July 26, 2011

Review of "Passion" Lauren Kate

Lauren Kate

Passion ((Fallen))2

Pub. Date: June 14, 2011
Pages: 420
Publisher: Random House Children's Books

SynopsisLuce would die for Daniel.
And she has. Over and over again. Throughout time, Luce and Daniel have found each other, only to be painfully torn apart: Luce dead, Daniel left broken and alone. But perhaps it doesn’t need to be that way. . . .
Luce is certain that something—or someone—in a past life can help her in her present one. So she begins the most important journey of this lifetime . . . going back eternities to witness firsthand her romances with Daniel . . . and finally unlock the key to making their love last.
Cam and the legions of angels and Outcasts are desperate to catch Luce, but none are as frantic as Daniel. He chases Luce through their shared pasts, terrified of what might happen if she rewrites history.
Because their romance for the ages could go up in flames . . . forever.
Sweeping across centuries, PASSION is the third novel in the unforgettably epic FALLEN series.

I loved the first two books in the series and I thought Lauren Kate set up for a fantastic third book, but sadly "Passion" was only okay.  I spent most of the novel wanting to punch Luce in the face.  I just thought her judgment was TERRIBLE!  She didn't really question anything that was happening to her and was far too trusting of others.  There was too much time spent with Luce and not enough with other characters.  There were only two other characters that played a significant role in the book, and I was not a fan of one of them.

In the first two books I thought the endings were surprising and extremely climactic, but "Passion"'s ending was the opposite.  I thought it was predictable and I wasn't sure why all the characters were so shocked.  Luce's quest to learn more about her relationship was interesting for about half the book, but by page 200 I was sick of seeing Luce combust.

I really was looking forward to this book, but I honestly don't think I learned much more about Luce and Daniel's relationship.  It was pretty much exactly what I thought it would be without any surprises.  I think I could have done without this book and skipped to the final book without feeling like I missed anything.  I will probably read the final book in the series, but I will definitely go in skeptical.

July 19, 2011

Hunger Games Movie Poster

I know you have probably all seen this, but I had to share it!  I can't wait!

Click here to check out the animated version, it is so much cooler.

HP7 Part 2!

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part2 Release Date 15 July 2011
Incase you haven't seen "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows", it was awesome! This is a movie that is worth seeing in theaters.  It has tons of action and was just so much fun seeing opening day with all the fans.   I'm not writing a formal review, I just wanted to share how much I enjoyed it.  I am disappointed the movies and books are over, but there are plenty of other great series coming out all the time.
(Is Emma Watson a giant?  This photo amuses me far more than it should.)

If you have any great opening night stories or photos you posted on your site or blog feel free to share the link! :)

July 18, 2011

Review of "What Happened To Goodbye"

"What Happened to Goodbye"
by Sarah Dessen
What Happened to Goodbye 
Pub. Date: May 10, 2011
Pages: 402
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group

Synopsis: Since her parents' bitter divorce, Mclean and her dad, a restaurant consultant, have been on the move - four towns in two years. Estranged from her mother and her mother's new family, Mclean has followed her dad in leaving the unhappy past behind. And each new place gives her a chance to try out a new persona: from cheerleader to drama diva. But now, for the first time, Mclean discovers a desire to stay in one place and just be herself - whoever that is. Perhaps her neighbor Dave, an academic superstar trying to be just a regular guy, can help her find out. 

Combining Sarah Dessen's trademark graceful writing, great characters, and compelling storytelling, What Happened to Goodbye is irresistible reading. 

This is another book that I LOVED reading.  I just love Sarah Dessen, but who doesn't?!  Something about her writing and characters engulf me in her books every time.  Mclean was an interesting character to follow because I wasn't sure how she was going to react as new situations developed.  I already knew she was out of her routine by using her real name at her new school, but would she be able to accept people knowing her real self?  Did Mclean even know who she was after so many moves and identities?  Mclean wasn't the only character who seemed to lose herself in a new identity, Mclean's mother started a new family and seems to have become a whole other person.  This creates a lot of tension in the book and it was interesting to see their dynamic.  Mclean also had a very interesting relationship with her father.  I had a hard time believing he didn't realize his daughter changed identities like most teenagers change clothing, but he did work a lot.  If Mclean's family wasn't interesting enough then her friends surly were.  They were a pretty random group Mclean seemed to assemble throughout the book, some of them picking her without giving her an option.  That really seems to be the way true friendships are made.  I wont even get started on the amazingness that is Dave.  He is a dork after my own heart.

Part of the reason I love this book because it does deal with a lot of issues teens deal with everyday-search for identity, parents' divorce, new stepfather, new half siblings, and fitting in at a new school- but Mclean's situations are so extreme it just makes it more interesting.  People may move a couple of times while in high school, but Mclean seems to only stay in one place for maybe 6 months at a time.  If that isn't enough, the details of her parents divorce is blast all over the media for the world to see.  I'm not even a fan of basketball and I enjoyed how the characters were obsessed about it.

