Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Book Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, by Michelle Hodkin

Title: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Series/Sequel? Mara Dyer #1
Author: Michelle Hodkin
Genre(s): Hard Topics, Paranormal, Horror, Romance
Age Level: YA
Page Count: 425 (Hardcover)
Summary: 
Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.

There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.

She’s wrong.


Review:
The best way to describe this book: gorgeously creepy.

It's kind of an oxymoron, I know. But it's true. This isn't a book you want to read in the dark, or in an empty house, or if you scare easily. And despite the fact that you shouldn't be reading it late into the night, that doesn't mean that you won't. Because this is a book that is addictive and impossible to put down.

One of the main things that made it that way? How it danced along the line between reality and illusion. You didn't know what was real or what wasn't. As Mara's family questioned her sanity, you did as well. You never knew if something was a hallucination or dream or a symptom of Mara's PTSD OR not, and that not knowing drove you to keep reading in an attempt to find out.

On the other side of that, it was also often confusing when the lines blurred to much. Many times I would have to read a part several times before I understood what was going on, or wouldn't understand it even after the repeated readings. It was frustrating, and majorly subtracted from the story itself.

The story could have been laid out better as well. There were some points when I did not agree or understand why the author put a particular realization, memory or character "milestone" of sorts. It also detracted from the story by making me wonder why she put things in the places she did, especially since I didn't think it made much sense in the grand scheme of things.

However, the more technical aspects didn't matter when some of the other great things this novel was able to do: it turned the cliches used in just about every YA novel - the mean-jealous-promiscuous-girl, the hot-guy-that-everyone's-in-love-with-who-actually-turns-out-to-be-nice - into non-cliches. It made them interesting again, or at least interesting enough that I wasn't rolling my eyes at it.

Noah's and Mara's relationship was great while fitting the story in terms of how much and how little romance there was. It wasn't the best written, but it was still fitting to the story.

This wasn't the greatest book I've ever read, but if your looking for an addictive read and love being creeped out, I would definitely recommend it.

Rating:

Quotes:

"'Why, Noah, do you know the word for vagina  in every language?'
'Because I'm Europeam, and therefore more cultured than you.'"
- Page 221
___________________________________________________________________________________

“And then you show up with the voice from my nightmare, and you call me an asshole."
___________________________________________________________________________________

“Thinking something does not make it true. Wanting something does not make it real.”


Thursday, December 20, 2012

I'm back!

After four months or so of being gone, I'm back. Life's been crazy, and I missed not being able to post reviews despite the copious amounts of amazing books I have been reading. So I will be posting my first review in months in a few days. After, you know, I finish the book:


I've started it, and so far it is simply amazing. I'm excited to finish reading it and share my thoughts with you!

Things might be changing around here a little bit, though. These past few months have been devoted to my (fairly newfound) love of writing, and so instead of just book reviews, I will probably be posting writerly activities, thoughts, and problems. I am also planning on posting more on covers and the like. I want to post more of a variety of things in general, really, and so this will no longer be a strictly book review blog as before. However, I promise, everything I do post will be related to the realm of words, books, and reading.

So thank you to those 9 members who have yet to give up on me!

Anastasia


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Book Review: Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Title: Every Other Day
Series/Sequel? No
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Genre(s): Paranormal/Fantasy
Age Level: YA
Page Count: 329 (Hardcover)
Perspective: First Person (female)

Summary: Every other day, Kali D'Angelo is a normal sixteen-year-old girl. She goes to public high school. She attends pep rallies. She's human.

And then every day in between . . .She's something else entirely.

Though she still looks like herself, every twenty-four hours predatory instincts take over and Kali becomes a feared demon-hunter with the undeniable urge to hunt, trap, and kill zombies, hellhounds, and other supernatural creatures. Kali has no idea why she is the way she is, but she gives in to instinct anyway. Even though the government considers it environmental terrorism.

When Kali notices a mark on the lower back of a popular girl at school, she knows instantly that the girl is marked for death by one of these creatures. Kali has twenty-four hours to save her and, unfortunately, she'll have to do it as a human. With the help of a few new friends, Kali takes a risk that her human body might not survive. . .and learns the secrets of her mysterious condition in the process.


Review: I've heard of Jennifer Lynn Barnes. I've just never read her. If this book is any indication, that was obviously a mistake on my part. Every Other Day was amazing. Simply, flat out, amazing.

I don't typically like books where there are all paranormal/fantasy creatures together - faeries and witches and vampires and werewolves all at the same time are just a little bit too much for me - but in this book, it made it almost better than if it was just one species. Of course, it incorporated many creatures I hadn't seen used in an "every paranormal species" book, and others that have been used way too much that weren't even mentioned in here. The many different species added mystery and suspense as to what some creatures were, or what they would face next.

Kali and her voice in this novel made for an extremely enjoyable read. Kali was absolutely kick butt, and I can't think of another character that could rival her for the title of Best Badass. Maybe Tris, from the Divergent trilogy, but that's it. And that, my friends, is a pretty amazing accomplishment. Her voice was funny, interesting, and didn't let the reader go for one moment. If I hadn't had the annoying thing called "life" getting in the way, I would have happily devoured it in one sitting, and would still have yearned for more.

The supporting characters were just as interesting and well-written as Kali. They each had unique personalities and qualities and quirks that made them believable and enjoyable. I laughed every time Skyler said "We can call up [brother's name] for that!" or drew in a quiet breath every time Zev spoke.

Another thing was, I felt this book. I grew concerned every time one of Kali's friends was in danger, I shared Kali's sense of victory whenever she won a fight. I shared the character's sadness when one of their friends - and an important, wonderful character - died. And that is how, in my opinion at least, you separate the great from the best.

Why did this have to be a stand-alone?

Rating:

4.5


Quotes:

"That's what life does. It knocks you down and it breaks you and you either get back up or you don't... you let the bad things win, or you don't." - Page 236

"Sometimes there aren't any good choices. Sometimes making the right one is hard." - Page 266

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Book Review: Amy and Roger's Epic Detour, by Morgan Matson

Title: Amy and Roger's Epic Detour
Series/Sequel? No
Author: Morgan Matson
Genre(s): Realistic Fiction, Romance, Hard Topics
Age Level: YA
 Page Count: 344
Perspective: First Person (female)
Summary: Amy Curry thinks her life sucks. Her mom decides to move from California to Connecticut to start anew--just in time for Amy's senior year. Her dad recently died in a car accident. So Amy embarks on a road trip to escape from it all, driving cross-country from the home she's always known toward her new life. Joining Amy on the road trip is Roger, the son of Amy's mother's old friend. Amy hasn't seen him in years, and she is less than thrilled to be driving across the country with a guy she barely knows. So she's surprised to find that she is developing a crush on him. At the same time, she's coming to terms with her father's death and how to put her own life back together after the accident. Told in traditional narrative as well as scraps from the road--diner napkins, motel receipts, postcards--this is the story of one girl's journey to find herself.

