Thursday, October 31, 2013

Review: Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Title: Allegiant
Author: Veronica Roth
One choice will define you.

What if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?

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.

Allegiant on Goodreads
 Kala's Review:

I finished this last night and afterwards I felt just dead inside. I absolutely hate when a series ends leaving me feeling unsatisfied and even, in this case, angry. I feel kind of betrayed by the author.

I loved Divergent. The book had its faults, but I really fell in love with the whole story, the characters, the romance between Tris and Four, the Factions, etc. I read and re-read Divergent probably 8-10 times. I bought the audio book version as well. I was SO PSYCHED about the movie! I bought Insurgent and devoured it as well. It didn't have quite the same magic for me that Divergent did, but I still loved it. So I was REALLY psyched to read Allegiant.

And maybe my hopes were too high.

I don't know.

That doesn't change the fact that this book utterly and completely disappointed me.


For real, SPOILERS!


**What's outside the fence?**

I was really excited, after reading the 'cliffhanger' ending to Insurgent, to find out what was outside the fence. I had my theories, and I was right about some, wrong about others. I was expecting the cameras and Truman Show-esque thing, but I was not expecting all the genetic manipulation crap. As soon as our heroes get outside the fence, there are chapters and chapters of info dumping and, to be honest, it's kind of dull. We learn that Chicago (and some other cities) were created as 'experiments' because of genetic manipulation gone wrong. Supposedly these cities were an attempt at creating more 'genetically pure' people (aka Divergents). This is so far-fetched and bizarre, but I was willing to go along with it.

**Tris and Four**

I wasn't against the dual perspective, though once I finished the book I realized why she HAD to write it in a dual perspective. However, I don't think it was done well. There were several times where I would get halfway through a chapter and not remember who I was in the head of at the time, mostly because the two narrators had identical voices.

Tris has always been an interesting character to me. I really liked that she was tough, but a little vulnerable and naive. I liked her progression through Divergent and Insurgent. She doesn't really progress much here. We've always known Tris is a selfless person who is more than willing to sacrifice herself for the greater good, or for her loved ones. That doesn't change here. More on that later. She does become kind of arrogant and holier-than-thou here, and it really started to bug me. She's 16, but she often acts (and everyone treats) her like a grown-up. She is pretty much always right in Allegiant and she makes sure everyone knows it.

Four was awesome in Divergent. He loses all of that awesomeness in Allegiant. He becomes quite whiny and pathetic to the point where I actually wanted Tris to break up with him. She probably should have, considering some of the stupid and completly out of character stuff he does. I really hated seeing him reduced to this quivering mess of a boy who does nothing but wax poetic about his mommy and daddy issues. Four was always strong, and he is the polar opposite of that here.

I did enjoy the progression of their relationship though. Some people have complained about the scene where Four accuses Tris of being jealous, but I actually liked it. I like that they, FOR ONCE, acted like TEENAGERS. Unfortunately that was a tiny part of this book, and for the rest of it they act like 30-40 year old worldly adults.


So we have Four's mother Evelyn running Chicago like a factionless tyrannical dictatorship. Johanna and Marcus running the Allegiant, trying to reinstate the factions.

Evelyn has been portrayed as a nearly heartless person, hell bent on making all the Factioned people clean toilets like the Factionless had to do for so many years. At the height of the conflict, she is willing to allow a "Death Serum" to kill pretty much everyone in Chicago in order to avoid going back to the Factions. This is when Four arrives and says "Hey Mom, I'll be your son again if you stop acting like a monster" and she goes "Okay."

She then negotiates with Marcus and Johanna. Marcus wants to take over as evil dictator and Johanna says "Nah, you're not gonna do that" and Marcus just says "Okay."

Conflict over.



**Mass Murder**

Roth has not shied away from killing off characters in the first two books, but I felt like most of that had a purpose. Tris' parents in the first book, Al (due to the guilt over his own actions towards Tris), Jeannine in Insurgent, and more. Deaths in Allegiant come just as rapidly and have even less meaning. Tori dies in a very sudden manner, and then is mostly forgotten about. She was referred to as the leader of the Dauntless, but she is killed and then is nothing more than an afterthought for the rest of the book.

Uriah's death is given a lot more page time, but only as a way to make Four feel like total shit for getting involved in the rebellion and to make Tris "right" once again.

The biggest death of all was Tris, and this was the biggest disappointment to me. I will be straight up honest - I LIKE a happy ending. I read YA because I like knowing that things will most likely end up happy overall. I read romance because I know there will always be a happily ever after. HOWEVER, I can deal with a bittersweet ending so long as it feels satisfying and feels like closure. Tris' death was NOT that ending.

Caleb's betrayal was a huge part of Insurgent, and that continues on in Allegiant. He has a LOT to attone for in Allegiant and when he volunteers for the suicide mission to help save everyone, he does it because he wants Tris to forgive him. And he doesn't want to live with the guilt of what he did. Instead of letting him, Tris forces him to let her go instead. I understand this. Tris forgave him and doesn't want him to die because he feels guilty. I get it.


Caleb doesn't get that opportunity to redeem himself. While I understand that Tris acted the way she had to act, that doesn't mean Caleb can't take a bullet for her. That doesn't mean he can't force a redemption. Instead, Tris dies in a completly unsatisfying scene that left me going "WHAT THE FUCK JUST HAPPENED?" Caleb lives and basically still is the coward and traitor.

Caleb NEEDED to redeem himself. He needed to take that bullet for Tris and die.

