Sunday, April 29, 2012

In My Mailbox #11

In my mailbox is a weekly meme, hosted by Kristi, at The Story Siren, in which we share the books that we got this week.
- Clicking on the titles will take you to the book's Goodreads page.

Masque of Red Death, by Bethany Griffin
The Temptation, by Alisa Valdes
Unraveling, by Elizabeth Norris

Deadly Descendant, by Jenna Black
A Brush of Darkness, by Allison Pang
Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe, by Shelley Coriell (ARC)

A lot of fantastic books came out this week, including Masque of Red Death, The Temptation, Unraveling, and Deadly Descendant. They all look pretty good, especially The Unraveling. I read the first few chapters, and though I wasn't hooked, I think I'll enjoy the story. I'm particularly excited for Deadly Descendant. I've heard great things about where the series is headed. 
A big thank you for Netgalley, for sending me Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe. This will be my next read. From the looks of it, it'll be cute :D 
Anyway, I can't wait to read all these books. What did you get this book?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Immortal Rules, by Julie Kagawa

- Blood of Eden #1
Release date: April 24th 2012
Published by: Harlequin Teen
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 5/5 stars
Source: Netgalley
Find it on: Goodreads, Amazon

ARC provided by Harlequin Teen and Netgalley, for review purposes. 

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:

Dystopia + vampires. Two genres that aren't usually mixed, but the market is full of them already. I've read tons of vampires, and dystopian novels this year. I was surprised to see Julie Kagawa, one of my favorite authors, writing about something so... common. I should've known that she'd amaze me, yet again. Having read, and loved, the Iron Fey series, I was positive, or at least hoping, that Julie would write a good book. Still, I was hesitant. 

Julie Kagawa introduces us to a world in which the humans are blood bags at worst, food at best. Vampires have dominated everything, and with them, the rabids came along - people that got sick with a special virus and turned into starving monsters that would basically do everything to get their claws on a human. The world-building, just like I thought it would be, was solid, and gave us a realistic view of what a dystopian society overthrown by vampires would look like. Fantasy aside, I could imagine myself walking those streets, always running and hiding. It's no secret the world-building is my favorite aspect of a dystopian book, so I was pleasantly surprised. 

A tough story like this requires a tough heroine as well, and that's where Allie fits. Just like Meghan Chase, she's strong, brave, and yet very human and sentimental, even after she was turned. I loved her, to be honest. Her point of view was objective, but when facing an obstacle, or even in the middle of a dialogue, there were moments of emotion that made me feel sorry for Allie. I cheered, laughed, and cried right along with her. A remarkable character, indeed. 

Allison, though, is not the only good character in The Immortal Rules. Zeke, the love interest, is yet another dose of balance between duty and emotions. The romance isn't introduced right in the beginning of the book, which lets us get a feeling of who Allison is. Only then, we meet Zeke, who, to be sincere, added a wonderful element to the plot. A good romance was what the story needed to explore the characters' personality even further. Allison and Zeke were two sides of a coin, different, but unable to stay apart. They just fit together, and not in a senseless way. Julie knows how to build a love story. I loved it. 

The Immortal Rules, however, gave me a sense of reality that I've never experienced before. The characters' emotions, the dialogues, even the fight scenes, were so wonderfully written I felt like I was there, inside the pages. Maybe that's Julie's writing, or the world itself, that was so well built, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I was reading something that had actually happened. Everything was so real

All that said, it's impossible for me not to give The Immortal Rules five stars. Julie Kagawa, yet again, made me love her book. I'm deeply in love with the characters, the dystopian world, the romance, and the ending. Yes, the ending left me open-mouthed, and now I'm eagerly anticipating the sequel, but what can I say? I loved The Immortal Rules.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Last Echo, by Kimberly Derting

- The Body Finder #3
Release date: April 17th 2012
Published by: Harper Collins
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 3/5 stars
Find it on: Goodreads, Amazon, Book Depository

In the end, all that's left is an echo...
Violet kept her morbid ability to sense dead bodies a secret from everyone except her family and her childhood-best-friend-turned-boyfriend, Jay Heaton. That is until forensic psychologist Sara Priest discovered Violet's talent and invited her to use her gift to track down murderers. Now, as she works with an eclectic group of individuals—including mysterious and dangerously attractive Rafe—it's Violet's job to help those who have been murdered by bringing their killers to justice. When Violet discovers the body of a college girl killed by "the girlfriend collector" she is determined to solve the case. But now the serial killer is on the lookout for a new "relationship" and Violet may have caught his eye....

 My thoughts:

The Body Finder and Desires of the Dead were adorable books. I loved the story, the characters (even when Violet turned into a Mary Sue sometimes), and the romance. The Last Echo had it all, but not as strongly as I thought. Of course, the mystery behind the girls' disappearance was still there, Violet was still struggling with her powers, and the FBI team was an important part of the story. But maybe that's the problem.

In The Last Echo, Violet doesn't deal with relationship issues. She doesn't even deal with family issues. Most of the story is focused on Violet herself, and her ability to use her gift as something good, and not let it control her, or dominate her life. Sara Priest and her team, specially Rafe, help Violet with this. It's obvious, form the beginning, how the author wants us to understand Violet's gift, and go right along with her everytime she has to use it. Which would've been fine by me, but the book's plot doesn't go any further than that. 

The biggest flaw in The Last Echo was the author's incapability of working with two things at the same time. In The Body Finder, the plot basically consists of world-building. In Desires of the Dead,  it's all about the romance. In The Last Echo, it's all about the FBI. This is exhausting. Most dialogues had someone from the team in it, and the other aspects of Violet's life, like, say, her family, and even Jay, were ignored. Jay is barely mentioned in this novel. This bothered me a lot, not because I love their relationship (which is true), but because it doesn't make any sense. If you're going to talk about the FBI, fine, do it, but don't exclude everything else. 

One of the few things that pleased me was Rafe himself - he was a pain in the ass sometimes, but overall, I loved his personality -, and The Collector. Yep, I loved the villain. He's the creepiest guy Kimberly Derting has ever talked about. He kidnaps girls for love. He thinks his behavior is normal, and he actually cares about the them, in some twisted, sick way. Violet handled herself a lot better than I thought she would, in the ending. I liked this character development. In The Body Finder, she cringed and tried to scream, but otherwise didn't struggle much. In The Last Echo, all bets are off. She did whatever she had to do to survive.

The premise was awesome... but the book itself, not so much. I'm still looking forward to next one, and I sincerely hope it'll be better than The Last Echo. Nonetheless, it's still a great read. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Switched, by Amanda Hocking

- Trylle Trilogy #1
Release date: January 3rd 2012
Published by: St. Martin's Griffin
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 3/5 stars
Find it on: Goodreads Amazon

When Wendy Everly was six years old, her mother was convinced she was a monster and tried to kill her. Eleven years later, Wendy discovers her mother might have been right. She’s not the person she’s always believed herself to be, and her whole life begins to unravel—all because of Finn Holmes.

Finn is a mysterious guy who always seems to be watching her. Every encounter leaves her deeply shaken…though it has more to do with her fierce attraction to him than she’d ever admit. But it isn’t long before he reveals the truth: Wendy is a changeling who was switched at birth—and he’s come to take her home.

Now Wendy’s about to journey to a magical world she never knew existed, one that’s both beautiful and frightening. And where she must leave her old life behind to discover who she’s meant to become…

My thoughts:
Have you ever read a book that alarmed you, in some way, after Chapter One? Have you ever felt angry after a couple of pages, enough to set off your alarms and make you want to stop reading it? That's what Switched did to me. The premise was interesting at first, a girl whose mother had tried to kill her, based on some crazy instinct, when she was six. Same girl finding out her mother was right, years later. Finding out that she isn't human, but a different race, a changeling. Yeah, the synopsis picked my curiosity, but after 20 pages or so, my eyes were bleeding. 

