Saturday, April 27, 2013

Rachel Rambles About Starstruck

StarstruckStarstruck by Rachel Shukert
From Goodreads:
A golden age of glam . . . 

Every week they arrive in Los Angeles--beautiful and talented young hopefuls who dream of becoming stars. It's all Margaret Frobisher has ever wanted—and when she's discovered by a powerful agent, she can barely believe her luck. She's more than ready to escape her snobby private school and conservative Pasadena family for a chance to light up the silver screen.

The competition is fierce at Olympus Studios and Margaret—now Margo—is chasing her Hollywood dreams alongside girls like Gabby Preston, who at 16 is already a grizzled show-biz veteran caught between the studio and the ravenous ambition of her ruthless mother, and sultry Amanda Farraday, who seems to have it all--ambition, glamour . . . and dirty secrets. Missing from the pack is Diana Chesterfield, the beautiful actress who mysteriously disappeared, and there are whispers that Diana's boyfriend—Margo's new co-star—may have had something to do with it. Margo quickly learns that fame comes with a price, and that nothing is what it seems.   

Set in Old Hollywood, Starstruck follows the lives of three teen girls as they live, love, and claw their way to the top in a world where being a star is all that matters.

As a big fan of historical fiction books and old movies, Starstruck seemed like the perfect book for me. When I read the summary for the first time, I'm pretty sure I squealed with delight. It sounded so wonderful and glamorous, and I couldn't wait to dive in. I realized early on that Starstruck was going to be just as amazing as I thought it would be.

The story alternates from the perspectives of three different girls, and each one of them is so wildly different from the others. They all have totally different lifestyles and experiences, but the transition from one girl to another is smooth and seamless. The book changes perspectives at just the right moments, and I can't imagine the story being told in any other format.

At first, it might seem like Margaret, Amanda, and Gabby have nothing in common, but they are all victims of the brutal and ugly life of show business and Hollywood. On the surface, I'd say that none of the girls are very likable. It took me awhile before I started to feel like I could relate to them, but once I did, I realized just how fantastic and layered the characters really are. Even though I began the book not really liking any of the main characters, I ended the book caring about each of them as deeply as if they were my friends. As they each went on their respective journeys throughout the novel, I held my breath in anticipation as I waited for the moment when they would finally just be happy. Each of the girls started the book in a bit of a frightening place, but by the end, they all learned something and I think they grew and transformed into even better people than they were before.

More than anything else, the story in Starstruck is dramatic. It makes sense, of course, since there is always going to be drama everywhere you turn in Hollywood. But what I love about Starstruck is that none of the drama seems silly or dumb. It's not a matter of teenage girls fighting with each over stupid things that don't mean anything. The problems the girls face are 100 percent real and raw and realistic.

Rachel Shukert captures the glamour and excitement of old-school Hollywood perfectly, in addition to some of the darker and grittier elements of the world of fortune and fame. At first, everything about the world of film-making and movie premieres and stardom seemed absolutely magical to me, but as the story progressed, secrets were uncovered and the truth was revealed. As it turns out, Hollywood in the 1930s was not the idyllic place I liked to think it was. The entire story had a dark, edgy feel to it, set in a world that seems nothing but cheerful from the outside. 

From the first page, Starstruck captured my attention and wouldn't let go. I was sucked into this compelling story, and I couldn't stop myself from turning page after page long after I'd told myself I would put the book down. Starstruck is fun and shiny and glamorous, but also heartbreaking. It's a beautiful combination, and I loved every minute of it.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (19)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine.
The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
From Goodreads:
Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.

So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she's beginning to enjoy his company.

She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.

I read and loved Pivot Point by Kasie West a few months ago, so I was really excited to find out about The Distance Between Us. The summary makes the book sound awesome, and I adore the cover. This seems like it will be a fun contemporary read. I can't wait to get my hands on a copy!

What are you waiting on this week? Leave links to your WoW posts below so I can check them out!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Random Ramble: Sea of Monsters Trailer

If you're a Percy Jackson fan, I'm sure you're well-aware that the trailer for Sea of Monsters was recently released. I'm sort of a Percy-Jackson-fan-in-training, since I've only read the first three books so far, but I was still really excited to see this trailer.

After seeing the first movie, I was totally convinced that the movie people were just going to give up and not make any of the rest of the books into movies. So I was quite surprised when I first heard about Sea of Monsters being made into a movie. I didn't truly believe it, but once the trailer was released, there was no denying it.

