Friday, December 27, 2013

End of the year survey

best books 2013 end of year survey

I'm so excited to do this survey! Jamie created it at The Perpetual Page Turner. I'm going to try not to constantly repeat answers.

1. Best book you read in 2013. 

Contemporary - Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Dystopian - Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

Historical Fiction - The Madman's Daughter by Megan Sheperd

Paranormal - The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa

Science Fiction - Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Fantasy - Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Retelling - Splintered by A.G. Howard

2. Book you were excited about & thought you would love but didn't. 

Arclight by Josin. L. McQuein

3. Most Surprising in a good way book of 2013. 

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

4. Book you recommended most to people in 2013 

I don't think there's one I rec'd above all others.

5. Best series you discovered in 2013

The Vampire Academy series

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2013 

Brodi Ashton

7. Best book out of your comfort zone 

Sins & Needles by Karina Halle

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book 

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancy

9. Book you read in 2013 you are most likely to reread next year 

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2013 

Splintered (Splintered, #1)

11. Most memorable character of 2013 

Victor & Eli, Em & James & Finn, Kierran & Ethan

12. Most beautifully written book in 2013 

The Archived by Victoria Schwab & Venom by Fiona Paul

13.  Book that had the greatest impact on you 

Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers and Game by Barry Lyga

14. Book you can't believe you waited until 2013 to FINALLY read

The entire Harry Potter series

15. Favorite passage/quote you read from a book in 2013

"I solemnly swear that I am up to no good." - Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

16. Shortest and longest book read in 2013 

The longest was Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - 870 pages. The shortest was probably Fracture Me by Tahereh Mafi - 68 pages.

17. Book that had a scene in it that had you reeling and dying to talk to somebody about it 

Definitely chapter 62 in Unravel Me, the ending of Allegiant, and the last part of The Iron Traitor.

18. Favorite relationship in a book 

Friendship - Harry, Ron & Hermione, and Jasper & Howie

Romantic - Sloane and James, Alyssa and Morpheus, Aria and Perry, Juliette and Warner, Daemon and Katy, Sybella and Beast, Wolf and Scarlet, Addison and Trevor, Rose and Dimitri

Family - Allison and Jackal

19. Favorite book read in 2013 from an author you've read previously 

Through the Ever Night

20. Best book you read based solely on someone's recommendations 

Speechless by Hannah Harrington

21. Genre you read the most from in 2013 

Fantasy and paranormal. Big surprise.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book read in 2013 

Trevor from Pivot Point

23. Best 2013 debut 

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

24. Most vivid world/imaginary

The Harry Potter world, hands down.  

25. Book that was the most fun to read

Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo

26. Book that made you cry in 2013 

All Our Yesterdays, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

27. Book you read in 2013 that got kind of overlooked 

Vicious, Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay

Looking Ahead 

1. Book you didn't get to this year but will make your top priority in 2014 

I really want to finish the Vampire Academy series, the Legend series, the Chemical Garden series, and the Percy Jackson series.

2. Book you are most anticipating in 2014 (non-debut) 

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi, Cress by Marissa Meyer, Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo and quite a few others.

3. Most anticipated 2014 debut 

Cruel Beauty by Roseamund Hodge

4. Series ending you are most anticipating

Ignite Me!!!

5. One thing you hope to accomplish in your reading/blogging life 

Well I really wanted to read 100 books this year, but I only read 92. Hopefully I can fulfill that goal in 2014!


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Review: Fracture Me by Tahereh Mafi

Fracture Me (Shatter Me, #2.5)
Goodreads Summary: In this electrifying sixty-page companion novella to the New York Timesbestselling Shatter Me series, discover the fate of the Omega Point rebels as they go up against The Reestablishment. Set during and soon after the final moments of Unravel MeFracture Me is told from Adam's perspective.
As Omega Point prepares to launch an all-out assault on The Reestablishment soldiers stationed in Sector 45, Adam's focus couldn't be further from the upcoming battle. He's reeling from his breakup with Juliette, scared for his best friend's life, and as concerned as ever for his brother James's safety. And just as Adam begins to wonder if this life is really for him, the alarms sound. It's time for war.
On the battlefield, it seems like the odds are in their favor—but taking down Warner, Adam's newly discovered half brother, won't be that easy. The Reestablishment can't tolerate a rebellion, and they'll do anything to crush the resistance . . . including killing everyone Adam has ever cared about.
Fracture Me sets the stage for Ignite Me, the explosive finale in Tahereh Mafi's epic dystopian series. It's a novella not to be missed by fans who crave action-packed stories with tantalizing romance like Divergent by Veronica Roth, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and Legend by Marie Lu.
Genre: Dystopia, romance
Pages: 68
Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: Bought e-book

Favorite Quote: "She's not his type at all."


Ever since Shatter Me first came out in 2011, I have pretty much loved every single second of it. It took me a little while to get used to the unique writing style, but I came to love it. But what I adored even more than the poetic words were the characters (or at least a few of them). The ones that have a place in my heart are in solid favorite positions. I figured there might be another novella since we got Destroy Me last year, but I didn't think it would be from Adam's perspective. Mostly because I think I read somewhere that Mafi said writing the story through his eyes would give away too much to the reader before book three came out. Apparently that's not the case because lo and behold, Adam is narrating. The best thing about the novella itself is the cover, I'm sad to say. I'm actually pretty disappointed by it, but it did feature the first two chapters of Ignite Me, and they were awesome. I love the shade of purple, and even though the feathers are a little out of place here, they're still so pretty. I find it funny that the tagline is I Will Not Lose Her. It should be I'll Probably Lose Her But Oh Well.

I can't honestly say I had high expectations for this despite my love of Tahereh Mafi's books. It's mostly due to the fact that I greatly dislike Adam and I thought sticking around him constantly would be annoying. I've always felt kind of bad for not liking him though, because I knew that he was a pretty good guy and I had no legitimate reason for hating his guts (aside from wanting Warner to end up with Juliette, that is). There are two things Fracture Me convinced me of. The first is that there are good reasons behind my Adam-hate now! I no longer have to feel bad. He comes off so differently to the reader when he's the narrator and we're not seeing him through Juliette's biased eyes.

He's whiny, he's a hypocrite and he's actually a little mean. He constantly complains that no one listens to him, and the way he sees Juliette is awful. He thinks she is a "weak link" (direct quote), and that she always needs to be protected. He doesn't like having her along when they go off to fight The Reestablishment. He doesn't know if he wants to stay with her after she left him for good reason. A part of me couldn't believe what I was reading. He seemed so in love with her in Shatter Me, but here it is revealed that he feels a huge obligation to keep her safe but doesn't seem to harbor much deep feeling for her anymore.

I mean, after she gets kidnapped Kenji actually has to convince him to think about rescuing her. Kenji seemed like the one in love with Juliette, definitely not Adam. Adam is more than a little confusing, too. On one hand, he calls Warner a horrible monster that isn't even human with no remorse or compassion. Yet he's totally willing to let Juliette stay with him because "he won't hurt her". And like two pages later Adam is talking about the slow ways he'd like to torture Warner, and I was wondering who the real psychopath really was. We get next to no new background information on Adam (which was fine by me), and compared to the beautiful way Shatter Me, Unravel Me and Destroy Me are written, Fracture Me seems extremely bland in comparison. Adam is just not that deep of a guy; there's no complexity in his character.

Personally, I don't understand how anyone could still want him to end up with Juliette after this novella. I think I'll be a little offended if they do because this just showed how unhealthy their relationship is. At the very end when Adam is told that Juliette is dead, he seems more upset by the fact that he thinks it's his fault than her actual demise. This just aggravated me to death because of how much Juliette grieved for Adam in the beginning of Ignite Me; clearly, her feelings for him ran deeper than his for her. I think it even kind of hinted at a new love interest for Adam, one named Alia. I wouldn't mind if Mafi took the story in that direction, but I think a whole lot of drama will unfold after Juliette and Adam discover that neither of them are dead. The only thing I actually liked about Adam in Fracture Me was his relationship with his little brother, James. Overall, though I didn't care a whole lot for it, it was still a great eye-opener and I can't stress how important it is to other people to read the novellas for this series.

