Friday, June 27, 2014

#scandal Blog Tour: Review of #scandal + Interview with Sarah Ockler + GIVEAWAY


I'm so excited to be a part of this blog tour! As I'm not in the country right now, this is coming to you as a scheduled post. You can check out the rest of the stops on the tour other awesome interviews, guest posts, and reviews. You can go HERE for that.
Goodreads rating: 3.62
eARC, 368 pages
Published June 17 2014 by Simon Pulse
Source: review copy from the publisher
Genre: YA contemporary

Lucy’s learned some important lessons from tabloid darling Jayla Heart’s all-too-public blunders: Avoid the spotlight, don’t feed the Internet trolls, and keep your secrets secret. The policy has served Lucy well all through high school, so when her best friend Ellie gets sick before prom and begs her to step in as Cole’s date, she accepts with a smile, silencing about ten different reservations. Like the one where she’d rather stay home shredding online zombies. And the one where she hates playing dress-up. And especially the one where she’s been secretly in love with Cole since the dawn of time.

When Cole surprises her at the after party with a kiss under the stars, it’s everything Lucy has ever dreamed of… and the biggest BFF deal-breaker ever. Despite Cole’s lingering sweetness, Lucy knows they’ll have to ’fess up to Ellie. But before they get the chance, Lucy’s own Facebook profile mysteriously explodes with compromising pics of her and Cole, along with tons of other students’ party indiscretions. Tagged. Liked. And furiously viral.

By Monday morning, Lucy’s been branded a slut, a backstabber, and a narc, mired in a tabloid-worthy scandal just weeks before graduation.

Lucy’s been battling undead masses online long enough to know there’s only one way to survive a disaster of this magnitude: Stand up and fight. Game plan? Uncover and expose the Facebook hacker, win back her best friend’s trust, and graduate with a clean slate.

There’s just one snag—Cole. Turns out Lucy’s not the only one who’s been harboring unrequited love...


I read somewhere not to read this as your first Sarah Ockler book. Luckily, it wasn't my first Sarah Ockler book, but I can't help agreeing with this sentiment. It was just okay. The reason I know this is because, normally, I tear through contemporaries like they're no one's business. Unlike fantasies and sci-fi's and dystopians which have more world building and a lot more things to pay attention to, most contemporaries are focused on one main issue and so they're easier for me to read. It took me way too long to finish this one compared to other contemporaries I've read. It's also not indicative of a Sarah Ockler book in my opinion. So if you've been looking to read Sarah Ockler for the first time, I would suggest not doing it with this book (HINT: in the "Books Like This One" section, I mention the Sara Ockler book that you should start with). I don't actually know what to say about this one because, honestly, there isn't much to say. We all know that social media is taking over our lives (yes, even adults, which is made apparent in this book), but that doesn't make it an interesting story. You could see Ockler trying to liven it up with witty banter and a thematic horse, but overall, the story itself just wasn't that interesting.

I guess the worst part is that, although the synopsis makes it seem like the romance is the main focus, it becomes apparent soon after the scandalous kiss that that's not going to be the case. The thing with her sister was interesting, with her being a sort B- list star from a 90210-like TV series. It was nice seeing their relationship grow and for them to realize that they're not so different. It was also awfully convenient that the sister took over household and parenting duties while their actual parents went on a vacation for the entire novel. Like, what? Yeah, just too convenient for me. What this novel really became about, though, was Lucy's friendship with Ellie, or lack thereof. And that was the problem. All the time Lucy was trying to bring Ellie back into her life, it backfired and we barely got to see Ellie (basically the main focus of the novel) at all! There were some random twists that really didn't add to the plot, and it ended pretty open-ended. Overall, I can't say I liked this book, but it could also be because I've come to expect so much from Sarah Ockler and she kind of let me down with this one. Like I said, if you're looking for a book to begin your Sarah Ockler journey, don't do it with this one. Not because it was bad, but because it wasn't up to the Ockler standard.

 

Readers who enjoy contemporaries with a heavy emphasis on social media issues.

Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler*
This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Allegiant (Divergent #3) by Veronica Roth: mini review

Goodreads rating: 3.64
Signed B&N Hardcover, 526 pages
Published October 22nd 2013 by Katherine Tegen Books
Series: Divergent #3
Source: Bought
Genre: YA Dystopian

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.

Spoilers from books 1 & 2!


Well, the end of book was spoiled for me. What happens at the end was popping up everywhere and I couldn't avoid it. But I also want to say that I can appreciate the choice that Roth made at the end. She sought time and time again to prove that this was not a forgiving world, and by the end of this series, she more than proved that. I can't be mad at her for wanting to drive her point home, and I know a lot of people were really pissed about the ending, which is why it took me a little time to read it after I first got my copy, but I get where other people are coming from too. Authors love to kill off the people you love most, but that's life. Maybe college makes you cynical; I don't know. Either way, I can appreciate the choice Roth made, and that's that.

There's something that's been bothering me ever since I read Insurgent, and it's the fact that this series should have been a duology, ESPECIALLY with how long Insurgent was when it didn't need to be. I felt like nothing really happened in Insurgent except that more people died. As if we hadn't seen that in bulk during Divergent. But I LOVED Divergent; to this day it's still one of my favorite books. And I really enjoyed Allegiant. So my thought is that this easily could have just been a duology. I'm sure there are plenty of successful ones out there, and with the way Divergent sold, they would have had no problem. But so many people push for trilogies, and I felt like Insurgent wasn't close at all to how good Divergent was. Luckily, Allegiant made up for that. I appreciated, as with the rest of the series, the relationships between the characters. While this is a time for action, it's also a time for learning about each other. We also get to see life beyond the fences which, really, isn't that much different.

Some people had issues with the dual perspective, so here's my take on that. The book I'm writing right now has multiple POV's, one of which is the main girl character. But I would never right a scene from the point of view of the guy. It just seems to invasive compared to the other characters, and, honestly, I don't want to know what the guy character is thinking, even if it's my own character. If he's being mysterious then it's kind of a mystery for me too. Plus, it's kind of hard when your character is holding a huge secret. But, honestly, I think Roth kind of gave in to what other authors have done, and that's putting the perspective of certain events in the book in the guy's POV to make him more swoony/badass. But a lot of people had the problem that they couldn't distinguish between the two voices, and that wasn't a problem for me.

Overall, a very enjoyable read and an honest conclusion to a heart-wrenching dystopian series. I hope to see more amazing things from Ms. Roth.

[IF YOU HAVE NO READ THE BOOK, PLEASE DO NO READ THIS PARAGRAPH]
So, like I said, I was spoiled the ending for this book, which was why I put it off after I first got it. I mean, something like Tris dying was going to happen. It might have been Four or someone else, but I can see why it had to be Tris. There were some other deaths and some things worse than death, but for some reason, I got the feeling someone important was going to die. With a world as dangerous as this one. someone needed to be sacrificed. Tris was primed all along.

 

 Anyone who's read the other two books, and loves dystopians!

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Blood Red Road by Moira Young


Monday, June 16, 2014

Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer: mini review

Goodreads rating: 4.51
ARC, 550 pages
Published February 4th 2014 by Feiwel & Friends
Source: borrowed ARC from Crystal
Genre: YA dystopian fantasy

In this third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who's only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.

 Spoilers from books 1-3!


Another short review. I wish I remembered more about this book, but what I do remember is that I loved it!

What can I say? This series keeps getting better and better! I knew I was going to love Captain Thorne, but I fell in love with him even more in this book! They're all trying to overthrow Levana, and it's not going to happen unless they have Cress, a girl placed up in a satellite orbiting earth. Sadly, Cress is under Levana's thumb, and she's been asked to track Cinder and Thorne, who also have Wolfe and Scarlet. But Cress, despite the fact that she wants to get out, is really sheltered and doesn't know much about the world beyond her screens. Then, Cinder and Thorne come to her, and it doesn't go as planned. Cress and Thorne... There are just no words. It boggles my mind that Meyer can create so many different characters and relationship dynamics with each book. It just builds so perfectly on itself. The other thing I love about the relationships in this series is that, while new ones are building, the dynamic between Kai and Cinder shifts while they're away from each other. I want them to be together so badly! But I get the feeling that, with the way this one ended, the last book will make sure that that's not a problem. Or Meyer is going to break our hearts. I'm hoping for the first one. I cannot WAIT for Winter!!!!!! Next February can't come soon enough!

 

 Lovers of dystopian fantasy, and, really, everyone should be, especially of this series. Definitely one of my favorite series!

Crewel by Gennifer Albin
Across the Universe by Beth Revis


Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Bitter Kingdom (Fire and Thorns #3) by Rae Carson: mini review


GOODREADS
Goodreads rating: 4.30
e-ARC, 433 pages
Published August 27th 2013 by Greenwillow Books
Series: Fire and Thorns #3
URL: http://www.raecarson.com/books/
Source: for review from the publisher
Genre: YA high fantasy

The champion must not waver.
The champion must not fear.
The gate of darkness closes.

Elisa is a fugitive.

Her enemies have stolen the man she loves, and they await her at the gate of darkness. Her country is on the brink of civil war, with her own soldiers ordered to kill her on sight.

Her Royal Majesty, Queen Lucero-Elisa né Riqueza de Vega, bearer of the Godstone, will lead her three loyal companions deep into the enemy's kingdom, a land of ice and snow and brutal magic, to rescue Hector and win back her throne. Her power grows with every step, and the shocking secrets she will uncover on this, her final journey, could change the course of history.

But that is not all. She has a larger destiny. She must become the champion the world has been waiting for.

Even of those who hate her most.

Spoilers from books 1 & 2!


I read this book last April, so I'm very fuzzy on the details. This is why the review won't be very long, but I still want to tell you what I thought about it.

One of my favorite things about this series is the change in scenery. Each book has its own unique and dangerous place, as well its own storyline. I loved the challenges they faced in this icy part of the world; it added a whole new dynamic to it. Plus, I love snow and winter. This series stood out for me from the beginning when the love interest from the first book actually died. I'd never had a book break my heart like before then. And then this series just continued to break me. Hector is one the main reasons for this. He's stood by Elisa, even when she didn't really see him as anything but a soldier. He became so much more in this one, and just... the swoonage from this guy is indescribable. Hector is definitely top three of my book boyfriends, even after having finished this series over a year ago. Elisa has really grown over this series, and it's amazing how she responds to certain situations. I feel like Rae Carson has a great understanding of humans and our emotions, and she translates that so flawlessly onto her characters. I don't think I've ever read a better complete series, where every single book just blew me away and I couldn't put it down. I'll really miss this series and its amazing characters, but I know Carson is writing another series, so I can't wait for that!


 I cannot recommend this series more to people! If you haven't picked up the last book, please do. This is probably my favorite fantasy series to date!

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo



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Disclaimer

According to FTC guidelines, I'm obligated to share with you that all of the books that I review on my blog are either purchased by me or given to me by an author/publisher. All of the opinions expressed in my reviews are mine and I do not receive any sort of monetary goods for writing either good or bad reviews.