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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

MICHELLE'S REVIEW: Lullaby by Amanda Hocking

Title: Lullaby
Author: Amanda Hocking
Format Acquired: Hardcover
Publication Date: November 27, 2012
Publishing House: St. Martin's Griffith
ISBN: 9781250005656
Source of Copy: Purchased from National Bookstore


Now that Gemma Fisher has inherited Penn, Lexi, and Thea's curse - and all the strange powers that come along with it - she has no choice but to run away with them. Devastated that she has to leave everyone she loves behind, she's still determined not to give in to the unspeakable hungers that plague her. Unfortunately, they're growing stronger every day, and she's not sure how much longer she can resist.

Harper won't give up on finding her sister Gemma, vowing to get her back no matter what the cost. The search draws her closer to too-gorgeous-for-his-own Daniel, and tests her fiercely guarded independence like never before. She's always been the strong one who everyone else depends on... Can she let herself depend on Daniel?

As Gemma and Harper plunger deeper into a magical wold they barely understand, it becomes painfully clear that Gemma's old life may be lost forever. But can she still hold on to her humanity?

(Image and information courtesy of Goodreads; Summary lifted from actual book)


Having read Amanda Hocking's other books, I can testify to the fact that she only gets better and better. My Blood Approves, the first of the Amanda Hocking books I've read, was a bit cheesy, but hard to put down. (I dropped the series come the fourth book, though.) I have a copy of Hollowland stored in my Kindle app which I have yet to read, and I've already finished the more recent Trylle trilogy, which was pretty good. I think she definitely came a long way from back her My Blood Approves days.

Lullaby is the sequel to Wake (which my co-blogger surprisingly didn't enjoy; check out her review here). Forced to go with the Sirens, Gemma had to leave the people she loved most behind to keep them from being harmed. But her sister Harper and boyfriend Alex are nevertheless, determined to find her. Helping them to recover Gemma is darling Daniel, who might just somehow manage to convince Harper to let down her guard. And when something involving Gemma goes awry, it's up to Harper and the boys to save Gemma from a fate that can only end in death.

I like Hocking's characters. With her other books, I felt like they were just people who undoubtedly had to exist. But with this cast of characters, I could totally imagine them as actual people, especially Harper. She and Gemma may not be the closest sisters, but when push comes to shove, Harper would gladly step in front of a speeding bullet train for her sister. Harper is so used to taking care of the people around her that she ends up getting rankled when people are trying to take care of her. Daniel was obviously a cutie pie who embodies everything that Harper is not. It was really fun watching her getting flustered over Daniel, and there were a lot of times I just wanted to bonk their heads together and get on with it. I have clearly moved on from the Gemma and Alex relationship, because while it was cute in the first book, I didn't mind them so much in the second. 

Plot-wise, however, it was a bit muddy towards the end of the book. I obviously could not say much without spoiling something, but it did make me keep re-reading the section because I didn't get it. I was expecting something bigger to happen, and clearly, it was mounting to that, but then it fizzled just as quickly as it had come. With that being said, I am looking forward to reading Tidal, not only because I want to figure out how Hocking will handle the little 'twist', but because I want more Harper and Daniel scenes.


Monday, April 29, 2013

NICOLE'S REVIEW: Wake by Amanda Hocking

Title: Wake
Author: Amanda Hocking
Format Acquired: Paperback
Publication Date: August 7 2012
Publishing House: Tor
ISBN: 9781447205722
Source of Copy: Purchased from Fully Booked 


Strangers in town for the summer, Penn, The and Lexi have caught everyone's attention, including the eye of practical Harper. But it's her sister, Gemma, they've chosen. Sixteen-year-old Gemma seems to have it all - carefree, pretty and falling in love with the boy next door. But her greatest passion is the water. She craves solitary late-night swims under the stars, were she can belong to the sea. But lately she's had company.

Penn, Thea and Lexi spend their nights dancing and partying on the cove, and one night Gemma joins them. She wakes, groggy on the beach the next morning and knows something has changed. Suddenly Gemma is stronger, faster and more beautiful than ever. And as she discovers her new mythical powers, Gemma is forced to choose between staying with those she loves- or entering a dark world brimming with unimaginable secrets.

(Image and information courtesy of Goodreads; Summary lifted from actual book)


Seeing as how I liked the Trylle series, I thought I would give Amanda Hocking's Wake a try although I think I was mostly persuaded by the fact that it had sirens in it.

There are three new girls in town, unnaturally beautiful and persuasive and they have their eyes set on Gemma. When Gemma joins them one night on the beach, she finds herself alone and confused the next morning, stranded on the beach. Soon she finds herself more than she once was and is forced to make a choice, one that will take her away from everyone she loves.

I know Gemma is the main protagonist but I couldn't form any connections with her at all. She kind of lacked personality for me and what managed to vex me was how Gemma managed to figure some things out so quick because to me, she was a bit slow and spoiled, incapable of doing nothing but swimming and worrying her poor sister  Her relationship with Alex was unreal and I didn't like how it progressed although they were meant for each other - they were both bland and boring.

Surprisingly, I did like her sister Harper. I would constantly skim through the parts in Gemma's point of view in search for Harper. She's like a mother hen, constantly worried about her sister and her father, not taking any time out for herself and then here comes Daniel, a pretty boy who does odd jobs and lives on a boat, who takes an interest in her. It was adorable reading Harper dance around Daniel's obvious advances. Now Harper's the smart one, the responsible one. the interesting one. And this was a problem for me because Gemma was supposed to be the protagonist. Why is she not interesting?

What's even worse for me are the Sirens, they were supposed to be beautiful, seductive, ethereal. Sure they're powerful, but they came off as hundred-plus-year-old spoiled brats. They were like...Mean Girls except they had powers and ate people for fun.

As for the story itself it wasn't exactly anything special - a girl turning into something supernatural and now has to figure out what to do with herself. There wasn't exactly much to keep me interested, aside from Harper and Daniel's moments. The mythology was decent enough but with the number of books out there incorporating Greek mythology into their storylines, it's just hard to find one that actually stands out. Wake sadly, did not because while Sirens are interesting and all there wasn't any new take on their myth aside from them having to stick together or they die and finding new victims to turn into sirens and living forever. Not to mention I didn't like the Sirens.

If you're a fan of easy, paranormal reads that won't tax your brain much then maybe give Wake a try. Sirens, Greek Mythology and life changing decisions abound in Amanda Hocking's Watersong series. 



Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Twins on Thursday: Strangelets by Michelle Gagnon

"The Twins on Thursday" is reserved for the Twins' joint reviews. It is a special feature of our blog that discusses books that we either both like, dislike, or have mixed feelings about. This is also the day where we post reviews for books (and ARCs/Galleys) that have been sent to us by authors/galley sites/publishing houses. And because we don't believe much in uniformity, we'll be trying to mix things up a bit by adding random stuff in relation to our review (well, mostly for books we purchased anyway).

Title: Strangelets
Author: Michelle Gagnon
Format Acquired: eARC
Publication Date: April 9, 2013
Publishing House: Soho Teen
ISBN: 9781616951375
Source of Copy: Requested from the publisher via NetGalley


17-year-old Sophie lies on her deathbed in California, awaiting the inevitable loss of her battle with cancer...

17-year-old Declan stares down two armed thugs in a back alley in Galway, Ireland...

17-year-old Anat attempts to traverse a booby-trapped tunnel between Israel and Egypt...

All three strangers should have died at the exact same moment, thousands of miles apart. Instead, they awaken together in an abandoned hospital - only to discover that they're not alone. Three other teens from different places on the globe are trapped with them. Somebody or something seems to be pulling the strings. With their individual clocks ticking, they must band together if they're to have any hope of surviving.

Soon they discover that they've been trapped in a future that isn't of their making: a deadly, desolate world at once entirely familiar and utterly strange. Each teen harbors a secret, but only one holds the key that could get them home. As the truth comes to light Sophie, Declan, Anat, and the rest must decide what to do with a second chance at life - if they can survive to claim it.

