Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Look at 2014: Statistics and Numbers

Hello there! Happy New Year's Eve!

Like last year, I'd like to share my end-of-the-year statistics roundup with you all. 2013 was a great year, and 2014 was an even better year, in terms of blogging (in terms of life, not so much).

Here are some numbers and data:

- Total Pageviews: roughly 324,000 (since December 2012)
- Total blog followers (does not include Twitter, Facebook, or Goodreads): 4861
   - GFC: 1077
   - Bloglovin: 1581
   - Email/RSS: 457
   - Linky: 363
   - Pinterest: 380
   - Tumblr: 215
   - Google Plus: 788
- Goodreads friends/fans: 980
- Twitter: 1,775
- Facebook: 2,438
- Number of reviews in 2014: 211
- Number of 1-star reviews: 7
- Number of 2-star reviews: 19
- Number of 3-star reviews: 41
- Number of 4-star reviews: 127
- Number of 5-star reviews: 17
- Average rating: 3.61
- Total books read in 2014: 211
- Total number of published posts in 2014: 513
- Days missed in publishing a post: 0 (since the December 2012)

(Feel free to compare these to last's year statistics.)

Data for Books read/reviewed in 2014:

(I did this via Excel - I kept a spreadsheet throughout the year. It made it easier to put the data together and make charts and things.)

(In number of books, totaling 211.)

(In number of books, totaling 211.)

(In number of books, totaling 211.)

(In number of books, totaling 211.)

(In percent, totaling 100%.)

(In number of books, totaling 211.)

(In percent, totaling 100%.)

What this tells me: 

- Age Level: I obviously like reading YA books.
- Dominant Genre: no surprise that fantasy takes the top spot... but contemporary in second?! Since attending college, I've found SOME contemporary novels more agreeable than usual...
- Number in Series: I read a lot of "first" and "standalone" novels... but hey, I completed a lot of series, too :D
- Publisher: HEY THERE, HARPERCOLLINS! This only includes the TEEN imprints, like HarperTeen, Balzer+Bray, Katherine Tegen, etc. Notice that I put Avon in its own category. But Avon is an (adult) imprint of HarperCollins.
- Rating: Wheeeeee, four stars. But I had more two-star ratings than last year, and less five-star ratings.
- Source: Publishers sent me more physical ARCs this year (thank you!), but Edelweiss and NetGalley are getting a lot of love too. Basically, I read a lot of review books.
- Year of Publication: 2014 dominated, in terms of pub year reads. As if should have.

Waiting on Wednesday (#105): Chantress Fury by Amy Butler Greenfield

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, I'm featuring:

Chantress Fury by Amy Butler Greenfield
Book Three of the Chantress trilogy
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: May 5, 2015

Summary (from Goodreads):

The sea is coming. We are coming. And we will drown you all.

With a song, Lucy can control the wind and the water; she can bring castles and kingdoms to their feet. Since Lucy mastered her powers, King Henry has kept her close as he’s rebuilt England. She’s his best ally—and his workhorse. And now he’s called her to investigate attempted murder: His men claim they were almost killed on the Thames…by a mermaid. All Lucy can glean from the creature they’ve captured is a warning: The sea is coming. We are coming. And we will drown you all. 

And then the floods begin. Swaths of London are submerged as the people scramble to defend themselves against the water—and the monsters—that are flooding their streets. As mistrust of Lucy's magic grows, the king relies on Nat, Lucy's great love, to guide them through the storm. But Nat is cold and distant to Lucy. He swore his love only a year before, and now he calls her “stranger.”

Lucy is determined to defeat this powerful new magic alone if she must. But then she hears an eerie song within the water…can it mean that she’s not the last Chantress after all? 

Sweepingly romantic and crackling with magic, Chantress Fury triumphantly concludes the powerful Chantress trilogy.

Oh come on. You all must know by now how much I LOVE this series! Remember the exclusive cover reveal? Chantress and Chantress Alchemy are awesomeeeee. I can't wait to read book three!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 in Review: Blogging, Life, School, Etc. - What REALLY Happened This Year...

