Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Important Update About NaNoWriMo and My Blog - Please Read!

Just wanted to let everyone know that I am participating in NaNoWriMo this year.  If you don't know what it is, here's the quick explanation: NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month.  It's a challenge to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November.  Check out the link above if you'd like more info!

Anyway, since I'll be pretty busy writing a novel for the next month, I probably won't have much time for blogging. ;) So if you see a lack of posts from me - don't worry!  I will continue blogging regularly once November is over.  I'm going to try to do a couple In My Mailbox or Waiting on Wednesday posts, and perhaps a couple book reviews, but that might be it for November updates from me.

So that's all!  Just wanted everyone to know why I won't be around much next month.  And good luck to any fellow NaNo participants out there! :)

~ The Bookworm

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Kick-Butt Heroines

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Broke and Bookish.  Each week a new list topic is posted and book bloggers fill in their choices.  This week's topic is "Top Ten Favorite Kick-Butt Heroines."

My Top Ten Favorite Kick-Butt Heroines:

1. Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games.  Duh, of course she's number one.  You can't find a heroine much tougher and better than Katniss. :)

2. Tris from Divergent.  I seriously adore Tris.  She's a fantastic heroine and I loved seeing her character transform into someone powerful and strong.

3. Alex from the Covenant series.  Alex is sooo awesome!  She never backs down and I love how she's so brave and stands up for what she believes in.  And I love her snark and sarcasm. :D

4. Elisa from The Girl of Fire and Thorns.  Elisa has got to be one of my favorite YA characters ever.  The journey she takes is just so heartwrenching and she goes through so much.  She's amazing!

5. Katy from the Lux series.  I just love Katy.  What makes her character so cool is that she's a normal person - in fact, she's a book blogger, like lots of us, hehe!  But as the series progresses, she learns to fight and protect herself.  She's a great character who's easy to relate to!

6. Clara from Unearthly.  Oh, I love Clara!  She's sweet, hilarious, and such a fun character, but what I love best about her is that she's not afraid to do what's right.  She learns to use her powers and becomes an amazing heroine.

7. Gabi from the River of Time series.  Gabi is probably one of my favorite heroines ever.  She's just your average teenage girl - unless she travels back in time to Italy and gets thrown into the middle of lots of fights and battles.  I love how she had to learn to fight to stay alive!     

8. Lena from Delirium.  Okay, Lena was a great character in Delirium, but I felt like she really grew up in the sequel Pandemonium.  I love the way she kept fighting even when there wasn't hope.

9. Ismae from Grave Mercy.  She's a nun assassin, you guys.  That's pretty cool.  Seriously, she's sly, smart, tough, and clever, yet so easy to relate to.  Ismae is a fascinating character!  And let's be honest, I think we all wish we could be nun assasins like her. ;)

10. Evie from Paranormalcy.  Oh, Evie is so fun!  She's got the greatest sense of humor, but boy, she knows how to fight.  I love how awesome she is.  You can't help cheering for her!

A few other honorable mentions (because I have many favorite heroines and not enough room to list them all!) are Alina from Shadow and Bone, Ellie from Valkyrie Rising, Max from the Maxiumum Ride series, and Nikki from Everneath.

Like any of the heroines I've listed?  Tell me in the comments and/or leave links to your Top Ten post!  Thanks for stopping by, everyone!

~ The Bookworm

Book Review: Dangerous Boy

Goodreads summary:

A modern-day retelling of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with a chilling twist

Harper has never been worried about falling in love, something she is skeptical even exists. But everything changes when Logan moves to town, and to Harper's shock, the two tumble into an intense romance. It's everything she never thought she wanted.

Then she meets Logan's twin brother, Caleb, who was expelled from his last school. True, he's a bad boy, but Harper can't shake the feeling that there's something deeply sinister about him--something dangerous. When Logan starts pulling away, Harper is convinced that Caleb's shadowy past is the wedge being driven between them. But by the time she uncovers the truth, it may be too late.

The author of Prada & Prejudice, You Wish, and Ripple delivers a modern-day retelling of a famously gothic tale, full of suspense, lies, and romance.

My review:

Normally, this isn't the type of book that would catch my eye.  I haven't even ever read The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, which this book is a modern retelling of.  But I'd enjoyed Mandy Hubbard's books Ripple and Prada & Prejudice, so I thought I might like this one.  Unfortunately, I felt quite let-down.

Oh, the main character.  I could not connect with Harper at all.  She ignores the obvious - the fact that Logan is, as the title suggests, a dangerous boy - and keeps forgiving him whenever he puts her in danger or gets angry at her.  She repeatedly puts herself in harm's way, and doesn't listen when her friends say she should go to the police.  I just wanted to yell at the poor girl and shake some sense into her.

And the story?  Completely predictable.  I easily figured out what was happening and just wanted the story to hurry up and finish.  I kept guessing what would happen.  The only good thing in Hubbard's writing is that it was pretty creepy at times.  But the suspense factor would have so much better if the story hadn't been predictable.

There were a couple other things in the writing that bothered me.  They're not major problems, but they got on my nerves.  First: "'You really okay?" Allie says, her voice low.  "That was really scary."' (pg. 161.)  Why does the author use the word "really" twice in that paragraph?  It doesn't make sense to have two of the same words so close together.  A similar instance occured earlier in the story, when the author used the phrase "fair enough" twice within a few pages.  Again, these aren't huge issues, but they stuck out to me.

Also, I have to mention one last quote.  "As far as I know, he has no friends in Enumclaw.  How would he make them when he's homeschooled?" (pg. 180.)  *sigh* Why does everyone assume that homeschoolers have no social life?  This is the farthest thing from the truth.  It really annoys me how homeschoolers are always represented in such a sterotypical way in most books. 

I feel bad because this review has been so negative.  But I think there are other readers who will probably enjoy the creepy atmosphere of this book and end up liking it.  Sadly, it just wasn't for me.  However, I'm still interested to see what Mandy Hubbard writes in the future.

My rating:  4 out of 10 (2 stars)

~ The Bookworm

Monday, October 29, 2012

Book Review: Valkyrie Rising

Goodreads summary:

Nothing ever happens in Norway. But at least Ellie knows what to expect when she visits her grandmother: a tranquil fishing village and long, slow summer days. And maybe she’ll finally get out from under the shadow of her way-too-perfect big brother, Graham, while she’s there.

What Ellie doesn’t anticipate is Graham’s infuriating best friend, Tuck, tagging along for the trip. Nor did she imagine boys going missing amid rumors of impossible kidnappings. Least of all does she expect something powerful and ancient to awaken in her and that strange whispers would urge Ellie to claim her place among mythological warriors. Instead of peace and quiet, there’s suddenly a lot for a girl from L.A. to handle on a summer sojourn in Norway! And when Graham vanishes, it’s up to Ellie—and the ever-sarcastic, if undeniably alluring Tuck—to uncover the truth about all the disappearances and thwart the nefarious plan behind them.

Deadly legends, hidden identities, and tentative romance swirl together in one girl’s unexpectedly-epic coming of age.

My review:

I completely loved Valkyrie Rising.  It's been on my to-read shelf since I saw it on Goodreads in April.  Believe me, this book was worth the wait.  I adored everything about Valkyrie Rising!

First off, the characters.  Anyone who reads my reviews knows that characters can either make or break a story for me.  And oh, I loooove the characters in this story.  Tucker, Tucker, Tucker.  He is my new book boyfriend. :) You can't help falling in love with him along with Ellie.  His funny comments and sarcasm made me crack up numerous times.  But there were also moments when we see a more serious (yet just as lovable!) side of him that is sweet and tender.  He's such an unforgettable character.  Totally swoon-worthy.

And Ellie!  She's a great narrator, and what I loved about her was her character arc.  Though she is slightly shy and quiet, she grows into a strong, brave heroine who isn't afraid to back down.  She had lots of character growth, and she stands up for herself and fights for what she believes in.  Ellie is exactly the type of girl that I would be friends with in real life.  I loved her! 

Of course, I've got to mention Loki, the god of mischief.  He's one of my favorite gods in Norse mythology, and I fully admit that I started squealing and fangirling when his character showed up in the book.  (Yes, I love Loki.  Yes, I know he's a bad guy.  But he's just misunderstood!)  I loved his wit and humor.  Ingrid Paulson wrote his character so well.  He was definitely a fantastic addition to the story!

The plot was amazing.  I've fallen in love with Norse mythology recently, and I seriously wish there were more YA books with Norse mythology!  It's so interesting to read about.  Valkyrie Rising does a great job of immersing you in that world.  I loved the descriptions of Norway, Odin, and the Valkyries.  All of it was perfect.  I especially loved the final battle scene with Odin! 

Also, I loved the ending.  It felt complete, and yet it still hinted that there could be a future sequel.  As far as I know, Valkyrie Rising is a standalone.  But can I just say, I would love to read more books about Ellie and Tuck. :) I can't wait to read more of Ingrid Paulson's books in the future!  She is an incredible storyteller.

My rating:  10 out of 10

~ The Bookworm

Sunday, October 28, 2012

In My Mailbox (6)

In My Mailox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren.

- Valkyrie Rising by Ingrid Paulson
- Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone
- Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
- Everlasting by Elizabeth Chandler
- The Summer of Firsts and Lasts by Terra Elan McVoy

There are all books I bought!  So far I've only read Valkyrie Rising, which I adored and will be writing a review for soon.  Time Between Us looks so good (it's about time travel!  Yay!), and I've heard so much about Anna and the French Kiss, so I can't wait to read it.  Everlasting is the next book in Kissed by an Angel, one of my favorite series.  And The Summer of Firsts and Lasts looks like a really cute contemporary!

- Taken at Dusk by C. C. Hunter
- For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
- Partials by Dan Wells
- Every Day by David Levithan
- Hidden by Sophie Jordan
- Dangerous Boy by Mandy Hubbard

These are all books from the library (except for the first, which I borrowed from a friend).  Taken at Dusk is the third in the Shadow Falls series and was such a fun read.  I'm super excited to read For Darkness Shows the Stars - it's inspired by Jane Austen's Persuasion!  Partials is a dystopian I've been wanting to read for a while as well, so I'm looking forward to that too.  Every Day has gotten lots of hype since it came out, so I hope it's good.  Hidden is the last book in the Firelight trilogy - I just read it yesterday and it was great.  Dangerous Boy is by one of my favorite authors, so I can't wait to read it as well!

So these are the books I've gotten lately!  How about you?  Leave a comment if you've read or want to read any of the books in my IMM, and/or leave links to your IMMs so I can check them out! :) Happy reading, everyone!

~ The Bookworm

Friday, October 26, 2012

Book Review: Struck

Goodreads summary:

Mia Price is a lightning addict. She’s survived countless strikes, but her craving to connect to the energy in storms endangers her life and the lives of those around her.

Los Angeles, where lightning rarely strikes, is one of the few places Mia feels safe from her addiction. But when an earthquake devastates the city, her haven is transformed into a minefield of chaos and danger. The beaches become massive tent cities. Downtown is a crumbling wasteland, where a traveling party moves to a different empty building each night, the revelers drawn to the destruction by a force they cannot deny. Two warring cults rise to power, and both see Mia as the key to their opposing doomsday prophecies. They believe she has a connection to the freak electrical storm that caused the quake, and to the far more devastating storm that is yet to come.

Mia wants to trust the enigmatic and alluring Jeremy when he promises to protect her, but she fears he isn’t who he claims to be. In the end, the passion and power that brought them together could be their downfall. When the final disaster strikes, Mia must risk unleashing the full horror of her strength to save the people she loves, or lose everything.

My review:

Struck was an interesting novel.  It's certainly unique, but there were parts that I thought were cliche.  All in all, though, it stands out from most post-apocalyptic YA fiction.

