October 31, 2013

Three Random Mini Reviews: The House of Hades, The Bride Wore Size 12, & The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die

The House of Hades by: Rick Riordan (2013)
583 pages
Publisher: Disney Hyperion Books
Genre: YA/Adventure/Mythology
Source: My husband bought it for me!
Goodreads Summary: At the conclusion of The Mark of Athena, Annabeth and Percy tumble into a pit leading straight to the Underworld. The other five demigods have to put aside their grief and follow Percy’s instructions to find the mortal side of the Doors of Death. If they can fight their way through the Gaea’s forces, and Percy and Annabeth can survive the House of Hades, then the Seven will be able to seal the Doors both sides and prevent the giants from raising Gaea. But, Leo wonders, if the Doors are sealed, how will Percy and Annabeth be able to escape?

They have no choice. If the demigods don’t succeed, Gaea’s armies will never die. They have no time. In about a month, the Romans will march on Camp Half-Blood. The stakes are higher than ever in this adventure that dives into the depths of Tartarus.

My Review: Rick Riordan has done it again! He created a fun and wild ride for the young half-bloods in the Heroes of Olympus series. Reading about Percy and Annabeth's struggle through Tartarus was harsh and amazing at the same time because who doesn't love some Percy and Annabeth togetherness time? Characters from past Percy Jackson books are brought back in to play. Leo's plot line gets better and Frank is no longer super annoying. Basically this book was just plain awesome. Riordan always manages to have just the right amount of humor among the bleakness that the heroes always have to face. We find out more about the prophecy in this book and get some answers. I do wish I would have gotten a little more Jason time though. The ending has me on the edge of my seat impatiently waiting for the last book in the series.

The Bride Wore Size 12 by: Meg Cabot (2013)
392 pages
Publisher: William Morrow
Genre: Mystery/Romance
Source: The Library
Goodreads Summary: Heather Wells is used to having her cake and eating it too, but this time her cake just might be cooked. Her wedding cake, that is.

With her upcoming nuptials to PI Cooper Cartwright only weeks away, Heather's already stressed. And when a pretty junior turns up dead, Heather's sure things can't get worse—until every student in the dorm where she works is a possible suspect, and Heather's long-lost mother shows up.

Heather has no time for a tearful mother and bride reunion. She has a wedding to pull off and a murder to solve. Instead of wedding bells, she might be hearing wedding bullets, but she's determined to bring the bad guys to justice if it's the last thing she does . . . and this time, it just might be.

My Review: I am really hoping this book isn't the last in the Heather Wells Mystery Series. Once again I enjoyed the easy read and the wonderful characters in The Bride Wore Size 12. I pretty much love every single character in the book. I just can't help it. The book is just so charming and a great book to read while curled up on the couch with some hot chocolate. It brought me many laughs and I always have fun stepping into Heather's shoes trying to solve the latest mystery in the dorms that she works at. The only thing I would have liked was a little bit longer of a book so we could have more time focused on the romance between Cooper and Heather and just a longer story in general. It felt a little rushed to me. Overall Meg Cabot continues to write hilarious mystery novels and this one shouldn't be missed.

The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die by: April Henry (2013)
224 pages
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Genre: Thriller
Source: The Library
Goodreads Summary: “Take her out back and finish her off.”

She doesn’t know who she is. She doesn’t know where she is, or why. All she knows when she comes to in a ransacked cabin is that there are two men arguing over whether or not to kill her.

And that she must run.

In her riveting style, April Henry crafts a nail-biting thriller involving murder, identity theft, and biological warfare. Follow Cady and Ty (her accidental savior turned companion), as they race against the clock to stay alive.

My Review: This is one thriller where I couldn't see all the big reveals in advance, meaning that I actually was shocked at times and this made it very enjoyable to read. Plus, who doesn't love a main character that is having problems remembering who she is? The characters are a little awkward at times but other than that I didn't have a problem with them. It does have some great suspense and some good action scenes but some of it was just kind of eh. Ty risking his life for a stranger (the girl who doesn't know who she is) and the not so great big picture of why the girl (the same girl who doesn't know who she is) is being chased is what bumped this review down to three stars.Sorry I don't give her name but I can't really. I can say it wasn't boring though. The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die is good if you are looking for a quick read and a young adult stand a lone novel.

