Monday, August 31, 2015

Review: Splintered (Splintered #1) by A.G. Howard

Title: Splintered (Splintered #1)
Author: A.G. Howard
Published by: Amulet Books
Released: 2013
Summary: Ever since Alyssa Gardner's great-great-great grandmother Alice Liddel went to Wonderland, all the women in her family have been cursed. Bugs and flowers talk to Alyssa all the time, but she knows not to talk back to them, she doesn't want to end up in an asylum like her mother. Madness runs in her family and Alyssa is afraid she can't escape it, but what if Alyssa can break the curse? What if she can find a way into Wonderland and fix whatever Alice messed up? Alyssa will do whatever it takes to save those she loves, even if it means entering a world where nothing makes sense.
My Thoughts: I am torn on this one. There were parts I liked, parts that were weird, and parts I got tired of. I really enjoyed the beginning of the book. I was into it and excited to see where it was going to go. It all went to crap when Alyssa got to Wonderland. I just felt like I read this book so slowly and wasn't necessarily excited to pick it up. There were interesting bits to it, but I just didn't end up loving it. Because I'm weird and obsessive, I'll probably read the rest of the books in the series, even the novellas, just so I can see what happens and say I gave it a fair shot.
One of my problems I had with the story was the romance. I didn't hate it in the beginning, I could totally buy into Alyssa and Jeb. In fact, I still like Jeb, I think he's a good pick for her. It was once they got to Wonderland that I really began to hate the romance. It just felt kind of unnecessary. There was so much stuff happening in Wonderland and I didn't think it was really the time for them to gaze into each other's eyes, admit their feelings for each other, and kiss passionately. I just felt there was other stuff to do and they picked the wrong place and the wrong time to work out all their relationship issues.
The love triangle, or whatever it was, also got on my nerves. It was another thing that felt so unneeded. Alyssa doesn't even know Morpheus that well. Plus, I don't know if I ever really trusted Morpheus. I just hate when love triangles get added just to increase the tension. So yeah, I was over this love story before it even started.
This book was also just a weird read for me. Wonderland was really strange. It had the feel of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland along with the game of Alice: The Madness Returns. Everything was made as odd as it could be. I also thought there was a lot of jumping around in Wonderland. Alyssa and Jeb were constantly in new places, experiencing stranger and stranger things. It was honestly just too much. A sort of unpleasant sensory overload. I will say that A.G. Howard did a good job of describing this strange place and bringing it to life in the reader's mind, but I think she could have toned down on the weird.
I really wanted to love Splintered. It has a beautiful cover and an interesting premise, but I just couldn't love it. Wonderland was too weird. The love triangle was stupid. The romance just felt out of place and in the way of Alyssa's adventures in Wonderland. I'll probably end up reading the rest of the series because I'm weird. I wish I would have loved this book, but I just didn't.
Wonderland failed to wow me.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Review: The Hero's Guide To Being An Outlaw (Hero's Guide #3) by Christopher Healy

Title: The Hero's Guide To Being An Outlaw (Hero's Guide #3)
Author: Christopher Healy
Illustrated by: Todd Harris
Published by: Walden Pond Press
Released: 2014
Summary: The Princes are back for another adventure, a possible final adventure. Liam, Frederic, Gustav, and Duncan are minding their own business and doing their own thing, when they find bounty hunters on their trail and a price on their heads. The League of Princes has been accused of killing Briar Rose and whoever captures them will receive untold riches. The League is genuinely confused, the last time they saw Briar, she was alive, mean, and well. What the League discovers is that an old enemy has come in to the picture with a plan to take over the kingdoms and ruin their lives. The League must band together to stop this dastardly deed and villainous villain. Let's hope they can save the day, with only a few minor mishaps.
My Thoughts: First, I must say that I LOVE this series. I love the League of Princes, the humor sprinkled throughout the series, and the fabulous illustrations by Todd Harris. This series is so fun to read and laugh at the antics of the princes. I was excited and sad to pick up this book. Excited because of my love for the series and sad for the idea that this could be the last one. I don't want it to end. Christopher Healy has introduced some laugh-out-loud characters who are just a lot of fun.
So for a short and sweet review, I really enjoyed this last installment, but didn't feel that it was the best in the series. Let me explain my feelings before you send Gustav to pummel me. I just felt like too much was going on in this book. So many different quests that ended in a final battle. I didn't like how the League was split up a lot of the time. I like them together and zany. And I'm not sure if I'm a fan of the girls just on their own. I really like the dynamic when they are with the guys.
One thing I've come to expect and love from Christopher Healy is the humor sprinkled throughout his writing. There was the expected humor in Outlaw, but not as much as in the first two books, and I kind of missed the zany fun in some sections.
All in all, I love this series. I will recommend it to anyone looking for a fun, middle grade adventure. Even if they don't want a middle grade, I'll recommend it. I love the princes and all their quirks. I hope Outlaw isn't the end of their adventures and that one day they might come back. While The Hero's Guide To Being An Outlaw was good, it wasn't the best of the series. I'm still gonna push the Princes on everyone though. HUZZAH!
A bittersweet end to a great series. I want more Princely Adventures!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Top 5 Wednesday: Top 5 Book Series You Wish Had More Books

Welcome, welcome to another Top 5 Wednesday! This week's topic is the Top 5 Book Series You Wish Had More Books. I had some that came to my mind straightaway and other's I contemplated. I figured out that some of my favorite series already had the perfect number of books, that adding more wouldn't necessarily make the series better. Example: The Gone Series by Michael Grant. Other series that came to mind, I had just learned were already getting some new books in them, which made me oh so happy. Example: The I Am Not A Serial Killer Series by Dan Wells. So, I tried to pick the book series that I honestly wanted more from, more of that awesome feeling of being able to visit my favorite fictional places and fictional people. So, here's my list.


Honorable Mention:

5. The 100 Series by Kass Morgan: I haven't finished this series yet, I've actually only read the first book, but I guess I was just slightly disappointed in hearing that it was only a 3 book series. I expected there to be more books in it. So since I haven't read them all, I don't know how the book series ends, but I could see a lot of material for the books continuing. The TV show is so fantastic and goes in such a different direction from the books. I could imagine that they could do the same thing they did with the Vampire Diaries books once the show got so popular, but I would hope that they would keep the same author writing the books instead of what they did to L.J. Smith. Anyway, I feel like more books in that series could be fun.
4. The Altered Series by Jennifer Rush: I haven't finished this series in entirety either, I just have the last book to read, but I don't really want it to end. These books are so fun, with so much action and secret government programs. I don't know how everything wraps up yet, but I really could just see myself reading book after book in this series. They could continue with their adventures, beat up all kinds of people, and just maybe explore the romance possibilities for each boy. This series is just great and I want more of it.
3. Under the Never Sky series by Veronica Rossi: I have read all the books in this trilogy, except for one e-novella, so I think I'm safe in saying that another book in this series would be awesome. I would just want a story on how they are setting up life in the Still Blue and interacting with the Dwellers. How Perry and Aria's romance is going and how they will lead together. Also, the biggest reason for wanting another book in this series is, I would love for Roar to find someone he could be happy with. I want a true, happy ending for Roar.
2. The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom/League of Princes Series by Christopher Healy: I've read all the books in this series too and loved every gut-busting minute of it. These books are so funny and kinda endearing. I did think the last book wrapped-up everything pretty nicely, but that doesn't make my urge for more books go away. I would love to see the princes embark on another adventure and just watch their crazy antics mixed with their friendship. I love this series so much.
1. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling: This one is not surprising, but I would be so flippin' excited if it actually, ever happened. I want to catch-up with Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Maybe get a glimpse into their adult lives. Or a book about the Marauders' time at Hogwarts would be a welcome addition too.

Honorable Mention
Anna Dressed in Blood duology by Kendare Blake: Because I couldn't only pick just 5, here's my honorable mention. This is only a two book series and I feel like it has so much potential to be more. I've only read the first book, so I don't know how everything ends and ties up, but in my head, I could see Cass just going on more ghost hunting adventures with his friends. I feel like adding more books wouldn't be that hard in this series, like it's actually possible.

So that's my Top 5 Wednesday. Did you agree with my choices? Disagree? What did you pick? If you want to join in on the Top 5 Wednesday fun, you totally should. Each Wednesday, there is a new topic to ponder and browse your bookshelves for. Go check out all the other Top 5 Wednesday-ers here!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Review: Locke & Key Volume 3: Crown of Shadows by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez

Title: Locke & Key Volume 3: Crown of Shadows
Written by: Joe Hill
Art by: Gabriel Rodriguez
Colors by: Jay Fotos
Letters by: Robbie Robbins
Published by: IDW Publishing
Released: 2011
Summary: The strangeness continues in the Key house. The Locke family is still struggling to return to some sense of normal. Mrs. Locke has turned heavily to alcohol, which causes a lot of stress for the kids. Dodge is still a hidden enemy, searching desperately for all the keys. The mystery deepens and danger abounds in this third volume to the Locke & Key saga.
My Thoughts: Another enjoyable edition to the Locke & Key series. I won't say this is my favorite of the series, but it was still fun. It didn't feel like a lot happened in this volume, it just continued to build upon the ongoing story. I feel like this is going to be a short review because I don't have a lot to say about it. This series is interesting, mysterious, and a lot of fun. I'm excited to read the next volume to see where the story goes.
If you are a fan of graphic novels and slightly weird stories, then you should check this one out.
Another fun edition to this series.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Reading Right Now! (#39)

Title: Sweet
Author: Emmy Laybourne
I'm on page 178 of 272 pages, which makes me about 65% of the way through the book.

What I'm Reading Right Now! is Sweet by Emmy Laybourne. This novel is about a cruise ship that is introducing the launch of an artificial sweetener that also causes people to lose weight. The whole point of the cruise is for a lucky, select group of individuals to be able to try the miracle sweetener, Solu, first. Laurel is invited by her best friend Viv to go on the cruise, but because of some horrible seasickness, she's not able to try any of the sweetener. Tom Forelli, former child star Baby Tom-Tom has been hired to do the promotion for Solu and this cruise to lose. Everything starts out fine. The sweetener even seems to be working, with passengers experiencing tangible results. But then things start to get weird, passengers on Solu start going a little crazy. Tom and Laurel team up and try to expose the shocking results of Solu for the world to see.
I'm enjoying this one so far. I won't say it's going to be a favorite of the year for me, but it is enjoyable reading. The story is really fast paced and the descent into craziness is kinda fun to watch. My only ehh issue with this is, that I'm not sure I really like Tom that much. He's definitely not a book boy heartthrob to be. Maybe it's cause he's a former child star and now works as a TV hosting personality, but he just seems kind of in-to himself to me. I don't really buy the romance between him and Laurel. I will admit that it started out sweet, but when the actual romancey bit happened, I just wasn't the biggest fan. I think it was because how Tom kept thinking to himself, oh Laurel's shy. Maybe Laurel's just not the type to rush into a relationship with a Hollywood guy. I don't know, maybe I'm just being too defensive because I tend to be a shy person. I'm just not that much into the romance on this one. But yeah, it's not a bad book so far. I am enjoying the story. And it's perfect if you want a quick read.
So that's what I'm Reading Right Now! Tell me what you're reading below because I always do like to know.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Review: The Resistance (The Declaration #2) by Gemma Malley