What bothered me most about Switched was the romance. Now, you're probably thinking, "But a book has more to it than just the romance". And I agree with you. But when the author decides to write a romance novel, it has to have some depth. I, personally, like to see the main character's personality developing a little, to give me a sense of what she would or wouldn't do in certain cases. To give me a sense of who the main character is. Only then, the romance is welcoming. That didn't happen in Switched, at all. Finn, the love interest, is introduced to us in the tenth page or so. How, God Almighty, am I supposed to understand Wendy's attraction to Finn, if I don't even know her?

As the story goes on and on about what changelings are (not much of an answer provided there, either), and what Wendy is supposed to do in order to fit in the changeling society, I just couldn't connect with her at all. It was like I was watching a soup opera, a bunch of characters interacting with each other without depth. I couldn't see past Wendy's narration, I couldn't understand why she liked Finn so much, and what the hell was so special about her. Apart from her powers, she's ordinary, painfully so.

Not to mention that their romance is ridiculous, in the beginning. The guy stalks her, and even though she actually wonders if he's a psycho... she gives him access to her room, in the middle of the night, right after he treated her like dirt. What is wrong with this girl? I was outraged by this, and other parts in which her self-preservation is absent. That's why I was so angry. However, their romance began to work a lot better after a 100 pages or so.

I guess I would've enjoyed Switched a lot more if I had liked the characters. There wasn't a single character in this book that I mildly connected to. They were flat, not interesting, and though I can see why a lot of people loved this book, the story itself didn't feel appealing to me. Don't get me wrong. I didn't hate Switched. I just wasn't drawn by it. I may even read the next book in the trilogy, Torn. Who knows!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

In My Mailbox #10

In my mailbox is a weekly meme, hosted by Kristi, at The Story Siren, in which we share the books that we got this week.

- Clicking on the titles will take you to the book's Goodreads page.

The List, by Siobhan Vivian
The Last Echo, by Kimberly Derting
The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green

I seriously cannot wait to read The List and The Fault in Our Stars. I read The Last Echo the day it came out (thank god Kindle exists), and though it was great, it wasn't as good as Desires of the Dead. 
What did you get in your mailbox this week? :D

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern

Release date: September 13th 2011
Published by: Doubleday
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 2/5 stars
Find it on: Goodreads, Amazon

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.

My thoughts:

I'll start by saying I was absolutely thrilled about The Night Circus after I read the synopsis. It doesn't exactly give us a lot of details about the story, but is enough to give you an idea of what the author will write about. A magic circus, two magicians that get themselves into a duel, and somehow fall in love. The big problem is, the synopsis is a lie.

Erin Morgenstern probably tried to introduce us to the circus by explaining how it got created. And how both magicians, Celia and Marco, started to work there. This would've been fine, if the characters weren't absolutely dull and flat, especially Celia and Marco, which is kind of ironic, really, since they're supposed to somewhat resemble main characters. But with dialogues that look like endless streams of nonsense, the characters don't have any depth, and I mean that. I wasn't able to connect with a single character in this book, they all felt superficial and just plain boring.

And that brings me to the next topic: the writing itself. Maybe that's the reason the characters felt so dull. The truth is, I don't know, but the writing bothered me immeasurably. The narrator would just describe what was happening, turning pages and pages into repetitions of "she said, he said, he did that, she did that, he sighed, she sighed", and then, suddenly, he would start talking about the person's feelings, out of nowhere. It was so abrupt and unnecessary. If you only describe what's happening in a scene, we, as readers, don't have the slightest idea what the character is feeling. But if that's your writing style, then stick with it. Do not jump back in forth.

Aside from the writing... I just don't understand why this book is set in 1897. To be honest, the atmosphere is quite nice and welcoming, but the chapters confused me. Let's just put it this way: Chapter One is set in 1897, Chapter Two is set in 1907, Chapter Three is set in 1894, Chapter Four is set in 1899, and Chapter Five is set in 1897 again. It's something like this. And it's confusing as hell! How am I supposed to stick with the story and have a decent timeline, when the author herself can't decide?

