Saturday, June 30, 2012

Random Ramble: Summer (Rachel)

Summer is finally here, which makes me SO HAPPY! I am feeling ALL THE HAPPINESS. This means that I have survived one year of high school! (Only three more to go...which is TOO MANY...) And so I have time to read and write and sleep and blog and watch Youtube videos all day.


Anyway. So for the past few months, I've basically been under the impression that 2012 just started and it's still January. Weirdly enough, that is not the case! The year is half over...I think? Maybe? (Note: My math grade on my report card could have been a little better...) HALF OVER! That is CRAZY!

So far, 2012 has been a really great year, book-wise. I've been reading so many AMAZING books. According to Goodreads, I've read 57 books, and I don't believe I've rated any of them below three stars. It just seems like everything I've been reading lately is absolutely wonderful. YAY FOR GOOD BOOKS!

I was originally going to talk about my favorite books this year, maybe do a top ten, but then I looked at Goodreads and realized that there was absolutely no way I could narrow them down.

So I will just say this: The Fault in Our Stars is the best book I've read in 2012.

I love this cover so much! It's simple, but completely perfect. Also, the obnoxiously-bright blue makes it really easy to spot this book from the other end of the bookstore. :)
I think it's my favorite book ever. I've read it a whole bunch of times (maybe like, 6 or 7?) and listened to it on my Ipod too many times to count. (Side note: I totally bought the superspecial DFTBA Records limited edition audiobook thing that was narrated by John Green. It's the best thing ever.)

I am totally and completely in love with this book. I actually own three copies of it because of reasons. I highlighted all of my favorite quotes in one of the copies, which basically means I highlighted the entire book.

If I had to pick my second favorite book I've read this would be something like a twenty-way-tie. Because seriously, I've had the best half of a year EVER in books. So I'm not even going to try to make a list or anything.

Anyway, what else is somewhat interesting in my life? OH. So there's this thing that Megan (who is in Belize right now on vacation and making me feel so jealous!) and I have decided to do this summer. We're calling it Julowrimo. Basically, we're having our own version of NaNoWriMo, except in July. (NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November). We participated in NaNoWriMo for the first time this past year, and it was crazy and fun and weird and terrible and insane and miserable. It really motivated us to write, so we figure that hopefully Julowrimo (a thing we totally made up) will do the same.

So...yeah, we'll see how that goes...

So far, my summer has been wonderful. I'm looking forward to reading a lot of new books, in addition to rereading some of my favorites. I'll definitely be rereading a ton of Sarah Dessen books, because she is my favorite author EVER and I love her books and a lot of them take place during summer so they're perfect. (Also...I met Sarah Dessen last year and it was one of the best days of my entire life. She has been my writing hero for several years and she's the reason I want to be a writer. It was so surreal to actually be meeting her. I was totally FREAKING OUT.)

I know this post is kind of pointless, but I just wanted to put some of my brain vomit on the internet for everyone to see. If you actually read all of this, thank you very much. You're my new best friend (sorry Megan). 


Friday, June 29, 2012

Megan Rambles About Wolfsbane

Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer

From GoodreadsWhen Calla Tor wakes up in the lair of the Searchers, her sworn enemies, she's certain her days are numbered. But then the Searchers make her an offer, one that gives her the chance to destroy her former masters and save the pack and the man she left behind. Is Ren worth the price of her freedom? And will Shay stand by her side no matter what? Now in control of her own destiny, Calla must decide which battles are worth fighting and how many trials true love can endure and still survive.

I am so in love with the characters in this series!! Andrea Cremer did a really good job with this story. I definitely need to get Bloodrose soon. Like really soon.

I'll start with Calla, who is quickly becoming one of my favorite main characters. She's strong, bad ass, and handles herself really well in the craziest of situations. When we pick up with her again in Wolfsbane Calla is dealing with a lot. She made a decision at the end of Nightshade that changed her entire life. While she spent that book working up to her big decision at the end, she spends Wolfsbane having to deal with the consequences of what she's decided.

And let me tell you. Some of those cosequences are pretty brutal. The Keepers aren't exactly happy with Calla or any of her family members and friends. Trust me, if you didn't already hate the Keepers before reading this book, you definitely will by the time it's over. THEY ARE JUST SO EVIL. I can't even handle how evil they are. I spent half of this book just completely sickened by the Keepers. I didn't understand how they could treat people the way they did, and how they could hand out such harsh punishments so easily.

Allow me to pause for a second to talk about the love triangle. So recently Rachel and I did a Saturday Seven post on love triangles where we talked about which ones are written well, when we can actually choose "teams", etc. The love triangle between Calla, Ren, and Shay is definitely one of the good ones. Now that Calla is free to make her own decisions she thinks that choosing between Ren and Shay will be simple. It doesn't take long for her to figure out that just because she is free to choose whoever she wants to be with, the decision still isn't an easy one. I love Ren and Shay equally and I think that they would both be good for Calla. While she makes some steps towards a decision in this book, I think Bloodrose will really be the deciding factor here. This love triangle could still go either way and I'm excited to see who Calla ends up with. 

