Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Poison Princess by Kresley Cole

“Remember my titles? I don't get poisoned, I do the poisoning. I'm the Princess of it.” 

So today, we have decided to review the book Poison Princess by Kresley Cole. The prologue of this book started off with some serious promise. It gave you this sense creepiness and mystery and the guy who is narrating...what a mess. He gave you this rapist feel, but that's only for a short while so don't let that scare you away from reading the book. He just added to my curiosity as to what would happen. So, naturally, I continued with the book, setting aside everything (my school work) just to get through with it. Unsurprisingly, thanks to the book, I scored three consecutive C's, but that's not the point. This book has its pros, but unfortunately, I think it's cons might just outweigh them.

<Gabby has to talk about this cover--excuse her...> WOW! That cover-the feels!!! I love the fire! And the font and the dress and the colors... and I could go on and on and on.... It just represents this book SO SO well :).

Starting with the pros:
1. Jackson Deveaux- this boy... Oh God. He's Cajun French and that just makes everything so much better, right? He's hot, angry and determined. If he wants something, he will get it. And his accent, dear Lord. The way he says partner, 'podna', just say that to yourself in your head. Doesn't that sound sexy?

2. The action- there's not much of it, but whatever we get is sufficient. I'm used to a lot of violence; I'm a naturally violent person. (Don't be scared, people, my sister has never actually armed anyone. Right, Elena? - Ari *glares disapprovingly*) Crown of Midnight by Sarah Maas is one of my favorite books and I have this weird affiliation with horror movies, so yes, this wasn't enough to satisfy my tastes since it is a post-apocalyptic novel but of all the action that we do get, it's a breath of fresh air. Especially from all the petty drama that goes on.

3. The ending. Wow. Just wow. And to think this book was going to make me rip my hair out. It is so intense, it's amazing.
That's it. That is. All. Of. The pros.

Now the cons:
1. Our main character, Evangeline, is sixteen and recapping her story before the Flash (the apocalypse) to rapist (the guy who I referred to earlier), Arthur. The thing is, she recaps almost a week before the apocalypse in explicit detail. I did this then, I watched this there, I talked to her about this. We learn that this girl has got issues early on in the novel but the author never specifies that she has anything like super memory so how does she remember everything so clearly. It's not like these few days are told in third person! Literally, she can remember not watching one episode of America's Next Top Model. She remembers her conversations with her best friend word for word. And I don't even remember her best friend's name cause I don't give a single ounce of a crap about her.

2. The supporting characters in those seven days. Mel (the best friend whose full name I cannot remember), Brandon (the "perfect" jock boyfriend), Clotile and Jackson Deveaux's other friend (who I couldn't care any less about). Why are they even here? Because SPOILER ALERT! (not really), they all die. We suffer through almost one hundred fifty pages of Evangeline talking to them, with the conversations sharing no relevancy to the story. Mel is overly fond of saying the 'b-word' for some reason, Evangeline is at crossroads about whether she should give up her V-Card to Brandon, she's trying to out slut Clotile and Jackson Deveaux's friends...why were they even there?Just..why?

3. Selena Luna- I wanted to rip her throat out. From when she was introduced, I didn't like her. She's described as a Lara Croft look alike and I hated that it all works out. Selena is rude, a liar and just downright selfish. Read the book yourself to find out more about this girl. Her only upside is that she's a complete badass when it comes to fighting.

4. Jackson Deveaux. Oh Jackson. He's a dick at the beginning of the book and it's really hot. He's a dick during the middle of the book and it's really hot. He's a dick at the end of the book, it's so not hot. He's apparently got reasons to be the way he is and frankly, they're pathetic. The way he treats Evangeline, it's like indirect abuse. Just disgusting. I'm not saying that Evangeline is innocent, she shares the blame, but she doesn't completely deserve the way he treats her.

5. Evangeline Greene, the main character. Pathetic, annoying, whiny. Did I say annoying? Kill me already. You get off on the wrong foot with this girl. In the first few pages, her rich as heck boyfriend is picking her up in his BMW or whatever and she's all dressed up for her first day of school. And she's not happy about seeing her boyfriend. She's disappointed. You know why? Because he didn't compliment her dress, or necklace or bracelet or anything else. Like, girl! What's wrong with you? Then apparently the school would fall apart without her and she waves to everyone at school because...I don't know why. And after the apocalypse? She can't hunt or cook or fix her own dang car, she's completely useless until Jackson Deveaux comes back for her. And just out of curiosity, how does Jackson survive the apocalypse when everyone just drops dead? Anyway, after the entrance of Selena Luna, Evangeline just falls apart. All she can think about is Jackson having sex with Selena and just how jealous she should be of them. I wanted to slap the girl. Hard.

6. Last but not least, the beginning. I had the biggest problem with this because what was its point. Yeah, Evangeline is a freak who has visions of the apocalypse and is an amazing artist. Ok, we get that, but what do you want me to do? Grovel over it? Her and Mel (the best friend in case you don't remember), are talking about guy stuff and Evangeline keeps talking about how loyal her boyfriend is and how much he loves her. She hates on Jackson and his gang and yells at him a lot. Come on! The guy has issues but he's not that bad! Now I wouldn't have such a problem with the beginning because we definitely could use with a little back story, but not 100+ of it. Especially 100+ of back story that pretty shares no relevancy with the story whatsoever.

In conclusion, though I wanted to rip this book to shreds several times, I will definitely continue with the series. The ending and the way Jackson says partner saved it for me. But I had high expectations for Poison Princess and it fell flat. 2.5 stars.

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

I read the first book in the Raven Cycle series back in May. I can clearly remember that I was confused several times throughout the book, but it was not because there were plot holes, but because the writing was so intricate and peculiar. When I was reading the Dream Thieves, oddly enough, I understood everything I was reading. Perhaps I was vaguely familiar with the writing style or I just got smarter over time (probably not the latter); either way, by the end of the book, I was shocked with myself. As I once read in another review, the writing is for the intelligent people in our species. If you can't comprehend fast or make sense of metaphors, then this book is not for you.

Now. Is it weird that I wanted to kiss the Raven Boys? And Blue? And her family? And Ronan's brothers, Declan and Matthew? And the Grey Man? And Kavinsky? Is that weird? Does that make me weird? I honestly don't know nor do I care. Each and every one of these characters are well rounded individuals that make my heart flip every time they enter, even if it is for barely half a page. If I had to rate the Raven Boys from most favorite to least, I wouldn't be able to. They're all just so good! Ronan stood out like none other in this book because ultimately, it was meant to explain him. We get to see his struggle with his new power, his relationships with his friends and family and how much his past has affected him. Gosh, I don't know what to say about this guy other than this:
 Dick Gansey. What you do to me... If you really break Gansey down and look at him, he's just a rich high school kid who goes to rich private school. You'd expect him to be like a snob like people normally portray such kids as. Man, are they wrong. Gansey doesn't care about the money. Never is it specified, but I don't think he really cares about school either. Gansey lives, breathes, eats, sleeps, talks for only one thing. One purpose. And that's finding Glendower. That's it. His determination is admirable, his wit is impressive, his calm personality is endearing. When you think of Gansey, you usually visualize a nice, sweet guy. This book changes your perspective on him. We still get a fair share of calm, dominant Gansey, but we also see his dangerous side. His mess-with-me-one-more-time-I-dare-you-to side. And wow, it's amazing. Also, he loves Jane, I mean, Blue. You can see a relationship slowly developing between them, transforming from love-hate to something quite passionate but deadly.
Adam shredded my heart to pieces in this book. He's this independent guy who will fight his own battles and win. But he is so into being a one man army that all his previous efforts go down the drain when he attempts to prevail but ultimately loses the war. He's battling his inner demons, trying to come to terms about what happened with his family as well as what happened at the end of the first book where he made a serious sacrifice. No spoilers here, folks. He doesn't want anyone's sympathy. No turning him into a piece of charity work or giving him puppy eyes. Do that and he will blow a gasket and punch your teeth in. But his refusal for help makes him vulnerable. Easily irritable. And it's hurts him as well as the people around him. Especially a certain someone. Deep down, this guy was hurting and I think it was portrayed so well that I actually felt it.
Noah doesn't have much of a part in this book and neither does Blue. Unlike the previous book when her curse was a main source of fuel, it becomes secondary in this book. I don't really mind. A major secret about Noah was revealed in the previous book, and once again, no spoilers, but you read about the gruesome details of his devastating tragedy. You kind of relive it with him. Noah is a fun guy and downright innocent. He makes you smile, laugh, cry. He's influential like that. Blue plays a major role with Gansey, Adam and Ronan, but her screen time is not much. I guess you can watch from the shadows how much she influences them, like the devil whispering in your ear. Except she's not telling them jump off cliffs or anything. She likes Adam and Gansey, she's forming an odd relationship with Ronan and Noah and her are just besties. The sweetest scene in this book occurred between her and Noah. When they converse, no matter how suckish your day was, their conversations will make you smile.
And now the icing on the cake. Kavinsky. A crazy bastard of a man. He's the guy in school that you talk to but secretly hate. Smokes and is always high. Is handsome and rich but a complete dick. This guy is psychopath and a druggie and a drunkard and one of the greatest villains I have ever read about. When you read about a villain in a book, you don't want to read about one that has a soft spot to something or is in love with the main character. No. They need to be ruthless, angry, cunning and crazy. That's why practically every loves the Joker. That's why, if this book were to be made into a movie, Kavinsky would be the next Joker.
Sure there are a hundred more characters, but I'm not going to talk about them all. The final person I will talk about is the Grey Man. He is evil, he is badass, but he isn't the right villain. He's witty, yes, but he's too soft. Affected too easily, so the author did the book justice by not making him the main focus and giving the role to someone else. Nonetheless, his role in the book is crucial and it would be totally different if there was the lack of his character.
Last thing to address, the writing and plot. The title of this book, the Dream Thieves, suits it perfectly. At the beginning you don't get much of a feel of it, but midway through, you understand why it is named the way it is. The plot revolves around Ronan. As said in the summary, "Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life." The whole purpose of this book was to unravel why that is happening and showing what Ronan will do to help himself out of such hardships. The writing as mentioned earlier, is different. It leaves you with this crease between your brows, where you're asking yourself "what the heck?" Its vague and that's impressive because most authors can't do that. Some write in such a way that they leave no room for imagination. Readers like to be spoon fed their information too. But the author doesn't do that here. You want to understand? Work for it. I don't know about you, but I love a good puzzle. 
Ultimately, this book had me at the edge of my chair the whole time. It had some serious twists and for the first time in eternity, I loved the villain. Warning: this book has quite a lot of violence, some described mildly and other described graphically, or more graphically than I'm used to. It also has a lot of profane language. I loved it. This is what you call a flipping book, for all you wannabees out there. Learn from this.

