Sunday, March 11, 2012

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

There are a bunch of reasons that could have warranted 4 stars on this book. Oliver's writing is beautiful. It's a really interactive read with a lot of emotion and action - much more, I think than Delirium (Book 1). I think that if this story were a Book 1 or if I'd skipped right to this one I wouldn't have just "liked it." 

Unfortunately, it is a Book 2 and I didn't skip the first book.

There were a lot of things that bothered me about Pandemonium. 

I've heard a few people complain about the "now" and "then" of the book. This, if I'm being honest, did really bug me at first. I wanted to shoot through all of the thens to get back to the nows. I found myself scanning the pages at one point to get the gist of what was going on and continue with the story. However, it must have been a more seamless transition than I'd thought reading it, because I can't recall when it stopped. For those of you just picking this one up, it does stop. 

While the new characters introduced in Pandemonium added some richness to the story, I REALLY missed Hana and Alex. I felt as though I had invested too much of my time in Delirium to them for them to be removed from the story line for this ENTIRE book. 

Also, since I was so obsessed with Alex, I had a really difficult time connecting with Julian in this book. He came off as sort of bratty and helpless in so much of it. The connection built between he and Lena felt similar to that of Katniss and Peeta (terrible things happen to them that bring them together). However, unlike Peeta (total love of my life) it isn't until the end of the book that I feel like Julian is swoonworthy in the least - definitely not when the last guy you kissed was a major winner. 

Like Delirium, Pandemonium ends with this crazy cliffhanger. I hope that Book 3 can put some of my crazy disapointment at ease! 

While this review is a total emotional rant about all of the things that make me want to throw things while reading it, the book was very well-written. It's (almost)always a good sign when an author can make you want to damage your own property in a fit of rage. I'll definitely be counting down the days to see what comes next!

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

What I loved:

I thought that the character development was really outstanding. There was something I loved about every character in the book, even the ones I hated. Oliver did a really amazing job helping us to explore the depth in each of her characters, while really reminding us of the depth in all people.

The story was beautifully written. If you loved her style in Delirium and Pandemonium, this certainly doesn't disappoint. For someone with no imaginative bones of her own, I was able to picture every expression and encounter between characters vividly.

I loved that she decided to keep the story a little unconventional. While this disappointed some, it isn't like she didn't TELL us what the deal was at the VERY BEGINNING of the story. There weren't a whole lot of surprises in the plot - It was really about uncovering the characters.

Harlot Sam was my favorite Sam of all.

What I didn't love: 

It took a LONG time to get to through seven days of the same(ish) story. Day 2 and 6 were a little painful for me. I would have preferred maybe a little less of the conversations that were repeated day after day. I get it. It's the same day over and over.

I didn't really understand why . . . SPOILER!!!!

Sam had to die to save Juliet . If Sam was in the car in the first place and the reason that she dies is because Juliet darts in front of the car, how can still-alive Sam die in Juliet's place by darting in front of a different car instead? Why does Juliet get a second shot at living, but not Sam? Does ANYONE ELSE GET THIS? I'd really love some insight. Lauren Oliver?

I think that the story was so beautiful, and it was a really interesting read. I liked it. I didn't love it. I don't have to have it. I'm not tweaking over it.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood

Find out all of the details of this book here.

What I loved:
  • Sibling love! Cate totally reminded me of myself when it came to her two sisters -though, for me, its one sister that is a hybrid between Maura and Tess.
  • Cate (the protagonist) doesn't simply care about getting the guy (or guys). She's got her own mind and priorities and boys aren't at the top of the list 
  • BOYS! Though they aren't at the top of the list, they're definitely on the list. (Team Finn, anyone?)
  • The setting- New England in the late 1800's? Yes, please. It's a world that Spotswood definitely nails. I can totally see myself going to formal teas in my corseted dress alongside the Cahill sisters. 
  • LOTS of characters that you're still trying to figure out at the end of the book - there's still a lot to be uncovered. So, there's a ton of potential for book 2. 
What I didn't love:
  • While Spotswood certainly surprised me at parts, a lot of the big discoveries in the book I had guessed well-ahead of time
  • The relationship between Paul and Cate was developed very clearly, but with Finn (though, I am a total Finn fan) it really wasn't. Insta-love? A little bit.
  • Book 2 isn't out for at least another year! 
There was very little I didn't like about this book. It took me a little while to get into it -as it typically does when I am coming straight out of another book I absolutely loved (Daughter of Smoke and Bone <3 <3 ) -but once I did I couldn't set it down. It was definitely one of those carry-it-around-with-you-in-the-off-chance-you-get-a-spare-second-to-read-at-work-or-on-lunch books. I'd give it a 4.5/5. Excellent debut with a killer cliffhanger that I will be slowly dying over until book 2 hits.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

So, I received a few recommendations to read this book.


This book was absolutely amazing. It was, in fact, so amazing I climbed out of my blogging hiatus to share my love for it for all the world to see.

Since I last blogged I've made my way through a few other books -- good books, too. I read The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, and Everneath to name a couple of highly anticipated reads. I've started and stopped reading a few big titles, too. NOTHING I've read since The Hunger Games has impressed me more than Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I read this mostly, because Brodie had this to say about it:
" Ooh and Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. Oh gosh. That book is beautiful. Both the story and the absolutely breathtaking prose. Seriously, one of the BEST romances I have read *sigh* And the worldbuilding is ... wow. "
Though the cover didn't impress me, this description did. I can't say how glad I am that I picked this one up.