I'm completely hooked on this series, and I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of Bloodrose. If you haven't already started this series I highly recommend picking up Nightshade to start RIGHT NOW. (*cough*Rachel*cough*)


Monday, June 25, 2012

Rachel Rambles About A Midsummer's Nightmare

A Midsummer's Nightmare by Kody Keplinger
From Goodreads:
Whitley Johnson's dream summer with her divorcé dad has turned into a nightmare. She's just met his new fiancée and her kids. The fiancée's son? Whitley's one-night stand from graduation night. Just freakin' great.

Worse, she totally doesn't fit in with her dad's perfect new country-club family. So Whitley acts out. She parties. Hard. So hard she doesn't even notice the good things right under her nose: a sweet little future stepsister who is just about the only person she's ever liked, a best friend (even though Whitley swears she doesn't "do" friends), and a smoking-hot guy who isn't her least, not yet. It will take all three of them to help Whitley get through her anger and begin to put the pieces of her family together.

Filled with authenticity and raw emotion, Whitley is Kody Keplinger's most compelling character to date: a cynical Holden Caulfield-esque girl you will wholly care about.

Kody Keplinger has done it again. She has written another amazing book that I have fallen in love with.

The main character in this book is a bit of a hot mess. She's always partying and drinking and hooking up with guys she barely knows. Her relationship with her mom is pretty much nonexistent, and she only sees her dad when she spends summers with him. Whitley doesn't have friends, because she thinks they're a waste of time, and she prefers to be a loner.

Despite all of this, Whitley is a really likable main character. I think most teenagers will be able to identify with her in a lot of ways. She has an unlimited supply of teen angst, and her dry and sarcastic sense of humor makes her really fun to read about. I was cracking up at so many of the things she said in this book.

When Whitley shows up at her dad's house for the summer, he's all "SURPRISE! THIS IS MY FIANCÉE AND HER CHILDREN AND OH BY THE WAY THEY'RE GOING TO LIVE WITH US!" And it's really awkward for Whitley because she's like "Oh great. That kid who is my future step-brother? I totally had a drunken one-night-stand with him the other night! Wonderful!"

It's such an interesting and complex storyline. Nothing is simple or easy and Whitley struggles to find the right way to interact with all the different characters. This book is all about Whitley's relationships with the people around her--her father, future stepmother, future stepsister, new friend Harrison, and of course, Nathan, the guy she slept with and is now supposed to be like her brother.

By the end of the novel, Whitley has evolved into someone completely different than the person she was in the beginning. She undergoes a transformation that changes her for the better, all during a summer that is supposed to be a total nightmare.

I think A Midsummer's Nightmare might be my favorite of Kody Keplinger's books so far. If you've read The Duff (which you totally should because it's awesome), you'll love the little cameo that Wesley and Bianca make at one point. (I was jumping up and down and freaking out because I was so excited to see two of my favorite characters again.) This is one of those books that I have become emotionally invested in, and I think it's the perfect read for an angst-ridden teenager like myself. :)


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Saturday Seven #6

Today's topic is...

 Books With Love Triangles

Ahhhh, love triangles. A popular theme in YA. Sometimes they appear to be placed in the story for absolutely no reason. Sometimes they are done in such a way where Boy 1 is SO OBVIOUSLY the one she's going to pick and what's the point of even having Boy 2. And then, sometimes, there are books with love triangles that are done really well. So well that many readers can't even pick a team. The following books all have love triangles that we believe work really well in the story, and they are pretty much split 50/50 so that it's almost impossible to choose who we like better.

Rachel: Jack is sweet and swoonworthy and an amazing boyfriend to Nikki. But then there's Cole, who is dark and sexy and the ultimate bad boy. I think it's safe to say that Jack is kind of perfect for Nikki. But there is something about Cole that is just so attractive. 
It's a tough decision, but I'd have to say I'm on TEAM COLE. I don't care if he's a little bit evil or whatever. He plays the guitar!!

2. Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally
Rachel: Ty Green is the superhot new guy at school who also happens to be an amazing quarterback. Henry is Jordan's lifelong best friend who maybe wants to be more than friends. Both of their personalities work really well with Jordan's, and I think she could be happy with either one of them.
That said, I'm gonna go with TEAM HENRY because he's sweet and funny and I love that he's the best-friend-turned-boyfriend type of character.

Megan: Even though Ty is competition for Jordan's spot, he really cares about making sure that she's happy and playing the best she can. He also has a lot of respect for her and her abilities as a quarterback. And then there is Henry, Jordan's best friend since forever who is always there for her. If she gets hurt or needs anything at all, he's always the first one at her side. 

With both of their good qualities in mind..... TEAM HENRY because I absolutely love how much he cares for Jordan. Henry is definitely going to take care of Jordan.

3. A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies
Rachel: This love triangle is kind of amazing. The two boys are complete opposites in every way imaginable. Asher's all dark and wild and funny and loud. Devin's all light and serious and quiet and mysterious. Skye can't help but have feelings for both of them, because hello, they are both kind of amazing.
Devin's great and everything, but personally, I prefer Asher. TEAM ASHER all the way.

