Friday, October 24, 2014

Review: White Cat

: White Cat
Author: Holly Black
Pages: 310
Release Date: May 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: McElderry Books
Rating: 4 Cows

Goodreads Description:

Cassel comes from a shady, magical family of con artists and grifters. He doesn't fit in at home or at school, so he's used to feeling like an outsider. He's also used to feeling guilty; he killed his best friend, Lila, years ago.

But when Cassel begins to have strange dreams about a white cat, and people around him are losing their memories, he starts to wonder what really happened to Lila. In his search for answers, he discovers a wicked plot for power that seems certain to succeed. But Cassel has other ideas and a plan to con the conmen.

Admittedly, I’m already a huge fan of Holly Black (who I was lucky enough to meet in person a few weeks back) so I was really excited to start reading White Cat.  Prior to receiving the book though, I hadn’t actually heard of it before, so I read the description on the jacket cover to see what I was in for.  I’m a lover of all things fantasy, so at the promise of black magic and mobsters in White Cat, I knew I would like it.

I come from a big Italian family, so I found the concept of this modern day group of mobsters working with curses extremely fascinating.  Only Holly Black would be able to combine two elements like dark magic and mobsters, and make it work.  At the YA conference I recently attended, Holly discussed how writing fantasy can be difficult, because you have to recognize the limits of using magic.  In this book, the curse workers have to touch the person they’re trying to ‘work’ in order to cast a curse on them.  This becomes the limit of the magic in White Cat, because the society they live in knows about curse workers and expects people to wear gloves in public.  At times, this can get quite funny in the book, because they compare taking off your gloves in public to taking off your pants or shirt, in that it’s extremely private and something one should only do in the comfort of their own home. 

Another aspect of White Cat I enjoyed, was that it was also a mystery.  I can’t say I’ve ever read anything in the fantasy genre that included a good murder mystery! It’s nice to see a mix of genres sometimes, especially when it’s written well. 

The only reason I struggled with giving this 4 cows, is because the beginning was pretty confusing.  The book used words like the mark, the con, and blowback, without explaining what any of them meant in the curse worker’s world.  It left the reader to figure this out for themselves, and to be honest, I didn’t catch on to the idea of blowblack until I got at least halfway through the book.  I did stick with 4 cows though, because everything gets cleared up and you understand it more, as you read further into White Cat. 

I’d highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed the Castor Chronicles series by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.  I just finished reading the 2nd book in the Curse Worker Series after White Cat, which is called Red Glove, and that review will be going up soon!  So stay tuned if you are interested in hearing more about this series by Holly Black.  In the meantime, start reading White Cat! You won’t be disappointed!  


Thursday, October 23, 2014

That Awkward Thursday (26) Ignore the Negative and Focus on the Positive

That Awkward Thursday is a feature hosted by Wholly Books where it's not only okay but encouraged to share your awkward moments!

That Awkward Moment I decide to ignore all of the negativity and talk about some positive things that happened this week...

Disclaimer: This post is going to be all over the place. I apologize in advance.

As I was thinking this week on a topic for my That Awkward Thursday post, my first thought was of course to comment on "the incident". I'm sure you all know the incident I am referring to (this article). But I thought about it some more and realized what's the point of commenting? I have absolutely nothing to add to the conversation that someone else hasn't already stated. So I'm not going to talk about that.

The next topic idea I came up with was one in reference to this article. Yet another example of someone trying to make me feel bad for my reading choices. FYI: I'm currently reading Blood of Olympus and it's fabulous! :) I've commented on this before so I don't feel there's any reason for me to rehash it now. Obviously, I think I should be able to read whatever I like without someone judging me for it.

Well, Ashley, are you going to talk about anything in this post or are you going to simply continue to talk about what you are not going to talk about? Ya know, I'm glad you asked. As a matter of fact, I am going to talk about something in this post. 

There has been a lot of negative things going on in the blogging world so I would like to take a minute to mention some of the good things that are going on. 

First, it is less than one month until the release of Mockingjay: Part One and there's a new teaser trailer! The trailer makes me even more excited for the movie!

Second, the cover for Kasie West's next book was revealed and it's adorable! I love, love, love Kasie West!

Third, the Morganville Vampires web series released a trailer. I can't wait to watch this web series!! The Morganville Vampires is one of my favorite vampire series so I am super excited!

UPDATE: I found this gem a little bit ago and just had to add it to this post! The cover for The Heir is beautiful! I am dying for this one!!

Here's the cover and you can read the description and watch the trailer here.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (55)

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Title:  Red Queen 
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Publisher: Orion
Release Date: February 10, 2015

Goodreads Description:

A thrilling new fantasy trilogy for fans of DIVERGENT and THE HUNGER GAMES.

The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of
those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?

Why I'm Waiting: I love this cover! It really intrigued me. The concept of the novel sounds really intersting and I can't wait to read it.

What are you waiting on??

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday (64)

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the Broke and the Bookish!

Top Series I Need to Start

1. Grave Mercy by Robin LeFevers

2. Trail by Fire by Josephine Angelini

3. Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

4. Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

5. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

6. Pawn by Aimee Carter

7. Legend by Marie Lu

And that's all I can think of at present! I'm sure there are a ton more!! 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Review: Even in Paradise

Title: Even in Paradise
Author: Chelsey Philpot
Pages: 368
Release Date: October 14, 2014
Format: ARC
Publisher: Harper Collins
Rating: 4 Cows

Goodreads Description

When Julia Buchanan enrolls at St. Anne’s at the beginning of junior year, Charlotte Ryder already knows all about the former senator’s daughter. Most people do... or think they do.

Charlotte certainly never expects she’ll be Julia’s friend. But almost immediately, she is drawn into the larger than-life-new girl’s world—a world of midnight rendezvous, dazzling parties, palatial vacation homes, and fizzy champagne cocktails. And then Charlotte meets, and begins falling for, Julia’s handsome older brother, Sebastian.

But behind her self-assured smiles and toasts to the future, Charlotte soon realizes that Julia is still suffering from a tragedy. A tragedy that the Buchanan family has kept hidden... until now.

I guess the best word in my opinion to describe Even in Paradise is whimsical. Charlotte or Charlie gets completely swept away by the Buchanans and I must admit that I did too. It's hard not to. They are intoxicating.

Anyone that has read my blog for any length of time knows that I typically prefer fast paced novels. However, there are the occasional slow paced novels that I enjoy and Even in Paradise happens to be one of them. There really isn't a whole lot of action. It's mostly just stories about Charlie's experience with the Buchanans, It wasn't a book that I couldn't put down but it always wasn't a book that bored me.

It's hard to really explain what I enjoyed about Even in Paradise. It's more of a general feel of the novel, rather an actual thing. I did love the Buchanans, every, single one of them. I loved that they all had these adorable nicknames for each other. I loved how Julia and her siblings played these inside games that they played at parties. The really great thing about the Buchanans was how even though they lived this extravagant lifestyle, yet they still seemed to be relatable. They were loyal to one another. I kind of loved that Julia was this fragile girl but constantly was pulling these crazy stunts. I am pretty sure that I fell as hard and fast for Sebastian as Charlie did. I found his clumsiness endearing.

The actual plot was the only part that I didn't love. I felt that there was too much emphasis put on the secret that the Buchanans were hiding. To me it was quite obvious and wasn't a big deal. I guess I could see how it would be a big deal to Julia but it wasn't near as bad as it is made to be.  I was also a little mixed on my feelings for the end of the novel. It's one of those semi-opened ended novels. You have a general idea of where everyone is (some more so than others) but not necessarily where they are going. In a way I liked it because I can imagine where I want the characters to go but at the same time it makes me feel the story is somewhat incomplete.

Even in Paradise is an intoxicating read that fans of The Great Gatsby will love!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Review: Kiss Kill Vanish

Title: Kiss Kill Vanish
Author: Jessica Martinez
Pages: 432
Release Date: October 7, 2014
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Rating: 4 Cows

Goodreads Description:

Valentina Cruz no longer exists.

One moment, she was wrapped in Emilio’s arms, melting into his kiss. The next, she was witnessing the unthinkable: a murder in cold blood, ordered by her father and carried out by her boyfriend. When Emilio pulled the trigger, Valentina disappeared. She made a split-second decision to shed her identity and flee her life of privilege, leaving the glittering parties and sultry nightlife of Miami far behind.

She doesn’t know how to explain to herself what she saw. All she knows now is that nothing she believed about her family, her heart, or Emilio’s love, was real.

She can change her name and deny her past, but Valentina can’t run from the truth. The lines between right and wrong, and trust and betrayal, will be blurred beyond recognition as she untangles the deceptions of the two men she once loved and races to find her own truth.

I know they say don’t judge a book by its cover, but I broke the rules anyhow with this one.  “Kiss Kill Vanish” by Jessica Martinez has such a beautiful cover, that I  think I set the expectations pretty high going into it.  That being said, when I did start reading it I found myself a little disappointed.  It was pretty slow to start and many of the chapters felt like fillers until the plot picked up.  This didn’t happen until about halfway through the book.  At that point though, I FELL IN LOVE guys.  Everything started to make sense, including why Jane (or Valentina, whichever one of her names you prefer) was living in a dumpy apartment and using a fake name.    

If you like a good mystery, or travelling, this book is perfect for you.  As any reader can tell you, some books are pretty predictable as far as plot goes, but with “Kiss Kill Vanish” I had a hard time figuring out the bad guys ahead of time, or trying to predict what would happen before it did.  The author did a great job of dropping hints without giving too much away, which I really appreciated, because that’s what keeps the book interesting.  If you like travelling you’ll enjoy this story because it has numerous settings, such as Montreal, Miami, and Girona.  

If you’re able to get through the slow start of the book, I definitely recommend this one.  It’s so worth the wait for the book to pick up, because once it does, you won’t be able to put it down.  Warning: if you’re on a diet, make sure you don’t have access to sweets when you’re reading “Kiss Kill Vanish.”  Between the pastries Jane is always eating, and the free chocolate Jacques gives her when she goes to the café, I was craving sweets in the worst way by the time I finished reading this!

Besides the slow start to the book, the only other thing that bothered me was how naïve Jane appeared at the beginning of the book.  Coming from a rich lifestyle like she was accustomed to though, I can understand why Jessica Martinez wanted to portray her like this.  Overall, I enjoyed “Kiss Kill Vanish” and I’ve already been recommending it to all my friends!  


Thursday, October 16, 2014

That Awkward Thursday (25) When You Think You're Getting What You Want

That Awkward Moment You Think You're Getting What You Want but Really Aren't....

Last week, I saw a tweet from Penguin Teen that said something like, "Always wanted your Anna, Lola, and Isla books to match? We have good news for you!" Then it had a link to this article. When I first read the tweet I was super excited. They had decided to do an Isla cover to match my other books. Looking back it was an irrational thought, but sometimes we believe what we want to be true and I wanted an Isla cover to match my old Anna and Lola covers.

 I know that you can't please everyone. I do. Still, I feel like instead of giving us what we (what I) wanted they gave us what we kind of wanted that would also make them money. Publishing is a business so they have to make decisions that will make them money. Releasing another hardcover of Isla to match the old covers would cost money because someone would have to design a new cover and probably wouldn't make them as much money since Isla was just released. However, releasing both Anna and Lola with hardcovers wouldn't cost any more in design since they already had released paperback versions of Anna and Lola to match the new Isla cover. Plus, diehard fans would go out and buy two books that they most likely already had multiple copies of just so they could have a matching set.

I guess I have mixed feelings about it. I am glad that if I choose I can have a matching set of Stephanie Perkins books. Nothing drives me more crazy than having non matching covers in a series. However, I also feel like this is being used just to sell more books. But again, I guess that is the point. Penguin is a business and businesses have to make money.

What are your thoughts on it? Are you excited about it? Will you buy the two hardcovers of Anna and Lola so your books will match? Let me know in the comments.


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