Thursday, July 30, 2015

Review: Renegade (The Elysium Chronicles #1) by J.A. Souders

Title: Renegade (The Elysium Chronicles #1)
Author: J.A. Souders
Published by: Tor Teen
Released: 2012
Summary: Evelyn lives in an underwater utopia called Elysium. As the Daughter of the People, her days are filled with listening to the public's requests and attending to her garden. Her life is just about perfect. Then a Surface Dweller finds his way into Elysium. Evelyn has always been told to hate Surface Dwellers who ruined the Surface because of war and not taking care of the environment. But Evelyn can't make herself hate this Surface Dweller, in fact, she wants to help him escape. But in trying to free him, she finds out life in Elysium isn't as perfect as she's been told. She finds out her mother, The Mother of all Elysium's people, isn't really a benevolent ruler. Elysium is more prison than sanctuary and Evelyn must do whatever she can to escape this underwater sanctuary and find out who and what she really is.
My Thoughts: I picked up this book based on the beautiful cover and very much enjoyed the story inside. My favorite part about this book was the introduction to the world. The way Elysium was described made it seem like such a beautiful place. The descriptions brought to mind the scenery from Disney's The Little Mermaid. A fantastic undersea world. The idea behind the world was really interesting too. That these people could make an underwater dome city self-sufficient and able to sustain a colony of people.
Real quick into the book though, you get a sense that all is not right in this world. That there is something strange going on within it. The conditioning or brainwashing was really interesting too. It just added more of a sinister feeling to the story and world. I wanted to find out what was going to happen and why Evelyn was being brainwashed.
Gavin wins for being a dreamy book boy. I liked him from the first and wanted him to get out of the city alive. I also enjoyed all the action and romance in the story. I think it leans more towards older YA's because of those aspects. The story kept me interested in reading and seeing just what was going to happen next.
I don't think I loved Evelyn's character, but I think that was just because I never got to experience who she really was. Her head had been messed with so much that she's not even sure who she is. I think it was hard for me to connect with her character just because she was constantly changing. It will be interesting to see where she goes in the sequel.
All in all, I enjoyed this book. The world building was really cool. The action had me turning pages to get to the end. And Gavin was dreamy. I'm curious to see what happens in the sequel and to see what has happened to the surface because of this long ago war. Definitely not a bad book.
What a World!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Top 5 Wednesday: Top 5 Favorite Character Tropes

Time for another Top 5 Wednesday. This week's topic is your Top 5 Favorite Character Tropes. As to my understanding, what this means is the top 5 things that you like to see in book characters, I think. Anyway, that's the direction I'm running with this one. So this topic was an interesting one for me to think about. I hope I can come up with a full five. I definitely have a couple that pop into my mind. So, here goes nothing...

1. Strong, Kick-butt main characters: I love characters that can take care of themselves when they have to go out and fight something. Especially if they have a really awesome weapon or ninja skills that they fight with. One character that comes to mind for this one is Ali from The Immortal Rules, she has a freaking katana!! Oh and Michonne from The Walking Dead, she also has a freaking katana! On another note, I love freaking katanas!! I wish I had the skills to use one. Oh and Katniss from The Hunger Games, with her awesome bow and arrow skills, I wish I had those as well. Why do I have to be so unathletic and sad? One thing that annoys me to no end is characters that make out like they're great fighters, but then spend the majority of the book beat up and on their butt.

2. When a main character finds out a secret about them self, finds out that they are more than they thought: I really love paranormal books or books where a character discovers that they are more than they thought they were. Umm main example one Harry Potter! I just love paranormal aspects like magic or shape shifting or time travel, whatever. I like seeing characters discover something new about themselves and then growing into their power. That's just something I like reading about.

