October 23, 2012

Teaser Tuesdays October 23rd 2012

1-Grab your current read.
2-Let the book fall open to a random page.
3-Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page.
4- Please share the title and author of the book to allow people to find the book if they like the teaser you’ve given!

***Please avoid spoilers!***
The Diviners
Libba Bray
"'I can tell your secrets simply by holding an object dear to you and concentrating on it.' There were polite chuckles among the party-goers." (Page 16)
"The Diviners" is a wonderful book.  I was worried that it would take forever to finish, it is pretty giant, but it went by very quickly.  This is my new favorite by Libba Bray and the audio is excellent.

Feel free to share your teaser sentences by adding a comments

October 21, 2012

Review: Unwind Neal Shusterman

Unwind by Neal Shusterman
Pub. Date: November 6, 2007
Pages: 335
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Short and Sweet Synopsis: Parents can now decide that between the ages of 13-18 teens can be unwound, a process that takes the child's organs and transplants them into other people.  Three teens with different backgrounds, whether by their choice or their parents, are going through the unwinding procedure- this is their story.  

"Unwind" is amazing. I read this book a month or so ago and I still can't stop thinking about it! You may have seen me around the library having conversations about this book with staff. I have read a lot of dystopian, but I found myself completely unsettled by this book. There was a part that was making me sick to my stomach because it was so horrifying- it may be the most terrifying part of any book I have ever read.

While this is a teen book, I think any book group could read this book and have a lively discussion for hours. It touches upon some very interesting issues that politicians have been arguing about for decades (if not longer).

October 17, 2012

Review: Ender's Game

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
Pub. Date: July 15, 1994
Pages: 324
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Short and Sweet Synopsis: Andrew "Ender" Wiggins is drafted into battle school so that he can be molded into a military leader that could one day end the world with the buggers for once and for all.  Ender is taken from his family at a young age and

I'm starting to get the feeling that classic sci-fi may not be my genre. I like dystopian, but that may be where my interest in the genre ends.

I had two problems while reading Ender's Game. I kept waiting for something to happen and by the time there was a twist I just felt like it wasn't a big shock and then the book ended. I wanted to be interested in what was happening, but it didn't feel all that urgent or important. My other problem was with the characters. I just felt bad for all of them even though I found only a few of them to be likable and they weren't in the book very often. It just felt like 300 pages of kids being bullied by their peers and adults.

Honestly the biggest problem I had with "Ender's Game" was the hype. For years everyone has been telling me "I NEED to read this book!" and that "it is THE YA book!". I just don't think very many books could live up to the expectations I had for it.

For me, it was good. I would probably even recommend it, but it just wasn't for me.

October 16, 2012

Teaser Tuesdays October 16 2012

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.
Any one can participate! Just

1-Grab your current read.
2-Let the book fall open to a random page.
3-Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page.
4- Please share the title and author of the book to allow people to find the book if they like the teaser you’ve given!
***Please avoid spoilers!***

What I Saw and How I Lied
Judy Blundell

"Margie and I believed in magazines and movies  more than church.  We knew that if we practiced hard enough, one day we'd smoke a real cigarette with Revlon matching lips and fingertips while Frank Sinatra sang 'All or Nothing at All' right at us." (Page 4)

I am 200 pages into "What I Saw and How I Lied" and I can't wait to find out how it ends!

Feel free to share your teaser sentences by adding a comments

October 15, 2012

Review: Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach

Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach
Pub. Date: June 1, 2011
Pages: 311
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

"Stupid Fast" is an interesting book. My ideas of the book and what the book actually was did not mix at all. I was under the impression this book was about a kid who discovered that he was great at sports and became an amazing football player with a side plot of some family issues. While Felton being a football player and an athlete is part of the plot, the main focus of the novel is the crumbling of his family. I think I was even told this book had humor in it, but I don't remember myself laughing.

Another reason I wasn't the biggest fan of this book was that I found parts unbelievable. I just didn't believe that the characters would act the way they did. They were too mature for high school students. I am not saying that no high school students are mature, I actually know many teens that are more mature than adults, but to have a town full of teens all willing to do the right thing just felt forced. Maybe I am just becoming a cynical "spinster". ;)

Overall the book was good, I read it in a few hours, but it wasn't what I was in the mood for.

October 14, 2012

Review of Tiger Lily

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Pub. Date: July 3, 2012
Pages: 292
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Short and Sweet Synopsis:  The story of Tiger Lily told through Tinker Bell with some romance between Peter Pan and jealousy over Wendy.  P.S.  This book is a harsh, realistic twist on the fantastical Neverland.

Another book with huge hype... I don't really know what to say about it. While I liked this spin on Peter Pan, especially with the emphasis on Tiger Lily, it moved slow. It took me about 100 pages to get into the story. While the book felt slow while reading, a lot happened and it was almost hard to take in everything.  It had a realistic love story (yes I said realistic when talking about a Peter Pan spin off) and I do appreciate that in most books, but for some reason I wanted a little bit more romance.  I have a feeling that the problem was not with the book, but that my expectations of "Tiger Lily" did not match the reality.

I just feel kind of confused about it because there was so much I liked, but it just dragged while reading it.  I wish I had read this for a book group so I could have talked out my confusion.

October 13, 2012

Review: "Code Name Verity" by Elizabeth Wein

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Pub. Date: Feb. 6th 2012
Pages: 452
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Short and Sweet Synopsis:  A young British Spy tells her story mixed with details of the British War effort as she waits for her Nazi captors to kill her.

"Code Name Verity" is a beautiful book. While many WWII books focus on the atrocities done by Nazis to the unwanted populations, "Code Name Verity" focuses on the British War Effort. Yes there are Nazis and they do terrible things, but I wouldn't classify this book as a Holocaust book.

"Code Name Verity" follows two young women's journeys as they get wrapped up in a war that changes their lives forever. It is the friendship between these characters that has stuck with me at the end of the book, not the horrors of war.

I'm not going to say anything else about this book because I would give away something important. I really enjoyed uncovering the story knowing very little going in and I would hate to spoil that feeling for other readers.

October 12, 2012

Review: "Every Day" by David Levithan

Every Day by David Levithan
Pub. Date: August 28th 2012
Pages: 336
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Short and Sweet Synopsis:  The story of a 16 who wakes up in a different body of a random 16 year old everyday.

I just finished "Every Day" and LOVED IT! I'm sure there are other people at my library who can attest to the fact I hunted them down and went a little fan girl trying to express their need to read the book immediately. While "Every Day" didn't take me long to read, I found myself thinking about some of the situations that the main character was put in.

"Every Day" is hard to describe, but I think realistic fantasy sums it up. While it has fantastical elements, the main character waking up in a new body every morning, the story still deals with real issues. It felt like the characters were regular people in our world dealing with both normal and paranormal issues.

"Every Day" has a unique plot and great characters that will keep readers of all ages up all night frantically reading to find out what will happen next!

August 10, 2012

Review: "Notes from the Midnight Driver"

Notes from the Midnight Driver by Jordan Sonnenblick
Pub. Date: October 1, 2006
Pages: 265
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Short and Sweet Synopsis: Alex is sentenced to community service at the senior center for killing a lawn gnome.  Alex is paired with a difficult man, Solomon, who insults Alex in Yiddish, which he doesn't understand.    

"Notes from the Midnight Driver" is a great book.  Jordan Sonnenblick does a wonderful job writing about difficult subjects using humor and heart.  The book  seems to be about your typical teen screw up, but the books quickly switches gears when Alex starts his court mandated community service.  Alex wants to quit because Solomon is too difficult, but we know that isn't what will happen.

This book isn't just about a teen who discovers there is more to himself than goofing off.  Music plays a large roll in this book.  At first I didn't think this would happen, but I was pleasantly surprised that it did.  Relationships, of all kinds play a major roll in "Notes form the Midnight Driver".  Alex's parents are divorced and he is struggling to have a healthy relationship with them.  He is angry with them and blames his father for their separation.  Alex is also struggling to understand his feelings for his best friend Laurie. This is all on top of having to deal with Sol.

While most of the plot was predictable, the book was such a delight to read I didn't mind that there were no "OH SNAP!" moments.  I simply enjoyed the story and laughing out loud at the situations Alex found himself.  I would recommend this book to John Green fans.

August 9, 2012

Review: The Children and the Wolves

The Children and the Wolves by Adam Rapp
Pub. Date: February 2012
Pages: 160
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Short and Sweet Synopsis: This book is about a trio of teens who abduct a young girl.  

