Category Archives: 5 Stars

Review | NOVEMBER 9

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November 9

AUTHOR: Colleen Hoover

EDITION: Paperback, 310 pages | Published By: Atria Books

ACQUISITION: Own

RATING: 5.00/5.00

ADD TO GOODREADS

WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Beloved #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover returns with an unforgettable love story between a writer and his unexpected muse.

Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day before her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.

MY THOUGHTS: Having a 2 year old and being six months pregnant doesn’t leave me much time for reading these days… HOWEVER, that DID NOT stop me from binge reading this book in a matter of a weekend. It was THAT good. Not that I expect anything less from a Colleen Hoover novel, considering that I did the same thing with Maybe Someday.

The second I opened this book and began reading I was hooked on Fallon’s story. She begins the story as this horribly insecure person because of scars left on her body after she was stuck in a house fire. She blames her father, since he has taken responsibility for the blaze, and therefore her already struggling relationship with him is in even more turmoil. Upon the eve of her move to NYC to try her hand at acting on Broadway – since her film acting career was cut short by the deformities left by the fire – Fallon finds herself at breakfast with her father, breaking the news that she is moving. He isn’t thrilled at the news, and all but tells her that her career is over due to the scars on her face and body, and to try something else, like college.

Overhearing all of this is Ben Kessler. Unable to sit and listen to this conversation, Ben jumps in and pretends to be Fallon’s boyfriend, which renders her father speechless, and leads to one of the most intense, incredible romances I’ve ever read about.

Unable to end their short relationship, Fallon invites Ben back to her apartment to help her pack. They get to know each other a little bit, and decide to meet up once a year, every November 9th. Not only will this give them time to get to know each other slowly, but it gives Ben a story line for his novel.

Over the course of the book, we follow Fallon and Ben each November 9th. We see how each has grown and changed, and how the effects of only talking and seeing each other once a year has on a relationship. I fell in love with this book so hard, and maybe reading it while pregnant wasn’t the best idea, since my emotions are already so messed up, but this book definitely gave me some wicked emotional whiplash. There is just so much love, hate, sadness and sorrow, life and death, heartache, heartbreak… you name it.

I did think I had the book slightly figured out at one point – assuming that Fallon and Ben would not end up together after a line about how a book can have a happy ending without the main characters being together, as long as they’re happy apart. But I won’t spoil it for you – you’ll have to read and find out if they win in the end.

If you’re a fan of other Colleen Hoover books, new adult, or are looking for somewhere to start in the contemporary romance genre then November 9 is a GREAT place to start.

Happy Reading!

Laura

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Review {23} Obsidian

AUTHOR: Jennifer L. Armentrout
SERIES: Lux #1 | OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES: Shadows #0.5; Onyx #2; Opal #3; Origin #4; Untitled #5
PUBLISHED: May 8th 2012 by Entangled Teen
ACQUIRED: Own
EDITION: Paperback, 361 pages
CATEGORIES: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Sci-Fi, Romance, Aliens, Supernatural, 5 Stars, Jennifer L. Armentrout, Obsidian, Lux Series
RATING: 5.00/5.00 | GOODREADS RATING: 4.37/5.00
WHAT IT’S ABOUT: 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.