4 well deserved stars.

Nikita the TV Show

Sorry for the hiatus. . . again. . . but we were on vacation for a while, and apparently wi-fi is a foreign concept to those foreigners. Or maybe it was just my computer, which has recently decided it hates me. Anyway, due to the lack of books here, we've decided to do a review of the series and series finale of Nikita. For those of you who don't know, the show is about an assassin named Nikita whose death was faked by a secret branch of the government known as Division. She was then offered a choice: join them, or die. Division is headed by a man named Percy with his assistant/torturer Amanda, expert hacker Birkhoff, and recruit training supervisor Michael. They train their recruits as assassins, spies, and diplomats and send them out on missions where they often illegally take care of threats. Nikita becomes their best agent ever and eventually goes rogue and endeavors to take down Division.

A little bit about the characters - Percy is a cunning, selfish man with a lot of power and no conscience whatsoever. He is manipulative (like pretty much every character in this show) and has so many insurance policies that he's pretty much untouchable. Amanda is a cold, hard, emotionless person who has cruel and unusual ways of torture and can literally brainwash someone into doing whatever she wants. Michael is hard to understand at first, but you can immediately tell that he has a complicated history with Nikita. He's determined to the point of being stubborn, loyal, and actually cares about his recruits. Birkhoff is a sarcastic, arrogant hacker who invented the best illegal hacking system in the world: ShadowNet. He's a legend among hackers, known as "Shadow Walker," and there's some debate among these hackers as to whether he actually exists or not, much to his amusement. He is affectionate towards Nikita and calls her "Nikki" (the same way she calls him "Nerd") and you can tell they were friends when she was a Division agent. Alex is a former sex slave and addict who was saved by Nikita. After Nikita gets her clean, Alex is recruited by Division and becomes Nikita's mole on the inside. Some characters join later, like Ryan Fletcher - the CIA analyst who discovered shadows of a Black Ops agency and later uncovered Division, Owen - the Cleaner (someone who kills unwanted agents) and protector of one of Percy's Black Boxes, another insurance policy to make sure he isn't killed, and Sonia - a hacker who was trained by Birkhoff himself and is (I'll try not to spoil too much) constantly trying to outdo him.

The show started good, and got consistently better. Unlike most shows, which have their ups and downs, I've never seen a Nikita episode that bored me. The twists usually start out like most other shows' - predictable - and then turn into something that you'd never see coming. There is a lot of action and danger and excitement, as well as romance and comedy, and these elements are heightened in the last season. The show evolves into something a lot bigger than I ever expected it to be, and the finale was nearly perfect - it includes one last shocking twist, and the ending is satisfying and without being too pretentious. While most shows that have been cancelled and only have a few episodes to finish end up rushed and unsatisfying, the pacing never falters in season four. The last season is six episodes of pure awesomeness. There's a lot of plot packed in, although it never seems rushed or too much, and each episode surpasses the last. The last two episodes have to be the best of the entire show, and the finale is probably the best I've seen of any show. If you've never seen Nikita, you have to, now. You won't be disappointed.

4 stars.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Sentinel by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Today, we have decided to review Sentinel by Jennifer L. Armentrout. When I read the first book in the Covenant series, I (like many other people, including Gabriel) thought that it was Vampire Academy with a Greek Dimitri, Caleb as Mason, and Alex as Rose Hathaway. Then I read the second book and realized that J.L.A. is actually kind of a genius. 
Sentinel (Covenant, #5)Even though the characters are, quote, "The,"  Alex being the snarky badass that everyone loves, Aiden is sufficiently swoon-worthy, and Marcus being the icy at first but then loving uncle, the characters are not what make me fall in love with the series. The other minor characters are just as great. Caleb is all one could hope for in a friend and everyone loves to hate Lea.

I really do love the fact that she has GREEK mythology and characters which caused me to love the book even more. Arya, on the other hand, thinks the "heroes and heroines fight demons" part of the Greek mythology is unoriginal but she easily forgives J.L.A.

What I think makes J.L.A. so good is her writing. Her writing style flows smoothly, and the pacing, dialogue, and thought fall into place perfectly and effortlessly. That's a rare quality in a book, and when I see it, I don't take it lightly. Also, J.L.A.'s quirky quips and humor makes this book lovable. J.L.A. has a way of making the words come to life and I had a beautiful picture of what was going most, if not all of the times I was reading. Oddly enough, I had a better connection with Aiden St. Delphi than the main character, Alex. I believe that Aiden's character was well thought out and planned and you can see that. (My little sis apparently connects to Aiden's dorkiness. - Ari)

I loved this series a little more than Arya did. However, Arya thinks this series isn't one that she will read when she is fifty years old, but is still a lot better than some of the stuff they publish these days, 3.5 stars.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Horde by Ann Aguirre

Hey, guys! So today we're reviewing "Horde," by Ann Aguirre. It's the last book in the Razorland Trilogy (starting with "Enclave"). It's a dystopian, post-apocalyptic book, one of my favorite kinds of YA, complete with badass protagonist, unique antagonist, a romance I shipped from day one, and an engaging, action-filled, fast-paced plot.

So, the cover: I preferred the cold dark shades of the previous books (blue and green) but the blood is a nice touch. I just wish it was maybe black with silver branches. Meh. I don't judge books that belong to awesome series by their covers.

The characters: DEUCE! I love you! Deuce grows even more during this book, although she doesn't actually get much time to, considering all the war-faring she has to do. Deuce is realistic and kick-ass at the same time, which is a feat for a YA character, especially a dystopian/post-apocalyptic YA character. She doesn't always succeed, she makes a lot of mistakes, and she's got so many flaws you can't help but admire the author for writing her. Also, the amazing parts of her character are absolutely stunning. As for Fade, I can't help but miss the Fade from the first half of "Enclave" - the Fade whose fighting skills were unmatched; the Fade who survived on his own for years and was an admired Hunter; the Fade who sometimes showed off just a little as if to say "I'm badass and I know it". He's still swoon-worthy and unwaveringly loyal and an amazing fighter, but still. I miss Fade underground. Stalker has improved a lot and shocked me a little with what he did, and Tegan has grown as well. She's independent and brave in her own way, and no longer relies on Deuce and the others to keep her safe. The surrounding character (especially the boy who carried the flag, I loved him!) were all well developed and round. The new character introduced were very impressive, like Morrow. This was some brilliant character writing.

The plot: the beginning and middle were about the same level as "Outpost," the second book. They weren't as thrilling and un-put-down-able as "Enclave," but they were engaging. I particularly loved Deuce's failures at what she was trying to achieve. She set out overconfident, but gradually and realistically achieved what their goal was. And then there was the last third of the book. It was absolutely stunning. It was chock full of action, extremely fast-paced, gripping, and I could barely stand to blink while reading it. I didn't put it down until I was done, and it reminded me why I love this series so much. And then there was the ending. It was beautiful and perfect, and I have a case of book depression (you know that feeling when a series you love is over and you don't know whether to laugh or cry?). While I was reading the epilogue, I wanted to shout (and I'll try not to spoil anything) "BELIEVE IT PEOPLE! IT'S ALL TRUE!" In any case, it was perfect. Not just the characters, this was some brilliant writing.

If you haven't started this series yet, definitely read it. Gabriel doesn't seem as impressed with this series as I am, though. It's not for everyone, but if you share the post-apocalyptic part of my taste in books, it will be worth it. What impresses me is how Ann Aguirre seems to understand how I feel about words and storied. Some of the things she said mirror my thoughts exactly. So seeing as I've been singing praises of this book, I'm sure it doesn't surprise you when I say, for this book and the series as a whole:

3.5 stars.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Hey, guys! A lot of long-awaited last books have come out, and we have been greedily devouring them all while trying to forget that there are things we desperately have to be doing. (We've realized we might need an intervention.) So, today's review is for "Allegiant," by Veronica Roth, last book in the Divergent trilogy.

Cover: the colors are impressive, and this time, the symbol on the cover isn't a faction symbol. I wasn't sure what it was until I started reading, but it makes sense now. I approve of this one's motto: "One choice will define you." The word "will" instead of "can" portrays a sense of finality that this book definitely provided.

Characters: I'm sorry to say, the characters didn't have the same effect on me as usual. Four, especially, seemed completely different in this one. He mistrusted Tris, succumbed to his fear (the one thing the old Four absolutely refused to do, one of the main things that defined him), and he made mistakes the Four we knew never would have done. As for Tris, thankfully, she was her typical self. She grew even more in this book, and stayed true to herself until the very end. We get to see Caleb in a slightly different light, although I can't say I like him. What happened to some of the characters was heartbreaking, whether alive or dead. Unfortunately, even while I was reading, I found myself dearly missing Divergent.

The plot: I'm not sure why the plot progressed the way it did. It wasn't terrible, and it made some sense because they were now both inside and outside of the faction city, but having two plots run parallel and then solve one in the middle and the other towards the end just didn't have the unity that the first two books had, especially the first one.

