Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - 2 comments

Stacking the Shelves (3)

It's been a little while since my last Stacking the Shelves post, because I had SO many books to read. However, this week I'm going to share the books I've purchased and/or received since then! Anyways, Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where book bloggers share what we've recently added to our physical and/or virtual shelves!  So lets get started, shall we?

This week I only have three eBooks to share, but I'm looking for some recommendations!


1. Dead Witch Walking: Kim Harrison
  • I was a little afraid to start reading The Hollows Series, because it has at least 11 books in it! However, I'm already around 40% through Dead Witch Walking and I'm really enjoying it!  
2. We Were Liars: E. Lockhart
  • I've already finished reading We Were Liars and you can find my review here!

3. The Perks of Being a Wallflower: Stephen Chbosky
  • Already finished this book as well and I really enjoyed it. I didn't write a review, because there's not much I wanted to say other than 4.5/5 stars. I didn't give it a full 5 stars since it's not a book I want to reread. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

We Were Liars

Rating: 5 Stars
Author: E. Lockhart
Version: eBook

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. 

Read it.

And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

I went into reading We Were Liars pretty much blind, since all I knew was that it was a contemporary and about a group of kids. Throughout the book, what I thought the story was about changed not once, not twice, but THREE times. I'll try to explain what I mean without giving away too much:

At first I believed the story was about the narrators's childhood. Since most of the content was memories and her experiences on their private island. For this reason, I was disinterested in the first 30-40% of the book. Yet, as I continued reading, the story changed into a manipulation game and power struggle between family members. My interest level spiked. Then, the final part of the book blew me out of the water and became something I didn't expect entirely!

One thing I found unique was the narrator's use of graphic metaphors. For this reason, the opening of this story was a bit of a shocker. Even more so shocking, is that she doesn't give you any indication it's a metaphor until you keep reading and realize not to take it literal. Here's what I  mean:
That June, summer fifteen, Dad announced he was leaving… My father put a last suitcase into the backseat of the Mercedes… Then he pulled out a handgun and shot me in the chest. I was standing on the lawn and I fell. The bullet hole opened wide and my heart rolled out of my rib cage and down into a flower bed. Blood gushed rhythmically from my open wood,then from my eyes,my ears,my mouth. 

Yeah... upon first reading this, my jaw dropped. Oh and by the way, metaphors not unlike the one above, are selectively placed throughout the whole of the story.

Another detail unique to the narrator is the incorporation of fairy tales, which help to illustrate current situations and foreshadow future ones. The first few tellings I took lightly, but by the third or so I started to read further into the lines and decrypt what she truly meant. It was fun to say the least.

As I said earlier, the ending of the book was mind blowing! It had me questioning SO many things. Who/what are the group of Liars? Why didn't they plan their actions logically? Is this even a contemporary? Seriously, read this book, but go into it blind or without knowing anymore than what I've written above.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Faking Normal

Rating: 3 Stars
Author: Courtney C. Stevens
Version: Hardcover

An edgy, realistic, and utterly captivating novel from an exciting new voice in teen fiction.

Alexi Littrell hasn't told anyone what happened to her over the summer. Ashamed and embarrassed, she hides in her closet and compulsively scratches the back of her neck, trying to make the outside hurt more than the inside does.

When Bodee Lennox, the quiet and awkward boy next door, comes to live with the Littrells, Alexi discovers an unlikely friend in "the Kool-Aid Kid," who has secrets of his own. As they lean on each other for support, Alexi gives him the strength to deal with his past, and Bodee helps her find the courage to finally face the truth.

A searing, poignant book, Faking Normal is the extraordinary debut novel from an exciting new author-Courtney C. Stevens.

I enjoyed reading Faking Normal, but I was very, very frustrated with the main character, Alexi. Throughout the whole of the book she was constantly berating herself for not saying “NO” when she was statutorily raped. Yet, throughout the whole of the book "Lex" is constantly refusing to stop any sort of contact or situation that her mind tells her to. So, what you have is a girl who’s mutalating herself for keeping silent and regretting her past decisions, while also continuing to make those same decisions in the present. Maybe this is what people who’ve gone through a situation like Lex’s experience, but as a reader I was extremely frustrated. 