I'll start with what disappointed me - the plot.  I loved the idea of Mia being a lightning addict, and I really wanted the story to be focused more on her and her powers.  Instead, a good portion of the plot is focused on the two different cults who want Mia to join them.  There were also some anti-religious remarks that bothered me.

The characters are all right.  Mia is a fairly fun narrator, and she has a good sense of humor, but the decisions she made sometimes just made me want to wring her neck.  However, I liked the complicated relationships she had with her family and the tough choices she had to make concerning them.

The love interest, Jeremy, was nice enough, though a bit boring.  Basically he's your typical YA love interest - staggeringly good-looking, mysterious, protective, smart, etc.  However, he isn't in the story as much as I thought he would be, which is good in a sense because it meant the story stayed focused on the plot rather than the romance.  But it was also bad, because Mia only knew him for a short time, and it made the romance seem kind of ridiculous.  Too much insta-love for my taste...

I know I focused on a lot of negative in this review, but overall I enjoyed this story.  The premise is so original, despite the somewhat flat characters.  And while I would have loved to see more of Mia and her lightning powers, I think the focus on the cults does add to the intensity of the story.  Even though I wasn't crazy about the plot, there's plenty of action and it's always exciting.

If you are the type of person who prefers a book to be plot-driven rather than character-driven, then you'll probably love Struck.  But if, like me, you have to have really likeable, engaging characters, then you might not be so crazy about this book.  Still, this sticks out from all the dystopians out there and I look forward to reading more books by Jennifer Bosworth in the future!

My rating:  6 out of 10

~ The Bookworm

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: The Madman's Daughter

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we can't wait to read!

My pick is The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd!

Goodreads summary:

London, 1894. Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father’s gruesome experiments. But when she learns her father is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations were true.

Juliet is accompanied by the doctor’s handsome young assistant and an enigmatic castaway, who both attract Juliet for very different reasons. They travel to the island only to discover the depths of her father’s madness: he has created animals that have been vivisected to resemble, speak, and behave as humans. Worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island’s inhabitants. Juliet knows she must end her father’s dangerous experiments and escape the island, even though her horror is mixed with her own scientific curiosity. As the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father’s genius—and madness—in her own blood.

My thoughts:

This book looks flat-out amazing.  It's set in London, after all.  It doesn't get much better than that.  And it's historical fiction!  Yay!  There's not enough YA historical fiction out there, so I'm excited about this.

I really hope that The Madman's Daughter will be as good as it looks.  It looks very thrilling, but I'm slightly wary at the hint in the summary that there might be a love triangle.  I'm not a huge fan of love triangles unless they're done well.  But still, this book sounds pretty epic!  I can't wait till it comes out in January.

What book are you waiting on this week?  Leave links to your WoW in the comments, and have a great week! :)

~ The Bookworm

Monday, October 22, 2012

Book Review: Enchanted

Goodreads summary:

It isn't easy being the rather overlooked and unhappy youngest sibling to sisters named for the other six days of the week. Sunday’s only comfort is writing stories, although what she writes has a terrible tendency to come true.

When Sunday meets an enchanted frog who asks about her stories, the two become friends. Soon that friendship deepens into something magical. One night Sunday kisses her frog goodbye and leaves, not realizing that her love has transformed him back into Rumbold, the crown prince of Arilland—and a man Sunday’s family despises.

The prince returns to his castle, intent on making Sunday fall in love with him as the man he is, not the frog he was. But Sunday is not so easy to woo. How can she feel such a strange, strong attraction for this prince she barely knows? And what twisted secrets lie hidden in his past - and hers?

My review:

This book is just plain fun.  I love anything related to fairytales, and Enchanted takes me back to the days when I had just started reading YA fiction and I read all the fairytales/fantasies I could get my hands on: books by Jessica Day George, Shannon Hale, Gail Carson Levine, etc.  Enchanted is a classic fairytale retelling that reminds me of those authors.

Actually, it's not really a fairytale retelling, it's more of a fairytale mash-up, haha.  There are quite a few elements from different fairytales mixed in: Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Sleeping Beauty, the Frog Prince, and more!  I've read reviews of some people complaining about how bizzare it was, but personally, I loved it.  I smiled every time I saw a fairytale reference.

The characters are completely charming.  Our main character, Sunday, is sweet, wishful, and full of dreams.  I liked her a lot.  She has that whimsical charm that I love to see in fairytale characters.  Her family is just as endearing.  At first I got all her sisters and family members confused, but you get used to it quickly and I came to appreciate all the different characters in her family.  The relationship troubles Sunday went through with her parents was so well-done, and I love how it was all resolved and how Sunday respected her parents and their decisions.

Rumbold, the other narrator, is quite funny.  He gets turned back from a frog into a human and you can't help but feel sympathetic for him as he tries to readjust.  He has a lot thrown on him and I admire how he handled everything.  (And I loved how supportive his cousin was - he was a great minor character!)  I also liked his unfailing determination to find Sunday and make her fall in love with him.  Soo cute. :)

Let me mention the romance briefly - yes, it's insta-love, but I didn't find that to be an issue.  Usually I hate insta-love but it was handled well in Enchanted.  Let's face it, lots of fairytales have insta-love in them anyway.  In fairytales, we already know that the hero and heroine are in true love and are destined to be together, so the insta-love theme actually is kind of realistic in that case.  Besides, the book isn't all about romance.  There's some really great family themes in it.

At first it doesn't seem like there's much to the plot, but things quickly escalate and I loved how spellbinding and unexpected the conclusion was.  I mean, it's a fairytale, and usually it's easy to predict how a fairytale ends..."and they lived happily ever after."  And while Enchanted does have a satisfying ending, I loved the climax and the struggles near the end.  Also, I appreciated that it wasn't a super action-packed, fast-paced read.  This is a book that should be read slowly and savored.  It really does whisk you away into a fantasy world!

I would definitely recommend Enchanted.  However, I do think that people who don't care for fairytales probably will not connect much with it.  But if you enjoy fantasy, then Enchanted is a must-read! 

My rating:  9 out of 10

~ The Bookworm

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Book Review: Auracle

Goodreads summary:

16 year old Anna Rogan has a secret she's only shared with her best friend, Rei; she can astrally project out of her body, allowing her spirit to explore the world and the far reaches of the universe.

When there's a fatal accident and her classmate Taylor takes over Anna's body, what was an exhilarating distraction from her repressive home life threatens to become a permanent state. Faced with a future trapped in another dimension, Anna turns to Rei for help. Now the two of them must find a way to get Anna back into her body and stop Taylor from accusing an innocent friend of murder. Together Anna and Rei form a plan but it doesn't take into account the deeper feelings that are beginning to grow between them.

My review:

Let's all just stop for a second and appreciate this beauuutiful cover.  The gorgeous blue colors...her dress...the way she's floating just above the ground!  Love it!  This cover conveys the mood of the book very well, I think.  I especially like the waterfall in the background.  The waterfall plays an important part of the story and it's very fitting that it's part of the cover!

Okay, so onto the book.  I looove it!  It's a good balance of light and dark.  There's serious moments, but there's humor mixed in too.  (Kind of like Paranormalcy by Kiersten White!)  It's also completely unique.  I mean, astral projection?  It's a nice change from angels, vampires, werewolves, etc.!  Very, very cool concept.

Anna is such a great main character.  She's snarky, sweet, and all-around likeable.  Taylor was an interesting character - she's definitely mean and pretty heartless, but I couldn't help feeling sorry for her at times.  Rei...okay, I liked Rei, but I didn't love him.  He was really kind and caring and a great friend to Anna, and I loved how their friendship slowly turned into love, but he was just SO perfect.  Like, it seemed like he was flawless and never did anything wrong.  Slightly irritating at times.  But all in all I loved the cast of characters in this book!  Even side characters, like Rei's little sister (she was adorable!), Anna's parents, and Anna's friend Seth, were wonderful additions to the storyline!

Ooh, and the plot: pretty amazing!  It was unpredictable and I never knew what would happen next.  I read this book in one's definitely unputdownable!  (Am I the only one who loves that word? :D Unputdownable?  It's so much fun to say!)  Anyway, back to the plot.  I enjoyed the ending and everything was resolved nicely!  I'm also glad to see that this book is a standalone.  There's way too many trilogies out there in YA fiction. 

And can I mention the romance?  It moved slowly and was very sweet.  It added a nice touch to the story, and I'm glad the romance didn't overtake the plot and become the main point of the story.  (*cough*Like it did in The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer*cough*)  Despite realizing she was falling in love with Rei, Anna stayed focused on slightly more important issues, like getting her body back from Taylor.  I think this was good; if the story had been more focused on the romance, then the plot would've slow down a lot and lost some of the excitement.  So yeah, I like how the author handled the love story! 

Anyway, totally go read this book!  It's light, funny, touching, and a fast read!  If you're a fan of paranormal fiction with some romance, try Auracle!  I can't wait to see what Gina Rosati writes in the future.

My rating:  9 out of 10.

~ The Bookworm

Friday, October 19, 2012

Book Review: Half-Blood

Goodreads summary:

The Hematoi descend from the unions of gods and mortals, and the children of two Hematoi-pure-bloods-have godlike powers. Children of Hematoi and mortals-well, not so much. Half-bloods only have two options: become trained Sentinels who hunt and kill daimons or become servants in the homes of the pures. Seventeen-year-old Alexandria would rather risk her life fighting than waste it scrubbing toilets, but she may end up slumming it anyway. There are several rules that students at the Covenant must follow. Alex has problems with them all, but especially rule #1: Relationships between pures and halfs are forbidden. Unfortunately, she's crushing hard on the totally hot pure-blood Aiden. But falling for Aiden isn't her biggest problem--staying alive long enough to graduate the Covenant and become a Sentinel is. If she fails in her duty, she faces a future worse than death or slavery: being turned into a daimon, and being hunted by Aiden. And that would kind of suck.

My review:

I am totally in love with JLA's books, especially the Lux series, so when I started reading Half-Blood, I was afraid it wouldn't live up to my expectations.  It turned out to be everything I wanted it to be and more!

Wow.  Okay, I love this book so, so, so much.  This isn't even really a review.  It's more like me gushing.  This book is made of pure awesomeness.  I loved every single second.  I stayed up late into the night to finish it.  I was so invested in the story and just could not put it down during the last 50 pages.  Oh yeah, and I need to get my hands on the sequel as soon as possible.

Seriously, Half-Blood is full of win!  It's about Greek mythology, for one thing.  It doesn't get any more exciting than that.  And I loved everything that JLA put into the story - the mention of the gods, the idea of pure-bloods and half-bloods.  It was incredibly creative and refreshing.

Not to mention the heroine, Alex.  She is flat-out amazing.  Okay, so Alex is really strong physically, but she hasn't had enough training to become a Sentinel yet.  She has a lot of learning to do in this novel, and considering everything she goes through, I think she handles it well.  She's snarky and hilarious, so despite the fact that she's a great fighter, it's not like she's a superhero or something.  Alex isn't perfect.  We can relate to her.  She's realistically flawed but full of spirit.  I basically loved her.  She's everything a great heroine should be.

And then there is Aiden St. Delphi.  *cue fangirling*  I can't tell you how much I love Aiden.  He is, without a doubt, the definition of swoon-worthy.  I love all the bantering back and forth between him and Alex.  So.  Cute!  It's obvious how much he cares for Alex and I love how he protects her no matter what.  It's so sweet that he respects her so much and believes that she can become a Sentinel one day.  Have I mentioned that I love Aiden?  Yeah.  Just thought I should say that one more time.

Oh, and the plot, I loved it.  Alex suffers so much (which is kind of bad for her, but great for us readers since it seriously amps up the action factor).  I mean, wow.  Near the end, the things she goes through...I just felt so bad for her.  The high stakes, action, awesome fighting scenes, etc. make for such a great story!  And, the trademark JLA humor?  Yup, it's there!  I was cracking up like crazy.  I think I alternated between a smile and a frown the whole time I was reading this, depending on whether Alex was being funny or whether she was going through something awful.

