Sunday, January 22, 2012

Review: Dash & Lily's Book of Dares

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares
Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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Review: The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yet again I need sometime before I can give this novel justice with my simple words. I feel so small and unworthy right now.

I can say on thing: "I can understand one thing about Hazel, while every breath was difficult for her, mine were difficult throughout this entire novel."

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Review: Poughkeepsie

Poughkeepsie by Debra Anastasia

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was a real pleasure to read. The rating for 3 stars is 'Liked it', that's pretty much how I feel about it.


The characters were enjoyable and well developed. I enjoyed the various POV's, I like books like this where you get a glimpse at everyone.

I do wish we were told what Livia and Blake talked about for weeks of breakfast conversation. I would like better development of their relationship. And what the hell was that with Kyle and Cole's instalove. Honestly, I saw it a mile away but still. Becket and Eve were beautifully complicated.

The smile counting was sweet but also stalker like and a little creepy. That's why I would really like to know exactly what Livia saw in Blake in the beginning, I understand why she loved him in the end but what stated it?

In all honesty, I truly enjoyed the novel, it didn't stop with love but extended into what happens after and how relationships develop, that was nice.

I just had a lot of plot issues unexplained, like why Beckett had to take 'being bad' so far? He said it was to protect his brothers, in that case he wasn't doing so well. One was homeless and the other hiding behind faith. Why keep up the act?

It was a good read, not one I'd read again. However, if there was a sequel about Eve I'd be all over that shit. She was my favorite.

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Review: Shatter Me

Shatter Me
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I am tripping over myself trying to figure out whether to give this novel a 3 or 4 rating.

Seriously, half starts should be an option.

I would give the writing a 4 and the story a 4 as well, I loved them both. The crux is in their marriage. The writing was misplaced with this novel and the story misplaced with the writing.

Mafi has a beautiful voice and almost lyrical writing, maybe a bit much at points and often distracting. The story is strong if not a little slow at points.

I will read the next book, I am actually anxious for it. I love how the story ended and the character development, even if I did what to reach through and smack Julliette around a little bit and scream at her to use what she can to survive (her touch).
The romance was well paced and not from left field, if was questioned, tested and not just accepted. I can't stand the insta love crap.

I would recommend this book, but beware the prose is more suited to a poetic novel not a PNR. Regardless, I did enjoy it.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Review: Angelfall

Angelfall by Susan Ee

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I feel like a thief for having only paid 99 cents for this novel. Like I stole it and enjoyed it while other people out there are reading really crappy books and not knowing this awesome story with get characters is out there.
Although I may have guilt, I'm over it!!!!
Because I would totally do it again, absolutely worth it!!!!

I can't believe the second book is not out until the summer. I am not a sequel girl but damn this one got me.
The setting was beautiful and the story, in a word, haunting. I didn't know what I was getting into. I thought it was an atypical angel PNR. I was wrong and feel like an ass for judging Ee.
I was completely swept away by the story, I felt for the characters and Penryn's journey. I loved how tough she was and her 'take no shit' attitude, we need more of those.
The romance part was really subdued, if you even want to call it Romance. The badgering and banter was fun it not a little much at times.
The biblical history was accurate, at least more so than any other I know of out there. When did people start to believe angels were cuddly little cherubs anyway? I blame hallmark.

I was to say so much about the brilliant and bitch about the long wait for the next book but I don't want to give anything away. I usually wait until an entire series ora t least a few books are out before starting because I forget what's happens but the time the next one rolls around and I loss interest. I don't think I will in this case.

Don't be an idiot, go get this book 99 cent for fuck's sake, and you don't even need a kindle, although yu should have one anyway.

Ee, keep writing and hurry the fuck up!!! At least give us a few chapters or something, I sweat I'm not whining....

