WWW Wednesdays #4

WWW WednesdaysWWW Wednesdays are hosted by Should Be Reading and is a meme where we discuss what we are currently reading, just finished reading, and hope to read next.

WWW Currentlysinner_maggiestiefvaterI have been enjoying the Wolves of Mercy Falls series and I am now officially on the very last one (so far!). Technically this one is a spin-off involving just two characters from the original three books, but it is still classified under the series name. So far I absolutely love this book. It is about my two favorite characters, Cole and Isabel. I loved them in the first three and was so thrilled when I realized they had a book to themselves. Their bantering is just too good and I could read about them all day… which I kind of do already.

WWW Finish

linger_maggiestiefvaterforeverThe Wolves of Mercy Falls series has had be hooked from the very first word of Shiver. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like them, but as I read I fell in love with the characters and the portrayal of the werewolves and the town. The characters were just so likable and relate-able that I just couldn’t help but get sucked in. I would highly recommend this series, but I am super biased toward anything with a love story (which this has two)! I am extremely sad that the trilogy is over and I am about to be done with the spin-off as well, but it will definitely be a series I reread eventually.

WWW NextSince I was just hooked on a fantastic series, I kind of want to take a break from continuing another one, so The Mortal Instruments and The Maze Runner are out. During the holiday season, I want to read a good Christmas-y/Holiday-y book… preferably with a feel-good love story/romance. If you have any suggestions, I would love to heart them.

xofarah

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Book Review: Forever

Mutual, respectful, enduring love is completely attainable as long as you swear you won’t settle for less.

foreverTitle: Forever

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

# of Pages: 388

Published: July 12, 2011

Rating: 4 Hearts

Synopsis:

then.
When Sam met Grace, he was a wolf and she was a girl. Eventually he found a way to become a boy, and their loved moved from curious distance to the intense closeness of shared lives.
now.
That should have been the end of their story. But Grace was not meant to stay human. Now she is the wolf. And the wolves of Mercy Falls are about to be killed in one final, spectacular hunt.
forever.
Sam would do anything for Grace. But can one boy and one love really change a hostile, predatory world? The past, the present, and the future are about to collide in one pure moment – a moment of death or life, farewell or forever.
 [Goodreads]

My Opinion:

So I have to admit that I didn’t like this one nearly as much as I liked the previous two, but it was a nice ending to a great series. I don’t know what it was about this book, but it just didn’t hold my attention as well as Shiver and Linger, but I was so ready to know how it ended that I breezed through the end.

What I liked:

I would just like to say again that Cole St. Claire stole the show for me. Once he was introduced, he instantly became my favorite! I just love reading his chapters and love his character in general.

“Are you high? Why are you never wearing a shirt?”
“I sleep naked,” Cole said. He put both milk and sugar in my coffee. “As the day goes on, I put on more and more clothing. You should’ve come over an hour ago.”  

The relationship between Cole and Isabel was dynamic from the beginning. Bad broken boy meets sad broken girl equals to perfection.

“Cole,” I said, “do you think I’m lovable?”
“As in ‘cuddly and’?”
“As in ‘able to be loved,’” I said.
Cole’s gaze was unwavering. Just for a moment, I had the strange idea that I could see exactly what he had looked like when he was younger, and exactly what he’d look like when he was older. It was piercing, a secret glimpse of his future.                                                                                                                                                                                   “Maybe,” he said. “But you won’t let anybody try.”

Cole’s voicemails were also just too great. He continuously makes me laugh with the ridiculous crap that he says.
Voicemail #1: “Hi, Isabel Culpeper. I am lying in my bed, looking at the ceiling. I am mostly naked. I am thinking of … your mother. Call me.”

Voicemail #6: “So, yeah, I’m sorry. That last message went a little pear-shaped. You like that expression? Sam said it the other day. Hey, try this theory on for size: I think he’s a dead British housewife reincarnated into a Beatle’s body. You know, I used to know this band that put on fake British accents for their shows. Boy, did they suck, aside from being assholes. I can’t remember their name now. I’m either getting senile or I’ve done enough to my brain that stuff’s falling out. Not so fair of me to make this one-sided, is it? I’m always talking about myself in these things. So, how are you, Isabel Rosemary Culpeper? Smile lately? Hot Toddies. That was the name of the band. The Hot Toddies.”    