Instead, we get this fucked up ending where Caleb lives. Peter lives (gets his mind erased BY HIS OWN CHOICE and gets to start over). Marcus lives (just disappears somehow). David (Tris' murderer) lives (also gets his mind erased and even though he's an evil murderer, no one cares because he doesn't remember). Almost all the bad guys live and get to have perfectly happy, normal lives.



Sorry, but this book was awful. I wanted to love it. I REALLY wanted to love it. I was willing to deal with all the weird genetically damaged stuff. I was willing to deal with the complete dismantling of Four's character. I was willing to deal with a lot, but Tris' pointless and needless death... NOPE. This death felt like it was here for shock value only. So the author could be "edgy" and "different."

Unfortunately, all she did for me is ruin the entire series. I won't be re-reading Divergent or Insurgent anymore. I won't be re-reading Allegiant. And I definitely won't be seeing the movies that I was once so excited for. Knowing how depressingly it ends ruins it all for me

  1 out of 5 stars.

Link to Kala's review on Goodreads:

Friday, April 19, 2013

Review: Sever by Lauren DeStefano

Title: Sever
Author: Lauren DeStefano
With the clock ticking until the virus takes its toll, Rhine is desperate for answers. After enduring Vaughn’s worst, Rhine finds an unlikely ally in his brother, an eccentric inventor named Reed. She takes refuge in his dilapidated house, though the people she left behind refuse to stay in the past. While Gabriel haunts Rhine’s memories, Cecily is determined to be at Rhine’s side, even if Linden’s feelings are still caught between them.

Meanwhile, Rowan’s growing involvement in an underground resistance compels Rhine to reach him before he does something that cannot be undone. But what she discovers along the way has alarming implications for her future—and about the past her parents never had the chance to explain.

In this breathtaking conclusion to Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden trilogy, everything Rhine knows to be true will be irrevocably shattered.

Sever on Goodreads
 Kala's Review:

This book was dull and nonsensical. I liked the first book in this series, felt a little MEH about the second, but this one is just bad. The storyline meanders along, major revelations are mentioned and then forgotten about, and some "main" characters are compeletly missing.

MAJOR plot spoilers in this review!

The first half of this book is Rhine hanging out at Vaughn's brother Reed's house. She goes there to keep safe and keeps talking about finding her brother, but ends up just hanging out with Reed for page after page after page. Linden and Cecily come visit her, and it's pretty boring. We spend a LOT of time reading about mature Cecily is now (at age 14), how Linden still seems to love Rhine, but also bows to Cecily's every whim, how Rhine has to stay out of Cecily and Linden's marriage, how Linden doesn't believe Rhine that Vaughn is a crazy douchebag, blah blah. I DON'T CARE.

During Rhine's time at Reed's we get one of the most idiotic scenes EVER. For some reason they're all practicing shooting an empty gun. There is this whole scene where Reed is trying to get people's attention... so he fires an empty weapon and Rhine comments about how EVEN WITHOUT A BULLET the sound was still deafening - a loud crack. Ms. DeStefano, I understand you may not know how guns work, but I'd think you would have seen at least ONE movie where someone tries to fire an empty gun and it just clicks. Quietly.

Eventually, Rhine does decide to leave and look for her brother. Then, for some completely random reason, Linden decides to believe Cecily when she says Vaughn is a bad guy, so Linden and Cecily leave their baby with Reed and accompany Rhine. I don't really know WHY they do this, but they do. And they then proceed to go... to the stupid prostitute carnival from book 2. A bunch more boring stuff happens and eventually they move on...

And find Rowan. Because apparently everyone knows what building Rowan is going to bomb next and he even builds a huge podium to give a speech before he blows it up. Even with all that info, the government/police apparently can't stop him from blowing shit up. So Rhine easily finds Rowan, who is apparently BFF's with Vaughn. And Rhine is like, okay, let's go go Hawaii where we find out that apparently the "virus" doesn't exist in the rest of the world. This fact is just sort of said randomly and then NEVER TALKED ABOUT AGAIN.

Seriously?? This seems like a HUGE FUCKING DEAL.

But whatever, guess it doesn't matter.

I'm also curious why, if the government is trying to hide this fact from the citizens of the USA, people are allowed to fly around to Hawaii and visit.

Then Rhine and Rowan both agree to help Vaughn discover a cure, which he discovers, and some other dumb shit happens including Gabriel randomly reappearing at the tail end of the novel (oh yeah, he exists?) and Linden dying in a really random and silly way.

It was just bad. Really bad.

There's been a build up to Rowan for like two and a half books, we get there and he is basically Vaughn's lap dog. He doesn't seem to give a damn that Vaughn kidnapped his sister and forced her into marriage with his son. He doesn't care about anything other than blowing up labs (WHY are we blowing up labs? WHY does Vaughn care about blowing up other people's labs?) and sticking his nose all the way up Vaughn's butt.

We get a whole love story with Gabriel in book 2 that I found a little dull, but it was still a major part of the novel. Gabriel is absent for ALL of Sever except for the very end. He has a tiny handful of lines and I cared about him even less than I did in book 2.

In fact, I couldn't bring myself to care about ANY of the characters.

Rhine was a boring wuss. Linden had no reason to exist other than to cave to his wives' demands. He has absolutely no backbone of his own. Cecily is supposedly so mature this time around, but I just found her slightly less obnoxious than before and even more dull.

Completely awful final installment to the series. If I had known it was going to end this badly, I doubt I would have started it. Any magic from Wither is completely absent here.

  1 out of 5 stars.

