Saturday, June 30, 2012

Review: Redheads are Soulless

Redheads are Soulless by Heather M. White
Self published
Genre: YA paranormal
$2.99 Kindle ebook

What it's about:
High school senior, Sofia Black, has had a very hard life. Since her father's death 7 years ago, she has had to look after her drug addicted, alcohlic mother. School isn't any better for her either. The other kids constantly tease, and ridicule her. All she wants is to get out of her small hometown in Alabama.

When new student, Jason, shows up, Sofia's world is turned upside down. She doesn't understand why he wants to befriend her so badly... And, just when she thinks she can trust him, trouble appears.

Jason's twin brother, Robbie, moves into town, and things go haywire. Sofia is now running for her life - and Jason is forced to share hidden secrets with her. She learns the truth about her father's death, and finds out that she may not be as "human" as she once thought. She struggles to accept her fate, while fighting for her life.

My thoughts:
This book was just plain ridiculous in every single way imaginable. (and just as a warning, this will probably turn more into a rant rather than a review. I don't think I'll be able to help myself.)

Being a (bottled) redhead for the last nine years, I felt sort of obligated to read this book. When I saw it on Goodreads, I started giggling and was all "hell yeah! I must read that book." Seeing as how it's only $3 for the ebook of this, I bought it and read it real fast.


So where to begin...

Characters: I'll start with Sofia. I hated her. Couldn't stand her. She is incredibly embarrassed about her prescription drugs addicted alcoholic mother. And who wouldn't be? But Sofia goes out of her way to enable her mother to continue these addictions. And then she complains about how the house is a mess and there are alcohol bottles everywhere, and how the house is falling apart and the yard hasn't seen a mower in 7 years and yadda yadda yadda. Yet she never does anything about this. Sofia always seemed surprised when she walked into the house and the same mess is still there even when she always talked about how her mom would literally lay around all day long doing nothing. So why was Sofia surprised the mess was still there? And for goodness sakes, if you don't like it, then clean it up, don't just bitch about it. Geesh. On top of this, she allows herself to be pushed around by everyone, never sticking up for herself. And while Sofia questions what is going on around her, she doesn't really seem to care what answers she is given. She may be book smart, but when it comes to life, she is as dumb as a brick.
Now onto Jason and Robbie. They are creepers. Serious creepers. Jason walks into school and literally starts throwing himself at Sofia 2 seconds later and never stops. He knows where she lives and knows her cell number all without Sofia ever telling him, and then he randomly shows up and hangs outside her window at all hours of the day. WTF? And Sofia never questions this. Ever. Then there is Robbie who literally killed Sofia's father, and yet Sofia is panting all over him? Like "oh you killed my dad, and now my mom is an alcoholic because of it, and my life is a dump, but it's okay, I forgive you even though I've known you for a whole 2 days."

No. Just No.  No.

Then there is the whole supernatural aspect of this book. I honestly have no idea what it was. It was never explained. Every time Sofia asked about it, Jason and Robbie would be like "you really don't want to know" and Sofia would be all "okay!"

I get that the author was trying to make this all mysterious and have a big twist, but failed miserably. This whole book was a good idea but was poorly executed.

As a side note, this book has my all time favorite typo in it. At one point Jason is being a swoony to Sofia and Sofia says that her heart is being "erotically." This just about killed me I was laughing so hard. How does a heart beat erotically? Does it beat to a "bow-chicka-wow-wow" rhythm?

My rating: 5/10

Review: Isle of Night

Isle of Night by Veronica Wolff
Published by NAL Trade
Genre: YA paranormal
$9.99 (US paperback)
302 pages

What it's about:
Is life offering fewer and fewer options? Then join the dead.
When Annelise meets dark and seductive Ronan, he promises her a new life-if she has the courage to chance the unknown. Now, she's whisked away to a mysterious island and pitted against other female recruits to become a Watcher-girls who are partnered with vampires and assist them in their missions. To survive and become a Watcher, Annelise has to beat out every other girl, but she's determined to do so, because to fail doesn't mean dishonor-it means death

My thoughts:
Going into this I was sort of expecting it to be like Hunger Games, Vampire style. This was sort of true, but completely off at the same time.

I guess what I was sort of expecting was a bunch of girls who are on an island and the last couple standing gets to become the protectors to the vampires. This was not at all the case. The girls are taken to an island over by I think Scotland, and they are pretty much sent to boarding school. They have to go to classes such as etiquette classes and also PE along with a few others, and they have to try and survive, which isn't easy. The classes are killers, literally. It wasn't until the second half of the book that it did turn into something more Hunger Games-ish.

I loved Annelise's character. I thought she was great. She isn't some dumb damsel. She is smart, determinded, and beautiful. Thought she did have her flaws but those made her believable. I felt so bad for her for a good chunk of the book that I just wanted to give her a great big hug and tell her it would be okay.

I know that a lot of people are sick to death of vampires, and honestly I am a little too, but this book isn't really a "vampire book." They are such a small part of this book. There are lots of questions asked of them, and hardly any of them are answered in this book. That kinda drove me crazy while reading it, but it definitely had me intrigued.

I'm dying to get my hands on the second book in this series, Vampire Kiss. I am really invested to what happens to Annelise and the rest of the characters. I must find out all the answers to the questions that were asked.

My rating: 9/10

Monday, June 18, 2012

Book Blogger Confessions- starting over

Book Blogger Confessions is a meme that's held every 1st and 3rd Monday of the month and is hosted by For What It's Worth and Tigers all consuming books

The question for today is this:

 We have created a blogging time machine! Pretend you can start over. Knowing what you know now about blogging – what do you wish you did differently when it comes to creating your blog?

I've been blogging now for almost three years (holy crap, I can't believe it's been that long) and I can definitely think of a few things I'd do differently if I could go back.
First thing first, I'd think a lot more about my blog name and my url. When I decided to write a blog, I wasn't exactly sure what all I was going to do with it. I didn't know if I wanted it to be just a book review blog or something else. But I was watching the movie Must Love Dogs and because of my love for that movie (and my laziness to come up with anything else) I decided to go with Must Love Books. The only problem was someone back in 2005 decided to create a blog with that url, wrote one post, and never come back. So I had to pick a different thing to put in my url. I went with "labradors" instead of "books" because, well I dunno, I just did. Maybe it was because my Labrador was sitting on the couch next to me at the time or just my all around love for that breed of dog.
If I could go back and change this, I'd think about creating a theme and having the name fit with the theme of my blog. But back then I had way too much fun changing my layout about once a week. I couldn't make up my mind.
Next thing I would do is I'd work a lot harder at finding other book blogs and getting more involved in the blogging community. It took me a year to really get involved in the community and I'm sad it took me so long because I'm sure I missed out on a lot of cool things and opportunities.
And lastly, I think I would go back farther in time than when I first started, maybe a year farther back and tell myself to start blogging then. I was getting really into reading a year or two before I decided to start blogging and there are a lot of books that I wish I had some form of review or documentation for because I'm having trouble remembering my original thoughts on the book.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Let's talk about book crushes

Normally I wouldn't do two let's talk abouts in a row, but this one I've just got to get off my chest.

We all have book crushes. It's hard to not fall in love with the hunky guys in the books we read. We love them so much that there are weekly memes such as Missie's My Book Boyfriend to show off our love of them. Now we also have  The YA Sisterhood's YA Crush tournament.

It's this said tournament that has me all worked up right now. When I went to go nominate my 10 favorite boys, I was looking at the list and saw that Sebastian from the Mortal Instruments series is at spot #29 and Jordan from the same books is at spot #30.

This disgusts me.

I know that for myself, personally, that the boys I love in books are not always like the boys I like irl.* Take for instance Jace and Simon both from the Mortal Instruments. Jace is a complete jerk who is very into himself. Normally I'd hate a guy like him irl but in the books I absolutely adore him. Simon who is an adorable, funny nerd, I don't much care for in the books but in irl I'd be all over that.  Why this is I can not say. While reading, you get everyones sides of the stories. Sometimes the reader is inside the head of the boy himself, or you are in the head of the girl who loves the boy so you as the reader just can't help but feel the same way towards them. Most of the time.