A large part of Lex’s struggle is that she cannot determine why she’s so passive and lacks voice. This mystery is a good 2/3’s portion of the book and the underlying reasons are extremely week in my opinion. For instance, she’s plagued by a memory of seeing a naked boy, who was at the time the same age as she was… ~6 years old. I’m sorry, but children see each other naked when they’re little, they are innocently indifferent, and it’s not something that should haunt her for 10+ years. There were just so many instances in the book that made me want to turn against the victim and I had to almost constantly remind myself not to do so. 

All in all, the book sends out a very good message to those applicable, which is to find your voice, don’t blame yourself, and speak up. Yet, the build up and foundation of the story is extremely weak and very predictable at times. However, the author’s letter, as well as her video on Amazon, clearly express how passionate she is about getting her message out. For that, she’s earned my respect. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Few Books I Love to Reread

I was looking at my shelf this morning and thought "how many of those have I actually reread?" Personally I don't reread often, so if I do reread a book, I consider it to be a definite favorite. After all, there's a lot of time invested in reading a book, so if I want to read it again it must be amazing, right?? Anyways, here are some of the books that I've reread and absolutely love:

1. The Night Circus:
I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS BOOK! The story is nothing like I've read before, the setting is so alive, and the writing is extremely elegant. I honestly, don't think I've ever read a book and praised the author's writing style. Every time I open this book I feel as if I can truly see, and smell Le Cirque des Reves - The Circus of Dreams. 

2. The Inheritance Cycle:
This might honestly be one of the first series I've ever reread. Although, part of the reason was because by the time Brinsingr and Inheritance were published, a two year time span had passed and I'd forgotten much of Eragon and Eldest. However, the second time I reread these books was purely because I missed them and wanted to step back into the world of Elves and Dragon Riders. As a side note, I've read that Christopher Paolini is writing a fifth book that follows Angel the herbalist, but it could just be gossip. 

3. Panic:
I wanted to reread Panic as soon as I turned the last page. Lauren Oliver literally had my jaw dropping when at the challenges, I still can't get over a few of them. For all it's worth, I managed to hold off a couple weeks before I read it again. 
Books I Want to Reread Soon:

1. The Raven Cycle:
I love this series and plan to reread it alongside a few other bloggers in a couple months. 

2. The Host:
Something about this book just clicks with me and I really want to reread it. For those concerned, it's nothing like the movie (which was horrible in my opinion), nor like any of Stephanie Meyer's other publications. I highly recommend reading this book if you haven't yet. 
3. Fangirl:
It's Rainbow Rowell, nuff said. All joking aside, I'm not entirely sure why I want to reread Fangirl. After all, this book wasn't my favorite Rainbow Rowell story, but it did rank pretty high (#2). It could be because I can personally relate to Wren who's shy and introverted. It could also have something to do with the nostalgia of growing up with Harry Potter, or sharing some of the exact same feelings that Wren had during my first year of college. Whatever the reason, I want to reread it. 

Now I have a couple questions for you! Have any of my rereads matched your own? Also, what do you plan on rereading soon? 

Monday, July 21, 2014


Rating: 4 Stars
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Version: Hardcover

Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems besides the point now.

Maybe that was always besides the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts . . .

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

Hmm.. I'm not really sure where to start with this one. I guess I could say I liked the book, but it might be the least favorite of my Rainbow Rowell collection - right behind Attachments. Speaking of Attachments, Landline definitely shared some similarities. For instance, Neal was very reminiscent of Lincoln and likewise with Georgie and Beth. Furthermore, the two stories seem to be paced similarly by progressing rather slowly at first and then sucking you in later. 

Don't get me wrong, after all I’m giving Landline a 4 star rating, but the story seemed a bit slow and I got a little tired of hearing Georgie ramble about Neal. I feel like that sentence is wrong since the Neal situation is a major plot theme, but yeah.. Sometimes it just got a little too "Neal, Neal, Neal..." for me. Also, I had a problem with the way the ending didn’t address the show, which was a huge part of the book. I really wanted to know if became a success and if Georgie and Seth made it big.

Now that the major negatives are out of the way, let me address some of the things I enjoyed. For starters, I love the way Rainbow Rowell writes and the way she tells a story. I don't really know how to describe it, but it always feels so... Warm? It's like sitting in front of a fireplace, while reading in a big comfy chair. Is that weird? If so, then let me adjust my sentence and say that her writing style is warm and comforting. Regardless, I liked the majority of characters in landline, but there were two that didn't seem developed enough. The two children, Alice and Noomie, came across as something that didn't quite fit or were perhaps misplaced. Maybe I was just thrown by Noomie's insistence on being a green kitty and her meowing habit that was never addressed, or maybe they just didn't get mentioned enough for me to like them. Whatever the reason, I feel that they didn't fit. The rest of the characters I enjoyed. For example, I liked Seth's personality, Scotty's humor, Neal's straightforwardness, Georgie's wit, the mother's flamboyant sexuality, and Heather's playful humor. Additionally I really enjoyed the crazy situations Georgie finds herself in. For those who haven't read Landline yet, you can look forward to a weird, but touching pug, dryer incident; a hellacious trip to Omaha; and of course a magic phone.

Overall, I liked the book and would definitely recommend it. I would especially recommend it to those who enjoyed reading any of Rainbow Rowell's earlier works and to those craving a good book that mixes contemporary with bits of fantasy. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wednesday, July 16, 2014 - , , No comments


Rating: 5 Stars
Author: Han Nolan
Version: eBook

Fifteen-year-old Jason has fallen upon bad times—his mother has died and his father has succumbed to mental illness. As he tries to hold his crazy father and their crumbling home together, Jason relies on a host of imaginary friends for guidance as he stumbles along trying not to draw attention to his father’s deteriorating condition.

Both heartbreaking and funny, Crazy lives up to the intense and compelling characters Han Nolan is praised for. As Jason himself teeters on the edge of insanity, Nolan uncovers the clever coping system he develops for himself and throws him a lifeline in the guise of friendship.

I read “It’s Kind of a Funny Story: by Ned Vizzini not to long ago and really enjoyed it. So, recently I’ve been trying to find something that was remotely similar, which is where Crazy by Han Nolan comes in. 

For starters, I loved how the author puts you into the story on the very first page. Here’s an excerpt: 
"Ever since the fifth grade, I’ve had this imaginary audience in my head who follow me around and watch me like I’m the star in a movie. I talk to them, and yeah, they talk to me…. So now you’re here.”

It doesn’t stop there. The author continues to include the reader by even allowing the separate personalities in Jason’s head to address the reader. Of these personalities there are: Crazy Glue, Laugh Track, Aunt Bee, Sexy Lady, and FBG (Fat bald guy) with a mustache. Each of these personalities serves there own separate purpose. For instance, Aunt Bee is kind and compassionate, Sexy Lady is a self esteem booster, FBG with a mustache seems the be the realist, Laugh Track is an attempt to make light of a touch situation, and Crazy Glue is the childish/negative part of his mind. Here’s an except from Sexy Lady:
"SEXY LADY: Come on over here, You, and sit next to me. Make yourself comfortable. Don’t worry if you’re a little confused. Jason will explain everything. He narrates his life as he goes along.”

This interaction between the story and the reader continues throughout the whole of the book. Sometimes the personalities explain Jason’s past and sometimes they have to convince Jason to tell the You in his mind about his past. It’s a highly unique and fun reading experience and it’s weird to say, but I actually missed the “cast” at the end of the book. 

Throughout the story, Jason has to confront the feelings of losing his mother, care for his insane father, and question his own sanity. I became super frustrated by how Jason took to caring for his father all by himself and I really just wanted to shake his father back into reality. The man is so far gone that at one point in Jason’s childhood he tried to literally bury him alive to protect him from the furries (a mythological Greek enemy). However, it was really touching to read the friendship and witness the support system Jason developed after being alone for so long. 

Maybe it’s just me, but I found this book to be extremely relatable. I feel like my mind is constantly crammed with thoughts, questions, concerns, etc…. I’ve been told numerous times that I overanalyze situations and read too far into other peoples comments, but maybe that’s just me? I mean honestly who doesn’t question their sanity at some point in time. Who doesn’t have that little negative voice in their head calling them crazy or affirming their worst fears, not unlike Crazy Glue? 
"FBG with a mustache: Jason likes to keep his mind busy because he’s afraid of mental silences. Disturbing thoughts lurk just beneath the surface and he knows it. Keep up the mental chatter, my boy.” 

All in all, I really loved this book. The reading experience was extremely unique, fun, and refreshing; and the story was insanely good (pun intended)! Seriously, go read this now. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Saturday, July 12, 2014 - 2 comments

Stacking the Shelves (2):

Time for my second Stacking the Shelves post and this time I have SOOO many books that I might not have a STS post next week, but who knows? Anyways, Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where book bloggers share what we've recently added to our physical and/or virtual shelves!  So lets get started, shall we?

Physical Copies:

(super excited about these)
  1. Landline: Rainbow Rowell 
  2. Faking Normal: Courtney C. Stevens 



  1. Crazy: Han Nolan
  2. Ruin and Rising: Leigh Bardugo
  3. Season of the Witch: Natasha Moster

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Wednesday, July 9, 2014 - 4 comments

Author Interview: Erin Eveland

Hello everyone! 

I'm really excited to bring you an interview with Erin Eveland, the author of Darkness. Darkness is a dark-fantasy novel that was recently published on July 1st of this year and let me tell you, it's really good! I had the privilege to read an advanced ready copy and I really enjoyed it. In case you missed the review I published, you can either click here or click the link I will provide at the bottom of the page. 

What's even more exciting is that Erin has provided me with a physical copy for a giveaway, which will be posted below the interview. So lets get to it, good luck and happy reading!

1. What made you start writing?

It was one of those freak mornings when I thought, “Well today I should write a story.” Really, that’s how it happened. Thirty years old and had zero clue. Not afraid to admit it. I didn’t know what I was going to write, where to begin, and no idea how to get there. I should have had that little voice of reasoning saying, “You know what dear, don’t think about writing, just go make some pancakes or something…” Instead, I must have had the shark in the kitchen sink talking me into it.
Writing is mean.
I’ve told people before I had to learn how to write, which is true. It takes time. Time. But the honesty that goes into sleepless nights, sacrificing and destroying everything you worked on to do it again, and again, yep and again – it’s all a part of the process. Then, for all the work, you get that suspenseful moment where you ask someone to read it. I swear it’s like running around with a trench coat, flashing people and asking them if they like it or not. Some do, some don’t.
The very first “critique” I received was, “Show me, don’t tell me.” That was it, end of story. At the time, I didn’t exactly know what they meant, but I knew whatever I was writing was not working. Disclaimer: that phrase is used widely and should be put out of its misery.
But I guess, it’s not the how I started writing, but why I continued. Not only was I hooked, but I was fascinated by an art I always took it for granted. When you’re a writer, it’s something that continually grows inside, changes and sometimes just spits itself out.       

I'm really impressed with the preservation and outcome, because Darkness was extremely well written. 

2. What are your favorite books to read and did you draw any inspiration from these?

Being I love fantasy, it’s honestly strange for me to think that before I started writing, I spent the past years mostly reading how-to-books and biographies. Life stories intrigue me like education or a hands on skill. I strayed from novels because time is a luxury, life is busy, and I can’t seem to put a book down even if I’m not emotionally invested. I will admit I managed a few books a year in reading gluttony, but when I started writing and wondering what stuck with me all these years, I had to revisit my top favorite author all over again. That was Clive Barker. I love horror – not necessarily the tent-camping, bikini-slashin’, screaming blood in your face terror – but the kind of fear that won’t let you feel safe when you lock your doors at night. It’s the kind of story which snuggles you into bed and gives you a cold kiss. To be fair, Barker is more a fantasy writer than horror. As a master storyteller of the worlds and characters he weaves into them, he can create horrific creatures that can be good in nature, aside deadly goddesses. I’m sure I’ve taken something of him with me. Be leery of what’s on the inside – not the out.                    

I haven't read any of Clive Barker's books, but from what you described I can certainly see some resemblance. By the way, the "cold kiss" stories are the ones that really freak me out, much more so than normal horror!

3. Why Darkness?

In that blissful morning when I thought about writing a story for the first time, I wondered what the hell I was going to write about. I loved horror, but I started dissecting what that word meant to me. What drove me to like fear and its adrenaline spike? I’m driven for creative monsters and normal people with warped minds. But ultimately, I thought a true fear everyone understands, the fear of the unknown. It’s like the dark. It keeps us in suspense wondering what’s in the shadows even as we have one eye closed.
For some reason, the simple word darkness was spawned. I thought, “What if darkness was like an element – something known but unknown and yet could be wielded. Ok, well, what do I do with it?” As the idea developed, I needed a tool, a world and character to center this idea around, and Catherine was born.     

I love reading a good warped-mind story, who doesn't? To me it's really neat how you took something like fear, which like you said is  fundamental to everyone, and turned it into a really good story.

4. Why write an interactive novel?

Maybe because writing is such an emotional beast, it draws the tendency of inspiration through other creative arts that writers want to share. Some authors do this by reciting lines of music, poetry and adding artwork into their stories. After writing Darkness, I thought about the idea of incorporating art and music into the chapters. The Quick Response code was my best solution. Not only did I want the reader to see or listen to the artist, but I wanted the biography and information of the artist available to them. I’m so honored by the people who have allowed me to share their work and for their faith that I would represent them well. 

It wasn't until after we talked that I was able to experience the interactive part of Darkness, but after I figured a way to do so, I was really impressed with the simplicity and creativity of its incorporation. The QR codes were not compatible with my Kindle Keyboard (it simply expanded the image), but the Kindle reading applications on my computer and iPhone did the trick. 

5. Given the opportunity, would you accept an apprenticeship from of a master of Darkness? Why or why not?

Maybe I’m twisted but I’ll say yes. I think it’s only human for one to think they could manipulate this dark supernatural power. I am human – I would be one of them. Even though Darkness is an unseen natural element, it’s not exactly evil or malevolent. It would be like someone offering you power over water, but guess what…you might just create a tsunami.        
I would SOOOO become an apprentice. Maybe we're both a little twisted. 

6. Who do you side with, Jorgen or Artros? Why?

I love this question, but for me it’s like asking a mother which son she likes better. They both come from different backgrounds and more of their history and reasoning is revealed in the next book, Shadows. I feel for Jorgen’s internal struggle and his return from solitude, but I also love a true villain, Artros, one we might learn to understand.  

Come on!! Even a mother has a favorite, right!? Just kidding, I guess I’ll have to wait for Shadows, but for now I’m definitely siding with Jorgen.

7. Can you give any hints about what’s to come in the next installation of Darkness?

I set the stage and the characters roll by themselves. That happened with Nathan and Artros. Even Esa wasn’t supposed to appear in Darkness, but there she was, walking down the street. In Shadows, we leave the town behind, meet new characters and even have a certain infamous woman resurface. The world becomes lighter, as the internal grows darker, and the characters are the ones who drive Shadows into its hair puling finish. I’m glad. Without their stubbornness, I wouldn’t be so excited.

Oooooooh my gosh that sounds awesome! My guess would be Kathy, but I’m not even sure she’s gone. So, I guess I’ll just have to wait and see :D!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will have 48 hours to respond to my email notification.  Failure to do so will result in an automatic forfeit and another winner will be drawn. 

More Information: 
Erin's website:
Darkness website:
My Review: Click here
GoodReads: Click here
Amazon: Click here