What surprised me most about the trailer was that, in comparison to The Lightning Thief movie, Sea of Monsters seems to be about a thousand times more accurate to the book. Although, let's be honest, the first movie set the bar pretty low.

The problem with the continuation of the Percy Jackson movies is that the characters are still not children. By making Percy and Annabeth and Grover teenagers, the entire story changes immensely. 
But whatever. I mean, I personally think the movies should be remade with actual children, but I'll take what I can get. And, okay, it's not like looking at Logan Lerman's face for two hours is a bad thing. :D

I have a lot of opinions about the trailer, so here are just a few of my thoughts:

THE ORACLE IS SO FREAKING COOL. And the scene looks almost exactly like how I pictured it in the book! YES!

Annabeth is blonde now! Kind of? To me it looks like she is still brunette with a bunch of blonde highlights that look pretty fake. It doesn't look very natural to me, and I think I might have preferred that they just stick to the brown hair.

I don't know. I mean, it's not a huge deal to me what color her hair is. I just want Annabeth's personality to be right, and in the The Lightning Thief, Movie Annabeth was absolutely nothing like Book Annabeth. I don't care if her hair is purple. I just want Annabeth to act like Annabeth.

I'm not sure how I feel about Tyson yet. I guess I'll have to see the full movie to form an opinion of him. But I'm wondering what the heck is going on with this eye(s)?! 

Here he has one eye:

But he definitely has two eyes here:

So I'm really confused about that.

The cab looks really cool:

But this little tidbit just seems absolutely ridiculous to me. It looks cool, but it feels so unnecessary and unrealistic.

Also, is anyone else getting some Knight Bus vibes here? The first thing I thought when I saw this part of the trailer was OMG PRISONER OF AZKABAN!

A WILD STANLEY TUCCI APPEARS, making the trailer about a billion times better.

I didn't even know he was going to be in the movie! But he's apparently playing Dionysus, aka The Grapes Dude! PERFECT CASTING CHOICE IS PERFECT. I think Stanley Tucci is brilliant and he makes any movie he's in approximately eight thousand times better, so I was super excited to see him.

LOOK AT THE PRETTY HIPPOklshiowoichoewwiwioconowTHINGIE!!!!! IT'S SO PRETTY! It's a lot bigger than I thought it would be, BUT WHO CARES? IT'S SO PRETTY!

And the golden fleece! The golden fleece is pretty too. :D

I'm not exactly sure what to expect when I see this movie. I'll probably see it in the theater on opening night, but I'm not dying in anticipation or anything. It already appears to be a gigantic step up from the first movie, but then again, pretty much anything would be a step up. So that isn't exactly saying much. :P

Fellow Percy Jackson fans, what are your thoughts on the trailer? Let me know down in the comments!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (18)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine.

The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White
From Goodreads:
Isadora’s family is seriously screwed up.

Of course, as the human daughter of Egyptian gods, that pretty much comes with the territory. She’s also stuck with parents who barely notice her, and a house full of relatives who can’t be bothered to remember her name. After all, they are going to be around forever—and she’s a mere mortal.

Isadora’s sick of living a life where she’s only worthy of a passing glance, and when she has the chance to move to San Diego with her brother, she jumps on it. But Isadora’s quickly finding that a “normal” life comes with plenty of its own epic complications—and that there’s no such thing as a clean break when it comes to family. Much as she wants to leave her past behind, she can’t shake the ominous dreams that foretell destruction for her entire family. When it turns out there may be truth in her nightmares, Isadora has to decide whether she can abandon her divine heritage after all.

I'm a really big fan of Kiersten White's Paranormalcy series and Mind Games, but even if I wasn't, this summary would totally pull me in and make me want to read this book! And even if the summary didn't sound awesome, I would buy this book just based on the GORGEOUS cover. :D Seriously, this has to be one of my favorite covers ever! I can't get over how beautiful it is!

What are you waiting on this week? Leave links to your WoW posts below so I can check them out!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Rachel Rambles About Meant to Be

Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill
From Goodreads:
Meant to be or not meant to be . . . that is the question. 

It's one thing to fall head over heels into a puddle of hazelnut coffee, and quite another to fall for the—gasp—wrong guy. Straight-A junior Julia may be accident prone, but she's queen of following rules and being prepared. That's why she keeps a pencil sharpener in her purse and a pocket Shakespeare in her, well, pocket. And that's also why she's chosen Mark Bixford, her childhood crush, as her MTB ("meant to be").

