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In My Mailbox (5)


In My Mailbox
 is a weekly meme created and hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren that allows book bloggers to share the books we bought, borrowed, or received this week.

Library Books:

Bought:

Destined was only $0.99 on amazon, so of course I had to buy it because I love greek mythology. It’s also my first ebook purchase! Although I’ll have to wait until I get my kindle for Christmas before I can read it. lol Also got some more library books. I’ve already started Shatter Me and I really like it so far. What’s in your mailbox this week?

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REVIEW: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Delirium
by Lauren Oliver
Feb 1st, 2011
HarperTeen
Source: Library


Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love — the deliria — blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

Delirium is a fairly formulaic young adult dystopia; there’s nothing too unique about it when it comes to the plot. But what sets it apart from all the rest is the absolutely beautiful writing and fully developed, likable cast of characters.

The prose was gorgeous. The way it’s written, I could almost taste the words as I read them, if that makes sense. Lauren Oliver wove the narrative in a way that made me feel like I was really there with Lena, experiencing everything with her. I could see what Lena saw. Feel what she felt.

I liked the worldbuilding. Sure, the concept of a future United States that views love–or “amor delira nervosa“–as a disease that must be surgically removed from people is pretty far fetched. But my initial disbelief went away fairly quickly and I was able to fully enjoy and immerse myself in this world. I loved the excerpts of books–manuals, poems, etc–that were inserted at the beginning of each chapter. It really gave some added realism to the world and made me believe that maybe it could really happen.

I loved the protagonist, Lena. She started out as a normal girl, happy to follow orders and even looking forward to the “procedure.” But she starts to question things after she meets Alex. It was nice to see her change from a sort of timid girl to a very strong person, able to make her own decisions. But she didn’t just change overnight into some badass super-strong person, though. She realistically developed into a person, still with flaws and doubts, but overall a person who thinks for herself.

And the person who started this transformation in Lena is Alex. I liked Alex from the moment we met him. I loved the way the author described his hair color, “like the color of leaves in autumn.” And this particular quote, taken from the very end of the book, describes Alex in a way that made me sigh:

“His hair is a crown of leaves, of thorns, of flames. His eyes are blazing with light, more light than all the lights in every city in the whole world, more light than we could ever invent if we had ten thousand billion years.”

Gorgeous, right?

Lena and Alex fit together so well and I loved seeing them get to know each other, and for Lena to experience that forbidden thing, that disease known as amor deliria nervosa. That disease of love. They were so sweet and tragic. And I felt their relationship developed quite nicely; not too fast. It was believable, I think.

And then there was the ending. Sigh. I won’t say anything more about it, but if you liked the book even a little bit, you’ll be dying to read the second book in the series, Pandemonium. I know I am.
Rating: 4.5/5

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REVIEW: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Unearthly
by Cynthia Hand
Jan 4th, 2011
HarperTeen
Source: Library


In the beginning, there’s a boy standing in the trees…

Clara Gardner has recently learned that she’s part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn’t easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place—and out of place at the same time. Because there’s another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara’s less angelic side.

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she’d have to make—between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart.

I absolutely tore through Unearthly. I read the first half of the book late at night (never a good idea) and wanted to continue, but the sun was starting to rise, so I thought sleep was probably a better idea. I resumed reading the minute I had free time the next day and finished the last half of the book in one sitting. Unearthly is ridicuously addicting and
quick to read. You won’t be able to put it down.

This book really was a journey. We follow Clara as she receives her angelic “purpose,” moves to Wyoming in order to complete said purpose, meets the literal guy of her dreams, meets another, different guy, and eventually finds out that her purpose may not be as straightforward as she first thought.

Unearthly is about angels, yes, and the angel mythology is fascinating, but it’s also about family, love, friendship, finding out who you are, and whether or not you can change your destiny–or if you even should.

The main character, Clara, was a winning heroine: relatable, snarky, unsure of herself but still strong. I really feel like I got to know her. I think the writing style really aided this; it was so accessible and just really easy to jump right into the book. I also loved her friends, the love interests, and her brother. They were all well developed.

I loved that Clara’s mother played such an important role in her daughter’s life and in the story. So many young adult protagonists either have no parents at all, parents who are there but mostly absent, or abusive parents. Margaret is neither. She is a fully developed character that has flaws and doesn’t always make the right decisions, but seems to really care about her daughter.

The book does contain a sorta-love triangle, but I think it was handled differently than you would expect. With most young adult books that feature a love triangle, you can tell right away which one the protagonist will “choose”; this is not so with Unearthly. I honestly had no idea which boy Clara would end up with until much later in the book. Also, there was no insta-love! Hurray! And the plot didn’t focus entirely on the romance. In fact, there was little romance at all until later in the book. But once the romance started it was, well, lovely. And there was lots of kissing. Yes, this is an important thing to mention.

The only criticism I could come up with is the story slowed down a bit at the midway point. But it picked up again soon after that, so it didn’t bother me that much

Lastly, it must be said that the cover is gorgeous. I loved that the swirl from the cover was used on the first page of every chapter. I got this book from the library, but I’m considering buying it myself just to have the pretty cover on my bookshelf! Also because what’s inside the book is awesome too, obviously.

