Friday Reads (6/28/13)

Happy Friday!  Woohoo you successfully got through another week!  Friday Reads, a popular query that originated on Twitter, enables me to share what I plan on reading this weekend.  As I do not post on Sundays, it allows you to be updated and know what I hope to accomplish in my reading endeavors.  Additionally, Friday Reads is a part of my Daily Post; to learn more about it, click here!

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A brilliant new Gothic thriller from the acclaimed author of The Ghost Writer and The Seance

Confused and disoriented, Georgina Ferrars awakens in a small room in Tregannon House, a private asylum in a remote corner of England. She has no memory of the past few weeks. The doctor, Maynard Straker, tells her that she admitted herself under the name Lucy Ashton the day before, then suffered a seizure. When she insists he has mistaken her for someone else, Dr. Straker sends a telegram to her uncle, who replies that Georgina Ferrars is at home with him in London: “Your patient must be an imposter.”

Suddenly her voluntary confinement becomes involuntary. Who is the woman in her uncle’s house? And what has become of her two most precious possessions, a dragonfly pin left to her by her mother and a writing case containing her journal, the only record of those missing weeks? Georgina’s perilous quest to free herself takes us from a cliffside cottage on the Isle of Wight to the secret passages of Tregannon House and into a web of hidden family ties on which her survival depends.

Another delicious read from the author praised by Ruth Rendell as having “a gift for creating suspense, apparently effortlessly, as if it belongs in the nature of fiction.”-Goodreads summary

I saw this book on a Youtube Haul video, and I immediately was intrigued by the concept.  Therefore, I requested it from the library and anticipated its arrival.  Currently, I’m about halfway through the book, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it!  I don’t want to go into too much detail about my thoughts about this book as I plan on finishing it this weekend and will be reviewing it in due time.  Yay!

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Best friends Jack and Conner can’t stay away from Marbury. It’s partly because of their obsession with this alternate world and the unresolved war that still wages there. But it’s also because forces in Marbury—including the darkest of the dark, who were not revealed in The Marbury Lens—are beckoning the boys back in order to save their friends . . . and themselves.

The boys try to destroy the lens that transports them to Marbury. But that dark world is not so easily reckoned with. Reality and fantasy, good and evil—Andrew Smith’s masterpiece closes the loop that began withThe Marbury Lens. But is it really closed? Can it ever be?-Goodreads summary

Approximately a year ago, I read The Marbury Lens, and I fell in love with this “other world” Smith created.  I have had Passenger on my TBR list for awhile, and I’m in the mood to finish this series-note: I’m really not sure if this is a duology, trilogy, or series.  I attempted to do research on this; in an interview with Publisher’s Weekly, Smith was asked if there would be a third installment in this series, to which he replied:

I’ve already published a short story called “The King of Marbury.” It’s up on Tor.com. I am going to write another book about Marbury and I’m glad you asked this question, because when I wroteThe Marbury Lens I was not thinking at all that there would ever be more to it, but then so many people were asking questions about what really happened and what was really going on: “You can’t leave me here; you have to tell me what’s going to happen next.” So I thought that, well, if I do tell you something about what happens next – which became my monstrously long new novel,Passenger – I was going to tell you something that you would never have expected. I hope that this is the experience that readers of Passenger get, that it was something that was totally different, that everything had changed, that everything had turned upside down. I do know what I’m going to write the third book about, and it’s not going to be anything that people will expect.-Publisher’s Weekly

According to the question and answer, I’m assuming Passenger leaves readers anticipating more explanations about the world of Marbury.  From further research it appears as though Smith has yet to write this next book-note: the Publisher’s Weekly interview is nearly a year old.  Due to all of this, I’m slightly hesitant to start Passenger as I would hate to read this book, fall further in love with the series, and be forever left with millions of unanswered questions.  So, I’m both excited and really nervous.  Ugh.

*What book(s) do you plan on reading this weekend?