Check it out, 2014 is almost over.

Thank. God. 

This year has been very... not so good, for me. Holistically, I've wanted it to be over for quite some time. I think it started out alright - I distinctly remember New Year's Day, January 1st, 2014, and being HAPPY. There was a specific reason, and it made me so happy. 

Tuck in, y'all. This post is about to get really deep and personal. 

January 2014 was good. February 2014 was wonderful. March 2014 was fine. April 2014 was rocky. May 2014 was a rollercoaster. June, July, August 2014 were a blur.

September 2014 was tumultuous. October 2014 was heartbreaking. November 2014 was numbing. December 2014 was hopeless, resigned, and now, over.

On the blog-front, you'd never know that I've suffered so, over the past year. I have yet to miss a day of posting on the blog. I read 211 books this year - 30 more books than last year. I published 211 reviews this year. My statistics and numbers are doing super well (see my post tomorrow). But personally, in my "real" life, things were black and stormy and not good at all.

You may have noticed that I posted a progression of personal posts this year - something I unofficially promised myself that I would never do. In April, my computer crashed and I was stressed about finals and things seemed awful (little did I know what was coming for me in September). In May, I sort bounced back, right? Things seemed better, especially since I got my computer back, and finals were over. At the end of May/beginning of June, the BEA thing happened, and, well, that was that. At the end of August, I was frustrated, on my first day of sophomore year.

There were several catalysts for this not-so-great year. Academics, for sure. Engineering isn't easy, double-majoring isn't easy, Johns Hopkins isn't easy. But, there was also the matter of my gilipollas boy. For those of you who don't understand that reference, don't worry, you're not alone. I sparsely mention him on the blog. 

In September 2013, as a freshman in JHU, I met him. I bet he doesn't even remember how we met, but... I do. I was sitting outside one of my new friend's suite (with the friend), talking with the friend. We'll call the friend "B". B's suitemate, Matthew (who is now one of my best friends), was in the suite. A boy walked out of the suite (my gilipollas boy). I stood up and introduced myself, and asked him his name. He said his name was "Pablo", and he was from Australia. Neither of which was true, and I didn't believe either statement. I laughed it off and he left. He wasn't quite a jerk - he looked me up and down and made that stupid joke, not once introducing himself to B - but he wasn't someone I thought I'd like.

Of course I ended up liking him... entirely too much. We grew close over the course of the semester.

I'll leave a lot out.

Fast forward to fall semester. Spring semester was good. Summer was fine - the months not seeing him (or anyone from Hopkins) weren't so bad. But fall semester... immediately, from the start, there was something wrong. He stopped texting me. He stopped seeing me. He stopped talking to me. He ignored my texts, my attempts to see him, my attempts to communicate. I wanted to know what happened, but he shut down and shut me out.

September, October, November, December... I still have no explanation as to what happened, not from him. We have mutual friends, so when we saw each other, we acted like nothing is wrong. But something was so, so wrong, and he refuses to talk to me. 

Throw in the fact that fall semester was a miserable mess, in terms of academics. I think a lot of my stress had to do with my gilipollas boy, too, but fall semester was HARD, in terms of academics. I hope my GPA doesn't suffer *too* much...

The thing is, I'm still nursing a broken heart. I miss him. I miss the boy to whom I told everything. I miss the sweet guy who held doors open for me, listened to me chatter endlessly, made fun of me (kindly) when I got excited about environmental chemistry, teased me about silly things, watched soccer with me, talked me through anxiety and panic. I miss hearing about his practices, how one guy was annoying, or one guy smelled terribly, and so on. I miss his harsh exterior but sweet interior - he always wanted to appear as a tough guy, but I always thought he was a teddy bear inside. I miss his terrible language (he's got a potty mouth), his loudness, his charisma, his magnetic personality... heck, I miss how he loves Barcelona (and I love Real Madrid), how he's from Pittsburgh (and I'm from Baltimore). I miss everything that was so opposite of what I am. I miss too many things about him.

I left a lot out, especially from freshman year. But... we're done. I've let him go. I can't remember the last time during this year that I was HAPPY. I missed him, all throughout fall semester (2014). I MISS him now. It hurts to be cut out, and to cut someone out of your life. Especially someone so close. 

So... that was kind of what was going on with me, throughout the year. It was always a rollercoaster, with him, and now, the ride is over. I don't live near him anymore, I have no more mutual classes with him, and I won't be hanging out with our mutual friends if HE will be there. Childish, maybe, but I can't let myself hurt like that. 

The thing is, it's a beautiful thing, to love someone else. There is nothing to be ashamed of, even if it doesn't work out in the end. I wish things could have ended better between us, but I refuse to feel ashamed or guilty for caring about someone else so much.

So. Do I want a do-over? Yes, please. 2015 will be a fresh start for me, in many ways. Mostly in terms of my personal life, but in other ways as well. I'll be focusing on me, my academics, my career pursuits, and my health. I will not let a boy destroy my happiness so completely again. I will not let a boy disappear from my life so absolutely and take all of the light and warmth with him. I will not let myself become so dependent on someone else, because in the end, people always leave. I've always known this, but I wanted it to be different with him. Mistake, Alyssa. 

What does this mean, in terms of books and reading and blogging? Nothing. Just had to get this off my chest, so to speak. I've learned not to feel stupid or ashamed of feeling the way I do. I've learned that talking to people about this whole thing is a whole lot easier than keeping it to myself. And I've learned that I deserved none of this, and that I can do better. 

So... to all of you wonderful people out there who suffered some sort of heartbreak this year, cheers! We'll be miserable together. And then we'll be just fine together.

Life Goals for 2015:

- Get that summer research position
- Keep up the weekly baking
- Go somewhere new (haven't done that in a while, due to academics)
- Start a journal again
- Set aside time to play the piano every week
- 100 Happy Days?
- Breathe again, smile again, find that light again

Blogging Goals for 2015:

- Read at least 150 books (same goal every year)
- Talk to people more on Twitter (I'm trying!)
- Take a break every now and then (this WILL be hard)
- Do a challenge or two (besides the Goodreads one)

Monday, December 29, 2014

Two-Year Blogoversary Celebration and Giveaway!


Woohoo! Two years feels like a long time, and yet, no time at all. A lot has happened in two years, and in the last year specifically. 2014 and I have not agreed on most accounts, and I can safely say that it was my worst year yet, blogging/academics/personal/family/otherwise. But I really could not have made it through the year without so many incredible people, events, actions, gestures, kind words. As cliche as that sounds, it's so true.

(All gifs came from HERE.)

Like last year... I'd like to do my Grammys/Oscars/Academy Awards Thank You Speech. But first, let me share with you some blogging milestones/achievements that I have hit over the two years of blogging.

- 1100+ published posts
- 320,000 pageviews
- Nearly 5000 total blog followers
- Over 400 reviews published
- A new Facebook account - with over 2,400 fans
- Have not missed a day of posting... at all. Yet. Ever. 

People. Thank you all, every one of you, who followed my blog, viewed a post, commented, tweeted, pinned, posted, liked, favorited, etc. I see every interaction, and I respond to all of them, and I love them. I love you all. With such a demanding academic career, it's easy to see why blogging and reviewing and reading is so important to me - my escape. So, thank you all for being here.

My IRL peeps: my parents, my sister Lily, my friends at home, my friends from Hopkins (Nicole, Christina, Matthew, Bria, Sophia), my amazing roommates/friends Adrienne and Janay, my gilipollas boy (who caused me so much grief this year, but I had to include him here for certain reasons) ---- THANK YOU.

My blogging buddies: Pili, Danielle, Nikki, Liza, Kel, Carina, Jess, Jess, JessKelly, LiliNereyda, Rachel, Rachel ---- you all are a pleasure to know, work with, chat with. Personally, I'm sorry for not making more of an effort to make my presence more known, beyond the blog! But you all are always here, or on Twitter, supporting me. *hugs* Special shout-out to my soccer-loving Twitter buddy and fellow engineer Juhina, and fellow tennis and soccer fan, Racquel! *squishes*

Specifically to Pili - we both had a difficult year, for very similar reasons. Every time I needed to talk, she was there. IS there. I know she has my back, regardless of the situation. There definitely were times when I needed here opinion and support, and she always delivered. Thank you! Words cannot express the gratitude! Different countries and time zones have nothing on our friendship! :)

To the authors, publishers, publicists, editors, reviewers, bloggers, booksellers, librarians, and anyone involved in the literary world - you all rock. And I like you a lot. I respect the heck out of anyone who devotes time and passion to something as simple yet crucial as reading. THANK YOU.

And finally... I'm cutting and pasting this from my post last year because it hasn't changed: thank you to all of you. Every single person clicked on a link to my blog, or read a review on my blog or Goodreads or Amazon or Barnes & Noble, or commented on my blog, or entered a giveaway, or tweeted at me, or retweeted my promotional tweets, or did SOMETHING for me... thank you. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you, and hope that one day, your kind deeds will be repaid. Blogging is NEVER easy when you don't have an audience. And I may not be the most popular blogger out there, but I love all of you who read and support my blog. *huggles*

The Giveaway:

You've survived my speech! I think it was slightly shorter than last year's, but I hope it felt just as meaningful and sincere. 

So, for the giveaway prize. I have this giant box of ARCs. I have no idea how many ARCs there will be in this box - I'll just grab a box and fill it. Probably more than ten. This giveaway is open to ANYONE - USA, Canada, Bhutan, Venezuela, wherever. Void where prohibited and whatnot (see Rafflecopter for more terms and conditions).

Also, the lovely publicist at Disney-Hyperion has offered a couple of prizes! One winner will win one copy of The Darkest Minds, Never Fade, and In the Afterlight. Another winner will win one copy of Dark Metropolis, and one copy of The Ring and the Crown. Both prizes may involve a mix of finished hardcover and paperback copies. USA and Canada ONLY. USA and Canada residents may enter all three giveaways, if they so choose.

So, three winners total! The giant box of books is open to ANYONE, the next two giveaways open to USA and Canada residents ONLY. Which means that USA and Canada residents may enter ALL THREE giveaways. 

Read the GIVEAWAYS page and/or the Terms and Conditions in the Rafflecopter. Good luck! And THANK YOU!

Giveaway #1 - a giant box of books! (Open to anyone)

Giveaway #2 - The Darkest MindsNever Fade, and In the Afterlight (mix of HC and PB - open to USA/Canada)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway #3 - Dark Metropolis and The Ring and the Crown (mix of HC and PB - open to USA/Canada)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Review: The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons

The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication Date: February 10, 2015
Rating: 5 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

The Handmaid’s Tale meets Blood Red Road in Glass Arrow, the story of Aya, who lives with a small group of women on the run from the men who hunt them, men who want to auction off breeding rights to the highest bidder.

In a world where females are scarce and are hunted, then bought and sold at market for their breeding rights, 15-year old Aya has learned how to hide. With a ragtag bunch of other women and girls, she has successfully avoided capture and eked out a nomadic but free existence in the mountains. But when Aya’s luck runs out and she’s caught by a group of businessmen on a hunting expedition, fighting to survive takes on a whole new meaning.

What I Liked:

I never read The Handmaid's Tale (one of my friends LOVE it though), nor did I ever make it to the end of Blood Red Road (I really tried...), so the comparison in the synopsis is wasted on me. But back in mid-2013, when I saw that Kristen Simmons was writing a new book, I added it without question. It worked out for me in the end, because my last read of 2014 just so happens to be a rare five-star read, and a favorite!

Aya has been captured from her home in the "wild". She will be bought by someone in order to be bred, to have a healthy son. Females who can produce healthy children - specifically, males - are scarce. With the help of a Driver, she will attempt to escape her buyer, and find her family before they are captured and sold like she was.

I LOVE THIS BOOK. I love Aya. I love Kiran. I love the story. I love the world-building. I love the romance. I love the ending. I love the cover. I loveeee this book. Just about everything is wonderful. I'm a big believer in "nothing is perfect" and "every book has its flaws" but at the moment, I'm basking in the "this book was so awesome" glow.

Aya grew up in the woods. She didn't live in the city, where people get their meals via a meal pill. This is why her womb is so valuable - she has a more "natural" body, and is more fertile. She is captured by businessmen, and taken to the Garden, where she and other girls are auctioned to the highest bidder. Aya does everything to avoid the auctions - she injures herself and gets into fights, to avoid the auctions. In her most recent stunt, she lands herself in solitary, where she makes the acquaintance of a mute Driver (whom she names Kiran).

Kiran isn't in solitary - he's a Driver, and he's not confined. But Aya talks to him (though he can't talk back). When Aya is finally auctioned, she is stunned because she has been sold. She has to leave behind a dirty wolf (whom she named Brax)... and Kiran (whom she nicknamed for the color of his eyes). But as it would turn out, Kiran is neither mute nor stupid. He is an integral part of this book.

Aya is such an interesting protagonist. She is naturally more spirited and "wild" than the other girls in the city, but for a reason - she is from the outside. She never stops trying to escape, to fight back, to think of how to overcome the obstacles in front of her. Aya is so SMART. Clever, inquisitive, determined, brave. I like her a lot. 

Kiran is equally as smart, clever, inquisitive, determined, brave, but in his own way. He is very quiet (he has to play mute, like the rest of the Drivers), but he is extremely observant and intelligent. Honestly, if the pair of them weren't as smart as they were, neither of them would have made it out of certain sticky situations alive. Anyway. I'm a huge fan of Kiran. He and Aya are so stubborn and brave, perfect for each other. But not just romantic interests - they are wonderful protagonists,

There are several parts to this story. Aya gets captured (and eventually meets Kiran); Aya gets sold and leaves the Garden; Kiran finds Aya and helps her escape; Aya and Kiran try to find Aya's family. I loved each part of the book, but my favorite would be when Aya finally escapes captivity - all of the captivity, when she leaves the city. The book isn't over yet, by any means, but I breathed easier when they left the city.

I had a hard time coming up with the primary genre for this book. It seems like it could be set in a futuristic city, because there are guns and technology that made me think of a futuristic place. The meal pill seemed really advanced. But it had a heavy fantasy feel to it - not epic fantasy, but fantasy nonetheless. Either way, I LOVE the world that Simmons has created. She masterfully created the setting, both in the wild and in the city.

The romance - oh, how I loved the romance. No love triangle, no insta-love. It amazed me how easily I fell for Aya and Kiran as a couple, in the beginning, with Kiran being mute, and the two of them barely interacting. Yet, they interacted so much in the beginning, and Aya felt his "loss" when she was sold. Then Kiran helps her escape, and they leave the city, and it's not like they immediately confess feelings for each other and that's that. NO. Aya and Kiran go through a lot before they finally let their guards down and let each other in. Love!

One thing that Simmons did that I actually REALLY liked was that she didn't try and have her characters "save the world". I can't say too much (not trying to spoil things), but this story isn't about Aya and Kiran taking down the city, the system, the government, etc. This story is about a girl who was captured and sold, who got out and wanted to save her family. It's a standalone, and it's a fabulous standalone. Simmons didn't try to overdo things.

That being said, I LOVED the ending. The last scene, the very end, is so beautiful. At first I thought it was unfulfilled, but then I realized that it was PERFECT. Anything more wouldn't have have made sense, given what we know about Aya, and Kiran. Simmons pulled everything together in the last scene. I loved it!

What I Did Not Like:

I can't think of anything concrete. I'm sure there's something, but at the moment, meh!

Would I Recommend It:

YES! Totally recommended, now go read! I'm actually going to reread my favorite parts right now (there are a lot of them). 


5 stars. A rare five stars from me - but so well-deserved! I had a good feeling about this book, and I'm glad that feeling did not let me down! Glad Kristen Simmons did not let me down (as I knew she wouldn't)!

Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

USA AND CANADA RESIDENTS: Win a copy on Goodreads!

Tis the Season Book Tag!

Hello all! This is my post for the "Tis the Season" book tag. I was tagged by Pili from In Love with Handmade.

(All pictures link to my reviews!)

1. Do you have a favorite winter read?

Hmm, this "winter" I've loved several novels:


2. Find a book with blue on the cover!

That I've read during this winter so far? 

3. Find a book you'd use as the star on the Christmas tree.

Not one I've read recently but...

4. Pick one fictional place that would be perfect for a winter vacation!

Probably Kanin! In Frostfire by Amanda Hocking.

5.  Pick one fictional character you’d take with you on your winter vacation!

Probably Jude, from Black Ice. He can "kidnap" me any day ;)

6. Name one book on your wish list this year!

HAHAHAHA. I have a "What I Am Looking Forward to Reading in 2015" post coming up on Thursday... similar to my 2014 one. This one is a sneak peek. I cannot wait to read (and own):


7. Favorite holiday drink, treat, & movie?

Drink: sorrel (a Trinidadian beverage that my mom makes every Christmas)
Movie: It's a Wonderful Life (my parents and I watch it every year!)

And that's that! I'm not going to specifically tag anyone, but Liza, Danielle, Alreem, Kel, if you want to do this, go for it! :D

Quirky Tag!

Welcome bibliovores! I've been tagged by the tag's creators at My Little Corner for Books. Congrats on the two-month blogoversary, Fari and Kitty! I'm actually celebrating my two-YEAR blogoversary tomorrow. Tis the season!

1. Reading in the shower?

Oh my goodness, NO. Absolutely not! I can't risk my print books... or even my Kindle... getting wet D:

2. Say that your favourite animal was the symbol of your godly parent or their creation (Owl, Pegasus! or perhaps Eagle for Roman? From PJO), hate ducks, want a robot as a pet or any such thing?

I'm honestly a little confused by this question. But, my favorite mythical animal is probably dragons, or LOTR elves. I have no problems with ducks, they're adorable. I don't really like pets (let me take care of myself and roommates before I think about pets, kay?)

3. Rearranged shelves at library/book stores?

Yup. Both. I can't help it. If it's not in alphabetical order, or if I don't like the face ones (the ones that are turned so that the cover is faced out), then I WILL rearrange things like I own the place!

4. Started a conversation with a stranger cuz they were reading your favorite book?

I've never come across anyone reading my FAVORITE book, but I have talked to a random person that was reading a book that I've also read. Not awkward for me, I'm bold!

5. Ruined a borrowed book?

Never. Treat unto other books the way you want your books to be treated.

6. Tried to remember all the page number of your favorite passages of you fave book?

No, but I remember certain sections. Like, it was three-fourths of the way into the book, or something like that.

7. Had an imaginary convo with an imaginary character?

Hmmm, not that I recall?

8. Stopped reading a book to imagine what would happen or wish would happen (even if there is 100% chance of that occurring!)?

All the dang time.

9. Write fanfiction?

No way! Let the AUTHOR tell the story!

10. Broke the golden rule and watched the movie first?

Hmm... Eragon. I think that was the only time I've ever broken the rule. And it was a HUGE mistake, because the movie was awful, and I couldn't bring myself to read the books, afterwards.

11. Gotten crumbs in the spine thing?

When I was younger, I TRIED to eat and read... and then this happened... and I cut that out. That was a bad habit and I do not miss the crumbs in my books at all!

12. Tried to take off sticker and rip cover?

Nope. I have gentle fingers and sharp nails. I'm your girl when it comes to books and stickers!

13. Gifted someone your used book?

I donate my used books to The Book Thing in Baltimore!

14. Tried to get dressed while still reading?

No. I'm very systematic and clear-cut and organized. I love multitasking, but dressing and reading would NOT make my List of Things To Do At the Same Time.

15. Walk while reading?

I don't believe I've done this!

16. Ever started babbling your list of "Books I Recommend" to a complete stranger because, hey, they love reading too?!

I don't think I've gotten as far as babbling an entire list...

17. Think what your favorite character would do in the situation?

No. I think of what I should be doing. In the end, it's up to ME.

18. How many days do you think it'll take you to recommend someone ALL of the books you want them to read?

That's a cute question.

19. Think your favorite characters as real people.

Sometimes. Like, Fire, from Fire by Kristin Cashore. I wish she were real.

20. Recommend books that you haven't read to people?

Only to one of my best friends, because I know her tastes and I'm much more well-read than she is. Even if I haven't read something, I might still recommend it to her. 

And that's that! I'm not going to tag anyone (this one is a long one), but feel free to do the questionnaire and tag others!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (#105)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews, in which bloggers share the books and swag they've received in the past week!

So, what did I get in the week of Sunday, December 21st to Saturday, December 27th?

(all links to Goodreads are provided!)

In the mail:


THANK YOU, NIKKI! I loved this book so much - and I wanted a hardcover ESPECIALLY since the series got a cover redesign! Nikki is awesome!

(Also, I'm totally being lazy for not posting an actual picture. Lazinessss)

From Edelweiss:


I've read Shepherd's debut trilogy... I'm curious enough to want to read her new series!

I was browsing through all of Harper's uploaded eARCs... this one caught my eye. It's from a previous mass upload.

From Amazon:

I loved Alienated and Invaded! Novella/short story for me!

I bought this one from Amazon for $1.99! It's a Pili-Pushed book :D

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas (and Hanukkah)! TELL ME ALL ABOUT IT :D

Friday, December 26, 2014

Review: The Body Electric by Beth Revis

The Body Electric by Beth Revis
Publication Date: October 6, 2014
Rating: 2 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley

Summary (from Goodreads):

The future world is at peace.

Ella Shepherd has dedicated her life to using her unique gift—the ability to enter people’s dreams and memories using technology developed by her mother—to help others relive their happy memories.

But not all is at it seems.

Ella starts seeing impossible things—images of her dead father, warnings of who she cannot trust. Her government recruits her to spy on a rebel group, using her ability to experience—and influence—the memories of traitors. But the leader of the rebels claims they used to be in love—even though Ella’s never met him before in her life. Which can only mean one thing…

Someone’s altered her memory.

Ella’s gift is enough to overthrow a corrupt government or crush a growing rebel group. She is the key to stopping a war she didn't even know was happening. But if someone else has been inside Ella’s head, she cannot trust her own memories, thoughts, or feelings.

So who can she trust?

What I Liked:

This is December's Pili-Pushed novel! To read all of my reviews of books recommended by Pili at In Love With Handmade, browse the "Pili-Pushed" tag of my blog! I've enjoyed the books she's recommended to me so far... to be honest, I expected to love this one, because I love Beth Revis's debut series.

First, let me state that I am a HUGE fan of Beth Revis. I loved her Across the Universe books - Across the Universe was my favorite book of 2011. When I heard about the self-publication of The Body Electric, I was thrilled! A new Revis book! More science fiction! We need more science fiction in the Young Adult age level. However, unfortunately, this book fell flat for me. 

Ella's father worked on a revolutionary creation - until he was killed. He was trying to create a human brain, but the problem with that is that you can create it, but you can't force it to think, like humans do. In a world of androids and bots and advanced technology, this creation would be revolutionary. As the government knew. Ella's mother created Reverie, in which one person could delve into another person's mind, while that person was in a dreamlike state. But Ella slowly realizes that something is wrong with her. Her memories are not complete, which she starts to understand when she meets someone from her past, a past that she doesn't remember.

What worked for me: the world-building, for one. I love how Revis constructs and builds the setting of this novel. It's very futuristic, with highly advanced technology, such as androids and robots and clones and things. Ella's parents are obviously scientific geniuses, but the whole planet is full of amazing science.

Revis did a good job of setting up the conflict and mystery. I wondered where she was going with certain things (like the bees, and Ella's hallucinations, and Jack), which is good... except in the end, it didn't really work for me. But initially, I liked the mystery of things. 

Read on for things I didn't like... unfortunately, there were a lot of them.

What I Did Not Like:

Blaaahhh. This makes me so sad. I didn't like Ella, I didn't like the science fiction aspect of this book (though the world-building was great), I didn't like the romance, I didn't like the mystery, and I was a bit confused (says the ENGINEERING major... keep in mind, I'm well-versed in things like statics and mechanics and physics and things like that).

I didn't like Ella. From the start, I had a feeling I wouldn't like her. I found her behavior, initially, very childlike, and in the end, she was still not as mature as I would have hoped. I can't put my finger on it, but something about her was so immature and childlike and naive and stupid. This persona dictated her decisions. I don't think she's very tough or smart at all - mostly, she's running and hiding or doing rash, stupid things.

I didn't like the science fiction of the book. Don't get me wrong, I thought it was cool at first... until I realized that not much made sense. It's hard to describe this without spoiling things. But like, the whole cyclone thing doesn't make sense. It's clones don't feel, then, how do, um, certain people, feel? Like, love and comfort and whatnot?

And why is Ella NOW seeing the hallucinations of her father? I'm not entirely sure what the trigger was. Why was she seeing her father NOW? I can *kind of* extrapolate why she's able to see him in general, but I'm not sure of the WHY NOW. Even the WHY is sketchy.

The hallucinations in general - the bees, for example - were not really explained either, as to why they were occurring now. It wasn't too frustrating at first, because I figured it would all be explained later, but as I kept reading I kept getting more frustrated, and I realized that I would get no real answers. And I never did. 

I didn't like the romance. I can't say much specifically about it, because that's some serious spoiler-ness, but I didn't like it. I didn't like the introduction, the progression, the backstory, nothing. Ella and the boy just did NOT work for me. I didn't think Ella liked him from the start, so when she magically started dancing to his tune, I wasn't really buying it. 

I liked Jack, but I found him to be very one-dimensional. I couldn't relate to him, I didn't find him heroic or swoonworthy or all that great. He just wasn't a developed enough character for me. 

I mentioned the mystery of things, as well as my confusion. Well, yeah, I was confused towards the end of this book. I LIKE science fiction. I have a head for it, and usually, I have no problems keeping up. I'm an engineering major - heavy on the math AND science - so it's my LIFE to keep up with these things. But I don't think Revis did the best job with the science. Like, the thing about the cyclones. I can't go into specifics, but if you really think about what Revis was trying to create, it doesn't quite make sense with what she set up in the world.

I didn't like the ending at all. Certain things were revealed, and I was all like, wtf? It felt like such a cop out, the easy way to explain things. Things that weren't even fully explained. The constant use of reveries in the end didn't seem right. The ending, in terms of Ella, and Jack, and Ms. White, and Ella's mother, just didn't sit well with me, and didn't make sense scientifically. Someone write a scientific paper on clones and these "cyclones" and then I'll be more open to the idea of these.

Obviously, a lot of my problems revolved around me not really buying the science of this book. But I also didn't like protagonist (which is a problem) or the love interest (that's really all he was, if so much), or the story. 

Would I Recommend It:

Not really. I mean, it's gotten good reviews so far, but I personally didn't like this new book by Revis. Her Across the Universe series is REALLY GOOD though. So. There's that.


2 stars. Meh. I tried, okay? I love Beth Revis, and I'll give any of her books a shot!

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