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Friday, August 31, 2012
Hi there, darlings!

It's been a long time since I've thrown a giveaway that wasn't a Magic Monday, and I think it's about time to change that!

But this giveaway is super SUPER special! Can you guess why?

This giveaway is ONE HUNDRED PERCENT thanks to you, my loyal followers! This giveaway was made possible solely by all you guys purchasing through my Amazon and Book Depository affiliate links, the ones found in my left sidebar. In case you guys didn't know, I put all that money right back into giveaways for you, and this hopefully is the first of many! So whenever you buy books, if you could use my links, that would be so great! :D

So basically, you can win a book of your choice from The Book Depository! This giveaway is totally international, and there will be two lucky winners! So, time to enter, loves!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Sparkles and Lightning Follower Appreciation Giveaway


Oh, and good luck everyone! Thank you so much for supporting me! xx

Lovelovelove,
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Thursday, August 30, 2012
Endlessly (Paranormalcy, #3)
Kiersten White
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: July 24, 2012
Source: Purchased
Evie's paranormal past keeps coming back to haunt her. A new director at the International Paranormal Containment Agency wants to drag her back to headquarters. The Dark Faerie Queen is torturing humans in her poisonous realm. And supernatural creatures keep insisting that Evie is the only one who can save them from a mysterious, perilous fate.
The clock is ticking on the entire paranormal world. And its fate rests solely in Evie's hands.
So much for normal.
CATCHALL
Where do I begin? I loved the Paranormalcy series, but in my opinion it had some pretty serious flaws that I found impossible to overlook. To be fair to my rating I should note that by the time I read Endlessly it has been nearly a year since I've read Paranormalcy and Supernaturally. Still, that doesn't excuse everything that was wrong with this book. I did love it, but I also believe that it could have been much better.

THE HEROINE
EVIE
I don't dislike Evie. I really don't. I even like her. But I can't love her, because somehow I just don't connect with he very well the way I feel that I should. And that's kind of necessary. I don't dislike her. I just don't relate to her on any level. She's a girl. She's a teenager. She's in love. I feel like this is pretty much the only things we have in common. And that isn't enough for me. There's nothing outwardly wrong with her, but I just don't love her.

THE LOVE INTEREST
LEND
I know so many girls swoon over Lend, but I just find him to be so…boring. There's just not much meat on him. He kind of exists. And that's it. I just don't really feel anything for him. I wouldn't cheer if he died, but I wouldn't cry, either. He just isn't really anything special to me. However, I do find him to be annoying at times. Selfish. Stubborn. Blind as a freaking bat, and not in the literal sense.

THE FAERIE
RETH
I've always loved Reth, even though it's true that he has psychotic tendencies in the first two books. But in this book, it becomes perfectly clear that he really does care about Evie in his own weird way. I love that he's complicated, but not so hard to figure out that you get bored and stop trying. He has some seriously conflicting interests but in the end cares enough about Evie to let her do what she wants.

THE PLOT
So, as far as plot is concerned, Endlessly did pretty well. It was exciting. It held my attention and was crazily action-packed.

So why didn't I love it the way of should have, since all of this is true?

It just didn't feel like anything new. It didn't feel very original. It had a very "been there, done that" sort of feel to it. Empty. Hollow. Not special. And I just can't justify giving it a higher rating when it felt like this.

Too much like the first book, too much like the second book, too much like a ton of other YA books out there.

There were, of course, some pretty awesome moments that I loved, that definitely had that original quality about them. But the parts do not make up for the whole. This plot was faulted in many ways, and I can't completely forgive that. And that's fair.

And then there are some nonsense parts that I'm pretty sure were created for the sole purpose of making sure the book lasted longer. But moving on.

THE ROMANCE
The romance department was sadly underdeveloped in this book also, mostly because of a very stupid plot element that I hated. But so as not to spoil anything, I won't say just what it is. Just not so much development. I do like Evie and Lend together sometimes, but they don't seem to have much chemistry. Sometimes it sparks, and sometimes it just…doesn't. a bit lackluster. Boring.

THE WRITING
Kiersten's writing was a novelty the first time I read it, because it was new. Unfortunately for me, it started to get very old very fast. It sometimes tries to hard to be cute and Evie's voice seriously grates at some points. i started to get sick of it before, and now I'm completely tired of reading it. It's very juvenile and it sounds very awkward sometimes and the phrasing…please don't even get me started.

THE ENDING
Oh, boy. So, the ending was very neat and clean and fairy-tale-esque. I don't know…boring. It wasn't anything like what I expected and sadly I don't mean that as a compliment. I felt let down. Disappointed. This book could have been so much more. The ending could have helped make this book. Instead, it feels cheap and ill-contrived and was only unexpected because it was overly obvious.

WRAPUP
I wanted to feel about this book how I felt regarding the first two books, but I just couldn't. It felt very "same old, same old," and frankly, I'm sick of it. I don't know if this book even felt necessary. Honestly, this series probably could have been squeezed into two books or even one. It was just mostly a bunch of random, dragged-out fluff that ruined the series. I may or may not be reading Kiersten's future works—I'll need more info before I decide. And would I recommend this series? Honestly, no. Don't be fooled by the covers.

FINE.


