Pick a Sin You Can Live With

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Title/Author: Horns by Joe Hill
Publication Date/Publisher: March 1, 2010/William Morrow
Series: No
Source and Format: Own
Rating: 3 stars


From Goodreads:

Ignatius Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things. He woke up the next morning with a thunderous hangover, a raging headache . . . and a pair of horns growing from his temples.

At first Ig thought the horns were a hallucination, the product of a mind damaged by rage and grief. He had spent the last year in a lonely, private purgatory, following the death of his beloved, Merrin Williams, who was raped and murdered under inexplicable circumstances. A mental breakdown would have been the most natural thing in the world. But there was nothing natural about the horns, which were all too real.

Once the righteous Ig had enjoyed the life of the blessed: born into privilege, the second son of a renowned musician and younger brother of a rising late-night TV star, he had security, wealth, and a place in his community. Ig had it all, and more—he had Merrin and a love founded on shared daydreams, mutual daring, and unlikely midsummer magic.

But Merrin’s death damned all that. The only suspect in the crime, Ig was never charged or tried. And he was never cleared. In the court of public opinion in Gideon, New Hampshire, Ig is and always will be guilty because his rich and connected parents pulled strings to make the investigation go away. Nothing Ig can do, nothing he can say, matters. Everyone, it seems, including God, has abandoned him. Everyone, that is, but the devil inside. . . .

Now Ig is possessed of a terrible new power to go with his terrible new look—a macabre talent he intends to use to find the monster who killed Merrin and destroyed his life. Being good and praying for the best got him nowhere. It’s time for a little revenge. . . . It’s time the devil had his due. .

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Horns was not the spooky or creepy Hallow-Read I was expecting. I saved it specifically for this reason (and the movie)! There’s some gore-heavy parts, but overall it’s not too bad.


I didn’t realize how much of the story was flashbacks. I really thought Horns was the story of Ig and his horns of truth causing some shenanigans about town, but Horns is actually a much deeper story or love and redemption and choices.


I debated 4 stars, but I feel like a lot of this went over my head (all the connections and religion), so I don’t really know/understand what exactly happened there at the end.
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Waiting on Wednesday: I Was Here

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“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

 

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Book Title/Author: I Was Here by Gayle Forman
Publication Date/Publisher: January 27, 2015/Viking Juvenile

From Goodreads:

Cody and Meg were inseparable.
Two peas in a pod.
Until . . . they weren’t anymore.

When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.

GAYLE FORMANNNNNN! Besides being an auto-buy, this just sounds terrific. It sounds a little different than her other books, but you just know it’s going to be terrific.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Series I Want to Start

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This week, The Broke and the Bookish is asking for the Top Ten (New) Series We Want to Start. I’m going less for NEW and more for NEEEEEED to read. I’m also only including series that I own at least one book from.

 

  1. The Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta – HOW DARE I
  2. Scarlet by AC Gaughan – Again, HOW DARE I
  3. Steelheart and The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson – I’m still working through the Mistborn series, no way I am doing more than one of his at any time.
  4. Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin – I’ve heard mixed things, but I have the first book. I think I’m going to wait for this series to finish before I start it.
  5. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas – technically, yes, I’ve read Throne of Glass, but I’m doing a full re-read so I can appreciate it all at once. You know how I love to binge.
  6. Gentleman Bastard by Scott Lynch – I can only do one fantasy series at a time so I can keep the worlds straight. I am excited for this one – I just need to finish the Mistborn books first.
  7. Penryn & The End of Days by Susan Ee – I have the first two books but this is at least a 5 book series. Do I start now or just wait?
  8. The Archived by Victoria Schwab – HOW HAVE I NOT READ THESE YET I DON’T KNOW I’M SORRY
  9. Legend by Marie Lu – I own the entire series. At least one of the books is a signed copy (I love that Target is doing this now). And yet they sit on my shelf, unread.
  10. The Artists Trilogy by Katrina Halle: I won the first two books AGES ago, and I feel bad for not having read them yet. The reviews are good – and from people who’s opinion I trust – so there’s no real reason NOT to read them (except lack of time).

I can’t wait to read everyone’s TTT this week and add even more series to my TBR!

Make Way For the Raven King

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Title/Author: Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
Publication Date/Publisher: October 21, 2014/Scholastic Press
Series: The Raven Cycle #3
Source and Format: I received this book for free from the publisher via Netgalley. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Rating: 5 stars

From Goodreads:

There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel.

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This series is killing me. Not just the wait and the anticipation and the not knowing – but all of these things plus my Ronan feelings – and I’m basically dead.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue starts a month after the events of The Dream Thieves. I thought this was fine, because while I want to see every minute of every character’s day, I understand why it’s not really possible. The gap in time did kind of set up for the other weird jumps in the story, and those I had more of an issue with: Adam is at [the place] waiting for his [thing] to start, and Gansey and Ronan rush in and Gansey [noise] to the [person] and then the scene is over. I WANTED TO KNOW THE OUTCOME.

I loved the new character perspectives. Greenmantle is not a scary crime boss, he’s hilarious. His wife, Piper, is also hilarious and I actually liked them whenever they came up on their own together. When they’re with the Gray Man or the Raven Boys or the women of 300 Fox Way I can remember they’re the bad guys, but when they weren’t, I thought they were a lot of fun.

Jesse Dittley was also terrific – the Dittleys have guarded the cursed cave forever, slowly dying off as they’ve had to sacrifice themselves to it. The things that have happened to him and his family could have made him a very hard and angry person, so I extra loved his easy friendship with Blue.

“I don’t want to make a bigger cage. I want to open the door.”

 

There are caves and adventures and death and SO MANY THINGS happening. Blue Lily, Lily Blue does not have the singular focus of The Dream Thieves (Ronan), instead painting a broader picture of all the characters. Gansey seems withdrawn – but it might just be that we spend less time with him, Adam is waking up (either to or from what appears to be an existential crisis), Ronan seems like less of a shit, though he assures us it’s not true. Even Noah seems to be evolving through death. The Raven Boys are becoming Raven Men.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue does focus a bit more on Blue this time around, since it’s her mother underground, needing to be found. She learns a lot more about herself and her abilities, and WOW she is hit with so much in this book. I thought, based on the title, this would be her book, and it is in a way.

I just can’t believe how close we are to the end, when it seems like there is still so far to go and one more book is not enough time with these characters and this world. I feel like I’m mourning the end of the series already, when I still have a year to wait for it!

“I hear if you want magic done,” he said, “you ask a magician.”

 

And I can’t wait to read Maggie’s re-cap of Blue Lily, Lily Blue on The Recaptains next year. They’re every bit as good and entertaining as the books.
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ARC Review: Rowdy

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Title/Author: Rowdy by Jay Crownover
Publication Date/Publisher: October 23, 2014/William Morrow Paperbacks
Series: Yes, Marked Men #5
Source and Format: I received this book for free from the publisher via Edelweiss. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.
Rating: 2 stars
From Goodreads:

After the only girl he ever loved told him that he would never be enough, Rowdy St. James knocked the Texas dust off his boots and set out to live up to his nickname. A good ol’ boy looking for good times and good friends, Rowdy refuses to take anything too seriously, especially when it comes to the opposite sex. Burned by love once, he isn’t going to let himself trust a woman again. But that’s before his new co-worker arrives, a ghost from the past who’s suddenly making him question every lesson he ever learned.

Salem Cruz grew up in house with too many rules and too little fun—a world of unhappiness she couldn’t wait to forget. But one nice thing from childhood has stayed with her; the memory of the sweet, blue-eyed boy next door who’d been head over heels in love with her little sister.

Now, fate and an old friend have brought her and Rowdy together, and Salem is determined to show him that once upon a time he picked the wrong sister. A mission that is working perfectly—until the one person that ties them together appears, threatening to tear them apart for good.

