Sunday, May 25, 2014

Sunday Weekly Update #10

New Books:
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
I received this book FREE as an audiobook from Sync. It's available till May 28!
Summary: Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl's journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.

Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex's secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy #1) by Jennifer Estep
Summary: My name is Gwen Frost, and I go to Mythos Academy; a school of myths, magic and warrior whiz kids, where even the lowliest geek knows how to chop off somebody's head with a sword and Logan Quinn, the hottest Spartan guy in school, also happens to be the deadliest. But lately, things have been weird, even for Mythos. First, mean girl Jasmine Ashton was murdered in the Library of Antiquities. Then, someone stole the Bowl of Tears, a magical artifact that can be used to bring about the second Chaos War. You know, death, destruction and lots of other bad, bad things. Freaky stuff like this goes on all the time at Mythos, but I'm determined to find out who killed Jasmine and why; especially since I should have been the one who died...

The Rules for Disappearing (The Rules for Disappearing #1) by Ashley Elston
Summary: She’s been six different people in six different places: Madeline in Ohio, Isabelle in Missouri, Olivia in Kentucky . . . But now that she’s been transplanted to rural Louisiana, she has decided that this fake identity will be her last.

Witness Protection has taken nearly everything from her. But for now, they’ve given her a new name, Megan Rose Jones, and a horrible hair color. For the past eight months, Meg has begged her father to answer one question: What on earth did he do – or see – that landed them in this god-awful mess? Meg has just about had it with all the Suits’ rules — and her dad’s silence. If he won’t help, it’s time she got some answers for herself.

But Meg isn’t counting on Ethan Landry, an adorable Louisiana farm boy who’s too smart for his own good. He knows Meg is hiding something big. And it just might get both of them killed. As they embark on a perilous journey to free her family once and for all, Meg discovers that there’s only one rule that really matters — survival.

Gilded Ashes by Rosamund Hodge
Summary: A romantic and fantastical reimagining of the classic Cinderella tale, Gilded Ashes is a novella by Rosamund Hodge set in the same world as the author's debut novel, Cruel Beauty.

Orphan Maia doesn't see the point of love when it only brings pain: Her dying mother made a bargain with the evil, all-powerful ruler of their world that anyone who hurt her beloved daughter would be punished; her new stepmother went mad with grief when Maia's father died; and her stepsisters are desperate for their mother's approval, yet she always spurns them. And though her family has turned her into a despised servant, Maia must always pretend to be happy, or else they'll all be struck dead by the curse.

Anax, heir to the Duke of Sardis, doesn't believe in love either—not since he discovered that his childhood sweetheart was only using him for his noble title. What's the point of pretending to fall in love with a girl just so she'll pretend to fall in love with him back? But when his father invites all the suitable girls in the kingdom to a masked ball, Anax must finally give in and select a wife.

As fate would have it, the preparations for the masquerade bring him Maia, who was asked by her eldest stepsister to deliver letters to Anax. Despite a prickly first encounter, he is charmed and intrigued by this mysterious girl who doesn't believe in love. Anax can't help wishing to see her again—and when he does, he can't help falling in love with her. Against her will, Maia starts to fall in love with him too. But how can she be with him when every moment his life is in danger from her mother's deadly bargain?

HarperTeen Impulse is a digital imprint focused on young adult short stories and novellas, with new releases the first Tuesday of each month.

Read:
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Summary above under new books

Currently Reading:
Beautiful Chaos (Caster Chronicles #3) by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Summary: Ethan Wate thought he was getting used to the strange, impossible events happening in Gatlin, his small Southern town. But now that Ethan and Lena have returned home from the Great Barrier, strange and impossible have taken on new meanings. Swarms of locusts, record-breaking heat, and devastating storms ravage Gatlin as Ethan and Lena struggle to understand the impact of Lena's Claiming. Even Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals is affected -- and their abilities begin to dangerously misfire. As time passes, one question becomes clear: What -- or who -- will need to be sacrificed to save Gatlin?

For Ethan, the chaos is a frightening but welcome distraction. He's being haunted in his dreams again, but this time it's not Lena -- and the mysterious figure is following him out of his dreams and into his everyday life. Worse, Ethan is gradually losing pieces of himself -- forgetting names, phone numbers, even memories. He doesn't know why, and he's afraid to ask. 

Sometimes there's no going back. And this time there won't be a happy ending.

