Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Week Twenty-Eight

How I'm Feeling: I am *finally* getting over being seriously sick for the past week. Think Zombie Plague + Pregnancy. Still super stuffy and coughing, but at least I'm finally sleeping again (mostly). I actually went to the Urgent Care Center in my hometown, because I was just so tired of being sick. They gave me a shot (which was ridiculously painful for some reason) and a ton of meds with strict orders to take it easy. Of course, all of this just made me worry about River, because I really didn't want to take any medications with her, but they assured me everything would be fine and it was in her best interest to take them. It helps to ease my freak out modes when I can feel her kicking and moving like crazy though.

Latest Doctor Visit: First 3rd Trimester Doctor Visit happened! It was super quick, and they measured my belly and I got to hear River's heartbeat like always (152). She's doing great and she should be here in 12 weeks hopefully!

Nursery Update: Nursery is still being put on hold because we're still debating on moving. Which sucks, because I am so ready to get River's things together for her, but I can hold off for a little longer.

Cravings: Chocolate Pop-Tarts & Milk. Seriously, best things ever. Zack and I are going through almost 3 gallons of milk a week right now!

Gifts for River this Week: So, my sweet little girl isn't even here yet, and she's already spoiled rotten thanks to her awesome family! Here's just *SOME* of her gifts!

Most Coveted Baby Item of the Week:
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams. I absolutely loved this book when I was younger, and I plan on buying it soon for River and writing a sweet message inside.

Week Twenty-Seven

How I'm Feeling: Weird. On the one hand, I'm super happy and ready to have River in my arms as soon as she's ready to be here. On the other, I'm super stressed because of some issues that have come up with our property that might mean we have to move in the near or distant future. I'm also feeling like I'm about to catch a cold (or what I hope is JUST a cold, and not the beginnings of the flu), with a scratchy throat and fatigue. 

Milestone: This week I've been playing music to little River whenever I get the chance. So far she seems to like the mellower side of the spectrum. She enjoyed Neil Young's Don't Let it Bring You Down and Obadiah Parker's version of Hey Ya. Both she kicked and grooved a lot too. 

Nursery Update: As of right now, the nursery is put on hold until we figure out the housing situation :( Which really sucks because I was so excited to finally get started on it. But we don't want to put any more money then we already have into it if we're just going to end up leaving. So practicality comes first unfortunately.

Cravings: Burger King burgers and onion rings! And of course, still milk.

Weird Non-Gross Body Stuff: Leg Cramps and Braxton Hicks contractions. They both suck majorly.

Gifts for River this Week:
 This week River received her first book from her sweet cousins, Amy and Macie! They also bought her an adorable little owl plush toy.

She also got this adorable little outfit from her Aunt Anita and cousin Regina :)

Most Coveted Baby Item of the Week:
This adorable little onesie, found HERE.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Week Twenty-Six

How I'm Feeling: Mostly good, but I'm getting super uncomfortable trying to sleep! Besides the fact that River is moving around like a crazy chick, my back is killing me every time I try and roll over. 

Nursery Update: River's nursery is *finally* painted thinks to some of our awesome friends! It's a light gray and we plan on doing some pink accents soon. We also got the flooring, and plan on installing it this weekend. Pictures to come!

Milestone: Last weekend I bought my first pair of maternity jeans... and they are AWESOME. Seriously, I may never go back to regular jeans again... sorry hubs.

Doctor Visit: This week I had my last monthly check-up, and now move on to my two-week visits! I can't believe how fast time is flying! River is doing great so far, but still hasn't gotten into position and is lying sideways with her head on my left side, but my doctor said that should be changing in the next two weeks or so. This time around I had to do my gestational diabetes test, which involved me getting to drink this super sugary nasty red Hawaiian Punch like drink and then waiting an hour to get my blood drawn- which really sucked because they couldn't find a "good" vein and had to take it out of my hand. I also had to have a TDAP vaccine in my arm which didn't hurt at the time, but is now sore. We got to meet the mid-wife since my doctor was on vacation, and she was *very* informative and gave us lots of pamphlets on breastfeeding and gave Zack a mini-lecture on what his duties were going to be when I was breast-feeding (one of which included making sure I got a 3 hour nap in the day!). She also recommended he read So That's What They're For, which I may or may not buy for him as a Christmas socking stuffer.

