My life with the Walte rboys

Unravel Me (Shatter Me, #2) by Tahereh Mafi

Unravel Me (Shatter Me, #2) by Tahereh MafiUnravel Me (Shatter Me, #2) by Tahereh Mafi
Published by HarperCollins on February 5th 2013
Pages: 461
Goodreads
five-stars

It should have taken Juliette a single touch to kill Warner. But his mysterious immunity to her deadly power has left her shaken, wondering why her ultimate defense mechanism failed against the person she most needs protection from.

She and Adam were able to escape Warner’s clutches and join up with a group of rebels, many of whom have powers of their own. Juliette will finally be able to actively fight against The Reestablishment and try to fix her broken world. And perhaps these new allies can help her shed light on the secret behind Adam’s—and Warner’s—immunity to her killer skin.

The first third of Unravel Me bored me. There wasn’t much action and Juliette just puttered around in the underground anti-establishment community she joined at the end of Shatter Me.

Juliette barely spends any time with Adam in Unravel Me. Whenever they do it’s always for short periods of time like breakfast. Adam started to annoy me in this book. One minute he’s deflecting Juliette’s feelings and then the next he’s eyeing her like he wants to spread her on top of the table in the dining hall and ravish her.

If we never got the novella Destroy Me, if we never got a glimpse into Warner’s mind and heart, I wouldn’t have minded Juliette and Adam’s angst as much. But ever since Destroy Me, I couldn’t stop thinking about Warner and Juliette and how their pairing would be so much better, hotter. This sounds totally harsh, but I didn’t even care what Adam’s problem was in this book. I just kept thinking Warner Warner Warner. When are we gonna see Warner again? When is Juliette gonna Shatter (haha see what I did there) Warner’s dark exterior and see the light within.

When Warner and Juliette finally see each other again it’s pure magic. They connect on a deep level that Juliette can’t reach with anyone else, especially Adam. Juliette tells Warner things that she hasn’t and is too afraid to say to anyone, even to Adam. Juliette feels like she’s a monster. and since she thinks Warner’s a monster too, she doesn’t fear telling him what’s in the deepest, darkest part of her heart.

This review is basically a love letter to Warner. Adam and Juliette’s romance in book one was sweet, tender, and romantic. But once Warner opened up and shared what was in his heart I was so bored with Adam and was praying he’d just disappear. Yes, once again I sound and feel horrible, but Juliette and Warner have a connection that is so deep, electric, and sexy, a connection that doesn’t even come close to what she has with Adam.

I also liked Unravel Me because Juliette grew a lot. Her time away from Adam was good. She spent her life ostracized, depressed and withdrawn until Adam came along. Adam was the first person to be able to touch her. He was the only one who ever cared about and remembered her. I felt like  Juliette used him as a crutch in book one and most of book two, and that she wasn’t able to start working through her own issues until they had time apart. In Unravel Me Juliette begins to feel confident in herself and her extraordinary powers. She learns how to trust and connect with others.

I read this book in one sitting. All 400+ pages. #sorrynotsorry #noshame

five-stars
My life with the Walte rboys

Destroy Me (Shatter Me #1.5) by Tahereh Mafi

Destroy Me (Shatter Me #1.5) by Tahereh MafiDestroy Me (Shatter Me, #1.5) by Tahereh Mafi
Published by Harper on October 2nd 2012
Pages: 109
Goodreads
five-stars

In Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me, Juliette escaped from The Reestablishment by seducing Warner—and then putting a bullet in his shoulder. But as she’ll learn in Destroy Me, Warner is not that easy to get rid of. . .

Back at the base and recovering from his near-fatal wound, Warner must do everything in his power to keep his soldiers in check and suppress any mention of a rebellion in the sector. Still as obsessed with Juliette as ever, his first priority is to find her, bring her back, and dispose of Adam and Kenji, the two traitors who helped her escape. But when Warner’s father, The Supreme Commander of The Reestablishment, arrives to correct his son’s mistakes, it’s clear that he has much different plans for Juliette. Plans Warner simply cannot allow.

Set after Shatter Me and before its forthcoming sequel, Unravel Me, Destroy Me is a novella told from the perspective of Warner, the ruthless leader of Sector 45.

When I read Shatter Me I was disgusted by Warner. He was demanding, cruel, and a bit crazy. He seemed to have this sick infatuation with Juliette and I was so happy when Juliette and Adam finally escaped his evil clutches. Warner was the villain in book one.

I actually read this novella, Destroy Me, 5 years ago, but I barely remembered what transpired. I vaguely remembered that at some point I stopped seeing Warner as the villain. I actually started falling in love with him but I couldn’t remember when or why. It was in Destroy Me!

Because of his ruthless and abusive father, the supreme of the Reestablishment, Warner has spent his entire life pretending to be heartless. The supreme saw any act of kindness or hint of vulnerability as a weakness, and quite literally, beat it out of his son. I’m not going to lie, Warner has done some pretty horrible things, but I think you need to go to the core and see why he is the way he is before you judge him. I’m a super fan of redemption, so Destroy Me gave me hope that Warner could change. He can’t erase the evils of his past, but he can try and do good in the future.

Warner spends the majority of Destroy Me reading the journal Juliette accidentally left behind during her escape. Warner’s shocked to find out that they both share a sense of sadness, confusion, fear, and helplessness. Warner’s anguish breaks my heart and I started shipping him and Juliette so hard after I finished Destroy Me.

five-stars
My life with the Walte rboys

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Paranormalcy by Kiersten WhiteParanormalcy (Paranormalcy, #1) by Kiersten White
Published by HarperTeen on August 31st 2010
Pages: 335
Goodreads
four-stars

Discover the first book in a sparkling paranormal romance trilogy from Kiersten White, #1 New York Times bestselling author of And I Darken.

Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through supernatural glamours.

She’s also about to find out that she may be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

So much for normal.

Paranormalcy was one of those books that I kept seeing popup on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble; basically the sites I visit on practically a daily basis. Although the synopsis perked my interest a bit, it was truly the great reviews I kept seeing that urged me to purchase Paranormalcy. I’ve hit a streak of gold lately when it comes to great books. The last few I’ve read have been phenomal, and although I was a tad iffy I still went into Paranormalcy with high hopes. I’m glad to say that I wasn’t let down–not a bit. Paranormalcy is a very cute, engaging, and unique YA book. The story concept was fresh and very likable. Per usual when I get addicted to a good book I’m up wicked late to finish it, and Paranormalcy was no exception.

I’m a HUGE Buffy fan and therefore I think one of the reasons I loved Paranormalcy so much is because I could drawn lines connecting the two. Midway through the Buffy TV series we learned about a secret government sector called the Initiative whose job was to monitor and exterminate lethal supernatural beings. Their commando-agents were responsible for bagging and tagging the various supernatural they encountered such as vampires, demons, werewolves, etc. In Paranormalcy, Evie our heroine, works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency (ICPA) by ferreting out various supernaturals and banding them with trackers. In Paranormalcy all supes are considered dangerous and therefore are carefully monitored and put to work for the ICPA. I really enjoyed this aspect of the book, besides television, I’ve never read a story that features a government agency like this. With a the cool gadgets and protocol; I was completely engrossed.

Evie is at the center of the story. As an orphan with an extremely-unique as one would say “paranormal” gift, she’s been with the ICPA for quite sometime. She’s recently been able to handle bag and tag cases on her own. Paired with the ability to see through any supernatural glamour and a pink taser covered in rhinestones named “Tasey” she’s one girl you don’t want to mess with. I felt like throughout book I had a very love-hate relationship towards Evie. On one hand she’s super funny, quirky, and brave. She definitely “beats to the sound of her own drum” and therefore I found her to be a very compelling character. However, as much as I love Evie, at times I still wanted to take her by the shoulders and give her a good-solid shake. Sometimes she makes really bad decisions. Although her heart is always in the right place she has a tendency to jump in first and think it out later. She gets put in quite a lot of bad positions because of her fly-of-the-seat reactions.

Besides Evie, Paranormalcy has a strong group of characters. For instance, Lend *be still my heart* is a great male lead. Although he’s very guarded in the beginning his character really opens up throughout the book. I loved seeing the teamwork between Evie and Lend. When I think of the two them together I picture “ying” and “yang”. At one point during the book, Lend’s mother remarks ”What a lovely balance. Lend shows whatever he wants the world to see and you see through whatever the world wants to show you”. I think that Kiersten White had a spurt of creativity genius when she decided what abilities Evie and Lend would have. Not only are they super-cute together, they also complement each other fantastically.

Overall Paranormalcy was a very enjoyable read. I was extremely entertained throughout the entire novel. The pace is perfect and the story is full of action and great dialogue. All the characters leap right off the page whether it be goofy and strong-willed Evie, cute and determined Lend, stern and motherly Raquel or devilish and cunning Reth. With 4 stars I definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves YA fiction with romance, action, and of course paranormalcy.

four-stars
My life with the Walte rboys

Angelfire (Angelfire #1) by Courtney Allison Moulton

Angelfire (Angelfire #1) by Courtney Allison MoultonAngelfire (Angelfire, #1) by Courtney Allison Moulton
Published by HarperCollins / Katherine Tegen Books on February 15th 2011
Pages: 453
Goodreads
three-stars

First there are nightmares.
Every night Ellie is haunted by terrifying dreams of monstrous creatures that are hunting her, killing her.

Then come the memories.
When Ellie meets Will, she feels on the verge of remembering something just beyond her grasp. His attention is intense and romantic, and Ellie feels like her soul has known him for centuries. On her seventeenth birthday, on a dark street at midnight, Will awakens Ellie's power, and she knows that she can fight the creatures that stalk her in the grim darkness. Only Will holds the key to Ellie's memories, whole lifetimes of them, and when she looks at him, she can no longer pretend anything was just a dream.

Now she must hunt.
Ellie has power that no one can match, and her role is to hunt and kill the reapers that prey on human souls. But in order to survive the dangerous and ancient battle of the angels and the Fallen, she must also hunt for the secrets of her past lives and truths that may be too frightening to remember.

In the beginning I didn’t particularly have high hopes for Angelfire. When it comes to gauging my possible like of a novel, I stick to a core group of bloggers and their reviews. Not only do I and said bloggers have similar tastes and opinions, I also can trust that their reviews won’t spoil the story for me. I cannot tell how many times I’ve quickly browsed Goodreads and had books ruined for me because a user had posted blatant in-your-face spoilers. Grrr!! *shakes fist* So the reviewers I trust, had for the most part shown no interest in Angelfire, or disliked it greatly.

However, between an e-copy sale, out-of-the-blue receiving of an ARC of book #3, and my general love of angel-centrique books, I decided to wing it and start Angelfire this past weekend. Below I’ll break down the main parts I liked and disliked.

LIKED

Story – Moulton did a great job of taking random bits of angel-myth, mixing in some original-myth and creating a unique story. Out of all the angel series I’ve read now which is like 6 or 7, Angelfire establishes its own identity.

Romance – Most of us, if not all of us, despise the “insta-love” and dread the “love-triangle”. I’m glad to report that neither occur in this book. The love that does develop is literally centuries in the making, although, also reasonably paced in the current time. You can tell where the main relationship is/will be right away in this one, and although a tiny fork in the road pops up here and there I promise that you won’t be declaring #team *who-evers*.

Action – This particular element I found to be both positive and negative. Positive: Instead cowering in the corner, waiting for a big strong man to come to her rescue, Ellie does A LOT of butt-kicking. It was great having a strong female lead that could handle herself.

DISLIKED

Characters – Although I liked Ellie for her butt-kicking ways, I really didn’t connect to her. I felt like her relationship with her parents was too weird. For instance, in the beginning, Ellie was quite bitchy towards her mom and dad. She was pretty much plain rude, not really wanting anything to do with them. Half-way through the novel her dad seemed to exhibit a monstrous-behavior which definitely would explain the earlier coldness, but it still felt out of the blue. 2 and 2 just never connected. The relationship felt whole-y, like there were parts to the story that I missed (weren’t there) and I couldn’t understand why she’d act in *that* particular way.

Information Overload – EEEK attack of the 50-foot info overload!!! *STOMP STOMP* I loved the story and the information given, but too much was given at a time. At one point we were hit back-to-back with new info and I had to reread the section like 4 times. AND I’m still not entirely sure what it all means or how it will play out.

Action – (The negative side) Sure, there was a lot of great action scenes, which I didn’t mind, however, I felt like the storyline suffered because of it. The story didn’t feel as strong because Moulton focused too much on the action and not enough on the emotions and world-building. I would have liked a nice balance.

So there ya go! I give Angelfire 3 out of 5 stars. From reviews I’ve read, book two seems to be better received. I plan on reading it early-January.

three-stars
My life with the Walte rboys

The Dead Girls Detective Agency by Suzy Cox

The Dead Girls Detective Agency by Suzy CoxThe Dead Girls Detective Agency (The Dead Girls Detective Agency #1) by Suzy Cox
Published by HarperTeen on September 18th 2012
Pages: 384
Goodreads
four-stars

Pop quiz: What would you do if you had to solve your own murder to get anywhere in death?

Maybe if I hadn't slept through my alarm, slammed into Kristin (my high school's reigning mean girl) or stepped in a puddle, destroying my mom's new suede DVF boots (which I borrowed without asking), I wouldn't have been in the wrong place at the wrong time, and I wouldn't have been pushed in front of that arriving train. But I did, and I was.

When I came to, I was informed by a group of girls that I'm dead. And that because I died under mysterious circumstances, I can't pass straight over to the Other Side. But at least I'm not alone. Meet the Dead Girls Detective Agency: Nancy, Lorna, and Tess--not to mention Edison, the really cute if slightly hostile dead boy. Apparently, the only way out of this limbo is to figure out who killed me, or I'll have to spend eternity playing Nancy Drew. Considering I was fairly invisible in life, who could hate me enough to want me dead? And what if my murderer is someone I never would have suspected?

Who knew trying to crack the case of a murdered teen could be so enjoyable? Pleasantly shocking, The Dead Girls Detective Agency was chock-full of laughs and morbid fun. Besides a lack of romantic steam (I’ll get to that later) this book was amazing. Truly one of a kind. The mystery of “who dun’ it” was well thought out and planned which lead to a super suspenseful and exciting read. I had trouble putting this one down!

Dead Girls starts out on a seriously sullen note due to the untimely death of our main character, Charlotte. One minute she’s standing on the train platform getting ready to board, and the next, splat. All Charlotte remembers is a slight shove followed by blinding hot pain. FADE OUT. When Charlotte finally awakens she finds herself in an unfamiliar hotel lobby surrounded by three strange girls: Lorna, Nancy and Tess, the official heads of The Dead Girls Detective Agency. For one reason or another, these three have remained in a sort of limbo, using their afterlife as service to solving teenage murders. It’s explained that all New York City murdered teens wind up in Hotel Attesa, a pit-stop on the way to heaven, or at least whatever “hereafter” that exists. When you reach this point you have two choices. One: stick around as your half-barely-there-self, able to oversee those you left, but never really being able to be with them, or Two: works towards getting your murder case solved and receive the key that lets you move on. Charlotte, opting for the ladder, begins working towards solving her murder with the help of bookworm Nancy, fashionista Lorna, shrew-like Tess and mysterious, Edison.

I really liked this book. With a storyline weighed down by macabre, Cox does a great job of keeping things light and fun. A great deal of the dialogue is humorous and had me laughing out loud. Even though the main characters were murdered, the majority of the story was upbeat. When Charlotte’s mystery murderer was revealed I was pleasantly surprised. It definitely was a “didn’t see that one coming” sort of deal. Cox does a great job of writing a true murder mystery that keeps you guessing by leading you down multiple false paths.
Here’s where I talk about the not-so-great parts of Dead Girls. I like my YAs balanced with all the essentials: including decent steam AND or OR romance. I felt like Dead Girls seriously lacked in this department. Granted, Charlotte had a lot on her plate but still I felt like there were some missed opportunities. In the beginning Charlotte was still reeling from the loss of her living boyfriend, David. Although heartbroken, David seemed to move on pretty quickly… Then there was Edison. We’re led to believe that he has a special connection with Charlotte by way of his slightly less-snarky attitude towards her. It felt like Cox was trying to build something between the two but I never really saw anything emerging. He was very hot and cold with an emphasis on cold. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely liked Edison. He was the more-favorable male character in this book for sure. Basically I just didn’t “feel it” when it came to him or any potential anything with Charlotte.

Regardless! I really liked this book. Fans of lighthearted paranormal reads such as Helen Keeble’s Fang Girl will definitely enjoy this one!

four-stars