Link to Kala's review on Goodreads:

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Review: Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

Title: Clockwork Princess
Author: Cassandra Clare

Danger and betrayal, secrets and enchantment in the breathtaking conclusion to the Infernal Devices trilogy.

Tessa Gray should be happy - aren't all brides happy?
Yet as she prepares for her wedding, a net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute.
A new demon appears, one linked by blood and secrecy to Mortmain, the man who plans to use his army of pitiless automatons, the Infernal Devices, to destroy the Shadowhunters. Mortmain needs only one last item to complete his plan. He needs Tessa. And Jem and Will, the boys who lay equal claim to Tessa's heart, will do anything to save her.

Clockwork Princess on Goodreads
 Kala's Review:

I loved this book until the last part of the epilogue. Spoilers for that near the end.

Clockwork Princess was everything I wanted it to be and turned out to be the nearly perfect conclusion to this series - a series I love more than Clare's original Shadowhunter books (The Mortal Instruments). While there didn't seem to be as much Tessa as I expected in the first 60%, we got to spend a lot of time with other characters and I found that I didn't mind. I was curious to see where everything was headed and Clare did manage to surprise me a few times.

We start off Clockwork Princess a few months after Clockwork Prince has ended. Mortmain has been fairly silent, and the Shadowhunter team at the London Institute finds they have to deal with another (slightly) unexpected enemy while gaining a new (also slightly unexpected) ally.

The romance between Gideon and Sophie continues to grow, and I found it adorable. The scones!

We also get to know Will's sister, Cecily, who surprised us at the end of Clockwork Prince by showing up at the Institute to train to be a Shadowhunter. At first, I admit, I was a little bored of Cecily. I didn't think she added much to the story and I struggled not to skim through her parts. Eventually she grew on me and I was pleased to discover her part in the family tree.




Will and Jem and Tessa are all still in love with each other (sorta). I admit, I've never been Team Jem. I don't find the sickly pale skeletal look to be attractive and he was always a little TOO sweet. I like a snarky bad boy, so I've always been firmly Team Will. However, I will give Clare credit in that she wrote an amazing love triangle.

That said, I was disappointed slightly with how she ended it. I thought she had some serious balls to kill off Jem a little over halfway through the book. I was shocked and surprised, but also a little happy. I didn't think she would do that. I thought Clare would cop out and I was happy she did something much more interesting than find a cure for Jem.

Then the whole "Jem's not dead, he's a Silent Brother" thing happened. Ok, I get it. I'm still ok with that, because he has to give up everything human about himself to become a Silent Brother. I didn't think it fit well with Jem's personality though. He was so adamantly against it and I was a little surprised he would choose to go that route, but I was still okay with it.

But then the last few pages of the epilogue happened. I went from bawling in happy sad tears to annoyed that Clare did cop out on the love triangle, just as I suspected (and worried) she would. The whole "Guess what? You had a long happy life with Will and he died an old man, now suddenly a few years later Jem is able to cure his illness and stop being a Silent Brother and now you can have a long happy life with him too" thing just ruined the whole feeling of the epilogue for me.

I may be in the minority there - I know there are a lot of people who love Jem - but I was LOVING the epilogue until that point. While I was crying and crying and crying while reading about Tessa's life with Will, and Will's death, and her having to leave their kids, and her going to Magnus, and them having a whole conversation about how much being immortal really does suck (dealing with outliving your children and loved ones)...

Then we get the annual bridge meetup between Jem and Tessa and it just ruined it for me. :(

The epilogue didn't ruin the entire thing for me, but it just felt like there was never a choice. Tessa just got to have both and like I said, it felt like a total cop out.

  4 out of 5 stars.

Link to Kala's review on Goodreads:

Friday, April 5, 2013

Review: Rush Me by Allison Parr

Title: Rush Me
Author: Allison Parr

When post-grad Rachael Hamilton accidentally gatecrashes a pro-athlete party, she ends up face-to-face with Ryan Carter, the NFL’s most beloved quarterback.

While most girls would be thrilled to meet the attractive young millionaire, Rachael would rather spend time with books than at sporting events, and she has more important things to worry about than romance. Like her parents pressuring her to leave her unpaid publishing internship for law school. Or her brother, who’s obliviously dating Rachael’s high school bully. Or that same high school’s upcoming reunion.

Still, when Ryan’s rookie teammate attaches himself to Rachael, she ends up cohosting Friday night dinners for half a dozen football players.

Over pancake brunches, charity galas, and Alexander the Great Rachael realizes all the judgments she’d made about Ryan are wrong. But how can a Midwestern Irish-Catholic jock with commitment problems and an artsy, gun-shy Jewish New Englander ever forge a partnership? Rachael must let down her barriers if she wants real love–even if that opens her up to pain that could send her back into her emotional shell forever.

Rush Me on Goodreads
 Kala's Review:

* I received a free copy of this book via in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!!*

I've rated this 3, but it's probably more like 3.5. I actually really liked it - so much so that I started reading it when I got off work at 430 am and liked it so much that I stayed up to finish it.

Some parts of the book were a bit far fetched (like the random walking in to a pro football player's party, and the whole coming back to get her lost scarf and ending up staying to watch tv and play poker thing...), but I liked it. I'm a big fan of the rock star/sports star trope and Allison Parr did it pretty well.

I love how snarky Ryan and Rachael are to each other at first - I fully admit I also love the hate-turns-in-to-love trope too! Their constant arguing was funny to read and their eventual relationship progressed sweetly.

I know a lot of people will dislike that we first meet Ryan while he's getting a blow job from a groupie - but I liked that he wasn't Mr. Perfect from the start. So many times in the rock star/sports star trope we get heroes that are just too perfect - and Ryan definitely was not!

A lot of people also will dislike that Rachael can be a total bitch, but I found her insecurity to be pretty realistic. I thought, actually, that Ryan was a little too defensive when Rachael would get upset with him, especially when he was getting a blow job when they met. He acted really offended that Rachael was upset by having unprotected sex and I was annoyed with him for that.

Even so, this was a fairly good book for the genre. The characters were unique (Rachael being Jewish is something we don't often see in romance novel heroines) and the story flows really well - it's paced in such a way that you keep turning the pages wanting to know what happens next.

I'm very curious to see what this author comes out with next. Definitely a good first novel. :)

3 out of 5 stars.

Link to Kala's review on Goodreads:

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Kindle Fire Giveaway (By I am a Reader not a Writer Blog)

Kindle Fire HD 7" Giveaway

The winner will have the option of receiving a 7" Kindle Fire HD (US Only)

  Or $199 Gift Card (International)

  Or $199 in Paypal Cash (International)

Sponsoring Bloggers & Authors
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Giveaway Details
1 winner will receive their choice of a Kindle Fire 7" HD (US Only), $199 Amazon Gift Card or $199 in Paypal Cash (International). Ends 4/30/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the participating authors & bloggers. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. Prize value $199 US.

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Monday, April 1, 2013

Georgetown Academy (Book 1) by Etting and Schwartz

Title: Georgetown Academy (Book 1)
Author: Jessica Koosed Etting and Alyssa Embree Schwartz

It’s the beginning of a new political administration. That might not mean much at most high schools, but at Georgetown Academy, Washington D.C.’s most elite prep school, January 20th means new alliances, new flings, and new places to party.

While freshmen—nicknamed “interns” for their willingness to jump into bed with anyone higher on the D.C. totem pole—navigate the not-so-friendly halls of GA searching for Algebra and Bio classes, the school’s lifers have other things on their minds.

For self-proclaimed D.C. royalty Brinley Madison (of those Madisons), the first day of school is all about establishing the social hierarchy and playing the part of perfect political wife to her boyfriend, the outgoing Vice President’s son. Too bad he has a wandering eye that puts Bill Clinton’s to shame. Can she keep him, and her own secret vice, in check?

Ellie Walker, Brinley’s best friend, floats through the halls on the arm of golden boy Hunter McKnight (the JFK of GA). But when her ex-boyfriend, Gabe, returns to town and her Senator mother’s political nemesis is reelected, Ellie’s life starts to snowball out of control.

Shy, quiet Evan Hartnett is more into books than beer, and her closet is full of t-shirts and jeans instead of Jason Wu and Jimmy Choo. No one’s ever really noticed her—but she’s been noticing them. When her star rises as an intern at D.C.’s most-watched political news show, she soon finds the two worlds colliding in ways that make her question what’s secret and what’s fair game.

New girl Taryn Reyes is all laid-back, California cool; with a father who’s in line to be the first Hispanic president, she’s ready to dive into the D.C. scene with an open mind. But when her fellow students turn out to be more interested in spreading rumors than making friends, she realizes that forging a drama-free path might be a lot harder than she thinks.

With so many new friends and former flames in the mix, things are bound to get a little heated. And while diplomatic immunity might keep the cops away, there’s not much it can do about the press.
In a town where one teenage misstep can turn into a national scandal, the students at Georgetown Academy will have to be on their best behavior—or, at least, they’ll have to make the world believe that they are.

Because there’s only one rule: whatever you do, don’t get caught.

What’s Cool from Coliloquy:
As the party scene at Georgetown Academy gets under way, authors Alyssa and Jessica let readers decide which of the main girls to follow. You’ll see scandalous behavior, unexpected liaisons, and secret betrayals…all giving you a different perspective as events unfold.

Georgetown Academy on Goodreads
 Kala's Review:

* I received a free copy of this book via in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!!*

Choose Your Own Adventure books work, in print. I don't think the technology is quite there for Kindle books though, and that was a huge detriment to this book. When we got to the "Choose which character to follow" I chose Ellie, and then I had the option afterwards to continue on with the story (which I chose) or go back and read everyone else's stories (which I didn't do), so by the time I finished the book I felt like I had missed out on a lot of the other characters' stories, but at that point, it was too annoying to backpage through my Kindle to try and go back to read their other stuff, so I didn't.

That said, what I did read was decent. I'm not in to politics, but I found the whole private school full of politician's children to be somewhat interesting. The characters are all pretty well fleshed out and compelling, but I think the author's spread themselves too thin for such a short book. We follow I think 4 different "main" characters and don't really get into the meat of any story with any of them. This book just didn't feel like a complete novel. :(

I am curious enough about the characters that I will continue on with the series and see how it goes. This book ends on quite the cliffhanger for Ellie and I'm dying to know how that works out for her!

3 out of 5 stars.

Link to Kala's review on Goodreads:

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Review: Love on the Lifts by Rachel Hawthorne

Title: Love on the Lifts
Author: Rachel Hawthorne

Winter Break super-secret perfect cocoa recipe:
8 oz steamed whole milk
(no skim! doesn't work!)
2 tbsp. dark cocoa powder (big scoops)
1 tbsp. sugar (can't be too sweet)
4 dried, crushed mint leaves
(or 1 tbsp. mint syrup)
Stir thoroughly. Add mint swizzle stick. Combine with cute ski instructor, or brother's cute best friend, or cute guy you never noticed was so cute...Enjoy.

