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The Fiction Conniption

Proud book geek and YA enthusiast. Can also find me at my other book blog home www.tyngasreviews.com




Currently reading

J.R. Johansson
Lauren Oliver
The Dead-Tossed Waves
Carrie Ryan
Unravel Me

Black City

Black City - Elizabeth  Richards If I were to sum up everything about this book, I would say that Black City was trying to do too much at once. Trying all at once to be a romance, a dystopian, a vampire novel, an insight into religion and politics and social classism. It just didn't come off that great. Which was really sucky, because I thought this story sounded really intriguing. I was a little confused at first by the whole social structure. Suddenly there were Darklings, and twin bloods, and Legions, and Purians, Sentries, and such things. There was just a lot of information at once, without a whole lot of history - and I definitely found myself mixing up some of the terms and classes at the start. I've said it before, but recently I've just really started feeling like books that utilize the supernatural romance option (true mates, alpha bonds, blood mates, etc.) just feel like a cop out. I've read it done well, and then I've read it done sloppy - and unfortunately, the relationship between Ash and Natalie just felt sloppy. And a little bit like a cop out. All of the drama they go through felt very trite and staged, and it just wasn't all that appealing to me at all. All in all, I just wasn't a fan. I didn't hate it, but, I wouldn't have minded missing out on this one.

The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden Series #1)

The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden Series #1) - Review can also be found on my blog at www.thefictionconniption.com---The world that Allie lives in has been completely overrun with vampires and 'rabids'. She grows up in a vampire city, where each human must Register and go twice a month to give blood, and in return, the vampires offer them protection from the rabids outside the city walls. Allie would do anything to keep from becoming a vampire's blood cow, so she and her small group scavenge their way through life under the vampire radar as Unregistereds. Until one day, Allie is faced with a choice. Die, or become what she's always hated most - a vampire.This book was... good. It was refreshing to read a book where the main character was a vampire and unapologetic about it. There are no nice, fuzzy vampires in this world - just blood sucking monstrous ones. And in that regard, The Immortal Rules lived up to my expectation. I'd heard a lot of hype about this book, so going into it, I was expecting to be breathlessly addicted to each page, dying to find out what would happen next. Unfortunately, I wasn't. It wasn't even until well past halfway into the book that I actually felt invested in what was going on. I felt absolutely no connection to any of the secondary characters, because they all seemed to only make brief appearances before exiting again.I wasn't sure who to allow myself to get attached to, or even pay attention to, since they seemed to all just be temporary characters. I kept finding myself slogging through to the next chapter, waiting for the next big *something* to happen. Of course, it eventually does - and by the end of the book I was eating it up to see how it would all turn out. Overall, the first 3/4 of the book were entertaining, but not the blood pumping epic story I was expecting based on other reviews I had read. However, the last few chapters were definitely the action I had been hoping for throughout the entire book, which made up for it considerably. The ending had me carrying the book with me while I brushed my teeth, did my hair, etc. That's the mark of a good ending!

Divergent (Divergent Series #1)

Divergent - Veronica Roth review can also be found on my blog www.thefictionconniption.com---This book caught me completely by surprise. Having of course seen hundreds of reviews, I knew that it had been a hit about a year ago when it came out - but I just never felt like it piqued my interest. I'd read the back cover and thought, "Factions? She can't choose what to do with her life? That doesn't sound all that intriguing." And honestly, I still think the back cover doesn't interest me all that much. That said, as soon as I started reading - I was completely sucked into this world. Veronica Roth creates a dystopian world where everyone is split into one of five factions. Abnegation - the selfless. Dauntless - the brave. Amity - the kind. Erudite - the academic, or Candor - the honest.. Upon turning 16, each person takes an aptitude test to help them decide which faction they should choose. However, Beatrice's results are unusual - and more than that, they are extremely dangerous. The first few chapters I struggled with the idea of the factions. They just seemed impractical to me, and I couldn't get on board without an explanation of how they were formed. When that eventually came, I started to fall into this world a little more. What absolutely sealed the deal for me with this book was Four. Four is the sort of male character that is mysterious without being annoying about it. He's guarded without being a jerk. His personality was completely believable - and more, so was Beatrice's (Tris). Their relationship grew from a simple curiosity about each other and sparks to something more. I felt like I was experiencing everything right along side her for the first time. I felt every heart beat, reacted to every touch - it was a full on experience to read this book. The moment I finished it, I downloaded Insurgent as well. I'm not really one for book 2 in a series. It's strange, because I love series - I love reading book 1 of a series and knowing there will be more to a story than just the few days I spend with the first book. But in so many cases, I never make it to book 2, because it just doesn't call to me. There needs to be some pretty powerful stuff going on for me to want to pick up that world again and dive in, and Divergent absolutely created that for me. Divergent has the perfect blend of kick-ass-ness, tension, authenticity, mystery, action, and romance to appeal to a huge audience - I believe there's something in there for just about everyone. Give it a read if you haven't already, you won't be disappointed.

The Hallowed Ones

The Hallowed Ones - Laura Bickle Review to come soon!

The Body Finder (Body Finder Series #1)

The Body Finder (Body Finder Series #1) - Can also be found posted at: http://thefictionconniption.blogspot.com---I picked this one up because I was watching a Youtube review for it the other day, and the reviewer said that it was one of the creepiest series that she'd ever read. Maybe I've just been spoiled by all the awesomely crazy and creepy plot lines coming out these days - but this definitely didn't creep me out. Violet has the ability to sense dead things by hearing their 'echoes', or the traces they've left on earth after a violent death. Most of the time this means she's drawn to dead animals and such, but every so often, she's run across a dead body.The main story revolves around the fact that there is a serial killer on the loose, and Violet is determined to track him down with her ability to see and sense echoes from the dead. There is a really cute relationship between Violet and her best guy friend Jay. A large portion of the beginning of the book really is just the evolution of their friendship, and Violet dealing with her blooming feelings for him. I find myself not really sure what to say about this one. I really thought this was going to be a unique story that I'd absolutely flip for - but it was just okay. It was worth reading, and it kept me interested the whole way through. But it did take me over a week to finish - just because there wasn't really any huge mystery or intrigue that kept me up late at night reading. It's the type of book I was okay closing and leaving on the night stand.While I did enjoy it, I probably won't be salivating over finding the second in this series as soon as I can. Don't get me wrong here - I really did enjoy this book. But something about it was also just luke-warm. It didn't create in me any real excitement or fandom for the series - it was just a good read. And now that I'm done, I'm done. I'm pretty tough on books - I've realized that I really need to be engaged and drawn in to them to really get excited about them. Unfortunately, this one just didn't quite do that to me.


Speechless - Hannah Harrington This was one of those books that I requested off Netgalley thinking it would probably be just a light high school summer read, and the idea of a teenage girl taking a vow of silence as a way to atone for her gossiping habit and how much hurt she's caused intrigued me. Except, that's not really how the story went. Between Chapters 1 and 2, we miss the most important part of the whole dynamic - which is when she actually commits the act that provokes the vow of silence... and when she takes the vow of silence itself.It's like... all of a sudden, she's just a silent person. We're never really told the reasoning behind it, what she hopes to accomplish, nothing at all. And her attitude doesn't seem to change at all. It's not a vow of silence because she's feeling so contrite over the lives she's ruined. It seems to just be a ploy for some attention while she paints herself as a martyr. If she was truly sorry, she'd apologize to the people she hurt, not pout in a corner. Sorry, I just don't buy it. I can't help it, I just really didn't like Chelsea, the main character. Nothing about her seemed sincere. Even after she's well into her vow of silence, and she finds herself wondering about the victim of her gossip, she's still completely self involved. Here's a little quote to show what I mean about why I just could not like this girl: "Or maybe I'm just scared to find out if he's not doing well. That would make things even worse for me than they already are." - Chelsea Like, okay. How nice of you to be so concerned about... yourself. And how your own actions have consequences. That's just life - I'm not going to feel sorry for her when she doesn't feel sorry herself. Like I said at the start, if this vow of silence was somehow motivated by her feeling guilty or wanting to make what she had done right - I could have respected that. But that's not at all why she takes the vow. It seems she just doesn't feel like having to explain what happened to people, so instead she just refuses to talk to anyone. And is kinda bratty about it, to be honest. The story had some potential, I definitely have never read a character who was silent through 90% of the book - but still. Chelsea just was NOT for me. Luckily, she did have some character development and by the end was a bit more redeemable - but it was in the most predictable way possible which kinda ruined it for me. I don't know. We wouldn't get along in life, I don't think. But who knows, maybe you'll feel differently about her, you never know.

