August 31, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday {8}

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights eagerly anticipated upcoming books.

Hallowed by Cynthia Hand

For months part-angel Clara Gardner trained to face the raging forest fire from her visions and rescue the alluring and mysterious Christian Prescott from the blaze. But nothing could prepare her for the fateful decisions she would be forced to make that day, or the startling revelation that her purpose—the task she was put on earth to accomplish—is not as straightforward as she thought. Now, torn between her increasingly complicated feelings for Christian and her love for her boyfriend, Tucker, Clara struggles to make sense of what she was supposed to do the day of the fire. And, as she is drawn further into the world of part angels and the growing conflict between White Wings and Black Wings, Clara learns of the terrifying new reality that she must face: Someone close to her will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning. 

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publish Date: January 24, 2012

I've been really looking forward to this ever since reading Unearthly. It was another one of those times where I thought the book was a little older and didn't realize the second book wasn't out yet so I was even more anxious for the second book than usual. I love Hand's take on angels and really look forward to reading more. And obviously, I look forward to more Tucker. Who wouldn't? If you haven't read Unearthly, you should definitely get on that before Hallowed comes out.

August 29, 2011

Passion by Lauren Kate

Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publish Date: June 2011
Source: Library

Luce would die for Daniel. 
And she has. Over and over again. Throughout time, Luce and Daniel have found each other, only to be painfully torn apart: Luce dead, Daniel left broken and alone. But perhaps it doesn't need to be that way... 
Luce is certain that something -- or someone -- in a past life can help her in her present one. So she begins the most important journey of this lifetime...going back eternities to witness firsthand her romances with Daniel...and finally unlock the key to making their love last. 
Cam and the legions of angels and Outcasts are desperate to catch Luce, but none are as frantic as Daniel. He chases Luce through their shared pasts, terrified of what might happen if she rewrites history. Because their romance for the ages could go up in flames...forever.

Yes, I've heard the bad reviews, but I quite liked the first two books, Fallen and Torment, and thought I'd enjoy this one as well. Sadly, it just didn't do it for me.

First of all, the whole story just kind of left me a little muddled and confused. It wasn't one of those stories where you're on the edge of your seat wondering what loop it's going to throw you through next. It was just a bit confusing and didn't seem fully thought out. Luce kept "realizing" things that I thought I already had figured out or I simply didn't understand at all even after she "explained" what she learned.

Luce. Luce, Luce, Luce. She drove me absolutely nuts! She was selfish and idiotic. She kept meddling with her past lives for her own benefit never once bothering to think she was intruding. She just HAD search through her past live's not willing to just accept Daniel's love. Every time she sees Daniel in a past life, though, she loses her head like a sex-starved teenage idiot. It's was beyond annoying.

The one thing I really like about Passion as compared to the other two was Daniel's POV. We got much more of it than the meager glimpses we've seen before. It was almost every other chapter this time. I liked to see what was happening from his end of things as opposed to everything being all about Luce.

Final thoughts: If you've read the other two in the series, then this one might be worth picking up since it's necessary if you plan on finishing the series. If you've never read the series, I definitely wouldn't recommend it simply because Passion doesn't have much going for it.

Pages: 420

Series: Fallen #3
Rating: 3 stars

August 28, 2011

In My Mailbox {9}

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It features books acquired over the past week no matter the source (bookstore, publisher, friend, library, etc.)

I didn't get much this week since I've been trying to work done my towering TBR pile at home. I've been trying to be good about not checking out any new books, but I can't do anything about the ones that come in from being on hold, now can I? Besides the normal library stuff, I got some swag I'd won a while back. And without further ado, my mailbox:

Supernaturally by Kiersten White (I've been dying for this since Paranormalcy.)
Forever by Maggie Stiefvater (Another one I've been dying for. This was the first author and series I fell seriously in love with.)
The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade (I've actually read this but just recently found out about the sequel and thought I could use a refresher.)

Vanish/Firelight swag. 

That's all for me. What'd you get in your mailbox?

August 27, 2011

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: October 2010
Source: Library

Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end. No more puzzles. No more variables. And no more running. Thomas was sure that escape meant he and the Gladers would get their lives back. But no one really knew what sort of life they were going back to. 
In the Maze, life was easy. They had food, and shelter, and safety...until Teresa triggered the end. In the world outside the Maze, however, the end was triggered long ago. 
Burned by sun flares and baked by a new, brutal climate, the earth is a wasteland. Government has disintegrated -- and with it, order -- and now Cranks, people covered in festering wounds and driven to murderous insanity by the infectious disease known as the Flare, roam the crumbling cities hunting for their next victim...and meal. 
The Gladers are far from done running. Instead of freedom, they find themselves faced with another trial. They must cross the Scorch, the most burned-out section of the world, and arrive at a safe haven in two weeks. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them.  
Thomas can only wonder -- does he have the secret of freedom somewhere in his mind? Or will he forever be at the mercy of WICKED?

These books are quickly becoming some of my very favorites. They're just so stinkin' awesome! I really think I could just go on and on about how awesome The Maze Runner Trilogy is turning out to be, but I suppose I should get down to the nitty-gritty details (no, not the spoilery kind.)

I'm pretty sure I have nothing bad to see about The Scorch Trials. There was so much action I wasn't bored for one minute. I found myself being torn between wanting to relish the story and wanting to flip pages as fast as I could. There was just the right amount of mystery that I continued wanting to discover the answers instead of becoming fed up with all the unanswered questions. And boy, are there questions. It starts with a few and then they just snowball from there, but luckily, answers are slowly given along the way. It leads quite nicely into the last book.

All the unexpected twists and turns were perfect. My mind kept being blown over and over. It was awesome. There was a tinge of horror to this one even more than the first, but it's a raw, real horror instead of paranormal or anything of the like. It was such a surprising aspect that only made me love it more. Each new horror just made me sympathize with Thomas and his friends moreso.

The writing is also very well done. I think the third-person POV makes it even more realistic and easier to feel what Thomas is going through. I think I went through the gauntlet of emotions just as much as him. Everything felt so realistic, I was turning around checking to make sure nasty monsters sent by WICKED weren't right behind me. Especially Cranks. You'll have to read it, I definitely don't want to ruin the full effect for anyone.

Final thoughts: This is a seriously fantastic follow-up book. I actually liked it better than The Maze Runner but only slightly. If you're in for a good action-filled book full of mystery with the added rarity of a main boy character definitely pick this up. I'm begging you, read these books! They're seriously amazing.

Pages: 360
Series: Maze Runner #2
Rating: 5 stars

August 26, 2011

Cover Lover {9}

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 Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood
Publish Date: February 7, 2012

August 25, 2011

Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs

Lily Sanderson has a secret, and it's not that she has a huge crush on gorgeous swimming god Brody Bennett, who makes her heart beat flipper-fast. Unrequited love is hard enough when you're a normal teenage girl, but when you're half human, half mermaid, like Lily, there's no such thing as a simple crush. 
Lily's mermaid identity is a secret that can't get out, since she's not just any mermaid - she's a Thalassinian princess. When Lily found out three years ago that her mother was actually a human, she finally realized why she didn't feel quite at home in Thalassinia, and she's been living on land and going to Seaview High School ever since, hoping to find where she truly belongs. Sure, land has its problems -- like her obnoxious biker-boy neighbor, Quince Fletcher -- but it has that one major perk: Brody. The problem is, mermaids aren't really the casual dating type -- the instant they "bond," it's for life. 
When Lily's attempt to win Brody's love leads to a tsunami-sized case of mistaken identity, she is in for a tidal wave of relationship drama, and she finds out, quick as a tailfin flick, that happily ever after never sailed quite as smoothly as you planned.

I liked this way more than I thought I would. I haven't really read a lot of mermaid books so I didn't really know what to expect, but it was fantastic!

I spent a good bit of the book trying to figure out whether I like Lily's obsession with fish terminology or not, but in the end it only added to her character. I really like Lily for the most part, but my one big gripe is how absolutely blind she is to everything around her.On the one hand, this was incredibly annoying to read, but on the other hand, I can kind of see it. Remember those crushes you pined for and thought you were in love with? Yeah, it happened to most of us so I'll let it slide for Lily. I, for one, didn't see the charm in Brody whatsoever but Lily was simply blinded by her crush obsession.

Quince was seriously awesome. I don't think I've ever liked a "bad boy" character as much as I liked him. Quince had depth! How often does it happen that the boy has depth, especially the bad boy? And when Lily continued to be a big fat jerk to him even though there were times he actually helped her out, I just wanted to hug him.

The descriptions were pretty good too. I loved all the mer-building and technology descriptions. It was nice to hear realistic descriptions of things like houses and the whole clothes situation as compared to The Little Mermaid type stuff. Also, the powers were a cool little touch even if they didn't really get to be used that much. It reminded me of the Australian show H2O: Just Add Water which I was obsessed with a while ago. One thing I really could have done without though, was the epilogue. Sure, it promises a sequel, but it just kind of ruined the moment for me.

Final thoughts: If you're looking for a romance with a splash ( ;]) this should definitely be your pick. The characters were good and the exploration of the merworld was really fun. This is a really cute read with the addition of awesome mermaid stuff.

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publish Date: May 2010
Pages: 293
Series: Fins #1
Source: Library
Rating: 4 stars

August 24, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday {7}

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights eagerly anticipated upcoming books.