MY THOUGHTS:  Holy cow! I don’t even know where to begin with how much this book rocked my world right now! And how badly I wish that I had book #2 because I have a wicked case of book hangover. I want more Daemon! I NEED more Daemon! And Katy – how much more awesome can a main character get?! Okay, let me take a second and attempt to compose myself  *makes several minutes worth of squee and eeek noises*
Let’s try this again.
Oh. My. God. Who knew aliens could be so sexy?! And so bad ass?!
I absolutely loved Katy’s character. The only way I can think to describe her is… Feisty! She is one sarcastic, funny girl and definitely a top fave of mine now. All of the characters were fabulous. The sexy, smoldering Daemon, sensitive and lovable Dee; and even Katy’s other new friends Carissa and Lesa offer up tons of funny dialogue. The intense sexual tension and chemistry between Katy and Daemon is insane, and I am craving MORE!
I really enjoyed how well plotted out the story line is too. From the first page to the last, the story never slowed down or hit speed bumps. I was happily cruising along at a constant pace the entire time. There were no parts that felt awkward or forced, and I simply did not want to put the book down to eat, sleep, and go to work! It is easy to see what all the fuss was about when Armentrout hit the YA scene. I find her to be a fabulous author, and I will happily read anything that she puts out.
SIMILAR READS: AWRY by Chelsea Fine | SPARK by Brigid Kemmerer | ACCORDANCE by Shelly Crane | TOUCH by Jus Accardo | PREDESTINED by Abbi Glines
WHO I WOULD RECOMMEND THIS BOOK TO: Anyone who loves a good sci-fi story with hot aliens and one heck of a feisty, not-afraid-of-anything heroine!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing, she spends time reading, working out, watching really zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and Jack Russell Loki.
Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories … which explains her dismal math grades. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, sci-fi, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion, and Harlequin Teen.
She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published with Entangled and HarperCollins.

Review {21} Throne of Glass

AUTHOR: Sarah J. Maas
SERIES: Throne of Glass #1 | OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES: The Assassin and the Pirate Lord #0.1, The Assassin and the Desert #0.2, The Assassin and the Underworld #0.3, The Assassin and the Empire #0.4, Crown of Midnight #2 (Releases 8/27/13)
PUBLISHED: August 7th 2012 by Bloomsbury USA Children’s
ACQUIRED: Own 
EDITION: Hardcover, 404 pages
CATEGORIES: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Magic, Adventure, Mystery, Paranormal, First Book in Series, 5 Star Rating, Kick-Ass Heroine, Love Triangle, Suspense.
RATING: 5.00/5.00 | GOODREADS RATING: 4.14/5.00
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:  After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.
Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she is bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.
Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another.
Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigares, her search leads her to discover a greater desitny than she could possibly have imagined.
MY THOUGHTS: I loved this book from page one, and have given it the coveted Five Star rating… so you know not only did I absolutely LOVE it – but it’s also on my ‘Re-Read Shelf’ and my ‘Must Recommend to Everyone I Know Shelf’ as well!
I’ve only recently gotten into reading high fantasy, which if you follow my blog you’re probably well aware of. It’s also the disclaimer I usually start off any reviews for a fantasy novel with. An important part of a good fantasy novel for me, is the world-building. Maas has created an absolutely realistic, visual world that Celaena lives in and that the novel takes place in. She seamlessly weaves magic into the mix to create a world where it is forbidden to use. 
Too many factors bound up into one story can also create a sense of chaos, but Maas is able to combine themes of magic, fantasy, assassins, fairies, and duels into a story that is action-packed and completely unputdownable (even if that is technically not a word!)! 
I found myself thrilled at the mystery in who was killing the competitors, and was very happy to find it wasn’t predictable at all! Each turn of the page kept me guessing and guessing, and in the end I was quite happy with the way the story closed. It left enough loose ends while managing to also give enough closure to the first book in the series.
The characters in the book also make it a joy to lose a few hours within it’s pages. Celaena is one of the strongest, bravest heroines that I’ve had the pleasure to spend time with. Celaena’s definitely met her match in Captain Chaol Westfall; who isn’t immune to fleeting moments of jealousies when Prince Dorian begins spending lots of time with Celaena. And a friendship is formed when Nehemia, the Princess of Eyllwe meets her and prefers Celaena’s honest company to that of the girls of the court – as in Lady Kaltain. 
There are many sub-stories interwoven into the plot, including Celaena learning that she is much more than she ever thought she was, or would be! I have a very big spot in my heart for fairies, so when it’s learned that the first Queen of Adarlan was of fairy descent, I was so excited, and hoping to find out even more in future books about Queen and her connection to Celaena.
SIMILAR READS: The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke | The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson | Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes | Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo | False Memory by Dan Krokos
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sarah J. Maas lives in Southern California, and over the years she has developed an unhealthy appreciation for Disney movies and bad pop music. She adores fairy tales and ballet, drinks too much coffee, and watches absolutely rubbish TV shows. When she’s not busy writing YA fantasy novels, she can be found exploring the California coastline.
Happy Reading!
Laura

