Saturday, March 28, 2015

Movie Review: The DUFF

SummaryA high school senior instigates a social pecking order revolution after finding out that she has been labeled the DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) to her prettier more popular friends. (Via

Running Time: 1 hour and 41 minutes

Release Date: February 20th, 2015

Rating: 5/5 Stars

     I read The Duff in early January of this year because of all the hype surrounding the movie. The book was enjoyable, but the only memorable part was the message it conveyed. Normally, I somewhat dread book-to-movie adaptations because they are never as good as the book, but I had high hopes for The Duff. I had hoped that the movie would finally give The Duff the justice it deserved, since the book never did. Thankfully, the movie was able to pull through and gave the book justice it deserved. 
     Although I had high hopes for the movie from it's laugh-out-loud trailers, I was a bit nervous dragging my parents to see it. I thought they would fall asleep midway or constantly be surfing the internet, but surprisingly they were laughing along as much as I did, if not more.
     I want to highly applaud the screenwriters and cast. The screenwriters did an amazing job creating such a fun script that gave a realistic look into modern-day high schools. The cast also did a phenomenal job portraying the characters and delivering the script. From the trailers I was not a big fan of the casting, but they ended up blowing me away. Although not all of the cast was identical to their descriptions in the book, I was able to overlook that because they did such a phenomenal job portraying the characters. I especially loved the casting of Bianca and Jessica. Like Bianca would say, Mae Whitman was "amazeballs". Mae was sassy, witty, and everything else Bianca represents. I also loved Skyler Samuels as Jessica. I had yet to see Skyler act prior to The Duff but she was so down-to-earth and sweet like Jessica. 
     I loved how they were able to incorporate social media into the movie. The movie revolved around social media and it's impact on modern-day teenagers. You were able to see how videos spread like wild-fires and how two-sided everyone is. It was so unique that the ending credits used Instagram profiles. It allowed the audience to attach faces to names. I hate when the credits roll and you are only able to see the actor's names. If I had not seen an actor before, how am I supposed to know their name?
     I absolutely loved The Duff. It was full of laugh-out-loud moments and a phenomenal cast that made me feel like I left the theater with inside-jokes only we could understand. I loved the movie so much more than I did the book. The movie had a better plot, but I am so happy that the movie shared the same message as the book because it is something everyone should learn. I highly recommend watching The Duff, I can't wait to go buy it on DVD to relive all the fun. 


Grift by Jason Mosberg

SummaryWhy would a 17-year-old girl pretend to be a high class escort?

Piper is a con artist whose canvas is the city of Las Vegas. She rolls with a crew of young grifters including a card-counting genius, a tourist-hustling pool shark, and a pocket-picking magician. Together, this crew of teenage outlaws live with their mentor Max in the penthouse of a hotel casino. They work hard and play harder. But unlike the others, Piper must balance her hyper-real Vegas fantasy with the reality of raising her 14-year-old half-sister Sophie. Disaster strikes when the Las Vegas mafia kidnaps Sophie and demands a multimillion-dollar ransom. With only five days to piece together the money, the crew races the clock to save her. (Via

Release Date: March 4th, 2015

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

      In exchange for an honest review, the author of Grift, Jason Mosberg, gave me a free advanced e-copy. Before he contacted me, I had never heard of Grift. I was not even aware that grift was a real word. I was a bit hesitant to start Grift because it is a self-published novel, but I quickly learned that you should never judge a book by how it is published. I am sad to admit that I had originally fallen for such an ignorant stereotype. Like I mentioned in my review of Melissa Parkin's Divine Vices last August, books are the same no matter how they are published. Most self-published novels are assumed to be 'bad' because they have yet to be picked up by a major publishing house. But, trust me, I have read my fair share of 'bad' books that have been published by major publishing houses. I have only read a couple self-published novels and I have yet to stumble upon a stereotypical 'bad' one.
     Jason Mosberg's Grift is a novel that rips apart Las Vegas' facade of glitz and glam. I learned a lot more about the city than I knew prior, but it did not make me love the city any less. I love how Vegas is able to take you all over the world in a just a few city blocks. But, for some, like the characters of Grift, Vegas is also able to take everything away from you in a matter of minutes. 
     I loved how close-knit the characters of Grift were. They all shared close bonds and were willing to risk so much to save each other. Like families, tragedy was able to bring them even closer together and strengthen their bonds. No matter how at odds they were with each other, they were willing to overcome that for the sake of others. Their rag-tag team of misfits reminded me of a teenage version of CBS' Scorpion. 
     Speaking of characters, I really liked the main character, Piper. Unlike most Young Adult heroins, Piper does not let her emotions control her. She is extremely mature and clear-minded for a teenager. She knows what she wants for her sister and was willing to do anything to give her sister the life she deserves. I just hope that Piper will allow herself a break from being an adult. She has been forced to play the role as an adult/provider since such a young age and she should be able to act young at times and let loose. 
     I was really amazed by Jason's ability to write in the mind of a teenage girl. I do not read many male authors, but I have read many female authors with male protagonists. In some of those cases, the perspectives seem unbelievable and stereotypical. I know I am not a guy, so I can't be sure what goes on in their heads, but some female authors don't seem to grasp it either. They overplay their male character and it causes the easy assumption that the author is female. But, if I read Grift without an author's name attached to it, I would assume the author was female because he perfectly executed Piper's perspective.   
     I saw the cover of Grift for the first time when I began to piece together my review and I absolutely love it. The cover's background looks like the Las Vegas strip with the bright and vibrant colors that go as far as the eye can see. You are also able to pick out at least one tall building that looks like a casino.
     I loved Grift. It was full of action and nail-biting suspense that had me flipping the pages as fast as I could. Like poker, Grift was extremely addictive and would not let me put it down. Grift included a very fulfilling ending, but allowed room for a possible sequel. I am really excited to see what Jason Mosberg writes next.   
    Buy Grift Here:

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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Rule (Marked Men #1) by Jay Crownover

SummaryOpposites in every way . . . except the one that matters 

Shaw Landon loved Rule Archer from the moment she laid eyes on him. Rule is everything a straight-A pre-med student like Shaw shouldn’t want—and the only person she’s never tried to please. She isn’t afraid of his scary piercings and tattoos or his wild attitude. Though she knows that Rule is wrong for her, her heart just won’t listen.

To a rebel like Rule Archer, Shaw Landon is a stuck-up, perfect princess-and his dead twin brother’s girl. She lives by other people’s rules; he makes his own. He doesn’t have time for a good girl like Shaw-even if she’s the only one who can see the person he truly is.

But a short skirt, too many birthday cocktails, and spilled secrets lead to a night neither can forget. Now, Shaw and Rule have to figure out how a girl like her and a guy like him are supposed to be together without destroying their love . . . or each other. (Via

Genre: New Adult

Pages: 387

Release Date: December 30th, 2012

Rating: 4/5 Stars

     At the start of the year, I made a large book order from Amazon of books that I wanted to get signed at ApollyCon, the release party for Jennifer L. Armentrout's newest book, The Return. When I made the order, I was contemplating whether or not I wanted any of Jay Crownover's books. I had recently heard some good things about her books and she was going to be at ApollyCon. But, I decided against it. I already had a ton of books in my cart and I have been trying to cut down on my book buying/TBR. Flash forward a mere month later and I am reading Jennifer L. Armentrout's first self-published novel, Wicked.
Throughout Wicked, the main character, Ivy, raves about the Marked Men series by Jay Crownover and I was sold. Jennifer L. Armentrout is my favorite author and I absolutely trust her judgement in books. A few days later when my family and I were on our way to Philadelphia for ApollyCon, we stopped at a local Barnes and Nobel's to pick up Rule. After buying Rule, I immediately started it and I was able to fly through a couple chapters while waiting in Jennifer L. Armentrout's three hour line at ApollyCon,.  
     I could not have read Rule at any other inconvenient time. I absolutely love New Adult contemporary, it is my current addiction, but for the life of me, I could not figure out why I was trudging through the first half of Rule. Do not get me wrong, the first half of Rule held my attention but I was not emotionally invested in the story. That all changed when I reached the two-thirds point in the book, Rule hooked me and refused to let me go. I stayed up two hours later then I normally should on a school night just so I could finish Rule. Once I finished Rule, I realized why I was not emotionally invested during the first half of the story. I was in a mini reading slump. I am glad that Rule was able to conquer my reading slump, but it really depressed me that, under normal circumstances, I would have loved Rule from page one, but a stupid reading slump interfered with that. I am crossing my fingers that all the other Marked Men will have my full attention when I get to their stories. 
     I am thrilled to continue the Marked Men series. I was able to win an advanced copy of the sixth and final book in the Marked Men series, Asa, at ApollyCon. I am hoping to read the remaining books in the series by Asa's release date of April 21st. A couple days ago, I spotted that Between the Covers is going to be hosting a weekly read-a-long for each of the Marked Men up until the release of Asa. This weeks read-a-long is Rule and if you are interested in participating, you can learn more here.
     I would highly recommend Rule to any fans of the Maddox Brothers series by Jamie McGuire or anyone who loves a good "bad" boy. From experience, I highly suggest
acquiring all of the books in the series at one time and then marathoning them. The Marked Men series consists of companion novels so they do not technically have 'cliffhangers' but I do not recommend reading the first book without the others because I am having separation
anxiety from the guys. 

