Archive | April, 2013

What is a “Come to Jesus Moment”?

26 Apr

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In Young Adult literature, there seems to be a formula in which modern authors like to stick with when writing a female protagonists. Low self-esteem, self depreciating, some sort of family trouble, a sultry bad boy vying for her attention that treats her like shit, a clean cut “better” choice male specimen she chooses to ignore but still lead on, yadda yadda yadda.

The books that use this equation only really resonate with me if the protag has a Come to Jesus Moment. What is a Come to Jesus Moment you ask? A CTJM is when the protag finally “sees the light” or they have an epiphany. They finally realize how dumb their choices have been in the past,  finally gain some self confidence, finally stop being weak and selfish.  These are the moments we ache and yearn for (especially when the main character is a dumb twat). We WANT our protags to become powerful, independent, fierce characters and these are the moments when they finally reach their potential. An important thing to note, is that usually these moments are spawned by other characters in the book. Rarely, if ever, do CTJM just happen within themselves, somebody has to spark it.

Top Three Come to Jesus Moments

Katniss EverdeenThe Hunger Games

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Katniss is a badass from the beginning. She’s fiercely protective of her family and friends and she had a backbone stronger than steel. Unfortunately, Katniss becomes quite the whiney bitch as the series progresses. And when Peeta returns after his brainwashing by The Capitol, she is probably is the most annoying character in the book. Enter Haymitch. Haymitch bitch slaps Katniss into realizing how much of a pathetic asshole she is being. He points out that while she hides out in a closet avoiding Peeta, Peeta would have been trying his best to help Katniss remember and get healthy. While she can never really make up for being so lame for basically the whole third book, she does at least vagina up and come around.

America Singer – The Selection

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This is one of my favorite series. The Elite, book two in The Selection, just came out and it was AMAZING. But, America started really grinding on my nerves during book two. Here you have the exquisite Prince Maxon fawning all over you and you just keep asking for time, be patient, wait for me forever!  It is incredibly irritating. And then she gets mad and hurt when he actually finds someone who wants to be with him, who loves  him and doesn’t need all the high maintenance BS? Uh hello!  And then, the best part, she calls out the country, HIS country, for their outdated and cruel social structure in front of THE ENTIRE WORLD and expects Maxon to be cool with it? BAHAHA. Can we say deluded? So when Maxon sends her packing it was awesome. And then, we/she realizes how effing awesome he is and he basically says “you don’t deserve me” but gives her another a chance, I about gave him a standing ovation. America does commit herself to not being a self bia anymore but we won’t see if this CTJM worked until the third book.

Elisa – The Girl of Fire and Thorns

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Elisa is an overweight, dowdy, second child. Of a king. And poor pity her, she has been chosen by the Gods to bear the Godstone that gives her supernatural powers and destines  her to some great task. Unfortunately, Elisa has about zero confidence and is constantly comparing herself to her gorgeous older sis. But instead of trying to live up to her full potential, Elisa eats her feelings and then is shipped off to marry, the poor poor thing, a gorgeous young King. Needless to say, the only way Elisa was ever going to save the plot, and this series, was to have an epic CTJM. And she does. This one is slow to develop though and I like it. I think her true CTJM was when she realized that, uh, she can kick some major ass by using the stone in her belly button and then whips the shit outa the intruders. Bravo, friend. Book Two is going to be a lot more interesting now that you have some kahunas.

Override by Heather Anastasiu

25 Apr

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Book Two in the Glitch Series

Rating: Three out of Five Stars

I am really giddy to write this review.. and its for a very selfish and conceited reason.

I do a handful of To Read Tuesdays posts on my blog http://www.rattlethestars.com about upcoming books and I did one on Override because I really enjoyed Glitch. I talked about why I am excited, what I want to see and what I think will happen in the new book.

Well someone give me a high five because I was soooo right on my predictions. *swish*

So, copying and pasting my three predictions so I have a reference, I shall now commence my review of the book:*PLEASE NOTE THIS CONTAINS SPOILERS*

1.)I think Adrien needs to be captured at some point. Zoe needs some sort of catalyst for her becoming this “leader” he has predicted she becomes. I think he could be it.  Done and done. Adrien DOES get captured, although we don’t find out for a while later how or when, he is taken. But his torture sparks little Miss Lackluster Zoe into womanning up and taking control. And because of her stepping up to help save her “twu wuv”, she gets the general killed and slots herself into becoming a general herself.
2.) Max has to come back into the story. He’s a social climber and although he helped Zoe and Adrien escape, I think the Community will welcome him back with open arms because of his unique glitch. This could also become a crutch for Zoe, she has to battle the fact that she left him there.  Hellooo Max! Welcome back to making Zoe’s life hell! Max DOES go back to the Community and becomes second in command to evil doer #1: Under Secretary of Defense. And then, with him playing face swap with Adrien, totally manipulates everyone. Zoe also thinks she killed Max, poor her, and spends a few weeks in a mopey state mourning him.
3.) I think another boy may come into the picture. Since YAs always like that love triangle and Max is on longer in the picture, is another man going to distract Zoe from the mysterious Mr. Adrien?  We shall see.  So.. this one is kinda not perfectly on point. Because Max really does become the third point again, but he’s Adrien, but he’s NOT Adrien. Huh? Yeah. Let’s just call this one a moot point shall we?

However right I was about my predictions, I was NOT right to be so excited over the book. The first part of Override drove me bonkers. “What’s that Zoe? You hate yourself and are throwing yourself a pity party? Wow, never seen that before. Now I can relate to you” I’m sorry if that’s mean, but it’s soo hard to read. Those first chapters I was trudging through knee high mediocre writing hoping and praying there was an oasis of good action near the end. Yes, it does pick up. But the depth and the quality and the “uniqueness” of Glitch that infatuated me did not flow into book two. Override was a filler. It seems like this was a “Oh hey I got signed for a trilogy, let’s just write some stuff in until we get to the meat and potatoes in book three”. It was disappointing, to say the least.

Shutdown, me thinks, will be amazing. Now that we’ve gotten all the BS out of the way, we’ve got some awesome plot twists to play with in book three. Bring it on Anastasiu!

To Read Tuesday – The Program

23 Apr

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The Program by Suzanne Young

Series: The Program

Previous Rating: None! Brand new series!

Release Date: April 30, 2013

Why I Am Excited: I’ve never heard of Suzanne Young before but I’m drawn to her because she currently lives in Tempe, AZ which is about 10 mins from me. And I really enjoy reading works from people I can actually visualize when they are writing it… maybe the fact that she lives so close to me makes me drawn to her? Perhaps. But the basis of this book is intrguing. It seems very UnWind meets Beta and Delirium.  You’ve got the dystopian aspect of The UnWind Series in the government’s association with raising children and the Beta/Delirium pull with the brainwashing and memory pulling. Young’s basically using all the ingredients that have worked in the recent past to make a book popular. Whether or not that plan pans out remains to be seen.

What I Hope To See: I kind of feel bad but I am caught up in what I hope I DON’T see in this series. First, no love triangle or InstaLove. Second, no overly dramatic self pitying and depreciating protag. Third, no uhealthy relationship between Sloane and James. If she can pull that off, I think my rating will already be a three based on the concept. I also hope this book doesn’t swing too young, too “let me force this idea down your throat”. I feel like it could get a little naive if she lets it just based on the summary provided but then it also deals with a very serious subject of suicide. *exasperated sigh* I don’t know what I am trying to say here.. basically, if it’s handled delicately, it could be awesome. I also hope she can create a world completely unique. Since Young’s pulling ideas and concepts from a lot of popular well known books, I hope she can can capture a different world within her pages.

My Predictions: As always, it’s difficult to predict anything with a new series but I’ll give it a shot.

  1. Obviously, Sloane has parents that love her and want to protect her. Now this could sway positive or negative. Does she want to keep them happy because they are so devastated by their loss of her brother and she would feel guilty if she messed up too? Or does she genuinely adore her parents and their relationship? This relationship will really define the basics of the book. My thoughts? Option One.
  2. We already have a leading male in the protag’s life: James. It’ll be interesting to see how Young initially describes their relationship. Passionate? Friendly? Adoring? Do they build each other up or beak each other down? I think they will have a positive relationship so we can really sympathize with Sloan throughout the book.
  3. Now we know Sloan will have a “Stick it to the Man” moment at some point in the series. Just like all dystopia’s with government over-lording, our character’s always somehow find themselves in a position to fight back. Now this book is about suicide,  which leads me to believe it’s going to have the more dramatic vibe like UnWind did, or even the uncomfortable discussions like  XVI did. So I am hoping that Young eases us into the plot, really giving us raw character emotion so that we can fly and root alongside Sloan when she undoubtedly will make her stand in the end. Basically, I want to be gripped hard and fast.