This Is Not a Test

This is Not a Test - Courtney Summers This book was told with a very interesting dynamic. It is told through the eyes of Sloane Price, a suicidal and extremely depressed girl who finds herself trapped in a high school with five other students during a zombie apocalypse. This is my first true zombie novel that I've read, so I might have been expecting a bit more... panic. A little more drama. It was actually quite hard for me to relate to Sloane, because the sudden attack of zombies happens to coincide with her planned suicide. So even though the world is ending right on her doorstep, she's still somehow apathetic and seems to recount the whole experience through a cloud. At times it was difficult to really get into the story, because it was told with this layer of apathy from Sloane that made it feel less intense. At the very start of the book I truly wanted to just slap Sloane and tell her to snap out of it. For some reason, I got really annoyed with the vacillating between wanting to die and trying to find a reason worth living for. I understood her reasons for being depressed and I felt for her - but there was still this part of me that felt like in a situation where there are literally zombies at your front door, you have to snap into some kind of action, right?But before you give up on this book, give it a chance. Maybe Sloane will be for you, who knows. She just wasn't my type of person. What was really fascinating was watching the dynamic around the other five students develop. It was so interesting to see how roles were fought over and disputed - especially since most of them were just above the level of strangers before being trapped and are now having to depend upon each other just to stay alive. I'd heard so much hype about this book that maybe I was expecting too much from it. I know that does happen sometimes.I'm still not quite sure how I feel about the ending, either.

The Corpse Goddess

The Corpse Goddess - Kristi Jones This book really surprised me, I wasn't quite sure what to think of it going in, but within the first couple pages, I was already totally in love with Meg, and wanted to find out what was going on just as badly as she did. What a crazy plot line! From reading the summary, I didn't feel like I had all that great an idea of what was coming, since "death duty" didn't really mean anything to me. But oh man, I've never read something this inventive. But I won't give anything away!These days, it's mostly all the same plot-lines being reinvented and re-imagined - but holy crap, I've never read a plot like this. I had absolutely no idea what was coming next, and it totally had me staying up til 4 am just to try to find out a little bit more. The pacing in this story is AWESOME. I love a book that never has a dull moment. There is constantly something happening or developing in this book... questions are being asked and answered, friendships are being made, drama is heating up - I loved it. Right when I thought, "Oh, I bet I know what's going to happen", I'd read on for 10 more pages and already realize I was totally wrong. I love when that happens.As far as character relations go, this book had one of the most true-to-life developments of a relationship I've ever read. The romance is awesome, mostly because it doesn't even have a hint of insta-love. No one is 'inexplicably drawn' or whatever to someone else, the relationship develops from mild irritation, to companions, to friends, and then to something more. And every single moment of it was believable and relatable, I loved it. There were a few grammatical/spelling errors. I can deal with 1 or 2, that's just a matter of human error and it does occasionally happen. Unfortunately, there were upwards of a dozen of these errors in this book, so it did distract me a little while I was reading. That's pretty much my only criticism though, so in light of how great the plot was, it really shouldn't keep you from giving this one a read. And you'll have to excuse me here for a moment, BUT OH MY GOD THE ENDING. That's all I'll say.But really. Oh my God, the ending. I don't give 5 star reviews very often. In fact, this is only the second book this year that I've felt really deserved 5 out of 5 stars. I need a sequel! And you need to go read this book!

The Blessed (Blessed - Trilogy)

The Blessed - Tonya Hurley Review also posted on my blog at www.thefictionconniption.com---I know, I know - the synopsis on this one is pretty vague. Normally, it might not have caught my attention enough for me to really pick it up, BUT LOOK AT THAT COVER. How was I not going to read this book with a cover like that? The story revolves around Agnes, Cecelia (CeCe), and Lucy - three girls whose paths cross briefly without their realizing it in the first chapters, and then don't cross again until much later. One is a celebutante on a ruthless mission to stay on top of social media charts, another is a musician with a rebel heart and a life on no particular path, and the last is an naive and confused young girl who doesn't really know what she wants. None of these girls are perfect, and they wear their imperfections well. Enter - the mysterious Sebastian and a storm of epic proportions that traps them all in a church together for 3 days while they seek shelter from apocalyptic conditions. Put it all together and this was a book that I just l kept coming back to eagerly. I don't know what it is about this book that is so addicting. I think I can't quite put my finger on it because there are so many things about it that I loved right from the start. To begin with, you're thrown directly into the action (LOVE that) - so literally from page one there is just no turning back - you have to know what is happening to these girls. The downside seems to be that the first few pages are the most interesting, and the rest of the book sort of follows in the wake of those first awesome scenes.The characters that Tonya Hurley writes are so unique. No cookie-cutter types. Every one of these three girls has such a vivid and different personality from the others, it's incredible, really. Maybe this is a bit too much of my own experience talking here, but something that can really bug me in stories is the inexplicably perfect relationship that a lot of shy and isolated main characters have with their best friend. Who usually ends up being their only 'true' friend. And also usually lives right across the street. And can generally come visit at all hours of the night by climbing in a bedroom window. Does that sound all too familiar to anyone else? Well - one thing I loved about these girls is that they have no friends. Is that weird? Maybe. But it actually fit their personalities not to have a big group of friends. The atmosphere of this book is another thing that really impressed me. Every room is described in a way that makes it so vividly real in your mind, and so easy to feel what it would feel like to be there. There is a certain feeling about this book that I can't quite put my finger on - it's haunting and deep and thought-provoking. And just plain awesome, of course. It was the first time I've seen use of saints and martyrs and such in a book, and Tonya Hurley pulled it off very well, with a great sense of wonder and mystery surrounding the whole idea.This was the first book I've read in a while that clearly needed a sequel. You know how sometimes you'll read the first book in a series and be like, "Well, yeah, there's a few more loose ends I guess the second book could tie up." NOPE! This book was almost all build-up and set up to the second - exactly as a first book in a series should be. Unfortunately, this did mean that the ending of the book was pretty unsatisfying - but I enjoyed the rest of the book enough to definitely hang in there for the second book.The more I thought about it though, I realized that even though the characters were great and the writing very interesting - it felt like a prequel. It felt like a 400 page introduction to the characters, and I suddenly wondered if I knew why the blurb is so vague. Because nothing really happens in this book - technically. Which is still okay, because in a very rare way, Tonya Hurley is able to pull that off. But still, it should be noted that there aren't really any surprises involved that aren't already part of the back cover copy.Overall, this isn't a thriller. If you've read the back of the book, you know what happens already. But still, I enjoyed it immensely. I was still drawn to it and intrigued by the characters themselves and their journeys. The most important things in this story were the changes that occur in the girls themselves.

Breaking Beautiful

Breaking Beautiful - Jennifer Shaw Wolf This review can also be found here on my blog: http://thefictionconniption.blogspot.com/2012/08/book-review-breaking-beautiful-by.html--This book really blew me away. It was a really moving premise. Is it okay to be relieved when your boyfriend dies? In any normal case you'd say, "No, of course not! That's horrifying!" But then what if he was abusive? What if it was the only way that she was ultimately able to escape him? Does that change things?From the first page, I was totally invested in Allie's story - and just as confused as she was as to what could have happened the night that her abusive boyfriend Trip died. It drove me crazy as I read it, trying to piece together little clues and such - but I loved it! At the start, Allie can't remember a single thing about the night that her boyfriend Trip's truck went off a cliff resulting in his death, and her mysteriously being discovered on the side of the road, instead of in the water with Trip and his truck. The fact that she remembers nothing scares her, in a way that I found totally believable. She worries that maybe she did something to him - how had she gotten out of the truck? Why had they been there in the first place? The characters were written very well. I appreciated the way that Allie remembers her relationship with Trip in pieces. Nothing can throw a wrench into a great flowing story like a sudden and long flashback scene stuck right in the middle of the action. Ms. Wolf has an amazing way of revealing the past through small lines of flashback - the way flashbacks actually do feel in real life. The flashbacks gradually grow longer and slowly begin to offer more background information into how their relationship really functioned and how trapped she truly felt. It made me feel like I was truly living through the memories once again with Allie. I can't remember there being a single dull moment in this book. I was captivated from the first page, and while it didn't necessarily have my heart racing - it definitely kept my curiosity piqued. It took me quite a while to form my own theory about what might have happened that night, and the mystery around whether my theory was correct or not definitely had me staying up til 4 am while my in-laws were visiting this week just so I could find out a little more. I'd recommend to anyone interested in a more reflective read - one that will make you think and wonder. Definitely not a beach-y, curl up with a cup of hot cocoa kind of read. Be ready to be emotionally invested and totally along for the ride.