     I really liked the dynamics of Rule and Shaw's relationship. Most New Adult couples can easily be described as a disaster, and, at times, Rule and Shaw's relationship was. But, no matter what challenges they faced, they were able to move on and look at the whole 
scheme of things. They understood when their relationship was too much and were willing to say goodbye. They knew that not all relationships last forever, a rude awakening most books should include. I loved that, at the end, Rule and Shaw both had sentimental tattoos for not only Remy, but each another. I find that extremely romantic and it is close to home for me because both of my parents have their names tattooed on each others left ring-finger
instead of wearing their wedding rings. 
     The ending of Rule was the perfect transition for rest of the series. I am interested to see who will move into Shaw's old room at Cora's. I am currently predicting Jet will move first since his book is the next in the series. But, more than likely, he will eventually move into Ayden's room at Cora's allowing Rome to move in as well. 
     It is really touching the Rule wants all of his friends to have a relationship like he does with Shaw. It is hard to believe that this is the same guy who, mere months before, was a major womanizer who could not be tamed. Yet at the same time, I find it hysterical that Shaw is hesitant at the proposal of Jet moving into Cora's. She understands that, in order for the guys to find their true love, there will be plenty of drama and heartbreak. She does not want to see Ayden go down that path.
     The only complaint I have about Rule is that the "bombshell" announcement of Remy being gay was rather predictable. It was an interesting twist to throw into the series, but it was too obvious. I would have liked it to be a little more inconspicuous. I am surprised Rule and Rome never picked up on it. I guess sometimes when things are under your nose for so long, you become oblivious to them. However, it does not justify the way Rule and Rome treated Shaw after the news broke. I understand that it is upsetting to hear that your dead brother was gay and never had the courage to tell you. But, Shaw promised Remy she would never tell anyone and they guys should respect the decision she made. She honored their brother's last request and ultimately paid the biggest price for never coming out about it.       
     I find it extremely interesting that the girls have their own covers as well. At ApollyCon, I got swag that used both editions and I can't decide whether I like the female or male covers better. Both editions had their positives and negatives. At the very end of this review, I will have a picture of the female edition of Rule and comment below which cover you prefer. 
     I am so excited to start reading the next book in the Marked Men series, Jet. I am a bit intimidated to read Jet because, frankly, the cover scares me. But, from what we learned about Jet in Rule, there is nothing to fear. If Ayden trusts him, I do. Speaking of Marked Men, on Jay Crownover's Facebook she posted the link to a quiz that tells you which Marked Men you should marry, you can take the quiz here. My result was Rowdy and I am curious to see how correct my result is as I learn more about him throughout the upcoming books. If you decide to take the quiz, I would love to hear your results and comments below. 

(Me, Jay Crownover)
Photo taken at ApollyCon

Female cover of Rule

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

SummaryThe unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.

Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior - to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos. (Via

Pages: 232

Rating: 5/5 Stars

     You could consider me lucky. In both the seventh and eighth grade I was assigned to read one book for each grade in English, but none of those were "classics". My seventh grade year I read Tangerine by Edward Bloor, which was not that bad, but if you asked my fellow classmates, it was as if you were pulling their teeth out. Last year, my eighth grade year, I had to read one of a select fifty holocaust themed novel for our holocaust unit. Most students were paired with really short books because we were running out of time to finish the unit. But, my English teacher knew how much I love The Book Thief and she let me reread it. So, I have had a really good experience when it comes to reading mandated books for English. This year, for ninth grade, it was the first year I was assigned a classic novel. As you can see by the post title, it was To Kill a Mockingbird. While most of my classmates were dreading the thought of reading To Kill a Mockingbird, I was
genuinely excited. I had yet to read any classics and I was so excited to read such a highly acclaimed novel. 
     About four years ago, I began reading The Caster Chronicles, a.k.a the Beautiful Creatures series, by Kami Garcia and Margret Stohl. It was one of the first series I read when my love for reading took off and the series has remained with me for all these years. One question I always asked myself was, who is Boo Radley? Everyone in the small town of Gatlin, South Carolina compared Uncle Macon, the town recluse, to Boo. I knew Boo Radley originated from a classic novel, but I never knew that he was from To Kill a
Mockingbird. But, after reading the novel, I realized the deep connection between
The Caster Chronicles and To Kill a Mockingbird. Both novels are based in deep southern towns that live in the past. Gatlin is unable to move on from the Civil War, they reenact the battles every year as if the outcome of the war will turn out differently. While Maycomb is unable to move towards racial justice. The last time I reread Beautiful Creatures was in early 2013 to prepare for the upcoming release of the book-to-movie adaptation. Now, I am interested to reread Beautiful Creatures to see if I can pick up on any more similarities between the two books. I think it is extremely fascinating that, in retrospect, The Caster Chronicles is loosely based off of To Kill a Mockingbird. It is just like Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities and Cassandra Clare's The Infernal Devices trilogy.
     To Kill a Mockingbird was full of rich and timeless quotes. To save myself time when it came to writing my analysis, I had marked any quotes that I found important or that could potentially make my analysis stronger. I had mentioned in my ARC review of The Return that I easily get post-it note happy, and the copy of To Kill a Mockingbird that I borrowed from my school is the perfect example. I went through about four different colors of post-its, but thankfully, they were knock-offs, so when it came time for me to return the school's copy, I had not just wasted a ton of money since I had to take out all the post-its. It was rather sad though, because I had spent so much time labeling that I could no longer admire the array of colors and all the effort I put into it. Before returning my copy, I went through the book and wrote down all of the quotes I wanted to keep on record because I love to write down quotes for inspiration. Out of all the quotes I chose to keep, by far my favorite was said on page 50 by Miss Maudie, "There are some kind of men who—who’re so busy worrying about the next world they've never learned to live in this one, and you can look down the street and see the results.” Although that quote was intended for Maycomb, I can easily relate to it. I am constantly thinking about what my future holds and how amazing it will be, yet I never live in the present. I have had many amazing opportunities and I have taken some of them, but others I have been so caught up on thinking about what it could lead to, that I never take the steps to make them a reality. You are capable of doing anything, it is just a matter of doing it. To keep my head in the present, I try to tell myself you can't be memorable if you don't do something worth remembering.
        As a reader, one of the the most annoying things to hear is someone telling you, "It is just a book." But, there is some truth to that. To Kill a Mockingbird is a classic novel full of timelessly relevant themes and quotes that can be interpreted in numerous ways. However, no matter how much you analyze something, it doesn't change anything. We can pick classic novels apart as much as we want, but it will only get us so far. Knowledge and action are two completely different things. Books spark the change by giving us the knowledge, but we are the only ones who can cause change. I do not know about you, but I have not recently, or ever for that matter, seen books walking down the street and initiating change.  
     I really enjoyed reading To Kill a Mockingbird. Its timeless themes, quotes and knowledge had me constantly flipping the pages. It definitely deserves its title as an "American Classic" and I hope future generations will also get the chance to enjoy reading it as well. I am interested in rereading To Kill a Mockingbird when I get older because I have heard from several different people that, at different ages, you comprehend the novel differently. I am interested to see how my perspective changes with age. 
     I would highly recommend reading To Kill a Mockingbird if you somehow miraculously escaped the "torture" in high school. Or, if you still have a couple of years until you reach that road, I recommend getting cozy with the novel early. You may enjoy reading more willingly than by force. I am thrilled for the release of Harper Lee's second novel, Go Set a Watchman, the only sequel for To Kill a Mockingbird, which is set to be released in July of this year.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Wicked (Wicked #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

SummaryThings are about to get Wicked in New Orleans.

Twenty-two year old Ivy Morgan isn’t your average college student. She, and others like her, know humans aren’t the only thing trolling the French Quarter for fun… and for food. Her duty to the Order is her life. After all, four years ago, she lost everything at the hands of the creatures she’d sworn to hunt, tearing her world and her heart apart.

Ren Owens is the last person Ivy expected to enter her rigidly controlled life. He’s six feet and three inches of temptation and swoon-inducing charm. With forest-green eyes and a smile that’s surely left a stream of broken hearts in its wake, he has an uncanny, almost unnatural ability to make her yearn for everything he has to offer. But letting him in is as dangerous as hunting the cold-blooded killers stalking the streets. Losing the boy she loved once before had nearly destroyed her, but the sparking tension that grows between them becomes impossible for Ivy to deny. Deep down, she wants… she needs more than what her duty demands of her, what her past has shaped for her.

But as Ivy grows closer to Ren, she realizes she’s not the only one carrying secrets that could shatter the frail bond between them. There’s something he’s not telling her, and one thing is for certain. She’s no longer sure what is more dangerous to her—the ancient beings threatening to take over the town or the man demanding to lay claim to her heart and her soul. (Via

Pages: 372

Release Date: December 8th, 2014

Rating: 5/5 Stars

     If you have read at least a couple of my reviews, more than likely you picked up on the fact that I absolutely love Jennifer L. Armentrout. She is both a phenomenal author and person. I have had the honor to meet Jennifer four times and I have read nearly all of her books. The more times I meet her and the more books I read of hers somehow makes me love her even more, which is crazy because I absolutely adore her already.
     Wicked is Jennifer's newest release and her first self-published novel. It amazes me that a New York Times and an International Bestselling author like Jennifer would decide to self-publish. Off the top of my head, I can think of at least five different publishing houses she is signed with. One reason I adore her as much as I do is because she is able to write any genre and has a wide range of publishing houses under her belt. She is very diverse. 
     The best way to describe Wicked is a "grown-up" version of The Mortal Instruments series. The book is based in New Orleans and it follows Ivy Morgan, who is a member of the Order. The Order is a group of humans that hunt fae and send them back to their realm in the Otherworld. 
     I have only read two other fae series, The Iron Fey and its' spin-off series, The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten, and out of the two, I only enjoyed The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten series. I am not a huge fan of series that revolve around fae. I can't exactly put my finger on what I do not like about the fae but I think I despise them as much as I do because the series that include them are executed poorly. But, Jennifer has caused my feelings towards fae to take a 180 degree turn. With her writing style and the use of her one-of-a-kind plots, she can turn anything boring into a book you can't put down. I really wish she would write my study guides for Academic Decathlon, because then I might actually read them.
     I swear when Jennifer L. Armentrout writes a new book, she has a checklist that she must include; at least one hot male character and a fiery hot romance. Without a doubt, she quadruple checked her checklist when it came to Wicked. Wicked features heart-racing action, a swoon worthy male character, a fiery hot romance that takes your breath away, and an ending that leaves you wanting more. 
     I have no idea how to compare Jennifer L. Armentrout's books anymore. I finished reading The Return a couple months ago and named it my favorite Jennifer L. Armentrout book, but after Wicked, I am not so sure which book by Jennifer is my favorite. We are only three months into the new year and I am already struggling to choose my favorite Jennifer L. Armentrout book, and she has a ton of new releases scheduled for this year. My top five books of 2015 are going to be a mess... 
      I would highly recommend checking out Wicked, especially if you are a big fan of The Mortal Instruments series or any of Cassandra Clare's books based in the Shadowhunter world. I also highly, highly recommend reading any other Jennifer L. Armentrout book. She has written books in so many different genres, I guarantee you will be able to find one that suits you.