I wanted to finish this book this week, but I ended up getting really into Cruel Beauty and unintentionally took a break from this book. I'm starting up again where I left off though, and am crossing my fingers I finish this week! I have a busy two weeks ahead of me and then I hope to get to read a lot over the summer!

Most Likely to Read Next:
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Summary: Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.

Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green's most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

Though I've already read this book, it's been nearly two years, and with the movie coming out I definitely want to read it again!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Review: City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments #4) by Cassandra Clare

City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments #4) by Cassandra Clare
Paperback; 424 pages
Published by Margaret K. McElderry on October 2, 2012 (first published on April 5, 2011)
Rating: 3 stars

Summary (Goodreads): The Mortal War is over, and sixteen-year-old Clary Fray is back home in New York, excited about all the possibilities before her. She’s training to become a Shadowhunter and to use her unique power. Her mother is getting married to the love of her life. Downworlders and Shadowhunters are at peace at last. And—most importantly of all—she can finally call Jace her boyfriend.

But nothing comes without a price.

Someone is murdering Shadowhunters, provoking tensions between Downworlders and Shadowhunters that could lead to a second, bloody war. Clary’s best friend, Simon, can’t help her—his mother just found out that he’s a vampire, and now he’s homeless. When Jace begins to pull away from her without explaining why, Clary is forced to delve into the heart of a mystery whose solution reveals her worst nightmare: she herself has set in motion a terrible chain of events that could lead to her losing everything she loves. Even Jace.

The stakes are higher than ever in the #1 New York Times bestselling fourth installment of the Mortal Instruments series.

My Thoughts: 
I honestly went back and forth with this book. I both enjoyed it and didn't enjoy it. 

In the beginning, the story started out strong and held my interest rather well. As the story progressed however, it slowly started to disappoint me. I just wasn't interested in the direction Clare wanted to bring this story. I believe the decline really started to show around the halfway point of the book.

With the different perspectives of each of the characters, there was able to be several different stories that were all connected but also separate. I enjoyed this, because when I wasn't enjoying a perspective of one of the characters, I knew that soon enough I would be back with another.

When the book starts out, I enjoyed everyone's perspective. I didn't care much for one thing Simon was doing that Clary knew about, but that's not something that would make me dislike the story or anything at all. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed reading about Simon and his life now as a vampire, even though he was trying to be as normal as possible. I also really enjoyed reading from Clary's perspective and seeing her training, as she is now going to be a shadowhunter. Jace's perspective was interesting as well, as he has issues he is personally dealing with that revolve around his family.

Then comes his dreams.

I didn't like this part of the book at all. It made me kind of sad, because I really like reading about Clary and Jace, but in this book I found myself dreading their sections in the book. I just didn't like the plot that Clare was making between them, and I didn't like how Jace didn't want to tell Clary what was wrong. That's literally the worst thing you can do, not tell someone what is wrong when there is something going on, and then start to completely ignore and avoid them. It just really annoyed me.

I will say this though, while it did annoy me when it came to Jace's actions, I did enjoy having him around when I was reading about Simon. When the story wasn't filled with Jace's angsty problems, I found myself liking what I was reading. Even when things like Jace's appearance were brought into play and the issues that came from that, when it wasn't from his perspective I didn't mind it much.

Simon really was the only person that kept me happy with this novel. His storyline was more captivating to me since he was learning more about the consequences of being a vampire, and he also was learning the consequences about the mark of Cain that Clary placed on him. The mark was really interesting to me, and while it was awful how it worked, I also found myself fascinated with it. 

Really I don't know what direction I should take this review in. By the end of the book, I felt like I was going to be happy with the turn of events, as it began to go in a direction I liked, but then, in the final pages, that was squashed. I don't like the way the series seems to be going, but we'll have to see. My close friend told me she loved the fifth book, so I'm hoping I do as well. I also don't want people to think I disliked this book, I did enjoy the read at some points, but I didn't like not being happy with the turn of events the way I was. Either way, Simon was the saving grace of this novel and I hope to see more of him in the next book!


★★★

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #7

City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments #6) by Cassandra Clare
Release Date: May 27, 2014
Summary: ΕRCHOMAI, SEBASTIAN HAD SAID. 

I am coming.