4. Unearthly/Hallowed by Cynthia Hand
Rachel: Christian is literally the boy of Clara's dreams. But Tucker is all cute and sweet and perfect with his cowboy boots and his small-town charm. With Christian, it's a bit complicated. But with Tucker, everything just comes naturally.
When I read the first book, I was totally TEAM TUCKER. But after reading the second book...I think I've switched teams. Which is so crazy. But yeah, I guess I'm TEAM CHRISTIAN now. (I'm so sorry Tucker! I can't help it! Christian snuck up on me and made me fall for him! There was nothing I could do about it!)

5. Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin
Rachel: So a lot of love triangles have the Good Guy vs. Bad Boy thing going on. But in this book, it's basically Bad Boy vs. Bad Boy. And, okay, I'm not exactly proud of this, but I'm a total sucker for Bad Boys in fiction. So I think Will and Elliott are just amazing. They each have a really interesting relationship with Araby, and oh my god I love these boys.
TEAM ELLIOT. He wins by only about one percent because I seriously am so in love with both Will and Elliot.

Megan: Rachel and I tend to have the same opinion on a lot of things. The fact that fictional Bad Boys are definitely hot. So stick two of them next to each other in one book and it is basically guaranteed that I will love them.
TEAM WILL. I know, I know. Rachel and I disagreed. But that should really show just how close these two boys are to each other. I'm completely in love with both Will and Elliott, but Will edges Elliott out by just a bit.

6. City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare
Rachel: This love triangle is interesting because it's with the more minor characters. Simon is torn between Maia and Isabelle, who are both gorgeous and badass and amazing. I could totally see him ending up with either one of them.
TEAM ISABELLE. As much as I love the relationship between Simon and Maia, there's something about Isabelle and Simon together that I think is just perfect.

Megan: Isabelle is the girl Simon couldn't take his eyes off of from the first moment he saw her. Maia is the girl he became who quickly became one of his best friends and then something a tiny bit more. And he just can't choose.
Me, I choose TEAM ISABELLE. Maia and Simon definitely have something, but for some reason I see Isabelle and Simon together in a more romantic way.

7. Clockwork Angel/Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
Rachel: And we've saved the best for last! This love triangle is something I could talk about for hours, so I'll keep it short and sweet. Jem and Will are best friends, pretty much the closest friends in the entire world. And Tessa is kind of in love with both of them. And Jem and Will are both in love with Tessa. So not only is Tessa torn between two different people, she's torn between two people who love each other and would never ever ever want to hurt each other. 
This is the one case where I am completely unable to pick a team. I have so much love for both Will and Jem and I honestly have no idea who Tessa will end up with.

Megan: This love triangle is completely and totally perfect. I could also rave about how awesome it is for hours, but I will try my best to condense it. Jem and Will are parabatai and they are as close as brothers. Then they both fall in love with Tessa who just happens to be in love with both of them too. So how can she choose either one of them when they love each other as much as they love her?
Do NOT ever ask me to pick a team in this love triangle. Because I absolutely can not do it. Will and Jem are both so perfect in completely different ways. I love them both and I definitely can't guess who Tessa is going to end up with in the end.

Do you have any ideas for future Saturday Seven topics? Can you think of any other really good love triangles? Let us know in the comments below!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Rachel Rambles About Bloodspell

Bloodspell by Amalie Howard
From Goodreads:
The spell was simple...

Cruentus Protectum (Defend the Blood)

But what do you do if your blood is your enemy?

Victoria Warrick has always known she was different. An outcast at school, she is no stranger to adversity. But when she receives an old journal for her seventeenth birthday, nothing prepares her for the dark secrets it holds -- much less one that reveals she's a witch with unimaginable power.

What's more, when she meets the dazzling but enigmatic Christian Devereux, she has no idea how much her life is about to change. Enemies will hunt her. Friends will turn on her. The terrible curse that makes her blood run black will stop at nothing to control her. And Christian has a sinister secret of his own...

Without knowing whom to trust, can Victoria survive her blood's deadly desires? Or will she lose everything, including herself?

I discovered this book when I met Amalie Howard at Kristi Cook's launch party for Mirage the other day, and basically I was all "ooooooooh pretty cover! And it's about witches?? I'M IN."

The main character, Victoria, is pretty awesome. On her seventeenth birthday, she finds out that she's a witch. And well, her whole life just gets a little bit crazy. She has to learn to use these new powers and oh BONUS her blood is doing this really weird thing and she doesn't know how to control it. But through all of that, she remains really strong and badass.

And then there's this guy. His name is Christian. I think I'm in love with him. Christian and Victoria experience a lot of ups and downs in their relationship. They have a lot of issues because of all their FEEEEELINGS and whatnot. Also, you know, they're TECHNICALLY not allowed to even be together AND they might accidentally kill each other. Just normal teenage stuff! I think the relationship is realistic and believable, and it was done really well. ALSO MAYBE THERE WERE A LOT OF KISSING SCENES IDK IDK.

