Monday, November 29, 2010

The Lying Game by Sara Shepard

I had a life anyone would kill for.
Then someone did.

The worst part of being dead is that there’s nothing left to live for. No more kisses. No more secrets. No more gossip. It’s enough to kill a girl all over again. But I’m about to get something no one else does—an encore performance, thanks to Emma, the long-lost twin sister I never even got to meet.

Now Emma’s desperate to know what happened to me. And the only way to figure it out is to be me—to slip into my old life and piece it all together. But can she laugh at inside jokes with my best friends? Convince my boyfriend she’s the girl he fell in love with? Pretend to be a happy, carefree daughter when she hugs my parents good night? And can she keep up the charade, even after she realizes my murderer is watching her every move?

Let the lying game begin.

Stars: 4/5
Cover: A
Publication Date: December 7th, 2010

Emma Paxton has been in the foster care system practically all of her life. When Emma gets in touch with her long-lost twin, Sutton Mercer, over Facebook, they decide to meet up. Emma travels to Sutton's town, and as she's waiting at the bus stop for Sutton to show up, Sutton's friends see Emma and mistake her for Sutton.

Emma plays along, thinking that they will bring her to Sutton.

But when Emma goes to Sutton's house, she sees a note there, addressed to her. It basically said that Sutton was dead, and that if Emma didn't play along and continue being Sutton, then she would be next.

As Emma learns more about Sutton, she realizes that Sutton's not the nice girl Emma originally thought she was. Sutton and her friends starting a "game" called The Lying Game, where they pulled cruel pranks on their classmates (and each other). Emma starts to wonder if Sutton pulled a prank on someone that was bad enough for them to want revenge, and kill her.

Through out the novel, Emma tries to piece together the mystery surrounding Sutton's murder, while still pretending to be Sutton.

I thought The Lying Game was a fantastic book, though not as good as the Pretty Little Liars series. But then again, how can someone possibly top the Pretty Little Liars series?

The book was really interesting, and had a lot of great cliff hangers, making you just want to keep reading on. I didn't feel too connected to the characters, but the plot made up for that 100%.

To be honest, The Lying Game reminded me a lot of Pretty Little Liars. There was the stranger sending notes, the characters not knowing who to trust, and also a couple of other really obvious similarities that I don't want to say (I don't want to spoil Pretty Little Liars for you guys if you haven't read all eight books).

I think Sara left the book at a great stopping point, and I cannot wait for Never Have I Ever, the sequel, to come out in June of 2011.

I would recommend this book to really anyone who wants a fast, enthralling read.

Don't forget to pick this book when it comes out December 7th, or to put it on your Christmas list!

*I heard that The Lying Game is going to be turned into a TV show! 

FTC: I received this book from one of my blogger friends who got it as an ARC.
       Her website:

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Lost Summer by Alex McAulay

When Caitlin Ross's mother takes her and her brother to an island in the remote Outer Banks for the summer, Caitlin is furious. She was planning on spending the summer hanging out by the pool, partying, shopping, and singing backup in her boyfriend's band, Box of Flowers. North Carolina isn't anything like California, and Caitlin doesn't fit in. But her troubled mother is too busy popping pills and trying to win back her creepy ex-boyfriend to care.

At first, the only friend Caitlin makes on the desolate island is a local misfit named Danielle. But things start to improve when she meets a bunch of visiting prep school boys and gets swept up in their exciting world. Then, one dark night, she witnesses a murder and begins to suspect that her new friends aren't really her friends at all. With a powerful hurricane approaching, and the island cut off from the outside world, Caitlin has no one to turn to but herself . . . and whether she'll live to see another summer is the biggest mystery of all.

Stars: 3/5
Cover: A-

Caitlin and her little brother, Luke, are forced to move across the country for the summer, into a run down nobody town on a desolate island. Her mom's reasons for making them spend the summer there is that they're becoming too spoiled, and need to get away from their lifestyles for a little while. But when they get to the island, Caitlin soon realizes that her mom's real intentions were only to go so that she could be with her creepy ex-boyfriend, Bill, from when she was a teenager.

Caitlin meets Danielle, an island local, and they become fast friends. 

When Bill tries to make a move on  Caitlin, Caitlin quickly moves Luke and herself out of the hotel and into Danielle's house. Caitlin's mom is too drugged up to care.

As the weeks pass, Caitlin meets Evan and his friends, who are visiting the island from California. Evan becomes a romantic interest for Caitlin, and they start dating.

