Nov 30, 2014

Review: The Young World by Chris Weitz


Title: The Young World (The Young World, #1)
Author: Chris Weitz
Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5 Stars)
Hardcover, 384 Pages
Published July 2014
Add it on Goodreads!

Summary: After a mysterious Sickness wipes out the rest of the population, the young survivors assemble into tightly run tribes. Jefferson, the reluctant leader of the Washington Square tribe, and Donna, the girl he's secretly in love with, have carved out a precarious existence among the chaos. But when another tribe member discovers a clue that may hold the cure to the Sickness, five teens set out on a life-altering road trip to save humankind. The tribe exchanges gunfire with enemy gangs, escapes cults and militias, braves the wilds of the subway and Central Park...and discovers truths they could never have imagined.

I received a copy of The Young World from Little, Brown Books in exchange for an honest review. Amber had read this book as an ARC a few months back and wasn't that crazy about it, so I went into this not expecting it to be that fantastic.

AND I WAS SO WRONG. I'm not usually a fan of giving books five star reviews (because that's the highest rating we can give at The Book Bratz and that title is very hard to achieve here), but I absolutely loved this book from start to finish and I was so glad that Little, Brown Books was kind enough to send me a copy.

The whole idea of the story is that in the future (although not too far into the future, almost like an alternate present-day reality) a Sickness spreads that kills everyone younger than teenage age and older than eighteen. And when these last living teens reach the ripe old age of eighteen, they die as well. The Sickness has something to do with the proteins in the body that can combat the Sickness, and they're only present in teenagers.

So, after the Sickness wipes out a massive amount of the overall population of the world, the teenagers are left in charge. Uh oh. It goes just as well as you'd expect at first - lots of fighting (because they're forced to fend for themselves), lots of drugs (because who's going to stop them? Their dead parents?), and tons of sex. (Because not only are their parents not around to stop them and they only have until their eighteenth birthday to live a full and complete life, but they're sterile, too.) Eventually, they manage to all band together to create little "societies" or towns throughout New York City. Jefferson is head of the Washington Square section when his older brother, Wash, dies and relinquishes his position after his eighteenth birthday. 

This book was equal parts hysterical (especially in Donna's point of view) and thrilling. More than once I had to put the book down because I was in tears of laughter over what one of the characters said, or I've had to stop for a second and think about what just happened because Chris Weitz had just managed to blow my mind. This book deserves nothing less than five stars, and I raved about it so much that Amber is actually considering re-reading it and giving it another shot. (Victory!) 

All in all, The Young World was a thrilling, interesting, and absolutely hysterical book. I recommend it to anybody looking for a new sort of dystopian to read, and I'm super excited to read the next book in the series - even if it is a long time away! I love Chris Weitz's style of writing and I'm very interested in seeing what else he has in store. Five out of five stars for The Young World!

PLEASE NOTE: I received a copy of The Young World from Little, Brown Books in exchange for an honest review. Every thought and opinion expressed in this review is entirely my own and was in no way influenced by Little, Brown Books, nor did the publisher or author Chris Weitz have any knowledge of this review before it was published on November 30th, 2014.

Nov 28, 2014

Stacking the Shelves #7: More ARCs!

Stacking the Shelves is a book meme created and is being hosted every Saturday by Tynga’s Reviews. This is the chance to showcase all the books you have bought and added to your shelves!


FOR REVIEW FROM EDELWEISS:

   
 

BOUGHT:

GIVEAWAY ENDING SOON:



What did you get this week?


Review: A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

Title: A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird #1)
Author: Claudia Gray
Genre: Science Fiction 
Source: Giveaway
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: November 4, 2014
Add it to Goodreads / Order it on Amazon

Summary: 
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. 
~~~ 
I loved A Thousand Pieces of You. Considering the past couple of weeks I been pushing through some ARCs it was refreshing to read something that is already published. I'm not a huge fan of Gray, I wasn't all impressed with Spellcaster and I never made it past the cover on her other series, so I was playing with fire when I picked up A Thousand Pieces of You, but I ended up loving it! 

Marguerite's parent's have a created a device called a "Firebird" that allows a person's consciousness to travel between dimensions. But soon the joy of the successes will be drowned in betrayal when the "Firebird" data has been destroyed and Marguerite's dad murdered. But no one expected Paul, a student assistant to be guilty of the crime. But with evidence pointed at him and a now stolen "Firebird" he uses to jump through dimensions with a determined Theo and Marguerite will track Paul to the end of the multiverse with discarded "Firebird" prototypes to catch him. 

A Thousand Pieces of You has several settings. All of them well written and developed. My favorite of them being Russia, with Marguerite being the Tsar's daughter. My only problem with the dimensions was that Marguerite got use to them too quickly, she didn't make many mistakes that made people question her and some information it seemed like she already knew, though she was never in that one dimension before. 

Character wise I liked Marguerite for the most part though, her emotions where strong and she was determined and she kept the story moving. I loved Theo and I shipped them but then Gray throws in a bunch of twists and now I am not so sure. Paul had to grow on me, it wasn't until we learned about Russian Paul that I really fell in love with him. And once again Gray twisted the plot and I had to go and search for tissues because the tears wouldn't stop. 

I couldn't really tell if there was a love triangle in this book. At times it felt like there was one, and then at other times I wasn't so sure. Marguerite obviously has feelings for both Paul and Theo. (I don't blame her though!) I felt like her feels changed depending on the settings and what was going on. In the London dimension I shipped Theo on Marguerite but then in the Russia dimension I shipped her and Paul. It wasn't until the very end where I finally chose who I shipped Marguerite with and I can't wait to see more of them in the next book! 

A Thousand Pieces of You made my list of 2014 favorite reads. It was full of suspense, action, and romance making me crave more! 

RATING: ★★★★★










Nov 24, 2014

ARC Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Title: Red Queen (Red Queen Trilogy #1)
Author: Victoria Aveyard 
Genre: Fantasy
Source: Edelweiss 
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: February 10, 2014
Add it to Goodreads / Pre-order it on Amazon
Read Jessica's Review!

Summary: 
The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers. To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change. Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre ofthose she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control. But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?


This is the second time I have read Red Queen, I love it that much. Red Queen is easily one of my favorite reads of this year. (or next year?) It could have easily been a book with a beautiful cover, but horrible writing but it wasn't. Of course the cover was the first thing to catch my eye, and then when I read the summary I knew I would love it. I was right! Victoria Aveyard's writing is beautiful and sucked me right in. 

Red Queen takes place in a world were the color of your blood dictates your superiority. Red bloods live in poverty and are looked down upon by Silver bloods who possess powers. Mare Barrow is just trying to get through life until she will be tossed into the army like her brothers. She spends her days being a pick-pocket and thief, trying to provide for her family while she still can. One night while attempting to pick-pocket a man at a pub he catches her, gives her a silver coin and lets her leave with the generous gift, simply saying he has a good job. The next morning Mare is awoken to guards are her door demanding her presence at the palace. Mare, with no other choice goes and soon learns that her generous stranger got her a job serving the people she hates the most, Silvers. But taking on this job makes Mare learn new things about herself and the country she was born into. 

Mare was an awesome protagonist, she isn't perfect. In fact she makes some pretty stupid choices, but accepts the fact that she does and makes the best of it. In a world where you can't trust anyone though her bad choices aren't that unexpected. Mare is one of my favorite characters I have read in 2014, from the beginning to the end of the novel she grew and I can't wait to see how she will grow in the following books. 

There is and isn't a love triangle. It is complicated and I can't say to much with out giving important information away. I know a lot of people hate love triangles but in my honest opinion is that those people will love this. At one moment, one boy has your cheering for him then the next moment you're cheering for the other one. It doesn't take up the whole novel. 

Red Queen is action packed and full of twists and turns. I won't lie. I never expected what happens at the end of the novel. My jaw dropped. Then the book ended and I wanted to scream because I need to know what is going to happen. Red Queen is one of those books that you are so sure that you know what is going to happen, and it isn't. Victoria Aveyard has a talent for throwing her readers off from the actually truth of what was happening. The ending just proves that Mare can't trust anyone. Not even her allies. 

RATING: ★★★★★




Nov 23, 2014

Exclusive Excerpt: The Innocent Assassins by Pema Donyo


Displaying TheInnocentAssassins.jpg

Title: The Innocent Assassins
Author: Pema Donyo
eBook, 344 Pages
Published June 2014
Add it on Goodreads!

Summary: There are three rules to staying an assassin at the corporation of Covert Operatives: (1) your parents must be deceased, (2) your contracts must remain confidential, and (3) you must be under the age of eighteen. After a murder mission goes awry a month before her eighteenth birthday, Covert Operatives assassin Jane Lu finds herself caught by the federal government and forced to spy for the CIA while remaining in Covert Operatives. Once her spying mission is over she will be allowed to live a civilian life without facing criminal consequences, a life she's only dreamed of having. As Jane leaks information to the CIA, she uncovers secrets with enough power to both destroy Covert Operatives and her own boyfriend, Adrian King, who's next in line to be CEO of the company. When her identity as a double agent for the CIA is discovered within Covert Operatives, she must decide where her allegiance, and her heart, truly lies.


Exclusive Excerpt of The Innocent Assassins, provided by author Pema Donyo:

Rough cloth slid across my face and pulled down against my shoulders. I screamed. Someone yanked my wrists behind my back and tied them together with coarse rope. Another set of hands bound my legs. How many were there?
I struggled to make contact with a body, swerving from side to side with wild abandon in spite of my inability to see anything. What worried me most weren’t the people trapping my body or the sudden needle injected into my neck which slowed my thoughts and faded away my consciousness.
It was the voice next to my ear—cold, hard, and determined.
“You’re right on time,” Adrian whispered.
****
Freezing ice water snapped my eyes open.
I blinked away the unconscious haze, my hair and face dripping from the unwelcome drench. The first thing I noticed was the boardroom, similar to the ones I negotiated contracts in. But there was no contract here—only a long, empty rectangular table and looming executives and agents on either side.

In front of me stood Adrian, his expression unreadable as he studied me.
“I tried to stop you.” His voice reminded me of the cold water dripping from my clothes. “I warned you.”
“By hiring assassins to scare me? I thought you knew me better. Nothing scares me.”
“Death should.”
“You know I never wanted to be…” I swallowed hard. “This.”
“I changed Covert Operatives for you.” Emotion leaked into his voice, brimming with frustration. “I tried to give you what you wanted.”
“And force others against their will to work for CO their entire life?” I spat. “I think not.”
“When did you switch sides?”
“When I was arrested, Adrian. It was after our mission went wrong. The CIA gave me a choice. Go to prison and face the death sentence or work for
them.”
He gritted his teeth. “The CIA? You’re afraid of the CIA? You know as well as I do CO can keep you away from them. I can keep you away from them.”
I glared at him. “And hide away for the rest of my life?”
His shoulders stiffened. “No one would be hiding.”
“I want a life removed from murder. The CO job was always temporary! It was never what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.” I averted my gaze.
“Don’t you know there’s only one way this can possibly end? Kill me or let me go.”

Praise for The Innocent Assassins:

"...it's an excellent book with a strong concept and equally strong characterization. The ending of this book couldn't have been any better." --4 1/2 stars, JC's Book Haven


"...I absolutely adored The Innocent Assassins...action-packed and extremely fast-paced that it keeps you turning pages from start to end..." --4 stars, Pretty Bookmarks Book Reviews




"...From the first page, I was hooked...plenty of plot twists and turns that kept me guessing!" --4 stars, ITIO Book Reviews

"...will keep you up until 3 am because you can't put it down. One of those fast paced, fun reads, that sucks you in from the beginning..." --4 Stars, Fangirl Confessions Book Reviews

"...just too fantastic to miss..." -- 4 Stars, Bookish Treasures

Get The Innocent Assassins via:

About the Author:

Displaying PemaDonyo_headshot.jpg

Pema Donyo is a coffee-fueled college student by day and a creative writer by night. She currently lives in sunny Southern California, where any temperature less than 70 degrees is freezing and flip-flops never go out of season. As a rising sophomore at Claremont McKenna, she’s still working on mastering that delicate balance between finishing homework, meeting publisher deadlines, and… college. Pema’s debut novel, The Innocent Assassins, is a thriller/romantic suspense published by Astraea Press. Her second novel, One Last Letter, is a western historical romance published by Crimson Romance.

Connect with Pema through her:

Nov 22, 2014

Review: RecruitZ by Karice Bolton {Book Tour + Giveaway}



Title: RecruitZ (Afterworld #1) 
Author: Karice Bolton
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic, New Adult
Publisher: Bull Dog Press 
Publication: October 2013
Add it to Goodreads / Buy it on Amazon / Buy it from B&N

Summary:
Scientists are the new rock stars. The infection has been contained for nearly three months, and the world is celebrating. But humans are still dying. Rebekah Taylor has seen it firsthand. Her husband was killed right in front of her by the very creatures that humans were told they no longer had to fear.
Rebekah is determined to find out who is responsible for the death of her husband and the obvious cover-up. Fueled with revenge, she begins to find answers that lead to one frightening conclusion. The apocalypse might be over, but the battles are just beginning.
REVIEW:

I love post-apocalyptic books, especially ones about zombies. But lately some zombie books just fall short. RecruitZ did not disappoint. From the first page RecruitZ had me hooked in a world of lies and action, leaving me wanting more. 


It has been three months since the virus has been contained and Rebekah finally thought she was safe. That was until zombies reached into her car, ripped her husband from his seat and tore him apart. Leaving Rebekah in one piece. What makes it even stranger is: after the zombies are done, they take off into vans. Like they were programmed to do this. Now Rebekah is hell bent on revenge and she isn't going to stop until she makes sure whoever is responsible for her husband's death has paid. 

When I first saw Rebekah on the cover of RecruitZ I thought about how bad ass she looked. She is bad ass, stubborn and independent and I just loved how she grew through out this book. She went from being so full of hate and anger in the beginning of the book to finding her true purpose. I can't wait to see her growth in in the next Afterworld book. 

At times it was so easily to forget that the end of the world has practically happened. Bars are running, classes are going on, and is pretty easy to forget. But then you get to certain parts and it is just devastating. Karice wrote a believable post apocalyptic world and I loved it. The world is just getting back on its feet. It is a nice change to see a good outcome to zombies, it is always the end of the world when they are involved. There is never anything where the humans beat the undead. It was nice for a change. Another thing was that I loved was that it is set in the future, sometime after 2020.



Overall I really loved RecruitZ. It was full of action, betrayal, and not knowing who you could trust. With a mix of kick ass characters, and a spin on something everything loves this book left me flipping the pages into the late hours of the night. 


RATING: ★★★★★

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Karice received an MFA in Creative Writing from the U of W. She has written fifteen novels and has several exciting projects in the works. Karice lives with her husband and two English Bulldogs in rainy Washington.


Books currently available:

Luke Fletcher Series: Hidden Sins (Book 1), Buried Sins (Book 2) – coming soon
Beyond Love Series: Beyond Control (Book 1) Beyond Doubt (Book 2) Beyond Reason (Book 3) Beyond Intent (Book 4) Beyond Chance, Beyond Promise, and Beyond the Mistletoe coming soon
Afterworld Series: RecruitZ (Book 1) AlibiZ (Book 2) – October 2014
The Witch Avenue Series: Lonely Souls (Book 1), Altered Souls (Book 2), Released Souls (Book 3) Shattered Souls (Book 4)
The Watchers Trilogy: Awakening (Book 1), Legions (Book 2), Cataclysm (Book 3), Taken Novella (Watchers Prequel)
The Camp

AUTHOR LINKS: 
Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter


AlibiZ (Afterworld #2) 
*Click the cover to be redirected to Goodreads*


Summary:

The outbreak might be over, but the nightmare is just beginning...
Rebekah vows to expose the truth behind the RecruitZ that are killing the innocents. These creatures must be stopped, but so should the people controlling them. When Rebekah uncovers who is behind the uprisings, her own life becomes in danger.
Rebekah knows that she is not alone in this fight but vengeance alone won't help her and the others to victory. It is up to her to uncover the truth for the public before the world is turned over to an elite few.
Regardless of what may happen to her, she knows it's a race against time to destroy these creatures and the monsters controlling them before there is no one left worth saving.

GIVEAWAY: 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

FOLLOW THE TOUR!






Xpresso Book Tours

Nov 21, 2014

Review: Salt and Storm by Kendall Kulper

Title: Salt & Storm
Author: Kendall Kulper
Genre: Historical Fiction, Paranormal
Source: Novl
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers 
Publication Date: September 23, 2014
Add it to Goodreads / Buy it on Amazon

Summary: 
You don't know what you must give up to become a witch. 
Avery Roe wants only to claim her birthright as the witch of Prince Island and to make the charms that have kept the island's sailors safe at sea for generations, but instead she is held prisoner by her mother in a magic-free life of proper manners and respectability.
Avery thinks escape is just a matter of time, but when she has a harrowing nightmare, she can see what it means: She will be killed. She will be murdered. And she's never been wrong before. 
Desperate to change her future, Avery finds a surprising ally in Tane—a tattooed harpoon boy with magic of his own, who moves her in ways she never expected. But as time runs out to unlock her magic and save herself, Avery discovers that becoming a witch requires unimaginable sacrifice. 
Avery walks the knife's edge between choice and destiny in Kendall Kulper's sweeping debut: the story of one girl's fight to survive the rising storm of first love and family secrets.

~~~ 

From the summary I expected, tons of romance and actual witchcraft. Instead this book just fell short of what I was expecting. The whole book to me was just...meh. I didn't love it, I didn't hate it but I am still disappointed. I tried.


I struggled to like Avery. She was pushy and rude and just mean at times! I am under the impression that Avery thought she was all that because she was suppose to be the next Roe witch. But in reality she was useless until she would get her powers anyway. Then she acquires the help of a beautiful harpoon by to help her and all she does is tell him was that his magic was terrible and useless. I'm sorry Avery, but I wouldn't have helped you if you treated me like that. She also accidentally collapses the roof of her house in on her sleeping mother and doesn't show a single ounce of remorse. Huh? Okay then. 

I expected Tane to walk away from her half the time. Yeah, I knew he was the love interest from the moment he came into the novel but Avery treated him horribly. Then suddenly they are in a relationship! Then I felt like the romance was skimmed on. I expected more romance then was actually handed to you in the novel. 

I loved the Roe history, and the island. The Roe magic, how it is activated, where is came from and how it is preformed was interesting to read. I wish it went into more detail though and wasn't all thrown at you at once. There were aspects of Salt and Storm that I loved and then parts that I disliked. Overall though it had an interesting idea and lots of promise, a long with an ending that will leave you with tears in your eyes. 


RATING: ★★



Out of Sync by A. Bin Juran {Blitz + Giveaway}

Title: Out of Sync (Book One)
Author: A. Bin Juran
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: A. Bin Juran
Publication Date: October 23, 2014
Add it to Goodreads 

Summary: 
I’m a magical misfit

I won’t let it define me
A bolt-zapping disaster magnet

But at least I’m still trying
The guy I like asked me out

I hoped my luck was changing
Then my coven trials began

…they’re harder than I expected
Now my life hangs in the balance

I don’t know what I’m doing
But I do know this:
I’m not going down without a fight.
 ‘Out of Sync’ is a YA paranormal romance about a magical misfit who faces her perilous coven trials, falls in love and nearly dies more times than seems polite to mention.
BUY OUT OF SYNC...

PROLOGUE...
Low grumbles emanated from the creatures circling me, grimly advertising their intent.
The sweltering desert heat clung to me like a second skin, causing beads of sweat to trickle into my eyes.
I squinted, inadvertently blurring my vision, which posed a problem given that my newly adopted life plan had just been reduced to not ending up as dog food—or whatever you would call the equivalent for wolves.
“Nice wolfies . . .” I stammered, the bitter aftertaste of adrenaline lacing the back of my throat.
Pointed brown-stained teeth snapped at my feet as another wolf lunged closer, its acrid breath filling my airways. I gagged. “You really should have yourself checked; I’ve smelled doggy breath before, but this is taking it to a whole other level,” I ventured, trying my hand at nurturing some rapport as my eyes darted, searching for an escape route.
Yellow eyes trailed my movements as drool began to accumulate in anticipation.
“Eating me will not improve that smell,” I tried again, jerking my thumb at the breather. Was this really my pitch? I wouldn’t add to your dental value?
“I’m not that nutritious, either! Really, I eat a lot of junk,” I lied. I didn’t actually get to do much snacking—though I would have been happy to if anyone ever bothered to send some to my dorm room.
One of the wolves slunk closer, grazing my knee with his dry nose.
My voice caught as I continued trying to reason with the mongrels. “I’m not all that chewable, either . . . . I’m bonier than I look.” Then I remembered how fond canines were of bones and shut up, shaking my head with disbelief at what was coming out of my mouth just in time to miss a set of snarling jaws hurtling at my throat.
Being eaten by a pack of hungry mutts was definitively not the way I wanted to go.
I could feel the panic crackle through me, swiftly building up inside me.
I tried to regulate my breathing as my fingers itched with electricity.
Deciding it was time to take what action I could, I jerked my hands forward, and a bolt of lightning erupted from my hands and into the pack. Yes, it worked! Not only had I managed not to set myself on fire, the bolt had actually landed in the general vicinity of what I’d aimed at! Most of my thunderbolt throwing thus far had been limited to uncontrolled spasms from nerves or anger, so this was quite a feat. But there was no time for an awkward victory dance.
The wolves recoiled momentarily from the sudden attack, giving me the opening I had been waiting for. I lunged forward, hurtling my body toward the gap, hoping the light show would afford me enough time to reach safety.
I scrambled, gathering whatever energy I had left and ran.
After a few minutes of frantic chase, I perceived a discoloration in the distance. I set my sights on reaching that goal as the wolves shadowed my movements, gnashing their ravenous jaws all around me.
As I gained ground, I could make out more detail in the bleak colors. The discoloration was a cave.
The wolves were behind me, but I was closer. I would make it, I told myself; I had to.
Hope spread, infecting my mind and expanding my lungs, blinding me.
Reality, however, sank its filthy teeth into me.
I yelped in agony as the pain shot through me. My legs buckled beneath me, and I collapsed

into the desert sand, a hair’s breadth from snarling, snapping teeth.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR...

When not immersed in books - be it writing or reading them - Ainat can usually be found nestling a cup of coffee in the company of her husband and twins. A former fast-food employee, T-shirt seller, and glorified secretary, Ainat eventually found herself with Bachelor's and LL.M. degrees and working as a lawyer. A few years later, listening to a catchy pop song about dream fulfillment, Ainat decided to buy a clunky little laptop and get to work. Ten novels and a much better laptop later, she came to the realization that hitting the double-digit mark meant it was time to publish and start consuming coffee (though not necessarily in that order).

When she isn't writing, editing, or mothering, Ainat enjoys reading promiscuously (which, to her, means she's reading several novels at a time while committing to none), watching political dramas and sci-fi series, and taking embarrassing memos-to-self complete with accents and dramatic pauses that should never be unleashed, ever.


GIVEAWAY...

Nov 18, 2014

Let's Talk...: Insta-Love

Insta-love!





You've heard of it. It's one of the biggest offenses in YA romance novels. If you're like me, you hate it. If you're not, you love it. Maybe you can tolerate it. Maybe you can't. You've guessed it: insta-love.

For all of you who don't know, insta-love is a situation in a book where one character meets another and they fall immediately in love. No, it isn't like love at first sight. An example of insta-love would be the relationship progression in Romeo & Juliet. Less than 24 hours after meeting one another, they're already madly in love and getting married and doing the deed. Another example would be Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins. Even though I'm a huge fan of the Anna trilogy, the amount of insta-love in that last book was so stifling that it earned a two star rating. Seriously. An Anna book received a two star rating. That's borderline insane. (You can read my review of Isla by clicking here.)

In my opinion, (and that's just what this post is - a little bit of a rant on my opinion of insta-love), if a book contains insta-love, it's automatically ruined for me. Don't get me wrong - I'm all for love at first sight. I eat up the stories where the main character sees a boy and knows she's destined to be with him - which is what happens in insta-love stories, too.

But here's where is branches off.

In said story, if the plot progressed at a "normal" relationship pace, she would befriend this boy and get close to him and slowly but surely, piece by piece, their relationship would build into something magical and heart warming.

But if said story followed an insta-love progression, she would ask the boy out that night, get pregnant with his child, and get married in Vegas all by the next morning. And then never even acknowledge how crazy the concept is.

And if you've never read an insta-love story and you're laughing and thinking to yourself, wow, she's being totally ridiculous, no decent story has a plot like this, you're wrong. You're so very wrong. But I genuinely wish you were right.

Like I said in my Isla review, I know that stories don't always have to be believable. Books are supposed to make the impossible become possible. As a writer, you can make your book into anything you want. Trust me. I know that. I really, truly do. But when I pick up a book with insta-love it just creates such a massive mind block for me. Try as I might, throughout the whole book I can't get myself to ignore how fake the relationship sounds. It's just so unsatisfying. If a book contains insta-love, it's an immediate turn off for me. But trust me, I don't just abandon the book. I try. And odds are, I finish it. But I'm left feeling cheated and so dissatisfied. 

I think people don't realize that there's a difference between love at first sight and insta-love. But there really is, and it's a fine line that needs to be acknowledged. Insta-love feels like fake love to me. The characters may truly believe they love one another, and maybe they do, but when you rush a relationship like that, what do you have left to look forward to?

I decided to reach out and ask some other readers what their opinions on insta-love are. Here's some feedback:

"I'm normally not an insta-love fan! I prefer slow burn romance or stories where the characters don't like each other at first. Insta love can be okay if written well, but sometimes the MC will get tunnel vision and that really bugs me!" 
-Anna

"I personally feel that in YA insta-love done well can work really well. Teens in high school think that after dating a week they are in a serious relationship and with how long they tend to last in HS it is usually instant. But sometimes it is just not something that makes for a great read even though it is reality. I do prefer more of the love/hate relationships in YA." 
-Dana

"I really dislike it. I just find it so unbelievable and fake." 
-@batoolreads

"I don't like it. I value the build-up to a relationship - the friendship, the flirting, the getting to know one another.  Icould never be with someone I'd just met and love them. Then again, I see "insta-love" everywhere with teens IRL."
-@utterlybookish 

"In most cases, I don't love insta-love. It just doesn't seem realistic to me."  
-@ReadWriteLove28

"Do not like it! Gateway by Sharon Shinn was the worst instalove story. There was no reason for connection other than same age."
-@thebooktraveler

What are your opinions on insta-love? When's it okay/not okay? What books had good/bad examples of insta-love? Leave a comment down below! I'd love to hear what you have to say on the subject. :-)







Nov 17, 2014

Exclusive Excerpt: Divine Vices (Divine Vices, #1) by Melissa Parkin



Title: Divine Vices (Divine Vices, #1)
Author: Melissa Parkin
Kindle Edition, 349 Pages
Published November 2013
Add it on Goodreads!

Summary: The last thing sixteen-year-old Cassie Foster needs is trouble, but that doesn’t stop him from finding her. 

Nine months after the tragic accident that killed her mother and sister, this high school junior just wants a fresh start. Settling down in the quiet town of New Haven, Maine, she’s found peace at last…until the new resident bad boy, Jackson Matthews, comes into the picture. Arrogant, sarcastic, and devastatingly sexy, he’s the very last thing Cassie wants to entertain. Romance was never part of the plan. But when terrifying circumstances drive these two together, she finds herself further in over her head than thought possible. As local girls begin disappearing, Cassie can’t help but wonder if it’s just a coincidence that everything started when this blue-eyed Casanova strolled into town. Will falling into Jackson’s arms mean she’ll be falling victim to a real lady-killer…or worse?

The answer will open the door to a world she never thought possible.

An exclusive excerpt hand-picked by author Melissa Parkin herself:

“Class, please help me in welcoming our newest student to New Haven High, Jackson Matthews,” announced Miss Tipton.
“Hi,” everyone replied in unison as if they were greeting someone at an A.A. meeting.
I covered my mouth to hide the laughter that began rising to the surface.
“As if that salutation wasn’t uncomfortable enough first hour,” the stranger replied with a spark of humor.
The comment was enough to catch my attention, so I surrendered my eyes to the front of the room. There he stood just over six feet tall, lean yet muscular, dressed all in faded shades of black from his t-shirt, fitted jeans, motorcycle boots, and leather jacket. His penetratingly sharp, icy blue serpentine eyes were all the more accentuated by lashes as long and dark as a cow’s. Obnoxiously perfect bed-head black locks of hair lay tousled across his forehead, framing a striking face saved for the glossy pages of magazines.
He was guaranteed to be egotistical and vain, as shallow as a kiddy pool, and right up Stacy’s alley. Staring at someone like him should have come with an indication sign, like “Could Cause Retina Damage!” or “Never Gonna See Any Better This Side Of Your Television Screen!”at least. In other words, I dropped any delusional notion that I had a chance with him the very second I refocused my attention back to my textbook. That was that. Thank God. The last thing I needed in my life was a distraction, especially one of overly perfect, um...proportions.
“You can take a seat in front of Miss Foster, right over there in the front corner,” said Miss Tipton.
Damn it!
Sure enough, ten seconds later, GQ’s missing model came and parked a seat in the chair directly ahead of me, sending an annoyingly enticing coastal fragrance my way. Almost every other guy at school wore the same clich├ęd deodorant, typical to the commercials where young, statuesque women ripped the clothes off of whomever was wearing it. Instead, Jackson’s skin held that sweet lingering aroma of the shore that I missed so dearly from the long summer days I spent at the beach.

Praise for Divine Vices:

"I loved every single second that I spent reading this book. Right from the start I was hooked to the story and it just kept getting better and better as it went along." - Read Write All the Time Book Blog

"As a YA Paranormal Romance, Parkin gives us a story about angels and demons unlike anything currently on the market." -
Romance Bound Reviews
 
"...the blend of murder-mystery, romance, paranormal, and contemporary were an absolutely exquisite combination! There's so much that is going on and will appeal to a lot of different audiences." - Falling Books Blog

"...thrilling, creepy, witty, and cannot be easily put down." - Little Red's Reviews

"This is fan freaking tastic!!!!" -
All Booked Out
 
You can find Divine Vices on:

About the Author

 

Melissa Parkin is a Chicagoland native who feels weird referring to herself in the third person. When she's not binge reading, taking photographs, breaking the first rule of Fight Club, or playing music too loud, she's writing young adult paranormal romances.

Connect with Melissa on:
 
Huge thank you to author Melissa Parkins for allowing us to post this exclusive excerpt of Divine Vices and for just being a totally awesome person in general! :-)