Review: This book was a good realistic fiction book. It wasn't anything major, but it was a good summer read (a little too late for that, but...), the type of thing that's fun to read by the pool or hanging out on a lazy day.

The sadness and death part of this book was better written than other books I've read, and I was glad to not have to suffer through cliches. Roger's situation was different than any other book I've read, and it was a good compliment to Amy's own pain and sadness, though it wasn't so heavy it dragged the book down into a pity party. And while it wasn't so well-written that I felt empathy for the characters, I did feel sympathy, which is more than some books have managed.

On the other side of things, this book also managed lighthearted- and funniness, in the situations Amy and Roger found themselves in, and the conversations they had as well. I was laughing and smiling just as much as I was frowning in sadness, and few books have managed that.

A good realistic fiction book I would definitely recommend!

Rating:

3.5


Quotes:

"Someone had etched into [the diner table] 'Ryan loves Megan always'... I wondered how anyone could have been so sure about a concept so tenuous and impossible as always that they'd be willing to carve it into a tabletop." - Page 199

________________________________________________________________________________

"You've got to have pride in your home. You are where you're from. Otherwise, you're always going to be lost." - Page 174

_________________________________________________________________________________

"I understood in a flash why, on the Greyhound sign, Arrivals and Departures were right next to each other. Because sometimes, like in that moment, they can mean exactly the same thing." - Page 321

_________________________________________________________________________________


"Someone just told me that you can't let things stop you because you're afraid." - Page 249

Monday, August 27, 2012

Book Review: Nevermore by Kelly Creagh

Title: Nevermore
Series/Sequel? Nevermore #1
Author:Kelly Creagh
Genre(s):Horror, Paranormal, Hard Topics
Age Level:YA
Page Count:543 (Hardcover)
Perspective: Third Person (female)

Summary: Cheerleader Isobel Lanley is horrified when she is paired with Varen Nethers for an English project, which is due—so unfair—on the day of the rival game. Cold and aloof, sardonic and sharp-tongued, Varen makes it clear he’d rather not have anything to do with her either. But when Isobel discovers strange writing in his journal, she can’t help but give this enigmatic boy with the piercing eyes another look.

Soon, Isobel finds herself making excuses to be with Varen. Steadily pulled away from her friends and her possessive boyfriend, Isobel ventures deeper and deeper into the dream world Varen has created through the pages of his notebook, a realm where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life.

As her world begins to unravel around her, Isobel discovers that dreams, like words, hold more power than she ever imagined, and that the most frightening realities are those of the mind. Now she must find a way to reach Varen before he is consumed by the shadows of his own nightmares.

His life depends on it.


Review: You need three things to read this book: stamina, a decent fear threshold, and a deep love of/interest in Poe.

This book is unlike anything I've every read. And I feel that it is so unique, it has not been given the recognition it deserves.

Nevermore was, in one word: clever. Ms. Creagh incorporated many of Poe's works into this novel in a way that was clever, interesting and enjoyable. Masque of the Red Death, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Raven - they were all in there, incorporated in a way that made me nod my head and give a little laugh. It was extremely well put together, and I loved reading Poe's works remade to fit the story.

This book is long. 543 pages long. And when I picked it up, I was concerned it was going to be boring and slow at parts. That fear went unfounded. It was put together perfectly, the scary parts and the slower parts spaced out so the scenes flowed seamlessly from one to the next.

This book is considered a Horror book, and that also concerned me. I don't consider myself having a very high fear threshold (which is strange for a fan of Poe, I realize), and I didn't want to be having nightmares for months. But it turned out to not be that scary. Yes, I will probably never look at shadows and big black birds the same way. And never again will I underestimate the powers of dreams. But unless you faint at the word 'death' or 'blood', I think you'll be okay.

I didn't think I was going to like Isobel very much. Reading the description, she sounded like a stereotypical cheerleader - blonde, stupid, and narrow-minded. But she turned out not to be like that. She was brave and intelligent, and didn't run away screaming when things got tough. She had integrity and morality, and she dropped her 'friends' when they proved to have a loose moral code. And I really respect her.

With this book, I was hoping for a great ending. The type of ending that takes your breath away and leaves you thinking about it for days. Unfortunately, it didn't exactly work out that way. It ended in a way that was probably really cool and amazing... except I didn't get it. So I can't rave about the presumable awesome-ness, because I don't understand the presumable awesome-ness. So, I was disappointed... until I realized that this isn't a stand-alone - it's the first of a trilogy. Now all I've got to do is pester my librarian into buying the sequel...

Rating:


4.5


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Why I Love Mab from the Iron Fey Series

One of my favorite series ever is The Iron Fey Series, by Julie Kagawa. Julie has come out with a compilation of 3 novellas from the series, which she is giving out to anyone who writes a post about who their favorites character is from the series and why. You can check out the full rules here, on her blog. Of course, I couldn't possibly pass this chance up, so I have written a post about why I love


queenmabnametag
Thanks to my best friend Rachel for drawing this! Don't you love the
snow piles and icicles?


I know, I know, all of you that have read the series or know any faerylore are probably flipping out because Mab is typically  portrayed as evil. Yes, she eternally suffocates people by freezing them in blocks of ice. Yes, she rules through fear. Yes, she doesn't believe in love. Yes, she exiled her own son because he was in love with a half-human from the other court. And while those things may be inexcusable, while I don't think any of those things are right, I still love her. Here's why:                 

She was the first feminist. 

I know she's a fictional character. I get that. But she started out as a character from the myths of the British isles, and I can't help but think that she gave some hope to the restricted women who were forced to stay home and cook and clean instead of doing anything interesting, because the men couldn't seem to get their heads around the fact that women were just as intelligent (if not more so) than them. Even though Mab rules through fear, she has ruled for presumably millennia over her court, without a man by her side. She has managed to keep a court of thousands of fey alive and prospering. She has managed to keep them protected. She knows what she's doing, and she does it perfectly fine. And she doesn't need a guy to help her. She doesn't depend on anyone else. To be brutally honest, she's badass. (Pardon my language.)

Many people say that women's rights movements didn't start until very late in the course of human history. Women today are still trying their very hardest to get equal rights. But suffrage started much earlier than anyone realizes. It started with Mab. 