Not to mention that the romance doesn't make sense. It's worse than Twilight. Marco and Celia barely look at each other throughout the book, they barely even talk, and then sparks fly, with no reason whatsoever. I have several questions for this romance, actually: Why do they fall in love? Why did the author spend several pages talking about characters that didn't matter to me at all, that just weren't important? I don't care if the guy who created the circus' clock is traveling and likes to drink his coffee without sugar. I just don't care.

The amount of unnecessary chapters, and details about people we don't give a hat about, only makes the fact that The Night Circus has no plot whatsoever more evident. I still can't conclude if this book was supposed to talk about the circus, about the people who created the circus, about Marco and Celia's duel (which is nonexistent as well), or about Marco and Celia themselves. Or if it's supposed to talk about all that. Either way, it failed.

Maybe I'll someday pick it up and try to get the characters. I know I'll give The Night Circus another shot, but right now? I can barely glance at the cover. To think such a beautiful premise, such an enchanting story, could turn out to be such a dull book, is disappointing. Lost potential, indeed. If you're interested about the synopsis, though, read a sample. Who knows, maybe you'll enjoy it.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #8

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. This week's choice is:

City of Lost Souls, by Cassandra Clare
Publication date: May 8th 2012, by Margaret K. McElderry
- Add it on Goodreads

**Warning: The synopsis will give you spoilers of the previous books in the series**

The demon Lilith has been destroyed and Jace has been freed from her captivity. But when the Shadowhunters arrive to rescue him, they find only blood and broken glass. Not only is the boy Clary loves missing–but so is the boy she hates, Sebastian, the son of her father Valentine: a son determined to succeed where their father failed, and bring the Shadowhunters to their knees.

No magic the Clave can summon can locate either boy, but Jace cannot stay away—not from Clary. When they meet again Clary discovers the horror Lilith’s dying magic has wrought—Jace is no longer the boy she loved. He and Sebastian are now bound to each other, and Jace has become what he most feared: a true servant of Valentine’s evil. The Clave is determined to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. Will the Shadowhunters hesitate to kill one of their own?

Only a small band of Clary and Jace’s friends and family believe that Jace can still be saved — and that the fate of the Shadowhunters’ future may hinge on that salvation. They must defy the Clave and strike out on their own. Alec, Magnus, Simon and Isabelle must work together to save Jace: bargaining with the sinister Faerie Queen, contemplating deals with demons, and turning at last to the Iron Sisters, the reclusive and merciless weapons makers for the Shadowhunters, who tell them that no weapon on this earth can sever the bond between Sebastian and Jace. Their only chance of cutting Jace free is to challenge Heaven and Hell — a risk that could claim any, or all, of their lives.

And they must do it without Clary. For Clary has gone into the heart of darkness, to play a dangerous game utterly alone. The price of losing the game is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she even still trust him? Or is he truly lost? What price is too high to pay, even for love?

Darkness threatens to claim the Shadowhunters in the harrowing fifth book of the Mortal Instruments series.

Wow. This synopsis is huge. But really, I had to choose this book. The trailer just came out today (you can check it out here), and after watching it, I was speechless. I'm craving City of Lost Souls right now, and though City of Fallen Angels disappointed me with its slow pace, I'm hoping for the best. Cassandra Clare knows how to leave her readers hanging, and that's exactly what she did in COFA. That's why I'm so looking forward to reading this. 

Anyway... May 8th is not very far. What are you waiting for this week? 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Balthazar, by Claudia Gray

Release date: March 6th 2012
Published by: HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 4/5 stars
Find it on: Goodreads, Amazon

Haunted by memories from his first days as a vampire, Balthazar has spent hundreds of years alone—without allies, without love. When he emerges from his isolation to help Skye Tierney, a human girl who once attended Evernight Academy, Balthazar has no idea how dangerous it will be. Skye’s psychic powers have caught the attention of Redgrave, the cruel master vampire responsible for murdering Balthazar and his family four centuries ago. Having learned of Skye’s powers and the remarkable effect her blood has on vampires, he plans to use her for his own evil purposes. As they stand together to fight the evil vampire, Balthazar realizes his lonely world could finally be changed by Skye...just as Redgrave realizes that he can destroy Balthazar once and for all by taking her for his own.

In a story filled with forbidden love and dark suspense, one of the most beloved characters in Claudia Gray’s New York Times bestselling Evernight series will captivate readers with his battle to overcome his past and follow his heart.

My thoughts:

There isn't a single book that's written by Claudia Gray that I haven't loved. The Evernight series, and Fateful, are among my favorite books of all times, so my expectations for Balthazar were understandably high. Again, I was surprised by Mrs. Gray's gift of creating endearing characters, but not as much as I thought I would. I'm sure this happened due to my indifference towards Balthazar in the Evernight series. I just didn't care for him - or Skye, for that matter - when I was reading about Lucas and Bianca. 

Now, I know Balthazar has a lot of fans, and I mean no disrespect at all... but he just felt so flat to me in Evernight that I wasn't even remotely interested in him as a love interest for Bianca. All that changed, however, when I heard Claudia Gray was going to dedicate a whole book to him. I decided to give him a chance and expect good things from this book, then, just like I always do.Now, after finally seeing Balthazar's story through his eyes, I admit it, it was an entertaining read... but not a very special one. 

The writing captivated me right in the first chapter, as always. I immediately sympathized with Skye's situation. Being hunted because her blood was different was not a piece of cake, but I loved how she handled the situation. She wasn't stoic and cool with it. She was human, scared, and vulnerable in a way that made her look stronger, if that makes any sense. Skye was a very likable main character.

Now on to Balthazar. His POV was what ended up drawing me to him in this book. His amused, yet honest thoughts gave me a perspective of the story that I wasn't experiencing with Skye, since she was human. It surprised me how much depth Balthazar had. How much there was to him. At first, he was just another Edward to me - selfless, in love but without reason to be, and flat as door. But then Claudia Gray and Skye made me fall for him. By the end of the book, I was looking at him in a completely different way. I was understanding him, and supporting him, which was amazing. 

Overall, Claudia Gray has yet to write a disappointing book. Evernight was perfect, and Balthazar, surprisingly, was not only a bonus, but a closure to Balthazar and Skye as well, two lovely characters who deserved their happy ending. I'm not bewitched with the story itself, but with the changes that it provoked in me. Only a good book can do that to you. Balthazar, without a doubt, deserves to fall into this category.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Immortal City, by Scott Speer

- Immortal City #1
Release date: April 3rd 2012
Published by: Razorbill
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 5/5 stars
Find it on: Goodreads, Amazon

Jackson Godspeed is the hottest young Angel in a city filled with them.

He's days away from becoming a full Guardian, and people around the world are already competing for the chance to be watched over by him. Everyone's obsessed with the Angels and the lucky people they protect - everyone except for Madison Montgomery.

Maddy's the one girl in Angel City who doesn't breathlessly follow the Angels on TV and gossip blogs. When she meets Jackson, she doesn't recognize him. But Jackson is instantly captivated by her, and against all odds the two fall in love.

Maddy is swiftly caught up in Jackson's scene, a world of glamour, paparazzi - and murder. A serial killer is on the loose, leaving dead Angels' wings for the police to find on the Walk of Fame. Even the Guardians are powerless to protect themselves in the face of this threat & and this time it's up to Maddy to save Jackson.

My thoughts:
I don't know why, but I've been procrastinating in the last couple of days. It took a lot of courage for me to actually sit down, and try to write this review. Maybe it's because I loved Immortal City so much, and it's always harder to talk about a book you love than one you hate; maybe it's because the story is so original and interesting that I can't possibly do it justice with my words. Either way, I was drawn to Scott Speer's debut novel the second I saw this cover. It would be beautiful enough on its own, but then Goodreads told me it was young-adult. And I was even more curious.

Though Immortal City is, like I mentioned, a debut novel, it doesn't feel like it at all. The world-building is solid, introducing us to a society in which the angels have come out and told humanity that they exist. Now they get paid for their services as Guardian Angels, which, if you think about it, is weird and fascinating at the same time. They don't have to save anyone, and it'd be all right for them to work with this. But why only rich people have guardian angels? Why aren't their services more accessible? It's mean and just plain wrong for rich guys to save themselves from death because they have money, while someone poorer than them has a family to sustain. 

