Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday (46)

The Miseducation of Cameron Post
Emily M. Danforth
Feb. 7th, 2012

When Cameron Post’s parents die suddenly in a car crash, her shocking first thought is relief. Relief she’ll never have to tell them that, hours earlier, she had been kissing a girl. 
But that relief soon turns to heartbreak, as Cam is forced to move in with her conservative aunt Ruth. She knows that from this point on, her life will forever be different. Survival in Miles City, Montana, means blending in and not making waves, and Cam becomes an expert at this—especially at avoiding any questions about her sexuality. 
Then Coley Taylor moves to town. Beautiful pickup-driving Coley is a perfect cowgirl with the perfect boyfriend to match. To Cam’s surprise, she and Coley become best friends—while Cam secretly dreams of something more. Just as that starts to seem like a real possibility, her secret is exposed. Ultrareligious Aunt Ruth takes drastic action to “fix” her niece, bringing Cam face-to-face with the cost of denying her true self—even if she’s not quite sure who that is. 
The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a stunning and unforgettable literary debut about discovering who you are and finding the courage to live life according to your own rules.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Follow Friday (2)

As always, its time for another Follow Friday. This wonderful meme is hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee. Each friday two blogs are featured in an effort to expand one's blog. Go and check out both of these sites to learn more!

Q: When you’ve read a book, what do you do with it? (Keep it, give it away, donate it, sell it, swap it..?)

I have a huge attachments to my books. I like having a huge library in my room taking up all my space and I can't seem to part with any of my books, even the ones I really don't like. As a result, I own over 400 books.. I suppose when I move out for college I'll end up giving away/selling a lot of them, but until then I'll going to keep them all!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday (45)

The Statistical Possibility of Love at First Sight
Jennifer E. Smith
January 2, 2012

Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. She's stuck at JFK, late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon to be step-mother that Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's in seat 18B. Hadley's in 18A. 

Twists of fate and quirks of timing play out in this thoughtful novel about family connections, second chances and first loves. Set over a 24-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Shatter Me by Tehereh Mafi

Title: Shatter Me
Author: Tehereh Mafi
Publisher: Harper Teen
Reading Level: YA, 14+
Publication Date: November 15, 2011
Pages: 338
My Edition: Hardcover

Cover Rating: C+
Book Rating: B

Plot - 16/20
Characters - 17/20
Writing - 18/20
Originality - 18/20
Entertainment - 8/10
Recommendation - 8/10
Total: 85/100

Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days. 
The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color. 
The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war-- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now. 
Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior. 
SHATTER ME is a very quick and easy read, but it’s also a very unique book because of Mafi’s interesting and enjoyable new writing style. I really enjoyed most of the novel and I think SHATTER ME will, in turn, make a great series. SHATTER ME is novel that has been hyped about for a long while, even before its long-awaited release on November 15th. When I received this book from my library system, I was thrilled to finally start it. I had not really known what this novel was exactly about before I started it. I had just known that she had the power to kill a person just by her hands. 

When I began reading, I got just a slight view of the new world that Tehereh Mafi had created. It was very austere and sad, birds didn't even fly anymore. Juliette had been hauled up in this tiny, dark cell for nearly a year. She hadn't spoken in nearly a year (can you even imagine not speaking for a year?), hadn't touched anybody or been touched for even longer than that. She was alone in the asylum, but she had been alone for a long while before she was locked up. That was before Adam came into the picture. Everything changed when Adam entered her life again, for good and for bad.

Tehereh Mafi has a very fascinating writing style. It made the reading experience quite different and entertaining. Her writing style made the tone of the book very dissimilar and extraordinary. The one set back of the novel, is the pace of the novel. It was too fast; I never got enough time to connect with certain aspects of the novel. I would have loved the book to be another hundred pages or so if there was more time explaining the Reestablishment and longer periods of time where Adam and Juliette where alone together, I think that would have made the novel even better. 

SHATTER ME is a very quick and easy read, but it’s also a very unique book because of Mafi’s interesting and enjoyable new writing style. I really enjoyed most of the novel and I think SHATTER ME will, in turn, make a great series. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Follow Friday (1)

As always, its time for another Follow Friday. This wonderful meme is hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee. Each friday two blogs are featured in an effort to expand one's blog. Go and check out both of these sites to learn more!

Q: Keeping with the Spirit of Giving this season, what book do you think EVERYONE should read and if you could, you would buy it for all of your family and friends?

It would either by Divergent by Veronica Roth or Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins.

