Monday, March 31, 2014

Musing Mondays #1

Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…

• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it! 
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

Recently, I bought Miss Mabel's School for Girls by Katie Cross. I've seen posts about it from several blogs, and the concept peaked my interest. I hope to read it soon, especially since it just came out. I plan on reviewing it on my blog, which will be fun. I really hope it's good! It has a lot of potential, and I was really excited to buy it. Bonus, it was only $2.99 on Amazon! Though I have a nook, I downloaded the kindle app for books that are cheaper on Amazon, which will definitely come in handy and make me able to get more books!

Book Summary: Never underestimate the power of a determined witch.

Letum Wood is a forest of fog and deadfall, home to the quietly famous Miss Mabel’s School for Girls, a place where young witches learn the art of magic.

Sixteen-year-old Bianca Monroe has inherited a deadly curse. Determined to break free before it kills her, she enrolls in the respected school to confront the cunning witch who cast the curse: Miss Mabel.

Bianca finds herself faced with dark magic she didn’t expect, with lessons more dangerous than she could have ever imagined. Will Bianca have the courage to save herself from the curse, or will Miss Mabel’s sinister plan be too powerful?

Miss Mabel’s School for Girls is the first novel in The Network Series, an exciting new fantasy collection. A gripping tale about the struggle to survive, it will take you to a new place and time, one you’ll never want to leave

Review: The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2) by Maggie Stiefvater

The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2) by Maggie Stiefvater
Hardcover, 439 pages
Published by Scholastic Press on September 17, 2013
Rating: 5 stars

Summary (Goodreads): Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. 

Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. 

Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after...

This review may contain spoilers for The Raven Boys, the first book in the series.
My Thoughts:
I honestly hate how long it took me to read this book. It had nothing to do with the book itself, it was just that life happened to get in the way of my reading. Besides that, I absolutely loved this book. I couldn't get enough of it!

The way that Maggie writes always captivates me in ways other writers don't. It's not that I don't love their stories just as much, but Maggie has such a way with words and I could see her thoughts and reasoning behind each and every one of them.

I thought it was interesting getting to learn so much more of Ronan. He's obviously able to take things out of his dreams, as we've seen with Chainsaw, and we get to learn a lot more about that. His "gift" or curse as some might see it, is definitely explored at great lengths, and so many secrets about him and his life are brought out to the open to the readers. It was very interesting getting to learn more about his family and all that happened. 

Another thing I found interesting was the Gray Man. I initially didn't like him, as I had a bad vibe, but that's to be expected from his profession. It turned out that I actually really did like him, and I loved how the people at 300 Fox Way treated him as well. It was definitely a different approach to a new person than most people would take, and it was intriguing to get to experience.

This leads me to the people at 300 Fox Way. I absolutely adore them all. They have so many quirks and different ways at life than most, but it all works and they all live like a family. Though it can be chaotic, they all love each other and work well together. This was something that was interesting to see through different eyes, as we usually see them through Blue, but we got to see them with the Gray Man, who was a complete outsider. I loved his perspective though, it just made me love all the inhabitants of 300 Fox Way that much more.

Now I'll go to Gansey. I know there are people who don't like him, but I'm one of the people who really do. I don't know why exactly, but I do. I feel like he has a hidden quality to him that shows up every so often. I love the way he interacts with Blue, and I think it's cool how she knows if he calls her Blue instead of Jane, then something is up. I thought the concern he had for Adam was interesting to see as well, since it shows how much he cares for his friends, though he sometimes does have a hard way of showing it.

Adam on the other hand, I always feel so bad for him. He honestly has the worst of luck when it comes to anything, and he doesn't want to accept any help from anyone. He really grows throughout the book, and he learns a lot more about the sacrifice he made in the previous book and how it affects him now. I honestly don't see Adam as the same Adam he was in the beginning of the first book, but I still care for him and enjoy reading about him just the same. It just shows how much strength of character he has and how much he's evolving as a person. 

I also really liked the whole thing with Cabeswater. It has a lot of significance to everyone, much more than originally expected. Both Ronan and Adam have some kind of connection to it, and there are some issues because of this. There's also controversy about it because of the ley line, but I'll leave this for those who read the book to figure out. 

