Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Best of 2013

This is the first year I've paid attention to what books I've read, and it's all thanks to a wonderful website called Goodreads. Seriously guys, add me on there! I love doing buddy reads, reading all my friends' updates, and talking my favorites and least favorites with fellow bookworms. But send me a message first! Sometimes I don't know whether people really want to be my friend to talk books or just add me to get more. And sometimes I have authors sending me friend requests, and I don't add many of them because I don't wanna get spammed. However, if you genuinely want to talk books, feel free to send me a friend request! Anyway, because of Goodreads, I've been able to keep track of ALL the books in the world. Okay, not all of them, because that would just be ridiculous. I don't even know if anyone would be able to read all the books they want in a lifespan. My number on my Goodreads challenge is 150, and I've barely been able to make it there. I mean, school could be a big reason why, but it's also because I have a life outside of books. And because of life and school (and soon-to-be career), I doubt I'll ever read all the books I want to. I've barely scratched the surface on my to-read shelf.

Anyway, this year I managed to read 162 books!!! 

Damn, that's a lot. I'm so proud of myself! :)


***

I was originally only going to do a top 10, but I just couldn't decide which book to take off, so this is a top 11 list instead. I also wanted to include some other categories, like best fantasy, favorite "new" authors, etc... That way I can cheat and add even more to the list! Haha, so here are some more categories for the books I've read this year. :)

Honorable Mentions:
These books, although I loved them, didn't make the "top 11 best of 2013 list." But they should be mentioned all the same! (Okay, so they're pretty much the ones that would have been on my "best of 2013" list if I'd done an unlimited number). :P
The Darkest Part by Trisha Wolfe.
The Distance Between Us by Kasie West.
A Tale of Two Centuries by Rachel Harris.
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black.
Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry.
Blurred by Tara Fuller.

Most Surprising Books (these are the ones that I wasn't sure I'd like but glad I gave them a chance):
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater.
Protector by Joanne Wadsworth.

Worst Book of 2013:
Hands down (UGH, just check out my review!): Forbidden: Discover the Legend (Wolf Sirens, #1) by Tina Smith. 

Favorite "New" Authors:
Colleen Hoover.
Rachel Harris.
Kasie West. 
Joanne Wadsworth.
Nina Lane.
J.A. Redmerski.
Sawyer Bennett.

Favorite Book Covers:
Clockwork Princess.
Blurred.
Splintered.

Favorite Book Couples:
Perry and Aria from the Under the Never Sky series.
Liv and Dean from the Spiral of Bliss series.

Best Sequel:
Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi.

Best Contemporary Romance (YA, NA):
Hopeless by Colleen Hoover.

Best Fantasy:
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor.

Most Disappointing Book:
Allegiant by Veronica Roth.

Favorite Series:
The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare.
Elemental by Brigid Kemmerer.
Spiral of Bliss by Nina Lane.

Favorite Heroines:
Karou from Daughter of Smoke and Bone.
Cinder from The Lunar Chronicles.
Tris from Divergent.

Book Boyfriends of the Year:
Professor Dean West from the Spiral of Bliss series.
Jem Carstairs from TID. <3

Best Supporting Casts:
Elemental series by Brigid Kemmerer.
Off series by Sawyer Bennett.

Favorite Love Stories:
Tessa and Will, Tessa and Jem from TID.
Dean and Liv from the Spiral of Bliss series.

***I was only going to add ONE book to each of these categories, but that didn't happen...***

Overall Top 11 Best of 2013:
I just couldn't decide which book had to go! So, yeah...

These are in no particular order, and they aren't all published in 2013. These books are just the ones I read this year that have stuck with me for so long, and the ones that I would highly recommend to everyone! :) :) 


***

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
Oh my God, these books! I loved them so much! So unique, the characters were all so wonderful and amazing, it was set in Victorian London. And even if you hate Cassandra Clare, there's no denying that she's a talented author. The way she writes, the way she managed to make me fall in love with all of these characters and their story. The way she ended the series. Oh, I had one of the worst book hangovers after Clockwork Princess! Seriously, read this series! And I would recommend reading it before The Mortal Instruments, because it's SO MUCH BETTER.

Divergent by Veronica Roth
One of the best dystopian books I've ever read. (I loved it so much more than The Hunger Games). However, I was quite disappointed with Allegiant. And I didn't think Insurgent lived up to the amazingness that was Divergent. However, don't read my thoughts on it if you haven't read this series (tons of spoilers!). And even though I was disappointed with the ending, I highly recommend this series. Or, maybe just the first book. Yeah... that might be better, considering it's the best one of the series. :)

Hopeless by Colleen Hoover
GUYS, THIS BOOK IS AMAZING. WONDERFUL. FANTASTIC. PERFECT. Colleen Hoover's writing is flawless. Seriously, a must read!

Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Fairy-tale retellings set in a sci-fi genre. Sound amazing, right? Well, they are! This series by Marissa Meyer has quickly become one of my favorites. And Cinder was one of the best books I read this year.

Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi
This is my top favorite sequel of the all series I've read this year. I absolutely love everything about these books: Perry, Aria, Roar. The world-building, the story-line. I seriously can't wait for Into the Still Blue; it's my top most highly anticipated sequel of 2014!! 

Everbound by Brodi Ashton
Again, this is one of my favorite sequels. I love the characters, the story-line. And yes, I EVEN ADORE THE LOVE TRIANGLE! (You'll never, ever hear me say that). It's one of the best love triangles I've ever read.

Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay
This was my favorite fairy-tale retelling of the year. It was romantic, suspenseful, absolutely wonderful. It had some of the best writing I've ever seen in a YA novel. Stacey Jay's writing style is so lyrical, so poetic. And her world-building and imagery was exquisitely detailed. This is a must read for any fans of fairy-tales reimagined and Beauty and the Beast. :)

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
This is, hands down, my favorite fantasy of the year. I can't believe I waited this long to read it. After finishing it, I immediately picked up the sequel (although I didn't love it quite as much as this one). Karou was one of my favorite heroines, and I adored Akiva. I'm so anxious for Dreams of Gods & Monsters; I don't even know if I can wait until April. I JUST HAVE TO KNOW HOW IT ALL ENDS! 

The Edge of Never by J.A. Redmerski
This book was one of my favorite contemporary romances of the year. I just loved Andrew and Camryn's story, their road trip, their ups and downs. I'm so incredibly glad I have The Edge of Always waiting for me on NetGalley, because I can't wait to finish their journey. <3

Arouse by Nina Lane
Oh my god, I love this series so much! Seriously, I can't believe Dean and Liv's story is over. Professor West is my favorite book boyfriend of the year, and their love story was absolutely beautiful, breathtaking, and passionate. 

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
I'm so glad I gave The Raven Boys a chance. I honestly wasn't sure what to expect for this series, and I have to say, it's becoming a favorite of mine! I just love everything about it, especially the awesome characters. <3

***

Holy shit, this is a huge list. But I read so many amazing books this year, and I just had to share all of them! 

So, what books made your "best of 2013" list? Would you have to cheat like I did, or would you be able to narrow it down to one list? ;) 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Release Day Review: Hunter by Joanne Wadsworth

A novella that can be read as a standalone, only 99 cents on Amazon!!!

To love and protect…across worlds.

Nineteen-year-old Lieska Alura, a Dralion warrior from the planet Magio, calls an Australian Outback station her home away from home. Hounded by her skilled hunter senses, she is on a mission to track down one man, her soul-bound mate.

Peacian protector and hunter, Cole Cyrano, is driven by his soul’s demand to find his mated one, a woman he knows is his enemy. Dralion and Peacio are at war, and he ignores his soul’s call. Except Lieska shows up during a fierce training session inside his protectors’ arena, and his soul demands he protect her.

Completely, yet impossibly matched, they decide to renounce their bond, only not all goes as planned when Lieska receives word bushfires rage across her Outback station. She leaves, and now nothing can keep Cole from the hunt. He joins Lieska in driving the station’s cattle toward the mighty river, and the chase is on…against both nature and each other. Can the mated pair find their place together in a world at war?

A Young Adult, New Adult Fantasy Romance.


My Review!

Rating: 4 stars!

*I received a copy of this from the author in exchange for an honest review. :)

I am loving this series so much, so when I heard about this little novella featuring one of Dralion's main warriors, I jumped on the chance to read it early! It was a nice little tie-over until the third book in Joanne Wadsworth's Magio-Earth series, Enchanter, is released in May 2014. 

Hunter was an adorable novella featuring some of the characters we've come to love and a new couple who realizes that they'd rather fight for the soul-bond they have with each other than let it go because they're enemies.

The main character, Lieska, is one of Dralion's warriors who lives on the station in Australia. She's one of Hope's best friends, and she's a hunter who's senses have caught onto one of Peacio's protectors. What she finds out is that he's her soul-bound mate, and she'll have to decide whether or not to release him from their bond.

But Cole won't give up that easily. He's a hunter too, a guy who likes danger and challenges, dares and a pretty warrior who makes him feel protective. He follows her to the station, not ready to give up on their soul-bond. After all, Hope and Silas, and Faith and Davio have been able to hide their relationships a secret and stay together. Cole and Lieska are both warriors who don't back down from a little danger. When Cole stays and helps Lieska and her friends battle against the brushfires to save their livestock, Lieska decides that she can't let him go. As long as they have each other, they'll figure it out.