It think Divergent would actually appeal to a lot of readers out there today, but for Anna and the French Kiss, it would probably be more for my best friends. They are both wonderful books that I absolutely loved reading this fall. I can't wait for both of their sequels/prequels. 

Since I've been out of her for awhile, I decided to try this since my friend was doing it. Plus it's a great excuse to talk about books!

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Title: Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Publisher: Dutton
Reading Level: YA, 14+
Publication Date: December 2, 2010
Pages: 372
My Edition: Hardcover

Cover Rating: C-
Book Rating: A

Plot - 19/20
Characters - 20/20
Writing - 18/20
Originality - 18/20
Entertainment - 10/10
Recommendation - 10/10
Total: 95/100

Summary:Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris - until she meets Etienne St. Clair: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.
As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near - misses end with the French kiss Anna - and readers - have long awaited?

I was so not prepared for how much I was going to love ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS. It was absolutely delightful. I honestly cannot say a bad word about it.

It started off really pleasantly; I was instantly titillated with Anna and why her dad was sending her off to Paris and I really wanted to see what Paris and SOAP were like. I truthfully just could not put the novel down from the very first page.

I had read LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR before ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS so I was just counting the words until the amazing, gorgeous Etienne St. Clair came into the picture. Then he and Anna bumped into each other and I was instantaneously in unconditional love with Etienne St. Clair. He is just... ugh. I cannot say in words how much I loved St. Clair. He is so impeccable. From the very first part where Anna and St. Clair meet, he beat Owen Armstrong for the top position of swoon-worthy literary characters in my book. I found myself doodling his name in my notebook the day after I finished the novel. Nobody, real or fiction, has ever made me do that. So, in other words: I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE Etienne St. Clair.

As for the other aspects of the novel, they were pretty darn close to being as impeccable as St. Clair is. I really loved Anna. She felt so real to me, I felt like I could relate to her. Her personality was so likeable and sensible. I probably would have done exactly what she had done in that situation.

Paris was amazing. I was so jealous that I will never be able to experience going to high school in Paris. The backdrop and most of the best scenes between Anna and St. Clair took place at such famous and romantic monuments in Paris that it just set the tone for the whole love story. It was not predictable. I didnt know when they were going to get together at all. Perkins kept on getting close at times, and when they still didnt it was really frustrating, but well worth the wait.

If any literary character, who wasn't created by Sarah Dessen, ended up beating Owen Armstrong in my list of Top Swoon-Worthy Literary Characters, well, they deserve a cookie. Stephanie Perkins rightfully should get a whole batch of homemade chocolate chip caramel cookies because Etienne St. Clair and her whole novel were incredible. This book deserves every single word of praise its received yet far. I cannot wait for ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER next year!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Publisher: Dutton
Reading Level: YA, 14+
Publication Date: September 29, 2011
Pages: 338
My Edition: Hardcover

Cover Rating: B+
Book Rating: B

Plot - 16/20
Characters - 18/20
Writing - 18/20
Originality - 18/20
Entertainment - 9/10
Recommendation - 8/10
Total: 87/100

Summary: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.

After hearing so many amazing things about Stephanie Perkins two novels, I went ahead and requested them from my library system. LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR got here first before ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS. 

When I first started it, I really didn't know what all the hype was about. It was good; decent. A bit different with Lola's sense of style and personality and her family situation with Nathan, Andy, and Norah was definitely something I hadn't read before. So for the first part of the novel, I was just so-so about it. 

But then I got into it even more, and I started loving it even more. Lola is so unique, quirky, and just fun! I really enjoyed Lola being the main character. I really enjoyed hearing about Lola's ambition and her passion for creating and wearing such extravagant costumes. I very much disliked Max from the beginning. I just not a fan of his kind of characters and I saw through him from the very start of the novel. On the otherhand, there is Cricket. He was amazing (minus his name...). He was a very lovely and devoted character. I liked him, but I didn't love him. I liked seeing Lola fall in love with Cricket, but I never fell in love with him. 

I think my favorite part of the novel was how original Lola's family was. I have never read about a character with two gay dads, and her biological mom is actually one of her dad's sisters, leaving him as her actual uncle. It was very different, and I loved it! 

