Monday, August 31, 2015

POP! Funko - September releases

Hey everyone! In case you didn't know, I am a huge Funko collector. I love them so much. At first, I thought they were really creepy. But now I can't get enough. I always like to stay up-to-date on when new Funko's are releasing so I can order them. I know a lot of you like them too, so I want to let you know what Funkos are releasing soon in case you want to get any. I also want this to be a monthly thing from now on. All Funkos mentioned in this post will be released at some point in the month of September! Note: This isn't an all inclusive list, these are just Funkos that I am interested and think you will be interested in as well.

Avengers: Age of Ultron Collection - addition 

Orphan Black Collection - addition
Marvel: Guardians of the Galaxy - addition 

The Phantom 

Gotham Collection

Batman, Arkham Knight Collection

Rocky Horror Picture Show Collection

Doctor Who Collection: addition 
* this POP is a Game Stop exclusive 

So what do you think - will you be getting any of these POPs?

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Book Review: Spelled

Spelled by Betsy Schow
Publication Date: June 2, 2015

Fairy Tale Survival Rule #32: If you find yourself at the mercy of a wicked witch, sing a romantic ballad and wait for your Prince Charming to save the day.

Yeah, no thanks. Dorthea is completely princed out. Sure being the crown princess of Emerald has its perks—like Glenda Original ball gowns and Hans Christian Louboutin heels. But a forced marriage to the brooding prince Kato is so not what Dorthea had in mind for her enchanted future.

Talk about unhappily ever after.

Trying to fix her prince problem by wishing on a (cursed) star royally backfires, leaving the kingdom in chaos and her parents stuck in some place called "Kansas." Now it's up to Dorthea and her pixed off prince to find the mysterious Wizard of Oz and undo the curse...before it releases the wickedest witch of all and spells The End for the world of Story.

Spelled is a quick, fun read that isn't to be taken too seriously and is very light. I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed the story, but there were 2 main complaints I had, which resulted in me going down to 3 stars. First, even though the story was fun, I felt it was a bit too over-the-top. I just felt there could have been some things taken out because there was just too much. It's very hard to describe, but if you read this book, you'll see exactly what I'm talking about. A couple of times while reading, I just couldn't help but sigh because I just felt the author was incorporating things just for the sake of incorporating them. The second thing I had a problem with was the fact that as of right now this seems like a once-and-done book. With an ending like this one, me no likey this. This was extremely open-ended and so many things were left unanswered. The no-sequel thing has happened to me before, and I still haven't gotten over it with those books. It makes me a bit mad because I feel like the author could wrap things up a bit more. But if this wouldn't be the only book, and this actually would be a series, I would be much much happier and might go up a star.

Nevertheless, this was a very unique and interesting spin on the Wizard of Oz, and I very much enjoyed the author's creativity. Dorthea is a spoiled brat, but I loved her progression and growth over the course of the novel. While she was a bit annoying at times, she was also hilarious. In fact, this book had me laughing quite a bit. There were many twists and turns, and like I said before, the ending was left wide open. The pacing was very good and there weren't any slow or dull moments. One thing that stood out to me with this novel was how Ms. Schow portrayed the classic "good vs evil" theme. It wasn't hero pitted against villain, it was much more realistic. It was girl can choose to be a hero or villain, with everything actually trying to get her to turn into a villain. This was something that really made this book stand out to me, and something I really enjoyed. Something else I loved...NO INSTA-LOVE!!!

Overall, if you're looking for something fun and quick that puts a unique and creative spin on the Wizard of Oz story, pick this one up. It's lighthearted and has plenty of humor, action, and adventure to satisfy any reader. It's not perfect, but it's still a good read.

Happy reading :)


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Are the books always better? - The Awakening (The Vampire Diaries, #1)

The Awakening (The Vampire Diaries, #1): L. J. Smith 

A Love Triangle of Unspeakable Horror...
Searching for the ultimate thrill, she vowed to have Stefan.

Haunted by his tragic past, he struggled to resist her passion.

Driven by revenge, he hunted the brother who betrayed him.

The terrifying story of two vampire brothers and the beautiful girl torn between them.

For me to watch an adaptation of a book before I actually read the book is a rare thing, but it does happen. Then, if I like said movie or show, I'll usually pick up the book. I've had the first two Vampire Diaries books sitting on my shelf picking up dust for probably a year now. I was a huge fan of the TV series up until the original vampires left to start their own show. After that, it was really downhill for both shows. I figured the producers did this just to make more money - I mean it's pretty obvious. So, they probably deviated from the original storyline of the book. I thought to myself, "Well, hopefully if I read the book I'll like how things turned out for the original vampires/ original cast rather than how things are turning out right now for the show". What I didn't expect was what really happened with the book. 