Fever by Lauren DeStefano

Rhine and Gabriel have escaped the mansion, but danger is never far behind.  
Running away brings Rhine and Gabriel right into a trap, in the form of a twisted carnival whose ringmistress keeps watch over a menagerie of girls. Just as Rhine uncovers what plans await her, her fortune turns again. With Gabriel at her side, Rhine travels through an environment as grim as the one she left a year ago - surroundings that mirror her own feelings of fear and hopelessness.  
The two are determined to get to Manhattan, to relative safety with Rhine’s twin brother, Rowan. But the road there is long and perilous - and in a world where young women only live to age twenty and young men die at twenty-five, time is precious. Worse still, they can’t seem to elude Rhine’s father-in-law, Vaughn, who is determined to bring Rhine back to the any means necessary.  
In the sequel to Lauren DeStefano’s harrowing Wither, Rhine must decide if freedom is worth the price - now that she has more to lose than ever.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publish Date: February 21, 2012

I recently finished Wither and loved it. It didn't have a cliffhanger ending that made me NEED that second in the trilogy but I enjoyed the world and the characters more than enough to be excited for the next book all the same. I look forward to seeing more of Rhine and Gabriel. I'm hoping Fever will show us even more of the dystopian world and maybe answering some of my burning questions concerning it.

August 23, 2011

Tune in Tuesday {3}

Tune in Tuesday is hosted by the awesome Greads.

Adele has such a powerful voice. I didn't really get into her music when her first album came out, but since then I've really started loving her stuff. It's definitely good music for when you feel like being chill. Even her fast-paced songs just have a different vibe about them. This one has been stuck in my head for a while so I thought I'd share it with all of you.
Happy listening :]

August 22, 2011

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson

Who is Jenna Fox? 
Seventeen-year-old Jenna has been told that is her name. She has just awoken from a year-long coma, and she's still recovering from the terrible accident that caused it. Her parents show her home movies of her life, her memories, but she has no recollection. Is she really the same girl she sees on the screen? 
Little by little, Jenna begins to remember. Along with the memories come question - questions no one wants to answer for her. What really happened after the accident?

I've heard some amazing things about this book, but I'm not going to lie, it didn't blow me away or anything. That's not to say it was bad either, it just wasn't one of the best books I've ever read. Okay, okay I'll stop being all weird and confusing and just get on with the review.

The format was definitely different and interesting. I enjoyed the new experience. Instead of solid, concrete chapters there were little breaks throughout chapter-like things. It made it feel even more like I was in Jenna's head going through this process of remembering with her. The process itself was great too. It took a little bit for me to get completely pulled in but I finally did and it made me feel for Jenna all the more.

Jenna was a really easy character to identify with. Not because it's likely that I would be in that situation in my lifetime but something about her just demanded attention. I found myself just wanting to root for her and tell off all the people who were making her life difficult. I enjoyed watching her journey of discovering herself as well.

My big gripe about this book was Ethan. Now there's nothing inherently wrong with him as a character but I do take issue with his and Jenna's relationship. It was barely in the story and didn't really seem of any importance to me. It seemed like this weird add-on that was only there to serve the purpose of acting as a catalyst. To make up for this unnecessary addition though, the ending was seriously awesome, in my opinion. Awesome doesn't even really seem like the right word...maybe pretty?

Final thoughts: This was a quick read that anyone could easily get into. Jenna is an easy character to connect with and makes the story all the more enjoyable. If you're looking for a quick mystery this is definitely a good option.

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Publish Date: April 2008
Pages: 266
Series: Jenna Fox Chronicles #1
Rating: 4 stars

August 21, 2011

In My Mailbox {8}

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It features books acquired over the past week no matter the source (bookstore, publisher, friend, library, etc.)

This week I had my first ever actual mail week! A couple weeks ago Jennifer Echols tweeted saying if anyone would like a copy of Love Story for review to email her. So I did. She even sent me a copy of Going too Far as well. And she signed them both! I cannot express the awesomeness of all this. I also received my first ever ARC this week as well. It happens to be from a local publishing house in Seattle which I find pretty neato. And of course, I had some library picks this week as well.
(Sorry for the long intro, I was super excited about all this.)

Going too Far by Jennifer Echols
Love Story by Jennifer Echols
(I am quite excited for both as I have heard so many great things about these.)

Roche Harbor Books
Far From the War by Jeffrey David Payne (I'm not sure about the political aspects, but it is dystopian and I'm sure we know of my love for that by now ;] )

Passion by Lauren Kate (Yes, I have heard all the bad reviews, but I still rather like the Fallen series thankyouverymuch.)
The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson (I don't remember much from 13 Little Blue Envelopes, but I do remember it was one of the first contemporaries I really got into.)

And that's all for me this week. What did you get in your mailbox?

August 20, 2011

XVI by Julia Karr

Every girl gets one. An XVI tattoo on the wrist - sixteen. They say they're there for protection. 
Some girls can't wait to be sixteen, to be legal. Nina is not one of them. Even though she has no choice in the matter, she knows that so long as her life continues as normal, everything will be okay. 
Then, with one brutal strike, Nina's normal is shattered; and she discovers that nothing that she believed about her life is true. But there's one boy who can help - and he just may hold the key to her past. 
But with the line between attraction and danger as thin as a whisper, one thing is for sure... 
for Nina, turning sixteen promises to be anything but sweet.

I'm sad to to say I did not love this book. There were a few good aspects about it, but overall I really wasn't a fan of XVI.