Registry #1: After the not so fun doctor visit, we decided to treat ourselves and go out to eat and registry River at Target. Which turned out to be insanely fun. Zack went a little nuts with the scanner though and I had to constantly remind him that we had to scan for "age appropriate" shower gifts- not a 2T outfit (even if it was adorbs).

Registry HERE.

Cravings: MILK. Tons and tons of milk.

Weird Non-Gross Body Stuff:  Super dry skin. Migraines. Swollen feet.

Most Researched Topic this Week: Gray and Pink Nurseries.

Gifts for River this Week: 
This week River's daddy bought her (and me) a super cute Vera Bradley diaper bag for Christmas!

And since I didn't update last week, River also received a very beautiful blanket made by my sweet friend at work!

Most Coveted Baby Item of the Week:
Her crib! I am *so* beyond ready to have her little nursery completed it's not even funny! Luckily, I found a pretty reasonably priced one on Amazon that is a 4 in 1 and that has beyond excellent reviews. Never underestimate the power of a good Amazon buy!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Week Twenty-Four

Milestone: River finally let Zack feel her kick for the first time Sunday night! We were going to sleep and I made Zack keep his hand on my tummy for at least an hour and she finally gave him three swift kicks to let him know she was still in there hanging out.

How I'm Feeling: Hungry. Like, all the time, 24/7. It's a bit ridiculous actually, but I'm keeping an eye on my food intake and hopefully staying on track for weight gain and management!

Cravings: Still tons of milk.

Weird Non-Gross Body Stuff- Back/ Hip aches! My back hurts all the time now and if I sit too long or when I first get up in the morning I am super stiff.

Most Researched Topic This Week: Baby on a Small Budget! Seriously, Zack and I have always budgeted and this ARTICLE was a really great and informative read.

Most Coveted Baby Item This Week: Swaddlers! Specifically, I've heard great things about the Miracle Blanket brand. Found HERE.

Monday, December 1, 2014

"A Thousand Pieces of You" by Claudia Gray

Series: Firebird #1
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
Format: Kindle
Publication: November 4, 2014 by Harper Teen
Cover Rating: 5/5 Stars
Links: GoodreadsAmazonB&NBook Depo

From Goodreads: Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.

A Thousand Pieces of You explores a reality where we witness the countless other lives we might lead in an amazingly intricate multiverse, and ask whether, amid infinite possibilities, one love can endure. 

My Thoughts: SO AMAZING! You know how they say never judge a book by it's cover? Well, you can totally judge this one by it's beautiful and unique cover, because the pages inside are just as magnificent and original!

I can't tell you the last time I read a great YA novel where I didn't think "This is really good, it reminds me of..." It just didn't happen in A Thousand Pieces of You, because it didn't remind me of anything that I have ever read before, which was so refreshing! And there's never a dull moment! From the first page to the last you are thrown into this amazing world that Claudia Gray has created, and you can't put it down. Anyone who likes a good science fiction story, with some romance, and an awesome heroine will love this book!

Bottom Line: I definitely recommend this one to all YA fans.

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Holiday Book Haul!

For a while now (think months) I've been on a strict book buying ban, so I haven't really gotten to do a book haul post recently. That's why I'm super excited today to get to do one! 

It started off innocently enough, when I ran across Richelle Mead's Silver Shadows for $2.75 on Kindle. I've been dying to read this book for over a year now, but I was holding off for Christmas. That kind of went out the window though when I saw how low the price was. There was just no way I could turn it down.

Then, today I opened up my e-mail to find that I won a $10 Amazon gift-card from author Camela Thompson as part of the Black Friday Book Bonanza Hop! I also won a copy of her novel All the Pretty Bones! Instead of buying a hardback or paperback, I decided to go with Kindle books because I'm running out of room on my shelves (and because $10 gets me more with e-books, as every bargain reader knows).So, I got: 

Needless to say, I'm a pretty happy book-nerd this week! Hope you all had an awesome Thanksgiving and let me know if you found any great book deals this week!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Five Day Lazy Weekend- Day One: Movie Marathon!