Darkness returns to the Shadowhunter world. As their society falls apart around them, Clary, Jace, Simon and their friends must band together to fight the greatest evil the Nephilim have ever faced: Clary’s own brother. Nothing in the world can defeat him — must they journey to another world to find the chance? Lives will be lost, love sacrificed, and the whole world changed in the sixth and last installment of the Mortal Instruments series!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #7

May 20: Ten Books About Friendship

  1. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead - I love the friendship between Lissa and Rose! It was nice that it was a large focus in the series
  2. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor - Zuzana is definitely one of my favorite characters, and I love how she balances Karou. 
  3. Harry Potter by J K Rowling - Do I really need to say it? Harry, Ron and Hermione have such a lovely friendship, and while they have bumps and rough patches, they are always there to help one another out in the long run
  4. The Book Thief by Markus Zuzak- Rudy and Max. I love their friendships with Liesel!
  5. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater - I love Blue and the Raven Boys! Their friendship is amazing and so well written
  6. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl - From what I've read so far in the series, I love the friendship between Ethan and Link! It's nice to see things from the guys perspective in these books
  7. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky - I love how the friendships between Charlie and Patrick and Sam go!
  8. The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare - I loved the relationship between Clary and Simon!
  9. Obsidian by Jennifer L Armentrout - Dee and Katy are so cute together. I loved how happy Dee was to be friends with Katy
  10. The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare - I've only read the first book, but I love the friendship between Will and Jem!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Sunday Weekly Update #9

New Books: 
The Assassin's Blade (Throne of Glass #0.1-0.5) by Sarah J. Maas
Summary: Contains all five novellas.

Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan's most feared assassin. As part of the Assassin's Guild, her allegiance is to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam. In these action-packed novellas - together in one edition for the first time - Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and seeks to avenge the tyrannous. But she is acting against Arobynn's orders and could suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery. Will Celaena ever be truly free? Explore the dark underworld of this kick-ass heroine to find out

All Lined Up (Rusk University #1) by Cora Carmack
Summary: New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cora Carmack follows up her trio of hits—Losing It, Faking It, and Finding It—with this thrilling first novel in an explosive series bursting with the Texas flavor, edge, and steamy romance of Friday Night Lights.

In Texas, two things are cherished above all else—football and gossip. My life has always been ruled by both.

Dallas Cole loathes football. That's what happens when you spend your whole childhood coming in second to a sport. College is her time to step out of the bleachers, and put the playing field (and the players) in her past.

But life doesn't always go as planned. As if going to the same college as her football star ex wasn’t bad enough, her father, a Texas high school coaching phenom, has decided to make the jump to college ball… as the new head coach at Rusk University. Dallas finds herself in the shadows of her father and football all over again.

Carson McClain is determined to go from second-string quarterback to the starting line-up. He needs the scholarship and the future that football provides. But when a beautiful redhead literally falls into his life, his focus is more than tested. It's obliterated.

Dallas doesn't know Carson is on the team. Carson doesn't know that Dallas is his new coach's daughter.

And neither of them know how to walk away from the attraction they feel.

Red Rising (Red Rising Trilogy #1) by Pierce Brown
Summary: The war begins...

Darrow is a Helldiver, one of a thousand men and women who live in the vast caves beneath the surface of Mars. Generations of Helldivers have spent their lives toiling to mine the precious elements that will allow the planet to be terraformed. Just knowing that one day people will be able to walk the surface of the planet is enough to justify their sacrifice. The Earth is dying, and Darrow and his people are the only hope humanity has left.

Until the day Darrow learns that it is all a lie. Mars is habitable - and indeed has been inhabited for generations by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. The Golds regard Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.

With the help of a mysterious group of rebels, Darrow disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside.

But the command school is a battlefield. And Darrow isn't the only student with an agenda...

Stir Me Up by Sabrina Elkins
Summary: Cami Broussard has her future all figured out. She'll finish her senior year of high school, then go to work full-time as an apprentice chef in her father's French restaurant, alongside her boyfriend, Luke. But then twenty-year-old ex-Marine Julian Wyatt comes to live with Cami's family while recovering from serious injuries. And suddenly Cami finds herself questioning everything she thought she wanted.

Julian's all attitude, challenges and intense green-brown eyes. But beneath that abrasive exterior is a man who just might be as lost as Cami's starting to feel. And Cami can't stop thinking about him. Talking to him. Wanting to kiss him. He's got her seriously stirred up. Her senior year has just gotten a lot more complicated….

Read:
This week was so busy for me, so I haven't even had a chance to finish Beautiful Chaos yet! Hopefully I'll be able to finish it this week, but who knows, the next few weeks will be packed with schoolwork for me since it's the end of the year and I'm graduating (and I have two less weeks than expected to get everything done and turned in, so I have a lot more to do in a shorter amount of time). I can't wait for June 5 to finally be here and for my summer to start!