(Image, summary, and information courtesy of Goodreads)


Gagnon's characters lacked personality and could not elicit much emotion from us aside from indifference and maybe a little annoyance. The story is told in the alternating points of views of Sophie, Declan and Anat. Sophie was sick but after dropping into an alternate dimension, she finds herself miraculously cured, she's a little fragile and scared, a totally nondescript character. Declan is in a word, a thief. He stole something, got chased down by some goons and as he was supposed to get shot, he gets sucked into a black hole and ends up in this alternate dimension. He's supposed to be this witty, charismatic guy but we just couldn't see it. He was actually quite boring. Anat is this surly girl who was supposed to meet her beloved this one fateful night but after an incident that traps her inside a tunnel, she gets sucked into yes, an alternate universe. Anat is cold, harsh and angry most of the time and it's a wonder that she wasn't eaten by the alien monsters first. 

Strangelets is a dystopian/sci-fi/paranormal/time-travel hybrid, and it didn't work for us. We didn't feel any compulsion to be pulled into the story line, and we had no idea which way the story was going. Descriptions were made, but were hardly convincing enough to engage us. The monsters, in all their alligator-insect hybrid, didn't even excite us! (And you know us - we love our monsters.) Despite the short time Sophie, Declan and the rest were together, they still found the time to quickly harbor crushes on each other. Forgive us, but it's a tad bit annoying to know that even in strange and harsh circumstances they were subject to, hormones were still apparently very much functioning normally. Strangelets also plays with the possibility of alternate universes - something that is yet another fascinating thing for us - its premise just felt flat and obscure. 

While having an interesting blurb, the novel just failed to deliver. Uninteresting and ho-hum characters, bizarre - and in a not in a good way, at that - story progression just won't do it for us.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

[Blog Tour + Giveaway] MICHELLE'S REVIEW: The Boyfriend App by Katie Sise

Title: The Boyfriend App
Author: Katie Sise
Format Acquired: eARC
Publication Date: April 30, 2013
Publishing House: Balzer & Bray
ISBN: 9780062195265
Source of Copy: Edelweiss

In The Boyfriend App by Katie Sise, super-smart, somewhat geeky Audrey McCarthy can't wait to get out of high school. Her father's death and the transformation of her one-time BFF, Blake Dawkins, into her worst nightmare have her longing for the new start college will bring.

But college takes money. So Audrey decides she has to win the competition for the best app designed by a high schooler - and the $200,000 that comes with it. She develops something she calls the Boyfriend App, and suddenly she's the talk of the school and getting kissed by the hottest boys around. But can the Boyfriend App bring Audrey true love?

(Image and information courtesy of Goodreads; Summary lifted from actual book)


I had my reservations about this one. Yes, it sounded cute. Yes, it had me curious, especially what with the popularity of apps - be they downright life-changing or weird. (And to be perfectly honest, if a real Boyfriend App ever appeared on iTunes, I would have probably downloaded it, just for laughs.) But more importantly, I am a sucker for cutesy contemporary reads, and I have been short-changed a LOT of times. 

Well, The Boyfriend App is as cutesy as cutesy can get, but it also packed surprises that sent me re-reading some sentences and paragraphs just to see if I got it right. 

When Audrey's father died in a "freak accident" in her then-best friend's dad's office, her normal life took a nose dive. Her ex-BFF, Blake Dawkins, hates her enough to taunt her in full view of the entire school, including her mother who works as the cafeteria supervisor, and the fact that she may not even attend college becomes a jarring reality. When Dawkins' company, Public, holds a nationwide contest for budding app developers to get a chance to win $200, 000, Audrey knows that she should take the chance, even if it means she has to come face-to-face with people who may or may not have something to do with her father's demise. And when Audrey comes up with the Boyfriend App, she discovers that there may be more to Public than meets the eye.

It was hard not to feel for Audrey. Her mom gets to see her humiliated during lunch on a frequent basis, and her ex-BFF is pretty much one of the witchiest witches I have ever read about, and her dad is publicly shamed as a loser who just wasn't careful enough not to die within company premises. On top of that, the guy she's crushing on treats her like a friend, and with the money problems her family faces, she may not even go to college. It seems that the only thing Audrey has going for her is her upbeat attitude, mad developing skills which she learned from her dad, her cool and fashion-savvy cousin Lindsay. If I were in Audrey's place, I would have personally taken myself on a bungee-jumping spree into the Bottomless Pit of Depression that even the frigging sun wouldn't be able to shed some light on me. Audrey was full of surprises, and I liked that about her. I couldn't say the same about the romantic interests, however. I got the impression that Aidan knew Audrey very well, but it doesn't really give me any other clues about his character. Xander was too mysterious for my liking and didn't really serve any actual purpose that would give credence to actively involve him in the storyline, but I have got to say that I did find myself quite intrigued by him, as odd as that sounds.

