Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Book Review: Speechless by Hannah Harrington

Book: Speechless
Author: Hannah Harrington
Rating: 4.5/5 stars- waiting to see if it lingers

Synopsis (as found on Goodreads):

Everyone knows that Chelsea Knot can't keep a secret

Until now. Because the last secret she shared turned her into a social outcast—and nearly got someone killed.

Now Chelsea has taken a vow of silence—to learn to keep her mouth shut, and to stop hurting anyone else. And if she thinks keeping secrets is hard, not speaking up when she's ignored, ridiculed and even attacked is worse.

But there's strength in silence, and in the new friends who are, shockingly, coming her way—people she never noticed before; a boy she might even fall for. If only her new friends can forgive what she's done. If only she can forgive herself.


Ok so first: the cover is prettier than it looks online.
It's one of those covers that are even more gorgeous in person, because it shimmers in the light like a pearly dragon scale or something and personally, I'm happy to own it.

Hannah Harrington. Oh where do we start.
I read Hannah Harrington's debut novel Saving June about a year or two ago, and at the time I didn't think too too much about it, having liked the book, but wasn't crazy about it.

Yet as time goes on, and the days where I sit and muse about the contemporaries I've read and the stories that have genuinely touched my heart (yes I do that ok my head is like a high speed train running through topic to topic), somehow Saving June manages to be summoned up into my memories. It found a little niche in my heart to hide, coming out at moments when I need it.

That's when I knew I had to read more of Hannah Harrington's books.

Except Saving June was her only novel at the moment. Heh.

Speechless came out a while ago, and while I was crap at reading it when it was released, I finally did read it and I was satisfied but I'm still waiting.

Explanation: I want to see if it also find a corner of my heart to hide in.

But no means was this book flawless though. I don't particularly think this book was groundbreaking in the issues it addresses- it was good, it was simple, and it told a story effectively and had good morals in it. I walked away feeling good, feeling like I had one of those weird meditation things that somehow make you feel good and makes you open up and see the world better.

I did love that one line where Noah talked about hate and love.

It's not the most original plotline or romance, the characters are the tried-true kind that every contemporary has, the topic it address is a usual cliche pain in the neck, blah blah blah. It kind of doesn't matter too much in the end. Because it was executed in a way like made you feel the right way, kept you interested as you follow the protagonist through her journey of self-discovery, and the morals were delivered beautifully and thoughtfully.

It's the way the author writes that make her books come off the way it does. It's a comforting yet poignant feel, and it although the issues are different, the stories, the characters, everything is different, the underlying flow of the writing is the same for Saving June and Speechless. It makes everything not only bearable, but somehow the story was taking you by the hand and you were floating adrift with you. The characters became a comforting cast of friends you follow, despite how they seem so cliche yet seem to have these angles you never thought they'd have. The story loses the irritation it usually gives you with all the cliches. It just somehow clicks and works.

Only time will tell if this tale will stay with me like Saving June did and still does. I do think Saving June has a greater impact emotionally wise, but Speechless was more of a comforting blanket in the cold.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Book Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Book: Cruel Beauty
Author: Rosamund Hodge
Rating: 5/5 stars- a forever favourite and love and I would give it millions of stars if I could omg the feels I can't

Synopsis (as found on Goodreads):

Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl's journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.

Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex's secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.


When I first watched the trailer for Cruel Beauty, I was intrigued and I knew. I KNEW. I had to get my hands on this book.

So I went and picked it up and due to certain things (a.k.a school UGH) I had to hold off on reading this until now.

I read this in parts (because again, SCHOOL) and I was dying to get home every day just so I could read more and more and more and more of this book because I couldn't stop devouring this book.

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The mythology, the fairytale, the fantasy elements, all weave together in such an intricating, dark, chillingly achingly beautiful tale. It's an amazing spin on the Beauty and Beast story (which was never a favourite of mine, but I certainly liked it better than say, the useless Snow White.) infused with Greek Mythology, a rich imaginative world, with a creative fantasy base of the elements of the world. THERE ARE NO WORDS TO EXPLAIN THE BEAUTY OF THE COMPLEXITY OF THIS NOVEL.

There are so many aspects that melt together perfectly in this book, that support and help enrich the complexity of the plot and the characters. omg.