So, that's one reason. One major reason, and probably the biggest reason why I like her. But there's more to it than that. People don't like her because of the above reasons, and because she tried to keep Ash away from Meghan. She taught him that love is the worst thing, that you shouldn't love. People think it's because she's just a mean, cruel person. But did you ever think it was because she was trying to protect him?  That maybe she was burned by love in the past, and she loves Ash too much to see him be hurt in the same way. Maybe her love for him is kinda convoluted and hard to see, but it's there. Her mother instincts are there, and they love him, and they want to protect him. 

So you people can call Mab cruel and mean and awful and evil. But I think she's just a woman doing what she can to survive in a crazy world. 

*To read more about what Mab's past was like, you can read a fanfiction I wrote here.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Book Review: The Catastrophic History of You and Me, by Jess Rothenberg

Title: The Catastrophic History of You and Me
Series/Sequel? No
Author: Jess Rothenberg
Genre(s): Romance, Hard topics
Age Level:YA
Page Count:375 (Hardcover)
Perspective: First person (female)
Summary: Dying of a broken heart is just the beginning.... Welcome to forever.

BRIE'S LIFE ENDS AT SIXTEEN: Her boyfriend tells her he doesn't love her, and the news breaks her heart—literally.

But now that she's D&G (dead and gone), Brie is about to discover that love is way more complicated than she ever imagined. Back in Half Moon Bay, her family has begun to unravel. Her best friend has been keeping a secret about Jacob, the boy she loved and lost—and the truth behind his shattering betrayal. And then there's Patrick, Brie's mysterious new guide and resident Lost Soul . . . who just might hold the key to her forever after.

With Patrick's help, Brie will have to pass through the five stages of grief before she's ready to move on. But how do you begin again, when your heart is still in pieces?


Review: Books about death - and the afterlife - are very interesting, but they are often hit-or-miss. This was definitely a hit.

First off was the voice. Rothenberg managed to create a character with a funny, enjoyable voice who had just the right measure of funniness that she seemed like a typical high school girl, but wasn't cliched, shallow, or just pathetic. Brie dying of a broken heart could have easily made her seem all three, but Rothenberg managed to have such a cause of death be believeable and stir our sympathies, instead of our disbelief. Adding Brie's preexisting heart condition and the fact that her father was a cardiologist, and Brie dying of a broken heart was absolutely perfect.

There were three subsets of supporting characters in this book, and each subset was beautifully realistic and relateable:

Brie's best girl friends added a layer of supporting characters that all girls will be able to relate to: the absolute best friends that know you better than yourself, those that always have your back no matter what. In her friends, I could see some similarites in my own best friends, lending to their believeablility.

Brie's family was wonderful as well: even if they're a little to-good-to-be-true at first, they are ultimately a believeable, well-written family.

And then, of course, we come to the boys. The characters that the book is really formed around. And of course, you can't mention the boys without mentioning the title. Both Patrick and Jacob seem like believeable boys - maybe too-good-to-be true, but each had one major fault that made them human and made them more believeable. The title also changes because of the boys. At first, you think the title is referring to one thing, one pair's history, but then at the end you realize that the title is referring to a different thing completely. I find that really clever and intelligent and I applaud the author for being able to think of such a thing.

An amazing, wonderful book. Put this one at the top of your 'to-read' list!

Rating:

4.5


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Book Review: This Dark Endeavor, by Kenneth Oppel

Title: This Dark Endeavor
Series/Sequel? The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein #1
Author: Kenneth Oppel
Genre(s): Historical Fiction, Romance
Age Level: YA
Page Count: 304
Perspective: First Person (Male)

Summary from Goodreads: Victor Frankenstein leads a charmed life. He and his twin brother, Konrad, and their beautiful cousin Elizabeth take lessons at home and spend their spare time fencing and horseback riding. Along with their friend Henry, they have explored all the hidden passageways and secret rooms of the palatial Frankenstein chateau. Except one.

The Dark Library contains ancient tomes written in strange languages and filled with forbidden knowledge. Their father makes them promise never to visit the library, but when Konrad becomes deathly ill, Victor knows he must find the book that contains the recipe for the legendary Elixir of Life.

The elixir needs only three ingredients. But impossible odds, dangerous alchemy and a bitter love triangle threaten their quest at every turn.

Victor knows he must not fail. Yet his success depends on how far he is willing to push the boundaries of nature, science and love—and how much he is willing to sacrifice.


Review: I've never read Frankenstein. I mean, I know the basic story; everyone does. But I just thought I'd tell you that I have never read Mary Shelley's classic, so I may not understand all the allusions to the original.

I didn't think I would enjoy this book very much. I only read it because the cover looked simply amazing and there were a couple of really cool quotes in the summary and on the back cover.

How wrong I was.

I loved the characters in this. Victor was a very interesting character, a personification of the animalistic characteristics of human nature: passion, violence, instinct, pride. On the other end of things, his twin Konrad seemed to be a personification of the qualities that make humans human: intelligence, charm. And then Elizabeth seemed to be caught in the middle, a mix between the human and animal natures, between Konrad and Victor. I also loved how independent and strong Elizabeth was, so unusual for a woman of that time period. (During the French Revolution.) All the other characters were well developed also, but those three, as the three main characters, really stood out to me.

I loved reading about the alchemy involved in this, and how the alchemy (and science) was influenced by the time period, and vice versa. I've never really been able to find any (good) books about alchemy, and it was really well explained and interesting to read about in this book.

This book was really well-written, there was no turn of phrase that needed editing. I greatly respect Mr. Oppel!

I greatly recommend this book to fans of alchemy, Frankenstein, male protagonists, and/or historical fiction!

Rating:
4.5

Friday, July 20, 2012

Book Review: The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

Title: The Dark Divine
Series/Sequel? The Dark Divine #1
Author: Bree Despain
Genre(s): Paranormal Romance
Age Level: YA
Page Count: 375 (Hardcover)
Perspective: First Person (Female)

Summary from Goodreads: Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared--the night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in his own blood--but she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret that night held.

The memories her family has tried to bury resurface when Daniel returns, three years later, and enrolls in Grace and Jude's high school. Despite promising Jude she'll stay away, Grace cannot deny her attraction to Daniel's shocking artistic abilities, his way of getting her to look at the world from new angles, and the strange, hungry glint in his eyes.

The closer Grace gets to Daniel, the more she jeopardizes her life, as her actions stir resentment in Jude and drive him to embrace the ancient evil Daniel unleashed that horrific night. Grace must discover the truth behind the boy's dark secret...and the cure that can save the ones she loves. But she may have to lay down the ultimate sacrifice to do it--her soul.


Review: This book was very well-written and perfectly plotted: a breathtaking romance, paranormal creatures, and a mystery that kept you on your toes make a for an amazing,wonderful book.

