Saturday, August 31, 2013

Cover Wars #1

Welcome to my first edition of Cover Wars! I think I've seen a few other blogs do similar things like this at some point or another, but since I'm too lazy to post a review, here's what I'll post when I have nothing else!

What is Covers Wars? Well, for my version of Cover Wars I have two sections. One section is the original cover versus the new cover or paperback vs. hardcover. Then the second section is English/American cover vs. a foreign cover that I've found and have an opinion. I'll showcase each cover and give an opinion. Why I really want to do this is to see people's different opinions on covers. So, please leave your reactions in the comments! That sounds really formal! Just tell me if you like the cover or not or any thoughts at all! I'll get my sister to make a banner for me later on to use it as a header! (She's the creative/ techy one.)

Let's do this!

The Original VS. The New

Paperback VS. Hardcover
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
This is one of my all time favorite historical novels and I just thought that I would throw that out there. It is a must read book! It'll make you cry, but it's definitely worth the read.
I personally love the paperback edition more than the hardcover. There's just something about the paperback that when I look at it I just feel captivated and it's just beautifully done and it's a real eye-catcher (see what I did there?). I also really like the hardcover one though. From the perspective of the novel, I think the hardcover may fit the story more because of Siberia and them being forced to work as farmers. I just love the paperback way more and it's just so gorgeous.

13512495 16074613
Hardcover VS. Paperback
The Dark Light by Sara Walsh
I personally think The Dark Light is a pretty rad book. It's not a favorite, but it holds  its own as a pretty good book.
Hardcover, hands down! While both covers stay strong to the concept of the book in some way, I just love the hardcover. I can see why people wouldn't want to read The Dark Light because the original cover seems so romance, but really it's more fantasy! The paperback stays true to the tone of the novel, but there's just something so mysterious about the hardcover and Sol's tattoo looks totally awesome!

The English VS. Foreign Edition
16081272 18109334
English VS. Spanish
The Edge of Never by J.A. Redmerski
I personally hated The Edge of Never, but a lot more people love it. It's one of those books that you have to read to form your own opinion.
I kind of like both of these covers. I think the English one is better though. The Spanish one is pretty hot, though or should I say wet? (Bad jokes, I'm sorry!) I love the English cover and it's one of the reasons why I picked this book up in the first place. I think the Spanish cover is pretty true to the book though. Since The Edge of Never is one big road trip, but I don't remember a Notebook moment in the rain.

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English VS. UK
Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini 
I loved Starcrossed when I read it. I see that it has a lot of faults in it now, but I still love it.
Thoughts: I think I like the UK version a bit more. In the US, one Helen looks awkwardly placed and it's just weird to look at in person. The tinting is also way to dark and my copy's sky almost looked black. The UK one is just so pretty. I'm not a big fan of kissy covers, but I do like some, if done right. This one is definitely done right because something about it is just so pretty!  Tell me your favorite out of the Starcrossed and the next one will go up another foreign edition next time!

What are your favorites? Is it both hardcovers or paperbacks? Or do you like foreign editions more than American? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Bully by Penelope Douglas

Bully (Fall Away, #1)

Bully by Penelope Douglas

First in the Fall Away series

3.5 stars

Tate and Jared used to be best friends. They were inseparable, but now Jared hates Tate. She isn’t sure what she did or why he suddenly hates her. He’s spread rumors and made Tate isolated from her peers, but now Tate is going away to France and when she comes back she’s a completely new person. Tate will not let Jared belittle or hurt her anymore even if it means hurting him back. I don’t know why I picked up Bully when I did. To be honest, I downloaded it as a Kindle freebie and didn’t plan on reading it any time soon. Then reviews started popping up on my GR feed. I mean a lot of reviews and they were all pretty good ones. They didn’t all have glowing reviews, but they all seemed to find Bully enjoyable. I impulsively picked this up after I logged off GR and found myself halfway over 50% at 1 in the morning. This book kept me up and while it is pretty ordinary in plot and it’s obvious what will happen next, I didn’t want to put Bully down at all. Douglas has a way of writing that, even when predictable, is totally entrancing and un-put-down-able. Bully is by no means amazing, but chances are you’ll find yourself enjoying the book. I had a few problems with it here and there, but they didn’t bother me enough to make the book less enjoyable. I need to address this because it bugged the crap out of me while reading and still bothers me even thought I read this book back in June. Why is this book categorized as New Adult? What’s so NA about it? Yeah, there’s sex, but Tate and Jared are in high school the whole entire time. NA is only NA if it’s in college years. There’s no point in putting a label on a book that isn’t NA. As far as I’m concerned this is YA because the characters are, like me, in high school. Just because there’s a sex scene shouldn’t make this book NA. The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend has sex scenes, but it’s still considered YA. Why can’t Bully just be considered mature YA? This just really bothers me and it makes me want to scream because I just don’t get this whole genre thing. Anyway, back to the book.