3. Having love interests that are all attractive and don't seem like teenage boys: This one might seem a little strange, but let me explain. I am an adult that likes to read YA books, most YA books have teenage characters and teenage love interests, most of those said love interests are described as being very attractive and swoon worthy. I don't want to feel like a creepy pedophile for thinking teenage boys are cute. In my head, while I'm reading, I never picture the love interests looking like teenage boys, that would be weird. So I like reading about hot male characters that don't feel like teenage boys, so I don't feel guilty as a drool over them. No real examples are popping into my head for this one. Oh wait, maybe Montgomery from The Madman's Daughter, he was so cute, but I don't remember how old he was. Anyway, in my head he was my age and very attractive!

4. Characters that have humility: This one comes to mind because more often than not, I see main characters that have no humility, think that they are the best at everything and the prettiest, and they annoy me so much I want to knock them out. Nobody likes someone who brags all the time, someone that thinks they are the best at everything, and everyone else pales in comparison to their awesomeness. I like either characters that I can connect with, or characters I could be friends with. So, I'm not going to name any names of which characters annoy me to no end, but they should just know that they could do the world a favor by just shutting up. So yes, humility is a great thing for a character to have. Be like a real human being and realize that they are not good at everything. One character that I always felt like hey, I could be her, is Bella from Twilight. Now I know a lot of people hated on Bella for being weak and whiny and whatever, but she always felt real to me. She had her limitations and she was okay with them. So I'm not sure if this choice makes sense or if I've gone in a bit of a rant, but there it is.

5. A character who acts like a jerk, but is really trying to protect them self by hiding their feelings and trying to push people away:  I just love those difficult characters that work so hard for you to hate them, but you really like them, because you realize that they are hurting inside and that's why they're acting the way they are. For this one I have two definite examples. Numero uno is Nick from the Altered series. I love him. He's hot, but so so difficult. You know he's hurting inside, which is why he acts like such a jerk, but you love him anyway. Another example is Snape from Harry Potter. That last book killed me. I always knew he wasn't a pure villain, that there was more going on inside of him and that he was hurting. So yes, I like characters like that.

So those are my picks for this Top 5 Wednesday. What are your picks? I'd love to know. If you want to join in on the Top 5 Wednesday fun, you totally should. Each Wednesday, there is a new topic to discuss and contemplate, it's just a lot of fun. Check out all the other Top 5 Wednesday-ers here!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Review: Sentinel (The Covenant #5) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Title: Sentinel (Covenant #5)
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Published by: Spencer Hill Press
Released: 2013
Summary: The final battle has come. Alex must prepare to fight in order to save her friends, family, really the whole world, from a sick freak who wants to bring it down. That might be a lot of pressure for your average girl, but Alex can handle it no problem. Plans will be made, training will commence, and the gods will have to put their faith and future in the hands of Alexandria Andros. Is that the best plan? Probably not, but Alex is all they've got. This is the conclusion to Jennifer L. Armentrout's Covenant Series. Let the final battle commence.
My Thoughts: Thank goodness I am done with this series! I can honestly say I read them all, tried them all, and gave each one a fair shot to impress me. Unfortunately, none of them did. The praise for this series is high, each book contains about three pages of such praise from bloggers, but I never felt like they did. I wish I would have. I wanted to love it and jump on the Jennifer L. Armentrout bandwagon. I hope I love her other books and series much more than this one. As a conclusion to the series, this book was alright.
This final book had a lot of downtime/occasinally draggy bits in it. It seemed like we'd have one scene of action followed by sitting and waiting for the next fight. The really good action scenes didn't really begin until page 230 or something, which was a little disappointing. I expected non-stop action and danger in this grand finale, but it wasn't there.
I also got tired of the overabundance of mushy gushy romance, where every time could be the last time. The constant bickering between Seth and Aiden just made me want to yell GROW UP! And Alex's constant snarky comments aren't funny or endearing, they are just annoying.
The very very end was okay. The overall conclusion was satisfying and didn't leave me wanting.
As for my thoughts on the series as a whole, I'm not a fan. I can honestly say I read them all and gave them all a fair shot to captivate me. My main problem with this whole series has been mentioned before and I'll mention it again, I can't stand the main character Alex. She's cocky, annoying, never shuts her mouth, makes bad decisions on the daily, and mostly just thinks she's the greatest thing since sliced bread. I couldn't stand her. Most times I just wanted to give her a spin-kick to the face. An unconscious Alex and I would have gotten along a lot better. I just struggled to get through each and every book and she was the cause.
I'm not sorry that I read the series, just disappointed that I never felt the love for it. I'm definitely going to try other JLA books and hope I love them so much more. Sentinel as a conclusion book was okay. I'm glad I stuck around to see what would happen. The series as a whole was a disappointment just because of Alex. If I never have to see her again, it will be too soon. To all those who love Alex and this series, just ignore my ranting and raving. I gave her a try, but she just wasn't for me.
Yes!! I Don't Have To Read Any More Covenant Books! Or Any More of Alex Andros (man is that girl annoying)!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Reading Right Now! (#35)

