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Sparkles and Lightning

Hello all! I'm Annabelle, a (currently inactive but soon to be back) book blogger with a thing for red roses and rain and fictional boys.

Currently reading

The Hobbit or There and Back Again
J.R.R. Tolkien
Civilization and Its Discontents (The Standard Edition) (Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud)
Sigmund Freud, James Strachey, Peter Gay
The Problems of Philosophy
Bertrand Russell
Dark Triumph
Robin LaFevers
Dark Matter Heart
Nathan Wrann
Temptation (Harlequin Teen)
Karen Ann Hopkins
Man's Search for Meaning
Viktor E. Frankl

Your book counter - make it fun and pretty!

Reblogged from Great Imaginations:

One thing I was jealous of in a wooden theme was a book counter. And since I couldn't get over it, I made my own:




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Source: http://anhec.booklikes.com/post/481197/your-book-counter-make-it-fun-and-pretty-
Awaken - Meg Cabot Review to come. Gorgeous book with cute ending.
The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Richard Howard No matter how many times I read this book, I will always, always cry.
Anna and the French Kiss - Stephanie Perkins Um. Don't get me wrong, I liked this book and I loved Étienne. But I'm not crazy about it the way everyone seems to be. To be honest, I'm way more excited for Isla and the Happily Ever After because I find Josh a way more interesting and endearing character than Étienne. It's probably because we're both artists, and I have always been drawn to other artists (my boyfriend is in fact an artist). I did love this book, but I have a feeling I'll like book three the best.
City of a Thousand Dolls - Miriam Forster Review to come!
Antigoddess - Kendare Blake Perfect. Review to come.
Belladonna - Fiona Paul *****FINAL RATING: 4.65 STARS*****CATCHALLI am a huge, huge fan of Venom. Everybody knows that, because I literally Never. Shut. Up. About it. Which is fine by some of you. It probably annoys others of you, but you love me anyway. It was a fantastic, wonderful book, and in my humble opinion Belladonna was even better in more ways than one. The writing has improved immensely, and I found the plot much more entertaining. The characters are also more mature and developed and overall it was a wonderful sequel that did not seem to suffer obviously from Second Book Syndrome.THE HEROINECASSI don't make a secret of the fact that I thought Cass was really, REALLY immature in the first book. I liked her, but part of me couldn't get past her naivety. Her behavior was also really anachronistic. To be fair, it still is, but if it wasn't we wouldn't have a story, so, you know. I get why it's necessary. Anyway, I really felt that Cass matured in this book. She's stronger, and a lot less whiny, and though she's still impulsive she's also grown up a lot and better knows how to control her feelings as well. She does take one action in particular that I didn't like at all, but sometimes that's just how it is!THE LOVE INTERESTSLUCAI love Luca because he's sweet and protective but he also has secrets of his own. He has definitely made mistakes, and I don't like that he hid the truth before, but he's somewhat more forthcoming in this book, and yet he still has that brooding aura I adore. He's also a lot more than I realized in the first book, and his character depth really increases. He's no longer just the old fiancé, but he has a personality in his own right.FALCOAt lease one person will come after me for this, but while I did love Falco at one point, I'm kind of over him now. I don't like his behavior in this book at all, and I just think that there is absolutely no excuse for it. He does some things that I find absolutely despicable. I want to keep this particular review spoiler-free, so I won't put any of those actions here, but they were awful enough to permanently turn me off of him. I suppose there is a slight chance he could redeem himself, but it's highly unlikely.THE PLOTI liked the plot of Belladonna better than that of Venom, actually. I'm kind of an adrenaline junkie, so I loved the rush and more thriller-like feel of this book as opposed to the first one. Where Venom moved a bit slowly for my taste, this book moved quickly enough that my heart definitely pounded from anticipation more than once.I didn't like the way some of the transitions were. I like when books move quickly, but I don't like when they gloss over things that I think should be included, like some moments that felt awkwardly short or cut out entirely. To be fair, I didn't come across a lot of these, but they existed. But this is really the only fault here, so I wanted to get it out of the way.One thing I love a lot about this book was Cass's independence. Not just that, but the way she really exemplified and used that independence. There are other people around her who are important to her, and yet while she works with them and needs them on occasion she also isn't afraid to do some things herself. She really pulls herself together in this book and learns that she has to do what needs to be done, and that really is what moves the story along.There was also a relatively realistic feel to it. It felt more like it could have actually happened in comparison to the first book, and I like that in historical fiction. I liked the details, too, that really helped to develop the story.There was also a (relatively, arguably major) death that I wasn't expecting and left me feeling a bit disoriented. But I think it was a very good place for a character death, because it's super annoying when there's supposed to be a danger in a book and nobody on the "good side" dies. I'm not kidding. It's like the thing I hate the most.THE ROMANCEThere's a lot of distinguishing between different types of love in this book. Cass loves Falco, but he's gone, and so she's starting to open her heart up to Luca. I like the way she flashes back and remembers, but I appreciate even more than that the way she's not completely hung up. Without being too spoilery, I like the way Cass really matures in her romantic life and makes a choice that I truly believe is right for her, regardless of my personal feelings. The romance in this book is among my favorite, and maybe one of the best executions of a love triangle I have ever seen.Also, that one scene where Luca is in prison. Hot. Easily my favorite scene in the entire book. Make of that what you will.THE WRITINGFiona is one of my favorite writers for many reasons, but the greatest of these is her ability to completely transfer me into a completely different time and place. I am able to feel like I am tromping around Europe with Cass, getting into tough messes and running from the people who always seem to be one step ahead. The world-building is absolutely gorgeous, and I love the touches of Italian the book has. It gives it a little extra something special.THE ENDINGThis might actually be one of my favorite endings ever, and it almost makes me wish the series was a duo logy, because I would be really happy with that as an ending. At the same time, I want more, so I guess I'm happy it's not actually the ending. But still, I am torn between my desires. Well, what I want doesn't really matter because there will be a book three anyway regardless of whether or not I would rather have one. But I digress. I especially appreciate the ending's emphasis on new beginnings, because that's a really important thing to me. I also like the way the storyline of book two wrapped up nicely while leaving enough material for book three.WRAPUPAnd now for the age-old question: would I recommend this? Absolutely. Venom has my highest recommendation too, but even if you didn't want to read that, read it just so that you can read Belladonna. You might think I'm joking but I'm actually totally serious. It's that good. So good, in fact, that I'm almost hesitant to read Starling (book three) because I'm terrified it will mess up my perfect ending. (Actually, if it does, I will be annoyed for more reasons than one, because I hate it hate it hate it when characters are "sure" of a decision and then change it. I realize this can happen in real life but it still ticks me off.)FINE.
Phoenix (Black City, #2) - Elizabeth  Richards ****FINAL RATING: 4.25 STARS****CATCHALLI loved Black City, so I was extremely eager to dive into Phoenix. I was nervous, though, too, because of some things in the blurb. Despite my hesitation, however, once I picked it up I simply couldn't put it down. It was fresh and fast-paced, and a wholly satisfying sequel to the first book. Everything about it was gorgeous to the point where I really can't have many complaints, and the cast of characters was as sparkling as I expected.THE HEROASHAsh is just as sexy as I remember him in this book, and yet he somehow also becomes more layered. He is torn between wanting to do what is right between doing what he really wants to do at times, and it's a very realistic struggle to watch him go through. He can be really dense about some things, but he's also smart. There's a lot of love in his heart, and he's such a caring person even though he doesn't always know how to show it.THE HEROINENATALIEI have mixed feelings about Natalie, to be honest. Part of me really likes her, but the other part of me wants to smack her for being such an idiot. I get where her feelings are coming from, but she goes about acting on them in what I think is absolutely the wrong way. She has good intentions, but one plan in particular that she enacts is really stupid and just ticked me off. A lot.THE PLOTPlot-wise, I may have preferred Black City a tiny bit more, but Phoenix still had an awesome plot. Also, the development was better, even if only marginally. This isn't a bad things, however, because Black City also boasted wonderful development. There wasn't necessarily marked improvement, but it didn't deteriorate either.I like how the rebellion is more of a central focus in this one. It wasn't fully developed in book one, because it was more about uncovering evidence and that sort of thing. This book has more meat to it. It moves forward a to more, and there's way more going on. I also would argue that it becomes much more intense.There's more at stake in this book, so everything has bigger strings attached to it. There's no simple answer because no matter what Natalie and Ash choose to do, someone loses. They cannot have everything even though they might like to, and they're forced to realize that they won't always be able to save everyone.Overall, I think Phoenix had a more gripping plot than Black City did. We see more than enough of a particular villain, and there are new ones who show up. There's a death that I definitely did not expect, and though it made me gasp for breath, I do think it really contributed to the plot. It made things move forward, and provided more motive as well.THE ROMANCEI love this romance, to be honest. It's hot and it's passionate, but it can also be very sweet and protective. There are numerous misunderstandings that drove me insane, but they did keep me riveted. Ash and Natalie's love story is a very unique one, and it only develops further here. There are other people in the picture, but the romance her can only ever be about the two of them for me. The development was fantastic, and there were some truly heartbreaking scenes.THE WRITINGElizabeth is wonderfully talented, and there's real growth clear in the voices of her characters. They're still not quite distinct enough from each other for my tastes, but I'm definitely starting to understand more the differences between them. I like her descriptive sequences but she still struggles a bit in the characters' thoughts. There are times when Natalie and Ash are monologuing to themselves and I'm just kind of like "Yeah, no one thinks to themselves like that."THE ENDINGThe ending absolutely murdered me. I realize this probably sounds like a very harsh choice of words, but I am actually completely serious. I died. It should be illegal to end a book this way. I literally flipped the pages back and forth over and over again as if that would make more text appear. It was a cruel, albeit clever, way to end the book. You have no choice but to want more.WRAPUPPhoenix was a fabulous sequel with a killer plot, and I'm definitely dying to see book three. Elizabeth Richards might be a little bit evil, but I am still definitely a fan for life. I cannot wait to see how this all ends and what comes next. If you liked book one, you and Phoenix will get along just fine. If you haven't tried Black City but you don't mind another fun dystopian, give it a shot.FINE.Find more of my reviews on Sparkles and Lightning!
The Bitter Kingdom - Rae Carson This book sucked. I only read it because there was nothing else on my kindle I felt like reading although I have not read the first two books. I did give it two stars since because of that, although chances are it would have gotten the one star I really want to give it. There are so many problems with this book. Here are only some of them:The freaking inconsistencies. Who the fuck edited this?The annoying and pretentious tone. The cardboard characters. The dependence on magic. The way everything worked out without all that much effort. The weird, awkward, and totally of pacing that was sometimes lightning fast and sometimes molasses slow. The heroine, who I wanted to punch. The unexplained things which may have been explained in previous books but I seriously doubt it. The poor quality of the writing. The stupid ending. I have way more problems with this book than just these, but we'd be here all day, so I'm going to stop here. Ugh.
Sweet Peril - Wendy Higgins In the end, just okay. Review to come.
Override - Heather Anastasiu Eh. Review to come.
Dare You To - Katie McGarry I tried, you guys. I really did. But I can't do it. Before I even got a quarter of the way into the book I was dreading reading it. Beth is an annoying, selfish brat who acts like she's entitled to everything, and Ryan isn't much better. I don't care about this series anymore and after two exceedingly rare DNFs I am done with this author.
School Spirits - Rachel Hawkins Cute and really good, but the romance does that annoying "we can't be together" thing. Review to come.

Across a Star-Swept Sea

Across a Star-Swept Sea - Amazing, amazing, amazing. I adore Justen. I love him, actually. And Kai will always be my baby. Review to come.
The Goddess Legacy - Aimee Carter I'm actually interested more in the Goddess Test series now. Review maybe to come.
Innocent Darkness (The Aether Chronicles, #1) - Suzanne Lazear Really cute! Review to come if I have time.