Sunday, November 28, 2010

I'm Baaack!

It's been so long since I've been able to read anything other than textbooks. On the first day of my winter break from school I picked up Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Keuhnert and it reminded me why I love reading so much. Now I'm rereading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows because I wanted to be able to compare it to the movie. For the most part, it stuck to the plot of the book, sometimes taking the dialogue directly from it. I was pleased with it and can't wait to see part two whenever it comes out.

I went shopping at 3:00 AM on Friday to take advantage of all the Black Friday sales. It was crazy but so much fun! I went into Borders and couldn't resist buying something. I got Wuthering Heights and Pride & Prejudice. I feel like the majority of the books I read are newly released and I wanted to get some more "classics" under my belt. Hopefully, it will help prepare me for college and just to be more well-read overall.

I'm definitely not going to be finishing my 100+ Reading Challenge this year. School takes first priority over everything else and reading for pleasure just fell to the wayside. But I'm on break for a whole month and plan to catch up on my humongous tbr pile!

What are you reading this December?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Monster High by Lisi Harrison

From Lisi Harrison, the New York Times bestselling author of The Clique and Alphas, comes a new series with a fresh twist on high school, romance, and the horrors of trying to fit in.
They prefer to call themselves RAD (Regular Attribute Disorder), but some call them monsters. So far, the "monster" community has kept a low profile in Salem, but this year two new girls enroll at Master High School, and the town will never be the same.
Created just fifteen days ago, Frankie Stein is psyched to trade her father's formaldehyde-smelling basement lab for parties and cheerleading. But with a student body totally freaked out by rumors of monsters who might be stalking the halls, Frankie finds that life in the "normi" world can be rough for a chic freak like her.
She thinks she finds a friend in fellow new student Melody Carver--but can a normi be trusted with her big secret?
Monster High was an interesting take on the paranormal. The chapters alternate between the two main characters, Frankie and Melody. Frankie is the granddaughter of the original Frankenstein while Melody is a girl who moved to the small town from Los Angeles.

I'm going to start with talking about the ending. Oh my, is there a cliffhanger. One of the RADs is very close to being outed to the community for what he really is. The girls come together in order to keep this from happening but what's their plan? And will it even work? The ending got my attention enough to make me want to read the next book in the series whenever it comes out. Having said that, though, I don't think I would spend my money on it. This is one that I would wait to get from the library. It was a good read but not something I absolutely have to have my own copy for my collection.

Both Frankie and Melody are dealing with some serious body image issues. This is something that any teenager can relate to and understand.

For any readers out there that are shying away from this series due to an aversion to The Clique, you needn't worry. There's still lots of fashion and beauty references but no name dropping. I think you'll find this much more tolerable than Harrison's other series.

Overall, I'd say this novel was cute. Monsters are a huge trend in YA lit right now so it would make an okay addition to your collection.

3 stars

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg

The Lonely Hearts Club was an awesome girl power novel. After Penny gets her heart broken , she decides to swear off boys. When word gets around school, it turns out that lots of other girls share her feelings on the subject and the Lonely Hearts Club is born.

Every girl out there will be able to enthusiastically relate to thinking that boys can be a pain sometimes (or all the time, depending on the boy in question.) I really like that the story revolves around the concept that loving yourself and your friends should take priority over boys. I can admit to forgetting this important rule from time to time with less than stellar consequences so this story was especially poignant to me.

Beatles references were woven into the story nicely. From the characters names to the chapter titles, everything related back to Penny's favorite band.

 The Lonely Hearts Club was an adorable, girly, and positive read. I enjoyed every page! I'm very impressed with Elizabeth Eulberg's debut and look forward to reading more from her.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Cinderella Society by Kay Cassidy

I picked up The Cinderella Society from my local library because I liked the cover and the info on the inside flap sounded cute and interesting. However, cute and interesting doesn't quite cover everything that TCS was. It had a serious side as well.

TCS follows Jess Parker as she gets initiated into a secret society whose mission is to balance out forces of evil. There are makeovers, wardrobe overhauls, and boy dilemmas involved. Teen readers will have no trouble relating to bullying and needing backup in order to rise above peer pressure. I liked that Jess starts out as an underdog and slowly realizes her potential to shine. This reminds us that regular people ("reggies") have the power to make a difference. Kay Cassidy makes that message loud and clear without sounding too preachy.

Jess was a very real character. She was smart, funny, and full of insecurities.

Overall, TCS was super readable and a lovely debut for Kay Cassidy. It was such a great girl power read. I'm already pining for the continuation!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves

I recently finished reading Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves and I'm excited to tell you what I thought of it. I haven't written a review in months but I'm looking forward to getting back in the swing of things. Since it's summer now I anticipate having lots of time to devote to reading and reviewing books. Anyway, on to the review!

Bleeding Violet follows Hanna Jarvinen as she navigates the unusual town of Portero, Texas and reunites with her very estranged mother. While Hanna battles her own psychiatric problems, her new home is a bit more supernatural than she can believe. I was drawn in to the dark, disturbing world that Dia Reeves laid out and couldn't put Bleeding Violet down.

Hanna was such an unusual character and I loved being able to get inside her head to see what shocking things went on there. I enjoyed exploring Portero and unlocking the towns dark secrets with Hanna. Her story was filled with crazy, unexpected twists but it all made perfect sense in the end.

Whatever you're looking for, Bleeding Violet has it all: mental illness, romance, death, estranged parents, monsters, and girl power. But beware - there are zero rainbows and cupcakes involved here. It's very mysterious, dark, and thrilling. Bleeding Violet was an exceptionally unique take on YA paranormal and I loved every page. Extra points for daring to push the limits of what's been done before. This was an amazing debut for Dia Reeves - I predict that she has great things in store for readers in the future.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Upcoming Review

Last December, I was given an opportunity to review a bookshelf from CSN. My previous experience with them was wonderful. Shipping was fast and assembly was easy. Now I have another chance to review one of their products. They don't just offer bookshelves and office furniture, though. They have a wide array of offerings such as bathroom vanities, lighting, bedding, fitness equipment, and more. Check back later to see what I decided to get and what I thought of it!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Book Trailer: Dead Is Just A Rumor by Marlene Perez

I love this series and I can't wair for DIJAR to be released. This series has also been optioned for film. Until then, check out this book trailer:

Sunday, April 11, 2010

In My Mailbox (20)

Lately my library has really stepped up and has been getting lots of awesome new YA books in so I haven't felt the need to buy any for awhile. All these are from the library:

Credit for creating the In My Mailbox feature goes to The Story Siren. You can find out more about it here.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Bookish Links (2)

 Main Entry: book·ish
Pronunciation: \ˈb-kish\
Function: adjective
Date: 1566
1 a : of or relating to books b : fond of books and reading
2 a : inclined to rely on book knowledge b of words : literary and formal as opposed to colloquial and informal c : given to literary or scholarly pursuits; also : affectedly learned
book·ish·ly adverb
book·ish·ness noun

Jason Pinter to write YA novel 
America's 40 worst books. 'Gatsby'? Really? 
Carolrhoda Books Introduces Carolrhoda Lab™, a New Line of Books for Young Adults 
John Grisham writing young adult series 
High school sweetheart 
Apple’s iPad Will Read Books Out Loud, Support Free E-Books

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Bookish Links

Here are some links that I thought were interesting!

Young adult lit comes of age - Los Angeles Times
Hilary Duff Books It - E! Online

Sticklebook - Invisible bookshelf, anyone?
Bookshelf Chair

What Should I Read Next?
Teen Editors Wanted!

Friday, February 19, 2010 Review

There are tons of websites out there that let you sell your used books. But it can be a tedious process trying to figure out which one will give you the best prices. Instead of going from site to site, you can simply enter the ISBN number on and it will search all of them for you. I've tried this site and checked the results on the individual sites and all the results were accurate.

The results also tell what methods that site will use to pay you and customer ratings. They even have a new mobile app!

I found BookScouter to be a highly useful tool and I highly recommend it!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Untamed by P.C Cast + Kristin Cast

Life sucks when your friends are pissed at you.

Just ask Zoey Redbird – she’s become an undisputed expert on suckiness. In one week she has gone from having three boyfriends to having none, and from having a tight-knit group of friends who trusted and supported her, to being an outcast. And the worst part is, she knows it’s her own fault. Speaking of friends, the only two Zoey has left are undead, unMarked, and unable to stop bickering with each other. So who can blame her for befriending the House of Night’s newest transfer student, the majorly hot Olympic archer, James Stark? 

Meanwhile, Neferet has declared a war on humans after it appears that the People of the Faith have murdered two vampyres. But Aphrodite’s latest visions show a world completely different from the High Priestess’s promises, a world full of violence, hatred, and darkness, all because of Zoey’s death—and the only way it seems she can prevent it from happening is to make things right with her friends. Zoey knows in her heart that fighting with humans is wrong. But will anyone listen to her? Zoey's adventures at vampyre finishing school take a wild and dangerous turn as loyalties are tested, shocking true intentions come to light, and an ancient evil is awakened in PC and Kristin Cast's spellbinding fourth House of Night novel.

I picked up Untamed because I enjoyed the first books in the House of Night series. I wasn't really sure what to expect from this one, though. It turned out to be an enjoyable read but not my favorite one of the series.

The thing that was most unsatisfactory to me was that Zoey has so many love interests. Is it really necessary for her to have three boyfriends at the same time? I felt like this cluttered up the story. I think one guy would've been enough or even two at the most. But three? Overkill. This made the story less realistic and made Zoey less likable. Zoey herself keeps having negative thoughts about her "ho-ish" behavior yet continues to act in a way that she feels isn't right.

Stevie Rae and her new fledglings were intriguing to me. They seemed like more than just what you saw on the surface and made me want to know more about them. I hope that how their existence is possible will be addressed in forthcoming books in the series.

Untamed is chock full of interesting characters. Each has their own agenda to work towards, most often causing conflicts that aren't always nonviolent.

Zoey seems self-conscious and indecisive but she always rises up as the heroine in the end.

Overall, Untamed was a good read. It is necessary to read the previous books in the series before this one, though. If not, you will be very confused. I highly recommend this series.

4 out 5 stars

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Hollow by Jessica Verday

When Abbey's best friend, Kristen, vanishes at the bridge near Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, everyone else is all too quick to accept that Kristen is dead?and rumors fly that her death was no accident. Abbey goes through the motions of mourning her best friend, but privately, she refuses to believe that Kristen is really gone. Then she meets Caspian, the gorgeous and mysterious boy who shows up out of nowhere at Kristen's funeral, and keeps reappearing in Abbey's life. Caspian clearly has secrets of his own, but he's the only person who makes Abbey feel normal again...but also special. 

Just when Abbey starts to feel that she might survive all this, she learns a secret that makes her question everything she thought she knew about her best friend. How could Kristen have kept silent about so much? And could this secret have led to her death? As Abbey struggles to understand Kristen's betrayal, she uncovers a frightening truth that nearly unravels her—one that will challenge her emerging love for Caspian, as well as her own sanity. 
The beginning of this book didn't impress me but Verday's writing style grew on me. It was slow to start but I quickly grew more interested in the story.

A pretty good summary of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow is worked into the story but I thought it helped me understand everything a little better after I'd read the actual legend. However, this isn't necessary to understand and get into the novel. I was just more interested afterward because I could further appreciate her new take on the old story.

Abbey was a very real, intriguing character. You get to know her maybe more than is strictly necessary. I could relate to her sense of humor. I would've liked to get to know Caspian just a little better. I felt that it was hard to care about him when you know so little about him. There are lots of flashbacks to Abbey's past with Kristen, allowing the reader to care about what happened to her friend and want to find out more information about it.

The action really picks up in the last four chapters or so. The ending is a bit of a cliffhanger, leaving the reader wanting more.

I very much enjoyed The Hollow and plan to pick up the rest of the books in the trilogy as they are released. I do recommend it!

4.5 out of 5 stars

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The River by Mary Jane Beaufrand

Veronica Severance feels cut off from the world. Forced to move from the city to rural Oregon with her parents, she is haunted by loneliness and by the chilling sounds of the Santiam, the river that runs through her backyard.

Through the fog of isolation, Ronnie finds herself becoming close with Karen, a young girl who she babysits. But when she discovers Karen's body on the banks of the Santiam, the victim of a supposed accident, Ronnie feels compelled to uncover the truth.

As she becomes increasingly obsessed with solving Karen's death, Ronnie is led deeper and deeper into the woods surrounding the river and to the dark secret hidden within its midst.
The River is a darkly atmospheric story of murder, isolation, obsession and dark secrets that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last page. 
I was not that impressed by The River. It had mystery and unexpected elements but I felt it was also missing something important.

My biggest problem was that I couldn't seem to get attached to the characters. There were quite a few secondary characters thrown into the story that didn't bring much to the story. I think I would've been able to focus better if they were simply left out. Personally, I also had trouble relating to Ronnie. I realize that others might not have this problem so don't count The River out based on that.

I did, however, enjoy Beaufrand's writing style. I was totally thrown off by the ending. I felt like it came out of nowhere and wasn't even hinted at previously. Depending on your reading taste, this may or may not be appealing to you.

Overall, The River was an okay read. I can't see myself rereading this in the future, though. If this sounds like something you might be interested in reading, I recommend looking into getting it from the library before buying it.

3 out of 5 stars

Friday, February 12, 2010

Fang: A Maximum Ride Novel by James Patterson

Max and the Flock are flying high over Africa, but this time they're not alone. A sky full of cargo planes accompanies the team as they bring much-needed aid to the continent's poverty stricken regions. Among the volunteers is the mission's benefactor—the mysterious billionaire, Dr. Hans Gunther-Hagen. Max is intrigued by his generosity, but there's also something about him—and his intense scrutiny of the Flock—that makes her nervous.

But Dr. Hans isn't the only puzzling thing about their trip. The Flock also receives a cryptic message from a young girl, who tells them, "The sky will fall." Max and the Flock are ready to return home, still unable to make sense of her statement. But the surprises don't end with their departure, and something unbelievably momentous shakes up the Flock—pushing Max and Fang closer than ever. Will the team be able to stick together through the chaos? 

I've read the whole Maximum Ride series up to this point and I have to say that I'm so happy I did. It has become one of my favorite series ever. However, Fang was probably my favorite installment.

Fang is filled with action and crazy high-adrenaline situations just as much as all the other books in the series were. By that I mean that there was A LOT of it. But this one had one thing that the others were lacking: romance. In the previous five books, there are clearly more then brotherly/sisterly feelings between Max and Fang but were hardly ever acted upon. But finally, they realize that they're in love and they don't have to fight it. I, for one, was so happy that this finally happened. I felt like it was about time if not somewhat overdue.

However, Fang and Max's new relationship causes mutinous feelings for the rest of the flock. The results are surprising and make for a fast-paced, mysterious plot.

I have to admit that I am getting very attached to these characters. They feel real in a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of way. Seeing a new side of Max and Fang made them deeper and more likable to me.

Overall, Fang was a quick, fast-paced read that I devoured. I'm a huge fan of this series and will continue to pick up future books. I do recommend it!

5 out of 5 stars

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

A fresh, urban twist on the classic tale of star-crossed lovers.
When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created “perfect” life is about to unravel before her eyes. She’s forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she's worked so hard for—her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect. Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more. In a passionate story about looking beneath the surface, Simone Elkeles breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart. 
Perfect Chemistry was one of the most adorable novels I've ever read.

There were times where I would catch myself with a huge goofy grin on my face while reading this. There were also times my muscles would tighten up because I was so drawn into the story that when a character was feeling tense I would, too. Anytime I literally have a physical reaction to a story, that's when I want to clear my schedule because nothing is going to stop me from reading the rest of it right then. I think that says a lot. Either I get way too into what I'm reading or the author has some serious talent. My money's one numero dos.

I fell completely in love with the characters. Alex was a Mexican gang member yet his love for Brittany completely overshadows his less-than-savory extracurricular activities. The lengths he goes to to be with her make for no small amount of "awws." His gang activity does cause problems and may even be a dealbreaker, however. After all, Alex is a "bad boy" and on paper they look completely wrong for each other and nowhere near their supposed "types."

Meanwhile, Brittany is trying to plan her future around her mentally-challenged sister and overbearing parents. She must figure out what place Alex might hold in it.

The novel is a supercute, against-all-odds romance that breaks all the stereotypes. It is definitely one of my favorites of 2009!