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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Review: Moonglass

Moonglass by Jessi Kirby

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I must admit, the setting really did me in. I am originally from Southern California and surfed a lot during high school so I was a little spell bound by the setting and surf talk.
With that said I really enjoyed this novel. The writing was beautiful and the romance was simple and not the central theme, which I liked. There is so much more to life than boys, no really, hard to believe, I know.
Anna was great and I could totally relate to her, a tomboy was goes cliff jumping, surfing, and runs the beach. My name is not Anna and that’s pretty much the only difference here.
The mysteries surrounding her mothers death was haunting in a way because you never knew what the whole was until the end.
It was incredibly tragic and yet not melodramatic where I am sure some would call it.
I found myself hurting for Anna but more so for her mom. I understand that kind of darkness and pain. Some wars can’t be won no matter the stakes at risk. Just ask The Crawling Man.
The ending was beautiful and the intersecting of tragic stories was woven together well.
One small note: Tyler was a little too cocky for my taste. I would have been nice to have his character developed a bit. Even though I know I said the relationship not being a bug deal was good, I would have liked to have known him better. He seemed very flat, I never got the feeling I knew who or even what he was.
All in all, good read, not book shelf worthy but a summer book all the way.
Now I really need to get out there and find some sea glass.

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Review: Revolution

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bookshelf Worthy!!!

I loved this book. It is by far one of my favorite books of the year (2011).

I have read other reviews, of which I do not read until AFTER I’ve read the novel, I hate having other peoples opinions in my head, I feel it does not allow mine develop purely. Anyway, I read many people didn’t like the pace of the book. Well it’s a ‘Historical Fiction’ therefore there will be references and a great deal of information about whatever historical event of person it is based on. Some people can so lazy and not allow characters to develop and a novel to move and become something.

There is a lot of criticism about Andi, the protagonist, about how she is so angst and depressed and how ridiculous it is that she is so upset and suicidal. Well to those people, unless you’ve gone through something extremely painful and life shattering you don’t know. I could completely connect with Andi and how pissed off and unhappy she was. I thought she was well writen and should be taken as a character for what she is. She’s not your cookie cutter teen and I love that about her. She’s not perfect and not obsessed with boys and has issues, I found it to be a breathe of fresh foul mouthed air.

As far as the time travel thingy part…I liked it, it was strange don’t get me wrong, I was not prepared for it, I was a little confused by it but I took the story for what it was worth and the lesson it was delivering. I would love to sit down and talk with Donnelly and ask her about a million questions, but I can’t. Part of me loves that part f the book, I was left without all the answers, usually that drives me crazy, I want to know everything, I’m an analyst by profession so not having all the information drives me wild. However, for some reason I can’t put my finger on I loved that part.

I liked how the worlds mirrored each other, if you read closely some of the names cross over too. Don’t forget the lesson, the world is brutal and scary but we don’t have to be. The world doesn’t change there will always be terrible people and there will always be wonderful people, who will you be?

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Review: Speak

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow…great book!
I am totally bummed I saw the movie first. Not that the movie wasn’t done well but I knew the story. I would have enjoyed the more intimate setting of a novel with Melinda more than the movie.
Regardless, I loved the book.
I can really relate to Melinda, I had a very difficult adolescence and battled depression during my high school years.
The story was wonderfully guided and heartbreakingly honest. I really enjoyed Melinda’s sense of humor.
“The climax of mating season is nearly upon us- the Senior Prom.” p.176. Couldn’t have said it better myself.
I found an interesting bit in the back of my special 10 year anniversary edition. It had an interview with Mrs. Anderson, the question and subsiquent response which shocked me was when asked if she was ever asked question by readers that shocked her she stated, “I have gotten one question repeatedly from young men. These are guys who liked the book, but they are honestly confused. They ask me why Melinda was so upset about being raped.”
That shocked the hell out of me. She goes on to explain how over sexualized our society is and I can’t help but agree. This is a great book and it should not only be read by girl, parents, teachers and counselors but young men as well. Because apparently the message is getting lost.
I have two young boys I am trying to make into young men and I can guarantee they will read this novel.
Must read, straight to the My Bookshelf.

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Review: Life as We Knew It

Life as We Knew It
Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I found this novel to be interesting and the concept was intriguing. I enjoyed the protagonist Miranda but felt the story was lacking coming from her journal perspective. There was so much I wanted to know outside of Miranda. I found so much of it to heartbreaking and inspiring.

I enjoyed the family dynamic and the towns dynamic as well. The rewinding time and going back to living simply was a beautiful thing to experience. I enjoyed the family together but would have loved more characters, the central family was getting boring.

Coming from Miranda’s journal I was left wanting and uninformed.

I do however like how the story ended and believe in hope. On that note I will not continue the series because I don’t see hope as a central theme, it just looks sad in a ‘where’s the lesson in all this’ kind of way.

I will not read this again but know that many out there have enjoyed the entire series so give it a shot and tell me what you thought and maybe, just maybe I’ll jump back in.

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Review: Dreamland

Dreamland by Sarah Dessen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book took me by surprise. I have read many of Dessen’s novels, I will review them soon, and this one was very different.

Caitlin has always lived in the shadow of her older more ambitious and seemingly ‘perfect’ sister Cass. Months before Cass is to start at Yale she runs away, leaving Caitlin with the burden of filling in the hole left behind.

Caitlin finds a calling in wanting to be everything Cass never was. When she meets Rogerson (not my favorite name, I found myself thinking of Karate kid and ended up just calling him Roger) her self destructive calling is answered.

Dessen can be very mild in her characters and not push the boundaries of self exploration beyond talking, she stepped outside of the mold in this novel. It must be said I knew nothing of this novel before I read it. There was drugs, sex (very PG) and abuse.

I felt the relationship between Caitlin and Rogerson evolved fluidly and in a vary believable way. I was scared for Caitlin and felt for her, I actually finished the book in one sitting.

I believe there is a strong message in this story than teens everywhere should be aware of.

I recommend this book and applaud Dessen for taking another route in her writing.

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Review: Matched

Matched by Ally Condie

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I had a fair idea of what I was getting into with this book and to be honest I wasn’t excited, in the least. It sounded like so many other dystopian novels these days, love triangle and all.

As I read it, it was shaping up to disappoint, it was what I had anticipated, and let me tell you, I am so over love triangles. I was about half way through when things really started to get good. I found the beginning of the novel to be a little lagging, but don’t take my word for it, I’ve found other reviews which state the flow was great and kept them interested. I just found myself dragging my feet to finish it at first.

I guess I don’t really have a whole lot to stay about this novel. It was eh, good. The last third really saved it for me. It didn’t have a really trite ending and left a gaping hole for the sequel and subsequent third in the trilogy which I really liked. I really liked the end and that will bring me back to read the next.

I think the second novel will make or break it for me, it’ll either cement an atypical dystopian love triangle or it will be something different. It could really go either way at this point.

If I did a star or rating system I would give the beginning half a 3 and the final half a 5. It really saved itself in the end for me. I read the synopsis for the second novel Crossed and I am thinking we may have something here. I hope it really gets going. The poetry and the Cassia, Ky relationship was sweet, I am still pulling for Xander though.

Because this is yet another love triangle storyline, I will probably not read Crossed.

I am not playing the ‘team’ card here so don’t try that Twilight crap with me. It’s a novel not a lifestyle.

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Review: Before I Fall

Before I Fall
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really need to lay off the heavy reading for a bit.

Alright…this novel is about a girl named Sam. Sam is difficult if not impossible to love. She’s mean, just like her fellow popular high school friends. The brilliance of the story is how she changes.