Religion, God, and the church were main points in this book, as Grace was the pastor's daughter, and went to a religious school,and so very involved in her religion, religious beliefs, and the church. I normally dislike fiction books that talk a lot and have to do with religion, because a lot of the times, it seems to me as if the authors are trying to shove their beliefs down your throat. However, this book wasn't like that. Religion played a major part in solving the mystery and the plot point finding a resolution, but there wasn't really any of the characters' beliefs being talked about or argued over or even brought up. And I like the book (and the author) just that much more for that.

The romance was fantastic. You were able to see the relationship grow and blossom between the characters naturally as the plot continued, grew, and changed. And, I must say, Grace and Daniel make a perfect match.

The characters were very well-written, each person having there own special niche and personality, making it easy to distinguish between them. Each person was unique, and with the number of characters in this book, that makes it hard to do.

As I said, the mystery kept you on your toes as well, with numerous twists and turns that you couldn't have possibly seen coming. Completely satisfying!

A wonderful, amazing book that I would recommend to fans of Becca Fitzpatrick's Hush, Hush series.

Rating:



Sunday, July 15, 2012

Book Review: The False Princess, by Eilis O'Neal

The False PrincessTitle: The False Princess
Series/Sequel? No
Author: Eilis O'Neal
Genre(s): Fantasy, Romance
Age Level: YA
Page Count: 319 (Hardcover)
Perspective: First person (female)

Summary from Goodreads: Princess and heir to the throne of Thorvaldor, Nalia's led a privileged life at court.  But everything changes when it's revealed, just after her sixteenth birthday, that she is a false princess, a stand-in for the real Nalia, who has been hidden away for her protection.  Cast out with little more than the clothes on her back, the girl now called Sinda must leave behind the city of Vivaskari, her best friend, Keirnan, and the only life she's ever known.

Sinda is sent to live with her only surviving relative, an aunt who is a dyer in a distant village. She is a cold, scornful woman with little patience for her newfound niece, and Sinda proves inept at even the simplest tasks.  But when Sinda discovers that magic runs through her veins - long-suppressed, dangerous magic that she must learn to control - she realizes that she can never learn to be a simple village girl.

Returning to Vivaskari for answers, Sinda finds her purpose as a wizard scribe, rediscovers the boy who saw her all along, and uncovers a secret that could change the course of Thorvaldor's history, forever.


A dazzling first novel, The False Princess is an engrossing fantasy full of mystery, action, and romance.

Review: This was a good book. It isn't a book that changes a generation or brings up deep, philosophical questions. But it was a good book nonetheless.

Sinda was a likeable character, but her best friend Kiernan was even more so. He was simply hilarious, charming, and sweet. Which was good that I saw him this way, because that was how Sinda described him. Truthfully, I believe he was my favorite character - and my favorite part - of the entire book.

Another thing I really liked: the plot twists. This was kind of a triple-twister, if you understand what I mean: one second, it seems as if there's one thing. A plot twist happens, and you think that's that. But then ANOTHER plot twists happens, essentially negating the first. And I loved it.

A third thing I really liked: for the first half or so of the book, Sinda is really weak and complacent. She doesn't have much of a backbone. But as you read, as she discovers who she really is and what she can do, you see her change and grow into someone stronger and wiser. And I loved being able to see that.

A very good fantasy book. Recommended for fans of Eragon and the Inheritance Cycle!

Rating:


Friday, July 13, 2012

Book Review: The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend, by Kody Keplinger

The Duff: Designated Ugly Fat FriendTitle: The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend
Series/Sequel? No
Author: Kody Keplinger
Genre(s): Realistic fiction, Romance, Relationships
Age Level: YA (14-18)
Page Count: 280
Perspective: First person (female)

Summary from Goodreads:
Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.
Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.

Review: This was a really good book. I checked it out of the library because the situation of the character reminded me of the relationship in a book I'm trying to write, and I wondered how this author would handle the type of relationship.

The answer is: beautifully.

This is the type of book that doesn't really have a for-certain plot. It's more of a rambling book. Even so, I greatly enjoyed it. I enjoyed reading about Wesley's and Bianca's relationship, how their relationship - if it could even be called that - was based on sex, distraction, and escape from more complicated life matters. I loved reading about it as their relationship changed and grew and morphed into something else. I loved reading about Bianca's other relationships, with her friends and the other kids and school and her mother and father. And I most definitely loved Bianca's sarcastic, cynical, hilarious narrative.

This is a wonderful realistic fiction book about relationships and love. I highly recommend it!

Rating:

Sunday, July 1, 2012

In My Mailbox (8)


I went to three different libraries this week and I ransacked each. So, instead of putting up a picture of each cover, I'm just going to list them. Because, truthfully, I'm interested to see how many I got total. I'm estimating something like 30. Let's see:

1. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak
2. How To Save A Life, by Sarah Zarr
3. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs
4. Memoir of a Teenage Amnesiac, by Gabrielle Zevin
5. Bewitching, by Alex Flinn
6. The False Princess, by Ellis O'Neal
7. Crescendo, by Becca Fitzpatrick (already read, but I'm won't be reviewing it)
8. Silence, by Becca Fitzpatrick
9. This Dark Endeavor, by Kenneth Oppel
10. The DUFF, by Kody Keplinger
11. Wings, by Aprilynne Pike
12. Spells, by Aprilynne Pike
13. Illusions, by Aprilynne Pike
14. Daughter of Smoke and Bone, by Laini Taylor
15. The Eternal Ones, by Kirsten Miller
16. The Dark Divine, by Bree Despain
17. The Lost Saint, by Bree Despain
18. The Fallen #1, by Thomas E. Snigoski
19. The Splendor Falls, by Rosemary Clement-Moore
20. Evermore, by Alyson Noel
21. The Knife of Never Letting Go, by Patrick Ness
22. Alphas, by Lisi Harrison
23. The Obsidian Blade, by Pete Hautman
24. Maximum Ride, Manga Adaptation #5, by James Patterson/Nara Lee (Already read, and it won't be reviewed)

So, not as many as I thought. But still, 24 books? I think that's pretty ambitious, even for me. I probably won't be doing another IMM for at least two more weeks, until this stack is gone. Until next review!

Anastasia



Book Review: Forgotten, by Cat Patrick


Title: Forgotten
Series/Sequel? No
Author: Cat Patrick
Genre(s): Scifi/Paranormal Romance
Age Level: YA
Page Count: 304 (Hardcover)
Perspective: 1st person, female
Summary from Goodreads: Each night at precisely 4:33 am, while sixteen-year-old London Lane is asleep, her memory of that day is erased. In the morning, all she can "remember" are events from her future. London is used to relying on reminder notes and a trusted friend to get through the day, but things get complicated when a new boy at school enters the picture. Luke Henry is not someone you'd easily forget, yet try as she might, London can't find him in her memories of things to come.

When London starts experiencing disturbing flashbacks, or flash-
forwards, as the case may be, she realizes it's time to learn about the past she keeps forgetting—before it destroys her future. 

Review: This was an incredibly unique book. There seem to be so much of the same out there, so many authors with the same basic plot and cliched plot twists, but Cat Patrick was great at not falling into any of those cliche traps. The premise of this book was unique; I have never read anything like this. Yes, there was some romance, but it wasn't the cliched love triangle. London, the main character, had a boyfriend who she stuck with throughout the entire book, with no additional boy-drama - at least not any boy drama of her own.

However, I thought London could sometimes be a little snobby and annoying with her ability to see into the future. It caused waves with both her boyfriend (who, by the end of it, I was falling in love with as well) and with her best friend.

I also thought this book ended kind of abruptly, with no real conclusion. I mean, since she could see the future, she could see what was going to happen, and how it was all going to turn out okay and everything. But there really was no solid conclusion, and that annoyed me.
All in all, an amazing addition to the book world! I greatly recommend it!

Rating:

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Book Review: Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

Title: Twenty Boy Summer
Series/Sequel?  No
Author: Sarah Ockler
Genre(s): Hard Topics, Romance, Realistic Fiction
Age Level: YA
Page Count: 290
Perspective: First person female
Summary: According to Anna’s best friend, Frankie, twenty days in Zanzibar Bay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy every day, there’s a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there’s something she hasn’t told Frankie–she’s already had her romance, and it was with Frankie’s older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.

TWENTY BOY SUMMER explores what it truly means to love someone, what it means to grieve, and ultimately, how to make the most of every beautiful moment life has to offer.


Mini-Review: This book was perfect for summer: though it had enough of a plot, enough darkness and conflict to keep the reader interested, it was also a book perfect for reading on the beach or by the pool, while your dreaming of your own summer romance. Honest realistic fiction story on grief, friendship, and love.

Rating: 


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Book Review: The Sharp Time by Mary O'Connell

Title: The Sharp Time
Series/Sequel? No
Author: Mary O'Connell
Genre(s): hard topics, realistic fiction
Age Level: YA
Page Count: 228
Perspective: First-person Female
Summary from Goodreads: Sandinista Jones is a high school senior with a punk rock name and a broken heart. The death of her single mother has left Sandinista alone in the world, subject to the random vulnerability of everyday life. When the school system lets her down, her grief and instability intensify, and she ponders a violent act of revenge.

Still, in the midst of her crisis, she gets a job at The Pale Circus, a funky vintage clothing shop, and finds friendship and camaraderie with her coworker, a boy struggling with his own secrets.

Even as Sandinista sees the failures of those with power and authority, she's offered the chance to survive through the redemptive power of friendship. Now she must choose between faith and forgiveness or violence and vengeance.

Review: I finished. Oh, thank God I'm finished.

This book took forever to read. It's short enough that I would normally have finished it in a few hours, but it took me a week to finish instead.

And the thing is, I'm not sure why. It wasn't an awful book. It just... wasn't very interesting. The characters were all very well developed, and I enjoyed reading about each of them. Sandinista was defiant, unique and spunky, and I liked her as a character. But the plot was greatly lacking. I felt like there wasn't anything going on in the book. Sandinista was caught up on the same thing throughout the entire book, and it got annoying. So, don't waste your time on this book. Find a better realistic fiction novel - cause there are better out there!

Rating:

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Book Review: Shine, by Lauren Myracle

Title: Shine
Series/Sequel? No
Author: Lauren Myracle
Genre(s): Hard topics, realistic fiction, mystery
Age Level: 13 and up
Page Count: 350 (paperback)
Perspective/POV: First person, female

Summary from Goodreads: When her best guy friend falls victim to a vicious hate crime, sixteen-year-old Cat sets out to discover who in her small town did it. Richly atmospheric, this daring mystery mines the secrets of a tightly knit Southern community and examines the strength of will it takes to go against everyone you know in the name of justice.

Against a backdrop of poverty, clannishness, drugs, and intolerance, Myracle has crafted a harrowing coming-of-age tale couched in a deeply intelligent mystery. Smart, fearless, and compassionate, this is an unforgettable work from a beloved author.


Review: This book deals with a lot of things: drug use, sexual assault, and prejudice against gays. I normally don't read about many, if any, of those things. I don't enjoy reading about them. But this was for my book group, and so I didn't really have a choice in the matter.

Like I said, this book deals with a lot of hard topics. But how it deals with them is in a brutally honest way, not stepping around it carefully as so much of the world is apt to do. Though many of the characters in the book don't talk about it as honestly as the narrator thinks about it, it realistically shows peoples' attitudes and opinions about the topics.

This book was also a mystery - and a wonderfully planned one at that. Some twists and turns I spotted before they happened, but due to good clue placement by the author, not out of predictability. (Most of the time.) Some plots twists totally surprised me; I hadn't seen them coming in the slightest.

This book is a wonderful addition to the book world. For mystery fans and for those that want the things often pushed under the rug to be brought to the light, this is a story you'll will most certainly find appealing. Truthfully, I believe everyone should read this book. It has so many topics that we must deal with today, that we must be educated about in the changing world. So what are you waiting for? Go and read it!

Rating:

Quotes: I know I normally don't do this, but there were a couple in here that I just loved, and had to share!
________________________________________________________________________________


'It was also proof that knowledge was power, not being a bully or rich or thinking you were better than everyone... Knowledge was more powerful than fear. Love was stronger than hate.' -Page 264 of Shine
________________________________________________________________________________

'I tossed Daddy's Spanish pistol on the Lawsons' coffee table, and it made a fairly satisfying thunk that I hoped woke up his mama. 
"You're not taking that?" Tommy said. 
"Nope."
"But... why?" Bailee-Ann said. 
"Because it's good for nothing," I said, keeping my eyes on Tommy. "Because one worthless piece of shit deserves another."' -Page 279 of Shine
_________________________________________________________________________________

 'I loved everyone who said yes to the world and trued to make it better instead of worse, because so much in the world was ugly - and just about all the ugly parts were due to humans.... I hurt everyone I came into contact with, because what I was sending out wasn't a yes to the world but a no
I was going to stop that' -Page 290-291 of Shine
_________________________________________________________________________________

Friday, June 22, 2012

I'm Still Alive!

I've been gone a while. I know. But life happens, and my life has been extremely crazy recently. Luckily, it is now summer, and I have a stack of books half as tall as I am sitting in my room, waiting to be read, which means that I most certainly will be blogging and reviewing again, at an insane pace. So, be ready to bear with me, as I will try to be reviewing a book every two days! Thanks, and I hope you're still reading my blog!

Ana

Monday, May 28, 2012

Book Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

 Warning: This review contains spoilers about Divergent. If you have not read Divergent, read at your own risk.
Title: Insurgent
Series/Sequel? Divergent #2
Author: Veronica Roth
Genre(s): Dystopian, Romance, Action
Age Level: YA
Page Count: 525 (Hardcover)

Summary from Goodreads:  One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth's much-anticipated second book of the dystopian Divergent series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature.

Review: I have a good amount to say about this book, so here we go:

I loved Divergent. I loved everything about it. And I guess it's amazing-ness made it hard for the sequel to be as good. It was probably my own over-expectations that caused me to not like this book as much as I wished I could have.

Here's what was really bothering me in this book: Tris. I loved how badass she was in Divergent. (Pardon my language.) I feel like all (or at least most) YA heroines are all weak, spineless, damsels in distress, who would cry over anything and everything. In Divergent, she wasn't like that. But in this book... she was. I mean, I get that she killed one of her good friends and that it's natural to be really broken up about it. I get that she lost both of her parents. But when you're in a life-or-death situation, you can't balk at the sight of a gun, otherwise you will die.

Other comments about Tris: in my opinion, she made a lot of STUPID, what she called "selfless", decisions, which did nothing but complicate things that much more. She was also a little to focused on Four (because I DESPISE the name Tobias, and wish he still went by Four) the entire time. What he was doing, why he was doing it, was he mad at her, blah, blah blah, blah blah.

Yes, at times, her and Four were really cute, and I was going "awwwww!" like the pathetic romantic I am. But her entire city was on the brink of war. She should be more focused on that rather than her relationships; which created some major drama, let me tell you.

That being said, there were some very interesting parts, and twists and turns I never saw coming. I loved seeing the insides of the different factions. We had learned about Abnegation and Dauntless and a little bit of Erudite in Divergent. In this, we get to see more of Erudite, along with both Candor and Amity, which I found very interesting. I also loved how big a part the factionless play in this book. They are major players and it changes the entire story... for the better, I think. There was also this one part at Amity with a bit of "peace serum" and Tris that was completely hilarious.

And the ending... oh, the ending... if you don't like cliffhangers, than I would suggest waiting until the third book comes out!

So, yes, I was disappointed. I'm not sure if I should have spent $18 on this book. But I did, and it was good enough that I'm not about to go and sell it.

Rating:

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Book Review: Embrace by Jessica Shirvington

Title: Embrace
Series/Sequel? Embrace #1
Author: Jessica Shirvington
Genre(s): Paranormal Romance
Age Level: YA
Page Count: 369 (Hardcover)
POV: 1st Person (female

Summary from Goodreads: 

It starts with a whisper.

"It's time for you to know who you are..."


Strange dreams leave her with very real injuries and there's a dark tattoo weaving its way up her arms. The guy she thought she could fall in love with just told her he's only half human - oh, and same goes for her. And she keeps hearing a distant fluttering of wings.

Violet Eden is having a very bad 17th birthday.

But if angels seek vengeance and humans are the warriors, you could do a lot worse than betting on Violet Eden...


Review: Romance + new mythology = AWESOME

The thing that first drew me into this book was the cover. Because, I mean, I think that cover is essentially the epitome of awesomeness.

Then came the characters. The main character, actually, named Violet Eden. Because she is hilarious and outspoken and strong and not just a damsel in distress (the majority of the time). I loved how strong she was, how she was not going to break down over a guy. Though she did make some stupid decisions at times, I believe that all in all, she was intelligent, clever, and focused.

And then we come to Phoenix and Lincoln. The two swoon-worthy boys. Oh, how I loved both of them! Their relationships to Violet were both so different, the way they treated her and talked to her. They were both awesome in their own separate ways, but if we're picking teams, I think I'm going with Lincoln.

But really, I think the thing that got me the most about this book was the mythology. All the different magic in this book, how it was set up, who had the ability to do what, and how other things tied into it. Every magical, angel-related part of this book I loved and loved hearing about.

So, yes, this book was good. Very good. But it's the best if you want new, interesting mythology. And if you like romance. Recommended for fans of the Fallen series!

Rating:


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Book Review: Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken

Title: Brightly Woven
Series/Sequel? No
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Genre(s): Fantasy, Adventure, Old-Fashioned Fiction
Age Level: YA (12-14)
Page Count: 354 (Hardcover)
POV: 1st Person (female)

Summary from back of book: Just as the rains come after ten long, dry years, a young wizard, Wayland North, appears, to whisk Sydelle Mirabil away from her desert village. North needs an assistant, and Sydelle is eager to see the country - and to join him on his quest to stop the war that surely will destroy her home. But North has secrets - about himself, about why he chose Sydelle, about his real reasons for the journey. What does he want from her? And why does North's sworn enemy seem fascinated by Sydelle himself? 

Review: So, I wasn't originally planning on reviewing this book. But I have to. Because it was just... perfect.

I'm not saying the plot was perfect, or the characters were perfect. It was more the AMOUNT of everything that was perfect. The AMOUNT of tension. The AMOUNT of romance. The AMOUNT of action. The AMOUNT of fantasy/magic. It all came together in such a way that... I didn't want the story to end. I didn't want to have to leave this world, or these characters.

The characters were awesome, by the way. All of them. They were so unique in their personalities and their mannerisms and... EVERYTHING that I felt like I knew them. North was hilarious, Sydelle was kind, yet kick-butt and brave, the Sorceress Imperial was mean... they were all just such wonderful characters!

I found the magic/fantasy part of this book fascinating as well. North's cloaks, and the different talismans were things I haven't really seen before in books, and it was interesting how they had an effect on the type of magic each wizard could do. The beliefs in the different goddesses and how that influenced the story and the characters were interesting as well. And to what Sydelle could do... well, I don't want to put in spoilers, but I never saw it coming!

Really, a lot of the twists that happened in this book, I didn't see coming. But in a good way.

If you liked the Inheritance Cycle (Eragon) but want something shorter and easier to read, I would suggest this for you. You won't regret it!

Rating:

In My Mailbox (7)


In My Mailbox is a meme held by The Story Siren, which trumpets the books book bloggers have gotten that week/weeks to read and review. Now, I know that it is normally held on Sundays, but I didn't have computer access for the past week and a half, due to the insanity that is life. However, I  got an insane number of books this week, and so I just had to share them!

From the library, I got:

The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore
The Secret Sisterhood of Heartbreakers by Lynn Weingarten
You Against Me by Jenny Donham
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
Sister Wife by Shelby Hrdlitschka (Which I may or may not review)
Stork by Wendy Delsol
Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen (Which I may or may not review:

I also BOUGHT (squee!)