One other person that really caught my eye was Kavinsky. He is definitely much more important in this book than the last, and though I personally don't like him, we learn a lot about him and his character. 

I found it interesting how invested I was in the car aspect of this book as well. I know nothing about cars at all, but I felt an odd thrill whenever the Camaro was brought into the story again, and it was definitely interesting seeing how issues with it come to play with Ronan, and the way he fixes them.

Overall, I felt this book had an amazing story line and I couldn't believe how well Maggie delivered her characters and showed their growth throughout the novel. I'll definitely be anxiously awaiting the next book in the series, and I hope I read it at a time I'm not so busy so I can read it more often! It was almost torture when I wanted to read and couldn't get my hands on the book, it's that good. Sadly, the ending is a cliffhanger, but all it does is make me itch for the next book to come out! Props to Maggie Stiefvater, as that shows how good of a writer she is. She's able to bring the one book to a close and wrap it all up while making you still want more. I feel that this is a hard thing to do, but Maggie pulled it off well. 


Making Up for Monday #4

March 31: Who is your favorite fictional villain? 

This is a hard one. I'm not really sure. I tend to almost always have a love/hate relationship with villains in books. I like getting to learn more about them, though I don't usually like what they are doing. I guess I'll go with Lord Voldemort from Harry Potter. This is because I loved getting to learn more about him and his past. This helped me understand his path in life, even if I don't agree with it. It's interesting seeing how he evolved as a person from even before he was born, back with both Merope and Tom Sr. Literally everything that happened in his past affected him and the path he took in life, and though he becomes evil, he once was just a boy who was abandoned as a baby. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sunday Weekly Update #4

**Note: in case anyone was wondering, in any of my posts, if you click the image of the book, it'll lead you to the book's goodreads page. 

New Books: 
Last minute this book became $1.99 at Barnes and Noble, so I ended up with one new book! The rest of the week I hadn't had much time to look for good deals, and I didn't have the money to get anything with anyway. 
The Program (The Program #1) by Suzanne Young
Summary: In Sloane’s world, true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the only solution is The Program.

Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them. 

The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2) by Maggie Stiefvater
Summary: Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. 

Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. 

Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after...
Review to come tomorrow, Monday March 31!

Currently Reading:
Divergent (Divergent #1) by Veronica Roth
Summary: In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is--she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
This book is a reread.

Most Likely to Read Next:
Days of Blood and Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2) by Laini Taylor
Summary: Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

This is not that world.

Art student and monster's apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she'll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.

But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?
This is the same book I had last week, because I really am looking forward to reading it. With the movie coming out though and me seeing it recently, I had to reread Divergent first. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Divergent: The Movie

I came into this movie really excited, as I loved the book. It's one of my favorites, and it's always really exciting to see something you loved and enjoyed so much become something more. 

Note: this review contains spoilers for both the book and the movie. Read at your own risk. It somewhat comes out as a synopsis with my thoughts on the different parts and why I liked/disliked them.

Throughout the film I could tell that they tried to keep most of the things the same as in the books. I haven't read the book in over a year, but I still remembered it well enough, and I felt that the important parts stuck in my mind, so I would have a good idea of what was supposed to be there and what was changed. Obviously there were some things changed for pacing reasons and for a better cinematic experience, but they all felt right and I wasn't disappointed at all. 

So basically, the movie starts out showing us the beautiful city of Chicago, but it's definitely run down and abandoned looking. Then Beatrice begins talking, and we learn of all the different factions. I found the way they explained them interesting and helpful, because they showed each faction in their home area which gave you a better look at their personalities. We got to see their different clothing and understand what each faction did for the community as a whole. Another thing I loved, though it was subtle, was that as they introduced each faction, they showed their symbols in some way. I got a little thrill at this, and if you haven't seen the movie, look out for the symbols as you hear Beatrice explain them to us. 

After the factions, Beatrice begins to talk more of herself, and we get to see her as a child briefly. I felt that this was a good way to get a feel of her character and how she doesn't quite fit in to Abnegation as she wishes she did. 