But wait, there's more! While this book had a really awesome romance going on, I was more interested in the WITCHES AND VAMPIRES thing. Yes. This book has both witches AND vampires. At first, I wasn't really sure how that was going to work out. I was all "Hmmm, witches and vampires? Both of them? REALLY? HOW'S THAT GOING TO WORK? *judge-y face*" But I needn't have worried because this book taught me a very valuable lesson. The lesson is that witches + vampires = PURE AWESOME. So yeah. I was pleasantly surprised by how well the two supernatural worlds blended together.

And let's just talk about Leto for a second. Because guys, Leto is a cat. A TALKING cat! He is definitely my favorite character. I have so much love for him.

There are a bunch of other really interesting characters, too. Some of them make me so nervous and I do not trust them at all, and then there are others that I can't help but love. Both the bad guys and the good guys are all fascinating to read about.

And finally, there is action. A lot of it. There's this amazingly epic fight scene that it so freaking INTENSE! Ahhhh! I want to talk about it, but it would be a major spoiler so I guess I'll just shut up now. But trust me, the scene is so completely awesome.

So, let's see. Witches, check. Vampires, check. Badass heroine, check. Hot guy, check. Talking cat, check. Epic fight scene, check. This book is awesome. You should read it.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Megan Rambles About Nightshade

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
From Goodreads:Calla is the alpha female of a shape-shifting wolf pack. She is destined to marry Ren Laroche, the pack's alpha male. Together, they would rule their pack together, guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But then, Calla saves a beautiful human boy, who captures her heart. Calla begins to question everything - her fate, her existence, and her world and the orders the Keepers have asked her to follow. She will have to make a choice. But will she follow her heart if it means losing everything, including her own life?

This is a series that I have heard so many amazing things about on Twitter, Goodreads, etc. I've also been wanting to read this book for a very long time, but hadn't managed to get around to it yet. 

Let me tell you, it did NOT disappoint. I'm not even willing to call this a book about werewolves, because Calla and her pack were so completely different than any other wolves I've ever read about.  Most werewolves are people sometimes, and wolves sometimes. The characters in this book were a mix of wolf and human at all times. 

It was different to read about a girl who would growl if she was angry, or bare fangs. Calla definitely keeps her wolf instincts while she's human, which was really different from any other kids of werewolves you ever see mentioned. To be honest, before Nightshade I'd never read a book from the point of view of the wolf before. I've read Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater, and there are of course werewolves in Twilight, but the main characters weren't the wolves in those books. (At least that I know of. I never did get around to finishing The Wolves of Mercy Falls Series). 

Anyway, I really felt for Calla in this book. She has a LOT going on. With the Union between her and Ren rapidly approaching, Calla is more than a little stressed out. Then she saves Shay, a human who then reappears in her life, and everything that she knows gets turned upside down. Everything that she believes begins to be called into question, and Calla starts playing a very dangerous game that could get her and a whole bunch of other people (or wolves depending on how you look at it) killed. 

Nightshade was full of unexpected surprises, tons of action scenes, and kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the entire read. I was expecting to like this book enough to read the sequel, but I wasn't expecting to completely fall in love with these characters as much as I did. I'm proud to say I am totally in LOVE with this series! I've already finished Wolfsbane, and my ramble for that should be up sometime soon. 

With all of the action, a completely bad ass main character, and two hot boys that I literally couldn't choose between, Nightshade is a book I highly recommend! 


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Rachel Rambles About Mirage

Mirage by Kristi Cook
From Goodreads:
Seventeen-year-old Violet McKenna is back for her senior year at Winterhaven, and thrilled to be with Aidan after a long summer apart. But when a violent and disturbing vision begins to haunt her, Violet suddenly feels unsure of everything: who to trust, if she is in danger, and—worst of all—whether she and Aidan are really meant to be together.

First of all, let's just talk about this GORGEOUS cover, okay? Because it's amazing. It's so beautiful and I just want to stare at it forever.

I just read Haven a few weeks ago for the first time, and I completely fell in love with it. (Have you SEEN my ramble about it?) The characters and the story and the school...I love it all. I didn't think things could get any better in the sequel.

But Mirage blew me away with its amazingness, and I think it's even better than Haven.

First of all, I love Violet and Aidan's relationship. It keeps growing stronger and stronger, and while they definitely have a lot of problems, they don't have huge fights or break-ups or anything, which makes me really happy.

Violet is an amazing main character. I love that she is strong and smart. I love that her life doesn't revolve around her boyfriend. I love that she spends a lot of time with her friends and actually trusts them enough to tell them her secrets. I love that there has never been a moment where I throw the book at the wall screaming "WHY DID YOU DO THAT?!?!! STUPID!!!" because she thinks things through and doesn't make stupid decisions. I love that she is normal and funny and compassionate and easy to relate to. She is definitely one of my favorite protagonists ever.

I also love Aidan. BECAUSE DUH. If anything, he's gotten even more swoon-worthy since the first book. YES I KNOW I DIDN'T THINK IT WAS POSSIBLE EITHER. And while I adore Violet and everything, I still think Aidan should be with me. :P

And while we're on the topic of hot guys...Dr. Hottie *coughs* excuse me, Dr. BYRNE is one of my favorite characters. We were briefly introduced to him in the first book, and I was really excited to find out that he plays a really important role in Mirage. No spoilers, but there's this surprising twist involving him that is SO AWESOME.