3 stars 

Books in this series: 

1. Shatter Me
1.5 Destroy Me
2. Unravel Me
2.5 Fracture Me
3. Ignite Me

Other Opinions: 

The Nocturnal Library

Monday, December 9, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Winter TBR

This is hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish. Topic this week is:

Top ten books on my winter TBR. 

These Broken Stars (Starbound, #1)

1. These Broken Stars by Amy Kaufman and Megan Spooner: I have literally seen TONS of reviews for this book pouring out, and I'm more than interested enough to read it.

Cruel Beauty

2. Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge - This is pitched as Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast. I am THERE.

Evertrue (Everneath, #3)

3. Evertrue by Brodi Ashton - I really didn't get into this series until the second book, but I'm really anxious for the ending now.

Unhinged (Splintered, #2)

4. Unhinged by A.G. Howard - Splintered has been one of my favorite books of this year, and Morpheus is on the cover!!!

Into the Still Blue (Under the Never Sky, #3)

5. Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi - I want this so bad! The characters and the world is just beautiful.

Her Dark Curiosity (The Madman's Daughter, #2)

6. Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Sheperd - I know a lot of people had mixed feelings about The Madman's Daughter (mostly due to the love triangle), but I adored it and I can't wait for the sequel.

The Unbound (The Archived, #2)

7. The Unbound by Victoria Schwab - This author has some of the most gorgeous writing ever, so it's no surprise that I want this after reading and loving The Archived.

Cress (Lunar Chronicles, #3)

8. Cress by Marissa Meyer - Can I just say that the covers for this series are amazing? I have seen some bad retellings of Rapunzel, but I have absolute faith in Marissa Meyer.

Ignite Me (Shatter Me, #3)

9. Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi - I need this book in my life like yesterday. I can barely form coherent thoughts about it.

All That Glows

10. All That Glows by Ryan Graudin - Faeries! Enough said.


The Winner's Curse

11. The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski - This. Sounds. Amazing.

There are about a bajillion books coming out in April that I really want, but that would be getting into spring, so I left them out.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Review: Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Allegiant (Divergent, #3)
Goodreads Summary: The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories. 
But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love. 
Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.
Genre: Young adult, dystopia
Pages: 526
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books
Source: Purchased copy

First Line: "I pace our cell in Erudite headquarters, her words echoing in my mind: My name will be Edith Prior, and there is much I am happy to forget."

Favorite Quote: "And he's right to say that every faction loses something when it gains a virtue; the Dauntless, brave but cruel; the Erudite, intelligent but vain; the Amity, peaceful but passive; the Candor, honest but inconsiderate; the Abnegation, selfless but stifling."

WARNING: Spoilers are present in this review 


The release of the last installment in the Divergent trilogy was what motivated me to finish the series. I wouldn't say it's as hyped up as say, The Hunger Games, but it's been pretty popular lately. And then I started hearing everyone talking about this big shocking surprise ending, which got me very curious. I didn't like the sequel as much as the first one, so I'd say I had pretty average expectations for Allegiant. It wasn't incredible or anything, but I think it delivered what it promised so in that way I have no complaints. Roth wrote a very solid ending, and I applaud her for coming up with such an interesting concept. The water symbol on the cover makes a little more sense than the Amity tree on Insurgent; plus the orange tone of the cover makes the book really pop. It's a little on the long-ish side (in fact I think it could have been two books), but hey, at least it didn't get a hideous re-design like a lot of series have been getting lately.

Honestly, the first hundred pages of Allegiant were kind of annoying to me. Basically it picks up right after Insurgent ended, which the factionless ruling over everyone, Evelyn being the leader. Tris and the gang come to the conclusion that they don't like the way things are going so they decide to leave the city to see what's out there. That whole section could have been condensed down a little bit because that's all that happened. I appreciated the fact that they had a hard time getting out of the city at first; it would have made no sense if they were able to leave easily with no problems. Over the course of these three books, a lot of people die. It reminded me a little bit of Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, just because of all the death. Every five pages someone would drop like a fly. Of course, that's not really a complaint because the people in Allegiant were in a sense in a war, so obviously bad stuff would happen. Still, by the time I got to the end, only a few familiar faces were left standing.