The main female character is Tate. Tate is pretty stereotypical for heroines in contemporaries now days. I’ve been coming across a lot of heroines that are:
A) Into cars
B) Fixing cars
C) Working or doing something that guys enjoy doing
Is this a new trend? I don’t like it. What’s wrong with a character wanting to do their nails or read a book? Why does Tate have to love cars and racing? It just seems like another cliché. Tate isn’t a bad character, but she isn’t exactly always likable. Tate has backbone though. One of my favorite things about Bully was when Tate’s friend said that she was becoming the bully that Jared was to her. After this comment, I started realize how right her friend was. Tate was becoming meaner and meaner as the story progressed and it was getting to the point where I started hating her. I’m not sure when, maybe after the class scene with Jared, but I started to like Tate again. By all means, Tate’s redemption felt a little rushed, but it was still believable.

Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 8

The main male character is Jared. Jared is a huge douche canoe. When we are first introduced to him I thought he was a jerk and he just kept getting worse and worse as the story went on. Still, I couldn’t help but want him to change and end up with Tate. I honestly just don’t get why Jared was mean to Tate in the first place, if anything he needed her. I don’t get why he decided to be captain of the dick team and ruin her life when he needed her. Yea, it’s explained and I kind of get his reasoning, but his reasoning is stupid and I wanted to slap him in the face and coddle him at the same time when we heard the whole story.

Jared does have some swoon worthiness in him. In all honesty, I don’t really like Jared, but at the same time I love him. This confuses me on my feelings. I don’t like this. Jared needs to either be swoon worthy or punch worthy and he is both, which frustrates me completely.

Swoon Worthy Scale: 7.5 (I’m so conflicted!)

The Villain- High school drama… high school drama everywhere!

Villain Scale: 5

Does anyone remember Tate’s friend’s name? I can’t. I’m trying to remember but I just didn’t like her friend at all. Was it Kayla? I think it was probably that, but I’m just going to call her Fake-Idiot-Friend (FIF). FIF makes me want to scream. She is literally one of the worst friends I’ve ever come across and if I was Tate I would’ve dropped her like a sack of potatoes. She was just so stupid and such an idiot. FIF just needs to leave the premises. I don’t like FIF and will never like her. Just because Tate forgave her for her idiotness doesn’t mean I will. What was Jared’s friend’s name? Nate? Eh, he’s irrelevant. The only time I saw any value to him was every time Tate would hurt some part of his body, which happened quite a bit.

Character Scale: 7

Bully is definitely a fun read. It’s addictive, heartbreaking, shocking, and just totally hot. It may not be the best book out there and some things will frustrate some people, but it is definitely worth reading!

Cover Thoughts: Courtesy of my first status update because it explains my thoughts on it. "Why do so many New Adult books have this cover? It's called originality people. Embrace it." I still stand by this claim because I’m still seeing this generic ass cover pop up on other books. 

Gated Blog Tour and Review!

Gated by Amy Christine Parker:
She thought the evil lived outside the walls. She was wrong.

Amy Christine Parker's deliciously chilling prose creates a fast-paced, nerve-fraying contemporary thriller that questions loyalties and twists truths.

In the Community, life seems perfect. Lyla Hamilton believes she is one of the chosen. Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Pioneer invited her family to join the Community and escape the evil in the world. They've thrived under his strict, charismatic leadership.
Now seventeen, Lyla knows certain facts are not to be questioned:

Pioneer is her leader.
Will is her Intended.
The end of the world is near.

Pioneer has visions of the imminent destruction of humanity. He says his chosen must prepare to fight off the unchosen people, who will surely seek refuge in the Silo, the underground shelter where the Community will wait out the apocalypse.

Lyla loves her family and friends, but a chance encounter with an unchosen boy has her questioning Pioneer, the Community--everything. She needs time to figure out the truth. But with Pioneer's deadline for the end of days fast approaching, time is the one thing she doesn't have.

Gated by Amy Christine Parker

4.5 stars 

Review: Lyla’s life in Mandrodage Meadows always seemed perfect. Pioneer protected the people in the community and it seemed like nothing could ever go wrong. As the impending end is approaching, Lyla begins to question things and the meeting with an outsider leads Lyla to uncover secrets that will destroy them all. I wasn’t sure if I would like Gated. I went into it knowing that it was about cults, which have always fascinated me, but even I know that a subject like this hard to achieve. Especially a subject tackled by a debut author. I was definitely blown away. I read a few reviews while reading Gated and most of them point out a lot of good points about characters and such. This story is a definite thriller. Slow at first, but once Gated picks up, it never stops. Parker does an excellent job of keeping the reading guessing when Lyla will find out Pioneer’s secrets and how. The story is slightly predictable, but once the climax happens, it’s nonstop action. 

The main female character is Lyla. Lyla is a good character, but her naivety was just ridiculous. She lived in the real world at one time and I found it odd how she doesn’t remember what junk food tastes like. I’m pretty sure her parents gave her junk food when she was a toddler, so I don’t see why Lyla wouldn’t be able to remember some of these. It just seems odd that she once lived in the ‘real’ world, but is so shocked by how good junk food is. I also found a lot of her choices to be rather foolish. It was easier to like her towards the end, though. Lyla isn’t an extraordinary character, but she is likable and well-rounded. I enjoyed her POV and it was never a dull moment in her mind.
Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 8.5 

The main male characters are Will and Cody. Will is Lyla’s best friend and her intended. I didn’t really care for Will. He was a good friend to Lyla and I saw that, but he as the story progressed he just seemed… off. I tried to like him, but like Lyla I only saw him as a friend to her. Cody is the sheriff’s son and I liked Cody a lot at first. By the end of the story though, he seemed clingy and just annoying. I personally didn’t like either boy very much, but they both had their moments where I really liked them. I just didn’t swoon over these love interests.

Swoon Worthy Scale: Will: 7 Cody: 7 

The Villain- Pioneer is probably one of the best villains I’ve come across in YA in a while. He’s methodical, manipulative, and cold. I hate Pioneer with a passion and he is a truly terrifying human being. It was so interesting to see what this mastermind would do. I’m not exactly sure why he started Mandrodage Meadows and I wish that would’ve been touched on. I’m still shocked by the horrors he put these people threw.

Villain Scale: 9.5 

I didn’t particularly like Lyla’s best friend, Marie, at first, but as the story went on, I liked her more and more. She really was a good friend to Lyla and it was never a dull moment when they were together. I don’t really have anything to say about Marie’s intended, Brian (I think), he was there, but never really there.

Character Scale: 9

The psychological parts of this story were interesting, but it felt like something was slightly missing. It was never a dull moment for me while reading Gated and I look forward to more of Parker’s works. Gated is definitely a book you don’t want to miss!

Cover Thoughts: I love the cover! It’s so creepy and I’m happy that it actually fits the book. 

About Amy Christine Parker:

Amy was born in Pennsylvania and spent most of her early years there. Many of her best memories are of hiding out in her room where she made up elaborate pretend play scenarios most often involving orphaned baby dolls and Barbies dressed in fashions made out of Kleenex.

Amy was always attracted to writing, but she tried a lot of other jobs on for size first before settling into writing full time. At some point or another, she has been a collectible doll-maker, a fondue waitress, an inner city school teacher, and a stay at home mom. Currently she is writing full time and lives in a suburb of Tampa, Florida with her very supportive husband, their two creative and energetic daughters, one absurdly fat orange cat, and two escape artist mice.