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20 August 2012 @ 02:19 am

Title: Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1)
Author: R.L. LaFevers
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Read In: June, 2012
Rating: 3.5/5

Summary: (from Goodreads)Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

Ramblings: Assassin nuns? Dark magic? Political intrigue? All in 15th Century France? Sounds like a recipe for a pretty great read, right?

This one had so much potential to be amazing and even though I did really enjoy a lot of it, I still think it just missed the mark. So, what went wrong? I would say the blame lies in perhaps 3 things. First, the pacing. The first 20% of the novel moves pretty fast which I thought was a little bit odd (I'll go more into it in a bit), but I figured the rest of the novel would move just as fast. It didn't. Most of the book went pretty slowly, but I never really got bored with it. I will, however, say that the slower pace should not have lasted as long as it did.

Pacing became more problematic towards the end of the novel as well. After spending so much time with the slower pace and the build-up of the story, the sudden rushing of everything going on and trying to get to the ending climax just felt awkward. It was like LaFevers was hurrying to end the book before she ran out of pages.

Second, is the world-building, specifically the supernatural bits. While I really loved the historical setting with supernatural elements, I was sooo disappointed with the lack of good backstory for the convent and of St. Mortain. The time you spend reading about Ismae at the convent is so brief that it hardly serves as a strong backbone for what her life becomes about. I mentioned earlier that the speed in which the book starts out with was odd and this is exactly why. How am I supposed to believe that she's so dedicated to the convent when I didn't even really see her do much there? I wanted to see her learn all the skills she needs and develop into the great assassin she's supposed to be.

The third thing I'd place the blame on would be is Ismae's inconsistency and her relationship with Duval. It's not a huge fail, but it still bothered me. Considering her background, I would have expected her to be way more wary of him and not have fallen for him so easily. I do think their romance was decently paced (no declarations of love were had until much later in the novel, thank baby Jesus), but I still find her easy reciprocation hard to believe.

Now that the negativity is mostly out of the way, I'll talk about things I did like about Grave Mercy. One of the best things about it was the fact it didn't shy away from including more mature/adult themes than what we might be used to reading in YA. I know there were others that didn't like this, but I personally thought it was refreshing.

Ismae in general was okay as a main character. I didn't love her, but I didn't hate her. I just wish she had better character development. I found Annith and Sybella from the convent and Anne the Duchess-to-be way more interesting than either of the main characters. I liked Duval enough, but he didn't really stand out for me aside from when he showed his love and protectiveness for Anne. That I did like. Those other guys that helped him (their names escape my mind at the moment) were pretty great too.

Final Verdict: Grave Mercy was a decent read, but I can definitely say that it's not for everyone. I was hoping there would be a cliffhanger at the end (and that is something I never ask for), but everything gets wrapped up a bit too well and eh what are you gonna do. Parts are predictable (such as a certain betrayal that happens-you can see it a mile away), but that can't really be helped either. Other than that, it wasn't so bad. If you like reading historical romances, this could be right up your alley.

p.s. I wasn't sure if I was going to read the sequels after I had finished this one because I didn't know if it was going to be about Ismae and Duval again, but I just found out that they're going to focus on Annith and Sybella and I am so happy. I will definitely look forward to those.

p.p.s. It's hilarious that one of the big complaints about this book that I've noticed on reviews over at Goodreads is that the book is more of a historical romance. I guess people must have expected this to be more kickass (which, I admit, I did as well), but did these people that are getting mad over it not read the summary? At all? Scroll back up and look at what the last paragraph says in the summary. I'll wait.

How can anyone miss that? Did they all just stop reading after it mentions the convent and being an assassin? Good grief people. Don't blame the book for your fail reading comprehension.
05 August 2012 @ 11:51 am

Title: Beautiful Disaster
Author: Jamie McGuire
Page Count: 361 (Kindle version)
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 0/5 stars

Summary (taken directly from Goodreads): The new Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate percentage of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance between her and the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University’s Walking One-Night Stand.

Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby needs—and wants—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match.

Ramblings: Recently my mum sent me Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire because she thought I would “love it.” Right. Now, after reading that monstrosity, have I realized that she was just being sarcastic. Clearly the joke was on me. :|

There was just so much wrong with Beautiful Disaster than there was right that I just didn’t know what to do about it. The main character, Abby Abernathy (cute name, bee tee dubs), is attending Eastern University and is running away from something. Yawn. Except then she meets Mr. Sex on Two Legs, Travis Maddox, at a fight— not a fight club though, damn— and that’s when everything goes cray cray. I was really hoping homegirl would stick to her guns and blow Mr. Sex on Two Legs off but then I remembered that this was supposed to be a romance book (although the “romance” between her bff and his cousin could have fit the bill pretty well) and she would ultimately end up with him. I feel sick just thinking about this.

Travis Maddox is in the Christian Grey category of male leads. Translation: homeboy/Mr. Sex on Two Legs is batshit crazy (‘scuse the language) and needs to be locked away for his safety and the safety of others. He was impulsive, overbearing, and controlling (or in Abby’s words “overprotective”— brb puking) and ugh, I just can’t even begin to describe how terrible he was. Let me just say this: if someone tries to tell me what I can or cannot wear, they can gtfo. No really, I don’t see it as being protective, I see it as being a controlling and possessive arse. /endminirant Supposedly he’s attractive but I was too busy being disgusted with his and Abby’s relationship to actually pay attention to how he was supposed to look.

A few times whilst reading this I literally felt sick to my stomach. There was a fight and then something happened to Abby and I was just all D: because even though I didn’t like the book, it still wasn’t right. Then Travis got a tattoo of her nickname after only knowing her for like two months or so which I found really creepy and side-eyed my iPad. And then there was another scene where Abby and Travis were broken up and she was having a date/nondate with her ex, Parker, and Travis comes up and is all “I need you at my fight, you’re a good luck charm, blah blah blah” and she falls for it and UGH. THEN HE SAYS HE JUST FLUFFING HIS COCK OR WHATEVER BY SHOWING HE WAS THE HBIC WHEN IT CAME TO HER AND THAT SHE WAS HIS. WHAT WAS HIS PROBLEM!? I get that he had mommy issues or whatever but that doesn’t mean you can act like a git. Actually, the real question is: why do people think this sort of behavior is acceptable?

If Goodreads had allowed it, I would have awarded Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire zero stars because what the hell did I just read?



18 June 2012 @ 11:08 am

Title: The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green
Genre: Young Adult
Page Count: 313
Read: January 2012
Rating: 5/5 (actually it broke the rating chart because it was so perfect)

Ramblings: I first fell in love with John Green when I read Looking for Alaska my sophomore year of high school and my love grew as I read his following novels so, of course, I was eagerly anticipating the release of The Fault in Our Stars and was, therefore, quite pissed when Amazon never shipped my pre-order. Never mind that though, luckily my local BAM (Books A Million) had signed copies in stock and I got to read this perfect piece of literature. TFiOS made me cry, laugh, smile, throw my book in annoyance, and sob my bloody heart out. Translation: it caused all the feelings.

Now, I’m not even going to try to properly review The Fault in Our Stars because words cannot even begin to explain why I love it so much or how phenomenal it is but that’s okay. Our main character is Hazel Grace Lancaster (kudos to John for writing a lovely female lead for once. I didn’t particularly care for Alaska or Margo Roth Speigelman) a sixteen year old with terminal cancer. Then there’s the boy: Augustus Waters. Hell, even his name is sexy and he has a prosthetic leg and is extraordinary. Can’t really beat that. And, of course, they fall in love and it’s so beautiful and I can’t really say much without giving away everything that happens but I’m kind of tearing up as I write this because I’m thinking about this book and it just causes my heart to cry.

Can I just say that I wish I knew people like Hazel Grace Lancaster or Augustus Waters? Please? Or that I had parents like Hazel’s who love her so much?! And what about Isaac? This is one of those books that made me wish that fictional characters existed outside of books. -=insert sob here=-

Hazel is probably one of my favorite characters of all time because she was real. Sure, she didn’t fight vampires, or win the Hunger Games and be the face of a rebellion, or even join an underground group to bring down He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named but that doesn’t matter to me. I appreciate her love of books and America’s Next Top Model (along with other crappy reality shows) and I identified with her moments of awkwardness (I mean, who hasn’t judged themselves when in the vicinity of a person they find interesting).

The Fault in Our Stars is John Green’s best work to date (and may even end up being the best book he ever writes but don’t quote me on that) and has quickly become one of my favorite novels of all time and I just want everyone to read it. Okay.

Side Note: Apparently TFiOS is going to be a movie and I’m not really sure how I feel about it. I mean, out of all his stuff, it is definitely the one I could see on the big screen but I’m scared that they won’t give it the proper care that it deserves.

“There will come a time,” I said, “when all of us are dead. All of us. There will come a time when there are no human beings remaining to remember that anyone ever existed or that our species ever did anything. There will be no one left to remember Aristotle or Cleopatra, let alone you. Everything that we did and built and wrote and thought and discovered will be forgotten and all of this” --I gestured encompassingly-- “will have been for naught. Maybe that time is coming soon and maybe it is millions of years away, but even if we survive the collapse of our sun, we will not survive forever. There was time before organisms experienced consciousness, and there will be time after. And if the inevitability of human oblivion worries you, I encourage you to ignore it. God knows that’s what everyone else does.”


Series: Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, Frostbite, Shadow Kiss, Blood Promise, Spirit Bound, and Last Sacrifice)
Author: Richelle Mead
Read: April-May 2012
Overall Rating: 5/5

Ramblings: I absolutely loved the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead. I devoured the first four books, got spoiled, took a wee break, and then went back and tore through the final two which is practically unheard of for me. Usually when I get spoiled for a series, I stop reading it (although a notable exception is The Hunger Games and that’s because I needed to see for myself how my bb Finnick died) but there was just something tickling away on my insides that wanted, wait, no NEEDED me to finish this series. So I did. Plus I really wanted to read the spin-off series, Bloodlines, and I have to read books in order and I wasn’t sure if there was stuff I needed to know about in Spirit Bound (#5) and Last Sacrifice (#6).

I am a Rose Hathaway fangirl. This heroine is so kick ass that she puts Natasha Romanoff to shame (except not really because both of them are phenomenal ladies in their own way). She’s a dhampir and a (future) guardian to the (future) Queen Lissa Dragomir. Plus there’s a steamy romance with her attractive mentor, Dmitri and a not as steamy but really cute romance with a Moroi (vampire), Adrian who is a BAMF in his own right. Oh and she has a group of awesome friends-- Christian Ozera, Mia, Jill Can’t-Remember-Her-Last-Name, and Eddie Castsomething-- that help her with all of her crazy shenanigans with loads of questions just about that’s going on, not really about why they’re doing it. Friends like that are wonderful and amazing.

This series gave me all sorts of feelings and warm thoughts that I didn’t think was capable of having about books with vampires (Twilight turned me off, to be quite honest) BUT IT DID. Unlike a lot of paranormal/vampire young adult lit these days, the Vampire Academy series was more than just a boy and girl in love-- and actually, she didn’t even end up with a vampire-- it was about a girl who kicks ass, murderers, political turmoil, insane people, and a bunch of other awesome things. Hell, it even went international! Like, murders on foreign soil where we were introduced to another flawless (and my absolute favorite character and the reason I wanted to read Bloodlines-- it’s from her point of view), Sydney Sage the Alchemist although I really think she should be renamed Sydney Sage the HBIC.

OH AND LET’S NOT FORGET ABOUT THE SHENANIGANS. I know I vaguely mentioned it somewhere over the rainbow but there was a lot of action and shit that went down. People were dying left and right, Queen Lissa dances with insanity because of her abilities, and the government almost falls apart until HBIC Rose saves the day. The zmey, her father, Abe, is a BAMF and I would think that’s where she got her personality from except her mother, Janine, is the fiercest guardian on the planet. Clearly I have a lot of love for these characters. Moving on, back to the shenanigans. Anyway, after things go down THAT I WON’T SPOIL BECAUSE I WANT EVERYONE TO READ THIS, Rose hauls her ass across the pond and winds up in Russia (and later Serbia) and just goes on a killing rampage looking for um, stuff (please note this is really difficult to not spoil).

Also, I just realized that I’m making it look like Rose is the only kick ass fighter awesome person in this series but she’s not-- Christian may be Moroi royalty but he’s not afraid of getting hands dirty, little Jill M. wants to learn to fight and use her abilities to be able to defend herself and others, Eddie is a just a badass fighting machine (think of the fight scene in Inception-- yeah, he’s that amazing), Dimitri is basically a god amongst guardians-- he could probably kill someone with his left index finger, and iuogjdfji  there are just too many badass characters in this book.

I just realized I keep mentioning abilities and I should probably explain what the hell I’m talking about (I really need to plan my reviews better) but yeah-- there are five (originally thought to be four) elements and every Moroi specializes in one of them: earth, air, fire, water, and spirit. My favorite is definitely spirit because it’s probably the most mysterious as no one is actually sure what it does. For instance, Queen Lissa can heal people and bring them back from the dead-- she is also an ace compulsion user and BAMF Adrian Ivashkov can heal people and walk in people’s dreams. Spirit users are usually the most unstable though as the more they use, the more they teeter on the brink of insanity and can go crazy from using their powers. Nifty, right?

I don’t think I can put into words exactly how much I love and fangirl this series but that’s okay. To be honest, I could probably write a NaNo novel waxing poetic about my love for this series and it still wouldn’t adequately sum it up. All that matters is that it was phenomenal and I want everyone to read it so please do. That’s all, I think I’m going to go eat my pizza and think of a dreamcast for this series. Tumblr, here I come.

Side note: Originally this review was almost 2000 words long and it was a hot, rambling mess so I cleaned it up a bit and took out the serious repetition which basically comprised of AND THEN SHE KILLED A STRIGOI BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT ROSE HATHAWAY DOES. When I like things, I really like them. So there.

Side note: Since writing this, I’ve read the first two books in the Bloodlines series and I want to be Sydney Sage’s best friend. Richelle Mead is a goddess at writing wonderful, full of flaws but still flawless females who kick ass (both literally and figuratively).

08 June 2012 @ 12:42 am

As much as I would love to review every book I read, unfortunately there isn’t enough time in the day for me to do so. Hence, monthly mini-reviews (2-4 sentences usually) was born. Now, I’m not saying I will never review any of these books (and some of them may already have a review posted) but this way all the books I’ve read-- the good, the bad, and the downright terrible-- get some form of acknowledgement. Let’s get started, shall we?

1. The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg -- I really, really, really liked this book. It was full of Beatles references and girls being awesome and promoting putting friends first (even if the club was initially created for the wrong reasons, I’m all about putting friends first and making time for your girls) and even had a cutesy ending so, of course, I recommend it to people who are looking for a quick read with a happy ending.

2. Almost by Anne Eliot -- I was really looking forward to reading this based on the reviews by people on goodreads but it was kind of a let down. I didn’t care for the main character and, trust me, I tried-- don’t get me wrong, I felt bad for her and was rooting for her but, wait. Actually it was the people who were supposed to be there for her/”protecting her” that pissed me off. I feel like her pain might have eased a little more had they not hidden everything from her and handled her with kid gloves.

3. Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler -- I was expecting to love this like I loved Twenty Boy Summer and I did. Sarah Ockler did it again and created a world that made me feel all the feelings. A+

4. Ten Things We Did by Sarah Mlynowski -- Should be renamed Ten Times I Yawned from Boredom. This is more of a beach read but with an ugly cover.

5. Fallen by Lauren Kate -- A reread and I think I’ve mentioned how much I love this book even though it’s kind of Twilight-y and the main love interest is an asshole who resembles Alex Pettyfer so I want to jump his bones.

6. Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead -- Full review is forthcoming.

7. Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead -- Full review is forthcoming.

8. Bloodlines by Richelle Mead -- Is it time for the second book yet? I think I love Sydney Sage more than Rose Hathaway (which is saying something) and I definitely recommend this to everyone.

9. Divergent by Veronica Roth -- See fangirl review. tl;dr: I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH. Even if I wanted to slap Tris half the time. Also, I hate the name Tobias. He will forever be known as Four to me.

10. Free Four: Tobias Tells the Story by Veronica Roth -- Can Four have his own novel? I wish Veronica Roth would pull an SMeyer and start writing a book from his POV. 
11. Dawn of Zombie Haiku by Ryan Mecum -- This sucked. That is all.

12. Insurgent by Veronica Roth -- Loved this more than Divergent, if possible.

13. Being Friends with Boys by Terra Elan McVoy -- This book made me want to shoot my iPad and was terribly boring but I need to read a crap book to be able to counteract the feelings caused by an amazing book.

14. Waiting by Carol Lynch Williams -- This was one of my “must reads of 2012” because I loved The Chosen One so much but it didn’t really do much for me. I didn’t really connect with the characters that well and I kind of wish things had been a little explained but it was a quick read and I didn’t hate it so that’s always good.

15. First Comes Love by Katie Kacvinsky -- I love books about first loves but I hate books about first loves. Nice, right?

16.The List by Siobhan Vivian -- With the exception of two other books, this is the worst thing I have read all year long which sucks because this was the book I think I may have been looking forward to most. It was confusing with the way the POVs jumped around and I kept having to reference the front to figure out who was prettiest and ugliest in the class. I feel like this may have worked out better if it had been published in eight different short novels or something of the like. Plus, the rather open-ended ending annoyed me.

17. Insanity by Lauren Hammond -- See review. tl;dr crazy bitch is crazy. Also, loads of sex.

18. Falling in Love with English Boys by Melissa Jensen -- I always thought writers usually got better with each book but after reading The Fine Art of Truth or Dare, I have to say that this book was way better. I wanted to slap the main character for whining about having to spend the summer in London because wtf, I would be all over that like flies on poo. 

19. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis -- I waited too long to read this. It was perfect.

20. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi -- The cover is absolutely stunning. I was enjoying this book until a certain plot twist made me go all “wtf” and almost quit reading it but whatever. I’m looking forward to the sequel.

21. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin -- If I had the power to kill people with my brain, well, I’d suggest you lock me up. This book was creepy and I’m not quite sure why and whilst I was trying to avoid starting series (because I’ve started so many this year and I’m in the middle of a bunch of them as it is), I’ve quickly become addicted because I’m not really sure what’s actually going down.

22. Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park -- And that’s the sound of my heart breaking. 

23. Perfect You by Elizabeth Scott -- I have a serious love/hate relationship with Elizabeth Scott’s books and this a prime example of why. It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad book.

24. Legend by Marie Lu -- And yet another series but I don’t care. I’ve heard a lot about this book and someone gave it to me for my birthday so I cracked it open and was immediately pulled in. I sort of pray that this will never be made into a movie (even though it would be a great one) because they would white wash the fuck out of this cast and I just couldn’t handle that. Again. But anyway, I have so much love for Legend-- it had everything that I love-- well developed and strong characters, murder, an awesome plot, and is a dystopian novel [which I’m starting to realize are my favorite sort of book].