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Divergent by Veronica Roth

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Book Description:

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, 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.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . .

. . .or it might destroy her.

My Rating: 6/5… 10/5…

Oh my goodness this book is UH-MAZING!! I flew through this thing, I could not put it down! I nabbed the 2nd book right away, Insurgent. Divergent leaves you on edge throughout. Every chapter leaves you wanting to know what happens next. The main character Tris is so inspiring and just really makes me want to get out there and conquer some fears of mine. And Four…. oh Four ❤ Even though I’m married, it’s okay to have a fictional boyfriend, right? This book has great character development, I’m not sure there’s a character in here that I wasn’t excited to hear about and see where their story goes. I swear Veronica Roth could make side books on anyone in this story. I’d buy every single one. And as far as movie/book comparison goes: SEE THE MOVIE! What a great book-to-screen adaptation! They really didn’t leave out too much. They manipulated a few scenes for the film (one in particular being the zip line scene) which I surprisingly enjoyed the film rendition way better… they definitely made it more thrilling and more “dauntless.” (Will post a link when I write the movie-to-book review). I could talk about this book all day, definitely pick it up if you haven’t!

**  Click Here For My Book-To-Film Adaptation Review  **

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Dark Celebration by Christine Feehan

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Book Description:

After centuries as the prince of the Carpathians, Mikhail Dubrinsky fears he can’t protect his people for long from their greatest threat: the extinction of their species at the hands of their immortal enemies–who are devising a scheme to slaughter Carpathian females. But even with his own lifemate, Raven, and their daughter, Savannah, vulnerable to the encroaching evil, Mikhail’s hope is not lost.
Carpathians from around the world are gathering to join their souls and their powers to bring light to the darkness. But so too are their adversaries uniting–hunters, vampires, demons and betrayers–bringing untold dangers into the fold of the Carpathian people.

My Rating: 1/5.. maybe even less -_-

Not much for me to say about this book. Happy I purchased it at the Dollar Store. This book was insanely cheesy for me, completely unrealistic in a BAD way. I couldn’t even finish it. I tried to get in to the story because I read some good reviews but I just could not. If I can come away with something positive though, I will say the writing wasn’t bad. I think there’s a fine line between a bad story and bad writing. I can’t stand when people tear someone apart for their writing when it’s the story they should be criticizing. I will not let my emotions get in the way of logic. I’m also not naive to the fact that this book is a part of a massive series. I don’t believe, from the little that I did read, that I needed to have read any of the other stories. This book held it’s own. And frankly, it makes me not even remotely interested in any other part.

So with that being said, I would still probably recommend it to fans of the romance genre who want a bit of the vampire flare into their storytelling. As for me, I’ll be donating this or turning it into a craft of some sort.

City of Words by Steven J. Carroll

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Book Description:

The all-powerful ruling authority, the Common, implants sensors into its citizens, sensors into the eyes and into the ears. They can see what you see and hear what you hear, and everything is monitored and recorded. One wrong word, or action, and you can lose your citizenship, which means death.

This is the world that Alpha has survived in for thirteen years, and he’s good at it. At the School, he’s an instructor rank, the highest ranking, which means almost no mistakes, for years. But now everything is unraveling. The Common has set their sights on him, systematically testing him to determine his allegiances. And what’s worse, they’re bringing Theta into this, the only person in the world that he cares about, and they might even kill her to get to him.

And the only way that this gets resolved, and the only way he can keep Theta safe, is if Alpha finds a way to escape the School. But how can you run from an enemy who can watch you at all times, an enemy who knows everything about you? When a single misspoken word can destroy you?

My Rating: 3.5/5

Before I get to my review, I would like to start off by saying that I received this book for free as a giveaway winner via Goodreads.com (sponsored by the author/publisher/other individual or entity) and by no means does this impact my review. Although I am super grateful and excited for any opportunity at receiving a book for free, I am also very strict with being honest. And with that, I thank you!

This book was good. Not great, but good. It starts off strong; the first chapter had me hooked and that’s always a good thing! It was intense and had me wondering what happens next. If you like dystopian/sci-fi genres, then I would definitely recommend this book for you, although I wouldn’t recommend to anyone who dislikes younger reads. The only reason I say that is because I find Alpha to be a little too whiny, even for my taste. Not saying that every leading male character has to be brooding and strong willed and oh-so-dreamy, but Alpha was a little much to take sometimes. Like a fly that keeps flying around your face that you can’t get rid of. Eventually the fly lands and you don’t seem to mind it’s presence anymore. You accidentally bump it’s new found resting place and all of a sudden he’s back to flying around your face for the next 10 minutes or so. That is Alpha in a nutshell! One thing I don’t understand about him though is how can he go from this whiny person one minute to willingly getting his neck cut open the next and then back to being whiny? (This particular scene though was wonderfully intense – just kind of makes me think Alpha pretends to be stronger than he really is or just likes the attention when he whines).

