Sunday, September 29, 2013

[DNF: September] The Magnolia League by Katie Crouch

Title: The Magnolia League

Author: Katie Crouch

Book #: 1st of Series


Publish Date: May 3rd 2011

Pages: 348

Format: Hardcover

Date ReadSeptember 21st 2013

½  / out of 5


When her free-spirited mother dies in a tragic accident, sixteen-year-old Alexandria Lee is forced to leave her West Coast home and move in with a wealthy grandmother she's never known in Savannah, Georgia. By birth, Alex is a rightful if unwilling member of the Magnolia League-Savannah's long-standing debutante society. But white gloves and silk gowns are a far cry from the vintage t-shirts and torn jeans shorts she's used to.

Alex is the first in decades to question the Magnolia League's intentions, yet even she becomes entangled in their seductive world. The members enjoy youth, beauty and power...but at what cost? As Alex discovers a pact between the Magnolias and the Buzzards, a legendary hoodoo family, she discovers secrets-some deadly-hidden beneath the glossy Southern veneer.
(Synopsis taken from Goodreads)


I just didn't care for the story or any of the characters. 

Though there are parts of Alex, the MC, that I can see myself liking:
"Wanna go swim in Madison's pool? Tan a little?"
"Sorry, I'm not really into skin cancer.
Her snarky-ness, for example. Overall, I just wasn't interested. She's been through a lot with the death of her mom and the total removal from the only life she's known, but I still just didn't connect. I am not going to try to understand how much I know about drugs, because besides the fact that they are illegal and are damaging, I really don't know the entire side of them. Alex openly uses drugs and while she makes it seem like it's no big deal- and maybe it is- I just didn't relate at all. It was her life choice, and I can respect that, but I didn't care for it, either.

The rest of the side characters are completely annoying. I hated every last one of them:
"Good Lord almighty, Mary, she is sixteen years old. She doesn't know what she wants." - Alex's Grandmother

.. but then Reggie looked at me really strangely and leaned over and put his tongue in my mouth.Ooh, so romantic.

" aren't going dressed like that. It's disrespectful to God and yourself and us and the whole concept of clothing." - Madison, the "friend"

Not even the story, which if anything, I kind of wanted to know more about, could redeem this story for me. I did not care for any of the characters.

Overall, I honestly don't think I would even recommend this.

On My Goodreads:

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

Title: This Song Will Save Your Life

Author: Leila Sales

Book #: Standalone

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Publish Date: September 17th 2013

Pages: 288

Format: Hardcover

Date ReadSeptember 29th 2013

  / out of 5

But can you put a price on happiness? Really, if that's what it costs to make you glad to be yourself, then isn't it worth it?


Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.
(Synopsis taken from Goodreads)


This book was such a huge disappointment for me. Even before this book came out, all I heard and saw were non-stop rave reviews. Now, I'm not saying that this was a particularly bad book, but it obviously just wasn't for me.


I am not going to tell you that the struggles Elise faces and the emotions and actions that come from it are unjustified. I have never been bullied at all, so I don't have any experience to draw on as far as that is concerned. I will say, though, that I have shared some of Elise's feelings due to other reasons. 

However, I just didn't like her character. I couldn't connect to her at all, really, for a couple of reasons. First off, for someone who has been "bullied", I found her to be very harshly judgmental.
My friends are named Sally and Chava. They are both less popular than me, and I don't know why, but I hope it's because they are unbelievable boring.
Okay... ? What gives her the right to deem them "less popular" than her when she's battling her own popularity. Can't she just relish the fact that they are human beings who don't seem to hate her like everyone else apparently does for a reason that I still don't understand? She also gives us this little piece of... "advice" on how to make friends:
Making friends is actually not that hard when you drop every single one of your standards.
I can almost see the humor in this, but I refuse to acknowledge it. It makes sense, yes, but I just don't agree. I don't think you should ever drop every single one of your standards on anything. Yes, you can't always get everything you want in a person and you will have to make exceptions, but settling for anything? No. Also, just another example of how inconsiderate she is being to the two girls who seem to be the the only two living human beings in school who will actually stand her company.

There is also this statement that she makes about herself:
"Come here!" she called.
I obey direct orders... that's why I was crossing the street now. Because someone told me to."

What really made me not like her the most, though, was the moment she thought she could "save her sister" from being teased because she was exceptional and good at something, by tearing to shreds the project she worked so hard on. Really just way too dramatic and not something I agreed with at all. 

As far as the rest of the characters go, there weren't any that really stood out to me. I didn't like the love interest at all, and I only kinda-sorta liked Vicky and her band. 

The story, is anything, showed the only point of redemption. I really like self-discoveries and while this wasn't the best one I have ever read, I did enjoy seeing how Elise changed at the end. I also liked how the author mixed in some mystery as to who was writing the blog, which I did not pick up on at all.

Overall, I would still recommend this book if you are interested in it. It just wasn't what I was hoping it would be.


"Yes," I said, and did not want to elaborate that I always had my headphones on so I wouldn't always have to hear the world around me.

That's the problem with life. You never get enough time to stare at your ceiling and try to figure out what's going on.

On My Goodreads:

Conjured by Sarah Beth Durst

Title: Conjured

Author: Sarah Beth Durst

Book #: Standalone

Publisher: Walker Childrens

Publish Date: September 3rd 2013

Pages: 368

Format: Kindle Edition

Date Read: September 2nd 2013

½ / out of 5

If my insides were a bookshelf, she thought, I'd be a jumble of volumes, stacked in random order and filled with blank pages.


Eve has a new home, a new face, and a new name—but no memories of her past. She’s been told that she's in a witness protection program. That she escaped a dangerous magic-wielding serial killer who still hunts her. The only thing she knows for sure is that there is something horrifying in her memories the people hiding her want to access—and there is nothing they won’t say—or do—to her to get her to remember.

Eve must find out who and what she really is before the killer finds her—but the truth may be more dangerous than anyone could have ever imagined.
(Synopsis taken from Goodreads)

ReviewI received a free copy of this book for review.

This book had a very interesting premise, but, unfortunately, nothing made sense until literally the last 5% of the book. I'm sorry but that shit I don't like.


The Characters:

Eve was not the kind of character I like reading about. Granted, she has a lot of.. blanks in her memory. However, in my opinion, she was a push-over, naive and completely lacked a substantial personality. 
"You aren't old enough for coffee."
Eve nodded. She didn't bother to question the statement, not without Malcolm here.
While I liked her relationship with Malcolm, I thought her dependence on him was a way too "damsel-in-distress" like and I got tired of it quickly. Especially when situations like this happened. Eve also had this way of sounding like an incompetent 2-year old:
"Out," Eve said.
"Five?" Aunt Nicki asked. "But that's-"
"Shh," Malcolm said.
"Out, Eve repeated.
Her memory loss episodes were the worst, though. Not only did they not make any sense because we have no idea what is going on for the entire book, when she wakes up out of them, so much time passes. As they happen pretty much all the time, we never really get a good moment to get a good grasp of who Eve is.

I wasn't too found of any of the side characters, either. 

The love interest, Zack, was a smart-aleck know it all who was so annoying. I literally did not see the appeal. At all. He is filled with completely useless facts that he has this urge to constantly share with Eve:
"Little-known facts about apples: apples are member of the rose family, it takes energy from fifty leaves to produce one fruit, and humans have been eating apples since at least sixty-five hundred BC. Bet you're asking yourself how a handsome guy like me who can't seem to stop talking ended up working in a library where the talking thing is not so condoned."
Actually.. Yes. That's exactly what I was wondering. Oh, and this is what he says to her when he first meets her:
"Glad you didn't freak when I said I wanted to kiss you. I'll wait for an invitation, of course, but I believe in being up front about these kinds of things. Prevents misunderstandings later. I don't want you thinking that we can ever be just friends. Unless it's friends with benefits."

Malcolm, her "protector", was almost pretty cool. I liked how he wasn't your typical white-guy-badass-government-agent. However, he did the one thing I cannot stand: Answering. Questions. With. Questions.
"Is she from my world?"
"You tell me," Malcolm said.
"If I knew, I wouldn't ask."
Points for Eve!

And Aunt Nicki.. well. She was just a bitch. I have to admit, though, she had a killer sense of humor:
"Oh, it's you," Aunt Nicki said. "I was hoping for something more interesting. Like a delivery of soap."

The Story:

Like I stated earlier, we pretty much have no idea what is going on until the last 5% of this book. At that point, though, when we finally learn the truth about the situation, it actually picks up. It was a pain for me to read through the first 95%, but a breeze through the last 5%? Yeah.. The ending not only gave us all the information we were looking for, but also wrapped the story up decently. 

Overall, as a whole, only the very last part of this book was enjoyable. I wouldn't fully recommend it, but I wouldn't stop you from giving it a try if you think you might like it still.


But she thought of the girl in the tower with a world laid out before her that she could not touch. "I want to be here."

On My Goodreads:

I Love Him To Pieces by Evonne Tsang

Title: I Love Him to Pieces 

Author: Evonne Tsang & Janina Gorrissen

Book #: 1st of Series

Graphic Universe

Publish Date: August 1st 2010

Pages: 123

Format: Paperback

Date ReadSeptember 21st 2013

½  / out of 5


Can love survive the zombie apocalypse? 

Maybe Dicey's first chance at a real relationship was dead from the start. Now an outbreak of a weird infection--it eats your brains and leaves you hungry for more--might not mean just the end of their first date. It might mean the end of everything. Will their relationship fall apart faster than zombies in the Florida sun, or can Dicey and Jack beat the odds and find a happy ending?
(Synopsis taken from Goodreads


Amazing! The romance is rushed (but I have a feeling that that might just be how it is with these super short, standalone graphic novels), but the characters and the story were awesome. 

The CDC is mentioned, and the science is there (though not 100% in detail, we get the idea) and it wrapped up nicely at the end.

The only concern I had was that we never really find out what became of certain characters (mainly Dicey's friends). 

Overall, this is a very quick, fun graphic novel read about zombies that will leave you hungry for more!


To come!

On My Goodreads:

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Title: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

Author: Michelle Hodkin

Book #: 1st of Trilogy

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Publish Date: October 23rd 2012

Pages: 452

Format: Paperback

Date Read (Throwback): September 29th  2012

 / out of 5

“You always have a choice.”


Mara Dyer wakes up one morning in the last place anyone wants to be without knowing how they got there: The hospital. They tell her she was the only one who survived. That she should be lucky, thankful even, that she is alive.

While the guilt of losing her best-friend in an accident that she miraculously got out of with her life, she is being terrorized by ghosts that haunt her from her past. To try to get away from the burden of what happened that night, her family decides to move her as far away as they can. Mara starts the school year at a new school and, with her family right behind her supporting her every step of the way, she plans to put all that happened behind her.

Mara hopes she is ready to find out the answers. Her life, and those of who she loves, could be at stake.


really loved this book. Once I started getting into it and realized that the events unfolding could possibly be due to paranormal activity, I almost stopped reading. If I get freaked out watching scary ghost movies, I get terrified reading about it! Don't ask me why because I do not know. I read another book a few weeks ago, or rather I skimmed through it because it was paranormal. Even skimming through it gave me goosebumps! 

Michelle Hodkin really gets it. She got it right where others failed. People should court, before they get into a relationship. I said this is one of my other reviews that the readers need to see the spark between two characters. And not just that, we also need to see how their relationship develops and grows.

In this case, it was done beautifully. Though I am sure that Mara and Noah did have some strange connection feelings about each other when they first met, he still took her on dates and spent time with her before they started really getting into a relationship. I have read books where the characters meet once or twice (in some cases without even talking), and then the next day they are confessing their love for one another. I loved the transition between the two that occurred in this book. I thought it was executed wonderfully. 

(On page 428 I found one grammatical error)

Overall, I think that this book should be read, no matter what you read in a review. If you don't like it, then okay. But I think if you find yourself liking it, you will fall in love with this series.

On My Goodreads:

Heaven by Alexandria Adornetto

Title: Heaven

Author: Alexandria Adornetto

Book #: 3rd of Trilogy

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Publish Date: August 21st 2012

Pages: 417

Format: Hardcover

Date Read (Throwback): September 27th  2012

 / out of 5

That is when you need faith the most. Not when everything is going your way, not when you have much to be thankful for, but when there is darkness all around.


Bethany has done more traveling in one year than most people do in their entire lives: She's been to Heaven, to Earth, to Hell and back. Now, after tying the knot with Xavier, the worst of their problems are about to begin. As Bethany struggles to cling onto her human life, Heaven is trying twice as hard to drag her back.

Will she be able to overcome the greatest challenge of all and defy her heavenly Father?


This third addition to the series was pretty good, though I was mostly pleased with the ending, which I thought to be fairly satisfying for the end of the trilogy. 

However, the first two books in the series, while they did have flaws, did not have nearly as many flaws as I found in this book.

I felt like many of the choices the characters made were too impulsive. They would rush into certain (achem) situations without really thinking it through, and then acted all dumbfounded by the consequences. Specifically, I am talking about the Vegas style wedding Bethany and Xavier had which(view spoiler) but I'm not going to point any fingers. 

I also began to get slightly annoyed the personalities of many of the characters. 

Honestly, I think this is entire series is basically a guilty pleasure read for me. If I were to really analyze everything, I probably wouldn't have liked these books at all. I think what gets me is that these books portray how angels are supposed to be, guardian angels. I always have a soft spot for angel books written right.

Overall, I think it is a very heartwarming ending to the trilogy. Despite how I felt about the characters, I did find their adventures interesting and was glad to see how it all wrapped up.

On My Goodreads:

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Color of Heaven by Kim Dong-Hwa

Title: The Color of Heaven

Author: Kim Dong-Hwa

Book #: 3rd of Trilogy

First Second

Publish Date: September 1st 2009

Pages: 320

Format: Paperback

Date ReadSeptember 23rd 2013

  / out of 5

"You can hide things from the world, but you can never hide things from time."


As Ehwa grew from a girl to a young woman in The Color of Earth and The Color of Water, she began to understand and experience love and relationships, with her mother as a model and confidante. Now, in the heartwarming conclusion to this lyrically written and delicately drawn trilogy, Ehwa's true love comes at last, and as her mother looks on, she takes the final steps towards becoming an adult.
(Synopsis taken from Goodreads)


I think this was a perfect conclusion to the trilogy. I loved seeing both Ehwa and her mother grow together over the course of these books and I'm glad that the both got the endings they deserved.

Overall, definitely a quick and enjoyable manga that is perfect for avid graphic novel readers as well as beginners.


"A wound on your skin can be easily healed with ointments, but a wound of the heart needs a good cry to start healing."

"I would rather crawl on my knees searching, than sit and wait, or lie down and wait."

"Since when is love a sin?"

"For nine months, a mother carries and nourishes her daughter in her stomach, then gives birth to her. It's a happy occasion, but the mother's left feeling sadly empty inside. But I realized today that, after raising her within my love and embrace and sending her off in marriage, this day is just as sad and leaves me just as empty as the one when I first gave birth to her."

On My Goodreads: