Thursday, January 31, 2013

Book Review: Oath of Servitude

Goodreads summary:

This is the story of Teague and Cailin, two teenagers who have been brought together by fate. Teague, a human, struggles to come to terms with the consequences of a recent accident that has destroyed the happy life that he had once enjoyed. Cailin, a pixi, is trying to stay true to herself while fighting against forces beyond her control that have exiled her from her home into this strange world of humans. She fears the darkness. He cannot escape it. But when the two of them are thrown together, they begin to discover the light inside of themselves.

My review:

I enjoyed this unique tale about pixies.  It's so interesting and really drew me in.  Definitely a fun, original read!

The characters are all likeable and easy to sympathize with.  I felt sorry for Cailin, being away from her family and having to adjust to a new life living with humans.  And while I didn't like Teague right away, he turned into a wonderful character that I found myself rooting for.  I think he had the most character growth in the story, and I ended up really liking him.  I also liked the character of Owen (Teague's dad) and the role he played in the story.

I liked the plot a lot too.  I love the idea of a pixi living with humans, and both Teague and Cailin's struggles felt realistic.  A good portion of the story is spent on Teague and Cailin, as they slowly become friends.  Personally, I liked that the plot was more character-based, rather than full of action.  Although, there are certainly some exciting, tense scenes towards the last quarter of the book.

The only thing I didn't like was that, at times, I would get some of the minor pixi characters confused.  They were all a bit hard to remember at first.  Also, this book could use some editing.  There are a few instances where the phrasing sounds odd, and I spotted some places where proper punctuation or capitalization was needed.

But aside from that, this was an enjoyable read.  If you're looking for a fresh urban fantasy read, try Oath of Servitude!

* I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

My rating: 7 out of 10 (3.5 stars)

~ The Bookworm

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Let the Sky Fall

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 Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger!

Goodreads summary:

A broken past and a divided future can’t stop the electric connection of two teens in this “charged and romantic” (Becca Fitzpatrick), lush novel.

Seventeen-year-old Vane Weston has no idea how he survived the category five tornado that killed his parents. And he has no idea if the beautiful, dark-haired girl who’s swept through his dreams every night since the storm is real. But he hopes she is.

Seventeen-year-old Audra is a sylph, an air elemental. She walks on the wind, can translate its alluring songs, and can even coax it into a weapon with a simple string of commands. She’s also a guardian—Vane’s guardian—and has sworn an oath to protect Vane at all costs. Even if it means sacrificing her own life.

When a hasty mistake reveals their location to the enemy who murdered both of their families, Audra’s forced to help Vane remember who he is. He has a power to claim—the secret language of the West Wind, which only he can understand. But unlocking his heritage will also unlock the memory Audra needs him to forget. And their greatest danger is not the warriors coming to destroy them—but the forbidden romance that’s grown between them.

My thoughts:

Please excuse me while I go drool over that cover.

Seriously.  I know I always freak out over covers that are gorgeous, but this cover is just so pretty!  And I am the only one who gets Adele's song "Skyfall" running through my head every single time I see this book?

Anyway, this book sounds so unique and original.  Plus, it's about sylphs!  How cool is that?  This sounds like an amazing story and I can't wait for March 5 to come so I can go get a copy and devour it.

Please leave links to your WoWs in the comments so I can go check them out!  Thanks for stopping by!

~ The Bookworm

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Most Frustrating Characters Ever

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 Most Frustrating Characters Ever."

My Top Ten Most Frustrating Characters:

1. Luce from the Fallen series.  Ooh, I just wanted to strangle her sometimes.  I thought she was an immature, annoying character and I seriously couldn't stand her.

2. Nora from the Hush, Hush series.  She made some incredibly stupid, naive decisions and was a total wimp.  I got so mad at her!

3. Simon from the Mortal Instruments series.  Okay, the Mortal Instruments is one of my favorite series ever, but Simon is the one character from that series that I've always disliked.  I always thought he was a wimp.  Guess he just doesn't compare to Jace. :P

4. Ever from the Immortals series.  I only read the first book in this series because I just couldn't make myself continue.  I thought Ever was a terrible role model and a flat, uninteresting character.

5. Bethany from Halo.  She was so naive!  I couldn't stand reading about her.

6. Ember from Article 5.  She whined so much.  I detest characters who constantly whine about their life; it just makes me want to shake them!

