Friday, February 27, 2015

Review: PLEASE REMAIN CALM by Courtney Summers

Title: Please Remain Calm
Author: Courtney Summers
Series: This is Not a Test #2

Why I read it: This is Not a Test was on my top books I read in 2014 list. Seriously, if you haven't read it yet, what are you waiting for? If you love dark contemporaries and/or zombies, go read it right now. One of the most beautiful, heartbreaking books I've ever read. You can read my gushing review here. So when the e-novella sequel came out, I immediately downloaded it...and then chickened out of reading it. I had to psych myself up for a couple of days before I was brave enough to read it through in one sitting. (Also on an unrelated note: Courtney is a marshmallow, and is totally the reason I started watching Veronica Mars. So if you haven't started that yet, either, GO DO IT. One of my new favorite shows.) (This may be the longest paragraph I've ever written for the "Why I read it" section...)

Thoughts: For as long as my "Why I read it" section is, this may be the shortest review I've done so far. I don't want to get into spoiler territory, because really, This is Not a Test and Please Remain Calm really need to be read to get the full feel of it. The feeling you get after reading these books is not easily explainable via review.

What I will say, is that Courtney Summers truly excels at pulling heart strings. Making you feel like the world is bleak and awful and nothing good, and then providing you a tiny glimmer of hope. And the nine times out of ten, she pulls that glimmer away from you. And you want to scream and cry and rail against the world for doing this to you, but it is one of the most exquisite feelings of heartbreak.

That's what Courtney Summers does. This book is short, and easily digestible in one sitting. In fact, that's how I recommend it. Because you can't stop turning pages, racing to the finish line, desperate to see how it all turns out.

Just like This is Not a Test, Please Remain Calm is fast-paced, character driven, and heart-wrenching. Highly recommend. Cannot recommend it enough.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Tell me: have YOU read this e-novella sequel yet? What were your thoughts? Were you as emotionally distraught as I was? Let me know in the comments below!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (15): WE ALL LOOKED UP

WoW is hosted by Breaking the Spine!

Author: Tommy Wallach
Release date: March 24, 2015

Summary: They always say that high school is the best time of your life. 

Peter, the star basketball player at his school, is worried "they" might actually be right. Meanwhile Eliza can't wait to escape Seattle--and her reputation--and perfect-on-paper Anita wonders if admission to Princeton is worth the price of abandoning her real dreams. Andy, for his part, doesn't understand all the fuss about college and career--the future can wait. 

Or can it? Because it turns out the future is hurtling through space with the potential to wipe out life on Earth. As these four seniors--along with the rest of the planet--wait to see what damage an asteroid will cause, they must abandon all thoughts of the future and decide how they're going to spend what remains of the present. 

Thoughts: I saw this cover long before I knew what it was about, and I was so intrigued. Actually, putting the blog post together was the first time I'd seen the cover up close enough to realize that the title is on the cover. I thought it was just the picture, and I thought that was so intriguing. Still, it sounds like a ridiculously good concept, sort of like Melancholia (but better), so I can't wait to read this one! 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Book Birthdays! -- February 24, 2015

And we're back! Sorry, last week apparently was a very slow week for YA releases, so we had to skip a week. So let me know if there was a new release I somehow missed last week. Now onto this week's exciting new releases! Also note that I've included an adult fantasy title this week, because it is by a hugely popular YA author! 

*Note: when celebrating birthdays for books in a series other than Book 1, I will not list the summary, in the interest of avoiding spoilers. If you've read the first book(s) in the series, or are just insanely curious, follow the book title link to the Goodreads page to read the summary there! 

Series Starters

Title: A Wicked Thing
Author: Rhiannon Thomas
Series: A Wicked Thing #1

Summary: One hundred years after falling asleep, Princess Aurora wakes up to the kiss of a handsome prince and a broken kingdom that has been dreaming of her return. All the books say that she should be living happily ever after. But as Aurora  understands all too well, the truth is nothing like the fairy tale. 

Her family is long dead. Her "true love" is a kind stranger. And her whole life has been planned out by political foes while she slept. 

As Aurora struggles to make sense of her new world, she begins to fear that the curse has left its mark on her, a fiery and dangerous thing that might be as wicked as the witch who once ensnared her. With her wedding day drawing near, Aurora must make the ultimate decision on how to save her kingdom: marry the prince or run. 

Title: A Darker Shade of Magic
Author: V.E. Schwab (Victoria Schwab)
Series: A Darker Shade of Magic #1

Summary: Kell is one of the last Travelers--rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit. 

Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London--but no one speaks of that now. 

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they'll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her 'proper adventure.' 

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lil will first need to stay alive--trickier than they hoped. 

Title: The Sin Eater's Daughter
Author: Melinda Salisbury
Series: The Sin Eater's Daughter #1

Summary: Seventeen-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. But although she's engaged to the prince, Twylla isn't exactly a member of the court. 

She's the executioner. 

As the Goddess embodied, Twylla instantly kills anyone she touches. Each month she's taken to the prison and forced to lay her hands on those accused of treason. No one will ever love a girl with murder in her veins. Even the prince, whose royal blood supposedly makes him immune to Twylla's fatal touch, avoids her company. 

But then a new guard arrives, a boy whose easy smile belies his deadly swordsmanship. And unlike the others, he's able to look past Twylla's executioner robes and see the girl, not the Goddess. Yet Twylla's been promised to the prince, and knows what happens to people who cross the queen. 

However, a treasonous secret is the least of Twylla's problems. The queen has a plan to destroy her enemies, a plan that requires a stomach-churning, unthinkable sacrifice. Will Twylla do what it takes to protect her kingdom? Oro will she abandon her duty in favor of a doomed love? 

Series Continuers

Title: Unleashed
Author: Sophie Jordan
Series: Uninvited #2
(Actually the end. It's a duology!)