Love on the Lifts on Goodreads
 Kala's Review:

This book was sweet and cute and clean - basically a generic romance for teens. It just didn't have that WOW factor. The plot line is one that's overused and Hawthorne does nothing new with it here. Girl likes Douchebag guy. Sweet guy likes girl. Girl takes awhile, but eventually realizes Douchebag guy is a douchebag and falls for the sweet guy. Happily ever after.

Kate was one of the most oblivious and idiotic romantic heroines I've ever read. She met Brad (her brother's college roommate) once and "fell in love" with him. Right from the start she can't give any reasons why she's head over heels for him except that he's hot. She even says "What else is there?" when her Aunt asks her what other reasons she has for liking Brad.

The setting for this book is a ski resort where Kate and her two friends (all high school seniors) have to share a 3-bedroom condo with her brother Sam and his two friends (Brad and Joe). Brad is the roommate that Kate has a crush on.

As soon as Brad enters the picture it's made VERY obvious that he's a complete dirtbag. One of his first lines is about how his favorite things are "driving fast and kissing babes." He hooks up another girl on the very first night of their vacation and moves in to the other girl's house for the duration. His lines are all skeevy and douchebaggy, he moved in with another girl, and Kate still thinks he's the most amazing thing since sliced bread.

Enter Joe. The other friend of her brother's. It's made VERY obvious from the start that Joe has a thing for Kate. He's super sweet, super attentive, flirtatious with her, asks her on a date, kisses her, and is generally awesome. But she is wishy washy about it for the majority of the book (gotta get conflict SOMEWHERE I suppose).

It bugs me that authors don't realize the best characters are not 100% evil or 100% good. Making Brad a complete tool and making Joe Mr. Perfect makes them BOTH boring. There was never any 'love triangle' or any reason for the reader to ever believe that Kate wouldn't come to her senses and go for Joe instead of Brad.

I had two other issues with the book.

1) Were they or weren't they all having sex? It's kind of implied that they were. ALL of them. Kate's friend Allie sleeps in the same bed as Sam. Kate's other friend Leah moves in with a ski instructor for the duration of the vacation. Brad moves in with his new girlfriend. Kate sleeps in the same bed as Joe. While there isn't any explicit mention of sex, it's kind of implied that everyone is pretty much doing it like jackrabbits and that's something that annoys me in a YA novel - especially one that is otherwise packaged as a sweet and clean romance.

2) The "Kate-have-a-good-time fund" .... DROVE ME ABSOLUTELY NUTS. How many times did this saying need to be uttered? ZERO in my opinion, but instead it's brought up OVER AND OVER AND OVER. I know it's minor, but I admit I have occasional pet peeves and this is one of them.

Overall, the book was just mediocre. I didn't hate it, but I didn't like it that much either.

2 out of 5 stars.

Link to Kala's review on Goodreads:

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Review: Breathless by Brigid Kemmerer

Title: Breathless (an Elemental novella)
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Too many secrets. Not enough time.

Nick Merrick is supposed to be the level-headed one. The peacemaker. Since it’s just him and his three hotheaded brothers against the world, that’s a survival tactic.

But now he’s got problems even his brothers can’t help him survive.

His so-called girlfriend, Quinn, is going quick as mercury from daring to crazy. Meanwhile, Quinn’s dancer friend Adam is throwing Nick off balance, forcing him to recognize a truth he’d rather shove back into the dark.

He can feel it—-the atmosphere is sizzling. Danger is on the way. But whatever happens next, Nick is starting to find out that sometimes nothing you do can keep the peace.

Breathless on Goodreads
 Kala's Review:

I don't usually like novellas. They're just too short and always leave me wanting MORE MORE MORE. However, I'm addicted to Brigid Kemmerer's Elemental series and as soon as I read the blurb for this one I HAD to read it. I couldn't stand Quinn in Spark and I was curious about Nick, so getting a little insight in to their relationship and Nick's head was something I've really been looking forward to.

While it was short, this book REALLY makes me want a full length Nick book! I know the third book is a Hunter book, but I've heard rumors the next one is about Nick (please please please).

I don't think it's a big spoiler to say that Nick is having sexual identity issues - he's dating Quinn, but he finds himself attracted to her dance partner (a guy named Adam). I don't usually enjoy reading M/M (mostly because I like to imagine myself in the female part of a romance novel... who doesn't??), but reading about his inner conflict was quite fascinating. Usually gay characters in YA are already self confident and sure about their sexual preference and know what they want. Nick definitely has no idea what he wants and is scared about the reactions of his family and friends if they find out.

Gabriel's book was my favorite, so far, but I have a feeling I'm really going to like Nick's. Nick has this inner insecurity that I think we all feel, but he doesn't come across as a pathetic weakling. Can't wait to see more by Kemmerer!

**I received a free copy of this novella from Thank you!!!**

4 of 5 stars

Link to Kala's review on Goodreads:

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Review: Reckless by S.C. Stephens

Title: Reckless
Author: S.C. Stephens
Can love survive when life gets Reckless?

When the band hits it big, Kiera and Kellan must ask themselves: Can their love for each other survive the constant pressures of superstardom? The friendships they've formed, the new family they've found, and the history they've forged will all play a part in helping them navigate the turbulent waters of the band's exploding popularity. A greedy executive hell-bent on success, a declining pop star looking for an edge, and a media circus that twists lies into truths are just some of the obstacles the lovers will have to overcome if they are going to remain together. Fame comes with a price-but will it cost Kiera and Kellan everything?