This conflict of ideals and religion can only lead to something spectacular. More interesting is how angels are treated. They're celebrities, they have millions of fans.... it's like Justin Bieber with wings, basically. People would die to be saved by one of them, especially the girls. There's a rule, though, that says it's forbidden for an angel to save anyone other than who he's protecting. And that's where Jackson and Maddy's story begin. 

I loved them both before I even reached the middle of the book. Jackson is surrounded by cameras and paparazzi, but he can't feel any of it. He's suffocated by it all. Jackson's loneliness is touching, and I was glad when he found Maddy. His characterization could have been better, really, but I was overall very satisfied with the way things turned out for him, especially in the ending.

Maddy, in the other hand, is untouchable by the Angel-drama. She doesn't like them, doesn't worship them. She thinks this adoration is pointless. So you can only imagine how great it was the first time Maddy met Jackson. The only girl in the world who doesn't care about angels ended up falling in love with one (how's that for irony?). I liked her personality, her stubbornness - it didn't seem fake, for once. She irritated me a little in the ending, with a stupid decision, but really, the last chapter made it up for me.

With a balanced pace, delicious romance, and strong world-building, I can only give Immortal City five stars. It doesn't deserve any less than this. Its flaws, if any, only made the reading more realistic for me, which doesn't happen often. I can't wait to read the next book in the series. If it's as good as Immortal City, I'll be pretty satisfied.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tell me something tuesday #5


Tell me something Tuesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Cambria Hebert, in which she asks us something, and we post our answer. And the question of the week is:

Who are your book boyfriends?

Ok, a very simple question, and a very big answer. I could name 30 book boyfriends here because romance is what I read most. And there's always that hot guy in the story that makes you fall in love with him. But I managed to choose 5 of them, and a quote for each boy. So, here you go:

1. Will (Angelfire, by Courtney Allison Moulton)

Will is probably the most caring, sweet, gorgeous, and badass boy I've ever read about. I love his devotion to Ellie, the way he'd die to help her, how he'd rather be tortured than raise a hand against her. As you know, I'm a big fan of Will and Ellie, and of course he has to be on my list. Here's one of my favorite scenes:

I wiped at my face, choking on the taste of salt in my tears. “It still … it’s not fair. What if next time I’m with a boy I like?”
“I won’t be able to bear it.”
“What will it be, Will?” I asked, my voice rising as I fought my tears. “Are you going to storm in and claim me then, too?”
His jaw and lips hardened. His fist, resting on the counter, tightened until his knuckles turned white, as if the war that waged within him grew more violent and he was trapped in silence. His brow darkened and he shook his head, his eyes flashing bright, glued to mine.
“I’ve already claimed you,” he said, and grabbed my hand. He stood and yanked me into him, and his mouth crushed against mine as his other arm wrapped around my waist.  
  --- Wings of the Wicked, Chapter 18.

2. Ash (The Iron Fey series, by Julie Kagawa)

Yes, I'm Team Ash, and of course he's one of my book boyfriends. A dangerous, icy winter prince who can kill fiercely with his sword? And whose loyalty is so strong he'd do anything to protect who he loves? That is just the kind of character I fall in love with.

“You can’t leave. You swore you wouldn’t.”
Ash’s hands came to rest over mine, twining our fingers together. “Even if the world stands against you,” he murmured, bowing his head. “I promise.”
-- The Iron Queen, Chapter 21.

3. Crispin Russel a.k.a. Bones (Night Huntress series, by Jeaniene Frost)

Bones, Bones... shameless, badass, caring, sarcastic, and with a British accent. I really couldn't have asked for more. When I start talking about Bones to my friends, they think I'm crazy. After all, shouldn't I be repulsed by someone like him? Well... not really. His confident exterior was what drew me to him in the first place, and as the romance blossomed, his love and devotion to Cat made me fall head over heels in love with him. Also, Jeaniene Frost knows how to develop a character's personality. Both him and Cat changed so much in this series, and I love that. They really grew to trust each other, no matter the consequences. 