Mind Games by Kiersten White

22 Apr

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Book One in the Mind Game Series

Rating: Four out of Five Stars

I had some reservations about this book. Not so much because of what it’s about, more because Keirsten White was writing it. But, thank you Book Gods, my gamble to read this bad boy turned out a winning hand. Now, I will admit, I sound like a totally bitch when I said that. But White’s Paranormalacy series drove me bonkers. As I was reading it, I even went back to see if it was geared towards middle grade and not young adult, but it was def marketed towards YA readers. I mean who names inanimate objects?! You named your tazzer Tazie??

Anywho this is NOT a review about that series but a review about Mind Games. And I am happily reporting, with deep sincerity, that this series is definitely a YA read and a good one at that. White took a step away from the ghostie and goblin side of the paranormal and went down the mind magic path. Sooo much cooler. And more interesting. And different. And wonderful.

White’s whole writing style and profile as an author changed with this book. I was expecting this to still be a little teeny bopper-ish, simply because I was being judgmental, but from the cover to the summary to the subjects discussed, this series is much more advanced. Her characters are so much more developed, the plot is dynamic and intriguing, the switching narratives is engaging and the overall tone and texture of the book is well written. White gets into her characters and deals with very real, very rough and very intense emotions. It’s not frilly like her last series. Her characters are raw and gripping. Well, at least Fia is. Annie is just a selfish bia, but she makes a good contrast to her sister. And I’ve never read an assassin book quite like this. It’s got a modern day Graceling feel to it. And I looooved Graceling.

All that being said, White definitely proved me wrong with this book. She really grew as author in the years between Paranormalacy and Mind Games. The only thing that peeved me with this book is that nothing actually happens in it..? I know that makes zero sense but I could probably write a paragraph and summarizes all the things we learned about our characters. We will have to see how the rest of the series turns out, but this book feels kinda like a prequel rather than the actual first book in the series. We meet our characters, get some background, have a chapter or two of drama and action and then it ends. The constant chapter-long flashbacks kind of restrict us from moving forward with the plot. But that would be my only criticism. Which is pretty awesome for my bitchy, whiny self 😉

To Read Tuesdays – The Elite by Kiera Cass

16 Apr

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The Elite by Kiera Cass

Series: The Selection

Previous Rating: Five out of Five perfect amazing wonderful Stars

Release Date: April 23, 2013

Why I Am Excited: This is hard for me to say because I am so completely enthralled and ga-ga over this series it makes it difficult to sit still when talking about it. I think I actually stutter a bit when I try to explain how epically delicious this story is. It’s just… just… perfect. This is why .gifs were made, when people like me can’t put their feelings into words so here.. this will hopefully capture my emotions:ML5hhl1

This story, these characters, the writing, the plot, it’s all magnificently molded together to make an amazing new fairytale. This series is dystopia meets Cinderella. Totally swoon worth men and a feisty little heroine. I literally love every. single. aspect. of The Selection and will cry tears of joy when I wake up next Tuesday to The Elite on my Kindle.

What I Hope To See: *Contains Spoilers* If you haven’t read the previous books, LOOK AWAY! The Selection was an amazing book and really set us up for a tempting second installment. With America and Maxon’s sultry romance blossoming and Aspen’s new position as a palace guard, there is going to be a lot of sexual tension flying around the castle. And with ho-face model girl there to be the devil on Maxon’s shoulder when it comes to his affections, you know there will be girl fights happening. Now I hope hope hope American finds true love with Maxon (come on, he’s a PRINCE!) and sends asshole Aspen packing (he left YOU, America!) and all will be well. But with this only being book numero dos and a third book waiting in the wings, I’m not sure how close we will get to the answer of who ends up together.

My Predictions: I base these predictions on the synopsis they release with the cover and this one is SUPER exciting because it tells us America actually decides who she wants to be with SNAP! So I am going to go two ways here:

  1. If America chooses Maxon: If America decides she wants Maxon, and then “a devastating loss” happens, I think someone in her family must die? And if they do die, I think it must be because of the royal family in some way. Did the King force her father or mother to do something? Is her sister sick? Who knows. But if she does sway Maxon’s way, something HAS to happen to cause her to double back.
  2. If America chooses Aspen: I will hate this series if she does. BUT if she does, I think as soon as she chooses him he gets shipped off to the battlegrounds with the rebels. Or he gets killed/maimed/hurt when the rebels attack the palace.
  3. Along with the LoveTriangle between America, Aspen and Maxon, I think slut-face Celeste is going to dig her claws pretty deep into Maxon and cause some uber drama. Especially since Daddy wants Celeste way more then some random 4. And perhaps we will see the “other girl” from The Prince novella in book two as well? That would be juicy 😉

“America Singer, one day you will fall asleep in my arms every night. And you’ll wake up to my kisses every morning.”
Kiera Cass, The Selection

Sever by Lauren DeStefano

15 Apr

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Book Three in The Chemical Garden Series

Rating: Three out of Five Stars

More a 2.5…. Almost a 3.

This book, as well as the whole series, is difficult for me the actually rate. I can’t figure out if a love it or hate it. And every thing I want to happen never does and it never turns out how I want and uuughhhh… I get so frustrated.

First off, this series has a pretty amazing premise. Wither was an excellent title for the first book and so was Fever for the second. But I didn’t like Sever for the third book, it didn’t grasp and intrigue me and I never had the “Aha!” moment like I did with the others. And with that, it kinda pisses me off it’s called the “Chemical Garden” series and we don’t learn wtf a chemical garden is until the, what? last three or four chapters in the ENTIRE series?! It’s a great name, don’t get me wrong, but I would have liked to have some inkling about that whole idea much, much sooner.

So considering the name, and the covers, got worse as the series went on, I feel the actual story did too. Wither was great, Fever was eh, and Sever was a bunch of good and bad stirred together. It’s almost as if her writing style changed as she progressed and the way she structured the book. Wither had a lot of internal turmoil and conflicting emotions but by the time we get to Sever, there are a lot of different characters we interact with but none are as strong as the first four or five we met. So while those character’s aren’t necessarily poorly constructed, they just seem underdeveloped compared to the amazing sense of individual personalities we met in Wither. And I get it, we ate, slept and breathed with Cecily, Jenna, and Linden but because we had such dynamic and depth in those three, we loved and hated them, connected and FELT Rhine’s struggle between Linden, Rowan and Gabriel, it was like we were left on a limb in Sever and told to jump off with no one to catch us. Wither was an amazing, unique, exquisitely, passionate and emotional book. Sever was any other YA dystopia. Rhine went from being engaging and a fighter to being passive and, well, annoying at times.

And that beginning… oh kill me now. Worst waiting game. It was stagnant and stale and JUST LEAVE ALREADY RHINE! Where’s the ferocity we got to see in Fever and Wither? Gone gone gone gone gonneeeee. I thought she would never leave that damned house. And the ending.. the ending… *sniff* just makes me sad.

At the end of the day, I think I rated all these books a three, Wither was almost a four and Sever was almost a two. But it’s a good series for dystopia lovers and has a different take on the post-apocalyptic idea which I very much enjoyed. I would still consider it a must-read series.

October 2013 – The Month of Dreams

11 Apr

Let’s all just take a moment and say a thank you prayer to the Book Gods for October 2013.

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Releases coming this October:

October 1, 2013 – Endless Knight by Kresley Cole (The Arcana Chronicles 2)

October 10, 2013 –  World’s End by Susan Ee (Penryn and The End of Days 2)

October 15, 2013 – UnSouled by Neal Schusterman (Unwind Trilogy 3)

October 15, 2013 – Emergent by Rachel Cohn (Annex 2)

October 22, 2013 – Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano (The Internment Chronicles 1)

October 22, 2013 – Insurgent by Veronica Roth (Divergent 3)

October 29, 2013 – Horde by Ann Aguirre (Razorland 3)

October 29, 2013 – Altered by Gennifer Albin (Crewel World 2)

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Good thing I have two 16 hour flights to Australia and New Zealand and back to read all this wonderfulness.

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