Divergent and Insurgent by Veronica Roth. (Which have both already been read, and are waiting to be reviewed.)

So, like I said, I haven't had computer access for the past week and a half, so I have 6 or so books to review. So be watching for those!


Sunday, May 6, 2012

In My Mailbox (6)


In My Mailbox is a meme held by The Story Siren, which trumpets the books book bloggers have gotten that week/weeks to read and review. I had a few books left over from last week to read, so I restrained myself from getting to much. However, two of the books I've been waiting for for forever (that's a lot of "for"s...) and so I got them on hold for as soon as they were able to be checked out from the library. So this is what I got:



Embrace, by Jessica Shirvington
Spellbound, by Rachel Hawkins
Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter

Both Spellbound and Out of Sight, Out of Time I got on hold. Embrace... well, the cover looked cool, and that was that. I'll be going back to the library tomorrow, so I'll probably have a huge pile next week to blog about.

What did you get in your mailbox?

Book Review: I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore


Title: I Am Number Four
Series/Sequel? The first of the Lorien Legacies series, followed by The Power of Six
Author: Pittacus Lore
Genre: Science Fiction (Scifi)
Age Level: YA
Page Count: 440 (Paperback)

Summary from back of book: 


NINE of us came here. 


WE look like you. 


WE talk like you. 


WE live among you - but


WE are not you. 


WE have powers you dream of having. 


WE are the superheroes you worship in movies and comic books -


BUT we are real. 


THEY caught Number One in Malaysia, Number Two in England, and Number Three in Kenya. 

THEY killed them all. 

I AM NUMBER FOUR. I AM NEXT. 

Review: I've never really been interested in aliens. I was not into green things with antenna and super-large eyes. But this wasn't like that at all. And it was ah-mazing.


This book was awesome. I loved reading about the Legacies and stories his guardian Henri (also an alien) would tell Four about Lorien (their home planet). I loved learning about all alien aspects of this - something, with my dislike of aliens, I hadn't expected I would.

I've found that I really enjoy reading from male characters' POV's, and this book was no exception. Number Four (I'll just call him Four from now on) was a character that I loved. He had the fate of an entire planet and species resting on his back, and he still manages to be compassionate and selfless and heroic. He also manages to have a social life. I want to meet him!

This book was incredibly fast-paced. The action never stopped. There was always something going on. There was never a lull in the action, and I had trouble putting it down, because of how quickly things went. It didn't feel rushed or an overloading of information, though. Everything just transferred so smoothly from one part to another, you didn't notice that you had already read through 100 pages and it was WAY past your bed time.

I loved all the secondary characters as well - Henri, Sarah, Sam, Six, even Mark and Bernie Kosar. They were all so vibrant and strong and had their own personalities and interests. I've found that sometimes in books, secondary characters pale greatly to the main character. Not in this story. Each character was strong and unique, and I loved it.

If you liked the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, I would suggest this book for you. You won't regret it!

Rating:





Thursday, May 3, 2012

Book Review: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Title: Unearthly
Series/Sequel? The first of the Unearthly series, followed by Hallowed
Author: Cynthia Hand
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Age Level: YA
Page Count: 435

Summary from inside flap of book: Clara Gardner had recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, insn't easy. 

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally,) everything seems to fall into place - and out of place at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side. 

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she's have to make - between honesty and deceit, long and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

Review: Wait, this book was 435 pages? Really? Let me tell you, it didn't seem like it. I went through this book so quickly, I thought it was my typical 300 page book.

I've never been much of a fan of angel books. I was just never interesting on perfect, beautiful, amazing beings with wings. Probably because they were so perfect and beautiful and amazing and flawless. I'm sorry, but I cannot relate to someone to totally flawless.

But I liked this book. I liked how Clara was pretty much a normal teenage girl. She made mistakes, had fights with her friends and family, and was slightly hormonal. She was not perfect or flawless or (not that I would consider) especially beautiful. I loved reading from her point of view, and I feel like it would have greatly detracted from the story if it was written in third person.

Tucker + Christen = a love triangle I cannot decide on. Seriously. They were both awesome and hot and date-worthy in their own ways, and I'm glad there are no surefire teams, cause I have no idea who I would able to decide on.

I've read a lot of books in my lifetime, and I can normally guess fairly accurately what is going to happen next, or that someone isn't who they seem to be, that they are going to turn out to be the bad guy, the love interest, etc., etc. But with this book, I couldn't. I didn't guess that people were going to be. I was so surprised (but in a good way) when I found out.

Now, for all I loved in this book, there were a couple of problems. Clara starts dating SPOILER! Tucker. END SPOILER! As she is dating this boy - actually, after she's bee dating him for only a couple of months, she says that she is honest-to-goodness in love with him. Like, must-be-with-him-or-I-will-die in love with him. And, I'm just not sure how realistic that is. I understand that her love for him shaped events in the book that couldn't have possibly happened if she didn't love him so much, I still saw it as unrealistic and annoying.

All in all, a very good Paranormal Romance book, which I am looking forward to getting the sequel to.

Rating:





Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Quote of the Month - May

So, I love quotes. Ask my friends, my family, anyone who hangs out with me - I love quotes. And every month, I seem to have a new quote that I just cannot stop thinking of. Sometimes they're funny quotes, but most of the time they're fairly inspirational. Which is why I'm doing something called the Quote of the Month. This will be a monthly post with a quote that I love, which is like my mantra for the month. For May, the quote is

"No one can tell you where you alone must go." 
- If No One Will Listen (song) by Kelly Clarkson

My explanation: Essentially, what this is saying is that you can have people supporting you all the way - your friends, your family, the people that love you - but sometimes, you have to go places where they can't follow you. Sometimes you have to journey - either a metaphorical journey within yourself, or an actual, physical journey as well - to find answers to questions that only you have the ability to answer. Here is the song that this quote came from: 

 

Book Review: Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson


 Title: Wintergirls
Series/Sequel? No
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Genres: Realistic Fiction, Hard Topics
Age Level: YA
Page Count: 278 (Paperback)

Summary from Goodreads: Lia and Cassie were best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies. But now Cassie is dead. Lia's mother is busy saving other people's lives. Her father is away on business. Her step-mother is clueless. And the voice inside Lia's head keeps telling her to remain in control, stay strong, lose more, weigh less. If she keeps on going this way—thin, thinner, thinnest—maybe she'll disappear altogether.

In her most emotionally wrenching, lyrically written book since the National Book Award finalist Speak, best-selling author Laurie Halse Anderson explores one girl's chilling descent into the all-consuming vortex of anorexia.


