Review: Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Book: Under the Never Sky
Author: Veronica Rossi
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release date: February 28, 2012
Source: ARC received from Around the World Tours

Summary from Goodreads: Aria is a teenager in the enclosed city of Reverie. Like all Dwellers, she spends her time with friends in virtual environments, called Realms, accessed through an eyepiece called a Smarteye. Aria enjoys the Realms and the easy life in Reverie. When she is forced out of the pod for a crime she did not commit, she believes her death is imminent. The outside world is known as The Death Shop, with danger in every direction.

As an Outsider, Perry has always known hunger, vicious predators, and violent energy storms from the swirling electrified atmosphere called the Aether. A bit of an outcast even among his hunting tribe, Perry withstands these daily tests with his exceptional abilities, as he is gifted with powerful senses that enable him to scent danger, food and even human emotions.

They come together reluctantly, for Aria must depend on Perry, whom she considers a barbarian, to help her get back to Reverie, while Perry needs Aria to help unravel the mystery of his beloved nephewâ??s abduction by the Dwellers. Together they embark on a journey challenged as much by their prejudices as by encounters with cannibals and wolves. But to their surprise, Aria and Perry forge an unlikely love – one that will forever change the fate of all who live UNDER THE NEVER SKY.

First impressions: The initial scenes in this book are dark, futuristic, and set up the conflict surrounding the world. Aria and some friends break into a compound in their city of Reverie, where everyone stays indoors for fear of disease and death in the atmosphere outside and communicates through SmartEye devices that allow virtual interaction in various imagined worlds. When the break-in goes horribly awry, Aria finds herself in danger and is saved by a tattooed tribal man from the outside real world, although this has even more profound consequences.

Lasting impressions: I think some more information on the rules of these worlds and societies would have made this reading experience more enjoyable. Though the mix of sci-fi and fantasy elements seemed interesting at first, by the end it all seemed like too many different ideas thrown into a giant mixing bowl, muddying the entire concept.

Conflicting impressions: If you’re going to have a book about two characters falling in love, it helps if they have chemistry. I did not connect at all with either Aria or Perry, so their love story became something of a snooze.

Overall impressions: I’m having the hardest time pinpointing what it is that didn’t work for me in this book. There were lots of individual elements that were interesting and exciting – the stormy Aether atmosphere, the Blood Lords and the tribal sensory enhancements, the Dwellers and their futuristic SmartEyes – but somehow when it all got put together it created a book that got bogged down by the weight of all of these Big Ideas.

Aria is a nice enough main character. She’s strong, gets by mostly without complaining, despite some pretty awful situations. Perry is more interesting in that he has this heightened sense of smell and is constantly at odds with his Blood Lord brother. He spends most of the book nobly trying to save his nephew, but treats Aria pretty brusquely. I knew at some point these characters were going to fall in love, because that’s the way things work in books, but for the life of me I couldn’t figure out why they would want to be together. They didn’t seem to connect in any realistic way.

At the end there are some reveals that are a bit predictable, and set up some action for the future, but overall this book didn’t pack enough punch for me. I didn’t have enough information to fully invest in either the characters or the worlds they were fighting, so it ended up falling a bit flat.

Rating: 2/5 stars

Click the stars for a description of my rating system

Review: Crossed by Ally Condie

Book: Crossed
Author: Ally Condie
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Release date: November 1, 2011
Source: Ebook purchased from Amazon

Summary: (from Goodreads) In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky – taken by the Society to his certain death – only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

Cassia’s quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander – who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia’s heart – change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.

First impressions: I was so excited to get back into this world, and it picks up almost immediately after we left off in Matched. I admit I had to take a minute to think back – now where were we? I think this is one of those series that is better read close together.

Lasting impressions: While I won’t go so far as to say this was a disappointment, it did suffer a bit from middle book syndrome. We didn’t learn a whole lot of new information about the Society, and a majority of the book revolves around Cassia trying to reunite with Ky.

Conflicting impressions: I was so invested in Cassia and Ky’s relationship in the first book that having to spend so much time with them apart made the story lose a little magic. The chemistry that connected me to these characters was missing, so the book dragged for me.

Overall impressions: This was probably my most anticipated book of the year, so it’s too bad that it turned out to be just okay for me. Good, not great. I loved Matched so much that it’s not likely the sequel would have measured up, but this felt like an entirely different story.

Cassia spends most of the book trying to sneak her way to the Outer Provinces by pretending she’s not a Citizen and joining work camps. Ky, meanwhile, is faced with the grim reality of being used as bait in an ongoing war with the people outside the Society. He makes a few friends and bolts with them into the surrounding canyons.

There is a bit of tension surrounding the blue pills and whether or not Cassia will survive and/or be reunited with Ky. She also tries to find out more about the Resistance and what kind of role she wants to play in it. Similarly, Ky must also determine whether being with Cassia is worth accepting a prominent position in the Resistance.

With just enough nuggets of new information to merit this sequel, there’s still a lot left to discover in book three, out next year. I think it’s worth a read for fans of the series, but would wait to read it until closer to the release of the conclusion book, so you can move straight into what will hopefully be the more exciting end of the story.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Click the stars for a description of my rating system

2011 Challenge Wrap Up

Reading Challenge Addict

As 2011 comes to a close and I reflect on my many reading challenges attempted this year, I’ve learned some valuable lessons for 2012. I was most successful reading books in categories I already read a lot (duh), and where I found the easiest access to the books (double duh). Although there were some surprises, for the most part it’s not hard to see why I failed at a lot of these.

Debut Author Challenge – 12/12 books read, and then some

Lesson learned: This one was the most surprising – I was on track for most of the year and found I was more excited to read some of the debut books than I was for books by known and beloved authors. I discovered this year that I love supporting debut authors and reading books with fresh voices. Because I don’t know the authors, I don’t really know what to expect, which made reading fun and exciting.

Likelihood I’ll sign up next year: Already signed up.

YA Historical Fiction Challenge – 11/15 books read

Lesson learned: I love historical fiction, but not all of it is YA. I had a lot of books I wanted to count, until I realized they were adult fiction. Still, I love the genre regardless of age group and wish I could have completed this one.

Likelihood I’ll sign up next year: Definitely signing up, but at a lower level.

Shifter Challenge – 11/20 books read

Lesson learned: Really? With one of the easiest lists to put together, I still couldn’t make this happen? I think I just got distracted by other reads, and had some disappointing experiences on some new series that prevented me from filling up the list with their sequels. I think I prefer my shifters in moderation.

Likelihood I’ll sign up next year: Slim.

Show Me the Free Challenge – 4/12 books read

Lesson learned: I may get them for free, but that doesn’t make them any more appealing, particularly if the ONLY reason I got it was because it was free. I had a hard time making myself read these.

Likelihood I’ll sign up next year: Definitely giving it another go, because 1) Missie is awesome; and 2) if I don’t sign up, I’ll NEVER read these darned free books!

Paranormal YA Reading Challenge – 12/12 books read

Lesson learned: Very easy to complete, but the blogger hosting this one disappeared, then changed her blog name a bunch of times, and I gave up trying to find her again.

Likelihood I’ll sign up next year: Zero.

Get Steampunked! Challenge – 4/5 books read

Lesson learned: SO CLOSE! I have steampunk galore sitting on my shelves, and having started Soulless there’s still a chance I can finish this challenge. I did learn, however, that I love this genre hardcore and can’t wait to read more.

Likelihood I’ll sign up next year: Guaranteed!

Morbid Romantica Challenge – 11/12 books read

Lesson learned: I loved that this one featured a different category each month. The variety kept the challenge fresh every month.

Likelihood I’ll sign up next year: Good.

YA Series Challenge – 19/30 books read

Lesson learned: I read a lot more new series books than old ones, and didn’t feel the need to finish a lot of series I started. Still, it’s so satisfying marking off series books so I’m definitely doing this one again.

Likelihood I’ll sign up next year: Guaranteed!

Mystery & Suspense Reading Challenge – 9/12 books read

Lesson learned: I may love reading these, but I don’t like reviewing them. I think I’ll keep this category as a pleasure read and not a blog read.