You know how you hate movies or TV show adaptations because you feel like they rush the books? Well, I feel like the book was rushed compared to the show. The book was only about 250 pages and they were "in love" by page 150. They only met at around page 50. It was so cheesy, I have no idea how someone picked this series to make into a TV show. Surely there are better series that would take much less editing to make better. Anyway, there are a lot of differences between the TV show and the book. Which isn't a bad thing, because I didn't really like the book, I'd give it probably 2 stars. The book characters were so 1-dimensional, they didn't leave any lasting impression on me. How can any character leave a lasting impression on you in a 250 page paperback with large font? 

Let's go over some notable differences between the TV show and the book that I can pick out off of the top of my head. 

1. Caroline's character is literally so insignificant it's like she was barely there. 

Sure season 1 Caroline was super bitchy and everyone hated her, but she was still a main character. Except in the book, Caroline wasn't even friends with Elena and Bonnie. They openly all hated each other. They were literally in a competition to see who was "queen" of the school. Yep. You heard me. That actually happened. 

2. Bonnie is a druid. 

A druid? Outlander? Nope, just Vampire Diaries! Bonnie was scottish, had red curly hair and could read who people would marry. Ok then. There wasn't much room for Bonnie in the book either. What with Elena's ego and selfishness taking up most of the space and all. I'm on team TV show Bonnie. 

3. Wait, Who are these people? 

Matt Honeycutt, Tyler Smallwood, Bonnie McCullough. Aunt Judith. Need I go on? 

4. Elena is scared as shit of this crow. In the show she talked to him like a friend.

In the book, the crow is Damon. I think in the TV show, it was supposed to be something along the same line - but it ended up just being confusing as crap and the crow ended up just disappearing one episode with no explanation whatsoever and never coming back! I mean, at least in the book we get a little background!

5. Jeremy is non existent. Elena has a 4 year old little sister. 

I liked TV show Jeremy! Sure I didn't like him when he was a goth and a drug addict, but he sacrificed so much for Elena. Like I don't know his happiness and his life?! I'm sad he isn't a real person in the book. I wasn't this angry when there was no Jessica in the Sookie Stackhouse books and I liked her better than Jeremy. Well, those books were also a lot better than these sooo. 

6. Katherine is … SWEET?! 

It's Elena who is described as the saucy one. Katherine was misunderstood and ended up killing herself because she couldn't decide between Stefan and Damon. Damon thinks Elena belongs with him because Stefan won't be able to handle her since she's not gentle and fragile like Katherine was. How about that!

Will I continue with the series? It's not my top priority, but I want to get to the part where the original vampires show up. Hopefully it will get a little less cheesy then? Maybe evil Katherine will show up? Who knows.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Book Review: Scorched

Scorched by Jennifer Armentrout
Publication Date: June 16, 2015

Sometimes life leaves a mark…

Most days, Andrea doesn’t know whether she wants to kiss Tanner or punch him in the gut. He is seriously hot, with legit bedroom eyes and that firefighter body of his, but he’s a major player, and they can’t get along for more than a handful of minutes. Until now.

Tanner knows he and Andrea have had an epic love/hate relationship for as long as he can remember, but he wants more love than hate from her. He wants her. Now. Tomorrow. But the more he gets to know her, the more it becomes obvious that Andrea has a problem. She’s teetering on the edge and every time he tries to catch her, she slips through his fingers.

Andrea’s life is spiraling out of control, and it doesn’t matter that Tanner wants to save her, because when everything falls apart and she’s speeding toward rock bottom, only she can save herself.

Sometimes life makes you work for that happily ever after…

It's no secret that Jen Armentrout is one of my all time favorite authors. And she has yet another hit on her hands with Scorched. But this book is special, and let me tell you why. It has a great message in it and really makes you think and reflect on your own life. First, it's important to remember that just because someone might smile or laugh and be happy on the outside, doesn't necessarily mean that is how they feel on the inside. We all have our stories, and we don't tell them to everyone. And that's why it's important to find those people that you can tell your story to, and let inside. You need to find those people that you can tell anything and everything to, who won't judge you for anything, and will always stick by your side. Yes, it's extremely difficult to find those people, but they are out there. Most importantly, we need to remember to listen . And this isn't just to their words, but to their silent calls for help or what have you. It's important to remember to not make snap judgements of people and always treat people with respect because you don't actually know what they are going through at any given time. Sometimes a simple smile or an ear to truly listen (but not respond or offer advice) is all a person needs.

This book hits on a lot of difficult topics, ones that are usually kept hush hush in society. And I applaud Jen for incorporating them into this book in an extremely realistic way. Many people will be able to relate to Andrea in some way or another, and that makes her special in a way that words can't describe. Jen reminds all of us with this book that there is light at the end of the tunnel and there is always hope. You have to hold onto that hope, and have it serve as your anchor.

