Monday, July 23, 2012

Say Whaaaaaat?! I'm not dead...

It's been a while, hasn't it? I haven't posted since November of 2011 :o

I'm going to be straight up here and say that I haven't really been avidly reading like I used to, but I am slowly getting back into it I excited!

I can't make promises about posting everyday especially since school is going to be craaaazy. I am going to try to pre-schedule a ton of posts before school starts so that I will be ahead. :)

Anyways, I am excited to be back and reading again!
Stay tuned. :)

I am so out of the loop! What are some fantastic new books that I need to read?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Pages: 452
Publisher: Philomel
Perspective: First Person
Age Group: Young Adult
Challenges: 350 Page Challenge
Release Date: October 19, 2010

Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything- including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?

Stars: 4.5/5
Cover: A+

Plot:
I had heard sooooooo much about this book before reading it. So, as it should be, I had extremely high expectations about this book, which it definitely met.

Now, I'm not completely obsessed with the series and everything like a lot of people are, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was fast-paced, steamy, and action-packed. I also really liked how there was a bit of mystery tied into everything, also.

The only reason I gave it 4.5 stars instead of 5 was because for the first seventy pages or so, it was a little slow for me. But once I got past the beginning, this book literally flew by. It seemed like a two-hundred page book instead of a four-hundred page book because of how fast-paced it was.

I also loved the set-up of everything, and how instead of the characters just being werewolves, they had a whole governmental system set up amongst them, and they had purpose.

Characters:
I loved the main character, Calla. She told the story through her eyes exceptionally well, and she made the story all the more enjoyable. I respected her skills as a very fierce and loyal warrior, but also that she stood up for what she believed it, even though there was a ginormous potential to get her into a lot of trouble.

I also really liked Shay. He was wonderful for Calla, and he had that innocent-but-I-could-still-kick-your-ass thing going on for him. As for Calla's other "love-interest", Ren, I didn't like him at first. In fact, I hated him! It felt like, to me, he did not want what was best for Calla, and that he was only concerned about himself and his rank as alpha. I must say, though, as the book went on, I started to like him more and more. 

Writing:
I find it extremely hard to believe that this is Andrea Cremer's debut book. The writing is so beautiful, and it flowed extremely well. The beginning was a wee bit slow for me, but overall the book had magnificent pacing. 

Ending:
The cliff-hanger in this book is to die for! I am extremely excited to see what will be happening in the sequel.

Cover:
The hardcover is GORGEOUS. Like, seriously, it's probably one of the prettiest book covers I've seen in an extremely long time. The image is beautiful, yet fierce, and the cover appears to have pretty glitter everywhere. 

I must say, I am not a fan of the new covers. I think they in NO way catch the eye as well as the original cover. 

The Final Verdict:
I'm sure you've heard of this book before, and all of the great things people have had to say about it. So WHY haven't you read it yet?! I seriously suggest you go pick this one up ASAP, or add it to your Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Holiday book list.

FTC: Bought.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Importance of a "Reading Spot"

We all have that one spot. That one place where no one will bother you, where you feel the most comfortable, and the most relaxed. Whether it be in the backyard, on your bed, at the local cafe, a bookstore, or the library, we all have a "Reading Spot."

For me, my reading spot is on my bed. My bed is raised, and when I'm up there, I feel so away from the world, in the best way. I have a little reading light from Target that gives my room a calming ambiance because it just lights up my bed, and the rest of my room is darker. When I'm laying down in bed, I get the most reading done. I can try to sit down and get comfortable somewhere else in my house, but I can't focus as much as I can in my reading spot.

I really think if you don't have one of these spots, you should try to create one. A spot where you can be completely at ease, be able to sit and think (or read), get homework done -- whatever you may use it for, it's wonderful to have.


QUESTION OF THE DAY:
What are your favorite spots to read? Do you have a "Reading Spot"?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Claim to Fame by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Pages: 272
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Perspective: First Person
Challenges: N/A
Release Date: November 10, 2009
I have to tell you my secret. I can't go on . . . without revealing it. I had a pretty good run, hiding from everyone for five years. For five years I was safe. But now . . . 
It was a talent that came out of nowhere. One day Lindsay Scott was on the top of the world, the star of a hit TV show. The next day her fame had turned into torture. Every time anyone said anything about her, she heard it. And everyone was talking about Lindsay: fans, friends, enemies, enemies who pretended to be friends....
Lindsay had what looked like a nervous breakdown and vanished from the public eye. But now she's sixteen and back in the news: A tabloid newspaper claims that Lindsay is being held hostage by her father.
The truth? Lindsay has been hiding out in a small Illinois town, living in a house that somehow provides relief from the stream of voices in her head. But when two local teenagers try to "rescue" Lindsay by kidnapping her, Lindsay is forced to confront everything she's hiding from. And that's when she discovers there may be others who share her strange power. Lindsay is desperate to learn more, but what is she willing to risk to find the truth?
Stars: 3.5/5
Cover: B+

Plot:
I've never not liked one of Margaret Peterson's book, but I must admit, this one was definitely not up there on my list of favorite books from this author.

I thought the whole premise behind the story was incredibly unique, and I loved that. I think the main thing that was wrong with this book for me were the twist and turns. Usually, Haddix's twists in her stories are amazing, and leave the reader on the edge of their seat. For this book, I wasn't really effected by the plot turns, because they came out of the blue (not in the best way) and felt way too forced.

Characters:
This is going to sound extremely contradictory, but I did like the main character, Lindsay. But she depressed me. She spent pretty much all of her time by herself, and every time she went out of the house she heard the good and nasty things people all around the world would be saying about her. Not to mention, her mom wasn't in her life, and her father was dead. She had a lot going on, and it was quite apparent she was spiraling downwards.

I liked her character development throughout the book, and I thought it was paced nicely and not too sudden.

Writing:
I've always liked Margaret Peterson Haddix's writing style, but it just didn't work for me this time around. The suspense wasn't really there, and when it was, it felt too forced. 

Ending:
I must say, the ending was my least favorite part of this book. It seemed completely irrelevant from the beginning of the book, and the last twist seemed to come out of nowhere. I thought the ending left the book on a really light note though, which I liked because it was like a happy ending for the pretty much "dark" book.

Cover:
I actually really like the paperback cover a lot more than the hardcover version. The paperback is extremely eye-catching, and looks like it contains a very interesting story. The hardcover is too plain for me, and I feel like I would just over-look it.

The Final Verdict:
If you are in the mood for a more dark, unique read, this is the book for you. I will always love Margaret Peterson Haddix as an author, and though this book wasn't my favorite, it could quite well be yours.

FTC: Library.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Novel Idea by Aimee Friedman


Pages: 256
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Perspective: First Person
Age Group: Young Adult
Challenges: N/A
Release Date: December 20, 2005
Once upon a time there was a Brooklyn hipster named Norah. Unlucky in love, and short on extracurriculars for her college apps, Norah decided to start a book group. She knew the perfect locale -- a local indie bookstore with a crush-worthy cutie manning the soy latte counter.
When the first meeting arrives, Norah gets a page-turning surprise. The attendees may be bookish, but there are also a few hotties! Most noteworthy: sweet, literary James. He's like a modern Jane Austen hero.... Only, how to snag him?
Ever the romantic heroine, Norah devises a secret plan. And if it works, Norah may just find her "Happily Ever After" love story. The End.
Stars: 3/5
Cover: B+

Plot:
I didn't particularly favor this book. It wasn't horrible by any means, but it didn't really capture my attention too well, and it was not realistic (at least in my opinion of realistic-ness; everyone's is different). 

I thought the book was a little bit too cliche with the love story. It had a unique plot in the way that it was through a book club, which was pretty cool, but the way Norah (the main character) and James' (the love interest) relationship played out has been done thousands of times before, it feels like.

A Novel Idea was a quick read, though, and I finished it in one sitting.

Characters:
I don't really know how I stand with Norah. It's not that I don't like her, but I definitely did not agree with the way that she went around trying to get James to like her. She seems like one of those girls that you just shake your head at. 

She went to great lengths, hurting people along her way, to get James, and she was extremely selfish with her endeavors. 

I did like her at the other times when she wasn't on her missions to get James to like her. She was extremely dedicated to her book club, and didn't want to let them down. I liked that part of her.

James was cute, though I didn't really feel too connected to him because not much of his personality was revealed. I mean, sure, I knew he liked to read, and was shy, but there has got to be more to a person that that, right? I can definitely see though, if he had been more developed, how he could have been swoon-worthy.

Writing:
I wasn't completely enthralled with Aimee Friedman's writing. It definitely kept the story going, but there was nothing especially special about it. For example, there wasn't an amazing vocabulary used or exceptional cliff-hangers. But again, it wasn't bad by any means, either.

Ending:
This book is definitely one of those feel-good fluff-reads, and the ending completely solidifies that. It was cute, and tied up the loose ends in the book nicely.

Cover:
For whatever reason, I always think these types of covers for the little romance books are super cute. I especially like this one because of all of the books on it. ;)

The Final Verdict:
I think this book is cute, and it not a challenging read. I recommend this book for people that are fans of cheesy little romances, and like books about books.

FTC: Zoe.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday (28)


The Thing About the Truth by Lauren Barnholdt

Sixteen-year-old Kelsey Romano has always been one of the most popular girls at Concordia Prep. But after a disastrous breakup and her subsequent meltdown (um, destruction of school property, anyone?) she's kicked out of Con Prep and shipped off to Concordia High School, for good. 

Seventeen-year-old Isaac Brandano has been kicked out of more prep schools than he can name. But now that his father's State Senate campaign is pushing a public school agenda, Isaac finds himself enrolled at Concordia High. 

Kelsey and Isaac are destined to hate each other. And at first, they do. But when they are forced together on the creation of a new school club, sparks begin to fly. Then the club's critical event turns into chaos. Now Kelsey and Isaac must retrace their steps and figure out how and why everything got so got screwed up, who was to blame, and how they can move forward.

This new novel from fan-favorite Lauren Barnholdt showcases--through a sweet and sparkly narrative--how the last person you expect might just be the one who changes your life forever.

Release Date: July 10, 2012

I haven't read a book by Lauren Barnholdt and not liked it, which is partly why I am so excited for this book. Moreover, she always has killer plot-lines, characters, and the book covers rock!

This book looks soooo good!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Cryers Cross by Lisa McCann

Pages: 233
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Perspective: Third Person
Age Group: Young Adult
Challenges: N/A
Release Date: February 8, 2011

The community of Cryer’s Cross, Montana (population 212) is distraught when high school freshman Tiffany disappears without a trace. Already off-balance due to her OCD, 16-year-old Kendall is freaked out seeing Tiffany’s empty desk in the one-room school house, but somehow life goes on... until Kendall's boyfriend Nico also disappears, and also without a trace. Now the town is in a panic. Alone in her depression and with her OCD at an all-time high, Kendall notices something that connects Nico and Tiffany: they both sat at the same desk. She knows it's crazy, but Kendall finds herself drawn to the desk, dreaming of Nico and wondering if maybe she, too, will disappear...and whether that would be so bad. Then she begins receiving graffiti messages on the desk from someone who can only be Nico. Can he possibly be alive somewhere? Where is he? And how can Kendall help him? The only person who believes her is Jacian, the new guy she finds irritating...and attractive. As Kendall and Jacian grow closer, Kendall digs deeper into Nico's mysterious disappearance only to stumble upon some ugly—and deadly—local history. Kendall is about to find out just how far the townspeople will go to keep their secrets buried.

Stars: 4.5/5
Cover: A-

Plot:

Cryer's Cross was an eerie, fast-paced, mysterious book. It was fairly short, but it had a lot going on in those pages! From missing teenagers, to romance, to folklore, Cryer's Cross had it all.

I really liked the whole idea behind the story. I thought Cryer's Cross was a very interesting book, and I liked that it continued to leave me hanging throughout the entire book, trying to unscramble the mystery.

Characters:
I looooooved Kendall. I thought she was an extremely unique character, and that added so much life to her. I've never really read a book that had a main character with OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) and I really liked how Lisa McMann wove that part of Kendall into the story. In other words, it wasn't like Kendall had OCD, and that was that. Her OCD helped her and hindered her throughout the progression of the story, and I loved that.

Another awesome thing related to the characters is that Jacian and Kendall's romance didn't take over the book, but instead was a sub-plot. I really enjoyed the fact that the book stayed mostly centered around the mystery aspect. Not to mention, their relationship was paced perfectly. They didn't instantly fall in love one day, like a lot of characters in other books, which made this book even more realistic.

Writing:
I've read two out of the three books in the Wake series by Lisa McMann, and after reading this book, I have been able to come to the conclusion that Lisa McMann is extremely consistent with her writing. She hasn't written a bad story yet, and I don't expect she will.

The way she writes is addicting, and makes the book progress swiftly. Also, the diction she uses increases the creepiness of this book. For example, she uses "darker" descriptive words, making this book both eerie and mysterious.

Ending:
I liked the ending -- especially since I didn't see what was coming. The ending of this book was bittersweet, but tied it up very nicely.

Cover:
I personally love the cover. It's just SO creepy! I think it really helps tell what this book is about, and when a reader sees it at the book store they'll know exactly what type of book it is.

The Final Verdict:
Cryer's Cross is definitely one of those books where you end up staying up into the wee hours of the morning finishing it and scaring yourself to any little sound outside your window. A perfect winter read!

FTC: Zoe.