Here's the info if you are interested.

What I loved: 

  • It would be so much easier to share what I didn't love. 
  • The story was BEAUTIFULLY written
  • It was INCREDIBLY imaginative without appearing to try too hard. 
  • There were so many different things going on that even while some things were predictable, much of the story was really interesting. While Taylor shared hints along the way about where the story was going, she made it really come to life once it was all revealed. 
  • Everything came together SO perfectly - the worst is when an author comes up with this great premise and fails to execute it's delivery. Laini Taylor absolutely delivers. 
  • While it's definitely got a lot of fantasy, it really is successful in connecting these otherworldly characters with the human soul. I find so often that paranormal characters are so unlike myself it's difficult to imagine, share emotions, connect with. That's not at all the case here.
  • Cheers, to a strong and strong-willed female protagonist! 
What I didn't love: 
  • It ended.
  • There is SO little info out about the next installment! 
Seriously, if you haven't, read this. 
Also, has anyone read anything else by her? If so, what did you think?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

City of Ashes/City of Glass by Cassandra Clare Review(s)

Holy smokes! I haven't been busy blogging (or commenting on blogs, SORRY GUYS!), but I have been busy READING.

First, I've been meaning to ask you guys . . . Are there any legitimate blogging relationships out there in the blogosphere? I totally get the idea of commenting for comments and followers, but I find that a lot of comments aren't vested in what the blogger has said. They will sort of touch on the content and then go immediately for a plug on their own blog. If that's the case, I may end up being more of a blog follower than a blogger. No sense in recording all of my thoughts on something if the readers just want comments back! Silly.

City of Ashes absolutely sucked me into this series. I'll move right into what I loved and didn't love.

What I loved:

  • Simon! He gets totally hot in this book. He gets sort of gutsy and speaks up a lot more. I think I wasn't really able to connect with his character in City of Bones (probably because he spent a lot of that book unable to really speak
  • The freakin' Seelie Queen! Even though she was a super jerk, she brought the romance (and KISSING) back! Thank you, jerky faerie queen!
  • Magnus Bane! He has quickly become one of my favorite characters. 
  • I thought there was a really great balance between the action and character-building in this book. After reading City of Bones I just didn't feel truly invested in many of the characters, but that all changed in City of Ashes

What I didn't love:
  • While I didn't know exactly what the answers were, I knew that a lot of things weren't as they seemed (trying to keep this spoil free - as though there is anyone out there but me that's reading these for the first time). So, there were some parts of the book where I knew things weren't true and wasn't buying into the story line. 
  • Sometimes descriptions get very repetitive. I can't say how many times I read about someone shivering, "and not just from the cold." 
  • I spotted a decent amount of typos! They distracted me every time!
Overall, I'd give it 4/5 stars!
Check the book description out here.

I actually liked City of Glass better. 
What I loved:
  • That I enjoyed this book so much I forgot to really take notes! 
  • It was the longest of the 3 that I've read and took me the least time to read
  • Clare really helps you to further understand some characters we have and a few we haven't already really gotten to know. Alec's love life becomes more of a focus, Valentine's intentions become more clear, we understand Jace's lineage a whole lot better, Luke and Jocelyn's relationship is defined. In this book all of the things you're waiting to figure out get figured out. It really is the perfect end to the trilogy. 
  • Clary really comes into her own in this one. She stops being so darn whiny and really becomes the heroine we've been waiting to see. 
  • Sibling sleepovers. I get it, that's weird. It's also so totally right!
What I didn't love
  • If this is the perfect end to a trilogy, why am I starting Book 4?! Though, I'm glad their story isn't over, I wonder how far extended this thing will go. There's a prequel trilogy as well as a post-trilogy? 
  • I missed laughing in this one. One great thing about City of Bones was that the dialogue really kept things light and humorous, but there wasn't a whole lot of that in this one. 
  • Again with repeating phrases! I get that it is a long book, but it's not that long! 
I'd still give it a solid 4/5! Check this one out here.

Friday, January 20, 2012


Hosted by Greads

Today's question: Which book from the last 10 you've read would you recommend to a friend?

Obviously for me it would hands down be The Hunger Games! It barely makes my last ten read, but it does! So, it counts! I think it makes an excellent reader for readers and nonreaders alike. I suckered my sister and a couple of coworkers into reading it, and no one has been able to put it down. 

If I had to choose a less obvious answer, I'd probably say City of Bones

"Oh, but, Ashley, I thought you didn't really love City of Bones!"

You are absolutely right! I didn't love it. It does seem, however, that almost everyone else has! (we're making recommendations, remember?) Having now finished City of Ashes I definitely have a lot more investment in the series, too. I really liked the second book. It's given me a greater appreciation for the first. 

What are you recommending this week?!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Waiting on City of Lost Souls

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

I'm a little more than halfway through City of Ashes, and you guys were right. It does get better! Now I'm nervous I'll get through these next couple in the series and probably die before City of Lost Souls hits in May! How do you guys do this all of the time! At least I'm so behind in my YA series that I've got plenty of completed ones to hit between now and then :(

What are you waiting on?!