But then Caitlin witnesses one of Evan's friends commit a murder on the beach, and there's no police station on the island. Then, the phone lines are disconnected because of the approaching hurricane. There's no way for Caitlin to notify the authorities. Caitlin tries to tell Evan about the murder she witnessed, but he gets mad at her for "making up stories about his best friend."

Caitlin immediately thinks he is going to go tell his friend what Caitlin had accused him off, and his friend is going to come after her, so she decides that she and her family need to get off of the island.

This book is going to be really difficult to review. The writing was really strong in some places, really weak in others, and so-so the rest of the time.

But let's start with the things I liked.

My favorite thing was the storyline, and the idea behind the plot. What could be more thrilling than a murderer coming after you during a hurricane when there is no power, no way to get off the island, and no way to contact the outside world?

I thought Caitlin was pretty likable, along with Danielle. But, really, those were the only characters that I felt were realistic.

The thing that I disliked most about this book was the dialogue. It sounded scripted. I know that's a weird thing to say, since it is a book, but most of the time the characters' conversations didn't flow nicely and felt kind of fake.

One thing really didn't add up to me, though. At the beginning of the book, Caitlin was able to call her friends back home all the time from her cell phone. But at the end of the book, when Caitlin is trying to get ahold of the police on the mainland, and is unsuccessful, she doesn't even try to use her cell phone. I mean, I get that it was stormy out and that she probably wouldn't have gotten signal anyways, but if it was me and I was that desperate, I would have at least tried.

The murder didn't even happen until page two hundred! I felt like there were about ninety pages of story that was unneeded, and irrelevant in the middle of the book. It would have been a much better read if the book wasn't weighed down with that.

Okay. I know all of that sounded like a rant, and I really didn't mean for it to be! That stuff just bugged me, and I really needed to get it out there. :P

But, overall, I did enjoy the book, and I didn't feel like reading it was a waste of time. However, I don't find the book very memorable.

Just warning you, there is a lot of cussing in this book.

It would have been a quick read . . . if I hadn't kept getting distracted by Twitter!

I would recommend you guys to read this book, though, and develop your own opinions about it. If you have read it, tell me what you think about it!

Friday, November 26, 2010

"Waiting On" Wednesday (1)

Yes, I do know that it's not Wednesday, but I just couldn't help myself.

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking The Spine, to bring attention to the books that we've been anticipating the release of!

I cannot wait for these books to come out!
(Be prepared, there's an awfully long list)

Natalie is Dr. Aphrodite, the love guru for her high school paper. But Natalie's relationship advice is totally bombing, especially when it comes to knowing what guys really think and want. When she tries to investigate, the guys in her class won't give her serious or straight answers.
The only solution? Disguising herself as a guy and spending a week at Underwood Academy, the private all-boys boarding school in town. There "Nat" learns a lot about guys and girls in ways she never expected—especially when she falls for her dreamy roommate, Emilio. How can she show him she likes him without blowing her cover?
Ever since I saw this book online, I had wanted it. First of all: the cover. I absolutely LOVE it. It definitely deserves an A+. Also, the synopsis makes it sound really good. It sounds kind of She's-The-Man-ish (movie starring Amanda Bynes).
Jody Gehrman writes books that take place near where my grandparents live, so it makes me feel more connected to the book knowing that the author is writing about someplace that I know and love.
I can't wait for this book to come out February 17th!

Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what it is, though, isn't easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place--and out of place, at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side.

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make--between honesty and deciet, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?
I've been hearing a ton of hype about this book. I don't know very much about it outside of the synopsis, but it seems like a really good read!
Unearthly hits shelves January 4th!

Sarah Weaver wasn't looking forward to starting at an all-girls school. But that was before she met Maddy. Maddy and her best friend, Agnes, are fun and rich and interesting—and for some reason, they seem to really like Sarah. Before long, Maddy and Agnes have moved Sarah into a big house off campus, where they cook together, buy each other presents, and share each other's secrets. So why does Sarah feel like something's bizarrely wrong? As more and more cracks start to show in Maddy's and Agnes's perfect veneers, Sarah notices some strange and disturbing things: Maddy's compulsive lying, Agnes's obsession with Maddy, and the deterioration of their friendship. And just when Sarah begins to question her own sanity, things turns deadly. Fans of Pretty Little Liars will devour this juicy debut novel.
This book seems like it will be really good. The synopsis really made me want to read it, but where it says that fans of Pretty Little Liars will like this book, I really really wanted to read it.
Unfortunately, there's a long time until I can read it since it doesn't come out until June 21st, but I plan to get it as soon as it comes out!

 Nina Oberon's life is pretty normal: she hangs out with her best friend, Sandy, and their crew, goes to school, plays with her little sister, Dee. But Nina is 15. And like all girls she'll receive a Governing Council-ordered tattoo on her 16th birthday. XVI. Those three letters will be branded on her wrist, announcing to all the world - even the most predatory of men - that she is ready for sex. Considered easy prey by some, portrayed by the Media as sluts who ask for attacks, becoming a "sex-teen" is Nina's worst fear. That is, until right before her birthday, when Nina's mom is brutally attacked. With her dying breaths, she reveals to Nina a shocking truth about her past - one that destroys everything Nina thought she knew. Now, alone but for her sister, Nina must try to discover who she really is, all the while staying one step ahead of her mother's killer.
This book seems like it will be really good! I haven't heard of anything like it, so I'm hoping for a really unique story.
XVI comes out January 6th!

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.
Dystopian Society. Need I say more? 
I am really excited to read this book.
I haven't read Before I Fall yet, but it's in my to-read pile!
Delirium comes out February 1st!

On the last day of her junior year, Hannah's boyfriend Ryan dumped her. Facing a summer of loneliness, Hannah turns to her best friend Ava for comfort. Ava does what BFFs do: she stays by Hannah's side...until it's time for Ava to head up to Maine for the summer. Also left behind is Ava's boyfriend, Noah, who's such a great guy he gets Hannah a job at the diner he waits tables at. Slowly, Hannah comes out of her funk thanks to Noah's good conversation and their fun times at the diner. But things get complicated when their friendship turns into attraction--and one night, into a passionate kiss. The novel opens on the first day of senior year; the day Hannah is going to see Ava, Ryan, and Noah all in one place. Over the course of the day secrets and betrayals are revealed, and alliances are broken and reformed. In the end, everyone is paired up once again, but not the way you might think... 
I could honestly care less what the synopsis says. All I know is that this book is by Lauren Barnholdt, and I've loved every single one of the books that I've read of hers (I've read all of them except for Aces Up).
I can't wait for this to come out July 12th. I think this will make an awesome summer read!

When Violet Ambrose's morbid ability to sense the echoes of those who've been murdered leads her to the body of a young boy, she draws the attention of the FBI. She is reluctantly pulled into an investigation that will endanger more than just her secret...but her relationship and possibly her life as well.
I absolutely loved The Body Finder. All I can say is that I can't wait to find out what happens next to Violet and Jay!
Desires Of The Dead comes out February 15th!

This is a blood-pumping, white-knuckle sci-fi thriller of epic proportions. The FAYZ goes from bad to worse...The darkness has been foiled once again and the resurrected Drake has been contained. But the streets of Perdido Beach are far from safe, with a growing army of mutants fighting against the humans for power in the town. In a small room of a house near the edge of town, Little Pete lies ill on a bed. In his fevered dreams, he continues his battle with the hidden evil that seeks to use his power to bring about anarchy and destruction.
I love the Gone series. I would have to say that they are in the top ten, if not the top five, list of my favorite books. I LOVE THESE SO MUCH  I CAN'T EVEN PUT IT ACROSS TO YOU! :)
This is the book, out of this entire list, that I can't wait to read the most.
This book comes out April 5!
It's times like these that I wish April came after December.

I'm sure there are a lot of other books out there that I am excited to read that haven't been released yet, but off the top of my head I can't think of them. :P

What are your "Waiting On Wednesday" books?

Another One Of Those Videos . . .

Books In This Video (In Order of Being Mentioned):

The Daughters by Joanna Philbin
Forever . . . by Judy Blume
Bad Girls and Lost Summer by Alex McAulay
Elixir by Hilary Duff
Sugar and Spice by Lauren Conrad
Prada & Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Elixir by Hilary Duff

A Soulmate For Life . . . Or Death

As the daughter of a renowned surgeon and a prominent Washington D.C. politician, Clea Raymond has felt the glare of the spotlight her entire life. And though she dreads the paparazzi who track her every move, she herself is a talented photojournalist who takes refuge in a career that allows her to travel to the most exotic parts of the world.

But after Clea’s father disappears while on a humanitarian mission, eerie, shadowy images of a strange and beautiful young man begin to appear in Clea’s photos—a man she has never seen in her life.

