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Vampire Academy - Richelle Mead So, here's another 3.5 rounded up to 4. I enjoyed this book and read it in about 6 or 7 hours all combined. The writing was surprisingly good for YA; hardly ever awkward. I liked Rose a lot because she's completely confident, cool and snarky. All the things I wish I was in high school. The ending satisfied enough to wrap up this book while making me want to read the next.
The Power of Six (Lorien Legacies, Book 2) - Pittacus Lore I felt like this one was better than the first book. It might be because I know the characters a bit better and care more about what happens to them. I suspect it is also because "Six" is a kick-a$$ girl who is tough as nails and I simply love her character. Technically speaking, it's probably a 3.5 rounded up to a 4. There were still some things that I didn't like -- for instance, Olivia was a completely wasted opportunity for the author to do something interesting.
Finnikin of the Rock  - Melina Marchetta I'm wavering between 4 and 4.5 stars.
So I really enjoyed this book. All of the characteres are well-written, flawed, and believable. It didn't take long for me to get invested and care about all of them. Finnikin, Evanjalin, Sir Topher, Froi, Perri the Savage, Vestie ... I loved them all.
While I can usually see the 'twist' of a plot coming a mile away, I honestly was so enjoying the adventure along the way that I wasn't even trying to figure it out. Had I been, it's possible I would've seen it coming; but the beauty of this book is that I wasn't bored once and so I didn't need to try and figure it out.
Froi of the Exiles will be on the currently reading list soon.
Unwind - Neal Shusterman 4.5 stars.
I really enjoyed this book. The writing is great, I liked the characters (they were just complicated enough), the plot was easy to get into, it was a relatively easy read, and the ending was satisfying. There were a couple of scenes that really affected me - Connor's story about his experience with 'storking' hurt my heart. The only reason it's not a 5 star review is because it just didn't quite suck me in like the other books on my faves list.
I will most definitely be reading UnWholly when it comes out in paperback.
Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn Twisted. Very twisted. I can't really write a review without spoilers, so I'll leave it at that. Suffice to say there were two major downsides for me (hence 3 stars instead of 4). First, even though it kept me interested throughout, I sorta saw it coming ... well, most of it anyway. OK, some of it. I was still surprised a few times. Second and more importantly, I really didn't like either of the main characters. At all. Ever. Go (Margo) is probably the only character I warmed up to a little bit.
In the end, worth the read. If you like noir and/or very damaged, twisted people, this will definitely be your cup of tea.
Sea of Poppies - Amitav Ghosh 2.5 stars
I concur with Jessica Hislop's review.
The Magician King - Lev Grossman If the first one ("The Magicians") was a high three (like a 3.5), this one was more of a straight-up three. I should've known - the sequel is rarely as good as the first one. Still, it kept me engaged and wanting more - perhaps that was the problem, I was always wanting a bit more than it offered. My friend Ann is right --- unexpected graphic rape scene is kind of a downer. The ending was also a bit dissatisfying for me. It's kind of a bummer - I was really looking forward to reading this. With all that said, don't let the primarily negative review mislead you --- it still was good and a solid 3 out of 5 stars. I was just hoping for better.
Eona  - Alison Goodman Solid 4.5 stars (if I could). Definitely a worthy read. Such complex characters for a young adult book is rare and exciting.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies - Seth Grahame-Smith Meh. I think because I love the original so very much, the addition of zombies seemed contrived and stupid. For those that either didn't like or couldn't get through the original, this will probably be a good place to start, as you can get the gist of the story without all the old-time verbiage that seems to trip many people up. But if you are a die hard Pride and Prejudice lover like I am, you will likely not enjoy this book.
Eon: Rise of the Dragoneye - Alison Goodman Solid 4 stars. I enjoyed this book quite a bit, although I often found myself both annoyed by and cheering on the heroine within the span of a few pages. I can really dig a strong woman who is self-sufficient and independent, who overcomes seemingly incredible odds --- but it annoys me to no end when people make poor decisions based entirely out of fear. With that said, the good parts far outnumbered and outweighed the annoying parts, so I will definitely be partaking in the sequel. My guess (and my hope) is that the annoying parts of this first book will not be present for the second.
Blindness - José Saramago, Giovanni Pontiero The disjointed, run-on sentence structures didn't bother me for about the first half of the book, but then it started to wear on me. Overall, I struggled to get through the book --- it's an incredibly heavy read with a very powerful message. This is not the book to pick up if you're looking for entertainment; rather, it's the book you pick up when you are ready to philosophize on humankind.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter - Seth Grahame-Smith Really enjoyed this book. Definitely going to read Mr. Grahame-Smith's other one --- I'm such a huge Pride & Prejudice fan (plus I love zombies) that I think (and hope) that one will be even more spectacular.
The Last Boyfriend - MacLeod Andrews, Nora Roberts Nice easy, fluffy, romantic read.
Blackout - Mira Grant If you like a futuristic mystery/thriller that's got zombies and yet is quite realistic, look no further. Throw in a little government conspiracy and mad science (because, of course there's mad science when you're talking about zombies), and you're good to go. Really enjoyed this trilogy.
Deadline - Mira Grant As is usually the case, this one wasn't quite as good as the first, but it was definitely still well worth reading. Just like the first one, the ending was great and I didn't see it coming (I love when that happens). On to the third ...
Fifty Shades Freed  - E.L. James Nope. Not better.

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