrant’s Daughter, it also wasn’t a page-turner for me. It’s equally difficult to rate this type of book, where you’re not really leaning toward liking it or disliking it. My rating reflects being unable to get into the story more than anything, so if this sounds like a book that interests you, I urge you to give it a read for yourself.

All in All: The Tyrant’s Daughter features a fairly fresh premise among YA contemporary novels, and that alone may make this worth checking out. Unfortunately, the book didn’t work out for me, but then books in this genre tend to be hit or miss for me.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

January 2014 Recap

January was kind of a tough month for me reading-wise. I was really excited about starting a new year in books, but being disappointed by two big name titles in a row put a little damper on my enthusiasm. I feel like I'm in a bit of a reading slump right now, but sometimes that just happens. February should be better, if only because Ignite Me, the final Shatter Me novel, is coming out on Tuesday! EEEP!

Reviews Posted:

Featured Posts:

TBR Reading Challenge Progress:

  • Books Read/Reviewed: 1