But this spring break, Julia's rules are about to get defenestrated (SAT word: to be thrown from a window) when she's partnered with her personal nemesis, class-clown Jason, on a school trip to London. After one wild party, Julia starts receiving romantic texts . . . from an unknown number! Jason promises to help discover the identity of her mysterious new suitor if she agrees to break a few rules along the way. And thus begins a wild goose chase through London, leading Julia closer and closer to the biggest surprise of all: true love.

Because sometimes the things you least expect are the most meant to be.

I'm a total sucker for a good contemporary romance, so when I first heard about this book, I knew I needed to get my hands on it as soon as possible. And when I found out the book was set in London, I just about died of excitement. A cute boy and a fun romance set in EUROPE? Yes please!

Meant to Be did not disappoint. It was exactly what I was hoping for, and after going through a bit of a reading slump, it was the perfect book to get me excited about reading again. I flew through this book, hiding it under my desk at school so I could read it during class. I couldn't put it down!

Meant to Be is light and fun and romantic and so easy to read. From the first chapter, I was completely caught up in the story, and I couldn't wait for Julia and Jason to just realize their love for each other and live happily ever after. 

But Julia and Jason's relationship did not just fall into place easily. It was complicated and confusing and realistic. Throughout the book, Julia was not sure how she felt about Jason, and she went from hating him to liking him to hating him again quite often. Nothing about their relationship was easy, and while it made the book incredibly frustrating to read because I just wanted them to get over their confusion and make out already, it certainly made it more believable. 

Setting the book in London made the story approximately ten thousand times better, because London is beautiful and amazing. Julia's love for Shakespeare had a significant impact on the story, and even as someone who is one part unfamiliar with Shakespeare and one part not a fan of Shakespeare, I realize how magical the elements of Shakespeare made the book.

Meant to Be is bursting with romance, humor, and plenty of shenanigans, and it's the kind of book you can't help but read in one sitting.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Rachel Rambles About Unravel Me

Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi
From Goodreads:
tick, tick, tick, tick, tick
it's almost
time for war.

Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. It is a place for people like her—people with gifts—and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance.

She's finally free from The Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch.

Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible.

In this exhilarating sequel to Shatter Me, Juliette has to make life-changing decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right. Decisions that might involve choosing between her heart—and Adam's life.

My favorite thing about Unravel Me is definitely the writing style. I think the writing is beautiful and unique and poetic, and it's the number one reason why I love these books so much. Even if everything else about this series was terrible, I would keep reading it because the writing style is so great.

Another thing I love about Unravel Me is Warner. I thought he was a great character in the first book, and he just gets even more intriguing and awesome in the second book. Warner is the villain/love interest/best character EVER and I find him fascinating. There are so many different layers to him, and he can't be put into a simple good or bad category. He is much more than that, and Juliette has a hard time deciding how she really feels about him, and it's confusing and wonderful and ahhhhh. He is one of the best characters in any book I've ever read! I would read anything with him in it. And uh, Chapter 62? *fans self* Yeah, that's my favorite chapter of the whole book.

While I have a huge amount of love for Warner, I don't feel the same way about Juliette. I had some issues with her in the first book, but in Unravel Me, I almost couldn't stand her. I understand that being locked in a mental asylum and never being able to touch anyone without killing them is bound to give a girl some mental issues, but I just feel like Juliette handles her situation really terribly. In Unravel Me, all the characters are preparing for a huge war, but Juliette is really only concerned about her relationship with Adam. She comes across as whiny and selfish to me, and the fact that she spends a huge part of Unravel Me keeping a major secret from everyone really bothers me. It would not have been a hard secret to tell, especially since it could potentially have a huge effect on the war. She waits until it is too late before she finally tells everyone, and by that point, the secret has already come out and she is SHOCKED when people react in a negative way toward her. I was so frustrated with her when I was reading the book! It's hard for me to side with and root for a character that I spend most of the book being incredibly annoyed with.

But Juliette isn't the only character who annoyed me. I feel like everyone in Omega Point treats Juliette really unfairly. They are upset at her because she isn't making any effort to socialize with anyone, but no one else makes any effort to socialize with her, either. The door swings both ways! And the reason Juliette doesn't really know how to be around other people is because, uh, SHE CAN KILL THEM WITH A SINGLE TOUCH. A lot of the people at Omega Point are scared of her, so yeah, it makes sense that maybe she'd be a bit wary of making friends. She's never had any friends in her life, because of, oh yeah, the whole SHE-CAN-KILL-PEOPLE-WITH-A-SINGLE-TOUCH thing, so I just really think everyone should have tried to be a little more understanding and considerate.

The plot is intense in Unravel Me, with the preparation for the war/revolution/uprising/whatever you'd like to call it. There are some super dramatic action-packed scenes that are really fun to read. I think the book should have focused more on those scenes than the romance between Juliette and Adam, which I honestly don't care very much for. Every time they pause to make out or have a moment or whatever, I feel like it really slows the book down. Also, I don't know what it is about Adam, but I don't like him that much in this book. I went from completely adoring him and swooning over him in the first book, to finding him boring in the second book. In Unravel Me, I feel like he's just sort of...there, you know? Don't get me wrong, there are certainly some scenes that feature Adam as an important character, but for the most part, I feel like Adam doesn't have a big purpose in the story.

However, while we're on the topic of Adam, that thing that's revealed about Adam and Warner and that certain something that connects them? COMPLETELY AWESOME. I totally didn't see that one coming, and I think it pushes the plot in a whole new direction that improves everything about the series.

I think a big part of the reason I don't like Unravel Me as much as Shatter Me is the fact that Juliette is no longer the girl in the cell writing in her journal with all the strikethroughs. I thought that part of the story was brilliant, and by taking Juliette away from that environment, I think the story suffered.

I obviously have some mixed feelings about this book, but overall, I did really enjoy it. I will definitely continue reading the series. The beautiful writing style and the amazing character of Warner cancel out anything I dislike, so as long as those things don't go away in the next book, I'm sure I'll enjoy that one, too.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Random Ramble: Doctor Who

I feel like I'm the last person in the entire world to watch Doctor Who, but I have finally started watching it! I just finished the second season, so I still have a long way to go, but I thought I'd share my thoughts and feelings with the internet before I continued. Because if I know anything about the internet, it's that Doctor Who is a sort of religion on here. It actually terrifies me how obsessed some of you people are.

Okay, so I actually started watching the first season back in about October or November. Yes, I started with the first season WAY BACK IN 2005. I don't understand why you wouldn't! From what I understand about this crazy-intense Doctor Who fandom, a lot of people seem to skip Nine?! This doesn't make sense to me because I think Nine is awesome! Why would you want to skip him?! 
C'mon, how can you not love him?
So I started off being mildly interested by the show. I thought some episodes were pretty good, some were just strange, and some I didn't like. And yeah, the special effects made me laugh pretty hard at first. But there was one specific episode that changed everything for me, and that episode was episode 9: The Empty Child. It's the "are you my mummy" episode, aka THE CREEPIEST AND MOST AWESOME EPISODE EVER. All of a sudden I went from kind of enjoying the show and watching an episode every few weeks to becoming well on my way to developing an obsession.

The Empty Child made me realize that, hey, this show is kind of awesome. I tend to prefer the episodes that take place in the past, as opposed to the crazy we're-on-a-spaceship-in-the-year-3894629864916-with-a-bunch-of-weird-aliens ones. I loved that this episode took place during World War II and um, also, CAPTAIN JACK SHOWED UP SO THAT WAS PRETTY GREAT.

*makes weird squeaky fangirl noise*
After that episode, I started watching the show a lot more frequently. My sisters and I picked up after that episode one day and ended up watching the rest of the first season and the entire second season in about two weeks. We were really against the whole regeneration thing at first, and we were all "BUT THIS DOCTOR IS PERFECT NO ONE ELSE WILL EVER BE AS PERFECT AS HIM--oh my god who is that oh hello David Tennant oh wow okay I understand now OMG DAVID TENNANT IS WEARING GLASSES I'M IN LOVE."

So yes, we totally approve of David Tennant now. :D But even as we were watching the second season, I was still kind of like "okay, this show is pretty good, but I don't understand why everyone is so obsessed with it."



I had heard this particular episode was going to be really emotional and painful, but I was still in the "well, I don't see how it could be that bad, it's just Doctor Who" mindset.

It's just Doctor Who.

Watch Doctor Who, they said. IT WOULD BE FUN, THEY SAID.


I cried SO HARD during the season finale. ROSE TYLER. ROSE FREAKING TYLER. Oh wow. I was so not expecting to have such an intense response to A SIMPLE TELEVISION SHOW. But I did and I felt ALL THE FEELS and just no I am not okay after watching that episode I am not okay at all.

So thanks, tumblr and all my Doctor Who obsessed friends who were all like "oh look this is such a fun and entertaining show YOU'LL LOVE IT." Thank you for causing all these emotions and feelings and PAIN in my life.

I guess it was that episode that made me realize that I was obsessed with the show. I mean, I'm still at the point where I think some episodes are...not good (season 2 episode 10: Love & Monsters, anyone? What even was that? Elton and Moaning Myrtle and just...WTF?) so I'm not like "THIS SHOW IS PERFECTION EVERYTHING ABOUT IT IS AMAZING," but yeah, I think it's safe to say that I'm a pretty big fan now.

So now I have to keep watching. I haven't started season 3 yet, but I guess I'll have to do that soon. And according to the internet, I will be experiencing a lot more FEELS as the show goes on.


I'm sure a lot of you internet people watch Doctor Who, so congratulations, I am officially ONE OF YOU. I seriously found myself googling where to buy a sonic screwdriver the other day, and my sister tried to convince me to pay for half of a TARDIS mini fridge to keep in our room.

Okay, I have to admit that a TARDIS mini fridge is totally something I need in my life.
So I guess this is my official announcement to the internet that I now watch Doctor Who. If you're a Doctor Who fan, what was your experience like when you first started watching the show? Did you love it right away or did it take awhile? Who is your favorite Doctor? I'm really curious, so TELL ME EVERYTHING, PLEASE. And if you don't watch Doctor Who, GOOD. DON'T DO IT. IT WILL RUIN YOUR LIFE. (in a good way)

*All the GIFs are from tumblr MY FAVORITE PLACE EVER a dark and terrifying place. ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Rachel Rambles About Boundless (Video)

Boundless by Cynthia Hand
From Goodreads:
Boundless (Unearthly, #3)The past few years have held more surprises than part-angel Clara Gardner could ever have anticipated. Yet from the dizzying highs of first love, to the agonizing low of losing someone close to her, the one thing she can no longer deny is that she was never meant to live a normal life.

Since discovering the special role she plays among the other angel-bloods, Clara has been determined to protect Tucker Avery from the evil that follows her . . . even if it means breaking both their hearts. Leaving town seems like the best option, so she’s headed back to California - and so is Christian Prescott, the irresistible boy from the vision that started her on this journey in the first place.

As Clara makes her way in a world that is frighteningly new, she discovers that the fallen angel who attacked her is watching her every move. And he’s not the only one. . . . With the battle against the Black Wings looming, Clara knows she must finally fulfill her destiny. But it won’t come without sacrifices and betrayal.

In the riveting finale of the Unearthly series, Clara must decide her fate once and for all.

After reading Boundless, I realized that I had way too many feelings and opinions about it to fit in a written review, so I decided to make a video.

If you haven't read Boundless yet, don't worry, I don't spoil anything! But if you haven't read the first two books in the series, there might be some minor spoilers.

So if you're interested in watching me ramble on and on about how much I loved Boundless and the entire Unearthly series, click below!

Waiting on Wednesday (17)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine.

The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen
From Goodreads:
Luke is the perfect boyfriend: handsome, kind, fun. He and Emaline have been together all through high school in Colby, the beach town where they both grew up. But now, in the summer before college, Emaline wonders if perfect is good enough.

Enter Theo, a super-ambitious outsider, a New Yorker assisting on a documentary film about a reclusive local artist. Theo's sophisticated, exciting, and, best of all, he thinks Emaline is much too smart for Colby.

Emaline's mostly-absentee father, too, thinks Emaline should have a bigger life, and he's convinced that an Ivy League education is the only route to realizing her potential. Emaline is attracted to the bright future that Theo and her father promise. But she also clings to the deep roots of her loving mother, stepfather, and sisters. Can she ignore the pull of the happily familiar world of Colby?

Emaline wants the moon and more, but how can she balance where she comes from with where she's going?

Sarah Dessen's devoted fans will welcome this story of romance, yearning, and, finally, empowerment. It could only happen in the summer.


(just kidding about the killing) (maybe)

These tweets are just two examples of how badly I want to read this book. I am a huge fan of Sarah Dessen, and I ramble all about my love for her here, if you're interested. The Moon and More is easily my most-anticipated book of this year, and probably one of my most-anticipated books EVER.

I CAN'T WAIT TO READ IT! *jumps up and down with excitement*

What are you waiting on this week? Leave links to your WoW posts below so I can check them out!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Rachel Rambles About Spellcaster

Spellcaster by Claudia Gray
From Goodreads:
When Nadia’s family moves to Captive’s Sound, she instantly realizes there’s more to it than meets the eye. Descended from witches, Nadia senses a dark and powerful magic at work in her new town. Mateo has lived in Captive’s Sound his entire life, trying to dodge the local legend that his family is cursed - and that curse will cause him to believe he’s seeing the future … until it drives him mad. When the strange dreams Mateo has been having of rescuing a beautiful girl—Nadia—from a car accident come true, he knows he’s doomed. 

Despite the forces pulling them apart, Nadia and Mateo must work together to break the chains of his family’s terrible curse, and to prevent a disaster that threatens the lives of everyone around them. Shimmering with magic and mystery, New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray’s new novel is sure to draw fans of the Hex Hall and Caster Chronicles series, and fans of the hit CW TV show The Secret Circle.

As a huge fan of Claudia Gray's Evernight series, I had super high 
expectations for this book. A book by one of my favorite authors, featuring one of my favorite topics (witches)? How could I not love it?

Well, I hate to say this, but I ended up not loving Spellcaster. I enjoyed it, but I didn't fall in love with it the way I hoped I would.

There were a lot of things I really liked about this book, so I'll start with them. First of all, the witches. I think Claudia Gray had an interesting and unique take on witchcraft, and everything about the spells and the magic intrigued me. I also loved Verlaine, who is a more minor character, but who was definitely the most fascinating character in the book. She was quirky and smart and different, and I adored her. Another character who I didn't like so much as appreciate was Elizabeth. She was not exactly a nice person, but her story was compelling and I thought it was really awesome that my opinion of her kept changing as I read the novel. I went from liking her to not trusting her to disliking her to hating her to finally being able to recognize her as the bad guy. I thought she was a really well-written and unusual villain. Another thing I loved about the story was the setting. Spellcaster took place in a tiny town in New England, which was described so thoroughly that I found it impossible not to believe I was actually surrounded by the chilly air and dark clouds overhead.

The only things I didn't like about Spellcaster were the main characters Nadia and Mateo, and their relationship. It's really hard for me to get into a book when I don't even like the main characters. I had an extremely difficult time connecting with either one of them. I couldn't relate to them, and they both frustrated me so much. I feel like there was so little development of their so-called "relationship" and I couldn't see any kind of spark or chemistry or any indication that they even liked each other, but suddenly they were two seconds away from confessing their love for each other. I simply didn't believe their romance. I think if they had spent more time together and there had been more evidence that they had actually started to get to know each other, I could have gotten on board the Nadia-and-Mateo train. But I think it all happened too fast, and it didn't make sense to me.

(That said, I did really enjoy the Steadfast twist that Nadia and Mateo experience. I don't want to spoil anything in the book, but I thought the thing that happened with the Steadfast was pretty cool.)

Nadia and Mateo seemed sort of bland to me. There didn't seem to be much to them. I wanted layers and layers of character development, but it just wasn't there. Luckily, some of that desired character development went toward Verlaine and Elizabeth, two characters who I thought were extremely well-written. I think Verlaine and Elizabeth deserved a lot more "screen time," but instead I was stuck reading about Nadia and Mateo being all mushy and romantic and ugh.

As I mentioned before, everything about the witchcraft was awesome. There was a lot of dark and twisted magic, and the plot was suspenseful and mysterious. I thought the setting was the perfect backdrop for this mysterious story: a small town in New England right by the coast that was always cold and overcast. Despite the fact that I didn't care for the two main characters--the two people whose lives were in danger the entire book--I was so anxious to find out what would happen next to them with each turn of the page. The plot was so epic that it made me fear for the lives of characters I didn't actually care about.

While I did not love it as much as I thought I would, I enjoyed my experience reading Spellcaster. I wish the book had not centered so much around a romance I disliked, but other than the two main characters, I thought the book was great. I look forward to reading the sequel, and I still consider Claudia Gray to be one of my favorite authors.