The story goes, it’s February 12, a friday and Sam is at a party when upon leaving she and her girlfriends are in a car accident where Sam dies. Sam wakes the next morning and it’s February 12, again. Think Groundhog Day, you know Bill Murray, but in high school, that’s the idea. Sam goes through this day 7 times and we are along for the ride. Where she learns secrets and finds out what kind of a person she was and who she wants to be.

This was a great read I really enjoyed it. Going through the days with Sam really gives you a chance to learn the characters and built a relationship with them. I laughed and cried and wished I could be there to help and maybe find resolutions to the issues Sam faces. I loved Kent and thought he was so sweet. It was interesting with the first person dialogue how Sam was so irritated and disgusted with him and his quirks. As the reader I bought into it and then as Sam changes her opinion and view so did I.

After learning to love Sam, it was difficult to hear of all the terrible things she did. All the terrible things kids do in general. There is a deeper message her which directly connects to Thirteen Reasons Why. It’s amazing how cruel teens can be and how rumors and turning your back on people can devastate others in ways one can not imagine. I liked the comparison to a butterfly flapping it’s wings and causing a huge disaster in the other side of the globe, rumors work the same way. When a small comment is made, and seemingly innocent, can have devastating effects.

I thought the story was beautifully written. I just wish…

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Review: Anna and the French Kiss

Anna and the French Kiss
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After reading Thirteen Reasons Why, I really needed a book to pull me out of myself and make me smile. This did it.

I really enjoyed this novel. Perkins writing is effortless to read and constantly moving, not in an intense way that some books can do, but rather in a natural flow kind of way. The evolution of the characters and their relationships was effortless to follow and entirely believable.

As far as the story itself, I loved it. I was frustrated with Etienne at times and how conflicting he seemed towards Anna. He was so sweet towards her my favorite interaction was the their email exchange over winter break followed closely by their Batman jingle argument.

Anna is quite possibly one of my favorite literary characters, she was so relatable from her Target bought clothes to the gap in her front teeth. I could relate to her insecurity in a new place, having moved dozens of times I’d been the new face before. Perkins made Anna likable I found myself simply wanting her happy and getting what she needed, just like she wished for.

I loved the setting, Paris, while I’ve never been I really want to now. I felt like I was there. Perkins’ brings the city to life and leaves me wanting to wander the streets for hours as well.

I was so relaxed reading this book it was calming yet intriguing. I was just informed Perkins is slated to release two more. The first one is called Lola and the Boy Next Door, which will be out in late 2011 and Isla and the Happily Ever After, which will be published in late 2012.

I read this novel on my kindle, however, it has been upgraded to shelf status. It’s a keeper.

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Review: Thirteen Reasons Why

Thirteen Reasons Why
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s somewhat fitting that this is my first review…I just finished the novel and am still trying to gather myself.

Initially I didn’t want to read this book, I didn’t see much in the concept and didn’t want the burden of such a tale. However, this novel and I have been running into each other off and on over the last few months. I go onto Amazon searching for books, or read reviews on others I’ve read or walk through a bookstore and stumble upon it in the Art section while I’ll looking at a coffee table book about tree houses. I couldn’t get away from it, so when I received a gift card to Barnes and Noble and found it in the kids section while looking for level 2 readers for my 6 year old I picked it up and read the jacket, again.

I was informed it had been translated into 31 languages and by the review and comments it has changed lives and given people a new perspective on how the treat people and that it was in many opinions ‘one the best books they ever read’. Okay, I’ll bite.

I bought it and a new Moleskin journal.

I started the book last night and finished it about 45 minutes ago.

This is how it went for me…

I really struggled to finish, I didn’t want it to end but I wanted it over with. Conflicting right? Well, going in you know how the book ends it’s like Titanic, the ship sinks. Well in this case Hannah dies. No matter how badly you don’t want her to you know she does, so I didn’t want it to get to that point. On the other hand, the story was torturous and not in the way Clay saw it and not in the way 99.9% of people would see it. I was not troubled by the guilt expressed or the what if’s and if onlyies. That I believe is what most people got out of it. The life changing realization that what you do and say matters, and that no matter what you think someone is watching and what you do will and does affect someone else, whether you want it to or not. I got all that. Unfortunately, I also I little more, I got a glimpse of what my life almost was.