Today started off my five day "weekend"! I thought about cleaning up the house and doing laundry... but then I realized how silly that was. So instead, I finished up reading Taste of Darkness (Healer #3) by Maria V. Snyder, and started a movie marathon of all the movies hubs would never sit through with me. Needless to say, it's been a pretty great day.

I kicked things off with the movie One Day starring the beautiful and amazing Anne Hathaway and the oh so attractive Jim Sturgess. It tells the story of two friends, Dexter & Emma, and their life together (and apart) over a period of years. Emma is in love with the charming, self-absorbed Dexter from the very beginning, but being the smart girl she is, she knows that it's never going to happen and starts off a life long friendship with him instead. Their lives weave in and out of the late 80's through the 90's as they both grow to find out who they are and what they want out of life. 

This was really a beautiful love story and Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess just made it all the more wonderful with their brilliant acting and skills. It did feel a little rushed in parts, but it covers such a huge time span, that there was really no helping it. I have a feeling this was probably to stay as true to the original novel as possible (just a guess here, since I haven't read it yet). However, it did have some truly beautiful lines, such as:

Dex: I thought about you... I think about you. You and Me.

Emma: And if I can't talk to you... then what's the point of you? Of us?

Emma: I love you, Dex, so much. I just don't like you anymore. I'm sorry.

Next up on my list was Sleepless in Seattle, and this is where I have a major girl confession: until today, I had never seen it. I know. I felt like I was breaking this huge Tom & Meg Fandom rule (because truly, I love them both), but I just never got around to watching it. And here's where I make another confession: I didn't like it. I KNOW! Everyone raves about this movie (well my mom and her friends did anyway), but I just don't get it. Basically, we have Annie who is engaged to this boring hypochondriac guy by the name of Walter (played by Bill Pullman), and who one night just happens to turn on a radio show in which this young kid is talking about how lonely his widowed father is and how he needs to get re-married. The talk show hosts gets Sam, the dad, on the phone and he goes off on a sad spill about how in love he was with his deceased wife. And for some bizarre reason, Annie becomes infatuated with him in the five minutes that he talks. She then goes on a huge investigation into Sam's life (going so far as to hiring a private detective) and starts to pull away from her fiance as she tries to find a way into Sam's life.

All in all, I just thought this movie was... well, ridiculously silly. Meg Ryan is basically a stalker and poor old Tom Hanks is just having a tough go of it after losing his wife. It gives a new meaning to the term "insta-love". The only redeeming quality for me (besides the actors) was the witty dialogue between Sam and his young son:

Sam: Didn't you see Fatal Attraction?
Jonah: You wouldn't let me!
Sam: Well, I saw it and it scared the shit out of me! It scared the shit out of every man in America!

After being disappointed with my second movie choice, I had to fall back on one of my favorites, The English Patient, starring Ralph Fiennes, Kristin Scott Thomas, Willem Defoe, and Juliette Binoche. I find it so hard to actually explain this movie to anyone though, other than that it is simply beautiful, passionate, and appeals to the romantic in all of us. The language is timeless and sophisticated, the scenes poignant, the acting superb. It's a classic and one that is definitely worth having on your movie shelf and your bookshelf. Just be prepared to have tons of tissues handy. Some of my favorite quotes from this one include:

Almásy: What do you love?
Katharine Clifton: What do I love?
Almásy: Say everything.

Almásy: What do you hate most?
Katharine Clifton: A lie. What do you hate most?
Almásy: Ownership. Being owned. When you leave, you should forget me.

Almásy: I just wanted you to know: I'm not missing you yet.

Katharine Clifton: You will.

River Update: Week Twenty-Three

Here's a video of the first time we got to hear little River's heartbeat! Please excuse the crap quality of my phone- the important part to me was just hearing the heartbeat!

Cute Story: Hubs and I have some pretty funny conversations when we drive somewhere together. This week while taking the "scenic" route from the grocery store we started talking about our hopes for River as far as her schooling was concerned. Funnily enough, we both had the same hope that she ends up being super smart and gets accepted to the school of fine arts here in Bham or somewhere similar so she can get into some rad college later. That's right, we're already thinking college and she's not even here yet. Have to start early though!

Latest Doctor Visit: So far, everything is still going well! Blood pressure is great, weight gain is on track, and River's heartbeat was 156. The only bad news I got was that (once again) I was dehydrated! Which sucks because I've been drinking water like crazy and only have one juice or Sprite a day. So now I've taken to carrying around huge water bottles with me everywhere I go and slurping them down like crazy. We also got another ultrasound to check River's face out since last time she was being so stubborn. Of course, this time wasn't much different. She kept her face mostly turned towards my back and even kicked her little foot up at the ultrasound mic as it went over her. Next time we go I will be having my diabetes test (yuck) so any tips you have for that send them my way!

Pregnancy Brain Moment: So, this week I probably had my biggest "pregnancy brain" moment. I was cleaning the kitchen when I noticed a creepy bug trying to crawl into an electric socket. I quickly grabbed liquid, watery RAID and sprayed the crap out of that sucker... into the electric socket. I immediately realized what a dumb idea that was when I heard a strange sizzling noise coming from the wall. Luckily, hubs was home and fixed it ASAP... but not before making fun of me.

Movement: River's been kicking around like crazy! Especially when I'm relaxed and laying down reading, or just getting ready to go to sleep. She becomes a little ninja in my belly. Poor hubs hasn't felt her yet though because every time he puts his hand over my belly she stops abruptly and then starts back up when he lifts it. Definitely gets her stubbornness from him!

How I'm Feeling: This week I've been feeling pretty exhausted. I haven't been sleeping well because my whole body has just been extra stiff and I've been tossing and turning all night. 

Cravings: MILK. I have been drinking whole glasses of milk like crazy lately. Oh, and yummy smores!

Weird Non-Gross Body Stuff: Swollen fingers :( My wedding rings are really starting to cut into me. I think I'm going to have to put them aside soon which really sucks because I love them.

Most Researched Topic this Week: Newborn Sleep Schedules.

Most Coveted Baby Item of the Week: This super adorable Alice in Wonderland onesie. Found HERE.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ten on Tuesday!

Yay for a short work week! Our office is closed down Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday for the holidays!

Speaking of Turkey Day, how excited am I to be pregnant during this time and eat ALL this great food guilt-free?! Seriously, I just plan on camping out at my grandma's all day and going to town.

Recently, I've been in an audio-book funk. I tired listening to Good Omens by Neil Gaiman (who I LOVE) and then Seraphina by Rachel Hartman. With Good Omens, I think my focus just wasn't in it. I'm not a great multi-tasker, so driving while listening to something that has foot-notes in it probably wasn't the best idea. I think I'm just going to read it instead. With Seraphina my problem was just the book itself. I might as well give up on the idea that I'm going to love super High Fantasy. Apparently, it's just not going to be my thing, unless it's one of those rare occasions.

If I had any doubts about River kicking around before, they're gone now! Little lady moves like crazy when I'm laying down reading or watching TV. I just wish Zack was able to feel her, but every time he puts his hand on my belly she stops! 

Someone needs to make me this... like immediately, because it looks delicious. Recipe found HERE.


I really need to catch up on Doctor Who! I'm so behind, it's not even funny. But honestly, I just miss Matt Smith so much it hurts!

Last night I actually bargained with Zack to rub my very sore back in exchange for letting him off dish duty for the night. ...then I looked up pregnancy massages and found out that they actually help reduce risks in labor. Needless to say, I won't be bargaining in the future! I can just pull out the "keep your baby safe" card ;)

I've pretty much decided that as soon as River comes, I'm giving myself a spa day and getting my hair all cut off. I mean, if I'm going to be brave enough to go through labor, then I can be brave enough to *finally* get my haircut the way I've wanted to for YEARS:

Less than one month and we can start in on the nursery! When I first got pregnant we decided to wait until hubs gets his bonus to start on the nursery that way we would have enough time to really think about what we wanted and have enough to do it (especially since we have to get all new flooring). I can't wait to start decorating!!! 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

"Waterfall" by Lisa Tawn Bergren

Series: River of Time #1
Genre: YA,Time Travel, Historical Romance
Format: Kindle
Publication: February 1, 2011 by David C. Cook
Cover Rating: 3/5 Stars
Links: GoodreadsAmazonB&NBook Depo

From Goodreads: What do you do when your knight in shining armor lives, literally, in a different world?

Most American teenagers want a vacation in Italy, but the Betarrini sisters have spent every summer of their lives among the romantic hills with their archaelogist parents. Stuck among the rubble of the medieval castles in rural Tuscany, on yet another hot, dusty archaeological site, Gabi and Lia are bored out of their minds...until Gabi places her hand atop a handprint in an ancient tomb and finds herself in fourteenth-century Italy. And worse yet, in the middle of a fierce battle between knights of two opposing forces.

Suddenly Gabi's summer in Italy is much, much more interesting.

My Thoughts: WHY did I wait so long to read this one?! Just fantastic. I devoured it in one sitting and have now found a new favorite series and author to fangirl over.

Waterfall follows the story of present day girl, Gabriella Betarrini who finds herself sucked into the medieval past, along with her sister Lia. The problem? Gabi arrives amid an Italian battle without her sister by her side. Unable to leave without Lia, Gabi must do whatever she can to find her and their way home. But the more time she spends in medieval Italy, the more she becomes enamored with the culture and the people... especially a certain young and attractive lord named Marcello, no matter the dangers that lurk around every corner. Finding Lia is Gabi's first priority, but will she want to leave once she does?

This story was just simply amazing and so thrilling to read. I loved the historical setting and the mixing of characters from the past and present. The chemistry between them was just magnetic and flowed together so perfectly.What's even more amazing is that this book had something for everyone: romance, history, mystery, adventure, and an epic heroine who doesn't back down from a challenge. What I found truly surprising was the fact that this book is actually labeled under "Christian Fiction". There is definite references to God, and Gabi herself questions her beliefs (or lack there of) during the story as she faces incredible dangers and the possibility of never getting home again. But it didn't overwhelm the story. It was woven together wonderfully and simply became apart of Gabi's tale. Truly amazing writing and talent!

Bottom Line: I would absolutely recommend this book to everyone. In fact, it's going on my To Buy for River When She's Older List because anything that has a strong female character and a great story should be read by young girls everywhere.

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

River Update: Week Twenty-Two.

How I'm Feeling: The beginning of this week I was feeling a bit overwhelmed and stressed out about the whole delivery process. Not that I haven't really thought about it before, but there was a really intense viral video going around on the internet about a woman who passed away in child birth after having an emergency c-section, along with her sweet baby a few days later. After that, it just kind of hit me that it's still a very dangerous process. After praying about it though, I just realized that everything is in God's hands and in his timing. No sense in worrying about something I have no control over. Besides that, I don't won't fear to take the joy away from my pregnancy.

Cravings: Oreo Balls. Thank goodness I have a great Mother-in-law who helped curb that craving though. Seriously delicious.

Crazy Dream of the Week: I dreamed I was at work and we were severely short-handed and patients just kept coming in- like fifteen at a time, and I couldn't catch up and people were yelling at me for taking so long. Then this band came in for a meeting and I was making them mad because I was so far behind. It was pretty nuts.

Weird Non-Gross Body Stuff: Leg Cramps. Those suckers HURT. 

Most Researched Topic This Week: After being stressed out, I decided to take a break from doing intense research for the week.

Gifts for River this Week: This week my MamaB and I went to a church craft-fair where she bought River this adorable little hat! 

Most Coveted Baby Item of the Week: This Boppy! It's so cute, and the more I read about breast-feeding the more I see that it's a must. Found HERE.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Sequels I Can't Wait To Get

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Here's a few books I can't wait to get my hands on. Most of these have already been released, but because of my serious budgeting I haven't bought them yet or gotten my hands on them. However, Christmas is just around the corner! 

1. Isla & The Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins (Anna & the French Kiss #3).
I put off reading Anna & the French Kiss forever because I just didn't think it seemed like my kind of book, but I was dead wrong. I feel in love with Stephanie Perkins characters and her writing! So I know I'll love this one too!

2. Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead (Bloodlines #5).
Seriously, if I don't get my hands on Adrian this book soon, I will die.

3.Winter by Marissa Meyer (The Lunar Chronicles #4).
Such a FANTASTIC series, and possibly my favorite one by far this year. No cover yet, but I'm itching to get my hands on it!

4. Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi (Under the Never Sky #3)
*sniff, sniff* Another Book Buying Ban victim that I'm having to wait on. 

5.Dead of Winter by Kresley Cole (The Arcana Chronicles #3).
Super interesting series and so different from the other YA Dystopia/ Paranormal books out there!