While the first part of this story is lighter, the second part really delves deep and is much much more serious. While reading the first part, you can pretty much tell what's going to happen between Tanner and Andrea. But in the second part, you don't know what will happen and where the story will go. I loved this aspect because it kept it interesting and you become very invested in finding out what will happen at the end of this book. You can't deny the chemistry between Tanner and Andrea, and I loved their relationship. It certainly was steamy, but obviously perfectly written (come on...this is Jen we're talking about! She could write a phone book and it would be amazing!) As I said, Andrea is an extremely relatable character, and she is very realistic. Tanner is a sexy fireman (about to become a cop), and is the perfect match for Andrea in every way. They have a nice balance with each other, and match each others teasing every step of the way. They definitely had some very cute and funny moments!

I highly recommend reading this book. You will not be disappointed! If you're a fan of Jen or have never picked up one of her books, this is a must read. The beauty truly lies in the fact that everyone will take away something from this book and if that doesn't show you how amazing this is, I don't know what will.

Happy reading :) 


Monday, August 24, 2015

Book Review: Siege and Storm (Grisha Trilogy Series, #2)

Siege and Storm (Grisha Trilogy Series, #2): Leigh Bardugo

 Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her--or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

It has been a long freaking time since I marathoned a series. I think the last time was The Sookie Stackhouse series and that is my absolute favorite series in the entire world. So, I think it's pretty amazing that I'm marathoning this series. The action is booming right from the beginning. Alina and Mal are on the run from The Darkling and his new power. However, very soon they realize they cannot run forever and instead have to fight their way out on multiple occasions until they can get to a place where they are safe (kind of for a little while, at least). 

"I have loved you all my life, Mal,"I whispered through my tears. "There is no end to our story."

I think that Alina is probably one of my favorite main female characters ever and let me tell you why. She doesn't want to be perfect like a lot of main characters. She doesn't want to save the world, people are trying to just force her to do it. She's interesting because she wants to give into the darkness and it's just begging to consume her. The Darkling has a part of her so she doesn't feel complete without a piece of the darkness. The second most main character in this story is Mal. I feel sort of bad for him here. He is so out of his element that he just wants to run away with Alina and live how they did when they were kids. Can you really blame him? He's the black sheep. There's a bunch of Grisha and noblemen and he's not. That would test any friendship. I think if I saw Mal in that environment, I may like him better. However, in the situations they're in I like The Darkling and Sturmhond better. Sturmhond, The Wolf of the Waves is another swoony guy that saves Alina's life except this time it's a good guy. He's not who he seems but I can't tell you more about that because why would I ruin it ;). 

I'm not sure if I like the romance better in this installment or in Shadow and Bone. There wasn't a lot of The Darkling in this book, so there's really not much romance with him. However, there is a great deal of romance with Mal and maybe even a dash with Sturmhond. The guys in this book are so swoony and you just want to shake Alina and be like "WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!". Well, if she wants Mal so bad, I'll happily take The Darkling or Sturmhond. Literally the only thing I would change about this novel is the amount of Sturmhond. I deserve more because I'm a good person! 

"I've seen what you truly are," said the Darkling
"and I've never turned away. I never will. Can he say the same?"

I seriously loved Siege and Storm, and the entire Grisha world is remarkable. I can't believe there are only three books, I can't wait to see how Alina's story wraps up. So, I'm ordering Ruin and Rising right away. When will I learn to have the next book on hand? I wanted to wait until Book Outlet had it in stock but I just don't have that kind of patience or self control lol. If you haven't started The Grisha trilogy yet, I cannot recommend it enough! Swoony boys, badassery, and cool powers make this series a must read! 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Scholastic Warehouse Sale Haul

Hello everyone! Yesterday I went to a Scholastic warehouse sale with my aunt. To be admitted to a warehouse sale you have to be some kind of school personnel, which is weird because when I signed up for one this past May you could sign up to go as a student. However, student was taken off of those options this time. "School volunteer" was an option when signing up which I guess I am since I volunteer at my college sometimes so that counts, right? But I didn't want to be breaking any rules (not that they check any IDs) so I just went along with my aunt who works at a school. When you sign up for a warehouse sale, you get a $10 off of $50 coupon and a $25 off of $100 coupon so it really is just a huge incentive to buy more because the books are so darn cheap.

Then when you get there, you are also very excited because books are everywhere so duh! This one was set up a little bit differently than the last one I went to. This one was in the actual warehouse, where the other one was in a conference center type thing. Looking back, the one in the conference center actually had more books that I wanted but I wasn't willing to spend the money the then. They had some hardcover Harry Potters and a lot of new releases. This one didn't have a designated Young Adult section, and the books were scuffed. You really had to dig to find a book that wasn't. The good thing about this sale was the build-a-box section. The build-a-box is a section where you get a box and fill it with whatever books will fit and the whole box is $24.95. This section of build-a-box actually had some really good choices of books. I didn't do the build-a-box option at the conference center because there was a really small selection and it wouldn't have been worth it for me to fill a box with the small amount of books I liked in that section.

