Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday {16}

This week, I'm waiting on...

The Selection
By: Kiera Cass

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself- and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.
 

Release date: 4/24/2012 
-Summary from Goodreads

Okay, okay, I know that pretty much everyone has posted about this book already, and that I'm being hopelessly boring, but I JUST CAN'T HELP IT. That COVER, that SYNOPSIS, that darn freakin' funny AUTHOR and I'm pretty sure I'd cause an uprising over my anticipation for this book. Isn't that dress that completely amazing? The posture totally enticing? The plot entirely gripping? Goodness sakes. Is it just me, or does this book feel like it's going to be mind-blowingly AWESOME?

What are YOU waiting for this week?
The Reviews News

Sunday, November 27, 2011

You wanna know what's up with aliens?

Obsidian
By: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Source: Netgalley
Release date: December 6th, 2011
Reported by: Julianna Helms

Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring…. until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something…unexpected happens.

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.

If I don’t kill him first, that is.
 

-Summary from Goodreads



A witty, stunning ride, Obsidian will charm you with its realistic heroine and an extraterrestrial lore comprised of fascination and love.


The characters and voice were what I considered the best parts of this novel. It was refreshing and humorous, but gripping with tension. I loved the originality of Jennifer's take on aliens, and I, for one, wouldn't mind at all to be a Luxen. I was so happy to find Katy a book blogger! I related to her almost instantly, and she delivers a fast-paced story that does not disappoint. Daemon frustrated me, but his soft and vulnerable side had this girl blushing! I look forward to the development of Katy and Daemon's relationship in Onyx, and while their romance isn't a sweet and swift ride, I enjoyed the realistic depictions instead of insta-love. 


Now I have to admit that I was at first a bit worried. You can tell from the summary that Daemon is an alien, but we don't actually find that out until more than 100 pages into the story. And while I do wish the fact was brought up earlier, honestly, I didn't have too much trouble holding on to the story because Katy's story was definitely engrossing. I found the hot-and-cold attitude of almost every Luxen a bit melodramatic, but then again, maybe the extraterrestrial just have a thing for emotions. Alas, I'm not one to complain, for this book truly surpassed my expectations.


Overall, I highly recommend this book. I found it at times to be similar to Twilight or Evermore, and maybe even a bit I am Number Four, but this book, ultimately, is its own story that combines the angst and desire of Twilight and Evermore, the action and high-stakes of I am Number Four, and the originality and brilliant voice of Jennifer L. Armentrout.


The Reviews News

Saturday, November 26, 2011

1 Little Adventurist Book

13 Little Blue Envelopes
By: Maureen Johnson
Reported by: Julianna Helms
  
When Ginny receives thirteen little blue envelopes and instructions to buy a plane ticket to London, she knows something exciting is going to happen. What Ginny doesn't know is that she will have the adventure of her life and it will change her in more ways than one. Life and love are waiting for her across the Atlantic, and the thirteen little blue envelopes are the key to finding them in this funny, romantic, heartbreaking novel. 

-Summary from Goodreads

To sum up my feelings for this book: I am now stalking watching Maureen's twitter feed more than before (and the amount I was um, stalking her before was already quite alarming, truth to be told).

13 Little Blue Envelopes is a hilarious journey that travels with heart and ambition. Ginny is a realistic teen protagonist who I related to instantly, and her struggles to find her way in foreign countries gripped me on to her story. The amazing past she discovers of her Aunt Peg is truly fascinating as well, and I know that I will definitely be reading The Last Little Blue Envelope.

Maureen portrays angst, determination, and fear brilliantly. I plunged into the book with no expectations, but if I had any expectations at all, this book surpassed it. I loved the beautiful, wonderful and exotic locations this book took place at. While I wish the romantic side of this novel was expressed more, this is a novel about finding yourself at its core, and spice isn't a necessary ingredient to make this novel shine.