The Enjoyable Things:

Can I talk about this cover first? I am a cover snob. I’m sorry, if you put effort in to your writing I feel like you need to put just as much into the appearance. I am a
“judge a book by it’s cover” type of gal. Why would I want to read your book if you clearly don’t put any effort to initially draw me in? Make me pick up the book with just the picture – make me want to read the book jacket! But this is a completely different conversation for another day. Getting back on track, this cover is great! It’s what made me read the book description in the first place. It really captured my eye and I love the idea of holding a picture of a ‘before world destruction’ over the ‘after math’. Kudos for the outer display!

Another thing I enjoyed in this book was Chapter 22 in particular! Without spoiling anything, I really enjoy who they introduced here. I, personally, did not see it coming and that always makes for a fun read :]

The Not So Enjoyable Things:

I really feel that this book should’ve been a “book 2” because I don’t feel like there was much background info before things started falling apart and they – Alpha & Chi – were on the run. THAT or they should add a few more chapters to the beginning. I’d really like to know more about where they came from, where they were growing up and I’d definitely like to know more about Alpha and Theta’s relationship. I want to believe Alpha on this whole ‘saving Theta’ quest but all I can think of is puppy love because I don’t know much about them.

Which leads me into their age. I don’t know their age. How can I draw a picture in my head if I don’t know how old I should be picturing these people? Being whiny makes me think Alpha and Theta are younger but they can’t be THAT young to be going through what they’re going through, they were too mature in certain areas. On the back of the book, it says “This is the world that Alpha has survived in for 13 years,” so at least I know he’s 13+ .. but I can’t imagine he’s only 13. If this was explained, I completely missed it, so don’t quote me that it wasn’t – I’m not entirely certain. HALP!

I did enjoy the scene where Alpha and Theta are thrown up against each other to fight – I got so excited reading about it but then it seemed to fall flat. I was really engulfed in this build up but felt like it went no where. Again, this is a scene where I feel like Alpha’s whiny and unruliness comes in to play. He just needs to stop.

One last thing I’d like to point out because it was hard to stay enveloped in the book when this happened (and it happened frequently) but at the same time, I was informed that this in an ARC so it may or may not be something that will change. So instead of saying “this is awful blah blah blah” I would like to consider this a suggestion: There are a lot of areas where the writing seems to repeat itself. I don’t need to be reminded you’re in a forest 10 times in the same 2 sentences. I got you were in the forest the first time (exaggerated example but sometimes I felt this to be true).  It would be great to change this in the final print/version because it really took me out of the story.

Example from the actual book pg. 199-200 end of paragraph into the beginning of a new page:

“…..They considered their labors menial and ignorant, and so the Leaders of the Common made plans to forcibly confiscate the land from the farmers. And so, the Leaders sent out messages, this was before the days of implanted sensors……”

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All in all, I would recommend this book – and being at the end it quotes “End of Book One” I would definitely be interested in getting my hands on book 2 and seeing where this story goes!

Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea by Chelsea Handler

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Book Description:

When Chelsea Handler needs to get a few things off her chest, she appeals to a higher power – vodka. You would too if you found out that your boyfriend was having an affair with a Peekapoo or if you had to pretend to be honeymooning with your father in order to upgrade to first class. Welcome to Chelsea’s world – a place where absurdity reigns supreme and a quick wit is the best line of defense.

In this hilarious, deliciously skewed collection, Chelsea mines her past for stories about her family, relationships, and career that are at once singular and ridiculous. Whether she’s convincing her third-grade class that she has been tapped to play Goldie Hawn’s daughter in the sequel to Private Benjamin, deciding to be more egalitarian by dating a redhead, or looking out for a foulmouthed, rum-swilling little person who looks just like her… only smaller, Chelsea has a knack for getting herself into the most outrageous situations.

My Rating: 3.5/5

I’m not a big Chelsea Handler fan. I don’t watch her show, Chelsea Lately, though I’ve seen it. I’ve watched her stand up “Uganda Be Kidding Me” which made me giggle at parts and that’s about my extent of Chelsea Handlerness. I picked up this book while I was leaving work one day. I noticed it on the bargain table and thought, “hmm, it’s already super cheap, plus with my employee discount, it’ll be even cheaper… why not?! ” so by that and only that, I picked it up to read it as an ‘in between’ book. I didn’t really enjoy the first chapter. Honestly after that, I was scared to read the rest and wondered if I was gonna waste my time with this. But I can’t base a book on the first chapter alone, otherwise I would have put down many a great books. I will say the stories do get better the further you get into the book (my personal favorite chapter being “Mini-Me“). I’d give the occasional “hmph” laugh through my nose every once in awhile, but other than that, I probably won’t ever read this book again. Maybe Chelsea Handler fans enjoy it a little more than I do? I’m not sure… but honestly it’s not as crude as I thought it would be from the little I do know of her.. and I can’t figure out if I believe that to be a good thing or bad…