6. Thoughtful by S.C. Stephens (Thoughtless #1.5)
Kellan. Kyle. Need I say more? By far my favorite New Adult Boyfriend. Plus, this cover, THIS cover!

7. Invaded by Melissa Landers (Alienated #2).
I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of the first book in this series and I just feel in love with it. The only downside is that I'm having to wait FOREVER for this one.

8.Torrent by Lisa Tawn Bergren (River of Time #3).
I borrowed the first book of this one just the other day from my library and feel in insta-love with it. After hearing everyone rave, I have to say I absolutely agree. If you dig Outlander, here's a great YA alternative to tie you over!

9. Every Last Breath by Jennifer L. Armentrout (The Dark Elements #3)
It's JLA. I mean, really, anything that woman writes I'm excited to read.

10. The Blood Mirror by Brent Weeks (Light Bringer #4).
This one is actually Zack's. He's absolutely addicted to this series and spent forty minutes one night giving the run down of the entire plot. Needless to say, it does sound pretty epic and intense. Still no cover as it's not due out until 2016 so poor hubs has to wait a bit.

Monday, November 17, 2014

"Jet" by Jay Crownover

Series: Marked Men #2
Genre: New Adult
Format: Kindle
Publication: May 28, 2013 by William Morrow Paperbacks
Cover Rating: 1/5 Stars
Links: GoodreadsAmazonKobo

From Goodreads: With his tight leather pants and a sharp edge that makes him dangerous, Jet Keller is every girl’s rock and roll fantasy. But Ayden Cross is done walking on the wild side with bad boys. She doesn’t want to give in to the heat she sees in Jet’s dark, haunted eyes. She’s afraid of getting burned from the sparks of their spontaneous combustion, even as his touch sets her on fire.

Jet can’t resist the Southern Belle with mile-long legs in cowboy boots who defies his every expectation. Yet the closer he feels to Ayden, the less he seems to know her. While he’s tempted to get under her skin and undo her in every way, he knows firsthand what happens to two people with very different ideas about relationships.

Will the blaze burn into an enduring love. . . or will it consume their dreams and turn them to ashes?

My Thoughts: I first read Jay Crownover's debut novel Rule (Marked Men #1) when it first came out and just feel completely in love with it. I loved Rule, I loved Crownover's writing style, and I loved the chemistry between the two main characters. For some reason though, I waited forever to read Jet. Maybe it had to do with the fact that I didn't really care for Jet or Ayden as characters when I first read about him in Rule, or maybe it had to do with the fact that I just really hate this cover (seriously, this model reminds me of a creeper). Regardless, I had some reservations about reading it.

I wish I could say that I was wrong and that I loved Jet as much as I loved Rule, but just like with real guys, this was not the case. Crownover's writing is still excellent and interesting, the plot was wonderfully done and kept me turning the pages... but I just didn't care for either of the main characters. I didn't feel connected to them like I did with Rule and Shaw and I felt a bit cheated in the romance department with them. There was more of an "insta-love" feel for me with these two, and I still felt confused as to why they connected with each other in the first place.

Bottom Line: I would still recommend this book, despite my own misgivings about it, but I would definitely recommend Rule first and foremost. I think my issue had more to do with the fact that I just didn't like the main characters more than anything, so I would hate to rob someone else of a Jet Fangirl Moment, even if I didn't feel it. And I will still absolutely continue with the next Marked Men novel, because hey, I'm still a Jay Crownover fangirl.

My Rating: 3/5 Stars

Friday, November 14, 2014

"Marked" by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast

Series: House of Night #1
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Format: Audiobook
Publication: May 1, 2007 by St. Martin's Griffin
Cover Rating: 4/5 Stars
Links: GoodreadsAmazonB&NBook Depo

From Goodreads: After a Vampire Tracker Marks her with a crescent moon on her forehead, 16-year-old Zoey Redbird enters the House of Night and learns that she is no average fledgling. She has been Marked as special by the vampyre Goddess Nyx and has affinities for all five elements: Air, Fire Water, Earth and Spirit. But she is not the only fledgling at the House of Night with special powers. When she discovers that the leader of the Dark Daughters, the school’s most elite club, is mis-using her Goddess-given gifts, Zoey must look deep within herself for the courage to embrace her destiny – with a little help from her new vampyre friends (or Nerd Herd, as Aphrodite calls them).

My Thoughts: Are you guys ready for the major rant that's about to take place? Yes? Okay, good. Because I'm about to go nuclear.

What. The. Hell. Did I just listen to? Why is this series so popular? Did this just happen right after the Twilight craze hit and new YA fans were still trying to discover good young-adult fiction? I just don't get it.

Zoey, our beautiful, naive, and cliched heroine, is one of the most judgmental characters I have ever had the misfortune of reading about. Every other chapter the girl is slut-shaming or simply being an uptight snot. You kiss someone in the hall? Oh, mega slut move. You find yourself attracted to the hot, older, vampire fledgling? Better get your head on straight before you turn into an insta-slut. Really, she may possibly be my most hated character. Ever.

But it's not just Zoey that has my panties in a wad. It's the writing as a whole. It comes off as immature and mega cheesed. The dialogue reads like a bad 80's teen mall flick. And the poor sideline characters? They're boxed into tight labels and never once seen as anything other than that flat, one-sided view. You have your token evil Queen Bee and her band of followers, your hot mysterious love interest, then you of course get your gay guy friend and nerdy, slightly cowardice new best-friend/ bunk mate. Nothing about these characters carried any originality or depth whats so ever.

The only positive thing I can say about this book was that it at least had the potential to be interesting and different from other YA vampire novels out there. Too bad it didn't live up to it. Oh, and the narrator for the audiobook- Edwina Wren- did a pretty amazing job of keeping me at least half-way interested in the story. I would definitely love to listen to her again, but with better material, please.

Bottom Line: I would never recommend this book to anyone, ever. Period. Skip it and go for something more substantial like Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series. So much better.

My Rating: 1/5 Stars

Thursday, November 13, 2014

"The Queen of Zombie Hearts" by Gena Showalter

Series: White Rabbit Chronicles #3
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Format: Kindle
Publication: September 30, 2014 by Harlequin Teen
Cover Rating: 3/5 Stars
Links: GoodreadsAmazonBook DepoB&NWhite Rabbit Chronicles Website

From Goodreads: I have a plan. 

We'll either destroy them for good, or they'll destroy us. 

Either way, only one of us is walking away. 

In the stunning conclusion to the wildly popular White Rabbit Chronicles, Alice "Ali" Bell thinks the worst is behind her. She's ready to take the next step with boyfriend Cole Holland, the leader of the zombie slayers…until Anima Industries, the agency controlling the zombies, launches a sneak attack, killing four of her friends. It's then she realizes that humans can be more dangerous than monsters…and the worst has only begun. 

As the surviving slayers prepare for war, Ali discovers she, too, can control the zombies…and she isn't the girl she thought she was. She's connected to the woman responsible for killing—and turning—Cole's mother. How can their relationship endure? As secrets come to light, and more slayers are taken or killed, Ali will fight harder than ever to bring down Anima—even sacrificing her own life for those she loves.

My Thoughts: Loved, loved, loved it!!! Such a great ending to a fantastic series! Just like her main-character Ali Bell, Gena Showalter is not afraid to take risks, and it totally pays off!

In this final installment of The White Rabbit Chronicles everything comes together with Anima, the zombies/slayers, and the Cole/Ali relationship. We also get some plot curve balls as Ali's past history comes back in a big way and leaves us reeling. Oh, and we get introduced to a whole new group of slayers, that just happen to be led by Cole's "rival", River (awesome name if I do say so myself). Ali comes into herself and becomes a complete bad-ass who doesn't take crap from anyone- including Hot Book Boyfriend Cole- moving up as one of my new favorite heroines. But as with all great endings, we do get some major loss! Not everyone gets a happily ever after and there will be tears and anguish. But you can't have a fantastic series without a little bit of sadness thrown in. The good thing is though, that Ali's story does get wrapped up. There's no loose ends with her, and I was very satisfied with the ending. However, I would absolutely love it if Showalter created another series with some of the other slayers!

Bottom Line: I would definitely recommend this series to anyone who loves good YA paranormal romance, zombies, or retelling of fairy-tales!

My Rating: 4/5 Stars


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