Monday, April 30, 2012

To Read or Not to Read? Fifty Shades of Grey

Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades, #1)

Fifty Shades of Grey I know you’ve heard of it. It’s on top of the USA Today and New York Times bestseller list and it seems everyone is talking about it. And everyone seems to have pretty strong opinions on it. They either love it or they hate it. There is no in between.  The line is clearly and definitively drawn.
I’ve been going back and forth on this one for a while.  Part of me doesn’t want to read it just because of what it’s about but then again another part does for the same reason. From what I hear it’s scandalous (to say the least) but it’s also completely engrossing. And while it’s definitely not going to be winning any type of literary award any time soon, the books are selling faster than a $5 toaster on Black Friday.
I’ve been holding back on reading it based on principle and from what I can tell most of the haters are doing the same and haven’t read a single page. Last week, one of my co-workers came in and was talking about how they had bought it. She hadn’t started it but she did let me take a look. I flipped to a random page and read. Why, yes, I did just so happen to land on one those pages. Today, she came back in to tell me that she read the book in 24 hrs and loved it. All I have heard today is how much she needs the next book. It’s like she’s on drugs and this book is her crack. And like any good crack addict, she keeps trying to get me hooked as well. “C’mon Ashley, you have to try it!”  “It’s soooo good, Ashley.”  “Ashley, you just don’t understand how it made me feel. I’ve never felt this way before.”  You get the point, right?
So now I’m at the crossroads. I have to pick a side. Do I rebuke it for its lack of high literary quality or embrace it because the story is just that good?
Honestly, I think the best way to find out if I like something or not is to read it. So, yes, I will be reading it at some point in the future. I learned the hard way not to judge something without first trying it. I snubbed a little series you all may have heard of for over a decade simply because I didn’t want to be a part of the hype surrounding a story about a young wizard boy. I mean, a story about young teenage wizard trying to save the wizarding world, who would want to read that?
Ya live and ya learn!
*** I sincerely hope that this goes without saying but just in case (it seems people frequently take things the wrong way) I am in NO way comparing this book to Harry Potter. The only comparison I am making between the two is my hesitation in reading them.  

Monday Pick-Me-Up

Monday Pick-Me-Up is a weekly post intended to get everyone over their Monday Blues by sharing quotes I thought were funny in the books I read the previous week.

So I am a month behind on the Soul Screamers Reading Challenge. I started reading My Soul to Keep before my trip to Chicago but I didn't read much on my trip and I ended up starting another book before getting back to it. I'm almost done now and things have really picked up. There are also some really funny parts in there too, which is why I'm featuring it in this week's pick-me-up!

"I got swirling eyes and the capacity to shatter windows with my bare voice. Tod got teleportation and invisibility. The supernatural world is so far from fair."

"Was I wearing my 'I'm done with my virginity, please get rid of it for me' T-shirt?"

"Damn it, Tod!" He glared in the reaper's general direction. "Do not sneak up on me in my own house--I don't care how dead you are! Show yourself or get out."

Harmony and I shared a small smile, but my father didn't notice.

The reaper shrugged and grinned at me, then blinked out of the chair and onto the carpet at my father's back, now fully corporeal. "Fine," he said, inches from my dad's ear, and my father nearly jumped out of his shirt. "Your house, your rules."

My dad spun around, his flush deepening until I thought his face would explode. "I changed my mind. Get out!"

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Alchemy of Forever- Review

Seraphina’s first love made her immortal…her second might get her killed.
After spending six hundred years on earth, Seraphina Ames has seen it all. Eternal life provides her with the world’s riches, but at a very high price: innocent lives. Centuries ago, her boyfriend, Cyrus, discovered a method of alchemy that allows them to swap bodies with other humans, jumping from one vessel to the next, taking the human’s life in the process. No longer able to bear the guilt of what she’s done, Sera escapes from Cyrus and vows to never kill again.
Then sixteen-year-old Kailey Morgan gets into a horrific car accident right in front of her, and Sera accidentally takes over her body. For the first time, Sera finds herself enjoying the life of the person she’s inhabiting—and falls for the human boy who lives next door. But Cyrus will stop at nothing until she’s his again, and every moment she stays, she’s putting herself and the people she’s grown to care for in great danger.
Will Sera have to give up the one thing that’s eluded her for centuries: true love?
My Thoughts

I’ve always been a sucker for books about immortality. The possibility of living forever young has always fascinated me. Vamps, angels, faeries, immortals, you name 'em, I love ‘em. That's why when I read the book description for Alchemy of Forever I knew I had to read it and bumped it up in my TBR list.

At just over 250 pages, Alchemy of Forever, is a quick and entertaining read. This isn't the first book to explore the elixir of life but it's always fun to see a new author's take on an old topic.
The book is written in first person with Seraphina aka Kailey narrating. At times, the writing seems kind of formal which I've never been a huge fan of. However, I understand why it was done this way. Seraphina is over 600 years old so her language and writing would still reflect the time she was brought up in.

I loved how Seraphina instantly falls in love with Kailey's life and sees how wonderful life can be. After years of living with Cyrus, she is finally free. The storyline was interesting and suspenseful. However, I felt the characters lacked personality. They were all nice enough but none of them stood out.

I think the story and characters both have room for further development. I hope in upcoming books we learn more about the characters and see more of each ones true personalities. I also think that Taryns has a lot to offer the story and I don't think we have seen the last of her.
Overall, I thought Alchemy of Forever was a nice, enjoyable book. While it didn't make it on my favorite list, the story has potential and a look forward to seeing where William's takes the story.

Grade: C

***This review was first published at Me, My Shelf, and I where I am a PT reviewer. You can see my review here.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday- The Golden Lily

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

Title: The Golden Lily
Author: Richelle Mead 
Expected Publication: June 12

The Golden Lily (Bloodlines, #2)

Goodreads Description: 

The second thrilling installment in Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy spinoff series

Tough, brainy alchemist Sydney Sage and doe-eyed Moroi princess Jill Dragomir are in hiding at a human boarding school in the sunny, glamorous world of Palm Springs, California. The students--children of the wealthy and powerful--carry on with their lives in blissful ignorance, while Sydney, Jill, Eddie, and Adrian must do everything in their power to keep their secret safe. But with forbidden romances, unexpected spirit bonds, and the threat of Strigoi moving ever closer, hiding the truth is harder than anyone thought.

Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, Richelle Mead's breathtaking Bloodlines series explores all the friendship, romance, battles, and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive. In this second book, the drama is hotter, the romances are steamier, and the stakes are even higher.

What are you waiting on?

The Immortal Rules- Review

The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden, #1)Goodreads Description

In a future world, Vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity.
Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.
Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked—and given the ultimate choice. Die or become one of the monsters.
Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.
Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend—a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.
But it isn't easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what—and who—is worth dying for.

My Thoughts

I am a HUGE fan of Julie Kagawa’s The Iron Fey series so you can imagine my excitement when I found out she was writing a vampire series (my first love). However, I was also a little apprehensive. What if I didn’t like her new series? What if I did like it but didn’t love it like I had hoped? What if I couldn’t connect to these characters like I did with the ones from The Iron Fey? All of these what if’s. Luckily, Julie Kagawa knew what she was doing and wrote yet another dazzling book.

The Immortal Rules is sheer brilliance from page 1 to page 485. At 485 pages, you would think there would have to be a lot of “filler” information, this is not the case. Every word is used tactfully to enhance and propel the story forward. The story is so action packed; it is near to impossible to put it down!

I loved Allison. She was real and an admirable heroine. Allison hated vampires but when faced with the option of dying or becoming the one thing she hated most, she chose life. I believe that this is something that most people can relate to. At the end of the day, we would all choose to live rather than die. She had weaknesses and flaws but worked hard to overcome them and become a better person. She continuously chose not to become the monster she truly could be. This line sums up her struggle:

“Hunger flickered, always there, but I pushed it down. I was a vampire. Nothing would change that. But I didn't have to be a monster.”

The romance between Allie and Zeke was beautiful. I loved how Kagawa allowed their relationship to develop naturally. There wasn’t an instant love connection. Their relationship was real and genuine. Zeke is (of course) a total hottie and such a sweetheart. He made it his personal duty to take care of everyone. He even tried to take care of Allie, although we know that she was more than capable of taking care of herself.

The world, the characters, the writing, the pacing were all perfect. I loved this story and cannot wait to see where Julie Kagawa takes it. I highly recommend this book!!

Grade: A+

****Note: This review was originally published at Me, My Shelf and I where I am a part-time reviewer. You can see my review there by clicking here.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (1)

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and Bookish

Top Ten All Time Favorite Characters in Books
These are listed in no particular order. I tried to rank them but I just couldn't!  All of these characters have impacted me one way or another. Some inspired me to be a better person, some I admired for their courage and strength, and some just made me laugh!

King Arthur--- Once and the Future King by T. H. White
Elizabeth Bennett- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Katniss Everdeen- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Meghan Chase- The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa
Adrian- Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series by Richelle Mead
Merit- The Chicagoland Vampires by Chloe Neill
Leslie- Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr
Jace Wayland- The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
Hermione Granger- Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
Shane Collins- The Morganville Vampires by Rachel Caine

Who made your top ten?

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