***FINAL RATING: 2.70 RED ROSES***
tinytinytiny
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Here at Sparkles and Lightning, we all know what it means to be Wednesday. Thanks to Jill at Breaking the Spine, it's a day specifically designed for us book bloggers and book lovers to gush over books we all want like our lives depend on it!

So, yeah. That's about it :)

Let's reveal my pick this week, shall we?

Spirit
Brigid Kemmerer
With power comes enemies. Lots of them.
Hunter Garrity just wants to be left alone. He’s learned the hard way that his unusual abilities come at a price. And he can’t seem to afford any allies.
He’s up to his neck in hostiles. His grandfather, spoiling for a fight. The Merrick brothers, who think he ratted them out. Calla, the scheming psycho who wants to use him as bait.
Then there’s Kate Sullivan, the new girl at school. She’s not hostile. She’s bold. Funny. Hot. But she’s got an agenda, too.
With supposedly secret powers rippling to the surface everywhere around him, Hunter knows something ugly is about to go down. But finding out what means he’ll have to find someone he can trust…
 I recently started reading Brigid's Elemental series, and people, it is epic. I absolutely adore it. Five hot guys, awesome and strong heroines. Glittering romance and gorgeous dialogue.

Basically, perfection. Or pretty darn close.

And look at the covers! They're all lovely, but this one is really something else. Probably because it's white instead of a bold color and that's bold in it's own way. So, you know.

Anyway, I am super super excited to read this one!

Lovelovelove,
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What are you waiting on this Wednesday?
Link me up! :)
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Spark (Elemental, #2)
Brigid Kemmerer
Publisher: Kensington Teen
Release Date: August 28, 2012
Source: Publisher
Gabriel Merrick plays with fire. Literally.
Sometimes he can even control it. And sometimes he can’t. Like the fire that killed his parents.
Gabriel has always had his brothers to rely on, especially his twin, Nick. But when an arsonist starts wreaking havoc on their town, all the signs point to Gabriel. Only he’s not doing it.
More than Gabriel’s pride is at stake -- this could cost him his family, maybe his life. And no one seems to hear him. Except a shy sophomore named Layne, a brainiac who dresses in turtlenecks and jeans and keeps him totally off balance. Layne understands family problems, and she understands secrets. She has a few of her own.
Gabriel can’t let her guess about his brothers, about his abilities, about the danger that’s right at his heels. But there are some risks he can’t help taking.
The fuse is lit…
CATCHALL
Spark was very similar in many ways to its predecessor, but also markedly different. The heroine and the hero are both decidedly different from those in Storm, and the plot too is different. I loved Spark just like I loved Storm, and while it wasn't worse, it wasn't necessarily better. It really was just a bit too similar. The characters were developed even more and it was a lot of fun, but somehow it still lacks something for me.

THE HEROINE
LAYNE
Layne was a pretty hard girl to relate to at first. She doesn't have many friends, and we eventually learn that the one friend she does have isn't a very good one at all. I think most everyone can relate to the feeling of being alone at least somewhat, but it was her attitude about it that was difficult to grasp. Even so, I warmed up to her. She's not Becca, and probably not my favorite of all heroines, but she's got pluck. And she has self-respect, which is crazy nice to see. I admire that.

THE FIFTH
HUNTER
Hunter was revealed in Storm to be the son of Guides. In this book, he befriends Gabriel, but at the same time he has his own agenda. It seems like he wants to help Gabriel. Maybe he does. But that's not his only plan. There are still secrets behind his smiles.

THE BROTHERS
MICHAEL
I love Michael. I especially loved how in this book it almost seems like he's beginning to soften. He still has that hard edge, but when someone needs him he pushes it aside. He has to be strong for his brothers, but it's revealed that maybe when he's alone he just kind of lets loose. Frees himself from responsibility, imagines what his life could have been. But he won't abandon his brothers.
NICK
Nick is Gabriel's twin, and we get to witness firsthand the jealousy he has for him. Gabriel thinks of nick as being perfect, the good twin, and it's crystal clear that Nick loves Gabriel and wants to be more like him. When he's thrown into a difficult situation, he wants to do what Gabriel would do. Despite what Gabriel (and occasionally I) think, Nick isn't perfect. But like the rest of us, he tries to be.
GABRIEL
Gabriel is center stage in this book, the focus of this novel, the one whose thoughts we get to peruse relentlessly. He lacks control. He's wild and reckless. Gabriel is the brother who never thinks twice, never thinks about the consequences. If he ever does, he does it too late. He can be difficult, but he's a good person. Even when his activities might get him into serious trouble, he can't stop. Because he knows he's helping people, and that's enough for him. Gabriel is a dynamic character too, very different in the beginning in the book than he is in the end. Awesome character arc.
CHRIS
Chris actually isn't in this book much, like at all. He's there a little, at the meeting with Becca's father or sometimes making cameos at the Merrick house. It's clear he still doesn't really trust Hunter. Not much to him in this book. I wish I could say more, but there's just not much to say.

THE BROTHER
SIMON
I adored Simon. He was sweet for sure, and though he didn't always seem brave he was definitely strong and when he needed to he stood up for himself and for Gabriel to do the right thing. He's stubborn, but not too stubborn. And he cares, that much is clear. He's had a difficult life, but he doesn't let it stop him.