Currently Reading: 
Beautiful Chaos (Caster Chronicles #3) by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Summary: Ethan Wate thought he was getting used to the strange, impossible events happening in Gatlin, his small Southern town. But now that Ethan and Lena have returned home from the Great Barrier, strange and impossible have taken on new meanings. Swarms of locusts, record-breaking heat, and devastating storms ravage Gatlin as Ethan and Lena struggle to understand the impact of Lena's Claiming. Even Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals is affected -- and their abilities begin to dangerously misfire. As time passes, one question becomes clear: What -- or who -- will need to be sacrificed to save Gatlin?

For Ethan, the chaos is a frightening but welcome distraction. He's being haunted in his dreams again, but this time it's not Lena -- and the mysterious figure is following him out of his dreams and into his everyday life. Worse, Ethan is gradually losing pieces of himself -- forgetting names, phone numbers, even memories. He doesn't know why, and he's afraid to ask. 

Sometimes there's no going back. And this time there won't be a happy ending.
SPECIAL BONUS: Includes "Dream Dark," a thrilling short story set before Beautiful Chaos. When Link joined his best friend, Ethan Wate, on a quest through a mysterious network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, he knew the journey would be dangerous. But he had no idea it would change his life forever.

Most Likely to Read Next:
All Lined Up (Rusk University #1) by Cora Carmack
Summary above under New Books

Friday, May 16, 2014

Review: Night of Cake and Puppets (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2.5) by Laini Taylor

Night of Cake and Puppets (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2.5) by Laini Taylor
ebook; 89 pages
Published by Little, Brown Books on November 26, 2013
Rating: 5 stars

Summary (Goodreads): In Night of Cake & Puppets, Taylor brings to life a night only hinted at in the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy—the magical first date of fan-favorites Zuzana and Mik. Told in alternating perspectives, it’s the perfect love story for fans of the series and new readers alike. Petite though she may be, Zuzana is not known for timidity. Her best friend, Karou, calls her “rabid fairy,” her “voodoo eyes” are said to freeze blood, and even her older brother fears her wrath. But when it comes to the simple matter of talking to Mik, or “Violin Boy,” her courage deserts her. Now, enough is enough. Zuzana is determined to meet him, and she has a fistful of magic and a plan. It’s a wonderfully elaborate treasure hunt of a plan that will take Mik all over Prague on a cold winter’s night before finally leading him to the treasure: herself! Violin Boy’s not going to know what hit him.

My Thoughts: 
Oh my God I loved this ebook to pieces! It honestly is so cute and amazing. I would love for a first date to be like this (no matter how unrealistic its possibility really is!). 

I love the alternating point of views and the uncertainty each one of them feels even though they both clearly like one another. Zuzana is the same spit-fire girl she always is, but she is still so sweet as well and I honestly love her idea of making a treasure map to herself. It was so clever!

Mik is also interesting to read about, and it's cool to see the way he reacts to all of the things Zuzana does for him, especially since she has some magic to use. I love how, even though the night was supposed to be a bunch of surprises for him from Zuzana, he jumps at the chance to make a surprise of his own, even if it's last minute and he has to think on his toes.

There's honestly not much to say about this because it's just a short little story, but it was so magical! Even the parts without the magic. I was so curious to see each new event unfold, as Zuze and Mik both were as well.

I also really love the way that Zuzana relies on texting Karou and seeing their interactions because it's so normal, even though Karou is supposedly in South Africa looking for wishes. They just show such an amazing friendship, and you can really see how they help one another out no matter what it's about. 

Overall, this is not a necessary story to read in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy, but it is definitely a memorable one that I'll no doubt be rereading in the future! It adds a new perspective to Zuzana and Mik and makes my love for their characters so much more than it was before, even though I didn't think it possible!


★★★★★

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #6

Dangerous Creatures (Dangerous Creatures #1) by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Release Date: May 20, 2014
Summary: From the world of Beautiful Creatures-a dangerous new tale of love and magic.

Ridley Duchannes is nobody's heroine. She's a Dark Caster, a Siren. She can make you do things. Anything. You can't trust her, or yourself when she's around. And she'll be the first to tell you to stay away-especially if you're going to do something as stupid as fall in love with her. 

Lucky for Ridley, her wannabe rocker boyfriend, Wesley "Link" Lincoln, never listens to anyone. Link doesn't care if Rid's no good for him, and he takes her along when he leaves small-town Gatlin to follow his rock-star dream. He teams up with a ragtag group of Dark Casters, and when the band scores a gig at a hot Underground club, it looks like all of Link's dreams are about to come true. 