Title: Hexed (Hexed Book 1)
Author: Michelle Krys
I'm on page 252 of 384 pages which makes me 66% through the book.

So what I'm Reading Right Now! is Hexed by Michelle Krys. I saw this while browsing a shelf at the library and remembered hearing good things about it from a booktube video or something. I knew it had something to do with witches and thought, hey I like that stuff, I'm gonna give it a try. And another minor detail that sold me is the book without the dust jacket. It has such a cool bare cover underneath. 
So I'm gonna keep this short and sweet. I think all you really need to know about this one is that it involves magic and witches. Go into the rest of this one blind and I think you'll be happy. I'm really enjoying this one. It has so far been a really fun book. There are some books I read that from the first page I just automatically like, and this one has been one of those. It's really quick and fast paced. There's a little high school drama that can be either hit or miss, but it fits with the story and the characters. So yes, fun fun fun describes this book perfectly.
So that's what I'm Reading Right Now!

Here's what I'm hoping to read next!


The Moth in the Mirror (Splintered Novella 1.5) by A.G. Howard
Roar and Liv (Under the Never Sky Novella 0.5) by Veronica Rossi

I checked these two novellas out through my library's e-book/overdrive program and want/need to read them. The Moth in the Mirror because I have this unexplainable, sick urge to push myself through this series and Roar and Liv because I recently finished this series, loved it, and want more of it.
So that is my reading plans for the weekend into the upcoming week. Tell me what you're Reading Right Now! Have you read any of the fine books on my list? 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Review: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Title: Speak
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Published by: Penguin Group
Released: 1999
Summary: Freshman year sucks. Especially if all your former friends hate you because you called the police from a teenage summer party. Because of this decision, Melinda Sordino is living the life of a social outcast. All her friends have deserted her and all the kids at school just remember her for ruining a good party and getting kids arrested. Nobody's asked Melinda why she called the cops. What has caused her to withdraw from everyone. Why she hardly talks anymore. Will  Melinda ever get up the courage to SPEAK?
My Thoughts: This book was AWESOME! I enjoyed Melinda's voice from the first page to the last. Her social commentary regarding all things high school was spot on and very funny.
Melinda's story was also very sad. I completely recommend going into this story blind, not having anyone spoil it for you, because it helps to make the story that much more powerful. It also helps in getting to know Melinda first and not just labeling her by what happened to her. Having Melinda tell her story in her own way just really illustrated the difficulty faced in that type of situation. Melinda's character also really illustrates the effects of depression on a person. It would have been interesting to have seen a before Melinda so the reader could have really been shocked by the after.
This story is also important because I think it stresses how people need to pay more attention to others. If someone had just approached Melinda and asked her what was wrong, would she have spoken sooner? Maybe or maybe not, but it's sad that Melinda had to suffer through the whole school year and nobody really tried to help her.
Speak is a very powerful book with an important message, it's also a very enjoyable read. I highly recommend Melinda's story. She's an interesting character to get to know and witnessing her struggle is heartbreaking. You'll cheer for Melinda when she finally Speaks! A voice is a powerful thing.
Fantastic and Powerful.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Top 5 Wednesday: Top 5 Side Characters That Deserve Their Own Stories

Welcome to another Top 5 Wednesday. This week's topic is the Top 5 Side Characters That Deserve Their Own Stories. This one was a little hard for me. I could think up two at the top of my head, but I really had to think and investigate for the other three titles/characters. So I eventually came up with some characters that I would love to have their own stories. I would like to read their stories, I don't know if anyone else will agree with me, but I think each of these characters would have a very interesting story to tell. So, without further ado, here are my picks.



1. Roar from the Under the Never Sky trilogy by Veronica Rossi: I love Roar. He was such a fun character in the Under the Never Sky trilogy. I loved him with Aria, I loved him with Perry, I just loved him all the time. I think Roar deserves his own story. He was actually the first character that came to mind when I was thinking about this topic. I would love for it to be a story set in the Still Blue, so we could get a little bit of future time catch up with Aria, Perry, and the Tides, but also maybe make it about Roar finding someone to love. I just felt so bad for him throughout most of the series because Roar isn't able to get the happy ending that everyone else does. He's alone and I want him to be happy. I think a story just about him finding the happiness he deserves would be so awesome and I would read that in a second.
2. The Marauders from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling: I knew I wanted to give some character from the Harry Potter series their own story, but I had to think about which one I wanted to give. My first thought was Luna Lovegood because I love her, but I couldn't envision enough material for a whole book about her. And then of course I thought of continuing Harry's story with something about his adult life and work, but that's cheating because he's a main character. So eventually I went with a group that many people have agreed need their own story, and that is The Marauders: James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter. It would just be a lot of fun to get a story about a past Hogwarts, a happier Hogwarts. Being able to witness James and Lily's love story, James and Sirius's friendship, the creation of the Marauder's map, all of that would be so awesome. And it would even be a little bittersweet to get some more of Snape's story. I just think a tale about the Marauders, in the Marauders' time at Hogwarts would be so much fun and every Harry Potter fan would go and buy that in a heartbeat.
3. Anna from Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake: This could be cheating, but I still kind of consider Anna as a side character. Even though the title of the book screams Anna, the story is more about Cas in my opinion. Like I think the series could go on with Cas chasing all kinds of ghosts and supernatural creatures. But I think I would like Anna's story before she met Cas. Her life, her death, and her time spent haunting the house. I think a story all about her could be fun and I would read it.
4. Rebecca from Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier: This pick would be very interesting to me because the readers never get to hear from Rebecca. Throughout the whole story, Rebecca haunts it, but we never get to meet her. I would love to get a kind of prequel story where we get Rebecca's love story and then the story where everything goes to crap. I think it could be fun. It'll never happen, but it would be interesting to read.
5. Ashley Cordova from Night Film by Marisha Pessl: My last pick is Ashley Cordova from Night Film because I was captivated by that whole story. Ashley's death is kind of what sets the whole thing into motion, but we never get to hear from her. Also, just being able to learn of her childhood growing up with a father like Stanislas Cordova, it would just be very cool to read. And it would be awesome to have some resolution to that ending, that ending that gave me more questions than answers. I don't know, I just think that story could be fun.

So those are my picks for this week's Top 5 Wednesday. Do you agree with any of my picks? What side characters do you think deserve their own story? I'd love to know. And if you want to join in with the Top 5 Wednesday fun, you totally should. Each week is a new, fun topic to ponder. Check out all the other Top 5 Wednesday-ers here!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Review: Saga: Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

Title: Saga: Volume 1
Written by: Brian K. Vaughan
Art by: Fiona Staples
Lettering and Design by: Fonografiks
Coordinator: Eric Stephenson
Published by: Image Comics, Inc.
Released: 2013
Summary: The best way to go into this one is not knowing much about it. The general gist: A man and a woman from warring races fall in love and have a baby. The rest of the universe doesn't like that and our new family must run to survive.
My Thoughts: Definitely odd and definitely fun! I had heard so much hype about this series that I was a little nervous going in to it. I didn't want to be disappointed, and I wasn't! This was really weird, but really good. The start off to this story is really interesting and I can't wait to read more of it.
I really like the humor with which Brian K. Vaughan writes. His glorious credits include Y: The Last Man (which I've read the first volume of and really enjoyed) and the television show Lost (I love Lost so much!! I'm actually still in a saddened state that I have no new Lost to watch now. Sexy Sawyer, how I miss you)! And the art was stunning. I mean it was odd, but so wonderful. Just the imagination that went into these characters and worlds was really fun to experience.
But readers, be ye warned: graphic content lies ahead! This is definitely not a graphic novel for your younger cousin. My younger self's eyeballs probably would have popped out over some of the images. Actually, my present day self's eyeballs popped out over some of the images.
A great start to a series I'm excited to read more of. A lot of great humor and a lot of great art. So far, this is a series that is deserving of the hype.
Weird, but great!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Reading Right Now! (#34)

Title: Into the Still Blue (Under the Never Sky #3)
Author: Veronica Rossi
I'm on page 165 of 389 pages which makes me 42% through with the book.

So what I'm Reading Right Now! is Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi. This is the third and final book in the Under the Never Sky trilogy. This is one of those strange series where the books get better as they go along. In all honesty, I wasn't blown away by the first book. I didn't love the first half of Under the Never Sky. I thought Aria's world, the world of the Dwellers, wasn't really explained all that much in the first book and it didn't have that vibrancy where you could picture it, but, as I continued reading the books in this series, they kept on getting better. I thought the second half of Under the Never Sky was fantastic, and I absolutely loved Through the Ever Night, the second book. Rossi really excels in describing the world of the "savages," the world of Perry and Roar. I also love the relationships and friendships once Aria becomes a part of the Outsiders. So this third book is so far all kinds of awesome. I'm really enjoying it. It has a lot of action and I just can't wait to see how it all ends. I would definitely recommend this series. I'm planning to read all the novellas too, just so I can devour everything this world and author has to offer. I'm a definite fan of Veronica Rossi's now and can't wait to read what she writes next. So, unless this book takes a turn for the absolute worst, I think I'm going to end up really liking this one and really liking this series as a whole.
So that's it for what I'm Reading Right Now! Tell me what you're reading in the comments below if you want. And tell me if you've read this series and love it like I do.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Review: Big Mouth & Ugly Girl by Joyce Carol Oates

Title: Big Mouth & Ugly Girl
Author: Joyce Carol Oates
Published by: Harper Tempest
Released: 2003
Summary: Matt Donaghy's life is forever altered after being accused of making a threat against his school. A threat he never made in seriousness and witnesses who are kept secret. Suddenly Matt is a social outcast, his old friends won't speak to him, and his community suspects him. Then Ursula Riggs comes to his defense, "Ugly Girl." Matt doesn't even really know Ursula, but because of her, he is put in the clear. What happens next is a friendship between two outcasts who don't care what the world thinks of them. They are together against the world, Big Mouth and Ugly Girl.
My Thoughts: I had to read this book for a class and wasn't really that excited about it. I'd never heard of the book before and the cover was a little unappetizing. Whenever I have to read a book for school, or am forced to read a book, it is extremely rare for me to enjoy said book. Something about being forced to read something just really hinders my enjoyment. This might be because the books I'm forced to read are usually not books I would ever pick out for myself to read in leisure.
Big Mouth & Ugly Girl was just an okay read for me. It was nothing spectacular or jaw dropping. I really felt that there just wasn't much of a story to it and it just meandered along. I wasn't on the edge of my seat, just having to know what was going to happen next. I think that was my main issue with the book, that it just didn't feel like it had the plot or idea for a full novel. The initial premise of the book was interesting, but I just felt that there had to be more there to really grab my interest and keep the story moving.
I thought it was strange that the scene that started the whole story, Matt joking about blowing up the school, wasn't included in the novel, it was just mentioned. I thought that part would have been important to include.
This novel focused more on characters. Two characters really, Ursula Riggs and Matt Donaghy. Matt Donaghy was okay. I felt bad for him, but Ursula Riggs was the really interesting character in the whole thing. "Ugly Girl" is complex and she was probably the most fun to learn about.
All in all, this story was just an okay read. It kind of meandered along and didn't really go anywhere special. Ursula Riggs was interesting and I guess the commentary on rumors and how schools respond to violence was interesting too. It's probably a book I never would have read and never missed if it hadn't been forced upon me.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Top 5 Wednesday: Top 5 Anticipated Pre-Orders for the Rest of the Year