Candidly, I usually gravitate more toward darker books. But even though this book didn't leave me with a feeling of absolute amazement, it drew me to lighter books with heart as well, and that's what's the most important thing of all.
The Reviews News

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Merry Thanksgiving!

Colorful pumpkins in fall Free Photo
(sung to the tune of Deck the Halls)
'Tis the season to eat yummy
turkey and potatoes with gravy.
Please have a happy Thanksgiving
with family and friends, it's time to sing.

Now I know what you are thinking,
it's not Christmas it's Thanksgiving!
But I say we stick with spirit,
holidays are here, let's show our wit.

I am grateful for many things,
you and books and basically everything.
Music makes my life interesting
so many thanks for everything.

Now's the time to be quite grateful
this is only celebrated once a year!
Hugs and high-fives are encouraged
and eat lots, too! Whoops and cheers.

Thank you to my family and friends
for being there for me, though I digress.
Really, you all rock my socks off
and you deserve much more, than just a song.

Now let us join together
and sing this song of praise and thanks!
I am grateful for all of you
happy Thanksgiving, and please stay true.

***
Yes, I did just come up with all of those lyrics. Yes, I meant every word. Yes, you may use this and sing it, but please do credit back to me. :)
The Reviews News

Why I shouldn't make promises

*Update: Contest is now over!*

So yesterday, I made a silly little promise that I knew was going to have to happen anyway...

In case you've been living in Antarctica, the YA-Sisterhood is hosting a tournament of (plug your ears!) fictional heroines... and Aura from the SHADE trilogy made it in!! :D

So... yeah. I'm hosting a giveaway. An AWESOME (at least I hope so) giveaway.

Now I have to first make a disclaimer that I am not an expert at this, but... the winner will get some really cool stuff.

Like, a free design. By me. If you... want one. *smiles sheepishly* (Blogger only. Sorry.) I won't be making full templates (maybe later on in the tourney), but I can, if you want, make headers/buttons or just stuff like this:
Yeah. I said I wasn't an expert, but I promise I can do some cool things! (Most of my designs are saved on this one flash drive that I can't find right now, so, the previews are limited!)


Now let's say you don't have a blog/website. No problem! I can photo-edit for you, too!


Perhaps you would like to make your photograph look more like art? Like paint? Or just give it some COOL effects?


Perhaps you would like to combine different photographs together to create something OUT OF THIS WORLD? 


Or perhaps you want to change the weather? Add some snow? Rain? Wind?


But let's say you don't want either. How about some Alaskan beauty?

 I know. It's totally like paradise. <3

Or maybe you just want some nature shots, regardless of where?

This was NOT edited. Just the photograph.

So, see anything you like? Yes, no, maybe? If you're interested, and you promise to vote for Aura, you may enter. :)

Here are the extra entries:
+3 if you follow my blog
+1 if you share this on Twitter
+1 if you share this on Facebook
+5 if you share this on your blog/website
+1 if you share this anywhere else

This entry will run from today (11/24/11) until December 12th, 2011!  

Thanks, and may the odds be ever in your favor! :)

P.S. None of the pictures are mine except for the last two. The others ones I simply edited but am not responsible or copyrighted for their illustrations and/or photographs. If you are the artist/photographer of the original photograph and you do not wish for the photos to be used, please let me know and I will be more than happy to remove them.
The Reviews News

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Why you can't give up

(found here)


Recently, I read this post and this post.
And it got me thinking (yeah, I know you're thinking "uh oh" right now, but bear with me)...

When you want to give up, and you think it's just you yourself that you're giving up on... well, it's not that simple, really.

Remember when you first decided to pursue writing (or any profession, really) professionally? How you made that declaration of faith and told your friends, anyone who would listen? Remember as they cheered you on endlessly and helped you work your hardest? Remember when you left them behind in the dirt because you were so busy working, and they didn't complain, but rather shower you with more support? Remember when they risked your emotional balance by pointing out what needed to be fixed and pushed you in the right direction, firmly but gently?

Remember all of that?