Without a doubt, Unearthly is one of the best angel books I’ve had the pleasure to read. I can’t wait for the second book, Hallowed!
Rating: 5/5

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Waiting on Wednesday (4)

Waiting on Wednesday is weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

Hallowed by Cynthia Hand
January 17th, 2012

For months part-angel Clara Gardner trained to face the raging forest fire from her visions and rescue the alluring and mysterious Christian Prescott from the blaze. But nothing could prepare her for the fateful decisions she would be forced to make that day, or the startling revelation that her purpose—the task she was put on earth to accomplish—is not as straightforward as she thought. Now, torn between her increasingly complicated feelings for Christian and her love for her boyfriend, Tucker, Clara struggles to make sense of what she was supposed to do the day of the fire. And, as she is drawn further into the world of part angels and the growing conflict between White Wings and Black Wings, Clara learns of the terrifying new reality that she must face: Someone close to her will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning. 

 

Insurgent by Veronica Roth
May 28th 2012

One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love. 

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so. 

 

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
March 6th, 2012

I’m pushing aside the memory of my nightmare, 
pushing aside thoughts of Alex, 
pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school, 
push, 
push, 
push, 
like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flame.

This week I decided to post a themed Waiting on Wednesday instead of just posting one title. As you’ve probably guessed, the theme is sequels! Specifically, sequels to books that I absolutely loved. I actually just read both Delirium and Unearthly last week (I know, totally late to the party) but I’m already incredibly excited for their sequels, Pandemonium and Hallowed! And of course I’m equally looking forward to Insurgent, the sequel to the amazingly awesome Divergent!

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2 for 1 Review: The Body Finder and Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting

There are certain books that, when you start reading, you contemplate putting them down because it’s just not working for you. But something compels you to keep reading and, eventually, without even noticing, you realize hey, I kind of like this book. The Body Finder is that kind of book. I’m not sure if that is a bad thing or not, but I think part of the reason why I almost dropped the book is because I was expecting something a lot different from what it ended up being. I was expecting more supernatural/paranormal stuff, but besides the main character Violet’s ability to sense dead bodies, there wasn’t much, really. The story is also pretty slow-paced, especially at the beginning. A lot of the book is taken up with Violet pining after Jay, her best friend/maybe more. Violet and Jay were sweet together, and I’m definitely a fan of romances building from friendship, but I wanted more action, more of Violet’s ability actually being used. Fortunately, once the will-they-won’t-they thing was resolved, the story picks up a lot and starts getting more into the main plot: a serial killer is on the loose in Violet’s town and she becomes involved due to her supernatural ability to sense dead bodies. However, though The Body Finder is supposed to be a mystery, I didn’t really feel much urgency or danger. The driving force of the book really  is the relationship between Violet and Jay, more so than the mystery. So if you don’t like them, you probably won’t like the book very much. Fortunately for me, I did end up liking the two together, even though I wasn’t sure at the beginning of the book. All in all, The Body Finder is a fairly quick read with just a touch of the supernatural to keep things interesting. I liked it well enough, but there was just something keeping me from really loving it.

I had trouble just getting through Desires of the Dead. I stopped reading about a third of the way through and actually read two other books before getting back to it. Same as the last book, I contemplated stopping reading, but decided to keep going. And I was eager to get done with it so I could start something else. But by the end, I wasn’t completely disappointed. I did like certain parts of it, like some of the new characters that were introduced. One such character I really liked was Rafe, whom Violet met when the FBI became interested in her; he was fascinating and mysterious (and hot. This is important to mention). I just wish there was more of him. Like the first book, there are a couple of chapters told through the perspective of a different character, designated by italics. I found these a lot more interesting than in the last book. I mostly liked Violet and Jay, though they had their annoying moments. I found the parts where Violet noticed every female in sight of Jay practically salivating over him a little irritating. It’s like, we get it, he’s hot. You’re lucky to have him. Fortunately after the first half of the book, there weren’t any more of these scenes. As for Violet herself… sometimes I liked her, and sometimes I just couldn’t quite connect with her. I think that might be a big reason why I can’t say that I loved the book. She made some really frustratingly stupid decisions that a lot of the plot hinged on. If she had just confided in her parents, most of the stuff in the book wouldn’t have happened. I enjoyed the FBI stuff the most (okay, mostly I liked Rafe). I might be tempted to read the third book because it seems we’ll get more of that. All in all, I liked the book about the same as the first one. But like the first one, I didn’t love it.

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In My Mailbox (4)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme created and hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren that allows book bloggers to share the books we bought, borrowed, or received this week.

Borrowed from my Library:

Another batch of library books for this week! I’ve already finished Unearthly, which was amazing, and I’m just about done with Delirium–which is equally awesome. Before I get to Matched I need to finish Desires of the Dead from last week, and then Jellicoe Road.

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Lovely Covers of December 2011

Lovely Covers is a new monthly feature where I’ll pick my favorite covers from the current month’s young adult book releases.

Wintertown by Stephen EmoundThe Probability of Miracles by Wendy WunderIlluminated by Erica Orloff
Eternal Starling by Angela CorbettThe Secret Sisterhood of Heartbreakers by Lynn WeingartenDeadly Little Voices by Laurie Faria Stolarz
Click on each cover to be taken to the book’s goodreads page.

There were some really gorgeous covers for this month’s releases! It was hard to narrow them down to just six, but I really love the ones I chose. If I had to pick a favorite, it would be Illuminated. I love the atmosphere; it gives off a very sensual feel plus the lighting is perfect and really interesting. I also love the simple white font for the title. Overall, everything lends to a quite intriguing cover that makes me want to read the book.

What are you favorite book covers for the month of December? Let me know in the comments!