Likelihood I’ll sign up next year: Very slim.

Black Dagger Brotherhood Challenge – 6/9 books read

Lesson learned: I got a bit BDB-ed out midway through this challenge. The stories got less interesting, and I wish more people had participated in Bookaholic Does Blogging’s book club discussions of the series. So interesting, but where was everyone?

Likelihood I’ll sign up next year: I don’t plan to re-read any of these, so no challenge for me.

Take a Chance Challenge 3 – 3/10 books read

Lesson learned: The categories were not as fun as I had hoped, and didn’t drum up very many books I actually wanted to read. HUGE FAIL.

Likelihood I’ll sign up next year: Very slim.

Fantasy Reading Challenge – 6/6 books read

Lesson learned: Wow, I read more fantasy than I thought I would. I’m not sure I need a challenge to keep me reading in this genre.

Likelihood I’ll sign up next year: Slim.

Gothic Reading Challenge – 3/5 books read

Lesson learned: There’s not a lot of gothic fiction out there, and with such a small genre I had a hard time finding books I wanted to read that fit in. I do like gothic fiction a lot, though, but haven’t decided if I want to do another challenge.

Likelihood I’ll sign up next year: 50/50.

Vacation Reads Challenge – 6/6 books read, but not in dedicated time frame

Lesson learned: Short term challenges are even harder for me. I think I’ll stick to year-long ones.

Likelihood I’ll sign up next year: Not good.

E-book Challenge – 48/75 books read

Lesson learned: I really overestimated how many ebooks I’d be reading this year. Because of all the tours I joined, I read a lot more physical books than I thought. This easily accounted for my deficit in this challenge.

Likelihood I’ll sign up next year: Not good.

Writer Musings Reading Challenge – 119/100 books read, and counting

Lesson learned: I’m bad at remembering to link up my reviews, but Tabitha gives away great prizes so if she does this again, I think I’ll sign up. I was SHOCKED at how many books I was able to read this year, even if some of them are graphic novels. I used the Goodreads challenge to track my numbers this year, so I hope they do it again in 2012!

Likelihood I’ll sign up next year: Good.

Reading Challenge Addict – 5/17 challenges complete

Lesson learned: Too many challenges, too little time. I need to read more crossover books and be more judicious in my challenge selections next year. I also want to try out some new ones, so I doubt the total volume will decrease much.

Likelihood I’ll sign up next year: Almost guaranteed.

I’ll start posting my sign-up posts for 2012 in the next few weeks, so consider this a pre-emptive apology for glutting up your feeds. 🙂

Review: Saving June by Hannah Harrington

Book: Saving June
Author: Hannah Harrington
Publisher: Harlequin
Release date: November 22, 2011
Source: Review copy received via NetGalley

Summary: (from Goodreads) â??If sheâ??d waited less than two weeks, sheâ??d be June who died in June. But I guess my sister didnâ??t consider that.â??

Harper Scottâ??s older sister has always been the perfect one so when June takes her own life a week before her high school graduation, sixteen-year-old Harper is devastated. Everyoneâ??s sorry, but no one can explain why.

When her divorcing parents decide to split her sisterâ??s ashes into his-and-her urns, Harper takes matters into her own hands. Sheâ??ll steal the ashes and drive cross-country with her best friend, Laney, to the one place June always dreamed of going California.

Enter Jake Tolan. Heâ??s a boy with a bad attitude, a classic-rock obsession and nothing in common with Harperâ??s sister. But Jake had a connection with June, and when he insists on joining them, Harperâ??s just desperate enough to let him. With his alternately charming and infuriating demeanour and his belief that music can see you through anything, he might be exactly what she needs.

Except June wasnâ??t the only one hiding something. Jakeâ??s keeping a secret that has the power to turn Harperâ??s life upside down again.

First impressions: Can Harper be my new book BFF? In the first few scenes she is funny, irreverent, rebellious, and sympathetic. She is the most authentic teenager I’ve read, perhaps ever.

Lasting impressions: Beautiful. Heartbreaking. Magical. Hilarious. Although this one hit close to home for me, it was wonderfully cathartic.

