Thursday, November 28, 2013

Review: Beautiful Monster 2 by Bella Forrest

PictureA Happy Thanksgiving to you all (or at least to those who celebrate it)! What better way to celebrate than a review :)

Beautiful Monster 2 by Bella Forrest
Steph's Rating: 3 stars
Overall: 3 stars

Format: Ebook
Pages: 202
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication Date: November 22, 2013

Goodreads Synopsis:
The second and final book in the Beautiful Monster series.

Liam knows his plan is so preposterous that it will either be wildly successful... or fatal.

But it's a risk he has no choice but to take - for his sake and for Amy's.

If Amy thought her first year at Leopard Academy was a whirlwind, she'd better brace herself for a typhoon.
Steph's Review:

I really did enjoy the first Beautiful Monster book, but I felt like this sequel was a bit lacking somewhat in comparison. From the get-go, I knew that I wasn't going to be captivated by this one. It wasn't great, just okay. 

After Porsche DeRitter's death, Liam Swift no longer has a Shield to keep him human during the night, and he must withstand the painful transformation into vampire at every dusk. The only solution is to return to chaining himself onto the wall in the basement of Leopard Academy, so that he won't be a risk to Amy, or any other student at his school. Liam knows he must put a stop to this to not be a danger, so he has gathered a coven of vengeful vampires for one purpose--to finally slay the mother of all vampires, Selene, and end the curse of vampirism. 

Beautiful Monster 2 overall just had a much more cheesy feel to it than the first. There was a lot of typical vampirism aspects like eating raw hamburger meat and unrelenting bloodlust that made me shake my head several times throughout the book. I had lots of "Really?" moments, because I thought Bella Forrest could have made the book much more suspenseful. I'd be reading a serious moment, only to have the magic broken by something ridiculously vampire. Vampires are a cliche topic overall, especially after the whole Twilight drama, but it is completely possible to still write a good vampire novel now as long as the author can make something unique about her definition of vampire--something not cheesy that would just make you sigh with melancholy.

I really loved Liam and Amy in the first book, but for some reason I just wasn't as drawn to them in this one. It's not really Amy's problem actually, more just Liam. I understand that Liam is going through all this angst because he doesn't have a Shield around anymore, and because he's trying to orchestrate an assassination of a centuries old vampire, but he just pissed me off in this book. His attitude wasn't charming anymore, and he spent the majority of this book in a bad mood. That meant I was spending the majority of this book mad at him. Not the greatest thing for character development, eh? There are lots of new vampire characters introduced in this book, but since the novel was short I didn't feel like I really got to know them well before the story ended. 

I also felt like some things were just left unexplained. Heads up, there might be a few ghosts heading your way in Beautiful Monster 2 :)--which I thought was cool, but I didn't really understand why they had to be there. 

The conclusion to Amy and Liam's story itself was quite well done. It was the only valid way I think to give the characters a HEA without seeming too unbelievable for the plot. The problem was within what it took to get to that conclusion.

This is a short read, so if you enjoyed Beautiful Monster this is something to put back onto your reading stack, but be forewarned that you might find yourself a little disappointed with it overall.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Review: Champion by Marie Lu

Champion (Legend, #3)Champion by Marie Lu

Steph's Rating: 5 stars
Overall: 5 stars

Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Putnam Books (Division of Penguin)
Publication Date: November 5th, 2013
Pages: 369

Goodreads Synopsis:
The explosive finale to Marie Lu’s New York Times bestselling LEGEND trilogy—perfect for fans of THE HUNGER GAMES and DIVERGENT!

He is a Legend.
She is a Prodigy.
Who will be Champion?

June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic—and each other—and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps Elect while Day has been assigned a high level military position. But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them once again. Just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything he has. With heart-pounding action and suspense, Marie Lu’s bestselling trilogy draws to a stunning conclusion.

Steph's Review: 

There's always that bittersweet moment you feel when one of your favorite series' ends. That's been happening a lot this year. Fall and Winter 2013: At least 4 or 5 series I love have ended within weeks of each other, and it's been a lot to take in to say the least. Champion made my heart ache a little more than most other books this year though. 

I was terrified going into this book. First, there was the heart-wrenching ending to Prodigy--such a nice stage for Champion. Then Marie Lu says that this was the first time she ever cried while writing a book. If she wasn't crying while writing Prodigy, I thought something worse was going to happen in this one.  She also pointed out how much the bullet shot on the cover represented the story. I did not think the Legend tale was going to end well at this point. I did not picture an HEA anywhere in the near or far future. But more on that later in the review.

June and Day are back in the Republic, but have gone their separate ways. Day has become a revolutionary symbol to the citizens--a new hope for the Republic, as well as a military official. At the same time, he is facing a race against time to cure the infectious tumor ravaging his brain with every second. June is a new Princeps-Elect, in a competition to become the head advisor to the new Elector, Aspen. Things finally seem to be going towards the better; a peace treaty with the Colonies is in the imminent future.

When a Republic plague breaks out on the border cities of the Colonies however, all deals are off. Day, newly called back into service, and June must now find a way to prevent a definite disastrous war for the Republic. They must find a way to save the country they once revolted against, or else an even worse nation under a business-controlled government will spell catastrophe for all Republic citizens.

All I can say is that Marie Lu knows how to make her readers a big glob of mess. First is our whole Day and June situation, although I supposed where Lu takes their relationship to is just something you will have to look forward to :). Then of course is Anden. ACK that guy continuing to make moves on my June even when in Prodigy those feelings were turned down. Seriously, June and Day have plenty to worry about without a smitten Elector on their heels.

Lets do some ending talk again. Champion was definitely a phenomenal ending to the Legend series, albeit bittersweet. I actually predicted how it would end based on the infection that Day had (and also because of my friend's all caps ranting texts after she finished the book before me), so maybe I didn't feel so much of the "bitter" but more of the "sweet". The ending might not require a sob fest, but be assured that you will get teary. But unlike other bittersweet books, or just endings that are flat out tragic (I'm looking at you, Allegiant), Champion left me with a complete sense of hope for the Republic and for our characters. I'm sure that if Marie Lu decided to write another book in the Legend series set 15 years in the future, there would be an HEA conclusion to it. Unfortunately that probably won't happen, but overall you get positiveness out of this series. When you imagine the future for the characters even when there isn't a book out there to tell you, it's a happy scene.

This is packed with action and turmoil that will keep you on your toes for the entire book. Marie Lu doesn't let her readers have any sort of break, and you'll either be wallowing in the feels, pointing angry fingers, or holding your breath for dear life at any given point in the book. Outstanding ending to an equally exceptional series!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (13): Taste of Darkness by Maria V. Snyder

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly bookish event hosted by Breaking the SpineThis is a meme that many book blogs participate in to goggle over highly anticipated upcoming releases and fabulous covers and authors!
I have not done one of these in a while, so finally after a month of no WoW's, here we go! Today's waiting-for book is Taste of Darkness by Maria V. Snyder, the last book to her Healer Series. I need to do some rereading! I haven't reread any of the books to this series, and I need to play some catch up before this release on...December 31st...
Taste of Darkness (Healer, #3)Goodreads Synopsis:
She's fought death and won. But how can she fight her fears?

Avry knows hardship and trouble. She fought the plague and survived. She took on King Tohon and defeated him. But now her heart-mate, Kerrick, is missing, and Avry fears he's gone forever.

But there's a more immediate threat. The Skeleton King plots to claim the Fifteen Realms for his own. With armies in disarray and the dead not staying down, Avry's healing powers are needed now more than ever.Torn between love and loyalty, Avry must choose her path carefully. For the future of her world depends on her decision.
 I'm not too happy about December 31st. Why not earlier? Why not later? A lot of bookstores aren't open on New Years Eve and I don't think a lot of online booksellers ship on that day AND New Years either! It's like Harlequin wanted to make it the final memorable release of 2013 or whatever. 
Well no matter the release day, this is the last series I love that will be ending this year. I'm excited and dreading it at the same time. Sometimes I wish some series could just go on forever. Can't wait to see what MVS has in store for Avry and Kerrick this time! After this release...she might go on to work on her new Valek and Yelena series as well...which I also happen to be squealing around for ;)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Release Day: The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead + Cover of Bloodlines #5 Silver Shadows

Oh my goodness. I can't even sit still in my seat. The entire day at school, I was fidgeting. I wanted to come home, and read read read away. I'm pretty sure I bombed a chemistry test today thanks to this book (I'm not complaining!) 

Yes, Happy The Fiery Heart Day everyone! I can't wait to crack open this cover--Richelle Mead has us warned! Happy Reading, Bloodlines Fans!

The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines, #4)Goodreads Synopsis:
In The Indigo Spell, Sydney was torn between the Alchemist way of life and what her heart and gut were telling her to do. And in one breathtaking moment that Richelle Mead fans will never forget, she made a decision that shocked even her. . . .

But the struggle isn't over for Sydney. As she navigates the aftermath of her life-changing decision, she still finds herself pulled in too many directions at once. Her sister Zoe has arrived, and while Sydney longs to grow closer to her, there's still so much she must keep secret. Working with Marcus has changed the way she views the Alchemists, and Sydney must tread a careful path as she harnesses her profound magical ability to undermine the way of life she was raised to defend. Consumed by passion and vengeance, Sydney struggles to keep her secret life under wraps as the threat of exposure—and re-education—looms larger than ever.

Pulses will race throughout this thrilling fourth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where no secret is safe.

Besides The Fiery Heart, the cover reveal and synopsis of Bloodlines #5, Silver Shadows, was released last night. I'm not really happy with it. Here it is:

Silver Shadows (Bloodlines, #5)

That looks...unnatural. And extremely photoshopped. Honestly, the covers are just getting worse and worse. I'm sure the book will be good though, so whatever don't judge a book by its cover right?

Now I haven't even read the synopsis for Silver Shadows yet. Can't spoil even the smallest thing for The Fiery Heart, so I refuse refuse refuse to peek at it until I'm done with TFH. I'll post it here anyways: read at your own risk! 

In The Fiery Heart, Sydney risked everything to follow her gut, walking a dangerous line to keep her feelings hidden from the Alchemists.

Now in the aftermath of an event that ripped their world apart, Sydney and Adrian struggle to pick up the pieces and find their way back to each other. But first, they have to survive.

For Sydney, trapped and surrounded by adversaries, life becomes a daily struggle to hold on to her identity and the memories of those she loves. Meanwhile, Adrian clings to hope in the face of those who tell him Sydney is a lost cause, but the battle proves daunting as old demons and new temptations begin to seize hold of him. . . .

Their worst fears now a chilling reality, Sydney and Adrian face their darkest hour in this heart-pounding fifth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where all bets are off.

Goodreads is telling us July 29th, 2014 to be the release date for Silver Shadows. Thank gods its not a year!

Happy Reading once again! 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Review: Sia by Josh Grayson

SiaThank you to Josh Grayson for providing me with an ARC copy of this novel!

Sia by Josh Grayson
Dani's rating: 4.5 stars

Format: e-book (PDF)
Publication Date: November 20, 2013
Publisher: Independent

Goodreads Synopsis:

When seventeen-year-old Sia wakes up on a park bench, she has no idea who or where she is. Yet after a week of being homeless, she’s reunited with her family. At school, she’s powerful and popular. At home, she’s wealthy beyond her dreams. But she quickly realizes her perfect life is a lie. Her family is falling apart and her friends are snobby, cruel and plastic. Worse yet, she discovers she was the cruelest one. Mortified by her past, she embarks on a journey of redemption and falls for Kyle, the “geek” she once tormented. Yet all the time she wonders if, when her memories return, she’ll become the bully she was before…and if she’ll lose Kyle

Dani's review:

Sia is an adorable, uplifting, charming, and "chicken soup" fairytale. It's the type of novel that just makes the reader so HAPPY and OVERJOYED after enjoying the final pages of the spectacular ending. The overall message of Sia is wonderful. I call it a "fairytale" because Sia has all the elements of the classic(and my favorite!) Cinderella story: A broken family, a fairy godmother (in the form of a benevolent elderly lady named Carol), and most importantly, a Prince Charming named Kyle.