The main character Nyx comes off as a person that you either love her or hate her, which I kind of self identify with. She's a little bipolar in the novel, because it was the way she grew up- with this burning hatred inside of her that she was being raised as demon fodder, but there was still human part of her telling her that kindness is possible, and it's like her own inner demon battling inside of her which is fascinating to watch. She wasn't the pure hearted heroine we all read about in fairy tales, the ones who overcome evil with their belief in justice blah blah. She was human in all aspects, with a devilish side of her, and it was refreshing and energizing to read.

Ignifex. OMG. MY HEART. He was like another Warner figure. (if you get that reference you are awesome) Mysterious, captivating, he swooped down and stole my heart away before I could even blink. How he turns from "evil incarnate I want you so dead omg" into "HOLY SHIT LET ME LOVE YOU" and just ahhhhh and just somehow sweepingly romantic. HOW. HOW.

and then Shade added complexity to the characters, depth, and just this whole trust issue within the book- he was an oxymoron within the character (slight spoiler), he represented good, yet his actions were bad, and just this whole "is he worth trusting, is he an ally, is he someone worthwhile?" just had me spinning, dizzy, and just racing through the book to find out.

Overall, I haven't had this much fun, this many feels in so so long. This is an intricate dark romantic debut that will sweep you off your feet, and I still haven't recovered totally from it yet. It will probably NEVER leave my shelf of favourites. YOU COMPLETE ME.

*P.S. Carmen apologizes for her crappy grammar/punctuation. Fangirling and English just doesn't mix.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Book Review: Don't Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski

Book: Don't Even Think About It
Author: Sarah Mlynowski
Released Date: March 11th 2014
Rating: 3.75/5 stars- hilariously weird

Synopsis (as found on Goodreads):

Contemporary teen fiction with romance, secrets, scandals, and ESP from the author of Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn't Have).

We weren't always like this. We used to be average New York City high school sophomores. Until our homeroom went for flu shots. We were prepared for some side effects. Maybe a headache. Maybe a sore arm. We definitely didn't expect to get telepathic powers. But suddenly we could hear what everyone was thinking. Our friends. Our parents. Our crushes. Now we all know that Tess is in love with her best friend, Teddy. That Mackenzie cheated on Cooper. That, um, Nurse Carmichael used to be a stripper.

Since we've kept our freakish skill a secret, we can sit next to the class brainiac and ace our tests. We can dump our boyfriends right before they dump us. We know what our friends really think of our jeans, our breath, our new bangs. We always know what's coming. Some of us will thrive. Some of us will crack. None of us will ever be the same.
So stop obsessing about your ex. We're always listening.


*I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley due to the graciousness of the publishers

After the disaster that was Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn't Have), I was quite hesitant on reading this.

But then I got pre-approved for it on NetGalley so... yay?

I did enjoy this a LOT more than Ten Things We Did though. It was more humourous, and it had that fun touch of paranormal abilities. There was a mixture of characters with different character traits that kept the story fresh and gave interesting interactions. I particularly enjoyed Olivia and Tess' POV's.

The one wacky thing about this book is that it's told in a very interesting POV. It's through the views of "we", the group as a whole. Although it takes a while to get a grasp on it, it proves entertaining and sets itself apart from other YA books.

I love how this really showed that if teenagers got telepathic powers, we weren't going to just turn ourselves in- first of all, no one would believe us, second, IMAGINE THE FUN.

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On second thought, let's not think about how we can destroy the world.

There were a couple aspects I didn't particularly clicked with in the book, just because I'm not the type of person to be sympathetic to a person like Mackenzie, but it's good that there such variety of characters in the story to represent the different voices of teenagers.

I thought that the plot was a little random at first, as it takes the time to give background and follow about 5 characters or more, but as it wraps up in the end, it makes for a satisfying finish, feeling like it was a hilarious story you read in the newspaper today.

In the end, Don't Think About It was a light read for those wacky out there ideas that makes for something to read for slight giggles and something on the side, nothing too crazy and just a good old teenage high school story.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Series Review: Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Series: Under the Never Sky
Author: Veronica Rossi
Books: Under the Never Sky, Through the Ever Night, Into the Still Blue
Series Rating: 4.5/5 stars- there's a reason I own the entire set

Book #1's rating: 4/5 stars- potentially the start of something great
Book #2's rating: 4.5/5 stars- the ride of my life someone give me some chocolate
Book #3's rating: 4.5/5 stars- weeeeeeeeeee diiiiiiiiiiiie villian hahahahahahaha (I'm sane)

Synopsis of Under the Never Sky (as found on Goodreads):



Aria has lived her whole life in the protected dome of Reverie. Her entire world confined to its spaces, she's never thought to dream of what lies beyond its doors. So when her mother goes missing, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland long enough to find her are slim.