My favorite thing about Allegiant was the explanation we finally got about the factions, and how they came to be. No matter how much I've enjoyed this series, in the back of my mind I always kind of thought that the world itself was sort of ridiculous. I mean - in my opinion - realistically this would never take place because people are diverse and you just can't restrain yourself to one line of thinking. I was also reminded of The Maze Runner a little because we find out that the factions are just one big giant experiment controlled by onlooking scientists. I'm not sure how I feel about the genetically damaged. Roth was kind of portraying prejudice, because the GDs are generally looked down upon by the genetically pure. I guess it would kind of bother me to know I wasn't put together quite right, but I don't think I would have cared to the extent that these people did. On the other hand, though, the whole first half of Allegiant was a lot less action-packed than I've come to expect from these books. So that was a little disappointing, because I was just a little bit bored. I enjoyed the second half a lot more because things started picking up.

I've seen a lot of complaints that Tobias and Tris' point of views sounded extremely similar. Sadly, I have to agree with that as there were multiple times I had to go back to see who was talking. Tobias is a lot less himself in Allegiant - he spends a lot of time moping and feeling sorry for himself when he finds out that he is not truly Divergent. It was actually hard to recognize him compared to who I first met. But I guess it made the moments where he was acting like Tobias a lot more precious. I will always reflect on his character fondly. Tris was much easier to connect with here. She was sad all the time and practically throwing herself at death in Insurgent, and though she still had a lot of issues here, she had her head on straight and rooting for her became a lot easier. She's just a really good person, with a lot of beautiful traits, and having a heroine like that really makes a book better. I had a lot of so-so feelings towards their romance in Allegiant, though. They fought almost constantly and their opinions were drastically different almost one hundred percent of the time. Somehow, though, it was still better than a love triangle. I was glad that they reconciled towards the end.

And, of course, there's the surprise ending that everyone is so excited about. Personally, I feel really conflicted about it. Obviously, I did not want Tris to die. I cried a little bit when it happened, but thankfully I was spoiled ahead of time so I knew what to expect. I also don't really think there was a good enough reason for it to happen. Maybe I'm just selfish, but I don't think Tris should have died for her brother after what he did to her. I understand that they were family and everything, but the betrayal was pretty horrible on his part. Caleb had practically zero character development because I feel like he never really learned anything or made any sacrifices on his own. I'm left feeling very angry at him and I think he should have at least tried harder to save his sister. Still, I have to admit that it was a very bold move on Roth's part and I don't think a lot of authors would have had the courage to end their stories that way, knowing that they would probably get a lot of negative feedback. So I kind of admire her for that even though I'm fairly put out. Tris and Tobias both went through a lot, and they deserved a happily ever after together. But I guess that doesn't always happen.

I was kind of irritated by how easily Evelyn gave up ruling the city so she could have a relationship with her son. It was a very noble decision, but also kind of confusing since she sent armed men after him when he was trying to leave the city. That aside, the scene was very touching. I never really got that attached to any of the side characters, but I did like Christina and I was saddened by what happened to Uriah. I think I was the most intrigued by Peter's character because obviously he was kind of evil but he wanted to fix that badly enough about himself to take a memory serum. I'm not really sure how to feel about him, but mostly I think I just feel pity. Not a lot is said about him after he forgets everything, but who knows, maybe he made a better life for himself and was a nicer person. I was also angry that the dude who killed Tris got to live just because his brain was wiped. Seriously, something bad should have happened to him. Overall, Allegiant was kind of a mixed bag for me. There were parts of it I really liked, and bits that were boring or annoying. Though it's not one of my all-time favorites, the series is very entertaining and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for something to read after The Hunger Games.