But New York City is a dangerous place for both Casters and Mortals, and soon Ridley realizes that Link's bandmates are keeping secrets. With bad-boy club owner Lennox Gates on her heels, Rid is determined to find out the truth. What she discovers is worse than she could have imagined: Link has a price on his head that no Caster or Mortal can ever pay. With their lives on the line, what's a Siren to do? 

Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, the #1 New York Times bestselling coauthors of the Beautiful Creatures novels, are back to cast another magical spell. Their signature blend of mystery, suspense, and romance, with a healthy dose of wit and danger, will pull fans in and leave them begging for more.

I haven't finished reading the Caster Chronicles, but since this is a part of that world, I know that I'll want to read it! I also have been given a preordered signed copy as a gift, which is exciting! 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #6

May 13: Ten Books I Almost Put Down But Didn't

  1. Obsession by Jennifer L. Armentrout - I honestly just didn't like this book much. The beginning was good, but the rest wasn't. I mostly pushed through to get the insight into another side of the Lux Series, but overall I didn't enjoy the read as much as I hoped and will not be reading this again. I'm not disappointed I read it though, I just didn't care for the story.
  2. Rapture by Lauren Kate - Technically I did put this book down. I put it down for over a year. I didn't completely turn away though, as I eventually finished the book and actually did enjoy some parts of it.
  3. Flowers in the Attic by V. C. Andrews - I also technically put this book down too. I attempted to read it years ago because my mom loved it as a teen but I wasn't into it. Years later, my mom wanted to watch the new movie of it with me, and we watched it, and I figured I would give the book another go. I enjoyed it enough, though I doubt I'll ever reread it. I think mostly it's just slow in my opinion, and back when I first tried reading it I wasn't into reading like I am now, so it couldn't hold my attention long enough.
  4. The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp - This book was okay, but I just felt that the characters lacked the growth that should have been there. I did read to the end, but I wasn't satisfied with the ending at all.
  5. Fallen in Love by Lauren Kate - This book just didn't hold my interest well. I read it, and overall I'm glad I did, but I can't tell you I remember much of it. 
  6. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous - I actually almost DNF this book the second time I read it, because the first time I was rather young and impressionable, and the second I was much older and wiser. The truth of the matter is - this book is so unrealistically overdone that it was painful to read.
  7. Halo by Alexandra Adornetto - This book just didn't seem to pull me in. I felt very disconnected from the characters and lacked the caring attitude I wanted to feel towards them. I'm glad I finished the book, but the writing style was just not for me.
  8. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - I know, a surprise, right? It wasn't that I didn't enjoy this book it was just that I wasn't really that into reading at the time I was reading it. It honestly took me forever to read this book and there were several times I thought I might just stop reading it, but I successfully finished it the day I was going to see the movie, and I'm really thankful that I did. Since then, I've reread this book, and I really do enjoy the story.
  9. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - Nowadays, it's almost easier to look up books on sparknotes for school rather than read the actual book, and this is something I almost did. I wasn't into this story much at the beginning, and I always hate being forced to read books over the summer for school, but I ended up binge reading this book in a day two days before I had a test on it. I actually really enjoyed the book for one I had to read for school, and I'm proud to own a copy of it. 
  10. Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson - I didn't like this book at all. I had to read it for school, and that's literally the only reason I read it. I don't regret reading it necessarily, though if I knew that my teacher was giving everyone a hundred on our project on it because he didn't care for summer work, I would have skimmed it more so than actually read the book.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Sunday Weekly Update #8

New Books:
Night of Cake and Puppets (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2.5) by Laini Taylor
Summary: In Night of Cake & Puppets, Taylor brings to life a night only hinted at in the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy—the magical first date of fan-favorites Zuzana and Mik. Told in alternating perspectives, it’s the perfect love story for fans of the series and new readers alike. Petite though she may be, Zuzana is not known for timidity. Her best friend, Karou, calls her “rabid fairy,” her “voodoo eyes” are said to freeze blood, and even her older brother fears her wrath. But when it comes to the simple matter of talking to Mik, or “Violin Boy,” her courage deserts her. Now, enough is enough. Zuzana is determined to meet him, and she has a fistful of magic and a plan. It’s a wonderfully elaborate treasure hunt of a plan that will take Mik all over Prague on a cold winter’s night before finally leading him to the treasure: herself! Violin Boy’s not going to know what hit him.