And while I know and understand that the boys we love in books are not always the same boys we love irl, there should be boundaries. There are just some things that should disgust and horrify you to the point that no matter how hott the guy is, he is a monster of a man and should in no way be "crush" material.

Why I'm so upset Sebastian is on the list:
For those who have not read the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare THIS IS GOING TO BE A MAJOR SPOILER! If you haven't finished reading City of Lost Souls yet, you might not want to read this.

Sebastian is Clary's brother who is part Shadow Hunter, part Demon. On a few different occasions he tries to rape Clary, aka HIS SISTER. His full blooded sister. Like that isn't enough, but oh no, he also killed a fellow shadowhunter named Sebastian, AND STOLE HIS IDENTITY. Then to add on top of it, he killed the youngest Lightwood, Max, and then left and started a war, not once, but twice. To add on top of this, he tried to kill his step brother and when that didn't work, he bound his brother to him so that what he thinks, his brother has to think, and if he gets hurt, his brother gets hurt.

What a bastard. Oh, but don't forget, he's like, hott, so I guess that makes up for it.


Why I'm upset Jordan is on the list:

Jordan is Maya's ex boyfriend who beat her and then turned her into a werewolf. But once again, he's like, a total babe, so it's okay he beat his girlfriend.


So where should we draw the line from "it's just a book, don't get all huffy over it" to "wow, even if he isn't real and just in a book, you shouldn't still like him." I know that I definitely have that line and it falls before abusers and rapists.

A few people in the comments have also stated that they are upset over these two being on the YA crush list and have asked that there be boundaries for who can and cannot be on the list. The YA sisterhoods reply is this-
"Thank you for your comment. We understand your concerns. These votes are in no way representative of our own opinions. We are only showing the results as based upon voting.

Regardless of how we ourselves feel, we cannot change votes simply because of any one person's opinion, especially being that there were no restrictions outlining which characters were eligible for nomination.

We would, however, encourage you to rally support behind other characters in the hopes that they might overcome him."

So dear goodness people, if this bothers you in the slightest, please make sure to go put in your top 10 favorite boys and then go vote when the time comes so that Sebastian and Jordan are not on the final list. And if you are one of the 98 girls who nominated Sebastian for this tournament, can you PLEASE explain why you think he should be on that list above people like Harry Potter and Vincent, both characters who sacrifice everything to save people.

Here is the link to the page: YA Crush Tournament

On a side note, I would really like to know how Cassandra Clare feels about Sebastian being on this list.

*IRL = In Real Life. Just posting this for people who do not follow internet lingo

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Lets Talk About Rating Systems

Lately I've been noticing something. People seem to be rating books lower and lower, even if they loved it. I've been seeing a lot of "OMG I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS BOOK!" and then they rate it 3 stars. Or they will give it 3 stars but in the review will say 3.5 stars. Don't they know that when something is .5 or above that you typically round up? Not down?

When I see this happening, I tend to look something like this:

It has me wondering why do people think they need to give something a bad rating in order to have people actually read their review? Do they look at their ratings and go "hmmm I haven't rated something 3 or less stars lately, maybe I should" and so they do even if that's not how they really feel?

Why are people afraid to say their true feelings on a book? If all your ratings are good ones,  all it means is you know how to pick out books that are to your preferred taste. It's actually really bugging me that people are lowering their ratings on purpose. I know that a lot of people will not read a book if it's been getting bad ratings or people do not actually read reviews, they just look at what the reviewer rated it. By rating a book lower, you are changing the overall rating for the book and that may make people not read it.

What this all comes down to is, don't be afraid to give a book the rating you think it actually deserves! Don't get all weird about the fact that your ratings are almost all good ones. That is perfectly okay. There is no reason to be stingy with your ratings.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Review: Enchanted

Enchanted by Alethea Kontis
Published by Harcourt's Childrens Books
$17.99 (US hardback)
305 pages

What it's about:

It isn't easy being the rather overlooked and unhappy youngest sibling to sisters named for the other six days of the week. Sunday’s only comfort is writing stories, although what she writes has a terrible tendency to come true.

When Sunday meets an enchanted frog who asks about her stories, the two become friends. Soon that friendship deepens into something magical. One night Sunday kisses her frog goodbye and leaves, not realizing that her love has transformed him back into Rumbold, the crown prince of Arilland—and a man Sunday’s family despises.

The prince returns to his castle, intent on making Sunday fall in love with him as the man he is, not the frog he was. But Sunday is not so easy to woo. How can she feel such a strange, strong attraction for this prince she barely knows? And what twisted secrets lie hidden in his past - and hers?

My thoughts:
I actually read this book a while back so this will not be a very in-depth review.

Mostly what I want to say about this book is how much it surprised me. When I think of retold fairy tales, I think of cheesey, modern day stories. You know, like Alex Flynn's books. They are cute and stick pretty close to the Disney versions. That is not at all the case with this book. Not even close. Enchanted had a more "grown up" voice to it. It felt more "Grimm" rather than "Disney" to say the least.

What I also didn't expect was for the book to have a whole lot of fairy tales in it. It wasn't just the Frog Prince story, but it also had Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella, The Old Lady in the Shoe, and many more. They all had their own twists and flowed really well together.

I absolutely adored this book and I will definitely be rereading it sometime in the near future. It is one of those books that every time I see the cover of it, I think "awww I loved that book!" and look back on it with nothing but fondness.

My rating: 10/10

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Cover Reveal: Mind Games by Kiersten White

If you follow Kiersten White on any social media, then you know she's been a real tease when it comes to her new book Mind Games. Well, today she was finally able to reveal the cover!

This cover is absolutely amazing. It was a mouth gaping open and a "ohhhhh-awwwww" reaction for me. I love all the images inside the face.

Here is the blurb from the book jacket:
Two sisters,
Bound by
Impossible choices,
Are determined to
Protect each other-
no matter the cost.

James's frozen face melts into a smile. "Do you want to know the trick to getting in trouble under the watchful eye of a psychic?"
I think of the nailed-shut windows. I think of Clarice. I think of the two, the two, the two who are now zero. Tap tap. "Yes, I absolutely do."
"Don't plan it. don't even think about it. The second you get an inkling of what you could do, do it then. Never plan anything ahead of time. Always go on pure instict."
I smile. "I think I can do that."

Mind Games comes out Feb. 19th, 2013

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday-- Beach reads!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely girls over at The Broke and the Bookish

This weeks topic is I'd Recommend As Good Beach Reads

Here are the books I've read during summer and think are good summer reads:

1. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray:
This book had me literally L-O-Ling the whole time. I would even read sections of it to my family members because it made me laugh so hard I thought they should hear it.

2. Forgive My Fins by Terra Lynn Childs:
This book is so adorable! And pretty much the only mermaid book that I've ever read that I actually liked.

3. The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade:
What's not to love about this book? And I always connect this book with summer because I read it for the first time in summer.

4. Clarity by Kim Harrington:
This book takes place in summer and is soooooo good. Definitely a great beach read.

5. Just One Wish by Jannett Rallison:
All of Janette's books are really good summer beach reads but I had to pick just one and this is my favorite of hers so this is the one I went with.

6. Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson:
Ah! Everyone should read this book!

7. Paper Towns by John Green:
John Green is brilliant. For realz. I picked PT because part of it takes place in the summer. Plus TFIOS will make you bawl your eyes out and who wants to cry at the beach?

8. Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson:
Road trip + super adorable boys + great music playlists = awesome

9. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins:
Oh Cricket, how I adore you.

10. Saving June by Hannah Harrington:
This one I haven't read, but it's on my TBR list for this summer.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Review: Hunting Lila

Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson
Published by Simon and Schuster UK
Genre: YA
$5.99 (Paperback from Barnes & Nobles)
318 pages

What it's about:

17-year-old Lila has two secrets she’s prepared to take to the grave. The first is that she can move things just by looking at them. The second is that she’s been in love with her brother’s best friend, Alex, since forever.

After a mugging exposes her unique ability, Lila decides to run to the only people she can trust—her brother and Alex. They live in Southern California where they work for a secret organisation called The Unit, and Lila discovers that the two of them are hunting down the men who murdered her mother five years before. And that they’ve found them.

In a world where nothing and no one is quite as they seem, Lila quickly realises that she is not alone—there are others out there just like her—people with special powers—and her mother’s killer is one of them…

My thoughts:
When I first read about this book on Goodreads, I got really excited about it. Back then, the synopsis for it on GR was a little confusing which made me even more intrigued, but I was having the hardest time finding a copy of this book. I searched for a long time before I realized that this is strictly a UK book and not sold in the US and then finally I ordered it online.

Because this is a British book, the writing and spelling is a little different which had me laughing at times because the book takes place in California. It was funny reading all the characters say things like "mum" and "rubbish" instead of mom and garbage but they had to say it with American accents. Got to love accents in books.

I had been in a book slump before I got to this book, but Hunting Lila has definitely taken me out of that slump. I gobbled this book down in a few short hours, only putting it down to get something to drink and to use the bathroom. I had to know what Jack and Alex did for the Unit, I had to know who killed Lila's mom, and lastly I had to know when in the world Lila was going to tell Alex she is in love with him!!!

Speaking of Lila and Alex, I couldn't get enough of their relationship even if it was a little... illegal due to their ages. But still. It's a book so I will just overlook that. Lila is pretty intense when it comes to her feelings for Alex. She is positive about her feelings because she has felt this way about him almost her whole life. I couldn't help but love him right along with Lila because even though her feelings are intense, they didn't seem fake. I could actually believe their relationship.

I could have this review go on for a long time about everything I loved about this book. The romance, the suspense, the special powers, all the story twists, everything. I loved it all, well, except for the stupid cliff hanger. I must get my hands on the second book, Losing Lila, the minute it comes out in August!!!

My rating: 10/10

Friday, June 8, 2012

Review: Masque of the Red Death

Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin
Published by Harper Collins
Genre: YA (dystopian?)
$17.99 (US hardback)
320 pages

What it's about:
Everything is in ruins.

A devastating plague has decimated the population. And those who are left live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles to pieces around them.

So what does Araby Worth have to live for?

Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery make-up . . . and tantalizing ways to forget it all.

But in the depths of the club—in the depths of her own despair—Araby will find more than oblivion. She will find Will, the terribly handsome proprietor of the club. And Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither boy is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does.

And Araby may find something not just to live for, but to fight for—no matter what it costs her.

My thoughts:
Ever since I first heard about this book and then saw the cover, I knew I had to read it. A retold Poe story? AWESOME! This new trend of adding Poe's works to YA fiction is one that I'm adoring. I knew if this book was anything like Nevermore by Kelly Creagh, that I was going to be madly in love with it.

After finishing the book, I can't say that I'm madly in love with it, but I did enjoy it. I don't know what I was really expecting from the book. Maybe for it to take place in the same setting as Poe's short story, aka the castle, and be a little more like Poe's work, but it wasn't like that at all. The book takes place in the city a few hours away from Prince Prospero's castle and the time setting is... I don't know when. If I had to guess I'd say around early 20th century. I was surprised by the Steampunk feel of the book.

I only have one main complaint about this book which is that at points, the writing could be very confusing. There would be random sentences that didn't seem to fit in. Like they were accidentally not deleted during a rewrite. There were also times that I felt like some sentences were left out and I'd have to go back and reread the last paragraph to figure out how the characters got from point A to point B. These problems didn't so much feel like a style of writing, more like editing errors.

What I really loved about this book was how dark it was. Weird thing to love about a book, I know, but it's true. Griffin did a fantastic job showing how horrible the plague was and Prince Prospero? What a bastard! He's right up there with Voldemorte and Valentine on the evil scale. He was an actual villain to be scared of.

So overall, I liked this book. I could have done without the religion vs. science parts, and the writing could be confusing, but it was still a great book and I will probably continue on with the series.

My rating: 8/10

Friday, June 1, 2012

Cover Reveal: Mark of Athena

Tonight when I got off work and checked my facebook, I saw that Rick Riordan posted the cover for the next book in the Heroes of Olympus series! Woo hoo! Here it is.....

BAM! There it is! Isn't it so incredibly beautiful? With the pink owl in the back and the Romans and the Greek Demigods fighting on flying ponies. I love love love it! Definitely my favorite of the 3 so far.

Mark of Athena is the 3rd book in the Heroes of Olympus series and will come out October 2nd 2012 in the US.