Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Review: Some Days Suck, Some Days Suck Worse by Michael A. Kozlowski

I am officially a fan of short stories. I like the shortness of them, how you don’t get too attached to the characters, and the lack of unneccesary background information.

In this collection, there were, of course, those characters that I did like more than others. Like Jeremy, from “Have To”, and Samantha, from “Eleven”. Those were the stories that I was completely like, “What?? OMG NO!!” at the end.

Mike, through his writing, creates this amazing sense of suspense that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Then, by the end, you are totally shocked at what happens. There was ONE story- one out of 21- that I actually had a feeling for what would happen. I. Loved. It.

Sure, there were a few stories in here that I wasn’t a huge fan of, but it didn’t matter because I knew I could look forward to 1. The shocking ending 2. The next story.

Then there were those stories I was completely blown away by. I still don’t know which was my favorite. I mean, “The Last Call” really drew me in, and then “Under My Bed” was like ‘WHOA!’. “Quiet Time” was very unique and I’d love to see a longer version of that one, “Feeling Down On The Farm”, now that one was crazy. In a good way. I could go on and on about each story. Hmm.. okay I’ll narrow it down. My top two favorites were “Eleven” and “Above The Clouds”.

What made it even better was the fact that Mike wrote an “author’s note” to every story. I got a feel for what he was thinking when writing and made the whole thing much clearer.

Oh! And I can’t forget the inspiration this has given me! I’ve always wanted to write, but I can never seem to finish a story. I never really thought about writing short stories. But now I think that this is something I’d like to do.

I feel like I could have read this quicker. It was definitely a fast read and very captivating. But, well, it was on my computer, and so is Minesweeper….’nuff said.

I was blown away by this collection and left in that state of depression after reading a good book and not really wanting to read anything else. This is something I’d recommend to more mature audiences due to the use of harsh language, and erm, some graphic scenes. Not something you let your middle-school child read.

*Note: I love the title- so cynical and just fits the collection perfectly J

Monday, May 28, 2012

Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Goodreads description:
In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck...

A sophisticated, layered, and heart-achingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make, and the ultimate choice Mia commands.

If I Stay was a beautifully written story, yet I found myself bored at times. I just didn’t feel there was much action. It was more like a recap of this girl’s life and the decision she has to face.

Yes, like I said, it was beautiful, though. The way the author related nearly everything to music(from classical, to rock) is amazing. Especially.. *speaks in hushed tones* ..the sex scene *gasp*. It wasn’t all dirty and X-rated like some books can get. Music has a lot to do with this book and it was great that it become a part of everything.

I wasn’t really as moved as some people were by this book. Honestly, what got me was the author’s note about “The Story Behind The Story” at the end. Apparently, this was inspired by a true story that had affected Gayle Forman. It’s touching that she could write something that was so obviously personal to her.

This was a short review, I know. I don’t really have much to say about If I Stay. It was good, not great. I probably will read the sequel, though. Would I recommend this? Sure. But it’s not at the top of my list of books to recommend.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Review and Cover Analysis (5); Feyland: The Bright Court by Anthea Sharp

Goodreads description:

Jennet Carter escaped the dark faeries of Feyland once. Now, fey magic is seeping out of the prototype game, beguiling the unwary and threatening everyone she cares about.


Tam Linn may be a hero in-game, but his real life is severely complicated. Still, he’ll do whatever it takes to stop the creatures of Feyland, even if it means pushing Jennet toward the new guy in school—the one with an inside connection to sim-gaming… and the uncanny ability to charm everyone he meets.


Despite the danger, Jennet and Tam must return to Feyland to face the magic of the Bright Court—and a powerful new enemy who won’t stop until the human world is at the mercy of the Realm of Faery.

Feyland is a beautiful world, though dangerous and unpredictable. It is an amazing world created by Anthea Sharp, inspired by several other stories. I really love that Anthea actually researched Faeries and trolls, and the likes. I recognized many myths about the Fey, most that I actually learned from Melissa Marr’s “Wicked Lovely”. I’m just so glad Anthea didn’t go into this story blindly.