Plotwise, I thought it was pretty okay, though some things became a bit too contrived when it came to the last few chapters. Reading all about the frenzy the girls participated in warranted a chuckle from me as Audrey practically made all their wishes come true. However, the pacing threw me off a little, because Sise may have crammed more action than the book can actually handle. Tidbits about app developing were fun to read about though, as anything that spurs a flashing error message is well beyond me.

The Boyfriend App is a fun read that subtly asks us about the extent we're willing to go with technology. What with all the free rein it's getting, isn't it high time to consider that we, the masters, have become the slaves to our own creation too?

If you're hankering for a modern, cute contemporary read, The Boyfriend App might help cater to that craving. Fans of Meg Cabot's Airhead trilogy might want to check this one out as well. 


P.S. Two copies are up for grabs, but it's open to people who have a Philippine address only.

P.P.S. Much thanks to Chyna over at Lite-Rate-Ture for letting me join the blog tour! :)

Monday, April 22, 2013

NICOLE'S REVIEW: Struck by Jennifer Bosworth

Title: Struck
Author: Jennifer Bosworth
Format Acquired: Hardcover
Publication Date: May 8 2012
Publishing House: Farrar, Straus & Giroux
ISBN: 9780374372835
Source of Copy: Purchased from Fully Booked


Mia Price is a lightning addict. She has survived countless strikes, but her craving to connect to the energy in storms endangers her life and the lives of those around her.

Los Angeles, where lightning rarely strikes, is one of the few places Mia feels safe from her addiction. But when an earthquake devastates the city, her haven is transformed into a minefield of chaos and danger. The beaches become massive tent cities. Downtown is a crumbling wasteland, where a traveling party moves to a different empty building each night, the revelers drawn to te destruction by a force they cannot deny. Two warring cults rise to power, and both see Mia as central to their opposing doomsday prophecies. They believe she has a connection to the freak electrical storm that caused the quake, and to the far more devastating storm that is yet to come.

Mia wants to trust the enigmatic and alluring Jeremy when he promises to protect her, but she fears he isn't who he claims to be. In the end, the passion and power that brought them together  could be their downfall. When the final disaster strikes, Mia must risk unleashing the full horror of her strength to save the people she loves, or lose everything.

(Image and information courtesy of Goodreads; Summary lifted from actual book)


Honestly, I had a hard time rating Struck. There were instances where I liked it and instances where I was left shaking my head in confusion and derision.

Mia is addicted to getting struck by lightning, she chases it, craves it and longs for the adrenaline rush and the feeling of being alive that getting hit brings. But the strangest thing of all is that - thanks to being struck by lightning quite a lot of times - she has acquired the power to actually harness that lightning and use it against people. In light of a few unwanted events, Mia and her family move to Los Angeles, running from a tragedy that befalls their family only to encounter another one after some time - a terrible earthquake that devastates her city leaving Mia to fend for her mother and brother, hiding her scars while trying to stay alive. 

After getting rescued after being trapped under the rubble of a destroyed building for days on end Mia's mother spends all her time at home watching a tv program titled 'The Hour of Light' hosted by this person called Prophet. Mia thinks that this program is just some religious hoax - a false prophet signaling the end of times. What Mia doesn't know is that Prophet has a much bigger role in the scheme of things than just a mere television host.

Mia is a fairly likable character; she's a survivor and does what she has to to keep her mother and her brother safe. She didn't expect to be dragged into the middle of two warring cults with nowhere to go, backed into a corner. She obviously has secrets of her own, secrets that relate to lightning striking her a number of times and the strange heat that she is capable of generating when feeling particularly feisty. The love interest, Jeremy, on the other hand, is a mystery; he has the ability to see visions and such and the star of his visions is Mia - so obviously he has to fall in love with her. I was particularly nonplussed about their relationship and really couldn't imagine them as a couple. 

