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Reading is my drug. I love to get lost in a great book to escape into worlds that are usually much cooler than mine! >.<

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Imogen Howson
The Beautiful and the Cursed
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Collector (Dante Walker Novel)

The Collector - Victoria Scott Gah! I'm torn on this one and is probably more of a 3.5. On one hand, it's endlessly entertaining with great humor and character dynamics. On the other hand, Dante's conceited personality was sometimes a little to close to the "jerks we're supposed to swoon over" line to which most know by now I'm not a fan of. He's also the type who I could see talk about himself in 3rd person (he doesn't in the book though thank goodness, but... you know the type)--though this side of him is mostly amusing. Yes he does grow and change throughout the story where we see he has a heart underneath his shallowness but... too little too late, maybe? I wasn't going to fall for him by that point. Plus it happens after Charlie is well near perfect so I'm not sure how much credit to give him in the end. I saw a few comparing him to Daemon from Obsidian but I'm not so sure. Daemon loves to push buttons for sure, and he is a jerk, yes, but Dante talks about girls' looks sometimes that, I don't know, it got under my skin. I mean, the whole plot surrounds him trying to get Charlie to change until she is "finally" pretty and in turn he gets her soul. Don't get me wrong though, I do not hate on Dante--please stop throwing those tomatoes!--I just like him differently than I was meant to: I like him as someone who makes you laugh because he says and does things that shock you in hilarity (who doesn't love a good dose of political incorrectness?), not as someone to swoon over romantically. I also loved his voice throughout this story, I loved that it was his POV and not Charlie's--great change of pace--though what I loved the most was his humor; while some of it does come close to being offensive, his ability to make me laugh out loud deserves some props!Besides Dante, we have a great cast, here, who are all charming in their own ways. Charlie is neither pretty nor popular, and the friends that she has are real; caring and loyal. I found this refreshing. These side characters are just as vibrant as the main supporting role. Blue is especially intriguing with a personality you can't quite decipher at first. He surprised me in a lot of ways and I came to care about him a lot. As for Charlie herself, I found her quite sympathetic as she's faced with an opportunity that most girls would die for at her age, where self esteem hangs low and looks seem to be the most important thing. I also liked how she was just a normal girl; not the most popular nor a complete loser, she was simply average. Sure she has a quirky habit or two (Skittles FTW), but overall Charlie is an every day kind of girl that I found much easier to relate to. The book is also incredibly fun as well as fast paced. I was not bored once. However, I did find some of the story building belonged on the "things you should look over" side. Like how there is only 6 collectors for the whole world (and they all seem to hang close to each other, location wise), or the explanation behind Charlie's importance which, as it stands, I'm not convinced would result in such monumental effects. As for the romance, it was very sweet although a little fast--not insta-love fast but not so far off either.With that said, I really did enjoy myself completely while reading this book even if I was expecting more from all the rave reviews thus far. Mostly I feel like it's a story we have all heard many times before: Someone goes to do a job, but is unable to because he falls for the person who should be his victim/prey/target. *shrugs* Will I recommend this to friends? Sure! Will I still remember what I read in this book in a year's time above all others? Not so sure. Either way, if you want to be amused and charmed by a hot dude who's full of himself, by all means this one is not to be missed! ;)--An advance copy was provided by the author for review.For more of my reviews, visit my blog at Xpresso Reads