Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Book Review: So Close to You by Rachel Carter

Book: So Close to You (Book #1 in the So Close to You trilogy)
Author: Rachel Carter
Rating: 4/5 stars- a simple beautiful train wreck

Synopsis (as found on Goodreads):

Rachel Carter launches a mind-blowing time-travel trilogy with her YA novel So Close to You.
Lydia Bentley doesn’t believe the rumors about the Montauk Project, that there’s some sort of government conspiracy involving people vanishing and tortured children. But her grandfather is sure that the Project is behind his father’s disappearance more than sixty years earlier.
While helping her grandfather search Camp Hero, a seemingly abandoned military base on Long Island, for information about the disappearance, Lydia is transported back to 1944—just a few days before her great-grandfather’s disappearance.
Lydia begins to unravel the dark secrets of the Montauk Project and her own family history, despite warnings from Wes, a mysterious boy she is powerfully attracted to but not sure she should trust.


SORRY FOR THE LONG HIATUS GUYS. End of term came and you know what that means.

TESTS. *cue the scary background music

And so the craze began.

But I'm back and I'm happy to say I'm alive after all those tests and that I actually managed to read a book here and there. (THANK YOU ENGLISH CLASS FOR 20 MINUTES OF READING EVERY CLASS.)

And I think So Close to You might just win surprise of the year. I was not expecting how much I would ACTUALLY enjoy this novel.

Time traveling has been making a comeback lately in YA, and this has kicked off a new sci-fi trend, often combined with dystopian.

I'm not a sci-fi person. I enjoy the occasional one, but they are strong hit or misses for me. Not much grey area. Time travel especially I'm picky with, because I have not had terrific experiences with them. (Timepiece, Tempest etc.)

But I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this novel! I was throughly engaged in the story and I was not bored or yawning or moaning at any point. I wanted to read it from beginning to end.


I may have enjoyed the novel, but that doesn't mean I think the novel is good. I personally don't think the novel was extremely well written and there are several areas that bother me about this novel. But I think how much you enjoy something is completely different how good I think it is. My ratings are always a combination of those two things, but sometimes when it's signifcantly different, I make a point to point it out.

So in this case, I believe a Pros and Cons list is needed.


The plot was engaging because it was simple and had good tension build up- I wanted to know more about this conspiracy, this mysterious project and there were no complicated rules to the time travel except for the most basic bare bones structure. Nothing confusing or super complex. The plot followed a good beginning to end, and it flowed nicely. It gave the premise depth and a realistic sci-fi feel.



I failed to see how a teenager in 2012 FAILS to understand the butterfly effect. OBVIOUSLY YOU DO NOT GO GALLOPING INTO THE PAST AND EXPECT NOTHING TO HAPPEN. Have you not watched a single time travel movie? DO NOT MESS WITH THE PAST. I didn't mind anything about Lydia, but that was the thing that bothered me the most about her character.

The romance...
a) kind of insta-lovey, but I really like the mysterious factor to it and I cared enough about by the end, although I wished it developed a different way unlike how it kind of all clicked in the end for me.

b) The almost love triangle complicated by time... was there really a point to that?

I like how the romance turned out at the end, but the entire way there I was kind of cringing.



A novel that is kind of a mess in a couple parts, but WHAT A FUN MESS. It's simple, suspenseful, and even though sometimes you SO want to hit Lydia with a dictionary, the novels screams for your attention. I'm crossing my fingers and hoping that the next one improves.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Blog Tour: Review + Excerpt of Breakable by Aimee Salter

First blog tour guys! And as a treat I have an excerpt of the novel for you guys at the end!

Book: Breakable
Author: Aimee L. Salter
Released Date: November 4th - out now! Purchase it on Amazon here.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars- you'll feel breakable by the end of this book

Synopsis (provided kindly by the author):

If you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?
When seventeen-year-old Stacy looks in the mirror she can see and talk to her future self. “Older Me” has been Stacy's secret support through the ongoing battle with their neurotic mother, relentless bullying at school, and dealing with her hopeless love for her best friend, Mark.

Then Stacy discovers Older Me is a liar.

Still reeling from that betrayal, Stacy is targeted again by her most persistent tormentor. Only this time, he's used her own artwork to humiliate her - and threaten her last chance with Mark.

She’s reached breaking point.



*I received an ARC of this novel in PDF format via the author in exchange for an honest review.