“All right, ready. Bones is a vampire, [...] but who’s more powerful?”
“She is,” Bones replied at once.
“Are you okay with that?” I blurted, forgetting for a moment that we had an audience. [...]
Then Bones’s expression became serious, and he leaned forward to brush my hand.
“I’ve watched you barely escape death several times, and each instance killed me a little inside. They may be dormant now, but we have enemies both cunning and cruel. Knowing you possess the power to defeat most of them doesn’t threaten me, luv. It relieves me to my very core.” -
One Grave at a Time, Chapter 6.

4. Alex (Angel, by L.A. Weatherly)

Alex would be an exception to the rule. Sure, he's badass, gorgeous, etc etc etc... but his sweetness is what's most appealing about him, in my opinion. His relationship with Willow, unlike most couples in YA books, started because they had to deal with a harsh situation, and the only way was to work together. But just because they were working together "against their will" didn't mean they had to be rude to each other. Alex and Willow behaved nicely, like they were friends, and only after a couple of chapters did the author give us hints about their feelings... which, if you think about it, is awesome. How many times do you see a boy and a girl actually being nice to each other, and then falling in love? I

Emotion tightened Alex’s chest. Taking her head in his hands he kissed her deeply, his lips lingering on hers. “Willow, all I care about is that you’re you, and – and that you’re with me. That’s all that matters.”
“Really?” she whispered, her eyes bright with tears.
He laughed suddenly, smoothing her blonde hair from her face. “Hey, I’m the lucky one, don’t you know that? You are so – absolutely incredible. Everything about you.”
Willow swallowed. “I’m pretty lucky too, actually.” -
Angel, Chapter 14.

5. Owen (Elemental Assassin series, by Jennifer Estep)

I love Owen for many reasons, actually, but the most important one is because he accepts Gin for who she is. He loves her when she's dressed like a princess, and he loves her the same way when she's covered with blood, after killing someone. After Gin's harsh romantic experiences, I was relieved when Owen came in the picture. It's great how noble and caring he is, but when someone's about to hurt Gin or his sister, he kills the guy with everything he's got. And he's got a lot of fighting skills, let me assure you. 

I know what you do, what kind of violence you’re capable of. But also, I know what kind of woman you are.”
His words startled me more than anything had in a long time. “And what kind of woman would that be?”
Owen stared at me. “Someone who’s passionate and full of life. Someone who’s funny and smart. But
mostly, someone who’ll do whatever the fuck it takes to protect the people she cares about. That’s what I like about you, Gin. That’s what I admire about you. That’s what draws me to you.” -
Venom, Chapter 31.

*Sigh*... So there you go. My book boyfriends <3 I wanted to mention Dimitri Belikov and Ethan Sullivan,  but I don't want this post to be so huge. With the quotes and all, it's already bigger than I had imagined. 
Who are your book boyfriends? ^-^

Sunday, April 8, 2012

In My Mailbox #9

In my mailbox is a weekly meme, hosted by Kristi, at The Story Siren, in which we share the books that we got this week.

- Clicking on the titles will take you to the book's Goodreads page.

Delirium, by Lauren Oliver
Brisingr, by Christopher Paolini

Nice Girls Don't Bite Their Neighbors, by Mollie Harper (signed)
The Immortal City, by Scott Speer
The Immortal Rules, by Julie Kagawa (from Netgalley)

The Sky is Everywhere, by Jandy Nelson
So Much Closer, by Susane Colasanti
Sixteenth Summer, by Michelle Dalton

I recently won a giveaway in Molly Harper's blog, and the book finally arrived yesterday, which kind of made me squeal like a fan girl... you know, it was my first signed book XD
I'm crazy to read The Immortal Rules, though. Julie Kagawa is one of my favorite authors, and since I'm a big fan of her previous series, my expectations are high. A big thank you to Netgalley and and Harlequin for sending me the e-ARC :D
Brisingr... I got to say I'm not very excited for it. I read it in Portuguese when it came out here, and I hoped Christopher's writing would be wonderful in English. It turned out, it isn't all that great. 
The Immortal City looks pretty interesting. It reminded me of Angelfall, to be honest. Badass angel who falls in love with a human girl? I'm in.
Contemporary is a genre I'm beggining to love, so I thought it'd be nice to read a couple of them this month. Susane Colasanti was my first choice, but The Sky is Everywhere and Sixteenth Summer looked good as well. We shall see ^-^

What did you get this week in your mailbox? 