Then, the movie basically jumps right in, and we see Beatrice take her test, and it's a little different from the book. I felt they did spend a little too much time with the mirror image thing that they had going on in the beginning of the simulation, but I did see why they had it in there. I just wish that part was cut a little shorter, but it really wasn't too long or too bad, just a personal preference. Then, though in the book she is to pick between cheese and a knife, in the movie she has some meat or a knife to choose from instead. I felt this change was fine, and it made plenty of sense since it was a way for her to fend off the dog. I liked how there was the second "Beatrice" and it told her that she needed to pick one quick or it would be too late. Obviously she doesn't pick, and the dog comes. I found it interesting how this whole scene played out, and was very happy with the results.

Tori, her test administrator, and Beatrice aren't happy with the results of her test though. She is Divergent, and she has to hide. 

The next day is the choosing ceremony, and there are the five bowls placed on the stage with a knife to cut their hands with. They go in backwards alphabetical order, so we see a few people choose their factions first. Then, Beatrice's brother Caleb picks, and he picks Erudite. Everyone, including Beatrice, is shocked, and this is definitely shown through the applause. I found the simple touches like that to be useful to the overall story. 

After Caleb is Beatrice's turn, and she has no idea what she's going to do yet. This is shown through the way she holds her hand over Abnegation's rocks, but right before she tips her hand to let the blood drop, she moves it to hit the coals and flames of Dauntless. Her parents both look unhappy, but her mother eluded to being okay with her making any choice she wanted before the ceremony. 

The movie then really starts moving, as the Dauntless have plenty of action sequences that can be demonstrated through a cinematic standpoint. The jumping onto the trains was well demonstrated, and I loved how the different things like how they were shocked they had to jump over a gap between the train and high up buildings to get to where they needed to be. 

The initiates then have to jump off  the building down into a hole where they can't see where it leads to. It was great getting to see Beatrice jump before everyone else, especially since they had no idea what was to come. It showed true bravery, because no matter how scared someone is to do something, I believe it's always harder to go first. 

This is where Beatrice first meets Four, and she finally changes her name to Tris. Though he didn't mention anything, knowing the book's background made me enjoy the way he told her she can change her name, because us readers know that is what he wanted and did himself. 

After that, Four takes the new initiates and speaks to them about him being their instructor, and he definitely is not someone that the people there want to mess with. He seems very unsociable and untrustworthy of most people. He doesn't take well to the initiates and their conversations and jokes. 

Then, they see their sleeping area, and there is no privacy at all. It showed the difference between Abnegation and Dauntless really well in a different way than their actions did. It showed how the Abnegation were very private and didn't want to be seen, as demonstrated while Tris was still in her old faction, while Dauntless don't care at all about privacy when it comes to their bodies. The boys and girls share both a room and a bathroom, and the toilets in the bathroom are not closed off for any privacy. It's all open, and the girl and boy initiates have to change while in the same room. 

The training begins shortly after they're introduced to Dauntless, and, as expected, Tris does awfully. She's one of the lowest ranks, well below the red line indicating that they aren't going to make it through the initiation and they'll become factionless.  She still has time to move herself up in the ranks, but without getting past that line, all is hopeless for her. 

She's really weak, but she is definitely brave. She speaks up when others wouldn't dare to, and she doesn't have a problem speaking her mind to authority. Though she gets beaten up quite a few times, she also has dedication and an inner strength that pushes her well past her limits. To quote the movie, when normal people are faced with fear, they shut down. When Tris is faced with fear, she wakes up. 

After she loses a fight with Peter though, it's supposedly all over for her. Eric told them that she was going to be kicked out. She doesn't care though, and after everyone leaves, she gets on the train to play the war game anyway. Eric seems to accept this, and she's in. She's picked to be on Four's team, and in the end led them to victory. I think that her intelligence and bravery in this situation is what helped bring her up in the ranks and above the red line.

Once the second part of initiation begins, Tris is able to pass everything with flying colors. Since she's Divergent, she is able to get past the simulation in ways the Dauntless can't. Four begins to take notice, and Tris is nervous because she knows not to tell anyone of her Divergence. Both Tris and Four begin to get closer though, and he saves her from an attack in the night. The chemistry between them is great, you can definitely feel that something is going to happen between them, but their relationship wasn't forced at all. 

