Saturday, December 28, 2013

End of Year Book Haul + Announcement!



The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken
Scorched by Mari Mancusi
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

I'm a little sad I didn't managed to get The Darkest Minds in hardcover, but oh well.

Much thanks to my parents for setting me loose in the bookstore. :) You're the best. THANK YOU I LOVE YOU.

(Yeah that's my Christmas present basically every year. Get set loose in a bookstore.)




I'm going to be blogging for a consecutive THREE DAYS. So a post a day, to celebrate the end of the year. Almost like BookTube-A-Thon but blogging wise, and not review wise. :P

The dates are going to be January 3rd-5th (Because you guys are probably partying all New Years Eve).

The posts will be really just to wrap up the year in general, no like in depth reviews or anything. This is going to be focused mainly on books, but in the future, this might extend out towards other things. (Cause I'm thinking of making this an annual thing.)

The Monthly List for January will be out January 1st as usual.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR GUYS. I hope your Christmas was filled with presents, joy and tons and tons of chocolate and eggnog.

Mainly chocolate though.


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Book Review: Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles

Book: Wild Cards (Book #1 in the Wild Card series)
Author: Simone Elkeles
Rating: 4.5/5 stars- oh you remind me why I love cliches

Synopsis (as found on Goodreads):

After getting kicked out of boarding school, bad boy Derek Fitzpatrick has no choice but to live with his ditzy stepmother while his military dad is deployed. Things quickly go from bad to worse when he finds out she plans to move them back to her childhood home in Illinois. Derek’s counting the days before he can be on his own, and the last thing he needs is to get involved with someone else’s family drama.

Ashtyn Parker knows one thing for certain--people you care about leave without a backward glance. A football scholarship would finally give her the chance to leave. So she pours everything into winning a state championship, until her boyfriend and star quarterback betrays them all by joining their rival team. Ashtyn needs a new game plan, but it requires trusting Derek—someone she barely knows, someone born to break the rules. Is she willing to put her heart on the line to try and win it all?


Another contemporary. I know.

Having read Simone Elkeles' Perfect Chemistry series last year and fallen heads over heels in love with the series, I went into Wild Cards with some pretty good expectations along with the hopes for that fun chick-lit style along with a fresh new twist.

I was super pleased that it nailed every expectation pretty well, and I had so much fun with this one!

Wild Cards reminds me a little bit of Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally with the football aspect of the novel. The plot is totally different but it has that familiar background almost which I enjoyed.

Simone Elkeles returns back to the plot of the bad boy vs the good girl, which yes, I know, is an ultimate cliche. But I feel like that's what Simone Elkeles does best and she does it well. My thing with cliches is as long as it's done well with some creativity it's fine. It's hard to find original plots these days, and it's especially hard with contemporary. I'm not going to pick on every single one on originality. Especially if the author pulls off that cliche well. Am I lying if I say this book isn't cliche? Yes. But I'd also be lying if I said that I didn't enjoy the cliches.

I think Simone Elkeles pulls it off well, and it's seems to be what she writes best. I don't mind cliches personally if they're done well, which in this case, I think it is done well. If you don't like cliches (especially the broke bad boy and good girl cliche) I advise you steer clear of these novels.

Personal opinion: a cliche is a cliche for a reason. It became a cliche because people liked it. It's hard to be COMPLETELY original these days, so using a cliche and adding your personal touches doesn't seem like a heinous crime to me. I like cliches that are well used and gives you the feeling that this became a cliche for a reason- it's not a mindless one thrown in there.

Derek and Ashtyn are both classic to the cliche, yet with their own twists and faults and different plot to keep the story light and entertaining. It's super fun to read, with funny lines in between and weirdly loveable side characters. (Like Grams. OMG I love Grams.)

Personally, with a novel like this, I don't think it should be broken and down and analyzed and be critiqued for originality or whatever- it's meant to be fun, it's meant to be an entertaining and relaxing read and it's to allow to have a good time and wind down with it.

And that's exactly what it had and that's all I wanted from the novel. I wasn't expecting like amazing depth or originality, I was just hoping to have a nice chick-lit to wind down from the long day. Which the novel delivered.