I loved the humorous and sweet relationship between Cole and Lieska. Although a short novella, I still felt like I could connect with the characters, and I loved seeing Hope and Silas again. This series has quickly become a favorite, and I can't wait to see what happens with the rest of the characters! Can their soul-bonds with each other bring their two countries peace? :)

***

Author Links:
Joanne Wadsworth
AUTHOR, Where Romance Meets Fantasy and Adventure…

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Double Review: Dare You To & Crash Into You

I read Pushing the Limits this past year, and I LOVED it! Noah's and Echo's story was just heartbreaking and beautiful and wonderful. So, I just couldn't wait to dive into the rest of the series. Beth and Isaiah were two characters whose pasts were a mystery and whose lives were fucked up. I wanted to learn more about them, and I wanted them to find the happiness that they deserved. 

***

Rating: 4 stars!
Dare You To follows the story of Beth Risk. A Skater girl with a sharp tongue and a tough attitude, Beth is a complete mystery. She's one of Noah's best friends, and she lives with her aunt and uncle. But in her story, Beth doesn't listen to anybody and tries to keep taking care of her deadbeat mother. It leads to a mistake, a record, and her Uncle Scott showing up and becoming her legal guardian. He brings her home to Groveton, hoping to start over. And that means giving up her old life. And Noah. And Isaiah

Beth has the worst attitude on the planet, and it almost seems too much sometimes. She has walls sky high and a cold demeanor that makes most people stay away. But not Ryan, the cocky baseball player who tried to get her number as a dare. He's arrogant, but he's also really sweet. He may have been talking to her because of a dare, but that quickly changes once he starts breaking down Beth's walls and finds the person inside. The little girl who used to wear dresses and ribbons and who loved the world. It's hard for anybody to want to dig deep because Beth sure as hell doesn't make it easy. She constantly pushes everyone away, but she underestimates the people who care for her and know that she can be that same little girl again. Beth just doesn't expect how hard it is or how much she does want to stay in Groveton. Or how hard it will be to leave her mom.
"You're a lot like that bird in the barn. You're so scared you're going to be caged in forever you can't see the way out. You smack yourself against the wall again and again and again. The door is open, Beth. Stop running in circles and walk out."
It takes Beth a long time to see, to finally see that she needs to let her mom go. It takes her uncle, the best friend she had when she was a little girl, and a jock to show her where she belongs. She just has to trust in them and take her happiness.

And Ryan wants to be that happiness for her. At first, this guy comes off as that stereotypical, cocky jock. He and his friends, Logan and Chris, like to dare each other. And the hardest one he's had to date? Ask out Beth and get her to say yes. And while it starts off as innocent, Ryan starts to fall for this complicated, miserable girl. She challenges him, annoys him, but most of all, she gets him. Because Ryan isn't perfect, and she's one of the few that see his imperfections and doesn't judge him for them. Everyone thinks that he's perfect, that he's got it all figured out, but on the inside, no one knows what's going on. He's more than just a pitcher, more than just a ballplayer. He has skills in writing, but his dad doesn't want him to go to college. It's his father's dream that he plays pro baseball straight out of high school. His family is screwed up, and Ryan feels like everything's falling apart. His brother's gone, his long-time girlfriend broke up with him, and scouts are starting to go the games. He's under a lot of pressure to be that perfect guy. And he finds himself with a lot of choices ahead. The most important involving Beth.
"Don't take what was beautiful between us and make it ugly." -Ryan
Their relationship is anything but simple and easy. Conventional. Everyone thinks Ryan's better off with "good girl" Gwen and Beth has zero trust when it comes to guys, thanks to the asshole who broke her heart when she was a freshman. But Ryan's determined to show Beth that he loves her and won't ever hurt her. And Beth is determined to find every reason she can that proves Ryan's the untrustworthy jock she wants him to be, because she doesn't know how to accept his love. Her insecurities, failure to trust, and her childlike love for her mother, the woman who was supposed to be taking care of her, were heartbreaking. 

But what really broke my heart were the scenes between Beth and Isaiah, and Noah. Scott made her break off her friendships with them when she moved to Groveton. But that doesn't stop her from still finding ways to see them. They're her best friends. But the distance is driving a wedge between them, and Ryan is driving a wedge between Beth and Isaiah. I was really missing the friendship between the three kids whose lives were bleak and lonely and dark before they found each other. I hope, in Isaiah's book, that the bonds will be glued back together again. :)

The character development, especially with Beth, was absolutely wonderful to watch unfold. I love reading about characters who can find the courage to take leaps of faith and fight to be happy. Ryan and Beth were both struggling with insecurities and family obligations, but with help from friends and family who want to see them succeed and be happy, they find the daring nerve to go after what they want. Dare You To was a wonderful book, full of happy and heartbreaking moments, self-discovery, and the courage to face your fears and take control of your life.


***

*I received a copy of this from NetGalley AND Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 3.5 stars!
Immediately after reading Dare You To, I just had to start Crash Into You. I've loved Isaiah since the first book, but he's still a complete mystery. A bad boy with a broken heart, Isaiah is now living with Noah in an apartment, and he's running low on rent money. Desperate times call for desperate measures, so Isaiah takes to the streets to race. It's like a domino effect, and what happens afterward brings changes and heartache, but also healing and courage. 

It's there he meets Rachel Young, the charismatic rich girl looking for her first illegal street race. She doesn't belong there, in that world, or with Isaiah. But it doesn't stop him from wondering and dreaming when they help each other escape from the cops and spend a couple hours alone in his apartment. It's there when they discover that appearances are deceiving, for Isaiah is more than his tattoos and piercings, and Rachel is more than just a pretty rich girl who has everything she could ever want. It's a far cry from the truth, for both of them.

For Isaiah, he's struggling with his self-esteem and sense of self-worth. He's been bounced around in the foster care system, finally landing in a nice home where he found a family. People he could count on and who have his back. But for most of this novel, Isaiah takes on more burdens than he should, and he shoulders them alone. He needs rent money, but the race cost him more than he wants to admit to Noah. And when Eric, the King of the street, threatens him and Rachel, Isaiah finds himself becoming her savior. No one has ever needed him before, and the sweet girl who looked past his appearance makes him want to protect her. Take care of her. Between trying to graduate and get a good job to raising $5,000 in less than 6 weeks, it's a constant struggle. Add in his desire to be Rachel's knight in a shining black mustang, and Isaiah starts to wonder if he'll ever be good enough for anything. Especially when her parents would never approve, and every plan to raise the money for Eric is destroyed.

But Rachel doesn't want him to take on the load himself. She's been sheltered her whole life, and her family is extremely protective to the point of overbearing. When her older sister, Colleen, died of Leukemia, her parents tried for another girl. And when they had her, it made her mother happy, and the pain subsided. But Rachel has always been under an identity crisis, always struggled with wanting to make her parents proud by being like Colleen and wanting to become her own person without her sister's death shadowing her every move. She struggles, as Isaiah does, with self-esteem and self-worth and being weak. She wants to be treated as someone who's strong enough to stand on her own. It doesn't help that her family's treated her as an invalid her whole life because of her panic attacks. Rachel just wants everyone to see her as who she is and not what she was born to be. And with Isaiah's help, she finds the strength to be honest with herself and with her family. But it takes her way too long to come to these realizations! It almost destroys her life, and I didn't feel like her character development was strong at all. I think she, more or less, is still the same person she was when she met Isaiah. The only thing that's changed is that her family now knows about everything and knows how she really feels.

The side characters were all wonderfully fleshed out, more than the main ones! Noah, Echo, Beth, Logan, Gavin, West, Ethan, Abby. There were so many of them, and they all had their own personalities! I loved having Noah and Echo back in the story-line, as well as the addition of Logan. We first meet him in Dare You To as the daredevil best friend of Ryan. But he becomes an important part of Isaiah's and Rachel's story. And I so wish the author would give him his own book! I have a feeling she'd find a lot to talk about. :) And Abby! She was such a spunky girl, and I can't help but want to find out more about her. I also loved the additions of Rachel's brothers, not so much Gavin and Jack, the older ones who boss her around and aren't present. Her twin, Ethan, and her older brother West are the ones we see a lot of, especially since they are extremely protective of Rachel (too protective). I'm so excited for West's story, although I wanted more of Logan. There is just so much more to tell with all of these side characters' stories, and I just keep wanting more and more and more of themAnd when I start loving a side character more than the main one, I have a problem. I love Isaiah; however, Rachel was definitely not one of my favorite characters.

I just, don't think their relationship was believable. It progressed really fast, and it happened so suddenly. It was pretty much keeping with the theme of racing and rush and danger. It sort of worked, but these characters were just so self-deprecating and harmful to themselves. I feel like the problems with Eric could have been easily resolved if Rachel had been honest with her family from the start. I get why she wasn't, because she is always trying so hard to make her mother happy. But I know from experience that you should never underestimate your mother and her capacity to understand you. And with Isaiah, he starts shouldering all of the responsibility, and I just wanted to scream at Rachel for leaning on him too much. For not thinking about his life and his problems and only her own. Her panic attacks and her family problems just seemed miniscule in comparison to Isaiah's, and yet, she has the ability to do something about them even though she doesn't until he makes her. Rachel may have found a way to save them in the end, but she let Isaiah carry her way too much throughout this story.

As I'm writing this review, and I'm hitting this point where I start talking about the plot, I've come to realize that I didn't like this book as much as I thought I did when I finished it. The more I think about it, the more I'm disappointed. And the plot was a major reason why I'm disappointed. There was so much going on! Isaiah's rent situation, Colleen, Gavin's gambling problems, the panic attacks, the accidents, Eric threatening them to pay him $5,000 in six weeks or he'll use physical force, the speeches, Isaiah retaking the ASE, Zach, jealousy over Beth. The plot was very complicated in that a lot was going on at once and, many times, most of it faded to the background. Every once in awhile, a problem was dealt with, and at other times, it just slowly went away. And all of those car accidents were so random! Drag racing is dangerous, I know, but the accident at the end was completely unnecessary. Like a domino effect, one bad thing after another happens. But, somehow, everything turns out all right in the end. I felt that much of it was unnecessary to the plot and to the characters' development.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that I didn't enjoy Crash Into You like the first two, as this book took me so much longer to finish. I kept stopping it and starting other books because I didn't want to continue. And, this sucks, because I love Katie McGarry's books! I've truly enjoyed this series, especially Pushing the Limits, which will always be my favorite. I liked the side characters more than I did Rachel and Isaiah. As to Ethan and West, I wasn't always a fan of them for their asshole moves in making Rachel feel even more weak, but I also understood their fear that she was lying about her panic attacks. It's not something to take lightly! She also didn't give them much credit in that she still lied to them (and her parents) about everything! You know who told her family about the deal with Eric? Fucking Isaiah! She got off squeaky clean with that bullshit. I'm surprised her parents never demanded more information from her. And I also didn't care that her brothers were being jerks and that her parents weren't listening to her, because Rachel never gave them a chance to do anything differently! She just assumed no one would listen to her and that they'd see her as the weak person she really is. And Isaiah's family? Yeah, nothing there. I don't believe for a second that he and his mom could be talking that soon after he swore to have nothing to do with her. Not to mention, his lying to Noah and Echo pushed them away for most of the book, too. 

I'm so damn conflicted! I absolutely loved Pushing the Limits and Dare You To, but this one disappointed me so much. Everything was tied up too nicely in the end, the two main characters and their relationship was more drama-filled than anything, and the plot was like trudging through muddled waters. I had such high hopes for Crash Into You, but I was promised more, and I didn't get that. It just sort of crashed and burned like Isaiah's mustang. I still liked it and I'm giving it 3 stars, but because of how much I loved the first two books, it was just incredibly disappointing.

Cover Reveal: Forever Ours by Cassia Leo

Today is the cover reveal for Cassia Leo's prequel novella in her Shattered Hearts series. This story follows Chris and Claire, when they first meet and when they fell in love.


Synopsis:
Forever Ours is the highly anticipated prequel to the New York Times and USA Today bestselling Shattered Hearts Series. This can be read as a stand alone or before Relentless.

Sometimes, it takes more than love to mend a shattered heart.

After eight years of being tossed around from one home to another, never forming any meaningful friendships or bonds with her foster families, Claire's caseworker gives her an ultimatum: Behave or your next home will be a halfway house.

When fifteen-year-old Claire arrives at the home of Jackie Knight and meets Jackie's fifteen-year-old son, tattooed guitarist Chris, she fears she'll be seeing the inside of that halfway house soon. But Chris isn't like any other guy Claire has ever encountered and he soon gains her trust through his music and unwavering patience.

Claire has finally found her forever home and she and Chris soon find themselves falling in love.

But Chris’s dreams of musical stardom and Claire’s need for a stable home soon put their love in jeopardy. Chris struggles deeply with his plans for the future, entirely reluctant to leave Claire behind; until Claire does something that may break their love — and the only home she’s comes to know — forever.

FOREVER OURS ON GOODREADS:

***

AUTHOR BIO
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cassia Leo grew up in California and has lived in three different countries. She loves to travel and her dream is to one day score a record deal based on her awesome shower singing skills. She is the author of the Shattered Hearts series (Relentless, Pieces of You, Bring Me Home) and the Luke and Chase series.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Top 10 Sequels I'm DYING to Read

Guys, I have this problem. I start a lot of series, but I rarely ever finish them. I still haven't read The Iron Knight so I can move onto Julie Kagawa's other Iron Fey series. I've had opportunities to finish it, too. I just, I'm always scared to end a series. Or to keep going in one. Many series suffer from second book syndrome, while others have such a poor ending (Allegiant, anyone?). But there are many books coming out in 2014 that are part of amazing series that I love. I seriously can't wait to read them!

So, I wanted to create a post about the 2014 sequels that I'm dying, DYING to get my hands on. I was trying to be creative with this title, but I don't know if it did its job. Haha. Anyway, these are the top 10 sequels that I would give anything to read right this minute. I WANT THEM SO BADLY!!! 


***

ARCs I have of 2014 sequels that I'll be reading in the next few weeks:
  • Awaken (Spiral of Bliss, #3) by Nina Lane. This series is one of my absolute favorites. I'm sad it's ending, but I'm so excited for more of Dean and Liv's story! I'm glad I'm on the blog tour.<3 <3 
  • Evertrue (Everneath, #3) by Brodi Ashton. I won a copy of this from Crossroads Reviews! I'm so happy, because I NEED to read this. I should be able to start it soon, after I finish some review books. :)

Honorable mentions: 
Chained by Night by Larissa Ione and Let the Storm Break by Shannon Messenger. I loved these books, so I'm really excited for the sequels. They are just not at the top of my list. Also looking forward to Mortal Hearts by R.L. LaFevers. And if I ever get to reading the sequel to Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, I'm sure I'll be adding Ruin and Rising to this list. :)

And, here they are, my top 10 sequels that I'm DYING to read:


10.
Her Dark Curiosity.

9.
Unhinged.

8.
Fighting for Infinity.
No cover yet, sadly! :( 
This is part of the Kindrily series by Karen Amanda Hooper, btw. :)

7.
 Erased.  

6.
Shadow Spell.

5.
Descent.
This is not the final cover! It's just, you know, missing the models. :P

4.
Cress.

3.
Dreams of Gods & Monsters.

2.
The Raven Boys #3.  
Yet another cover I wish to see so terribly!
This is the third book in the Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater, btw. :)

1.
Into the Still Blue.
Number one on my list, fo sho. I fucking love this series. <3 <3

***

I'd go into the details about why I want these 10 books so much, but they'd each be a paragraph long explaining how much I love the series. And I love all ten of these series. Some are ending, but most are still in the middle stages. I JUST... I NEED THEM RIGHT NOW!!!


***

So, what sequels are YOU dying to read? Do you ever get nervous that they won't be as amazing as their predecessors? :)

Friday, December 20, 2013

2014 NetGalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge

I'm so excited for this challenge! 


Why Falling For YA made this challenge: "Have you ever logged on to Edelweiss or NetGalley with the intention of "Just Looking" and then logging off  having requested 5 new titles even though your TBR is a mile long? Inspired by NetGalley November the 2014 NetGalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge will (hopefully) give you the incentive to tackle your review books, stumble upon new ones, and get your NetGalley percentage to the desired 80%!"

***

Guidelines:
  • This challenge will run from Jan 1, 2014 – Dec 31, 2014.
  • Anyone can join in, and you don't need to be a blogger.
  • Any genre, release date, request date, length, etc. counts so long as it came from Edelweiss or NetGalley.
  • At the beginning of each month there will be a roundup post for you to add your reviews.
  • If you forget to link up one month it's not a problem just add your reviews next month.
  • If you would like to move up or down levels that is completely fine and at your discretion
  • Throughout the year there will be giveaways for Challenge participants, make sure to check in regularly and follow this blog so you don't miss any!
  • If you have any questions tweet me @FallingForYA or e-mail Emisbookblog@aol.com
***

Levels:
Aluminum – 5 books
Bronze – 10 books
Silver – 25 books
Gold – 50 books
Platinum – 75 books
Diamond– 100 books

***

I only have one review to do for Edelweiss, but I am so behind on my ARC reviews from NetGalley. This is a perfect reading challenge for me to achieve that desired 80% feedback to approval ratio. I'm aiming high, so hopefully I won't disappoint myself! 

My goal: Gold level. :)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

ARC Review of Wanted by J Kenner

*I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
*Mild spoilers.

When I read the synopsis of this book, I had an idea of what it would be like in my mind. It sounded like it'd be a dark bdsm novel and heavy on the sex scenes. It sounded like it'd be that stereotypical bad boy with a dark and dangerous path meeting an innocent, young woman who will make him want to change his ways. And I have to say, what an unexpectedly delightful novel! 

Rating: 4.5 Thrilling, Passionate Stars!

Whatever I expected out of this, the novel threw back in my face and said: "You think you know, but you don't." None of my ideas were right, and I loved that! Wanted had quite a few unexpected turns and the characters were more than just cardboard cutouts. The relationship was more than just sex, and it wasn't dark and twisted like I was thinking. Evan Black was more than the stereotypical bad boy, and Angelina was not the same woman she showed the world.

Angelina is not some flower who wilts under Evan's dominance. She's not some innocent girl who doesn't know how to play the game. For years, she's had a crush on this man. For years, she's wanted him from afar, thinking he wasn't into her. And for years, she pushed aside the person she was until she couldn't recognize herself anymore. It takes the death of her best friend, a reluctant but desperate Evan, and truths she's never wanted to acknowledge for Angelina to figure out what she wants and to shake off the nightmares of her past. She's known Evan Black for years, ever since she became a regular fixture in her Uncle Jahn's life. He, and his best friends, Cole and Tyler, have always been around. And even though she'd wanted Evan for all this time, he and his friends treated her like their kid sister. But after Jahn's death, Angelina realizes just how wrong she was about everything. 

Oh, Evan Black is one hot, delicious man! *fans self*
"You want a man who likes to fly. You want a little bit of danger. You want to know that the man in your bed doesn't play by the rules."
I thought, at first, he'd be so rough around the edges, hard, unyielding, too controlling. But, he wasn't any of that. He is an Alpha, make no mistake. And he loves control; he needs control. He has a dark past, but it's not what makes him who he is now. And he's done things, illegal things to get where he is. He's not ashamed of that, but his love for Angelina and his sister makes him want to be a better man. Throughout the years, he's thought of Angelina in not-so-sisterly terms. He made a promise to her Uncle Jahn that he'd stay away from her, and so far he's kept that promise. But what he doesn't count on is the woman going after what she wants. And what she wants is him, even if it's just for a few weeks. Evan doesn't want just three weeks, though; he wants forever with her. But he's still keeping secrets from her.

Evan Black and his friends are Jahn's Knights. They're rich playboys who dabble in tons of businesses. They've made a fortune. But they're not all they seem to be. Accusations fly, truths are unveiled, and lives are threatened. Angelina and Evan are playing a dangerous game, and they won't be the only ones who get burned.
"I think you're the only one who could shatter me." -Angelina

The plot was so unexpected! I had guessed at a little bit, but I was surprised that it was much, much more than just an erotic romance. Other than the heroine making me want to slap her sometimes, and Evan making me want to shake him so he'd spill his "dark" past, I loved this story! It had substance, lovable characters, and unexpected discoveries. And the love between Evan and Angelina was passionate, explosive, and utterly wonderful.

Favorite Quote:
"It's never wise for a princess to tease a dragon." -Evan 

I'm so looking forward to Cole's and Tyler's stories! :)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Air Is Filled With Secrets (Review)

*I received a eARC of this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
*Mild spoilers (from Spirit)

This series, guys, I love it so much! I've literally read the first four books all in the same year (Michael's won't even be out for a long time), and I'm so glad I gave Storm a chance. Because it brought me the Merrick brothers, Hunter, and their feisty heroines. The stories were interwoven with supernatural elements. Intense action and gripping fights. Heartbreaking moments. Swoon-worthy scenes. The Elemental series is one of my favorites. EVER. I can't get enough of these books and their characters, from the strong familial bond to the heart-stopping action. I seriously don't know what I'll do when I read Michael's story, the last one in this series. How will I ever let these books go? Hell, how will I ever let these amazing and wonderful characters go?

Rating: 4.5 Stars!
Totally not a fan of this cover. Supposedly, the models are Quinn and Tyler. However, I miss my Merricks on the cover! And the original model for Nick and Gabriel will forever be the guy I picture in my mind as the twins. And I'm no expert on art design, but this color scheme just does not go with the others. However, as much as I mildly dislike the cover, it's not the reason this is only getting 4.5 stars and not a perfect score. Everything about this story was near perfection, except for two things: Quinn and less action.

Now, I've never been a fan of Quinn. She's selfish, stubborn, bitchy, and plays the part of the self-absorbed cheerleader well. But in Secret, we see why she has that strong-willed and demanding personality. We understand why she has all of those insecurities and why she's always on the defense. Why she has that kind of attitude toward life. Her home life sucks; she's never been with a good guy who's treated her right (well, except Nick). She's never considered herself worthy, never allowed herself to believe that she's special. It takes a long time (almost too long) and a pushy and demanding Tyler for her to realize that she has people who love her, that she's wanted, that she's accepted. But it was just too much sometimes; her constant whining and self-absorbed attitude turned me off. Her constant feeling of insecurity and her constant misjudging of people's motives just made me not feel sorry for her. 

And, in this book, there was a lot less action surrounding the Guides and the Elementals. Much of the story revolves around the two developing relationships: the one between Adam and Nick and the one between Quinn and Tyler. But, I was sort of missing that element of danger, that constant looking over the shoulder. The prologue even sets the book up for some intense action, but it was sorely underrepresented. Nothing involving the fight between the Guides and the Merricks showed up in this story until practically the very end. That was scary and intense! Other than a few conversations revolving around the fire at the carnival and the fact that Tyler has been keeping a secret too, the Elements weren't a huge part of this book. 

But it was no less intense! It may not have had many fight scenes or the threat of danger, but it did have a lot of richly intense moments between the characters. From the rocky, tentative relationship between Adam and Nick to the scenes between the twins, it had a lot of gut-wrenching moments. And most of them involved Nick and his secret. Oh, my poor Nick. This kid, for most of the book, believed that none of his brothers would be happy for him. That they'd kick him out in the blink of eye, that they'd be disappointed. But most of all, he feared their resentment. But he was tired of being the dependable one, the good one. So many expectations placed on him that Nick started unraveling. First, it was his feelings for Adam. Second, it was school. Third, it was his relationship with Gabriel. Everything felt like pressure being placed on his chest, leaving him unable to breathe, unable to feel safe. He was suffocating, trapped in a world of secrets and lies and never-ending pressure. I said it when I read Breathless that I couldn't wait to see Nick Merrick unravel. He was a mysterious character; no one ever really knew him. He kept up appearances well, always said yes because he didn't want to disappoint anyone. But no one ever asked Nick what he wanted. No one ever pushed him for the truth. Until Adam. 

I thought Brigid Kemmerer handled the sensitive subject of Nick's sexuality with extreme care. It felt real and genuine: Nick's struggles, his insecurities. His fears. Nick Merrick is one of those good guys who never thinks about himself. It's always about the people he loves. The people who depend on him. His friends, his family. But he's finally doing something different with his life, finally acknowledging a secret he's kept for a long time. And with Adam, he's able to finally be himself. But Nick still deals with that fear and insecurity, and he makes mistakes in how he handles it. 
"You know what sucks about sorry? It's the worst word in the world. Because it always happens after you fuck up something good." -Adam
And boy, were there a lot of apologies and I'm sorrys being thrown around! So much happens in this book, so many moments that make you think that both the characters were being so stupid in their insecurities. So many moments that twist your heart into knots, wondering if all will be forgiven. Wondering if the characters will be okay in the end. The most difficult part while reading this story, for me, was the unraveling relationship between Gabriel and Nick. I hated it! God, these twins are my favorites. Their relationship is incredibly special, a strong and unbreakable bond. And I felt sorry for both of them. Nick, for thinking he had to keep his secret for fear Gabriel would think less of him. Gabriel, for Nick not giving him a chance. For God's sake, I was crying during their talk at the audition! And Michael had me tearing up when he was telling Nick about how he and Gabriel never wanted to be separated and somehow knew when the other needed him. This family dynamic, not just with the twins, but with the brothers and Hunter, is so special. So amazing to read about. But because of Nick's secrets and lies, I was missing that familial bond. Not one of the other Merricks, or even Hunter, were central to this story. Nick not knowing how they'd react had him stepping back from his brothers a lot. I knew they would never think any less of Nick, and I'm so sorry he had even thought that way. Man, these boys and their conversations with each other always make me feel mushy inside. *tears up* Seriously, I love them so much. <3

I never knew what to think of Tyler! I never knew if he was a good guy or a bad guy. I wasn't entirely sure, and that made his and Quinn's relationship feel different for me. I never knew what to expect between them, or what to expect from Tyler.
"Sometimes when a fight has been going on for a long time, it stops being about who's right and who's wrong, and it starts being about who can bury the hatchet first." -Michael
I do believe Michael's right. Tyler somehow proved to me that he has redeemable qualities, that he had this misguided sense of bitterness and resentment toward the Merricks. It's possible that the Merricks and Tyler have all misjudged each other and have all been too focused on the past. And that ending was just... whoa! Crazy. I can't wait to see how all of this ends with Michael's book! Will they ever be safe from the Guides? 

Brigid Kemmerer's writing style is always able to draw me in. The way she weaves together the story-line, the way she personalizes her characters. They're always unique and always end up going through major development. These books have supernatural elements, but they take second place to the characters and their flaws. Their struggles. Their mistakes. The characters in these books never act like they're in high school, either (well, maybe except for Quinn and sometimes Gabriel). They have a maturity about them that I miss in a lot of young adult novels. But they're still teenagers, and that's why their insecurities and problems never seem like just another subplot. They're central to how the characters act and how they develop as the novels go on. The author manages to handle these sensitive subjects with such care and attention. And I love how she handled the sensitive issue of Nick's sexuality, with him and with his family members. I appreciated so much that she was not afraid to delve deep. And I love how she managed to make Tyler seem like a good "villain." I loved Secret, but I hope there's more supernatural elements and more action in the next one. This series has become one of my favorites, and I don't know what I'll do when it ends.