Voicemail #20: “I wish you’d answer.”

What I disliked:

The parents again. Grace’s parents have serious issues on how to raise a child. I think that the way Grace reacts is totally and completely justified. As for Isabel’s parents… I feel like it is reasonable that they would be at wits end due to the loss of their son, but I think that her father takes his hatred for the wolves a bit excessive.

What I thought overall:

Although I didn’t love it as much as I loved the first two, it was a good ending. I don’t want to spoil it, but I will just say that I approve of the ending. I am sad the series is over, but I am so so stoked to read the Cole spin-off. It was a fantastic series and I am so glad I was able to read it. Do I recommend reading it? Yes.

Book Review: Linger

I could not stop myself from exploding, but I could at least learn to contain the fallout.

linger_maggiestiefvaterTitle: Linger

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

# of Pages: 360

Published: July 13, 2010

Rating: 5 Hearts

Synopsis:

the longing.
Once Grace and Sam have found each other, they know they must fight to stay together. For Sam, this means a reckoning with his werewolf past. For Grace, it means facing a future that is less and less certain.
the loss.
Into their world comes a new wolf named Cole, whose past is full of hurt and danger. He is wrestling with his own demons, embracing their life of a wolf while denying the ties of being human.
the linger.
For Grace, Sam, and Cole, life is a constant struggle between two forces – wolf and human – with love baring its two sides as well. It is harrowing and euphoric, freeing and entrapping, enticing and alarming. As their world falls apart, love is what lingers. But will it be enough?
[Goodreads]

My Opinion:

Oh my goodness, I have no words!! I haven’t been this hooked on a book series in a long time. I just have this need to find out how it ends. I wasn’t able to get the last book the other day, so I have to wait, but I am dying to know! I am so attached to the characters and the storyline. I haven’t read a book that fast in awhile, but I just can’t get enough. Incredible!

What I liked:

It was such a nice surprise to find that Isabel was transformed into more of a main character. She wasn’t my favorite in the first book, but I really liked how she grew and changed through the death of her brother. As the story continues, you get more of an inside look at her life and why she is the way she is… I just really feel for her now; she is so sad and tries to be so tough. One of her better qualities is that she has more attitude than she knows what to do with; it is amusing. “When I say panini here, everyone says bless you.”

The new budding friendship between Isabel and Grace was so refreshing and fun. They have started to bond, if you will, through the events at the end of the last book and I love seeing realistic growth in characters. I really liked how close they get and how real they are with each other. Grace to Isabel-“That’s positively morbid- even for you.” “Bite me,” I [Isabel] replied. “You need therapy.” But she said it lightly.

The fact that Sam is a musician is a bit cliche, but it works for his character. I wasn’t super impressed by that aspect in the first book, but I really liked his lyrics throughout this novel. Specifically:

“Is it still a secret if nobody cares/if having the knowledge in no way impairs/your living – and feeling – the way that you breathe/knowing the things that you know about me -“

“One thousand ways to say good-bye/One thousand ways to cry/One thousand ways to hang your hat before you go outside/I say good-bye good-bye good-bye/I shout it out so loud/’Cause the next time that I find my voice I might not remember how.”

Although Rachel is a minor character who doesn’t appear that much, I really like her, because I can relate to her. She is just so out-there, spunky, and original. I find her funny as well with her always referring to Sam as The Boy. “Kissing in front of the loveless is an act of cruelty.”

OMG, can I just say that Cole and Isabel are just perfect!!!!! I have totally and completely fallen in love with their relationship. Even though they are an official thing, I just find myself anticipating the next time they interact. With him trying to be the cool, confident guy and her trying to be the tough-as-nail girl equals to the best conversations. I just think they even each other out and I can’t wait to see what is in the future for them.

I wasn’t expecting to like Cole from the beginning of the novel or from the synopsis on the back, but after a couple chapters I wanted to find out more about him. I am extremely interested in more of his past with his band and his father, but I am sure more of that is to come. I find him as literary crush material as well. I have a thing for emotionally challenged guys. “…a totally swoonworthy, but jerkish werewolf…”

What I disliked:

This is extremely minor, but I am a firm believer that picking a college based on a boy/girl is ridiculous and I felt that whenever that was brought up, it slightly encouraged this notion. This aspect just made it seem slightly Twilight-esque; which so far I had liked the series due to the fact it was pretty different from Twilight.

The parents, of both Grace and Isabel and Sam and Cole. Pretty much all of the parents in this series were dysfunctional and ridiculous. Girl in the Pages brought up the fact that Stiefvater writes a realistic view of teenagers and their parents and I do agree, but gee Grace’s parents need to let up. I completely agree with Grace’s viewpoint- they have been absentee until this point… get a grip.

What I thought overall:

Again, oh my goodness! I am just so impressed by this series. I didn’t think I would like it, because it was about werewolves, but it is about so much more. It is written so fluidly and has characters that I either swoon over or relate to. So good. Can’t wait to read the last book. Do I recommend reading it? Yes

WWW Wednesdays #3

WWW WednesdaysWWW Wednesdays are hosted by Should Be Reading and is a meme where we discuss what we are currently reading, just finished reading, and hope to read next.

WWW Currentlylinger_maggiestiefvaterCurrently, I am participating in my first Read-A-Long which is following the Wolves of Mercy Falls series. So originally I had from the 15th till the 22nd to read Shiver, the first book in the series, but it was so good that I finished it yesterday, so this morning I decided to just begin the next installment. I am quickly becoming a huge fan of this series. The characters are so humorous and relate-able and the writing is just so fluid. I am already about 35% of the way through this one! So good!

WWW Finish

shiver_maggiestiefvatercityofashes_cassandraclareYesterday I finished reading Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater, which is the first book in the Wolves of Mercy Falls series. Let me just say that I thought this book was incredible!! It was so enjoyable and I couldn’t even pinpoint any dislikes that I had; definitely recommend reading! A few days before that, I finished City of Ashes and, again, such a great novel! It was so full of adventure, action, romance, and humor… what more could I ask for.

WWW Next

forevercityofglassWell my future reading plans have shifted just a tad. After reading both City of Ashes and Shiver, I have decided to complete the Wolves of Mercy Falls series (which I have to do for the Read-A-Long anyhow) and then continue with the Mortal Instruments series, because I am just really, really into the Shadowhunter realm right now. Finishing the Maze Runner trilogy is no longer at the top of my list.

xofarah

Top Ten Tuesday #3

Top Ten TuesdayIt’s Tuesday and as I looked around it seems that almost every book blogger has participated in Top Ten Tuesday, so I will too. Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is: Sequels I Can’t Wait To Get.

#31-3. City of Fallen Angels, City of Lost Souls, & City of Heavenly Fire — I am really into The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare right now. I finished City of Ashes last week and have City of Glass sitting on my desk begging to be read. I am really looking forward to getting the rest of the series and finding out what happens to my characters, who are slowly becoming friends.

4-5. Forever & Sinner — After agreeing to participate in the Wolves of Mercy Falls Read-A-Long, I started the first book Shiver on Saturday and I think it is great. I already own the next one, Linger, but the other two were not available at my Barnes and Noble, but it is a must that I get them.

6. Beautiful Oblivion — Why yes, the Beautiful Series by Jamie McGuire is a guilty pleasure of mine and I won’t deny it. I fell for Travis and Abby’s story and I am highly anticipating reading about all of his brothers.

7. Sweet Far Thing — I started The Gemma Doyle Trilogy, by Libba Bray, a loooong time ago and by the time the conclusion book came out, I had already moved on to other things. Well, I am back tracking, because I really want to learn how the great, magical series ended.

8-9. The Scorch Trials & The Death Cure — The Maze Runner Trilogy by James Dashner is one that I don’t love, but I am involved enough to be anticipating what is going on with Thomas and the others. It is important that I find out if they survive.

10. Hour Game — This is the second book in David Baldacci’s King and Maxwell Series. I know it is a bit outdated, but I thoroughly enjoyed the ride that the first book took me on and can’t wait to see where the next one will take me.

