Friday, December 30, 2011

Hades by Alexandra Adornetto

Rating: ☆☆☆
Release date: Aug. 30, 2011
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Format: hardback
Source: library
Pages: 424
Series: --
Challenge: --
Bethany Church is an angel sent to Earth to keep dark forces at bay. Falling in love was never part of her mission, but the bond between Beth and her mortal boyfriend, Xavier Woods, is undeniably strong. But even Xavier's love, and the care of her archangel siblings, Gabriel and Ivy, can't keep Beth from being tricked into a motorcycle ride that ends up in Hell. There, the demon Jake Thorn bargains for Beth's release back to Earth. But what he asks of her will destroy her, and quite possibly, her loved ones, as well.
I was a little hesitant to read this after being disappointed by Halo, but I was surprised to find that I enjoyed Hades a lot more than I thought I would. As with the first, I found myself being annoyed with Bethany. She still seemed really helpless, especially how she got "tricked" into the motorcycle ride. I didn't really understand, with her being a divine being and all, why she couldn't just jump off once she realized something was wrong? I mean, maybe she was glued to the seat or something, but that really annoyed me. (And yeah, if there was an actual legit reason, then I apologize in advance. I must of missed that part. :))

Aaand one more thing that bothered me was how Bethany couldn't even figure out she was in Hell. I understand that angels don't exactly make trips to Hell every other week, but I still don't get how she couldn't have put the pieces together.

In the middle and towards the end, she showed a little bit more guts, though, which I guess makes up for all the other stuff about her that bothered me. For the most part, I tried to ignore her helplessness and it ended up more like a minor annoyance. I did end up liking her a lot more towards the end of the book.

One thing I liked was the pacing. Hades has a much faster pace than Halo did. I actually really liked how the book was going, and there really were not that many dull moments. The fact that we get to see both what's happening with Bethany in Hell and what's happening to Xavier and her family ensures that the book never really gets slow. If there's a lull with one character, then Adornetto allows us to see what's happening with the others. I thought this was a pretty effective method to use to keep the book from getting boring.

I also really liked how the danger in this book focuses more on a global view. Whereas Halo was all about Bethany and her family coming to rescue the town, this one had an issue that would impact the whole world. There was more of a sense of urgency in this one, which made the book much more exciting than the first.

I definitely thought this was an improvement over the first. Now hopefully, the third book will be even better!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2012 YA/MG Fantasy Challenge

Okay, this is the last challenge I'll be participating in. I don't think I could handle any more. :)

The YA/MG Fantasy Reading Challenge is being hosted by The Book Cellar. The goal is to read 10 YA or MG fantasy books that will be released in 2012. Here's what I plan on reading:

1. Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
2. Above by Leah Bobet
3. Of Poseidon by Anna Banks
4. Underworld by Meg Cabot
5. Grave Mercy by R.L. LaFevers

And that's it for now! I'll keep this updated as the year progresses. I'm super excited to be participating in this challenge, though, as fantasy is one of my favorite genres!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

In My Mailbox #10

IMM is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren in which bloggers are able to show off what books they received. If you want to learn more, you can read about it here.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Follow Friday #1

This weekly meme is hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. Basically, it's a way to meet other bloggers. This will be my first time participating in it!

This week's question is:
Q: If you had to spend eternity inside the pages of a book, which book would you choose and why?
This is definitely a hard one. I would say Harry Potter, although I'm pretty that's going to be a lot of people's first choice. So my more "original" answer would be the Percy Jackson world. I mean, come on, that would be so amazing to be a demigod and have awesome powers and stuff. Plus, Camp Half-Blood has to be one of the coolest places ever. And because I also really, really love Percy Jackson.

My third choice would be the Mortal Instruments series! I think that'd be so awesome hanging out with the characters and being a shadowhunter and stuff. :)

Be sure to leave the link to your post in the comments!

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Rating:  ☆☆☆☆☆ [5]
Release date: Feb. 1, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Format: paperback
Source: bought
Pages: 363
Series: Iron Fey (#1)
Challenge: --
Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school...or at home.

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

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

Wow, this book is amazing. It was fast-paced, with hardly any slow moments or downtime in between all the action. Not to mention that the story itself isn't flowery or just driven by love like other faerie books might be - this one had some pretty gruesome elements in it, and a couple of the descriptions of the different characters actually frightened me a bit. The plot was also pretty unique in comparison to most other faerie books. It just made sense, and fit in with the world that Kagawa created.

Meghan got on my nerves a little bit, especially in the beginning. There were several times when she had to be saved by somebody else, because she either wouldn't move out of the way or she didn't know what she was doing. Towards the end, though, I began to like her a lot more, because she actually began to fight for herself. She still had a few "damsel in distress" moments, but I learned to ignore it.

I LOVED all the characters. Puck was pretty awesome, and he had a lot of really funny lines. And I really don't know what to say about Ash, the main love interest. He's just amazing. Really. He's definitely high up there on my favorite characters list. The other few side characters, even if they didn't have a big part, were all very interesting and different. I actually don't think there was a character that I disliked.

The ending of the book had me dying to read more. Now I can't wait until I get my hands on The Iron Daughter!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

2012 eBook Challenge

The 2012 eBook Challenge will be hosted by Workaday Reads. The objective is to read as many ebooks as you can.

Floppy disk - 5 ebooks
CD - 10 ebooks
DVD - 25 ebooks
Memory stick - 50 ebooks
Hard drive - 75 ebooks
Server - 100 ebooks
Human brain - 150 ebooks

I'm going to go ahead and aim for CD right now, because I'm not sure how many ebooks I'll be buying... Hopefully this will motivate me to use my Kindle more! :)

Book List:

  1. Revealing Eden by Victoria Foyt {finished 1/13}
  2. Die For Me by Amy Plum {1/17}
  3. The Everafter by Amy Huntley

Sunday, December 18, 2011

In My Mailbox #9

IMM is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren in which bloggers are able to show off what books they received. If you want to learn more, you can read about it here.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆ [5]
Release date: Dec. 1, 2009
Publisher: Little, Brown
Format: hardback
Source:  library
Pages: 563
Series: Caster Chronicles (#1)
Challenge: --
Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps, and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.
First of all, I loved how Beautiful Creatures was written from Ethan's POV. Nowadays, I don't really see too many books written from a guy's view, especially one that involved so much romance. It was a really great change of pace, and unlike what some other people say, I don't think he sounded girly or feminine at all.

I also really enjoyed the idea of the story. It was really unique, probably one of the most unique things I've read recently. I had no idea what was going on most of the time, mostly because I had never read anything like it before, so there wasn't much to compare it to. It wasn't like reading a romance book about vampires, where you know that eventually a human is going to fall in love with a vampire, and the vampire wants to drink their blood, blah blah blah. For the most part, in books like that, you can usually tell what's going to happen. Beautiful Creatures isn't like that at all; it really left me wondering what was going to happen.

Unfortunately, this book is rather lengthy and it took me a little longer to finish. Not to mention that it does have a few slow parts. For example, in the beginning not much happens, but it's still very important because it creates the premise of the actual plot. Also, in the middle section of the book, I was getting extremely impatient because I wanted to reach the end already and find out what happens to Lena and Ethan.

Oh! Speaking of the ending, it didn't leave me too satisfied. I don't know..There was a lot of action and that was great, yet I felt the problem was solved somewhat abruptly. I guess it was a little too deus ex machina for me, who knows. I know that I'll still be reading the next book for sure, though! If you haven't read this, I highly suggest that you do!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

2012 Standalone Reading Challenge

Red Button

The goal for the Standalone Reading Challenge is to read 15 Standalone YA books that are released between December 27, 2011 and December 31, 2012. If you want to find out more about the Standalone Reading Challenge, you can do so here. As of right now, I plan to read:

1. Fracture by Megan Miranda
2. Don't Breathe a Word by Holly Cupala
3. Struck by Jennifer Bosworth
4. Above by Leah Bobet
5. The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour
6. Dark Companion by Marta Acosta
7. Forbidden by Syrie James
8. Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini

..And that's all I'm going to plan for now! I'll probably figure out the rest of this list as the new year starts.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

Rating:  ☆☆☆☆ [4]
Release date: Sept. 7, 2012
Publisher: Little Brown/Poppy
Format: hardback
Source: library
Pages: 280
Series: --
Challenge: --
Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn't think she's the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She's also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her "the Duff," she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren't so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn't such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she's falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.
I'm sure most of us can say that at one point in time we've felt like we were the DUFF - designated ugly fat friend - of our group of friends. I know I have, and that's probably why I was so attracted to this book in the first place. It sounded like something I could really relate to.

At times, I wasn't sure if I hated Bianca or if I loved her. Honestly, it was really great to see such an aggressive and cynical character, but at the same time it kind of appalled me. Some of the things she did were really outrageous, but I come from a pretty straight and narrow upbringing, so that might have just been me. In the end, though, I really liked her. I loved how she wasn't afraid to do anything or say what was on her mind.

I also really liked the chemistry between Wesley and Bianca. The way they interacted with each other was just so entertaining. It wasn't all just about mushy feelings, in fact, a lot of it was them insulting each other and having a good time.

If you're of the younger audience, then I'd advise that you probably steer clear of this. There's quite a bit of sex in it, and while it's not too graphic, it turned even me off. This book really tackles some mature themes, and Keplinger hits them head on.

Friday, December 9, 2011

TBR Pile Reading Challenge 2012

The 2012 TBR Pile Reading Challenge is hosted by Evie at Bookish. The goal is to basically read as many TBR-pile books as you can through the whole of next year.

1-10 - A Firm Handshake
11-20 - A Friendly Hug
21-30 - A Sweet Kiss
31-40 - Love At First Sight
41-50 - Married With Children

I'll be going for a Friendly Hug right now, just because I don't want to aim too high. Anyway, here's a list of what I plan on reading:

Blood Red Road by Moira Young
World War Z by Max Brooks
Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink
Moonglass by Jessi Kirby
The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
It's Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han
We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han

And that's all I really have for now, but I know I'll end up getting a lot more, so this list will be changing often.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

In My Mailbox #8

IMM is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren in which bloggers are able to show off what books they received. If you want to learn more, you can read about it here.

You Have Seven Messages by Stewart Lewis

Hades by Alexandra Adornetto
Abandon by Meg Cabot

I'm really excited to read Abandon. I've seen both negative and positive reviews about it, but it's still something I've been wanting to read for awhile now. Hopefully, it's good. I wasn't a big fan of Halo, so I'm also hoping that Hades is a little bit better. And I love the idea of You Have Seven Messages! It really reminds me of the book Thirteen Reasons Why.

What did you guys get in your mailbox this week? Answer in the comments or leave a link to your post, so I can check it out. :D

Saturday, December 3, 2011

What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

Rating: ☆☆☆ [3]
Release date: May 10, 2011
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Format: hardback
Source: library
Pages: 402
Series: --
Challenge: --
Who is the real McLean?

Since her parents' bitter divorce, McLean and her dad, a restaurant consultant, have been on the move-four towns in two years. Estranged from her mother and her mother's new family, McLean has followed her dad in leaving the unhappy past behind. And each new place gives her a chance to try out a new persona: from cheerleader to drama diva. But now, for the first time, McLean discovers a desire to stay in one place and just be herself, whoever that is. Perhaps Dave, the guy next door, can help her find out.
I thought this book was pretty good; maybe not Sarah Dessen's best, but it was still enjoyable. At times it moved kind of slowly, there's not really any big conflict, but maybe that's just because I'm a big fan of action. If you really love fast-paced books, then I can tell you that this probably isn't for you.

Mclean herself seemed a little bit bland, but that could be because she was having struggles with her own identity. I could definitely relate to some of the issues she was going through, though, and I understood why she would have made the choices she did. Dave was pretty interesting, but he wasn't my favorite Dessen character. Overall, I wish that we had seen more of their relationship and how Mclean and Dave interacted with each other. Sometimes I felt that there wasn't quite enough substance between them.

Also, something about the ending bothered me. Maybe it's because some things were left open and weren't given a final answer. I think I was hoping to know exactly how things worked out, but instead some parts left me wondering. Overall, though, it was still a cute read.