     The cover of Wicked is the perfect fit for the novel. Not only is the cover as gorgeous as the story itself, it also relates to the story. As much as I love underwater covers, they typically do not apply to the story. But, I loved that the cover of Wicked symbolizes Ren and Ivy's relationship. Ivy mentions that Ren makes her feel like she is underwater several times throughout the book and I love that the photographer was able to capture that. For the cover reveal, Jennifer put together a blog post and included pictures that went behind-the-scenes of the shoot and she also mentioned that the covers for the other two books in the trilogy where also shot during the same photo shoot. I am really excited to see what the other two covers look like and I am glad that all three covers should match since they were taken at the same location with the same models. (Click here to view Jennifer's blog post)
     I loved the characters in Wicked because they all had fun personalities and niches. Whenever I meet Jennifer, I can always tell she puts a little piece of herself into each and every one of her characters because when I have conversations with her, I can see her characters doing or saying the same thing. It is rather magical to watch her characters come alive through her. Before I begin to gush about how much I loved each character, I want to address something. I was ecstatic when Ivy (and of course Ren) mentioned that not only is Ivy a ginger, but she also has blue eyes. I have yet to come across a character in any book that is both a ginger and blue eyed. As a ginger with blue eyes, I was so excited that I finally fit the description for not only a bad-a** character, but a Jennifer L. Armentrout character. 
     I loved being able to connect with Ivy over the fact that we are both gingers. I understood her anger when Ren would call her Merida or somehow offend her hair because I get that on a daily basis as well. But, it was nice to be able to view her situation as a bystander. The jokes Ren came up about her hair had me constantly laughing so hard that I almost cried. I will admit that some of the things people come up with about me are hysterical, as well, but I usually take them the wrong way because I immediately view them as an insult like Ivy does. Wicked gave me the perspective that I should lighten up on these sort of jokes  because they are a form of teasing, they are not meant to hurt me. 
     Jennifer definitely knows how to create an A-list fictional boyfriend. Ren has bypassed countless fictional characters to his current position as my #2 favorite fiction boyfriend. It is crazy that he has bypassed so many contenders because he has beaten out characters that I have known for several books while I have only read one book featuring Ren. For example, Ren pushed Adrian Ivashkov from spot #3 to spot #4 and I have read eleven books that feature Adrian. Let that sink in for a minute. 
     Anyway, I loved Ren's character because he is witty, compassionate, intelligent, and can handle a stake. Not only that, but I tend to love male character that have a dark and depressing back story; Ren easily fits into that category. That fact made the ending of Wicked SO much harder. I have no idea how Ren is going to react when he discovers that Ivy is the halfling he was sent to find and kill. He still blames himself for Noah's death and he has such deeply rooting feelings for Ivy, this will not end well. 
     In the back of my mind, I do wonder if Ren knows that Ivy is the halfling. When he explained to Ivy about the Elite and halflings he said they ruled out Ivy, but how could the Elite be so sure Ivy was not the halfling unless they were to nick her with the thorn stake. I would never rely on the fact that her parents appeared happily married because, apparently,  they were not since she ended up as a halfling. If I was the Elite, I would want solid evidence by nicking her with the thorn stake in order to rule Ivy out as a possibility. I do not like to think that Ren was hiding this from Ivy, but Ren does not seem like the person to go along with loose evidence. I wonder if the Elite planted Ren to get close to Ivy in order to see if she is the halfling and Ren has fallen in love with her and has stopped his mission. 
     Another crazy theory I have, is that Ivy is pregnant. How else do you explain the prince "healing" Ivy. From the description we got of prince, he does not seem like the type to save others. Since the portal is opened, the only way to keep it that way, it for the fae prince to have a baby with a human and fae have been too quiet. The only way to explain that is if the prince already got someone pregnant because the fae have no desire to go back to their realm, they should be doing everything in their power to keep the portal open. 
     On a lighter note, Tink was the perfect comic-relief. His entrances into a scene were always laugh worthy and his courage for being the size of a barbie doll was admirable. I remember when Jennifer started posting pictures on Facebook that were of troll dolls and would mentioned Tink's name. So, going into Wicked, I was under the impression that Tink was a troll doll, not that he was actually obsessed with them. You can imagine my surprise when he turned out as nothing of the sort. My favorite scene with Tink was when Ren "broke" into Ivy's room and Tink was in the doorway with a mini frying pan ready to attack. Normally, a break-in scene would be very suspenseful and nail-biting but I was laughing the entire time and excited to see what Tink would try to do next.       
    I thought it was really touching that Jennifer used the names of some of her close author and blogger friends in Wicked. Not that Wicked did not already include touches of Jennifer since she wrote the book, but it really gave Wicked a more personal touch that rarely any authors give their books.
    Wicked was the perfect blend of romance, action, suspense, and comedy that has you highly anticipating the next novel. I can't even describe in words how much I need Torn, the second book in the trilogy, after the heart-stopping conclusion of Wicked. I can't wait to be reunited with the characters in Torn and kick some more fae butt. After this review I really need to look up a synonym for love because I used it in every other sentence... 