When Clea suddenly encounters this man in person she is stunned—and feels an immediate and powerful connection. As they grow closer, they are drawn deep into the mystery behind her father’s disappearance and discover the centuries-old truth behind their intense bond.

Torn by a dangerous love triangle and haunted by a powerful secret that holds their fate, together they race against time to unravel their past in order to save their future—and their lives.

Stars: 4/5

Clea Raymond has famous parents. Her mom's a politician, and her father is a surgeon. Her father disappeared a year ago, with no notice, and no one has any clue where he went. 

On a trip to Europe with her best friend, Rayna, Clea takes a ton of pictures. But when she gets home, and is inspecting them, she notices a man in the background in a majority of her pictures --- even though they were taken over a span of three weeks and on different sides of the country.

Clea then starts having romantic dreams about this man every single time she falls asleep. 

On a trip to Rio, Clea sees the man that's been in her dreams in person. She finds herself falling for him, whose name is Sage, and they have a strong connection.

They (Ben, her semi-body-guard, Cleo, Sage, and sometimes Rayna) embark on a journey, trying to find her father and solve the mystery surrounding his death, while also finding out about Clea's past lives (yes, that's plural) with Sage.

I am actually quite impressed with the book. To be honest, I was bracing myself for a book that would just be blah, and not be that memorable. I was gladly mistaken!

Elixir actually has substance, if that makes sense. It didn't get dull, and I found myself staying up until two in the morning reading it.

I think the characters could have had a little more depth, but that didn't take anything away from the story for me.

But Ben, oh my God, I wanted to shoot him. He just got so irritating, especially in the middle of the book! He kept trying to interfere with Sage and Clea, and I wanted to just, like, cut him out of the pages. But I digress.

Elixir is a good blend of romance and suspense, which is hard to do.

Now, the thing that had me hovering between giving the book three or four stars: the ending. I feel like it just kind of dropped off, and none of the loose ends were tied up. I'm really hoping there's a sequel, because if Hilary just leaves the book where she left it, I will not be a happy camper. :)

The cover, though. Wow. It's gorgeous! I feel like I could stare at it for days. I also loved the way each chapter started, with a beautiful Iris flower in the bottom corner of the page.

This book was, overall, pretty good, and I definitely would recommend this to anyone, no matter what genre of books you like, because it has a lot of different elements in it: suspense, romance, and even a little historical fiction.

FTC: I bought this book.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Prada & Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard

Callie falls head over heels -- literally!

Callie is tired of being a clumsy geek-girl. So during a school trip to London she buys her ticket to popularity: a pair of real Prada pumps. But then she wobbles on the cobblestones, trips in her too-high heels, and when she comes to, it's the year 1815!

Luckily she meets kindhearted Emily, who mistakes Callie for a long-lost friend. Sparks soon ignite -- of the nice and not-so-nice variety -- between Callie and Alex, the handsome but totally arrogant Duke of Harksbury. Too bad Alex seems to have something sinister up his ruffled sleeve . . . 

Can Callie save Emily from a dire engagement, win a kiss from Alex, and prove to herself that she's more than just a loud-mouth klutz before her time in the past is up?

Stars: 3/5
Cover: B-

Callie goes on a trip to London with her classmates, and isn't enjoying herself like she thought she would. When she hears the popular girls talking about going to a club, she knows they aren't going to invite her. To make herself feel better, she goes and gets "retail therapy." 

When she sees the 5-Story Prada store, she decides she'll win her way into the popular girls' hearts by buying a pair of beautiful $400 pumps with her mom's credit card that is reserved strictly for emergencies.

She doesn't make it ten steps, though, before her heel gets stuck in the cobblestone, and she falls down, hitting her head. When she comes to, she wakes up in what seems to be a forest, seeing as there are trees for as far as she can see.

She comes across a castle, and meets a girl named Emily who mistakes Callie for her childhood friend, Rebecca. Callie pretends to  be Rebecca just so that she can go in and use their phone. When she asks to use the phone, Emily has no clue what a "telephone" is. Callie is under the impression that the family is just living in the past or something.

Callie plays along, because she'll get a ride into town with them in the morning.

It is in town that she realizes she is somehow in the year 1815.

Callie has no clue how to get back, so she stays with Emily and her cousin, Alex, who is a duke. Callie finds out a horrible secret about Alex, and then finds out that Emily will be going into an arranged marriage with a man who is twenty years older than her.

Callie tries to help Emily out, sure that after she helps Emily, somehow she'll be able to go home.

I first picked up Prada & Prejudice because I had read Mandy Hubbard's other novel, You Wish, and really enjoyed it. I am sorry to say, though, I didn't enjoy Prada & Prejudice as much as her other book.

I thought the writing was okay, and the characters were kind of two-demensional. But putting that aside, the plot didn't stay dull for very long at all, and I found myself really looking forward to finding out what happens to Callie, and how she gets back home.

I think for a debut novel, it wasn't that bad. I think it just wasn't as good as I was expecting because I had such high hopes for it!

I wish the narrator would have talked about how much she was scared she wouldn't be able to get back to the 21st century, because it didn't really seem to be that big of a concern of Callie's when, hello, it really should have been.

But all-in-all, it was a fast paced, entertaining read. I just don't think I'll be re-reading it again anytime soon. I'll lend it to a friend though, and tell you how good she thought it was when she finishes it.

FTC: I bought this book.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I Give Up

Yes, I know. I am a failure!
After four days of attempting to read Incarceron by Catherine Fisher, I have finally decided to call it quits.

I got 176 pages into it, and I got to the point where it felt like medieval torture to even think about reading on.

I'm kind of disappointed that I'm not going to finish the book, because when I got it I was really excited to dive right into it.

Maybe in a couple of months I'll try re-reading it, but for now it has been pushed to the bottom of my reading stack. :(

It is rare that I have to stop reading in the middle of a book (*correction -- I didn't even make it to the halfway mark!), so this is a sad, sad, day. :P

A couple of things attributed to me not being able to finish it:

1) The book was simply boring. I didn't really want to read on to find out what happens next.
2) I found it hard to follow the writing. (There were too many adjectives in places where adjectives shouldn't be)
3) It just dragged on and on --- it took one hundred and something pages for something remotely exciting to happen

Now, I'm not trying to diss the book because it definitely has potential --- the story idea in itself is very unique.

I don't know, maybe it's just me.

If you've read the book, comment below and tell me what you thought about it.


Hey, everyone.
I know, it's been a couple of days since I've posted a review, but I've had a hard time getting into Incarceron. I'm currently a hundred something pages in, and I think it's about to start picking up.
So expect a review within the next couple of days.

Also, I'm sad to say I gave up on NaNoWriMo. I didn't have the time, or the brainpower.
Maybe now that I know about it, next year I can start on Nov 1 (not Nov 12)!

One last thing: I just bought a bunch of books (nineteen, to be exact) so when they arrive I'll do another Book Haul. :)

Okay, see you when I'm done with Incarceron.
Wish me luck. :P

Saturday, November 20, 2010

13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker--his classmate and crush--who committed suicide two weeks earlier. 
On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list.
Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.
Stars: 5/5
Cover: B-
Clay comes home from school to find a package waiting for him. He opens it, finds a bunch of cassette tapes, and listens to the first one to figure out what they are.
To say the least, he is shocked when he finds out they are the tapes of Hannah Baker talking, the girl he really liked who had committed suicide two weeks earlier.
Hannah leaves a map with the tapes, with the places that she talks about on the tapes starred. Clay then spends the rest of the day listening to the tapes and going around town to the places Hannah talks about.
I can't really tell you much more about the plot without giving the whole story away.
But, I can tell you how the book made me feel.
It was captivating, and held my attention to the very last sentence. The book was like a magnet, pulling me towards it: all I wanted to do was read it.
I loved the message of the story. What I got from it was that you never really know how one little thing you do could effect someone's life greatly. It really made me think about my life, personally.
The storyline in itself was very, very sad. Hannah was practically screaming for help, especially during her last few days alive, but no one paid enough attention to realize it.
The saddest thing about this book is that people really do commit suicide over things that may seem really small to other people, but actually have a huge snowball effect on someone's life.

This book took the place over one evening, which was pretty cool. The book didn't really have one specific climax, but it wasn't like the book was dragging on or anything. It almost seemed like the climax happened every chapter, when you found out what the person on the tape did to Hannah. If I could have, I would have finished the book in one sitting.

I loved the fact that when I was reading the book in class, people would be like, "Oh, I've read that book and loved it." or "That's my favorite book!" 
I really hope that Jay Asher writes another book, because for a debut novel, 13 Reasons Why was beyond good!
FTC: I bought this book.