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I think I’m done with the Marked Men series. Since each book needs to top the previous ones drama-wise, the series has reached the point where there is TOO MUCH going on and I am not interested in reading about drama for drama’s sake.


I’ve realized what my issue with the covers is: there is so much emphasis on the guy’s tattoos and the cover models do not have those tattoos. They have maybe the same general look, but literally the only thing that sets these 5 guys apart from each other is their tattoos.


When people spend a lot of time together, they become very similar. There are tiny other differences, but it’s the personal style and tattoos that actually set them apart. They all have the exact same voice, and 5 books is enough of that for me.


Rowdy is kind of a greaser…but also a cowboy. I did a google image search for greaser cowboy and the results are confusing and hilarious. He’s got the pompadour hairdo…but wears cowboy boots and sometimes a cowboy hat in DENVER lest we ever forget for one second that he and Salem are from Texas. Salem has the rockabilly/pin-up girl look, so we know they’re obviously meant to be. She has basically the exact same personality as Cora, and of course everyone just loves her right away.


My favorite part of Rowdy was seeing what all the characters I already know are up to. I wish the series had continued with characters that are marked in other ways and not just guys in the shop – Jet has tattoos but he’s a friend of the shop and Rome is marked with his scar instead of ink.


Part of it may be that this series is actually being moved to the backburner. Crownover is also writing her Welcome to the Point series, which is a little darker and may explain some events that may have bled over into Rowdy. On top of that other series, Marked Men is getting a spin-off series with at least 5 books which seem to be about the guys at the new tattoo shop: Saints of Denver. That shop is one of the main locations in Rowdy, yet we never even learn any of the new artist’s names.

DNF Review: The Fall

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Title/Author: The Fall by Bethany Griffin
Publication Date/Publisher: October 7, 2014/Greenwillow Books
Series: No
Source and Format: I received this book for free from the publisher via Edelweiss. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.
Rating: DNF @ 41%
From Goodreads:
Madeline Usher is doomed.

She has spent her life fighting fate, and she thought she was succeeding. Until she woke up in a coffin.

Ushers die young. Ushers are cursed. Ushers can never leave their house, a house that haunts and is haunted, a house that almost seems to have a mind of its own. Madeline’s life—revealed through short bursts of memory—has hinged around her desperate plan to escape, to save herself and her brother. Her only chance lies in destroying the house.

In the end, can Madeline keep her own sanity and bring the house down? The Fall is a literary psychological thriller, reimagining Edgar Allan Poe’s classic The Fall of the House of Usher.

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The Fall should have been a perfect Hallow-read, but I never felt any kind of terror or a shiver of thrill up my spine while reading almost the first half of the book.

The Fall opens with Madeline waking up in a coffin. And then flashes back to her as a child. Then back to “present day” Madeline and back and forth, jumping around in years that made it very difficult for me to remember the order things were happening. I don’t often look at chapter headings, especially when Chapter XX is included, so it’s partially my own fault, but I also feel like nothing was really happening?

Madeline can’t leave the house. Her twin brother got to go away to school because the house didn’t choose him. There is a family curse that results in…something? The doctors that live in the house call them fits, but I’m not familiar with The Fall of the House of Usher to be able to know what’s really going on. I read the spoilery plot on wikipedia and I can see the parallels and how the story might have been going in that direction, but eh.

SORT OF SPOILERY THINGS BELOW SO MAYBE DON’T READ PAST
THE HALLOW-READS GRAPHIC IF YOU’RE NOT INTO THAT
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Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Places Books Make Me Want to Go

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This week, The Broke and the Bookish is asking for the Top Ten Places Books Have Made Me Want to Visit – Fictional or Real. Let’s start this one off right:

  1. HOGWARTS HOGWARTS HOGGY WOGGY HOGWARTS – from the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
  2. Australia – I would probably not last long in Australia, but so many of my favorite books come from there that I should probably just go (and be killed by heat, birds, and spiders) – from Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta and Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
  3. Prague, based solely on The Daughter of Smoke and Bone series because I had no inclination to go there before reading that series
  4. OASIS – I tried to play Second Life and I never felt the desire to murder my Sims and I do often think that the world is awful enough that we should just move into a virtual world so…. – from Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  5. London Below – I haven’t even been to London Above, but I feel my priorities are straight – from Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
  6. North Star, Texas is a definite must for food and Friday Night Lights reenacting – from Nowhere But Home by Liza Palmer
  7. The Shire – I need to be the tallest person around for once in my life and hobbit holes are super cute, so it’s pretty much the perfect place for me – from The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien
  8. 300 Fox Way – I almost went with Monmouth Manufacturing (and I alllllmost went with Thisby), but I could probably move into 300 Fox Way and it would be a while before anyone noticed – from The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater
  9. Fairyland, because why not go to the most magical place of all – from The Fairyland series by Catherynne M Valente

The Past is a Ghost

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Title/Author: Rooms by Lauren Oliver
Publication Date/Publisher: September 23, 2014/Harper Collins
Series: No
Source and Format: I received this book for free from the publisher via Edelweiss. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Rating: 3 stars

From Goodreads:

Wealthy Richard Walker has just died, leaving behind his country house full of rooms packed with the detritus of a lifetime. His estranged family—bitter ex-wife Caroline, troubled teenage son Trenton, and unforgiving daughter Minna—have arrived for their inheritance.

But the Walkers are not alone. Prim Alice and the cynical Sandra, long dead former residents bound to the house, linger within its claustrophobic walls. Jostling for space, memory, and supremacy, they observe the family, trading barbs and reminiscences about their past lives. Though their voices cannot be heard, Alice and Sandra speak through the house itself—in the hiss of the radiator, a creak in the stairs, the dimming of a light bulb.

The living and dead are each haunted by painful truths that will soon surface with explosive force. When a new ghost appears, and Trenton begins to communicate with her, the spirit and human worlds collide—with cataclysmic results.

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I saved Rooms for part of my Hallow-reads series because it’s about ghosts, but there is not one spooky thing about it.

 

Rooms has a lot of characters, each with a lot going on. I didn’t have a problem remembering who was who or who had what going on in their life…it’s just a lot. Especially when some of the narrators are no longer living.

 

Multiple generations of ghosts living in one house! And they don’t like each other! Or the living family who is imposing on them after the Walker patriarch’s passing. One of the ghosts, Alice, seems to be the original owner of the Walker house. The other ghost, Sandra, lived there after Alice…well, during Alice. Then Sandra also died and now they’re stuck together.

 

If I was a ghost, I would be haunting the crap out of some fools, not just complaining about them to my ghost frenemies. Aside from that, I loved how connected everything was, and they way the story was told: room by room throughout the big house.

 

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We’ve got The Lovely Bones, Her Fearful Symmetry, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I’d say that those are all accurate if what you’re looking for is a non-frightening adult ghost story.
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ARC Review: The Fine Are of Pretending

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Title/Author: The Fine Art of Pretending by Rachel Harris
Publication Date/Publisher: September 30, 2014/Spencer Hill Contemporary
Series: The Fine Art of Pretending #1
Source and Format: I received this book for free from the publisher via Netgalley. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Rating: 2 stars

From Goodreads:

According to the guys at Fairfield Academy, there are two types of girls: the kind you hook up with, and the kind you’re friends with. Seventeen-year-old Alyssa Reed is the second type. And she hates it. With just one year left to change her rank, she devises a plan to become the first type by homecoming, and she sets her sights on the perfect date—Justin Carter, Fairfield Academy’s biggest hottie and most notorious player.

