Hopeless (Hopeless, #1)

Author: Colleen Hoover
Publication Date: December 19, 2012
Source: Purchased
Summary from Goodreads: Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies…
That’s what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried.
Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he’s nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn’t at all who he’s been claiming to be. When the secrets he’s been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky’s life will change forever.

Rating: êêê

I had seen this book and it's amazing reviews all over the blogs that I follow. To be honest I was a bit let down by this one. Yes it was a page turner, and yes I enjoyed most of it, but something just wasn't right.

My first annoyance was with the conversations between teenage characters. They didn't feel authentic, the characters are too open and honest about awkward subjects that most teens would never even talk about. I also had this bad feeling that something in the characters and in the relationships felt really off. I really don't want to spoil things, but it is clear that some serious therapy is needed and I was angry that when everything clears, there was no mention of certain characters getting the professional help they need. If this is a book for teenagers, then the author needs to recognize that any teen who has been through a similar situation (or has a friend in a similar situation) will look up to her characters, and she has a responsibility to help her readers in that situation. 

Liebster Award #2

I have been nominated for the Liebster Award again, I've been nominated a few times, but haven't participated because of issues with time, but I have the time and a fresh nomination, so here we go!

The award can only be given to Bloggers who have less than 200 followers and the purpose is to build up blog views and followers, while also building a fun and supportive blogging community.

This nomination came from Talina at Sassy and Dangerous. I was also recently nominated by Fat Robot, Mercedes at The YA Craze, and Elle's 411 on YA Books. Thank you!!

The RULES are:

1. Thank the blogger who nominates you.
2. Answer the 11 questions she/he asks of you.
3. List 11 random facts about yourself.
4. Nominate 11 bloggers with less than 200 followers.
5. Ask these 11 bloggers 11 questions of your own.
6. Let them know you have mentioned them.

Talina's Questions:

1. What do you like most about blogging?
I love reading comments and commenting back. The communication is really fun for me and I feel like I've made some cool blogging friends.

2. Where is your favorite place to read?
In the sun!

3. What is your favorite book/series?
Harry Potter - no contest!

4. Do you have any books that you disliked or hated?
Yes, Romeo and Juliet, The Catcher in the Rye are just a couple that I can think of right away.

5. What is your favorite tvThat show/movie?
My favorite movie is The Wizard of Oz, it's the inspiration for my blog name and design. 

6. How many books do you own in physically and in e-book?
Oh man, that question is tough... Physical books probably 50 because I have a tendency to clear out once or twice a year, I usually donate to my friend's classroom library. E-books, at least 200... I tried to look it up but couldn't find the number.

7. What is/was your favorite subject in school?
Math! I am a high school math teacher :)

8. Who is your favorite author?
I'm not sure I have one, there really isn't a single author who I will read no matter what.

9. If you were stranded on an island, what three things would you bring with you?
My husband, because I love him and he has more survival skills than me
Chapstick, I can't live without it
A swiss army knife, I'm pretty sure it would be handy

10. Who is your favorite actor/actress?
Johnny Depp

11. If you could date any fictional character in any book, who would it be?
Such a hard question... right now I am crushing on Chaol from Throne of Glass.

11 Facts About Me
  1. Right now I am loving the color blue, but my favorite color changes pretty often.
  2. I am going to Sarah Maas's book signing in September and it will be my first one!
  3. My guilty pleasure is MTV's Real World/Road Rules Challenge.
  4. I usually think the book is better than the movie (or TV adaptation), but Game of Thrones is my exception to that rule.
  5. I love weddings.
  6. I love chocolate, especially chocolate cake.
  7. I judge books by their covers.
  8. I don't like romance and yet I keep reading it...
  9. I can't read in the car because I get dizzy.
  10. I could read Ender's Game over and over and every time I will enjoy it and find something new that I love about it.
  11. I am really clumsy and really forgetful.
My Questions for my Nominees
  1. How do you feel about indie-authors and self-published books?
  2. What book could you re-read a zillion times without ever getting bored?
  3. Have you ever enjoyed a required reading book from school?
  4. If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?
  5. Where is your favorite place to read?
  6. Do you have a reading goal? How do you set it?
  7. Who is your favorite villain or bad guy?
  8. What book do you recommend to everyone?
  9. What is your favorite genre?
  10. How long does it take you to write a book review?
  11. What is your favorite candy?
My Nominees

The Here and Now

The Here and Now

Author: Ann Brashares
Publication Date: April 8, 2014
Source: Netgalley
Summary from Goodreads: An unforgettable epic romantic thriller about a girl from the future who might be able to save the world . . . if she lets go of the one thing she’s found to hold on to.Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love.
This is the story of seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn’t come from a different country. She came from a different time—a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins.
Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they’re from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she’s told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth.
But everything changes when Prenna falls for Ethan Jarves.
From Ann Brashares, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, The Here and Now is thrilling, exhilarating, haunting, and heartbreaking—and a must-read novel of the year.

Rating: êê

This book started out OK. The world building was excellent, to be honest the dystopian future created by Ann Brashares is scary and believable. However, this is not a dystopian novel, it is a time travel novel that takes place in 201. Prenna started out likable, but quickly became annoying because of her inconsistent nature. The inst-love was just as awful as you expect insta-love to be with the savior-like boyfriend. The plot was dull, yet I held on and hoped it would get better. There was also a lot of things that simply didn't make sense or contradicted something that I had previously read in the book. 

The Bitter Kingdom

The Bitter Kingdom (Fire and Thorns, #3)

Author: Rae Carson
Series: Fire and Thorns #2
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
Source: Purchased
Summary from Goodreads: The champion must not waver.
The champion must not fear.
The gate of darkness closes.
The champion must not fear.The gate of darkness closes.Elisa is a fugitive.
Her enemies have stolen the man she loves, and they await her at the gate of darkness. Her country is on the brink of civil war, with her own soldiers ordered to kill her on sight.
Her Royal Majesty, Queen Lucero-Elisa né Riqueza de Vega, bearer of the Godstone, will lead her three loyal companions deep into the enemy's kingdom, a land of ice and snow and brutal magic, to rescue Hector and win back her throne. Her power grows with every step, and the shocking secrets she will uncover on this, her final journey, could change the course of history.
But that is not all. She has a larger destiny. She must become the champion the world has been waiting for.
Even of those who hate her most


Review: Initially I struggled with the change of style and the switch to a different POV, however I found myself craving the switches between the two characters at some point. This book moves at a quick and enjoyable pace. There are a lot of twists and lots of action AND my questions were answered! Now, my one complaint is that I wish there was more Rosario - I really felt that I needed to know more about him and where things are heading. Things are resolved, a bit too neatly, but the book was still well written and was a satisfying ending to a series.

The Crown of Embers

The Crown of Embers (Fire and Thorns, #2)

Author: Rae Carson
Series: Fire and Thorns #2
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
Source: Purchased
Summary from Goodreads: She does not know what awaits her at the enemy's gate.Elisa is a hero.
She led her people to victory over a terrifying, sorcerous army. Her place as the country's ruler should be secure. But it isn't.
Her enemies come at her like ghosts in a dream, from foreign realms and even from within her own court. And her destiny as the chosen one has not yet been fulfilled.
To conquer the power she bears, once and for all, Elisa must follow a trial of long-forgotten—and forbidden—clues, from the deep, hidden catacombs of her own city to the treacherous seas. With her go a one-eyed spy, a traitor, and the man whom—despite everything—she is falling in love with.
If she's lucky, she will return from this journey. But there will be a cost.


Review: I really enjoyed this book. Elisa continues to grow on me - I love that she does things in her own way. There were a lot of unexpected twists and turns in this book that led to lots of unanswered questions. The romance was well written and I don't want to say more than that in case you haven't read the first book. I am really struggling with my feelings about the ending - it was predictable in that you could sort of see the direction things were headed, but it wasn't predictable at the same time. Regardless,  I am invested in Elisa and her journey.

Dangerous Dream

Dangerous Dream (Dangerous Creatures, #0.5)

Authors: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Series: Dangerous Creatures #0.5
Published: December 17, 2013
Source: Netgalley
Summary from Goodreads: Catch up with Ethan, Lena, and Link as they finally graduate from high school and get ready to leave the small Southern town of Gatlin. But when Dark Caster Ridley makes an appearance, the sometime bad girl can't resist picking a fight with her sometime boyfriend, Link. Angry and rebellious as ever, Ridley ends up alone in New York City and becomes entangled in the dangerous underground Caster club scene, where the stakes are high and losers pay the ultimate price.
Where's a Linkubus when you need him?

Rating: ê

Review: First of all, I strongly suggest that you read the Beautiful Creatures series before you pick this one up. I really like Link and Ridley and I was excited to see that they would be getting some spotlight time. 

This novella does not feel like a stand alone book, instead it felt like the opening chapters of a book, I literally had to double check what I had downloaded because the book felt incomplete. I also felt like the writing lacked quality and found myself annoyed while reading. 

The Girl of Fire and Thorns

The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Fire and Thorns, #1)

Author: Rae Carson
Series: Fire and Thorns #1
Publication Date: September 20, 2011
Source: Purchased
Summary from Goodreads: Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.Elisa is the chosen one.
But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can't see how she ever will.
Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.
And he's not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people's savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.
Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.
Most of the chosen do.

Rating: êêêê

Review: Loved this book! It was really hard to put this book down. The very first thing that stuck out to me and made me really love this novel was the main character, Elisa. I love that she not the typical heroine. She does not have the perfect body and lacks self confidence. I also love how she changes and develops throughout the novel and doesn't even know it. 

While Elisa clearly steals the show and is my favorite, the book has an awesome cast of characters (and if you continue to read the series, you will notice characters continue to grow on you). 

The world building is decent, the descriptions of the landscape make envisioning the setting easy. The religion and the Godstones are interesting. There is clearly a complexity in this world that needs to be explored. 

The pacing was perfect - Elisa's journey and greater purpose drive the book forward.


Defy (Defy, #1)

Author: Sara B Larson
Publication Date: January 7, 2014
Source: Gifted

Summary from Goodreads: A lush and gorgeously written debut, packed with action, intrigue, and a thrilling love triangle.
Alexa Hollen is a fighter. Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king's army, Alex uses her quick wit and fierce sword-fighting skills to earn a spot on the elite prince's guard. But when a powerful sorcerer sneaks into the palace in the dead of night, even Alex, who is virtually unbeatable, can't prevent him from abducting her, her fellow guard and friend Rylan, and Prince Damian, taking them through the treacherous wilds of the jungle and deep into enemy territory.
The longer Alex is held captive with both Rylan and the prince, the more she realizes that she is not the only one who has been keeping dangerous secrets. And suddenly, after her own secret is revealed, Alex finds herself confronted with two men vying for her heart: the safe and steady Rylan, who has always cared for her, and the dark, intriguing Damian. With hidden foes lurking around every corner, is Alex strong enough to save herself and the kingdom she's sworn to protect?

Rating: êêêê

Review: I read this book in one sitting, thankfully it was a really long plane ride so I don't have to feel guilty for reading for several hours straight. The first thing that stuck out to me about this book are the characters - I really like them and found them to be well developed. I also found that sometimes characters took a little while to get to know, which only made me appreciate them more in the end. The love triangle was a bit predictable, but never annoying.

The plot moves at a good pace. There was plenty of action and lots of secret underlying schemes. The world building was OK, but I would have appreciated a bit more detail.

Now the ending was a bit weird to me. It seems obvious that there will be a sequel, but I am not sure where things will be going.

I'm Back

Hey Everyone!

I don't know if you've noticed, but I've been absent for a few weeks. I'm sorry for neglecting my blog, but I have a really good excuse: I was on vacation... in AFRICA! It was Amazing!

Anyways, I read a few books and have some reviews coming soon. Thanks for hanging around during my absence and still following. I'm looking forward to catching up soon.

Here are some photos!

Book Blogger Hop #8 (week of August 1st)

The Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. Its purpose is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new blogs, befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers to their own blog.

Each week bloggers answer a different question. This week's question is: How many bookcases do you have, and how do you organize the shelves?

Technically one, but it's not put together yet and my books are in a box or piles near it. It's a bit embarrassing, but here's a pic.

Imagination Designs