Thirsty Thursday Book Edition: The Twins

Welcome to Thirsty Thursday Book Edition in which I talk about books that I anticipate reading and/or their impending publications.  Thirsty Thursday Book Edition is a part of my Daily Post; to learn more about it, click here.

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They were inseparable until an innocent mistake tore them apart.
Growing up, Viola and Issy clung to each other in the wake of their mother’s eccentricity, as she dragged them from a commune to a tiny Welsh village. They thought the three of them would be together forever.
But an innocent mistake one summer set them on drastically different paths. Now in their twenties, Issy is trying to hold together a life as a magazine art director, while Viola is slowly destroying herself, consumed with guilt over the events they unknowingly set into motion as children.  When it seems that Viola might never recover, Issy returns to the town they haven’t seen in a decade, to face her own demons and see what answers, if any, she can find.-Goodreads summary

Yesterday was such a challenging workday.  However, I came home and found this beautiful book in my mailbox.  The Twins has yet to be officially published (expected publication date is August 2013), and I desperately wanted this ARC.  So, this was such a splendid surprise!  Thank you Redhook for sending it to me!

The synopsis of this book sounds completely intriguing to me.  I love contemporary novels that have the whole family secrets mystery added to it.  Additionally, I love that the protagonists are twin sisters.  Will there be some “twin telepathy” moments in this novel, which create or add to this huge family tragedy?  Will the twins become closer because of this bond or will it have the opposite effect?  There are so many routes that I am just imagining Sarginson could take with this book!  With these elements, I have high hopes for this novel.

I look forward to reading this book and will be reading it ASAP as I want to get the review done prior to its publication date!  Look forward to my review in the near future.  GAH I CAN’T WAIT!

*What books are you anticipating reading and/or their impending publications?  Comment below!*

Worst Read Wednesday: City of Bones

Welcome to Worst Read Wednesday in which I talk about a books that I despised or did not fall for its insane hype.  Worst Read Wednesday is a part of my Daily Post; to learn more about it, click here.

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Don’t miss The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, soon to be a major motion picture in theaters August 2013.

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder — much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing — not even a smear of blood — to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know. . . .

Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare’s ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.-Goodreads summary

Before I get viciously murdered by some of you, I want to state that I do not hate City of Bones.  I really liked the book, but for all the hype it got, I really expected more.  I plan on continuing the series and look forward to reading City of Ashes, where hopefully I will fall in love with this series like the rest of you!

There are certain things in this book that totally left me confused. Cassandra Clare writes some pretty hefty explanations (full of many similes) for many scenarios throughout the novel which really added to the story. Yet, there are some details that I totally felt were neglected. For example, the magical “stele” which is possessed by all Shadowhunters. I originally believed this was a weapon, and I think I was wrong about that seeing as the Shadowhunters would draw on themselves/objects with it. So, does that make it a Sharpie? But, it also had these “magical abilities,” and Sharpies are merely for permanent inking, so I guess that option is out. Thus, what is this? Another example where I felt details were lacking was in regards to glamour/possessing the sight. Let’s take the Institute, for instance. The Institute is New York’s safe haven for Shadowhunters. Seeing as mundanes don’t know about the Shadowhunter world, the Institute appears as an abandoned church. Who’s to say that some teenagers eager to have an intense make out session wouldn’t choose this church because of its private settings? So, if these teenagers or other mundanes were to enter this abandoned church, wouldn’t they accidently be stepping inside the Institute and be exposed to all of the Shadowhunters’ glory because, if you recall, Clary’s best friend, Simon, enters the Institute (which he originally saw as the church) but is then greeted with the Institute’s amenities. To me, that just didn’t make sense. Now, I know these are a bit picky, but they seriously left me scratching my head the entire time. Maybe in the next books there will be a more detailed explanation(s).

