April 27, 2013

Know Me Better #7

While doing the Book Bloger Love-A-Thon I came across I Am a Reader Not a Writer's Know Me Better feature through someone's blog and thought "perfect!" So, here we are with me sharing more little tidbits about myself (I know, you all find me fascinating.) I'm just going to start with the first post she did and work my way up from there. Sound good?

What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
I like girly clothes: dresses, skirts, high heels, lacy stuff, and the like. You'd never guess it from looking at me, though since I only ever wear jeans and tshirts :P

Beach or Pool?
Pool. I enjoy my toes in the sand as much as the next person, but I have an irrational fear of water I can't see to the bottom of, especially the ocean. Scary things live in there.

If you had 24 hours alone how would you spend it?
Reading, eating, and video games, most likely.

Coke or Pepsi?
I try to drink more natural sodas, but if these were put in front of me, I'd choose Coke.

If a movie was made about your life, who would you want to play the lead role and why?
Chloe Grace Moretz because she's blond and one of my favorite actresses :P

April 24, 2013

Cover Lover {74}

Of course we all know you should never judge a book by its cover, but do we ever really listen to that?
Cover Lover showcases eye catching, intriguing, and beautiful covers.

This week's Cover Lover goes to Jinx by Sage Blackwood
Publish Date: January 8, 2013
Oh, how I love middle grade covers. Jinx totally has it going on. we've got a tunnel of vines/trees, a mysterious castle-like building in the distance, and fantastic colors. The blues, greens, and golds blend beautifully. I see this cover and I'm immediately curious about the story. Why is the boy side-eyeing the castle? What is the castle doing off in the distance? Does it stand for good things? Bad things? Are the vines going to eat the boy?!

April 23, 2013

I'm calling it a day

You've no doubt noticed things have been pretty sparse and sporadic around here lately and I figure I you an explanation.

I really haven't wanted to blog lately. I really had to force myself to write the posts that have been going up lately. It's not just blogging, though. I've been feeling a little lost in general. I don't like my job, but I'm having trouble finding the energy to go out and try to get another. I don't even really know what I want anymore. I really wanted to work in a bookstore, but it's starting to look like that wouldn't be a very good career move as more and more of them go out of business. I'd love to work in a library, but going back to school kind of terrifies me. I was a complete stress-ball, nervous wreck the two years I went to community college. And that was just the normal classes everyone always takes.

I'm getting a bit off topic, though.

I'm still reading and I'm even writing reviews for most of them, but I'm just posting them to Goodreads right now. The funny thing is, I still like my blog and have a lot of ideas, I just have absolutely no will to write any posts.

So, as of now, the only things you're going to see are Cover Lovers and a few Know Me Betters since I scheduled them in advance. Cover Lovers are actually scheduled through October, so...

I might come back and I might not. I wouldn't call it a break because I have no scheduled time to come back or test it out again. I've just decided that I'm done blogging unless at some point in the future I want to start up again and make a commitment to keep it up.

I'd like to thank all of my followers, especially those of you who comment. I couldn't count how many times your comments made my day or encouraged me when I needed it.
I'll still be on Twitter and posting to Goodreads if any of you are interested, though.

April 20, 2013

Know Me Better #6

While doing the Book Bloger Love-A-Thon I came across I Am a Reader Not a Writer's Know Me Better feature through someone's blog and thought "perfect!" So, here we are with me sharing more little tidbits about myself (I know, you all find me fascinating.) I'm just going to start with the first post she did and work my way up from there. Sound good?

If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you want with you?
Sunblock, matches, and a pot.

What is one book everyone should read?
Everyone has different tastes so there isn't one certain book I'd suggest to everyone.

If you could have any superpower what would you choose?
Invisibility and talking to animals (The Wild Thornberrys anyone?)

Harry Potter or Twilight?
Harry Potter.

Gum or Breath Mints?
Gum, even if it makes my teeth hurt (a side effect of having way too many cavities.)

April 18, 2013

When We Wake by Karen Healey {Review}

Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: March 5, 2013
Source: ALA for honest review
Pages: 304
Series: When We Wake #1
Rating: Hit

My name is Tegan Oglietti, and on the last day of my first lifetime, I was so, so happy.
Sixteen-year-old Tegan is just like every other girl living in 2027--she's happiest when playing the guitar, she's falling in love for the first time, and she's joining her friends to protest the wrongs of the world: environmental collapse, social discrimination, and political injustice.
But on what should have been the best day of Tegan's life, she dies--and wakes up a hundred years in the future, locked in a government facility with no idea what happened.
Tegan is the first government guinea pig to be cryonically frozen and successfully revived, which makes her an instant celebrity--even though all she wants to do is try to rebuild some semblance of a normal life. But the future isn't all she hoped it would be, and when appalling secrets come to light, Tegan must make a choice: Does she keep her head down and survive, or fight for a better future?