Here is a picture of the sale:

My haul ended up being just around $60, which I think is pretty good for the amount of books I got. I got a present for my cousin. I also got two of the books in the Matched trilogy, I just obviously need to get the first one yet lol. The Zodiac Legacy by Stan Lee was in the build-a-box section which I was really surprised with because that is a newer book. The only books that weren't in the build-a-box were: Hollow City, Grave Mercy, All the Wrong Questions, Wuthering Heights, Son, Cress, and Reached.

There is probably a warehouse sale near you as well, just check out the website! They usually have one in the summer and in the winter - so keep your eyes peeled. :)

- Jocelyn

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Book Review: Hidden Huntress (The Malediction Trilogy #2)

Hidden Huntress (The Malediction Trilogy #2) by Danielle Jensen
Publication Date: June 2, 2015

Sometimes, one must accomplish the impossible.

Beneath the mountain, the king’s reign of tyranny is absolute; the one troll with the capacity to challenge him is imprisoned for treason. Cécile has escaped the darkness of Trollus, but she learns all too quickly that she is not beyond the reach of the king’s power. Or his manipulation.

Recovered from her injuries, she now lives with her mother in Trianon and graces the opera stage every night. But by day she searches for the witch who has eluded the trolls for five hundred years. Whether she succeeds or fails, the costs to those she cares about will be high.

To find Anushka, she must delve into magic that is both dark and deadly. But the witch is a clever creature. And Cécile might not just be the hunter. She might also be the hunted…

So it's pretty safe to say that I was extremely excited for this book. In fact, I was pretty much like this


Especially because of that mother of all cliffhangers at the end of Stolen Songbird. Suffice to say, as soon as I was able, I was going to read this book. I did dive right in as soon as possible, but after reading, I wasn't sure I felt exactly. Don't get me wrong, I greatly enjoyed this book, but I didn't enjoy it as much as I did with the first novel in this series. I wouldn't say this suffered from Middle Book Syndrome, but there were parts that were a bit slow. There honestly wasn't much actions, except for the end. All that being said, the ending more than made up for the rest of the book, and it set up the third (and final) novel in this trilogy very nicely. I can already tell that the next book will be nonstop action and excitement.

The one thing that I loved in the first book was Trollus itself as well as the mystery behind the trolls. Cecile, along with the reader, were thrust into this world that they had no idea about, and both slowly learned just how powerful and scary the trolls were. Even by the end, there was still the secret of what exactly the trolls were. Even though I had my guesses all along, and I ended up being correct, I just wanted a bit more out of the reveal. It was building and building throughout the story, and then it was almost a "blink and you miss it" type thing. So whatever you do


However, despite the slow moments, this book was still extremely good. The writing is amazing as ever, and I was quickly swept away back into the world of trolls, witches, and curses. And quite honestly, I never wanted to leave. I do feel that this book was necessary and the events that unfolded (albeit slowly) were crucial to the direction this series will go. If Cecile wouldn't have opened herself up to certain things with magic, there wouldn't be ramifications in the next story, and even further on in this story. Cecile grows a lot in this novel, and because of everything that happens she is forced to make some very difficult choices. And now she must live with those choices.

Ms. Jensen's writing is simply phenomenal and will never cease to blow me away. She writes with such creativity and beauty and I love reading every single word she writes. She has a great talent, and I know that the next book in this trilogy will be even more fantastic! However, I think one of the best aspects of her writing is how well she develops her characters as well as the romance. I was still very much invested in these characters and how everything will turn out for them.

Cecile goes through many ups and downs in this book and is forced to rely on those who do no fully trust her. Nevertheless, she pushes through and comes out stronger and braver. Tristan...that boy will always have a special place in my heart, and I hated how much pain he was in during this book. He also grows and becomes someone that is worthy of ruling Trollus, if he can get there. I loved watching both his and Cecile's development over the course of the book, and it proved that while they are amazing together, they can grow without each other as well. I feel like Ms. Jensen did a wonderful job at remaining true to both characters' personalities in this way. Their romance is the sweetest thing, and while it isn't as fully present due to the course of this novel, the scenes where it was present, was something of beauty.

This novel ends on a cliffhanger again, but as I said, the entire ending sets the third book up perfectly. There are major changes coming, for all of our beloved characters, and I honestly can't wait until I can get my hands on the last book. I have full confidence in Ms. Jensen that she will create a finale that will please all fans and leave us breathless.

Happy reading :)  


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

ARC Review: The Copper Gauntlet (Magisterium, #2)

The Copper Gauntlet (Magisterium, #2): Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
Publication Date: September 1st, 2015

Callum Hunt’s summer break isn’t like other kids’. His closest companion is a Chaos-ridden wolf, Havoc. His father suspects him of being secretly evil. And, of course, most kids aren’t heading back to the magical world of the Magisterium in the fall.