7. Skye from A Beautiful Dark series.  Eh.  She was a very meh character and I couldn't bring myself to care about her.  I got annoyed with how she was so indecisive and couldn't decide which guy to like.

8. Belly from The Summer I Turned Pretty.  I liked Belly okay later on in the series, but she was just a terrible character in the first book!  She was super immature and kept whining and complaining nonstop.

9. A from Every Day.  I was unbelievably frustrated with this character.  Everyone else seemed to love this book, but A just struck me as self-absorbed and irritating.

10. Ethan from Beautiful Creatures.  This book was just very okay-ish.  I liked some of the characters, but I thought Ethan was totally unrealistic.  He didn't act at all like a guy should act...he was so wimpy.

Wow, it actually felt really good to vent about these characters, lol.  So leave links to your TTTs in the comments so I can go check them out! :)

~ The Bookworm

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Book Review: Everbound

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 review:

I'm pretty dedicated to this series.  Proof?  Well, on the morning I got my copy of Everbound, it had snowed a couple inches outside.  I was sitting near the window at the front of my house, doing my schoolwork and waiting for the UPS truck to arrive (yes, I had been stalking my package on UPS tracking so I knew when it would arrive).  So I see the UPS truck arrive, and what do they do?  The got the addresses of me and my neighbor across the street mixed up, and they delivered my poor Everbound package to my neighbor!

So I had to hike down my very long driveway and across the street, in the snow, and over to my neighbor's to get Everbound.  I'm sure I looked crazy to any other neighbors who saw me.  Ah, well.  It was worth it.

Because Everbound was absolutely AMAZING.  This is a truly well-written sequel that I think I might love even better than the first book, Everneath.  The worldbuilding is simply wonderful.  I loved watching Nikki and Cole as they traveled through the Everneath in search of Jack.  And I love how Brodi Ashton deftly mixes in the Greek mythology - it's so interesting and unique!

Oh, the characters.  While I liked Cole fine in Everneath, he is such a wonderfully complex character in Everbound.  It's so nice to learn more about him and his motives.  Although that ending is cruel.  Cruel, I tell you!  I seriously wanted to strangle Cole.  Nikki is so much stronger this time around, and I was rooting for her the whole time.  I feel bad for everything she deals with, from her family to Jack's mom, who is seriously mad at her.  And Jack...sadly, he's not in Everbound much.  *goes off into a corner and cries* I know, it's so sad!  But there are many flashbacks of Jack and Nikki, which I thought was adorable and sweet and cute, and it fit into the story very well.

My only complaint - and it's pretty small - is that it takes a little while for the story to really get started, as it takes some time for Nikki to convince Cole to take her to the Everneath.  But once they were in the Everneath, I could not put the book down.  There's so much going on and I sympathized all the characters and their struggles.  And the ending...major, major, major cliffhanger!!  I would have thrown my book against the wall if I didn't want to risk damaging it. :P It's going to be a very long year as I wait for the final book to come out. 

Highly recommended!  If you like Greek mythology, you must read this series.  In fact, even if you don't usually read mythology or paranormal books, you should still read this series.  It's original, stunning, and addictive.  Five stars without a doubt!

My rating:  10 out of 10 (5 stars)

~ The Bookworm

In My Mailbox (10)

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

So this is my first time making a video - I usually just post pics of the books I got.  But Blogger has still been messing up lately whenever I try to upload my own pictures. -_- Anyway, hopefully the video turns out okay.

Books I bought/received:
- Everbound by Brodi Ashton
- Immortal by Gillian Shields

Books I got from the library:
- White Cat by Holly Black
- Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
- Hallowed by Cynthia Hand
- The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse
- Vixen by Jillian Larkin
- The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski
- Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

Please leave links to your IMMs in the comments! :) Happy reading everyone!

~ The Bookworm

Friday, January 25, 2013

Book Review: Shiver

Goodreads summary:

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf--her wolf--is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again. Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human--or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

My review:

I enjoyed Shiver, but it wasn't jaw-droppingly wonderful.  After hearing so much about it, I was sure it would be something brilliant.  Well, I was slightly disappointed, but overall I liked Shiver.

Let's start off with the characters, because that's always the most important part of a book for me.  I quite like Grace.  She's not some helpless, whiny young girl; no, she's very capable, stoic, and she takes matters into her own hands.  I really admired her character.  I loved one scene, towards the end, where Grace is captured and must use her wits to save herself.  She is a strong, likeable narrator.

Unfortunately, I didn't like Sam as well as I did Grace.  I wouldn't go as far as to call him a wimp.  However, his voice just never seemed masculine to me.  He's just very sensitive, and he also seems to lack a personality.  I didn't care for him much.

Also, the plot is slow-moving sometimes.  For a while, it didn't seem like there was much going on, but I was eventually drawn in to Grace and Sam's struggle to find a cure so Sam can stay human.  I haven't read a ton of werewolf books, but as far as werewolves go, I think the plot is pretty unique.  The last 100 pages or so are the best; there is a lot more plot development and action.

Finally, the writing.  I like Maggie Stiefvater's writing style a lot.  It's lyrical and moving, and she does a great job creating the atmosphere of the story.  I could picture the town, the snow, and the woods very well in my mind.

One little thing I didn't like was the fact that Grace's parents are so absent.  I know they are supposed to be kind of out of it, but I just thought it's very convenient that they're hardly ever around.  That got on my nerves.  Still, spite a few dislikes, I did enjoy Shiver.  I'm looking forward to reading the sequel, Linger.  Can't wait to see how the story continues!

My rating:  7 out of 10 (3.5 stars)

~ The Bookworm

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Pivot Point

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 Pivot Point by Kasie West!


Goodreads summary:

Knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice easier . . .

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through . . . and who she can’t live without.

My thoughts:

I need this book!  I need it!  It sounds so absolutely amazing, and I've read some great reviews for it.  Plus, Kiersten White blurbed it.  So I seriously need to read this.

And the cover...did you see that cover?!  It's totally gorgeous!  I can't wait until Pivot Point releases on Feb. 12.  I'm dying to read it!

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?  Share links to your WoWs in the comments!

~ The Bookworm

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Settings I'd Like to See More Of

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 Settings I'd Like to See More Of."

My Top Ten Settings:

1. Paris.  I adore Anna and the French Kiss.  I would so love to see more books set in Paris!

2. Venice.  I can't imagine a cooler setting.  We need more books that take place in Venice!

3. Spacecraft.  I'm thinking something along the lines of Beth Revis's Across the Universe books.  I love the idea, it sounds so interesting.

4. England.  I absolutely love England and I want to go there someday.  So it would be super fun for more books to be set in England.

5. Islands.  Nowhere specific, but I think the idea of a story that takes place on an island would be interesting.

6. Ireland.  I've had an obsession with Ireland ever since I was little.  It's so fascinating and beautiful.  I don't think I've ever read a YA story set in Ireland.

7. Hawaii.  How fun would that be?!  It would be so interesting to read about Hawaii.  I think it'd make a great setting.

8. The Jungle.  I love Origin by Jessica Khoury and how it's set in the jungle.  It's such a unique setting!

9. Cruise ship.  I think this would make a great setting. 

10.  Norway.  Yup, you read that right.  I'm pretty obsessed with Norse mythology at the moment.  So for more books to be set in Norway/Scandinavia would be completely awesome.

Please leave links to your TTTs in the comments!  Happy reading everyone! :)

~ The Bookworm

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Book Review: Pure

Goodreads summary:

There is need. And then there is Fate
Being destined to become some kind of supernatural electrical outlet isn't exactly awesome--especially when Alexandria's "other half" is everywhere she goes. Seth's in her training room, outside her classes, and keeps showing up in her bedroom--so not cool. Their connection does have some benefits, like staving off her nightmares of the tragic showdown with her mother, but it has no effect on what Alex feels for the forbidden, pure-blooded Aiden. Or what he will do--and sacrifice--for her.
When daimons infiltrate the Covenants and attack students, the gods send furies--lesser gods determined to eradicate any threat to the Covenants and to the gods, and that includes the Apollyon and Alex. And if that and hordes of aether-sucking monsters didn't blow bad enough, a mysterious threat seems willing to do anything to neutralize Seth, even if that means forcing Alex into servitude or killing her.
When the gods are involved, some decisions can never, ever be undone.

My review:

Pure was SO amazing.  I've been really lucky with sequels lately - usually they disappoint, but both Pure and another book I reviewed recently, Spark by Brigid Kemmerer, have been even better than the first in the series.  I flat-out adored this book.

Okay, so I love the characters and could gush about them all day, but I also have to mention the awesomeness that is Jennifer L. Armentrout.  How is she such a good writer?!  There's something absolutely addicting about her writing.  It just sucks you in completely and you don't want to stop reading.  I've said this before, but it's just so true: I wish I could write like she does!

And the characters...gah.  I love Alex even better in Pure.  She's still as reckless and impulsive as ever, but she's more mature and grows up and thinks things through more carefully.  I just love her character.  I love how she speaks her mind and is so determined. 

And Aiden!  He's every bit as swoon-worthy as he was in Half-Blood. :) I love the scene where he takes Alex to the zoo.  Sooo.  Adorable!  I also love how he tries to stick up for Alex and protect her.  It broke my heart!  Forget the stupid rules...why can't they just be together and be happy?!

As for Seth, well, I know a lot of people switched to Team Seth instead of Team Aiden after reading Pure.  I'm not one of them.  I love Seth a lot more in Pure - he's hysterically funny and has some of the greatest lines - but I just can't see him and Alex together as a couple. 

Oh, and the plot?  I love how unputdownable it is!  I was constantly worrying about what Alex would do next.  And Caleb... *sobs* Why did that have to happen?  Why?  I love the great friendship he and Alex had.

Well.  This book certainly hit me in the feels.  I need to go buy Deity soon; I am so dying to read it.  And if you still haven't read this series, then...*goes back and counts* the fact that I used the word "love" eight times in this review should convince you! :) Go read this amazing series!

My rating:  10 out of 10 (5 stars)

~ The Bookworm

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Book Review: Spark

Goodreads summary:

Gabriel Merrick plays with fire. Literally. Sometimes he can even control it. And sometimes he can't. Gabriel has always had his brothers to rely on, especially his twin, Nick. But when an arsonist starts wreaking havoc on their town, all the signs point to Gabriel. Only he's not doing it. And no one seems to believe him. Except a shy sophomore named Layne, a brainiac who dresses in turtlenecks and jeans and keeps him totally off balance. Because Layne has a few secrets of her own...

My review:

This is one of those rare instances where the sequel is better than the first book.  I adored Storm, but Spark is just better in every way.  Better characters, better action, better was perfect.  Also, it helps that I'm kind of in love with Gabriel. :) He's my favorite out of the Merrick brothers - I just love his sense of humor - and it was so fun to read a book from his POV!

Oh, Gabriel.  Where do I begin?  He's such a complex character.  I love how he's tough on the outside but hurting inside.  He feels like no one in his family understands him or believes in him, no matter what he does.  I love the close bond he has with his twin brother Nick, and I felt so bad for Gabriel as he and Nick grow farther apart.

And Layne!  Oh my word!  She and Gabriel are adorable together.  One thing that's great is that, even though they fall in love over a span of two weeks, it really never feels like insta-love.  (I know.  I can't believe I'm saying that.)  But their relationship is just so well-done, and I love how they connect on an emotional level too. 

As much as I love the romance, Kemmerer's writing really shines through when she writes about family relationships.  Everything about the Merrick brothers feels so real: the way they interact, the way they treat each other, the way they stick up for each other even when they're mad.  She's an incredible writer!

Can I just mention the minor characters?  Because they were FANTASTIC.  Take Layne's younger brother, for example.  I love his role in the story.  And Hunter, too, is great, though there's a twist at the end that surprised me!  I loved Layne's parents as well.  Her dad has a great character arc, and her mom...well, okay, I pretty much couldn't stand her mom, but I like that Layne learns to stand up to her.

I could go on and on about the plot, too, but this review is already long enough.  So suffice it to say that the plot is pure awesomeness.  Lots of action, lots of tension, and some really cool scenes with Gabriel trying to control fire.  I couldn't put this book down! 

If you enjoy YA urban fantasy with lots of swoon-worthy boys, unique storylines, and action-packed plots, then this series is a must-read.  I can't wait for the third book, Spirit, to come out!

My rating:  10 out of 10 (5 stars)

~ The Bookworm

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Book Trailer: Boundless by Cynthia Hand

My thoughts:

I am so so so excited for Boundless to come out!  I adored Unearthly and Hallowed, and I can't wait to see how this series ends. This is such a great trailer - I love the graphics and the music.

I must ask...for those of you who have read the series, are you Team Tucker or Team Christian? :) I personally love Tucker, he's so sweet and I hope Clara ends up with him!

~ The Bookworm

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Book Review: The Essence

Goodreads summary:

At the luminous conclusion of The Pledge, Charlaina defeated the tyrant Sabara and took her place as Queen of Ludania. But Charlie knows that Sabara has not disappeared: The evil queen’s Essence is fused to Charlie’s psyche, ready to arise at the first sign of weakness.

Charlie is not weak, but she’s being pushed to the brink. In addition to suppressing the ever-present influence of Sabara, she’s busy being queen—and battling a growing resistance determined to return Ludania to its discriminatory caste system. Charlie wants to be the same girl Max loves, who Brook trusts, but she’s Your Majesty now, and she feels torn in two.

As Charlie journeys to an annual summit to meet with leaders of nearby Queendoms—an event where her ability to understand all languages will be the utmost asset—she is faced with the ultimate betrayal. And the only person she can turn to for help is the evil soul residing within.

My review:

I really enjoyed The Essence.  It's a solid sequel and I think fans of the first book will not be disappointed.

I enjoyed the world-building in this sequel.  Charlie is queen now, and I loved learning about all the different countries and places along with her.  This book is a cool mix of dystopia and fantasy.  The world has a definite dystopic feel to it, but I love the fantasy elements and the magic in it too.  Derting does a great job of blending them together and making the country of Ludania unique.

The characters are likeable too.  Charlie grows up a lot in this sequel and starts realizing what the impact of her choices will have on her country.  I also love that a few parts of the book are told from her friend Brooke's point of view.  She's a very compelling character.  I did miss Max a lot, though.  I loved him in the first book and I was sad that he isn't in the second quite as much!  But it is also nice because the story is more focused on the action than the romance.

The plot is good and held my interest while I was reading.  There's lots of plot developments and a quite a few well-written action scenes.  The story definitely leaves some things open for the last book, though, and I can't wait to see how everything will be resolved in the third book.

Thankfully, The Essence does not fall into the trap of Middle Book Syndrome.  Even if you haven't read the first book, I think you could read this one without too much confusion.  This is an excellent sequel and I'm really looking forward to the final book in the trilogy!

My rating: 8 out of 10 (4 stars)

~ The Bookworm

Sunday, January 13, 2013

In My Mailbox (9)

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

Grrr.  Blogger isn't letting me upload pictures of my books right now, so I'm annoyed.  Ah well, I shall just list the books I've gotten this week instead, and if Blogger decides to cooperate later I'll upload my pics.  *gives death glare to Blogger*

Books I bought/got from the library this week:

- The Essence by Kimberly Derting
- Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
- Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
- Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
- Wicked Jealous by Robin Palmer
- Confessions of a Murder Suspect by James Patterson

So far I've read The Essence, Wicked Lovely, and Confessions of a Murder Suspect.  My review of The Essence will be posted in the next day or two!  Anyway, I want to try to read Lola and the Boy Next Door sometime soon this week.  I absolutely adored Anna and the French Kiss (the author's first book), so I can't wait to read about Lola!

Feel free to leave links to your IMMs in the comments so I can check them out! :)

~ The Bookworm

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Book Review: Touching the Surface

Goodreads summary:

Experience the afterlife in this lyrical, paranormal debut novel that will send your heart soaring.

When Elliot finds herself dead for the third time, she knows she must have messed up, big-time. She doesn’t remember how she landed in the afterlife again, but she knows this is her last chance to get things right.

Elliot just wants to move on, but first she will be forced to face her past and delve into the painful memories she’d rather keep buried. Memories of people she’s hurt, people she’s betrayed…and people she’s killed.

As she pieces together the secrets and mistakes of her past, Elliot must find a way to earn the forgiveness of the person she’s hurt most, and reveal the truth about herself to the two boys she loves…even if it means losing them both forever

My review:

I was very excited to read this book.  I adored both the cover and the summary, so I was hoping it would be as good as it looked.  Well, about one-third into the story, I liked it well enough.  It was just a bit...weird?  Awkward?  Some of the characters behaved strangely, and the story was slightly confusing at times.

So why did I rate this five stars?  As I continued reading, this story really grew on me and I began to find myself attached to the characters.  More of the characters' past is revealed, and the stakes start rising.  Quickly, I became sucked into the story and it turned into an unforgettable experience.

I usually know right away when I love a book.  For me, it's rare start reading a book, find it mediocre, and then suddenly like it a lot more.  But that's just what happened with Touching the Surface.  The author does an excellent job of creating a unique afterlife and characters that will stick in your mind long after you finish the story.

The characters are great; full of depth and easy to relate to.  Elliot, the main character, is probably my favorite throughout the whole novel.  Some might call her self-absorbed, but I like her because she's real and imperfect.  She has to face her flaws and start caring for others more.  I love the character growth she has in this story.

Then there's Trevor, who I disliked at first because I thought he was a jerk.  But as the story progresses, we learn that he's not like that at all.  He becomes a strong, likeable hero by the time the story is over.  Also, I love how, in the afterlife, his t-shirts always have a funny saying on them that reflects what he's thinking.  That was a clever touch!

The minor characters really add to the story as well.  They are all different and each play important parts.  The plot is so interesting and thought-provoking as Elliot and the others try to figure out a sense of self and what their purpose in life was.  And the prose is lyrical and lovely.  A couple of my favorite quotes are: "What I've started to figure out is that the things I avoid the most seem to have the most importance" and "Life and death unfold and every moment is a mystery to all of us, but the mystery isn't that it happens, it's what we do with it."

With a unique and refreshing take on the afterlife, thought-provoking themes, and complex, interesting characters, Touching the Surface is definitely an amazing read.  The only reason I give it 4.5 stars is because I think the first 100 pages or so are slightly slow and a touch confusing.   Overall, I really enjoyed this book and can't wait to read more of Kimberly Sabatini's future work!

My rating:  9 out of 10 (4.5 stars)

~ The Bookworm

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: The Goddess Inheritance

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 Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter!

Goodreads summary:

Love or life.
Henry or their child.
The end of her family or the end of the world.
Kate must choose.

During nine months of captivity, Kate Winters has survived a jealous goddess, a vengeful Titan and a pregnancy she never asked for. Now the Queen of the Gods wants her unborn child, and Kate can't stop her--until Cronus offers a deal.

In exchange for her loyalty and devotion, the King of the Titans will spare humanity and let Kate keep her child. Yet even if Kate agrees, he'll destroy Henry, her mother and the rest of the council. And if she refuses, Cronus will tear the world apart until every last god and mortal is dead.

With the fate of everyone she loves resting on her shoulders, Kate must do the impossible: find a way to defeat the most powerful being in existence, even if it costs her everything.

Even if it costs her eternity.

My thoughts:

I can't wait for this book to come out in about a month and a half!  This is the final book in the Goddess Test series and I'm really excited for it.  I've enjoyed this series so far, with its unique spin on Greek mythology.  It's very interesting.  And after that major cliffhanger at the end of the previous book, I'm especially looking forward to The Goddess Inheritance's release!

Leave links to your WoW in the comments!  Happy reading, everyone! :)

~ The Bookworm

Monday, January 7, 2013

Book Review: Nevermore

Goodreads summary:

Cheerleader Isobel Lanley is horrified when she is paired with Varen Nethers for an English project, which is due—so unfair—on the day of the rival game. Cold and aloof, sardonic and sharp-tongued, Varen makes it clear he’d rather not have anything to do with her either. But when Isobel discovers strange writing in his journal, she can’t help but give this enigmatic boy with the piercing eyes another look.

Soon, Isobel finds herself making excuses to be with Varen. Steadily pulled away from her friends and her possessive boyfriend, Isobel ventures deeper and deeper into the dream world Varen has created through the pages of his notebook, a realm where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life.

As her world begins to unravel around her, Isobel discovers that dreams, like words, hold more power than she ever imagined, and that the most frightening realities are those of the mind. Now she must find a way to reach Varen before he is consumed by the shadows of his own nightmares.

His life depends on it.

My review:

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book.  A good friend of mine had read it recently and really disliked it, so I was prepared to dislike it too.  But it actually wasn't as bad as I was expecting - it was a very creative, engrossing read!

I was so afraid that Nevermore would be full of cliches.  After all, the summary sure sounds like it: Blonde cheerleader?  Check.  Possessive boyfriend?  Check.  Bad boy?  Check.  Well, the author does a great job of making the story different and original.  Isobel isn't one of those annoying, airheaded cheerleaders.  Instead, she takes cheerleading seriously and works hard at it.  Her boyfriend actually plays an important role in the story.  And "bad boy" Varen isn't as much of a bad boy as he might appear, he's actually a mysterious, witty guy and I adored his character.

The characters really are done well.  I connected a lot with Isobel and the struggles she goes through.  I particularly liked her parents and younger brother, Danny.  They feel like a very real family and it was so nice to read a paranormal book where the parents aren't absent and actually have important parts in the story. 

Creagh's writing is absolutely beautiful.  It's gorgeous, poetic, and full of lovely metaphors and descriptions.  She does a wonderful job describing details, setting the mood of the story, and creating vivid imagery.  My only complaint is that there's a bit too much description at times.  Sometimes it made me lose focus on the story a little.

The plot is really great, too.  It is pretty slow-moving, but it's never boring.  The last 100 pages are the best part, I think.  The author takes Edgar Allen Poe's stories and turns them into this fascinating, fantasy dream world.  It was delightful and creepy at the same time.  And can I say, that cliffhanger at the end is pretty cruel.  I can't wait to read the sequel!

I'm so glad this ended up being so original and exciting.  Nevermore stands out from most paranormal YA fiction.  If you enjoy creative paranormal stories and strong characters, then I'd recommend trying Nevermore!

My rating:  8 out of 10 (4 stars)

~ The Bookworm

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Book Review: The Lost Girl

Goodreads summary:

Eva's life is not her own. She is a creation, an abomination--an echo. She was made by the Weavers as a copy of someone else, expected to replace a girl named Amarra, her "other," if she ever died. Eva spends every day studying that girl from far away, learning what Amarra does, what she eats, what it's like to kiss her boyfriend, Ray. So when Amarra is killed in a car crash, Eva should be ready.

But sixteen years of studying never prepared her for this.

Now she must abandon everything and everyone she's ever known--the guardians who raised her, the boy she's forbidden to love--to move to India and convince the world that Amarra is still alive.

What Eva finds is a grief-stricken family; parents unsure how to handle this echo they thought they wanted; and Ray, who knew every detail, every contour of Amarra. And when Eva is unexpectedly dealt a fatal blow that will change her existence forever, she is forced to choose: Stay and live out her years as a copy or leave and risk it all for the freedom to be an original. To be Eva.

From debut novelist Sangu Mandanna comes the dazzling story of a girl who was always told what she had to be--until she found the strength to decide for herself.

My review:

I cannot recommend this book enough.  Going into it, I had the feeling that this would be the type of book I would really love.  And I was right - I completely love it, and it was even better than I had hoped.

I've never read a book quite like this.  I was immersed in Eva's story from the very beginning.  All the characters - Mina Ma, Erik, Sean, and so many more - are realistic and heartwarming.  I completely fell in love with Amarra's family, from her poor parents to her endearing little brother and sweet little sister.  And Eva herself - I loved her so much and was rooting for her through her whole journey.  It's impossible not to like her.  These characters have a way of latching onto you and making you feel what they're feeling.

And the writing.  Oh, it's so lovely.  There's this certain richness and depth to it that made all the scenery easy to envision.  The way everything was described - the world, the characters and their behaviors, the all sucked me into the story.  The pacing in this book was perfect.  It was never too slow moving or too fast, and I couldn't get enough.  I kept turning the pages until I knew what was going to happen to Eva. 

I don't even have any complaints about the romance (which is a rarity for me!).  It's so perfect and beautiful.  I liked Sean right away.  I love how he's such an important part of Eva's life and how they have such a strong bond even before they fall in love.  I feared that there'd be a love triangle with the addition of Ray, but there's not.  The author handled Ray's character very well; he is an interesting part of the story and plays an important role.

This book is such a tearjerker.  I cry occasionally when I read a book that's particularly moving, but The Lost Girl had me in tears several times while reading it.  If you can believe it, I even had a tear in my eyes from a fable that is told only fifty pages into the story!  I cried when Eva is betrayed, when no one stands up for her, when people don't believe she has a right to live.  This book is so emotional and heart-wrenching, but in a completely beautiful way. 

Everyone should read The Lost Girl.  It's one of those stories that will stay with you for a long time, and I'm so glad I read this book.  I can believe this is Sangu Mandanna's debut; it's that good.  I absolutely can't wait to read more of this author's work in the future.

My rating:  10 out of 10 (5 stars)

~ The Bookworm

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Book Review: A Fractured Light

Goodreads summary:

When she wakes up in unfamiliar surroundings, Skye knows something terrible has happened to her. It's not until she hears Asher, the dark, rebellious angel she fell in love with, that the memories come flooding back. She tries to put the past behind her, but she knows she'll be forever haunted by the ruthless betrayal that almost took her life.

Skye returns home, but with the knowledge of who she really is, nothing can ever be the same. As she tests the limits of her newfound powers, Skye discovers that she's capable of far more than anyone could have imagined. Both the Order and the Rebellion want her for their side as war between the factions looms. She can't forget the terrifying truth she now knows about the Order, but something holds her back from embracing the Rebellion.

A Fractured Light picks up right after A Beautiful Dark's shocking cliffhanger ending and is perfect for fans of Lauren Kate's Fallen and Becca Fitzpatrick's Hush, Hush saga.

My review:

The summary says "perfect for fans of Fallen and Hush, Hush."  Well, honestly, I should've known.  I despised both Fallen and Hush, Hush, so I guess it's no surprise that I didn't like A Fractured Light.  Anyway, it's been nearly a year since I read A Beautiful Dark, the first in this series.  I rated it three stars, but now that I think about it, it's probably closer to two.  To me, this series is very meh and boring. The only good thing is that this book is a very fast read, at least for me - I read it in three hours.

Absolutely nothing happens in this book until the last ten or fifteen pages.  Seriously.  I kept flipping the pages and wondering when the action would come, and it never did.  Skye spends all her time talking and arguing with her family and friends, worrying about what the bad guys will do, and hanging out with Asher.  It was so boring.  There are a couple cool scenes, like when she actually starts using her new powers, but that's all I liked.  This book definitely suffers from "Middle Book Syndrome."  Nothing new happened.  The plot hardly progressed at all.

I really couldn't stand the characters either.  Skye is so indecisive, I just wanted to shake her at times!  For most of the book, she thinks she's in love with Asher, but then she thinks he's hiding things from her and manipulating her, and then Devin shows up and she thinks that he's not completely evil.  She's just so wishy-washy, and it got on my nerves.  I don't like Asher or Devin either; they are very bland, typical YA love interests.  The only character I halfway like is Skye's friend Cassie - she's funny and sweet.

But overall, I'm just not a fan of this series.  It's not as eye-bleeding as Fallen and Hush, Hush, but it's very mediocre and shallow.  If my library gets the final book, I might pick it up just to see how the trilogy ends, but otherwise I'm not terribly interested in reading it.  If you're looking for a really good series about angels, try the Unearthly series by Cynthia Hand.

My rating:  4 out of 10 (2 stars)

~ The Bookworm

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

My Top 5 Books of December 2012

Each month I post a list of the books I read and what my top five favorite books of the month were.  Here's all the books I read in December:

- Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier
- Jane by April Lindner
- Radiant by Cynthia Hand
- Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
- Endlessly by Kiersten White
- Reached by Ally Condie
- Out of Reach by Carrie Arcos
- Elemental by Brigid Kemmerer
- A Girl Named Digit by Annabel Monaghan
- Flash Point by Nancy Kress
- The Kingdom by Bryan M. Litfin
- Opal by Jennifer L. Armentrout
- The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross
- The Unnaturalists by Tiffany Trent
- Starters by Lissa Price
- Liberator by Bryan Davis
- From the Mouth of Elijah by Bryan Davis
- The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron
- Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
- Venom by Fiona Paul
- Crewel by Gennifer Albin
- Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill
- A Fractured Light by Jocelyn Davies
- The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna
- Survive by Alex Morel

I was able to read more books than I expected, since I had more free time over Christmas break.  While there were a handful of books I disliked this month, I read lots of fantastic books.

1. Opal by Jennifer L. Armentrout.  Any time I read a JLA book, it always ends up number one on my "top 5 books of the month" post.  Opal is no exception.  This book was heartbreaking, gorgeous, awesome, and had one of the worst cliffhangers EVER.  I can't wait for Origin to come out in July.

2. Reached by Ally Condie.  There's something so poetic and lovely about Condie's writing, and the strong characters she creates.  Reached was a wonderful ending to the Matched series, and I cannot wait to see what this talented author writes next.

3. The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna.  Oh, this book was good.  Unlike anything I've ever read.  It grabbed my attention immediately and I could not put down this heartbreaking story of one girl's right to live.  Very highly recommended.

4. Crewel by Gennifer Albin.  This is one of my favorite new dystopians.  I don't care if you're sick of dystopians.  Read this.  It will blow away all your expectations with its creativity.

5. Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill.  This book was full of win!  It was so cute and funny.  The characters were so lovable and that unexpected twist at the end was awesome!  If you're looking for a lighthearted, girly read, try this.

Honorable mentions go to The Dark Unwinding, Throne of Glass, and Venom!

What are some of your favorite reads from this past month?  Leave a comment and let me know. :)

~ The Bookworm