THE PLOT
So, the plot! What happens in Spark?

The first things that really seems to happen is that Gabriel gets a new math teacher. One who won't put up with any of his old tricks. She expects him to get his own work done, or he's off his team. That's something that's important to him, so he goes to Layne, who helped him before, and asks her to tutor him. There are ups and downs before they finally get there, but that's what makes everything so interesting.

Gabriel also finds himself befriending Hunter, and they too get mixed up in very different activities together, ones involving fire. I won't say more than that, but it's very suspenseful and an excellent twist on the story. Moreover, it's clear that it's definitely going somewhere.

Basically, I loved the plot! I did feel that like Storm it dragged at some parts, but overall there was much more action. Spark held my interest much better than Storm and at every moment left me dying to turn the page.

Exciting, sparkling, dangerous. What more could I ask for?

THE ROMANCE
Romance! My favorite. Layne and Gabriel are clearly an unlikely pair—you don't have to be the brightest crayon in the box to know that. He's a jock who's surrounded by people. She's a brainiac and somewhat of a loner. Though they don't have the type of chemistry that crackles through the pages, they have a seriously strong connection and it's played out beautifully more than once. They really work together somehow, and the development of their relationship is sweet and sexy all at once.

THE WRITING
Brigid's writing seems less masterly somehow in this book. Not by much, but I didn't seem to love it as much as I did in the first. Maybe I'm just getting used to it, maybe not. Either way, I needed more. I had a difficult time connecting to Layne's voice, and though I could hear Gabriel's voice clearly hearing half of the story isn't enough for me. Somehow the writing seemed lacking, though her sense of humor was clearly intact. The banter between the brothers only grows and shines in the novel.

THE ENDING
Spark ended on a nice note. Gabriel's story and the development of it were taken far enough, a large part of the plot resolved, but still a ton of room for more. He and Layne are finally really trusting each other, and he's started to achieve the control he desires. But even though so much is going well for him, it's easy to see that his story isn't over. And this is all done without a huge cliffhanger. Just some suspense and a but of drama.

WRAPUP
Spark was a fun read that could have used more work but was also one of the best books I've ever read. The characters sparkles and the plot had enough action to keep me up past midnight and then some. I fell in love with the world all over again. I absolutely and completely recommend this series, and personally I believe it will be no chore to read Brigid's further works. If these books are anything, they are a joy to read, and who could give that up?

FINE.


****FINAL RATING: 4.20 RED ROSES****
tinytinytinytiny
Monday, August 27, 2012
Hi, there! This Monday is my first day of school which is sad :( However, it's also my senior year of high school so it's also happy :)

Anyway, being that it's Monday, it is of course time for yet another Magic Monday! And I know you all love those.

So, what is my giveaway for this week? I'll give you one guess.

Technically I can't actually limit your guesses, plus you can probably see the title and cover, so I'm not sure if there's really a point to the whole guessing thing.

Anyway…I'm rambling. So let's move on.

Hidden
Sophie Jordan
Something else has him...is with him. His fear tastes different...more acrid.

And doesn't it sounds amazing?

I'm always right, so of course it does. :)

Time to enter! Just please read my Giveaways page first, loves.


Good luck, darling roses! I love you all so much, you have no idea.

Lovelovelove,

Sunday, August 26, 2012
A broken past and a divided future can’t stop the electric connection of two teens in this “charged and romantic” (Becca Fitzpatrick), lush novel.

Seventeen-year-old Vane Weston has no idea how he survived the category five tornado that killed his parents. And he has no idea if the beautiful, dark-haired girl who’s swept through his dreams every night since the storm is real. But he hopes she is.

Seventeen-year-old Audra is a sylph, an air elemental. She walks on the wind, can translate its alluring songs, and can even coax it into a weapon with a simple string of commands. She’s also a guardian—Vane’s guardian—and has sworn an oath to protect Vane at all costs. Even if it means sacrificing her own life.

When a hasty mistake reveals their location to the enemy who murdered both of their families, Audra’s forced to help Vane remember who he is. He has a power to claim—the secret language of the West Wind, which only he can understand. But unlocking his heritage will also unlock the memory Audra needs him to forget. And their greatest danger is not the warriors coming to destroy them—but the forbidden romance that’s grown between them.

PREORDER LET THE SKY FALL!
  

Saturday, August 25, 2012
The Catastrophic History of You and Me
Jess Rothenberg
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Release Date: February 21, 2012
Source: Won
Dying of a broken heart is just the beginning.... Welcome to forever.

BRIE'S LIFE ENDS AT SIXTEEN: Her boyfriend tells her he doesn't love her, and the news breaks her heart—literally.

But now that she's D&G (dead and gone), Brie is about to discover that love is way more complicated than she ever imagined. Back in Half Moon Bay, her family has begun to unravel. Her best friend has been keeping a secret about Jacob, the boy she loved and lost—and the truth behind his shattering betrayal. And then there's Patrick, Brie's mysterious new guide and resident Lost Soul . . . who just might hold the key to her forever after.