Review {18} Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Insurgent
AUTHOR: Veronica Roth
SERIES: Divergent #2 | Other Books in the Series: Divergent
PUBLISHED: May 1, 2012 by HarperTeen
ACQUIRED: Own
EDITION: Hardcover, 525 pages
CATEGORIES: Young Adult, 2nd book in series, Dystopian, Romance, Betrayal, Non-Stop Action
RATING: 5.00/5.00 | Goodreads Rating: 4.30/5.00
WHAT IT’S ABOUT: One choice can transform you–or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves–and herself–while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable–and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.


“New York Times” bestselling author Veronica Roth’s much-anticipated second book of the dystopian “Divergent” series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature.

*Contains Spoilers*

MY THOUGHTS: I cracked open Insurgent at midnight, saying that I’d only read one chapter. As expected, that wasn’t possible and I was immediately fully engrossed in the story. There is something about Roth’s writing that grabs me and doesn’t let me go. I think I would read anything that she writes because I love her style that much. She doesn’t give superficial thoughts and emotions from her characters. Several times in the book it is referenced that people have ‘layers’ to them. I completely agree, and with her writing she peels layer upon layer away, giving you an in depth, personal look into their minds, their lives, and their very essence. This gives us the ability to relate and understand the characters like I’ve never before experienced. It’s absolutely incredible and on a scale of 1-10 for writing, I would give Roth an 11!
While I still desperately adore Tris and Four, I really did not like their interactions and relationship in the second installment of the series. Let me clarify. Both characters go through intense emotional experiences in Insurgent. Tris is reeling from the death of her parents and dealing with the guilt of shooting Will. Four is still holding a grudge against his abusive father, and finding himself trusting his mother, whom he believed had abandoned him as a child. Four had told Tris that his mother was dead, and so begins the first in a line of lies and betrayals between the two. Both are harboring secrets, and half-truths are told, leaving each of them wary of the other. This eventually leads them to two different goals in the end; with Tris teaming up with Four’s father, Marcus, to help reveal the information that Erudite leader Jeanine Matthews was so desperate to keep hidden; and Four teaming up with his estranged mother, Evelyn, who has formed a union between the Factionless and the loyal Dauntless to storm Erudite headquarters, kill Jeanine, and form a new Factionless society, with her as the leader; unbeknownst to Tori, who’s hand kills Jeanine. I also feel that the resolution of their relationship at the end will not last. I believe that part of the first half of book three is still going to be dealing with Tris and Four figuring out exactly what they want from each other, what they will need to keep their relationship strong and continuing into the future, and they will need to figure out if they can put past hurts and betrayals behind them. If not, there may not be a Tris and Four in the future.
This book, to me, fit perfectly as a second novel in the series. It slams you with information and action from page one and never really gives you a break. There were nights where my eyes were literally half-closed, my body begging me to put the book down and go to sleep; but I couldn’t. I had to keep reading.
The ending leaves you with one ginormous cliff-hanger, and I believe that the final book will give us all the answers to questions that were left over from both Divergent and Insurgent. I think I figured out what was going on, after thinking, ‘wait a minute, why is there no “history” to the factions? It’s the characters we are reading about now, and their parents. That is as far back as the lineage goes”. After viewing the video that the Erudite were so desperate to keep hidden, more questions are left hanging in the balance, and leaves Tris wondering just what her part (and her family’s part) is in all of this. Luckily there is nothing more that she can keep hidden from Four at this point, since everything is public knowledge.
There is a lot more than just Tris and Four’s relationship that will need resolution in book three. We will need to see Four deal with his parents – either working with or against one or both (assuming he’ll team up with one of them, since they both have different views of the future of the factions) We will need to see all of the characters deal with the loss of loved ones – whether it be friends or family, because Roth takes no liberties in killing people off.
I believe that Roth has an incredibly talented and successful writing career ahead of her, and I am eagerly anticipating the release of book three next year. Overall, the series so far is absolutely mesmerizingly incredible!
[Book read 5/19-5/25/2012 and review originally posted at My Enchanted Bookshelf.]
Happy Reading!