3.5 stars

Books in this series:
1. Divergent
2. Insurgent 
3. Allegiant 

Other Opinions: 

Veronica Roth addresses Allegiant ending backlash 
The Book Smugglers
Nose Graze

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

DNF Review: The Coldest Girl In Coldtown by Holly Black

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
Goodreads Summary:  Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.
One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a wholly original story of rage and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from bestselling and acclaimed author Holly Black.
Goodreads / Amazon

Genre: Young adult, paranormal
Pages: 419
Publisher: Little Brown
Source: Bought e-book
Stopped at: Page 192

First Line: "Tana woke lying in a bathtub."

Favorite Quote: I don't really have one, honestly.


There are pretty much no words right now to describe the depth of my disappointment. From the first moment I read the summary of this book, I was excited for it. Although I have been getting a little tired of vampire stuff lately, I heard really good things about it as time went by. I'd also heard that Holly Black was a really good writer, and unfortunately I hadn't gotten around to reading any of her novels yet. And even though I was unable to finish this, I will admit that the writing is actually good. Her descriptions and just the way it flows is very nice, and it's for this reason alone that I'll probably try something else by her at some point (that and the fact that I own a copy of Tithe). Of course, had the writing been bad, I probably would have given up on this somewhere around page 100, rather than sticking it out for the extra 92. Please keep in mind that I didn't even complete half the book, so I'm only reviewing the portion I read.

The biggest issue I had with this was the pacing. The beginning chapter is really interesting; Tana has gone to a party and when she wakes up in the morning, everyone is dead as a result of a vampire attack. However, it was all downhill from there. After Tana escapes the house and decides to head to Coldtown with her companions because she may or may not be infected, boring after boring moment somehow finds its way into the book. The whole time the three of them were traveling together, I pretty much had to force myself to go back to the book. So much information is there that's not necessary at all; it could have easily been a fraction of the length it was. There's one part in particular where Tana stops at some gas station or something to get food and clothes. I - as the reader - was treated to a long description of exactly what kind of food was bought, and how Tana went about putting clothes on in the bathroom. Normally, this isn't something that would bother me that much, but like I said, the pointless descriptions seem to drag on. And on.

Despite the incredibly slow plot, I was determined to keep going because I had such high hopes for this story. However, adding to the fact that nothing interesting was happening was my dislike of pretty much all the characters. Tana somehow manages to be a detached, emotionless narrator while at the same time igniting endless amounts of fury within me. Usually if there's a protagonist that stirs no feeling in me whatsoever, I don't really care when they do something stupid. While this is true to an extent with The Coldest Girl In Coldtown, Tana's amazingly stupid actions left me with my mouth agape. It's awe-inspiring that this girl is alive, people. Personally, if I woke up in a house full of dead people, I would run out screaming as fast as physically possible while it was still daylight and the vampires couldn't come out. Tana is the opposite of me. She instead wonders the house until she stumbles upon her tied up ex-boyfriend and a chained up vamp she doesn't know. I could possibly see her freeing the boyfriend even if he was infected (which he clearly was) maybe because of lingering feelings or whatever. I would have accepted that. But she frees the vampire, too. It's not like he could have been one of the murderers or anything. Riiiight...

Luckily for Tana, Gavriel does not immediately slaughter both of them after having been released. Honestly, he was probably the most interesting dude in this book. His character is slightly typical, but I actually enjoyed reading the chapters that focused on his past. I probably would have continued on with this book just for him had I liked anyone else even a little bit. I hated Aiden on sight, especially after Tana explains how their "relationship" ended. I'm not really sure how the author intended for me to feel about him, but yeah. And those other two kids, Midnight and Winter, were not much better. Their obsession with dying and posting on the internet about their adventures was sickening, and I wished they would both fall off a very high cliff. Their personalities were the exact opposite of anyone I would like in real life, and any scene with either of them in it was an immediate put-off.

But back to my original point about Tana's dumbness. Once she gets into Coldtown with her "friends" she kisses Gavriel goodbye (even though she knows he borders on being completely nuts), which was stupid on its own. But then, knowing that he is hungry, she actually bites her own tongue to get it to bleed while they kiss. And this is after she decides that she wants to leave Coldtown with her marker if she can beat the infection, after her decision that she doesn't want to be turned into a vampire. Tana blatantly goes against her own choice by doing this, baits death - and possible turning if it wasn't happening already - eagerly. Gavriel easily could have killed her at that moment but once again by sheer dumb luck Tana is somehow left alive. She then goes to find shelter with some sketchy people in a bad neighborhood. At this point, I was tempted to bang my head against the wall or try to find some magical way into the book so I could strangle her. She eats her new hosts' food and stumbles away, realizing afterwards that she has been drugged. Well, gee Tana, who would have guessed that the creepy people in Coldtown where capable of such a bad thing? Ugh.

The Coldtowns by themselves are kind of cool, and part of what drew me to this book in the first place. The vampires are nothing new; they're actually a pretty basic version. They die in sunlight or with stakes, they drink blood and they're stronger and faster than humans. I don't think I would have minded that, though. The vamps in The Immortal Rules are very similar, but thing that makes them different is that I actually care about those characters. I really wish I could have loved this because the idea behind it was intriguing, but sadly there was no possible way I could have finished it.

1.5 stars

Books in this series:

Other Opinions: 

Strange Horizons
Cicely Loves Books
Books With Bite

Monday, November 25, 2013

Review: 3:59 by Gretchen McNeil

Goodreads Summary: Josie Byrne's life is spiraling out of control. Her parents are divorcing, her boyfriend Nick has grown distant, and her physics teacher has it in for her. When she's betrayed by the two people she trusts most, Josie thinks things can't get worse.
Until she starts having dreams about a girl named Jo. Every night at the same time—3:59 a.m.
Jo's life is everything Josie wants: she's popular, her parents are happily married, and Nick adores her. It all seems real, but they're just dreams, right? Josie thinks so, until she wakes one night to a shadowy image of herself in the bedroom mirror – Jo. 
Josie and Jo realize that they are doppelgängers living in parallel universes that overlap every twelve hours at exactly 3:59. Fascinated by Jo's perfect world, Josie jumps at the chance to jump through the portal and switch places for a day.
But Jo’s world is far from perfect. Not only is Nick not Jo's boyfriend, he hates her. Jo's mom is missing, possibly insane. And at night, shadowy creatures feed on human flesh.
By the end of the day, Josie is desperate to return to her own life. But there’s a problem: Jo has sealed the portal, trapping Josie in this dangerous world. Can she figure out a way home before it’s too late?
From master of suspense Gretchen McNeil comes a riveting and deliciously eerie story about the lives we wish we had – and how they just might kill you.
Goodreads / Amazon

Genre: Young adult, science fiction
Pages: 368
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Source: Library

First Line: "Josie crouched behind the photon laser module and aligned it with the beam splitter at the other end of the lab table."

Favorite Quote: "She didn't believe in coincidence, or deja vu, or any of that crap. This was a pattern and the one thing she'd had instilled in her since childhood by her two scientific parents is that patterns are not random. They always exists for a reason."


When I first saw this book, I was beyond excited. It sounded amazing and there was no question that I would be reading it sometime soon after it came out. The only other novel I've read by this author is Ten, and though I had a few complaints about it, overall I enjoyed the story and thought it was a pretty good mystery. However, I can't say I'm as happy with 3:59. There were bits of it that I liked, but mostly it was an execution fail for me. What's really frustrating is that this could have been a book I loved with lots of tweaking. I was actually thinking of giving it a higher rating than what I settled on, but when I thought back to all the bad stuff that bothered me I just couldn't bring myself to do it. The cover is pretty cool, though. It's definitely something that would get my attention if I was just browsing in the bookstore. That aside, I think this review will be easier to do in list format because it seems easier (and because I love lists).

Things I Liked:

- The concept! There's been a lot of young adult books coming out lately about parallel universes, but this sounded different and intriguing. Whoever wrote the summary did a really good job.

- McNeil is talented with giving her writing kind of a creepy vibe, and though I was never flat out scared in 3:59, I was a little on edge. Because of this, I honestly didn't have much trouble going back to the book, because I was interested enough to find out the ending despite my qualms.