With Patrick's help, Brie will have to pass through the five stages of grief before she's ready to move on. But how do you begin again, when your heart is still in pieces?
CATCHALL
WOW. Talk about a tearjerker and an emotional roller coaster ride. As ft as that's concerned, this book took me everywhere. From sadness to happiness, from laughter to tears. It wasn't steady at all, and I loved every second of it. The emotions I went through while reading this book were insane. It wasn't perfect, but it was pretty damn close. The title is too long, but it also does fit the book. The Catastrophic History of You and Me was seriously one of the awesomest and most unique books I've ever read. Spontaneous and fun, sweet and sad, it was heart aching and healing all at once.

THE HEROINE
BRIE
Brie is sweet and sassy and at times is a bit too stubborn and occasionally has too much of an attitude, yet these same flaws are what make her so likable. She isn't perfect. She wants to do things her way even though it's not always the right way and she doesn't always consider the consequences. But most importantly, she knows when to admit that she's wrong. And that's one of the best traits a heroine can hope to have.

THE LOVE INTEREST
PATRICK
Patrick is beautiful. I rarely use that word to describe guys because they get insulted, but I don't think Patrick would mind and he really is beautiful. Broken, too. He's been hurt by love in the past, and when that love returns, the same but also different, he doesn't know how to handle it. He tries to in the best way he knows how, wanting to do right by Brie. And he's so sweet, and he carries so much sadness with him. He tragic, but gorgeous. Lost but not broken beyond repair.

THE BOYFRIEND
JACOB
Jacob is the boyfriend who broke Brie's heart. For a while, like her, I didn't like him at all. But he turned out to not be such a bad guy. I even liked him. He just went through some really difficult things, and he wasn't who he expected to be. When he had something to say to Brie, he wasn't really sure how to say it. He went about it the wrong way, but he tried. And Brie and I both realized at about the same time that that's what matters.

THE FRIEND
LARKIN
Larkin. At first she's just a lonely girl who wants a friend, but she ends up being a lot more than that. She's got her own agenda, things she wants to get done, things that need to be settled. And she gets her own specific ending. Not necessarily happy, but not altogether sad. Bittersweet. Teary.

THE PLOT
The plot of this book is a bit erratic. At times all over the place. Often confusing. It jumps from place to place. And don't get me started on the timing. Sometimes seconds will pass in a chapter, sometimes months. It frustrated me to no end.

Nevertheless, it held my interest. Brie's story was definitely beautiful, but at times it could only be tragically beautiful. Sad. Because when you're dead, things can't always work out perfectly. And they don't. Some good is lost. There's sadness mixed in with the happiness. Everything is balanced.

Brie's story is a life after death story. We all want to know what happens after, but no one knows what really does. Here's one idea.

When you die, you have to go through the five stages of grief. Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Sadness, and finally, Acceptance. Brie's journey is tumultuous and occasionally unclear, and though she gives up sometimes she always eventually realizes what really matters.

Though the pacing is odd, I absolutely loved everything about this. It's beautiful.

There were so many twists that I never could have seem coming. The suspense wasn't too much, and yet use when I thought I had everything figured out, I realized I didn't. Because no matter what, there was always more to the story than what lay on the surface.

THE ROMANCE
The romance developed slowly and sweetly and didn't use history as a crutch for instalove. Instead, the love has to build itself again between Brie and Patrick as they learn to get to know each other. And it's so beautiful. Maybe even—dare I say it—some of the best-written romance I've ever read. It's doesn't rely on sparks and chemistry to get its message across, though that does exist and strongly. Jess uses sweet words, kind motions, and the still sharper parts of love—the arguments and the anger—to building the caring between Brie and Patrick, to make the love between them not just realistic but real.

THE WRITING
Jess has such awesome writing. Her sense of humor sparkles everywhere. Sometimes she lets serious moments be serious, but when she can she'll lighten them up with her glowing humor. It's honestly one of the best wits I've ever come across and Brie's voice is just absolutely achingly real. I can hear her in every word Jess writes. Her descriptions aren't spectacular, and I wish there has been more imagery, but the detail was immaculate. And I love how the chapter titles are song lyrics.

THE ENDING
Wow. A little bit too perfect and clean-cut, things wrapped up just a bit too nicely and smoothly. But still happily and beautifully, and I love my happily-ever-afters probably more than the next person. I was crying and smiling as this book ended—tears of happiness, mostly. Because this book drove me in everything direction on the emotions spectrum, and recovery wasn't easy. I loved this book and its ending, but it was much more heavily emotional than your average book. And I drink that kind of stuff up.

WRAPUP
The Catastrophic History of You and Me was an incredible, heartwrenching book that tore me apart and put me back together. Sounds awfully dramatic and probably cliché too, but it's true. There were parts in which I sobbed so hard I would have sworn I would never be happy again. And yet somehow this book still surprised me and turned everything around to give me the happy ending that I longed for. I absolutely and wholeheartedly recommend this book to everyone. Really.

FINE.

