Mini RANT: The McDouble

7 Jun

How hard is it to fully cook a burger??

I know, my rants tend to be focused on Fast Food places, specifically the McDonald’s down the street from me. But is it really that hard to cook a burger so that it’s not pink and gray inside? This has happened to me the past threeeeee times I’ve been there. Each time that much worse.

I’m all for people wanting their burgers rare, medium rare, raw! But when it comes to my processed, packed, meat patty; I would like it to be well done. I would like to order a burger that doesn’t taste like chewing gum in my mouth and that doesn’t have dead lettuce clutching onto the ketchup for dear life. That my friends, is not a good burger.  And that is the end of my mini RANT. Thank you for taking the time to listen.

BOOK REVIEW: Evernight by Claudia Gray

4 Jun

I’m not quite sure what to say about EVERNIGHT. I have to admit I’d been avoiding this book because of the cover but finally decided to read it when another blogger recommended it. When I started EVERNIGHT I knew I was going to love it, the first pages pulled me in right away and I knew I would be hooked. What I wasn’t expecting was the story to lull for awhile; making me put the book down more than once.

Here’s the synopsis from Goodreads:

Bianca wants to escape.

She’s been uprooted from her small hometown and enrolled at Evernight Academy, an eerie Gothic boarding school where the students are somehow too perfect: smart, sleek, and almost predatory. Bianca knows she doesn’t fit in.

Then she meets Lucas. He’s not the “Evernight type” either, and he likes it that way. Lucas ignores the rules, stands up to the snobs, and warns Bianca to be careful—even when it comes to caring about him.

“I couldn’t stand it if they took it out on you,” he tells Bianca, “and eventually they would.”

But the connection between Bianca and Lucas can’t be denied. Bianca will risk anything to be with Lucas, but dark secrets are fated to tear them apart . . . and to make Bianca question everything she’s ever believed.

While I could relate to Bianca’s character, her swooning over Lucas left me feeling a little woozy. She fell so hard so quickly that I didn’t have enough time to fall in love with Lucas myself which left me feeling a bit off balance when I hardly even knew the guy. The one character I did fall in love with was Balthazar; he was a gentlemen, he was confident, smart, and he genuinely cared about Bianca. (I was quietly rooting for him throughout the entire book).

What I think a lot of people have felt deceived about was the twist in the second half of the book, which I already knew about due to some spoiler-filled reviews. But the twist, even knowing it, didn’t bother me in the least, although I think some things should have panned out differently, Gray knowingly put the pieces together so that it wouldn’t be such a shock when the reader finally got to that twist.

By the end, the story had picked up and I couldn’t put the book down! I was turning page after page trying to figure out what was going to happen next. The tension is definitely in the second half of the book. So if you haven’t picked up EVERNIGHT yet you definitely should.

BOOK REVIEW: Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson

2 Jun

First Impressions: RIVETING

I’ve got chills running up and down my arms right now. I don’t know what I can tell you about ULTRAVIOLET without giving away the entire intricate plot. It’s a story that weaves mental illness with science fiction and it does so brilliantly. Alison is a relatable character filled with fears, the absence of confidence, and an inner strength I wish I had. ULTRAVIOLET kept me riveted from the first chapter to the last and everywhere in-between.

 

 

Here’s the synopsis from Goodreads:

Once upon a time there was a girl who was special.

This is not her story.

Unless you count the part where I killed her.

Sixteen-year-old Alison has been sectioned in a mental institute for teens, having murdered the most perfect and popular girl at school. But the case is a mystery: no body has been found, and Alison’s condition is proving difficult to diagnose. Alison herself can’t explain what happened: one minute she was fighting with Tori — the next she disintegrated. Into nothing. But that’s impossible. Right?

I wasn’t expecting so much from this book about a girl in a mental institution who is more than she seems. And I definitely wasn’t expecting the twists and turns this story took towards the second half of the book. Alison is different from other people; where there are sounds Alison sees colors and where there are words Alison tastes flavors. She’s sent to a mental institution because they think she’s murdered the most popular girl in her school. And the only one who believes her innocence is not who she thinks they are. So without giving away any spoilers, I need to tell you to get this book when it releases on September 1st (US)! This book definitely caught me by surprise and spun this unbelievable tale of believing in yourself no matter what anybody says.