What I really love is the balance between fantasy and reality. The reality is set in a future year- obvious through the immense technology. The fantasy is set in Feyland- a mixture of the Dark and Bright Courts, filled with these amazing creatures. These two worlds collide thanks to a video game based off a book of legends. Set in a futuristic time period, it was great that the author created new words and abbreviations, because really, doesn’t the human language evolve all the time? (I mean, come on. We all know YOLO will be in the dictionary soon.) Not only is there new language, but the way the characters speak, it’s like they speak in riddles all the time. This doesn’t occur so much in the “real world” as it does in Feyland. I honestly came away from this book with all my thoughts formed into riddles, quite annoying, but amusing J

And the editing! My goodness, the editing was extraordinary, especially for a self-published ARC. As a book blogger, I tend to get a lot of ARC’s and mostly self-published books. A lot of the time, these books are edited poorly, and to a grammar Nazi like me, it freaks me out. But Feyland? Wow. I became almost desperate to find a typo. I finally found one- very minor, a misplaced comma. I nearly had a party for myself after finding that. Crazy, right? Don’t judge me. I actually feel like clapping for Anthea for such great editing, whether she did it herself, or someone else did. Or maybe crying at the beauty…

Okay, okay. The characters in Feyland are amazing. Jennet and Tam. *Cue the simultaneous “awwwww’s”*. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, so I’m just going to simply say, “finally.” Two people from completely opposite sides of the social spectrum, brought together by one game.

I know this has nothing to do with the quality of the story itself, but I really loved the PDF layout. Too many PDF’s I receive don’t have the paragraphs indented, and that annoys me. But this one had indentions! You can’t begin to understand how much that can affect a story’s enjoyability. And the convenience of the chapters- there was a table of contents, but instead of saying something like “Chapter one…….. 1” the chapters had hyperlinks to their actual start date. It just made the reading experience so much more great.

Honestly, I don’t have anything bad to say about this. Anthea Sharp is an incredible author who weaves magic with her words. I cannot wait until the conclusion to this series – The Twilight Kingdom- and I hope all of you go out and read this, or read the first in the series, The Dark Realm. You won’t be disappointed.
And now for the CA:

Wow this cover is gorgeous!

Just.. the color of the dress and the font, and how it goes with Jennet’s hair. It also reflects what the story is about- The Bright Court of Feyland. You know, bright, sunshiny colors. Definitely fits J

I love how, like the book, it seems like the reality is mixing with this computer game. That boundary is thinning out and you get a feel for that through the cover.

What is the best, though, is the way the artist brought back elements from the prequel’s cover. Like the computer- I’m pretty sure that’s in the same position. Yet, they changed the background and the girl and color and just made it SO MUCH BETTER.

This is an eye catching cover, with an equally amazing book that you must check out.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Review: Redheads Are Soulless by Heather White

High School senior, Sofia Black, has had a very hard life. Since her father's death 7 years ago, she has had to look after her drug addicted, alcoholic mother. School isn't any better for her either. The other kids constantly tease, and ridicule her. All she wants is to get out of her small hometown in Alabama.

When new student, Jason, shows up, Sofia's world is turned upside down. She doesn't understand why he wants to befriend her so badly... And, just when she thinks she can trust him, trouble appears.

Jason's twin brother, Robbie, moves into town, and things go haywire. Sofia is now running for her life - and Jason is forced to share hidden secrets with her. She learns the truth about her father's death, and finds out that she may not be as "human" as she once thought. She struggles to accept her fate, while fighting for her life.


Redheads- Alright, have I ever mentioned how much I love red hair? To the extent where I’ve actually dyed my own hair red. And the saying “Redheads are Soulless” can sometimes be true. Yet, it’s supposedly reality in this book. In this first one, we don’t see a whole lot of the magic and legend behind it, but I’m very much looking forward to learn more!

Love triangle with a twist- We all have read a book with a love triangle, right? The girl can’t decide who to be with, it all turns into a huge mess. Okay… but what if the two guys in the triangle are brothers? *gasp* What?! Yeah, kinda messed up on Sofia’s part. But once you read the story, you absolutely cannot blame her!

*As a side note: I haven’t really seen much of these kinds of love triangles. I think the only one before this was the Vampire Diaries. But recently, I’ve read a lot of summaries where the girl can’t decide between two brothers. Emerging trend in the book world? Hmm.. maybe.

Alcoholic mom- Sofia’s mom has a serious problem. She can’t give up her alcohol for any extended amount of time, and thus makes a lot of bad decisions. I think Sofia’s wrong in her assumptions, though. She thinks that her mother really loves her alcohol more. I think that her mother wants to… not necessarily get better, but she wants to not disappoint Sofia. She just can’t give up the alcohol. It’s her way of coping with what has happened and she’s become dependent on it.

The end- The end! It was great. It sets up the sequel in a way that… it feels like things are going to get better, but there’s still a lot the characters need to get through. It wasn’t really a huge cliffhanger, didn’t leave me in complete shock and pulling my hair out until the second book. But it definitely does make you want the sequel very soon.


Tense- I really don’t know why this is in the negative section, or why I’m even mentioning it at all. There was…what? Maybe one incident where the tense (past/present) didn’t line up right and switched. But seriously? This was an e-arc. You can’t expect there to not be mistakes.

*Side note: In past arcs I’ve received from Heather, I noticed a lot of spelling/grammar errors. In this? Besides the tense thing, the grammar would get an A+. Pretty much the only spelling mistake I caught was the word “tab” was meant to be “table”.

Confusion- When we finally figure out the real bad guy in the end, you’re like “wait what?” just because we also find out that everyone else knows that person is bad and yet they do nothing about it until the very end! In a change of POV at the very end, though, you get the hint that it was all a part of a plan.

Sofia’s school- I’m just saying, based on the cover and the guys’ reactions to Sofia in the book, she is gorgeous. In my opinion, gorgeous girls don’t get as ridiculed as much as Sofia does. I didn’t feel like her peers would, in reality, treat her as they do just because of her family history. However, this is a work of fiction. Paranormal fiction at that. I can’t really expect it to follow normalities.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Short Story (1)

Guys!! I actually finished writing something- a short story :) and when I say short, I mean, 2.5 pages long. But still! Ah! Please, do not hold back any criticism. I need all the help I can get!

            Her mom’s voice was full of emotion when she said, “You look beautiful, dear.”

            “Thanks mom,” Sarrah replied quietly. She stared at herself in the full length mirror hanging on the door, took in the sight of herself in the antique bridal gown. Her silky blonde hair was up in pins, some tendrils escaping the hold of the hairspray.

            Jennifer, a small town cop and a single mother of two, was staying late at the shop tonight. Both of her kids, twins, were at a sleepover of one of their friends’. Jennifer figured it was as good a time as any to get in her required nighttime hours.

            David’s groomsmen joked about how his life would be over in just a few hours, while his dad helped him out with his tie. David felt like he was choking with the tie on, trapped. A sign of his fear of being married and held back? No. David was just as nervous as Sarrah was, just as ready to begin a new chapter in their life.

            The telephone broke the silence.  A small town like Riverton doesn’t give much in the way of action for cops like Jennifer.

            “Hello?” she answered. A few minutes later, she said, “Okay, I’ll be right over.”

            Now that Sarrah had her dress on and her hair up, it was time for the make-up. This was something she could do on her own, unlike the hair. She started with the foundation…

            David, now dressed, paced throughout the church, making sure everything was in order and all the guests- a small group of family and friends- were being seated accordingly. Finally, his best man came in to let him know it was time. “Let’s get this show on the road, man.”

            Jennifer turned the police cruiser’s light’s off in front of the old, decrepit house. Just a few months earlier, after the previous owner had died at age 92, this house had been deemed unfit for living due to several gaping holes covering the hardwood flooring.

            She took out the flashlight from the glove department and made her way warily up to the doorstep.

            David took his place at the altar, facing away from the doorway. His palms wear sweaty with anxiety. The senile priest- the only priest in this town- was smiling at him with reassurance.

            Sarrah frantically swiped at her dress, hoping to God there was no dirt or dust lingering in any crevasse. She took her place, waiting for the ushers- her fiancé’s younger cousins- to open the doors.

            The music began. Here comes the bride, all dressed in white, dum dum dum dum dum dum…

            Jennifer couldn’t find a single light switch  inside the house. Relying solely on the dim, flickering light of the flashlight, she walked up the creaking staircase, careful to avoid any of the missing boards.

            David turned around and took in the sight of the most beautiful woman he’d ever laid eyes on.

            Sarrah made her way down the aisle, her eyes not leaving David’s for even a minute, though she knew everyone else was staring at her. Just her…

            She reached the altar and David grabbed her hand. The music stopped and their guests were dismissed to sit down.

            Jennifer reached the top landing, pausing to listen to any unusual sounds. Hearing nothing, she moved forward…

            “In sickness and in health…”

            “For better or worse…”

            “I do.”

            “I do.”

            “I now pronounce you man and wife. David, you may kiss your bride,” the priest announced.

            David leaned in and kissed Sarrah with more love than he ever had before.

            Jennifer entered the master bedroom and gasped in shock. Not surprisingly, all the furniture had been taken out by the family of the deceased, presumably to be kept in the family and not left to rot in this place.

            What shocked her though, was what the beam of her flashlight had shined upon.

            Hanging by a rope was a blonde haired woman, in her early 20’s Jennifer guessed. Her hair was up in pins, and she was wearing a wedding gown. Her high heels were suspended two feet above the ground.

            Jennifer reached for her cell phone to call for back up. She dialed the office’s number, but all that could be heard was static.

            Behind her was a loud crash. She spun around to face a young man tearing through the floorboards.

            He was in a ripped up tuxedo, his tie undone.

            Through an autopsy, it was determined that Sarrah had hung herself just a few weeks ago.

            Jennifer had multiple lacerations on her neck and her body was drained of blood. Her death was ruled as an animal attack.

            There was no record that David even existed.

W.W.W. Wednesdays (24)

To play along just answer the following three (3) questions and leave your link at Should Be Reading:

1. What are you currently reading?

2. What did you recently finish reading?

3. What do you think you'll read next?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Review: Torn by Ashley S. Morgan

Isadora Rivers feels trapped. Her small town high school is suffocating her. Another day of wannabe gangsters, dumb jocks, and Barbie clones, and she'll just lose it. Her keen emotional sensitivity is to blame. She sees through all of the poser behavior to the pain and insecurity simmering just below the surface, and it's overwhelming. She feels like she's literally drowning in other people's emotions.

This same sensitivity, however, makes her a great actress. Suffocating or not, her high school is one of the top arts schools in the country. Acting is not only her passion, but it also looks like her way out. If she can just score the lead role in the school play, she might get herself noticed by a Hollywood agent. But she's got a strong reckless streak, and it keeps getting her in trouble and jeopardizing her chances.

Riding her bike at top speed, she swerves in front of a car and nearly gets hit. The driver, Tristan Blake, turns out to be the mysterious new boy at school. He's rebellious, broody, and wise beyond his years. He's also devastatingly gorgeous. From the moment their eyes meet, Isadora is irresistibly drawn to him. But as soon as he enters her life, things go horribly wrong. She begins having disturbing visions full of unimaginable glamour and unbearable darkness. He knows things about her he shouldn't. And he's somehow so familiar. As he at turns pulls her close, and then pushes her away, Isadora feels like her heart is being twisted and torn.

She soon discovers that her whole future is in jeopardy, and her only hope is to stay away from Tristan. But how can she turn away from the only boy she has ever loved? As a harrowing event looms closer, one that threatens to rip apart her psyche, Isadora must reach deep inside herself and find the strength to change her own destiny. But is she strong enough to do it?

*Torn is one of those books that sort of… grow on you. At first I couldn’t really get into it. Then the story grew and I really started to enjoy it.

It was weird, the main conflict in stories is usually character vs. character. Not in this one. It was more like character vs. fate. I think I liked that.. Of course there were antagonists involved, though.

About the characters- Isadora aka Izzy… well, I don’t know if I like her or not. I like her impulsive recklessness. But when it comes to guys, Tristan in particular, she just seems jealous and quick to assume.
Tristan on the other hand, is a lot like Edward (Twilight) in that one minute he’s trying to get closer to Isadora and the next he’s pushing her away in the whole “We shouldn’t be friends” way. And he’s so cryptic! Like.. he knows things that makes you want to press stalker charges on him.

I definitely could see the author’s vision for the story, though. The whole plot line is just… genius. Star crossed lovers, freaky visions of the future, feeling the emotions of everyone Isadora is around (I’m still confused on that part..). The book, in my opinion, was very good. I just feel like it has the potential to be so much more.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Cover Analysis (4): Wishing For Someday Soon by Tiffany King

Cover Analysis is a meme inspired by Monica here where I’m going to just basically post my thoughts on a cover.

I think what really drew me to this cover was the coloring. I like the black and white background and then BAM red font. Also, I don’t know if you can tell, but the girls toe nails are painted red as well. The only problem I had with the red was on the back cover. It was either the red or just the font size that made the summary on the back difficult to read.

The car… well, I’m assuming that the car is the one that Katelynn’s family has moved around in. It doesn’t look like an extremely new car, but not too run down. To an extent, though, this car has a lot to do with the story.

I like the position the cover creator has placed the girl. Her legs are up and, though you can’t see it, it seems like she’d be laying back with a book in her hands. That just seems like something Katelynn would do.

Overall, simple cover. Honestly, I could put one just like it together on Photoshop within five minutes. It’s still very appealing and eye catching.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

W.W.W. Wednesdays (23)

To play along just answer the following three (3) questions and leave your link at Should Be Reading:

1. What are you currently reading?

2. What did you recently finish reading?

3. What do you think you'll read next?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Review: Wishing For Someday Soon by Tiffany King

Seventeen year old Katelyn Richards is a stronger person than anyone will ever know, and that is just the way she wants it. Behind her normal facade lies the reality of a broken home life. Thanks to her abusive mother, a string of deadbeat stepfathers, and an unsympathetic system, Katelyn has learned that the only one she can count on is herself. Her life’s mission has become to shield her nine year old brother, Kevin, and to give him the future that they both wish for. A life with no more abuse, no worries about where their next meal will come from, and no more wondering if they will have a roof over their heads.

When her mother moves them again, this time to a small town in Montana, Katelyn’s resolve is shaken when she meets Max, a cute boy from her new school, who gets a glimpse into her real world. Max slowly manages to break through Katelyn’s wall of distrust, stirring up feelings she never saw coming. Now with her world more complicated than she ever intended, Katelyn struggles with the decision to follow her heart into the arms of the first boy she has ever loved. A decision that could risk the promise she made to protect Kevin, and to give them the ‘someday soon’ that is so close within their grasp.

Wow. Just wow. I don’t know if I can stop crying long enough to write this review. Wishing For Someday soon was so beautifully written. It had me laughing one minute, then crying the next.

Katelynn is probably the strongest (emotionally speaking) character I’ve ever read about. She’s had to deal with an abusive mom who definitely doesn’t care about anyone but herself. On top of that she practically raised her little brother. It was no surprise that her brother looked up to her. I would look up to her!

Her brother, Kevin, is adorable. He’s the one who made me the laugh the most. His expressions like “true dat” just had me cracking up. Not only is he extremely cute, but he’s so mature for his 9 years. It was very sad, a 9 year old shouldn’t have to see the things that Kevin has. Yet, he managed to stay upbeat. My little brother is the same age as Kevin, and this made me really appreciate him.

Max, Max, Max. I love him. There was no love triangle in this story. And I’m glad. Max was the perfect guy for Katelynn. I’d say it was a simple love story between them, but it really wasn’t considering everything going on around them. Max treats everyone nicely. I think that’s what makes him so great. He was like a role model for Kevin and the type of guy everyone goes to for help. And his family, though a little judgmental at first, were actually really kind.

Really, everyone in the town Katelynn’s family moves to is very caring. They were all willing to help- the student’s at their school, the teachers, Old Man Withers down the street. If people were as good and helpful as these characters were, the world would be a perfect place.

Enough about the characters. The overall story was just…phenomenal. I’ve mentioned before how I schedule my reading, right? Well, I am so glad I allowed myself a week for this one though it was just 281 pages. I just felt like I enjoyed it so much more without rushing it. This one has so much potential to be so much bigger! I’m talking New York Times bestseller, award winning movie. Just.. please. Go get this book and read it. I promise you will not be disappointed by it at all.