Review: So, there was World Book Night on April 23rd, which my library (and other libraries around the country/world) celebrated it by giving out books to people that don't read a lot. One of the books was this one, and so in celebration of World Book Night, I decided to read it.

I've been having a problem reviewing this book. I... can't really put my thoughts about it into words. But I'll try, so... here we go:

So, you know from reading the summary, that this is mainly about eating disorders. I've always found eating-disorder books very interesting. My problem with them is personal - upon reading them, I always feel as if I'm going to turn anorexic. Not that I actually ever have, but...

I've only read a few of them, but this was one of the better ones. Laurie Halse Anderson is a very good author, and this was a raw, unpolished look at anorexia and girls who cut themselves for release. I found Lia's struggle very interesting. I loved seeing the way she thought, how she viewed herself and what she did in order to be thin. She viewed herself in a different way than others did, and it brought up a question that I believe we all think about sometime in our lives, though it is impossible to answer: Do we all see things the same? Which of those views is the true one? Cassie's ghost haunts Lia throughout this book. Is it really Cassie's spirit, or is it Lia's inner demon personified, in a way that she can hear and see and understand?

I thought Lia was also intelligent, clever. She was able to figure out ways that made it seem as if she had eaten, even if she hadn't. As horrible as it was, her starving herself, it made me respect her. She was very clever in the way she did things.

I also liked how Lia genuinely cared about her little stepsister, Emma. Lia did everything she could to make Lia happy. She hated her parents, but still cared a lot about Emma. I liked her for that.

This is a very thought provoking novel, one that you have to read to fully understand and appreciate. I... really wish I could explain it more than that, but I cannot.


Rating:


Monday, April 30, 2012

Book Review: Looking For Alaska by John Green



Title: Looking For Alaska
Series/Sequel? No
Author: John Green
Genres: Realistic Fiction
Age Level: YA
Page Count: 221 (Paperback)


Summary from Goodreads: Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words and tired of his safe life at home. He leaves for boarding school to seek what the dying poet Francois Rabelais called the "Great Perhaps." Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including Alaska Young. Clever, funny, screwed-up, and dead sexy, Alaska will pull Miles into her labyrinth and catapult him into the Great Perhaps.


Review: I feel like I almost shouldn't post a review to this, because I'm going to feel bad once I do, but... Here's the thing: The first John Green book I read was The Fault in Our Stars, which was his latest book, the fifth one he's written. And it was so utterly amazing I couldn't believe my eyes. It was that awesome. And then I go and read this, which was the first book he ever wrote (or at least got published).

You could tell the difference.

Ugh, now I feel really mean. But let me explain myself.

One of the things I loved in The Fault in Our Stars was how... interesting the conversations the main characters had. They were teenagers, yes, but their conversations were so funny/deep (alternately, not at the same time) and just so interesting. But then, in this book, they were... just so... kinda stupid and shallow and... not all together interesting. They were concerned about what typical high school students were concerned with - sex and drugs and alcohol. And... I guess I just expected more from this author.

The plot in itself wasn't horrible. Alaska was very interesting, and I enjoyed reading her character. I found Pudge's memorization of last words cool as well. The pranks they pulled had me laughing and clucking my tongue at them. I also thought it was cool how the chapters - and the parts of the book - were split between Before and After. I found Pudge's and the Colonel's investigations in After interesting as well.

I'm kinda split down the middle in terms of the ending. I thought it was fitting, because there really WAS no clear answer, but at the same time, I hated how there wasn't a solid ending, a solid The End that said that this was what happened and that was that.

Overall, my thoughts on this book are kind of divided right down the middle. You'll have to try it for yourself to see whether you like it or not. Only personal preference will be able to tell.

Rating:


Book Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins


Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door
Series/Sequel? No
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Genres: Realistic Fiction, Romance
Age Level: YA
Page Count: 338 (Hardcover)

Summary from Goodreads:  Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit -- more sparkly, more fun, more wild -- the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket -- a gifted inventor -- steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.


Review: So, I read Anna and the French Kiss, by Stephanie Perkins. I lurved it. I found out there was a companion. I walked into my library on Monday and found this waiting for me on the "New" shelf!

This book is different than Anna and the French Kiss. There are some similarities, though. It's almost like they are the same book, just with different events happening in different places and orders.

I liked how each character in this book had their own thing. Inventing for Cricket, fashion for Lola, baking for Andy, figure skating for Calliope. Each person sticks to their thing, and is really good at their thing, and their thing influences their character. I respect Stephanie Perkins for being able to differentiate her characters so.

I liked Lola's relationship with her dads. I thought it was cute and nice and cool and sweet how, even though they weren't her real parents and they were gay, they still had a very familial relationship. I also thought Andy and Nathan (her dads) were funny and sweet and cute in their own right.

I liked how Anna and St. Clair (from Anna and the French Kiss) made and appearance in this book. They were so cute, and I was glad to see more of them. I liked how, with their love, they helped Lola deal with her relationship problems, through listening ad advice.

I've already said this, but I loved how much each character's thing influenced the plot as well, and not just the characters. I liked how Lola's ability with a sewing needle saved the day.(You'll have to read the book to know what I'm talking about.)I liked reading about each of her ensembles, how they sometimes matched what she was doing that day, and how each one was so unique. It was also interesting to read how the other characters reacted to her outfits.

I didn't like Max at all. I had no idea why Lola was even with him. He was rude and mean, and I don't think Lola should have even been with him in the first place. But I guess it worked out in the end. :)

I don't think I like this book as much as Anna and the French Kiss (because I can't' help comparing the two). I'm not sure why. I can't really pinpoint the reason. But if you liked Anna and the French Kiss and/or Sarah Dessen, I would suggest it, because there is no doubt in my mind you will enjoy it!

Rating:


Sunday, April 29, 2012

In My Mailbox (5)


In My Mailbox is a meme held by The Story Siren, which trumpets the books book bloggers have gotten that week/weeks to read and review. So, I was at my library twice this week, and I had nothing else let to read, and I saw so many good things, and... well, this is what happens when I'm let loose in a library:



Wither, by Lauren DeStephano
Looking For Alaska by John Green (I read The Fault In Our Stars by him and have been waiting to get my hands on another one of his books for a while now)
Ten Things We Did (and probably shouldn't have) by Sarah Mlynowski
Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff
Hero Type by Barry Lyga (The LAST :( book for book group)
Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken
I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson (In honor of World Book Night, which this was a book for)

So, yeah. Twelve books. That most would say that's a lot, but it's really not, because these:

 





I've already read and reviewed, on Goodreads if not on here. And these:



I've already read, and just haven't had the time to review. So, with five of the twelve already read, I only have seven left to go! Any opinions on what I got this week?


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