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Chelsea Russell's Blog

I grew up with a love of the written word. Writing is an art just like any other creative endeavor. Unlike painting with pastels, my words are my medium.

Currently reading

The Passage
Justin Cronin
The Golem and the Jinni
Helene Wecker
Embracing Obscurity: Becoming Nothing in Light of God's Everything
Made from Scratch: Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life
Jenna Woginrich
The Fellowship of the Ring
J.R.R. Tolkien
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré

Half Bad (Half Life Trilogy)

Half Bad (Half Life Trilogy) - Sally Green I've never read a book quite like "Half Bad." It had many interesting aspects. I thought it was a good lesson on how being different can cause you to be singled out and treated differently than the norm. I'm curious to see what happens in the next book.

Some Girls Bite

Some Girls Bite - Chloe Neill An enjoyable read overall. Most of the book was focused around Merit and her difficulties with adjusting to the fact she was turned into a vampire against her will. She wasn't too whiney, but it took her a while to finally suck things up and resolve herself to her new lifestyle. I was really glad Chloe Neill didn't let Merit wallow in self-pity.

I really enjoyed Merit's sense of humor and the minor characters were a pleasure as well. Some parts were cheesy, but nothing too terrible. The climax was near the very end of the book and was pretty predictable. In fact, it was actually pretty anticlimactic. Luckily, the rest of the book made up for it. I definitely intend on reading more of this series :).

On a side note, I thought the editing could have been a bit better. There were a couple typos and grammatical errors sprinkled throughout.


Legend - Marie Lu A truly AWESOME book!!! I loved the romance between June and Day. It was just the right amount of genuine. He was so thoughtful and sweet it melted my heart. I can't wait to read the next book in this series!!!!

The Winner's Curse

The Winner's Curse - Marie Rutkoski I'd give this a solid 3.5 stars. It was enjoyable and very interesting. A lot of this book is shaped around music, which wasn't quite what I was expecting. It was still good, but the main character's life is definitely influenced by her love for playing the piano. I loved the aspect of forbidden love.

Overall, "The Winner's Curse" was very engaging. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series :).

The Wall and the Wing

The Wall and the Wing - Laura Ruby I was really hoping for a bit more from this book. It never really managed to measure up to my expectations. I thought it was an okay read, but from some of the reviews I'd read I guess I was hoping for something more along the lines of Harry Potter. Silly, I know, but a girl can dream ;p.

It took me a lot longer to finish this book than I planned, which was quite unfortunate. I never really connected with the characters, but I did like how everything was so deftly interwoven with the plot. There were a lot of unexpected moments of awesome scattered throughout this book, but they were a little too far spread apart.


Mothership - Martin Leicht, Isla Neal I was looking for something light-hearted and amusing when I decided to read this book. I’d just finished reading an intense dystopian and needed something to lighten my mood. I was a bit leery at first since “Mothership” is about a group of pregnant teenagers sent to live in a decommissioned space cruiser that’s been turned into a high school for expectant mothers. Despite my initial reservations, I decided to hold back all judgements until I actually read the book.

Well, I’m glad to announce “Mothership” certainly manages to lighten the mood ;p. Parts of the book were definitely cheesy, but I really enjoyed Elvie’s sarcasm. There were some great action-packed scenes, which was awesome. I thought the flashbacks were a bit tedious, but I suppose they were a necessary evil. As of right now though, I don’t intend on reading the rest of the series.


Ashfall - Mike Mullin Yep, this book is as amazing as all the reviews proclaim! I checked this book out from the library a few months ago, but wasn't able to get around to reading it. Boy, I sure am glad I checked it out again :). Alex is a bit of a nerd, but luckily he had the whole kung fu thing going for him. He's also a stickler for always doing the right thing, which was somewhat refreshing for YA. His moral integrity gets him in troubles at times, but he's not afraid of doing what needs to be done in order to survive.

"Ashfall" was brutal in its depiction of the realities inherent in a post-apocolyptic future. It only took me a few days to read this book, which is almost always a good indication of an awesome read. I'm glad the romance didn't overshadow the adventure. Lately, it seems as though many YA dystopic books are overshadowed by sappy romance rather than action. Me want ACTION!

I loved everything about this book, by my favorite character by far was Darla. She rocks hardcore! If you haven't read this book, then you should definitely add it to your list!

P.S. - It's also pretty cool the author is from Indiana. Go Hoosiers :D.

Between Shades of Gray

Between Shades of Gray - Ruta Sepetys With all the turmoil occuring in Russia and surrounding areas, I thought it might be a good idea to read “Between Shades of Gray.” I was absolutely floored to realize Stalin created the same atrocious acts Hilter committed. I’m glad I know now though and will be sure to share my knowledge with others. It’s scary how such a horrible part of our world’s history can be overlooked.

I raced through this book and feel as though I learned quite a bit of history. It's always heartrending to realize there were people who actually went through similar instances depicted in this book. History has an unforgiving brutality to it at times.

I found the flashbacks a tad bit annoying, but they divulged some useful information that wouldn't have necessarily been revealed otherwise.
*The scene where their father gives them his wedding band and tells them to let their mother know it's okay to sell it if she needs the money broke my heart.

*The men were so brave! Their defiant singing of the Lithuanian national anthem as they were separated from their families brought tears to my eyes.

*When Lina and her mother were nearly buried alive in a hole they had just finished digging I couldn't help but shudder.

*It was truly agonizing when the American ship arrived at Trofimovsk. To have salvation so close at hand and yet denied would be an awful torment.

Overall, an amazing story that shares a forgotten piece of history.