I'm not a squeamish person and I don't shy away from books that deal with interesting topics, but "The Children and the Wolves"did nothing for me. I'm left just confused after reading this book. I wish the book had focused on one character because the four voices weren't always distinct and the four year old girl just was unrealistic.

The best thing I can say about this book was that it was short. It took me about 2 hours to read. If it had been any longer, I would have felt like I completely wasted my time reading it.

June 1, 2012

May Wrap Up

I have never done a monthly wrap up, but I thought it might be fun.  This way even if I'm not reviewing certain books, you will know what I'm reading.
The best book I read this month was "Shadow and Bone" by Leigh Bardugo.  You can check out my review here.

Other books I have read this month include:
Arrows of the Queen- Mercedes Lackey
Dear Catastrophe Waitress- Brendan Halpin
Shutout- Brendan Halpin

I am a bit behind on my challenge to read 100 books this year.  I am only at 34 when I should be closer to 42, but hopefully I'll pull through.  :)  It wouldn't be a challenge if it wasn't difficult! 

May 31, 2012

Review "On Jellicoe Road"

“Jellicoe Road”
by Melina Marchetta
My Rating:
Pub. Date: August 28, 2008
Pages: 432
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Source: Library
Edition: Hardcover
Short and Sweet Synopsis (Sorta...): Taylor's guardian, Hannah, has disappeared leaving Taylor to mentor a dorm full of students.  To make matters worse, the territory wars between her school, the Townies, and the Cadets has begun; Taylor is now responsible for keeping the students in her school and their territory safe from the Townies and Cadets. Can she handle these responsibilities, the loss of Hannah, and revelations about her mysterious past?

"Jellicoe Road" is a wonderful book; great writing, memorable characters, and heart wrenching stories weave together to create this beautiful book.  The more I think about "Jellicoe Road" the more I adore it.  I love how the different stories of the characters meld together by the end of the book.  While Taylor is the main character, I felt the other major character were just as important in the story.  I fell in love with the characters in Hannah's story, even if I was confused with the shifting between Hannah's story to Taylor's story.

"Jellicoe Road" is hard to review because part of my love for this book was the unfolding of all the mysteries.  I had to know about the characters in Hannah's story AND what happened to Taylor's mother.  Usually these dual plots would drive me a bit bonkers, but Melina Marchetta pulled it off brilliantly.  I have to admit I was as confused as heck at the beginning of the book (it took me forever to distinguish between the character), but by the end I really loved the story.

In short, "Jellicoe Road"is a fantastic book that deserves more than 4 stars, but I had such a problem figuring out the characters at the beginning that I couldn't give it 5 stars.  I think many readers will fall in love with it because it is a truly beautiful story.  

May 29, 2012

Review of "Shadow and Bone"

"Shadow and Bone"
by Leigh Bardugo
My Rating:
Pub. Date: June 05, 2012
Pages: 368
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Source: Free from Publisher
Edition: ARC
Short and Sweet Synopsis: The only thing that Alina likes about her life is the time spent with her best friend, but all this changes when their regiment is attacked.  Alina discovers a hidden power that not only save them, but may also be the key to saving her country.

I just finished "Shadow and Bone" and I can't believe how wonderful it was!  If the rest of the books in this trilogy were out, I would be devouring them right now!  I can't think of anything I didn't like about this book.  The characters, plot, setting, pace, writing, and cover are all AWESOME!  There was a bit of romance, but it didn't overtake the story. 

I loved all the characters both good and bad.  I loved how the characters developed throughout "Shadow and Bone".  No one was 100% good, they were just handling situations the best they could as things came at them.  There were definitely evil characters in the book and they earned it.  There were also some "villains" that I definitely felt for by the end of the book.

Usually I don't talk about setting, but how can you not love a book where part of the land is filled in completely darkness?!  That is so terrifying!  Plus, there are evil monsters that will massacre anything that enter these dark lands.  There is also a beautiful palace filled with dark secrets.  There is an interesting play between good vs. evil and beauty vs. ugliness.  Just like nothing is 100% good or evil, nothing is 100% beautiful or ugly.  Some things that may be seen as ugly had redeeming qualities where some things beautiful also had terrible qualities.  Evil sometimes hides in beauty just like good can be found in ugliness.  I'm not going to explain anymore because I will totally give something away.