It’s not easy for Call . . . and it gets even harder after he checks out his basement and discovers that his dad might be trying to destroy both him and Havoc.

Call escapes to the Magisterium -- but things only intensify there. The Alkahest -- a copper gauntlet capable of separating certain magicians from their magic -- has been stolen. And in their search to discover the culprit, Call and his friends Aaron and Tamara awaken the attention of some very dangerous foes -- and get closer to an even more dangerous truth.

I was a huge fan of The Iron Trial. While people were putting it down for being too much like Harry Potter, I think it held it's own as far as middle grade fantasies go. The big plot twist at the end had me picking up my Copper Gauntlet ARC right away. The Iron Trial only took me a few days to read, while The Copper Gauntlet took me weeks. 

The beginning and ending were exciting and fast paced, but the middle seemed to drag. The plot didn't surprise as much as the first book, like it didn't leave me wanting more. I just kind of like "Oh well, I'll wait till the next one". Nothing was cleared up with Alex Strike - I mean there was a big stink with that guy and nothing came of it! I also feel like there was very minimal action besides at the beginning and the end. I obviously don't want to spoil what happens, but looking back now I was just like "when is something exciting going to happen?" I am wondering if I'm just thinking this way because the first book spoiled me so much with exciting twists and turns basically every other chapter. 

The Iron Trial had an amazing cast of characters that meshed in a way that really worked for the story and made you envy their friendship. However, The Copper Gauntlet didn't just challenge their friendship which was to be expected - but it did so in such a manner that really turned me off to the characters in the story. Tamara is one of the only female characters we see a lot of in the story and I'm really disappointed that she completely disregards Call in this book because of her little crush on Aaron.  She fawns over Aaron for the majority of the story and basically just worries about what can happen to him/consequences for Aaron if the entire group does something. It gets extremely annoying. I still like Call, although I don't really see any big character growth yet. Aaron didn't really surprise me - he was self conflicted and brooding, which I expected. My favorite character is still Havoc - I mean what a cute puppy, I just want to kiss him! Oh also Warren, definitely Warren. 

"Yeah but you're a Makar. Makar it open or something"

Anyway, I just wasn't as impressed with The Copper Gauntlet as I was with The Iron Trial. I will definitely be continuing with the series because I still want to see where it goes from here. I'm still hoping there is something surprising up Holly and Cassandra's sleeve because this book didn't knock me off my feet like the first one did. So I'm ready to find out what happens to the Magisterium in The Bronze something!! 

- Jocelyn

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Book Review: Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3)

Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J. Maas
Publication Date: September 2, 2014

She was the heir of ash and fire, and she would bow to no one.

Celaena Sardothien has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak—but at an unspeakable cost. Now she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth...a truth about her heritage that could change her life—and her future—forever.

Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. To defeat them, Celaena must find the strength to not only fight her inner demons but to battle the evil that is about to be unleashed.

You know those books where after you're done reading, you just need to take a few moments, or days to process what happened because the book is just so amazing that you can't fathom that it's over? Well, Heir of Fire is that book. The story picks up several weeks after Celaena left Adarlan. Ms. Maas's writing flows effortlessly, and you will never want to stop reading. The pacing is fantastic, and there is never a dull moment. This novel is one non-stop thrill ride that will instantly sweep the reader off his/her feet, and they will never want to stop the ride.

This story is much different than the previous two novels in this series. This tells the story of a broken girl, who while strong on the outside, is utterly broken apart on the inside. This novel tells the story of a girl who is braving through her life, but has absolutely no direction of where she wants to go, what she wants to do, or who she can trust. Living with the biggest secret that she has been pushing down for 10 years is no easy feat, and that secret is finally rearing its ugly head. There are consequences to every action, and Celaena must deal with her actions. One of my favorite parts of this entire book was watching the development of Celaena's character over the course of the book. She begins the story as a broken person, someone who isn't the brave, tough assassin we have come to know in the previous books. Don't worry, she is still that way around others, but her internal thoughts are anything but. She is living with the guilt of actions, but also carrying with her the death of several relationships, those of her best friend and lover. Celaena is forced to confront her powers and hone them if she wants any answers, and for her this is one of the most difficult challenges she has ever faced. After all, how do you give into powers that you are afraid of? As we watch Celaena develop and come into her powers, the results are that of awe and wonder. She truly comes into her own, and it all ends in a fiery conclusion that leaves a new Celaena standing tall and proud. However, she also learns to let others in, and perhaps this is the most important lesson she learns in the entire book. This is only the beginning for her character, and I suspect she will be even stronger, braver, and more badass in the next book.

Because Caelena is away from Adarlan for the entire book, we see the story from Dorian, Chaol, and several other new characters' POV. While balancing so many perspectives might overwhelm many authors, Ms. Maas handles it with such a grace and excellence, it truly shows her extreme talent as an author. Chaol has separated himself from Dorian, and he too undergoes a great growth during the story. I loved seeing his side of things, and how he handled everything that was thrown at him. He truly becomes a different person by the end of the story, and I am still rooting that he and Caeleana will come out alright in the end. Dorian finds love in an unexpected place, and I loved watching the romance bloom. It was so sweet and gave a nice light feeling to those scenes in the midst of the heavier nature of the book. It was also nice to see him "moving on" from Caelena. Dorian finds someone he can trust in Chaol's absence, and Dorian changes immensely as well because of this. He truly shows signs of a king in this novel.

As I said, there are several new characters in this story, one being Rowan. And I absolutely ADORE his character. I loved every single sarcastic, brooding moment, and boy do I want more of him. In the beginning, he is infuriatingly stubborn and relentless with Caelena, but there's a point where he opens up, and dear Lord, it made me love him even more. He is such a badass character, and the perfect fit for Caelena. While at first I thought he was a potential love interest, I will spoil this for you and tell you flat out that there is nothing but strong friendship between the two. Personally, I thought everything about their relationship was handled perfectly, and Ms. Maas wrote about true friendship; one where the two people would do anything for each other, and see each other through till the very end.

Even though this book is written in third person, you honestly can't tell. A lot of times, people say that in third person, you aren't able to connect to the characters as easily as a first person novel would read. However, this is not the case in anyway here. You feel every single emotion, every single heartbreak, and every single struggle these characters are going through, and all you want to do is take all the characters and place them in a nice situation so that they would be away from all of the tragedy that they are facing. You want to make everything better for them, even though you know it's impossible. Nevertheless, by the end of this book, you will feel so much more connected to the story and the characters that you will want to see them through to the end (not like you didn't want to before though).

Now let's talk about this ending. The ending is so explosive, so full of twists, and so utterly devastating that your mouth will be left hanging open and you will have tears in your eyes. Every single character has their own separate ending in a way, and it proves that Ms. Maas is just getting started with torturing us and the characters. Trust me, you will NEED and WANT the next book right away after you finish this story, because even though this novel is a whopping 565 pages, it's not enough. It will never be enough.

I highly recommend this book to all fans of the Throne of Glass series. This is yet another exciting installment, and is not to be missed. You will be taken on a ride full of twists and turns; one filled with suspense, intrigue, action, adventure, and love. You will be left with a longing for the fourth book, and will want to go back and reread this book as soon as you're finished. And you'll want to after the huge cliffhanger that ends this book. This is fantasy at its finest, and doesn't disappoint!

Happy reading :)


Monday, August 17, 2015

Book Review: Four Seconds to Lose (Ten Tiny Breaths, #3)

Four Seconds to Lose (Ten Tiny Breaths, #3): K.A. Tucker 

Owning a strip club isn’t the fantasy most guys expect it to be. With long hours, a staff with enough issues to keep a psych ward in business, and the police regularly on his case, twenty-nine-year-old Cain is starting to second guess his unspoken mission to save the women he employs. And then blond, brown-eyed Charlie Rourke walks through his door, and things get really complicated. Cain abides by a strict “no sleeping with the staff” rule. But being around Charlie challenges Cain’s self-control…and it’s been a long time since any woman has done that. 

Twenty-two-year-old Charlie Rourke needs a lot of money, really fast, in order to vanish before it’s too late. Taking her clothes off for men makes her stomach curl but Charlie tells herself that at least she’s putting her acting and dancing skills to good use. And though her fellow dancers seem eager to nab their sexy, sophisticated, and genuinely caring boss, she’s not interested. After all, Charlie Rourke doesn’t really exist—and the girl pretending to be her can't get distracted by romance.

Unfortunately, Charlie soon discovers that developing feelings for Cain is inevitable, and that those feelings may not be unrequited—but losing him when he finds out what she’s involved with will be more painful than any other sentence awaiting her.

This was my first K.A. Tucker book. I saw her in a panel at BookCon with Colleen Hoover and other New Adult authors, and her books seemed very similar so I figured I'd give them a try! While her books are in a series, you don't have to read them in a particular order. You won't be confused or miss anything, each book just features other characters in that world if I'm making sense. I just picked this book first because … it was was on sale at Book Outlet at the time! lol I just bought another of the series that is up on Book Outlet too, score! 

It seems lately that New Adult books are either big hits or big misses with me. Like some are just really generic, they seem to almost have a formula to them. Four Seconds to Lose was a huge hit with me, ranking right up there with Ugly Love and Maybe Someday. K.A. Tucker takes two emotionally wrecked characters and brings them together in such an amazing way. Charlie and Cain both have dark pasts -  Charlie is trying to run from hers and Cain is trying to forget his. Soon everything just gets really complicated, and Charlie may not want to run anymore. The plot was literally SO intense, I don't think I've ever read a New Adult or for that matter contemporary or romance book that was as intense as this book was. I devoured this book in less than 36 hours, and I was freaking out! I mean - I could feel my blood pressure rising I thought I was going to have an aneurysm lol. This is not really a spoiler, but did anyone who read the book almost feel like the whole "Penny" twist was too much? 

