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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Hello, and welcome to the Sparkles and Lightning edition of Waiting on Wednesdays! It's a weekly bookish meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that highlights highly anticipated books and ordinarily results in much gushing and fangirling.

Resist (Breathe, #2)
Sarah Crossan
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release Date: October 8, 2013

The sequel—and conclusion—to Sarah Crossan's Breathe. Three teen outlaws must survive on their own in a world without air, exiled outside the glass dome that protects what's left of human civilization. Gripping action, provocative ideas, and shocking revelations in a dystopian novel that fans of Patrick Ness and Veronica Roth will devour.
Bea, Alina, and Quinn are on the run. They started a rebellion and were thrown out of the pod, the only place where there's enough oxygen to breathe. Bea has lost her family. Alina has lost her home. And Quinn has lost his privileged life. Can they survive in the perilous Outlands? Can they finish the revolution they began? Especially when a young operative from the pod's Special Forces is sent after them. Their only chance is to stand together, even when terrible circumstances force them apart. When the future of human society is in danger, these four teens must decide where their allegiances lie. Sarah Crossan has created a dangerous, and shattered society in this wrenching, thought-provoking, and unforgettable post-apocalyptic novel.

Honestly, I thought this series was going to be a trilogy but I'm way more excited that it's going to only be a duology. Too many series are dragged out now and while I loved Breathe and I'm sure I'll love Resist I'm glad it's going to be concluded.

Breathe was an incredible, gorgeous book, so I'm sure I'll adore Resist. I just have to! I can't wait to see what happens next, and I'm sure it gets even more intense than the first book, which is saying a lot.

Plus, ummm, hello, the cover! I love how perfectly it matches the first one. The purple and green will look almost ridiculously beautiful together, and the theme with the dome is perfect, and reflects the changing tone of the books as well. Flawless.


What are you waiting on this Wednesday?
Link me up! :)
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Phoenix (Black City, #2)
Elizabeth Richards
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Source: Publisher
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
Ash and Natalie are just starting to build a life together when things in the United Sentry States go from bad to worse. Ash and Natalie find themselves at the center of turmoil when dictator Purian Rose threatens Natalie’s life unless Ash votes in favor of Rose’s Law—a law that will send Darklings and other dissenters to a deadly concentration camp known as the Tenth.
When Ash can’t bring himself to trade Natalie’s life for those of millions of Darklings, her fate is sealed. Enter Elijah Theroux, the handsome Bastet boy Natalie once saved from her mother’s labs, where he’d been experimented on and tortured. It was his venom the Sentry used to create the lethal Golden Haze, the heart of the government conspiracy that led to Black City’s uprising and Ash’s rebirth as the Phoenix, the face of the rebellion. Elijah is back and Ash doesn’t like him; it’s clear he’s taken with Natalie, and Ash fears she may have feelings for him as well.
But Elijah also may have the answer to taking down Purian Rose for good—a powerful weapon called the Ora. Ash, Natalie and Elijah just have to escape Black City undetected to find it. But fleeing the city and finding this weapon (if it even exists) are easier said than done, and the quest could tear Ash and Natalie apart, even pushing them into the arms of others.
This enthralling sequel to Black City is just as absorbing, delicious and steamy as the first book, leaving readers hungry for the series conclusion.

I loved Black City, so I was extremely eager to dive into Phoenix. I was nervous, though, too, because of some things in the blurb. Despite my hesitation, however, once I picked it up I simply couldn't put it down. It was fresh and fast-paced, and a wholly satisfying sequel to the first book. Everything about it was gorgeous to the point where I really can't have many complaints, and the cast of characters was as sparkling as I expected.

Ash is just as sexy as I remember him in this book, and yet he somehow also becomes more layered. He is torn between wanting to do what is right between doing what he really wants to do at times, and it's a very realistic struggle to watch him go through. He can be really dense about some things, but he's also smart. There's a lot of love in his heart, and he's such a caring person even though he doesn't always know how to show it.

I have mixed feelings about Natalie, to be honest. Part of me really likes her, but the other part of me wants to smack her for being such an idiot. I get where her feelings are coming from, but she goes about acting on them in what I think is absolutely the wrong way. She has good intentions, but one plan in particular that she enacts is really stupid and just ticked me off. A lot.

Plot-wise, I may have preferred Black City a tiny bit more, but Phoenix still had an awesome plot. Also, the development was better, even if only marginally. This isn't a bad things, however, because Black City also boasted wonderful development. There wasn't necessarily marked improvement, but it didn't deteriorate either.

I like how the rebellion is more of a central focus in this one. It wasn't fully developed in book one, because it was more about uncovering evidence and that sort of thing. This book has more meat to it. It moves forward a to more, and there's way more going on. I also would argue that it becomes much more intense.

There's more at stake in this book, so everything has bigger strings attached to it. There's no simple answer because no matter what Natalie and Ash choose to do, someone loses. They cannot have everything even though they might like to, and they're forced to realize that they won't always be able to save everyone.

Overall, I think Phoenix had a more gripping plot than Black City did. We see more than enough of a particular villain, and there are new ones who show up. There's a death that I definitely did not expect, and though it made me gasp for breath, I do think it really contributed to the plot. It made things move forward, and provided more motive as well.

I love this romance, to be honest. It's hot and it's passionate, but it can also be very sweet and protective. There are numerous misunderstandings that drove me insane, but they did keep me riveted. Ash and Natalie's love story is a very unique one, and it only develops further here. There are other people in the picture, but the romance her can only ever be about the two of them for me. The development was fantastic, and there were some truly heartbreaking scenes.

Elizabeth is wonderfully talented, and there's real growth clear in the voices of her characters. They're still not quite distinct enough from each other for my tastes, but I'm definitely starting to understand more the differences between them. I like her descriptive sequences but she still struggles a bit in the characters' thoughts. There are times when Natalie and Ash are monologuing to themselves and I'm just kind of like "Yeah, no one thinks to themselves like that."

The ending absolutely murdered me. I realize this probably sounds like a very harsh choice of words, but I am actually completely serious. I died. It should be illegal to end a book this way. I literally flipped the pages back and forth over and over again as if that would make more text appear. It was a cruel, albeit clever, way to end the book. You have no choice but to want more.

Phoenix was a fabulous sequel with a killer plot, and I'm definitely dying to see book three. Elizabeth Richards might be a little bit evil, but I am still definitely a fan for life. I cannot wait to see how this all ends and what comes next. If you liked book one, you and Phoenix will get along just fine. If you haven't tried Black City but you don't mind another fun dystopian, give it a shot.

****FINAL RATING: 4.25 STARS****


Monday, June 10, 2013

Hello, darlings! First off, I truly cannot tell you all how awesome you are. All your kind words these past few days have warmed my heart and really mean a lot. Thank you all for your love and appreciation.

Now, for the first Magic Monday in quite some time! This is also my last full day of high school ever (I do have to attend part-time on Tuesday, which is my last day) so I'm pretty excited! And so I chose a really highly anticipated book to feature this week!

Antigoddess (Goddess War, #1)
Kendare Blake
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: September 10, 2013
They'll be on me as soon as I fall. So fast. They could take me anytime they want, but they like it better that way. With me broken and degraded. Without the breath to scream. They'll tear me into ribbons and gulp me down. I'll see their necks and shoulders jerk while they do it. I'll hear the shredding of my own skin.

So, there it is. A bit grotesque, no? But that's exactly why I like it. I have actually been lucky enough to have the pleasure of reading Antigoddess, and I can tell you that it is absolutely perfect. It also made me cry, because apparently Kendare really, really likes to make me cry. This book is fantastic. So, if you want to enter, you only have to do one thing for me: read my giveaways page. Then just fill out any or all of the rafflecopter entries below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck, everyone! Thank you again for welcoming me back! Much love!


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Endless Knight (The Arcana Chronicles, #2)
Kresley Cole
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 1, 2013
In the second book of the Arcana Chronicles Evie has now fully come into her powers as the tarot Empress. And Jackson was there to see it all. In the aftermath of killing Arthur, the tarot Alchemist, Evie realizes that a war is brewing between the other teens that, following the apocalypse, have been given powers and its kill or be killed.
Things get even more complicated when Evie meets Death, the mysterious, sexy Endless Knight. Somehow the Empress and Death share a romantic history - one that Evie can't remember, but Death can't forget. She is drawn to the Endless Knight, but is in love with Jack. Determined to discover why she's been granted these powers, Evie struggles to accept her place in a prophecy that will either save the world, or completely destroy it.


Champion (Legend, #3)
Marie Lu
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Release Date: November 5, 2013
The explosive finale to Marie Lu’s New York Times bestselling LEGEND trilogy—perfect for fans of THE HUNGER GAMES and DIVERGENT!
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.


Unhinged (Splintered, #2)
A. G. Howard
Publisher: Amulet
Release Date: January 7, 2014
Alyssa Gardner has been down the rabbit hole and faced the bandersnatch. She saved the life of Jeb, the guy she loves, and escaped the machinations of the disturbingly seductive Morpheus and the vindictive Queen Red. Now all she has to do is graduate high school and make it through prom so she can attend the prestigious art school in London she's always dreamed of.
That would be easier without her mother, freshly released from an asylum, acting overly protective and suspicious. And it would be much simpler if the mysterious Morpheus didn’t show up for school one day to tempt her with another dangerous quest in the dark, challenging Wonderland—where she (partly) belongs.
As prom and graduation creep closer, Alyssa juggles Morpheus’s unsettling presence in her real world with trying to tell Jeb the truth about a past he’s forgotten. Glimpses of Wonderland start to bleed through her art and into her world in very disturbing ways, and Morpheus warns that Queen Red won’t be far behind.
If Alyssa stays in the human realm, she could endanger Jeb, her parents, and everyone she loves. But if she steps through the rabbit hole again, she'll face a deadly battle that could cost more than just her head.



Saturday, June 8, 2013

Hello, hello, darlings! Thanks for stopping by today! Today’s post isn’t a traditional one—instead, it’s a celebration of my dearest friend Eileen from Singing and Reading in the Rain! She’s one of my best friends, and it’s her fourteenth birthday today, and so we are celebrating how utterly fantastic she is. So, today, I’m going to talk a little about how I met her and why I love her so dearly.

Once upon a time, when I first joined twitter, I went around looking for other book bloggers to follow. So, @EileenLi8 comes up as a suggestion when I followed someone else, and her bio was cute (although I don’t remember what it was) so I was like, okay, why not? So I followed her, and then I think there was this period of time where I followed her and that’s it.

Then one day, I replied to one of her tweets, which led to a full conversation, which led to both of us realizing that we were completely crazy and therefore completely perfect friends. We’ve gotten closer and closer, and now we’ve gotten so close that we have like no boundaries. Seriously. When I meet her (hopefully SOON) I will legitimately, actually tackle hug her. And possibly smash a red velvet cake in her face.

Eileen is my Twinny. I call her that because we’re alike in all these crazy, random ways. Like, we both like the same colors of Skittles and only eat certain, specific cough drops. We both love red velvet and wearing socks. There’s a ton more stuff but we’d spend the rest of our lives here listing it all. It’s weird but kind of awesome, because most people are like “OMG ANNABELLE YOU’RE SO WEIRD” and Eileen is just like “I FEEL YOU” and it’s the best thing ever. It’s also fun because every time we discover something else we have in common we have these happy dance moments. Plus, our birthdays are very close, so that’s another awesome thing we have in common.

Plus, she is like super SUPER amazingly generous. She is always giving me books and it makes me feel totally bad because I am actually super lazy about going to the post office (not a surprise to those who know me, probably) but yeah. I don’t even know how she became so nice. She sends me like package after package and she is so excited about it and it’s so cute.

Which brings me to my next point. She’s flipping adorable. She is the most adorable person you will ever ever ever meet. I’m not even kidding, you guys. She is literally, actually so cute it kills me. I mean, it should be illegal to be that cute. Seriously. It isn’t fair. At all. I think she stole all the cuteness. But then she is so cute she can totally get away with it. It’s a catch-22 of epic proportions.

Also, I love her so much. So so so so so much. She will probably say that she loves me more, but she is lying. I totally love her more. So don’t forget it! But I might let her win the argument today, since it is her birthday and all. However, every other day of the year I love her more. Forever.

To wrap this up, Eileen is literally the most adorable person in the universe, and the sweetest, most genuine person ever. I love her tons, and I am so happy to have met her. I am certain that we will always be close friends. (We have to, because she’s already going to be one of my bridesmaids. Not that I am getting married right now, obviously. In the future.) In short, Eileen is amazing, beautiful, incredible, wonderful, and I adore her. I hope this birthday is the happiest one so far and that there are many more to come.

Okay, roses, now I want to ask a little favor. Can y’all go wish Eileen a very happy birthday? Please? Please please please? I will love you forever and ever if you do. I mean, I will love you forever and ever anyway, but still. Come on. Pretty please? With ice cream and red roses on top. Because whipped cream and those maraschino cherries are gross.

Anyway, I am getting off topic. So, I would majorly appreciate it if you could do that for me. You guys are, as always, the best.

Singing and Reading in the Rain

Where does Eileen's birthday bash stop next? I'm totally not telling. You can, however click on this link and find out.


Friday, June 7, 2013
Hello, sweet roses! I have missed you bunches!

First, I really owe you all an apology. It was rude of me to take an unannounced hiatus, and then not say anything during it at all. The truth is, I was feeling really discouraging from all the negativity I've experienced in the blogosphere lately and my motivation basically just plummeted. Even when I knew I should at least update to let you guys know what was going on, I just couldn't bring myself to do it. So I'm very, very, very sorry, and I hope you can forgive me.

I also received a lovely and sincere email apology from the person who such awful comments, and they have my full forgiveness and love. It was a touching gesture, and I appreciate that.

In any case, I am back now! I will once again be dedicating myself to my blog, so stick around, please. I won't pull any more irresponsible stunts. I'm back, hopefully for a very long time, and I don't plan to leave again, at least not so abruptly. I do love blogging, and I love this community.

Finally, some announcements: I have some exciting giveaways coming up. I'm also turning 18 on the 19th, so I'm pretty excited about that. Also, I know I usually post at midnight and I hate to have something weird so soon after I've just returned to blogging, but tomorrow's post will be going up at 5 AM PST, not midnight, because Reasons. You'll see.

I think that covers everything. Again, I really am sorry, and I hope you can understand.


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Welcome to my young adult reading blog! Sparkles and Lightning has young adult book reviews with the occasional children's or adult's book review sprinkled in. It will also be totally and completely fun :) Have a look around, have some laughs, and most of all, have a perfectly sparkly, electric time!

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I'm a university student 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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