Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Post in Which I Conclude November

November: full of food, shopping, and the start of Christmas festivities. It's also NaNo month for quite a few people and most of you will be sighing with relief at the end of today.

Posts You May Have Missed:
  • A few DNFs
  • A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan
  • Reread of The Hunger Games series
  • And probably a few others that I stupidly forgot to write down. Next time!
Book I'm reading right now:
  • Illusive by Emily Lloyd-Jones
Stuff I Received:
My Thanksgiving.

Hope you all had a great November and here's hoping for a festive December!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #1

Picture taken from Never Ending Stories
#1? Haven't I done 23 of these? Well, not really. I've done Wishlist Wednesday, hosted by Pen to Paper, for a while. I started with that one because I was new to blogging, liked the meme picture, and my sister was doing that one. However, after much thought, I decided to hop over to this very similar meme. Really, it's the same concept, but hosted by a different blog and with a different name.

"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 WoW is...

Author: Susane Colasanti
Publication date: May 20, 2014
Publisher: Viking Juvenile

What if your boyfriend was the world's biggest rockstar?

Sterling is crazy in love with Ethan. Not only is he the sweetest boy she's ever met, but he's an incredibly talented guitarist, singer, and songwriter. And since forever, he's believed he has what it takes to be a star.

When Ethan becomes an overnight sensation, he's thrown head-first into the glam world of celebrity-and so is Sterling. Before she knows it, she's attending red-carpet premieres, getting free designer clothes, and flying around the country to attend Ethan's monumental sold-out concerts.

It's a dream come true...but whose dream is Sterling living? And what do you do when "forever" comes to an end?

Why I'm wanting: 

I know this subject seems to have been done many times before, but call me a sucker for this plot. Girl falls for a celebrity and then his glamourous life starts interfering...but it's different! She likes him before he becomes famous and his life interferes. I'm sold. I haven't read anything by Colasanti either, but I've heard great things about her. 

What are you waiting for? And have a happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Thanks

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
Instead of doing a broad "this is what I'm thankful for," I'll make it easier on myself and only limit it to bookish things. Otherwise, I'll be here forever listing my dog and peanut butter. 

Really, God bless you, non-Zuckerberg. I wasn't really into it at first, but with bloggy things, it's been extremely convenient and way better than Facebook would have been. Short outbursts, stalking, advertising, connecting...if you have a blog and aren't on Twitter, fix that. 

When I say authors, I don't mean the bad kind. I mean the good kind, the ones who interacted with me on Twitter and the ones who have agreed to do interviews with me. Those authors are the greatest and I don't think this blog experience would have been nearly as fun without those interactions where I could fangirl. 

Of course, the most bookishly thankful thing is all of you! Bloggy friends, readers, and the whole community in general. Sure, there will be drama, but I've been thankful that I haven't been sucked into it. The whole reason I started blogging was to connect with others and have someone I can speak in all caps with. I'm incredibly thankful for all of you. 

For a broke and stingy girl like myself who was raised to not buy a book unless you're sure you knew it was good, this place is heaven. So many options and wonderful shelves.

This is perceived as the big, bad online shop for the book world since it's taking away book store profits, but it's also cheap. And if you're a prime member (like my family), you get free shipping. Nothing beats walking out of a store with a physical copy, but saving about $10 sure comes close.

Publicists (and everyone else behind a book)
I'm thankful for everyone behind publishing a book and all their hard work, but I especially think of publicists since they have to deal with bloggers and our ARC requests. With that said, I give a thankful shout out to Disney-Hyperion and their super kind people who reply to me. 

Suzanne Collins
She gets to be outside of the author headline because I thank her for introducing me to dystopian. I was strictly contemporary before her because I had misconceived notions about any other genre. Thanks to her, I saw a different kind of MC and a whole different world. 

Because they're awesome and my day is made when I get one in the mail.

My books/bookshelves
Obviously, if I have a copy, I love the book. But I'm thankful for them because I know that if I don't have a library book lined up, I can fall back on my trusty books to reread. The best present I ever got was a box full of books. As for the bookshelves, where else would I put my books? 