October 29, 2013

Writers Unite Intro Post - I'm participating in NaNoWriMo for the first time!

I'm happy to say that this year I'm participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) for the first time ever! I'm really glad I found Writers Unite so I will have some extra support on this adventure. Thanks Paola @ A Novel Idea and Charlotte @ Gypsy Reviews for creating this support group! 

Why am I participating in NaNoWriMo?

  • I've always wanted to write a book. I have started two different ones now and I never finished them. So here is my chance to start fresh with a brand new idea and actually sit down and write a very rough draft of my first novel.
  • I work better with a deadline and a dazzling finish line.
  • I think it will be fun.
  • NaNoWriMo is helping me face my fear. For some reason I'm super scared (probably because I'm pretty sure my novel will be crappy but practice makes perfect and I heard writing your first novel is the hardest) about actually writing my first novel from start to finish.
  • Unlike October when I was crazy busy, November is a slower month so I have time to write.
  • I recently went to a Veronica Roth signing and she gave me the push I needed to finally sit down and write my novel. 

What will my first novel be about? (What I know so far.)

  • A blizzard survival story with some romance.
  • My main characters will be around my age. (20's)
  • There will be some awesome sibling interaction/squabbles. 
  • There will be a dog.
  • Not everyone will survive, no one is safe. (Except for the dog of course.)

What does this mean for It's a Book Life?

Nothing will change on the blog. I'm currently working on writing most of my posts in advance for the month of November. Which actually means I'll probably have more posts in November than October, which is kind of sad. It may take me a little while longer to reply to comments and read other blog posts but that is about it. So don't worry blogger buddies, I'm not going anywhere.

**I have two more days until November... wish me luck! If anyone else is participating in NaNoWriMo let me know and I will totally cheer you on!
October 28, 2013

Review: The Vow by: Jessica Martinez

The Vow by: Jessica Martinez (Oct. 15, 2013)
432 pages
Genre: YA Fiction
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Source: I won a free ARC of this book from Goodreads First Reads! Thanks to goodreads and the publisher!
Goodreads Summary: No one has ever believed that Mo and Annie are just friends. How can a guy and a girl really be best friends?

Then the summer before senior year, Mo’s father loses his job, and by extension his work visa. Instantly, life for Annie and Mo crumbles. Although Mo has lived in America for most of his life, he’ll be forced to move to Jordan. The prospect of leaving his home is devastating, and returning to a world where he no longer belongs terrifies him.

Desperate to save him, Annie proposes they tell a colossal lie—that they are in love. Mo agrees because marrying Annie is the only way he can stay. Annie just wants to keep her best friend, but what happens when it becomes a choice between saving Mo and her own chance at real love?

My Review
The Vow is a little above average book. It was nothing overly unique and nothing overly memorable. It was a good read but that's about it. It just fell a little flat to me when it came to the story and the characters. 

The two bests parts about The Vow, what really made it good, was that it was about friendship and its complexity, especially when dealing with that friendship and the idea of friends getting married to keep one of them in the country. Mo and Annie are friends through and through. I love their friendship and I love the cute BFF moments when the reader gets to discover how they became friends in the first place. I really did love this uniqueness aspect of the novel, what I didn't love was that it was really the only unique thing about it. It was really nice to get Mo and Annie’s POV. Although I liked them I didn't love them. These two teenagers and their not great decision/choice making skills made me completely frustrated with how they handle the whole marriage situation and don’t realize how many repercussions will follow. I know they are teenagers and I know this is a young adult book, but they were just too annoying for me to really love. This made it harder for me to really get into the story and care a whole lot about the situation they were in. Hence why I think this book was just a little above average and not as unique or amazing as I thought it would be.

I wish I had more to say but I’m out of words for this one. I don't know if it's because I didn't love the book or if it's because it has been a little while since I read it. Either way I apologize and hope this short review gives you a little insight on what I thought.

If you are looking for something with a strong focus on friendship and one that touches the subject of deportation then this one is probably a good choice for you. 

** I won a free ARC of this book from Goodreads First Reads! This did not affect my honest review. Thanks to goodreads and the publisher!

MY RATING 3.5/5 
October 23, 2013

Library Loot #11

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

Forgive me for my lack of posting as of late but man has it been crazy around here this month. I have been in two different weddings, I have family visiting, extra shifts at work, and this weekend I get to meet Veronica Roth! I'm exhausted and therefore haven't had a lot of time to blog. On the other hand, I'm ready to rock it in November with a whole bunch of awesome reviews and discussion posts coming your way!

So I want to start my return by sharing with you my awesome (if i do say so myself) library loot! Have you read any of these? Did you get any interesting books from the library as of late? Share in the comments below!

My Library Loot

October 17, 2013

Blog Tour: Allusive Aftershock by: Susan Griscom (Review & Giveaway)

Allusive Aftershock by Susan Griscom (Dec. 2012)
Genres: YA/Contemporary
274 Pages
Source: I received a free copy of this book as a part of Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.
Purchase: Barnes and Noble | Amazon
Synopsis: What happens when a major earthquake changes life as you know it and the boy you thought you hated ends up saving you? Three times!

Courtland Reese is the guy everyone hates and makes fun of because … well, he is weird. He communicates with animals. Strange or interesting, seventeen-year-old Adela Castielle can’t quite figure out, but when he saves her from being trampled by her own horse, she begins to understand him a little better and wants to learn more about him.

But, Max–her best friend/dream guy/someday-to-be-her-husband-only-he-doesn’t-know-it-yet–hates Courtland with a passion. Adela wants to know why, except neither boy is talking.

When Max leaves her stranded in his parents’ wine cave with his worst enemy, Courtland, after what the experts are calling a “megathrust” earthquake, Adela starts to question her loyalty to Max as steamy kisses in a dark damp cellar only fuel her emotions with more conflict.

But does she really have time to worry about that when fire, destruction and mayhem surround her?

My Review

Allusive Aftershock was an emotional roller coaster that I don't regret riding. Allusive Aftershock surprised me in a delightful way. I'm a sucker for survival stories and I don't see a lot of those dealing with natural disasters so I was really excited to read this book. Earthquakes, survival and a somewhat awkward yet cute romance makes this book a great read.

The plot offers something new to fans of young adult contemporary novels. It's heartbreaking, shocking, intense, and is filled with really great descriptions. It's jam packed with a lot of survival scenes (the author isn't afraid of making people get hurt making it more realistic since a big earthquake has hit) and some romantic ones as well, not to mention a few light-hearted moments that keeps the book from getting too depressing.

Adela is a strong character but also slightly annoying. I can't quite put my finger on it but there is just something about her that rubs me the wrong way towards the beginning of the book. She does become pretty awesome though and really handles the crazy situation she finds herself in rather well. Courtland and Max act just like typical teenage boys, but also grow as the story unfolds.

I may have mixed feelings on how the romance was handled considering it was pretty awkward and comes about pretty darn fast, but it was also really cute and given the circumstances the characters were in it was pretty believable. 

When it comes down to it I think you should read this book snuggled up under a warm blanket or by a fire because it's just that kind of book, a great read for a Fall night.

** Thank you Xpresso Book Tours and Susan Griscom for a free copy of this book! This in no way affected my honest review.


Susan Griscom daydreams often. And sometimes her daydreams interfere with her daydreams not to mention real life. Because, let’s face it, her character’s lives are so much more exciting. Sometimes it’s young adult or new adult or just plain old mainstream fiction and sometimes it’s paranormal romance, where her playing field delves into a different milieu than the usual vampires and werewolves. Some day she might write about fangs and fur, but for now she prefers sticking to strong heroes and heroines confronted with extraordinary forces of nature, powers and abilities beyond the norm, mixed with some steamy romance to get the blood boiling.
Susan lives in the Sierra Foothills in Northern California with her very romantic husband, her small yippy dog, Riley, and her humongous black cat, Saké. Her family consists of his and hers; four wonderful sons and one beautiful daughter, and seven grand angels.
Susan loves when a story takes hold and pulls her into the fantasy, that’s magic.
You can visit Susan at http://susangriscom.com or email her at susangriscom1@gmail.com. She loves hearing from her fans.

October 14, 2013

Review: Eat, Brains, Love by: Jeff Hart

Eat, Brains, Love by: Jeff Hart (Oct. 1, 2013)
352 pages
Genre: YA/Horror/Comedy
Publisher: Harper Teen
Source: I won a free ARC of this book from Sara over at Medusa’s Library. This in no way affected my honest review. Thanks Sara!
Goodreads Summary: Two teenage zombies search for brains, love, and answers in this surprisingly romantic and laugh-out-loud funny debut novel with guts.

Jake Stephens was always an average, fly-under-the-radar guy. The kind of guy who would never catch the attention of an insanely popular girl like Amanda Blake-or a psychic teenage government agent like Cass. But one day during lunch, Jake's whole life changed. He and Amanda suddenly locked eyes across the cafeteria, and at the exact same instant, they turned into zombies and devoured half their senior class.

Now Jake definitely has Amanda's attention-as well as Cass's, since she's been sent on a top-secret mission to hunt them down. As Jake and Amanda deal with the existential guilt of eating their best friends, Cass struggles with a growing psychic dilemma of her own-one that will lead the three of them on an epic journey across the country and make them question what it means to truly be alive. Or undead.

Eat, Brains, Love is a heartwarming and bloody blend of romance, deadpan humor, and suspense that fans of Isaac Marion's Warm Bodies will devour. With its irresistibly dry and authentic teen voice, as well as a zombie apocalypse worthy of AMC's The Walking Dead, this irreverent paperback original will leave readers dying for the sequel that's coming in Summer 2014.

My Review

Now is the perfect time to read Eat, Brains, Love, a funny, no ex that, hilarious teen novel about the life of two newly turned teenage zombies and the agency out to get them. It is definitely original and definitely worth reading. 

I refuse to put spoilers in this review because I want people to read it and give it a chance all on their own. With that being said, there are several things I can’t discuss because of this so hang in there if the review seems a little vague.

Why this non-zombie blogger devoured Eat, Brains, Love:

  • Considering Eat, Brains, Love is a book about zombies it is scarily realistic at times. 
  • I love that the author wasn't afraid to have the main characters actually use real curse words when they were in horrible situations. 
  • The characters were pretty relateable and very interesting. Getting inside the head of a teenage boy with hormones who just so happens to also be a zombie and feels bad for eating his classmates is definitely unique. Jake was a hoot and I loved his POV. As readers we also get the story from Cass’s POV, a very interesting and likable female lead who happens to be hunting Jake down as part of a secret government agency. There is also a handful of minor characters that are all just as interesting and all just as intense as the main ones.
  • It’s extremely funny. If my copy wasn't an ARC I would share so many amazing quotes with you, but I'm really not supposed to since it is an ARC copy.
  • It’s got the right amount of gore for all you zombie fans out there. There is also one scene that was so creepy it turned my blood cold.
  • There isn't a huge info dump. Who doesn't love that?

A few things that didn't impress me:

  • There is going to be a sequel and I wasn’t warned about this in advance. (I know it states this in the synopsis I gave you earlier from groodreads but I don't always read those thoroughly or pay attention with they start mentioning "this book is like this movie/book/show etc.") This frustrates me beyond belief. Don't get me wrong, I’m going to read the next book, but I little warning would have been nice so I knew what to expect when the book came to a close. So I guess this isn't really anything with the actual book that bothered me but oh well.
  • There are a couple of small stereotypes that I can’t go into without spoiling the book, but lets just say they were annoying.
  • The romance wasn’t all that great. This was disappointing because the word love is even in the title. Luckily I think the next book will be even better with the romance aspect of the novel. In the end, this in no way kept me from really liking this book.

Bottom Line: Read it. You won’t find a better time to read a Zombie novel than right now. Eat, Brains, Love was an enjoyable read that was hard for me to put down. 

**I won a free ARC of this book from Sara over at Medusa’s Library. This in no way affected my honest review. Thanks Sara!

October 10, 2013

Thorsday Review: The Lost Sun by: Tessa Gratton

The Lost Sun (The United States of Asgard #1) by: Tessa Gratton (2013)
350 pages
Publisher: Random House
Genre: YA/Mythology
Source: The Library
Purchase: Barnes and Noble | The Book Depository
Goodreads Summary: Fans of Neil Gaiman's American Gods and Holly Black's The Curse Workers will
embrace this richly drawn, Norse-mythology-infused alternate world: the United States of Asgard.

Seventeen-year-old Soren Bearskin is trying to escape the past. His father, a famed warrior, lost himself to the battle-frenzy and killed thirteen innocent people. Soren cannot deny that berserking is in his blood--the fevers, insomnia, and occasional feelings of uncontrollable rage haunt him. So he tries to remain calm and detached from everyone at Sanctus Sigurd's Academy. But that's hard to do when a popular, beautiful girl like Astrid Glyn tells Soren she dreams of him. That's not all Astrid dreams of--the daughter of a renowned prophetess, Astrid is coming into her own inherited abilities.

When Baldur, son of Odin and one of the most popular gods in the country, goes missing, Astrid sees where he is and convinces Soren to join her on a road trip that will take them to find not only a lost god, but also who they are beyond the legacy of their parents and everything they've been told they have to be.
My Review

I wanted to love this book with every fiber of my being. I love mythology, I love quest novels, and the synopsis sounded so promising. Alas, it was a disappointment. I still enjoyed it and I will probably read the next book, but the idea behind The Lost Sun wasn’t really well executed.

I want to mainly tackle the world building. I want to give you a big heads up that The United States of Asgard is an alternate world – not set in the future. I was a little confused by this at first. I found The United States of Asgard to be unique and fun and pretty darn cool. The big problem, I was utterly and totally confused for a good while when reading. I will say that I really don’t have any background on Norse mythology except for the movie Thor, so that may have contributed to my confusion. I just felt like things were not explained that well, sometimes not at all until mentioned later in the book, and this to me was frustrating and turned my reading into a chore, which I really didn’t want it to be. I seriously think that if the author is going to be vague about a lot of the background of Norse mythology then there should have been a glossary. Percy Jackson has one, nothing wrong with that and it is helpful when I can’t remember a certain character.

The main characters were fine and likeable but not overly memorable. They were just kind of there for the most part. I did however enjoy getting the male POV in this book. Those seem rare in young adult novels. The Norse Gods didn’t have a lot of page time but when they did they didn’t disappoint, Gratton described them with great detail and they were drastric and over the top, it worked.

The plot stuck to the basic quest novel outline, but that was fine by me. There were some predictable scenes but some not so predictable so they evened out. It was a good adventure story, but it could have been more complex. I will say that I am a huge fan of the Percy Jackson series, and maybe I’m comparing this one to that just a little too much. The Lost Sun is more serious than Percy Jackson and a little more gorwn-up.

The Lost Sun should be approached with caution. I’m sure many of you won’t be as confused as I was when reading, which is good, but I just wanted to warn you in advance. This book had so much promise. Sigh. I’m hoping now that I have read the first one and understand the world better that I will be able to enjoy the second one more, because I do plan to read it.

I say get this one from the library just in case you don’t love it. If you do love it than that is awesome and I’m jealous because I wanted to love this one.

RATING 3.5/5 
October 4, 2013

Scary/Creepy Books For Your Freezer

I couldn't help myself. I had to start this post off with a little FRIENDS. The whole episode is better but I couldn't post that. :) It's that time of year again... the time to read all the scary dark twisty and creepy books you can in honor of Halloween and the fall season where the days get shorter and the nights get longer. Therefore I have compiled a list of a variety of young adult and adult books for the spooky season. There are only a couple of books on these lists that I have yet to read but I've heard great creepy things about them. Click on the book covers to find out more about each book!

YA Scary/Creepy/Dark Reads


YA Horror Authors (Oldies But Goodies)

Lois Duncan

R.L. Stine

Caroline B. Cooney

Alvin Schwartz

Adult Books With A Creep Factor


**If you really want some more recommendations check out Girlxoxo's blog post where she shares several different resources for those of you trying to find a scary book to read this October. Or check out all of the bloggers that are participating in Bloggers Dressed in Blood for more reading ideas! 

What scary/creepy/dark books do you plan on reading this month? I always love new reading recommendations. 
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