Cheating, always cheating.
This week's Top 5 Wednesday is the Top 5 Anticipated Pre-Orders for the Rest of the Year. I've cheated yet again, because some of these books have already come out and some don't come out until 2016. I don't make a habit of pre-ordering books, I don't know why, I just don't. But I'm excited to get my hands on all these books and will pick them up at some point. So here are my picks!



1. The Devil's Only Friend by Dan Wells: This one I'm super duper excited for. I believe I have mentioned many times on my blog, or at least once, how much I love Dan Wells I Am Not A Serial Killer/John Wayne Cleaver series. I thought that I had finished the series when I read the third book last year. Then I found out that there were going to be 3 more books coming out continuing John Wayne Cleaver's story!!! Oh the excitement that I felt. Now for those of you that don't know what John Wayne Cleaver's story is about, shame on you *kidding*, he is a sociopath who has fantasies about killing people. As his story goes on, he changes into a person who kills in order to protect those he loves, kinda. So anyway, the third book ended and it had a definite ending, but there was the promise for something more to happen. This new book is categorized as the 4th in the series, but it kind of continues John's story several years later. I'm so excited and I just can't hide it. Can't wait to get my hands on this one. Such a good, sometimes disturbing, but mostly fun series.
2. Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner: I think this is the only one that really fits this week's topic parameters. It's the third book in the Starbound trilogy and it doesn't come out until December 2015. First off, such a pretty cover. All the book covers in this series are so pretty. I read the first book and loved it so much. I still need to read the 1.5 novella thing and the second book, but I'm excited to get my hands on the rest of this series and just devour it.
3. The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson: Cheating, cheating I know, this one is technically out already, but I don't have it in my hands and the want is real. I loved the first book, the mystery, the romance, the epic guessing game of who is who, and I can't wait to see where the sequel goes. I've been hearing really good reviews from those that have already read it. Although they say that the ending will just leave you tearing your hair out for the next book. So I'm excited to get my hands on this one, but maybe I should wait until the third book is closer to coming out. We'll see if I can hold out that long, I probably can't, but we'll see.
4. Riders by Veronica Rossi: This one deserves a little explanation. Right now, I am reading the last book in the Under the Never Sky trilogy and am very much enjoying it. I knew that this was her first trilogy of books, so I wanted to see what she was coming out with next. This gem doesn't come out until 2016, but the want is strong. This sounds like a historical novel where a boy dies and then becomes one of the four horseman of the apocalypse. It sounds so good and I'm really enjoying Veronica Rossi's writing style and story telling.
5. The Cage by Megan Shepherd: Cheating again. This one is already out, but it's not in my hands and I want it. I like to think I have some semblance of self control that stops me from buying all the books. I'll probably pick up this one up from my library and I'll feel no shame about it. But anyway, I finished her Madman's Daughter trilogy this year and absolutely loved it, so of course I will now read anything else she writes. I believe this series involves aliens and captive humans. There might be a love triangle and other fun stuff. Yeah, I'm excited for this one. It's a new series from an author I really enjoy.

So that's it. That's my Top 5 Anticipated Pre-Orders for the Rest of the Year. If I'm honest, I totally cheated on this week's Top 5 Wednesday, and it's really just books that sound good and I want. What are your picks? I would love to know. Maybe it will give me more books to pine over. If you want to join in the Top 5 Wednesday fun, you totally should. Every Wednesday, there's a new topic to ponder and enjoy. Check out all the other Top 5 Wednesday-ers here!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Review: All The Rage by Courtney Summers

Title: All The Rage
Author: Courtney Summers
Published by: St. Martin's Griffin
Released: 2015
Summary: What are the consequences when a girl tells the world she's raped and nobody believes her? For Romy Grey, it means everyone in the town of Grebe hates her, her friends abandon her, and she becomes the number one person for people to bully. Why? Because Romy accused the sheriff's son, the golden boy Kellan Turner. Romy's life has become a waking hell. She only feels normal when she's away from the town where everyone knows her story. She tries to be a different girl by working in a town outside of Grebe as a waitress. But her sanctuary gets interrupted when a former friend goes missing and both of her lives start to collide. Romy can't pretend when everyone knows her story.
My Thoughts: This was my first ever Courtney Summers' book and I found the writing to be really beautiful. I was drawn into the story from the first, witnessing this broken girl who wears lipstick and nail polish like body armor. I was heartbroken for Romy and what she was dealing with, but I was also frustrated with some of her decisions and her treatment to people that cared about her. This is definitely a good book, but it could have been stellar if Romy would have dealt seriously with her demons.
My feelings on this book are kind of torn. I loved the writing, how raw it was. I also really enjoyed the first 200+ pages of the book. The author does a great job of conveying what this crime and victim shaming has reduced Romy to. The chapters just really flew by and I enjoyed the majority of this book.
Now for my grievances. I know some of the things I'm going to mention, Romy felt like she couldn't/wouldn't do, but I wish she had. I wanted Romy to kind of grow, face her demons, maybe change a little, and she never did. It was hard for me to keep rooting for Romy and be in her corner, when she did so much self sabotage. And I really wish she could have confided in her family. It's obvious that they love her and want to help her, would have believed her, but Romy just pushed them all away. And aahh the feels for Leon. A great guy that Romy blew it with. He was kind, patient, and probably would have understood if she had just told him the truth. I think part of the punishment she inflicted on herself was feeling she wasn't worthy of love so she pushed away everyone who offered it.
Another grievance I put a little on the author and a little on Romy. In the Romy aspect, they were off-the-wall decisions that were stupid and reckless. These scenes involved leaving work in the middle of her shift to go to the Wake Lake party and meeting sleazeball guy on a dirt road and not telling anyone. As for the author, they were kind of a cheap way to get aspects of her plot moving. After each one of the scenes, something major happens. My problem was that these decisions were stupid, and for a girl that seals herself off from everybody, why would she make them. In my head, I was yelling at Romy to be less stupid.
Romy also annoyed me with her kind of insensitivity to Penny being missing. It was all about Romy, how would people feel if Romy were the one missing? What would people say about her? How no one would even care about her being gone. She played the constant victim, which got a little annoying. I wanted more growth from her character. And poor Penny. It was glaringly obvious that Penny felt bad about what she did, that Penny would take it back if she could, and that she wanted to protect Romy. Romy was too hurt and bull-headed to see any of this, and because of that, she lost time and a really good friend.
So this book is a mixed bag for me. I started off really loving this in the beginning and middle, but over it by the end. Romy is an interesting, broken character, but I feel some of her own decisions accounted for her continued misery. I wanted Romy to give people a shot, a chance to prove there was love out there for her, but she was too caught up in the past, being miserable, and guarding herself from everybody to notice. I'm definitely interested in reading more by Courtney Summers in the future.
Strong beginning, but frustrating end.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Review: Resident Evil: The Marhawa Desire Volume 2 by Naoki Serizawa and CAPCOM