(Drew Leighty, Me, Jennifer L. Armentrout)
Photo taken last weekend at ApollyCon

The Assassin's Blade (Throne of Glass #0.1-#0.5) & Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) by Sarah J. Maas

SummaryCelaena Sardothien is Adarlan's most feared assassin. As part of the Assassin's Guild, her allegiance is to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam. In these action-packed novellas - together in one edition for the first time - Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and seeks to avenge the tyrannous. But she is acting against Arobynn's orders and could suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery. Will Celaena ever be truly free? Explore the dark underworld of this kick-ass heroine to find out. (Via

Pages: 435

Release Date: March 4th, 2014

Rating: 4/5 Stars


SummaryAfter serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom. 

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another.

Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

Pages: 404

Release Date: August 7th, 2014 

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

     The Throne of Glass series had been sitting on my To-Be-Read pile for over a year. I have had all four books since Heir of Fire was released in early September of last year and I have heard nothing but good things about the series from everyone and their mother. However, I have been procrastinating to read the series.
     Usually I am able to get on a book bandwagon ahead of time or when the series is starting to pick up steam, but that was not the case for Throne of Glass. I had been pushing off reading the series because I was so nervous about all the hype surrounding it. I tend to love books that many people do not like and I tend to hate books that a lot of people love. For example, I read The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater way before all the buzz surrounding it and I absolutely hated it. I have only ever meet one person that felt the same way. 
     Anyway, I knew I had to eventually read Throne of Glass and the perfect window of opportunity arose when it was announced that the author, Sarah J. Maas, was going to attend ApollyCon, the release party for Jennifer L. Armentrout's The Return, in Philadelphia. I decided that I wanted to try to have at least read half of her books before I met her so I would not look like a fool. Thankfully, I was able to meet my goal and I got to talk to Sarah J. Maas about her books. We didn't talk too much about her actual book, but we discussed the cover pages. I thought the crystal looking images on the cover page was salt from the Endovier salt mine while Sarah assumed it was glass. After a couple minutes debate, we concluded that it looked more like Jello than anything else.
      Going into both The Assassins Blade and Throne of Glass, I had extremely high expectations. Thankfully, my expectations were met. Celaena is such a sassy and kick-butt character who is so relatable; although, I do not know about you, but I am not nearly as coordinated or intimidating as her.  
     I approached the Throne of Glass novels rather slowly. One of the hardest genres for me to get into is fantasy. I love a good fantasy novel but it takes me a while to get used to the world building and all the magical/fictional elements to the world. Once I am used to the world though, I am able to really indulge in the story and get taken away into their world. I took my time reading The Assassins Blade and the first half of Throne of Glass until I was really familiar with the world and did not have to refer to the map every five minutes. Once I got used to the world, I really got lost in the story. 
     On Sarah J. Maas' website I printed out the Throne of Glass pronunciation guide and the map of Erilea as references and I highly recommend doing so. I know I am not the only one that does not understand how to say half of Sarah J. Maas' characters and the pronunciation guide really came in handy. Now I can actually talk to someone about the series and not use acronyms or a name somewhat close to theirs in order to refer to them (*cough* Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy *cough*). I know there is a map of Erilea in on one of the first pages in each of the books, but it is inconvenient to constantly flip back and forth between the map and the story. I love when maps are included in books but I wish they unfolded so you could refer to the maps and still read at the same time.  
     The first thing that automatically draws you into the Throne of Glass series is the cover. They are absolutely stunning and extremely unique. I really want a glass display case in my room in order to display all my books that have beautiful covers. The only thing that somewhat freaks me out about the book is its size. Each of the books are bigger than my head. I do not know why, but for some reason, that really concerns me.  
     The Assassins Blade and Throne of Glass constantly had my heart racing while I was on the edge of my seat. I could not get enough of either of the books and I am so excited to continue reading the series. I would highly recommend reading this series if you are a fan of heart racing action, fantasy, or the novel Graceling by Kristin Cashore. 