Conflicting impressions: I can’t think of anything that didn’t work for me in this book.

Overall impressions: Harper has lived in the shadow of her sister her whole life, unable to understand why she doesn’t have June’s innate ability to exceed everyone’s expectations. Feeling like the loser letdown of a daughter, Harper has carefully constructed a persona to match her perceived failings – black nail polish, a wall of truancy and detention slips, smoking cigarettes. June is the golden child and she is the black sheep, invisible to her warring parents.

When June commits suicide, there is no note, and everyone struggles to understand why she did it. Harper feels the weight of being the one that’s left, and has a hard time shaking the feeling that everyone thinks the wrong sister died. While going through her sister’s things, Harper finds a mix CD that June had been listening to right before she died, as well as a postcard of California – the one place June had always wanted to go.

Jake Tolan is a boy who seems to have no ties to June, but shows up at the wake. After Harper discovers June was tutoring him, and that he works in a record store, she realizes he made the mix CD. Soon Harper, Jake, and Harper’s best friend Laney have concocted a plan to drive to California and put June’s ashes to rest in the place where she wanted to belong. June wanted nothing so much as to escape the pressures of life and family, and to be free to do and be whatever she wanted, and Harper is determined to make that happen as a final gift to her sister.

As Harper experiences impromptu protests, concerts, and landmarks, and shares these exciting adventures with new people, she begins to find herself. The road trip experience is full of powerful moments that reveal things about her desires and strengths, as well as her feelings about her sister. We don’t watch Harper change as a result of the trip, we watch her discover that the person she has been all along is nothing less than her sister. She has always been strong and capable, but her fears and insecurity colored her perception of herself.

Harper is without a doubt one of the best characters I read this year. I related to her and her struggles on so many levels, from her inability to cry at a funeral, to her need to just run away from it all and so something meaningful for the person she feels she failed the most. Hannah Harrington has written a girl so complete that I had a hard time believing she wasn’t real. Harper lives far beyond these pages, showing us the way teenaged girls really think and feel.

This book is one that will definitely stick with me. With a love story that seemed genuine in its slow growth, and an exploration of music through the eyes of Jake Tolan that provides a perfect soundtrack to Harper’s journey, this one is full of life and memories. For anyone who’s lost someone close to them, especially from suicide, this is a cathartic story that allows us to process our feelings alongside Harper. This is a powerful treasure that should not be missed.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Click the stars for a description of my rating system

Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Book: The Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Publisher: Doubleday
Release date: September 13, 2011
Source: Borrowed from local library, then bought

Summary: (from Goodreads) The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underwayâ??a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into loveâ??a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.

First impressions: Opening a debut novel in 2nd person narrative is ballsy. But, oh man, did it work in this case. By introducing the reader to the wonder that is this night circus through gorgeous prose and the immediacy of the perspective, we are hooked from the first sentence. The circus arrives without warning.

Lasting impressions: I relished this book in a way that rarely happens for me – slowly. For the week I spent reading it, I rarely thought of anything else, yet I prolonged the reading experience in order to get the most out of it. This is a book that inspires reflection in all of the best ways, and rewards you for taking the time to read every word carefully. The story builds slowly, but purposefully, until the exciting climax threatens to turn the entire world of these characters upside down. It’s a beautiful journey to witness.

Conflicting impressions: I confess that I read all of the negative reviews of this book first. Surely no book could live up to the kind of magical hype this book has had heaped upon it, right? So I read the most blistering, scathing reviews, preparing myself for a slow, boring, overly dense novel with wooden characters and little action. And you know what I got? Subtle characters deftly written by a master puppeteer. Erin Morgenstern fills the pages with lush details, yes, but they all serve to inform us about the characters and the setting. I understood this world so well that I wanted to live in it for as long as possible, which is why I took so damn long to finish it. And why I bought a copy for my shelf the day before I returned my library book. I didn’t want a single day to go by without having this book in my possession.

Overall impressions: This book is magical, but not because it contains magic. This is not Harry Potter. Our young protagonists learn magic through natural ability and frustrating lessons by their parental figures – no straightforward schoolteachers to be found. They learn through trial and error, cruelty, and their own perseverance and curiosity.

Celia and Marco do not spend a lot of time in each other’s company, and as readers we are often much more knowledgeable than our characters. For me, this made the plot that much more enjoyable, as I had an inkling of where the story was going, but no idea how it was going to get there. As the story unfolded, I was more than willing to go along for the ride. This is a novel you either succumb to completely, or resign yourself to frustration. I think by the end of the first few chapters any reader will be able to tell if this is the book for him/her.

The Night Circus has rich period details, lots of colorful characters, and more than a handful of intrigue. This was not only one of my favorite books of the year, but one of my favorite books, period. If you’re looking to be entertained by something truly fresh and surprising, you must get your hands on this one.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Click the stars for a description of my rating system

Review: Tempest by Julie Cross

Book: Tempest
Author: Julie Cross
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release date: January 3, 2012
Source: Borrowed ARC from Gone with the Words
Series: Tempest #1
Summary from Goodreads: The year is 2009. Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy. . . heâ??s in college, has a girlfriend. . . and he can travel back through time. But itâ??s not like the movies â?? nothing changes in the present after his jumps, thereâ??s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors â?? itâ??s just harmless fun.

That is. . . until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now heâ??s stuck in 2007 and canâ??t get back to the future.

Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities.

But itâ??s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these â??Enemies of Timeâ? will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler. Recruit. . . or kill him.

Piecing together the clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson must decide how far heâ??s willing to go to save Holly. . . and possibly the entire world.

First impressions: I completely fell in love with Jackson. His voice is strong, sweet, and funny. You can’t help but root for him as he jumps to save his girlfriend and reconnect with his dead sister.

Lasting impressions: This is a book about second chances, and Jackson’s journey is a heart-wrenching one full of mystery, loss, and love. It definitely brought a few tears to my eye.

Conflicting impressions: I wasn’t totally feeling the connection with Holly. Because we see her in two different times, and most of that time is in the past, I wasn’t able to piece together exactly who she was or why she was so perfect for Jackson. Since their love story is what drives the plot, at times I felt a bit distant while reading.

Overall impressions: I do love a good time travel story, and this one has the interesting perspective of being about small jumps. No centuries here – we’re talking minutes, hours, and in a sudden twist, a few years. Jackson has never been able to travel far, so when he witnesses Holly’s shooting and winds up stuck two years in the past, he’s stumped.

The book follows Jackson as he tries to explain his presence in New York when his two-years-ago self is supposed to be studying abroad in Spain. He sets out to find 2007 Holly (“007 Holly” as he calls her) and through her meet Adam, who becomes their mutual friend in the future and has been helping Jackson study his time traveling. He needs Adam’s help if he’s going to jump back to 2009 and save Holly, and he uses the new time with 007 Holly to get to know more about her. In the midst of his travels, he also gets the chance to see his twin sister, who died from leukemia, as her younger self. Those scenes are beautiful and touching, sorrowful and sweet, and were some of my favorite moments in the book.

The story gets a little convoluted with the dual Adams, Hollys, and bad guys. Jackson’s dad, Kevin, has a role to play in this mystery, and he comes with a cadre of other gun-wielding people that Jackson isn’t so quick to trust. Around this point is where I started to see this book sort of similar to The Adjustment Bureau, with lots of guys in fancy hats running around and trying to stop Jackson and Holly from being together.

The book is very cinematic, so it’s no surprise to learn that it’s been snapped up by Summit Entertainment. As the trilogy continues, I hope we find out a lot more about Kevin’s involvement in his son’s time travel, and what consequences result from him traveling into the past. This is an exciting and fresh new story in young adult fiction and I highly recommend it.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Click the stars for a description of my rating system

Mini-Reviews: Werewolves

Book: Vesper
Author: Jeff Sampson
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release date: January 25, 2011
Source: Borrowed ebook from library
Series: Deviants #1

Summary: (from Goodreads) Emily Webb is a geek. And sheâ??s happy that way. Content hiding under hoodies and curling up to watch old horror flicks, sheâ??s never been the kind of girl who sneaks out for midnight parties. And sheâ??s definitely not the kind of girl who starts fights or flirts with other girlsâ?? boyfriends. Until one night Emily finds herself doing exactly that . . . the same night one of her classmatesâ??also named Emilyâ??is found mysteriously murdered.

The thing is, Emily doesnâ??t know why sheâ??s doing any of this. By day, sheâ??s the same old boring Emily, but by night, she turns into a thrill seeker. With every nightfall, Emily gets wilder until itâ??s no longer just her personality that changes. Her body can do things it never could before: Emily is now strong, fast, and utterly fearless. And soon Emily realizes that sheâ??s not just coming out of her shell . . . thereâ??s something much bigger going on. Is she bewitched by the soul of the other, murdered Emily? Or is Emily Webb becoming something else entirelyâ?? something not human?

As Emily hunts for answers, she finds out that sheâ??s not the only one this is happening toâ??some of her classmates are changing as well. Who is turning these teens into monstersâ??and how many people will they kill to get what they want?

Overall impressions: I posted a status review for this book on Goodreads that said “this is the most exciting boring book I’ve ever read.” That pretty much sums up my feelings. While the story itself was full of promise of exciting things to come, they never fully materialized. I couldn’t wait to see where the story was going, but the plot never fully went anywhere. It felt like a very slow build to what is sure to be an exciting next chapter. If you can hang with the slower pace, I think the payoff will be big.

I really liked the fresh take on the supernatural characters here. We know there are mysterious things going on, not only because Emily is acting so strangely, but also because we see hints in weird behaviors in other minor characters. Additionally, chapters are broken up occasionally by transcripts from a future discussion Emily is having about the events happening in the book. We never got complete answers, but the action and mystery were just interesting enough to hook me. By the time I finished this one, I was dying for the sequel. More please!

Rating: 4/5 stars

Click the stars for a description of my rating system

Book: Nightshade
Author: Andrea Cremer
Publisher: Philomel
Release date: October 19, 2010
Source: Borrowed from local library
Series: Nightshade #1

Summary: (from Goodreads) Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she’ll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters’ laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything- including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?

Overall impressions: From the beginning, this felt like a chore to read. I felt like I had walked in on a lecture mid-class and was struggling to keep up having missed some important revelations. The lore and history of this world is definitely intricate, but Cremer never bothers to clue us in. Instead, we have to make our own deductions and assumptions about how things work. I’m not the world’s laziest reader, mind you, but I do think that in complex fantasy worlds we need a bit more hand-holding.

The characters in this book were not very likable. BFFs we will not be. Calla seemed too willing to roll over and submit for being an Alpha, and neither of the love interests were that, well, interesting. Ren was overbearing but ultimately seemed to care for Calla, yet he kept doing such awful things that I couldn’t really fall in love with him. Shay was just too boring. I felt like with such rich mythology and settings, this could have been a home run, but the lack of info and frustrating characters ruined this reading experience.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Click the stars for a description of my rating system

It’s aliiiiive!

I’m not dead. At least, I don’t think I’m dead. With the way I’ve been staggering around my life’s path in a malaise-induced half-coma, most of the people around me might not be as convinced that I am, in fact, alive.

It’s been almost exactly a year since I started blogging, and the daily grind of it is catching up to me. Where did the joy go? When did the excitement disappear? Once I gave myself the out to focus on NaNoWriMo this month (which turned into a Big Fat FAIL), I sort of gave up the whole blogosphere. I wanted to come back refreshed and ready to tackle reviews for all of the books I’ve read in the last month. Instead, I find myself dreading the backlog and wondering if I can even offer coherent thoughts on any of them.

It’s the blogging blues, babe.

I can’t bear to close up shop, but I think that daily entries are only going to burn me out again. Moving forward, I’m going to try out a three day per week schedule. I’ll aim for one or two reviews each week, and one or two discussion or meme posts. Maybe if I put less pressure on myself, I’ll get the joy back.

What do you all do when you get behind on your blog? Or if you don’t blog, how do you find the passion in your hobbies when the going gets rough?