But there is so much more to this book than hot guys! My favorite thing about this series is probably the huge cast of characters. The entire book isn't about Violet and Aidan and how much they looooove each other, which is really refreshing. Violet has a really close group of friends who are funny and loyal and amazing and I just love them all so much. And then there's Tyler, who...You know what, I'll just let you form your own opinion about him. :D

Oh and I really like Trevors. JUST PUTTING THAT OUT THERE.

The plot of this book is incredibly fast-paced. I read this in a really short period of time because I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN. Violet's visions and Aidan's work on the cure and a little thing called the Vampire Stalker all combine together to ensure that something is always happening. This book wouldn't know what a dull moment was if it hit it in the face. (Wait. Books don't have faces. Well, except for Facebook...hmm... Anyway, you know what I mean!)

Mirage is an awesome combination of romance, mystery, action, humor, and some other things. AND it takes place at a boarding school. With vampires. And kids with psychic powers. Basically, this book has EVERYTHING.

Also, the ending? Let's just say that I am DYING to read the next book.


P.S. Remember that time I went to the launch party for Mirage at Books of Wonder? Yeah, that time was awesome.
From left to right: Lauren (my sister), Brendan (Megan's brother), Kristi Cook!, Megan, Me

Friday, June 15, 2012

Rachel Rambles About The Sky is Everywhere

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
From Goodreads:
Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker, bookworm and band geek, plays second clarinet and spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulted to center stage of her own life—and, despite her nonexistent history with boys, suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two. Toby was Bailey’s boyfriend; his grief mirrors Lennie’s own. Joe is the new boy in town, a transfer from Paris whose nearly magical grin is matched only by his musical talent. For Lennie, they’re the sun and the moon; one boy takes her out of her sorrow, the other comforts her in it. But just like their celestial counterparts, they can’t collide without the whole wide world exploding. This remarkable debut is perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, and Francesca Lia Block. Just as much a celebration of love as it is a portrait of loss, Lennie’s struggle to sort her own melody out of the noise around her is always honest, often hilarious, and ultimately unforgettable.


I am a huge fan of contemporary novels. They are my favorite to read and write (when I say "write" I obviously mean the collection of discarded drafts of half-finished or barely-started "novels" that I, at fifteen years old, enjoy writing so I can pretend that I am A Serious Author) and my favorite to think about and talk about and everything. This is not to say that I don't lovelovelove other genres, but there will always be a special place in my heart for contemporary. My favorite contemporary novels often feature "broken" characters or characters who are struggling with difficult things in their life or characters who are consumed by grief etc etc. These kinds of books usually make me cry, which usually means it's a good book.

So when I heard about this book, I was instantly intrigued. It sounded like My Kind of Book. I believe I fell in love with the story somewhere on the first page.

When the book begins, Lennie is still reeling from the death of her older sister Bailey. Lennie had always been the shy one, the quiet one, the bookworm, the band geek, when compared to her wild and confident and outgoing sister. With Bailey gone, Lennie is alone with just her Gran and her uncle, and all three of them are trying to recover from Bailey's sudden death.

This book is so much about Lennie's relationship with her family, particularly her grandmother, and the way they interact with each other now that a member of their family is gone. Everything is complicated and messed-up and it's absolutely heart-breaking to read about this family that is so broken and sad. The characters felt so real, like they were my family, and I maybe cried so much on every page all the time just a teeny little bit.

And then there are the boys. Toby was Bailey's boyfriend, the only person going through exactly what Lennie is going through. And Joe is the new boy in town, the always happy guy who never even met Bailey. Both guys are totally swoon-worthy and I have so many feeeelings about them and so does Lennie.

This book has grief and sadness and humor and happiness and romance and kissing and sexytimes and OH MY GOD MY EMOTIONS. Seriously. This book made me laugh and cry and I am so attached to all the characters and I feel like I know them so well and I didn't want the book to end and I want to hug this book and I am so emotionally invested in this book and I love it with all my heart.

The characters are amazing. The story is perfection. The writing style is GORGEOUS in the I-want-to-dog-ear-every-single-page-of-this-book kind of way. There are so many amazing quotes and sentences and paragraphs and poems and words that I just am so crazy in love with.

As soon as I finished reading this, I wanted to flip back to the first page and start all over again. (Which I could not do because it was the middle of the night and I have to do these things called sleeping and school. Ugh. How ridiculous.) It's that good.

I could go on and on and on about this book. I could write a freaking book about how much I love this book. But every second you spend reading this ramble is a second spent NOT READING THIS BOOK.