Speaking of Clary, am I the only one who found her to be the most irritable protagonist ever in this story? A huge issue I had with her, was the writing/developing of her character. Her mother gets kidnapped by DEMONS at the beginning of this novel. Had you accidentally skipped over this part in the book, you would have NO IDEA because she makes no reference or really seems to care throughout the entire book. In fact, she mentions caring and being concerned for Jace, a boy she has known less than 2 weeks, more frequently than she ever mentioned being worried for her mother. As I kept reading, I decided to come to the conclusion that Cassandra Clare just wrote Clary as a pretty typical self-centered teen. Ok, I guess I would just have to deal with that. Teenagers do tend to be selfish. However, the 3rd to last page, Clare writes, “And I know there’s no point in telling you how great my mom is, what an amazing, terrific, wonderful person that she is and that you’d be lucky to know her” (483). That was the FIRST and ONLY mention Clary made of how much great her mom is since her disappearance, and [Clary made this statement once she had been found]. To me, these two different Clarys made no sense. In my opinion, Clary was an amateur character. For all the hype this book gets, I expected a bit more professionalism in regards to characters and their development.

Despite these issues I had with the book, I still consider it a splendid read, but it is not one of my favorite books.  Hopefully my issues get resolved further in the series!

Super Sweet Blogging Award

First of all, I want to give a huge thanks to NutFreeNerd for nominating me for the Super Sweet Blogging Award.  It is truly an honor to think my book blog deserves any kind of recognition as I am just a girl who really likes to talk about books!  Anyway, if you guys aren’t following her blog, CHECK IT OUT.  She’s awesome!

Now to answer the questions that are associated with this award:

  1. Cookies or Cake? This is an extremely difficult question for the girl with the major sweet tooth.  However, I am going to have to choose cookies.  I love fresh-out-of-the-oven chocolate chip cookies!  
  2. Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate.  Anything, everything chocolate.  Except cupcakes or cake.  I like those to be vanilla.  Weird, right?!
  3. When do you crave sweet things the most? I crave sweet things whenever I think about them.  For example, a commercial features vanilla ice cream.  Guess what I’m wanting?  WRONG.  Not a vanilla ice cream.  Remember?  I’m not a vanilla fan!  (Please reference question 2).  No, I’m wanting a big bowl of chocolate ice cream.  Or, I’ll crave sweets right after I eat something salty.  I don’t know why.  For example, I love chocolate covered pretzels because they’re a combination of all things good and holy. Is anyone else like this?  
  4. Sweet Nickname? My boyfriend calls me “Sweetheart.”  I think that’s as sweet as any nickname gets! 😉

Now, I get to nominate some other awesome people!  Likewise, you should check out their blogs, too!  They’re pretty sweet!:

  1. BooksForADelicateEternity
  2. Endless Bookshelves
  3. The Reading Date
  4. Book Blather
  5. Reflections of a Book Addict

Thanks again, everyone!

Happy reading!

Katie 🙂

Book Review: Slice of Cherry

It’s Tuesday so that means it’s time for a book review.  Tuesday Book Reviews are a part of my Daily Post; to learn more about it, click here!

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Kit and Fancy Cordelle are sisters of the best kind: best friends, best confidantes, and best accomplices. The daughters of the infamous Bonesaw Killer, Kit and Fancy are used to feeling like outsiders, and that’s just the way they like it. But in Portero, where the weird and wild run rampant, the Cordelle sisters are hardly the oddest or most dangerous creatures around.

It’s no surprise when Kit and Fancy start to give in to their deepest desire—the desire to kill. What starts as a fascination with slicing open and stitching up quickly spirals into a gratifying murder spree. Of course, the sisters aren’t killing just anyone, only the people who truly deserve it. But the girls have learned from the mistakes of their father, and know that a shred of evidence could get them caught. So when Fancy stumbles upon a mysterious and invisible doorway to another world, she opens a door to endless possibilities….-Goodreads summary

Judge the Book by its Cover:

  • The cover is eerie and relates to major points in the plot.  I love it!

Things that Made Me Happy:

  • I am oddly obsessed with the psychology of killers.  I like how this book attempted to provide a fictionalized account of the psych of two young serial killers, who are the daughters of an infamous serial killer.  Totally awesome!

Things that Made Me Unhappy:

  • The paranormal elements in this book are utterly random and make no sense.  Suddenly, the book springs fairy rings, magical doors, and creepy monsters on its readers with no explanation.  In my opinion, a majority of these paranormal elements were unnecessary and were Reeves’s attempt to join the “YA Paranormal Bandwagon” and miserably executing this.
  • This point leads to the horrid development and explanation of the plot and town.  As previously stated, there is no reasoning behind these magical and monstrous elements of the plot.  Additionally, Reeves does not attempt to explain the city of Portero and its significance to the story.  Frequently, the plot references Portero’s infestation of monsters but offers no explanations.  For example, do others know of Portero’s problems?  How did these magical elements come to be?  How do they cope with this?  etc.  Too many questions, and Reeves gives no effort to explain anything.  Seriously.  I have never read a book where there was so little of an attempt to create a plot.
  • Quickly, the sisters find boys.  Suddenly, their brains are rewired, and killing loses its appeal.  I’m sorry, what?  Sure, girls and guys will sometimes change when in a relationship, but these girls did a total unrealistic 180.  Sadly, the romance overtook and really destroyed the plot.
  • There is no real problem, solution, or climax in this story.  It is rather uneventful and monotonous.  I kept reading with the hope that a problem would arise and a climax would follow, but there is nothing.  This lack of story development made the overall plot inconsistent and painful to read.  The story had potential and was such a letdown for me!

My Rating:

★★ 2/5 stars!

Recommendations:

I’d recommend this book to those who enjoy young adult fiction, horror, fantasy, and paranormal/supernatural novels.

Book Review: Black City

As mentioned in my last post, here is my book review that was intended for Saturday but got delayed because of my brother’s graduation party.  Better late than never!  I apologize again. Anyway, Saturday Book Reviews are a part of my Daily Post; to learn more about it, click here!

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A dark and tender post-apocalyptic love story set in the aftermath of a bloody war.

In a city where humans and Darklings are now separated by a high wall and tensions between the two races still simmer after a terrible war, sixteen-year-olds Ash Fisher, a half-blood Darkling, and Natalie Buchanan, a human and the daughter of the Emissary, meet and do the unthinkable—they fall in love. Bonded by a mysterious connection that causes Ash’s long-dormant heart to beat, Ash and Natalie first deny and then struggle to fight their forbidden feelings for each other, knowing if they’re caught, they’ll be executed—but their feelings are too strong.

When Ash and Natalie then find themselves at the center of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to pull the humans and Darklings back into war, they must make hard choices that could result in both their deaths.-Goodreads summary

Judge the Book by its Cover:

  • The book is a beautiful cover; however, it took me awhile to discern what exactly was on the cover-an exploding rose.  Gorgeous, but not explicitly in the story so it allows for artistic interpretation.  I like it!

Things that Made Me Happy:

  • The original parts of the plot are very good.  I enjoyed when Richards “broke from the mold.”  I found these parts of the novel to be the most exciting and most believable.  Honestly, I wish the author would have structured more of the story around her own ideas because they are great!
  • I’m a sucker for imagery that foreshadows future events, and Richards uses plenty of it.  Some YA authors can over emphasize these images, which detracts from the subtle hinting.  However, she implements these signs in such a nonchalant way that it made me excited to discover one.  While Richards’s foreshadowing indicated certain upcoming events, it never made the book predictable.
  • Great unsuspecting plot twists!  I can’t go into too much detail here because I don’t want to give away the book.
  • I enjoyed the depiction of the corrupt elements in the story.  Every character has a story which led to some very interesting and unsuspecting character development.
  • The latter half of the book is captivating.  I did not want to put down the book!

Things that Made Me Unhappy:

  • I found the beginning of the book to be very confusing.  Richards overly implements the writers’ adage “show don’t tell” in her story, which leads to an inablilty to connect with characters and the plot in the first hundred pages.  Some of the confusion eventually gets resolved, but a lot of information is left to the discretion of the reader.  For example, I know a Darkling is a vampire, but what are these other “races” of vampires and how do they correlate with the ones in this specific city?  From where do they come?  etc.  My confusion and continuous questioning leads me to believe that the world-building is sub-par.  It is not horrible but definitely not comparable to other books.
  • The definition of insta-love can be found between this book’s pages.  Romance in YA books is wonderful when it is done well.  However, Richards makes these characters fall in love within the first fifty pages.  It is ridiculous and horribly unbelievable.  The romance is literally forced.  Moreover, the “origin” of their love is so outrageous and does not give sufficient grounds for a serious relationship.  I mean really!?  Throughout the novel Natalie commented to her lover Ash that they really did not know each other.  Very true, Natalie, but why do you continually profess your love to him?  I would have enjoyed watching their relationship progress as they familiarize themselves with each other and believe this would have made the romance elements more realistic and less of a joke.
  • Too, too, too many elements from top YA books.  I really should have tallied how many references I found to The Hunger Games, Twilight, and Harry Potter.  I understand that authors can be inspired by other works, but it is important to make his or her own work as original as it can be.  This book heavily relies on these other books’ plots to constitute its own.  I am seriously in awe that this book has not received any trouble for its infringements on copyright laws.  Overall, the times when the author does steer away from these plots are the best.  Seriously, Richards you should have pursued your own story!

My Rating:

★★★ 3/5 stars!

Recommendations:

I’d recommend this book to those who like young adult fiction, dystopia, paranormal (vampire), and romance novels.

Mention Monday: Lockdown-Escape from Furnace

Welcome to Mention Monday in which I discuss a book that I really enjoyed.  Mention Mondays are a part of my Daily Post; to learn more about it, click here!

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Furnace Penitentiary: the world’s most secure prison for young offenders, buried a mile beneath the earth’s surface. Convicted of a murder he didn’t commit, sentenced to life without parole, “new fish” Alex Sawyer knows he has two choices: find a way out, or resign himself to a death behind bars, in the darkness at the bottom of the world. Except in Furnace, death is the least of his worries. Soon Alex discovers that the prison is a place of pure evil, where inhuman creatures in gas masks stalk the corridors at night, where giants in black suits drag screaming inmates into the shadows, where deformed beasts can be heard howling from the blood-drenched tunnels below. And behind everything is the mysterious, all-powerful warden, a man as cruel and dangerous as the devil himself, whose unthinkable acts have consequences that stretch far beyond the walls of the prison.

Together with a bunch of inmates—some innocent kids who have been framed, others cold-blooded killers—Alex plans an escape. But as he starts to uncover the truth about Furnace’s deeper, darker purpose, Alex’s actions grow ever more dangerous, and he must risk everything to expose this nightmare that’s hidden from the eyes of the world.-Goodreads summary

I never had a book that gave me nightmares prior to reading Lockdown.  Weeks after reading this book, my mind was plagued by the harsh images Smith portrays in his novel.  While this terrified me, I have to hand it to him for innovating a novel so graphic and gruesome that it seriously haunted and continues to haunt me.

The whole concept of Furnace as a penitentiary for juveniles is mind-boggling.  How can something like this, which heavily relies on torture, be an acceptable form of punishment for the young people of society?  Therefore, Smith encourages his readers think: What are acceptable forms of punishment?  What constitutes crime?  How can crimes justly receive punishment?  What is justice?  etc.  

Since Smith creates this thought-provoking atmosphere, readers find themselves attached to the protagonist as he attempts to answer these and other questions while wishing for an escape.  Despite the fact that the main character is a male, I quickly related to him and felt myself a part of his journey, which explains those horrific nightmares!  With him, I rejoiced and mourned til the end of the novel.  I have yet to read the second book, but I am absolutely dying to read it!

*What are some of your favorite books?  Comment below and you may be featured in next week’s Mention Monday post!*

SIDE NOTE: I apologize for not being able to put up a book review this past Saturday.  My lovely brother had his graduation party, and I was quite consumed with the festivities.  The book review will be up temporarily!  My apologies, lovely readers! 🙂