I underestimated When We Wake. I'm not sure why, but sometimes I just don't expect much from a book. Sometimes it works out that I get what I expected, but then there are those times I'm pleasantly surprised which happened to be the case this time.

I really liked the way the story was told. At first I thought it was simply in first person present, but eventually it comes out that Tegan is actually doing a live webcast about everything that's happened to her. I liked when she'd break from strictly story-telling to give insight on the situation that she's since learned. I'm curious to see how this will go in book 2, though considering her cast ended at the end of When We Wake.

Tegan's kind of an angry character, understandably. This doesn't make it hard to relate to her, though. While I was reading the first few chapters I kept thinking “no, I don't want to know about her past life, because I already know she loses everybody and everything,” but it's kind of important to get a feel for her life before in order to sympathize. I liked that instead of despairing she used her anger and hurt to stand up for herself and fight, despite the many people wanting to use her.

Bethari is a fantastic character. She stands by Tegan and backs her up no matter what. She's sensible, fun, and an awesome computer hacker. I love the first scene in which her and Tegan are introduced. It's all awkward and weird for the first few minutes, but then they discover mutual interests and become more comfortable which each other. I don't know about you, but that describes pretty much all of my friend experiences.

I really liked that because Tegan wasn't up-to-date on the times I got to learn about all the future stuff right along with her; it felt more natural. I don't hate being dropped into a story and figuring things out for myself, but it can hinder my enjoyment some. Healey doesn't go overboard on the future slang either. I do think it's important for a book set in the future to have some of it's own words because language is a thing that evolves, but too much of it can weigh a book down. I think Healey added in just enough for it to feel real, but not pull me out of the story. Plus, kooshy is a really funny word.
The Nutshell: When We Wake is a well-rounded story with a little bit of action, mystery, and a main focus on Tegan's integration into future society. The characters are all pretty fleshed out and it's easy to sympathize with Tegan and her situation. If you want a book with good characters, an engaging story, and well-developed futuristic world then When We Wake is your book.

April 17, 2013

Cover Lover {73}

Of course we all know you should never judge a book by its cover, but do we ever really listen to that?
Cover Lover showcases eye catching, intriguing, and beautiful covers.

This week's Cover Lover goes to Invisibility by Andrea Cremer and David Levithan
Publish Date: 
For one, I'm digging the invisible boy. For two, this is a cover that really stands out. It's bright and attention-grabbing. The blue and yellow make for a good contrast and the title is pretty hard to miss. My only complaint is that because of the yellow tint the girl's leg looks terribly fake-tanned :P                                                                                              

April 15, 2013

The Whizz Pop Chocolate Shop by Kate Saunders {Review}

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: March 12, 2013
Source: ALA for honest review
Pages: 304
Series: No
Rating: Near Miss
Welcome to the most magical house in London.
The family of eleven-year-old twins Oz and Lily have inherited it, together with the mysterious shop downstairs. Long ago, the shop's famous chocolate-makers, who also happen to be Oz and Lily's great uncles, were clever sorcerers. Now evil villains are hunting for the secret of their greatest recipe. The terrifying powers of this magic chocolate have the ability to destroy the world.
Soon, Oz and Lily are swept into a thrilling battle, helped by an invisible cat, a talking rat, and the ghost of an elephant. It's up to them to stop the villains and keep the magical chocolate recipe out of harm's way. Their family and the world depends on it.

The Whizz Pop Chocolate Shop is cute and whimsical, but also has a bit of a dark side.

It seems to me there's not a lot of murder in middle grade. If there is, then I'm totally missing it or forgetting it so it surprised me. And not exactly in the best way. I mean, sure, things end up pretty well, but I just kept thinking about how this character killed in cold blood. It was a little unsettling.

I enjoyed the characters, but it felt like I didn't really get past the surface with most of them. So, while I enjoyed them, I feel like I didn't really get to know them and couldn't care about what happened to them all too much. Plus, I know she's eleven, but Lily's constant need to cry started to get to me.

I liked the story overall, but I'd been hoping for more magic chocolate. Most of the use of magic chocolate happened in the past, so it's just stories about magic chocolate instead of first-hand experience. The stories are imaginative and entertaining, yes, I just hoped it would have a bigger part in the present.