Zoe Letting Go by Nora Price
Summary: Zoe knows she doesn’t belong in a hospital—so why is she in one?

Twin Birch isn’t just any hospital. It’s a strange mansion populated by unnerving staff and glassy-eyed patients. It’s a place for girls with serious problems; skinny, spindly girls with eating disorders who have a penchant for harming themselves.

Zoe isn’t like them. And she can’t figure out why she was sent here. Writing letters to her best friend Elise keep her sane, grounded in the memories of her past—but mired in them, too. Elise never writes back.

Zoe is lost without her, unsure of how to navigate tenuous new friendships and bizarre rules without Elise by her side. But as her letters intertwine with journal entries chronicling her mysterious life at Twin Birch, another narrative unfolds. The hidden story of a complicated friendship; of the choices we make, the truths we tell others, and the lies we tell ourselves. The story of a friendship that has the potential to both save—and damage beyond repair. And Zoe finds she must confront the truth about her past once and for all, before she can finally let go.

Nora Price’s debut young adult book is a heart-wrenching meditation on the bonds of friendship with a gripping psychological twist.

Reboot (Reboot #1) by Amy Tintera
Summary: Five years ago, Wren Connolly was shot three times in the chest. After 178 minutes she came back as a Reboot: stronger, faster, able to heal, and less emotional. The longer Reboots are dead, the less human they are when they return. Wren 178 is the deadliest Reboot in the Republic of Texas. Now seventeen years old, she serves as a soldier for HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation).

Wren’s favorite part of the job is training new Reboots, but her latest newbie is the worst she’s ever seen. As a 22, Callum Reyes is practically human. His reflexes are too slow, he’s always asking questions, and his ever-present smile is freaking her out. Yet there’s something about him she can’t ignore. When Callum refuses to follow an order, Wren is given one last chance to get him in line—or she’ll have to eliminate him. Wren has never disobeyed before and knows if she does, she’ll be eliminated, too. But she has also never felt as alive as she does around Callum.

The perfect soldier is done taking orders

The Shadowhunter's Codex by Cassandra Clare and Joshua Lewis
Summary: The Clave is pleased to announce the newest edition of the Nephilim’s oldest and most famous training manual: the Shadowhunter’s Codex. Since the thirteenth century, the Codex has been the young Shadowhunter’s best friend. When you’re being swarmed by demons it can be easy to forget the finer points of obscure demon languages or the fastest way to stop an attack of Raum demons. With the Codex by your side, you never have to worry. 

Now in its twenty-seventh edition, the Codex covers it all: the history and the laws of our world; how to identify, interact with, and if necessary, kill that world’s many colorful denizens; which end of the stele is the end you write with. No more will your attempt to fight off rogue vampires and warlocks be slowed by the need to answer endless questions from your new recruits: What is a Pyxis? Why don’t we use guns? If I can’t see a warlock’s mark, is there a polite way to ask him where it is? Where do we get all our holy water? Geography, History, Magic, and Zoology textbook all rolled into one, the Codex is here to help new Shadowhunters navigate the beautiful, often brutal world that we inhabit. 

Do not let it be said that the Clave is outdated or, as the younger Shadowhunters say, “uncool”: this new edition of the Codex will be available not only in the usual magically-sealed demonskin binding, but also in a smart, modern edition using all of today’s most exciting printing techniques, including such new features as a sturdy clothbound cover, a protective dust jacket, and information about title, author, publisher, and so on conveniently available right on the cover. You’ll be pleased to know that it fits neatly into most satchels, and unlike previous editions, it rarely sets off alarm wards. 

The old woodcuts and engravings have been replaced as well: instead, you’ll find lavish modern illustrations by some of the brightest luminaries of the fantastic. Creatures, weapons, people, and places have been carefully and accurately rendered by the likes of Rebecca Guay, Charles Vess, Jim Nelson, Theo Black, Elisabeth Alba, and Cassandra Jean. Chapters are beautifully introduced by the drawings of Michael Kaluta, and along with our condensation of the classic 2,450-page tome, A History of the Nephilim, you will find a selection of the best of the lovely illustrations of that volume by John Dollar. 

This edition of the Codex will be available in Institute libraries and what mundanes sometimes call “book stores” in October 2013

The Sweetest Dark (The Sweetest Dark #1) by Shana Abé
Summary: The Sweetest Dark is filled with thrilling romance, exciting adventure, and ancient magic. Shana Abé brilliantly captures the drama of post-Victorian England, while unfolding a passionate love story that defies time.