Midnight City

Midnight City - J. Barton Mitchell I was hoping for a bit more from this book, but it wasn't too bad overall. The main drawback was I felt as though I never really connected with the characters. I especially thought Holt's character was somewhat forced.

There were a couple of times when I got caught up in the action and couldn't wait to read more. I was a bit spooked by the scene where Holt sees the human claw marks on the walls in the pharmacy. Overall, I thought the story was quite original. I loved the Landships and the floating trading posts. I eventually intend on reading the next book in the series. I've heard things get even better :).


Pure - Julianna Baggott This timeless dystopian tale was brutally honest. There were times when my heart was broken into a million pieces. Pressia’s bravery and hope made her a very enjoyable heroine. She just picked herself up and kept right on going despite all the wretchedness she encountered. All of the characters were interesting in their own way and I enjoyed trying to deduce whether they were friend or foe.

I was kept guessing throughout the entirety of this book, which was refreshing. I feel as though so many plots are way too predicable nowadays. I thought I had the twist figured out in the beginning, but I dismissed my original idea. Ironically enough, my guess ended up being correct.

Julianna Baggot effortlessly manages to introduce a slew of controversial themes into her story. I was impressed by her portrayal of domestic violence, genetic engineering and the woes inherent in big government. Her use of imagery was spectacular. In fact, there were several times when I wished I wasn’t able to images the scenes quite so vividly.

This book is epic in so many ways :). If you haven’t already read it, then make sure and add it to your to-read list!

Hex Hall

Hex Hall - Rachel Hawkins Meh. I thought this book was quite mediocre. The overall plot was fairly cheesy and didn't feel very original. I also found Sophia pretty annoying. She was so naive and unsuspecting I couldn't help but want to shake some sense into her. The whole "I've never even used a flyswatter" claim was super pathetic. I guess I'm just not too keen on wussy main characters lol. I feel a little guilty considering some of the rave reviews I've read, but sometimes I can be honest to a fault.

World After

World After - Susan Ee I think this books deserves about 3.75 stars, but decided to round it up since I thought the action picked up a bit toward the end. The beginning was a bit slow and there were actually several days where I just didn't want to read any more since things were dragging along at a snail's pace. I finally picked it up late last night and ended up staying awake way longer than I intended.

My main issue with this book was there were several moments where things seemed overly fake and forced. "Angelfall" was the same way. I actually found Pen a bit annoying at times and was thoroughly glad when Raffe rescued her from the grisly angel party at the new aerie. I was exceedingly happy to see them back together! The banter between Raffe and Pen is pretty awesome :). I guess what I'm getting at is conflicts and seemingly insurmountable obstacles had a way of resolving themselves in an unbelievable manner. The whole "Pooky Bear" bit was also a touch too saccharine for my liking as well. The ending was pretty phenomenal though, which was the same for "Angelfall."


NOS4A2 - Joe Hill Some writers are able to draw you into a story from the very first page. I feel as though Joe Hill indubitably possesses this ability. You're constantly left wanting to know more and always trying to guess what may happen next. I can’t help but look forward to reading more of Hill’s writing because I know it’s worth getting excited about.

I absolutely loved NOS4A2 (Although, I’ll be honest, I didn’t quite get the reference to the old black and white horror film until my husband tried saying the title out loud. Talk about a light bulb moment ;p.). Vic was an interesting character. At times I didn’t understand her angst, but I admired her determination and grit. She made it through some pretty hairy situations and never gave up even though the odds were severely stacked against her.

I really enjoyed the “A Note on the Type” letter at the very end of the book. I was glad Hill left us with a little more to ruminate over. It was a nice little surprise :). After such an epic ending I feel as though it really added an extra little punch to the story as a whole. Amazing book!!

The Burning Sky (The Elemental Trilogy)

The Burning Sky (The Elemental Trilogy) - Sherry Thomas I loved this book soooo much!!!

I'll be the first to admit I'm a sucker for fantasy books, but lately I feel as though it's been super hard for me to find a good fantasy series. Well, I think I've found a winner with The Elemental Trilogy and I can't wait to read the next books in the series!

Sherry Thomas deftly manages to cram adventure, romance and intrigue into "The Burning Sky." It only took me a few pages to realize my next few days would be consumed with the adventures of Iolanthe and Titus. Thomas has the romance portion down pat, which was certainly refreshing after reading other books that don't quite manage to build romantic tension. I thought she did an amazing job creating an alternative fantasy realm.

I loved the scenes with the Crucible. Plus, Titus was a wonderful male character! His noble intentions and caring for Iolanthe was so romantic *sigh*. Sometimes I feel girls are taught guys are only sexy if they're dangerous and self-centered. There's so much more to say about a guy who puts the well-being of others before himself.

There were times when I didn't know a couple of words Thomas used, but I merely looked up their definitions. It wasn't like their presence was annoying. I merely felt as though I extended my vocabulary, which is a nice boon.

I truly can't wait to read the next book in this awesome series!!!!

Revelation Space

Revelation Space - Alastair Reynolds I really tried to finish this book, but it just wasn't happening. The synopsis sounded amazing and I couldn't wait to read it. Unfortunately, there was way too much sciency stuff. The action scenes were fairly decent, but they weren't enough to keep me reading. I guess this just wasn't my type of book after all :/.

The Rosie Project

The Rosie Project - Graeme Simsion A cute book that shows love has a way of finding you even when you don’t plan on it. There were a couple cute parts, but I didn’t think it was as funny as publishers touted. I couldn’t help but imagine Don as Sheldon, which I think allowed me to visualize him better. There were a couple of viewpoints I didn’t agree with, but I thought it was still a good read.