Review: Illusions by Aprilynne Pike

Illusions by Aprilynne Pike
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release date: May 3, 2011
Source: Purchased
Series: Wings #3

Laurel hasn’t seen Tamani since she begged him to let her go last year. Though her heart still aches, Laurel is confident that David was the right choice.

But just as life is returning to normal, Laurel discovers that a hidden enemy lies in wait. Once again, Laurel must turn to Tamani to protect and guide her, for the danger that now threatens Avalon is one that no faerie thought would ever be possible. And for the first time, Laurel cannot be sure that her side will prevail.

As of right now, Spells is still my favorite book in this series. Illusions maybe second. But overall I was not as impressed with the third book in this series as I was with the second. Spells had this atmosphere because of the time Laurel spends in Avalon. In Illusions, we only get one or two quick trips that don’t last long enough.

I’m not going to say who’s team I’m on, just for those who have not read this series yet. Most of you have, but not all. I quite liked having Laurel know she was attracted to two guys, but set firmly in her decision of one of them. We didn’t have any of that indecision that comes with love triangles in Spells. Illusions made up for that though. So much indecision that it went in a way I was not expecting, but then again half expecting in one aspect. That is the kind of love triangle I’m not fond of. I like the ones where the girl is set, and even though the one guy she doesn’t choose fights for her, she never deviates. I must say I was disappointed in Illusions for going the other way.

And lastly, story-wise there just didn’t really seem to be a whole lot going on. We don’t really get an antagonist until slightly more than halfway through the book, and even so they’re an absent antagonist. They don’t really do anything until the big reveal of things at the very end in the last couple of chapters. And by the way, except for one random troll attack in the middle of the book, the only other action happens at the very end

The thing that saves Illusions for me though is what is revealed in the last quarter of the book. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing where that’s taken in Destined. Illusions is a must read if you’ve already started this series, just beware that it might not live up to your expectations.

Review: I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
Publisher: Little, Brown & Co
Release date: April 3, 2012
Source: Purchased
Series: Jasper Dent #1

What if the world’s worst serial killer…was your dad?

Jasper (Jazz) Dent is a likable teenager. A charmer, one might say.

But he’s also the son of the world’s most infamous serial killer, and for Dear Old Dad, Take Your Son to Work Day was year-round. Jazz has witnessed crime scenes the way cops wish they could–from the criminal’s point of view.

And now bodies are piling up in Lobo’s Nod.

In an effort to clear his name, Jazz joins the police in a hunt for a new serial killer. But Jazz has a secret–could he be more like his father than anyone knows?

Holy freaking cow, I can honestly say I have never read a book like this. Adult thrillers have never really interested me, I got my fill of those watching shows like NCIS or Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. And I hadn’t originally intended on reading this book. But I kept seeing it around the blogosphere and thought why not.

This is the creepiest book I’ve ever read. And the creepiness starts even before you start reading, because under the dust jacket is a figure outlined in blood splatter. The people in this book were awesome. And like Jazz’s mantra, people matter people are real, they were indeed real. My favorite had to be Howie, Jazz’s best friend. He gets dragged along on all the crazy things Jazz needs to do to find this serial killer, and never really complains about it, or even when stuff starts to really hit the fan, doesn’t run away from it. And he brings some humor to the story, which is much needed when reading about something so serious. Connie, the girlfriend, was awesome too, if maybe a tad bit unrealistic. I don’t know how many girls would really be able to fall in love with someone who was raised by a serial killer. But she also sticks by Jazz and doesn’t run, and I commend her for that.

What I love most about this book though was trying to get into the mind of a serial killer, try to know what they think they’re doing and why they’re doing it. That’s always been fascinating to me, because I myself cannot even begin to comprehend taking someone’s life, and when I think about it it’s incredibly horrifying. But obviously people who do these things think differently and I’ve always wanted to know how they can have so little respect for life. If I thought I was good enough I’d even to join the FBI to help find people like this try to get into their minds. If not for the fact that I was completely surprised by who the serial killer turns out to be, I’d probably be doing that job.

I don’t give ratings on the blog, but I do on sites like Goodreads and Shelfari to help remind me in the future how much I like these books, since things fade over time. I gave this book 5 stars, but hesitantly only because of how disturbing the subject matter is. But the author did an awesome with the writing and bringing his characters to life. I would love to see a sequel for this, since the ending was left open for one. I definitely want to know what happens to Jazz after the events of I Kill Hunters.

Books That I Bought This Week!

Small haul this week, which is good for my bookshelves. Definitely excited to get to these books, plus the copy of Emma now matches my Puffin copy of Pride and Prejuce! I’m hoping Puffin decides to do Sense & Sensibility, Persuasion, and Northanger Abbey in this same theme of design.

for review
Signed copy of Sirenz by Charlotte Bennardo & Natalie Zaman – Thanks Charlotte!
I’ve joined the blog tour for book two Sirenz Back in Fasion, which will be stopping by on July 1st!
Tempest Rising by Tracy Deebs
I had an ARC of this I won ages and ages ago, but never got around to it. Now that it’s available in paperback though I thought I’d just buy it.
Emma by Jane Austen
The only Jane Austen novel I’ve actually read is Pride and Prejudice, back in fifth grade. I hope to read Emma this summer!

What did you guys get this week? Let me know!

Review: Wentworth Hall by Abby Grahame

Wentworth Hall by Abby Grahame
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release date: May 1, 2012
Source: Purchased

Summary from Goodreads:
The prettiest people often have the ugliest secrets…

Eighteen-year-old Maggie Darlington has turned into an entirely different person. The once spirited teen is now passive and reserved. A change Lord and Lady Darlington can’t help but be grateful for.

It’s 1912, and the Darlingtons of Wentworth Hall have more than just the extensive grounds to maintain. As one of Britain’s most elite families, they need to keep up appearances that things are as they have always been… even as their carefully constructed façade rapidly comes undone.

Maggie has a secret. And she’s not the only one… the handsome groom Michael, the beautiful new French nanny Therese, the Darlingtons’ teenage houseguests Teddy and Jessica, and even Maggie’s younger sister Lila are all hiding something. Passion, betrayal, heartache, and whispered declarations of love take place under the Darlingtons’ massive roof. And one of these secrets has the power to ruin the Darlingtons forever.

When scandalous satires start appearing in the newspaper with details that closely mirror the lives of the Darlingtons, everyone is looking over their shoulder, worrying their scandal will be next. Because at Wentworth Hall, nothing stays secret for long.

I was so incredibly excited for this book. It’s one I had thought about trying to actually request a review copy from the publisher, but decided to wait and just purchase it. I have to be honest though, it didn’t quite meet my expectations. It felt a little bit like a rip off of Downtown Abbey.

There are two sisters, Maggie and Lila. Maggie would be Mary, and Lila would be Edith. Lord and Lady Darlington are trying to marry off Maggie to a rich old guy, or the rich young guy that’s recently come to stay with the Darlingtons. There was no real character growth for any of these characters since we’re dropped into the middle of the story at the beginning. The two rich twins that come to stay didn’t really feel necessary at all, because as soon as Maggie spurns Teddy, it’s like they’re instantly forgotten, and only a small bit is said about them at the end of the book.

The focus is mainly on the romance between Maggie and someone on the staff, and a shocking secret that is revealed. Actually two shocking secrets, because one of the other staff has something revealed that was entirely predictable. I didn’t really like the newspaper satires that were inserted throughout the story, they felt more ridiculous than they should’ve been and just felt like interruptions. The only thing I really enjoyed was the ending, because that did surprise me just a little bit.

Overall, this book suffered from being short. I think it could’ve been fleshed out better plot-wise and character depth-wise if it had been longer than just 276 pages. I know many of us are feeling the void of no airing Downton Abbey right now, and while this definitely will not fill it, it may help temporarily. If you like historical fiction give it a try, but it just wasn’t really my cup of tea.

Review: Spells by Aprilynne Pike

Spells by Aprilynne Pike
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release date: May 4, 2010
Source: Purchased
Series: Wings #2

Summary from Goodreads:
Six months have passed since Laurel saved the gateway to the faerie realm of Avalon. Now she must spend her summer there, honing her skills as a Fall faerie. But her human family and friends are still in mortal danger–and the gateway to Avalon is more compromised than ever.

When it comes time to protect those she loves, will she depend on David, her human boyfriend, for help? Or will she turn to Tamani, the electrifying faerie with whom her connection is undeniable?

 This was without a doubt so much better than Wings. That’s not to say I didn’t like Wings, because I did. It was an all right book. But seriously, Spells was so much better. My favorite thing was the world-building for Avalon. It was done in such a way that it didn’t feel like an info dump, though I did think that Laurel’s time spent at the Academy was rushed just the tiniest bit. But I loved how descriptive the author was when describing the faerie world. I felt like I was there, that’s how well I could see it in my mind. The writing definitely improved from book one to two.

We see more of one boy than the other in this book though, and I can’t quite decide which one I’m rooting for. David and Tamani are both great guys, and it’d be awesome if they could just be combined into one person. But that isn’t possible, so hopefully Illusions will help me make up my mind on that score.

There was a plot turn that I was not expecting, with a new person introduced that changes things up. I’m definitely interested in seeing where that goes, but it did sort of make what happens in the ending problem a tad predictable. I’m definitely eager though to jump right into the next book to see what happens to everyone next. I definitely need more of Avalon!

Recommended for anyone who loves faeries. And fantasy and romance. Just beware the love triangle and a girl who can’t make up her mind half the time.

Bout of Books 4.0 Starting Line + Goals

It’s already that time! Bout of Books starts tomorrow, and I’ve decided what to read finally. I’m going to be continuing series I’ve already started but hadn’t gotten around to reading the sequels. If I finish all 7 books I’ve chosen, I’ll be able to finish two series, get caught up on one, and get halfway caught up on another. I should also mention that this will throw my May TBR out of whack, since none of these are books I planned on. But I’m also not in the mood for the books I planned on either so here we are.

Captivate by Carrie Jones
Spells, Illusions and Destined by Aprilynne Pike
Body & Soul by Stacey Kade
The Throne of Fire and The Serpent’s Shadow by Rick Riordan.
Monday 5/14
# of books read today: one!
# of books read total: one
Books read:
Spells by Aprilynne Pike

Tuesday 5/15

Currently reading: Illusions by Aprilynne Pike
# of books read today: 1/4
# of books read total: one
Books read:
Spells by Aprilynne Pike
Didn’t get as much read today, too tired from having to be at work at 6am. Hopefully tomorrow.

Saturday 5/19

I kind of lost steam for the last three days. I did some reading, enough to finish another book, but that’s it. But I did finish a third today, so at least that’s something!

Currently reading: Destined by Aprilynne Pike
# of books read in the last three days: 2
# of books read total: 3
Books read:
Spells by Aprilynne Pike
Illusions by Aprilynne Pike
I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

Sunday 5/20

Book Haul – Books That I Bought This Week!

This last week or two I’ve discovered that between all three of the bookstores in my area, including two in the next town 7 miles away, are getting much better about having newer releases available. This is awesome, but my wallet can’t handle it! Here’s what I bought, plus one book for review.

for review
Unsolicited, but thank you HarperCollins!
already read and reviewed
already read and reviewed
That’s it for me this week. What did you guys get? Link me to your post and I’ll come visit!

Review: Thumped by Megan McCafferty

Thumped by Megan McCafferty
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release date: April 24, 2012
Source: Purchased
Series: Bumped #2

It’s been thirty-five weeks since twin sisters Harmony and Melody went their separate ways. And now their story has become irresistible: twins separated at birth, each due to deliver twins…on the same day!

Married to Ram and living in Goodside, Harmony spends her time trying to fit back into the community she once believed in. But she can’t forget about Jondoe, the guy she fell for under the strangest of circumstances.

To her adoring fans, Melody has achieved everything: a major contract and a coupling with the hottest bump prospect around. But this image is costing her the one guy she really wants.

The girls’ every move is analyzed by millions of fans eagerly counting down to “Double Double Due Date.” They’re two of the most powerful teen girls on the planet, and they could do only one thing to make them even more famous:

Tell the truth.

I didn’t reread Bumped before this so I felt like I was reintroduced to these characters. And I have to say that there’s one twin I prefer more over the other, and it’s not the twin I would’ve thought I’d pick. But her part of the story was just so much more interesting. She was actually dealing with issues we can all relate to. The other just had boyfriend or non-boyfriend issues.

I think I had mixed thoughts on Bumped, because it does talk about a controversial issue. One that is going on right now even, fictional virus or no fictional virus. Teen pregnancy is a serious issue. And even with the religious aspect of Bumped, I wasn’t all that thrilled with a book promoting teen pregnancy. But Thumped I think resolved that issue somewhat. And I only say somewhat because it’s not a perfect resolution since there’s still that virus going around.

There’s still a weird vocabulary, but if you keep in mind that this is set not that long in the future, and if you’ve read the first book, than it shouldn’t be all that hard to slip into their jargon. I actually liked some of it this time, some of the joined words were clever and made me laugh upon first reading them.

In the end, I must say I enjoyed Thumped much more than I remember enjoying Bumped. Don’t get me wrong though, I did like Bumped. Both books are thought-provoking, and definitely eery. I could well imagine a future like this happening with everything we do to our bodies, all the chemicals and toxins around us everywhere daily. Recommended for fans of dystopian, though it is slightly different from most in that genre.

Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release date: May 1, 2012
Source: Purchased
Series: Divergent #2

One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

I don’t even know where to begin with this review. I loved Insurgent, just because it’s the sequel to Divergent, but I honestly don’t love it as much as I loved Divergent. But even as I’m writing this review just after having finished the book, I don’t feel like I’ve finished. I’ll explain that in a little bit.

I think the reason behind why I didn’t like Insurgent quite as much as Divergent is because of Tris and Four. Which is funny since they’re the main reason I loved Divergent. But there’s some trouble in paradise, which when you think about Tris and her personality, is not completely unexpected. Even so, I was not happy with those particular troubles. Other characters stepped up, even one that was completely unexpected. Others betray those they love.

There’s just as much action as ever though in this sequel, and lots happening. It’s a big book, and for the most part the pacing is good. Every once in a while though I’d hit a spot where it just felt like it slowed temporarily, but soon enough picked up again. And the reason why I feel like I haven’t finished is because of the way it ends. Pretty much right in the middle of something, just like the first book. I didn’t really feel like questions from the first book were answered completely. Just reiterated so that we wouldn’t forget. I’m hoping they’re delivered in the final installment.

Insurgent is definitely still an awesome read, and I seriously cannot wait for the third book. I want more Four and Tris! If you loved Divergent you have to read this book. If you love dystopian books in general, this is a series that you absolutely should not miss!

Cover Reveal: Asunder (Incarnate #2) by Jodi Meadows

Holy cow look at that stunning cover! It far surpasses Incarnate, which also had an amazing cover. I seriously loved Incarnate, so I cannot wait to read Asunder!

Summary from Goodreads

Ana has always been the only one. Asunder. Apart. But after Templedark, when many residents of Heart were lost forever, some hold Ana responsible for the darksouls–and the newsouls who may be born in their place.

Many are afraid of Ana’s presence, a constant reminder of unstoppable changes and the unknown. When sylph begin behaving differently toward her and people turn violent, Ana must learn to stand up not only for herself but for those who cannot stand up for themselves.

Ana was told that nosouls can’t love. But newsouls? More than anything, she wants to live and love as an equal among the citizens of Heart, but even when Sam professes his deepest feelings, it seems impossible to overcome a lifetime of rejection.

In this second book in the Incarnate trilogy, Ana discovers the truth about reincarnation and will have to find a way to embrace love and make her young life meaningful. Once again, Jodi Meadows explores the extraordinary beauty and shadowed depths of the soul in a story equal parts epic romance and captivating fantasy