Title: The Resistance (The Declaration #2)
Author: Gemma Malley
Published by: Bloomsbury
Released: 2008
Summary: In this second installment to The Declaration trilogy, Peter and Anna have made it to safety, or so they think. They now live as legals, but they are still not accepted in a world full of old people who resent the young. Peter wants to do his part for the Underground and that means going undercover at Pincent Pharma. Being at the place where his grandfather rules and Longevity is made makes Peter shudder, but he will do what he can to help the Underground. The longer Peter works at Pincent Pharma, the more seduced he becomes by longevity. Should he sign the Declaration? Are Pip and the Underground telling him the whole truth? What does his grandfather really want with Peter? All Peter's convictions will be tested as he tries to do the right thing for Anna, Ben, and himself.
My Thoughts: Awesome! I really enjoyed this second installment. I feel like this is an underrated series that deserves a little more appreciation. The ideas put forth in the story are really thought provoking and explore the consequences that come with having the ability to artificially prolong one's life. I thought this sequel did a great job of building onto the world introduced in The Declaration.
I found the lure of Longevity to be very believable and I liked how it introduced the idea that there might be no good or absolute right side. Peter's Grandfather and the Authorities are definitely villains with their own ideas for Peter, but at the same time, the Underground might not be as altruistic in their motives either. I was left questioning everything just like Peter. The story also contained some truly shocking scenes and showed how the welfare of the majority can supersede the minority. How expendable the surpluses really were.
I was surprised that Anna didn't really play that big a part in the story. How everything was pretty much told from Peter's POV. I didn't hate it though, because Peter's story was interesting. I'm also excited to learn more of Jude in the next book, he seems kind of cool.
So all in all, very enjoyable reading and an interesting sequel. Can't wait to see what happens in the end and if the world can be saved or not.
Maybe living forever isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Top 5 Wednesday: Top 5 Tropes You Hate

So this weeks Top 5 Wednesday is the Top 5 Tropes in Books that You Hate. Umm, my understanding of this is that a trope is a cliche or overused situation that occurs in various books, movies, or other creations. Examples of tropes in popular culture could be evil stepmothers, the lovable bad boy, or even boarding schools. I thought I would have some trouble coming up with five tropes that I hated. Turns out I worried about nothing because I actually came up with 6 tropes that I get tired of. I promise I'm not a hater. So anyway, here are my Top 5 Tropes in Books I Hate:

6. The Never Ending Series:
Title: Marked (House of Night Book 1)
Author: P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

This is one of those things that makes me want to give up on a series, when it just seems like it's never going to end. I love a good series, but there comes a point where it has to end sometime. The storyline just gets too repetitive. The characters just become boring. There are a lot of adult series that suffer from this problem, some that I'm interested in reading, but having to commit to a 15+ book series just gets a little daunting. The House of Night series by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast is a perfect example of this. I bought the first couple books because I was genuinely interested in it, but the story just ended up dragging on and on. I am not the type of person that likes to give up on books or series, I want to finish them all. But I have been taking a very extended hiatus from the House of Night Series. I've read up to book six and just haven't continued after that. I think that series in particular would be so much better if there was an actual end in sight, and if Zoe would stop drinking brown pop and all the boys in that whole world found another girl to fall in love with. But yeah, some series just need to end.

5. Weird character names:
Title: Fated (The Soul Seekers Book 1) 
Author: Alyson Noel

This one is just a personal pet peeve of mind. I don't like it when every character, a handful of characters, or even the main character has a weird name just to have a weird name. I don't mind it all the time. If the world the character is living in has that fantasy or otherworldly feel, then I'll be okay with it. But I don't like when characters are given weird names just to be different and have weird names. In the example noted above, Fated by Alyson Noel, there was a character that had to explain how her name was pronounced. Her name started with an X and just got weirder from there. How am I supposed to pronounce that?! It's just something that personally annoys me because I don't want to have to struggle with names the entire time I'm reading the book.

4. Sickness of family member or main character:
Title: The Fault In Our Stars           Title: Hallowed (Unearthly #2)
Author: John Green                           Author: Cynthia Hand

This one is another thing I just don't particularly enjoy, something I don't tend to gravitate to. I don't like reading about sickness, illness, or death. Especially when those things relate to the main characters or family members. That stuff scares me, I don't want to think about it. It's become semi-popular in Young Adult Literature of late and it's just something that I don't want to read about. Now before you yell at my example, I haven't yet read The Fault In Our Stars by John Green, but I do kind of want to. At the same time, I'm put off by the cancer element. Everyday I pray for my family to stay happy, healthy, and well and that's why I don't want to read books that would make me focus on the grief of losing someone to something like that.
In this same sort of vein, I also get tired of teenage characters having parents who are sick or have died. Again, it's something I don't want to think about. I can understand why it happens, so the teenage character can grow up fast and take on whatever responsibility they have to. I just get tired of seeing it.

3. No world building:
Title: Rook       
Author: Sharon Cameron   

This is another trope that gets on my nerves, especially when the world the characters live in sounds so cool. I hate reading a book where I'm just thrown into a world I don't understand. Where the author doesn't really explain crucial elements about the world and maybe a why of how it came to be that way. My example for this trope is Rook by Sharon Cameron. The world in the synopsis sounds really cool, a distant future where the people live like they're in ancient Paris, but the story didn't explain diddly squat of why the world was like that. It didn't give me that visual that I wanted, that would make me really picture and understand the world the characters were living in. In all honesty, if Rook  had been a plain old historical fiction novel, I still wouldn't have liked it, but I would have had one less thing to gripe about. So if you're going to sell me on a really cool world, explain it and make me feel it.   