Stephanie Perkins writing is very refreshing and lively and intelligent. I loved her characters and I loved the setting, (If anyone knows me, they know that I am in love with San Francisco!). I would definitely recommend this novel. The story was modern with a cool twist to the traditional story line. It was a very quirky story that I would hope everyone would fall in love with!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Title: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Author: Michelle Hodkin
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Reading Level: 14+
Publication Date: September 27, 2011
Pages: 464
My Edition: Hardcover

Cover Rating: A-
Book Rating: C

Plot - 17/20
Characters - 15/20
Writing - 15/20
Originality - 15/20
Entertainment - 6/10
Recommendation - 7/10
Total: 75/100

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.
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer was very different from books I have read before. Before I started reading it, I had thought it was going to be something entirely different then it was. Or shall I say, than how it turned out. It was completely unexpected the way the novel finished. I had no idea that this novel was considered a paranormal suspense. I picked it up thinking it was a coming of age novel about a girl coming to terms with the death of her friends and finding love.

Hodkins' debut novel kept me entranced from the beginning. I wanted to know what had happened with Mara's friends, and I couldn't stop reading because of that. But I also couldn't stop reading because I was really intrigued with Mara as a character. The agony she was in when she found out her very best friend was dead felt very real. My only complaint is that I wish we had gotten to know Rachel better. She was Mara's best friend, but because we saw very little of her throughout the novel, I had no sympathy for her. I wished there had been more mentions or even flashbacks of when and how they became friends, the situation that locked them in as best friends, and, actually, a better mention of how and when Claire and Jude came into the picture would have been a lot better in my mind. I definitely would have had more sympathy for these characters. 

Now, Noah. Noah is a very interesting character for me. When he was first introduced I really wasn't feeling anything for him. Then he became more prominent in the story with Mara and I started to fall for his bedhead look. After finishing the novel though, I'm on the fence about him. Something for me just isn't clicking with Noah and the relationship between he and Mara. Which brings me to another point: their relationship. I wasn't a fan of it. As with Noah, it just wasn't going with me like I wished it had. It was insta-love. The present part of the novel took place within weeks of each other and by the novel they were already in love? I just wasn't buying it. Something about it felt...fake, in a way. 

I thought that the writing was decent. It kept me intrigued and I liked Mara as a character and how Hodkins showed the pain Mara was going through. The journey to discovering what Mara found out by the end of the book was very interesting, and there were a lot of points in the plot that I really liked. I just felt like they began really nicely, but weren't fulfilled as well as they could have been. 

With that said, I still enjoyed the book. I liked Mara. I liked the story and the plot, and I'm very excited to see what happens yet. I wasn't expecting what came upon this novel, but that was okay. In a wider sense, I guess the main problem I had with this novel is that it started out great, it just wasn't completed as well as I had hoped. I am hoping that that can be changed with the second book though. We'll see!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday (44)

Insurgent by Veronica Roth
May 28, 2012

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.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Bitter End By Jennifer Brown

Title: Bitter End
Author: Jennifer Brown
Publisher: Little, Brown
Reading Level: YA, 14+
Publication Date: May 10, 2011
Pages: 359
My Edition: Hardcover

Cover Rating: C
Book Rating: C-

Plot - 15/20
Characters - 15/20
Writing - 16/20
Originality - 13/20
Entertainment - 6/10
Recommendation - 5/10
Total: 70/100

When Alex falls for the charming new boy at school, Cole, a handsome, funny, sports star who adores her, she can't believe she's finally found her soul mate-someone who truly understands her and loves her for who she really is.
At first, Alex is blissfully happy. Sure, Cole seems a little jealous of her relationship with her best friends, Zack and Bethany, but what guy would want his girlfriend spending all of her time with another boy? But as the months pass, Alex can no longer ignore Cole's small put-downs, pinches, or increasingly violent threats. As Alex struggles to come to terms with the sweet boyfriend she fell in love with and the boyfriend whose "love" she no longer recognizes, she is forced to choose - between her "true love" and herself.
This novel was decent. The writing was decent, the story was decent. It was just ... okay. I just felt like I had read the same story before because the characters of Alex and Cole were just so similar to almost every other domestic abuse novel I've read. The subplot about her mother was nice, but it wasn't amazing.

The tone of the book didn't really feel the way it should have. Alex's friends and family didn't even make an effort to help her even when they knew about what was happening to her. Bethany and Zack were supposed to be her best friends, but they weren't, even after they found out was she was going through. They didn't try to help her at all. Her sister knew something, but did she mention it to her dad? No. Her mother-like figure, Georgia, had suspicions, but why didn't she act on it? Obviously, this novel frustrated me. 

The character of Alex seemed like almost every character in abuse stories out there. In fact, I did find her quite annoying, even before her relationship started. There wasn't anything unique about her at all. Cole was told to be this perfect, perfect guy, of course, but really he just wanted to get in her pants. There was nothing unique about that. The writing was decent also. I never really got completely absorbed into the novel, nor did the characters entice me enough. The plot went through the stages of domestic abuse alright. Through the whole novel, I was just waiting for something really exciting to happen. It was all slow going and I was looking forward for the one moment where I was rooting for Alex, but, unfortunately, that never happened.

Overall, this book was decent, it kept me reading (mainly because I just wanted to see how it would end). But, truly, this book was very unoriginal compared to other domestic abuse novels out there. I kept saying almost becuase there is one domestic abuse novel that was actually quite original, and I'd recommend it over this novel: Dreamland by Sarah Dessen.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A fresh look.

For a new beginning.

The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder

Title: The Probability of Miracles
Author: Wendy Wunder
Publisher: Razorbill
Reading Level: YA, 14+
Publication Date: December 8, 2011
Pages: 336
My Edition: ARC
Amazon Page

Cover Rating: B-
Book Rating: B-

Plot - 17/20
Characters - 16/20
Writing - 17/20
Originality - 18/20
Entertainment - 7/10
Recommendation - 7/10
Total: 82/100

Dry, sarcastic, sixteen-year-old Cam Cooper has spent the last seven years in and out of hospitals. The last thing she wants to do in the short life she has left is move 1,500 miles away to Promise, Maine—a place known for the miraculous events that occur there. But it’s undeniable that strange things happen in Promise: everlasting sunsets; purple dandelions; flamingos in the frigid Atlantic; an elusive boy named Asher; and finally, a mysterious envelope containing a list of things for Cam to do before she dies. As Cam checks each item off the list, she finally learns to believe—in love, in herself, and even in miracles.

The beginning was slow-going. I felt like the author expected you to know everything that had happened. She hadn't explained the past leading up to where she was in the present very well either. I just expected to hear more about the disease, what exactly it was, and what had happened throughout it.

I think the biggest fault in this book was the tone. I mean, it's about a girl who needs a miracle to live, right? The tone of the book wasn't sad or depressing, nor funny and entertaining. It was in the odd place in the middle that just made the tone seem plain. She did this, she did that. Not very much expressions at all. There was also the problem with the characters. Wunder tended to time skip a bit to much and not elaborate a lot, so because of that we just weren't able to connect with any of the characters a lot. We barely got to connect with Cam.

With all that said, the book was decent. I liked that idea of it, and if the points mentioned above had been hit a little bit more, I think THE PROBABILITY OF MIRACLES could have been a lovely hit of a book.

Two years coming, but here I am.


So, it's been just about two years since I've posted in my blog. I've thought about my blog a lot over those two years and I've checked in on it a lot. Just to make sure it was still there I guess. Maybe because I knew one day that I would really return here even though at some point I had once told myself that I probably wouldn't.

Life happens. I said that in my last post almost two years ago. Life did happen, in retrospect, I really wasn't in a very stable place in time then. But during the last two years, a lot has happened. I'm not going to go into detail, but I'll just say that I'm much happier now. When I started blogging, I was just a few months into being fourteen. Now I'm seventeen. I was in eighth grade, and now I'm a junior in high school. I've grown up a lot, and I've changed a lot.

Throughout the last two years, whenever I would visit my blog, I would see something that would jut amaze me beyond belief. Every single one of you still were following my blog. Every time I saw that I smile. So thank you.

I'd like to say that I'm going to be back now. I know it won't be like it was before I left. But in a way, I think that might be better. I can go at my own pace. Two years ago, when everything was happening, I really slowed down on my reading. Maybe, maybe, a book a month. If that. That continued on for a long while. I slowly started picking up a bit more, but nothing like when I was blogging.

Now, though, for the past three months or so, I've been reading very consistently. With the help and excitement of my best friend, Kendal, I started reviewing books on my goodreads again. Everyday in our Intro to Business class we would be on the computers, browsing through goodreads because it was one of the websites our school didn't block. I've just become increasingly more into reading and writing again by searching through all the books that I missed from not having kept up with everything. Anyhow, Kendal started her own reviewing blog (you can view it here, she just started and she's doing fantastic already. She's such a talented writer.), and I've been helping her here and there (mostly with HTML) and I noticed myself becoming more and more interesting into reviewing for my blog again.

So here I am. I'm back now and let me tell you that I'm so relieved. It's something I missed so much, you won't ever know. I haven't been here for two years and I know a lot of stuff is different and a lot of new bloggers are here and a lot of them have gone, and I haven't talked to any of you for a very long time, but I'm here now and I hope I can catch up with you all.

But first let me thank any one of you who are reading this. Everyone of my past followers are my inspiration and I would not be here if it weren't for you guys. So thank you.