Some News…

Hi guys!

As you have probably noticed, I haven’t really been around the blogosphere recently. And that’s because:

Chris and I are having a baby!

That’s right! The author and the bibliophile are expecting a little bundle of joy in late December of this year. A lot of my time has been spent researching baby stuff and going to a bazillion doctor’s appointments, so I apologize for not doing much in the way of reviews. I have actually been re-reading a lot of stuff because I often get interrupted or distracted, so it’s nice to already know the plot.

You might also be happy to know that our baby announcement was definitely book-centric:

Baby

Anyway, I will try to post on this blog as much as I can since things have finally started to settle down a little bit, but if you are interested in following my pregnancy and motherhood adventures, you can go over to my other blog http://www.kickmebabyonemoretime.blogspot.com (sorry wordpress!) and catch up on the latest news.

Much Love,

Casey

Matched by Ally Condie (Matched, #1)

Title: Matched

Author: Ally Condie

Pages: 366

Publisher: Speak

Date Read: February 27, 2013

 

Cassia has always trusted the society’s choices. And when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia is certain he is the one…until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now she is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one dares follow…between perfection and passion.

Society Matched them, but love set them free. In the society, officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.

 

Characters: 

Cassia- At first, I thought this girl was a robot. The blurb says that she has all of this faith in society, and she freaking does. She reminds me of the main character in Delirium- in the beginning at least. Thankfully, this girls starts to develop a little bit of a brain as the book goes on, but she gets pushed into it by her surroundings- and a little bit of subliminal messaging it seems!

Xander- ROBOT. I guess this is supposed to be the theme in the book, but this one took me a little while to get into because of how plain and ridiculously robotic all of the characters were. Xander is probably my least favorite character out of the bunch, but at least he is astute.

Ky- I thought Ky was interesting in an I’m-not-sure-what-to-think-about-this-guy-because-he’s-weird kind of way. But, that mysterious, selfless weirdness is very endearing and makes you want to know more and more.

Conflict: THE MAN. Well, society. This (if you haven’t noticed) is one of those society-rules-the-world books where everyone is a mindless drone but one person manages to snap out of it with the help of a person outside of the system. I love the premise, this one just took a little while to build up to it. I like the little acts of defiance in here, though. I mean, all of these books build up to big acts with little acts, but the particular ones in this book are nice. I’m a sucker for poetry, and that aspect helped keep me into the book until the good stuff happened.

Things I Liked: Like I just said, I loved the poetry aspect of this one. I also love love love loved Cassia’s grandpa! What a romantic old man. I also like the nature=freedom sort of them in this one.

Things I Didn’t Like: Although this book took awhile to get into, the only thing I really remember disliking is the slowness. Granted, it’s been a little while since I read it and I am a little hazy on the details. You guys should also know that this might happen with the next couple books because…it’s been awhile.

Cover Art: I like the cover art, and the only thing that really made me start questioning whether I actually liked it was that stupid commercial that  I saw for this series. Something about that commercial, I just really hated.

Overall: All in all, I liked the book when I finished it, and I ordered the second one! However, a friend of mine was reading the book and she was NOT into it. I hope that doesn’t jade me going in, but I have a feeling it already has.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Review: Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles, #1)

Title: Beautiful Creatures

Authors: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

Pages: 563

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps , and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

Characters:

Ethan- When I first started reading this book, I though it was going to be from the point of view of Lena, not Ethan. So, when I finally figured out that it was a boy’s head I was in, I was a little excited. Not only do I hardly ever read books told from the point of view of a male, but I hardly ever read supernatural books from the point of view of the non-supernatural. So, I was pretty pumped for this! Reading from Ethan’s POV was nice since he knows the area. However, I was a little worried for a second that he was going to start talking with a deep Southern accent. I was worried that it was going to be like reading Huckleberry Finn in high school- I had to read most of that one out loud to myself so that I could understand the dialect. But, I was pleasantly surprised with this one, and they even gave an explanation as to why he doesn’t speak that way- his parents were both professors and were always correcting him when he dropped a “g.” I love that. Ethan is a gentleman and he isn’t an idiot, and he loves genuinely. And he is most of he reason that I liked this book.

Lena- I think that everyone has a certain section of the supernatural genre that they like the most- mine is witches. I love reading about witches. Maybe it stems from my deep connection with Hermione from Harry Potter, who knows, I just love reading about witches. Lena is pretty much a witch. Her formal title is Caster, but she is pretty much a witch. I liked that Lena was one of those characters that doesn’t try to fit in. She isn’t really defiant or angsty about it, she just does not change herself to suit others. I LOVE THAT. Too often I read books where the main character moves to a new school and spends most of her time trying really hard to fit in, or to not fit in. Lena just takes her own road. She is sometimes a little too moody for me, but if you read the book you will realize that she kind of has an excuse for all of her moodiness.

Amma- Amma is Ethan’s sort of live-in nanny/housekeeper. She has been around his whole life, and for most of his father’s, too. She seems to act as the mother figure for Ethan since his mother passed away, but I really like that she doesn’t try to be anything like his mother. She just keeps on being Amma- just a little bit stricter. But, Amma has some secrets. It’s nice when all of the secrets don’t fall to one main character, I think it makes the story a lot richer when you find out little secrets along the way that might change the way you feel about some of the characters. Amma is one of those people. At first she is just Amma, and then I was like “Oh, Amma is up to something!” and then I was mad at Amma for butting in, and then I was back to loving Amma. She’s a strong lady, and books need strong ladies.

Macon- Macon Melchizedek Ravenwood is the mysterious owner of Ravenwood Manor, which is believed to be cursed. Macon is also Lena’s uncle. He is also the one person in the world that Lena loves most, and for that reason, we have to love him. Because honestly, that guy is creeeeeepy for most of this book. You don’t know if he is some crazy magic man, or if he is just eccentric, and it takes a while to figure it out. However, I love when books have creepy parts every so often. If an author can creep you out or make you nervous, or give you butterflies just with words- then you’re reading the right book. Every book should do this to you at some point (hopefully several).

These are the main characters, but there are a couple important almost main characters but not quite minor characters:

Link- Wesley Jefferson Lincoln is Ethan’s best friend. His mother is the head of the DAR, and one of the biggest Lena haters in town. But, what I love about Link is his fierce loyalty. Every person deserves a friend as loyal as Link. Link is also really goofy and most of the time really annoying, but we can’t have everything!

Ridley- Ridley is Lena’s cousin, but she is a Dark Caster. She has the power of persuasion (she is a Siren) and she isn’t afraid to use it. Unfortunately, people with that power usually aren’t the most trustworthy.

Conflict: This book is pretty long, so naturally there is a lot of conflict. The initial conflict is just Ethan trying to figure out who Lena is and why she seems to be so important to him, and her being difficult and not letting him in. But a lot of the conflict surrounds Lena’s condition and how everyone in town is reacting to her. A lot of this makes you angry, because people can be really mean. I don’t mean insults mean, but we-hate-everything-that-isn’t-us mean. There are a lot of Caster issues, and an equal number of Mortal issues that plague these two.

Things I Liked: I was a big fan of the characters. I loved that they were imperfect, but believable. They have strong qualities, and weak qualities, but they aren’t shallow characters. You get to know these guys. I loved that parts of this gave me butterflies. I loved that it was told from a boy’s POV, and that that boy was smart. I also liked how intricate the conflict was, and that there were many unsuspecting people involved, and that those people were selfless and concerned.

Things I Didn’t Like: I didn’t like that the book took a little while to pick up. After reading the second one, I think it might be a recurring thing in this series. However, once they pick up, you’re hooked. I think that things are a little slow to start because there is so much that needs to be set up ahead of time for the conflict to be as intricate as it is. But, I’m alright with that.

Overall: Usually when I read a book and look back, I don’t like it quite as much as I did right after I finished it. This book was the opposite for me. As I am writing this review, I am remembering things that I really liked about it and I am not lingering on the stuff I didn’t like. It was a solid book and a great start to a series.

Cover Art: I usually like to get the original cover of the book, but this time I happened to pick up the movie-cover copy. I’m not always a big fan of the movie covers, but I think I like the mover cover better than the original cover for this book. It is more exciting, but I think only because the other is so plain.

Rating: 4 stars

Review: Forever (Wolves of Mercy Falls, #3)

Title: Forever

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Publisher: Scholastic

Pages: 386

Date Read: February 13-17, 2013

then.

When Sam met Grace, he was a wolf and she was a girl. Eventually he found a way to become a boy, and their love moved from a curious distance to the intense closeness of shared lives.

now.

That should have been the end of their story. But Grace was not meant to stay human. Now she is the wolf. And the wolves of Mercy Falls are about to be killed in one final, spectacular hunt.

forever.

Sam would do anything for Grace. But can one boy and one love really change a hostile, predatory world? The past, the present, and the future are about to collide in one pure moment–a moment of death or life, farewell or forever.

Characters: Honestly, there are no new characters! The same characters as the last one.

Conflict: Remember how Tom Culpepper was always trying to kill the wolves? Well, yeah, he is actually going to do it this time. Like, really do it. This time it is organized, and Grace and Sam have exchanged places. WHOA.

Things I Liked: I liked that Sam and Grace were in different places. I fell in love with Sam when he described the books on the shelf in the bookstore, and it was nice to hear more things from his point of view. It was also nice to hear from a less calculated and obviously more animalistic Grace. Stiefvater really is a good writer, and I just like the way her words flow, but it’s always nice to toss up the characters and their roles every so often.

Things I Didn’t Like: Sometimes Cole doesn’t quite seem real. The stuff he feels and says aren’t like the personalities of any other characters I have ever read before, and I can’t always understand the feeling behind was he says. I don’t think this is always a bad thing, because it is nice to be introduced to different types of characters, but Cole just didn’t seem completely cohesive or believable to me.

Overall: I did like the book, I liked how heartfelt the ending was, and how emotionally invested the characters, and even some minor characters, were in the problem. Obviously it was a life-or-death kind of thing, but I enjoyed reading it.

Cover Art: I have said this about the previous covers, but I love this one too. The covers for this trilogy are simple, but telling and I love the elegance of it. I also really like that the color of the ink is the same as the color on the cover, but again, this is nothing I have not expressed before.

Rating: 4 stars

Excuse Me, Did You Say Free?

Most of you probably know that my husband is an author. Well, right now he is doing a promotion where you can download a free copy of His Only Star on your Kindle!

You may be thinking “Well, what do I have to do to get it?” The answer is NOTHING. Well, after you download hopefully you will read it and tell all of your friends, but that’s completely up to you.

Anyway, make sure you head to the kindle store and download your free copy of His Only Star by Christopher Stocking!

If you are interested in any of his other works, you can check out his blog: http://www.writetoperfect.wordpress.com

You will find lots of good stuff over there! 🙂

I’m A Good Wife… Except To My Husband.

For Valentine’s day, I got my husband Assassin’s Creed III for the PS3. I gave it to him a couple days early because I feel like I have had it forever, and I just couldn’t wait to give it to him! I know I scored major points in the wife department, but now my author husband is spending a lot of time playing this game! Haha. I think I may have side-tracked him from his writing goals, at least for a little while. The one that is the most angry is my sister– she is anxiously awaiting his next book!

But, my husband is happy, and I know that he will start writing/editing again… as soon as he beats the game!

What did you give/receive for Valentine’s Day?

Chris got me a beautiful Open Heart key necklace– I absolutely adore it! I guess we both did pretty well this Valentine’s Day!