Whether you are looking for a great fantasy book or just want to read an amazing book,  "Shadow and Bone" will satisfy both cravings.  It is truly a wonderful book that is worth buying in Hardcover.  I am definitely going to be recommending this book to everyone who reads teen books.  It just blew my mind!  It has been hours since I finished the book and I am still acting like a fangirl.  I not only have a crush on a couple of the characters, but the book as well!

May 27, 2012

Review of "Pandemonium"

by Lauren Oliver
My Rating:
Pub. Date: February 28, 2012
Pages: 375
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Source: Bought
Edition: e-book
Short and Sweet Synopsis: Sequel to "Delirium".  Lena has survived her escape into the wilds, but will she be able to survive without Alex?

I have been waiting to write the review for "Pandemonium" because it took me a while to figure out my reaction.  Overall I really liked the book, but I had difficulty getting into it.  Part of my love for "Delirium" was the idea that love was a disease and I thought Oliver pulled it off brilliantly; however, "Pandemonium" just didn't have as much to offer.  It definitely felt like it was setting up for the second book for most of the time. But my biggest pet peeve was I thought it was predictable.You may be wondering how I could possibly be giving this book four stars after all that?  Don't worry, I'll tell you why.  

Once I got into "Pandemonium", I couldn't stop reading it.  The characters were complex and I am a sucker for characters with depth.  While I didn't always agree with their actions, I understood them and generally respected the characters.  Lena was pretty kick-ass by the end of the book and I give her props for the turn around.  She was actually driving me absolutely bonkers at the beginning of the book.

The other bonus to "Pandemonium" was that while I found parts predictable, I wouldn't have changed them because I can't wait to read the next book!  Oliver set everything up for a climactic end to her trilogy.  I mean, come on... the ending?  It HAD to be that way!  I knew that was coming and while I was reading it I knew exactly how it would go down, but yet I was still revved up by it.  I had trouble sleeping because I felt like my heart almost exploded.  I can't help but give a book props for making me feel that strongly about it.  Plus, just because I saw a lot of the pieces falling into place early, it doesn't mean that all readers will.  I could see readers being surprised by moments in the book.  I just had a more subtle "of course" reaction to these moments instead of my favorite "OH SNAP!" (these are my verbal reactions while reading, not mental).

To wrap it up, I did not love "Pandemonium" like it's predecessor "Delirium", but I cannot wait to read "Requiem", the final book in the "Delirium" trilogy.  Oliver created some wonderful characters and the ending of the book had me reeling, even if it was predictable.  Hopefully "Requiem"  will give me the "OH SNAP" reaction I so long to have while reading.  :)

May 26, 2012

Review: "Theatre Illuminata"

“So Silver Bright”
by Lisa Mantchev
My Rating:
Pub. Date: September 13, 2011
Pages: 368
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Source: Bought
Edition: Hardcover
Short and Sweet Synopsis: Final book in the "Theatre Illuminata" Series that follows a love triangle between a girl who can write things into reality, a pirate from "The Little Mermaid", and Ariel of "The Tempest".  Can they survive the wrath of a sea witch, face an unpredictable queen, reunite Bertie's family, AND save the Theatre Illuminata?

"So Silver Bright" was a perfect ending to a wonderful series. These books have such a unique plot that they completely swept me into their world. The "Theatre Illuminata" series is for people who are willing to fall into a fantasy world where anything is possible.  I loved that the possibilities for this book seemed endless.   

The characters are fun and there are moments where I found myself laughing out loud. How can you not love a set of characters that includes four faeries from "A Midsummer Night's Dream"?  They are hilarious and wreak havoc where ever they go.  I will also admit that I have a total crush on Nate!  A pirate with a heart of gold who is ruggedly hansom and 100% man.  Who am I kidding? I just needed to know he was a pirate!  ;)  Ariel is his super sensual self.  Bertie, our leading lady, is growing up but still remains kick ass.  Ophelia also has a memorable part to play in this final installment.

"So Silver Bright" may be a fantasy book, but the characters struggle with issues anyone can relate to.  Bertie is trying to bring together her separated parents by learning about their past.  Ariel is trying to figure out where he belongs in the world.  Bertie is constantly trying to learn about her powers and gain the confidence she needs to be successful in her objectives.  While the problems and actions are fantastical, the emotional struggles of the characters are realistic. 

I really hope Lisa Mantchev continues to write novels because I want more of her fantastic creativity.  I am very sad that this is the final book in the "Theatre Illuminata" series, but I am happy with how it ended.  

May 15, 2012

Review of "The Half-Life of Planets"

“The Half-Life of Planets”
by  Emily Franklin and Brendan Helpin
My Rating:
Pub. Date: June 10, 2010
Pages: 256
Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children
Source: Library
Edition: Paperback
Short and Sweet Synopsis: The story of Liana, a serial kisser and planetary scientist wannabe, and Hank, a music obsessed guy chording his way through life with Asperger's syndrome.

I loved this book!  I read it for a book group and couldn't put it down.  I have to admit I have never heard of either author, but thanks to "The Half-Life of Planets" I will definitely be reading more of their works.  

The authors did a great job at creating unique characters that had fantastic chemistry.  Hank and Liana were both interesting in their own ways.  Liana was likable even with her make-out mania and I loved being in Hank's head as he tried to analyze the situations he was placed in.  Hank is an honest portrayal of Asperger's, but his character is much more than just a disorder, just like Liana is much more than a kissing trollop.

I found this book quite powerful even though it was only about 250 pages.  Unlike many authors, Emily and Brendan understand the power of language.  "The Half-Life of PLanets" is full of short, yet extremely powerful moments. Little things like sandwiches and self-help brochures take on a whole new meaning.

I recommend "The Half-Life of Planets" to anyone who likes realistic fiction or music.  Fans of "This Lullaby", "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist", and "Carter Finally Gets It" will enjoy the relationships in the book as well as the focus on music.

May 12, 2012

Review of "Cinder"

by  Marissa Meyer
My Rating:
Pub. Date: January 3, 2012
Pages: 387
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Source: Library and Bought
Edition: Hardcover and e-audio book
Short and Sweet Synopsis:  Cyborgesque Cinderella with a dystopian spin.

While I actually loved reading "Cinder", I read 300 pages in one sitting, I have to admit I found it to be predictable.  As soon as certain parts of the plot were revealed, I pretty much knew what was going to happen in the end.  This didn't ruin the book for me while reading it, but reflecting back I just wished there had been one OMG moment.  I like to be surprised!  I like finishing a book and having a psychical reaction, like having to get up and walk around even if it is 4 AM.

 I think Marissa Meyer did a wonderful job at recreating the classic tale.  I wasn't bored with the story, because it wasn't exactly the same as the classic.  It's not just a flashy romance starring a cyborg.  "Cinder" touches on a lot of timely topics such as immigration issues, racism, classism, and war.  Meyer also developed some interesting characters.  I wasn't sure how she was going to pull off cyborg characters, but they were lovable.  I was happy that the villain in "Cinder" was quite evil, not a letdown.  

Cinder was a true pleasure to read.  I am getting a little sick of all the series out there, but I can't wait to see where Meyer takes the Lunar Chronicles next.

April 27, 2012

Review "Wesley the Owl"

“Wesley the Owl”
by  Stacey O'Brien
My Rating:
Pub. Date: June 2, 2009
Pages: 256
Publisher: Free Press
Source: Library
Edition: e-audio book
Short and Sweet Synopsis:  A really touching book about a woman who raises an owl.

I found this book to be completely charming.  I learned a lot about owls and it really was a nice story.  I had no idea that owls were so emotional.  Even though there were parts of the book where I was just cringing because of the more gruesome ways that Stacey O'Brien had to care for Wesley, I still kind of wanted to adopt an owl.  Wesley was just such a sweetheart, I couldn't imagine a more loving companion.

  I will admit, I have always loved owls.  I actually have a tattoo of a tree with books blooming, instead of flowers, with an owl sitting in it.  I not only think they are beautiful creatures, but I love that they stand for wisdom and are the sacred birds of Athena.  I am going to be completely bias; however, I don't generally read non-fiction, so I think the fact I read this book in such a short period of time without getting board says a lot.  

I would recommend this book for animal lovers or people interested in learning about owls.  I would also recommend this book to anyone looking to read a quick biography.  Honestly, there is not much more I can say about the book, just give it a shot.

Here is a video of the author talking about Wesley.