Title: Resident Evil: The Marhawa Desire Volume 2
Author: Naoki Serizawa
Concept by: Capcom
Published by: VIZ Media, LLC
Released: English Edition: 2015
Summary: The Marhawa Academy is under attack from zombies, and the headmistress doesn't want anyone to know. Ricky and his Uncle Doug are still roaming the school, looking for the cause of the outbreak. The B.S.A.A. is still trying to find Professor Wright and hasn't learned of the school yet. There is also a mysterious, hooded woman roaming the campus and devastation seems to follow her. The mysteries keep multiplying at Marhawa Academy.
My Thoughts: Another enjoyable read in this quick, brutal series. The zombies are still present, the headmistress nun is still crazy, and the mysteries keep on multiplying. Volume 2 starts right where Volume 1 ended and I was able to jump right back in to the story no problem. The story was interesting and I had fun while reading it. If you're looking for a fun, zombie series, give this one a chance.
My problems with this book were only minor. The first aggravation is that, just like the first book, this one doesn't really have an ending. My advice to reading these books would be to have all the volumes available in front of you, so you won't have to take a break from the story or suffer from that feeling of having to know what happens next.
My other gripe would be there was a lot of action in this book and it became kind of confusing following from panel to panel. Each panel illustration was full of detail and sometimes I got kind of confused trying to follow along. But those things were only minor and didn't make me not enjoy the story.
All in all, I thought this was another quick, fun read. The story is getting more and more interesting, so I'm excited to check out the next volume.
A quick, fun zombie ride!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Review: Undertow by Michael Buckley

Title: Undertow (Undertow Book #1)
Author: Michael Buckley
Published by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Released: 2015
Summary: Three years ago, a race of undersea people called the Alpha, marched out of the sea and set up camp on Coney Island. Chaos ensued. Coney Island has now become a refugee tent settlement, cut off from the rest of the world by fences and soldiers. The Alpha don't trust the humans and the humans don't trust the Alpha, it's an uneasy truce. Then the government decides to bring some of the Alpha kids into American schools. Lyric Walker goes to this school and becomes assigned to one of the Alpha teens. These two kids struggle to understand each other and see if they can bring peace between the two races.
My Thoughts: An interesting idea that just turned out as a meh story. The concept of this book sounds really cool, these weird undersea creatures camping out on Coney Island in our modern day society. Sadly, the concept is cooler than the actual story. There were many things that just fell flat for me or irked me. I would still urge people interested to give this one a shot. Reading is subjective, so while I didn't absolutely love it, you could.
One thing I did like about the story was the sense of family. Lyric had a good family and you could tell they all loved one another. That was just nice to see.
Now my biggest problem was that I never fully bought into this world. The undersea creatures were just too strange for me to ever connect with or pity. I didn't like how it opened up three years after the initial surge. Experiencing things from the first day they came out of the water would have been much more interesting. Also, I questioned why nobody had done anything  in three years. This is a strange, hostile species, that they are just letting hang out on the shores. And if nine marines had been killed by the Alpha, why would we have just done nothing about it? It also didn't make a lot of sense to me to integrate Alpha kids into high school, when they're a different species and can't read or write.
I thought this book tried to tackle too many issues. There was domestic violence, hate crimes, bullying, riots, school shooting, illegal immigration, and otherworldly creatures; just stick to one thing and go with that. I also got annoyed by all the swipes taken at Christians, Conservatives, gun control. I don't care what the author's personal opinions are and would rather they be kept out of the story. I just want a good story. And he could have tried harder on coming up with an evil politician name. The lady it was based upon isn't evil incarnate and it just felt like more opinions that I didn't care about.
Now for the romance, the romance was dumb. I didn't buy into it at all. There was no real chemistry or realistic build up. Fathom never felt like someone I could be attracted to. And when Lyric said she loved him, I just rolled my eyes.
My last reason for not loving this story was that I didn't really like Lyric as a main character. There were a lot of times when she annoyed me. I questioned her decision making and she'd get really mouthy and rude. I just didn't like her that much. Also wasn't a fan of the way Lyric's heritage was thrown in there. That would have been an interesting few scenes to see and it was just never addressed.
So while this book had a cool concept, it just disappointed me. I'm sorry to go on a bit of a rant fueled review, but there were just too many things that irked me. I really don't know if I'll read the sequel or not. The ending was interesting, but it took so long to get there. I was interested, but I just never really enjoyed it. Oh well, you can't love every book.
Interesting concept, but meh book.