Anyway...I can't wait to read the next book, Pure.  I need it.  And I need Alex and Aiden to be together because they are undeniable adorable.  Also, just throwing it out there: while I adored Half-Blood, I do have to admit that I still like the Lux series just a teensy bit better.  But Half-Blood is a must-read for everyone, no matter if you are a JLA fan or whether or not you like Greek mythology.  Just read it.  It's awesome!

My rating:  10 out of 10.

~ The Bookworm

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Requiem

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we can't wait to read!

My pick is Requiem by Lauren Oliver!

Goodreads summary:

Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight.

After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancĂ©e of the young mayor. Requiem is told from both Lena’s and Hana’s points of view. The two girls live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.

My thoughts:

Oh.  My.  Word.  I need this book, like, now!  I mentioned on my Top Ten Tuesday post yesterday that Lauren Oliver has a knack for creating torturous cliffhangers, and that got me thinking about how much I love her Delirium series and how much I need Requiem right now.

If you haven't read Delirium and Pandemonium, the first two in this trilogy, then you are missing out on some seriously amazing books.  Go read them!

Anyway, I'm freaking out with happiness over the fact that Requiem is told from both Lena anad Hana's POVs.  This.  Is.  Perfect.  I loved the short e-book that Lauren Oliver released from Hana's POV a while back, and I'm so excited that we get lots more of her in Requiem!

Also, I'm not sure what to think after the cliffhanger in Pandemonium.  Who will Lena end up with?!  It's driving me crazy!  Which guy do you like best - Alex or Julian?  While Julian is a great character, I personally prefer Alex!  He's so much more swoon-worthy. :) Post your thoughts in the comments and/or leave a link to your WoW!

~ The Bookworm

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Dystopian Authors

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Broke and Bookish.  Each week a new list topic is posted and book bloggers fill in their choices.  This week's topic is "Top Ten Authors in X Genre."  I chose dystopian because there are so many great dystopians out there!

My Top Ten Favorite Dystopian Authors:

1. Suzanne Collins.  This one's easy.  She's one of the best writers out there and the Hunger Games series is so powerful and thrilling.  Without a doubt she's number one!

2. Veronica Roth.  I LOVE the Divergent series.  Roth's books are packed with truth and emotion and are horrifyingly realistic.  Once you start one of her books, it's impossible to put it down.  She's created such an amazing dystopian world!

3. Lauren DeStefano.  She wrote the Chemical Garden trilogy, and I just love to lose myself in her books.  They are beautifully written and filled with gorgeous prose.  Her books are absolutely enchanting.  She is a writer with an amazing talent!

4. Lauren Oliver.  I'm just sayin', this author has a knack for creating awful cliffhangers.  Delirium ended with such a huge cliffhanger, and the same with Pandemonium!  I'm anxiously awaiting the final book in the trilogy, Requiem.  Anyway, she's definitely created a thrilling dystopinan world.  Her stories are so imaginative and fun to read.

5. Michael Grant.  Wow.  There are no words for what an amazing writer he is.  The Gone series just gets better and better with each book.  His books blow me away and are deliciously creepy in the best possible way. 

6. Ally Condie.  This author will always hold a special place in my heart because her book, Matched, is the first dystopian I ever read, and it's still one of my favorites.  I love her characters, the amazing world she's created, and her gorgeous writing.  So good! 

7. Tahereh Mafi.  I was so excited to read Shatter Me when it came out last year, and it definitely lived up to my expectations!  She's a fantastic writer.  I love how Shatter Me has beautiful, delicate, almost poetic writing at some parts, and then later on we're faced with hardcore action and fighting.  Tahereh Mafi's dystopian debut is incredible!

8. Veronica Rossi.  Ohh, I loved Under the Never Sky so much.  It was creative and unlike anything I've ever read.  And her world-building was spectacular.  I didn't want the book to end.  I cannot wait to read the sequel.

9. Neal Shusterman.  This guy is a genius.  I'm not kidding.  Unwind is a masterpiece and one of the best dystopians out there.  The sequel UnWholly is almost as good as the first.  His books are terrifying and such a thrill to read!  Unforgettable.

10. Bethany Griffin.  I loved every single page of The Masque of the Red Death.  Beautiful and heartbreaking.  Griffin's book stands out from others with its amazing setting.  Her descriptions made me lose myself in the story and I didn't want it to end!

Other honorable mentions are Maria V. Snyder (Inside Out), Kiera Cass (The Selection), Kat Zhang (What's Left of Me), and Marie Lu (Legend). 

Leave links to your top ten post in the comments! :)

~ The Bookworm 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

In My Mailbox (5)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

- Storm by Brigid Kemmerer
- Breathe by Sarah Crossan
- A Great and Terribly Beauty by Libba Bray
- Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols
- Love Story by Jennifer Echols

These are all books I bought!  Yes, I finally got my own copy of Storm.  I've heard nothing but great things about it and decided it was time to try it. :) Next is Breathe, which was a good dystopian that I just posted a review for!  I saw A Great and Terrible Beauty at my used bookstore and decided to get it - I know, it's super popular, but I haven't read it yet.  I'll get around to it eventually!  Lastly are the two Jennifer Echols books.  I've read and loved a couple of her books and had to get more!  I probably won't get around to reading them for a month or so - I have so many books on my TBR list right now - but I'm looking forward to reading them!

- The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
- Switched by Amanda Hocking
- Dust Girl by Sarah Zettel
- The List by Siobhan Vivian

So this isn't the greatest picture, haha, my stupid camera's flash messed up and reflected on the cover of the first book!  Oh well...anyway, these are all library books.  A friend of mine recently read The Name of the Star and told me I had to read it, so I can't wait!  There's been a bunch of hype about Switched, so I'm glad my library got it.  Dust Girl is about faeries, and I love faeries, so I'm hoping it'll be good!  Finally there's The List, an interesting contemporary that I reviewed a couple days ago.

What books have ya'll gotten recently?  Just comment below or leave links to your IMMs! :) Happy reading, everyone!

~ The Bookworm

Book Review: Breathe

Goodreads summary:

Inhale. Exhale.
Breathe . . .
The world is dead.
The survivors live under the protection of Breathe, the corporation that found a way to manufacture oxygen-rich air.

has been stealing for a long time. She's a little jittery, but not terrified. All she knows is that she's never been caught before. If she's careful, it'll be easy. If she's careful.

should be worried about Alina and a bit afraid for himself, too, but even though this is dangerous, it's also the most interesting thing to happen to him in ages. It isn't every day that the girl of your dreams asks you to rescue her.

wants to tell him that none of this is fair; they'd planned a trip together, the two of them, and she'd hoped he'd discover her out here, not another girl.

And as they walk into the Outlands with two days' worth of oxygen in their tanks, everything they believe will be shattered. Will they be able to make it back? Will they want to?

My review:

Breathe was a good dystopian book, but not the best.  It is not as brilliant and mindblowing as Divergent, Delirium, Wither, or Under the Never Sky, a few of my favorite dystopian books.  Nonetheless, it is an original, unique addition to the dystopian genre.

Why is it unique?  Well, there's no insta-love or the dreaded love triangle.  Thank youuu Sarah Crossan for writing a normal, sweet romance that I really enjoyed.  It was such a refreshing change from the usual predictability of YA romances!

Also, the idea is so original.  I love the world of Breathe.  The idea of all those trees being cut down and running out of oxygen is so realistic, and honestly it's a future I can imagine happening to us.  It definitely stands out from all the other dystopians out there.

I liked all three main characters.  Alina was tough, smart, and full of spirit; yet she also had a vulnerable side.  Quinn was slightly annoying at first, but his character really grew through the story and I felt so bad for what he suffered.  Bea was strong, not physically but mentally, which I admired.  Let me stop here for a second and point out how many heroines there are lately in YA fiction who are physically strong and never afraid and can take down anyone in a fight.  Bea was a great exception to that; I think it's important for our heroines to be strong mentally and not just physically.  She's also so compassionate and sweet that you can't help sympathizing with her!

The plot was fantastic as well.  It's nice to read a dystopian where we get a bit of backstory and explanation of how the world became that way.  The story moved pretty quickly and I couldn't wait to find out what would happen next.  I especially liked the villain.  In some strange way he reminded me of Caesar Flickerman from The Hunger Games, lol.  Except he was a lot more evil and twisted!

Honestly, I can't think of anything negative about Breathe.  It's a good story, but for some reason, I just didn't completely connect with it.  It's not that it was predictable, I just wasn't crazy about it.  Perhaps I've read too many dystopians lately and have become jaded.  But if you are new to the dystopian genre, I'd recommend starting with Breathe, and if you have read lots of dystopians, Breathe might just be a breath of fresh air for you (I couldn't resist saying that).  Looking forward to the sequel!

My rating:  8 out of 10

~ The Bookworm

Friday, October 12, 2012

Book Review: The List

Goodreads summary:

An intense look at the rules of high school attraction -- and the price that's paid for them.

It happens every year. A list is posted, and one girl from each grade is chosen as the prettiest, and another is chosen as the ugliest. Nobody knows who makes the list. It almost doesn't matter. The damage is done the minute it goes up.

This is the story of eight girls, freshman to senior, "pretty" and "ugly." And it's also the story of how we see ourselves, and how other people see us, and the tangled connection of the two.

My review:

The List is a difficult book to review.  First off, though, I have to applaud the author for managing to write from eight different POVs and still keep the story from being too confusing.  I've never read a book with so many POVs, and I think Vivian handled that well.

The main characters...all eight of them...were hard to like.  Each of their personalities were widely different, which I thought was good - I didn't get the girls confused much since they each had a unique voice.  Yet, out of all eight characters, there wasn't a single girl that I really liked or admired.  Yes, they were all struggling with something, but it was just too hard to connect with them because the story is so short.  With eight girls and forty-six chapters, that's roughly five or six chapters for each girl.  Their story didn't feel complete when so little time was spent on each of them.  If there were four girls instead, I would have been more involved in their story.

The plot was good.  The idea of the list was original and I liked seeing how the girls responded to the fact that they were on the list.  But some things bugged me.  Like, what was with the principal?  She acted like she was going to do something to stop the people responsible for making the list, and in the end she did nothing.

And what was up with the ending?  It didn't even seem like an ending.  It felt like at least half the characters' stories were unfinished.  By the end, it seemed like nothing was resolved.  We didn't find out what happened to some of the girls as a result of being on the list.  It was completely unsatisfying and really leaves you hanging!  I have to say, this is one of the worst endings I've ever read.

One other thing that annoyed me was the way one of the characters, Lauren, was portrayed.  She was homeschooled for all her previous school years, and she was a stereotypical homeschooled character who had waist-length hair, didn't wear makeup, her mom was her best friend, and she was very naive and clueless.  Please.  I'm homeschooled, and I find that simply insulting.  Not all homeschoolers are like Lauren, and I seriously hope that people who read The List realize that.

I feel like I've really criticized The List in this review, and while there were certainly things I disliked, I did enjoy the story overall.  I'll end on a positive note: one thing I loved was the compulsive reading style.  I read this book in just a few short hours.  The story flowed and held my interest enough that I lost track of time while reading.  And I will say that I liked finding out who wrote the list.  It fit into the story well and was well-done.

If you are looking for a fast but thought-provoking contemporary read and don't mind a handful of characters who are somewhat sterotypical teenage girls...then give The List a try.  You might be surprised and end up enjoying it!

My rating:  6 out of 10

~ The Bookworm

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Everbound

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we can't wait to read!

My pick is Everbound by Brodi Ashton!