Title: Homecoming 
Author: Kass Morgan
Series: The 100 #3

Title: Salt & Stone
Author: Victoria Scott
Series: Fire & Flood #2

Tell me: what new releases are YOU excited for this week? Did I miss any? Let me know in the comments below! 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Review: INSURGENT by Veronica Roth

*WARNING: Spoilers ahead for Divergent. If you haven't read the first book in the trilogy, come back when you have!*

Title: Insurgent
Author: Veronica Roth
Series: Divergent #2

Why I read it: Back when Allegiant was getting ready to release, I picked this up and tried to read it. But it had been so long since I'd read Divergent that I couldn't remember anything that had happened or any of the character names other than Tris and Four. So after a SINGLE page, I put it back down. Now that the Insurgent movie is getting read to come out, I decided that it was time to finally read it. And bonus: since I've seen the Divergent movie, I actually remember things!

*Note: I am behind on reviews. I have two or three more reviews for books I read in January that I still need to write and post. But I finished this late last night, and I have a lot of thoughts. So I need to write this review while those thoughts are fresh in my mind!

I really loved Divergent. I read it fairly soon after publication, when I was firmly in a dystopian mood, thanks to The Hunger Games. That being said, I have been spoiled for this series. So unfortunately, that is always in the back of my mind as I continue reading this series.

Thoughts: I did not enjoy this second installment nearly as much as the first.

First, let's talk characters. Tris feels much weaker than she did in Divergent. Part of that is due to her grief for her parents, as well as her guilt for killing Will. But part of it is just poor decision-making, poor planning, or poor interactions with other people. For as long as this book is, it rarely feels like Tris is making an impact on the plot. Instead, she feels like a bystander who is along for the ride.

My biggest problem with Tris is her sudden aversion to guns. Just because she shot Will, she now can't stand to hold a gun. I get it (slightly), but I feel like this is a problem that should have been addressed within this book, by the end. Because there are so many points in this book where Tris is in more danger than necessary because she freezes when she touches a gun. This also led to a strange, editing mistake towards the end of the book. The following are direct quotes from the book.
  • Pg. 461: "I let go of the gun...Fernando offers me the stunner." Tris has been offered a gun, but she still can't stand to hold it, so she takes an alternative weapon instead. 
  • Pg. 464: "I point my gun at the lock, shield my face with an arm, and fire." So now, all of a sudden, not only does Tris have a gun out of nowhere, but she actually uses it. 
  • Pg. 471: "I scramble to my feet, draw my gun, and point it at her..." Still got that gun, threatening to use it against a person...
  • Pg. 476: "I realize I forgot the stunner in the empty classroom. I am unarmed again." So that gun that just magically appeared in the last ten pages (and your willingness to use it) has just disappeared again. Just in time for you to not actually be able to defend yourself. 
This bothered me way more than it should have. Sure, it's just an editing mistake, but it completely undermines an entire point of characterization for Tris for ten pages, then discards it. So strange. (Side note: it looks like Tris doesn't have as much as a problem with guns in the movie, which I am grateful for.)

Tobias is pretty wonderful, as usual. I appreciate how Tobias, unlike Tris, strives to be more like all of the factions, rather than just the ones his Divergent mind proved an aptitude for. Though he still has a way to go on the Amity front. What I appreciate even more is the fact that while he protective of Tris, he allows her to make her own decisions, even if they hurt him.

I think one of the most interesting, complex characters in the series is Peter. I don't want to get into details, to avoid spoilers for Insurgent, but I'm curious as to where his character will go in the final book.

The new characters are interesting. Jack Kang, Evelyn, and Johanna, make things happen in this book. Their decisions really spurn the action, even more so than Tris and Tobias.

Speaking of those actions...

This book feels like a lot of moving from place A to place B to place C to place D...and on. Our characters don't spend much time in one spot. Most of these moves feel necessary, if a touch exhausting. But it does tend to disrupt the flow of the book. In my mind, I can separate the parts of the book by where our main characters were; more like episodes of a TV show than a single book.

Without going into spoilers, I do think that the events of the last TWO pages of the book should have happened so much earlier. Or at least we could have gotten a few, more explicit hints or bits of foreshadowing. Because as it stands, I am confused and curious, but not clamoring to read the last book immediately.

If you loved Divergent, I still recommend you continue the series at this point. This book still presents some interesting ideas about the faction system and how it worked, and parts of the book still kept my pages turning. But overall, this was a letdown. At some point in the next few months, I will read Allegiant, so look forward to that review as well.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Tell me: have YOU read Insurgent? What were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Review: LARK ASCENDING by Meagan Spooner

Title: Lark Ascending
Author: Meagan Spooner
Series: Skylark #3

Why I read it: I have been anxiously awaiting this trilogy conclusion since I finished Shadowlark last winter! Oren made my list of top ten book boyfriends last summer, so I had to find out what happened. And since I've made it my goal to finish more series than I start this year, I thought this was a great time to start making good on that promise!

Thoughts: This was a pretty solid conclusion to the trilogy.

As I'm writing this review, I'm finding it hard to put my thoughts into words. I have to say that as I was reading it, and immediately afterward, I was a little disappointed by this book. But now that it's been a little while since I finished it, I'm realizing I liked it more than I thought I did.

Lark and Oren are still the characters I loved from the first two books, and I continued to root for their relationship throughout the entire book. The supporting characters were interesting as well, and I love seeing how Lark's interactions with people from her city have changed from the first book, after she's seen the real world.

The writing is okay, but I wouldn't say the writing is the selling point for this series. Instead, it's the characters and their relationships. But the writing gets us where we need to go.

I really loved the plot. Eve, the renewable from the first book, provided a really interesting foil for Lark's character, and she ended up driving the plot a lot more than I had expected.