The adventures Oz and Lily get to go on are pretty great. There's everything from scuba-diving to cave dwelling to helicopter rides. Not to mention the romp around town with a giant cat.
The Nutshell: Despite the fact that my review makes it seem I didn't like The Whizz Pop Chocolate Shop it was a cute, quick read. I didn't get as attached to the characters as I'd like, but the talking animals, and awesome adventures made it worth the read.

April 13, 2013

Know Me Better #5

While doing the Book Bloger Love-A-Thon I came across I Am a Reader Not a Writer's Know Me Better feature through someone's blog and thought "perfect!" So, here we are with me sharing more little tidbits about myself (I know, you all find me fascinating.) I'm just going to start with the first post she did and work my way up from there. Sound good?

What’s your favorite season/weather?
Winter is officially my favorite season, but I enjoy the sun as long as it stays 80 and under.

PC or Mac?
I'd rather have a Mac, but I've only ever been able to afford PCs :P

Favorite music?
It varies. Sometimes I listen to pop, sometimes classical, sometimes indie.

Facebook or Twitter?

What TV show/movie/book do you watch/read that you’d be embarrassed to admit?
I'm not really embarrassed by my entertainment choices. The closest I come to that is 90210 because it kind of is a terrible show :P

April 11, 2013

Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans {Review}

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: January 15, 2013
Source: Library
Pages: 281
Series: The Memory Chronicles #1
Rating: Near Miss

Since her untimely death the day before her eighteenth birthday, Felicia Ward has been trapped in Level 2, a stark white afterlife located between our world and the next. Along with her fellow drones, Felicia passes the endless hours reliving memories of her time on Earth and mourning what she’s lost—family, friends, and Neil, the boy she loved.
Then a girl in a neighboring chamber is found dead, and nobody but Felicia recalls that she existed in the first place. When Julian—a dangerously charming guy Felicia knew in life—comes to offer Felicia a way out, Felicia learns the truth: If she joins the rebellion to overthrow the Morati, the angel guardians of Level 2, she can be with Neil again.
Suspended between Heaven and Earth, Felicia finds herself at the center of an age-old struggle between good and evil. As memories from her life come back to haunt her, and as the Morati hunt her down, Felicia will discover it’s not just her own redemption at stake… but the salvation of all mankind.

You know how sometimes you really want to like a book or just kind of expect that you will because everyone likes it and it's full of things you enjoy? That was me and Level 2. Now, don't get me wrong, I didn't hate it, but I also didn't love it.

First of all, I didn't especially care for any of the characters. I was kind of rooting for Felicia, but not in a way that made me feel like I was connected to her and her story. When the climax comes and she needs to make a decision I just kind of felt like “Eh, I'm good with whatever you choose.”

I had this inexplicable hate for Neil almost from the moment he was introduced. Maybe it's because Felicia talks him up too much or that he's strangely moody. I really don't know, I just didn't like him until very near the end of the book. I gained some respect for him when he said '“But you don't have to naked for that,”' though, because it was true (yeah, I know you're wondering what that's all about, but you'll either have to read it or have someone else spoil it for you :P)

Then there's Julian who just felt kind of. . .slimy to me. Yet, I didn't really hate him. I find this amusing because when Felicia introduces him into the story, she makes it clear she doesn't like him. He's definitely not the best guy ever, but maybe I was just feeling like rooting for the underdog this time around.

I found the setting incredibly unique and interesting. I mean, a stop-off between Earth and What Comes After isn't a new thought, but Appelhans spruces it up and gives it a whole new feel. I especially like that there's unrest in Level 2 and it's not just some place people go to settle unfinished things on Earth or what have you. I'm still not completely sure if there was some bigger reason Level 2 was modeled after beehives and why they were in the story so much (I can be a pretty surfacey reader,) but it doesn't unnaturally shoved into the story.

I enjoyed the back-and-forth between memories and Level 2 Felicia for a while, but at somewhere in the middle it just started bogging me down and I only cared about Level 2 Felicia. When things really started to build towards the climax and answers were coming from Felicia's memories I was able to get back into it again.

The last 50ish pages started getting a little strange for me. I think it started about the time Felicia is “watching” her memory instead of living it. The story-telling does make sense and I see where Appelhans was going with it, but it just pulled me out of the story. Then things start happening really fast and Felicia's not really in her body and then BAM the climax happens and it's basically over.
I do have to say I like how it ended and I'm curious to see how future installments will go.

Also, I couldn't picture the Morati as anything but glowing Weeping Angels.
The Nutshell: While I can appreciate Level 2's fresh writing and ideas, it wasn't my favorite read. I didn't hit it off with the characters, I got a little bored in the middle, and the ending felt weird. However, I found the world intriguing and liked the way Appelhans wrapped everything up. If like a good afterlife story with scifi-vibes then Level 2 is still worth a look.

April 10, 2013

Cover Lover {72}

Of course we all know you should never judge a book by its cover, but do we ever really listen to that?
Cover Lover showcases eye catching, intriguing, and beautiful covers.

This week's Cover Lover goes to The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White
Publish Date: September 10, 2013
I don't even know where to begin with this cover. It's absolutely stunning. The dark blue background with lighter spots interspersed looks amazingly star-like. And once again, I love that the title is the focus. The font is gorgeous and works perfectly with the gold designs to create the perfect contrast to the background.

April 2, 2013

Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza {Review}

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publish Date: March 12, 2013
Source: Publisher for honest review
Pages: 480
Series: Mila 2.0 #1
Rating: Near Miss
Mila was never meant to learn the truth about her identity. She was a girl living with her mother in a small Minnesota town. She was supposed to forget her past -- that she was built in a secret computer science lab and programmed to do things real people will never do.
Now she has no choice but to run--from the dangerous operatives who want her terminated because she knows too much and from a mysterious group that wants to capture her alive and unlock her advanced technology. However, what Mila's becoming is beyond anyone's imagination, including her own, and it just might ave her life.
I haven't heard anything bad about Mila 2.0, so I was a little disappointed when I found myself trudging along through the first half. However, it did pick up in the second half and I ended up enjoying the book overall.

Let's get my dislikes out of the way first.

Since Mila doesn't know she's an android in the beginning the story is just following her daily life which I found to be pretty dull. That's not to mention that all her friends are kind of witchy and annoying.
And then there's Hunter. I imagine he's going to be pretty important as the story goes on, but his and Mila's relationship just felt super weird to me. First off, he's only in about ¼ of the book and yet Mila thinks about him all the time. And am I the only one who thinks it's a little weird that Hunter invites himself over to Mila's house late at night? I mean, I know he was intending to check on her, but they hadn't even spoken all too much before the crash. I honestly spent the whole book waiting for him to pop up and *surprise* betray Mila or be working for the bad guy or something because it felt like his character would make more sense then.

Okay, I know this sounds a little terrible, but I got really sick of Mila's whining. Yes, I know she just discovered she's an android and all that, but I can only handle so much. She does end up growing and accepting herself, so I appreciate that. I don't necessarily wish she accepted it faster, just that I didn't have to hear so much about it. I will give you that it'd be disturbing to stab someone with a hair dryer cord.

Okay, now onto the positive stuff.

I spent most of the second half with my stomach in knots (in a good way) wondering what was coming next. There was just enough action to keep my heart rate up while keeping my heart in the story with twists and emotional developments.

The second half is where we start to move away from “I just found out I'm an android and nothing else matters” to “maybe this isn't so bad, and it can help save the people I care about.” This felt engaging and had me more invested in the story than the first half did; there's a face to the bad guy now, but still plenty of mysteries with more of them popping up right and left.

When the story begins Mila feels pretty blah to me. She's depressed, doesn't have all too much personality, and doesn't really think about anything other than her dead father and the new guy at school. As the story progresses, especially after getting to the compound, she starts to have more complicated emotions and turns out to be a pretty caring person which helped me connect with her.

Holland's a pretty crappy guy. Which makes him a good villain. At this point there's honestly nothing at all to like about him. He doesn't have a sad backstory or any traits that humanize him in any way. He makes it all that much easier to care about Mila and her situation.
The Nutshell: Mila 2.0 wasn't a total hit for me since I was pretty bored during the first half, but the second half managed to pull me in enough to become invested in the story. The entire first half of the book is setup which gets a little old, however, when you get to the point where the setup turns into story it's hard not to get interested in all the action, mystery, and emotion. I'm definitely looking forward to the sequel.

April 1, 2013

My Next Five {4}

This should have gone up weeks ago as I'm not on the fourth book in my five, but things happen and I get lazy. Sorry about that :P

Books mentioned:
1. Genie Wishes by Elisabeth Dahl
2. Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza
3. Emptyx by Suzanne Weyn (but I replaced Empty with Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans because it was due back sooner.)
4. The Whizz Pop Chocolate Shop by Kate Saunders
5. When We Wake by Karen Healey