The ending: I can see what Roth hoped to accomplish by this, but it was completely unnecessary and deserves an entire star deduction for it. It shouldn't have happened. There are circumstances when this would have made a book stunning, but this is definitely not one of them.

Overall, I can't believe I'm saying this, but this book was a disappointment. I can't bring myself to give it a high rate, because of how much more I have come to expect from this series, but I can't bring myself to give it no stars, because I loved Divergent. Letting a series I love go is usually painful, because I can't come to terms with the fact that I won't ever see these characters in the future again. This time, it was painful because it disappointed me, and I can't put the series as a whole on the altar I thought it would deserve. It was really disappointing. :(

1.5 stars.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Breakable by Aimee L. Salter

Hey, guys! So, we kinda died there for awhile, but we're alive and back now, so, sorry for the break. This review is for "Breakable," by Aimee L. Salter, and it is completely honest and no money was exchanged for this review.

The cover has meaning so don't write it off just yet!!!

I'll start off by saying that this book surprised me in a very good way. Reading the synopsis, I wasn't sure what to expect, but once I picked up the book, I couldn't put it down. It was engaging and unique, and I finished it in one sitting. Chick-lit isn't usually a genre I love, so congrats to Aimee L. Salter for that.

The characters: the main character, Stacy, is as expected an insecure teenage girl. Normally girls with excessive insecurities annoy me, but it added to the story. It was understandable, the way she accepted it as a fact. The thing about writing an insecure girl is how easy it would be to make her just like every insecure character out there. But a version of her future self in the mirror? That sets the story apart. Mark was the average best-friend-hot-crush guy who was apparently perfect in every way and could do no wrong. What made him not detract slightly from my opinion of the story was the fact that Stacy later realizes that he isn't perfect in any way, not even close. That's exactly what she says: "not even close". There were the typical mean guys and mean girls that I successfully hated - nothing special. But there was also the ex-boyfriend, Dexter, who was very interesting. he could be described with vivid diction. That's all I can say without a spoiler. Stacy's character developed a lot, and the ending bit with her conversation with the artist made the ending a good one.

The plot kept me engaged. Obviously, in a story about character growth, the characters should be your favorite part of the story. Surprisingly, I enjoyed the plot just as much. It was paced well, and never missed an opportunity to shape the characters.

Story telling: I liked that it was told by Stacy as her accounts to a therapist. It was interesting.

However, I was confused for a while towards the end, with the whole old-me/current-me changing thing. that confusion wasn't resolved until the very end, and now I'm fairly sure I understand what happened. But while I was reading it, it was difficult to keep up.

This was a good, engaging story that I found impossible to stop reading. It's not one I would keep visiting and read a hundred times over the years, partly because this just isn't my genre. If I could sum it up in one word, it would definitely be "unique", as I've mentioned several times.

So, 3.5 stars. Would I recommend it? YES!!! Gabby likes it more than I do, but even I agree that it was a great read.

Aimee was kind enough to do an interview for Gabriel and I, so here it is:

Who is your favorite author?

That's a really hard question! Mainly because it changes depending on my mood. But in terms of my favorite book of all, it was written by Katja Millay. She's an incredible talent AND a really nice, funny person. So if I have to choose, I'd say her.

In YA I also love Kody Keplinger (especially for "The Duff"), Jay Asher, and Sarah Dessen.

For adults my favorites are Diana Gabaldon, Julie Anne Long, and Mary Brown.

2. What is your favorite genre/book and is your book similar to your favorite?

That's another one that depends a little on my mood. The genre I read to "escape" is historical romance, so that's nothing like what I write. But in terms of what I read the most, it's YA. In that I read more contemporary than anything else now. But I've always had a love for those stories that you felt could be real, but were just a little magical. So I guess I do write what I love just doesn't really fit a single genre!

3. What is your favorite part of Breakable?

The kiss, without a doubt. And the twist at the end.

I love the kiss because it takes me back to that romantic ideal I always had in high school (but only lived out once), where the seemingly unattainable guy turns out to be...attainable. It's a fun moment, and fairly deep for Stacy (the main character in BREAKABLE).

I also love the twist at the end because it's the thing readers always get excited about. "That ending! I love it!" As a reader I love it when I get what I call the "Aha moment". So it was fun to deliver one in my book.

4. Do the names of your characters have meaning?

No. I just choose names that "feel right" to me as the writer and I have no idea why they do. There have been times when I haven't been able to find the right name for the first draft or two, and it ends up bugging me every time I have to use it. I'll admit to having sorted through baby name websites before, working on names by definition until I find something that suits the personality of the character. But none of these characters were named that way.

5. How have your personal experiences affected your writing?

With this book my personal experiences have been quite crucial. I was very passionate about art in high school, and I was bullied (though I didn't realize that until years later - I just thought I was unpopular). So I was able to draw on my own experiences in that sense. But as a rule I don't depict actual events that happened in my life. The main character is very different to me, so it wouldn't work to try and do that anyway. I just know what kind of tone to set, or what is a realistic interaction between characters because I lived through similar things.

