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: