Saturday, July 28, 2012

Talented [Review]

349 pages [Kindle]
Published 17 February 2012
ASIN:  B0076Y7ON4

If you always knew what people were really thinking, would you consider it a gift or a curse?

Talia Lyons is Talented. Born after a nuclear spill, she is part of a new generation that possesses special abilities; Talia can read the minds of others and manipulate their thoughts. Whether Morphers, Light Manipulators or Telekinetics, the Talented are taught to control their abilities under the protective eye of the government- to use their Talents for good. But all Talia wants is revenge.

Talia joins the Hunters, an elite group of government operatives, hoping to one day kill Ian Crane - the man who ordered the execution of her parents. Ever since she witnessed their brutal deaths, Talia has spent her life honing her abilities, determined to settle the score. But she still has a lot to learn before she can ease the pain inside. Talia turns to a boy who can mimic her Talents, a boy who truly understands her inner turmoil. But even he can’t help Talia, when she’s forced to choose between saving herself and avenging the lives of her parents.

Talented is an action-packed adventure, about a group of teenagers who aren't afraid to embrace their fears and fight for what they believe in.

My Thoughts:

Talented takes you into a post-nuclear disaster future where some people have developed "Talents" such as morphing, super intelligence, telepathy, telekinesis, etc. and the United States is split into the Agency and the Coalition (CA, NV, UT, AZ, CO, NM, TX). The Agency requires all children to be tested for Talents and is placed in the McDonough School For the Talented at age 5. The Coalition rebelled and seceded. Natalia Lyons is a teenage girl with advanced mind manipulation who is on the road to become a Hunter and hunt down the man who ordered the death of her parents, the leader of the Coalition, Ian Crane.

In Talented, you have some traditional elements of a YA book...aka the Love Triangle. However, I think that it was well executed and I attached myself to Talia and felt her feelings and her angst and confusion. The whole environment created by Davis is brilliant. Her characters are so complex. And let me tell you what...that. epilogue. was. KILLER! I HAVE to get my hands on Caged like yesterday. It was such an intense cliffhanger!

**Special shout out to We <3 YA Books! group and Sophie Davis for letting me get my hands on a copy to review**

Previous Review:
The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa {here}

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies

We were going to go to the Knoxville Zoo while we were home, but the weather didn't want to agree with us. It rained the whole second week we were here, so on a whim we decided to go to the aquarium in Gatlinburg. The kids are always begging to see the fish in the pet area of Walmart, so I figured they would enjoy this. PLUS it has a huge tunnel you go through :) It's definitely one of my favorite places to go. Mimi came with us too! Afterwards, we went to the Hard Rock Cafe for a late lunch.

Looking at the drifters

Possibly the most adorable part: Garden eels

Seeing a shark for the first time!

Cool little quote on the wall.

All the fishies!

I think this was Nick's favorite fish: Sawfish

It was in the tunnel and it was huge!

The sharks were all over the tunnel!

In the discovery part of the aquarium, you can go into the tanks and touch horseshoe crabs.

Pretty jellies.

Inside a shark bubble. This picture cracks me up. My husband is a giant kid :)

This shark looked like he would be fuzzy.

By the ray tank! When you go upstairs you can pet a ray, but they wouldn't come close enough :(

I was really disappointed with our service at Hard Rock. The food was great, but the service was awful. I only tipped 10% - our waitress was more concerned with her large party at the other table and she was the fakest friendly I have ever SEEN - it was really annoying. Mind you it wasn't busy and our waitress had 3 tables (including ours).

I tried a strawberry basil lemonade.

Playing around while we waited for our food.

The funniest propaganda poster ever!

My red, white, & blue burger - but without the blue! It's a burger with buffalo sauce, blue cheese, and an onion ring. I got mine with jack cheese instead. It was really good. I loved their fries too.

Nick got the legendary 10 oz. burger with buffalo sauce and I want to say bacon?

Probably the coolest part of this particular Hard Rock Cafe is that they have the Rev's drums. RIP! Avenged Sevenfold is one of our favorite bands - shoot all of us kids in the family love them. This was just so cool to see his ACTUAL drums up there.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Random Recap of Our "Vacation" that we're back at "home" in New gotta hear about all the stuff we did in Tenn.

  • We got to Knoxville on the 30th in the afternoon.
  • There was a stray dog that found her way to the house - we had her for about a week. She was beautiful and sweet.
  • We took the kids to see Brave with their Uncle Zack and Auntie Emma.
  • The power went out one night during dinner and stayed out for nearly 24 hours. Because of this, the desktop fried and the internet went out. The internet was out for a week. *dies*
  • We went to the East TN Discovery Center. It was a bit disappointing. :(
  • Nick and I had a date night: dinner and a movie, but we ended up just doing the dinner at Calhoun's.
  • We swam, played beer pong, played board games like Apples to Apples, The Game of Things, and Boxers or Briefs, watched Game of Thrones, Kevin Hart specials, and SNL, and brewed some beer.
  • We went to the Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies with Mimi and ate at the Hard Rock Cafe. [post to come]
  • On the way home from the aquarium, Nick's car's check engine light came on. He found out he had a sensor that had gone out.  He ordered the part and we figured we'd leave a day later. We usually leave early so we have time to settle in home before Nick has to sign back in. But apparently Pep Boys sucks donkey balls and didn't ACTUALLY ORDER THE EFFIN' PART. So Nick had to call his 1SGT and get his leave extended.
  • We went out in ritzy West Knoxville and made our first purchase at Hollister (I got a $7 shirt and $9 skirt!) and of course...made a stop at Godiva because we ALWAYS get Godiva at West Town Mall.
  • The night before Nick's car part got in (ordered it from Advanced this time), his brother and him put a tranny cooler on. 
  • Nick went to go pick up his part and IT WASN'T IN. RAGE CAGE! Gahhhhh. They said it could be in the same day (Tues), but it was slotted for Weds.
  • We finally (bittersweet) left on Wednesday the 18th and arrived on Thursday.

And now...PICTURES!

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Immortal Rules [Review]

484 pages [Kindle]
Published 24 April 2012

"In a future world, vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity."Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.

Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of "them." The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked--and given the ultimate choice. Die...or become one of the monsters.

Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.

Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend--a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.

But it isn't easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what--and who--is worth dying for.

My Thoughts:

Kagawa is a literary genius. I absolutely adore her style of writing and her characters. They are so easy to fall in love with. Immortal Rules is a post-vampire takeover dystopian where vampires are in charge and humans are their pets and slaves. As a human, you are either Registered and have to go give blood regularly - or you are Unregistered and risk being caught and who knows what will happen to you - you are at the mercy of the vampires. Society as we know it, where history is taught and you have skills like knowing how to read and do simple math, is lost. Books are outlawed.

The main character is this amazing girl named Allison, "Allie." Without revealing too much, she is a Katniss. She is a kickass heroine who does everything possible to survive and help those who she cares about survive. She faces getting caught at the city's gates/walls to find food. She faces the Rabids, a zombie version of vampires, who would rip her to shreds and turn her into a mindless vampire like them.

Thank you to NetGalley and HarlequinTEEN for the opportunity to read this book.

Previous Review:
Fifty Shades Darker by E.L. James {here}

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Fifty Shades Darker [Review]

395 pages [Kindle]
Published 15 Sept 2011

Daunted by the singular sexual tastes and dark secrets of the beautiful, tormented young entrepreneur Christian Grey, Anastasia Steele has broken off their relationship to start a new career with a Seattle publishing house.

But desire for Christian still dominates her every waking thought, and when he proposes a new arrangement, Anastasia cannot resist. They rekindle their searing sensual affair, and Anastasia learns more about the harrowing past of her damaged, driven and demanding Fifty Shades.

While Christian wrestles with his inner demons, Anastasia must confront the anger and envy of the women who came before her, and make the most important decision of her life.

My Thoughts:

What to say, what to say...

This one was good like the first one, but with much less sexytime. To be honest, that part was kind of disappointing. Erotica is good every once in a while.

This one delved more into the Mrs. Robinson era and added a nasty boss for Ana into the mix. I was really surprised at how immaturely Ana handled the whole Elena business and even more how Elena handled the Ana business. I'm curious to see where the cray boss storyline will go.

Previous Review:
Glitch by Heather Anastasiu {here}

[Counts toward my TBR Pile challenge: here] 

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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Glitch [Review]

371 pages [Paperback]
To Be Published 7 August 2012
ISBN:  1250002990

In the Community, there is no more pain or war. Implanted computer chips have wiped humanity clean of destructive emotions, and thoughts are replaced by a feed from the Link network.