Inbetween (Kissed by Death)

Inbetween - Tara A. Fuller This review can also be found on my blog: http://thefictionconniption.blogspot.com--First I need to say, I'm really not a huge fan of books that have a central relationship where one character has been eternally (or whatever) in love with the other and the other is unaware. Especially if it somehow also ties into past lives. It was cool the first couple times I read it, but I just feel like it's popping up everywhere now, and sometimes can feel a little cheapened. Like I missed part of the story already. I love reading about people falling in love... I love reading about BOTH people falling in love. It somehow creates foundation for the relationship.But that said, this was an easy, entertaining read. The pacing was right on, and the characters held me to each page. There were some very cute moments between Finn and Emma that I loved, and Fuller did a very good job at creating the right amount of tension between them to really make you feel invested in the outcome. I also really liked the character of Cash - the goofy, totally platonic best guy friend. Ms. Fuller did a wonderful job at creating secondary characters that actually really leave you wondering and wanting to hear their full story. (Which is very good - since they will all eventually have their own!)Cash in particular drew me in though - I'll be on the lookout for his story for sure. At parts, this book almost seemed a little longer than it needed to be. The last third of the story just didn't keep me quite as hooked as the first two thirds had, but all in all it was a satisfying pace and the story held my interest the entire way through.I still can't make up my mind on how I feel about the ending. There's a particular part that sticks in my head as seeming almost too convenient, and left me wondering, "Well, why didn't that just happen in the first place, then?" But luckily, it wasn't an overwhelming feeling. I don't feel at all cheated by the ending, and I'm satisfied with how everything tied up. Overall I feel very comfortable giving this one 4 stars. There were some great characters and great relationships, and I'd definitely recommend this to anyone looking for an easy, quick read.

Gone Girl: A Novel

Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn

I feel so conflicted about this book. From the first few pages, this was the first book in a really long time that grabbed my attention so fully that I just couldn't stand to put it down at the end of each day. I was completely absorbed into the characters and along for the ride the entire time, it was just a completely new and exciting type of storyline for me. However, I was SO disappointed with the ending. Some people were impressed with it, but I just felt cheated. But that aside, it was still a truly gripping and exciting book.

Death and the Girl Next Door

Death and the Girl Next Door - Darynda Jones Review can also be found on my blog: www.thefictionconniption.com---I had truly high hopes for this book. When I was told by the publisher that they would send me a copy for review, I literally told just about everyone I knew - I was so very excited to be able to read Darynda Jones' take on a young adult novel. What makes me so sad to say, is that I was incredibly disappointed. Let me explain. There were a few things wrong here. Firstly, I could tell it was the author's first venture into young adult. It was too formulaic. The slightly socially outcast heroine, the small group of rag-tag friends, the lack of any realistic feeling of a teenage life - etc. It felt a lot like someone trying to write a young adult voice. And it just came off really skin deep to me. I didn't connect at all to the characters. Another issue I had was that nothing really happened. And then when something finally DID happen, the main character was just too busy being an "average teenager" or whatever was trying to be portrayed, that she just got on my nerves for being so clueless. Like - it's pretty obvious what's happening here, and I just felt myself wanting to smack her up the back of her head and tell her to stop acting so clueless. In true Darynda Jones fashion, there were some seriously funny one-liners in there. It wasn't an awful book. But for me, it just didn't measure up to the platform that recent books have taken this 'young adult' genre to. It felt like what was expected from a young adult book 5 years ago. Not what you expect today in a young adult book - which is a breathless story, something that makes you think, something that pulls you in, etc. At least that's what I expect from my young adult fiction these days. And I've read enough books recently to know that there are plenty out there that are willing to live up to this expectation. Unfortunately, Death and the Girl Next Door just didn't happen to be one of these.

Sisterhood Everlasting (Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Book 6)

Sisterhood Everlasting - Ann Brashares Full review on my blog here: http://hdsreadingcorner.blogspot.com/2012/07/book-review-sisterhood-everlasting-by.htmlBut plain and simple - you owe it to yourself to experience this book. It's beautiful.

Between the Lines

Between the Lines - Jodi Picoult, Samantha van Leer This review can also be found on my blog: http://hdsreadingcorner.blogspot.comWhen I first saw this book pop up for pre-order in the Nook book store, I practically jumped up and down. A young adult novel by the woman who wrote Plain Truth, My Sister's Keeper, and Keeping Faith?! Hell yeah I want to read that! My name was on that pre-order list so fast I'm sure I had to be one of the first. But this has to be said - for Picoult fans - this is absolutely not the insightful, deep story telling that you can normally expect from Jodi. In fact, nothing at all in this story would remind you even a little bit of Ms. Picoult's writing. It pains me to say it, but I fear that her name was put on the cover so prominently so as to help her daughter's novel push through to the shelves easier. But I wasn't done yet - I decided that even though it wasn't truly a Picoult novel, I would still give it a fair shot. I'd give this one a weak 3 stars. Don't get me wrong, I adore young adult novels, and can get caught up in an angst ridden relationship just as easily as the next girl, but Delilah and Oliver's relationship just doesn't ring authentic at all in this story. After only a few short conversations that consist mainly of Oliver watching Delilah read the book - he declares himself completely and utterly in love with her and ready to be wed. And Delilah's fall for him seems just as compulsory and shallow. It seems she only falls in love with Oliver because they both grew up without a father. But even then, Oliver reveals that it was just how he was 'written' in the book, not truly his childhood that she had been relating to. The narrative alternates between Oliver, Delilah, and randomly - the fairy tale itself. I admit, about halfway through, I just starting skipping the parts that were supposed to be part of the fairy tale as they seemed to serve no actual purpose. It'd be one thing if they were being used as a device to let the reader get to know Oliver better - but Oliver spends the entire book complaining about how his 'character' in the fairy tale has absolutely nothing to do with the real him. I was really bummed that this story didn't pull me in as I had hoped, because the concept actually did seem incredibly interesting. It's that sort of story that could have been so amazing, but it read a little too forced and a lot too skin-deep and predictable.

Warm Bodies

Warm Bodies - Isaac Marion

For a zombie novel, this was actually strangely refreshing! Since the Walking Dead's new season has premiered, I've had my face buried in zombie novels. Warm Bodies was my first zombie novel that had an ending that satisfied me.

I understand that it's the end of the world and there are zombies running about and we're probably not going to get a happily ever after - but that's really not what I'm looking for either. I just want an ending!

So many zombie novels I've read have taken what feels like a short cut by just sort of ... ending abruptly. And then calling it just a quirk of the genre. Warm Bodies finally turns that around. You get an ending. Not a happily ever after, but it's an ending. Definitely a book I'd love to read a sequel for!

Warm Bodies is told from the viewpoint of a zombie - making this a fascinating read as "R" struggles to remember just who he is and what made him this way and if there could be anything left in the world that might matter more to him than ripping through human flesh. This is not a book for the squeamish - it's pretty detailed and descriptive. Definitely gave me some very vivid mental images.

The premise that maybe there are more to zombies than we can see on the outside was especially interesting to read. Sure, they're all moaning and funky smells on the outside, but does that unequivocally prove that there's nothing else going on inside? What if they are simply trapped by their own disease?

Overall, I tore through this book. I haven't read a book this fast in months - because I just had to know what would happen next.