I read this after finishing Ignite Me (review here), and I had a bit of a book hangover, so I was moving through Lark Ascending pretty slowly. But the climax was thrilling, and once I got there, I was flipping pages much faster to discover how it all turned out.

I think my main problem with this book was the world-building. The world-building in the first two books was extremely satisfying, but there were explanations for plot events in this book that just didn't make as much as sense as I needed them to, and the history of their world feels like it still needs to be fleshed out more. So that was where the disappointment came in.

There was also a plot point I wasn't a fan of. I won't get into details because of spoilers, but it involves more drama between Lark and Oren.

That said, the ending was still satisfying, and I appreciate the journey the main characters took throughout the trilogy. I would still recommend this series to anyone who loves science-fiction/fantasy and great romance, especially in the first book.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Tell me: have YOU read this series? What did you think of the conclusion? Which book was your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


Titles: Fracture Me and Ignite Me
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Series: Shatter Me #2.5 and 3

Why I read it: DUH. 

Thoughts: Fracture Me is the novella that comes between books 2 and 3 in the Shatter Me series. I liked it, but definitely not as much as Destroy Me. (Then again, how could I? Destroy Me blew my MIND.) Fracture Me is from Adam's perspective, which was interesting, though by the end of Unravel Me, I was already starting to lose interest in him. But hearing his thoughts on the situations they were in was still helpful in understanding his character. 

My main problem with this novella is that the first half takes place at the same time as the end of Unravel Me, just from Adam's POV instead of Juliette's. So while we get a few insights into Adam's personality, it is mostly just a rehash of the same events. The second half, after they are separated, is better, because it delves into events that we don't get to see in either book 2 or 3. So that was great, but there wasn't enough new content for my liking. 

But then, I moved on to Ignite Me, which...whew. The writing remains beautiful, as is normal for Tahereh Mafi, but the strikethrough passages are a thing of the past, since Juliette has finally come into her own and become more confident in who she is. And that character development is just so on point. 

But really, all of the characters are amazing in this book. I know I've pretty much said that about every book in the series, but in this book, all of the characters have much more interaction with each other. I love the dynamic between Juliette and Warner and Kenji and all of the other Omega Point members. 

But the real star here, for me at least, is the relationship aspect. I was rooting for them the entire time, and there was SO MUCH SEXUAL TENSION it killed me. But in a good way. Seriously. If you need a lesson in sexual tension in YA, read this book. Because it was so amazing, it left my stomach in knots the entire time. 

I love the conclusion. The ending felt abrupt at the time, but I realize that was just because my heart was racing about a million miles an hour when I read it. And my mind continues to race even now, a month later, thinking about what happens now in that world. And if a book can make me think about it that long after I finish it, I know it's a good one. 

Definitely one of my new favorite series. Absolutely recommend it to anyone who likes dystopian worlds, teenagers with powers, and delicious romance! Look for a overview series review in the near future!

Fracture Me: 4/5 stars
Ignite Me: 5/5 stars

Tell me: have YOU read these books? What were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!

Waiting on Wednesday (14): THE REST OF US JUST LIVE HERE

WoW is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine!

Author: Patrick Ness
Release date: August 27, 2015

Summary: What if you weren't the Chosen One? 

What if you're not the one who's so often the hero in YA fiction; who's supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever this new thing is, with the blue lights and death? What if you were like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again. Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week's end of the world and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life. Even if your best friend might just be the God of mountain lions...

Thoughts: This book just sounds delightfully weird and quirky. And after reading A Monster Calls last year, I immediately knew I needed more Patrick Ness in my life. I haven't yet picked up the Chaos Walking trilogy, or More Than This, but that just means I still have a ton of Patrick Ness to read and enjoy in the future! 

Tell me: what are YOU waiting on this Wednesday? Let me know in the comments below! 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday (14): Book Related Problems I Have

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely ladies at The Broke and the Bookish!

For this week's topic, I couldn't come up with ten problems. So here's my top seven book related problems!

7. Having too little time to read. I have way too many hobbies, and I also work sometimes substitute teaching. So if I'm not subbing, I sleep half the day away. Then I have blog posts to write, movies and TV shows to watch, showers to take, meals to eat, rooms to clean...I start to run out of hours in the day in which to read!

6. Not enough shelf space. I love collecting books. (See #1.) But I am quickly running out of room for them at my house! We currently have books in 11 spots around the house, and they're quickly taking over!

5. Having few YA-reading friends IRL. Most of my friends in real life don't read young adult novels. My mom is usually the only person I have to talk to about the books I'm reading!

4. Requiring matching books. This is a fairly recent development. In the last year, I've grown obsessed with having all of my series match. So when I have a trilogy with two hardcovers and one paperback, it bothers me. Or when the covers don't match, it bothers me. So I start buying replacements. Which costs money. It's just ridiculous, but now I can't stop!

3. Falling in love with the love interest. If the love interest in a book is totally swoon-worthy, I fall in love with them so easily! And then I pine away for the fictional character, and lament the fact that guys like that don't exist in real life. Books have totally given me unrealistic expectations about love. 

2. Too many bookmarks. I usually only read one book at a time, two at the MOST. But I have a TON of bookmarks, and I'm usually too lazy to get a new one out to use. So I end up always using the same one and letting the rest waste away in a box. 

1. Buying too many! I have a horrible habit of buying way too many books. I'm not the fastest reader in the world, so I am constantly buying more books than I can read. I try to reduce my TBR pile, but I'll never get it to zero because I buy faster than I read!

Tell me: what are YOUR book related problems? Do you have any of my problems, too? Let me know in the comments below! 

Monday, February 16, 2015


Titles: Destroy Me and Unravel Me
Author: Tahereh Mafi 
Series: Shatter Me #1.5 and 2

Why I read them: DUH. 