I was as lost as Hannah when I was a teen. I wanted to kill myself many times. I had no support and had the want so badly it was euphoric, the finality of it, the belief that everything would stop and I had the power to do it. However, I was unsuccessful, repeatedly.

Funny how an overachiever could fail at something over and over again and a decade later it’s a success. I wished over and over again back then that I was weak enough to go with it. I just couldn’t see myself hurting others. Really, that’s the only thing that kept me going, not the will to live or the want to make it through but not wanting to make it tough on anyone else. Not wanting to burden my family with my weakness.

How does it come to that? For me, it wasn’t as dramatic and specific as Hannah’s snowball effect. For me it was slower and darker. It was the culmination of a lifetime of rejection and the belief that I was worthless and the fact that I was shitty at selecting friends.

To this day I don’t know why I wasn’t weak enough I just know I wasn’t meant to be. I’ve learned only recently that I am a fighter through and through. I fight with words and my fist (at Krav Maga, of course).

This brings me back to the novel. I am trying to rationalize my inability to avoid this book and then my subsequent reaction to it. I hated the book, but I think the hate is in the ‘hating another person because they’re so much like you’ kind of way. I saw my weaknesses and saw someone give in to them when I know for a fact they are beatable. I was devastated by this book. I usually read books at least twice but this one will remain shelved for the foreseeable future. I don’t know I can read it again. If I do it will mean I have evolved in a way I don’t see right now. I hope it comes to that, but right now I am still trying to figure out it all out.

In the end, I have been changed by Hannah’s story, I just don’t know how and if I like it. I feel haunted by her and her actions. I wish I could tell her…well there is so much I wish right now. One of them is to stop crying but I know it, like many things, will come with time and understanding.

As for me I need a light book now, maybe Sarah Dessen or Jane Austen. Something where you have a pretty good idea where it’s going and just really enjoy the ride.

I am exhausted, truly, worn out. That does mean one very important thing, ‘Thirteen Reasons Why’ was an amazing book.

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Review: Lips Touch: Three Times

Lips Touch: Three Times
Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Some spoilers!!!

I was gearing up to read Daughters of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor when I saw she had this book of short stories, so on a hunch that I would like Taylor I bought both, and I couldn’t be happier.

I decided to knock out the short stories first. I was amazed, and still am, by the fact that I was transformed to another world so easily. Taylor guides her reader effortlessly that one can’t help by follow along.

I had so many different emotions course through me over the few nights I read. I went from fascination to utter frustration with Kizzy, I wanted to reach through the book and shake Kizzy or slap some sense into her. [I guess sometimes the bad guy has to win].
My heart just broke for Anamique and James. Their story was so sweet, the mystery behind the curse whether or not it was real held me on the cliff right along with James. The ending left me satisfied [especially with Anamique’s power over Vasudev, that was perfect].
The final short story was the longest and therefore the most consuming. I enjoyed the world and mythology of the Druj, the characters were well developed for the time allotted. The story was revealed at a steady pace and kept me interested. To be honest I didn’t want it to stop but am content with how it did.

In my opinion the mark of a great story leaves you either satisfied or left wanting more and that’s exactly what I got, especially with Hatchling. I want to know what happens after and what becomes of them all. The emotional rollercoaster was enjoyable.
To be honest I am one of those people who a little tired of the trite endings in today’s novels. Sometimes it takes away from the hardships when everything is PERFECT in the end. [Much like the ending to Hunger Games, it may not make you happy but if you really look at it, it makes sense].

In the end the worlds were so big I wish they were full length novels. I felt a little wanting and some things were unexplained due to the short format.

Other than that they were great.


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