So I'll just shut up now. I know this ramble isn't well-written or anything, because for some reason I have a really hard time writing about books I love, but trust me when I tell you that The Sky is Everywhere is absolutely amazing. This is a story I've been thinking about pretty much non-stop ever since I read the last word, and it's a story I'll be revisiting many times in the future.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Rachel and Megan Ramble About City of Lost Souls

City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare
From Goodreads:
The demon Lilith has been destroyed and Jace has been freed from her captivity. But when the Shadowhunters arrive to rescue him, they find only blood and broken glass. Not only is the boy Clary loves missing–but so is the boy she hates, Sebastian, the son of her father Valentine: a son determined to succeed where their father failed, and bring the Shadowhunters to their knees.

No magic the Clave can summon can locate either boy, but Jace cannot stay away—not from Clary. When they meet again Clary discovers the horror Lilith’s dying magic has wrought—Jace is no longer the boy she loved. He and Sebastian are now bound to each other, and Jace has become what he most feared: a true servant of Valentine’s evil. The Clave is determined to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. Will the Shadowhunters hesitate to kill one of their own?

Only a small band of Clary and Jace’s friends and family believe that Jace can still be saved — and that the fate of the Shadowhunters’ future may hinge on that salvation. They must defy the Clave and strike out on their own. Alec, Magnus, Simon and Isabelle must work together to save Jace: bargaining with the sinister Faerie Queen, contemplating deals with demons, and turning at last to the Iron Sisters, the reclusive and merciless weapons makers for the Shadowhunters, who tell them that no weapon on this earth can sever the bond between Sebastian and Jace. Their only chance of cutting Jace free is to challenge Heaven and Hell — a risk that could claim any, or all, of their lives.

And they must do it without Clary. For Clary has gone into the heart of darkness, to play a dangerous game utterly alone. The price of losing the game is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she even still trust him? Or is he truly lost? What price is too high to pay, even for love?

Darkness threatens to claim the Shadowhunters in the harrowing fifth book of the Mortal Instruments series.

*If you have not read any of the Mortal Instruments books, you might want to leave. There will be spoilers for the first four books in this ramble, and also none of this will make any sense to you.*

*Also if you have issues with two crazy teenage fangirls sharing all their feelings with the internet, well, this really isn't the blog post for you. Because we get a little bit insane.*

Rachel: Okay. I'm going to take a risk and say that this is Cassandra's best book yet. YES I KNOW I SAY THAT EVERY TIME. But I think that's because with every book, she just gets better and better. Because this book...WOAH. ALL THE FEELINGS.

Megan: I'm definitely going to have to agree with you. There was sooo much about this book to love! All of the point of view was done so well!! AND I DEFINITELY FELT ALL OF THE FEELINGS.

Rachel: It's so weird comparing City of Lost Souls to City of Bones. All the characters have changed so much. Especially Simon. He's no longer Clary's nerdy, awkward, geeky friend. HE IS A HOT VAMPIRE WHO IS HOT.

Megan: SERIOUSLY! And I love that as Cassie writes more books she adds more and more points of view to each one. We really got to see inside every characters head in City of Lost Souls, which is so different from City of Bones with almost all Clary's point of view. And these poor characters. The situations they are put in just keep getting worse and worse!

Rachel: I kind of just want to hug all of the characters. Especially Magnus, because he is my FAVORITE. And okay, can we please talk about Sebastian? BECAUSE OMG. Cassandra Clare, congratulations on writing such an amazing villain. Sebastian just has so many layers! For the most part, I'm all AHHHH EVILLL I HATE HIM. But then sometimes...I feel like I understand him. BUT THEN I'M RIGHT BACK TO HATING HIM. How does she manage to do that?!

Megan: I HAVE NO IDEA!!  But I was the same way! I started this book like AHH SOMEONE KILL HIM I HATE HIM SO MUCH!! As I started reading more, I realized that some of what he was saying actually made sense. AND THEN I WONDERED WHAT WAS WRONG WITH ME. See what Cassandra Clare can do? She makes me question my SANITY!

Rachel: She is a genius. Like, she takes a totally dark and creepy book and adds humor and romance to it. Even in the most tense, AHHHH IS SOMEONE GONNA DIE NOOOOO situations, one of the characters would have a hilarious one-liner that made me burst out laughing. And uh, the steamy kissing scenes? The ABUNDANCE of steamy kissing scenes? OH WOW.

Megan: YES. ALL OF THE KISSING IN THIS BOOK. Holy crap. There were a lot of couples that moved in new directions in their relationships in this book. And I won't really say who, because no spoilers. I think the humor might be my favorite part of Cassie Clare's books because she just uses it so well! I could be crying in the middle of one of her books and still laugh because someone said something funny. And it isn't just Jace. It's all of the characters. After reading this, I think my only objection is WHY SEBASTIAN WHY DO YOU EXIST.

Rachel: I've been hearing that some people really like Sebastian. I AM NOT ONE OF THEM. He...I just....NO. NO NO NO NO. (Although he's a fascinating character and a really interesting villain with lots of surprises.) But he's a horrible person so I hate him.

Megan: Yeah I don't understand how some people seriously like him. He is a really well written character, but I really, really hate him. The good thing is that the list of characters in the series that I love only keeps growing. Reading this was so stressful!! And now someone has to die in City of Heavenly Fire?? No matter who it is I am going to be an emotional wreck. I guarantee it.


Megan: YOU'RE RIGHT YOU'RE RIGHT. We'll just completely forget that that's going to happen. Anyway, I really can't get over how intense this book was. It seriously stressed me out.

Rachel: I know! I can't wait to read it again!

Megan: And again, and again. I don't even understand how these books torture me so much, and I always want to go back and read them again.


Megan: I KNOW. ALL OF THE FEELINGS. Cassandra Clare makes me feel ALL OF THE THINGS.

Rachel: Yup. So, if you're reading this post and you haven't read City of Lost Souls yet...What is wrong with you? Please go read it immediately. And then come back so we can talk about it together. :)

Megan: And if you have, feel free to leave a comment below letting us know what you thought. No spoilers please!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Rachel Rambles About Arise

Arise by Tara Hudson
From Goodreads:
Amelia—still caught between life and death—must fight for every moment of her relationship with the human boy Joshua. They can hardly even kiss without Amelia accidentally dematerializing. Looking for answers, they go to visit some of Joshua’s Seer relatives in New Orleans. But even in a city so famously steeped in the supernatural, Amelia ends up with more questions than answers…and becomes increasingly convinced that she and Joshua can never have a future together.Wandering through the French Quarter, Amelia meets other in-between ghosts, and begins to seriously consider joining them. And then she meets Gabrielle. Somehow, against impossible odds, Gaby has found a way to live a sort of half-life...a half-life for which Amelia would pay any price. Torn between two worlds, Amelia must choose carefully, before the evil spirits of the netherworld choose for her.

I really liked the first book in this series, Hereafter, for a number of reasons. (Reason number one: CUTE GUY WHO READS BOOKS AND IS CUTE.) So I've been anticipating Arise for quite awhile now. And I was not disappointed!

Arise still has the wonderful romance between Joshua and Amelia, but it also has many things that Hereafter did not have. For example, a whole bunch of new characters are introduced. Some of them are sweet and funny, some of them are creepy and evil. They all bring a lot of things to the story, and I'm really glad that the book has a whole cast of people who are important as opposed to AMELIA AND JOSHUA ALL THE TIME.

This book seems to focus a lot on Amelia. Amelia's struggles with being a ghost and her indecision about being in love with Joshua and the whole EVIL PEOPLE WANT TO KILL HER thing. I really liked watching Amelia grow and change throughout the novel. As the book went on, I started loving Amelia more and more. She's really strong and smart and I completely adore her as a main character.

There is so much EPICNESS in this book. Between Amelia's weird dreams and materializations and the creepy demon things who wanted to kill her, everything is just so intense. Arise doesn't really focus on Joshua and Amelia and their undying love for each other because love can conquer all blah blah blah. The book is more suspenseful and mysterious and adventurous, which I loveeee.

Also, the setting is New Orleans, a place I have never been to but now I really want to visit because of this book. It just seems like a really cool place to go to, and somehow it's the perfect setting for a ghost story.

And okay, let's just talk about Joshua for a minute. I LOVE HIM. He's smart and romantic and sweet and hot and an amazing boyfriend and also HE READS BOOKS. So yes. I would really like a Joshua, please. Thanks.

Anyway, my point is that I think Arise is about a hundred times better than Hereafter. It exceeded all my expectations, and I cannot wait to read book three!


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Saturday Seven #5

Our topic this week is.....
The Creepiest Books
The books on this list completely freak us out for a variety of reasons. From murderous ghosts to zombies, you might want to leave the lights on while reading these.

1. Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

Megan: I just finished this book, and OMG IT'S AMAZING. Probably also one of the creepiest things that  I have ever read! It's about a world where a deadly plague has made the air dangerous to breath. You either wear a mask, or you risk getting sick and dying. Araby experiences death every single day, and Bethany Griffin wrote that in a really amazing way. Even though this book had me cringing from the GROSS DISEASE EWWW I still loved every second of it. Bethany Griffin you are a genius.

Rachel: I'm just so obsessed with this book. The setting is both creepy and beautiful at the same time. The plague is a thing people have to deal with everyday in this book, and it's terrifying. You can't help but get sucked into this world to the point where you forget that it's not real and that is so freaking scary and I love it.

2. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Megan: MURDEROUS GHOSTS. SERIOUSLY. A GHOST THAT GOES AROUND KILLING PEOPLE. This book made me so paranoid it's crazy. Sitting in my room reading it? That lamp in the corner suddenly became a person coming to kill me. Until I realized it wasn't. But still. Set in London (a boarding school to be specific) where someone is starting the Jack the Ripper killings over again, you definitely don't want to miss The Name of the Star.

Rachel: Jack the Ripper's ghost coming back to recreate the original killings all over again? Pretty much the worst thing that can ever happen. And when I was reading this, I basically convinced myself that I must be the next victim and OMG HE'S COMING TO KILLLL MEEEE! So that's a feeling everyone loves happening...right?

3. Across The Universe by Beth Revis

Megan: There is so much about this book that completely creeped me out. A ship going to a new planet in space can be surprisingly claustrophobic. Even when you're only reading about it through a book. Also, a little something called The Season. You'll have to read Across the Universe to find out more about that one! There are some seriously dark secrets in this book, and the creepy only grew as the book went on.