SO EXCITED FOR THIS REVIEW TO BE UP GUYS. I've actually finished Breakable a couple weeks ago and have been dying to tell you guys about it.

When I first read the synopsis for Breakable, I didn't think too much on it- it sounded like an interesting contemporary with a small sci-fi twist on it. Seeing the raving reviews,  I really wanted to see what Breakable could bring to the table. Could it offer me something fresh? Something authentic and real?
The answer is yes, it offers all those things and more.

I'm a really big fan of contemporary- but it's always the more fun, relaxing, funny, cute romance novels that I've always really enjoyed. The more deeper ones, that touch on deeper issues, then tend to be an easy hit or miss with me. Breakable was a really big hit with me- it really sent a pang to my heart reading certain scenes.

I remember reading certain scenes and just feeling overwhelmed- how Stacy could be so strong. My dog was laying next to me the whole time I was reading this novel- I remember reaching out and grabbing him into a hug. And then him writhing to get out of my grasp so he could nap.

The things Stacy go through in this novel is utterly raw and grippingly authentic. It's so real, it's scary. And it sucks to imagine people going through things like this. What I love most about this is how Stacy deals with all this- it's her inner self monologue and the monologue with Older Me that is the most powerful scenes to me in the novel. They give a sense of character and you see this girl who's been ripped to pieces by her peers, trying to stand and try to find her own piece of happiness.

I was a little confused around the end a little with the sci-fi element- I had to reread it once and kind of absorb it. It made the story a little less realistic along with a couple other things that I wondered about, (such as how the teachers totally didn't notice any of this going on) but it didn't really bothered me. It doesn't make the story any less meaningful, nor does it completely pull you out of the story.

Overall, a completely utterly astounding novel that surprised me with its depth and raw emotion. I definitely recommend you check out Breakable if you are a big contemporary fan, and even if you're not,  you might be surprised on how much you actually like it.


Older Me sighed. “You can’t let Mom get under your skin that way. You can’t let anyone do that to you.”
“Are you kidding me? I’ve got some jerk sending me sexts and she thinks I’m asking for it! I show up at the dance and Finn humiliates me in front of my entire class. And Mark’s dating Karyn.” My hands were in my hair because it had honestly started feeling like my head was going to explode.
Older Me’s hands came up, soothing. She kept her voice to a whisper. “I know. I do. But you have to keep going. You just have to. If you push through this, it will work. You’ll show them. You’ll show them you didn’t deserve this!”
Those words... I didn’t deserve it.
I chewed them over. They felt right and wrong at the same time. They were true, but I didn’t believe them.
I let my eyes wander over the room, my bag, my pictures. It felt like sitting in this room with the door closed was my only safe space.
Older Me kept talking. “You think the way these people treat you is the end of the world. But I can tell you, it isn’t what happens to you in your life that destroys you. It’s what you do about it.”
“Are you trying to say it’s my fault everyone–”
“No. I’m saying that you’ve had crap thrown at you. You can either clean yourself up and keep going and prove everyone wrong – show them you didn’t deserve to get it in the first place. Or you can roll around in it and think you deserve it, and start acting like you do.”
Oh. “Is that what you did?”
She nodded. “Crappy things happened to me and I gave up. And believe me, when you give up, the crap just piles on thicker until pretty soon you don’t even realize it’s crap anymore.” She inched closer to me, her eyes piercing mine. “Stacy, if I had the chance to go back and live it again – to be in your shoes – I’d do it in a heartbeat. Because you’re going to walk away from this and figure out it wasn’t your fault.
“One day you’ll look back and realize that everyone you grew up with didn’t get it right. They didn’t actually know you. They didn’t really hear you. They were just so messed up, they threw all their own crap on you.
“But the thing is, if you can understand that it’s their problem, you’ll brush it all off and walk away clean. While they’ll still be looking for other people to dump on. You’ll win. It’ll be worth it.”
I couldn’t look away from her. “I don’t know…” Her words seemed so right. But I didn’t want to believe them because it meant I had to fight. And I was so tired of fighting.
She ran a hand through her hair and looked as tired as I felt. “There’s nothing I can tell you that will make this easier,” she whispered, “But you have to keep going. Because… because it took me this long to see the truth of that. And Mom still doesn’t get it. That’s why she’s such a jerk. If you can believe that the problem is theirs – know it’s true – you won’t end up like me, or her. You’ll be better. Stronger.”
“But everything else thinks it’s me! Even if I believed what you’re saying, it wouldn’t change what they thought.”
“True, but you’ll feel better.” She sighed. “Look, the only thing I know is I’ve always had a big hole inside. And no matter how I tried to be who they wanted me to be, no one ever loved me enough to fill the hole up. In fact, the harder I tried, the less they had to offer. So… it’s got to be better to fight. It’s got to be better not to give yourself up for other people. But there’s got to be more than that too.” She gave a watery smile. “When you figure out the rest, let me know.”