6. When did you know you wanted to be an author?

I remember wanting to write books when I was very young. Seven or eight. But I didn't identify that as a "career choice" until I was about ten. And I didn't believe when I was young that I could do it. So I didn't start seriously writing with the goal of trying to get published until I was in my thirties. It's been a long journey from wish to reality for me!

7. How many hours a day do you spend on writing?

Right now, about twelve. Every day. There's A LOT of work in putting out a book. Normally I'd give 20-30 hours a week to it, depending on the week, and what other responsibilities I have. When I'm drafting a new book I tend to write for 2-3 hours solid, once or twice a day, depending on whether it's flowing easily or not.

8. Who or what inspired you to write your story?

Well, there's the well-documented "inspiration" behind BREAKABLE: that I was reading the Dear Teen Me website, in which authors write letters to their teenage selves. That inspired the core premise.

But the story came on a much more personal level. Stacy deals with ruthless bullying at school and at home. I didn't have it in my home life, but life for me was awful at school through junior high and up until about 11th grade. So once I got the story going and realized bullying was going to be a big part of Stacy's journey too, then I was determined to make sure those aspects of the story were really authentic. I drew from my experience, and from the stories I heard from my nieces and other young people I love.

9. Any ideas for self-publishing authors?

If you want to do it right you can't do it on a whim. You've got to try and replicate the process of a publisher - and no one else is going to do it for you. Be prepared to work really hard, for long hours, and potentially little financial gain. But if, like me, getting the story out there is more important than getting a ton of money, then do it and don't apologize.

Don't put more money in than you can afford to lose. Don't give in to the temptation to cut corners. And don't question your vision. No one knows your story like you do. Follow your dream!

10. Any advice for aspiring authors?

Learn the craft of fiction. I can't stress that enough. When you're in the trenches it feels like a lot of time given to something that isn't productive. But when you come out the other side and your voice is developing because your brain knows how to communicate it effectively, and your draft is flying, and you can see that you haven't stumbled down 15 rabbit trails on the way, you'll gladly give those hours twice over. It's worth it!

Thanks for having me, Gabrielle. I really appreciate all your support!
No Problem Aimee! Thanks for the ARC, I really enjoyed it.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Breakable by Aimee L. Salter

Breakable by Aimee L. Salter

When seventeen-year-old Stacy looks in the mirror she can see and talk to her future self. "Older Me" has been Stacy's secret support during the ongoing battle with their neurotic mother, relentless bullying at school, and dealing with her hopeless love for her best friend, Mark.

Then Stacy discovers Older Me is a liar.

Still reeling from the betrayal, Stacy buries herself in her art. But even that is taken from her when her most persistent tormentor uses her own work to humiliate her - and threaten her last chance with Mark.

Stacy's reached breaking point.


Recently, we have received a electronic copy of Breakable by Aimee L. Slater and we will be publishing a review shortly.

If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say? If an older version of yourself could reassure you about the future - only to be revealed as a liar, what would you do?

Breakable, by Aimee L. Salter, is a promising novel centering around a girl who is offered just that. It is unique and interesting, and if it seems like the type of book you'd like to read, it releases on November 4th for Kindle, Nook, and in paperback.
Aimee L. Salter  is the author of a popular writing blog at and can be found on Twitter at and Facebook at

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Mass

Today, we're reviewing "Crown of Midnight," by Sarah J. Maas, the sequel to "Throne of Glass" and a book we've been eagerly awaiting forever. Every time I look at the book, I have to resist the urge to rub my hands together and let out an evil laugh. This is a fantasy epic about an empire called Adarlan and centers around Celaena Sardothien, the best assassin in the empire and the main protagonist.

So, the cover: there's a lot to like about this cover. A girl wielding two sword, and fiery colors. I really don't think the colors suit the book. And Celaena looks a bit like a guy...

And now to the good part. . . the characters: Celaena Sardothien, Adarlan's Assassin and now King's Champion - I absolutely love her. She's really arrogant and has a very short temper, she's too stubborn to listen to certain people trying to protect her, she's too curious for her own good, and she's brave, strong-willed, and can kill anyone she wants to. In this book, Celaena showed a ruthless side to her that's dark and frightening, and she also showed an inherently good side to her. Chaol Westfall, Captain of the Guard, improved a lot too. Obviously, he doesn't try to be broody and might not even be aware of it. He has a sense of humor that's different from Celaena's dry, sarcastic wit. And he's in a very hard position as to where his loyalties lie, and he seriously needed a hug towards the end. (It's okay we offer free hugs.) As for Dorian, Crown Prince of Adarlan, one of the twists about him didn't really surprise me, because there was a lot of foreshadowing leading up to it. And he grew, too: "So Dorian closed his eyes, and took another long breath. And when he opened his eyes, he let her go." These three characters, although the main ones, aren't the only ones that were written this well. Nehemia, Archer, even Ress. The writing of these characters exceeds that of almost every other book I've ever read, even those I love just for the characters, because I can imagine Celaena and Dorian and Chaol in our world, as real people.