Sia is the story of a teenage girl who realizes that her entire life was a sham after experiencing a random bout of amnesia. Her perfect, cookie-cutter life was really just an illusion to hide her father's shattered business and her mother's drinking problems. She is shocked when she discovers the bully she was and how mean she was to people. Post-amnesia, when she thanked her chauffer  for driving her to school, she was confused by his wide-eyed look of surprise. 

I loved Sia's light humour and modern day allusions. In one part of the novel, when Sia and her kinda-sorta-maybe-ish boyfriend Kyle go to the Oscars(shh can't tell you how that happened), Kyle completely flipped out when they met a fictional actor named Jett Blaze! Definitely in my top 10 book LOL moments!

Although I thoroughly enjoyed Sia, it did have several faults. Some parts of the novel were extremely predictable and rather unrealistic. But, aren't all fairytales predictable and unrealistic? Also, the language used in this novel was rather simple. There weren't that many complex sentences with dependent clauses (or whatever those fancy literary terms are). The author's writing style flowed very well, but I wish it was more complex. However, props for him for his first novel! Yup, Sia is his DEBUT novel. 

Some of the characters were really strongly developed, but others were weak and just...there. I liked the conflict and antagonist aspect of Sia's best friend Amber, but some of the side characters didn't seem to have any real meaning.

Overall, I recommend Sia if you want a light read that will leave you filled to the brim with contentness! :)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Mini Review: Keeping Her by Cora Carmack

Keeping Her (Losing It, #1.5)Keeping Her (Losing It #1.5) by Cora Carmack
Steph's Rating: 3.5 stars
Overall Rating: 3.5 stars

Format: ebook
Pages: 176
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: August 13th, 2013

Goodreads Synopsis:

Garrick Taylor and Bliss Edwards managed to find their happily-ever-after despite a rather . . . ahem . . . complicated start. By comparison, meeting the parents should be an absolute breeze, right?

But from the moment the pair lands in London, new snags just keep cropping up: a disapproving mother-in-law-to-be, more than one (mostly) minor mishap, and the realization that perhaps they aren't quite as ready for their future as they thought.

As it turns out, the only thing harder than finding love is keeping it.

Steph's Thoughts 

Have I mentioned that I just love reading about awkward situations? I have to say, you cannot go wrong with Cora Carmack if you are looking for something quick, witty, and downright secondhand embarrassing to read. 

After all the rather unpleasantly uncomfortable events that Bliss and Garrick have gone through, it's not quite over just yet. The BF/GF status is settled, and now the next step is marriage...which means it's time for Bliss to meet Garrick's insanely wealthy and mannered aristocratic parents. In London. 

Guys, Bliss is involved. Speculate about as much humiliating moments as you want, I'm sure it will show up at some point. This book made me LOL so many times. Honestly, Bliss should just put a hazard warning somewhere on her body. Maybe her face would work too :) Let's just say the "first meeting" doesn't go off to quite the greatest start much to my dear lovely Garrick's chagrin. 

So why 3.5 stars? It's also Bliss. Bliss Bliss Bliss. I loved her and I was not amused with her at the same time. She's not exactly some great and terrible heroine in this book, and I feel like her confidence level actually went lower than her confidence in Losing It. Isn't she passed that yet? She's got the guy, got the ring, got her acting career and everything, and yet she frets so ridiculously much over the small stuff. Not the greatest character development there. One moment I was guffawing at her utter klutziness, and then next I was just waiting for her self-pity and self-rebukement festival to be over.

This was cute, but not totally necessary. Often times us readers always want to know "what happens next" even though the series or standalone is already over, but honestly, novella's most of the time will just never equate to the real thing. I mostly read this because I thought "Garrick!", and couldn't stop myself from getting the ebook. Yes, that man and his accent are amazing, both in Losing It and here. Beware for Bliss though. Rough times ahead!

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead Book Trailer #6

And here it is, the final book trailer for The Fiery Heart before it's release next Tuesday on November 19th, 2013. Gah, the intensity is about to explode! I really, really wish I got one day shipping for Amazon but sadly I must also deal with the slight shipping wait after the book's release before I have my hands on a lovely copy. 

Here's the trailer:

Yay! It was the "brown hair so dark it seemed black" Rose! In the teaser picture on the Bloodlines page, we all had our speculations...I'm happy that Adrian didn't seem depressed or angry while he came out there to greet her. He seemed more amused than anything, and that has me quite hopeful that it isn't going to be an extremely awkward reunion between Rose and Adrian. 

But, this might complicate things with Sydrian. Does Sydney even know about Rose + Adrian's errrrr past?

Now, I just have to mention the cheesiness again. There wasn't too much acting that could've gone wrong in this one, but that fireball. I understand they can't spend too much money on a book trailer special effect...but really? I am happy to see Sydney has accepted the use of magic a bit more, but I am anxious to know who exactly is after her.

Ugh the waiting! I think the two weeks up to any release I'm looking forward to are the worst. Instead of rejoicing over the impending installment, I am bemoaning over horrid book lover's torment of having to wait those last few days. Can't say it enough; I'm looking forward to this so very much next week!


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead Trailer #5

Here we go! Two more weeks until The Fiery Heart hits bookshelves, and one more trailer to go after this one. This is trailer five out of six, which will be out next week.


This one is scaring me a bit more than it should probably. Acting is cheesy yet again, but you know what it's the same old same old.

I am not too sure about what Adrian "did" in this scene to make Sydney so mad, but I have a guess it is about a *ahem* special scene near the end of Spirit Bound. It in involves Rose...and blood...and yeah (trying to be a little ambiguous for those new to the Vampire Academy World).

Although, Sydney being a little mad and jealous shouldn't be bad right? She's showing her possessive side for Adrian now...hmm. Considering that Rose IS going to be showing up in The Fiery Heart, I think her past with Adrian might be my best guess.

One more teaser scene to go! No idea what to expect, but I'm so excited!

Release Day: Champion by Marie Lu

Yikes. This makes two series ending within days of each other. First the Covenant Series by Jennifer L. Armentrout (I am still REELING over the ending of Sentinel--it was beyond perfect--thus why no review has popped out. I need to sit on this one for a while to squash down the feels, or else my review might end up in all caps), and now Legend? This does not bode well for my mental sanity. 

My copy is on its way from Amazon, thankfully, so I might have this book by the end of the week. After the ending to Prodigy, I am very eager yet terrified to crack open Champion. Hopefully, all ends well :) Currently, I am in the midst of rereading Mr. Legend Book 1 in preparation for Champion. If I have time, I'll give a peek to Prodigy as well.

Champion (Legend, #3)Goodreads Synopsis:

He is a Legend.
She is a Prodigy.
Who will be Champion?

June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic—and each other—and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps Elect while Day has been assigned a high level military position. But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them once again. Just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything he has. With heart-pounding action and suspense, Marie Lu’s bestselling trilogy draws to a stunning conclusion.
 I have a feeling this is going to make me cry. A lot. Downpour alert. I've been crying too much lately with all these "last books", much to the dismay and confusion of my friends and family. Can't wait to read this one!


Saturday, November 2, 2013

Release Day: Sentinel by Jennifer L. Armentrout

We've been waiting for this day, and Oh. My. Gods. I thought it'd never happen, but Sentinel is officially out! Dani and I already have our copies and are a ways into the book, and I assure this is just as amazing as all the rest of the Covenant books. Love ya JLA. You guys have so much to look forward to in this book! 

Sentinel (Covenant, #5)Goodreads Synopsis: 

It's a beautiful day for a war.

As the mortal world slowly slips into chaos of the godly kind, Alexandria Andros must overcome a stunning defeat that has left her shaken and in doubt of their ability to end this war once and for all.

And with all the obstacles between Alex and her happily-ever-after with the swoonworthy Aiden St. Delphi, they must now trust a deadly foe as they travel deep into the Underworld to release one of the most dangerous gods of all time.

In the stunning, action-packed climax to the bestselling Covenant series, Alex must face a terrible choice: the destruction of everything and everyone she holds dear… or the end of herself. 

With Sentinel, the Covenant series is over. That breaks my heart, but I am ready to see a conclusion to Alex's story. JLA said she has CONSIDERED a spin off on Covenant, but of course, there is nothing set in stone or else I would have made a excitement news post on it already :) All us Covanant fans can do is sit back and cross our fingers

Alright! With that announcement, I am off to read! 

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