     I do not know what to think about Arobynn. On one hand, he is a horribly manipulative person who arranged Sam's death, On the other hand, he is the only parent Celaena has ever had and raised her to become such a strong women and assassin. He has proven countless times to never double-cross him, but Celaena always does. I do not know if we should hate Arobynn for being himself or hate Celaena for trusting him. I am leaning more towards the latter because she has witnessed and been punished for double-crossing Arobynn several times but she has yet to learn from her mistakes. In both of the novels, she has been trying to talk herself out of believing that Arobynn was the one to arrange Sam's death and surrender her to the king. You can only pity Celaena for ending up in the salt mines for so long because she put all of this on herself by double-crossing Arobynn. Yet, it is hard to because Arobynn saved her life when she was a child and gave her a second chance at life. I would not want to believe that the person who raised/saved me would be capable of doing such horrible things. However, Celaena should be somewhat immune to Arobynn's cunning and deceptive side since she has known him for almost her entire life. What do you guys think of Arobynn? 
     A few months prior to reading The Assassins Blade I was scrolling down my news feed on Twitter when I stumbled upon a tweet in which a reader was crying to Sarah J. Mass about killing off Sam. Like everyone else, I HATE coming across spoilers online, especially when they are major plot twists. They normally ruin the book for me because I am so focused on trying to find the spoiled scene that I miss out on the beauty of the book I am reading. The spoiler I came across about Sam's death really put a damper on The Assassins Blade for me. Instead of flying threw the pages in anticipation of the unknown ending, I was savoring Celaena and Sam's moments together and dreading to finish the book. Surprisingly, when it came to Sam's death, I cried. Normally when I am spoiled about a character's death, I am perfectly fine because I was prepared for it to happen. Sam really touched me. He got under my skin and I did not want him to leave. 
     One thing I really wanted to address briefly in my review was the fact that Celaena had her period during Throne of Glass. Out of the hundreds of books I have read, this is the first book I have read to include a female character on her period. I could not stop laughing during the scene when she was feeling horrible due to her menstrual cycle and at first Chaol did not believe she was feeling sick until she vomited. Then he gets worried  because
 she is sick and all the while Celaena is trying to explain to him she is on her period without saying it. Like most guys, Chaol does not understand what she is talking about and Celaena had to tell him. The struggles of periods and males being oblivious to them are two struggles women face monthly and it was so funny to see it happen outside of my own experiences. 
     Along with all the hype for the series, I also heard a lot about the love triangle. I am currently on Team Dorian but I have not been exposed to both of the boys long enough in order to pick which one fits Celaena best. More than likely I will have a definite pick by the end of Crown of Midnight.
     My current reading schedule has not allowed me to continue on in the Throne of Glass series, but I hope to read the next two books, Crown of Midnight and Heir of Fire, in April or May. I am currently satisfied with the ending of Throne of Glass and I can wait a couple of months for my schedule to clear in order to give the next two books my undivided attention. I at least hope to finish them by BookCon this year so if I meet Sarah J. Maas again, I can talk to her more in depth about her books. 
     I have no idea what to expect in Crown of Midnight. From what was featured/foreshadowed in Throne of Glass, I expect more kick-butt characters and dangerous missions for Celaena to complete as the king's Champion. I am also hoping for some more magic elements woven into the plot and, of course, romance.
     Overall, The Assassins Blade and Throne of Glass are two gorgeous books on both the inside and the outside. The books are packed full of action, fantasy, and suspense that leaves you wanting me.  

(Me, Sarah J. Maas)
Photo Taken at ApollyCon

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Beautiful Redemption (The Maddox Brothers #2) by Jamie McGuire

SummaryIf A Maddox boy falls in love, he loves forever. But what if he didn't love you, first? 

No-nonsense Liis Lindy is an agent of the FBI. Deciding she is married only to her job, she breaks off her engagement and transfers from Chicago to the field office in San Diego. She loves her desk. She is committed to her laptop. She dreams of promotions and shaking hands with the director after cracking an impossible case. 

Special Agent in Charge Thomas Maddox is arrogant, unforgiving, and ruthless. He is tasked with putting away some of the world’s toughest criminals, and he is one of the best the Bureau has to offer. Though, as many lives as he’s saved, there is one that is beyond his reach. Younger brother Travis is faced with prison time for his involvement in a basement fire that killed dozens of college students, and the media want a conviction. Travis’s only savior is his unusual tie to the mob. In a deal that will spare his brother, Thomas has agreed to recruit Travis into the FBI. 

Liis is stubborn, defiant, and yet somehow softens Thomas’s rough edges, making her the perfect agent to accompany him to the ceremony. Posing as a couple, they must travel to Travis & Abby’s beach vow renewal and give him the news, but when the pretending ends, she finds herself wondering if they were pretending at all. 