Rachel: I love the characters and plot and story of this book, BUT THE SETTING?!?!! Creepycreepycreepy!!! It's a freaking huge space ship and the people all live there and it's like a planet and they can't just like, walk outside or open a window for some fresh air because they are in SPACE. So it makes me really hyperventilate-y and claustrophobic-y and it's AWESOME.

4. Hollowland by Amanda Hocking

Megan: ZOMBIES. This was the first zombie book I had ever read, but considering my family has recently taken to watching The Walking Dead, I decided to pick it up. The zombies were gross, there was gore, blood, and a bunch of other yucky stuff. But I also liked the relationships between the characters as they struggled to be humans, and to stay that way.

Rachel: I haven't read this yet, because zombies scare me too much. Especially with the whole face eating thing recently. THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE IS UPON US. Although, if the zombie apocalypse is actually a thing that's happening, perhaps I should read this. You know, so I'm prepared.

5. Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Megan: I. Love. This. Series. Wither and Fever are both extremely creepy. When you live in a dystopian world where women are forced into polygamist marriages, sold into prostitution, or just killed that is a pretty scary thing. Oh yeah, and men die at age 25, and women die at age 20. So there's that. Rhine lives in a terrifying world and she sees a lot of things that a normal 16 year old girl would never have to see. I think if I lived in the world Lauren DeStefano created I would just curl up in a ball and cry. If you want to see how a character that is actually strong handles the world, then I highly recommend checking out Rhine's story!

Rachel: I think one of the blurbs for this book is "creepy and elegant." Which pretty sums up my feelings about it. The world scares me in a kind of subtle way. There are no zombies or monsters or blood or gore, but this book manages to be terrifying in a more quiet way, with the whole everyone-dies-really-young thing combined with the kidnapping thing combined with the sister wives thing.The main character is totally trapped in this screwed-up world and it's just so terrible and ugh it creeeeps me outttt.

6. City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

Megan: OMG THIS BOOK THIS BOOK THIS BOOK. I have to say right from the start the creepiest thing that comes to mind in this book is Sebastian. Because that kid is seriously demented. There is so much wrong with him I don't even know where to start. Between his obsession with Jace and his obsession with Clary (dude. she's your sister!!) Sebastian could definitely use some therapy. There are some pretty creepy things that go one in this book, and some really big problems created. I'm starting to worry for our Shadowhunter friends.

Rachel: Sebastian, why do you have to be such a creeper?!?! What an amazing villain and plot though. This book had the potential to be all SICK AND TWISTED AND NOTHING MORE, but it was done in such a way that even though the story is sooo creeeepy, the creepiness serves a purpose and just makes the book even better.

7. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Megan: Where to begin with this book? Mara has some serious holes in her memory after she wakes up in the hospital without knowing how she ended up there. Bonus! She might also be going insane. And if your own mother thinks that you're going insane, it doesn't really help that you keep seeing things that aren't there. The entire time I was reading this book, I had no idea if Mara was actually crazy or not. Which only made the entire story scare me that much more!

Rachel: So this book has no zombies or diseases or weird brothers obsessed with sisters or ghosts or murderers or space ships. What it did have was a pretty normal teenage girl with a mysterious past who may or may not be insane. For the most part, all the creepy stuff is happening in Mara's head (or IS it???), which scares the crap out of me more than anything else. In a completely awesome way, of course.

And now to ease the creepy, here is a random picture of two bananas dancing. 
Have you read any of these creepy, creepy books? Can you think of any that we should add to the list? Let us know in the comments! And feel free to come up with your own Saturday 7 topic for us to do!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Megan Rambles About Hex Hall

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
From GoodreadsThree years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.
By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire student on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.
As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

I love this book! I mean really, a boarding school, witches, faeries, shapeshifters, AND a murder mystery? It doesn't get much better than that. The mix of dark with humor in this book was great and I loved the way Sophie looked at her situation. There were few times were she was just sitting around feeling sorry for herself. She did use sarcasm to express how much she thought her situation sucked though. Which I am of  course a big fan of.

ARCHER. Seriously, just ARCHER. He is so freaking hot!! And I would really, really like someone to find me an Archer and send him my way. The banter between him and Sophie was adorable, and I was definitely rooting for the two of them the whole time. I was also rooting for Jenna, who's love of pink would have disgusted me, but I loved her all the same.

As far as the plot goes, I really liked that there was an element of mystery to it. You had basically two sides to this book. There was the side where Sophie is trying to survive the social part of life at Hex Hall and then there was the side where students were being attacked. It made Sophie easier to relate to that she had to deal with all of the social stuff on top of the huge murder mystery, especially since the insane social life of school is something we can all identify with. 

And the ending of this book? Holy crap! I was just reading, all LALALA when suddenly ALL OF THE THINGS STARTED HAPPENING. All at the same time! There was not one, but two or three major surprises at the end of the book. I definitely can't wait to read Demon Glass to see what happens to Sophie and her friends next.