I'm the kind of reader that likes to listen to music as I read. It helps me connect even further with the story and the mood when the right song is playing. 

What are some bookish things you're thankful for? 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Review: A LONG, LONG SLEEP by Anna Sheehan

Author: Anna Sheehan
Publisher: Candlewick
Publication date: August 9, 2011

It should have been a short suspended-animation sleep. But this time Rose wakes up to find her past is long gone -- and her future full of peril.

Rosalinda Fitzroy has been asleep for sixty-two years when she is woken by a kiss. Locked away in the chemically induced slumber of a stasis tube in a forgotten subbasement, sixteen-year-old Rose slept straight through the Dark Times that killed millions and utterly changed the world she knew. Now, her parents and her first love are long gone, and Rose -- hailed upon her awakening as the long-lost heir to an interplanetary empire -- is thrust alone into a future in which she is viewed as either a freak or a threat. Desperate to put the past behind her and adapt to her new world, Rose finds herself drawn to the boy who kissed her awake, hoping that he can help her to start fresh. But when a deadly danger jeopardizes her fragile new existence, Rose must face the ghosts of her past with open eyes -- or be left without any future at all.


The fact that this was a retelling and that it was set in a futuristic society dealing with Sleeping Beauty after she woke up made the appeal factor go way up. Add in the positive reviews from other bloggers and I was already searching for it in my library system. I bypassed my other waiting-to-be-read library books and went straight to this one, anticipating the greatness. What did I receive in return?

Sums up my experience.
Problem #1: 
Rose. If I can't like or connect with the main character, the rest of the book is almost hopeless. I say almost because I still kept reading. I thought Rose was weird, not because she was the futuristic Sleeping Beauty, but because her character felt forced and I found myself grimacing too many times at what she was thinking or saying. Besides weird, she was also way too naive and her narrative was boring. Weird, naive, and boring are not adjectives that I like in my character.

Problem #2:
Relationship with Xavier. So we have weird Rose and her unstable childhood, because her parents decided to make her unconscious for months at a time, and now we add in a boy. We're given flashbacks to before her long stass period and we meet Xavier. But Xavier is special. Why? SHE CHANGED HIS DIAPERS. That's right. She was seven years old when he was born and changed his diapers. As her parents continued to stass her, he grew up. They eventually reached the same age when they became teenagers and fell in love. Gross. Of course, since her parents stassed her even before she was seven, she realizes that she's old enough to be his mother and still continues the relationship. Ew.

Problem #3:
Relationship (?) with Bren. She goes on about her love for Xavier all throughout the book, but early on, she starts to think that she's falling in love with Bren, the boy who woke her up, and this is not a spoiler. Considering that he only did the casual niceties that a boy does to a weird girl after she's slept for a long time, I thought it was odd that she jumped right to love. Whoa there, Rose. She asks him out, he says no, and she goes crazy and heartbroken. I, on the other hand, felt no sympathy and my eyes started to hurt from the eye-rolling.

Problem #4:
MORE WEIRDNESS. I hated all the weirdness, but that's what this book seemed to be made out of. Rose, her relationships, and then her friendship with Otto. I really hoped to like Otto, but what he said and Rose described him to be was one thing, but his actions were completely another. Unfortunately, I can't say more than that.

Problem #5:
The ending. It ends with a very rushed epilogue that made me roll my eyes for the millionth time, but then I see on Goodreads that this "standalone" will have a "standalone sequel." That's right. They call both of them a standalone. A standalone sequel...really? The epilogue was completely unnecessary because it didn't give us a glimpse into anything else. It was her narrative of boringness. We discover something significant about her, but then it's pushed aside as an afterthought in the end. I wanted to know the answers to all the open questions, but I doubt I'll be picking up the sequel.

Problem #6:
Blah, blah, blah. More weirdness. Blah, blah, blah. WEIRD.

Two weird quotes because the rest of what I remembered are spoiler-y:

"That's okay," I said. "If you can make friends now, you'll be able to make friends later."
"Did you make friends?" she asked.
"Like I said. I'm not really the one to ask."
Rose, all she was asking is if you made friends. You ARE the person to ask and the answer is NO (unless you count Otto and Bren). 


"I know you will. I know you will." He covered my face with kisses until my knees buckled and I melted in his arms. "I'll miss you!" he hissed. "Oh, hell!" And he gripped me tight enough to bruise. "It's not fair!"
Their whole relationship/romance acted like a fail.
Also, why are you letting him grip you until bruising?! 


I know several people who loved this book. My bloggy friend Alice listed this as one of her favorite reads of this year. So you might like it. For me, I'm amazed that I didn't DNF it.

Verdict: Boring, weird, and gross all wrapped up into a possible DNF.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wishlist Wednesday #23

Hosted by Pen to Paper
Title: Dear Killer
Author: Katherine Ewell
Publication date: April 1, 2014
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books

Rule One—Nothing is right, nothing is wrong.

Rule Two—Be careful.
Rule Three—Fight using your legs whenever possible, because they’re the strongest part of your body. Your arms are the weakest.
Rule Four—Hit to kill. The first blow should be the last, if at all possible.
Rule Five—The letters are the law.

Kit takes her role as London’s notorious “Perfect Killer” seriously. The letters and cash that come to her via a secret mailbox are not a game; choosing who to kill is not an impulse decision. Every letter she receives begins with “Dear Killer,” and every time Kit murders, she leaves a letter with the dead body. Her moral nihilism and thus her murders are a way of life—the only way of life she has ever known.

But when a letter appears in the mailbox that will have the power to topple Kit’s convictions as perfectly as she commits her murders, she must make a decision: follow the only rules she has ever known, or challenge Rule One, and go from there.

Katherine Ewell’s Dear Killer is a sinister psychological thriller that explores the thin line between good and evil, and the messiness of that inevitable moment when life contradicts everything you believe

Why I'm wishing: 

This could be a very big miss once I read it, but I refuse to think that this will be anything less than stellar. It involves letters, London, rules, psychological aspects, and sinisterly things. And I love the simplistic cover. I want to know more about this intriguing main character and even more interesting plot. 

Are you wishing for this? What are you wishing for? 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday - Genre Suggestions

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
Instead of devoting an entire list to a group of people, I decided to split it up by genres since that's more fun. And I showed self-restraint, hurray!

Dystopian devotees

If you like dystopian, you've probably read these already. But hey, if you haven't, or if you're a dystopian doubter instead, here are two fantastic demands suggestions. While I didn't become a huge fan of Divegent, I can talk about The Hunger Games for a long time. No shame.

Sci-Fi supporters

One is a fairytale retelling set in a futuristic China and deals with evil Lunars while the other has two opposite people stranded on a planet together after a Titanic-like incident. I don't see why you wouldn't read either one. 

Fluff fans

I think everybody needs a good fluff book once in a while and there are many fluffy books out there. Whenever I need some silliness though, I pick up Meg Cabot's books, specifically The Princess Diaries. Robin Benway is also a great author to look for, but beware some language in Audrey, Wait! 

Non-fluff, non-issue contemporary seekers

Okay, so you don't want fluff now. But you still want a contemporary, just not an "issue" book. What I loved about both The Naturals and Parallel is that they made me think, giving me enough substance that wouldn't classify them as fluffy, but wasn't bogged down with issues like cancer, addictions, or pregnancies. 

Fantasy freaks

Both of these provide magic elements, great world-building, protagonists you can root for, and swoon-worth love interests. What else are you waiting for? 

Have you read any of the books I suggested? Which genre is your favorite? What would you suggest?

Friday, November 15, 2013

Stop! In the Name of Love...please.

Oh, tropes, you gotta love them. Actually, no, I don't. I hate them. I think they deserve more eye rolls than I can give out and some of them deserve to be banned from fiction. So please, say, "Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey-ey, goodbyeeee" to these tropes. 

20 Dollars to My Name

If you have read any YA book, specifically of the dystopian variety, you'll see some strange names. Names that make you want to slap their parents on the head or more realistically, the authors who actually birthed these characters. What happened to good names? Not everyone has to be Jane or Anne, but do you have to name the poor girl Pirabella Mindinkle? What is so painfully obvious is that authors name their main character, and sometimes love interest, a cringe-worthy name while everyone else has "normal" names. So what does that do? Make your character stand out! It's hard to believe that a character named Lockerwind Majestic is no one special and doesn't get attention while her best friend Rachel Smith has the spotlight.

When you name your character something ridiculous, the value of her or him just went down. They aren't even worth 20 dollars anymore.

Nobody's Perfect

Well, except for the main character, of course. She can run! She can jump! She can fly! She's good at everything she does and makes all the boys slack-jawed. There's an antagonist who challenges her? No problem, she miraculously beats him at his own game...while singing and doing the Irish jig too. Making your character so well-versed in many areas decreases the connection with them along with the realism. Stop making the protagonist be the answer to all the world's problems. 

Cries of the Past

On the other side of the spectrum, you can also have the trope of the tortured hero. Her past is dark and gloomy and to her, her future doesn't seem much better. What can she be good for? She's so useless! Her parents are despicable, her friends ditched her, her crush doesn't know that she exists (or he's dead), and wah wah wah, she doesn't deserve happiness. I've now gotten pleasantly surprised when a protagonist doesn't seem to have some deep, dark secret...or a dark past that she complains about so much so it can't be labeled as a secret. 

Call Me Maybe

I hate the song and I hate insta-love. You do not love each other. DO YOU EVEN KNOW THEIR LAST NAME? 

Man or Muppet

In YA terms, this would be uttered more of a, "What am I?" question. Human? Superhero? Dragon? Some unidentifiable creature? OMG, you suddenly have an awesome, world-saving power. How original. Even more trope-y is when the character finds out right when they need it the most. And of course, it doesn't appear until later in life, in the late teenager phase. How can a power suddenly show up that late? Does this mean I can have telekinesis any day now?
Note: I do have to admit that I like this plot when spectacularly done. It just seems to be way overused.

Uptown Girl

Money + Looks = Mean girl, apparently. Why do all the wealthy girls have to be perceived as snobs? And when does looking pretty equal to being a "slut" or some other dirty term. Please, tell me, why is it the girlfriend's fault that she's dating the protagonist's crush? TELL ME. Thankfully, I haven't run across it lately, but I am very intolerant when a protagonist will try to rationalize why another girl is not as good as her because she's more beautiful. Does that really make you feel good? If so, you are a sad human being who needs help. No guy should be in a relationship with an unstable girl like that. 

White Stuff

Normally, I don't pay attention one way or another what nationality or features a protagonist has. I just forget, which may be a bad thing to admit. But in these last few months or so, I have become more agitated with the fact that all protagonists seem to be white along with their love interest. It's like I'm reading about a sitcom. If you notice, most sitcoms have the lead be a white person and their love interest also white. If it's considered a "black" show, then both the main character and their love interest will be black as well. You know, it would be nice if more interracial couples were being shown love. Even more, I know that I see many author pictures and they are all white so it might not even cross their mind, but what if it was about an Asian or black or Puerto Rican or someone different. I KNOW, it's a crazy idea. 

With that, I have to mention a subtrope that would go along with this. Making your character non-white does NOT mean that the story has to center around his/her culture, family, skin color differences, heritage, etc. They can be JUST [insert description here]. It's possible. However, I do enjoy skin/heritage/culture-centered books so I'm okay with this.

What Doesn't Kill You (Make You Stronger)

At the Fierce Reads tour earlier this year, I got the lovely opportunity to hear authors talk, one of them being Leigh Bardugo. She gave great advice to authors: diversify your characters and don't think that "strong" has to be the only defining trait of your protagonist. Do I want a whiny, weak character? No, probably not. But do I want every character to feel the same? No, not at all. They can be brave, courageous, sensitive, human.

I might be absolutely wrong, but it seems as if, ever since The Hunger Games became popular, there are more and more YA female protagonists who start out weak or insecure or not realizing their full capability. Then, something happens and they have to toughen up. Usually, it progresses through a series and they go from, "This is horrible, I don't know what to do!" to "No matter what, I can do this!" to "I went through something very traumatic and now I'm not the same person anymore and since I'm so cynical of life, I would like to die, but hey, I can't because I have killer survival skills." Other times, they only go through an obstacle and have to tough it out, avoiding that nasty business of going through PTSD. I'm not asking for simpering girls, but not every girl has to go through blood, sweat, and well, actually no tears since big girls don't cry trauma? 

Can't she shed a tear? Like I said, she doesn't have to be whiny (as I see happen in some sequels), but your character will fall flat if strong is the only trait that you want your character to be remembered as. Make her normal. Make her a girl. Don't make her annoying, but still make her human. It's a big task to take on when you see so many "strong girl" books succeed, I know, but I know that I at least want a more dimensional and non-predictable girl character. Strong does not have to refer back to physical strength, but instead, can show a different kind of strength. 

Mr. Mysterious

I like my men strong. Who doesn't? When faced with a tough situation, I think most girls would rather have a guy with a smokin' body and determination of steel except when he's being stubborn and won't listen to you than a timid weakling. However, that doesn't mean all of YA love interests need to be described the same. Does every guy really need to be dark and mysterious?

Dark and mysterious can increase the swoon factor by a lot and along with much of the girl population, I think they can be very attractive that way. But sometimes authors think that this type of guy is the only type and force the character to be a trend. When done that way, I feel nothing and wish that the love interest was anybody else. Love interests can be nice. They can be geeky or goofy. They can be the nice guy. They can be normal. It won't hurt your book if that's where your main man belongs, in fact, it will probably improve it if that is who he is. 

Leigh Bardugo advised to give your love interest a mission and I wholeheartedly agree. For some reason, there's a common trend that the main man has to be dark and mysterious then have his focus just be on the protagonist. No, no, no. Don't just make them a love interest. Give them a story. Otherwise, they resemble a guy in a Dear Abby letter, a needy abuser who makes the girl his focal point. Not attractive, authors. By making him "dark and mysterious," you are not suddenly creating a swoon-worthy, substantial character. 

And that's all I have for you lovely folks, a few tropes that have either been happening for a ridiculously long time or just starting to become eye-roll-worthy. 

What are you some tropes you hate to come across?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

YA Parenting 101

A common trope/annoyance/trend in YA is the lack of parents or really, the lack of good parents. They may be dead or out of the picture or even the antagonist. It's very rare to find a nice parent relationship. Not so ironically, tomorrow is my mother's I won't say birthday. While I could show some great examples my mom has done throughout my life (as well as my dad since this can be an early hurrah for his January birthday as well), I thought it would be more fun to give parenting advice courtesy of some YA books I've read.

Don't stass your child.
Bad parenting: Fitzroy parents from A Long, Long Sleep

If anybody has read A Long, Long Sleep, you'll know that this is probably the worst set of parents ever. I don't know if I can say too much because it might be considered a spoiler even though you'd be blind to not realize it. First of all, they stassed their child. Stassing is basically putting them in a coma for however long you want to. And they wanted to a lot. You find more horrific things about them as you read. 

Be careful of the bratty woes that money may bring.
Bad parenting: Richard Larabee from 52 Reasons to Hate My Father.

He could also be considered the antagonist in this story, but anyone can know that after reading the title. He ignores his daughter, is cold, calculating, and doesn't deserve the title "father" one iota in the majority of the book. By doing this, his daughter was raised to be self-centered with a twisted view of life and love. Mr. Larabee is the poster child for how to screw your kid up with money.

Don't Dessen your daughter.
Bad parenting: parents from Sarah Dessen books.

In her stories, the parents are a big part of the conflict in the book. Whether it's a deadbeat mother, an absent father, a misunderstanding between the teenager and the parent, or something else; the parent plays a role, but man, they do a nice job in messing up their kid's life.

Draw a line between parenting and controlling.
Bad parenting: Meg Burke from Secrets of My Hollywood Life.

Once again, an antagonist parent. She supposedly means well throughout the series, but the conflict is always the same. She overworks her daughter, acts more like a controlling manager instead of a mother, and her daughter makes excuses for her. Her desire was to make her kids famous, but that was mostly so she could be famous and filthy rich. How to Let Your Child Go 101 is the class for her.

Don't be absent.
Bad parenting: Alanna's dad from The Song of the Lioness.

We never really met him in the series, but he forced his children to do things they didn't want to do. This wasn't "do your chores" kind of thing. This was "I'm making you go down this career path." Also, I subtract parenting points for being an absentee father. I think Thom needed a better male figure in his life.

Be there for your child during the hard times.
Bad parenting: Mrs. Everdeen from The Hunger Games.

To her credit, she did improve...and then sank again. When Katniss's father died, she left her two young daughters to their own defenses, widening a gap between her and Katniss. There was definite improvement, I thought, in the second book when Katniss started forgiving her. Then trauma happened want to be mad at her, but you want to hug her as well.

Money can also distance your relationship.
Bad parenting: Hale's parents from Heist Society.

We don't know much about Hale's parents and only receive a peek into their lives in the third book. They're another set of rich parents who don't really care about their son. If someone would just give me lots of money when I reach the parenting stage or I can take it earlier, I would set a great example of how parenting can be done when wealthy.

So if you aren't doing any of these things, you're on the right path to being a good parent! Fortunately, I'm not in a YA novel and my parents haven't messed me up. I thank you both. Happy Birthday, Mom! 

What are some other YA bad parenting mistakes that you've noticed?

Friday, November 8, 2013

Review: THE NATURALS by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (+Giveaway!)

Title: The Naturals
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publication date: November 5, 2013
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Source: an ARC provided by the publisher for an honest review

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Seventeen-year-old Cassie is a natural at reading people. Piecing together the tiniest details, she can tell you who you are and what you want. But it’s not a skill that she’s ever taken seriously. That is, until the FBI come knocking: they’ve begun a classified program that uses exceptional teenagers to crack infamous cold cases, and they need Cassie.

What Cassie doesn’t realize is that there’s more at risk than a few unsolved homicides— especially when she’s sent to live with a group of teens whose gifts are as unusual as her own.

Sarcastic, privileged Michael has a knack for reading emotions, which he uses to get inside Cassie’s head—and under her skin. Brooding Dean shares Cassie’s gift for profiling, but keeps her at arm’s length.

Soon, it becomes clear that no one in the Naturals program is what they seem. And when a new killer strikes, danger looms closer than Cassie could ever have imagined. Caught in a lethal game of cat and mouse with a killer, the Naturals are going to have to use all of their gifts just to survive.


I don't even know where to begin. I really don't. I read it a few days ago (from writing this review) and I have no idea how to express my feelings. If you want the bottom line, here it is: 

This was terrific. 

You know how when you're starving and you start eating a delicious meal, you have to force yourself to eat slower? All you really want to do is stuff your face and then hoard the pie in your room. The Naturals was like that. I've read good books recently (and some not-so-good), but not to the caliber as this one. I had to force myself to not read it all in one night because it was already way too late and I had class in the morning. I forced myself to not hide in my room too long because I have to socialize with the outside world ugh, socializing, who needs it?

After her mother died and her father went out of the country, Cassandra Hobbes was shipped off to her dad's family, a family she has never known and feels completely out of place with. They try their best and she even tries to be part of their boisterous Italian family. However, she can't help feeling like an out of place burden. Then she has a weird encounter with a guy at the restaurant she works at. That's where the fun begins.

She has an exchange with a guy at the restaurant she works in and he leaves an FBI card. After a couple days of curiosity, she calls and agrees to meet Agent Briggs (not the same guy who she had a guessing game of eggs with at the restaurant) at his office. There, she runs into Michael, the guy at the restaurant, who I instantly liked. 

He shrugged, "My inner Boy Scout had to try."
If this guy had an inner Boy Scout, I had an inner flamingo.

Cassie is a Natural. She's always had a knack for profiling people as if it was a sixth sense. Her mother used to teach her some things, but Cassie's ability isn't teachable or learnable. It was, cue the cheesy irony, natural. When Agent Briggs introduces her to the idea of being in a program where they train you to solve for cold case murders, Cassie knows she has to do it. Not only because she feels like she's out of place where she is now, but she also feels that maybe she could one day solve her mother's cold case murder. 

After that rundown of the beginning, I know some people don't like multiple main characters and plots to keep track of. However, in this story, it might seem like that at first, but it's very fast paced and very easy to understand. 

The characters: 
I loved the characters. It was all a diverse group even from the minor of the minor characters. Take her family for instance. Italian families can be frustrating, but I find them lovable. They care and show all their feelings. She described hers, even though she barely knew them, quite well. 

Nobody stages an intervention like my father's family stages an intervention. The Bat-Signal had nothing on the Battaglia-Signal, and less than twenty-four hours after Nonna sent out the distress call, the family had gathered force. There was yelling and screaming and crying—and food. Lots of food. 

I know she had to leave her family so that she could go to the program and be in the house with all the other Naturals, but I actually hated leaving the family. I wanted to know more about them. 

There are four other Naturals besides Cassie: 
  • Michael. He is an emotion reader. He can read your emotions and that can be unnerving for a girl. We meet Michael first and I personally loved him. With a little bit of mystery and lots of wit, I could just feel his smirk radiate off the pages. He seemed very kissable. 
  • Lia. She is a deception specialist. Basically, she's a human lie detector. With that, she's also the best at lying. Throughout the book, I couldn't tell if we were supposed to like her or distrust her, but I knew that I did like her a lot. Snarky, tough, witty, and with a splash of mean girl. She reminded me a lot of Macey from The Gallagher Girls
  • Sloane. She is a statistician. She spouts random facts and statistic, checks hypothesis, and is the weird, smart one of the bunch. Think Liz from The Gallagher Girls, but more dorky and socially awkward. 
  • Dean. He is another profiler. He's the last to be introduced and the most mysterious. He's portrayed as dark and has deep issues. Cassie is instantly intrigued by him and I will not say who I am more for, whether it be Dean or Michael. Because, yes, there is a love triangle.

That's the other thing: the love triangle. Beware, Lauren. I personally thought it was tastefully done. I picked my guy from the beginning, but Barnes does a fantastic job of keeping me torn throughout the book and making me question who she's even going to pick. The triangle wasn't the main focus of the book, thank goodness, but from memory, I feel that it was the best love triangle I've read. Besides The Hunger Games until Mockingjay, of course. 

Another thing that I loved about the book was the facts about how profilers work. I have always been interested with the FBI (you can see that in my DVR) so while there was some information dumping in parts, I liked them. I liked all the background information. These abilities that the group of kids have are not paranormal or supernatural. They're real. They may be dramatized a bit, but these skills are abilities I love to be entertained with through shows or books or movies. Barnes does a wonderful job of keeping it realistic, but entertaining.

In addition, there is certainly a creepy factor going on. The book starts with a page of someone talking to "You" and you will get a page of that after almost every chapter. We soon find out that "You" is to the serial killer. Because profiler Agent Locke, Cassie, and Dean say to never say "he" or "she," but to always reference the killer and victim as "you" or "I" or "UNSUB." I'm telling you guys, I was creeped out (and I promise that Banres does a way better job explaining that whole UNSUB thing). I loved getting inside the killer's head and looking at the victims through their eyes, but I don't read much mystery and creepy books. When you are spending the night at an elderly person's house next to a window, a non-lockable door, late at night, and you are the closest near the front door in this tiny would be spooked out as well. I get paranoid and I loved how my emotions varied during the book. 

I cannot even start to express my feelings on the twists. For the love of cupcakes, I loved the twists. Love is such an understatement. There were a couple "surprises" sprinkled throughout, but I guessed those. However, at about chapter 29, we hit the biggies. I felt like I was getting whipped around. Some of my exclamations and thoughts and verbal mutterings are below: 

"Oh my gosh." 
"THAT'S the killer! Wait...what? Who?"
"No! Really?"
"Oh my stinking gosh." Note: I don't curse so this is as close as I get. 
"This is wrong beyond all levels. I can't...I just can't."
*puts down book and tries to sleep, but fails and lays in bed for another hour*

Hands down, this book has been my favorite this year, except for United We Spy, of course. I had an extreme book hangover afterwards and it stopped my reading for a couple days because I knew that if I started to read another book, I wouldn't be invested into it as I was with The Naturals. Like every book, it had a couple flaws, but they were so minuscule that they didn't matter to me.

Verdict: Captivating. Wonderful. Brought out all the reader emotions. Can I have the sequel NOW? 


There's more! Because I loved it so much, I want to give you all a chance to win and read it as well. 

The Three Rules:
  • Thou shalt not cheat
  • Thou shall answer the winner's email in 48 hours or less
  • Thou shall live in the USA (sorry)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Note: The quotes were taken from an ARC. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday - Anticipated Sequels

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Isn't it great when you find a book and become invested? Or when it just becomes a favorite and you like the characters? Well, I think it's just the worst when that great book's sequel doesn't come out until forever. On the plus side, when it's a great book with lovable characters, you can have a fangirl moment when you find out there will be another book. 

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo (Grisha Trilogy #3)- I'll definitely have to reread Siege and Storm because strangely enough, I remember less of that one than Shadow and Bone. I sadly have a while though to do it because it isn't released until a while. Expected publication: June 3, 2014. 

Summer State of Mind by Jen Calonita (Whispering Pines #2)- I am incredibly wary of this one. I remember really liking Sleepaway Girls and loving the camp story, but I have a bad feeling about a sequel. A spoiled rich girl coming to the camp and getting help from the former Sleepaway Girls? Could work or could turn out to be really bad. Don't get me wrong, I'll be hunting down a copy as soon as I can. Expected publication: April 22, 2014

Heist Soceity #4 by Ally Carter -  No synopsis, no cover, no expected publication date. But dangnabbit, I am going to find out what Hale's Ws stand for!

The Naturals #2 by Jennifer Lynn Barnes - Once again, no synopsis, no cover, and no publication date. The first one is actually released TODAY (go buy a copy!), but man, I still am itching to get my hands on the sequel.

Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi (Under the Never Sky #3) - Perry! Roar! Aria! Friendship! Loss! Love! If you haven't read this series yet, I recommend you do so now. Expected publication: January 28, 2014.

Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman (Seraphina #2) - I didn't realize until making this list that this sequel doesn't come out until forever. She's probably a perfectionist writer, wanting to take her time, which I can respect. On the other hand, this is ridiculous. Expected publication: March 2015 (!!!!)

Cress by Marissa Meyer (The Lunar Chronicles #3) - I made a Wishlist Wednesday about it this past week. Basically, this is one of my most anticipated books. Expected publication: February 4, 2014.

This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (Starbound #2) - The first book, These Broken Stars, isn't even out yet so the wait for this one will feel like forever, but it will be worth it. Expected publication: 2014.

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me #3) - WARNER!!! and Kenji! Expected publication: February 4, 2014.

A special #10: 

Full House sequel - Extreme fangirling. You guys, I watched at least an episode a day (well, more like two because it's like eating cookies; you can't just eat ONE cookie and stop) growing up. I finally stopped that habit sometime in high school because after so many years, my family basically begged me to stop. I rewatched their last curtain call many times and YES it made me emotional, I possibly teared up. I refuse to think that this will fail.

What sequels are you excited about? Do we share any?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Late October Rewind & Review

Hosted by Shae Has Left the Room
I did a Mid-October Rewind & Review a few weeks ago to catch up so this will only consist of the later part of October (as mentioned in the title). 

Blog Posts You May Have Missed:
Note: Thanks to my sister and mother who brought back a couple books from the big Friends of the Library sale!

Things that happened:
  • I pretty much found my new favorite song. Can't decide if I should thank Gillian or blame her for the constant repeat on my phone.
  • NaNo began (well, in November, but still...) and while I'm NOT participating, I love seeing all the tweets about it. I've heard the talk of NaNo being frustrating so you all know where to find me. 
  • And since my life seems to be very boring, I'll spare you from the other mundane things. 
Read, write, and have a great November! Food month is upon us! 

That is actually what I look like, but in feminine form.