Then Aria meets an outsider named Perry. He's searching for someone too. He's also wild - a savage - but might be her best hope at staying alive.

If they can survive, they are each other's best hope for finding answers.


FIRST OF ALL: The names of the books in this series ROCKS. They are soooo good. (the covers to eeep.)

I can't believe another series is ending- I sound like a broken record, but it's another series that I started in the beginning of the high school days.

Fangirl Reactions:

Under the Never Sky:
Intriguing. Perry and Aria are totes adorbs.

Through the Ever Night:

Ok a)
*rage quit
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Into the Still Blue:

*curled up in a blanket
*slight whimpers
*small smile at the fact Veronica Rossi kindly spared about 85% of our hearts
*grin at the fate of... certain characters.


I love that gif. It expresses me so well.

Under the Never Sky is a series that soared. With an interesting background, combining supernatural abilities and the dystopian atmosphere, and delightful plot turns and characters. It's written in a dual POV, which I generally find annoying for most books, but it totally worked for this series.

I really liked Aria and Perry as our central characters; their character growth is immense as they each step up to a higher spot of commandment throughout the series, and especially with how Aria has coped from the change.

The side characters are amazing support, creating a community in crisis as one of the major plot points in this story; especially Roar- he almost steals the spotlight in the series, with his charming and witty talk, and the way he backs up Aria and Perry, he just grabs your eye on the page and refuses to let go of your attention.

Overall, a riveting series that is a satisfying ride from start to finish, and is somehow exciting without tearing apart our hearts with any cliffhangers where we actually leave with our hearts semi-intact.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

March 2014

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: Death Sworn (Book #1 in the Death Sworn series)
Author: Leah Cypress

When Ileni lost her magic, she lost everything: her place in society, her purpose in life, and the man she had expected to spend her life with. So when the Elders sent her to be magic tutor to a secret sect of assassins, she went willingly, even though the last two tutors had died under mysterious circumstances.

But beneath the assassins’ caves, Ileni will discover a new place and a new purpose… and a new and dangerous love. She will struggle to keep her lost magic a secret while teaching it to her deadly students, and to find out what happened to the two tutors who preceded her. But what she discovers will change not only her future, but the future of her people, the assassins… and possibly the entire world.

Note from Carmen: You read that right; the Leah Cypress that won Most Confusing Book of the year for me. BUT THE PREMISE. UGH. UGH. IT SOUNDS SO GOOD. I can't resist a fantasy.

Book: Let the Storm Break (Book #2 in Sky Fall trilogy)
Author: Shannon Messenger

Vane Weston is haunted. By the searing pull of his bond to Audra. By the lies he’s told to cover for her disappearance. By the treacherous winds that slip into his mind, trying to trap him in his worst nightmares. And as his enemies grow stronger, Vane doesn’t know how much longer he can last on his own.

But Audra’s still running. From her past. From the Gales. Even from Vane, who she doesn’t believe she deserves. And the farther she flees, the more danger she finds. She possesses the secret power her enemy craves, and protecting it might be more than she can handle—especially when she discovers Raiden’s newest weapon.

With the Gale Force weakened by recent attacks, and the power of four collapsing, Vane and Audra are forced to make a choice: keep trusting the failing winds, or turn to the people who’ve betrayed them before. But even if they survive the storms sent to destroy them, will they have anything left to hold on to?

Note from Carmen: LEEEET THISSS BOOK FALLLLLLLLL..... into my hands.

February Obsessions:

Cress (Book #3 in the Lunar Chronicles) (OMG MY HEART. MY HEART. THAT SHATTERING NOISE.)
Ignite Me (Book #3 in the Shatter Me trilogy) Review can be seen here.

Other Stuff:
Tumblr. My life has been forever altered.

Things I Saw/Read in February and didn't Review:


(Well no. A series review will come soon!)
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