****FINAL RATING: 4.25 RED ROSES****
tinytinytinytiny
Friday, August 24, 2012
The Forsaken (The Forsaken, #1)
Lisa M. Stasse
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Release Date: July 10, 2012
Source: Won
A thought-provoking and exciting start to a riveting new dystopian trilogy for fans of The Hunger Games.As an obedient orphan of the U.N.A. (the super-country that was once Mexico, the U.S., and Canada), Alenna learned at an early age to blend in and be quiet—having your parents taken by the police will do that to a girl. But Alenna can’t help but stand out when she fails a test that all sixteen-year-olds have to take: The test says she has a high capacity for brutal violence, and so she is sent to The Wheel, an island where all would-be criminals end up.
The life expectancy of prisoners on The Wheel is just two years, but with dirty, violent, and chaotic conditions, the time seems a lot longer as Alenna is forced to deal with civil wars for land ownership and machines that snatch kids out of their makeshift homes. Desperate, she and the other prisoners concoct a potentially fatal plan to flee the island. Survival may seem impossible, but Alenna is determined to achieve it anyway.
❦❦❦❦❦❦❦❦❦❦❦❦❦❦❦❦❦❦❦❦❦❦❦❦❦❦❦❦❦❦❦❦❦❦❦❦❦❦❦❦❦❦❦❦❦❦❦❦❦❦❦❦❦❦❦ 
CATCHALL
I'm not sure where to begin. There's no doubt in my mind that I absolutely loved The Forsaken—but I also had some issues with it too. To begin with, it is too similar to many dystopians that are out. A bit…formulaic, if you will. Definitely different and fun, but while it was special it lacks that bit of extra oomph I look for. I thought it was a lot of fun and I absolutely loved it. So don't get me wrong. It was a crazy-awesome book, but it could have been better.

THE HEROINE
ALENNA
Alenna is a sweet girl, if too naïve at first. She annoyed me for the first part of the book, but once she adjusts to living of the Wheel, and wanting to learn what happened to her parents and who she is, she really steps up to the plate and gets stronger. she makes mistakes, sure, but that's what makes her so human. She isn't perfect, even though at times she tries to be. She's an incredibly relatable heroine and really identifiable. I found myself wanting what she wanted and hoping what she hoped for. I rarely make that type of super strong connection to a character.

THE LOVE INTEREST
LIAM
Liam is wonderful, if a bit stereotypical and too perfect. He's pretty much the Ideal Man, the best at absolutely everything and one of the village's best assets. Everyone loves him. Everyone also either wants to be with him or get with him. Well, not everyone, but it usually seems that way. You get the idea. I will admit that I find the idea of him very appealing, and though I think his character could have been explored more Lisa did a good job with his development. He has a background story, which is great, and clearly an interesting future ahead of him.

THE FRIENDS
GADYA
Ahhh. I liked Gayda at first, because she befriended Alenna and took her under her wing when she was alone. Then she made a one-eighty and turned out to be a two-faced bipolar freak who was a close friend to Alenna one moment and plotting her demise the next. I couldn't stand her. I wanted to like her, but I absolutely couldn't. She drove me crazy, and not in a good way.
DAVID
David is smart, clearly, and as one of the first characters we really meet in the novel we see him more and more often as time goes on. I certainly didn't expect him to be as important as he is, and his role is completely dynamic. I hope to see more of him in the future installments. A wonderfully fleshed-out character, but despite all we learn about him I imagine he still has his secrets. And I for one can't wait to learn them.
VEIDMAN
I actually liked Veidman, and I would've wanted to learn more about him. He was an extremely interesting character. A leader, but also just a boy. Strong but still vulnerable, and probably hiding some secrets that we may or may not learn. Dynamic.
SINXEN
Sinxen may have been among my favorite characters, because he has a spectacular character arc. When we meet him he's playful and flirty—by his final scene all hints of that are gone, replaced by someone new. Stronger. A warrior who isn't afraid to give his life. I loved him.

THE PLOT
Like I said, rather formulaic. The plot was different, but also not. Does that makes any sense? If it doesn't, don't tell me.

I mean, there were totally some entirely unique aspects. But at the same time, a lot of things had a feel that was a but too familiar to be comfortable. Still, I liked it better than the dystopian Matched, and that one was arguably more unique.

The Forsaken had a plot that constantly bounced from place to place, action at every moment. Not too much info in this one, not too much background. Just enough to keep the story moving along smoothly, to keep everyone from getting confused.

Some things? Too coincidental. Yet somehow, these things worked. Sometimes they worked out too perfectly—but thy worked out. And I guess that's what matters.

Alenna's totalitarian government is different and also not. I never expected the revelation about the Minister, or about learning what really happened to the people who disappeared. and the unique elements like the feelers kept me on my toes, always guessing as to what would happen next. Constantly waiting, eagerly. Impatiently.

THE ROMANCE
The romance was—well, unfortunately it kind of falls under the instalove category. It just didn't really ring realistically to me. Liam and Alenna definitely have chemistry…but chemistry isn't always enough. There wasn't enough development for me to be satisfied. I could have dealt with some feelings being existent, but the whole falling in love thing was totally lost on me because it just didn't work.

THE WRITING
Lisa has lovely and beautiful writing. Alenna's voice could use some work—it definitely wobbles, but it also sounds the way I imagine it would. She doesn't always sound genuine or stay true to herself. Still, even so, her voice is pretty wonderfully developed and she sounds like a human girl who goes through fear and tragedy and loss and such while growing a backbone at the same time. And the description is perfect. There is nothing and no one in this book I can't picture.

THE ENDING
The ending was bittersweet. There's some sadness, but mostly happiness and hope for the future. I love the note this book ends on. Actually, it's perfect. There's rising action to the climax and then falling action to meet the ending. Which, as aforementioned, is perfect. I like that there's not a major cliffhanger. It left me wanting to know what's next, but not too desperate. There was also something that was expected, and something that wasn't. The best combination, since, like, ever.

WRAPUP
Unless you're sick of dystopians and never want to see another one ever again, I honestly and heartfeltly (Is that a word? I don't think so, but oh well.) recommend The Forsaken. It has a likable heroine and a sexy love interest, and the plot is tense and exciting. Though it's far from perfect and I'll be looking for more in the sequels, I think that this is such an exciting book that it's bound to be popular among both boys and girls. A brill debut by Lisa Stasse!

FINE.

****FINAL RATING: 3.75 RED ROSES****
tinytinytinytiny
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Storm (Elemental, #1)
Brigid Kemmerer
Publisher: Kensington
Release Date: April 24, 2012
Source: Publisher
Becca Chandler is suddenly getting all the guys - all the ones she doesn't want. Ever since her ex-boyfriend spread those lies about her. Then she saves Chris Merrick from a beating in the school parking lot. Chris is different. Way different: he can control water just like his brothers can control fire, wind, and earth. They're powerful. Dangerous. Marked for death.
And now that she knows the truth, so is Becca.
Secrets are hard to keep when your life's at stake. When Hunter, the mysterious new kid around school, turns up with a talent for being in the wrong place at the right time, Becca thinks she can trust him. But then Hunter goes head-to-head with Chris, and Becca wonders who's hiding the most dangerous truth of all.
The storm is coming.
CATCHALL
So, wow. Everyone's enjoyed telling me how awesome this book is, and as it turns out this time, they were right. Storm was awesome. Unbelievably so. Five hot guys…what's wrong with that? Pretty much nothing. Aside from that, there was a ton of suspense and action. Even though it was a bit slow moving at first, once it pick up it picked up. This book was spectacular. Blow-away worthy.

THE HEROINE
BECCA
Becca is out butt-kicking heroine who is independent and strong on her own without being too distant from others. She does what needs to be done to the best of her abilities and always always tries to do what is right. She doesn't back down from challenges and doesn't stop until she finds out the truth. And when she does find out the truth, she actually has a reaction and she shows genuine surprise. She wants to know as much as she can. But she doesn't even let her lack of knowledge stop her.

THE NEW KID
HUNTER
Hunter is the new kid in this book, sexy and confident and definitely hiding a secret or two. Becca wants to figure him out, but she also wants so badly to trust him that she does. And though he makes some mistakes, he too is trying to do what's right. And even if it's not, he rationalizes it to himself. In the end, he's frightened and in need of friends. And surprisingly, that's just what he's beginning to find near the end of this novel.

THE BROTHERS
MICHAEL
I love Michael. He is so haunted and yeah, kind of an asshole occasionally, but such a sexy asshole. He had to take on enormous responsibility when he was really too young to do so, and he's spent the rest of his life trying to make good choices and make up for it. He has stone walls set firmly around his heart, but it looks like they might be getting some cracks. Maybe.
NICK
Oh, Nick. He is so…perfect. Don't look at me like that! He is! He's obviously hot, and he never really seems to make mistakes. That's not to say that he doesn't make mistakes…because everyone does…but of all the twins, he is the most balanced. And I love that. He's not the wild one. And I love how that balance is there. More than any of the others in my opinion, Nick shows the delicate balance between the brothers' personalities and their powers.
GABRIEL
Gabriel is just…awesome. Dangerous. Unpredictable. He's definitely the most reckless of the brothers. Wild. Crazy. But all in the most particular and fantastic way. He's the risk taker, the one who's willing to push the limits and cross the lines, never thinking of the consequences. Living in the moment. The polar opposite of his twin. And I love the contrast that's there.
CHRIS
Chris is the main boy focused on in Storm, the one who's head we get to get inside. And it is insane in there. He's the youngest of the brothers and of them all, he's the one who is still the most growing into his powers, fighting for control. He's struggling to find his place, making this also somewhat of a coming-of-age story. But more on Chris specifically—he's spent a lot of time living in his brothers' shadows, but he's stronger than he realizes.

THE FRIEND
QUINN
I just…I just didn't like her at all. She's totally self-absorbed and moreover, annoying. I absolutely couldn't stand her. Becca could really use a new best friend as far as I'm concerned.

THE PLOT
So, wow. I'm not going to lie—Storm moves pretty slowly at first. It takes a while for the story to really get started. Mostly for about the first third-to-half of the novel, the plot just kind of builds and the world is built and a lot of information is dumped on us, but it's necessary, if not my favorite.

And there aren't any major infodumps—most of the stuff we learn is fed to us gradually, so we have time to digest it. And it isn't altogether unexpected, which is actually even nicer. I don't feel completely lost. I know what's going on, and even though I'm expecting it, I love every little thing we learn.

The story unfolds in layers, slowly at the beginning but rapidly in the middle. Once the action begins, it doesn't end until the very last page.

Unexpected revelations. Thrilling endings. A shocking ending that I never could have seen coming. Really. But more on that ending later.