Thoughts: Destroy Me is the novella that comes between books 1 and 2 from villain Warner's perspective. This is really the first novella I've ever read for a series, but I absolutely LOVED IT. I don't think I've ever read something that so completely and quickly changed my opinion on a character. I had heard enough booktubers talk about how much they loved Warner to know that change was coming, but I didn't think it would hit me this hard. I nearly cried reading this novella, and this was only the second thing in the series I had read. So if you're one of those people who doesn't read novellas for series, you need to amend that for this series. Because this novella is can't-miss information for fans of the series. 

Now moving on to Unravel Me!

If you'll remember from my review of Shatter Me, the only thing holding me back from giving it 5/5 stars was the act that the beginning was a little slow for my liking. This book did not have that problem. There were no parts of this book that felt slow to me, so I flew through this book in two days. I stayed up until nearly 4 A.M. finishing this book because I just couldn't bear to put it down. 

The characters continue to grow. I loved watching Juliette battle with herself, and with others. After so much time spent in isolation, she finds it hard to interact with others in a healthy way. I still love the strikethrough passages, though they begin to happen n ot nearly as often as Juliette becomes more comfortable with who she is. 

Juliette and Adam's relationship is so believable. As is her relationship with Warner. The latter is what really kept me hooked. After reading Destroy Me, we have already had a chance to see Warner's inner character. But throughout Unravel Me, Juliette gets insights into his true personality as well, and their interactions were the highlight of this book for me. 

Well, that and Kenji. I LOVE Kenji Kishimoto. He is sarcastic and cocky but genuinely caring, and I absolutely love that about him. His interactions with Juliette were definitely my other favorite parts. 

We also get major plot developments, and I have to admit that I saw one twist coming. But Tahereh Mafi handles it in a way that never felt contrived. The characters react to it in a very realistic way, and it was so interesting to see those reactions. Even into the third book. 

The writing is still gorgeous here. Mafi really has a way with words. She makes them not only tell a story, but also invoke emotions through words alone. It's absolutely brilliant. 

This book definitely doesn't suffer from the sophomore slump! Still highly recommend the series to anyone interested. 

Destroy Me: 5/5 stars
Unravel Me: 5/5 stars 

Tell me: have YOU read these books? What were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below! 

Discussion: Authors, Reviews and Community

I understand that I have very little clout or influence in the bookish community, since I've only been blogging for less than a year and I have a tiny following. So I understand that my opinion means very little. But I still have opinions, and I want to share them with you. So...deep breath. Here we go.

If you've been following the bookish community news at all lately, you'll know all about the BINGO card and all of the chaos surrounding it.

This has been a complicated topic for me to think about or talk about, because I definitely see both sides to the story. I understand that the author was frustrated and used the card to blow off steam. And I personally found it funny. But I also understand that many bloggers/reviewers got their feelings hurt because of it.

Many negative reviews of the author's book have been flagged and removed from the Goodreads page, and some of those seemed to be genuine negative reviews. Why these reviews have been removed is a mystery, but many are hypothesizing the flagger to be the author who just can't stomach negative reviews. Which is definitely a problem if that kind of author behavior is being allowed on the site.

But other reviews have been in flagrant disregard of the site's terms for appropriate reviews. And that is what I have a problem with.

Reviews on the site are to be focused solely on the book, and not the author. There have been a huge number of bloggers posting one-star reviews of the book and explaining their rating by mentioning the BINGO card or the demand for respect from authors. And when these reviews get taken down, there are more cries for respect and even cries of censorship. Then these reviews get altered slightly and posted once more. But they're still focused on the author instead of the book.

One of my biggest pet peeves is when a reviewer posts a one-star review when they haven't even read the review. If the author's actions have deterred you from reading their book, then just don't read it. I don't see any reason to bash the author and/or the book when you haven't even read it, just because your feelings got hurt because of ONE thing the author said on Twitter. I saw someone on Twitter today saying that posting one-star reviews on GR was their way of "retaliating" against the author. Retaliating. Isn't that what children do in a prank war?

In these situations, there are people who have entire GR shelves for books they refuse to ever read. And that annoys/confuses me. If there's a book out there that I know I will never read, I simply don't add it on GR. I already have too many books on my GR account; what's the point of adding a book that will never be read?

There's already so much negativity out there. If you saw the BINGO card as negativity, then fine. It's your prerogative. But why add more negativity to the situation by actively trying to bring the author down? By bringing so much attention to the situation, there are inevitably going to be people who read the book just feed the hype and see what all the fuss is about. That's the real issue. People are going to read the book whether you like it or not. And people may still enjoy it, even if the author made a poor choice on social media.

This community--the bookish community, especially in YA--is a wonderful place most of the time. There is so much love and support here. And this is one of the few communities where the stars interact with the fans on a regular basis. I've been tweeted by some of my favorite authors multiple times, but I've never been tweeted by a movie star.

But this is also one of the youngest communities out there, I think. Many YA authors are fairly young. Many professional bloggers/reviewers for YA books are in their late teens or 20's, and their opinions are taken very seriously. And sometimes, I think this lends itself to petty behavior, unfortunately.

I would like for us to cut the negativity out of our lives. And especially our online lives. Life is too short to get into Twitter feuds, or to spend your time complaining about a book you'll never read. Let's just let it go and move on. It doesn't do ANYONE any good to continue bashing the author or the book.

Let's support each other. Let's talk about books we DID read and absolutely LOVED. Spread that love. Focus more on the positive side. I know that's what I'm going to be doing in the future.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Discussion: Favorite TV Ships!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Today is a day to celebrate love in all its forms! But today, I'll be taking a small break from bookish discussions and revealing some of my favorite television ships EVER! Keep in mind that not all of these pairs are actual couples. Some of these may never happen, but a girl can wish, right? Let's jump right in! 