With 57 days until the dance, Aly launches Operation Sex Appeal and sheds her tomboy image. The only thing left is for Justin actually to notice her. Enter best friend Brandon Taylor, the school’s second biggest hottie, and now Aly’s pretend boyfriend. With his help, elevating from “funny friend” to “tempting vixen” is only a matter of time.

But when everything goes according to plan, the inevitable “break up” leaves their friendship in shambles, and Aly and Brandon with feelings they can’t explain. And the fake couple discovers pretending can sometimes cost you the one thing you never expected to want.

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Sometimes you just need a fluffy book to read in the tub. The Fine Art of Pretending was that book for me.

Predictable from page 1, The Fine Art of Pretending starts out okay-ish, gets a little better, and then takes a nosedive. My favorite trope is THE FAKE COUPLE and while Aly and Brandon are fake-together, everything is fine. I might have gone 4 stars….until they fake-breakup and spend 30% of the book whining about how much they love each other but can’t be together for whatever reasons and of course never tell the other one how they feel.

Then there is the message that “boys will only notice you if you wear revealing clothes and a lot of makeup and basically change your whole outward appearance and personality”. The book opens in a Forever 21 dressing room full of bandage dresses and mini-est skirts and a bangin’ bod that Aly keeps covered in baggy clothes. Aly THE VOLLEYBALL PLAYER is somehow able to keep her body a secret from the entire school?! Did the author not Google Image search “high school volleyball” like I did?

Brandon, for his part, is not much better. His role as Aly’s best friend/fake-love interest/and protector is annoying. He steps in to save her from everything, when he’s not pushing her to do things she might not really want to do (sing in public, not like, sexy stuff). They ARE southern though, which I didn’t realize until everyone starts saying “ya’ll” towards the end of the book.

I will probably not be continuing this series. I have a guess who the next book will be about (Gabi and Carlos?), and while I will probably like Gabi more than I liked Aly, I just can’t imagine the next book will be that much different than The Fine Art of Pretending.

Fear Cuts Deeper Than Swords

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Title/Author: Messenger of Fear by Michael Grant
Publication Date/Publisher: September 23, 2014/Katherine Tegen Books
Series: Messenger of Fear #1
Source and Format: I received this book for free from the publisher via Edelweiss. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Rating: 2 stars

From Goodreads:

I remembered my name – Mara. But, standing in that ghostly place, faced with the solemn young man in the black coat with silver skulls for buttons, I could recall nothing else about myself.

And then the games began.

The Messenger sees the darkness in young hearts, and the damage it inflicts upon the world. If they go unpunished, he offers the wicked a game. Win, and they can go free. Lose, and they will live out their greatest fear.

But what does any of this have to do with Mara? She is about to find out…

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So far, I’m 0 for 0 in most anticipated titles in the back half of 2014. Everything has been a DNF or 2 stars…BLUE LILY, LILY BLUE COME FIX THIS.

Messenger of Fear takes a very interesting concept, and completely bungles it. It sounds like the book is going to be about The Messenger doling out punishment via games and seeing characters have to live out their greatest fear. Instead, Messenger of Fear is about Mara becoming the new Messenger, and her apprenticeship to the position.

There is some decent gore – a girl is chopped into puzzle pieces and her boyfriend has 1 minute to put her back together – but we only see two games and two instances of punishment, which makes the synopsis quite deceiving. I read this as part of my new Hallow-Reads feature for the month of October, and I have to say I was a bit disappointed in the lack of gross stuff going on.

Messenger of Fear ends in a strange place. It’s not a cliffhanger really, but there is a lot of vague set-up for the mythology of The Messenger and his world and no answers. Who are these other supernatural beings that keep showing up? Who is Ariadne? (Oh wait, I just googled Ariadne so I guess I know what her deal is going to be – I thought Michael Grant was just really into Inception).

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Luckily, Messenger of Fear is a very fast read. I read the whole thing (minus the last chapter) in bed, so it couldn’t have taken even 2 hours. I’m still very interested in what this story could have been, but I don’t think it’s enough to continue the series.
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