Saturday, February 28, 2015

Review: Alex (Delirium #3.5) by Lauren Oliver!

Warning: Spoiler Alert!

This captivating digital original story set in the world of Lauren Oliver's New York Times bestselling Delirium series focuses on Alex, Lena's first love.

When Alex sacrificed himself to save Lena, he thought he was committing himself to certain death, but what he got was almost worse. Imprisoned and tortured by the guards, his mind forces him to relive a past he would rather forget. But in the dark he grows stronger. Both hopeful and terrified, he fights to find his way back to her and the love he still clings to.

In this digital story that will appeal to fans of Delirium and welcome new admirers to its world, readers will learn of Alex's time after the events of Delirium, as well as the dark past that he has tried to forget.

Description taken from Goodreads 

My Review

I have no idea what to think about Alex’s novella.  It was nice being inside his head and I guess there was good insight into what happened in the crypts and how he got out.  But I felt like it served absolutely no purpose.  I was honestly alright not really knowing what happened to him.  It provided a little bit of mystery.

I actually would have liked a novella about what happened after Requiem.  Alex just didn’t need to exist.  The novella, not the character.  Obviously.

Characters 4/5
Plot 3/5
Feels 2/5
Writing 3/5
Overall 3/5

Review: Requiem (Delirium #3) by Lauren Oliver!

Warning: Spoiler Alert!

 Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has transformed. The nascent rebellion that was underway in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight. After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven. Pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels.

As Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain of the Wilds, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor. Requiem is told from both Lena and Hana's points of view. They live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.

Description taken from Goodreads 

My Review 

I obviously can’t get into detail at all about Requiem.  So, I’m just going to talk about how I felt throughout the book and how I felt about the ending.

I have to say that I was so disappointed with this conclusion.  I feel like I invested so much into this series.  I read the previous two books as well as the three novellas before this as well as one more after Requiem and I just kept thinking, “Really?  This is what I get after everything?”  It was just so disappointing.

Requiem is told from both Lena and Hana’s POV.  I actually found Hana’s POV to be more interesting but in the end nothing developed.  There was so much build up and I was getting so excited and then nothing.  Others who read this probably know what I’m talking about.  Did anyone else feel the same?  That there was so much talk about this one plot point and then had it stop so abruptly?

Lena annoyed the crap out of me.  All of the back and forth between Alex and Julian.  Jesus Christ, woman!  Pick one or none and be done with it!  I mean, she just treated Julian like shit, she used him to make Alex jealous so many times, I lost count!  Honestly, this was one of the worst love triangle in literature (besides the whole Bella, Edward, Jacob fiasco).  And it wasn’t because I wanted one over the other either, I just think it was horribly done.  What happened Lauren Oliver?

And the ending?  I guess it ended ok.  I just wanted more, I was not satisfied at all.  I wanted a little more resolution and a little less open ended.  I definitely don’t mind making up my own ending or whatever but when you get so invested in a series and it’s a dystopian like this, I feel like the readers kind of deserve some kind of resolution whether it’s a HEA or not, I don’t care.  I just don’t want to feel like there should be one more chapter or a whole other book that could follow the last page. 

Characters 2.5/5
Plot 3.5/5
Feels 2.5/5
Writing 3/5
Overall 2.8/5 

 If you would like to purchase any of these books, please think about using my Book Depository affiliate link.  I'm currently unemployed and truly appreciate anything I can get.

Friday, February 27, 2015

March 2015: Take Control of Your TBR Pile Challenge!
 Update: 7 Books!
1. The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1) by Alexandra Bracken
2.  Never Fade (The Darkest Minds #2) by Alexandra Bracken 
3.  In the Afterlight (The Darkest Minds #3) by Alexandra Bracken
4.  Broken Skies (Broken Skies #1) by Theresa Kay
5.  The Pledge (The Pledge #1) by Kimberly Derting
6.  The Essence (The Pledge #2) by Kimberly Derting   
7. The Offering (The Pledge #3) by Kimberly Derting

I am in desperate need of this challenge!  So, throughout the month of March I will be reading only books that I have acquired before March of 2015.  I'm going to really try to focus on books that I have had for awhile.  And try to complete some trilogies and series that will also combine with the Prequel & Sequel Challenge.

For each book I read and review that meets the criteria found here, I will add the challenge button to the bottom of the review and then update here.  Simple enough, right!?
I don't exactly have a goal.  I just want to be able to finish at least one series or trilogy.  As long as I can do that then I'll be happy.  If I can do more than that then I'll be ecstatic!
So, if you're like me and have been neglecting your TBR pile and let it get into the hundreds or *gasp* even the two hundreds, then I definitely recommend doing this challenge.  Let's shrink those dreaded TBR piles!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

DNF Review: These Broken Stars (Starbound #1) by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner!

Luxury spaceliner Icarus suddenly plummets from hyperspace into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive -- alone. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a cynical war hero. Both journey across the eerie deserted terrain for help. Everything changes when they uncover the truth.

The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.

Description taken from Goodreads

My Review

Wow, I was surprised with this one.  I was so excited to finally read it.  There was so much hype and I felt like everyone loved it.  I loved how it was described as Titanic meets space.  I have an unhealthy obsession with Titanic and I love space.  It should have been the perfect book.

It absolutely was not!  Both characters, Lilac and Tarver, were severely unlikable.  One was a spoiled brat that I just couldn’t take seriously and prayed that she would die in the first life threatening event.  That’s how much I despised her.  The other was extremely bland and boring, he had no personality whatsoever.

The plot was originally interesting.  It’s what made me pick it up in the first place and what made me get to the 200 page mark but it just ended up getting so boring.  The world building was horrible.  I have no idea what I was I reading about.  Where are they?  How did that come to be?  Is Earth still around?  Did Earth ever exist in this world?  I feel like I read enough that the authors should have mentioned this by that point if they were going to fill the readers in on it.

Usually, I can get through a book that has awesome characters but an okay plot or excellent world building but the characters aren’t that great.  Either way I can usually push on and feel somewhat satisfied.  But when it’s a double or triple whammy?  Horrible characters, boring plot and zero world building?  I just can’t do it.

Since I had no connection to the world or characters and I didn’t need to read this for a review, I really felt no remorse for DNFing it.  I just have way too many books on my shelves that I want to get to and don’t have the time or the patience to continue reading a book that I’m not enjoying.    Maybe one day I’ll go back to it but it’s pretty doubtful.

Characters 1.5/5
Plot 2/5
Feels 0/5
Writing 2.5/5
Overall  1.5/5

Cover 4/5

Waiting on Wednesday (29): Six of Crows (The Dregs #1) by Leigh Bardugo!

Hosted by Breaking the Spine!
Game of Thrones meets Ocean's Eleven in this brand-book in the world of the Grisha by New York Times-bestselling author Leigh Bardugo.

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.

Description taken from Goodreads

Why I'm Waiting!
I really liked The Grisha trilogy.  It wasn't my favorite, I wasn't exactly thrilled with the way it ended.  But I still really enjoyed it and I'm anxiously awaiting this new series set in the Grisha world!

Six of Crows releases on October 6, 2015!

Pre-Order It Here!

What are you waiting for?  Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday (8): Favorite Heroines!

This week's topic is all about those heroines who we wish we could be like!

There are so many!

1. Sydney Sage
She is badass!  She's not physically strong like most heroines, she uses her brain.  I think we need more heroines like her!

2.  Annabeth Chase
Another one that uses her brain!  She's so witty and clever.

3. Katy
She sacrifices so much in this series.  She was just thrown into this world without even realizing it and cares so much about the people in her life.

4. Rose Hathaway
Rose knows how to kick ass!  She's also very sarcastic.

5. Elizabeth Bennet
One of the best.

6.  Claire
Many people would've completely lost their heads if they were found in her situation.  She's badass and kickass.

7.  Celaena Sardothien
She's an assassin.  'Nuff said.

8.  Alex
She's definitely a lot like Rose in the sense where their both physically strong and sarcastic.  But I feel like Alex has been through so much more and came out at the end still sane.  

9.  Katniss Everdeen
Do I need to explain this one?

10.  Hermione Granger
The brightest witch of her age.  Just an awesome role model.

If you would like to purchase any of these books, please think about using my Book Depository affiliate link.  I'm currently unemployed and truly appreciate anything I can get.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Blog Tour: Review-A Memory of Violets by Hazel Gaynor + Guest Post + Giveaway!
From the author of the USA Today bestseller The Girl Who Came Home comes an unforgettable historical novel that tells the story of two little sisters - orphaned flower sellers - and the young woman who will be transformed by their experiences.

      ‘For Little Sister … I will never stop looking for you.’

 1876. Among the filth and depravity of Covent Garden’s flower markets, orphaned Irish sisters Flora and Rosie Flynn sell posies of violets and watercress to survive. It is a pitiful existence, made bearable only by the presence of each other. When they become separated, the decision of a desperate woman sets their lives on very different paths.

 1912. Twenty-one-year-old Tilly Harper leaves the peace and beauty of her native Lake District for London, to become assistant housemother at Mr. Shaw’s Home for Watercress and Flower Girls. For years, the home has cared for London’s orphaned and crippled flower girls, taking them off the streets. For Tilly, the appointment is a fresh start; a chance to leave her troubled past behind.

Soon after she arrives, Tilly discovers a notebook belonging to Flora Flynn. Hidden between the pages she finds dried flowers and a heartbreaking tale of loss and separation as Flora’s entries reveal how she never stopped looking for her sister.  Tilly sets out to discover what happened to Rosie. But the search will not be easy. Full of twists and surprises, it leads the caring and determined young woman into unexpected places, including the depths of her own heart.

Buy Now!

Amazon | B&N | IndieBound   

My Review
This is a special novel, dear readers.  I highly suggest you go and pick it up.

Tears constantly rolled down my face while reading it.  I felt all the feels with this one.  Sadness, happiness, frustration, adoration, pride, satisfaction.  Every kind of emotion will be felt.  Just a warning. 

A mystery, relationships between two sets of sisters, multiple POVs, and multiple settings can be found in A Memory of Violets.  And it was all weaved together perfectly.  Hazel Gaynor is a genius and is now an auto buy author for me.

She created such heartbreaking stories that managed to pull you in and form the strongest connections with each and every one of her characters.  Right off the bat, I knew that this was going to be something extraordinary and ended up dedicating an entire week to this novel so that I could take my time and not rush it.  I wanted to give my full undivided attention to these characters who felt so real to me.  They deserved it.  And by the time I finished it, I was not disappointed at all.

The whole plot was like nothing I have ever read.  A home for crippled children who make silk flowers.  It was so interesting to read about.  Knowing what these children have to endure with their disabilities and not just their physical limitations but the way that people disgrace them, was so depressing to read about but their determination and will to be able to do things on their own was incredible and humbling. 

One of my favorite quotes, that I find to be very fitting:
“They’ve shown me that there is always an opportunity to display fortitude in the face of adversity, that it is not up to society to provide us with a sense of belonging and acceptance but rather up to each of us to allow ourselves to belong, to allow ourselves to be accepted.”  -pg 87 of eARC

The second plot is what really got to me.  Two little girls, sisters, separated from each other quite young.  The oldest never forgetting her little sister.  Everything about this plot was absolutely agonizing.

 Every single character, and there were a lot, had their own unique personality.  We didn't get to know a lot of them and I can't go into detail about a lot of them because major spoiler alert but they were all so wonderful to read about.

Tilly has got to be one of my favorite MCs of all time.  She was incredibly flawed but cared so much about those girls in Violet House.  I related to her on so many levels.

Florrie had me tearing up constantly.  Her journal entries were so heartbreaking.  The love that she has for her little sister was incredible but so sad to read about as well.

Just the way that everything came together so seamlessly and the way it ended was magnificent.  Absolutely brilliant.  Thank you so much Mrs. Gaynor for writing this book.  It definitely has a special place in my heart now and has instantly become one of my favorites.

If you love any kind of historical fiction or stories that hit you right in the feels.  Then you need to pick up A Memory of Violets.

 Inside                           Outside
                  Characters     4.5/5            Cover         5/5
                  Plot                   5/5
                  Feels                 5/5
                  Writing           4.5/5
                  Overall          4.8/5

Introducing….New York Times Bestselling Author Hazel Gaynor

I sometimes describe myself as one part writer, two parts mum and I think this is a pretty accurate description! Life as a writer with two young boys is certainly busy, and far from the idyllic image people might have of a place of calm and serenity to channel my writing muse! Writing happens when the kids are at school and in snatched moments between playdates and rugby training and cooking the dinner. It’s busy, messy and, at times, chaotic – but it’s also wonderful and I wouldn’t swap it for the world.

I started writing in 2009, following redundancy when I was in my late 30’s. From my fledgling experience as a parenting blogger, to freelancing for the local press and eventually starting the novel I’d been talking about for years, my route to publication has been far from straightforward. But all the ups and downs, the pain of rejections, the nerves as the book eventually goes out into the world have all been so worth it. To finally see my books in the hands of readers is very special indeed. It just goes to show that you should never give up, and that it is never too late to start.

It was sometime in 2010 when I first started to scribble notes and ideas for a novel based around the lives of London’s flower sellers at the turn of the century. That novel would eventually become A MEMORY OF VIOLETS. I’d loved Pygmalion and My Fair Lady since playing the role of Eliza Doolittle in the school musical (of which there is, unfortunately, video evidence!) I wanted to understand more about the real Elizas – the young women who sold flowers and watercress on the streets of Victorian and Edwardian-era London.

During my research, I was surprised to learn that many of the youngest flower sellers were orphaned, blind or physically disabled in some way. I also discovered the work of Victorian philanthropist, John Groom, who gave many of these young girls and women a home at his ‘crippleage’ where he taught them how to make artificial flowers and took them off the streets. Their work became widely known in London, and eventually led to their involvement in the very first Queen Alexandra Rose Day in June 1912. But it was when I read Henry Mayhew’s, London Labour & The London Poor, in which he records detailed interviews with London’s street sellers from the late 1800s, that I came across an account of two orphaned watercress sellers. I knew immediately that I had found my story and that I wanted to combine the idea of two orphaned sisters with the work of John Groom and his Flower Homes. 

Since my debut novel, THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME, was published in April 2014, I’ve been blown away by the reaction of readers. I love receiving messages through my website and am always very touched when readers take the time to contact me and share their response to my characters. To have watched the novel go from being self-published, to a fully-fledged book published across the USA and to then hit the New York Times bestsellers on three occasions has been simply amazing, and I’m so very grateful to all the readers who made this happen. 

I am now very excited to be publishing my second novel A MEMORY OF VIOLETS and can’t wait to see what this next chapter of my writing life will bring.

Hazel Gaynor’s 2014 debut novel THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME – A Novel of the Titanic was a New York Times and USA Today bestseller. A MEMORY OF VIOLETS is her second novel.

Hazel writes a popular guest blog ‘Carry on Writing’ for national Irish writing website and contributes regular feature articles for the site, interviewing authors such as Philippa Gregory, Sebastian Faulks, Cheryl Strayed, Rachel Joyce and Jo Baker, among others.

Hazel was the recipient of the 2012 Cecil Day Lewis award for Emerging Writers and was selected by Library Journal as one of Ten Big Breakout Authors for 2015. She appeared as a guest speaker at the Romantic Novelists’ Association and Historical Novel Society annual conferences in 2014. 

Originally from Yorkshire, England, Hazel now lives in Ireland with her husband and two children.