I know these are a little outdated and none of them are new releases, but what can I say… I am a bit behind.

xofarah

Book Review: Shiver

Some days seem to fit together like a stained glass window. A hundred little pieces of different color and mood that, when combined, create a complete picture.

shiver_maggiestiefvaterTitle: Shiver

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

# of Pages: 390

Published: June 1, 2010

Rating: 5 Hearts

Synopsis:

the cold.
Grace has spent years watching the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf–her wolf–watches back. He feels deeply familiar to her, but she doesn’t know why.
the heat.
Sam has lived two lives. As a wolf, he keeps the silent company of the girl he loves. And then, for a short time each year, he is human, never daring to talk to Grace…until now.
the shiver.
For Grace and Sam, love has always been kept at a distance. But once it’s spoken, it cannot be denied. Sam must fight to stay human–and Grace must fight to keep him–even if it means taking on the scars of the past, the fragility of the present, and the impossibility of the future.
 [Goodreads]

My Opinion:

I honestly have no words to describe this book. It was wonderful and an absolute joy to read!! I had seen the series around, but only decided to read them, because I joined a Read-A-Long. There was a whole ten days set aside to read this book and I finished it in four. I wasn’t sure what to think about the book at first with it being about werewolves… it seemed a bit too Twilight, but it was nothing along those lines at all.

What I liked:

The male lead, Sam. He was such a refreshing character. Lately, the books I read have had such strong, obsessive, dominant male characters, but Sam Roth, although a werewolf, was so vulnerable and sweet. I wouldn’t say he wasn’t strong (he was a freaking wolf!), but he was tender, thoughtful, and liked to read books. Definitely my new literary crush. “I had planned a thousand different versions of this scene in my head, but now that the moment had come, I didn’t know what to do.”

The recognition that the main female character’s obsession with the wolves was unhealthy. This may seem like a strange thing for me to mention, but I felt that one of the greatest things about this book (in comparison to Twilight) was that, yes, Grace had a weird thing for the wolves that lived in the woods behind her house, but the author made sure to have her friends mention that it was odd and unhealthy. Of course, later on you learn why, but I liked how it didn’t encourage the behavior.

The author’s take on werewolves was so interesting and unlike any I had read before. I don’t want to ruin too much, but to have their changing be due to weather instead of just whenever they want made for a great story and causing them to have an “expiration date” added a nice touch as well.

It is rare when I like the female lead of a book. I normally always fall for the guy, but I liked Grace. She had a pleasant personality and didn’t do anything that made me hate her. “Her eyes flicked over the shelves, seeking possibilities for escape.” Maybe I liked her, because I could see a little bit of myself in her. Not only did she like to read, but she was also an introvert. “We’re introverts. We like doing nothing together. All talk, no action.”

What I disliked:

In complete honesty, I enjoyed this book so much and I didn’t write down nor can I think of a single thing that I disliked about this book.

What I thought overall:

This book was fantastic. It was a quick read, but it was so well written. Some of the sentences, I had to read more than once, because they were just so good. The characters were so real and likable; I couldn’t find anything about it to rant about. I can’t wait to start the sequel! Do I recommend reading it? Yes.

Wolves of Mercy Falls Post #1 – Maggie Stiefvater

shiverreadalongbanner

If you do not know, I am participating in the Wolves of Mercy Falls Read-A-Long, hosted by Girl in the Pages, She Reads She Blogs, and CK’s Reading Corner. I am super excited about it and I bought the first two books yesterday. From today until December 20th, all who are participating will be reading through all four books in the series. If you would like to join in, you can find the information here. Every Saturday, there is going to be a discussion topic. Today’s is: Why Maggie Stiefvater is an awesome author that appeals to you!

Honestly, I cannot really answer this question. From what I hear she is great, but I haven’t actually read any of her work yet; which is why I am so excited to participate in this read-a-long. The books in this series are a decent size and I think a book a week is the perfect amount of time, especially nearing both Thanksgiving and Christmas break… plenty of reading time.

I am looking forward to seeing what her take on werewolves is. I read the Twilight Saga awhile back and am currently in the middle of The Mortal Instruments series, so I have experienced a couple different views on how authors view werewolves and I am eager to add another one to the list.

I have a feeling that she is going to bring back some nostalgia from my days of reading Twilight, but overall I am hopeful that I will become a fan of hers like so many others.

Future Read Friday #2

Future Read FridayThis is an original P4P meme that will highlight one lucky book each Friday that I have been wanting to read. It can be any book, any author, and any genre. There are so many books I want to get my hands on and I add books to my TBR list every day. Here, I will just be discussing the books that I am most excited about reading whether I have wanted to read it since I was a kid or it just came out this year.

perfected

perfected_katejarvikbirchI don’t remember where I came across this book, probably a fellow book blog or Goodreads, but I was intrigued. I am normally not one for super out there dystopian novels (if that is what this is), but I was reeled in by the cover alone.

Perfected is about a world where some humans are bred to be household pets. This is a story about a girl who goes to live with a rich and powerful family to be their daughters “playmate”, but ends up falling for their son. But at some point, Ella (the pet girl), is kidnapped and pulled into a mysterious underground world far from her fabulous lifestyle. She has to make a choice and if she chooses wrong, death will be a fairytale compared to what’s in store for her.

I am not sure how I feel about the premise of people being pets, but it does have a love story and a bit of an adventure, so I am wanting to give it a shot.

Read about it on Goodreads.

Is this book on your TBR list? Have you read it? If so, what did you think?

xofarah

Book Review: City of Ashes

If you really love something, you never try to keep it the way it is forever. You have to let it be free to change.

cityofashes_cassandraclareTitle: City of Ashes

Author: Cassandra Clare

# of Pages: 453

Published:  January 1, 2008

Rating: 4 Hearts

Synopsis:

Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what’s normal when you’re a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who’s becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn’t ready to let her go — especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary’s only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil — and also her father.
To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings — and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father? [Goodreads]

My Opinion:

This book was fantastic! I didn’t necessarily love the first book, but I liked it enough to read the next book in the series and I am so glad that I did. This book was intriguing, hilarious, and action-packed.

What I liked:

Above all, I liked the relationship/friendship between Clary and Simon. I just find there to be something so special and innocent about the two of them. Maybe it is because they have known each other practically their whole lives, so it is safe or because how Simon thinks and feels about Clary is just so sweet. I haven’t decided yet, but I can’t wait to see what is in store for them.

The character of Magnus Bane is slowly growing on me. I wasn’t too much of a fan of his in the first book, but he really came back for the win in this one. Besides his “secret” relationship with Alec, I just find him to be absolutely hilarious. From his outrageous outfits to his remarks; there is just so much spunk and attitude surrounding him. “… a warlock who looks like a gay Sonic the Hedgehog and dresses like the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.”

I really liked the take on faeries, vampires, and werewolves in this series. I am normally not one for fantasy novels (besides Harry Potter and Twilight), but I think the way they are portrayed a bit differently than usual is quite creative.

**SPOILER** One of the character changes that I most enjoyed is Simon’s transformation to a vampire. He is by far my favorite character in all his nerdy-ness, so I wasn’t so sure how I felt about him becoming a child of the night, but in the end it worked for me. He adapted to it and the jokes he managed were the best! “Because I forsee many romantic picnics in our future. You, drinking a virgin piña colada. Me, drinking the blood of a virgin.” **SPOILER**

This was a beautifully written sentence: “Inside him the cold of fall battled with the memory of summer.”

What I disliked:

The Jace and Clary thing. I understand the story there and in the first book it made sense- long lost brother and sister who met not knowing they were related and ended up falling for each other only to find out they are siblings. That is where it should stop. It seemed as if they were trying to end it, but then certain events would throw them back together such as the seen in the Faerie Court. I thought that part could have been left out. I am not going to bash this storyline as incest, but it needs to end.

I haven’t figured out why all of a sudden in this book there are random Bible verses thrown into the mix. I am a Christian and I enjoy a good fantasy book about demons and angels every once in awhile, but I don’t see why we need to bring the Bible into it. The first book was good and it made sense, sticking random verses in there didn’t really help the story.

What I thought overall:

I really, really enjoyed this book. I am so glad I didn’t give up on the series after the first book, because City of Ashes was definitely worth my time. It made me laugh on multiple occasions and held me on the edge of my seat. I honestly couldn’t put it down. Can’t wait to start the next one. Do I recommend reading it? Yes (but only after reading City of Bones).

The Wolves of Mercy Fall’s Read-A-Long

shiverreadalongbanner

I am very excited to say that I am going to be participating in my first ever read-a-long!! We are going to be reading the Wolves of Mercy Falls series by Maggie Stiefvater. It is going to be hosted by Girl in the Pages, She Reads She Blogs, and CK Reads; so be sure to check out their blogs to keep up with the discussion. Every few days during the read-a-long they will be having discussions over different topics involving the series [the schedule can be found here].

I have never read any of the Wolves of Mercy Falls books, so these will be first reads for me. If this sounds interesting to you, I do hope that you will participate as well.

xofarah