Tris eventually tells him of her Divergence, because she can tell he already knows. After this, he takes her and shows her his fear simulations and the way to get through them without showing that they're Divergent. We see his fears played out perfectly, and we learn the ways that he could get past them. We then finally learn both where he got the name Four from, and what his original name was. This to me didn't seem as big of a deal in the movie as in the book, but I think they made more of an emphasis on who Marcus Eaton was in the book than the movie. It was definitely still done very well, and it was interesting the way it was portrayed for the people who only saw the movie without reading the book. 

Tris and Four at this point are very close to one another. They both have full trust of the other. I felt that their kissing scene wasn't overdone and fit well into the movie. There was plenty of character building for them both. It definitely wasn't an instant love, they grew to have the feelings for one another, which made me happy because that's more realistic.

Soon after, it's Tris's turn to go through her final simulation, and everyone is there watching. She knows she can't mess up, or she'll die. She also knows if she stays in there too long, she'll also die. This isn't comforting, but she is a strong willed person and will do what she knows she has to do.

She goes into her fears and she is able to get through them the way a Dauntless would. Though there's one scene that may be a little controversial, I think it worked out well. Though it is an attempted rape, it doesn't actually happen, and it shows how Tris fears too much physical contact. This is because they didn't show the limitations of Abnegation when it comes to touching, and it's also the easiest way to show a viewer her fear of it, even if it's not like that in the book. One thing I wished they emphasized more on was that she only had six fear simulations. Though they talk about how quick she was through her test, this is known to be because she's Divergent. Her divergence could be a factor to her having the less than average amount of fears, but it also shows a strength in her character rather than her immunity to a simulator's function. 

After this is when things begin to really pick up. They are given a "tracker" and then sent to bed. This tracker wasn't a tracker though, it was a simulation to make the Dauntless do whatever the simulation's controller wanted. The only one's immune were the divergent. This is shown both through Tris, and through another person who they made not as intelligent as her. He questions those around him as to what they are doing, and those who are leaders and not given the simulator shot him first chance. 

The army of Dauntless end up going to Abnegation, and all hell breaks loose. There's shooting everywhere and people being dragged out of their homes. Tris and Four both have to act like they're under the simulator, but they really aren't and they cannot find Tris's parents. They've already left their home. 

Eric then approaches Four who acts like a mindless drone for his own safety, but things go too far, and Tris and Four jump into action. Tris gets shot, and they both get taken to Jeanine who is running the whole operation. Tris is found useless because of her injury, but Four is taken. 

Tris is then taken to be executed, which is shown differently than in the book. In the book she is placed in a real life version of her fear of drowning. She's in the tank about to die. In the movie, she's just kneeling on the ground with her hands behind her head and guns pointed at her head. As in both situations though, her mother saves her and takes her almost to where they're hiding out. She gets shot, and this is honestly a really sad moment. Shailene really outdid herself with her acting at this point, and I loved the emotion that came across Tris's face. I really felt for her and wanted to hug my mom in that moment. 

Tris goes and finds the rest of the people, including her dad and brother. They all go to rescue Four,  and Marcus Eaton comes along as well. When they get there, Peter attacks, though he isn't under the simulation as he wasn't given any. He is overpowered by Tris though, and I honestly loved this scene. I think it really shows how Tris has grown both mentally and physically, and how she is truly a dauntless now. She was beat up by him before and knocked out, but here she gets the upper hand, which shows how much she's learned. He takes her to where Four is, and while this part is different from the book, I felt it went well enough. I do wish they explained more about how they found a serum that worked through the Divergent minds, though I might have just missed it if it was only subtly said. 

Four attacks Tris, and it's honestly an interesting fight to watch. We see more of Tris's improvement in her skills, and we also see the affects of the serum on Four, as he is completely at the will of those controlling him.