Once Upon a Time (aka the show with ALL the ships)

Captain Swan (Captain Hook aka Killian Jones and Emma Swan)

This is one of my strongest ships. I ship these two SO hard. As you may know, I have a serious soft spot for bad boys, so I've loved Killian from the moment we first met him in season 2. And ever since, I have been waiting for he and Emma to get together. Because he's a bad boy with a serious heart of gold. And who can resist a British pirate calling you "love?" 

Outlaw Queen (Robin Hood and The Evil Queen aka Regina Mills)

I've been pulling for them ever since Tinkerbell tried to lead Regina to him in an effort to find a happy ending. They're so fantastic together, but it's a star-crossed love, and it's that constant struggle to find an happy ending that keeps me rooting for them!

Rumbelle (Rumplestiltskin aka Mr. Gold and Belle)

I've loved Rumple for a long time, and his role as the Beast broke my heart. It's been a long, hard road for these two, and their journey isn't over. But I still keep hoping they can find a happily ever after at the end of things. 

Charming Snow (Prince Charming aka David and Snow White aka Mary Margaret)

This is a given, right? There's pretty much nothing that can tear these two apart, but I never get tired of their relationship, which is an impressive feat for a couple who has been together for pretty much EVER. 

Willice (Will Scarlet aka Knave of Hearts and Alice)

This is my most far-fetched ship of all. These two started out in the OUaT spin-off, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, which didn't do well and got canceled. But since the creators had always planned on having a self-contained story within the first season, the show ended with a definitive happy ending for our two main couples. However, I was rooting against that happy ending because I never shipped Will and Alice with their own love interests. I shipped them together. They were there for each other through everything, and they were willing to make sacrifices for each other along the way. I always thought that they would have made a more believable couple. I still do. And now that Will is on the mother show OUaT, I'm hoping that we may eventually get to explore this possibility! (And just ignore the end of Wonderland entirely. Ha!)


JoanLock from Elementary

I know. I didn't mean to. I really didn't. I started the show thinking, "Oh, a female best friend. It'll be great! And it doesn't have to be romantic." But the longer it went on, the more I changed my mind. She's the only one who's really there for him, all the time, and he needs her. And I think she needs him, too, she just doesn't know it yet. So yes. I think it DOES need to be romantic. And stat! 

JohnLock from Sherlock

Yep. I'm one of those people. A JohnLock shipper. I really can't even explain this one. I'm not usually one who ships straight characters together, but man. These two just seem like they're in denial. And it needs to happen. Hehe. 

Other Shows

Emily and Nolan from Revenge

This is just pure fantasy, I know. But I love them and their relationship so much, I think they should just screw the rest of the Hamptons and run away together. (And since I don't really watch this anymore, I may just wait until the series is over to look up who Emily ends up with. And if it's not Nolan, it had BETTER be Jack. Because history. And feels.) 

Nick and Jess from New Girl

Since day one. Haven't watched consistently since season 2, but damn. That kiss. I watched it like a dozen times in a row after that episode. 

Audrey and Nathan from Haven

Also since day one. Especially since that one moment. And especially, ESPECIALLY since that other moment. Vague, I know. But I don't want to give you spoilers! If you haven't watched this, GO DO IT. Seriously, one of my best discoveries of 2014. 

Abbie and Ichabod from Sleepy Hollow

Now I haven't watched this season yet, but based on the first season alone? Forget Katrina. Boo Katrina. IchAbbie all the way. And if it doesn't end up that way, I will be very upset. 

Jake and Olivia from Scandal

Of all the ships on this list, this is probably the one I feel the strongest about. (Other than my ultimate below...) I would MUCH rather Olivia stand in the sun with Jake than make jam in Vermont with Fitz. If I have to hear about Vermont one more time, I'm going to lose my damn mind. 

Beth and Jack from Stalker

I mean, these two are adorable in real life, so why wouldn't they be adorable on the show? I just think they would be such a good couple. 

Rory and Jess from Gilmore Girls

I mean, we obviously all know that Lorelei and Luke belong together. That's a given. But it is certainly my headcanon that Rory meets Jess again in the future, a few years down the road, and they finally get back together and stay together forever. And don't try to tell me otherwise. 







"Our story is epic. Spanning years and continents. Live ruined. Bloodshed. Epic"

Seriously, though, I can't with the LoVe feels. That quote, that one right there, pretty much sums up how I will always feel about Logan and Veronica. (I'm going to take the leap this year sometime and start reading the books!) 

Tell me: What are some of YOUR favorite TV ships? Do you agree with any of mine as well? Let me know in the comments below! 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (13): VENGEANCE ROAD

WoW is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine!

Author: Erin Bowman
Release date: September 1, 2015

Summary: When her father is killed by the notorious Rose Riders for a mysterious journal that reveals the secret location of a gold mine, eighteen-year-old Kate Thompson disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers--and justice. In the spirit of True Grit, acclaimed young adult novelist Erin Bowman brings to life the unpredictable and cutthroat days of the Wild West

Thoughts: I'm a big fan of Erin Bowman's Taken trilogy, which wraps up with Forged in April. And she's one of the Pub Crawlers I've been following for a long time, so I'm always on the lookout for new projects from my favorite Pub Crawl authors. When she started talking about this Western YA last year, I was hooked! I'm not a huge fan of Westerns in general, but this sounds so awesome. And isn't that cover absolutely beautiful? I can't wait! 

Tell me: what are YOU waiting on this Wednesday? Let me know in the comments below!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday (13): Things I Like/Dislike in Romance in Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely ladies at The Broke and the Bookish!

This is a really fun topic this week, because it's more like a book discussion, rather than a list of books that fit a category. So I'm really excited to start talking about it! This week's topic is things we like/dislike when it comes to romances in books. And since I rarely read anything with zero romance, I was so excited to do this post! I'm going to do 5 dislikes, and 5 likes, so let's get started. 