Without our friends, our family--I have to disagree with the amazing Hannah Moskowitz here (gasp, I know): an agent is not your first advocate. Your friends and family are--where would we be?

And so, of course, when you decide to give up... well, you're throwing away all that your friends did for you, all those sacrifices you and they made so you can pursue your dream will be buried in dust. It's not just you that's being let down. It's your whole support group. It's the very people who stuck with you through everything.

And then, of course, there are your rivals.

You know your nemesis? The one person who seems to be right next to you on everything, forcing you to become better so you can beat them? They are the ones driving your ambition and your need to succeed. If you give up, you are handing over that win. You are showing them that no, you really can't do it, and they are much better suited for it, so you will let them win without trying your hardest.

Is that how you want to come across as?

I hope not. Remember: it's okay to give up sometimes... when you have tried your hardest and know that it's not your dream. But if it is your dream, and you didn't try your hardest, I will not pity you when you give up and drown in despair. I will not comfort you and tell you "it's okay, it was too hard anyway." Because there is nothing that is too hard. Nothing. There are only so many ways we can see the solutions to problems by ourselves, and that is why we have friends, families, support, love, rivals, nemesis, ambition to carry us on. Resilience. For if you don't have the money to buy paint and paint your walls, you can fill your walls with drawings. You can fill it with stickers, candy wrappers, a collage of things that will be solely your own and no one else can copy. You can only establish yourself through your own creativity.

Don't give up. You won't be just giving up on yourself, but those who stuck by you and those who pushed you forward, too.
The Reviews News

Who is Abby Grace?

Borrowing Abby Grace
By: Kelly Green
Received from: Author
Reported by: Julianna Helms

When Abby Grace wakes up in the back of a van, she has no idea who she is, how she got there, or why anyone would want to kidnap her. After escaping her masked captors, she hurries home, only to discover that she unknowingly left her younger brother behind in the van. Unable to answer the police’s questions with her memories gone, she retreats to the safety of her bedroom where she tries to reconstruct her life. Just as she is settling into the belief that things will one day return to normal, she looks in the mirror—and sees a stranger’s face. 
  
As Abby learns next, she has become a Shadow, sent to inhabit the lives of strangers in trouble. With nothing to go on except the vague hints of her cute but maddening Guardian, a 19th century ghostly teenager named Will, Abby sets out to rescue the missing brother. But she will need all of her intelligence, fearlessness, and wit, because if she fails to find him in time, she will remain trapped in this unfamiliar body forever.

-Summary from Goodreads


Borrowing Abby Grace is a humorous and refreshing read that handles paranormal with grace (pun intended). 


I enjoyed Abby Grace. These quick "episodes" have fulfilling, witty characters. The premise is killer as well... except it wasn't exactly what I expected.


I didn't expect this book to be so "light." It was a nice surprise... but not exactly what I was looking for. I have to admit that there were times the characters' reactions were quite melodramatic and difficult to relate to, and there were plot holes that could have been avoided but weren't. The story also carried us in a mysterious direction that, when over, made sense but just didn't seem plausible because there was no foundation/foreshadowing leading up to that point. (A good plot-twist book? The Demon's Lexicon). I understand that these are "episodes" so they are supposed to be quick, but that doesn't mean you can't expand on some important plot points to have an impact-ful result. Despite these downfalls, though, Abby Grace gracefully integrates the paranormal aspect into the protagonist's life, and I do appreciate that.


Overall, I did like Borrowing Abby Grace. This series is basically Nancy Drew meets Paranormalcy. So if you enjoy both, you might like these "episodes" more than I did. Do give them a try, though. This is one interesting ride.


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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday {15}

This week, I'm waiting for...

Everneath
By: Brodi Ashton

Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she's returned- to her old life, her family, her friends- before being banished back to the underworld... this time forever.

She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can't find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these months reconnecting with her boyfriend, Jack, the one person she loves more than anything. But there's a problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who first enticed her to the Everneath, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. And he'll do whatever it takes to bring her back- this time as his queen.

As Nikki's time grows short and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she's forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole's...


Release date: January 24th, 2012 
-Summary from Goodreads 

I'm pretty sure most of you have seen this one already, but... WOW that cover. GORGEOUS! (Okay, so I know that I probably shouldn't be judging books by their covers, but come on! How can you resist a cover like that!) I love all things mythological, and after reading the first page on Brodi's blog a few years back (found via archive... yeah, I wish I've known Brodi for that long. Read her blog here. It's way too hilarious), I'm completely in love with it. Gahhh January why are you so sloooooow?


What are YOU waiting for this week?
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Monday, November 21, 2011

Not EVERY book is for ME

Every You, Every Me
By: David Levithan
Photographs by: Johnathan Farmer
Received from: Publisher
Reported by: Julianna Helms

In this high school-set psychological tale, a tormented teen named Evan starts to discover a series of unnerving photographs—some of which feature him. Someone is stalking him . . . messing with him . . . threatening him. Worse, ever since his best friend Ariel has been gone, he's been unable to sleep, spending night after night torturing himself for his role in her absence. And as crazy as it sounds, Evan's starting to believe it's Ariel that's behind all of this, punishing him. But the more Evan starts to unravel the mystery, the more his paranoia and insomnia amplify, and the more he starts to unravel himself. Creatively told with black-and-white photos interspersed between the text so the reader can see the photos that are so unnerving to Evan, Every You, Every Me is a one-of-a-kind departure from a one-of-a-kind author.

-Summary from Goodreads


Every You, Every Me is a tale interwoven with haunting pictures that takes a new spin on what it means to be the one left behind.

Psychological novels aren't usually my thing, and while Every You, Every Me didn't exactly make it my new favorite genre, it certainly widened my taste to new aspects. The plot was delicately handled and swept with angst, showcased through strike-out lines. I feel like the strike-outs were a tad  overused, but it did manage to add tension to Evan's character and feelings.

The characters weren't all three-dimensional. The only person I could really sense was Evan, and even then, all I knew about him was angst, angst, angst. The ending, however, introduced a new side of him that I wish we could have watched recovering along with. Instead Evan spends the first 99% of the book in self-denial/destruct/deprecate, so when the ending came and he finally stepped up from the shadow of his absent best friend, Ariel, it felt too sudden and clean-cut to be the same guy.

Through and through, though, Every You, Every Me provided the type of atmosphere you'd expect in a psychological tale of reconstruct, and I do appreciate that. I'll definitely be checking out more David Levithan books in the future, but I have a feeling his psychological books and other picturesque novels won't be for me.



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Friday, November 18, 2011

How much is too much? How much is forbidden?

Forbidden
By: Tabitha Suzuma


Seventeen-year-old Lochan and sixteen-year-old Maya have always felt more like friends than siblings. Together they have stepped in for their alcoholic, wayward mother to take care of their three younger siblings. As defacto parents to the little ones, Lochan and Maya have had to grow up fast. And the stress of their lives—and the way they understand each other so completely—has also also brought them closer than two siblings would ordinarily be. So close, in fact, that they have fallen in love. Their clandestine romance quickly blooms into deep, desperate love. They know their relationship is wrong and cannot possibly continue. And yet, they cannot stop what feels so incredibly right. As the novel careens toward an explosive and shocking finale, only one thing is certain: a love this devastating has no happy ending.

-Summary from Goodreads


I just finished reading Forbidden. I feel like I'm about to die.
  
Here's the thing: I'm not writing a review for this. I can't. No words I can ever write can ever express the beauty of this book to anyone who hasn't read it. But because I am the debate captain of my school, because I want--need--to talk, argue about this, I'm going to stand up for consensual incest. So, if you're reading this for a review of Forbidden, you might want to stop reading now. If you cringe at the very mention of incest, stop reading. It's not a command--I just don't want you to be exposed to something you never wished to know of.

Here's a clarification: Consensual incest (the one I'm standing up for) is incest that is wanted by both sides. It's not a raped event, it's not a forced, blackmailing thing, it's a need acquired and realized and understood by both, so that there is no abuser or a victim, but rather two victims to a law that leaves me incredulous. I'm not encouraging incest or anything like that. I'm simply questioning its right to be a law.

1) You might think this: Incest is so gross! So wrong! 
But let me ask you: How wrong is wrong? How do you define wrong? Why is it that anyone who has been thrown together into this catastrophic situation of impossibility after their feelings, after their love cannot be denied after their need cannot be ignored after everything they've tried has failed, why must we punish, ridicule them for being produced by the same woman? Why must we immediately categorize it as wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong? I understand if this is your feelings about a rape, but that's not what I'm talking about here. I know it's strange, that I'm talking about this. Perhaps you are grossed out. But I am asking you right now how much this direct, immediate decision, prejudice affects our moral beliefs. These people who have no choice over how they feel no choice over how much they have tried to stop how they feel no choice over life no choice over anything not even their own parents HOW, WHY is it right to take them away and imprison them, block them away from life, strip them of their rights and punish them for something out of their control--their birth mother? These people--yes, I know it's sick, I know I know--but is it really so wrong that is has to be forbidden? Is it so wrong that we have to rip them from their lives and destroy them until they have no reason left to live? Is it so wrong that we have to peel off our moral beliefs, shed it like skin and breathe our prejudices into their beings? Make our disgust their only air to breathe? They know it's wrong. They know. They know and they try to stop it but if what they feel is so right if they both know what they're doing if they both tried to stop and--and it feels like true love, real love--why do we get to instantaneously thrust them apart and blame everything, lose it, believe it true--that they did something terrible so terrible--before we hear the truth? 

2) You might think this: Well, it's against the law. There's a reason it's against the law.
Birth defects? Those can happen in regular, non-blood relationships as well. So why is this SO terrible--and I'm talking about consensual incest here? Why is it that it has to be outlawed?  Birth defects could be prevented by extending to sibling marriage the rule that five states already apply to cousin marriage: You can do it if you furnish proof of infertility or are presumptively too old to procreate.
 
3) You might say, finally, in exasperation: It's disgusting.
So is obese people wearing booty shorts. So is littering, killing the Earth in plain sight. So is couples making out beyond appropriateness in an area where they are exposed to hundreds of young children. Yet those things are not illegal, so why should consensual incest be? Like the article I linked above says, if this is a law simply put because you think it's disgusting--that's not reason enough.

Understand I am not encouraging this. Understand that I'm not saying I don't get grossed out by it at times. But also, most importantly, understand that this is something that rivals our very core moral beliefs. This is something that puts us in the boat of hypocrisy because, if asked the question, "if two people truly love each other, no matter their situations, should they be allowed to be together?", you would probably answer yes. But incest won't cross your mind. It might fleet by, but you will assume the person who asked you the question didn't mean it. But is it really so different? Why is it that this consensual, understood, recognized incest is outlawed? Why? Is it so bad that we have to banish people, punish them for their lack of rights and choices?


I don't like to tackle taboo issues in the public often. But I wanted to talk about this, because beyond all else--beyond morality, law--we are damning two people who never had a choice, a say in the situation. This is not the freedom of speech, not the freedom of expression.  This is no freedom, but a constant pressure forging onto them, wrapping around them in a vise until they are constrained and imprisoned and everything robbed away. 


How is this right?




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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday {14}


This week, I'm waiting for...

LARKSTORM 
By: Dawn Rae Miller


In the years following the destructive Long Winter, when half the world’s population perished, the State remains locked in battle against the Sensitives: humans born with extra abilities.

As one of the last descendants of the State’s Founders, seventeen-year-old Lark Greene knows her place: study hard and be a model citizen so she can follow in her family’s footsteps. Her life’s been set since birth, and she’s looking forward to graduating and settling down with Beck, the boy she’s loved longer than she can remember. 

However, after Beck is accused of being Sensitive and organizing an attack against Lark, he disappears. Heartbroken and convinced the State made a mistake, Lark sets out to find him and clear his name.

But what she discovers is more dangerous and frightening than Sensitives: She must kill the boy she loves, unless he kills her first.

-Summary from Goodreads


This book sounds totally awesome! Veronica Roth, the superb author of Divergent (it was actually the first book I ever reviewed! O.O), recommended this book on her blog. And the cover is just GORGEOUS! :D (yeah, okay, I really shouldn't judge book on their covers, but STILL!)

What are YOU waiting for this week?
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THINGS

First:
The Hunger Games official movie trailer.
I wanted to do a post on it yesterday,
but I couldn't.
I couldn't.
It was
mind-blowing.
Beyond
astonishing.
Beyond perfection.
It's just so
unbelievable
that all these characters I've only
dreamed
of, I've only
imagined,
are
alive.
For once, I am speechless.

Second:

I'm going to be participating in the 2012 Debut Authors challenge hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren (!!!LOVETHATBLOG!!!)! The objective of this challenge is to read & review a minimum of twelve young adult or middle grade debut novels between the dates of January 1, 2012 - January 31, 2013! :) I'm excited--there are so many awesome debut books releasing next year!

Here are some I can't wait for:
Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
Everneath by Brodi Ashton
The Selection by Kiera Cass
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
When the Sea is Rising Red by Cat Hellisen
Of Poseidon by Anna Banks
Undeadly by Michele Vail
Arcadia Awakens by Kai Meyer
Shooting Stars by Allison Rushby
Slide by Jill Hathaway
Dragonswood by Janet Lee Carey
The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Frances Long
Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard


What 2012 YA/MG debuts are YOU excited about?


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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Canyons, Condie, and CROSSED

Crossed
By: Ally Condie
Reported by: Julianna Helms

In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky - taken by the Society to his certain death - only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

Cassia's quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander - who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia's heart - change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.


-Summary from Goodreads

Crossed...where to begin?

Ally Condie writes beautifully. Her characters are wonderful, and she has constructed a plot that may begin at The Giver, but certainly exceeds it. 

I really liked Crossed. I did. It was actually better than I expected, but... it didn't leave me with the WOW factor Matched did. When I finished Matched, I was just overwhelmed with this feeling of anxiety and ache as if I was Cassia, but, Crossed just didn't do that to me. The story had a good pace and high stakes, but its ending fell short. It just wasn't memorable--I had to skim through some things again before writing this review because I forgot a bunch of events.


There are new characters introduced in Crossed, and secrets are revealed. I think these will definitely lead to an edge-of-your-seat last book (I'm guessing it's called Sorted!). The new characters certainly added tension to the book, but the secrets... (remember here that it's EXTREMELY hard to get a twist past me, as I usually guess it waaaaay early on) I already suspected them, so it wasn't like, groundbreaking when I found out. But that's just me! You might find them to add more stakes to the story. 


All in all, I think Crossed was a good sequel. It met my expectations and delivered a gripping plot. There was room for improvement, and questions we still need answers to, which I think will make a great conclusion to the trilogy. Give it a try... you just may find yourself double-crossed.


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Thursday, November 10, 2011

AHH I AM BURNING UP HERE

(Found here)
So. Hotness. I have never read a YA book without romance (even of the tiniest bit!), and so it goes without saying that of course there is a catch to this romantic popularity, right? That we can just put in a bunch of hot guys and expect the readers to fall head over heels for them, right?

Um, no, actually.

Greenwillow (an imprint of HarperCollins) editor Martha Mihalick did an excellent post on this back at WriteOnCon, and she talked about the factor of believability in romance in an eloquent way I will never be able to, but I'm going to tackle the subject today... from a teen's perspective.


The truth is this: Just because a guy is hot doesn't mean I'll love him. Just because he looks like a mix of Logan Lerman and Josh Hutcherson doesn't mean I'm going to be absolutely delirious with him.