I also wasn't impressed with the world building in this one since there was nothing new to the scene - ravaged buildings, desolate cities, people low on supplies struggling to survive. While Struck is not a dystopia-themed book, it certainly felt like one. The two warring cults were not what I expected. I got two cults who were nothing more but a group of people fighting over one girl. One side wanted to destroy the world and the other side wanted to save it. Clear cut and simple, and they're literally black and white in terms of clothes so it's really easy to distinguish who's on whose side. Cue the face palm. 

As for the plot twists, well, really I kind of expected those to happen which was kind of disappointing. And the reason for their so called powers was not exactly explained. They get hit by lightning and suddenly they're all super now? I felt like it wasn't exactly hashed out very well and it was just brushed off as some part of a 'prophecy' which made everything seem kind of random and disorienting. 

Overall Struck is a decent book that features warring cults, a lightning addict, the end of times with a bit of romance and drama thrown in. 


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Blog Announcement: 6-Monthsary / Summer Giveaway! [INTL + PH-only]

Hey guys! The blog is officially 6 months old, and in appreciation of all the valuable and inspiring things we've picked up on the way,  we decided to celebrate it by giving away copies of Margo Lanagan's The Brides of Rollrock Island (reviewed here) and Jennifer Echols' Such a Rush. We'll be having 2 winners and each winner will get both books via The Book Depository.

Terms and Conditions:

1. The books will be sent from The Twins Read will not be held liable for any customs / taxes that your country will impose on you. Likewise, The Twins Read will not be held liable for any lost / damaged packages.

2. You must be 12 years old and above to join. Please ask your parent/guardian to join the giveaway for you, if you aren't.

3. If you only use ONE account to do all these tasks and enter under different names, they will still only constitute as ONE entry. 

4. If the winner does not respond to messages via Facebook, or e-mail within 48 hours, The Twins Read will have to choose another winner.

5. The covers of the copies you get may be different from the cover used in the The Twins Read promos.

If you have a Philippine address, join this one:

If you reside anywhere else, join this one. (People who reside in the Philippines must not join this one.)

The Sunday Post#18 + Stacking the Shelves #23

The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba over at the Caffeinated Book Reviewer. This special post will provide a recap for posts that have been written for the week (April 14- 20, 2013).





Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme first initiated by Tynga. This weekly segment will showcase the books/galleys/ARCs we've acquired/purchased/borrowed within the week.


The Fire Horse Girl by Kay Honeyman

(From left to right, top to bottom)
1. Nameless by Lili St. Crow
2. Hysteria by Megan Miranda
3. Touched by Corinne Jackson
4. Greta and the Goblin King by Chloe Jacobs

Belonging by Karen Ann Hopkins
(Much thanks to Harlequin Teen x NetGalley!)

AfterLife by S.P. Cloward
(Sent for review)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Twins on Thursday: Wicked Kiss by Michelle Rowen

"The Twins on Thursday" is reserved for the Twins' joint reviews. It is a special feature of our blog that discusses books that we either both like, dislike, or have mixed feelings about. This is also the day where we post reviews for books (and ARCs/Galleys) that have been sent to us by authors/galley sites/publishing houses. And because we don't believe much in uniformity, we'll be trying to mix things up a bit by adding random stuff in relation to our review (well, mostly for books we purchased anyway).

Title: Wicked Kiss
Author: Michelle Rowen
Format Acquired: eGalley
Publication Date: February 26, 2013
Publishing House: Harlequin Teen
ISBN: 9780373210640
Source of Copy: NetGalley


I used to be ordinary Samantha Day, but that's changed. Now, after one dark kiss from a dangerous boy, I can steal someone's soul... or their life. If I give in to the constant hunger inside me, I hurt anyone I kiss. If I don't... I hurt myself.

Bishop is the one whose kiss I crave most, but if I kiss him, I'll kill him. Then there's another boy, one I can't hurt. One whose kiss seems to miraculously quell my hunger. They're both part of a team of angels and demons that's joined forces in my city to fight a mysterious rising darkness, an evil that threatens everyone I know and love. I just wonder if I'll be able to help Bishop - or if I'm just another part of the darkness he's sworn to destroy....

                                (Image, summary, and information courtesy of Goodreads)


Samantha can steal your soul through a kiss. It's one of the side effects of her becoming a gray. With the angels and demons sent to protect humans from threats and keep balance and harmony and order still being a bit wary of her, Samantha tries to find Stephen to recover her soul to do away with her current status as a nexus. But of course, that's only the tip of the iceberg. It seems that someone is convinced that Samantha is just what he needs to tap into his own power and unleash a fury like neither hell nor heaven has seen before.

Like in the first book, we could not comprehend Samantha's obvious obsession with Bishop's past. She's still as annoying, still as incapable as in the first book and we just couldn't bring ourselves to feel for her. Bishop hasn't changed and his relationship with Samantha felt stiff and forced. The only saving grace among the characters was Kraven. Sure he was crude and generally mean most of the time but in the second book his antics were quite entertaining. The only reason Rowen's characters actually stood out from the crowd were because they were either angels or demons. Take that away and the characters would just blend into the background. 

The sequel to Dark Kiss is also pretty much heaped with cliche after cliche. The new "twists" in the book are predictable and very much overdone in YA, and there seems to be nothing refreshing about it either. Even the ending was uninspired. You know how sometimes it seems like everyone is talking at the same time? Well, that was how we felt about Wicked Kiss. This was just one of the books  that was difficult to slough through, all because the dramatics were way over the top and unwarranted. You can't possibly imagine all the times we thought that the book was nearing the end, only to find out that there were still about a hundred or so pages to read. 

We honestly thought that the second book would be better than the first instead we got even more nonsensical drama and lackluster characters in Wicked Kiss. If brooding, emo males and ridiculously dramatic female protagonists served with a heaping side dish of angel and demon hoopla are your thing, well, this series is it.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

MICHELLE'S REVIEW: Crash by Lisa McMann

Title: Crash
Author: Lisa McMann
Format Acquired: Hardcover
Publication Date: January 8, 2013
Publishing House: Simon Pulse
ISBN: 9781442403918
Source of Copy: Purchased from Fully Booked


Jules lives with her family above their restaurant, which means she smells like pizza most of the time and drives their double-meatball-shaped food truck to school. It's not a recipe for popularity, but she can handle that. What she can't handle is the vision.

Over and over, Jules sees a careening truck hit a building and explode... and nine body bags in the snow.

She has no idea why this is happening to her or if she's going crazy. It hardly matters, because the vision is everywhere - on billboards, television screens, windows - and she's the only one who can see it.

But it's not until the vision starts coming more frequently, and revealing more clues, that Jules knows what she has to do. Because now she can see the face in one of the body bags, and it's someone she knows.

Someone's she's been in love with for as long as she can remember.

(Image and information courtesy of Goodreads; Summary lifted from actual book)


Jules would really rather die than think that she's going crazy. One parent who's exhibiting the symptoms is enough, but it's not her fault that only she can see the repetitive visions plaguing her when she looks at innocuous billboard ads or television screens either. But when everyone grows increasingly concerned for Julie, she knows that she has to step up and do something to possibly save nine lives, including that of the boy she's loved for almost all her life.

Lisa McMann is one of the authors on my auto-buy. I have read all her books, save for Cryer's Cross (which I keep forgetting to pick up, oops). McMann is no stranger to exploring the premise of visions, as her Dream Catcher trilogy would testify. I actually quite liked Wake and seeing all the ratings on GoodReads definitely made it one of those love-it-or-hate-it books. With the Dream Catcher trilogy over, I was looking for a new book/series with visions playing a main theme. Granted that visions are pretty much a dime a dozen when it comes to the Young Adult genre, I was pretty much left unsatisfied most of the time, so when I read the summary of Crash, I was really looking forward to getting a copy. 

As per usual, McMann's characters draw you in the story. Her characters are entertaining and funny, and I actually laughed out loud at some of the parts. Jules' relationship with her brother, Trey, is cute, and it made me wish that I had a gay older brother too. The family component plays very strong and important roles here, and it's something that you find most of the time in contemporary books, and rarely in paranormal books. 

But when it came to the visions, I was kind of disappointed. I'm not entirely sure if I set too high a standard, or maybe I just imagined it differently, but by the next half of the book, I was pretty much hoping that the book would engage me again. Sure, some parts were still amusing, but I wasn't as gung-ho about reading it anymore. I read this in one sitting, so I'm sure that the different feel of the book wasn't because of my mood. I wanted less of kind-of-psycho Jules, and more of first-half-of-the-book-Jules. 

The ending didn't do any good to make me want to anticipate the next installment in the series either. If this were a standalone book, I thought it would make much more sense and possibly garner a higher rating from me. 


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

MICHELLE'S REVIEW: Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

Title: Unspoken
Author: Sarah Rees Brennan
Format Acquired: Hardcover
Publication Date: September 11, 2012
Publishing House: Random House Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 9780375870415
Source of Copy: Purchased from Fully Booked

Kami Glass loves someone she's never met... a boy she's talked to in her head ever since she was born. She wasn't silent about her imaginary friend during her childhood, and is thus a bit of an outsider in her sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Still, Kami hasn't suffered too much from not fitting in. She has a best friend, runs the school newspaper, and is only occasionally talking to herself. Her life is in order, just the way she likes it, despite the voice in her head.

But all that changes when the Lynburns return. 

The Lynburn family has owned the spectacular and sinister manor that overlooks Sorry-in-the-Vale for centuries. The mysterious twin sisters who abandoned their ancestral home a generation ago are back, along with their teenage sons, Jared and Ash, one of whom is eerily fmailiar to Kami. Kami is not one to shy away from the unknown - in fact, she's determined to find answers for all the questions Sorry-in-the-Vale is suddenly posing. Who is responsible for the bloody deeds in the depths of the woods? What is her own mother hiding? And now that her imaginary friend has become a real boy, does she still love him? Does she hate him? Can she trust him?

Sarah Rees Brennan brings Gothic romance kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century with a heroine who can take care of herself, a boy who needs to be saved, and the magical forces that bring them together and tear them apart.

(Image and information courtesy of Goodreads; Summary lifted from actual book)


With everyone positively raving about Unspoken, I knew I had to give it a try. If you've been following my reviews, I like checking out books that get a lot of hype and see for myself what the fuss is all about. With Unspoken garnering almost 6,000 ratings in GoodReads, the book practically put itself on my reserve list at the bookstore.

All her life, Kami Glass has been talking to Jared, a voice in her head. Kami thinks that it's just one of her little quirks in life, knowing almost everything about a "boy". But when the Lynburns come back into town and Kami ends up face to face with Jared Lynburn, questions must be answered and family secrets must surface to uncover the truth about what seems to be a dangerous bond that they both share.

To be brutally blunt, Kami Glass is very annoying. I am usually patient when it comes to characters, but Kami pretty much ends up on my list of annoying characters. She is mildly entertaining, yes, but somehow, I thought that the whole book was basically just a campaign to get everyone to like the main heroine and wish that the romantic interest would just stop being a jerk and get with the program already. Since Kami does all the talking (Hoo boy, can she talk.) the book pretty much had me reeling from all the comments and unnecessary information here and there. All of Brennan's characters had the same humor, and if it weren't for the names, I would be guaranteed a hard time trying to differentiate one from the other. The romantic interest, Jared, wasn't anything unusual either. He was gorgeous, rich, and was so protective about Kami that he can't make up his mind whether to push her away or to reel her in. In real life, he's practically a Dodo bird. In the world of YA fiction, however, he's a dime a dozen.

The thing about Unspoken is that it focuses too much on the witticisms that it actually detracts the focus from the plot, however thin it already is. What ever serious business the gang tries to get into ultimately starts and ends up foiled because of all the talking and banter that they, of course, just had to have. The actual action was uninspired and hardly surprised me; if forces of evil can be reckoned with just by attacking them verbally, then I get the reason why the protagonist absolutely has to be so mouthy all the time.

With relief practically oozing from my forehead the second I spied the ending, it goes without saying that Unspoken is most definitely not for me.


Monday, April 15, 2013

NICOLE'S REVIEW: Possess by Gretchen McNeil

Title: Posses
Author: Gretchen McNeil
Format Acquired: Paperback
Publication Date: August 23 2011
Publishing House: Balzer & Bray
ISBN: 9780062060723
Source of Copy: Purchased from Fully Booked


Fifteen-year-old Bridget Liu just wants to be left alone: by her overprotective mom, by Matt Quinn, the cute son of a local police sergeant, and by the eerie voices she can suddenly and inexplicably hear. Unfortunately for Bridget, the voices are demons- and Bridget possesses the rare ability to banish them back to whatever hell they came from. Literally. 

Terrified to tell her friends or family about this new power, Bridget confides in San Fransisco's senior exorcist, Monsignor Renault, who enlists her help in increasingly dangerous cases of demonic possession. But just as she is starting to come to terms with her freakish new power, Bridget receives a startling message from one of the demons. And when one of her oldest friends is killed, Bridget realizes she's in deeper than she ever though possible. Now she must unlock the secret to the demons' plan before someone else close to her winds up dead - or worse, the human vessel for a demon king.

(Image and information courtesy of Goodreads; Summary lifted from actual book)


It's not everyday you come across a YA book focusing on exorcism and while Possess was interesting enough and entertaining enough, I found parts of it lacking. 

Meet Bridget Liu, she lost her father to a psychopath, she can hear demons and apparently she also has the power to banish them, add to that this totally cute guy who's protective of her and oh did I mention that there's a demon king who wants to enter the human world and she's got to find a way to stop him? Yes, she's got problems and it isn't surprising at all that she has issues.

One thing I like about the book is that it's genuinely creepy. I liked the descriptions of the exorcisms, or banishment, that Bridget attended - the mood was great, very eerie and disturbing and I will admit to having goosebumps rise up on my arms while reading it. It's probably just me though because I'm a big baby and ghost stories freak me out. Watch out for the doll shop. I was definitely weirded out by that scene.

What I found lacking though was the character development. Bridget's a pretty okay protagonist and I had no problem with her voice it's just that I found her lacking a bit of spark in her personality. She just wasn't real enough for me and I had a hard time connecting with her. The secondary characters were sadly underdeveloped and seemed to just pop out of the woodwork with minor explanations as to their connection with Bridget. And Matt, well, I guess he's pretty much okay, he fits the YA male love interest mold to a tee and I thought that his relationship with Bridget happened way too fast - I wasn't happy with the transitioning.

I will admit that it was interesting reading about exorcisms and demons and the role of the Catholic Church in it all and it was great how McNeil managed to give readers that information without it seeming like it was being spoon-fed to us. But I also wished that the author had provided us more with a background on things - history and things like that. 

Overall, Possess is an interesting book, it's got creepy banishment scenes - exorcisms -, scary demons and freaky powers which I'm pretty glad I don't have. I wouldn't want to have demons speaking to me in my mind. Would I recommend this book? Why not? It's not everyday you see a YA book focusing on exorcisms.



Saturday, April 13, 2013

Stacking the Shelves #22 + The Sunday Post #17 + In Our Mailbox #4

The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba over at the Caffeinated Book Reviewer. This special post will provide a recap for posts that have been written for the week (April 7- 13, 2013).





Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme first initiated by Tynga. This weekly segment will showcase the books/galleys/ARCs we've acquired/purchased/borrowed within the week.


 (From left to right)
1. Angel Fire by L.A. Weatherly
2. Fragments by Dan Wells
(From left to right, top to bottom)
1. Oppression by Jessica Therrien
2. Fracture by Megan Miranda
3. Tangled Tides by Karen Hooper
4. Legacy of the Clockwork Key
5. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

(From left to right, top to bottom)
1. Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz
2. When We Wake by Karen Healey
3. Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
4. Fuse by Julianna Baggott [reviewed by Michelle here]
The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
(Much thanks for the invite, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt x NetGalley!)

In Our Mailbox is a meme hosted by The Story Siren. This features all the things that we have received in our literal mailbox.

A signed bookmark of J. A. Souder's Renegade + a short and sweet note from Annabelle of Sparkles and Lightning
How was your week?