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The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown - Holly Black Years ago, when I was still into reading vampire everything, I picked up a vampire anthology. Most of the contributions were from popular YA authors. Many of the stories were punishing in that they brought nothing new to the table, but Holly Black's offering was so good I felt genuine disappointment it wasn't a novel.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is based on that short story.

I wish I had more enthusiasm for CGiC as this is what I wanted, a novelization of the short story, but I can only admit to barely liking it enough to give it three stars. That's not a bad thing, obviously, it's just that I wanted to love it.

The universe in which this story takes place is interesting, though it doesn't totally work for me. Maybe it's the 'coldtown' where the majority of the story takes place, but I never fully bought it. The main character is tolerable enough though the people she's surrounded by are mostly insufferable. Her sister sucks, period.

MC is special because reasons so she becomes a marysue about halfway into the story. The plot is predictable as well.

Not trying to be spoilery, but the ending is somewhat ambiguous and though we know what the character wants I didn't walk away feeling she'd be victorious in her endeavor because she doesn't develop throughout the book.

You know what? Upon further reflection Imma have to downgrade this to a 2-star read. It was only okay. I don't think I'd recommend this book to anyone.

The Martian

The Martian - Andy Weir I hate when I finish a book that no one I know IRL has read, which btw is more often than not. It's frustrating because I want to talk about the book but no one knows what book I'm talking about. And when I recommend a favorite book to people I know they tell me it's not something they'd be interested in.

Fast-forward three or four years later: these exact same people tell me about THE EXACT SAME BOOK, and insist I read it. Because they're assholes who wait until a book is famous before they give it any attention.

Well, the tables have been turned. Now I am the asshole who gave attention to a book once it finally became a best seller.

My review: great book. Five stars. Read it now if you haven't read it yet.

Pro tip: maybe avoid this book if you can't science or math. I keep reading reviews about how technical and science-y this book is. Truth is the science is dumbed down to a pretty basic level so a broader audience can understand what is going on, but still many people complain about how difficult it is to understand.

You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost): A Memoir

You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost): A Memoir - Felicia Day Hate that this is being compared to Mindy Kaling's book because I read that crap and this is so much better. It might be that Mindy's brand of comedy doesn't really work for me, or that her first book seemed like it was trying too hard.

Felicia is pretty amazing and she's not shy about talking about that, but not in a braggy way, just in a this-is-who-I-am sort of way. Regardless, it's difficult to not like her even more after reading this book. She worked hard to get where she is and I admire her for it.

If you're a fan of Felicia's or really like The Guild or are just a geek you will probably like this book.

I Was Here

I Was Here - Gayle Forman, Jorjeana Marie Probably deserves 3 stars but it's so much better than that garbage Just One Day book of Foreman's I couldn't even force myself to get one-quarter of the way through. And anyway, I have little time and energy to sift through the trash that's being published these days so my standards have been lowered. 2011 me would have given this 2-3 stars.

I recommend this as a summer read that isn't full of fluff but not too deep. Those that liked If I Stay are likely to enjoy I Was Here.

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side - Beth Fantaskey I'm stressing over the star rating I've given this book. As of right now I'm not entirely sure I won't change it. That being said, I really do like this book.

I picked up Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Darkside thinking I was diving into a parody of Twilight. It didn't take long to discover how wrong I was. While both books have vampires in them that's where the similarity ends.

Jessica Packwood, 4-H club member/mathlete-extraordinaire, is the adopted daughter of two of the more notorious vegans/environmentalists in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania. Jessica is pretty in an unconventional way, though she's too short, too curvy, and has a head full of wild, hard-to-tame curls.

Needless to say she's never been the most popular girl at school.

Over summer Jessica managed to catch the eye of Jake Zinn, one of the best looking guys in her graduating class. Things finally seem to be looking up for Jessica; she's going to enjoy her senior year.

That is until Lucius Vladescu--a handsome, but incredibly egotistical Romanian exchange student--shows up. And he has some news for Jessica.

Turns out Jessica--or rather, Antanasia Dragomir--is betrothed to Lucius, and has been since they were babies. Her birth parents entered the pact with Lucius' parents in hopes that Lucius and Antanasia's marriage would unify their clans, bring peace to their people.

Lucius is a prince. Jessica/Antanasia is a princess.

According to Lucius--and, strangely enough, her adoptive parents--Jessica is a vampire. So is Lucius. Of course Jessica rejects the notion--there is no such thing as vampires--rejects the pact, the betrothal. Her parents, Lucius--they're crazy!

Jessica tries to send Lucius on his merry way. But Lucius isn't going to give up that easily--he can't--and this is when things get truly interesting.

(Okay, I realize I'm not good at summarizing. And since I typed all that out I'm not going to delete it. But, just so you know I've only roughly summarized the first seven chapters--there's sixty more where that came from).

This book is pretty good. While the ending seems a little rushed, I don't totally mind. The story isn't particularly deep but it is clear the author meant to incorporate a message for teenage girls about self-esteem, self-confidence--overall, I'd she did an okay job with that.

The love story? Vampires aside, I'd say it's pretty realistic--they don't hit it off at first; we don't have to deal with any of that anti-climatic 'love at first sight' garbage. While Jessica finds Lucius physically attractive, and secretly admits to herself that she's intrigued by Lucius' darkside, she is repelled by his personality--Lucius thinks he's better then sliced bread. And anyway Jessica's more interested in the very nice--very normal--Jake Zinn from down the street.

Beth Fantaskey, the author does a great job gradually building their relationship in a way that makes sense. There is flirtation and teasing (and I need to add that Ms. Fantaskey is quite good at writing these exchanges in an exciting way; had me holding my breath in anticipation, no lie). And while sexuality is very present in this book, there is absolutely no sex.

The reason I gave this book 4 stars is because I really enjoyed the story. I liked Jessica and Lucius (he sort of grows on you, like mold) and I liked their interactions even more. Lucius' letters home to Romania are quite amusing to say the least. And I'm satisfied with how it ended, even though now as I type this I can't help but think of a few loose ends that were not tied up. It makes me think there might be a sequel (not that there needs to be, or really, should be) or at the very least the author left one or two things open so she might write more stories contained in this universe, but with new characters.

Dang, this is one really long review. Sorry.


Ruins - Dan Wells Ruins is the third and last book to the Partials series. Before I review it I feel I need to sort of sum up the basics of the series in the most non-spoilery way possible.

This series starts in a post-apocalyptic future with a (sort of) dystopian human society. Dystopian in that the existing "government" is controlling women's uteruses (is that a word? or is it uterus'? Uteri?) with something called the Hope Act.

The Hope Act, a law forcing women to be pregnant and basically stay that way from the time they're 18 until they are no longer fertile, was put in place in order to ensure the survival of the species. The problem is none of the babies born in the past 11 years have survived more than three days due to an airborne virus that attacks the respiratory system. This same virus wiped out all but 40,000 human beings on the American continent--all of which were lucky enough to be immune, but it turns out immunity isn't genetic.

So humanity is choking on it's last breath, cranking out babies left and right in order to reach a certain ratio. running tests, collecting data, hoping at least one of the babies will be immune, or that they will somehow find a cure.

But wait, there's more!

Turns out humanity got to this desperate place because 18-20 years or so prior, the American government contracted a genetics company to grow an entire army of genetically perfect soldiers to fight a war for us in China. These soldiers are called Partials and look just like you and me but they're just better, stronger, faster and smarter. At everything. Also, they don't age and always look about 18 years old from the time they're "born".

Anyway, the Partials annihilated the Chinese army and came home victorious and all was well at first. Then people started doing what people always do: classifying, excluding, bullying, killing, etc. Humans decided that Partials aren't human, even though, genetically speaking, they are for the most part. Humans decided that Partials didn't deserve the same rights, didn't deserve to hold property or have any real jobs and locked them up in work camps. Sound familiar?

And that, my dear friends, is when everything went to hell in a handbag (although one could argue that the crap actually hit the fan when humans began growing superhumans to fight a war and I wouldn't disagree). After more than a few years of unfair treatment the Partials revolted, started to demand equal rights, and they had the upper hand because they are genetically modified supersoldiers. In the midst of all the fighting, a mysterious new virus starts wiping out the human race. Of course the blame is placed on the Partial army and what's left of the human race is rounded up by the human army and relocated on Long Island before making one last stand that was ultimately unsuccessful.

Since the end of the Partial war, what's left of the humans and Partials are living in different parts of New York, ignoring each other. Partials just waiting for the humans to die out. Humans fighting their fate with every uterus available.

That's how this entire series starts. We get a good portion of the world building in the first few chapters of the first book of this series, [b:Partials|12476820|Partials (Partials, #1)|Dan Wells|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1337468746s/12476820.jpg|17461183]. It has been a while since I've read the first book, but I don't remember it being a massive info dump. I just remember that rather liked how the world building was done.

Anyway, Fragments and Ruins, the second and third books in the Partials sequence, are unlike the first book in that they tell the story from more than one point of view--human and Partial. In the first book we are in the head of Kira Walker, a member of the human colony, the entire time, which was pretty annoying at first because Dan Wells seemed to struggle with writing from a 16-year-old girl's point of view. But eventually Wells found his stride, and Kira becomes relatable for the latter half of the first book on, which is what kept me hooked to the series. Well, that and the story concept.

There is so much positive stuff I could say about this book, but I'm afraid I can't say much without spoiling any of the major plot points of all three books in the series. I will say that I enjoyed how Dan Wells explored the consequences of taking technology too far, not that he's the first person to do so, not by a long shot, but I still like his take on the matter. I also like how he explored human nature, wasn't afraid to keep it real even when it meant taking things to an unimaginable level of horror.

That said, I do want to add that Wells spends a lot of time explaining all sorts of science-y type things a basic way, which sort of irked me because I was reading Jurassic Park when I was 13 years old and I understood all the scientific (real or not) explanations just fine. I would have appreciated more than the "wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey" type explanations that this series provided.

Also, the love (triangle?--I only say that because one of the guys really doesn't really "show up" at "the game" past a certain point, but is somehow in the running the entire time) story was drawn out to the last possible moment, literally. There was no need for that. And when the decision was finally made I would have appreciated a little more love story or poetic professions of love, even a little more kissing. Something more than the little we got, especially in this last book, which is a big deal coming from me because I'm not really a romance fan. But I'm still a woman and I don't mind a little (more) fluff to make a post-apocalyptic world seem less dreary.

THAT SAID, I do like that this book wasn't full of LOVE! which dramatically separates it from the pack of other YA post-apocalyptic/dystopian series available. I'm fed up with all the LOVE! stories disguised with paper thin, poorly thought-out dystopian/post-apocalyptic plots.

I really like this book, this entire series, and I highly recommend it to those looking to read story about a well thought out post-apocalyptic future. No, I won't say it's the NEXT Hunger Games, because, let's be honest, nothing is going to take its place. I will say, however, that this series is just as good in that it makes you think about things that don't necessarily have easy answers, or any answers at all. I like a book that challenges me to think for myself without shoving opinions down my throat so as to make me agree with the author. This book accomplishes just that and for that I have to applaud Dan Wells. 4 stars.


Panic - Lauren Oliver I'm not going to lie: I've been avoiding Lauren Oliver since Delirium.

She single-handedly made a mess of many social situations over the past few years. Every time a well-meaning friend suggested the Delirium series to me, adding an explanation as to why they think I'd totally love it, I had to pretend everything was still good between me and Ms. Oliver and thank the friend for the recommendation. There were a few times when I couldn't hold my tongue and I'd go off on some crazy rant about how the whole premise of the series was probably the dumbest I've ever heard of. I'd tell them that I already wasted some of my time and money on the first book in the series and I couldn't even force myself to get past the second chapter.

What's worse is I'd silently judge these people, question why I'm even friends with them. I mean, they clearly don't even know me if they think I'd be into a series about a dystopian society that decided 'Love' was the cause of all society's problems. And anyway, why is anyone even attempting to write dystopian? Pretty much every single offering to the YA dystopian genre is so awful I can't even. That's how bad it is.

So, yeah, Ms. Oliver and I haven't been on speaking terms. She started it.

That said, [b:Before I Fall|6482837|Before I Fall|Lauren Oliver|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1361044695s/6482837.jpg|6674135], Ms. Oliver's first published book, was so good I couldn't erase her from my life completely. I love that book so much that I've read it several times.

Anyway, when I saw that she had a new book out, a contemporary YA fiction novel with an intriguing premise, I had to give it a shot.

To be honest, Panic is good. Is it 4-stars good? Not exactly. I mean, yeah, there is much to like in this story but it's not something I 'really like'. That said, I like it well enough to round the the 3.7 stars up to a solid 4.

Lauren Oliver should stick to contemporary lit, she's quite good at it. I cannot wait to see what's up next for Ms. Oliver.

The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars - John Green Okay, so I put reading this book off for too long. What can I say? cancer books aren't really my thing, though there are a few that I've enjoyed in the past. That said, my issue with cancer books is that I'm tired of the I-just-fell-in-love-for-the-first-time-but-OMG-I'm-dying-of-cancer-life-can-be-so-cruel type books. I mean, how difficult is it to write tragedy porn? That crap writes itself, amirite?

I was not going to read this book. Ever. As you can see, I finally caved, but only because it's written by John Green and I figured it can't be all that bad even though his stories are pretty formulaic. But still, I like his style.

What can I say about this book that hasn't been said by every other reviewer? The answer is nothing. 3.5 stars but I rounded it up to 4 because John Green did a lot of research, spent something like 9 years trying to get the story just right, and even went to Amsterdam.

P.S. I'm never going to see the movie, though, because I cannot bear the thought of being stuck in a theater full of weepy teenagers and grown women. I don't put up with that crap.

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock - Matthew Quick Matthew Quick has earned a place on my favorite authors list. This...I don't even know where to start...nothing I could say would do justice to this book. All I can say is I won't forget Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock any time soon, which is the ideal reading experience as far as I'm concerned.

It has been years since I've had the privilege of such a reading experience.

Forgive me, fellow GoodReaders, I am at a loss for words at this time. I need to sort through my feelings, to contemplate all that Matthew Quick has given me.

5 perfect stars.

I Am Malala

I Am Malala - Malala Yousafzai I don't even know where to start with this review. Malala Yousafzai is my hero. She's brave and intelligent and witty. She's everything I wish I had the courage to be. And the way she's spent her life, advocating for education for every boy and every girl to the point that her is at risk, is so admirable--let's face it, most people would back off but she didn't, she refuses to.

I highly recommend this book to everyone. It's so inspirational, poetic and well written to boot. Malala Yousafzai is such a selfless individual and I feel everyone will feel uplifted through reading her story.

Tempt the Stars

Tempt the Stars - Karen Chance Karen Chance really put me through an ordeal with this book. I was all sad for an entire day, not wanting to pick up the book for several hours, all the while hating Karen Chance's guts. And somehow she totally redeemed herself.

Anxiously waiting the release of the next book (please don't let it take another two-and-a-half-years). Five stars.

My Story

My Story - Elizabeth  Smart, Chris Stewart Don't get me wrong, this is a good book, a good story, but the writing isn't my favorite. And maybe I happened to take away a star because I read [Book: I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban] immediately after reading My Story, and while both stories are so facinating, Malala's is just written better.

I think anyone who wants to know what happened to Elizabeth Smart the 9 months she was with Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Barzee should consider reading this book. I've a better understanding as to what exactly was going through then 14 year-old Elizabeth's mind, what happened to her--physically and psychologically--during her abduction. I finally understand why she didn't tell anyone who she was, even when pulled aside and questioned.

Anyway, like I said earlier, this is a good book. Check it out. 3.25 stars.


Monsters - Ilsa J. Bick Netgalley


Game  - Barry Lyga This is barely getting 3 stars for various reasons, but mostly because this book ends in one of the most massive cliffhangers ever. So irritating.

Gameboard of the Gods

Gameboard of the Gods - Richelle Mead Much better than i thought it would be. 3 stars.

Review to come...?

Dead Ever After: A True Blood Novel

Dead Ever After: A True Blood Novel - Charlaine Harris I heard that Charlaine Harris was getting death threats from angry fans over how this book ended. As far as I'm concerned, that's completely insane.

This series was never all that good, even at it's best, but it has always been entertaining in the same way Days of our Lives is. Although, I have to admit the only time I ever really watched that show is way back in 1995 when Marlena was possessed by the devil, but I digress.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that I admire Charlaine Harris for being true to the characters within this series. This book, this series, ended in the only rational way possible, and if so many fans didn't see the writing on the wall (several books back), I feel sorry for them. If Dead Ever After had ended any other way, Charlaine Harris would have had to go against canon, would have had to undermine everything about just about every character within this series, especially Sookie. I think Sookie got the ending that not only made sense but also the ending she deserved. Also, way to go Sookie for walking into the sunset on her own and being more than okay with that. That's what I call a strong female character. A man isn't the answer to all life's problems. A man isn't the only way for a woman to have a HEA. And honestly? I find the ending Charlaine Harris gave us refreshing. I'm insanely tired of books ending like this: "and then after a passionate night of mind-blowing sex, we fell in love, got married, had a litter of kids and lived happily ever after!!! THE END."

So yeah, I totally respect Charlaine Harris right now.

P.S. Even though I knew it was coming, and even though it was so anti-climatic, I full-on started crying during the Eric/Sookie divorce scene. Even though I always knew their relationship had an expiration date, I still loved them together. But it was time, their relationship ran it's course and it had to end. Still...so sad!