Friday, April 6, 2012

A Temptation of Angels, by Michelle Zink

Release date: March 20th 2012
Published by: Dial Books For Young Readers
Genre: Historical Fiction (YA)
Rating:  4/5 stars
Find it on: Goodreads, Amazon

Even angels make mistakes in this page-turning epic romance...

When her parents are murdered before her eyes, sixteen-year-old Helen Cartwright finds herself launched into an underground London where a mysterious organization called the Dictata controls the balance of good and evil. Helen learns that she is one of three remaining angelic descendants charged with protecting the world's past, present, and future. Unbeknownst to her, she has been trained her whole life to accept this responsibility. Now, as she finds herself torn between the angelic brothers protecting her and the devastatingly handsome childhood friend who wants to destroy her, she must prepare to be brave, to be hunted, and above all to be strong, because temptation will be hard to resist, even for an angel.

Michelle Zink masterfully weaves historical fantasy with paranormal romance to create a gripping tale of love and betrayal.

My thoughts:

A Temptation of Angels had everything to be one of my favorites. It’s a historical fiction book with great mythology, romance, a wonderful setting, and likeable characters. Michelle Zink did deliver a great story, and despite its flaws, it doesn’t deserve less than 4 stars. However, a small part of me is hesitant and unwilling to give it a 5-star rating.

Don’t get me wrong. I loved almost everything about this book, Helen especially. It’s rare for me to love the main character; usually I just tolerate them, understand their actions, and move on. But I found Helen particularly interesting. Perhaps it was the fact that I related to her emotions so much, when it came to feeling remorse over her feelings. This is something I experience often, and because of that, I was able to connect with Helen in a way I don’t usually do.

Then there’s the plot and mythology, which worked just fine, but could have been better. At some points, the pace was too slow, or the action scenes were too fast. The dialogues were long and the mythology, well researched, but poorly introduced to the readers. Helen and Griffin talked about the Keepers and their jobs for a long time, but we never really got to know what it was all about.

When such a complicated mythology is explored in a book, I expect the author to write a series, or another book, at least. However, A Temptation of Angels is a stand-alone, which complicates things further. Michelle Zink had to present us something solid and coherent, balance it with the plot and character-development, and create some kind of closure that satisfies the reader. It’s a tough process, and though it didn’t make me very happy, I still enjoyed the story.

Helen and Griffin’s relationship was the only thing that fully pleased me. Their interactions provided a dynamic feeling to the book, and aside from that… well, Griffin is adorable. His honorable qualities fit just right with Helen’s determined, yet thoughtful, personality. I was always looking forward to another caress, soft words, or even a hug. I loved Griffin and Helen together.

Good characters check. An excellent plot, check. A wonderful romance, check. A Temptation of Angels is a memorable book, with flaws and all. I’m glad I took the time to pick it up and dive in Helen’s story. I wouldn’t complain if Michelle Zink wrote a novella or even a sequel to it. Well, a girl can hope.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

In My Mailbox #8

In my mailbox is a weekly meme, hosted by Kristi, at The Story Siren, in which we share the books that we got this week.

- Clicking on the titles will take you to the book's Goodreads page.

Overprotected, by Jennifer Laurens
Glamour, by Penelope Fletcher

Overprotected and Glamour were freebies, and since they look pretty interesting... well, let's give it a shot ;D I finished reading An Insider's Guide last night, and it's a delightful reading (if you're a BDB fan, of course). 
What did you guys get this week? xD