Hunter isn't who he seems to be, and he also is. And that's a big part of the plot. It many ways, though this book focuses on Chris it revolves around Hunter.

This book definitely has a unique plot. Some aspects of it were similar to some things I've read before, but it was different enough that I didn't feel cheated at all.

THE ROMANCE
Oh, the romance. It develops so slowly and sweetly, with hopefulness near the end and the story far from over. The chemistry between Chris and Becca flies across the page, all but shooting sparks. Every moment they interact is thrilling in that girly and romantic pink-hearts Valentine's day way. and love very second of it. Brigid is clearly a master at romance without making it sickening, and after reading so much instalove lately this is an excellent refreshment.

THE WRITING
Brigid has fantastic writing! It's seriously some of the best third person I've ever come across. Without using the word "I," she is somehow able to completely connect me the her characters' thoughts. That type of thing is a gift. Everything about her writing is beautiful, but understated. It doesn't shine like stars, but it's every bit as gorgeous. I completely love it. It makes Becca and Chris totally real in my mind.

THE ENDING
So, as I promised, the ending! Absolutely—awesome. (It occurred to me ten seconds ago that I totally overuse the word "awesome," but whatever.) It just built up spectacularly. It honestly don't think I could have seen it coming. Things were revealed that I never saw coming, just as things I suspected but wasn't totally sure of also materialized, which was perfect. I was the best combination of surprised and not. Lovely.

WRAPUP
Like most of the people who recommended this book to me, I absolutely recommend this book to others! It was awesome (there's that word again) and different. A fun and sexy paranormal books with vampires of werewolves or angels or some combination of the three. It was instead something totally different. I've actually already read Spark, and I'll definitely be reading the rest of this series and probably also whatever Brigid put out in the future! Storm was so much fun to read.

FINE.

****FINAL RATING: 4.30 RED ROSES****
tinytinytinytiny
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Hi there darlings!

Thank to Jill at Breaking the Spine, the creator of this wonderful meme, it's time for another Wednesday full of gorgeous covers and bouncing in anticipation!

Wait…you don't bounce? Uhhh…I don't either. Much. I was kidding about that.

So, anyway! Moving on! It was tough to make a pick this week, but I finally settled on a great one! Like, the best freaking choice ever!

So I bet you want to know what it is, hmmmm?

Fragments
Dan Wells
Kira Walker has found the cure for RM, but the battle for the survival of humans and Partials is only just beginning. Kira has left East Meadow in a desperate search for clues as to who she is. That the Partials themselves hold the cure for RM in their blood cannot be a coincidence—it must be part of a larger plan, a plan that Kira knows she is a part of, a plan that could save both races. Her allies are Afa Demoux, an unhinged drifter and former employee of ParaGen, and Samm and Heron, the Partials who betrayed her and saved her life, the only ones who know her secret. But can she trust them?
Meanwhile, back on Long Island, what’s left of humanity is gearing up for war with the Partials, and Marcus knows his only hope is to delay them until Kira returns. But Kira’s journey will take her deep into the overgrown wasteland of postapocalyptic America, and they will both discover that their greatest enemy may be one they didn’t even know existed.
 I seriously LOVED Partials all madly, you guys. It was like an incredible freaking book.

I will kindly refrain from mentioning the fact that Dan KILLED MY FAVORITE CHARACTER.

Oops. ;)

However, he apologized and stuff and I am very forgiving and Partials was mad awesome so of course of course of course I will be reading Fragments. There's no way I can not read it. That might actually kill me, you know.

Fragments is EASILY one of my most highly-anticipated reads.

I mean, just LOOK at that cover! It is like so so SO incredibly beautiful. And the synopsis just sounds so super amazing.

(And if you haven't read Partials yet, buy your copy right away!)

Lovelovelove,
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What are you waiting on this Wednesday?
Link me up! :)
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Rift (Nightshade Prequel, #1)
Andrea Cremer
Publisher: Philomel
Release Date: August 7, 2012
Source: Publisher
Chronicling the rise of the Keepers, this is the stunning prequel to Andrea Cremer's internationally bestselling Nightshade trilogy!
Sixteen-year-old Ember Morrow is promised to a group called Conatus after one of their healers saves her mother's life. Once she arrives, Ember finds joy in wielding swords, learning magic, and fighting the encroaching darkness loose in the world. She also finds herself falling in love with her mentor, the dashing, brooding, and powerful Barrow Hess. When the knights realize Eira, one of their leaders, is dabbling in dark magic, Ember and Barrow must choose whether to follow Eira into the nether realm or to pledge their lives to destroying her and her kind.
With action, adventure, magic, and tantalizing sensuality, this book is as fast-paced and breathtaking as the Nightshade novels.
CATCHALL
I liked Rift. Upon first reading it, I was convinced I loved it, but not I'm really not so sure. I liked it a lot—there's no doubt about that—but I don't think it had that extra special something that I look for. In many ways it felt a bit too similar to the Nightshade series. At the same time, it was different in a lot of ways and I loved that. But it just wasn't really enough for me. I couldn't deal with it sometimes. And hello, there was instalove, which kind of ruined it. For all that this book had some seriously good parts, it also had some seriously bad parts, which eventually just balanced it out and made it a just okay book.