First of all, it took what felt like FOREVER to get through this. I kept glancing at my progress and seeing I hadn't really made any. I'm pretty sure I was bothering my fiance to no end with my constant "this book is SO boring!" and "I'm never going to finish!" I know you're probably thinking "then why did you finish?" but I'm always really hopeful when it comes to these types of things. I simply want to book to better and hope by finishing it it'll be so. In this case, it definitely wasn't so.

When I first started I felt like I'd been dropped into an alien world without being given any sort of direction. Some things cleared up a bit as I got further into the story, but I was left in the dark about many things. I never did get a picture of what trannies or elports looked like so I ended up having to imagine up something all on my own. I was very disappointed in the world-building here. Karr built a whole new future world but didn't bother to explain much to the reader.

Another disappointment was Nina herself. She was so annoying! She sits there and accuses Sal of using her and then continues to be friends with someone who's acting no different than the way Sal had been acting. She goes on and on about not wanting to be "sex-teen" to the point that she treats Sal badly. Speaking of Sal. He wasn't a fantastic love interest or anything, but he really wasn't that bad either. He was nice and a teensy bit mysterious, but that's about all I know about him.

The writing just made the story feel a bit forced, as well. The dialogue was often odd and awkward and it felt like things popped up out of nowhere just to keep the story going. There was basically no flow at all.

For all that ranting, there were a few things I liked about XVI. Karr tackles the issue of teen sex in a new and unique way. It felt like she wasn't afraid to get in there and get her hands dirty. And while nothing was particularly explicit, it felt like she wasn't watering down the issue for the teen audience either. And another little random thing I enjoyed about the story was the fact that everyone ate vegetarian in this future world. I like this because 1) I'm a vegetarian and 2) it's actually a real issue people don't normally think about.

Final thoughts: I wouldn't actually recommend this to anyone, but I also wouldn't tell them specifically not to read it. There are some interesting ideas and issues worth taking a look at in this book.

Publisher: Puffin/Speak
Publish Date: January 2011
Pages: 325
Series: XVI #1
Rating: 3 stars

August 19, 2011

New Layout

So, the fantastic fiance decided to make me a new layout. I definitely wasn't complaining. He worked on it all day but wouldn't let me look until it was finished. Finally, he let me see and I loved it!
In explanation of this random post and mini-story: what do you guys think? Are the colors too bright? Any constructive criticism?

Cover Lover {8}

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

Publish Date: September 5, 2011

August 18, 2011

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

When Thomas wakes up in the lift the only thing he can remember is his first name. He has no recollection of his parents, his home, or how he got where he is. His memory is blank. 
But he's not alone. When the lift's doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade, a large expanse enclosed by stone walls.  
Just like Thomas, the Gladers don't know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning, for as long as anyone can remember, the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night, for just as long, they've closed tight. Every thirty days a new boy is delivered in the lift. And no one wants to be stuck in the Maze after dark. 
The Gladers were expecting Thomas's arrival. But the next day, a girl is sent up - the first girl ever to arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers. The Gladers have always been convinced that if they can solve the maze that surrounds the Glade, they might find their way home...wherever that may be. But it's looking more and more as if the Maze is insolvable. 
And something about the girl's arrival is starting to make Thomas feel different. Something is telling him that he just might have some answers - if he can only fins a way to retrieve the dark secrets locked within his own mind.

I often find it difficult to get into a "boy" book. It's usually just weapons, fighting, and unceasing action. Now, I'm not all about "feelings" all the time, action all the time can be a little much for me. What can I say, I'm a girl. However, The Maze Runner was not one of those books.

The action and mystery here were absolutely perfect. Every time I thought I had things figured out and there was going to be a little break, something new jumped out of nowhere taking me by surprise just as much as all the characters.. This scenario might be annoying in another setting, but it totally works here. It was just enough mystery and intrigue to keep me furiously flipping pages to find out all the answers. In fact, I had to keep covering up the next page so I wouldn't get ahead of myself in my excitement and skip forward.

No one character really stood out, but I liked most of them. I wish Teresa had been more present in the story, but hopefully there'll be some more about her in the next books. I was also a little confused about Thomas and Teresa's relationship since it popped out of nowhere, but thankfully, so were they.

Final thoughts: This was an absolutely fantastic start to the series. If you're up for a fast-paced action-filled dystopian-esque mystery this is the book you need. Seriously, if you've been putting this one off, you definitely need to pick it up. Also, it's an especially good "boy" book if that's what you're looking for.

Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publish Date: October 2009
Pages: 379
Series: Maze Runner #1
Rating: 4 stars

August 17, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday {6}

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights eagerly anticipated upcoming books.

The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

In The Lost Hero, three demigods named Jason, Piper, and Leo made their first visit to Camp Half-Blood, where they inherited a quest:
Seven half-bloods shall answer the call,To storm or fire the world must fall.An oath to keep with a final breath,And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death.
Who are the other four mentioned in the prophecy? The answer may lie in another camp miles away, where a new camper has shown up and appears to be the son of Neptune, god of the sea...