About the Author: Aimee L. Salter

Aimee L. Salter is a Pacific North-Westerner who spent much of her young (and not-so-young) life in New Zealand. After picking up a Kiwi husband and son, she’s recently returned to Oregon.

She writes novels for teens and the occasional adult who, like herself, are still in touch with their inner-high schooler.
Aimee is the author behind Seeking the Write Life, a popular blog for writers.

You can find her on Facebook | Twitter | Blog
Purchase Breakable on Kindle | Nook | Paperback
Add Breakable to your to-read shelf here.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Book Review: The End Games by T. Michael Martin

Book: The End Games
Author: T. Michael Martin
Rating: 3.5/5 stars - soooooo it ends there?

Synopsis (as found on Goodreads):

It happened on Halloween.

The world ended.

And a dangerous Game brought it back to life.

Seventeen-year-old Michael and his five-year-old brother, Patrick, have been battling monsters in The Game for weeks.

In the rural mountains of West Virginia, armed with only their rifle and their love for each other, the brothers follow Instructions from the mysterious Game Master. They spend their days searching for survivors, their nights fighting endless hordes of “Bellows”—creatures that roam the dark, roaring for flesh. And at this Game, Michael and Patrick are very good.

But The Game is changing.

The Bellows are evolving.

The Game Master is leading Michael and Patrick to other survivors—survivors who don’t play by the rules.

And the brothers will never be the same.

T. Michael Martin’s debut novel is a transcendent thriller filled with electrifying action, searing emotional insight, and unexpected romance.


OK, so I have an unsaid tradition. Every year for Halloween, I look for a "Halloween-y" book to read for the holiday. When I say "Halloween-y", I don't mean vampires or werewolves- I mean something that isn't a common paranormal novel. I think ghosts, demons, paranormal mysteries, etc. (Or in this case zombies.)

So two years ago I read Anna Dressed in Blood which was FABBBBULOUS.  Then last year I forgot to get a book.... heh.

So I was running through this small list in my head of what I could read this Halloween and I was debating Warm Bodies or the next book in the Body Finder series when BAM IT HIT ME. The End Games.

It was perfect; even the date of the apocalypse was Halloween. And recommended by John Green? SCORE. Plus the author was a YouTuber which instantly made him more awesome.

The sad thing is I didn't finish it on Halloween cause Adrian Ivashkov demanded for my attention. Heh.

But even without that, I don't think I would've finished The End Games anyways. It took me forever just to burn through 100 pages. True, the font was a little smaller so more words on the pages but that's not totally the reason why.

The main reason why it took me a while to read this novel is the narrating style. The End Games is written in this very sharp, survival instinct narrative that is somewhat difficult to swallow down. I was confused at certain phrases that the author invented, which caused me to slow down. I reduced my reading speed by about half. Some sentence phrasing is awkward, causing me to pause and re-read. Although it makes for a unique style of storytelling, at certain points it makes me want to put down the novel because I needed a break. The style was difficult to read as the rhythm and flow was somewhat disrupted and disjointed at points. I guess it works for some people. I'm on the side where it didn't work with me.

However, the plot held my attention as the plot was captivating and intense. Although the writing did make me have to decipher the plot a little, I like how the novel was put together plot wise. This book was like a puzzle. The beginning spent a lot of time laying the pieces out, then after we slowly begin to sort and put the pieces together, sometimes in surprising ways. Even random pieces that we didn't realize we needed are brought in.

Character wise, I actually found Patrick really annoying. Yeah, he's a kid, and he's a big part of Michael's survival will, but he was honestly quite annoying to me. It also causes Michael to use this very immature language style, and it reflects in the writing which bothers me. I enjoyed Michael's character, but I found I didn't really care for anyone else. Like people die and I'm emotionless.
The synopsis lies about the romance. There's barely any. Which is actually a good thing considering I would not suggest started a relationship in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. And it was refreshing to not have a romance in between things.

I did however enjoy that survival instinct feel Michael had. It reminded me intensely of Saba in Blood Red Road- how she calls that final survival instinct of hers "the red-hot". It gave an interesting twist in the story and added an interesting side to Michael's character.
However, calling it the "yes-yes" bothered me. Of all the phrases.... "yes-yes" felt so childish.

Also, the ending... I was surprised how this was a standalone. I wanted just a little more of a closure. Just like another 500 ish words or something. It closed at a somewhat awkward point in my opinion. Like done, but not quite done, but done enough that it could be called done.

Overall, I'm slightly disappointed by this novel- with a recommendation that high, and so many popular authors commenting on it, I expected a little more from this novel. I did enjoy it though, and had a few laughs. It was hard to swallow down, but it was captivating with a desperate atmosphere. I like this book, but I think more could've been done with it and the writing style could try to flow a little better.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Series Review: Legend by Marie Lu

Series: Legend 
Author: Marie Lu
Books: Legend, Prodigy, and Champion
Series Rating: 5/5- a heart racing and pounding adventure from start to end

Book #1's rating: 5/5- an exciting start to a revolution
Book #2's rating: 5/5- my heart just died a little. Just a little.

Synopsis of Legend (as found on Goodreads):

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem. 

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets. 
Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills. 


*SPOILER FREE FOR CHAMPION, really really minor spoiler-y hints at what happens in Legend and Prodigy 

ANOTHER DYSTOPIAN SERIES ENDING. WHAT IS LIFE. It's like saying goodbye to such an old friend. It's another series I read when I first began to be a serious YA reader and I was in the midst of my dystopian rage (thanks to Divergent). And yet here we are now. The end.

Let us go through Carmen's fangirl emotions.


OH DAMN. S*** just hit the fan. Time to get to the heart of the plot and action! Oh wait jokes I have to wait for a second book... -.-

*cheers at badass fighting and action 
*le gasp
*try to remember what oxygen is
*weep on the floor in a complete utter destroyed mess

*moment of silence from shock
* soft tears drip down
* blink
*small smile of hope


I kid you not guys, dystopian series have got to STOP doing this to me. They are wrecking my life. (*cough, the book that shall not be named.)

Another great dystopian series, what can I say? Legend is utterly enthralling, captivating me with heart pounding action and suspense, and holy crap I can't believe it but it actually made politics interesting to me.

Legend begins as a relatively simple dystopian story, not an incredible amount of depth, but offers much potential.

Prodigy is when the world building and the richness of the characters come into play. They move the plot and Marie Lu is very smart on using character relationships to push other relationships forward along with plot. Everything is very interconnected and nothing is filler or irrelevant. Everything links in a way- whether certain actions/scenes are included because it was crucial to plot or adds depth to character, further enhancing and establishing their character.

Marie Lu also apparently learned cliffhangers around then too. -.-

Champion is much like Prodigy, very linked and action packed. There is no longer much world building but rather the world that was build comes into play to push on the plot and further establish depth and the struggles in the politics that anchor this revolution.

The romance between Day and June is at a perfect balance with all the other elements in the books. Usually the true most authentic and best dystopian series to me are the ones where the romance has equal standing to everything else around them. The characters not only care about the romance but they also value everything else- like family, friends, the fate of the world, etc. They are reluctant to sacrifice either one for the other and it shows especially in Champion. They are two amazing people with incredible obstacles between each other, and it's not overwhelming. They don't spend every moment with each other.

And of course, what everyone is anxious about: the ending.

Personally... I would argue it's the best ending for the series. Sure it might not be the "happy ever after" fairytale ending, but it tied everything SO well together, it made sense not only to plot, but also to the character personalities. It's bittersweet, but it's also beautiful. To me, around the last maybe 20 pages of Champion, it took more of a contemporary turn to the atmosphere of the novel. It was well written, totally tugging at my heartstrings, and it was heartbreakingly amazing. It was sad but sweet, like... really yummy dark chocolate. (My simile (or is it metaphor?) skills guys.) I was crying, but it was more like the really like sweet hopeful tears. Trust me when I say that it's a satisfying ending. Marie could've made it a fairytale ending... but there would be some bumps in logic and it just... it would be happy but it would lack depth and meaning to the ending.

And really I think ultimately that's what matters: the meaning of the ending and how it fits the theme of the whole series. Not really if the couple ends up together. (but duh yeah of course they should cause no, we fangirls cry for the fun of it) Really it's about how it's executed and what it means.

And according to that list, Champion gets a big fat A+ from me.

If I had to compare how that ending made me feel... I would say it made me feel like how I felt after reading Eleanor and Park.

Overall, another series I am so sad to say goodbye to. Legend has been an amazing series to read, going along with me for these past three years of high school. The characters are amazing, the plot is intriguing, and it is true to its core as a dystopian series. I'm sad to see it go, but I'm excited to see whatever Marie has planned next!

Friday, November 1, 2013

November 2013

Monthly Wish List for this month and what I've read and seen this past month.

Book List: 
*synopses may be spoilery if you have not read the previous books in the series. All synopses were found on Goodreads.

Book: Sentinel (Book #5 in the Covenant series)
Author: Jennifer Armentrout
Release Date: November 2nd

It's a beautiful day for a war.

As the mortal world slowly slips into chaos of the godly kind, Alexandria Andros must overcome a stunning defeat that has left her shaken and in doubt of their ability to end this war once and for all.

And with all the obstacles between Alex and her happily-ever-after with the swoonworthy Aiden St. Delphi, they must now trust a deadly foe as they travel deep into the Underworld to release one of the most dangerous gods of all time.

In the stunning, action-packed climax to the bestselling Covenant series, Alex must face a terrible choice: the destruction of everything and everyone she holds dear… or the end of herself.


Book: Champion (Book #3 in the Legend trilogy)
Author: Marie Lu
Release Date: November 5th

He is a Legend.
She is a Prodigy.
Who will be Champion? 

June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic—and each other—and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps Elect while Day has been assigned a high level military position. But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them once again. Just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything he has. With heart-pounding action and suspense, Marie Lu’s bestselling trilogy draws to a stunning conclusion.


Book: The Fiery Heart (Book #4 in the Bloodlines series)
Author: Richelle Mead
Release Date: November 19th

In The Indigo Spell, Sydney was torn between the Alchemist way of life and what her heart and gut were telling her to do. And in one breathtaking moment that Richelle Mead fans will never forget, she made a decision that shocked even her. . .

But the struggle isn't over for Sydney. As she navigates the aftermath of her life-changing decision, she still finds herself pulled in too many directions at once. Her sister Zoe has arrived, and while Sydney longs to grow closer to her, there's still so much she must keep secret. Working with Marcus has changed the way she views the Alchemists, and Sydney must tread a careful path as she harnesses her profound magical ability to undermine the way of life she was raised to defend. Consumed by passion and vengeance, Sydney struggles to keep her secret life under wraps as the threat of exposure—and re-education—looms larger than ever.

Pulses will race throughout this thrilling fourth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where no secret is safe.

Note from Carmen: Sydrian. <3

Book: Pawn (Book #1 in The Blackcoat Rebellion series)
Author: Aimee Carter
Release Date: November 26th


For Kitty Doe, it seems like an easy choice. She can either spend her life as a III in misery, looked down upon by the higher ranks and forced to leave the people she loves, or she can become a VII and join the most powerful family in the country. 

If she says yes, Kitty will be Masked—surgically transformed into Lila Hart, the Prime Minister's niece, who died under mysterious circumstances. As a member of the Hart family, she will be famous. She will be adored. And for the first time, she will matter. 

There's only one catch. She must also stop the rebellion that Lila secretly fostered, the same one that got her killed …and one Kitty believes in. Faced with threats, conspiracies and a life that's not her own, she must decide which path to choose—and learn how to become more than a pawn in a twisted game she's only beginning to understand.

Note from Carmen: (lots of notes this month huh), I wasn't incredibly impressed with Aimee's previous series but this one sounds FREAKING AWESOME.


October Obsessions:
Allegiant (Series review here.) (SDFDGHFGKHKJFDSDHJHF WHY)
Bloodlines (Series) (Adrian Ivashkov is a new love of mine!)

Other Stuff:
Emma Approved (Web series- from the creators of LBD!)

Things I Read/Saw in October and Didn't Review:
Origin (Book #4 in the Lux series)
Bloodlines (Book #1 in the Bloodlines series)
The Golden Lily (Book #2 in the Bloodlines series)
The Indigo Spell (Book #3 in the Bloodlines series)

Left on Shing Wong (one of my favourite shorts by them so far!)

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