Review {3} The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead

The Golden Lily
By: Richelle Mead
Series: Bloodlines #2
Other Books in the Series: Bloodlines #1; Vampire Academy #1-6
Published: June 12th 2012 by Razorbill
Edition: hardcover, 418 pages
Acquired: Library
Categories: Young Adult, Vampires, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, 2nd Book in Series, Magic, Witches, Vampire Hunters
Rating: 5 Stars
*Review may contain spoilers.*

What the Back of the Book Says
The second thrilling installment in Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy spinoff series.

Tough, brainy alchemist Sydney Sage and doe-eyed Moroi princess Jill Dragomir are in hiding at a human boarding school in the sunny, glamorous world of Palm Springs, California. The students–children of the wealthy and powerful–carry on with their lives in blissful ignorance, while Sydney, Jill, Eddie, and Adrian must do everything in their power to keep their secret safe. But with forbidden romances, unexpected spirit bonds, and the threat of Strigoi moving ever closer, hiding the truth is harder than anyone thought.


Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, Richelle Mead’s breathtaking Bloodlines series explores all the friendship, romance, battles, and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive. In this second book, the drama is hotter, the romances are steamier, and the stakes are even higher.

My Thoughts
Sydney Sage has quickly become one of my favorite characters of all time; and The Golden Lily throws us right back into the action right where Bloodlines left off. The great thing about this series so far, is that it remains fresh without any room to become stagnant or even cliche. Sydney is finally in the good graces   of the Alchemists, receiving regular praise from them. Of course this couldn’t come at a worse time – considering her first boyfriend ever, Brayden, does nothing for her; yet a simple touch from Adrian sends sparks flying through her! And the whole time I was reading this book I keep thinking to myself how badly I want Sydney and Adrian to get together, even though it goes against everything she believes in.
What truly amazes me about Mead’s writing, is that she can pack so much action, and so many events into one book. There are so many subplots to each installment to the series; this one following that formula successfully. 
We find Sydney being set up with a male version of herself by Trey. Trey thinks Sydney and his fellow co-worker, Brayden, are perfect for each other. And while Sydney enjoys the time with Brayden, she just doesn’t have any feelings for him. When Brayden breaks up with her for being irresponsible, she can’t help but laugh in his face, considering no one has ever told her that she was irresponsible before. 
While Sydney and Brayden are dating, attacks on vampires are occurring. Sonya Karp is attacked, and eventually the actions lead back to a group called The Warriors of Light, which Trey and his family just happen to belong to. 
We also see Jill assessing her relationship with a human, Micah, and her ever-growing feelings for Eddie. But Eddie is finally seeing Angeline for more than just a pain in the butt. Love Triangle anyone? 
My favorite aspect of the entire book is the constant conflicts within Sydney herself. We watch her deal with her starting to believe that vampires really aren’t the monsters that she was raised to believe that they are. In fact, she might, maybe, could be falling for one? And she has become close to Jill, Angeline, Eddie, Dimitri, and Sonya as well. She also spends a lot of time dealing with insecurities regarding her appearance, often comparing herself to Jill … that is until Dimitri puts an end to it in his not so subtle ways.
Another awesome thing, is that Sydney can’t hide from her magical powers anymore; in fact she had no choice but to embrace them and go to Ms. Terwilliger in order to help Sonya. I absolutely cannot WAIT to see how this story line develops!!! I think it’s absolutely awesome!!!
For the second book in a series, I think Mead did an above average job keeping the reader engaged, interested, and craving more and more of her amazing vampire goodness with a ferocity all its own.
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