Oct 30, 2017

Review | Fateful by Claudia Gray

Title: Fateful by Claudia Gray
Series: N/A
Genre: YA - Paranormal
Publication: September 13, 2011 by HarperTeen
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis: Eighteen-year-old maid Tess Davies is determined to escape the wealthy, troubled family she serves. It’s 1912, and Tess has been trapped in the employ of the Lisles for years, amid painful memories and twisted secrets. But now the Lisle family is headed to America, with Tess in tow. Once the ship they’re sailing on—the RMS Titanic—reaches its destination, Tess plans to strike out and create a new lifefor herself.

Her single-minded focus shatters when she meets Alec, a handsome first-class passenger who captivates her instantly. But Alec has secrets of his own. He’s in a hurry to leave Europe, and whispers aboard the ship say it’s because of the tragic end of his last affair with the French actress who died so gruesomely and so mysteriously. . . .

Soon Tess will learn just how dark Alec’s past truly is. The danger they face is no ordinary enemy: werewolves exist and are stalking him—and now her, too. Her growing love for Alec will put Tess in mortal peril, and fate will do the same before their journey on the Titanic is over.

Thoughts: I have to admit, I was a little weary going into this one because of the other book I've read by Claudia Gray, but because of the Titanic setting I really wanted to give it a chance. I am so happy I did. This was unexpectedly a very romantic and suspenseful story of star crossed lovers - much like those from the 1997 Titanic movie.

Unlike the movie though, this story has werewolves, and it is very similar to most paranormal YA books out there, that much is true. They meet, they're not supposed to be together, they have an undeniable attraction, they decided they don't care what others say and stuff happens that will still most likely keep them apart and then doesn't. That could easily be the description to so many paranormal books out there. So, in all honesty, what makes this one unique is the setting. Yes, it takes place in the Titanic and while you're reading, you can't help but imagine the movie (if you've seen it, which of course you have) and its beautiful sets and costumes, and that adds a magical sort of the feel. Insert some werewolves and the story has a fun twist, and then the ship begins to sink and its a race for their lives.

We know the ship is going to sink, we know that. And for a bit there, I really wondered if it was possible that Gray would change that, but she didn't. She couldn't. So as you can expect, romance happens and then an attempt to survive happens. I really can't say why I enjoyed this so much. The characters were okay, the plot was interesting, but not really unique, and the twist at the end was expected. But I guess I have to admit that it really comes down to this story taking place on such a grand, doomed setting. Also, I have a fondness for werewolves.

So do I recommend it? Sure, if you love predictable paranormal YA, this one is definitely for you. It's a fun story, a little sad, a little funny. It's not that special, but it is definitely memorable and it will have you turning pages quickly to find out what happens next.

Oct 27, 2017

Unfinished Reads #5

Arena by Holly Jennings

I tried so hard to finish this, but I really couldn't get into the story. It was really good, but also really reminded of The Hunger Games with a sort of twist. I want to pick this up again in the future, but when I'm up for a science fiction/dystopian book. At the moment, I am okay with waiting.

Rating: DNF

Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
I think I really could've enjoyed this one except when I was listening to the audiobook, the narrator sounded like she was speaking through her teeth and I couldn't continue listening to it. I tried a hard copy and I could still hear the narrators voice in my head and I knew I wouldn't be able to read this any time soon. I know it sounds silly but it's been quite some time that I put down that book and thinking of that now still makes me cringe.

Rating: DNF
Maybe This Time by Jennifer Crusie

This is such a disappointment for me. Jennifer Crusie has been one of my all time favorite authors for years and years, and when I picked this up, I honestly thought I would fly through it. I was so sad when I found this one to be completely unoriginal and pretty silly of a story. I skimmed most of the last half of the book and really didn't care for the story much.


A Midsummer's Night's Scream by R.L. Stine

I'd been looking forward to picking up an R.L. Stine book for years since I found out he had some YA out but this was pretty bad. It was similar to his Fear Street books but it felt like it was for a much younger audience. Maybe I've outgrown his books, but this was such a cringy book that I really couldn't read the whole thing, so I skimmed the entirety of the book.


Oct 26, 2017

Quick Reviews #8 | Bedbugs by Ben H. Winters // Bang by Barry Lyga

NOTE → This is a quick set of reviews on books I read some time ago, in attempts to catch up on reviews. I do not have a star rating for these reviews, but I do try to express how I felt about the book. This is a feature I am bringing back and will be regularly used to share my thoughts on books.

Bedbugs by Ben H. Winters

Synopsis: FOR RENT: Top two floors of beautifully renovated brownstone, 1300 sq. ft., 2BR 2BA, eat-in kitchen, one block to parks and playgrounds. No broker’s fee.

Susan and Alex Wendt have found their dream apartment.

Sure, the landlady is a little eccentric. And the elderly handyman drops some cryptic remarks about the basement. But the rent is so low, it’s too good to pass up.

Big mistake. Susan soon discovers that her new home is crawling with bedbugs . . . or is it? She awakens every morning with fresh bites, but neither Alex nor their daughter Emma has a single welt. An exterminator searches the property and turns up nothing. The landlady insists her building is clean. Susan fears she’s going mad—until a more sinister explanation presents itself: she may literally be confronting the bedbug problem from Hell.

Quick Thoughts: This is one of those books that sat on my shelf for years before I picked it up, with high hopes that it would be a creepy and fun read. It wasn't, and for the most part, I found myself bored. I had to skim through most of the book because I had such a hard time really getting into it. It wasn't creepy at all, although there was an added mystery to it since we never really knew whether we could trust the protagonist at all. The conclusion also felt really rushed and forced.

Bang by Barry Lyga

Synopsis: Sebastian Cody did something horrible, something no one—not even Sebastian himself—can forgive. At the age of four, he accidentally shot and killed his infant sister with his father’s gun.

Now, ten years later, Sebastian has lived with the guilt and horror for his entire life. With his best friend away for the summer, Sebastian has only a new friend—Aneesa—to distract him from his darkest thoughts. But even this relationship cannot blunt the pain of his past. Because Sebastian knows exactly how to rectify his childhood crime and sanctify his past.

It took a gun to get him into this.

Now he needs a gun to get out.

Quick Thoughts: This had a very interesting premise, and I can't say that I didn't enjoy, because I did but I still felt a little unsatisfied. I have loved a couple of Barry Lyga's books, but this one felt sort of meh. While I was intrigued a bit, I didn't feel a connection with the protagonist that I was hoping to feel, and felt that maybe it was too young for my liking. Middle grade isn't what I normally read, but I had higher hopes for this one and it didn't live up to my expectations.

Oct 4, 2017

Author Event | Colleen Hoover - Without Merit Tour!

Last night I had the opportunity to quickly meet Colleen Hoover, author Ugly Love, November 9, It Ends With Us, and her newest YA book Without Merit. She was touring for Without Merit, which I was lucky enough to receive an eARC for. Thanks to Ariele Fredman and Atria books for giving me the opportunity to participate in another blog tour. If you haven't checked that out, I have a short review on the book yesterday and there's also a giveaway!


Colleen Hoover was appearing at Chevalier Books in Los Angeles and when I found out, I immediately bought my ticket. I also convinced one of my best friends to get a ticket too, so I wouldn't be on my own. With the purchase of the ticket, we also received a copy of the book, which is great because I love adding more books to my CoHo collection.

We got there right on time and it was packed. The bookstore itself is small to be holding such a large event, so people were filled up all the way in and even crowded around the front. I noticed there was already some sort of line so I asked a nearby fan if they were in line to get their book, but they were already in line for the signing even though CoHo was speaking. We got directed to the front and after making our way through the crowds, we managed to get our books. But our number in line was #133 so we realized we had a bit to go. It was a little difficult to hear Colleen even though she had a microphone, but she was answering questions for the most part. She discussed the names of her characters in Without Merit, and talked of possible upcoming movie adaptations, but she only spoke for about 10 minutes which was a little disappointing.

After her talk was over, they had people get in line by their number but since we had such a long way to go, we headed for the coffee shop next door, and then continued to browse a few more shops down the street. About 45 minutes later we made our way back and they were only in the 60's but we decided to hang around the shop instead. We browsed through books, and I really wanted to get a few, but am on a book buying ban! Finally we were standing in line, and even though we had a few restless people get ahead of us, it was overall a quick process.

When we finally met her, she signed all my books (I had 4 for her to sign) and I took some pictures. I felt sort of awkward because CoHo didn't seem to want to talk at this point (since she was probably tired from the commotion) so we got a quick picture and were off. It was a overwhelming, but I was really excited about visiting the "oldest indy bookstore in Los Angeles" and am glad I had my friend with me. I was a little disappointed with the whole experience because there were too many people in the small area, and the bookshop workers weren't coordinating the event as well as it should have been, but overall am glad I was there to meet her.

Don’t miss Colleen on tour for WITHOUT MERIT:

Monday, October 2nd
7:00 PM    
17171 Bothell Way NE
Lake Forest Park, WA  98155

Tuesday, October 3rd
7:00 PM    
126 N. Larchmont Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA  90004

Wednesday, October 4th
7:00 PM    
8900 NE Flintlock Rd
Kansas City, MO  64157

Thursday, October 5th
7:00 PM    
26 S La Grange Rd
La Grange, IL  60525

Friday, October 6th
7:00 PM    
2692 Madison Road
Cincinnati, OH  45208

Saturday, October 7th
6:00 PM    
Coventry Mall
351 W. Schuylkill Road Ste G16
Pottstown, PA  19465

Sunday, October 8th
3:00 PM to 5:00 PM   
500 West 36th Street
Hudson Mercantile
New York, NY  10018

Tuesday, October 10
7:00 PM    
B&N College
Southern Methodist University Bookstore
3060 Mockingbird Lane
Dallas, TX  75205

Oct 3, 2017

\\ Blog Tour \\ Review + Giveaway! | Without Merit by Colleen Hoover

Title: Without Merit by Colleen Hoover
Series: N/A
Genre: YA - Contemporary
Publication: October 3, 2017 by Atria Books
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Rating:  ★★★★★

Synopsis: The Voss family is anything but normal. They live in a repurposed church, newly baptized Dollar Voss. The once cancer-stricken mother lives in the basement, the father is married to the mother’s former nurse, the little half-brother isn’t allowed to do or eat anything fun, and the eldest siblings are irritatingly perfect. Then, there’s Merit.

Merit Voss collects trophies she hasn’t earned and secrets her family forces her to keep. While browsing the local antiques shop for her next trophy, she finds Sagan. His wit and unapologetic idealism disarm and spark renewed life into her—until she discovers that he’s completely unavailable. Merit retreats deeper into herself, watching her family from the sidelines when she learns a secret that no trophy in the world can fix.

Fed up with the lies, Merit decides to shatter the happy family illusion that she’s never been a part of before leaving them behind for good. When her escape plan fails, Merit is forced to deal with the staggering consequences of telling the truth and losing the one boy she loves.

Thoughts: I read this in one day. Well technically, I started it the night before, read a bit before going to be bed and woke up the next day and read the rest. I literally spent an entire day reading Without Merit and it was so worth it. Colleen Hoover is easily one of my favorite authors and I was truly surprised with this book because it was unlike her others that I have read. Without Merit is YA and I wasn't sure what to expect, but I didn't know that the focus of this one would be so much on family, I absolutely loved that. Sure, it has some romance, but we get to experience the dynamics between Merit and her family.

The characters are the best part of this book, really, because each one is so realistic and dealing with their own issues that you find you can connect with all of them as well learn to love them. It was hard to understand why everyone was the way they were, but once the secrets start to come out, it's kind of shocking (which is something CoHo always does so well) and we can't help but love these characters more.

Like so many others, I find it best to go into her books blindly because you don't really know what to expect from the synopsis. CoHo always throws a curve ball in there and when you think you know everything, BAM! You're hit with something else. This is definitely the most unique of her works that I've read, and I loved every page of it. Without Merit is odd and memorable to say the least, a little different than anything I've ever read and I definitely recommend it to everyone.

Win 1 of 5 signed hardcover copies of WITHOUT MERIT! Contest is open until October 30th