“With every fiber of my being, I yearned to be normal. To glide through my days at Iverson without incident. But I’d have to face the fact that my life was about to unfold in a very, very different way than I’d ever envisioned. Normal would become forever out of reach.” 

Lora Jones has always known that she’s different. On the outside, she appears to be an ordinary sixteen-year-old girl. Yet Lora’s been keeping a heartful of secrets: She hears songs that no one else can hear, dreams vividly of smoke and flight, and lives with a mysterious voice inside her that insists she’s far more than what she seems.

England, 1915. Raised in an orphanage in a rough corner of London, Lora quickly learns to hide her unique abilities and avoid attention. Then, much to her surprise, she is selected as the new charity student at Iverson, an elite boarding school on England’s southern coast. Iverson’s eerie, gothic castle is like nothing Lora has ever seen. And the two boys she meets there will open her eyes and forever change her destiny.

Jesse is the school’s groundskeeper—a beautiful boy who recognizes Lora for who and what she truly is. Armand is a darkly handsome and arrogant aristocrat who harbors a few closely guarded secrets of his own. Both hold the answers to her past. One is the key to her future. And both will aim to win her heart. As danger descends upon Iverson, Lora must harness the powers she’s only just begun to understand, or else lose everything she dearly loves.

Filled with lush atmosphere, thrilling romance, and ancient magic, The Sweetest Dark brilliantly captures a rich historical era while unfolding an enchanting love story that defies time.

The Collector (Dante Walker #1) by Victoria Scott
Summary: He makes good girls...bad. 

Dante Walker is flippin’ awesome, and he knows it. His good looks, killer charm, and stellar confidence have made him one of hell’s best—a soul collector. His job is simple: weed through humanity and label those round rears with a big red good or bad stamp. Old Saint Nick gets the good guys, and he gets the fun ones. Bag-and-tag.

Sealing souls is nothing personal. Dante’s an equal-opportunity collector and doesn't want it any other way. But he’ll have to adjust, because Boss Man has given him a new assignment:

Collect Charlie Cooper’s soul within ten days.

Dante doesn't know why Boss Man wants Charlie, nor does he care. This assignment means only one thing to him, and that’s a permanent ticket out of hell. But after Dante meets the quirky Nerd Alert chick he’s come to collect, he realizes this assignment will test his abilities as a collector…and uncover emotions deeply buried.

Dream Factory by Brad Barkley and Heather Helper
Summary: When the character actors at Disney World go on strike, the teens hired as replacements learn that it isn't exactly the Happiest Place on Earth. Ella gets to be Cinderella, simply because the shoe fits. It should be a dream come true, but Ella no longer believes in dreams. Luke is a fur character, Dale the chipmunk. Chip is played by his girlfriend, Cassie, who is perfect in every way. Why, then, does Luke find himself more drawn to imperfect things like the theme park's Phantom? A team-building scavenger hunt brings Luke and Ella together. As they uncover the Magic Kingdom's treasures, they discover an undeniable magic between them.

Read: 
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?


Night of Cake and Puppets (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2.5) by Laini Taylor
Summary above under New Books
Review to come!!

City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments #4) by Cassandra Clare
Summary: The Mortal War is over, and sixteen-year-old Clary Fray is back home in New York, excited about all the possibilities before her. She’s training to become a Shadowhunter and to use her unique power. Her mother is getting married to the love of her life. Downworlders and Shadowhunters are at peace at last. And—most importantly of all—she can finally call Jace her boyfriend.

But nothing comes without a price.

Someone is murdering Shadowhunters, provoking tensions between Downworlders and Shadowhunters that could lead to a second, bloody war. Clary’s best friend, Simon, can’t help her—his mother just found out that he’s a vampire, and now he’s homeless. When Jace begins to pull away from her without explaining why, Clary is forced to delve into the heart of a mystery whose solution reveals her worst nightmare: she herself has set in motion a terrible chain of events that could lead to her losing everything she loves. Even Jace.

The stakes are higher than ever in the #1 New York Times bestselling fourth installment of the Mortal Instruments series
Review to come!

Currently Reading: 
Beautiful Chaos (Caster Chronicles #3) by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Summary: Ethan Wate thought he was getting used to the strange, impossible events happening in Gatlin, his small Southern town. But now that Ethan and Lena have returned home from the Great Barrier, strange and impossible have taken on new meanings. Swarms of locusts, record-breaking heat, and devastating storms ravage Gatlin as Ethan and Lena struggle to understand the impact of Lena's Claiming. Even Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals is affected -- and their abilities begin to dangerously misfire. As time passes, one question becomes clear: What -- or who -- will need to be sacrificed to save Gatlin?

For Ethan, the chaos is a frightening but welcome distraction. He's being haunted in his dreams again, but this time it's not Lena -- and the mysterious figure is following him out of his dreams and into his everyday life. Worse, Ethan is gradually losing pieces of himself -- forgetting names, phone numbers, even memories. He doesn't know why, and he's afraid to ask. 

Sometimes there's no going back. And this time there won't be a happy ending.

Most Likely to Read Next: 
Reached (Matched #3) by Ally Condie
Summary: Conclusion to the New York Times Bestselling Matched Trilogy!

Cassia’s journey began with an error, a momentary glitch in the otherwise perfect façade of the Society. After crossing canyons to break free, she waits, silk and paper smuggled against her skin, ready for the final chapter.

The wait is over.

One young woman has raged against those who threaten to keep away what matters most—family, love, choice. Her quiet revolution is about to explode into full-scale rebellion. With exquisite prose, the emotionally gripping conclusion to the international–bestselling Matched trilogy returns Cassia, Ky, and Xander to the Society to save the one thing they have been denied for so long, the power to choose

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Review: Days of Blood and Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2) by Laini Taylor

Days of Blood and Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2) by Laini Taylor
Hardcover; 517 pages
Published by Little Brown Books on November 6, 2012
Rating: 5 stars

Summary (Goodreads): 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?

My Thoughts: 
Wow! What an amazing book. I will admit that I wasn't as refreshed with the world as I would have liked to be, as it has been two years since I read the first book, but I was able to remember a decent amount of information and a lot of things were refreshed in my memory while I read the novel.

I loved the different perspectives we got to see throughout the whole novel. It was interesting getting to look at the way everyone read different situations and how they were doing when they weren't in the same area as another character happened to be. I really felt connected to each and every character, and as new ones were introduced, I felt for them just as much as I felt for those who had been there from the start.

Karou is honestly such a strong and amazing character. My favorite parts of the book were when they were from her perspective. She was faced with a horrible tragedy, and yet she was pushing on and works through hardships no one should have to face, all while knowing she was not safe. She was really aptly named though, as she became the hope for the chimaera, even if they didn't believe in her or particularly like her. Without her though, where would they be? She became their resurrectionist, and without her, they would be gone. She did everything for her people even though they didn't care or respect her in return. I felt like I saw a lot of growth in her character and she was rather cunning when she needed to be. She learned more of the situation she was facing and did what was in her power to change it for the better. 

Akiva also was a main character throughout this novel. He's devastated, thinking Karou is dead, and it doesn't help the matter when he finds a thurible with her name on it. I was honestly not as interested in his part of the story line for a while, but as the book went on, I began to have an increased interest in what happened to him. I liked the way that he changed and showed mercy to the chimaera, and I loved seeing interactions with him and Liraz and Hazael. Though this ultimately led me to be more sad in the end, it was nice to see their relationship as his brother and sister. They really rely on and care deeply for one another, and they truly make a family. Things with his story, in my opinion, really pick up as the story goes on, and while I don't want to mention things to spoil it, I began to look forward to his sections of the story more and more.

Zuzana and Mik were amazing to read about. I love the first chapter that starts with them, it brought a grin to my face. Zuze is so spunky and her personality is the best. She's an amazing friend to Karou and does whatever she can to talk to and find her to help her out however is necessary, even if the work is way out of her league. Mik is pretty much the same way. He has come to care for Karou as well, since she is such a big part of Zuze's life. They are honestly so cute together and I love the way they interact with one another. Their point of view always made me happy and they're definitely the icing on the cake of this novel. The story is there without them, like cake is without icing, but they make it so much better than it is on its own!

There are other characters' perspectives we see things through, and I loved each and every one of them. They showed the war and the things going on through new eyes, and it really gave the reader a view of the world as a whole, rather than just through the original main characters' eyes.

There's honestly so much I can say about this novel, as it's jam-packed with information. It took me a while to read it, but I'm actually glad it did because I was able to soak it all in and really get a good idea of the story. I would fall asleep at night thinking of the world Laini Taylor created and going over the new things I had read in the past day, reliving the moments through the images created from her writing in my head. This series really is amazing, and I'm so glad that I went out to get the last book to read soon!


★★★★★