The characters are seriously so sexy. Cain always watches Charlie dance every night, and he never watches any of his other dancers, even though they are practically begging for it from him. He really just wants to help every girl there get out of whatever situation they're in, but helping Charlie would put him in danger so she tries to stay as far away as possible. And it's actually funny because the book makes it seem like every single stripper out there is misunderstood, like really? lol. Even the secondary characters I thought were really amazing, I think the book after this is Ben's story. He is HILARIOUS! I hope even Ginger gets a story somewhere down the line because I think she deserves a happy ending, too! All of the characters there do really! 

All fans of New Adult have to read this book! You won't regret reading this, it's so amazing. Four Seconds To Lose will keep you up all night to find out what will happen to Charlie and Cain - and you won't be expecting it, either! I seriously can't wait to read the rest of the series and her Burying Water series as well. I love finding great New Adult authors, so if you have any recommendations, I'd love to hear them! :) 

- Jocelyn 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

ARC Review: Dumplin'

Dumplin': Julie Murphy
Publication Date: September 15th, 2015 

Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked . . . until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

Well … What can I say about Dumplin'? Dumplin' was one of my most anticipated books of this year. I featured it on one of the few Waiting on Wednesdays I did saying how I think how important it is for books to include not just those of different races, ethnicities and sexual orientations but also sizes. There  is so much buzz surrounding this book - I thought I would for sure love it. I'm not sure why exactly, but I was pretty disappointed by this book (maybe I pumped myself up too much). It wasn't at all what I thought it was going to be and I feel like the description is also kind of misleading. 

Let's start with why I wanted to read this book most of all. The description says she sets out to take back confidence by entering the beauty pageant. I thought this book was going to be very uplifting and empowering. Instead - Willowdean was broody and rude. She's rude to her best friend Ellen, which disturbed me most of all. Granted, they both had their own little arguments together. However, telling Ellen she didn't want her to enter the pageant because Ellen could actually win struck me as just ridiculous. While Will also does struggle with self image problems, she ridicules skinny girls calling them names as well. Do two wrongs make a right?

Another thing I was kind of confused of in this book was the relationship with Bo. Well - most of the book's relationship was with Mitch, sooo. Willowdean unneccarily overreacts to everything Bo does in the beginning of the novel just to push him away. He literally does nothing wrong. Also, the relationship made no sense. It seemed like they just said hi and they were making out. There was no chemistry or tension, I was very confused. The book was a conglomeration of diversity, or at least it wanted to be. I felt as if every single person in the book had so many issues and problems that it really didn't mesh well together. I love a diverse YA book, don't get me wrong but sometimes it's just overbearing when every character is gay, bullied, money problems, divorced parents, etc. I feel almost like if each thing was focused on more in the story it would have made more sense but it was just mentioned once or twice in passing so it really didn't mean anything to the story line! It was almost like "lets just add some home problems, maybe a gay character for good measure". It wasn't meaningful, you know? 

One thing I will say about this book was that it was a very easy read, it didn't take me long to get through. I encourage everyone to read this book because it seems that everyone else reading it is really enjoying it and I obviously am just the black sheep with this book. But I will not cower and I just want to share my opinions with all of you because thats what blogging is about! I hope you all enjoy this more than I did. 

- Jocelyn

Thursday, August 13, 2015

ARC Review: Dreamland

Dreamland by Robert L. Anderson
Publication Date: September 22, 2015

Odea Donahue has been able to travel through people’s dreams since she was six years old. Her mother taught her the three rules of walking: Never interfere. Never be seen. Never walk the same person’s dream more than once. Dea has never questioned her mother, not about the rules, not about the clocks or the mirrors, not about moving from place to place to be one step ahead of the unseen monsters that Dea’s mother is certain are right behind them.

Then a mysterious new boy, Connor, comes to town and Dea finally starts to feel normal. As Connor breaks down the walls that she’s had up for so long, he gets closer to learning her secret. For the first time she wonders if that’s so bad. But when Dea breaks the rules, the boundary between worlds begins to deteriorate. How can she know what’s real and what’s not?

I hate writing bad reviews, and usually I don't. But because I read an ARC I have to write this review. I really wanted to like this book, I did, but I just couldn't get into it. There was a lot wrong with this book to me, and it could just be personal preference, but I could never fully get into the story. There are many good elements that had the potential to be something great, but the execution of all of these elements combined, just didn't work for me. I found a lot of things "off" with the story, but I'll pinpoint a couple of the major things.

The description of the book makes it seem like the dream walking (which is actually pretty interesting) is going to be the main focus of this book, but it's really not. It's mentioned, but doesn't come into play until the end. And even then, it's more of a "blink and you miss it" type thing because Odea is only in the Dream world for maybe a couple of chapters. I just wanted more from the dream walking aspect because when Odea was there, I was very intrigued by it. But there was really no explanation of it or further details about it besides the bare minimum.

Another problem I had was that a good chunk of this book (at least to me) was completely unnecessary. I do get that you need to set things up, but a good 50%...maybe more...of this book could have been cut out, and the story would have had the same effect. The point still would have gotten across, and there wouldn't be a lot of boring stuff in between. I honestly kept losing interest as this story went along, and by the end, I didn't really care one way or the other what happened to the characters. I kept hoping it would get better, but even at the best parts, this was just okay. There were a lot of times also where things would get mentioned, but never be elaborated upon. So you're left wanting more description or just more information in general.

There were a lot of strange elements in this story that I kept questioning, even though the main character, Odea, didn't bother. Take for example her home life--it is just down right strange, and Odea never once questions it. She doesn't question what her mom tells her about her dreamwalking, nor does she question anything her mom does. The interactions between the characters was also "off" to me. They seemed stilted and not realistic. I really am having a difficult time explaining what exactly was weird about their interactions, but there was just something there that prevented me from connecting with these characters whatsoever. Odea was actually somewhat annoying to me, and I felt I never really got to know her. Connor was just an okay character as well. There was nothing special about him, and again, I never felt a connection with his character.

There was also the problem I had with Odea's choices. Odea dreamwalks repeatedly in Connor's dreams, even though she isn't supposed to dreamwalk in a person's dream more than once. However, this is okay because as Odea says, "No one cares about privacy these days." But...she doesn't want to walk in her best friend, Gollum's dreams repeatedly because, "It would be weird." I really didn't get this, and it actually really bothered me.

Again, I think this book had a lot of potential. It was very unique and creative. I just think it wasn't executed properly. I was very much underwhelmed by the story, and at the end of the day, it just wasn't my cup of tea. If you think it sounds interesting, check it out. Ultimately, this one was a miss for me. However, I will give the author another chance if he writes another book unrelated to this series. I don't want to write him off yet!

I was given an ARC of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading :)


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Book Review: Shadow and Bone (Grisha Trilogy Series, #1)

Shadow and Bone (Grisha Trilogy Series, #1): Leigh Bardugo 

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

I want to know what the heck took me so long to read this amazing gem of a book! Of course I heard "This is a book you'll either love or you'll hate" and in the case of most of those - I usually hate. However, I loved this. It reminded me of Kiss of Deception (one of my favorite books) in the historical fantasy aspect. Did I mention I love historical fantasy? Because I do! Shadow and Bone was a perfect mix of russian culture, fantasy, and romance! 

"The problem with wanting," he whispered, his mouth trailing along my jaw
 until it hovered over my lips, "is that it makes us weak"

I found the world building to be seriously amazing. Ravka is so monumentally awesome I am having a hard time not fangirling all over the place right now. Leigh Bardugo adds the perfect details so that you are never ever confused. It is literally like watching a movie while reading this book. I could so perfectly picture Ravka and these characters in my head, I'm craving a movie adaptation in this! From the very beginning to the very end the magical elements of this story are so perfectly crafted that you are never bombarded and are constantly craving more. 

The characters were equally as amazing. Alina is strong female MC that you aren't afraid to love. I feel like everyone can connect to her and see a part of themselves in her. She has a huge heart and will risk everything to save those she cares about and never expect anything in return. I wasn't Mal's greatest fan when the story started, but I feel like he did get better. Alina pined after Mal for her entire life, and he never noticed her. He was busy fooling around with other girls. He obviously does finally notice her, but at that time I'm already shipping The Darkling hardcore. 

"A moment later the boy whispered, "I don't think you're ugly."
"Shhhh!" the girl hissed. But hidden by the deep shadows of the cupboard, she smiled"

I'm still shipping The Darkling, LOL. I mean she can change him for the better maybe, right?! The Darkling is the definition of an anti-hero (without the hero? lol). And I love me a good anti-hero. He's dark (duh), smooth, mysterious, sexy, possessive, cocky, threatening and him and Alina just fit together so perfectly in my opinion because they are polar opposites of each other. They had so much sexual tension throughout the story - I mean when he saves her life, you just have to love him! He is so freaking charming!! You will lust after The Darkling - it's inevitable. This is a little bit of a love triangle, sort of. But I loved it and I don't even care what you say about love triangles right now because this one was epic. 

"I've been waiting for you a long time, Alina." He said. "You and I are going to change the world."

Shadow and Bone was one of the best stories I've read in a really long time. There was a perfect combination of romance, action, and fantasy - you will literally never be bored. This story was addicting and magical, I found myself not wanting to eat just so I can read more. I can't wait to read Siege and Storm because hopefully more Darkling! 

- Jocelyn