5. Reincarnation/soulmates: This is the most specific trope on my list, but I just can't stand it. This is when two characters have been in love in all of their past lives, so they keep finding each other with every reincarnation because they're "soulmates." I mean, even if a soul is reincarnated several times, they're going to have a different life each time. Their life experience will be different, personalities will develop differently, and it's just so unlikely that the same two souls would make perfect matches every time. Maybe I'm just a major cynic, but this always seems so far-fetched. 

4. Isosceles love triangles: I'm not a big fan of love triangles in which it's extremely obvious which love interest the main character should/will end up with. In these instances, the other love interest essentially serves as a temptation for the main character, an obstacle on the way to the Happily-Ever-After with her one true love. When this happens, I often fall in love with the secondary love interest, so I'm annoyed when  the MC inevitably ends up with the one I can't stand. *cough, cough, TWILIGHT, cough cough*

3. Perfect characters: I can't stand it when both characters in a romance go on and on and on about how good-looking the other character is. Like, I get it. You love them, so you think they're the most attractive person on the planet. But really, there are so many people in the world that are not perfect creatures of heavenly sexiness. No more "His hair was perfectly tousled, and his clear blue eyes pierced my soul, and his smile lit up the whole room." No one is ALL THAT. Except maybe Tom Hiddleston. 

2. Abusive love interests: Sometimes, a book romanticizes the abusive boyfriend, which is so dangerous and damaging to teenagers who aspire to have a romance like the ones they read about. A guy may be extremely overprotective, but the MC thinks it's cute. Or a guy may get a little violent when he's angry, but he's crying about how sorry he is the next second, so the MC thinks he's tortured and forgives him. It makes it seem like this kind of relationship is okay, and it's not. We shouldn't be romanticizing it for teenagers out there to read about. 

1. Insta-love: I think this one is pretty much a given. Is there anyone out there who likes insta-love? I've never even been a fan of the "love at first sight" idea, so insta-love really rubs me the wrong way. I'm a firmly believer that in order to love someone, fully and truly, you really have to know them down to their core, and that's impossible when you've just met. Sure, there may be an instant connection, but it can't be love that fast. Even if some teenagers think that it can be...I don't want to read it! 


5. Equilateral love triangles: In which both love interests are equally wonderful for different reasons. This is less about obstacles, and more about really making choices in life and love. In these instances, the MC must decide which person makes THEM the better person. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas does this really well. Celaena's relationships with both Dorian and Chaol evolve in very organic ways, and the endgame is not immediately clear, but both love interests affect Celaena's personality and actions in very different ways. 

Or quadrangles. Those can be good, too. Siege and Storm, by Leigh Bardugo...I'm looking at you. 

4. Angst: There's gotta be some conflict in my romances. There's nothing worse than a romance in which there are no problems. Real relationships are messy; people mess up, people do things they regret, and even the most stable relationships go through rough patches. Somewhere along the line, there has to be a problem that the couple has to fix. That's why I hated the movie When in Rome so much. Because as much as I love Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel, there was no real conflict there, so I didn't feel like the happily-ever-after was really earned. Bonus points for man tears, because if there's anything almost guaranteed to make me feel something, it's when the love interest cries. 

3. Bad boys: As much  as I hate abusive love interests, I do love me a bad boy. This is probably a holdover from my personal life because I'm a sucker for tattoos and sarcasm in real life, as well. There's just something about bad boys. You never know what they're going to say or do. And some of my favorite moments occur when a bad boy love interest gets to be vulnerable in front of the MC when we've only ever been shown his tough side. For examples, read the Mara Dyer trilogy by Michelle Hodkin (review here) and the Shatter Me trilogy by Tahereh Mafi (review for book one here.) Bonus points if the MC is just as sarcastic and witty as the love interest. 

2. Hate to love: They say the line between love and hate is a thin one, and I ADORE stories that explore that barrier. The two emotions are so closely intertwined that sometimes it's easy to confuse them. I love reading these because the MCs often have the best interactions that just leave me flailing with emotions. It's so obvious to the reader that they belong with each other, so it's incredibly satisfying when the characters realize that, too. So delightful. 

1. Slow-burn romances: In direct opposition to the insta-love point above, I LOVE relationships that really take their time to develop. These slow-burn romances take the tension, the will-they-or-won't-they, to the next level. It's always so deliciously torturous waiting to see what is going to happen, and when! The Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer (reviews found here, here, and here) do this really well. Over the course of three books released so far, all of the relationships continue to grow and develop, and they're not done yet! 

Tell me: what are some of YOUR likes and/or dislikes when it comes to romance in books? Let me know in the comments below! 

Book Birthdays! -- February 10, 2015

Some really great, highly-anticipated releases this week, so let's get right into it!

*Note: when celebrating birthdays for books in a series other than Book 1, I will not list the summary, in the interest of avoiding spoilers. If you've read the first book(s) in the series, or are just insanely curious, follow the book title link to the Goodreads page to read the summary there! 


Title: The Last Time We Say Goodbye
Author: Cynthia Hand

Summary: There's death all around us.
We just don't pay attention.
Until we do.

The last time Lex was happy, it was before. When she had a family that was whole. A boyfriend she loved. Friends who didn't look at her like she might break down at any moment. 

Now she's just the girl whose brother killed himself. And it feels like that's all she'll ever be. 

As Lex starts to put her life back together, she tries to block out what happened the night Tyler died. But there's a secret she hasn't told anyone--a text Tyler sent, that could have changed everything. 

Lex's brother is gone. But Lex is about to discover that a ghost doesn't have to be real to keep you from moving on. 

Title: The Glass Arrow
Author: Kristen Simmons

Summary: The story of Aya, who lives with a small group of women on the run from the men who hunt them, men who want to auction off breeding rights to the highest bidder. 