Cover: I really think a different cover would be more appropriate for the story…

BOOK REVIEW: The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

25 May

I admit I initially wanted to read this book because of the cover, I mean, look at it! It’s absolutely stunning. And then I started reading… And I was pleasantly surprised. This was my first Steampunk novel and I was immediately swept away.

Cross’ world is littered with metal contraptions and interesting characters. The main character is captivating, daring, naïve, and strong all wrapped into this little package. In other words, I LOVED this book. I don’t want to give away the entire premise because then I’d be giving away some spoilers but I’ll just let you read the synopsis from goodreads:

In 1897 England, sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne has no one…except the “thing” inside her.

When a young lord tries to take advantage of Finley, she fights back. And wins. But no normal Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch….

Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she’s special, says she’s one of them. The orphaned duke takes her in from the gaslit streets against the wishes of his band of misfits: Emily, who has her own special abilities and an unrequited love for Sam, who is part robot; and Jasper, an American cowboy with a shadowy secret.

Griffin’s investigating a criminal called The Machinist, the mastermind behind several recent crimes by automatons. Finley thinks she can help—and finally be a part of something, finally fit in.

But The Machinist wants to tear Griff’s little company of strays apart, and it isn’t long before trust is tested on all sides. At least Finley knows whose side she’s on—even if it seems no one believes her.

I was utterly surprised by this book, although I loved the cover, I didn’t expect to love the story as much as I did. And now I’m in love with this Victorian world filled with metal machines and robots. It’s definitely different from the books that I normally read but it kept my attention and was captivating and intriguing.

I loved Finley because of how much she progressed as a character throughout the story. She wasn’t a one note character, she grew and changed and became stronger and I felt like I was with her during that entire journey. And although there was chemistry between Finley and Griffin, it didn’t overwhelm the story. I was more interested in the mystery that was taking place and the tension was an added bonus!

I kind of felt a bit disconnected from the rest of the characters but I think that’s because the perspectives changed so much. And although I loved the character of Jack, Finley’s attraction to him seemed a bit random. The ending definitely made me feel like I was watching “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” So you can probably count on this being book one in a series.  I would definitely check out THE GIRL IN THE STEEL CORSET if you haven’t already. It’s such a great intro into Steampunk if you haven’t read any before!

BOOK REVIEW: Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols

23 May

Favorite line: “Maybe he was afraid I had Stockholm Syndrome after all, the kind where your captor makes your arms tingle.”

(Writing this during my lunch break) I expected to like GOING TOO FAR, I even expected to enjoy it, what I didn’t expect was how much I’d love it. This is my first Echols novel and it definitely will not be my last.

Here’s the synopsis from Goodreads:

All Meg has ever wanted is to get away. Away from high school. Away from her backwater town. Away from her parents who seem determined to keep her imprisoned in their dead-end lives. But one crazy evening involving a dare and forbidden railroad tracks, she goes way too far…and almost doesn’t make it back.

John made a choice to stay. To enforce the rules. To serve and protect. He has nothing but contempt for what he sees as childish rebellion, and he wants to teach Meg a lesson she won’t soon forget. But Meg pushes him to the limit by questioning everything he learned at the police academy. And when he pushes back, demanding to know why she won’t be tied down, they will drive each other to the edge — and over….

I wanted to shake Meg throughout the entire story until the reason behind her outrageous behavior was eventually explained. And then I still wanted to shake her. But I still empathized with her and wanted her to make it through, even if she was kicking and screaming the entire time.

I didn’t expect to get so many laughs out of GOING TO FAR. I was laughing throughout the entire book at Meg’s antics and her quirky southern phrases. The way Echols has written GOING TOO FAR pulls you into the story so you don’t feel like a bystander but a significant part of the story, and Meg is pulling you along the entire way.

Not to mention the incredible chemistry between Meg and John. I was rooting for them throughout the entire story until the very end. So if you haven’t read GOING TOO FAR I would definitely recommend checking it out!

BOOK REVIEW: Divergent by Veronica Roth

20 May

First Impressions: OMG! YES!

Last Impressions: OMG! YES YES YES!

I just finished DIVERGENT during my lunch break and OMG I can’t describe the emotions that are running through me at the moment. I have this lump in the pit of my stomach and butterflies trying to fly out of my throat and my heart is so full and heavy! Indescribable!

