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Books4Hearts – Book Reviews: “Vanish” (Firelight, #2) by Sophie Jordan

Sunday, August 14, 2011

“Vanish” (Firelight, #2) by Sophie Jordan

September 6th, 2011 – HarperTeen

(The description is a bit spoiler-y to the first book. If you’d like to check it out and find tons more info on the book, visit Sophie Jordan’s website here.)

I really appreciate book series where each new book exceeds your expectations and there’s never a dull ‘middle book’. After reading Firelight, and then seeing the cover and summary for Vanish, I had really high expectations for it. I had a theory about who was on the cover, and surprisingly I was right. (Do you have a theory? Maybe you’re right like me. But you’ll have to read it to find out whether you’re also correct or not!) I liked Vanish even more than Firelight!! (Which I liked a lotttt!!)

As the story continues, it just gets better. There was never a dull moment. Vanish is an emotional roller coaster, but in a good way. The ending of Vanish leaves you craving more (as with Firelight). I also found the characters interesting, as they developed a lot more. They fooled me. People I strongly disliked in the first one, I found liking more in Vanish as they developed more. Also, I was firmly Team Will at the end of the first, and not only am I team Cassian now, I think he’s my new favorite character as we saw more of him. (You’ll probably find yourself at least swaying towards his side!) Almost all of the characters changed for me though, and I found myself feeling even more connected to our heroine Jacinda– her narrative is awesome.

Same as Firelight, I found the draki element very interesting and unique. It continues to develop and we learn more about how that works. And there’s a new draki in town– you’ll be surprised who it is. Overall, a great sequel that I doubt will disappoint!! Be sure to look for it when it comes out (meantime, read Firelight if you haven’t!)
Thank you HarperTeen for giving me the opportunity to review this exciting sequel.

4 things people have to say:

basma aal said…

Great review, I am really looking forward to reading it.

Amy said…


I adored this book. I can't wait for more Jacinda goodness.

I really like Casian…*swoon*. He can marry me instead.

Great review.

New follower =]


Cat said…

@Basma: Thanks! Enjoy!

@Amy: Yes! Yayyy Cassian. Hahahaha nice. Thanks! Welcome to the blog.

Sarah said…

I'm so jealous you got to read this one! I just finished Firelight and LOVED it 🙂 Can't wait to check this one out.

Books4Hearts – Book Reviews: “The Fox Inheritance” (Jenna Fox Chronicles, #2) by Mary E. Pearson

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

“The Fox Inheritance” (Jenna Fox Chronicles, #2) by Mary E. Pearson

*As usual with sequel/companion novel reviews, this could include minor spoilers. You are warned.*

I didn’t know what to expect AT ALL when I picked up “The Fox Inheritance” especially since I thought “The Adoration of Jenna Fox” was a stand-alone (and, I’m not sure, but I think that might’ve been the original plan? It’s been a few years…), but I know I couldn’t have expected the perspective change or that Jenna wasn’t even personally in the beginning of the book! I’m not saying this as a bad thing, though. It was just really different. Immensely different.

The only thing I felt in common between “The Adoration of Jenna Fox” and “The Fox Inheritance” were the same sense, especially in the beginning, of not knowing. The seeking, the discovery of what you are and the journey between being reborn (if that’s the right word) and being who you are or returning to who you were, to a point.

I’m not saying I didn’t like it at all, I’m just saying it was really different. It was good! I did like the first one better, but it’s that way with a lot of sequels, and the first one was amazing, very hard to beat. I liked the characters, discovering more of who Kara and Locke were before the accident, and who they are in this book throughout the adventure. The ending and the events leading up to the ending are shocking, and I could hardly stop turning pages until the end (unless I absolutely HAD to.)! I’ll also be really interested to see if there’s a third Jenna Fox novel coming.

Also, I did NOT get this book for review, HOWEVER I would like to thank Tara from Fiction Folio for loaning me her ARC to read before the release– I was really excited about this one!

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Books4Hearts – Book Reviews: “Hunger” (Gone, #2) by Michael Grant

Friday, August 12, 2011

“Hunger” (Gone, #2) by Michael Grant

(The summary for this book is spoiler-y for the first book in the series, “Gone”. If you’d like to view it anyway and find out more information about the book, here’s the goodreads page for it. As usual with sequel reviews, though I try to keep them spoiler free, it’s possible there will be minor spoilers for the first book. YOU ARE WARNED.)

With the same gripping plot style and breakneck fast pace as “Gone”, “Hunger” is a really great sequel. It met my expectations, which “Gone” set very high. A lot of the best aspects of the first book were continued in the second, besides the incredible plot and pacing. However, I didn’t enjoy Hunger QUITE as much as its predecessor. For example, Sam’s humility left me feeling conflicted. While I was glad that he was humble, he was feeling pressures, and he wasn’t perfect, like I felt in the first book, too much is well… too much. His tendency throughout the book for self pity got kind of annoying after a while. Then, at the same time, it made sense– he was grasping for solutions to really difficult problems and searching for answers where there seemed to be none, and that was frustrating for him. Then all these kids have adopted him as their leader and when he starts not being able to fix everything, obviously he felt a little lost. Another thing that left me feeling that way is that a lot of questions were asked, more sub-plots started, which is all fine but then nothing seemed to be getting answered and at times that was just really frustrating to deal with. HOWEVER, these two problems did not really damage my overall impression of the book.

The characters continue to be great for the most part. The setting is so developed, so clear I can imagine the whole FAYZ, and I love that about these books. The continuing developments and the worsening of the situation in the FAYZ were both fascinating and horrifying. Then the problem of ‘Freaks’ vs. ‘Normals’, as they started to conflict was obviously intense but also interesting because of the psychology of it all, for me.

Overall, a good sequel! Continued awesome pace, plot, and characters; even if a few elements left me feeling a tad conflicted at times.

2 things people have to say:

LoriStrongin said…

I really love the concept of these books and definitely enjoyed Gone. I agree that self-pity can get frustrating after a while when that's all an MC seems to angst about, but still I'll definitely be checking out Hunger.


Cat said…

Oh you read Gone? Yay!

Books4Hearts – Book Reviews: “The Devil’s Arithmetic” by Jane Yolen

Saturday, May 21, 2011

“The Devil’s Arithmetic” by Jane Yolen

Hannah is tired of hearing about the Nazis during the Holocaust, but when she opens the door for Elijah at the Passover Seder, she is transported in time to 1940s Poland, where she is captured and put in a death camp. A girl named Rivka befriends her, teaching her how to fight the dehumanization of the camp and hold onto her identity.”-goodreads

I said ‘painfully realistic’, ‘important’, and ‘powerful must-read’ when I reviewed Between Shades of Gray a while back. The same can be said for The Devil’s Arithmetic. 

This is a very hard book to read; and I don’t mean that because it was a bad book. It’s very sad and it’s terrifying. It’s terrifying, because just like Hannah does, you know what is happening, you know what’s going to happen. The characters may not have been real people, they were just reflections of survivor’s accounts of the holocaust, but their situation (like that of Lina’s in Between Shades of Gray) and their journey is dreadfully accurate. 

These things really happened. The whole book was very realistic, with the exception of the obvious Hannah traveling to the past and such. It’s an important story, and while we witness the important story unfold, we learn the equally important lesson that Hannah learns over the course of the book: that we must remember our history, our heritage, and the hardships that our relatives (distant or close) had to endure so that we could be here.

The writing was good, the story important and unglamorized. It’s brutally honest, and a very important but powerful read. These people tried to keep hope, as Hannah and her relatives did. I recommend this book because it’s all around important, and for people that liked Between Shades of Gray for all of the above reasons.

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Books4Hearts – Book Reviews: “Everfound” (Skinjackers, #3) by Neal Shusterman

Sunday, May 29, 2011

“Everfound” (Skinjackers, #3) by Neal Shusterman

The description for this book, and the summary I tried to write are very spoiler-ish if you haven’t read Everlost or Everwild. For that reason, I decided not to include a description at all. If you miss it and aren’t worried about some spoilers, here’s the goodreads one.

Heart-breaking, spectacular, bizarre, edge-of-your-seat, unique, bedazzling, twisted, dark, broad, seamless. These are words that are coming to mind now that I’ve finished Everfound, the last of the Skinjacker trilogy. The ending was heart-breaking, but also spectacular– it wrapped everything up so that it was good, although notably it wasn’t overly happy, unrealistic, or rushed.

The world, Everlost, in the Skinjacker trilogy is bedazzling, broad, and also seamless. I think the world building and development is probably some of the best I’ve ever read, up there with or surpassing the wizarding world in Harry Potter; which is another ‘alternate universe’ co-existing with the modern world type of scenario.

While I enjoyed Everlost and Everwild, I think that Everfound was the best out of the series. It was the most complicated, the most twisted, the longest, and at times the most confusing book of the series, everything also seemed to make the most sense. How is that? I have no idea. Possibly because in the first books, a lot of world building was done, a lot of characters developed; but about a reader could pose about a million questions. You could say the same for Everfound– but a lot of the questions were also answered.

The story admittedly moved a bit slow at times, as it did in the first two, but I think that was necessary. If it had moved at an incredibly fast pace for the whole time I think I would’ve missed more things and I’m not sure it would’ve ended up making any sense.

Before I write a review with a length equivalent to the Bible, I should really stop. All I can say is that the Skinjacker trilogy is without a doubt the weirdest thing I’ve ever read; but it’s also one of the best overall series I can think of– I didn’t think any of the books had huge weak points, which I can even say about some of my favorite series like Maximum Ride, at times HP, and The Hunger Games… and one more thing I haven’t mentioned before; the covers for this series? Perfect!
Thank you, S&S for giving me the opportunity to review this epic conclusion!

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Books4Hearts – Book Reviews: “It’s Not Summer Without You” by Jenny Han (Summer, #2)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

“It’s Not Summer Without You” by Jenny Han (Summer, #2)

“Can summer be truly summer without Cousins Beach?It used to be that Belly counted the days until summer, until she was back at Cousins Beach with Conrad and Jeremiah. But not this year. Not after Susannah got sick again and Conrad stopped caring. Everything that was right and good has fallen apart, leaving Belly wishing summer would never come.
But when Jeremiah calls saying Conrad has disappeared, Belly knows what she must do to make things right again. And it can only happen back at the beach house, the three of them together, the way things used to be. If this summer really and truly is the last summer, it should end the way it started–at Cousins Beach.”-goodreads

I really enjoyed It’s Not Summer Without You, just as much as I loved The Summer I Turned Pretty. It was just as emotional, if not more so. My favorite addition to the book was probably that rather than the whole book being from Belly’s point of view, we also got to see a chapter here and there from Jeremiah’s point of view.

The biggest highlight of the whole series is Jenny Han’s gorgeous writing, for me, anyway. Still stunningly emotional, this one still avoids crossing the line of what one would probably consider over dramatic. It was all very real. I liked Jeremiah in this one, a lot more than I liked Conrad, which wasn’t so in the first book and wasn’t in the following one.

Which brings me to the problem. I can’t say a lot more in this review. Both because of the general rule of sequels, but also because I read the third book before finishing this review; therefore, I’m finding it difficult to not spoil that one as well! Anyway, great sequel in a fabulous series! Check back soon for my review of the conclusion!

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Books4Hearts – Book Reviews: Armchair BEA: Interview with another blogger!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Armchair BEA: Interview with another blogger!

Right now, BEA (Book Expo America) is going on in New York. There are MANY authors, publishing professionals, and press (including bloggers!) there right now networking, getting new upcoming books, getting to know each other, seeing panels, etc… etc… Armchair BEA was started so that bloggers that couldn’t go to BEA could still network if they liked, and participate in giveaways, interviews, and all of that stuff… that’s why it’s awesome!

Today for Armchair BEA, people that signed up for it, are participating in interviews with other bloggers to post on their blogs so that they can get to know each other and let everyone else get to know them too! I signed up to interview and was matched with Smash from the SmashAttackReads book blog. I browsed around her blog, learned more about her and then sent her interview questions. She was super nice and funny,  so here are her answers, enjoy!:

Where did your blog name come from? Have you ever thought about changing it?  My name is Ashley, and I grew up being called Smashley by my family. My mom shortened it to Smash as I got older. My real-life friend, Brooke at Brooke Reviews (, called me Smash Attack one day, and it just stuck. I love it, and it has truly become my book blogging identity. I will never change it.

There’s a quote in your header (“I divide all readers into two classes; those who read to remember and those who read to forget.”). Do you think that? If you do, which of those do you consider yourself? I definitely read to forget. I’m a social worker, and if you know anything about what social workers do, you get it. Reading is my escape from the crappy reality that I have to deal with on a daily basis. It’s my stress relief.

Do you plan on trying to go to BEA next year?  I would love to go to BEA, but it won’t happen for some years to come. I just graduated with a Masters degree, and my husband is in med school. This equates to lots and lots of loans. I owe the government my soul, and the souls of my 50 closest relatives. LOL. So yea, until hubs starts making some money (because social workers don’t make money), BEA will be nothing more than a pipe dream…

What’s your favorite thing about blogging? OTHER BLOGGERS! Seriously. I love receiving books and nurturing relationships with authors and publicists, as well as being able to help authors publicize their work, but other bloggers are my favorite part about blogging. I’ve made some amazing friends, both online and in real life, and I adore them so!

How did you get started blogging?  I’ve been blogging for many, many years. However, I only started my book blog last June because I found myself posting bookish things on my personal blog, and none of my readers were interested. Brooke (Brooke Reviews) has been reviewing and blogging for a few years and I loved interacting on her blog. I really wanted to do it but didn’t think I had the time because of grad school. But last summer I bit the bullet and haven’t looked back.

If you could only take one book with you to a deserted island, what would it be and why?  Oh lawdie. This is tough, but I’m going with The Hunger Games box set. Yes, it’s 3 books but it is one of the most entertaining series ever I’ve read, and the box set can be considered one item. I wrote a series synopsis here:

What was your favorite childhood book? It’s a tie between Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass and Charlotte’s Web. Both are fantastic in their own respect. I adore Wilbur and Charlotte, and found their relationship to be one of loyalty and bravery. And Alice is just full of adventure and imagination. I still love reading re-imaginings of Alice.

Thanks for answering the questions, Smash! Loved your answers! Be sure to stop by her blog! 😀

5 things people have to say:

Smash Attack! said…

So much fun! Thank you 🙂

Cat said…

No problem! 🙂

Brodie said…

LOL I love how her name came to fruition! And an awesome one it is. Great questions, I loved reading her answers. I'm super glad she started her book blog, because she's now on my list of Fantastic People Armchair BEA Made Me Stalk. Woo!

Can definitely understand what a release reading would be to a social worker! THE HUNGER GAMES IS LOVE! <3

Kate the Book Buff said…

Awesome interview, I found you through your interview on another blog, and I'm your newest follower 🙂

-Kate the Book Buff
The Book Buff: Book Reviews for Regular People

Michelle said…

Great interview! And thanks for participating in our round-robin interviews! They are randomly assigned, so one of my favorite things is seeing who gets matched up with whom. Sometimes the bloggers are complete opposites, and others find a ton of similarities, like in your interview. I hope you had fun and were able to make some new blogging friends!

Books4Hearts – Book Reviews: “Ashes, Ashes” by Jo Treggiari

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

“Ashes, Ashes” by Jo Treggiari

June 1st, 2011
“Epidemics, floods, droughts–for sixteen-year-old Lucy, the end of the world came and went, taking 99% of the population with it. As the weather continues to rage out of control, and Sweepers clean the streets of plague victims, Lucy survives alone in the wilds of Central Park. But when she’s rescued from a pack of hunting dogs by a mysterious boy named Aidan, she reluctantly realizes she can’t continue on her own. She joins his band of survivors, yet, a new danger awaits her: the Sweepers are looking for her. There’s something special about Lucy, and they will stop at nothing to have her.”-goodreads

There is a difference between Post-Apocalyptic fiction and Dystopian fiction. While they run together frequently, dystopias often being the result of an apocalypse, and apocalypses normally creating at least slight dystopias in the way the world is run. Ashes, Ashes has elements of dystopia but is a post-apocalyptic book for the most part (to me, anyway!) and I liked that a lot. I also believe it’s a stand-alone, although it could easily be a series, which is always refreshing (I can’t stress that enough, can I?).

Ashes, Ashes is horrifyingly realistic seeming. All of the situations, the survival, the way the plague took over the world– they’re all very vivid, very real situations. The main character, Lucy, often reflects on how at first, when the plague originally started, the news would show happy people, nurses and doctors calmly working at the hospital. She then adds that when her parents died, they were nothing like that. Just dying people, failing medicine. The news reverted to pre-recorded footage. I think that’s a really important part of the book, or any post-apocalyptic book for me, contrasting the difference between then and before. It really puts the book into perspective. 

I just mentioned Lucy. Lucy is very cool. She was a very strong and developed character, and she was also likeable. One of my favorite parts of the book is that Lucy is a strong female character. There is no Bella syndrome, and I think that’s important. Even books like The Hunger Games, in which Katniss is also a strong female character, along the way, she tended to kind of lose herself in her feelings toward Peeta and Gale. Lucy does no such thing. The book has romance, but it’s not like, hey I was really awesome before and defending myself and now there’s a guy so he’ll be my knight and shining armor. Ha! Oh, and no love triangle. Thank goodness.

Aiden and all of the other characters were great as well. The book was fabulously written, all vivid and detailed. It was really easy to picture the post-apocalyptic New York. It was interesting, filled with action, and just a good book. Also, I’d like to add that I liked the cover before I read the book, and after reading the book I think it’s absolutely perfect, a great reflection of the book. (Feel free to judge this one by it’s cover, I’d say.)

If you’d like a good book that’s interesting, realistic seeming, vividly written, and filled with survival, try out Ashes, Ashes in two weeks when it comes out! Also, this is definitely on my list of ‘things to recommend to people that liked the Hunger Games’. 
Thank you Scholastic for giving me the opportunity to review this book.


Sarah said…

I've been on the fence about trying this! Definitely sounds interesting for sure.

You should start a series titled " Books for people who liked …" ( or something similar) I would love to read one for people who liked The Hunger Games since it seems we have similar tastes.

Inklings Read.

Cat said…

Give it a try, haha. We do seem to have pretty similar taste! That's a good idea… I could do a list for THG and probably like, Harry Potter, for sure!

Books4Hearts – Book Reviews: “Beautiful Darkness” (Caster Chronicles, #2) by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Monday, May 16, 2011

“Beautiful Darkness” (Caster Chronicles, #2) by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

“Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena’s family of powerful Supernaturals for generations. A Gatlin where impossible, magical, life-altering events happen.
Sometimes life-ending.
Together they can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan’s eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there’s no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town’s tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems.”-goodreads
Remember that time I wrote a review in which I was totally crazy about a Paranormal/Contemporary/Historical book called Beautiful Creatures? This is the sequel to that book and I loved it just as much!

The Paranormal/Historical/Contemporary elements are back and all there. The book is still written in a way that captivates you and makes you really see what is going on, at times rather poetic. The story is still fascinating. It continues to surprise with twists that you can’t forsee no matter how hard you try. It’s still a rather gothic novel. It was great!

There’s always those times where I’m disappointed with the sequel as compared to the first book, but this wasn’t a let down. Beautiful Creatures and Beautiful Darkness both start out rather slow– even though it’s good, it’s slow– but it’s good that way. It doesn’t take away for me. It just builds on and prepares you for the very complicated but very good things to come. It’s a long book just like the first at about 500 pages, however, it’s 500 pages of greatness. The way the world of Casters and the mortal world in Gaitlin combine in these books is seamless. The book was more emotional than the last, because of some very traumatic experiences going on and the ones that went on in Beautiful Creatures (which I can’t talk about without ruining the whole thing).

I can’t wait for the third in the series of the Caster Chronicles to come out, Beautiful Chaos in (fittingly) October! I’m sure there are more great things to coming yet in this series.

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Books4Hearts – Book Reviews: “Boy Meets Boy” by David Levithan

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

“Boy Meets Boy” by David Levithan

“GUESS WHAT!” I said. She jumped, then tried to pretend she hadn’t been surprised. Since she didn’t closer her book-she only marked the page with her finger-I knew I didn’t have mch time.
“What?” she asked.
“I’m gay!”

Paul, a sophmore at a school where the cheerleaders ride motorcycles and the homecoming queen is also the football star, has it easy. He knows who he is. He knows how to deal with it. His family is accepting, he has good friends, and his life is generally pretty good.
It gets better.
When Paul meets Noah, they know they’re meant to be. Immediately they get together, and they think they’re destined for each other. Sure, Paul is going through a tough time…
But even with an ex boyfriend of Paul’s, who won’t seem to go away; Paul’s best friend, Joni, who’s dating a jerk and who might not be Paul’s best friend anymore; His other best friend, Tony, who’s having trouble at home; and all the rest of his friends’ problems, they think they can muddle through.
Until Paul blows it, big time.
But maybe, just maybe, everything has to fall apart, before it can get back together.
Paul can hope, anyway.

“Oh, honey,” she says when I’m done with my wallowing. “It’s like my grandma used to say: Just when you think life’s got you in a gutter, a tornado will come along and destroy your house.”
“And then you rebuild?” I ask.
“Well, she never mentioned that part, but I suppose it could happen.”
I am not cheered up.

This is definitely not the type of book I regularly read. First of all, it’s a romance. Second of all, it’s a YA romance. Thirdly, it’s a YA gay romance.
But hey.
You gotta try new things, right?
Keeping that in mind…

I really liked this book. A lot. It was very funny, and very well written. I was having “cute spasms” (basically where I get so overwhelmed with the cute content that I freak out and can’t do anything) the entire length of this book. The characters were well developed, interesting, original, and fascinating. Even though a lot of the conflict didn’t happen until about half way through the book, I still found myself wanting to read on, just because I cared about what happened to them.

The plot was interesting… Though you could definitely tell it was a YA book… In hindsight, a lot of the things that happened seem very formulated, but reading it, it was intriguing.

I really liked this book, and I’d recommend it to anyone who just wants something slightly different to read. 🙂

“So what’s up with you?” I ask.
“Not much.”
“And how are things?”
RRRRRRRRR. I make a loud game-show-buzzer noise. “I’m sorry,” I say, “we don’t recognize ‘fine’ as an acceptable answer. We see it as a conversational cop-out. So please, try again.”

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