In a world where females are scarce and are hunted, then bought and sold at market for their breeding right, 15-year-old Aya has learned how to hide. With a ragtag bunch of other women and girls she has successfully avoided capture and eked out a nomadic but free existence in the mountains. But when Aya's luck runs out and she's caught by a group of businessmen on a hunting expedition, fighting to survive takes on a whole new meaning. 

Title: My Heart and Other Black Holes
Author: Jasmine Warga

Summary: Sixteen-year-old physics nerd Aysel is obsessed with plotting her own death. With a mother who can barely look at her without wincing, classmates who whisper behind her back, and a father whose violent crime rocked her small town, Aysel is ready to turn her potential energy into nothingness. 

There's only one problem: she's not sure she has the courage to do it alone. But once she discovers a website with a section called Suicide Partners, Aysel's convinced she's found her solution--Roman, a teenage boy who's haunted by a family tragedy, is looking for a partner. Even though Aysel and Roman have nothing in common, they slowly start to fill in each other's broken lives. But as their suicide pact becomes more concrete, Aysel begins to question whether she really wants to go through with it. Ultimately, she must choose between wanting to die or trying to convince Roman to live so they can discover the potential of their energy together. 

Series Starters

Title: Red Queen
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen #1

Summary: The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers. 

To Mare Barrow a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change. 

Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control. 

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win? 

Series Enders 

Title: The Ruby Circle
Author: Richelle Mead
Series: Bloodlines #6

Tell me: what new releases are YOU excited for this week? Did I miss any? Let me know in the comments below! 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Review: FAIREST by Marissa Meyer

Title: Fairest
Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: Lunar Chronicles #0.5

Summary: Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her "glamour" to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story--a story that has never been told...until now. 

Why I read it: Do I really need to explain? I needed to know Levana's backstory, and I needed something to hold me over until Winter! Although I still don't think this helped much on that front, because it's still so far away!

Thoughts: I loved the novella.

I almost expected Queen Levana to become a little more sympathetic and understandable through this prequel. And I'm happy to report that while I did gain quite a bit of understanding as to Levana's history and her motivations, she remains quite the villain and I love Marissa Meyer for it.

I'd rather not talk too much about the plot, in the interest of avoiding spoilers for both the book and the first three books in the series. Suffice it to say, I was intrigued the whole way through, and it was fun seeing the origin of many things we've already seen in Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress.

The writing, as usual, was phenomenal. It's disconcerting to be in Levana's head, but also fascinating. The characters are fleshed out, even in this short format.

Also, this book includes the first THREE chapters of Winter! When I saw that, I could barely contain myself. So once I finished Levana's story, I dove right into that beginning, and it definitely whet my whistle, and made me even that much more excited for Winter.

Basically, if you're a fan of the Lunar Chronicles at all, this prequel installment really shouldn't be missed or skipped. Pick it up before Winter, and be ready to finish the series with all the knowledge you need.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Tell me: have YOU read Fairest yet? If so, what were your thoughts? How excited are you for Winter?!? Let me know in the comments below! 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Review: SHATTER ME by Tahereh Mafi

Title: Shatter Me
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Series: Shatter Me #1

Summary: Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days. 

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color. 

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead tht the survivors are whispering war--and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now. 

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior. 

Why I read it: I have heard SO many things about this series. Back when this book was first released, I never gave it much thought because I loathed the original cover. But in 2014, when everyone was finishing the series and raving about it, I started taking notice again. The new covers were gorgeous, everyone seemed to love it, and it just sounded so intriguing. So I asked for the series for Christmas, and started this book the day after!

Thoughts: Wow. I totally see why this series had everyone totally obsessed. Because I am, too.

I know a lot of people tire of dystopian series, but Ii love them. And this is definitely cream of the crop as far as dystopian goes. The world-building here is subtle, but powerful.

Our narrator Juliette is broken, and the way Tahereh Mafi shows that is just brilliant. She's a scared girl whose touch kills, and she doesn't know why. She's been mistreated all her life. Tell a girl she's a monster enough and she starts to believe it. When the story starts, she's been isolated from the world in an institution for the better part of a year, and the solitude has taken its toll.

Since the book is told from 1st-person present POV, we are constantly in Juliette's head, seeing how her mind works. And a big part of this is seeing thoughts that are struck-through. I know that this is a turn-off to many people thinking about reading this series, but I think it's a brilliant story-telling technique. Juliette's thoughts are rambling, beautiful, poetic tangents, and the strikethroughs only enhance the fact that she's a little bit crazy, or at least she thinks she is. And since she hasn't had anyone to talk to, she's had time to come up with some beautiful, provocative insights into the world. Some of my favorite writing I've read in a long time.

We also have Warner, who as the villain of the story, is a military general of The Reestablishment. Warner is definitely one of the most complex villains I've ever read. Every interaction he had with Juliette vs. everyone else was so fascinating, and I couldn't wait to learn more about him in the rest of the series.

Adam is less interesting, but he's still a great love interest for Juliette. He is exactly what she needs: sweet, caring and protective, and for now that's perfect.

My only complaint with this first book is that the beginning was a little bit slow. But around halfway through the book, the action really began to pick up and I couldn't put it down anymore. I immediately continued with the series after I finished this, and marathoned all the way through! So check back through the next week or so for my reviews of the rest of the series!

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Tell me: have YOU read Shatter Me? What were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below! 

Waiting on Wednesday (12): THE FILL-IN BOYFRIEND

WoW is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine!

Author: Kasie West
Release date: May 5, 2015

Summary: When Gia Montgomery's boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she has to think fast. After all, she'd been telling her friends about him for months now. This was supposed to be the night she proved he existed. So when she sees a cute guy waiting to pick up his sister, she enlists his help. The task is simple: be her fill-in boyfriend--two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. After that, she can win back the real Bradley. 