Things I Disliked:

- All the science. I realize that there's going to have to be some kind of scientific explanation to make everything seem realistic. I appreciated somewhat that McNeil decided to include some of this, but most of the time everything went over my head completely. Things are explained on a more basic level because of Madison, so that helped, but still. I had no idea what they were talking about with electrons and tons of other science lingo. Since I was annoyed, I kind of skimmed those sections.

- Josie. Don't get me wrong, there were times when I really felt bad for her. Her boyfriend decides to cheat on her because she's "been distant lately" (her parents are going through a divorce). But after the break up, she just acted way too clingy. She goes to his track practice to spy on him while he's with the girl he cheated with. And much later she contemplates staying in the parallel universe with the second Nick even though there are freaking monsters that will eat you when they wake up at night.

- All of the side characters. None of them really felt fleshed out at all. Madison was the crappy best friend backstabber. Penelope was the science geek. Nick was the dreamy love interest. Those other dudes he was with in the warehouse in the parallel universe were basically there to be there, and so I had a really hard time finding anyone in this book to care about. When the characters were sad or angry I was mostly indifferent, and that is not how I want to be when I'm reading a book.

- The insta-love. I realize that Josie would immediately have an attraction to the second Nick, but after knowing him for a few days, she decides that he's a much better guy for her and she connects with him in a way that she didn't with the first Nick. Well, the first Nick cheated on her. The second Nick had nothing to live up to, seriously.

- After a bunch of crap goes down towards the climax of the book, a man is brutally murdered by the Nox (which is the name of those monsters). His skin has been pecked off and lots of body parts have been detached. Josie and Nick are forced to be in the same room when it happens, because if they move they might be attacked as well. Sounds pretty horrifying, right? But almost immediately after it happens they start making out pretty heavily on the ground, and only stop when Josie accidentally brushes a dead foot. I don't know if the author intended for that scene to be romantic, but all I could picture was all the blood and bone in the same room as them. It was disgusting.

- This is probably what bothered me the most: the sheer convenience of everything. When Josie needs to get some information, she goes with Nick on a tour of the top secret government facility where's being kept under the ruse of Nick looking for a job there. She easily convinces one of the employees to let her up to the fourth floor where she is not supposed to be. She then gets to go back by herself because she "left her purse in the bathroom." If one of the characters needed something, then bam. One of them would just happen to have a friend or relative that made getting it possible. And when Josie has need of a big laser, she asks her fake dad to steal it from his workplace and he basically agrees with no issue even though he could be charged with treason if caught. Josie really should have seen a red flag after that conversation, because it was not realistic at all.

- One of the villains of the story is definitely Dr. Cho, but she is dealt with way too easily after Nick and Josie's final confrontation with the bad guy. She's mentioned, but you'd think after her ominous phone call she'd be a little harder get rid of. I also didn't really understand why Jo was suddenly helping them after Josie pulled her back into her world. I mean, she left everything to be with her mom (which I kind of understand given the fact that he dad was evil). The only reason she'd have to go back would be to get the vial, but I don't she ever did. In fact, I'm not even sure what happened to it.

So even though there were a few redeeming qualities found within 3:59, I don't think I could ever recommend it in good conscience because there were simply too many things I didn't like about it. And that's really a shame because I was looking forward to it so much. Despite my disappointment with this, I'll still pick up McNeil's next book because like I said before, Ten was good.

2 stars

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Friday, November 22, 2013

Review: Wallbanger by Alice Clayton

Wallbanger (Cocktail, #1)
Goodreads Summary: Caroline Reynolds has a fantastic new apartment in San Francisco, a KitchenAid mixer, and no O (and we’re not talking Oprah here, folks). She has a flourishing design career, an office overlooking the bay, a killer zucchini bread recipe, and no O. She has Clive (the best cat ever), great friends, a great rack, and no O.
Adding insult to O-less, since her move, she has an oversexed neighbor with the loudest late-night wallbanging she’s ever heard. Each moan, spank, and–was that a meow?–punctuates the fact that not only is she losing sleep, she still has, yep, you guessed it, no O.
Enter Simon Parker. (No, really, Simon, please enter.) When the wallbanging threatens to literally bounce her out of bed, Caroline, clad in sexual frustration and a pink baby-doll nightie, confronts her heard-but-never-seen neighbor. Their late-night hallway encounter has, well, mixed results. Ahem. With walls this thin, the tension’s gonna be thick…
In her third novel, Alice Clayton returns to dish her trademark mix of silly and steamy. Banter, barbs, and strutting pussycats, plus the sexiest apple pie ever made, are dunked in a hot tub and set against the gorgeous San Francisco skyline in this hot and hilarious tale of exasperation at first sight.
Goodreads / Amazon

Genre: Adult, Romance
Pages: 384
Publisher: Omnific publishing
Source: Library

First Line: "Thump." 

Favorite Quote: "He was wooing me. And I was letting him woo. I wanted the woo. I deserved the woo. I needed the wow that would surely follow the woo, but for now, the woo? It was whoa."


I remember seeing this up on quite some time ago. I used to really like reading Twilight fanfiction, and this was definitely one of the most popular ones, along with The Office and Emaciation Proclamation (both of which are also now published). I never read past the first chapter then, so thankfully I didn't have a major case of deja vu while reading Wallbanger. Honestly, though, if I hadn't known about this stories' previous origin, I never would have known it because the characters and obviously the world are nothing alike. I guess I could tell which character used to be a Twilight one, but aside from that I think the publishers changed everything around pretty well. Mostly I just decided to pick it up because lately I've been reading a slew of books with dark themes, so I wanted something on the lighter side. I'm really glad I ended up picking this one because there were many moments I found myself smiling or laughing. I really hate the cover, though. I didn't notice until someone pointed it out, but his arms look like they end in her legs. And if I look at it that way, my brain starts to hurt.

This novel follows an interior designer named Caroline, and she lives next to a guy who constantly bangs on her walls due to his numerous sexual escapades. Along with keeping her up at night, it's also especially frustrating for Caroline because these past few months, she has lost her O. She's tried to get it back and failed several times. I found Wallbanger fairly easy to read - the humorous way it was written allowed me to breeze through the pages very quickly. I will admit that the ending dragged a little; I feel like they could have cut or shortened the last third of the book easily. I liked it in the beginning when Simon and Caroline were enemies because their arguments were funny - but their banter when they were friend was amusing as well. Although I usually laughed at Caroline or something she did, sometimes I laughed at her cat, Clive. I've never actually seen a cat behave the way he does, but then I'm not around cats a lot so I can't say how much of it was actually realistic, but his antics were ridiculous and sometimes hilarious.

I kind of wish the enemy stage between the main couple would have stretched out a bit longer, but I also appreciate the fact that they remained friends for a long time rather than just jumping into bed. It would have made the end result a lot less satisfying, and I wouldn't have believed it since Caroline was a little nervous, given the loss of her O. As with most romance novels, the side characters were not a big focus of the story. However, I really liked Caroline's best friends, Sophia and Mimi, and their love interests as well. Though I have to admit to rolling my eyes pretty hard when they both met their dream men at the same party on the same night. It was way too convenient and kind of cheesy.

Despite my small complaints with this one, overall I can say that my expectations for it were easily met and I don't regret picking it up one bit. The best part of the whole thing for me was probably the scenes where there were just text messages, and the one chapter that's completely devoted to allowing the reader to see exactly what each character is thinking about. Clayton did a good job in creating her male lead, Simon. He comes off as a jerk for a little while, what with his wallbanging habits and sleeping with three women (which Caroline calls his "harem"). We find out later on that he's actually very sweet and probably the best guy for her to end up with. I was glad when Caroline came to her senses after going on a date with her ex, James. She didn't need someone constantly belittling her talents, but rather someone who appreciated her more as a person. Simon does all that, plus he gets to travel  a lot with his job as a photographer, and apparently he is also extremely hot, so that never hurts. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes to laugh, and doesn't mind when the last chapter of the book is in the point of view of a cat.

4 stars

Books in this series:
1. Wallbanger 
2. Rusty Nailed
3. Screwdrived
4. Mai Tai'd Up 

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