Normally, for me, one element of the story is the best part, but I have to say, I enjoyed the plot as much as the characters. At the beginning of the book, it was ordinary, engaging Sarah J. Maas writing. Then, as the book progressed, there were plot twists and secrets and things we knew and things we didn't know, but they were so enthralling. Another writer with the same idea could easily have written it to be unmoving. The last half of the book, though, is what made me absolutely love it. Especially the ending. . . I suspected what Celaena told Chaol, but I didn't think it would actually happen. It was more of a fantasy formed by the slight foreshadowing. And then a certain something happened, and I never expected it, and I'm dying to know how it's carried out. When I finished the book, I wanted to scream.

I understand now how this is a fantasy epic and not just a fantasy. The next book will definitely be very interesting: "And she didn't know how she would do it, or how long it would take, but she would see it through. Because it was time."

Recommended for fans of Kristin Cashore's "Graceling" and "Fire." If you haven't read "Throne of Glass," read it. And then read "Crown of Midnight." Because this is one of those rare occasions where the second book surpasses the first by leaps and bounds. I finished it in one day, staying up until 2:00, and it was worth it.

This book earns the rare and well-deserved 4 stars.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Endless by Jessica Shirvington

  "Even the greatest bringers of justice will only find salvation in surrender."

We got a recommendation for The Ghost and the Goth, but we couldn't find it, sorry!
Instead, we decided to do "Endless," by Jessica Shirvington. It's the fourth book in the Violet Eden Chapters, for those of you who've never heard of the series. Please note that this review may contain some spoilers for those of you who haven't read the past books. Violet Eden is a Grigori, part angel and part human. She's juggling a billion different things due to plot twists in the previous books.

Cover: The cover was a picture of Violet so I can't really judge that. It looks pleasant.

On to the characters, would it be bad if I said my favorite character was Phoenix? Because honestly, he's one of the best written character I've ever read. He wasn't a flat cardboard image with one side. He had reasons for being the way he was and an actual character that had different faces to it. I've always really liked him, but after reading this  book, I absolutely love him. Violet toughened out a lot in this one, too. In the first book, I didn't like her all that much, but she shows depth and strength in this one, as well as an understanding most YA female leads don't have: 'Nothing is endless.' As for Lincoln - I've never really liked Lincoln. He's an okay person, but I can't really tell anything about him. All I know is that Violet loves him, but why? I can't help but think that was only because of their - I don't want to spoil anything - connection. He wasn't a well-written character. I liked Spence a lot, although he wasn't original. Griff, Steph, Salvatore, and Zoe, were all the supporting characters and they were written well too, if not amazing. Phoenix, Lincoln, and Violet mostly pulled the story, though. The other characters weren't as much involved in this one. And the plot was good, but I think this story mostly revolved around the characters.

The ending was amazing. I loved it! I'm sure a lot of people will be unsatisfied with it, but it was original and had a sense of finality and I'm afraid it's going to be undone and all those unsatisfied people.

Now just give me a second to say, Oh, Phoenix. Why?

So for those of you who gave up on the third book because it was unoriginal and rather boring, push on! You will be rewarded! And for those of you who've never read the series, read it. You'll be rewarded, too, I promise. There is a reason this book was given a 4.7 star rating on Goodreads, people. It's by far the best book of the series.

So, while the plot was unremarkable and the setting wasn't anything special, this is a story about the characters and for that, we'll round it up.

  3.5 stars-we recommend this to fans of Supernatural and YA fiction.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

"I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will."

For a classic, this book was good. Great plot but it was a little slow with the plot line, but that is to be expected for a classic.

Orphaned into the household of her Aunt Reed at Gateshead, subject to the cruel regime at Lowood charity school, Jane Eyre nonetheless emerges unbroken in spirit and integrity. She takes up the post of governess at Thornfield, falls in love with Mr. Rochester, and discovers the impediment to their lawful marriage in a story that transcends melodrama to portray a woman's passionate search for a wider and richer life than Victorian society traditionally allowed. -Goodreads summary

For some reason, I had this urge to read a classic book. As recommended from one of my friends I decided on Jane Eyre. I didn't enjoy this as much as other classics I have read-mainly because of the slow plot line. One of the good things was that it wasn't as verbose as most classics. Jane Eyre was amazingly written with great in-depth characters. Some people argue that this book wasn't a romance novel because the book was about Jane's life but I believe that it is a romance novel because all the things that happen in Jane's life lead or relate to her romance with Mr. Rochester. For instance when she was young she misbehaves so she is put in a room where she sees a ghost and when she is with Mr. Rochester she sees a "ghost." 

Cover: It wasn't that bad! Keep in mind the book was a classic. 

The setting: I could truly feel as if I was there in the Rochester manor with Jane. It was written so well! The mysteriousness of the house was a great addition to the plot. 

The plot: Usually I can guess the plot of most of the books out here today. But the thing I love about classics is that it is really hard to. I couldn't guess the plot and that's what made me like this book. The plot twists were great even though there was a lot of time between them.