I loved the way that they showed the gun to the head part, because it shows that Tris is willing to die for him. She really cares for him, but he really cares for her too, and I loved even more how this is shown, because he is able to break through the serum. After this, they work toward getting the simulation off, and I love the way Jeanine gets a little of what she deserved from Tris. After the simulation is off and destroyed, they all run, and Four is confronted with his dad again. I really enjoyed the portrayal of this, because Theo was able to show Four's emotions rather well through facial expressions. I also loved the way he wasn't going to help him on the train, but ended up doing so anyway. I felt that the interactions here were perfect and spot on, and I honestly cannot wait to see more of their interactions in the next movie.

The rest of the film is a wrap up of everything, but there's definitely more to come with Insurgent and Allegiant. I hope that Insurgent the movie is better than Insurgent the book, because while I did love the book, it was a slow read for me and I wasn't quite as interested as I had hoped. Still, it's very exciting and I think that the series is in good hands with actors like Theo and Shailene. I loved the casting and acting in this movie. I doubted some of the characters' actors in the beginning, but they honestly worked out perfectly in the film. Along with that, there was amazing costumes that fit well for every faction and their differences were shown. Finally, the director and producers did an amazing job putting the film together, and I honestly am battling myself over seeing it again before it's out on DVD, which I almost never do. Also want to add props to the writers, as they kept the story very close to the book while appealing to those who are being exposed to Divergent for the first time through film.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Booking Through Thursday #1

Booking Through Thursday is a weekly meme that asks about books and reading.

Why do YOU read fiction?

I read fiction because it's interesting and draws me in. I love getting to experience the life of someone through their eyes, even if the person happens to be made up. The stories can inspire me to do certain things, be more conscious of others, and overall just be a better person. I love getting to escape from myself for a while and explore new wonders. When reading books, its not like I'm just living my life. I'm living a thousand lives through the eyes of the main character of each book, living through circumstances I'll never get the chance to in my own life. 

Honestly words aren't proficient enough to describe the many reasons I read fiction, but they'll always do their best to try :)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #3

So I've decided to do this the way that most people do via Breaking The Spine. I'm going to do one book I'm looking forward to with a release date in the next week. This week, I chose: 

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
Release Date: April 1, 2014
Summary: It begins as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May did. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to people like Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Amelia Earhart, Heath Ledger, and more; though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating new friendships, falling in love for the first time, learning to live with her splintering family. And, finally, about the abuse she suffered while May was supposed to be looking out for her. Only then, once Laurel has written down the truth about what happened to herself, can she truly begin to accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was; lovely and amazing and deeply flawed; can she begin to discover her own path

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


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Top Ten Tuesday #3

March 25: Top Ten Things On My Bookish Bucket List (could be blogging related, book related etc. -- meeting authors, reading x many books per year, finishing a daunting book, etc.)

  1. reading 50 books by 2015
  2. getting The Raven Boys III autographed by Maggie Stiefvater
  3. write more reviews!
  4. Keep the blog up and running
  5. shave down the amount of books I have lying around that I haven't read
  6. (When I'm way older) have a room just for reading and books in my house
  7. Get a new bookshelf for all my books!! (my old one is full and I need more room!)
  8. Finish the books on my "on hold" shelf that I haven't read in months/years
  9. meet an author (any that I like the writing of)
  10. Buy new books!!!

Monday, March 24, 2014

White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements, #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements, #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
ebook, 384 pages
Published by Harlequin on February 25, 2014
Rating: 5 stars

Summary (Goodreads): One kiss could be the last

Seventeen-year-old Layla just wants to be normal. But with a kiss that kills anything with a soul, she's anything but normal. Half demon, half gargoyle, Layla has abilities no one else possesses.

Raised among the Wardens—a race of gargoyles tasked with hunting demons and keeping humanity safe—Layla tries to fit in, but that means hiding her own dark side from those she loves the most. Especially Zayne, the swoon-worthy, incredibly gorgeous and completely off-limits Warden she's crushed on since forever.

Then she meets Roth—a tattooed, sinfully hot demon who claims to know all her secrets. Layla knows she should stay away, but she's not sure she wants to—especially when that whole no-kissing thing isn't an issue, considering Roth has no soul.

But when Layla discovers she's the reason for the violent demon uprising, trusting Roth could not only ruin her chances with Zayne… it could brand her a traitor to her family. Worse yet, it could become a one-way ticket to the end of the world.

My Thoughts: 
This was my first full length novel of Armentrout's, and let me tell you, I can't help but stay up all night to read her books! It all started with this novel, as the characters and storyline drew me in. 

Layla is a half Warden half Demon hybrid. She's living among the Wardens in Washington D.C., though most of them are wary and hesitant to approach her. Unable to transform into the gargoyle state that all Wardens are able to achieve, she really only has a few Wardens who don't mind being around her, as others fear her demon side, or even loathe her for it. This includes Zayne, her previous mentor in school until she reached an age where it would begin to be too difficult for her to be taught. Zayne is 4 years older than Layla, and she has a huge crush on him. The only problem? If she gets close enough to kiss him, she'll suck out his soul. This would make him as good as dead.

So with almost no hope at a relationship with Zayne, Layla goes about her days doing what she knows best. She goes to school and interacts with people who think of her as a normal human - except for her living situation, as they know she lives with the Wardens. After school though, she does something entirely non-human. She goes around finding demons and tags them. This makes it so at night, when the Wardens go hunting to eradicate the city of as many demons as they can, it's like the demons have big glowing signs on them that say "I'm a demon!!!" This makes it super easy for them to hunt, and it makes Layla feel helpful to them, so she enjoys it.

Then it all goes wrong. She follows a demon that disguised itself as a lesser demon, and ends up in an alley with it. All she hears is it say "Gotcha!" before she is attacked by it. Surprisingly, an Upper Level Demon, the most dangerous kind, comes and saves the day. She runs away though, terrified of what damage could be done to her if he got a hold of her. She doesn't tell the Wardens as she doesn't want to be told to stop the tagging, so she goes along as if nothing is wrong.

Then he shows up at her school the next day. It seems it's inevitable for them to meet and talk, and slowly, Layla begins to warm up to him. His name is Roth, and he has a snake tattoo named Bambi. She can come off of his skin and help him fight when needed. Also, since Roth is a demon, he has no soul. This means that Layla can kiss him with no repercussions. They get close, and Roth begins to reveal some interesting stuff to Layla about her and what's going on around her that make her question her whole existence both in general and living with the Wardens. She doesn't know who she can trust anymore, and her whole world is thrown upside down.

This book keeps you on your toes constantly, as you don't know who you can trust and who is telling the truth. Nothing is black and white, everything is in shades of grey. The demons vary from good to evil, and the Wardens vary as well. you can't tell who is honest and truthful to Layla, and I honestly sympathized with her, because while she was able to live where she was and interact with those around her, she never truly would fit in. The twists and turns this book takes had my mind spinning, and I couldn't get enough of the story. When you finally thought you had everything figured out, Armentrout threw another curveball and something new was revealed. 

It was really interesting getting a story about Demons without angels involved. The Wardens were a nice spin on them, where they weren't angels but they had powers to level out the playing field between themselves and the demons. I also thought it was interesting how the humans knew about them, even if they didn't know about the demons, because normally humans are kept in the dark about anything supernatural in stories. 

I honestly wish I didn't come across this book when I did, because now all I want to do is read the next one. The ending is amazing but sad, and it's not at all what I want to leave off on! Hopefully as time passes, this book stays in the forefront of my mind, and I'll be able to pick up the next one when it's released!!


Making Up for Monday #3

March 24: What books do you have on request at the library?

I actually don't have any books on request at the library. While I love the library and use it when there's certain books I want, I mostly buy all the books I read. I tend to like to keep and be able to reread most of my books after a while. I also have over 160 books either physically in my house or on my nook that I haven't gotten to reading yet, so the library isn't really a priority at the moment because of that. I'm sure eventually I'll be getting books out again though!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sunday Weekly Update #3

New Books:
The Iron King (The Iron Fey, #1) by Julie Kagawa
Summary: Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined.

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth - that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil, no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart

Taken (Taken, #1) by Erin Bowman
Summary: There are no men in Claysoot. There are boys—but every one of them vanishes at midnight on his eighteenth birthday. The ground shakes, the wind howls, a blinding light descends…and he’s gone.

They call it the Heist.

Gray Weathersby’s eighteenth birthday is mere months away, and he’s prepared to meet his fate–until he finds a strange note from his mother and starts to question everything he’s been raised to accept: the Council leaders and their obvious secrets. The Heist itself. And what lies beyond the Wall that surrounds Claysoot–a structure that no one can cross and survive.

Climbing the Wall is suicide, but what comes after the Heist could be worse. Should he sit back and wait to be taken–or risk everything on the hope of the other side?

The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Fire and Thorns, #1) by Rae Carson
Summary: Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.
Elisa is the chosen one. 

But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can't see how she ever will. 

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And he's not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people's savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.

Most of the chosen do.

I didn't finish any books this week :( I was unable to read as much as I would have liked to because of school. Hopefully the next week I'll be able to finish a book or two!

Currently Reading:
The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, #2) by Maggie Stiefvater
Summary: Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. 

Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. 

Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after...

Most Likely to Read Next:
Days of Blood & Starlight (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #2) by Laini Taylor
Summary: Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

This is not that world.

Art student and monster's apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she'll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.

But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Bitter Sweet Love (The Dark Elements, #0.5) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Bitter Sweet Love (The Dark Elements, #0.5) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
ebook, 116 pages
Published by Harlequin Teen on December 1, 2013
Rating: 4 stars

Summary (Goodreads): In a sizzling prequel novella to her new series THE DARK ELEMENTS, #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout draws readers into the extraordinary, irresistible world of Wardens and demons.
Dez wasn't just Jasmine's crush. A gargoyle Warden like Jas, he helped her come to terms with her destiny—fending off demons and maintaining balance between good and evil. He was her everything...right until the moment he disappeared without a trace. It didn't help that Jas's father had just announced that she and Dez would one day be mated. Hard not to take that personally.

And now he's back, three years older, ten times hotter, ready to pick up exactly where they left off. But Jas isn't taking that risk again. Dez has seven days to meet all her conditions and earn back her trust. Seven days filled with terrifying danger and sweet temptation. Seven days to win her heart—or shatter it all over again...

My Thoughts:
Jasmine is a Warden, a gargoyle-like protector of the world from demons. Of course, she isn't allowed to go after the demons with the other Wardens because she's a female. They want the females to stay safe and have children, because their race has seen better days. Because of this, Jasmine must sneak out when she wants to go flying, and that's exactly what she does.

Then one day, as she is coming home from her unsupervised flying trip, her father returns home. She knows he isn't happy about it, but he has news he thinks will make her happy.

Dez is home.

Dez is her long lost best friend. His clan of Wardens was completely destroyed by an Upper Level demon. He was the only one left. Because of this, he was brought to another Warden clan to live with and be taken care of. He was not happy, and he didn't really speak much to anyone, but he eventually caved with Jasmine, as she was persistent. After this, they became inseparable, even with their 3 year age gap.

Then Dez turned 18, and he was to be mated to Jasmine. The next day, he left. Jasmine had no idea where he was or what he was doing. She questioned their entire friendship, and always feared the worst. She believed he left because he didn't want to be mated with her, and this was the easiest way for him to escape it. 

She was wrong, because he's back now, and he's ready to mate with her. She isn't ready to mate with him though, as she wants and needs an explanation, and honestly doesn't feel she will ever want to mate with him, even if she can't deny his attractiveness.

She gives him seven days to complete certain tasks with her, and he agrees. Only then will she consider mating with him. 

This novella was definitely interesting. I loved the introduction into the world of Wardens and Demons, and getting to understand the aspects of the different ways they live as a community from the humans, who also know about them. Though I opposed the first kiss Dez and Jasmine had, as I felt a more appropriate response from her would be to slap him, besides that, I loved the way their chemistry was and how she did her best to avoid falling into his trap, even if in the end it was futile. 

I honestly felt like this was a great way to ease into this world, and I liked how we got a glimpse at the main character of the main series through someone else's eyes. We got to see what it was like as an observer instead of in the head of the main character, and while she was younger than she is in the main series, you still got a handle on her and her unique powers from the views of an outsider. It was also interesting to see her interactions with Zayne and to be introduced to the Upper Level demon that Jasmine notices watching her. 

Overall, by the end I felt like most of the point of this story was to introduce those three characters, Layla, Zayne, and the Upper Level demon, because it adds a curiosity to the upcoming story. The story of Dez and Jas was fun to see unfold, but I honestly felt it was cut way too short. I think there should have been a lot more to it, but then again, it wouldn't be a novella if that happened. Because of the fact that I felt it was too short, I only gave it a four star rating. Besides that, I enjoyed the story and started reading White Hot Kiss almost immediately after finishing, as it made me want to experience more of the demons and Wardens. 


Saturday Book Quotes #2

"Have you ever asked yourself, do monsters make war, or does war make monsters?" 
             -Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #1) by Laini Taylor

Obsidian (Lux, #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Obsidian (Lux, #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
ebook, 271 pages
Published by Entangled Publishing on May 8, 2012
Rating: 5 stars

Summary (Goodreads): When seventeen-year-old Katy Swartz moved to West Virginia right before her senior year, she'd pretty much resigned herself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring, but then she spotted her hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up...until he opened his mouth. Daemon Black is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. It's hate at first sight, but when a stranger attacks her and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something...unexpected happens. The hot guy next door? Well, he's an alien. Turns out that Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities and Katy is caught in the crosshairs. Daemon's touch has lit her up like the Vegas Strip and the only way she's getting out of this alive is by sticking close to him until her alien mojo fades. That is if she doesn't kill him first.

My Thoughts:
Though I had already read and loved the last book I read by Jennifer L. Armentrout, I was still somewhat skeptical about this book. The alien premise seemed interesting, but I wasn't sure how I would feel about it when I read it. Thankfully, my doubts were put aside after I began reading.

Katy Swartz has moved from Florida to an in-the-middle-of-nowhere town in West Virginia. She just wants to be unpacked and able to blog about her books, as she runs a book blog, but they didn't have everything set up yet so she couldn't. Her mother encourages her to introduce herself to the neighbors, as she spotted them and thinks they're about Katy's age. 

Not really wanting to but needing directions to get to the store, Katy knocks on the neighbors door, only to be answered by an incredibly hot, shirtless guy named Daemon who immediately catches her eye. Her thoughts of him are squashed seconds later when he opens his mouth. He's arrogant and cocky, and just an overall asshole to her. Still, she gets given her directions and is on her way.

As she's shopping in the store, an astonishingly beautiful girl approaches her and starts talking. She's Dee, her other neighbor. A complete contrast to her brother Daemon, Katy and Dee hit it off and make plans to hang out together.

Even though Dee loves being friends with Katy, Daemon is strongly against it, being hostile and rude to Katy at every chance he gets, that is, until Dee makes him play nice. He helps Katy with washing her car, and then he invites her to go swimming. She reluctantly accepts.

This is when she begins to notice things are wrong. She could have sworn that Daemon was under water for at least ten minutes, though he denies it. He also begins to break down some of his walls, and you start seeing a little bit of a different side of him. He still keeps his distance though, as he has his reasons.

They all go out the window when Katy is attacked by someone and later almost gets hit by a truck. After this, she finds out all about the Luxen, as she has experienced their powers. She's also got a trace on her, which means Arum, the Luxen's enemy, will be drawn to her. Because of this, she has to stick by Daemon's side, regardless of how much she doesn't want to. This is when the story really begins to pick up, and we see more and more events unfold before our very eyes. I was glued to the page the whole time!

I loved getting to experience the interactions between Daemon and Katy. I liked how he called her Kitten and Kat, even though she claims not to like it. They're both witty and are an able match for one another with their snarky comments. Not to mention the chemistry! Though they're not together at all really in the book, there is a moment where they kiss, and it's literally explosive!

In the end, it was amazing to get to experience this new world with beings that were completely unique from any I've read about before. I absolutely adore this series, and I'm so glad I was willing to give it a try, even with my hesitance. I read this book in one day! It kept me up well past my bedtime, as I had to be up at a decent hour the next day. Totally worth it though. As I'm writing this review after I've read most of the books, I'm going to await anxiously for the last book in the series to be released!