Reckless on Goodreads
 Kala's Review:

I really really really wanted to like this book a lot. While Thoughtless and Effortless weren't without flaws, the books were both compelling and I found myself sucked in to Kiera and Kellan's trials and tribulations. Reckless just doesn't come anywhere near that.

This book just shouldn't have been written. It really brings nothing new to Kellan and Kiera's relationship. In fact, the two get along just fine for pretty much the entire novel outside of a few minor spats that Kiera gets over almost instantly. The first 20-25% of the book is downright boring. I was wondering what the heck I was reading, because I haven't ever been BORED by S.C. Stephens before.

Perhaps it's because nothing new was introduced. I mean, yes, Kiera gets drunk and Denny takes her home and takes care of her (Kellan is out of town). But Kellan doesn't get mad about it and Denny is a perfect gentleman. Yes, one of Kellan's exes shows up and blackmails him about a sex tape, but Kellan's former man-whore status was already a dead horse beaten to death in the first two books. Kiera is mildly upset about the tape, but gets over it after a page or two. We spend the majority of the first 20-25% listening to KIera and Kellan call each other husband and wife (THEY ARE NOT ACTUALLY MARRIED) and be all lovey dovey with each other. It's cute, but a couple getting along perfectly doesn't make a good novel.

The middle of this book is good. I really liked the conflict that Sienna Sexton brought to the picture. While Kellan and Kiera still got along perfectly throughout all of it, it made sense and was still interesting because I wanted to find out exactly how everything was going to play out with Sienna as Kellan's fame continued to rise.


Then we get to the last 20% where things just go to shit again. Not in the sense that Kiera's life goes to shit. Quite the opposite. There is a car accident, but we're never afraid Kellan will die. He doesn't, of course, and the accident suddenly changes the public opinion on Kiera and from that point on, we spend probably 100 pages reading about how perfect life is for Kiera and Kellan and all the D-Bags.

Seriously, it's like a 100 page epilogue and that doesn't even include the ACTUAL epilogue which is pretty much pointless. Before we even get to the epilogue, we get to read all about how Kiera and Kellan have a 'perfect' wedding (in the hospital), how all of Sienna's fans suddenly hate her and now everyone loves Kiera (when before all the fans thought Kiera was 'stealing' Kellan from Sienna), how Kiera and Kellan go to the Grammys and of course the D-Bags win, how Kiera gets pregnant and has a baby, how her book becomes a huge self published bestseller and gets picked up by a traditional publisher, how they buy a huge house on 11 acres and it's so just goes on and on and on. Complete overkill!

Then we get a horribly long epilogue that really doesn't say anything new. I mean, we already know that Kiera and Kellan are happily married with a baby and a Grammy and a #1 album and a bestselling novel. What could the epilogue POSSIBLY TELL US? And the answer is... nothing really.

Stephens also tied up EVERY OTHER character's storylines as perfectly as possible. Griffin turns in to the perfect dad who marries Anna. Denny and his girlfriend get married and live happily ever after as they become the perfect managers for the D-Bags.

This book just reeked of Breaking Dawn syndrome. Completely unnecessary and everyone gets exactly what they want in the end without really losing anything. If the first 20% and the last 20% were cut out, this book would have been a lot better. Pretty much the only interesting parts were the entire storyline with Sienna (til the end) and almost everything with Griffin and Anna.

I don't know. This book just really disappointed me.

2 out of 5 stars.

Link to Kala's review on Goodreads:

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Review: Wait for You by J. Lynn

Title: Wait for You
Author: J. Lynn (aka Jennifer Armentrout)
Some things are worth waiting for…

Traveling thousands of miles from home to enter college is the only way nineteen-year-old Avery Morgansten can escape what happened at the Halloween party five years ago—an event that forever changed her life. All she needs to do is make it to her classes on time, make sure the bracelet on her left wrist stays in place, not draw any attention to herself, and maybe—please God—make a few friends, because surely that would be a nice change of pace. The one thing she didn’t need and never planned on was capturing the attention of the one guy who could shatter the precarious future she’s building for herself.

Some things are worth experiencing…

Cameron Hamilton is six feet and three inches of swoon-worthy hotness, complete with a pair of striking blue eyes and a remarkable ability to make her want things she believed were irrevocably stolen from her. She knows she needs to stay away from him, but Cam is freaking everywhere, with his charm, his witty banter, and that damn dimple that’s just so… so lickable. Getting involved with him is dangerous, but when ignoring the simmering tension that sparks whenever they are around each other becomes impossible, he brings out a side of her she never knew existed.

Some things should never be kept quiet…

But when Avery starts receiving threatening emails and phone calls forcing her to face a past she wants silenced, she has no other choice but to acknowledge that someone is refusing to allow her to let go of that night when everything changed. When the devastating truth comes out, will she resurface this time with one less scar? And can Cam be there to help her or will he be dragged down with her?

And some things are worth fighting for…

Wait for You on Goodreads
 Kala's Review:

This is more of a 3.5, but I'll round up to 4 because I'm a fan of Jennifer Armentrout's other stuff.

Wait for You is good, but it's just not anything special in the NA genre. It's well written, characters are fleshed out, decently paced, interesting plot... but it just doesn't have the same spark for me that the Lux or Diety series have.

Avery is way different from the rest of JLA's heroines. She's skittish and weak and for awhile, it was difficult to like her. She was realistic, but she definitely wasn't my favorite. I tend to prefer strong heroines, the weak ones drive me nuts.

Cameron is perfect, but he tends to be too perfect. He's amazingly good looking playboy, has a sexy tattoo and a six-pack, all the girls fall all over him... but the minute he meets Avery he is a sweetheart who turns in to a one-woman man. I struggled to find a flaw with him and I have a hard time believing a guy can be THAT perfect.

I found the back story and the conflict between Avery and her parents more interesting and complex than her relationship with Cameron. Cameron chases after Avery like a puppy dog for the majority of the book, until she finally gives in and starts dating him.

That said, the story was still cute and a fun read. There just isn't much originality here.

4 out of 5 stars.

Link to Kala's review on Goodreads:

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Review: Escorted by Claire Kent

Title: Escorted
Author: Claire Kent
She hired him to take her virginity...but now she wants even more.

Lori might be a popular romance writer, but she's never been anything but a flop with sex and love in her personal life. Still a virgin at twenty-six and increasingly frustrated by her inexperience, she decides to take matters into her own hands. She hires a talented, sexy male escort to take care of her inconvenient virginity.

She assumes one time with Ander will be enough, but she never dreams how much pleasure he can make her feel. Once isn't nearly enough. Twice isn't enough either. Soon, she becomes one of his regular clients.

Lori knows that nothing would be as foolish as falling in love with her paid escort, but she's never been wise with her heart. And, despite his professionalism, he doesn't seem entirely immune either.

Escorted on Goodreads
 Kala's Review:

I went in to this book expecting to dislike it because I don't like the idea of a male prostitute (er, escort), but so many reviewers I like had good things to say about it so I decided to give it a shot. Glad I did, because it was surprisingly good!

However, in order to like it I had to get past a few small grievances.

1) The pen name of our main character is Claire Kent (aka, the same name as the author of the book). This drove me nuts.

2) A best selling romance author is 26 years old and a virgin. I don't know. It's possible, but it just seems unlikely.

3) Very clinical and unsexy first few sex scenes. After reading the first sex scene, I was tempted to put the book down. Ander was very clinical about it - describing exactly what he was going to do in a very matter of fact way. Like, "We are going to watch a porn movie now. After that, you will be aroused and I will put this plastic mouth guard in before I give you oral sex." (That is not a direct quote, but that is about how UNsexy the scene was)

Fortunately, the book starts to take off after that. Once Lori actually loses her virginity and she and Ander start having more and more appointments, their lovemaking got hotter and hotter. My favorite scene - ELEVATOR SEX! Woo, that's when Ander finally let go and we got to see a little of the wild side.

Escorted flops a little at the end, becoming slightly cheesy and predictable, but overall it was very sweet. The progression of the relationship between Ander and Lori was as realistic as it can get when you're talking about a male prostitute and a romance author. I believed in them and liked them both and really enjoyed seeing their story unfold.

Definitely recommend this book!

4 out of 5 stars.

Link to Kala's review on Goodreads:

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

WWW Wednesday!

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

 Just recently discovered this series and so far, LOVE IT!  The third book just arrived at the library and I'm picking it up tomorrow.  Can't wait to finish it out - been hearing so many good things about it!

What did you recently finish reading?
I was a little disappointed by this book.  I've recently read a TON of road trip books (been on a kick) and music/rock star related books, so I was hoping I would love this one.  It ended up just being kind of meh for me.

What do you think you’ll read next?
Re-iterating what I said above, but this is most likely what I'll dig in to after Hallowed!  Just got notice today that it's waiting for me at the library - will pick it up tomorrow.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Quick Update

In the middle of house shopping and packing and getting ready for a big move.  Not that my blog is uber popular, but for those that do follow, posts will be much more sporadic for the next several weeks. :( 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Review: Rocked Under by Cora Hawkes

Title: Rocked Under
Author: Cora Hawkes
Falling in love isn't always easy or pleasant. The intense and angst-filled story of Emma and Scott is a painful, gut-wrenching and exhausting portrayal of how hard it can be to let go...

Picking up the pieces and starting again in the US, Emma enrols in college with her cousin, Ashley. She is finally free to do what she wants and live how she chooses, and no man will ever rule her decisions or emotions again.

That is, until Scott Mason walks on stage...

Intense bad boy Scott is the lead singer of a popular local rock band. A ladies’ man and Ashley's long-time friend, Scott holds an instant fascination for Emma — she finds herself drawn to him, even though he represents everything she hates and needs to stay away from in a guy. He treats females like he does a cigarette — light it, use it, and lose it.

For her cousin's sake, Emma makes an effort to get along with Scott, but she soon discovers that there is more to him than first appears, making him even more dangerous in her eyes. Behind the façade of friendship, jealousy, obsession, fear and insecurity fester — an internal battle rages as she fights her attraction and does everything she can to stop history from repeating itself.

One thing she knows for sure is that if she breaks her rule, it may destroy her.

Rocked Under on Goodreads
 Kala's Review:

The big problem I had with Rocked Under is that the characters are so awful until the last couple of pages that they're nearly impossible to like.


Our main character, Emma, is a Brit who recently transplanted to a college in the USA (can't even remember what school or even what state!). She is roommates with her American cousin, Ashley, and neighbors with the frontman of a local rock band (Scott) who happens to be good friends with Ashley.

The entire plot is Emma and Scott dancing around their attraction for each other in the most obnoxious ways possible. We spend most of the book reading about Emma being attracted to Scott, but refusing to act on it because 1) her parents have a fucked up relationship and 2) Ashley told her Scott is a player.

Emma spends a large amount of time drunk in nightclubs, allowing guys to kiss her and feel her up while Scott watches. Scott spends a large amount of time having almost public sex with girls while Emma watches. And while they're watching each other, they appropriately seethe with jealousy.

Scott also likes to punch people out and is constantly beating up guys that hit on Emma - he's probably worse about this than Travis (of Beautiful Disaster fame). I personally do not think it's romantic at ALL to have a guy (who is not even the girl's boyfriend) constantly yanking other guys off the dance floor and punching them out just because they danced/kissed the girl. I can't even count the number of guys that Scott punched. The only one who deserved it was the boyfriend, Adam, that Emma had for awhile.

Speaking of Adam, for 30% of the book, he is referred to as Adam. At around the 30% point, he suddenly becomes "Ad" which is just weird. Adam is not THAT long of a name and doesn't really need to be shortened!

Further on Adam... I just don't get this character. For a LONG time he is a sweet, nice guy, then after he takes Emma's virginity he suddenly turns in to a major prick? Like, the personality switch nearly gave me whiplash. It came out of nowhere and up until right before the virginity losing scene there were NO signs of it.

Back to Scott and Emma...

I don't know. These two were just a mess.

Scott does try to start things with Emma several times and she rejects him, over and over and over. Then she cries when he goes after other girls. If you're going to reject the guy, you don't really get ownership over him anymore! You don't get to say who he does and doesn't get to sleep with. You had your chance (or should I say CHANCES).


I just didn't like either of them, and when I can't stand the main characters I don't really care about rooting for their relationship to work out. I found myself just rooting for them to finally get it on so the book would be over so I could stop reading about Emma dancing at Soundz and acting skanky while Scott acts like a drugged out manwhore.

2 out of 5 stars.

Link to Kala's review on Goodreads:

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Review: Geek Girl by Holly Smale

Title: Geek Girl
Author: Holly Smale
Harriet Manners knows a lot of things.

She knows that a cat has 32 muscles in each ear, a "jiffy" lasts 1/100th of a second, and the average person laughs 15 times per day. What she isn't quite so sure about is why nobody at school seems to like her very much. So when she's spotted by a top model agent, Harriet grabs the chance to reinvent herself. Even if it means stealing her Best Friend's dream, incurring the wrath of her arch enemy Alexa, and repeatedly humiliating herself in front of the impossibly handsome supermodel Nick. Even if it means lying to the people she loves.

As Harriet veers from one couture disaster to the next with the help of her overly enthusiastic father and her uber-geeky stalker, Toby, she begins to realise that the world of fashion doesn't seem to like her any more than the real world did.

And as her old life starts to fall apart, the question is: will Harriet be able to transform herself before she ruins everything?

Geek Girl on Goodreads
 Kala's Review:

*I received a free copy of this book for review from Thank you!!*

I finished this a few days ago and I'm still not sure if I liked it much. The book definitely didn't grab me and I had to start and stop it several times, reading many other books in between. The main character (Harriet) is difficult to like. While I enjoyed the quirky, socially awkward side of her personality, her complete lack of honesty drove me nuts.

The premise of the story is that Harriet is a geek. When she gets nervous, she spouts off random facts and is generally clumsy and awkward. Her best friend is a fashionista with dreams of becoming a model who forces Harriet to attend some sort of fashion show thing. While there, a REALLY obnoxious scout sees Harriet and decides she MUST be a model. He takes some photos of her, and when her best friend finds out she is extremely jealous.

So when the scout calls later and offers Harriet a meeting with a top fashion designer, she accepts but doesn't tell her best friend (or her step mother). At this point, the book kind of veers off and teeters with being a romance, but not really, as Harriet goes to Russia to do a modelling assignment for some big name designer. She has to work with a cute male supermodel named Nick that I wish we saw a LOT more of.

The "mean girls" in this book are stereotypical and over the top. At one point, the mean girl gets in front of the classroom and asks the class who hates Harriet and gets every single person to raise their hand. I just don't see this happening in real life, but maybe kids have become even crueler since my high school days.

Actually, almost every side character in this book is an over the top stereotype. The modelling scout is overly flamboyant to the point of being annoying - especially with his extensive array of nicknames for Harriet. The fashion designer is overly rude, harsh, and mean. The other models are all bitchy and catty. While I know some stereotypes are derived from truth, I'm not a fan of books that constantly reinforce them in such an exaggerated way.

I do like that Harriet (and her father) have to take responsibility for their lies and bad decisions. They both spend the entire book twisting things around and lying in order to get their way without their loved ones finding out and I was happy to see real consequences for those decisions.

My biggest issue with the book was the love story. I LOVE LOVE STORIES! However, this one just skirted with it and ended with a kiss that seems to come out of nowhere. Harriet meets the love interest (Nick, no surprise there) only two or three times and I wouldn't even say their conversations are flirtatious. While she is swooning over his good looks, he does nothing overtly romantic to make the reader think he's even interested in her as anything other than a friend. I just felt like there was no build up to their love story and the book would have been better off with the romance part either cut out completely or fleshed out a LOT more.

The book was also poorly formatted in a way that was really jarring to read. There would be several paragraphs in a row, then suddenly a break of blank space that makes you think the scene is over, then more paragraphs of the same scene. Also, there are ENORMOUS pics of sunglasses that show up in completely random locations. I thought at first they were between chapters, but they're not - they show up mid scene and were so distracting I sometimes forgot what was going on. I didn't mark down for the formatting, because this is a galley, but I usually get much better.

I didn't find out this was a trilogy until I finished and started reading other reviews. The book definitely works as a stand alone and I'm curious now to see what else in in store for Harriet.

3 out of 5 stars.

Link to Kala's review on Goodreads: