Thursday, May 30, 2013

Book Review: Woman of Honor by Nicole Zoltack

Goodreads summary:

Aislinn of Bairbhe dreams of becoming a lady knight to honor the death of her fallen brother. To her mother's horror, King Patrick grants Aislinn's wish and she begins her long years of training.

Despite the mockery of the other pages, and the disdain of Prince Caelan who also trains to be a knight, Aislinn commits herself to her dreams and embarks on a journey of self-discovery and bravery. Through the years, Aislinn and Caelan grow from sparring classmates to good friends. They both know that someday Caelan will marry for the sake of the kingdom, but even that cannot keep them from falling in love.

The threat of war with the Speicans is a constant threat, and one that grows more frightening as she and Caelan train toward their eventual knighthood. Aislinn has committed herself to serving Arnhem, and has promised herself as King's Champion when Caelan claims the throne. She is willing to give up everything... her childhood, her life, even her heart for Arnhem. No matter the pain it brings.

My review:

This is a great fantasy book!  It reminded me a lot of Tamora Pierce's "Protector of the Small" series, which is also about a girl who trains to become a knight.  Woman of Honor is perfect for fans of that series.

I really enjoyed Aislinn's character.  I love how she knows what she wants and is determined to keep fighting, no matter what.  She's easy to admire, and I liked watching her journey as she grew up and became a knight.  I also liked the addition of secondary characters, like her friends Caelan and Geoffrey; they definitely added to the plot. 

The plot held my interest.  It starts off when Aislinn is seven years old, and continues up to the point when she's an adult.  So there were always lots of plot developments happening, as Aislinn gradually learns to fit in at the palace and help keep her country safe.  The ending was definitely full of action and had me biting my nails.

There were a couple things I didn't quite like.  Sometimes, a conflict or problem in the story seemed to be resolved a little too easily and conveniently.  And there's the fact that Aislinn is seven during the first part of the story.  The way she talks and acts makes her seem much more mature than her years.  I guess that in a different time period, young children would grow up more quickly.  Still, it seemed like she was a little too mature for her age at times.

But these are minor problems, and I still enjoyed the story a great deal.  With a well-developed storyline and a great cast of characters, Woman of Honor is a perfect read for fantasy fans.  You'll especially love this if you're a fan of Tamora Pierce's work!

* I received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.  Thanks!

My rating:  7 out of 10 (3.5 stars)

~ The Bookworm

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (24)

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 Belladonna by Fiona Paul!

Goodreads summary:

In Renaissance Italy, love, lust, intrigue and secret societies converge to stunning results!

In the second in the stunning Secrets of the Eternal Rose series, Cassandra Caravello is trying to forget Falco, the wild artist who ran off with her heart, as she grows closer to her strong, steady fiancé, Luca. But Luca seems to have his own secrets. When he’s arrested by soldiers in the middle of the night, Cass’s life is once again thrown into chaos. She must save Luca, and that means finding the Book of the Eternal Rose—the only evidence that will prove he’s innocent.

So begins her journey to Florence, a city haunted by whispers of vampirism, secret soirees and clandestine meetings of the Order of the Eternal Rose. And home to Falco, who is working for the Order’s eerily stunning leader, the Belladonna herself.

Can Cass trust her heart to lead her to the truth this time?
Nothing is as it seems in this seductive thriller, where the truth may be the deadliest poison of all.

My thoughts:

Eep, I can't wait for this!  I really enjoyed Venom, the first book in this series.  What's great is that the first book came out last October, and now Belladonna's coming out in July!  So excited that I don't have to wait a whole year to read Belladonna. :)

What are you waiting on this week?

~ The Bookworm

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Book Review: Nobody by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Goodreads summary:

There are people in this world who are Nobody. No one sees them. No one notices them. They live their lives under the radar, forgotten as soon as you turn away.

That’s why they make the perfect assassins.

The Institute finds these people when they’re young and takes them away for training. But an untrained Nobody is a threat to their organization. And threats must be eliminated.

Sixteen-year-old Claire has been invisible her whole life, missed by the Institute’s monitoring. But now they’ve ID’ed her and send seventeen-year-old Nix to remove her. Yet the moment he lays eyes on her, he can’t make the hit. It’s as if Claire and Nix are the only people in the world for each other. And they are—because no one else ever notices them.

My review:

I've really enjoyed some of Jennifer Lynn Barnes's other books, so I was hoping it meant I'd like this one.  Unfortunately, I just couldn't get into it at all.  I couldn't stand Claire or Nix, and the insta-love made me want to gag.

Claire has got to be one of the most depressing protagonists I've ever read about.  She has zero self-esteem and thinks she's totally pathetic.  I get that this was important to the plot, but it just made her terribly unlikeable as a character.  For example, when Nix breaks into her house to kill her, she starts thinking about how attractive he is.

He's a random stranger pointing a gun at her head.  And yet this makes her happy because no one ever notices her.  So she starts swooning over his "blue eyes, so light that she wondered if they glowed in the dark," and declares, "he was the most beautiful boy she'd ever seen."  And yes, all of this happens while he's holding a gun at her.

Frankly, I thought it was creepy.  The romance only got worse as Nix and Claire decided to run away together.  Nix decides he's in love with Claire, but he can't be with her because he's an assassin and he's too dangerous for her to be around - "He didn't deserve her, and now that she knew that truth, she must hate him."  A good portion of the book was filled with melodramatic statements like that, and it just ruined the story.  Not to mention that by the end of the book, Nix says, "You tamed me, Claire.  I love you, just so you know."

Um, they barely know each other.  Yeah, sorry, that's not love. 

Thankfully, there was some action in the last half, but by then I was so bored that I really didn't care what was going on.  Although this has a cool premise, it just didn't live up to my expectations.  The melodramatic characters simply had no self-esteem, and the insta-love and romance was borderline creepy.  I'm not interested enough to continue with this series.

My rating:  4 out of 10 (2 stars)

~ The Bookworm

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

ARC Review: Spies and Prejudice by Talia Vance

Goodreads summary:

Fields’ Rule #1: Don’t fall for the enemy.

Berry Fields is not looking for a boyfriend. She’s busy trailing cheaters and liars in her job as a private investigator, collecting evidence of the affairs she’s sure all men commit. And thanks to a pepper spray incident during an eighth grade game of spin the bottle, the guys at her school are not exactly lining up to date her, either.

So when arrogant—and gorgeous—Tanner Halston rolls into town and calls her “nothing amazing,” it’s no loss for Berry. She’ll forget him in no time. She’s more concerned with the questions surfacing about her mother’s death.

But why does Tanner seem to pop up everywhere in her investigation, always getting in her way? Is he trying to stop her from discovering the truth, or protecting her from an unknown threat? And why can’t Berry remember to hate him when he looks into her eyes?

With a playful nod to Jane Austen, Spies and Prejudice will captivate readers as love and espionage collide.

My review:

I LOVE Pride & Prejudice retellings!  The problem is, Pride & Prejudice retellings tend to be *exactly* like the original, just in a modern setting.  They need to be able to stand on their own as a story.  So I really appreciated the fact that Spies and Prejudice manages to be unique and has its own storyline.

Ah, Berry.  Just like Lizzie Bennet, she's full of spunk and always speaks her mind.  I love how independent she is; she definitely captures the spirit of Lizzie Bennet.  And Tanner (aka Mr. Darcy) is so funny - he's awkward and yet sweet.  I also thought it was clever that Berry's best friend, Mary Chris, is the Jane Bennet of the story.  It was an interesting change that she was the best friend instead of the older sister, and I thought it worked really well with the novel's storyline.

I really enjoyed the plot.  It's light and funny, filled with awesomely clever dialogue, and of course, there's lots of action, chases, and high-tech spy gadgets.  An all-around fun read!  There are some slightly predictable twists at times, but I was enjoying the story so much that I didn't really mind. 

I'd recommend Spies and Prejudice to anyone.  There's no need to have read Pride & Prejudice to understand this, and anyway, as I said above, Spies and Prejudice does a great job of standing on its own.  If you like spunky heroines, snappy dialogue, and a fast-paced plot, definitely give this a try.  It's one of the best Pride & Prejudice retellings I've read.  I'm looking forward to reading more of Talia Vance's work!

* I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thanks!

My rating:  8 out of 10 (4 stars)

~ The Bookworm

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Covers of Books I've Read

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 Covers of Books I've Read."

My Top Ten:

Can you tell that I'm a big fan of girl-in-the-dress covers?  LOL.  And did anyone else have a hard time choosing covers?  I have so many favorite covers that I love!

What's on your TTT this week?

~ The Bookworm

Monday, May 20, 2013

Mini Reviews: Embrace, The Diviners, and The Madman's Daughter

Goodreads summary:

It starts with a whisper: “It’s time for you to know who you are…”

Violet Eden dreads her seventeenth birthday. After all, it’s hard to get too excited about the day that marks the anniversary of your mother’s death. As if that wasn’t enough, disturbing dreams haunt her sleep and leave her with very real injuries. There’s a dark tattoo weaving its way up her arms that wasn’t there before.

Violet is determined to get some answers, but nothing could have prepared her for the truth. The guy she thought she could fall in love with has been keeping his identity a secret: he’s only half-human—oh, and same goes for her.

A centuries-old battle between fallen angels and the protectors of humanity has chosen its new warrior. It’s a fight Violet doesn’t want, but she lives her life by two rules: don’t run and don’t quit. When angels seek vengeance and humans are the warriors, you could do a lot worse than betting on Violet Eden…

Why this book is so popular is beyond me.  I just really don't see how others can enjoy it.  Shall I mention the indecisive main character?  Or the weird love triangle?  Maybe the way one of her love interests is a freaky, manipulative stalker.  And don't forget the cliché, airheaded best friend who serves no role in the book other than to encourage the MC to get a boyfriend.  As for the plot, I haven't even gotten started on that...

Basically, this book was like one big train wreck for me.  There wasn't anything I liked.  What irks me the most is the way Violet never knows what she wants.  One second she hates being part angel and "just wants to live a normal life!" then she gets mad at one of the guys she's in love with (I don't remember his name) and is all, "You lied to me my whole life!" and THEN she meets another guy and falls in love (or lust, actually) with him.  And of course, she can't make up her mind and constantly switches between the two guys.  Not only that, but this second love interest actually manipulates what she thinks.  Yes, he can manipulate her mind.  And she still trusts him.  Am I the only one who finds this creepy?

The story itself was torture to read.  The plot just bored me and was much like any other angel/paranormal/romance book.  Definitely not continuing this series.

My rating:  2 out of 10 (1 star)

Goodreads summary:

Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City--and she is pos-i-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult--also known as "The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies."

When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer--if he doesn't catch her first.


After recently going through post-Downton Abbey depression, I decided I needed to read a historical book set sometime around that time period.  And WOW, The Diviners was not a disappointment at all.  This is truly a hidden gem of a book.  You simply can't go wrong when you combine the 1920's and a supernatural murder mystery.

Okay, I love Evie.  Sure, she's a little airheaded at times, but despite all her faults, this girl is hilarious and real and a truly unique protagonist that I loved.  And how about the romance, which developed ever so slowly and sweetly - finally, an achingly realistic romance.  Then there's the setting, which is described so well.  Libba Bray really is amazing at creating the mood and atmosphere of the 1920's.  And the mystery was so creepy and suspenseful!  I loved the dark twists and turns.

The only thing I wasn't completely crazy about is how long the book is.  It's nearly 600 pages, and I do think *some* of it could have been cut out.  Still, the writing is so rich and gorgeous that it more than makes up for the length of the book!  I will definitely be reading more by Libba Bray and I am highly anticipating the sequel to The Diviners!

My rating:  9 out of 10 (4.5 stars)

Goodreads summary:

In the darkest places, even love is deadly.

Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—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 he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true.

Accompanied by her father's handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father's madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island's inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father's dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it's too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father's genius—and madness—in her own blood.

Inspired by H. G. Wells's classic The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Madman's Daughter is a dark and breathless Gothic thriller about the secrets we'll do anything to know and the truths we'll go to any lengths to protect.


Most people seem to love this book, and while I enjoyed it, there were some aspects that failed to impress me.  I never really connected with the main character, and she really didn't seem to have much of a personality.  The love triangle was unnecessary and a bit annoying at times.  I didn't care for either of the love interests, although I do appreciate the way the love triangle ended up becoming important to the plot.

So although I didn't like the main character or romance much, I loved the creepiness of the plot.  It's so suspenseful, horrifying, and scary.  Yes, the story dragged on and there were a few times I got bored, but overall I loved the gory, gothic feel to the story.  So if you're looking for a gothic thriller, I'd definitely recommend this, but keep in mind that there are a few tedious clichés mixed in.

My rating:  7 out of 10 (3.5 stars)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (23)

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 A Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard!

Goodreads summary:

Following an all-out battle with the walking Dead, the Spirit Hunters have fled Philadelphia, leaving Eleanor alone to cope with the devastating aftermath. But there’s more trouble ahead—the evil necromancer Marcus has returned, and his diabolical advances have Eleanor escaping to Paris to seek the help of Joseph, Jie, and the infuriatingly handsome Daniel once again. When she arrives, however, she finds a whole new darkness lurking in this City of Light. As harrowing events unfold, Eleanor is forced to make a deadly decision that will mean life or death for everyone.

My thoughts:

So excited for this!  I just finished reading the first book in this series, Something Strange and Deadly, and absolutely loved it.  It was charming and creepy at the same time.  Luckily for me, I don't have to wait long for this sequel - it releases July 23.  Can't wait to read it!

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

~ The Bookworm

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Book Review: Destined by Jessie Harrell

Goodreads summary:

When Psyche receives a prophecy gone horribly wrong, she learns that even the most beautiful girl in Greece can have a hideous future. Her fate? Fall in love with the one creature even the gods fear.

As she feels herself slipping closer into the arms of the prophecy, Psyche must choose between the terrifyingly tender touch she feels almost powerless to resist and the one constant she's come to expect out of life: you cannot escape what is destined.

My review:

What an exciting book.  I absolutely love anything about Greek mythology, so when Jessie Harrell asked me if I'd like to review Destined for her, I immediately knew I had to read it.  And it was just as original and interesting as I'd hoped. 

Despite having read lots of YA fiction about Greek mythology, somehow I've never ended up reading a book about the Eros and Psyche story.  So I was thrilled that I was getting to read about a myth that I didn't know much about.  It's a very fascinating story that I really enjoyed.

I really liked the characters.  I love how Psyche is such an independent, strong heroine who stays determined no matter what.  She was easy to connect with and I love her character arc.  As for Eros, he's another complex character.  He's a little bit arrogant (but then again, aren't all Greek deities? :D), but we get to see many more sides to his character and he eventually turns into a true hero.

I also have to mention some of the great minor characters.  Aphrodite was totally awesome, I just love how she's so vain and full of herself, and I liked her character's role in the story.  I loved one of Psyche's servants, too - she's an invisible nymph!  How cool is that?  Lastly, Psyche's sister really added to the storyline

The plot always held my interest.  I enjoyed how Psyche falls in love with this creature she knows nothing about, and then how she must go on an epic quest to be with her true love.  And what Greek mythology-inspired novel would be complete without a character having to be tested by the gods?  I loved the tests Psyche had to go through, and the ending is perfect and sweet.

Overall, Destined is a great read, especially for fans of Greek mythology.  I can't wait to read more of Jessie Harrell's work!

* I received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!

My rating:  8 out of 10 (4 stars)

~ The Bookworm

Monday, May 13, 2013

ARC Review: Ink by Amanda Sun

Goodreads summary:

I looked down at the paper, still touching the tip of my shoe. I reached for it, flipping the page over to look.

Scrawls of ink outlined a drawing of a girl lying on a bench.

A sick feeling started to twist in my stomach, like motion sickness.

And then the girl in the drawing turned her head, and her inky eyes glared straight into mine.

On the heels of a family tragedy, the last thing Katie Greene wants to do is move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn’t know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks, and she can’t seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.

Then there’s gorgeous but aloof Tomohiro, star of the school’s kendo team. How did he really get the scar on his arm? Katie isn’t prepared for the answer. But when she sees the things he draws start moving, there’s no denying the truth: Tomo has a connection to the ancient gods of Japan, and being near Katie is causing his abilities to spiral out of control. If the wrong people notice, they'll both be targets.

Katie never wanted to move to Japan—now she may not make it out of the country alive.

My review:

With such a unique premise and awesome setting, I knew Ink was a debut I'd definitely have to check out.  Unfortunately, I was rather disappointed.  Aside from the mythology and the setting, Ink is much like any other paranormal book.

My main problem is with the main character.  For the first half or so, I could not stand Katie.  She makes some terrible decisions.  She abandons her friends constantly to spend time with her crush, Tomohiro.  Not only that, but she continually stalks him even though he's not interested in her.  She actually follows him around a bunch in the first third of the book, trying to find out more about him.  In my opinion, that's just plain creepy - not romantic.

Speaking of which, the romance is a little unhealthy.  A third into the book, Katie states, "It still frightened me, what Tomohiro might be capable of."  She's scared of him, yet she will not stop hanging out with him.  Just a little bit later, she thinks, "Attacking a friend with a blade?  That wasn't my Tomohiro."  Now, of course Tomohiro is not truly as dangerous as he seems at first.  He does end up turning into an interesting, complex character.  But, I was troubled by the fact that Katie still tries to pursue a romance with him when she's afraid of what he could do.

Still, Ink is not a completely bad read.  I really loved the mythology and the way magic is portrayed in this book.  This is definitely the most original aspect of the book.  The mythology is unlike anything I've ever read about.  Very cool stuff.  And the fact that it's set in Japan is really interesting, too.  The author does a great job mixing in Japanese customs and words.

Although I loved the mythology and magic parts, it wasn't quite enough to make up for the bad romance and irritating main character.  Still, I think the story improves a lot more in the last half, so I'm rounding the 2.5 rating up to 3 stars.  If you can get past the romance and main character and enjoy the uniqueness of the plot, then I'd recommend Ink.  Sadly, for me it was a lot like most paranormal books.

* Thanks to Netgalley for offering me a free copy in exchange for an honest review!

My rating:  5 out of 10 (2.5 stars)

~ The Bookworm

Sunday, May 12, 2013

In My Mailbox (19)

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

Books I bought/got from the library:

- Taken by Erin Bowman
- The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller
- The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd
- Nobody by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
- Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass
- Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
- The Diviners by Libba Bray

I've already read Taken and The Summer I Became a Nerd - I even did mini-reviews on them a couple days ago.  The only other book I've read is Throne of Glass, which I read a few months ago, but I had to get my own copy so I can get it signed when I meet the author next month. :)

What new books have you gotten this week?

~ The Bookworm

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Book Review: If I Should Die by Amy Plum

Goodreads summary:

I will not lose another person I love. I will not let history repeat itself.

Vincent waited lifetimes to find me, but in an instant our future together was shattered. He was betrayed by someone we both called a friend, and I lost him. Now our enemy is determined to rule over France’s immortals, and willing to wage a war to get what they want.

It shouldn’t be possible, none of it should be, but this is my reality. I know Vincent is somewhere out there, I know he’s not completely gone, and I will do anything to save him.

After what we’ve already fought to achieve, a life without Vincent is unimaginable. He once swore to avoid dying—to go against his nature and forsake sacrificing himself for others—so that we could be together. How can I not risk everything to bring my love back to me?

My review:

The Die For Me trilogy is not one of my all-time favorite series, but it is a fun read.  Sure, there's a handful of paranormal clichés, and the romance is way too gushy at times, but what really stands out about this series is the awesome setting.

Amy Plum is so talented at describing the setting.  The way she writes about Paris makes me want to pack up everything and move there right away!  I love how she mixes French words and customs into the storyline, too.  It flows very well and seems natural.  The Parisian setting is gorgeous and so well-done.

I'm still not a fan of the romance in this book, unfortunately.  It's so...overly romantic.  Just take the titles of the series, for example - Die for Me, Until I Die, and If I Should Die.  It all seems a little too dramatic and sappy, especially the way Kate is so determined to do anything to save Vincent.  And Vincent is still way too perfect and acts like a Gary-Stu (male version of a Mary-Sue) at times.  So I wasn't a big fan of the romance.

However, the plot is fairly gripping.  It starts off slow, since Kate and the other revenants spend lots of time trying to find a way to save Vincent.  There's a predictable twist that comes up, although thankfully it didn't ruin the entire story.  But at least the ending has some pretty epic battles and fight scenes, and I'm satisfied with the way the story is concluded.

If you're a hard-core fan of the Die For Me trilogy, you'll probably love this conclusion.  And even if you're not totally crazy about this series, If I Should Die is still worth reading.  It's a good ending to a fun series, and Kate has turned into a strong, admirable heroine (aside from being a sappy romantic...).  I'm definitely interested in reading more of Amy Plum's future work.

* Thanks to Cuddlebuggery for sending me a copy through their Little Blogger, Big Ambitions program!

My rating:  6 out of 10 (3 stars)

~ The Bookworm

Friday, May 10, 2013

Mini-Reviews: Sweet Peril, Taken, and The Summer I Became a Nerd

Lately, I've noticed lots of blogs doing a post with a bunch of mini-reviews.  I'm really behind on writing reviews, so I've decided to try out this method and get a handful of reviews done more quickly.  Hope it's helpful!

Goodreads summary:

Anna Whitt, the daughter of a guardian angel and a demon, promised herself she’d never do the work of her father—polluting souls. She’d been naive to make such a vow. She’d been naive about a lot of things.

Haunted by demon whisperers, Anna does whatever she can to survive, even if it means embracing her dark side and earning an unwanted reputation as her school’s party girl. Her life has never looked more bleak. And all the while there’s Kaidan Rowe, son of the Duke of Lust, plaguing her heart and mind.

When an unexpected lost message from the angels surfaces, Anna finds herself traveling the globe with Kopano, son of Wrath, in an attempt to gain support of fellow Nephilim and give them hope for the first time. It soon becomes clear that whatever freedoms Anna and the rest of the Neph are hoping to win will not be gained without a fight. Until then, Anna and Kaidan must put aside the issues between them, overcome the steamiest of temptations yet, and face the ultimate question: is loving someone worth risking their life?


I love this series!  It's hard for me to find good books about angels, and I think this series as well as the Unearthly series are the only angel books I've really loved.  This is a strong sequel in many ways: there's great character development, the plot thickens, and the romance between Kai and Anna is as swoon-worthy as ever.

This may sound strange, but I love the passage of time in this novel - during the first third or so, we see glimpses of Anna's life as a year passes by, and I LOVE how she grows and changes so much.  She's not as naïve as she was in the first book, and is instead a strong heroine that I was rooting for the whole time. 

There's a bit of a love triangle, but it's resolved quickly and it did add to the storyline, so I didn't mind.  I do wish Kaidan had been in the story more, though.  I adore the romance between him and Anna.  I love their chemistry and Wendy Higgins makes their romance so believable.  Overall, an amazing sequel!

My rating:  10 out of 10 (5 stars)

Goodreads summary:

There are no men in Claysoot. There are boys—but every one of them vanishes at midnight on his eighteenth birthday. The ground shakes, the wind howls, a blinding light descends…and he’s gone.

They call it the Heist.

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

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


I've read lots of negative reviews for Taken, so I wasn't sure what to expect when I started it.  Pleasantly, I was surprised.  It's not as terrible as everyone makes it out to be.  It has realistic characters and a strong plot, and I enjoyed the thrilling twists.

I'm not crazy about the main character, Gray.  He can be selfish and even a bit of a jerk at times.  So I didn't really relate to him much, yet I still think the author wrote his character well.  His voice always sounds masculine and I think his faults make him more realistic.

I love the backstory and world-building that we got, though.  I did get bored in the beginning, but there's more action and twists in the last half, so I enjoyed that.  And there's not as much romance as I was afraid there would be, even if I didn't think the addition of a love triangle was necessary.  I can see why Taken isn't for everyone, but I still think it's a unique sci-fi novel worth reading.

My rating:  6 out of 10 (3 stars)

Goodreads summary:

On the outside, seventeen-year-old Madelyne Summers looks like your typical blond cheerleader—perky, popular, and dating the star quarterback. But inside, Maddie spends more time agonizing over what will happen in the next issue of her favorite comic book than planning pep rallies with her squad. That she’s a nerd hiding in a popular girl's body isn’t just unknown, it's anti-known. And she needs to keep it that way.

Summer is the only time Maddie lets her real self out to play, but when she slips up and the adorkable guy behind the local comic shop’s counter uncovers her secret, she’s busted. Before she can shake a pom-pom, Maddie’s whisked into Logan’s world of comic conventions, live-action role-playing, and first-person-shooter video games. And she loves it. But the more she denies who she really is, the deeper her lies become…and the more she risks losing Logan forever.


I absolutely adored The Summer I Became a Nerd.  Is it a little cheesy and predictable at times?  Yes, but I enjoyed it so much that I didn't care.  I loooved all the nerdy references in this book.  I mean, c'mon.  There's mention of Star Wars, Captain America, Spider-Man, and more!  And the author uses words like "fandom" and "adorkable," which I thought was awesome.

Plus, Logan is totally swoon-worthy.  I love that for once, the love interest is a nerdy guy (who even wears glasses!  *squeal*).  I mean, so often in books the love interest is a "bad boy" or "lonely and mysterious" type, so I loved that Logan is so sweet and funny.  And Maddie is hilarious too; I was cheering for her the whole way through the story.  This cute summer read will definitely put a smile on your face!

My rating:  10 out of 10 (5 stars)

Quick question for my readers: are my mini-reviews long/short enough?  Feel free to let me know.

~ The Bookworm

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Book Review: The Elite by Kiera Cass

Goodreads summary:

The hotly-anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestseller The Selection.

Thirty-five girls came to the palace to compete in the Selection. All but six have been sent home. And only one will get to marry Prince Maxon and be crowned princess of Illea.

America still isn’t sure where her heart lies. When she’s with Maxon, she’s swept up in their new and breathless romance, and can’t dream of being with anyone else. But whenever she sees Aspen standing guard around the palace, and is overcome with memories of the life they planned to share. With the group narrowed down to the Elite, the other girls are even more determined to win Maxon over—and time is running out for America to decide.

Just when America is sure she’s made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she’s struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending.

My review:

Yes, I admit it: I love the Selection series.  These books aren't brilliant or mind-blowingly good, but they are pure fun.  They're like a guilty-pleasure type of read. 

Honestly, I don't think these books should be dystopian, though.  I'd prefer it if they were fantasy instead, mainly because of the fairytale mood of the stories.  *shrug*  But anyway, I have to say that it's quite refreshing to read a dystopian that is light and fun, rather than gloomy and depressing.

The Elite is a fantastic sequel.  I think it's better than the first in many ways: there's a heck of a lot more world-building, relationships are tested, complications arise concerning the country of Illea, and there's lots more character development.  And Maxon! *swoon* I love the poor guy so much.  He's so incredibly sweet, but he's really going through a tough time in The Elite and trying to make the best decisions for his country.

The only thing I have a problem with is America.  I do love how bright and funny she is, but man, I just kept wishing she would make up her mind!  She would not stop switching back and forth between Maxon and Aspen.  Then she whines when Maxon and/or Aspen doesn't pay enough attention to her.  I definitely didn't like her as much as in the first book, but after the ending of The Elite, I have a feeling she'll get better in the last book.

Besides not liking America, I'm really pleased with this sequel.  I just love how princess-y it is.  There's fashion, balls, gorgeous dresses, and fairytale-ish moments.  It's such a fun, girly read.  Yet, we also find out a lot more about the country of Illea and its background, and learn more about Maxon and some of the other characters.  A great mixture of fluffiness and plot developments, The Elite is one awesome sequel!  I can't wait to read The One next year.

My rating:  9 out of 10 (4.5 stars)

~ The Bookworm

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books When You Need Something Light and Fun

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 Books to Read When You Need Something Light and Fun."

1. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins.  I can guarantee this book will put a smile on your face.  This book is so wonderful and fluffy and perfect, and I can't recommend it enough.

2. The Selection by Kiera Cass.  This book has gotten lots of negative reviews, but honestly I love it.  It's not meant to have any depth to it - it's just an all-around fun, guilty-pleasure type of read.

3. Of Poseidon by Anna Banks.  The hilarious characters had me cracking up nonstop! A perfect summer read.

4. Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt.  Just read this recently, and I adored it.  A sweet, heartfelt story that I really enjoyed.

5. Pivot Point by Kasie West.  This is a paranormal book, but I was delighted with how laugh-out-loud funny it was.  The main character is refreshingly sarcastic, and this was a totally fun read!

6. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White.  Paranormalcy is so full of win, I don't even know how to describe it.  An entertaining story that I loved.

7. Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill.  I utterly adored this book.  For one thing, it's set in England.  Also, the main character is a total nerd and I love her, and the love interest is so funny and swoony.  Awesomeness.

8. Endless Summer by Jennifer Echols.  As the title suggests, this is another great summer read.  I just love how sweet and lighthearted this book is, and it also had me laughing like crazy.

9. My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris.  Time travel?  Check.  Swoon-worthy Italian guy?  Check.  Hilarious main character?  Check.  Loved this book!

10. Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan.  This book is a mash-up of gothic, paranormal, mystery, and fantasy elements, but there's also a constant humorous feel to the story.  I can't count how many times I nearly died of laughter.

I should also mention Hourglass by Myra McEntire and Airhead by Meg Cabot, they're also great. :) In case you can't tell, I had lots of fun books to choose from for this list!

What's on your TTT this week?

~ The Bookworm

Sunday, May 5, 2013

In My Mailbox (18)

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

Books I bought/received:

- Sweet Peril by Wendy Higgins
- The Elite by Kiera Cass
- If I Should Die by Amy Plum

I have to admit, I've already read all of these.  Once I got them, I didn't wait to start reading them!  They were all great reads that I really enjoyed, and I should actually be posting reviews for all three books sometime (hopefully) this week!

What new books have you gotten lately?

~ The Bookworm

Friday, May 3, 2013

Book Review: Unremembered by Jessica Brody

Goodreads summary:

When Freedom Airlines flight 121 went down over the Pacific Ocean, no one ever expected to find survivors. Which is why the sixteen-year-old girl discovered floating among the wreckage—alive—is making headlines across the globe.

Even more strange is that her body is miraculously unharmed and she has no memories of boarding the plane. She has no memories of her life before the crash. She has no memories period. No one knows how she survived. No one knows why she wasn’t on the passenger manifest. And no one can explain why her DNA and fingerprints can’t be found in a single database in the world.

Crippled by a world she doesn’t know, plagued by abilities she doesn’t understand, and haunted by a looming threat she can’t remember, Seraphina struggles to piece together her forgotten past and discover who she really is. But with every clue only comes more questions. And she’s running out of time to answer them.