The characters were the best part in the book. It was great always knowing how they felt because they were all easily readable (other than Rochester.) For both of us, we had a strong disliking for Mr. Rochester *Spoiler* because who a) locks their wife in a attic, b) never tells the love of his life that he even had a wife? *End spoiler* He was also very moody and that was annoying because he wasn't readable so you didn't know what he was thinking. And his moodiness did nothing to help the book. He was written well and his character was thought through. As for Jane, she was very sensible and she was a strong female character for realizing that a) bigamy is illegal and b) leaving Rochester because of it. One thing that bugged me was when Jane got inheritance from her uncle and she was ok to stop working and live a carefree life. I know that's what they did back then when they were rich, but it rubbed me the wrong way. Jane didn't do anything to get the money, (yes she did deserve it) and then she uses it like Monopoly money. She could have donated it to the school she attended (it was funded by donations) or done something useful with it. After all, she knows what it's like being poor. 

So,  I did enjoy the plot twists, the main characters and the writing style. The long, sometimes boring plot was disappointing. So would I recommend this book? Yes, I give it a 3 star rating. 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Expressing our thoughts

At DansLesLivres it is important to us that you have the ability to talk about books. You can use our Chat About Books tab to discuss what is happening in your book currently, recommend a book, discuss characters or to just talk. You can also invite others to join in. So if you're looking forward to any new books and need someone to fangirl about them with, speculate about possible plots, gush about characters, rant about things authors do to their poor readers, or just express excitement that would be frightening to others about upcoming books, talk to us! We understand book-caused insanity and partake in it daily.  You need a Chatroll account to chat, if you don't have one they are free to make! 

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta

     Okay, so we decided to review "Saving Francesca," by Melina Marchetta. This book is about a girl named Francesca (obviously; the book isn't called "Saving Jessica" or something) who goes to a school that was previously all guys - so she's alone, with only a small crowd of other girls to call friends; a depressed mother who was formerly the most collected person Francesca knew; and a slight crush on a guy named Will Trombal who works with her to get the girls at their school more rights and may or may not like her. *Side note* the names are unusual in this book... Francesca? Trombal? that's different.

One fun quote: “Do you think I look like Sophia Loren?” I ask him as we get into the car.
“I used to tell your mother she looked like Sophia Loren.” He looks at me, frowning, and then it registers. “Oh God, some guy’s using that line on you, isn’t he?”

The cover: can a cover get negative stars? Like honestly? What's up with the cover's boring colors and not
that great drawing?

Everything that happened in this book could have really happened to a normal person. I wouldn't be surprised if Francesca was a real girl. Her problems with her mother, her frustration for her dad, her confusion over Will, her grudging friendships with the guys at St. Sebastian's, her group of friends who were all unique characters, and her struggles and realizations were all realistic. In this book more than most others, the supporting characters were well-developed. Francesca could be really likable at times, too (when she corrected Will about the author of "Anna Karenina.") Which was nice but that was the only time she showed her smart side.

Arya liked what happened with Will, though. It was realistic. And the ending was very nice, too. (This might not be relevant, but Luca seems adorable.)

Gabby was not as happy. Will just wasn't described well enough. I need to know more about him and so does Francesca. How did she even have a crush on him if she didn't know anything about him? And what we do see of him, he seems like a weak character. He didn't seem like a suitable love interest.

Sooooo. 2.5 stars.

Monday, July 22, 2013

This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

      So, when we got a request for chick-lit, our first thought was Sarah Dessen. We went ahead and review "This Lullaby." It's about a girl named Remy. She has a cynical view about love, because her mother is constantly getting divorced and remarried. In her words, she has "made a career out of it." Even her father, a man she never met, left her behind, writing her a song called "This Lullaby" to explain it. Then Remy meets Dexter, who's a musician and has had even more stepfathers than she had, and he slowly starts to change her mind about love.

Cover: Well. I actually liked this cover. It wasn't spectacular, but it was original. Applause. I like how the heart isn't perfect and is slightly damaged. The cover actually relates to the story. I know! *GASP!*  

This book was beautiful. It was a simple story, but Sarah Dessen made it amazing. Remy is a believable character, and although she had a lot of faults, it was really easy to like her. She finds herself breaking all her rules for Dexter (no musicians, no food in the car, don't share anything real) and she has no idea why. Dexter, on the other hand, is easy-going and persistent, jokingly telling her she loves him. It's easy to see why Remy likes him. The characters around Remy were good, too. Her brother, Chris, who used to share her view on love but now looks down on her for them; her friends, Lissa and Jess, with different views on love that are equally believable; and her mother, who is the reason Remy lacks any faith in love.

The only problem - and it wasn't even a problem, just a slight curiosity - is why Chloe shares the same views as Remy. What happened to make her just as cynical? While the other characters had depth, we found ourselves wondering about Chloe. This didn't detract from the story, however, and it is easy to overlook.

So, 3.5 stars for this one. Sarah Dessen is an incredibly talented writer, and this is a beautiful story.