Publisher: Hyperion
Publish Date: October 4, 2011

Percy Jackson made me a huge fan of Rick Riordan. He was the first one to really get me into the whole Greek mythology thing with YA. I absolutely love them. Maybe his books are more MG but that doesn't taint my love for them one bit. I love that The Heroes of Olympus is an offshoot of Percy Jackson too. Some of the same characters are still a part of the story, but you also get whole new characters to learn about. These are fantastic, fast-paced reads despite the ginormous size. If you haven't read the first in this series, The Lost Hero, you should definitely get on it before this one makes it's debut.

August 16, 2011

Tune in Tuesday {2}

Tune in Tuesday is hosted by Greads.

(Sorry it's not 90s but the only music I really remember from my 8 years in the 90s happen to be Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys and we just can't have that :P)
I hadn't actually head of Matt and Kim until earlier this year when their newest song showed up on my Facebook feed. I listened to that one and immediately turned to Youtube to listen to everything I possibly could about them. I finally got a hold of one of their older albums and it continued to play on repeat on my iPod for weeks. I love Matt's voice. It's just so unique. I hope you guys enjoy them as well :] (Also, check out some of their videos. They're pretty funny and off-the-wall.)
Happy listening.

August 15, 2011

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.  
But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

Oh. My. Goodness. This book was amazing and breathtaking and astounding. Basically, this book was any fantastic word you can think up. The beauty that Oliver is able to conjure up from a world so lifeless and dull is fantastic.

At first I thought Lena was too average and I couldn't possibly imagine her ever doing anything to the contrary of what she's always known. Slowly, though, she transforms. And it's perfect. It doesn't feel forced or at all wrong. And of course, I was sympathizing with her the whole way. How can one not sympathize when love is in question? In a world where a love for one's children doesn't even exist it still manages to rise up and take hold of some people. I almost wanted to shout for joy when love started grabbing hold of Lena.

Delirium is amazingly well crafted. I loved all the little snippets at the beginning of chapters that were from books and writings that only existed in this made-up world. It's little touches like that which make it real and truly draw the reader in. The disease itself is incredibly believable. At one point it lists all the symptoms and I couldn't help but thinking it does sound exactly like a disease. With all the diseases that scientists are constantly "identifying" it seems only a matter of time before things we take for granted become known as a disease as well.

The writing is simply beautiful. I was devouring yet savoring each and every little word because they were all special. I wrote down one of the things that struck me near the beginning: "[bright buildings] glistening like teeth over the slurping mouth of the ocean." There's so much more like that, but you'll just have to read it and find out for yourself.

Final thoughts: I can't say enough good things about Delirium. It was amazing and thought-provoking. And you seriously have to read this book. Be prepared for an awesome cliffhanger, though. It left me seriously antsy for Pandemonium.

Publisher: HarperTeen
Publish Date: February 2011
Pages: 441
Series: Delirium #1
Rating: 5 stars

August 14, 2011

In My Mailbox {7}

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It features books acquired over the past week no matter the source (bookstore, publisher, friend, library, etc.)

So, I didn't realize quite how many books I put on hold for the trip to my sister's wedding. Turns out it was a bunch even though I was only able to bring two of them and only managed to read two books overall anyway. It was a little sad, actually. So, here's all those book. Hopefully I can get to them before they're due back to the library :P

Bumped by Megan McCafferty (I really can't stress how much I love dystopians.)
The Summer of Firsts and Lasts by Terra Elan McVoy (This seemed like a great summer read. I just wasn't expecting it to be so big!)
Forgive My Fins by Terra Lynn Childs (I haven't read a good mermaid story in quite some time so I'm looking forward to this one.)
Fins Are Forever by Terra Lynn Childs (I actually put this one on hold before I realized it was the sequel.)
The Scorch Trials by James Dashner (No, I haven't read The Maze Runner yet but it is sitting around waiting to be read so I thought I'd be prepares with the next one.)

That's all for me. What did you get you mailbox this week?

August 13, 2011

One Night That Changes Everything by Lauren Barnholdt

Eliza is in full-blown panic. Her notebook has been stolen - the one that lists everything she wants but is afraid to go after. And the absolute worst person in the world has it: her ex-boyfriend, Cooper. 
Like it's not bad enough that Cooper was lying to Eliza for their entire relationship - now he and his friends are blackmailing her. They're giving her just one night to complete the most humiliating tasks on her list or they'll post her secrets online - including the ones that aren't just about her. 
Eliza's sure of only one thing: She isn't going down without a fight. Cooper may have what's left of her dignity, but she's not the only one with something to hide...

One Night That Changes Everything was exactly the type of read where you go "why can't my life be as cool as this?" And sure, Eliza has to do a whole bunch of stuff that's outside of her comfort zone but who doesn't want to run around all night with their best friends doing adventurous things? That was one of my favorite bits about this book. The whole limited time-frame thing is such an interesting concept. The whole book takes place within the time frame of 7:00 p.m. one night to about 7:00 a.m. the next morning. It makes everything feel a little more exciting.

One thing I really wasn't a fan of, sadly, was Eliza herself. I know Cooper hurt her, but my goodness, does she really have to be such an evil witch to him all the time? Her denial of her feelings also kind of drove me batty. It's one thing to want to take the high road and be all girl-powery about it, but she was taking it waaay too far. I did, however, rather like Copper and her best friends. Her friends were well-flawed which helped them to actually be a part of the story instead of just hanging out in the background as best friends usually tend to do.

I was a little disappointed in the writing. The dialogue felt a bit choppy and awkward at times. Other than that though, it was pretty okay. Nothing I'd rave about, but I wouldn't condemn it either.

Final thoughts: This is a really cute, quick read. Definitely pick it up if you're in the mood for a little late night adventuring.

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publish Date: July 2010
Pages: 242
Series: No
Rating: 4 stars

August 12, 2011

Cover Lover {7}

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 Love goes to Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay
Publish Date: August 9, 2011

August 11, 2011

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

What if you knew exactly when you would die? 
Thanks to modern science, every newborn has become a ticking genetic time bomb - males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out. 
When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape - to find her twin brother and go home. 
But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant she is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.

I completely understand what all the raving was about now. This book was A-mazing. Seriously. I'm hoping I don't gush all over this review with its amazingness.

To start, the concept was much different than any other dystopian I've read. Most are simply a post-apocalyptic world or a society with major flaws. I found it a bit difficult to imagine a world where most things still appear normal in the sense of how we see the world now knowing it was dystopian. It was also hard to imagine a world where "men" can be 15. I mean, the people who were "old" and close to death were only a year older than myself. It's crazy.

The writing in Wither was absolutely fantastic. It was beautiful and yet morose. The descriptions of everything from snow to fancy dresses were so fantastic, I wanted to be there myself despite the hopelessness of the world. And the characters DeStefano creates are just as fantastic as the writing itself. I found myself feeling sympathy for Linden though I knew I should hate him as Rhine did. Speaking of Rhine. I loved her. She was so genuine and yet still a strong lead. Instead of being all pushy and in-your-face about her strength and determination, though, she kept it underneath the surface making me respect her all the more.

I was so torn between how I wanted it to end. I both wanted Rhine to escape and to stay. In the end, I was happy with the ending but it sadly didn't leave me with that "I need more now!" feeling. If the cover didn't say Trilogy right on it, I could have easily assumed this was a standalone. Don't mistake that minor whining on my part to be a true complaint, though. I will be awaiting the next in the series as you most certainly will when you read it.

Final thoughts: Any fan of dystopia will definitely want to get their hands on this. If you're wary of dystopian or think you don't like it, give this one a try. It's a different vibe than the "despair, despair, despair" of others. Go to the bookstore, library, borrow from a friend: whatever you need to do, go get this book immediately.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publish Date: March 2011
Pages: 358
Series: The Chemical Garden Trilogy #1
Rating: 5 stars

August 10, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday {5}

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights eagerly anticipated upcoming books.

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

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.

Publisher: Dutton
Publish Date: September 29, 2011

I absolutely loved Anna and the French Kiss and Stephanie Perkins' writing. I've already heard fantastic things about Lola, but with how amazing Anna was I would read it anyway. Perkins has managed to get me more interested in contemporary than I ever was before. This should definitely be on your TBR list if it isn't already.

August 9, 2011

Sweet Deceit by Kate Brian

Ariana Osgood has been tapped for Stone and Grave, Atherton-Pryce Hall's most exclusive secret society. But so has her arch-nemesis, Kaitlynn. They go head-to-head during Hell Week, but Ariana has worked too hard for her luxe life at APH to give it up without a fight. When the competition turns deadly, only one girl will walk away from it alive...

Yes, I'll admit, Kate Brian's Private and Privilege series' are my guilty pleasure reads. I'll be the first to admit they're not the best books out there, but I will continue to devour each and every one of them anyway.

Privilege is quite different from Private. To start, Ariana is a murderer. She's managed to escape prison but continues to be faced with all the problems that come along with assuming someone else's identity. While the problems continue to flow fairly well, I still found myself thinking "how in the world can this many bad things happen to one person?!?" Maybe that many bad things would happen to me if I was a killer, but things certainly never get that bad in my day-to-day life. On the other hand, Brian certainly brings about the conflicts in fantastic surprise twists.

And now for the characters. Somehow, Kate Brian gets you feeling sympathy for one killer and scorn for another. Ariana is such a unique character. It's obvious she still belongs in a mental institution yet I still found myself rooting for her at times. And I've gotta hand it to the girl, she's a top-notch evil schemer. While Sweet Deceit has plenty of fun and unique characters, it simply has to many characters for my taste. I was finding it difficult to keep track of them all let alone put faces to them. It's not fair when I have to ignore some of the characters simply so I can focus on the main story.

I love the premise for this book and the series overall. It's not every day you come across a story and see it through the eyes of a killer. Especially when the killer is a teenage girl.

As a side note complaint: what was with the gum? I can't get into it without ruining things, but I'll just say it seemed like a plot hole to me. Small, maybe, but it seemed glaring to me while I was reading through it.

Final thoughts: If you're up for a private school book with a bit of a twist, this is definitely a good choice. Be prepared for a little darkness, though.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publish Date: June 2010
Pages: 214
Series: Privilege #4
Rating: 4 stars

August 7, 2011

In My Mailbox {6}

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It features books acquired over the past week no matter the source (bookstore, publisher, friend, library, etc.)

Sadly, I only have a few books this week since I got them the very day we left on the trip and they simply would not all fit in my bag. I did have to bring clothes, after all. So without further ado, my 2 books!

One Night that Changes Everything by Lauren Barnholdt (I love this time limit idea. It makes the adventure seem all the better :])
Delirium by Lauren Oliver (I absolutely love dystopia and this has been on my list from the moment I heard about it. I really can't wait to read it!)

That's it for me. What did you get in your mailbox this week?

August 6, 2011

You Wish by Mandy Hubbard

Kayla McHenry is having the worst sweet sixteenth burthday ever! And it's not just because she's cynical. It's hard to have a good time when you're secretly in love with your best friend's boyfriend. 
Just before Kayla blows out her candles, she thinks: I wish all my birthday wishes actually come true. Because they never freakin' do. 
The next morning, Kayla wakes up and sees a life-sized, bright pink My Little Pony outside her window. The following day, a year's supply of gumballs arrives. Then, an oddly plastic-looking boy named Ken shows up in a convertible and starts following her around everywhere! 
Each day, another wish from her childhood comes true. But..they MUST STOP. 
Because when she was 15? Kayla wished Ben Mackenzie would hiss her. And Ben is her best friend's boyfriend.

This book was absolutely adorable. Not adorable in the puppies-rainbows-cupcakes kind of way, but the antics that occur are crazy and I found Kayla to be pretty likable. Yes, she was quite cynical, but it's not in a way that's incredibly obnoxious. Maybe I didn't find it obnoxious because I was just like her. I hated pep rallies and cheerleaders and pink. I wanted to be the "black sheep" and wear the crazy clothes nobody else was wearing. It's almost like Hubbard shoved my life and personality into Kayla. I did find her to be a little overly cynical at times, but since I've been there it really didn't bother me for the most part.

However, though Kayla thinks she's the good guy, she could be a total witch to the people around her. She was really mean to Ann. I mean, she shoved the poor thing right back into the closet! It made me sad to see how badly she treated everyone. I'm glad to say though, I was quite happy with the outcome and loved to see the change that happened.

The setting just so happens to take place in my home state too! Of course, this makes me love this book even more. It's not exactly close to home, but everything on the West side of Washington kind of feels like home anyway. I could totally relate to everything in the setting from the weather to the dirt bike. (I don't ride, but I know a ton of people who do.)

My one main question I was left with was this: why did Kayla find it someone important to keep all the wishes a secret? I understand mermaids and mythical creatures keep their secret because they don't want to get dissected. Times such as that, it's acceptable to keep the crazy things in your life to yourself. I know Kayla would have sounded crazy if she said her birthday wishes from the past 14 years were coming true, but she didn't need to actually hide the things that came up. I was really confused on this part and felt it was a plot hole that hadn't been completely patched up.

Final thoughts: I found this to be a really cute, quick read. The wishes are crazy and you have absolutely no idea what may come up next. The lesson Kayla learns is a great one for everyone to remember as well.

Publisher: Razorbill
Publish Date: August 2010
Pages: 272
Series: No
Rating: 4 stars

August 5, 2011

Cover Lover {6}

(I know cover memes are all over, but I really love this name. If anyone feels I haven't given credit where credit is due, please contact me.)

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 Love goes to Going Underground by Susan Vaught
Publish Date: September 2011

August 4, 2011

The Game of Sunken Places by M.T. Anderson

When Brian and Gregory receive an invitation to stay at a distant relative's strange mansion...well, they know should know better than to go. Trips to distant relatives' strange mansions rarely go well. And this mansion is even stranger than most. Uncle Max doesn't really know what century he's in. The butler boils socks. And the attic houses the Game of Sunken Places. 
Is the Game of Sunken Places an ordinary board game? Hardly! The Game of Sunken Places looks like a board game. And most of the time it acts like a board game. But from the moment Brian and Gregory start playing, they are caught up in an adventure that goes far beyond the board. Soon the boys are dealing with attitudinal trolls, warring kingdoms, and some very starchy britches. 
Luckily, Brian and Gregory have wit, deadpan observation, and a keen sense of adventure on their side.

The first thing that drew me into this book was the premise. It sounded a bit like Jumanji what with the board game adventure and all. It turned out quite similar to that, but much darker. I was impressed with the story line itself, but sadly, everything else was a bit unremarkable.

The characters weren't all that memorable. Gregory was sadly pretty flat for a main character. He was all about being the "easy-going funny guy" and that was basically the end of his personality. Brian seemed to mostly be the "shy-unassuming-best-friend" but he had some shiny moments and if you look for it, you can even detect some growth. I was actually most impressed by one of the secondary characters most. (I would tell you who he is, but that would be a spoiler.) It's a little sad when a secondary character can outshine a main character.

I have to say though, I was pretty surprised by the ending. Maybe I should have seen it coming, but I really didn't. A surprise ending is usually a plus (as was in this case.) I found the writing to be a bit awkward to begin with, but I settled into it after a while.

Final thoughts: Overall it was unremarkable, but not bad. The story would be good for a MG reader, but the writing may be a bit hard for them to get used to.

Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publish Date: May 2004
Pages: 272
Series: Norumbegan Quartet #1
Rating: 3.5 stars

August 3, 2011

Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann

The small town of Cryer's Cross is rocked by tragedy when an unassuming freshman disappears without a trace. Kendall Fletcher wasn't that friendly with the missing girl, but the angst wreaks havoc on her OCD-addled brain. 
When a second student goes missing - someone close to Kendall's heart - the community is in an uproar. Caught in a downward spiral of fear and anxiety, Kendall's not sure she can hold it together. When she starts hearing the voices of the missing calling out to her and pleading for help, she fears she's losing her grip on reality. 
But when she finds messages scratched in a desk at school - messages that could only be from the missing student who used to sit there - Kendall decides that crazy or not, she'd never forgive herself if she didn't act on her suspicions. 
Something's not right in Cryer's Cross - and Kendall's about to find out just how far the townspeople will go to keep their secrets buried.

Sadly, this book was pretty boring for most of it. I didn't have incredibly high expectations or anything, but I was at least expecting a little something as suggested in the synopsis. The story didn't even reach the most intriguing part of the synopsis until halfway through. I was really losing hope at that point too. And though it was a bit slow-moving when it comes to catching my interest, the actual story seemed to move much too quickly. Things went from nothing to sinister in about two sentences.

The story ended up being rather original and quite creepy. That's about as good as it gets though. I was incredibly unimpressed by the writing. "But" seemed to be nonexistent and was instead replaced by disjointed sentences that made me want to cringe. The language didn't really seem to suit the characters. It was much too "stereotypical farmer" while the characters didn't seem to fit that sentiment at all.

The characters themselves were hard to get into and relate with. I found myself not caring about trying to put details with the character and instead just imagining them as generic images to help move the story along without any effort.

Final thoughts: The story was pretty good though it took quite a bit to get into. Nothing is spectacularly great about this book but because of its size it's a pretty quick read.

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publish Date: February 2011
Pages: 233
Series: No
Rating: 3 stars

August 2, 2011

Tune in Tuesday {1}

Tune in Tuesday is hosted by Greads.

I figured I'd start of my first ever Tune In with my favorite band ever. I'm ecstatic to say they're local and I've been listening to them since basically the beginning. I would post every one of their songs if I could since I sincerely love them all. As it is, it's safe to say you'll probably see a good bit of them on here. This particular song is one of my favorites of their newest album. Seriously though, you must check them out. They are absolutely fantastic :]

Happy Tuesday, all!

August 1, 2011

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna was looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush ton the verge of becoming more. So she's less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris - until she meets Etienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Etienne has it all...including a serious girlfriend. 
But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

This book in one word? Fantastique! Seriously, I loved everything about this book. The characters were great, the setting was great, the writing was great. I'm could just go on and on about this book. Why have I not read it before now?!?

First off, I absolutely loved the characters in this book. Anna had such a great voice. I thought I'd read books with believable high school girls, but she totally blows everyone else right off the page. Her thoughts were the kind almost everyone can relate to. Especially the inner SCREAMING in capital letters. Of course, I want to hit her on the head and tell her she was a dummy sometimes, but I'm sure others would have been doing the same to me had they been following me around and listening to my every thought. Everyone else was great too. So great, in fact, I wanted them to be my friends instead of Anna's sometimes. And, of course, who could forget St. Clair? Personally, I prefer his first name, but I shall not delve into French on the keyboard. He's totally droolworthy, but not just in the looks department. He's funny and just naturally charming. And amazing. Enough about Euro boy though.

How could someone not love a book set in Paris? All of the descriptions whether it be about the weather or Notre Dame were great. I also loved the little peppering of French words throughout the story. It really helped in making me feel like I was actually in Paris. Plus, the whole French thing adds to the hilarity of Anna's situation (I love when she orders lunch for herself the first time!). And speaking of food: the descriptions alone made me want to shove some things in a bag and board a plane for the City of Light immediately.

I absolutely loved the relationship drama in Anna and the French Kiss. It was a totally new take on the high school boy-meets-girl scenario for me. It was much more emotional and engrossing than I ever could have possibly imagined. I hurt for Anna when she hurt and was pulling out my hair right along with her in frustration.

Final thoughts: This book was amazing. You absolutely must read it. I was cracking up all over the place and loving every minute. This book is a great escape that takes you not only to the City of Light, but captures your heart in the process.

Publisher: Dutton
Publish Date: December 2010
Pages: 372
Series: No
Rating: 5 stars