Her only hope is a strangely alluring boy who claims to know her from before the crash. Who claims they were in love. But can she really trust him? And will he be able to protect her from the people who have been making her forget?

From popular young adult author Jessica Brody comes a compelling and suspenseful new sci-fi series, set in a world where science knows no boundaries, memories are manipulated, and true love can never be forgotten.

My review:

Unremembered was a bit of a disappointment for me.  I think the best word to describe it is "forgettable," it's just not unique at all.  The whole time I was reading it, I kept thinking how cliche and unoriginal it was.  It's been a week since I've read it, and to be honest I've already forgotten most of what happened in it.  (Ironic, I know, considering the title.)

Anyway, I got frustrated with the focus on the romance.  It's another "starcrossed romance" where Seraphina and the love interest (I can't remember his name...) are "destined to be together" and "couldn't ever love anyone else."  I just did not buy it at all.  And I felt like the romance lessened the thrill of the story.  I would've loved to see more action and plot twists, rather than romance.

The plot was a let-down as well.  I was able to predict almost everything that happened.  And I got bored during the first 100 pages or so.  Nothing much happens that's considered thrilling or exciting, besides Seraphina recovering in the hospital from the crash, and then moving to a new home with a foster family.  I wanted waaay more action than what I got.

I also couldn't connect with Seraphina at all.  She just had a bland personality and was so, so, so naive.  This isn't really the author's fault...after all, Seraphina's supposed to be somewhat naive, since she can't remember anything.  But it still made me really annoyed with her.  The only two characters I liked are Seraphina's foster mom and brother.  I thought the mom was genuinely sweet and liked how she tried to understand Seraphina.  And the younger brother (I think he was 13?) was cute and awkward, and I liked that he and Seraphina were able to become friends.

Unremembered was not, by any means, a terrible book.  I know others will enjoy it.  I simply found it to be too predictable, and I just wasn't a fan of the romance or the main character.  I might go ahead and read the sequel when it comes out, just to see what happens.

My rating:  4 out of 10 (2 stars)

~ The Bookworm

My Top 5 Books of April 2013

At the beginning of each month, I post a list of the books I read in the previous month and what my favorites were.  These are all the books I read in April:

- The Girl in the Clockwork Collar by Kady Cross
- Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
- The Collector by Victoria Scott
- Money Run by Jack Heath
- Prophecy Girl by Cecily White
- Black City by Elizabeth Richards
- Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer
- Apollyon by Jennifer L. Armentrout
- Sweet Shadows by Tera Lynn Childs
- Alice in Zomieland by Gena Showalter
- Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton
- The Girl with the Iron Touch by Kady Cross
- Phoenix by Elizabeth Richards
- Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt
- Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley
- Unremembered by Jessica Brody
- The Elite by Kiera Cass
- If I Should Die by Amy Plum
- The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa

My top five favorites:

1. Apollyon by Jennifer L. Armentrout.  This is the fourth book in the Covenant series, and definitely my favorite so far!  I adore how snarky and strong Alex is, and of course Aiden is adorable!

2. Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer.  This was such an awesome contemporary.  I loved how the characters in it were so nerdy - I could totally relate to them, lol.  Normally I don't give light, cute contemporary books five stars, but I have to say, this one deserves it!

3. The Elite by Kiera Cass.  I know lots of bloggers aren't crazy about The Selection series, but I have to admit that I love these books.  They're like my guilty pleasure.  I love how girly and princess-y this book is!

4. The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa.  I was nervous about starting this, but I love it just as much as Julie's original Iron Fey series!  Ethan is a great narrator, and I love Kenzie!  (Also, who doesn't adore Grimalkin?  He reminds me of the Grumpy Cat meme, haha!)

5. Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt.  Loved how heartfelt and touching this book was.  I read it at just the right time, too - I'd been reading lots of paranormal books, and this contemporary story was so refreshing and funny!  Highly recommended.

Honorable mentions go to The Collector, Pretty Girl-13, and Alice in Zombieland!

What were your favorite reads from last month?

~ The Bookworm

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (22)

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 Distance Between Us by Kasie West!

Goodreads summary:

Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.

So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she's beginning to enjoy his company.

She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.

My thoughts:

So excited for this one!  I LOVED Kasie West's paranormal debut, Pivot Point, so I'm especially looking forward to seeing how she writes contemporary novels.  This is definitely one that I'll have to be reading right away when it comes out this summer!

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

~ The Bookworm