The problem is that days after prom, it's not the rel Bradley she's thinking about, but the stand-in. The one whose name she doesn't even know. But tracking him down doesn't mean they're done faking a relationship. Gia owes him a favor and his sister intends to see that he collects: his ex-girlfriend's graduation party--three hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. 

Just when Gia begins to wonder if she could turn her fake boyfriend into a real one, Bradley comes waltzing back into her life, exposing her lie, and threatening to destroy her friendships and her new-found relationship. 

Thoughts: This just sounds like such an adorable book. It seems like something that would have been a romcom movie back in the day when romcoms were a legit thing that happened all the time. And I LOVE my romcoms. So while I haven't read any Kasie West yet, this book made my most anticipated list of 2015. I can't wait to read it! 

Tell me: what are YOU waiting on this Wednesday? Let me know in the comments below! 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Book Birthdays -- February 3, 2015

This is sort of a slow week for YA book releases, but that's okay. Check back next week, because there are a TON of great books coming out next week! 

*Note: when celebrating birthdays for books in a series other than Book 1, I will not list the summary, in the interest of avoiding spoilers. If you've read the first books in the series, or are just insanely curious, follow the book title link to the Goodreads page to read the summary there! 


Author: Heather Demetrios 

Summary: If seventeen-year-old Skylar Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer,a  baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing standing between straightedge Skylar and art school are three minimum-wage months of summer. Skylar can taste the freedom--that is, until her mother loses her job and everything starts coming apart. Torn between her dreams and the people she loves, Skylar realizes everything she's ever worked for is on the line. 

Nineteen-year-old Josh Mitchell had a different ticket out of Creek View: the Marines. But after his leg is blown off in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy her used to be. What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradise--a quirky motel off California's dusty Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and soon, something deeper. 

Title: Invaded 
Author: Melissa Landers
Series: Alienated #2

Tell me: what new releases are YOU excited for this week? Did I miss any? Let me know in the comments below! 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Review: STRUCK by Jennifer Bosworth

Title: Struck
Author: Jennifer Bosworth
Series: Struck #1

Summary: Mia Price is a lightning addict. She's survived countless strikes, but her craving to connect to the energy in storms endangers her life and the lives of those around her. 

Los Angeles, where lightning rarely strikes, is one of the few places Mia feels safe from her addiction. But when an earthquake devastates the city, her haven is transformed into a minefield of chaos and danger. The beaches become massive tent cities. Downtown is a crumbling wasteland, where a traveling party moves to a different empty building each night, the revelers drawn to the destruction by a force they cannot deny. Two warring cults rise to power, and both see Mia as the key to their opposing doomsday prophecies. They believe she has a connection to the freak electrical storm that caused the quake, and to the far more devastating storm that is yet to come. 

Mia wants to trust the enigmatic and alluring Jeremy when he promises to protect her, but she fears he isn't who he claims to be. In the end, the passion and power that brought them together could be their downfall. When the final disaster strikes, Mia must risk unleashing the full horror of her strength to save the people she loves, or lose everything. 

Why I read it: A long time ago when this came out, I thought this sounded so intriguing, so I got it for Christmas. I FINALLY picked it up in December. I needed a book to read after finished Cress, but I didn't want to get invested in a series because I knew I was going to start Shatter Me as soon as I got it for Christmas. So I chose a book from my TBR jar and this is what I came out with!

Thoughts: As intriguing as I found this premise, I'm starting to think I never finished reading the synopsis. Because I think if I had read the entire synopsis, I would have realized that this wouldn't be a "Danielle" book. Because I did not enjoy it very much.

First, let's talk about characters. I didn't really care for any of them. Mia is whiny and very rarely takes any initiative of her own. Which is strange, since I expected a lightning addict to be much more confident and badass. I truly like a lot of YA cliches, but the girl who tries to hide and go unnoticed is not one of my favorites. Her brother, while playing a couple of semi-important roles in the plot, has very little to actually do or say. In the beginning, I thought his defiant attitude would serve as a good counterpoint to Mia's passiveness, but then he basically disappeared throughout the middle of the book. I felt bad for their mother, but at the same time, I just wanted to slap her.

The other students at Mia's school. Honestly, I can't even remember their names because they didn't have a ton of personality. They were just there to serve as impetus for Mia to get involved--in some way--with both cults. Which I will get to in a moment.

But first, let's talk about Jeremy. Oh, Jeremy. This boy is a Gary Stu if I ever saw one. The insta-love between these two was just awful, and I didn't believe it for a second. Also, there is a little bit of a mystery surrounding who Jeremy is, and boy did I see that one from a mile away. And it annoyed me so damn much that Mia didn't figure it out, too. She should have.

The plot was okay. I didn't realize there were "two warring cults" in the book; I thought there was just the religious cult, which really intrigued me. Cults like that make me very curious, which was part of the appeal of this book. But the two cults aspect really took me out of the story. I knew this book would have a little bit of a paranormal aspect to it, but I didn't expect the religious mythology aspect to play such a large role in the plot.

The story takes place in Los Angeles. But because this MAJOR storm has taken place, there is a lot of world-building to do in order to get a real feel of what this earthquake has done to the landscape and the culture. But instead of learning about it bit by bit, the first ten chapters or so are mostly explanations, with very little real action. Which was not great. I never really got seriously invested into the story or attached to any of the characters.

Maybe I was just expecting something different out of this than what I got. If the sequel to this ever comes out (it's been planned for two years already, with no release in sight), I probably won't be continuing with the series, and this book will probably be going in my unhaul later this spring.

Rating: 2/5 stars

Tell me: have YOU read Struck? Did you like it more than me, or do you agree with my points? Let me know in the comments below!