In the second installment of the Maddox Brothers books, experience firsthand the mysterious world of the elusive Thomas Maddox, and how good love can be when you’re not the first, but the last. (Via

Pages: 253

Release Date: January 27th, 2015

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

     I was blown away when I read the first book in The Maddox Brother series, Beautiful Oblivion, a couple months ago. It instantly became one of my favorite books and it made the next book in the series, Beautiful Redemption, one of my five most highly anticipated books of 2015. I knew it was going to be hard for Beautiful Redemption to measure up to Beautiful Oblivion, but I should not have expected anything less from Jamie McGuire. Each installment of the series unravels new characters we have yet to properly understand or meet. 
     I love how each book in the series is like a piece of a Russian Nesting Doll. Each book fits into one another perfectly but if you miss reading a book, it does not take away from the story. My new addiction is not only the New Adult genre but companion series.  Companion series allow you to not only jump around in the same world and meet new characters; but, it allows you to check in with your favorite characters and see them through the eyes of other people. It is such a unique perspective and it allows you to move on from past characters but, at the same time, you have visitation rights with them.
     I am still unsure which Maddox brother is my favorite. I loved Travis in Beautiful Disaster and Walking Disaster but then Trent came swooping in on Beautiful Oblivion. I thought I had my mind set on Trent but then Thomas came barging in on Beautiful Redemption. I feel like this is going to be a reoccurring pattern for the next two novels in The Maddox Brothers series. I think it is impossible to pick a favorite Maddox brother because they each have their own problems and you can't begin to compare them to one another. 
     I was able to attend ApollyCon in Philadelphia this past weekend and two of the authors that attended were Jamie McGuire and her daughter, Eden Fierce. It was amazing to be able to meet Jamie because she is such a phenomenal author and I absolutely adore her books. Also, her fifteen year old daughter, Eden Fierce, is only a year older than I am and has already self-published her own novel, Eyes of the Woods, and I have heard really good things about it. They were both gorgeous ladies and Jamie told me she loved my hair, which made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I am happy to now have my collection of Jamie McGuire books signed and my very own Property of Travis Maddox t-shirt that I picked up at Jamie's booth during ApollyCon.
     Not only does the story and writing get better in each installment of the series, so do the covers. All of the covers are beautiful and I want to display them on my wall for everyone to see. They are not only beautiful to look at but they usually tie into the story. 
     I really enjoyed reading Beautiful Redemption and I originally rated it a five out of five stars, but I have recently changed it to a four and a half out of five stars because I could not overlook something Liis did that really irritated me. However, Beautiful Redemption features a romance that has you cheering for it from page one and it leaves you in a pile of mush by the last page. I am so excited to see all the couples yet again and read Taylor's story in Beautiful Sacrifice, which does not have a set release date that I am aware of. I am so excited to see where the series takes us next and to see what other books Jamie McGuire has in the works. 


     Whenever I read Beautiful Oblivion, it did not take a rocket scientist to figure out that T.J. was actually Thomas. But, it did spark my curiosity why Thomas dated Cami after Trent laid claim on her. The Maddox brothers are nothing if not loyal. That question was not really answered in Beautiful Redemption but it was nice to see that Thomas genuinely loved Cami. In Beautiful Oblivion, Cami was the narrator and  it seemed as though Thomas did not have any feelings for her. I thought Thomas was stringing Cami along the whole time. But, we could see Thomas' struggle to let Cami go in Beautiful Redemption.
     That lead to my major problem I mentioned above about Liis. I hated the lack of compassion Liis showed towards Thomas and Cami's relationship. I understand she had never been in in love with anyone, but that did not justify her being so rude to Thomas because he was unable to get over Cami quick enough. Cami was Thomas' first love and he has to spend a lot of time around her when all of his family gets together, and that is something Liis has to deal with. Cami obviously loves Trent, and Thomas loves Liis, there is nothing going on between Cami and Thomas.  
     I really sympathized for Thomas because, all of a sudden, Cami gets engaged to Trent, then Travis hates Thomas because he has lie to Abby in order to stay out of jail, and then Liis starts ignoring Thomas because he is struggling to let Cami go. Poor Thomas already lives in solitude and the people he cares the most for were throwing an I Hate Thomas, Let's Make His Life More Miserable party.
     Although Thomas and Liis had to battle many internal and external forces to have their ever-so-deserving relationship, I am happy it all worked out in the end. I just hope that Liis is able to cut Thomas more slack in the future. I like that Liis' character is serious and strong, but at times, that makes her seem extremely heart-less. Thomas is a fantastic guy with many problems. He can't always be perfect and he is going to slip up here and there. Liis needs to understand and accept that.  
     Jamie McGuire has done it again. Beautiful Redemption was an extremely addicting read that had me flipping the pages faster than I possibly could. She delivers a romantic story with plenty of action and drama to satisfy your needs. I am so excited to meet a new couple and be reunited with older couples in the next book in The Maddox Brother series, Beautiful Sacrifice. 

(Eden Fierce, Me, Jamie McGuire)
Photo Taken at ApollyCon