One thing I did enjoy though was I found her not to be as “bad” of a person as I thought her to be and by “bad” I mean… more so a bitch. Not necessarily a bad person. In fact, this book kind of made me feel like I’m the bad one! There were certain parts where she admitted holding back on some things where I would’ve probably said ‘fuck that’ and gone through with it! Butttt then again, she did things I would never in a million years do. But nothing bitchy! Again.. shocked at this revelation! Going back to my ‘favorite’ chapter “Mini-Me,” this seemed to stir up some heated debate! Obviously if you read this, you know why.. it’s basically about her love for dwarf people leading in to one particular story. I don’t care what people think, I thought this was hilarious! Not because this girl was a dwarf, but because of how she acted.  Good comedy crosses lines that common day people will not…. should not… cross. Hence C-O-M-E-D-Y. If you take offense to this chapter, why are you reading her book in the first place? Take the stick out of your butt and remember she’s a comedian. Yeah not all of them do their practice tastefully but I personally don’t believe she was crossing any lines and at the end of the day, she was doing a generous deed to a human being.

That being said, I WOULD recommend this book to fans of her work. I would recommend it to someone looking for a light chuckle, someone who isn’t expecting a hilarious read. But I would not recommend paying full price for it.

2015 September Bookhaul

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First Ever Bookhaul of September 2015!

SO MANY BEWKS, SO LITTLE TIME! And to think I was holding back because I had to purchase plane tickets to visit home next month. I’d hate for you guys to see what I can do when I’m not holding back heh… heh…. YEAH SO… I’ll have a list below of each book pictured, where I got them, paperback or hardcover, special editions and how much my total purchase at each place was! If you have any more questions – or comments – about this month’s haul, please feel free to leave/ask them below 😀

Total Books: 29 (30 if you count both books in the 2-in-1)
Total Amount Spent: $128

BookOutlet = $42 (includes shipping)
1. ) A World Without Princes, Bk.2 (School for Good and Evil) by Soman Chainani; hardcover
2.) Beautiful Redemption, Bk.4 (Caster Chronicles/Beautiful Creatures Series) by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl; paperback
3.) Everneath, Bk.1 (Everneath Series) by Brodi Ashton; paperback
4.) Everbound, Bk. 2 (Everneath Series) by Brodi Ashton; paperback
5.) Far Far Away By Tom McNeal; paperback
6.) Frostfire, Bk. 1 (Kanin Chronicles) by Amanda Hocking; paperback
7.) Hemlock, Bk. 1 (Hemlock Series) by Kathleen Peacock; paperback
8.) The Bone Season, Bk. 1 (The Bone Season) by Samantha Shannon; hardcover
9.) The Brilliant Light of Amber Sunrise by Matthew Crow; hardcover
10.) The Ice Dragon by George R.R. Martin; hardcover
11.) The Nethergrim by Matthew Jobin; hardcover

Amazon = $20 (free shipping @ $35 – also bought a DBZ Pop Vinyl for my main squeeze)
1.) Allegiant, Bk. 3 (Divergent Trilogy) by Veronica Roth; hardcover
2.) Four (Companion Novel to the Divergent Trilogy) by Veronica Roth; signed hardcover

The Book Exchange (my local 1/2 price bookstore) = $28 (including tax)
1.) The Maze Runner, Bk. 1 (Maze Runner Series) by James Dashner; paperback
2.) The Scorch Trials, Bk. 2 (Maze Runner Series) by James Dashner; paperback
3.) City of Bones, Bk. 1 (The Mortal Instruments) by Cassandra Clare; paperback
4.) Divergent, Bk. 1 (Divergent Trilogy) by Veronica Roth; paperback
5.) Insurgent, Bk. 2 (Divergent Trilogy) by Veronica Roth; hardcover
6.) Lord of the Clans, Bk. 2 (WarCraft) by Christie Golden; paperback
7.) Beautiful Darkness, Bk. 2 (Caster Chronicles/Beautiful Creatures Series) by Kami Garcia & Margart Stohl
8.) The Lightning Thief, Bk. 1 (Percy Jackson & The Olympians) by Rick Riordan, paperback

Barnes & Noble = $38 (including tax)
1.) Beautiful Creatures, Bk. 1 (Caster Chronicles/Beautiful Creatures Series) by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl; paperback
2.) Are You There Vodka, It’s Me Chelsea? by Chelsea Handler; paperback
3.) The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick; paperback
4.) Undead (2-in-1/Night of the Living Dead & Return of the Living Dead) by John Russo; paperback
5.) Breed by Chase Novak; paperback
6.) The Isle of the Lost (A Descendants Novel) by Melissa De La Cruz; hardcover

Giveaway Books = (free)
1.) Waking the Dead by L. Sydney Fisher; signed paperback
2.) City of Words by Steven J. Carroll;signed paperback