That being said, of course the novel has it's faults. It's fairly predictable, the characters have a bit too much of a insta-love physical attraction that makes you not really believe in their romance. It can be kind of cheesy, kind of facepalm-why-did-you-do-this feeling, and find Derek and Ashtyn kind of immature. But I mean. Teenagers. That's how we are. We are annoying. Period.

In the end, Wild Cards was a fun read, an enjoyable time. Is it a classic piece of masterful writing? No. Is it a good book? Depends on how you look at it. I recommend this if you're looking for a fun chick-lit to wind down from a long day just to have a bit of a laugh or if you've been reading some pretty intense paranormals or serious novels.

(P.S. Recommend that if you enjoy the occasional cliche like me that you check out Jennifer E. Smith's novels, The Statistic Possibility of Love at First Sight and This is What Happy Looks Like. SHE MAKES YOU LOVE THE CLICHE. Makes me remember why these scenarios are cliches to begin with.)

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Book Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Book: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Rating: 5/5 stars- going to be fangirling about Fangirl for a long time

Synopsis (as found on Goodreads):

From the author of the New York Times bestseller Eleanor & Park.

A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love. 

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .

But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?


Sorry about the hiatus! Again. Teachers apparently think it's possible to squeeze in one more assignment right before the break and assign about 4 projects during the break.

*Carmen not amused

Never the less, I will be in a reading storm now that I finally have some time on my hands and first up was Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. (I'm currently on a contemporary streak.)

Rainbow Rowell took the reading world by storm with Eleanor and Park, which was released in early 2013.


In which then Rainbow Rowell joined up into my set of contemporary writing gods, and when you're one of my contemporary writing gods (or goddesses too to be technical I guess), I basically read almost everything you write.

And plus, who couldn't resist a title called FANGIRL. Not this fangirl.

And I diiiiiiiiied.

This book was bubbly, cute, fun, and it tugs at the heartstrings a little. Rainbow totally understood the feelings of being in a fandom and represented it so accurately in the novel, how much you love the characters and how you live in their world... I felt like I was at home with this book.

I like how we touch on a lot of aspects of Cath's life in this novel, although I almost wish we did a little less of the writing and more of the family life.

I said almost.

The romance was adorable, it was cute, I wanted to punch both of them for the mistakes and then bake them rainbow cupcakes and give them hugs after it was all over. It was awkward-ish cute, but like the loveable kind of awkward that makes you secretly smile.

The snippets of Simon Snow through this book was... oh my. I love how it's almost a play on Harry Potter and the just some of the things made me LAUGH. And then Cath's fanfiction was so perfect. I love the fact she wrote that Simon and Baz were into each other. I was dying from laughter, but I was actually also utterly in love. THE CONFLICTIONS.

Everything about this book is an amazing combination of funny, awkward, romantic, cute, awesomeness, sweet, and self-discovery. It has that Rainbow Rowell kick and style in it, but it's a happier atmosphere than Eleanor and Park.

Personally, I kind of prefer Fangirl over Eleanor and Park... just because I like happy stories a little more than soul crushing devastating the reader and killing them tragic with heartbreak stories, (I mean I love those too, but the heart can only take so much), and Fangirl was just everything I loved, and I walked away with one word in mind: PERFECTION.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

December 2013

Monthly Wish List for this month and what I've read and seen this past month.

Happy December guys :D CHRISTMAS IS COMING! 
Which means I sing Christmas songs at the top of my lungs and ain't no one going to stop me.

Book List: 
*synopses may be spoilery if you have not read the previous books in the series. All synopses were found on Goodreads.

Book: Taste of Darkness (Book #3 in the Healer trilogy)
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Release Date: December 31st


She's fought death and won. But how can she fight her fears?

Avry knows hardship and trouble. She fought the plague and survived. She took on King Tohon and defeated him. But now her heart-mate, Kerrick, is missing, and Avry fears he's gone forever.

But there's a more immediate threat. The Skeleton King plots to claim the Fifteen Realms for his own. With armies in disarray and the dead not staying down, Avry's healing powers are needed now more than ever.Torn between love and loyalty, Avry must choose her path carefully. For the future of her world depends on her decision.

Note from Carmen: Have I ever confessed my love for Maria's books? THEY ARE AMAZING AND THE PREVIOUS BOOK'S ENDING ASGJVHDFKJGLKOFISEUDHJ.

Book: These Broken Stars (Book #1 in the Starbound trilogy)
Author: Amie Kaufman, Megan Spooner
Release Date: December 10th


It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone. 

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help. 

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.


A timeless love story, THESE BROKEN STARS sets into motion a sweeping science fiction series of companion novels. The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.

Book: The Promise of Amazing
Author: Robin Constantine
Release Date: December 31st


Wren Caswell is average. Ranked in the middle of her class at Sacred Heart, she’s not popular, but not a social misfit. Wren is the quiet, “good” girl who's always done what she's supposed to—only now in her junior year, this passive strategy is backfiring. She wants to change, but doesn’t know how.

Grayson Barrett was the king of St. Gabe’s. Star of the lacrosse team, top of his class, on a fast track to a brilliant future—until he was expelled for being a “term paper pimp.” Now Gray is in a downward spiral and needs to change, but doesn’t know how. 

One fateful night their paths cross when Wren, working at her family’s Arthurian-themed catering hall, performs the Heimlich on Gray as he chokes on a cocktail weenie, saving his life literally and figuratively. What follows is the complicated, awkward, hilarious, and tender tale of two teens shedding their pasts, figuring out who they are—and falling in love.

Note from Carmen: I NEED THIS. The cover is gorgeous and the blurb sounds amazing. (heh see what I did there. I know, I'm lame.)

Book: Fireblood (Book #1 in the Fireblood series)
Author: Trisha Wolfe
Release Date: December 17th


To save a kingdom, Zara must choose between a prince who could be the answer and a rising rebellion that threatens to take control.

When Zara Dane is chosen to marry Prince Sebastian Hart, son of the man who ordered her father’s capture, Zara knows she must fight to save everything she loves from ruin. 

Being betrothed to the prince means a life trapped behind the towering stone walls of the Camelot-forged realm. Under the watchful eye of the prince's first knight, Sir Devlan Capra, changing her future becomes difficult. 

When an unlikely rebel reveals the truth about the deadly secrets that fuel King Hart’s twisted world, Zara’s path to rescue her father becomes clouded by deception. The Rebels clear her path by forcing Zara’s hand with an ultimatum: sway Prince Sebastian to join the Rebels, convincing him of his father’s evil nature, or they will take him out. 

But Zara is uncertain about a future under the Rebels’ command and where the prince’s heart truly lies. She must decide who to trust, what to believe, and what she’s truly fighting for before the king destroys all of Karm, including her heart.

Note from Carmen: Sounds like it could be amazing, or it could flop or die.  Either way, excited to see if I can get my hands on this one.
November Obessions

Champion (Book #3 in the Legend trilogy) (Series review can be found here.)

Other Stuff:
Blueberry Greek Yogurt

Things I Read/Saw in November and Didn't Review:

The Burning Sky (Book #1 in the Elemental Trilogy)
Crown of Midnight (Book #2 in the Throne of Glass series)
Midnight Frost (Book #5 in the Mythos Academy series)
The Vincent Boys (Book #1 in The Vincent Boys duology)
Defiance (Book #1 in the Defiance series)
Life of Pi

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Book Review: So Close to You by Rachel Carter

Book: So Close to You (Book #1 in the So Close to You trilogy)
Author: Rachel Carter
Rating: 4/5 stars- a simple beautiful train wreck

Synopsis (as found on Goodreads):

Rachel Carter launches a mind-blowing time-travel trilogy with her YA novel So Close to You.
Lydia Bentley doesn’t believe the rumors about the Montauk Project, that there’s some sort of government conspiracy involving people vanishing and tortured children. But her grandfather is sure that the Project is behind his father’s disappearance more than sixty years earlier.
While helping her grandfather search Camp Hero, a seemingly abandoned military base on Long Island, for information about the disappearance, Lydia is transported back to 1944—just a few days before her great-grandfather’s disappearance.
Lydia begins to unravel the dark secrets of the Montauk Project and her own family history, despite warnings from Wes, a mysterious boy she is powerfully attracted to but not sure she should trust.


SORRY FOR THE LONG HIATUS GUYS. End of term came and you know what that means.

TESTS. *cue the scary background music

And so the craze began.

But I'm back and I'm happy to say I'm alive after all those tests and that I actually managed to read a book here and there. (THANK YOU ENGLISH CLASS FOR 20 MINUTES OF READING EVERY CLASS.)

And I think So Close to You might just win surprise of the year. I was not expecting how much I would ACTUALLY enjoy this novel.

Time traveling has been making a comeback lately in YA, and this has kicked off a new sci-fi trend, often combined with dystopian.

I'm not a sci-fi person. I enjoy the occasional one, but they are strong hit or misses for me. Not much grey area. Time travel especially I'm picky with, because I have not had terrific experiences with them. (Timepiece, Tempest etc.)

But I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this novel! I was throughly engaged in the story and I was not bored or yawning or moaning at any point. I wanted to read it from beginning to end.


I may have enjoyed the novel, but that doesn't mean I think the novel is good. I personally don't think the novel was extremely well written and there are several areas that bother me about this novel. But I think how much you enjoy something is completely different how good I think it is. My ratings are always a combination of those two things, but sometimes when it's signifcantly different, I make a point to point it out.

So in this case, I believe a Pros and Cons list is needed.


The plot was engaging because it was simple and had good tension build up- I wanted to know more about this conspiracy, this mysterious project and there were no complicated rules to the time travel except for the most basic bare bones structure. Nothing confusing or super complex. The plot followed a good beginning to end, and it flowed nicely. It gave the premise depth and a realistic sci-fi feel.



I failed to see how a teenager in 2012 FAILS to understand the butterfly effect. OBVIOUSLY YOU DO NOT GO GALLOPING INTO THE PAST AND EXPECT NOTHING TO HAPPEN. Have you not watched a single time travel movie? DO NOT MESS WITH THE PAST. I didn't mind anything about Lydia, but that was the thing that bothered me the most about her character.

The romance...
a) kind of insta-lovey, but I really like the mysterious factor to it and I cared enough about by the end, although I wished it developed a different way unlike how it kind of all clicked in the end for me.

b) The almost love triangle complicated by time... was there really a point to that?

I like how the romance turned out at the end, but the entire way there I was kind of cringing.



A novel that is kind of a mess in a couple parts, but WHAT A FUN MESS. It's simple, suspenseful, and even though sometimes you SO want to hit Lydia with a dictionary, the novels screams for your attention. I'm crossing my fingers and hoping that the next one improves.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Blog Tour: Review + Excerpt of Breakable by Aimee Salter

First blog tour guys! And as a treat I have an excerpt of the novel for you guys at the end!

Book: Breakable
Author: Aimee L. Salter
Released Date: November 4th - out now! Purchase it on Amazon here.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars- you'll feel breakable by the end of this book

Synopsis (provided kindly by the author):

If you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?
When seventeen-year-old Stacy looks in the mirror she can see and talk to her future self. “Older Me” has been Stacy's secret support through the ongoing battle with their neurotic mother, relentless bullying at school, and dealing with her hopeless love for her best friend, Mark.

Then Stacy discovers Older Me is a liar.

Still reeling from that betrayal, Stacy is targeted again by her most persistent tormentor. Only this time, he's used her own artwork to humiliate her - and threaten her last chance with Mark.

She’s reached breaking point.



*I received an ARC of this novel in PDF format via the author in exchange for an honest review.

SO EXCITED FOR THIS REVIEW TO BE UP GUYS. I've actually finished Breakable a couple weeks ago and have been dying to tell you guys about it.

When I first read the synopsis for Breakable, I didn't think too much on it- it sounded like an interesting contemporary with a small sci-fi twist on it. Seeing the raving reviews,  I really wanted to see what Breakable could bring to the table. Could it offer me something fresh? Something authentic and real?
The answer is yes, it offers all those things and more.

I'm a really big fan of contemporary- but it's always the more fun, relaxing, funny, cute romance novels that I've always really enjoyed. The more deeper ones, that touch on deeper issues, then tend to be an easy hit or miss with me. Breakable was a really big hit with me- it really sent a pang to my heart reading certain scenes.

I remember reading certain scenes and just feeling overwhelmed- how Stacy could be so strong. My dog was laying next to me the whole time I was reading this novel- I remember reaching out and grabbing him into a hug. And then him writhing to get out of my grasp so he could nap.