2. Insta-Love:
Title: Undertow ( Undertow Book 1)
Author: Michael Buckley

I imagine this trope is on a lot of peoples' lists, because it just doesn't happen in real life and it gets annoying in books. I don't know if authors resort to this as a time saver so they don't have to realistically build the relationship, but anytime a character spots someone across the hall and instantly knows they've found their soul mate, the rest of the book is teetering on uncertain ground. The best love stories are the ones that are built up, where the characters find common interest, and fall into a lasting relationship gradually. I don't buy into romances where the character falls in love at first glance. If they don't even know the person, then they can't be in love with them. Insta-love just annoys me and I kind of see it as laziness on the part of the author. And I will argue vehemently that Twilight by Stephenie Meyer is not insta-love. Maybe insta-attraction, but there was some work involved in their relationship. I only mention this because I think Twilight gets an unfair rap a lot. I like that book and series and will continue to like that book and series.

1. Main characters with huge egos:
Title: Half-Blood (Covenant Book 1)
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

And finally for the number one trope I can't stand, characters with egos the size of Texas. I can't stand reading characters written like that. They annoy me to no end. These characters tend to brag, say they're the best at everything, the smartest, the prettiest, the funniest, blah blah blah. Maybe if they really were perfect and good at everything, I would buy it, but more often than not these characters tend to make the stupidest mistakes or just fail at something they proclaim to be the best at. My example for this comes from a series I read this year. A popular series and character that many people love, Alex from The Covenant series by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I haven't hated a character this much in a long time. Alex had this ability to brag about herself and walk around like she was the best thing ever, and it just got on my nerves. She claimed to be one of the best fighters in the school and then she was always losing important fights or really any fight. She claimed to be a natural daimon hunter and then she would have the worst battle plans and conveniently forget her hidden weapon while getting captured. The whole reason I didn't like that series was because of Alex. In real life, I don't like people who are in love with themselves and brag about themselves constantly, so I'm sure not going to like it for a book character.

So those are my Top 6 Tropes I Hate in Books. Sorry I went on a bit of a rant there. I find it's always easier to come up with reasons why I don't like something compared to when I love something. So those are my tropes. What are yours? Do we share any of the same ones? If you want to join in the Top 5 Wednesday fun, you totally should. Each Wednesday is a new, fun topic to ponder and consider. Check out all the other Top 5 Wednesday-ers here!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Review: Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan

Title: Daughter of Deep Silence
Author: Carrie Ryan
Published by: Dutton Books
Released: 2015
Summary: Frances Mace's life ended on the day the Persephone was attacked. She watched her parents die before her eyes. Stuck on a life raft for seven days with no food or water, she thought she would die too. Her friend Libby did die on that life raft. When Frances is rescued, she learns there were two other survivors of the massacre, Senator Wells and his son, Frances' first love Grey. But instead of telling the truth about what happened to the Persephone, they lie and say a massive wave took out the cruise liner. Frances is filled with a rage, a rage that calls for vengeance. She takes the identity of Libby, buries her old self, and vows to uncover the truth of what happened that night while destroying all those responsible. Even Grey won't escape her rage. Revenge is coming for the Wells family, coming quickly. 
My Thoughts: I was very, very excited to get my hands on this book. I really love Carrie Ryan's stories and when I heard this blurbed as like the TV show Revenge, I was even more excited. Also, lets just appreciate the fact that this is a standalone, which is refreshing in a world full of series and sagas.
I think blurbing this as Revenge was an accurate representation. I'm a big fan of Revenge, so I was onboard with this sort of story. Frances/Libby and Emily/Amanda share some similar traits, but also differences. Emily was able to create a whole new identity for herself while Frances stepped in to someone else's life. Emily is a colder sort of person than Libby too. I found Libby really interesting because she really didn't have a true identity to cling to. Frances died the day she chose to become Libby and Libby died her natural death. She wasn't Frances anymore, but she wasn't a true Libby either. She kind of existed in this weird, in-between place. It was kind of sad because she was really so alone.
As far as the whole revenge plan went, I found it really interesting. I won't say I was satisfied with the overall reveal of why everyone on the ship was killed, I expected something grander and more sinister. And Libby's plan was like on fast-forward. I guess I was expecting layers and layers of intricate plots that would combine into one grand finale, but I can understand that it had to come together quickly to make for a 375 page book.
As far as the love interests went, I was ambivalent. I thought more was going to happen with Shepherd. And Grey, I wasn't mad that he was the "it" boy, but I wasn't fawning over him either. I also had a little trouble accepting the intensity of feelings that sprang between two 14 year olds who only really knew each other a week.
The story was a really quick read. There were short chapters with a fast pace that just begged you to sit and keep on reading.
Carrie Ryan produced another win with Daughter of Deep Silence. It's a fun, quick revenge tale that will keep readers entertained and racing to the last page. I'd definitely recommend this one.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Reading Right Now! (#38)

Title: Hellhole
By: Gina Damico
I'm on page 268 of this, which makes me roughly 73% finished.

So what I'm Reading Right Now! is Hellhole by Gina Damico. I say this while browsing my library's new book shelf and knew I had to give it a try. I had heard of Gina Damico before regarding her Croak series, still haven't read that but I do plan to. This story is about a boy named Max Kilgore, who is a nerdy, high school boy taking care of his sick mother. He is very interested in dinosaurs and paleontology, so he spends some of his free time digging for fossils up on Ugly Hill. On one such night of digging, he accidentally digs a hole to the Underworld and unleashes the devil, or rather a devil. Max learns that there are 666 satan's that run things in the Underworld, and his satan, a sloppy bearded one named Burg, is one of the lower devils in the department of human vice. Burg tempts people into consuming all types of unhealthy, but delicious junk food. Burg is now living in Max's basement and won't leave until Max procures him a house with a hot tub. This is not good for Max. Not only is Burg a terrible houseguest, but he's also threatening to hurt Max's mother if Max doesn't give him want he wants. Max needs the help of a specialist, so he's referred to Lore, a former goth girl who's dealings into the satanic rituals have been greatly exaggerated. Max and Lore team up to try and get rid of Burg for good, while keeping everyone they love safe.
I am really enjoying this book. It is full of awesome humor that actually makes me chuckle. It is so hard to find really good funny books. Most books I read try humor and don't necessarily succeed in it. So any humor book that actually makes me laugh is awesome! I'm definitely planning on reading more of Gina Damico's stuff in the future. I like all the characters too. And while this is super funny, there's also some darkness and danger in it too, granted it's more subtle. Burg at first glance seems like a happy-go-lucky Satan, who doesn't necessarily seem evil, but there's that inkling that if he doesn't get his way, then he could get very dangerous. So yeah, I'm really liking this book.
So that's it for what I'm Reading Right Now! Tell me what you're reading in the comments below. I always love discussing books with people. If you've read Hellhole, tell me what you thought of it. 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Review: The Program (The Program #1) by Suzanne Young

Title: The Program (The Program #1)
Author: Suzanne Young
Published by: SIMON PULSE
Released: 2013
Summary: In a world where teen suicide has become an epidemic, the only cure is The Program. With depression and teen suicide on the rise, society will do whatever is necessary to save them. In The Program, teens undergo intensive treatment where all bad memories are wiped from their minds. They emerge from The Program as a blank slate, happy, but missing chunks of their lives. Sloane and her boyfriend James despise The Program. They promise to keep each other safe from it, but soon that promise becomes impossible to keep. Sloane and James must now have to escape and beat The Program before they lose each other forever.
My Thoughts: I rather enjoyed this book. I wasn't sure what to think at first because I had some questions about Sloane and James' world, but I was quickly pulled in by Suzanne Young's writing style. Sloane and James' story was just interesting enough to keep me entertained. The Program was an enjoyable read and I do plan to get my hands on the sequel.
Now, I didn't love everything about The Program. I did have some confusion and disbelief over aspects of the story. For one, there was no explanation for why so many teens were becoming depressed and committing suicide. It was described as an epidemic, but an epidemic from where? Who knows. I would have loved to know the Why behind the suicides. What is making teens so unhappy and depressed in this world?
The idea of The Program was a little confusing to me too. It seemed a very drastic measure to erase peoples' memories instead of trying more common sense approaches like medication. Having their memories wiped didn't really cure them, it just made them forget all their old problems, but then there was the possibility of new problems coming in to take their place. The parents also didn't seem very happy and I would think a happy home would have been important to curing the depression. These were things I just thought about while reading the book, they could get answered in the sequel.
As for characters, Sloane was all right. I didn't love her and I didn't hate her. She was very free with her sexual favors though, which I found a little surprising for a teen read. As for James, I can't say that I loved him either. All his physicalness would have made me a tad uncomfortable. And I'm torn on Realm. I kind of like him, but then he does some questionable things in the story. I actually want to know more about Realm's backstory, because he seems complicated. Oh and I felt bad for Sloane's dad. He was really suffering and I wish Sloane would have talked and confided in him more. I felt like a bunch of their family problems stemmed from a lack of communication and understanding one another's grief.
All in all, I really did enjoy this book. I felt like I read it faster then other books I've read recently. The story kept me interested and I want to know what is going to happen next. There were a few holes in the world and premise, but otherwise it was an enjoyable read.
If the only cure is The Program, then the world is doomed.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Top 5 Wednesdays: Top 5 Favorite Required Reading

This week's Top 5 Wednesday is our Top 5 Favorite Required Reading. This means books that we were required to read for school or university or something. Most times when I'm required to read something, I end up not liking it. There is just something about the idea of being forced to read something that makes me automatically put it on my do not like list. A lot of required reading that I had to read for school were stuffy, old classics and they were not my friends. But this week's topic made me look back and remember all the books that were required reading that I ended up loving or at least liking. So here's my list:



5. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley: I had to read this one in my senior year of high school and I was pleasantly surprised by it. I was so sure that I wouldn't like it because it was a classic and the writing was probably going to be all boring, but it turned out to be a really interesting story. Frankenstein the story is so much deeper and sadder than the Frankenstein movies led me to believe. Frankenstein's monster isn't evil, he's just a very lonely and misunderstood creature. He didn't ask to get created or made, but he wants a life. I enjoyed this required reading way more than I expected to. It probably helped that it's in the horror genre which is something I'm interested in reading anyway. Now I want to go check out other classic horror tales like Dracula!

4. The Road by Cormac McCarthy: I had to read this one in college. I was taking a Literature of Disaster Course, which in itself was very interesting. I really enjoyed reading this one. It was such an emotional story about a father and son trying to survive in a dying world. Now I did have some issues with it in that I wanted to know what exactly happened to the world and the ending was just too sad and maybe abrupt, but I did end up liking it a lot. I love a good post-apocalyptic tale.

3. 1984 by George Orwell: 1984 is probably one of my biggest required reading surprises because I don't think I ever would have picked it up if I hadn't of had to read it. I had to read this in senior year of high school. We read this and we read Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. I liked 1984 a whole lot more than Brave New World. One reason of why I liked it so much was because of that feeling that the government is always watching, it felt relevant, and still feels relevant, for the time that I read it. The second reason I liked it so much was because it's a dystopian tale and I love a good dystopian. I think it was actually my introduction to the dystopian genre really. I liked 1984 so much that I also went and read another book by George Orwell, Animal Farm, voluntarily. If that doesn't stress how much I liked this one, I don't know what does.

2. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson: This one I read for college for a class about Books and Film or maybe it was something like Adapting Books to Film. This book was on my TBR list anyway, even before it was on my required reading list. I was really excited for this class too because I don't know how many times I've wondered why did they not put that part of the book in the movie or why did they change a scene from book to movie. The actual class, while interesting, was not as great as I thought it was going to be. There was really no discussion as to why directors and writers don't stick to the original source material. Also the teacher was a little different and one time I got in trouble for being on my phone during the movie. I don't think I would want to be in the same movie theater with that professor. Anyway, I really enjoyed this book! It was long, but I was gripped and wanted to read it as fast as I could. We also watched the film adaptation, the original Swedish version, and that one was pretty awesome. So yeah, I really liked this required reading. I still need to read the rest of the books in this series, I don't know why I haven't yet.

1. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier: Now on to my number 1 choice. There was no real contest here. Not only did I enjoy this required reading, it's made it up to my list of favorites. I also had to read this in college for that book to film course. I was just in love with this book. When I first picked it up, I wasn't sure what I was going to get. The cover almost reminded me of a romance novel, but the delicious, gothic tale inside made me oh so happy. This book was just so enthralling for me and I loved every minute of it. The movie was also a lot of fun to watch too. Rebecca is on my list of favorite books and I highly recommend you read it, required or not. 

So those are my Top 5 Favorite Required Reading! What were your favorite required reads? Let me know in the comments below. And let me know if you agree with any of the choices on my list. If you want to join in on the Top 5 Wednesday fun, you totally should. Each week is a new, fun topic to consider. Check out all the other Top 5 Wednesday-ers here!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Review: Chew Volume 1: Taster's Choice by John Layman and Rob Guillory

Title: Chew Volume 1: Taster's Choice
Written and Lettered by: John Layman
Drawn and Coloured by: Rob Guillory
Published by: Image Comics, Inc.
Released: 2013 (3rd printing)
Summary: Tony Chu is a Cibopath. He has a special talent when it comes to food. When he eats an apple, he can sense what tree it was grown on, what orchard, and what types of pesticides were used. If he eats a piece of bacon, he gets a visual image of the pigs life and slaughter. Tony doesn't enjoy eating that much. Then Tony gets recruited to the FDA for his special skills and he finds more adventure than he ever imagined.
My Thoughts: This was really fun! I loved the art style and the overall story. There was a lot of humor in it and I just really enjoyed reading it. The situation of chicken being outlawed was crazy. I don't think I could survive in a world without chicken in my diet. I eat a lot of chicken. I wonder what's really going on there.
Also, the whole time I was reading, I just kept picturing Tony Chu as Miles from Lost. I love Lost. I marathoned all 6 seasons on Netflix in the span of two months. In my post-Lost state, anything can remind me of Lost at any given time, and Chew definitely did. Tony and his partner John reminded me so much of Season 6 Lost, flash sideways, where Sawyer and Miles were detectives. So yeah, Tony Chu is pretty much Miles Straume in my eyes.
The only minor flaw I have with Chew so far is I'm not sure where the overall story is going. There seem to be a bunch of separate cases and issues that don't really seem to connect. Some cases remain unsolved and without a definitive answer. It's kind of like what is the point of all these separate incidents? How do they come together? I'm sure everything has to connect eventually, I'm just not sure what the overarching arc is yet.
This first volume was awesome! Lots of fun, funny, interesting subject matter and intriguing characters. The art style was great and the story was pretty interesting. Can't wait to continue with this series!
Something to sink your teeth into!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Reading Right Now! (#37)

Title: Rook
Author: Sharon Cameron
I'm on page 264 of 456, which makes me 58% of the way through this beast.

So what I'm Reading Right Now! for this week is Rook by Sharon Cameron. I saw this on my library's new shelf and decided to pick it up. Then I heard that Regan and Sasha set up a Goodreads bookclub called Perustopia Book Club and Rook was the first book they had decided to read for it and it would be their book for August. Now I had already decided that Rook was going to be my next read, but hearing that they were going to be reading it too and it was their first pick for their bookclub, made me a little more interested in it.
I wasn't really sure what this story was about when I first went into it. The cover evokes a certain Paris in ruins feeling which it is. For a little summary as to what this is about, Rook is set in a future world, but it's a future world that has regressed to a distant past. I'm not sure what happened exactly, but somehow parts of Paris sunk and satellites fell, flaming from the sky. The world decided in that time of great tragedy that technology was the problem and technology took jobs away from the masses. So in this future, civilization has decided to do away with all technology, make it illegal, and live in a kind of 17th-18th century feeling world. Paris has been taken over by this crazy guy named Allemande, and he has brought the guillotine back in service. Allemande has convinced the masses that the rich are to blame for everything and they end up being the victims of the guillotine. But there is a savior in the city, someone who rescues prisoners before they reach the guillotine, and leaves a red rook feather in their empty cells. Our story also involves a girl named Sophia Bellamy who has been put into an arranged with a Parisian named Rene Hasard. Sophia ends up finding out secrets about her new fiance, secrets that make him a tad more interesting.
This book and I have not been the best of friends. I was very interested in the premise, but the overall story is just sooooo boring. I've even contemplated DNFing it, which I don't do with books. I'm also not really sure about the world. I'm not sure I understand the decisions that were made to get it to the point it is in this book. I wouldn't want to live in a time without indoor plumbing or internet. So even though this is a book set in a distant future, it reads and feels like a book set in a distant past. I'm just not the biggest fan of this book. It's dull, kind of drags along at a slow pace, and there's not as much action as the synopsis lets you think there will be. Also, I'm not in love with the love story in this book. If I have to hear one more time about Rene Hasard's hair powder and blue fire eyes, it's not going to be good. 
Sorry for my Debby Downer Reading Right Now! post, but the whole point of my blog is to share my honest thoughts on what I'm reading. I give each book a fair shot to wow me, and so far Rook is not wowing me at all. So that's what I'm Reading Right Now! Tell me what you're Reading Right Now! in the comments below because I love talking books with people. Also, if you've read or are reading Rook, what do you think of it? Do you feel the same way as me or am I way off the mark?

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Review: Red Moon by Benjamin Percy

Title: Red Moon
Author: Benjamin Percy
Published by: Grand Central Publishing
Released: 2013
Summary: So you really want to know about werewolves? First, it's a disease spread like the AIDs virus. Second, it can be passed down to kids if a parent is a carrier. Third, the world doesn't know how to deal with this new werewolf population, so segregation and violence is occurring. And finally, some werewolves have decided to be terrorists and plan to carve out a place for themselves by murdering others. This is the story of Claire, Patrick, Miriam, and Chase and the parts they play in this new world.
My Thoughts: As with many of the books I review, I saw this one at my library and it looked interesting and enticing enough for me to pick it up and take it home. Red Moon offers up a completely new take on werewolves and seeks to explain how the disease came about. In this world, werewolf syndrome is like AIDs, it can be spread through blood and bodily fluids. Instead of it being a supernatural oddity, the syndrome comes from a prion disease or problem. So, there is really no fun urban fantasy werewolf stuff to be had in this one. It is interesting, but I won't say it is a fun book.
I only thought this book was okay. It started out promising, but then it meandered and dragged so long that I thought it was going to take me years to finish it. This book did take me longer to read than others, but I was taking a pretty work intensive online class, so that could make up for part of it. But this still was a really slow read for me.
I thought the character's were okay, but we did get introduced to a lot of them. I'm also not sure how I feel about constantly jumping from character to character. Just when I was getting really interested into what was happening with Patrick and something major had just happened, the text would jump to another character, and it would be pages before I saw Patrick again. I was not a fan of the time leaps that happened between Parts 1, 2, and 3. They made it hard to keep up with the characters and just seemed like a convenient way for the author to escape the set-up of the situations he was putting the characters into next. This prolonged amounts of time also made the book feel longer to me. It really did feel that the story dragged on and on and that I was never going to finish it. The ending was also disappointing, because there wasn't one, it was just a set up for the next book in the series. I've just read a 500+ page book, I'd like a little closure.
I just thought this book was okay. An interesting take on werewolves, but so much longer than it had to be. Very slow reading for me. I might check out the sequel if I see it, or if it even exists, but if I miss it, then I won't be heartbroken.
Why you gotta be so long?

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Top 5 Wednesday: Top 5 Favorite Maps

Welcome to another Top 5 Wednesday! This week's Top 5 topic is your Top 5 Favorite Maps. A lot of books feature beautiful maps on the inside covers, so I had a lot to consider while contemplating this week's topic. I ended up picking 4 books, and I'll tell you why I didn't pick 5. As I said before, there are lot of books with beautiful maps in the inside covers, but most times I admire them for a little while, and then just end up flipping past them. The maps don't really hold that much importance to the actual story. Sure, they're pretty to look at, but they are kind of meaningless in the grand scheme of things. For this week's topic, I wanted to pick maps that I thought really added to their overall stories, and I ended up with 4 maps that I think fit that criteria. Sometimes I think I overthink these Top 5 Wednesdays or end up going way off track, but oh well. So here are my picks for my Top 4 Favorite Maps:


4. Leviathan (Leviathan #1) by Scott Westerfeld: This was a last minute add on to my list and I mainly added it just because of how pretty the map is. The artwork in this series is just so pretty to sit and admire. The artwork is actually pretty instrumental to the story. Not only are the maps beautiful in this series, but they are also useful. Because one of our main characters is a prince, you can actually view the location of his kingdom. This map is also further illustrated with cool extras like monsters in the landscapes. This series just has really eye catching art that translates into cool illustrations and beautiful maps.
3. Gone (Gone #1) by Michael Grant: This is probably one of the least adorned maps in this list, but I would argue that it's one of the most useful. Every map in the series is the same map, detailing the same area where the story takes place. I found this map so useful for flipping back to to see where some characters were in relation to others. A lot of times, I find maps to just be pretty pictures of landmasses, but don't have any real meaning to the story I'm reading, this map is the complete opposite of that. It's not the prettiest map, but it's the most useful. You get all the important bits of Perdido Beach and have a great visual understanding of where the craziness is going down.
2. The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom (Hero's Guide #1) by Christopher Healy: I love this series so much! This is a series that has great illustrations too, Todd Harris and his drawings add so much fun to this series. This map is also useful. Our four princes are from different kingdoms and the maps in this book help to see where each Prince is from and how far apart they are in relation to each other.
1. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter #3) by J.K. Rowling: This one might be off the beaten path, but I contend that this is one of the best maps ever in a book series. Some of you may be thinking, what map in Harry Potter? It doesn't have any maps in it's end pages. I think I would have noticed a beautiful map of Hogwarts. And that map is... The Marauders' Map! It wins for most useful, it wins for best backstory, and it wins for being able to interact with and make fun of snoopy Potions Masters. It's the best map ever!

So those are my Top 4 Favorite Maps. What are your favorite maps? Did you pick your maps based on their visual appeal, usefulness, or both? Let me know because I'm genuinely curious. If you want to join in on the Top 5 Wednesday fun, you totally should. Each Wednesday is a fun, new topic to consider. Check out all the other Top 5 Wednesday-ers here!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Review: The Waking Dark by Robin Wasserman

Title: The Waking Dark
Author: Robin Wasserman
Published by: Alfred A. Knopf
Released: 2013
Summary: Not much happens in the town of Oleander, Kansas, but that all changes on the Killing Day. Friends, family, and neighbors without reason or warning, kill and then turn their weapons on themselves. 12 people dead with no reasons why. One of the murderers survives, but she has no idea why she did it. As the town struggles to get back to some semblance of normalcy, an F5 tornado hits the town. The town waits for help and rescue, but it never comes. Military personnel arrive at the borders and won't let them leave. The town descends into despair and craziness. What is going on in Oleander? Will anyone get out alive?
My Thoughts: There's a part of me that goes, what did I just read? But there's another part of me that really enjoyed this. First and foremost, this is a weird book, but it's weirdly enjoyable. I feel like this book is its own original creature. It doesn't feel like a YA book at all. It was odd, different, and fun to read. The whole book is full of craziness and questions. I just had to keep reading to find out what was going to happen in the end. I would recommend this book to readers that love horror and want to read a little something different. This book will take you on one crazy ride, and while you'll question your sanity the whole time, you'll have fun.
One thing I really enjoyed was the setting. I used to live in Kansas, so it was kind of fun remembering my years there. There were points when I thought the author must have lived in Kansas or had some kind of Kansas connection, because she did a good job of capturing the feeling of flat, endless prairie. She also mentioned familiar things like one of the teams there and some slang specific to the area. In the end though, there were some details she included that didn't quite fit with Kansas. Like the fact that Kansas has these endless corn fields, they don't. Kansas grows a lot of wheat, barley, milo, and other types of grain crops. Nebraska and Iowa are more known for their corn crops. Anyway, it was just fun having a book set in Kansas.
The whole feeling of this book is a slow descent into madness. The whole time I was questioning just what was really going on. The people in this town were slowly losing their minds. There were just so many shocking, jaw dropping occurrences. This was a horror novel that took its time and brought you into the madness gradually. I really enjoy horror books like that. They make me feel much more unnerved and freaked out rather than a quick jump scare or excessive gore. I felt this was a really enjoyable horror novel. The author credited Stephen King with being an inspiration and I could definitely feel it. I guess I need to go out and read some Stephen King.
The overall reason of what was happening to the town was interesting too.
All in all, I really enjoyed this book. It gave me a terrifying and gratifying horror experience. I've now read two Robin Wasserman books, this and The Book of Blood and Shadow, and enjoyed both of them very much. I'm excited to read more of Robin Wasserman's books in the future. She offers interesting, different stories. This is one crazy ride and I highly enjoyed it!
A slow descent into madness.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Reading Right Now! (#36)

This Reading Right Now! post is going to be more like a reading wrap-up because I've finished two books today and have started another one. I wanted to include everything. Maybe I should include monthly wrap-ups on my blog. I don't know if I'll do it, but I'll think about it. Anyway, onto the reads!


1. The Vault of Dreamers (The Vault of Dreamers Book 1) by Caragh M. O'Brien: I finished this in the early afternoon of Friday. It was awesome! So many twists and turns. It read like a thriller and it was just a very captivating story. This story is about an elite art school where the students are videotaped all the time. Their lives are broadcast on a reality show called the Forge Show. Students stay in the school and on the show based on their popularity numbers. The students are also all required to take a sleeping pill every night that knocks them out for 12 hours. The school says this is to increase creativity and artistic productivity. One night, Rosie Sinclair skips her sleeping pill and witnesses something strange. Rosie then becomes suspicious as to what's really going on in Forge Academy and vows to find out and expose it. To me, this book was a mix of Big Brother and Shutter Island. I was just as curious as to what was going on at this school as Rosie was. And the same time Rosie was suffering from doubts, I was too. I really enjoyed this book. Even though the ending really made me question just what is going to happen next and what's ultimately going to happen with Rosie. This one was definitely good and I highly recommend it.  
2. Y The Last Man: Cycles: Volume 2 by Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra, Jose Marzan, Jr.: I next read this and I flew through it quickly. One reason for that is because it's a graphic novel and graphic novels are very quick to read. The second reason for reading it quickly is because I enjoyed it. This is the second volume in the Y The Last Man series and it's a really interesting series to read. This series is about some kind of mysterious plague that kills off every male on Earth except for Yorick Brown and his male pet monkey Ampersand. In this second volume, Yorick, Agent 355, and Dr. Mann are on a trek across the country to find Dr. Mann's backup research lab and hopefully come up with some type of reason for why all the men are dead and some scientific way to save human and animal kind. I enjoyed the first book a little more than this one, but the series is really good and I recommend it to people who are interested in trying out graphic novels.

Just Started

3. Rook by Sharon Cameron: I literally just started this one. I'm probably only on page three. All I know about this one is that there's a sunken city of Paris, the guillotine is back in service, and someone called the Red Rook is taking people out of their prison cells before they can meet the guillotine. I saw this book on the new book shelf at my library and thought I would give it a try. Looking at, it has mixed reviews. Some people really like it, some just like it, and some had to DNF it. I'm interested to see what I think of it. It sounds interesting, and that's enough of a sell for me to read it.

So that's what I've read this weekend and what I'm planning to read next. What are you Reading Right Now? Tell me in the comments below. I've had a pretty good weekend of reading so far and I hope that I'm able to put more books under my belt. I think this weekend could be the start of booktubeathon too, although I'm not exactly sure on that. I don't know for sure if I'll be taking part. Sometimes readathons tend to stress me out and I end up reading less, too much pressure maybe. But yeah, that's it for this Reading Right Now! post.