I have to admit, I was wary going into DIVERGENT because of the hype and the synopsis. It just didn’t sound like my cup of tea (or any caffeinated beverage…). But it went above and beyond any of my expectations. This has to be the best book of the year, no, the best book EVER.

Here’s a synopsis from Goodreads:

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

I laughed, I cried, I did both at the same time and my stomach was in knots the entire time! Right when I felt relieved, something else happened, and then something else happened. I do have to warn you, there is a lot of violence, like, a lot of violence and it’s not for little kiddies to read at bedtime…

This is definitely a character driven story. Tris’ character is relatable; sometimes I wanted to scream at her and other times I couldn’t believe her bravery. She was selfish and selfless and everything in-between, she was HUMAN. And I think that’s something I find a little hard to find in YA literature lately. HUMAN characters that aren’t cut from cardboard boxes and flung into unbelievable circumstance and somehow make it out alive. Tris was believable, relatable, and I was emotionally connected with her from the first moment her voice rose from the pages. If you haven’t read DIVERGENT… What are you waiting for?? Get it YESTERDAY, yes, I said yesterday.

Random paragraph: I look at my reflection in the mirror on the back wall and see a stranger. She is blond like me, with a narrow face like mine, but that’s where the similarities stop.  I do not have a black eye, and a split lip and a bruised jaw. I am not as pale as a sheet. She can’t possibly be me, though she moves when I move.

And does anyone else think the Divergent just have ADD…?

Giveaway Winner! Beauty Queens & Rebel Angels by Libba Bray

17 May
Congratulations to Jenny from the Supernatural Snark! You won my copy of Beauty Queens by Libba Bray as well as a copy of Rebel Angels by Libba Bray. I’ll send you an e-mail soon so I can get the books out to you asap! Thanks to everyone else for entering!
Winner selected by random.org

GIVEAWAY: True Blood Season #1

13 May

I know this isn’t a book… But its series is based on some awesome books I’ve JUST started reading. I’ve been wanting to do this giveaway for awhile now and since there’s about a month until True Blood’s new season begins, I thought now would be the perfect time! This giveaway is definitely for you vampire lovers!

To enter: all you have to do is leave a comment with your e-mail address and click that alohomora button to the right.

Only 18+

Or get extra entries by tweeting, blogging, or becoming my friend on goodreads!

This giveaway will end on June 16th. So tweet as much as you want!

This is open internationally.

WRITING: Outlining Your Story…

10 May

Does anyone else have a problem with this? Because I always feel like I’m the only one who grapples with writing scene after scene in chronological order in a list-like format. It just never happens, and when it does I lose all motivation to write the story (or novel) in the first place.

So I googled ‘Outlining Your Novel’ and came across links that I used a lot when I used to outline like crazy; and I think some of them could be useful for a few of you. Here they are:

The Ominous Snowflake method: The Snowflake Method

This method… (Probably the most well-known) takes an astronomical amount of time (for me), which can be good, get to know your characters… But I’m impatient, very impatient. And by step 3 I’m on to the next outline website…

The Writer’s Digest Outline: Writing.com

I really like this way of outlining but I never feel like I have enough information to use when I’m finished, but for some people this has worked miracles!

Notecard Plotting: Notecard Plotting Under Pressure

This one is probably one of my favorites and I love Holly Lisle so I guess I’m a bit biased. She has great articles on writing and plotting and character development; just google her name and all of her websites will pop up!

Outline Your Novel In 30 Minutes: 30 Minute Outline

This is another favorite, not only does it only take 30 minutes (it actually took me a little over an hour) it helps me to flesh out my characters motivations and that helps me to brainstorm more scenes.

Do you guys have any recommendations on how to outline? Or do you not outline at all?

Giveaway Winners! DUST CITY by Robert Paul Weston

9 May

Yes, PLURAL.

As in TWO winners. I couldn’t help myself! This is such a wonderful book and it should be read by as many people as possible! So I’m giving away both of my copies of DUST CITY (Yes… I own two) to the winners:)

Congratulations Brittany Hale and Kourtney Heintz! You’ve both won a copy of DUST CITY by Robert Paul Weston! I’ll send you guys an e-mail soon so I can get the books out to you asap! Thanks to everyone else for entering!

Winners selected by random.org

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