THE HEROINE
EMBER
Ember. For whatever reason, I had a hard time liking her. It's not that there's anything fundamentally wrong with her, but she's just not very likable and there was nothing that drew me to her. I wanted to relate to her and like her, but I just couldn't. For one thing, I suppose, she's rather stubborn. Too stubborn. That's pretty much the worst of her faults. Even so, for whatever reason I just didn't like her. I don't hate her, but still. However, there are definitely times when I admire her. She's a strong heroine. She lacks my respect because of some of the choices she makes—but I don't hate her. Not completely, anyway.

THE LOVE INTEREST
BARROW
So, Barrow. Honestly, I just don't feel like there's much to say about him. He just kind of, you know, exists. He's supposed to be all hot and sexy and I'm sure that many ladies think he is but you can't count me among them. I just don't feel anything for him. No hatred, but no love either. He is protective on Ember, which is sweet, but he still just doesn't do it for me. Barrow is a stereotypical man without much to him, and he has no real substance. He's like…cardboard. You could knock him over. Literally.

THE TRAITOR
EIRA
Ah, Eira. Probably the most interesting character in this book. Feeling abandoned and disrespected, she finds someone who seems to understand her and gives her the attention she feels that she deserves. And when she gets that attention, she's willing to overlook what's right and will do whatever is asked of her. Watching her fall is interesting, but for all that she is the most interesting character, she still isn't all that interesting. Getting in her head is fun, though. I love seeing what she's thinking and how she feels.

THE FRIEND
ALISTAIR
Ick. Just…ick. He seems okay at first, even cool, but then he just becomes…like, a roach. He has no self-respect whatsoever and clearly doesn't even really care about Ember and he's such a freaking sexist. If I try to say more I might throw something, so um, yeah. Moving on.

THE PLOT
Honestly, the plot was pretty interesting. Now if only the book had focused more on it.

Its starts with Ember's traveling to fulfill her father's oath and the tests she must face while there. There's actually an awesome family dynamic thing going that I wish Andrea had explored more. Ember's relationship with her father, her mother, and her sister are unique but definitely could have been fleshed out more. So there's that lost.

So she faces these tests, blah blah blah blah blah, and of course not only passes but passes with flying colors. She is untrained (to be fair, not totally untrained with swordplay but she is using a completely unrecognizable weapon that she's never used before), but of course nonetheless she is totally ah-mazing. She does super epic and awesome and everyone is all "WHOA THIS CHICK IS SO SKILLED." And I was just all "I'm going to go bang my head on the wall now."

Eira and I suppose her sister Cian too are also focused on in this novel. I love the dynamic between them, and their unusual but also close relationship. It's an interesting exploration, especially as we get to see how it changes as the story goes on. Eira's story diverges from Cian's somewhere in the middle, and yet the two and somehow also still connected. That part was awesome.

Back to Ember. Ember's story is so…predictable. It's pretty easy to see what's going to happen next. Even without trying.

THE ROMANCE
So, instalove. Ember and Barrow don't even have chemistry! Clearly, many people would beg to differ, but…obviously not me. There is literally nothingthere that I can feel between them. And I just don't even get it! So confusing! What on earth do they see in each other??! What is the magical thing that brings them together??! I am ranting a bit here, but I honestly just. Do not. Get it. It is the most confusing thing ever. They're just suddenly together and BAM! Kisses and love! And…ugh. It is so frustrating. There's no development at all.

THE WRITING
One thing that probably will never change is that I love Andrea's writing. I don't always love the things she writes—or the things she doesn't for that matter—but still, her writing is beautiful. Less flowing together seamlessly in this novel than in the last, but it could be seriously worse. And her descriptions—are just so lovely. They are lush and beautiful. However, even though I normally prefer to read third person, Andrea's third person lacks something. Personalilty. Character. It falls kind of flat and doesn't feel like anything special. Even her dialogue lacks sparkle this time. It's disappointing and sad, but true.

THE ENDING
I'm not a fan of the ending. It was good in some ways, but not in others. It ends just as the action is finally finally starting, so the entire book is just one huge buildup and by the time I finally get my wish and something interesting and explosive actually occurs, the book just decides to end. On the bright side, it is a bonus that some action occurred before the book ended. And though I approve of Ember's actions in this case, some of her mistakes do come into play here. Overall, the ending could have come sooner than it did. Too much building up for not much result. A tad boring, if you will.

WRAPUP
Basically, this was a lackluster novel that tried to ride on the popularity of Nightshade and as far as I'm concerned failed. It just wasn't enough for me. It wasn't terrible, and I'll definitely be reading the sequel, but I won't necessarily be expecting much. I love Andrea's writing, but as far as her stories go, they're just like…lusty teenage fantasies. That's the best and nicest way I can think to describe it. I really like her novels, but they all really seem to have something lacking. I could recommend it, but that would depend on the person. I wouldn't recommend it to just anyone. For example, if you're obsessed with the Nightshade series, you will probably love it.

FINE.

***FINAL RATING: 3.10 RED ROSES***
tinytinytiny
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I'm a high school senior and ballroom dancer who spends too much time curled up with a good book. Red roses are my favorite and I love a good love story.

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