He needs to have depth. Personality. Character.

And I feel like that's what is really lacking in the excuse of "well, he's totally hot". Yeah, it's great that a guy is good-looking, but if he's a complete jerk and totally narcissistic, I'll hate him to the end of the Earth. If he uses all of his hotness for fame and uses others as his own gimmicky stairs to success, I'll despise him and snap the book shut.

But if you give me an average-looking guy and spice him up with doses of personality, I will fall in love.

Take Miles "Pudge" Halter from Looking for Alaska (by John Green) for example: He's an average-looking guy. Oh, wait, he must be worse, because at his giveaway party only two people came, and they sat around doing pretty much nothing. He didn't have many friends. So, he must be such a sore loser, right?

No. No no no no no.

He memorizes the last words of famous people. He reads biographies. He loves to think. He can feel. He tries so hard to make everything right and he's afraid of everything falling apart and he's just this real teen trying to hold the pieces of his life together without collapsing onto the ground.

I loved him.

Take Tucker from Unearthly (by Cynthia Hand): He's a good-looking guy, yeah, but not that good-looking--no, the really, REALLY hot guy is Christian. But I fell head over heels in love with Tucker and not Christian because he has just this amazing personality, and he's so sweet and caring and he honestly invests time in other people and is generous, helpful, altruistic. He believes in giving. He's willing to do what's right for others, and often give up his most sought-after desires for the greater good.

It is these intelligent, tangible, understanding characters that really make me fall in love. When I see a hot guy, I think, Ooh, he's kinda cute. But if he insults everyone else and always talks about himself and how great he is and yaddy-yaddy-yada, all that hotness is a layer of useless disguise.

On the contrary, if I see an average-looking guy with this brilliant personality, this contagious enthusiasm, this tantalizing optimism, I will really, really like him. This is how I feel. I am a teen. This is how real teens feel.*

In a nutshell, don't just make your characters hot. Make them believable. Make them come alive, burst off the pages. Make them speak to me, make them make me fall in love.

And most of all, don't be afraid to sacrifice looks for a personality that is as brilliant as the stars.

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 *This is solely my own opinion, but I know there are many other teens out there who feels the same way. And it DOES help if a guy is hot--in a movie. In a book, we often conjure up images of how we think the guy looks, and personally, if he's a big jerk, I would imagine him with a giant red bruise or something. Just for the fun of it. :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday {13}

This week, I'm waiting on...

Hallowed
By: Cynthia Hand

For months part-angel Clara Gardner trained to face the raging forest fire from her visions and rescue the alluring and mysterious Christian Prescott from the blaze. But nothing could prepare her for the fateful decisions she would be forced to make that day, or the startling revelation that her purpose—the task she was put on earth to accomplish—is not as straightforward as she thought. Now, torn between her increasingly complicated feelings for Christian and her love for her boyfriend, Tucker, Clara struggles to make sense of what she was supposed to do the day of the fire. And, as she is drawn further into the world of part angels and the growing conflict between White Wings and Black Wings, Clara learns of the terrifying new reality that she must face: Someone close to her will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning.

Described by Richelle Mead as “utterly captivating,” Unearthly received outstanding reviews, garnered accolades from New York Times bestselling authors, and was named an Indie Next Pick. In this heart-wrenching sequel, Cynthia Hand expertly captures the all-consuming joy of first love—and the agony of loss. This beautifully woven tale will appeal to fans of Lauren Kate, Becca Fitzpatrick, and Aprilynne Pike.

-Summary from Goodreads


I really enjoyed the first installment of the series, Unearthly (see my review of it here), and I can't wait to dive back into the awesome world of Clara! For those of you wary on angel stories--do give this a chance. I remember I wasn't so sure about Unearthly until finally all the hype persuaded me to give it a try, and I fell in love with it. :)


What are YOU waiting for this week?


Tuesday, November 8, 2011