I wouldn't call "What Happened to Goodbye" a fast-paced book, but I had trouble putting it down just the same.  She is a fantastic storyteller and she knows how to deal with tough teens issues.  "Just Listen" and "Dreamland" are the only two books by Sarah Dessen I haven't read, but I will probably be finished them by next summer.  Sarah Dessen really is a must read authors for teens or lovers of teen books.  If you like Sarah Dessen then check out Susane Colasanti, Deb Caletti, and Maureen Johnson. 

Review of "The Dark and Hollow Places"

"The Dark and Hollow Places 
Carrie Ryan 
The Dark and Hollow Places (Forest of Hands and Teeth, Book 3)

Pub. Date: March 22, 2011
Pages: 384
Publisher: Random House Children's Books

Synopsis:   There are many things that Annah would like to forget: the look on her sister's face before Annah left her behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, her first glimpse of the Horde as they swarmed the Dark City, the sear of the barbed wire that would scar her for life. But most of all, Annah would like to forget the morning Elias left her for the Recruiters.  

Annah's world stopped that day, and she's been waiting for Elias to come home ever since. Somehow, without him, her life doesn't feel much different than the dead that roam the wasted city around her. Until she meets Catcher, and everything feels alive again.

But Catcher has his own secrets. Dark, terrifying truths that link him to a past Annah has longed to forget, and to a future too deadly to consider. And now it's up to Annah: can she continue to live in a world covered in the blood of the living? Or is death the only escape from the Return's destruction? 

I loved this book!  I am so happy with how the series ended (it is such a relief).  If I had the time, I probably would have read this book all in one sitting, but life gets in the way of reading sometimes.  Part of the reason this book was so successful for me was because it showed more than just the horrors of the zombies, it also showed how horrible humans can be when they have too much power.  The Recruits were terrifying and the characters had to watch themselves every second.  I also loved seeing how life in the city.  It wasn't at all how I expected it to be after reading the first two books, but it was an interesting new perspective. 

The characters were also great in this book.  I really liked Annah; she was such a strong character, even if she was a bit broken.  She was put in some very tough situations and I respected her actions.  I also loved Catcher.  I found it interesting how they struggled with similar issues even though they went through different experiences.  The characters had depth and I loved learning more about them as the story unfolded. 

I really loved "The Dark and Hollow Places"; it's a fantastic ending to a wonderful series.  I highly recommend it to readers who like paranormal romance, dystopian fiction and horror.  This series really did a great job of balancing terrifying zombies with plot and characters.

July 17, 2011

Review of "Going Bovine"

"Going Bovine"
Libba Bray
Going Bovine

Pub. Date: September 22, 2009
Pages: 480
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Synopsis:  All 16-year-old Cameron wants is to get through high school—and life in general—with a minimum of effort. It’s not a lot to ask. But that’s before he’s given some bad news: he’s sick and he’s going to die. Which totally sucks. Hope arrives in the winged form of Dulcie, a loopy punk angel/possible hallucination with a bad sugar habit. She tells Cam there is a cure—if he’s willing to go in search of it. With the help of a death-obsessed, video-gaming dwarf and a yard gnome, Cam sets off on the mother of all road trips through a twisted America into the heart of what matters most.

I was very skeptical of "Going Bovine", even after hearing rave reviews and it winning the Printz Award.  I read "A Great and Terrible Beauty" and it was good, but didn't live up to the hype.  I am happy to report that "Going Bovine" was AWESOME!  At first I wasn't sure how I felt about the book- the characters treated Carter like crap and it was driving me nuts- but then the book switched gears completely and Carter started his quest to save the world and himself.  This book reminded me of the first time I watched "The Rocky Horror Picture Show", at first I wasn't sure how I felt about the movie, it was kind of strange, but by the time the Time Warp scene was over I was hooked! 

Why is this book awesome?  It has EVERYTHING.  There are memorable characters that include punk angel, a garden gnome who may or may not be a Viking god, and a dwarf who is afraid of life.  The book is hilarious, ridiculous, touching, and shows the difference between being alive and living.  I also thought the uses of "Don Quixote" and Wile E. Coyote vs. Road Runner were really cool (this is one of those statements that you won't understand until you read the book and if I go into details I will spoil part of the book).

This book straddles the line between being completely bizarre and genius, it is brilliant but at the same time doesn't take itself too seriously.  I would highly recommend "Going Bovine", but this book isn't for everyone, it deals with mature situations, including drug use, sex, and coping with a terminal illness.  This is a book I can see becoming a classic for teens with some parents pushing for banning, but isn't that the way great books should be.  "Going Bovine" truly deserves the Printz Award and I hope it continues to be a must have in any library.  I will definitely be reading "Beauty Queens" VERY soon!