Goodreads summary:

Nikki Beckett could only watch as her boyfriend, Jack, sacrificed himself to save her, taking her place in the Tunnels of the Everneath for eternity — a debt that should’ve been hers. She’s living a borrowed life, and she doesn’t know what to do with the guilt. And every night Jack appears in her dreams, lost and confused and wasting away.

Desperate for answers, Nikki turns to Cole, the immortal bad boy who wants to make her his queen — and the one person least likely to help. But his heart has been touched by everything about Nikki, and he agrees to assist her in the only way he can: by taking her to the Everneath himself.

Nikki and Cole descend into the Everneath, only to discover that their journey will be more difficult than they’d anticipated — and more deadly. But Nikki vows to stop at nothing to save Jack — even if it means making an incredible sacrifice of her own.

In this enthralling sequel to Everneath, Brodi Ashton tests the bonds of destiny and explores the lengths we’ll go to for the ones we love.

My thoughts:

AHHH, I need Everbound so bad!  I read the first book in this series, Everneath, in one day and it ended with a huge cliffhanger.  *sigh* Only three more months...Everbound will release on January 22, 2013.

The only thing I don't like when I read the synopsis for Everbound is that it looks like Cole will have a really big role in the story.  He's a very complex and interesting character, but I like Jack so much better!  I seriously hope that Nikki doesn't fall in love with Cole.  I'm going to die if that happens, okay?  Nikki and Jack need to be together!

And yes, I love Everbound's cover.  When it was first revealed, I was slightly disappointed and didn't think it was as good as Everneath's cover.  But it's grown on me and now I think it might even be better than Everneath!  I mean, look at it!  I want that model's hair and her dress.  And all the swirly colors in the's sooo pretty.

So what book are you waiting on this week?  Leave links to your WoW in the comments! :)

~ The Bookworm

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Book Review: Vessel

Goodreads summary:

Liyana has trained her entire life to be the vessel of a goddess. The goddess will inhabit Liyana’s body and use magic to bring rain to the desert. But Liyana’s goddess never comes. Abandoned by her angry tribe, Liyana expects to die in the desert. Until a boy walks out of the dust in search of her.

Korbyn is a god inside his vessel, and a trickster god at that. He tells Liyana that five other gods are missing, and they set off across the desert in search of the other vessels. For the desert tribes cannot survive without the magic of their gods. But the journey is dangerous, even with a god’s help. And not everyone is willing to believe the trickster god’s tale.

The closer she grows to Korbyn, the less Liyana wants to disappear to make way for her goddess. But she has no choice: She must die for her tribe to live. Unless a trickster god can help her to trick fate—or a human girl can muster some magic of her own.

My review:

I am a big fan of Sarah Beth Durst - I really enjoyed two of her books, Ice and Enchanted Ivy.  I had high hopes for Vessel, and while it was certainly unique and interesting, I think it's my least favorite out of her books so far.

For one thing, Vessel was over 400 pages long.  Usually the length of a book isn't a big deal to me - I can zip through a book that long in one day if it's really compelling.  But Vessel took me several days to read.  I felt like it could have been shortened so it wasn't so long.  Some of the scenes in the middle felt like they were dragging along.

The characters were very okay-ish.  Liyana is levelheaded and clever, but I never felt much emotion for her.  She was hard to relate to.  Other characters like Fennik, Pia, and Raan seemed like they were just there to add to the plot; their characters never seemed to have much depth.  However, I really liked Korbyn, the trickster god.  He was the character that really jumped off the page for me.  You can't help liking him.  He really brings humor to the book and was an amazing character.

As I mentioned above, the pacing is really slow, so the plot didn't always have me on the edge of my seat.  It all just moved very slowly.  The pacing was annoying and made it hard for me to keep my interest on the story at times.  But the action picks up in the last quarter of the book, and once I got to that section, I couldn't read the pages fast enough!

One thing I wholeheartedly loved about Vessel was the uniqueness.  I have never read anything even remotely like it; and I think the unpredictability was what made me continue reading it.  Durst definitely has a knack for world-building!  The idea of the story is so fresh and interesting.

Lastly, one thing that I disliked was the fables that Durst put into the book.   A few of the characters often exchanged stories, and every time a new one popped up, I started groaning.  Yes, I know the fables were symbolic, and I don't mind a few of them throughout the story, but it seemed like there were way too many fables in Vessel.  It got on my nerves after a while.

Would I recommend Vessel?  Well, if you're looking for a fresh change from the usual YA stories, then definitely try it!  But if you want a fast-paced, action-packed, mindblowing story, I'd suggest looking elsewhere.

My rating:  6 out of 10

~ The Bookworm

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Cover Reveal: The Elite

My thoughts:

*takes a deep breath and tries to form coherent thoughts* AHHHHH I'm so excited right now!

The cover for The Elite was revealed earlier this afternoon on Kiera Cass's blog.  I just saw it a few minutes ago, freaked out, and rushed over here to my blog because I couldn't resist posting about it.  I'll try to stop fangirling now, haha...

So: is this cover absolutely breathtaking or what?!  I just love it: the gorgeous dress, the color, the model, the tagline, everything!  April 2013, please please please come sooner!

For anyone who doesn't know, The Elite is the sequel to The Selection by Kiera Cass, the first in a dystopian series that was published earlier this year.  I definitely recommend you check it out here on Goodreads; it's such a fun read!!

What are your thoughts on this lovely cover?  Have you read The Selection?  Leave a comment and let me know! :)

~ The Bookworm

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Sever

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we can't wait to read!

My pick is Sever by Lauren DeStefano!

Goodreads summary:

With the clock ticking until the virus takes its toll, Rhine is desperate for answers. After enduring Vaughn’s worst, Rhine finds an unlikely ally in his brother, an eccentric inventor named Reed. She takes refuge in his dilapidated house, though the people she left behind refuse to stay in the past. While Gabriel haunts Rhine’s memories, Cecily is determined to be at Rhine’s side, even if Linden’s feelings are still caught between them.

Meanwhile, Rowan’s growing involvement in an underground resistance compels Rhine to reach him before he does something that cannot be undone. But what she discovers along the way has alarming implications for her future—and about the past her parents never had the chance to explain.

In this breathtaking conclusion to Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden trilogy, everything Rhine knows to be true will be irrevocably shattered.

My thoughts:

DeStefano's Chemical Garden trilogy has got to be one of my absolute favorite series ever.  Her gorgeous, haunting, lyrical prose is a delight to read and I just love losing myself in her books.  I cannot wait for the final installment in this trilogy!

I especially love the covers of this series.  They're more than your typical "girl in a dress" cover.  The detail that has been put into these covers is amazing; they really represent the story of this series!

I can't wait for February 12 to come!  Just reading the summary makes me so excited for Sever!  I'm dying to find out what happens to Rhine and Gabriel.

So what book are you waiting on?  Leave a link to your WoW in the comments, and have a great Wednesday!

~ The Bookworm

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Book Review: Origin

Goodreads summary:

Pia has grown up in a secret laboratory hidden deep in the Amazon rain forest. She was raised by a team of scientists who have created her to be the start of a new immortal race. But on the night of her seventeenth birthday, Pia discovers a hole in the electric fence that surrounds her sterile home--and sneaks outside the compound for the first time in her life.

Free in the jungle, Pia meets Eio, a boy from a nearby village. Together, they embark on a race against time to discover the truth about Pia's origin--a truth with deadly consequences that will change their lives forever.

Origin is a beautifully told, shocking new way to look at an age-old desire: to live forever, no matter the cost.

My review:

I wasn't expecting that I would love Origin so much.  I thought I'd dislike the jungle setting or that it would be full of insta-love and an annoying romance, but I was so wrong!  Origin is much more than I'd ever expected.

First off, the characters.  Anyone who's ever read my reviews knows that characters are usually the most important part of a book to me, and I really connected to the characters in Origin.  Pia is observant, confident, curious, and full of life.  She has this innocence about her, but she has a fierce side too.  She was different than most characters in YA fiction, and I loved that!

Now for Eio, because he deserves his own paragraph.  I loved Eio!  I was bracing myself for a rebellious bad boy, but he was the total opposite!  He was so sweet, and honest too.  He was straightforward and simple when he talked to Pia, and I loved that.  One of my favorite quotes he says is, "I will climb that fence, if you ask it of me, and I will bring you out."  AHH!  He's prepared to protect her no matter what.  So.  Sweet!

And the villains...ohh, they were well-done.  All the scientists at Little Cam were so creepy!  And one of my favorite characters was Aunt Harriet.  She definitely deserves mention!  I grew to love her character; she was such a great addition to the story!

The plot: beautiful.  I know, like, what?  Why am I calling a plot beautiful?  Well, it is.  It's about Pia breaking free and discovering what life is about.  She has to struggle with the fact that she's immortal and what it means for her life.  The challenges she faces really brought up some thought-provoking questions.   I loved every aspect of the plot.  I kept turning the pages faster because I needed to know how it ended and how all of Pia's problems were solved!

Lastly I want to mention the writing.  Normally I don't gush about an author's writing style, but I thought Khoury's prose was fantastic!  It all flowed together naturally and just drew me into the story.  Her writing style is simple, concise, and clear, which makes for great reading during action scenes.  And yet she also blends in some poetic prose, like during scenes where Pia is pondering her future, talking to Eio, etc.  For example:  "All I see is a blue-eyed boy sitting by the river, giving me the stars."  Gorgeous!

I would definitely recommend Origin.  Honestly I didn't think I would like it all that much, but it really is a beautiful, well-told story that everyone should read.  Give it a try; it's amazing!

My rating: 9 out of 10

Monday, October 1, 2012

My Top 5 Books of September 2012

Last month I did a post about my favorite books of August, so I'm going to continue posting each month with a list of the books I read and my top picks.  Here's my list of books read during September!

- Nevermore by James Patterson
- What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang
- Spark by Amy Kathleen Ryan
- Cursed by Jennifer L. Armentrout
- Defiance by C. J. Redwine
- The Demigod Diaries by Rick Riordan
- UnWholly by Neal Shusterman
- Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti
- Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg
- Wake by Amanda Hocking
- While He Was Away by Karen Schreck
- Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (author unknown)
- Beautiful Lies by Jessica Warman
- My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris
- Squire by Tamora Pierce
- Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindl
- Crown of Embers by Rae Carson
- Don't Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon
- Starling by Lesley Livingston
- Halflings by Heather Burch
- Guardian by Heather Burch
- Forgiven by Jana Oliver
- Origin by Jessica Khoury
- Beowulf (author unknown)
- Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

It's super hard to pick my favorites, because I read a lot of really good books this month.  Here's my top 5!

1. Crown of Embers by Rae Carson.  This is the sequel to The Girl of Fire and Thorns, and I think I love it even better than the first.  Even though it's 400 pages long, I tore through it in two days.  I literally could not put it down!

2. My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris.  This book was soo cute; I was grinning pretty much the whole time I was reading it!  It takes place in Italy, it's about time travel, and there's cute boys.  How can you not love it? :)

3. Cursed by Jennifer L. Armentrout.  I will always love JLA's books, and Cursed is no exception.  The story was amazing and I'm so disappointed that it is (currently) a standalone.  I really hope JLA writes a sequel someday!

4. What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang.  I was blown away by this book; it was powerful, moving, and unlike anything I've ever read.  I felt so much for Eva and Addie and everything they suffered.  Kat Zhang is such a talented writer!

5. UnWholly by Neal Shusterman.  Wow.  This is the sequel to Unwind, and it's every bit as good as the first.  The story was heartbreakingly beautiful and I was constantly anxious to know what would happen next.  Neal Shusterman is a genius...I can't wait for the last installment in this trilogy.

*sigh* It was so hard to choose!  Other close favorites were Defiance, Origin, and Spark.

What great books have you been reading lately?  Please comment and tell me your recent favorites! :)

~ The Bookworm