The things Stacy go through in this novel is utterly raw and grippingly authentic. It's so real, it's scary. And it sucks to imagine people going through things like this. What I love most about this is how Stacy deals with all this- it's her inner self monologue and the monologue with Older Me that is the most powerful scenes to me in the novel. They give a sense of character and you see this girl who's been ripped to pieces by her peers, trying to stand and try to find her own piece of happiness.

I was a little confused around the end a little with the sci-fi element- I had to reread it once and kind of absorb it. It made the story a little less realistic along with a couple other things that I wondered about, (such as how the teachers totally didn't notice any of this going on) but it didn't really bothered me. It doesn't make the story any less meaningful, nor does it completely pull you out of the story.

Overall, a completely utterly astounding novel that surprised me with its depth and raw emotion. I definitely recommend you check out Breakable if you are a big contemporary fan, and even if you're not,  you might be surprised on how much you actually like it.


Older Me sighed. “You can’t let Mom get under your skin that way. You can’t let anyone do that to you.”
“Are you kidding me? I’ve got some jerk sending me sexts and she thinks I’m asking for it! I show up at the dance and Finn humiliates me in front of my entire class. And Mark’s dating Karyn.” My hands were in my hair because it had honestly started feeling like my head was going to explode.
Older Me’s hands came up, soothing. She kept her voice to a whisper. “I know. I do. But you have to keep going. You just have to. If you push through this, it will work. You’ll show them. You’ll show them you didn’t deserve this!”
Those words... I didn’t deserve it.
I chewed them over. They felt right and wrong at the same time. They were true, but I didn’t believe them.
I let my eyes wander over the room, my bag, my pictures. It felt like sitting in this room with the door closed was my only safe space.
Older Me kept talking. “You think the way these people treat you is the end of the world. But I can tell you, it isn’t what happens to you in your life that destroys you. It’s what you do about it.”
“Are you trying to say it’s my fault everyone–”
“No. I’m saying that you’ve had crap thrown at you. You can either clean yourself up and keep going and prove everyone wrong – show them you didn’t deserve to get it in the first place. Or you can roll around in it and think you deserve it, and start acting like you do.”
Oh. “Is that what you did?”
She nodded. “Crappy things happened to me and I gave up. And believe me, when you give up, the crap just piles on thicker until pretty soon you don’t even realize it’s crap anymore.” She inched closer to me, her eyes piercing mine. “Stacy, if I had the chance to go back and live it again – to be in your shoes – I’d do it in a heartbeat. Because you’re going to walk away from this and figure out it wasn’t your fault.
“One day you’ll look back and realize that everyone you grew up with didn’t get it right. They didn’t actually know you. They didn’t really hear you. They were just so messed up, they threw all their own crap on you.
“But the thing is, if you can understand that it’s their problem, you’ll brush it all off and walk away clean. While they’ll still be looking for other people to dump on. You’ll win. It’ll be worth it.”
I couldn’t look away from her. “I don’t know…” Her words seemed so right. But I didn’t want to believe them because it meant I had to fight. And I was so tired of fighting.
She ran a hand through her hair and looked as tired as I felt. “There’s nothing I can tell you that will make this easier,” she whispered, “But you have to keep going. Because… because it took me this long to see the truth of that. And Mom still doesn’t get it. That’s why she’s such a jerk. If you can believe that the problem is theirs – know it’s true – you won’t end up like me, or her. You’ll be better. Stronger.”
“But everything else thinks it’s me! Even if I believed what you’re saying, it wouldn’t change what they thought.”
“True, but you’ll feel better.” She sighed. “Look, the only thing I know is I’ve always had a big hole inside. And no matter how I tried to be who they wanted me to be, no one ever loved me enough to fill the hole up. In fact, the harder I tried, the less they had to offer. So… it’s got to be better to fight. It’s got to be better not to give yourself up for other people. But there’s got to be more than that too.” She gave a watery smile. “When you figure out the rest, let me know.”

About the Author: Aimee L. Salter

Aimee L. Salter is a Pacific North-Westerner who spent much of her young (and not-so-young) life in New Zealand. After picking up a Kiwi husband and son, she’s recently returned to Oregon.

She writes novels for teens and the occasional adult who, like herself, are still in touch with their inner-high schooler.
Aimee is the author behind Seeking the Write Life, a popular blog for writers.

You can find her on Facebook | Twitter | Blog
Purchase Breakable on Kindle | Nook | Paperback
Add Breakable to your to-read shelf here.

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