When Zoe starts to malfunction (or “glitch”), she suddenly begins having her own thoughts, feelings, and identity. Any anomalies must be immediately reported and repaired, but Zoe has a secret so dark it will mean certain deactivation if she is caught: her glitches have given her uncontrollable telekinetic powers.

As Zoe struggles to control her abilities and stay hidden, she meets other glitchers including Max, who can disguise his appearance, and Adrien, who has visions of the future. Both boys introduce Zoe to feelings that are entirely new. Together, this growing band of glitchers must find a way to free themselves from the controlling hands of the Community before they’re caught and deactivated, or worse.

In this action-packed debut, Glitch begins an exciting new young adult trilogy.

My Thoughts:

Right away, I was hooked on the circumstances of Glitch. The Community Corp has taken the liberties of rescuing people (and putting them in a controlled environment underground) from the nuclear war that destroyed the Old World. Each person is given a V-chip that suppresses their emotions. They are Linked In and all is orderly.

Then there are people who "glitch" - who somehow are able to override the V-chip. Zoel, a 17 year old, has been glitching for a few months. So far, she has successfully hidden it. The population has been programmed to report anomalies, like Zoel's glitching.

Anastasiu did an amazing job creating a dystopian world and such intriqute characters. Zoel is such a great heroine - she wants to save not only glitchers, but everyone else too. She wants people to be free. Free from the Community Corp and the V-chips.

Adrien has to be one of my favorite guy leads in YA to date. He was everything a strong male lead should be. Maximin was everything you would want in a confused, highly emotional teenage boy. And I absolutely adore books where you find out the who-dun-it and then a new villian arises that could possibly be even worse than the first villian!
There were so many unbelievable twist and turns throughout the book - it had me on the edge of my seat the whole way through!

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for letting me get my paws on this book!

I highly recommend this to readers who loved Hunger Games, Divergent, and Delirium.


Previous Review:
One For the Money by Janet Evanovich {here}

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Monday, July 2, 2012

One For the Money [Review]

320 pages [Paperback]
Published 1 Jan 1994
ISBN:   0312362080

Welcome to Trenton, New Jersey, home to wiseguys, average Joes, and Stephanie Plum, who sports a big attitude and even bigger money problems (since losing her job as a lingerie buyer for a department store). Stephanie needs cash--fast--but times are tough, and soon she's forced to turn to the last resort of the truly desperate: family.

Stephanie lands a gig at her sleazy cousin Vinnie's bail bonding company. She's got no experience. But that doesn't matter. Neither does the fact that the bail jumper in question is local vice cop Joe Morelli. From the time he first looked up her dress to the time he first got into her pants to the time Steph hit him with her father's Buick, M-o-r-e-l-l-i has spelled t-r-o-u-b-l-e. And now the hot guy is in hot water--wanted for murder.

Abject poverty is a great motivator for learning new skills, but being trained in the school of hard knocks by people like psycho prizefighter Benito Ramirez isn't. Still, if Stephanie can nab Morelli in a week, she'll make a cool ten grand. All she has to do is become an expert bounty hunter overnight--and keep herself from getting killed before she gets her man.

My Thoughts:
Stephanie Plum is kickass. The book itself is funny as heck - and still holds its own nearly 20 years later (it was first published in 1994). I honestly didn't know whodunit until the page that outright announced it. Evanovich weaves a great story.

Previous Review:

The Maze Runner by James Dashner {here}

[Counts toward my TBR Pile challenge: here] 

Linked up at...

Sunday, July 1, 2012

July TBR List

I decided since I am doing a lot of book blogging lately to share what I hope to read each month. Maybe it'll give me a kick in the tuckus to actually stick to the list :P

I have a few books leftover from last month:
  • The Scorch Trials by James Dashner (currently reading)
  • The Death Cure by James Dashner
  • Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
  • Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
  • The Book Thief by Mark Zusak

NetGalley books I HAVE TO READ this month:
  • Timepiece by Myra McEntire
  • Dark Kiss by Michelle Rowan
  • The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
  • The Girl in the Clockwork Collar by Kady Cross
  • The First Husband by Laura Dave

Because some of those are sequels, I also need to read:
  • Hourglass by Myra McEntire
  • The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

And my actual list for this month:
  • Two for the Dough by Janet Evanovich
  • Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
  • Forever by Maggie Stiefvater
  • The Alchemyst by Michael Scott
  • The Magician by Michael Scott
  • Fallen by Lauren Kate
  • Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo