Sunday, November 29, 2015

Saint Anything

Title: Saint Anything
Author: Sarah Dessen 
Genre: Contemporary YA 
Pages: 417
Rating: 4/5
Purchase this book here

Sydney Stanford grew up in the shadow of her older brother, Peyton.  Everything she did was followed by Peyton doing something better.  So, you’d think that when Peyton got thrown in jail for running over a young boy while driving drunk, Sydney would finally get some recognition for her good, positive personality.  Unfortunately, that’s not the case.  Instead, she’s thrown further under the dark, overcast cloud Peyton has created, and Sydney slowly begins to believe herself invisible. 

I really enjoyed this book.  The beginning was a little slow, but once you got through the background information part, it began to pick up, and I was hooked! The characters were the best- Sydney was super relatable, and her friends were just plain adorable.  You wanted to hate the antagonists, love the good guys, and you felt all of Sydney’s anger and frustration just as vividly as if it were all happening to you. 

This book basically follows Sydney Stanford’s life as she deals with the aftermath of her brothers huge mistakes, which include (but are not limited to) driving under influence (and hitting a boy which resulted in his paralyze), drug abuse, burglary, and breaking and entering.  Feeling judged as she follows her brother's path through school, she makes the decision to switch schools- gaining a clean slate.  You watch her struggle with her parents inability to trust her, despite the fact that Sydney had never done anything wrong, all because of her brother’s history.  You watch life unravel as she tries to get her parents to understand how she feels; about her brother, her life, and how she’s being treated by her family.  And most importantly, you look in as Sydney finds her confidence, her meaning, and herself. 

This book really toyed with your emotions.  I truly felt Sydney’s anger and frustration at her parents, and every time she had to stay home alone with her brother’s creepy friend, I felt my heart speed up in nervousness.  

And then there were the scenes were she was surrounded by her new found friends.  Whenever they’d all be truly, truly happy, I found myself in a good mood as well. 

My one problem was that Sydney tended to make stupid decisions. Underage drinking, lying when it wasn’t necessary, and being unable to stand up for herself are a few.  There were times were I really wished I could just pop into the book and talk some sense into her.  She wouldn’t have even gotten into half of these bad situations if she had done the smart thing and just said “no.” 

Despite it’s flaws, this book is just so easy to relate to and I loved it. I think everyone’s found themselves in a point in their life where they just feel misunderstood.  Like nobody in the world sees things the way they do.  And because of that, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone.   

Monday, November 23, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday 11/24/15

Top Ten Fictional Families I Want to Celebrate Thanksgiving With

Top Ten Tuesday is brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish

The following fictional families are the ones I'd want to celebrate Thanksgiving with the most, and are not in any specific order. 

Note: Some of these families would not actually be celebrating Thanksgiving, given their location/time era, but I'm still including them. 

1. The Weasley Family (Harry Potter)

I just think that the Weasleys would be so fun to celebrate Thanksgiving with.  Not only would the food be absolutely to die for, but I would really enjoy getting to immerse myself in the magic of the wizarding world.  

2. The Schreave Family (The Selection Series)

One word for you- FOOD. I just remember America describing the food at the palace when she first showed up, and now I would love to try their lavish meals.  

3. The Camp Half-Blood Family (Percy Jackson)

I would really enjoy getting to go to Camp Half-Blood and be able to ask all my questions and experience the Camp Half-Blood magic for myself. Of course, when I say family, I do literally mean family, since they are all related. 

4. The Lightwood Family (The Mortal Instruments)

When I say family, I think I'd include Clary, Simon, Magnus, etc. etc. in this, just because I'd want to be able to talk to all of them.  It would be so cool to meet Shadowhunters and see the runes- you know?  Of course, I'd be pretty intimidated at the same time. 

5. The Sargent Family (The Raven Cycle)

Okay, how could I say no to a family of psychics?  Blue's quirk, awkward, all-knowing family would make for the single most interesting Thanksgiving dinner! 

6. The Dunwoody Family (The Books of Elsewhere)

Mrs. and Mr. Dunwoody would be so hilarious to listen to!  I've always found The Dunwoody family to be one of my favorite fictional families, and not only would I love to be able to listen to the Dunwoody parents talk mathematician talk, but just being able to visit the Dunwoody's house, and talk to Olive would be so fun! Plus, I might get a peek at one (or all) of the cats. 

7. The Campbell Family (The Underland Chronicles)

Getting to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with Gregor's adorable family would be so great.  Just being able to spend time with a family that's so tight would be really heartwarming.  (Plus I could bombard Gregor with questions about the Underland.) 

8. The Lovegood Family (Harry Potter)

Sure, it might be a small group, but it would certainly be an eventful one! I'd love to see what traditions they have, and try their unique food. 

9. The Meminger Family (The Book Thief)

Liesel's quirky family would be really great to spend Thanksgiving with. I would just love to be able to talk with them all. 

10. The Potter Family (Harry Potter)

I would really enjoy celebrating Thanksgiving with the early Potters. And Sirius. And Remus.  I love how much they all love each other, and I think Thanksgiving would be a very happy, joyful holiday.

So those were my Top Ten Families!  Let me know what you think, and feel free to link your Top Ten Tuesday 11/24 below. 

Disclaimer: No artwork is mine.  All pictures are linked to their original sources. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The White Rose

Title: The White Rose (The Lone City #2) 
Author: Amy Ewing
Genre: YA Fantasy/Dystopia
Pages: 308
Purchase the book here

In this continuation of the Jewel by Amy Ewing, Violet Lasting is running from the Jewel with her two closest friends.  Ash Lockwood, former companion, is a wanted fugitive. Violet, escaped surrogate, is said to be the victim of rape. Raven Stirling, pregnant surrogate, is half-crazy.  Despite the attention the three are receiving, they manage to evade the royals and get to safety with other people who want to overthrow the royalty. Unfortunately for Violet, she has a very, very special role in this rebellion.  But will she be strong enough to prove that she is more than just a surrogate, or will she fall to the limits the royalty have set? 

If you read my review for the Jewel, you know that I did not enjoy it.  I only read this one because I already owned it. I was hoping that this one would get better, and I'm sorry to report that it did not fulfill these hopes.  

I mean, it wasn't bad, really.  But it just wasn't good.  And I still don't like the romance between Ash and Violet. 

The main reason I didn't like this novel was the plot.  It moved really fast.  Whenever a complication came up, the characters would get out of the problem without having to do anything. Does that make sense? Probably not... What I'm trying to say is everything was too easy.  They got out of problematic situations too easily.  

And the writing didn't get much better.  I mentioned a problem with antecedents and their pronouns in my Jewel review, and Ewing hasn't improved.  There is still confusion about which "she" is being referred to, or which persons are being included in the "they". 

Also, I felt the Raven's character was very inconsistent.  Her mind is supposed to be messed up, yet how aware she is changes so much that it's hard to keep track of when she's talking nonsense and when she's serious.  Violet, our narrator, doesn't mention if Raven is acting any differently. 

However, I must applaud Amy Ewing's ending.  It left off at a cliff hanger, and now I have to know what happens next. Siiiiiiigh. 

So yeah, I probably will be reading the third installment because- darn cliffhangers!! That being said, I'm still giving this three out of five stars, as it wasn't all that great.  

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Jewel

Title: The Jewel (The Lone City #1)
Author: Amy Ewing
Genre: YA Fantasy/Dystopia
Pages: 358
Purchase this book here

Violet Lasting is special.  She's special in a way that makes her, a lowly girl at the bottom of society, very desirable by royalty.  Royal women are not able to have their own children, and because of this, they hunt down all of the special young women in the poorest part of the country and force them into the role of "surrogate".  In other terms, they must birth the royal womens' children.  Violet Lasting has the qualities that deem her a surrogate, and after four years of training and preparation, she is being sent off to the auction, where she is to be sold off and forever stripped of her own freedom.  

This book had a very captivating start.  I was very intrigued by the unanswered questions it introduced and the new and different plot. However, as the story unfolded, it began to get a little uncomfortably weird. 

As you can see from the synopsis, it has a very interesting storyline.  Basically, this girl is forced into this life where she has no choices, no decisions, no freedom, and she has to give birth to this duchesses daughter.  At the beginning, I was hooked!  It went at a pretty fast pace, I wanted to know more about this girl's situation, and I thought it was very suspenseful.  But, as the story continued, things slowed down.  Like I mention, things start to get a little uncomfortable.  For example, Violet (who technically has no name outside of the number 197) has to wear a collar and a leash.  Er.... yeah.  Like, weird much? She is also required to refer to the duchess who purchased her as "mistress" and "my lady" every time she addresses the duchess.  

So things get a little weird, and the whole relationship between Violet and the Duchess is sort of abusive when you look at it.  

My other problem with this book was the romance.  I thought the idea Ewing had could have been a really cool storyline! However, a lot of the books "suspense" was built upon this forbidden romance. Personally, I feel like I would have enjoyed the book more if it didn't lean so heavily on the romance, and built Violet's forbidden friendship up more. 

My last complaint was that Ewing's antecedents didn't always agree with the pronoun.  For instance, she would use a few female names in a paragraph, and then use the pronoun "she" but it wasn't always clear which "she" Ewing was referring to.  This happened quite often, so I thought I'd mention it. 

On a happier note, the book picks up suspense at the end, and draws the reader back into the story.  I will be reading and reviewing the next book as well, mostly because I already own it.  

I could really go either way with my recommendation here.  If you're okay with some uncomfortable scenes, it's a pretty interesting and fast paced read. I give it a 3/5. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Thirteen Reasons Why

Title: Thirteen Reasons Why
Author: Jay Asher
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Contemporary YA 
Pages: 288
Stars: 3/5
Purchase this book here

Clay Jensen knows that Hannah is dead.  He knows that his first real love killed herself.  But what he doesn't know is the thirteen reasons why. 

I had pretty high expectations for this book, just because of the amount of recommendations I got for it, and I'm sorry to say it wasn't as good as I was hoping.  However, I did still enjoy it.  It was extraordinarily fascinating, meaning I found it very interesting.  

Hannah Baker recently killed herself, and nobody's sure why. Nobody, that is, except for a select few who receive a box of cassette tapes on their front doorsteps.  On the collection of 7 tapes are the thirteen reasons why Hannah Baker committed suicide. This book follows Clay Jensen, the ninth person to receive the tapes, and his thoughts and actions as he listens.  

I want to start off by saying I did enjoy this book.  It was interesting, it was fast paced, and it was certainly very profound and symbolic.  And the way Jay Asher finishes this book is absolutely phenomenal.  My only problem is that is lacked something.  I can't quite put my finger on it, to be honest, but I feel like I was expecting some major plot twist or suspenseful climax or something that just never happened.  It was lacking something.  And so I'm giving this three stars, because it was okay. It wasn't bad, but it was nothing amazing.  Perhaps my expectations were just too high.  

So should you read it?  If you want something that allows you to look into the mind of a suicidal teenager, or a novel with very deep, symbolic features, then yes.  It's certainly a page turner, and if you're looking for a fast paced novel, try picking this up.  But like I said, I'm neutral with this book, and it's not something I enjoyed as much as I was hoping.  


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday 11/17

Top Ten Quotes from Books Read this Year

Top Ten Tuesday is brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish

So it's time for another Top Ten Tuesday!  I'll be honest, I'm not very good at remembering/marking quotes I like in books, so I'll be hunting through my goodreads and trying to see if I can't remember anything. 

With no further ado...

#1: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

#2:  Fangirl
“Sometimes writing is running downhill, your fingers jerking behind you on the keyboard the way your legs do when they can’t quite keep up with gravity.”
Picture taken and edited by me!

#3: The Darkest Minds

“He's so busy looking inside people to find the good that he misses the knife they're holding in their hand.”

#4: Blue Lily, Lily Blue

“Blue was perfectly aware that it was possible to have a friendship that wasn’t all-encompassing, that wasn’t blinding, deafening, maddening, quickening. It was just that now that she’d had this kind, she didn’t want the other.”

#5: Fangirl (Again, woo hoo!)
“Nick wanted to meet on campus at Love Library. (That was the actual name; thank you for your donation, Mayor Don Lathrop Love.)”

#6: Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone

“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”

#7: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban 
“Don't let the muggles get you down.”

#8: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban 
“I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.”

#9: The Darkest Minds
“When a girl cries, few things are more worthless than a boy.”

#10: The Book Thief 
“A snowball in the face is surely the perfect beginning to a lasting friendship.” 

So that's all I have this week!  As I'm sure you can tell, I'm not the best at quotes here... so these are all the quotes I saved on goodreads. 

Link your TTTs below- I'd love to see your quotes! 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Wicked Will Rise

Title: The Wicked Will Rise
Author: Danielle Paige
Genre: Fantasy, Action, YA
Pages: 293
Stars: 3/5
Series: Dorothy Must Die
Purchase this book here

In this sequel to Dorothy Must Die, Amy Gumm has a task.  That task is easier said than done, though; she must steal the lion's courage, the tin man's heart, and the scarecrow's brains, and then she must kill Dorothy Gale herself.  But will Amy Gumm be able to bring herself down to the level of the evil Dorothy to save the world of Oz?

In this book, Amy is supposed to fulfill this task set ahead of her by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked.  The entire time, though, Amy feels this dark cloud of evil swallow her further and further. Honestly, I found the whole story rather bland compared to Dorothy Must Die.  Overall, I was rather disappointed.  There were hardly any plot twists, and the story was extremely predictable.  

The tone of the voice was something else I was bothered by.  It was extremely informal- annoyingly informal.  It reminded me of Maximum Ride. And I strongly dislike Maximum Ride.  (If you're interested in seeing what I think about Maximum Ride, check out this link.) Back to the point here, Amy's narration includes a lot of "look, ...." and "anyway...." Look here", "So....", "Anyway, look...". 

It's very, very annoying! It would be at least bearable if she wasn't using terms like these so frequently, but it's practically every other page.  So I'm sure you can see why I found this annoying.

Another thing I found disappointing was that the minor characters were more interesting and developed than the major characters.  I just.... I really found the entire book to be bland.  For some reason I can't give this book 2 stars.  I didn't really like it, but Dorothy Must Die was so great that I feel like the sequel should deserve a good rating as well.  So I'm rather upset that the Wicked Will Rise didn't live up to my high expectations. I found myself slowing down in my reading, and I wasn't as excited about reading the book as I was when I read Dorothy Must Die.  

So would I recommend it?  No, not really.  However, Dorothy Must Die was really great, and perhaps Yellow Brick War  (the third book) will be better.  I guess we'll have to wait and see after it's released! 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Blue Lily, Lily Blue

Title: Blue Lily, Lily Blue
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 391
Purchase this book here

In the third book of the Raven Cycle, Blue Sargent, daughter, niece, and cousin to psychics, has lost her mother. Maura Sargent left 300 Fox Way, leaving nothing behind but an ambiguous note.  While struggling through the grief of not having a mother present, the reality that she would never be able to afford to go to a good college, and the impending threat of Gansey dying, Blue tries to remain focused on the task ahead of her: finding and waking the dead king Glendower. 

Blue Lily, Lily Blue is definitely a rarity in YA.  How often do you get a book about psychics and welsh kings, sprinkled with light romance, action, and some pretty memorable plot twists?  

Not very often.

This novel is the third in a series of four.  (The fourth has not yet been released.)  Obviously, I have to like the first and second books well enough to read the third one, so I must say I've enjoyed all three.  This is the type of series that gets better with each book; I can't keep myself from picking up the next one.  

So I would recommend this book to someone who's willing to get through the first two as well, as you'll find that it starts off a bit slow and uneventful.  

Blue Lily, Lily Blue is absolutely packed with plot twists and cliffhangers.  It's that type of book that you have to keep telling yourself, "one more chapter. One more chapter."  

However much I enjoyed this book, I do have one complaint: it gets a little confusing.  Stiefvater does this thing where she ends the chapter with a cliffhanger and then picks the story up a couple hours later, forcing the reader to infer about what happened.  It can get a little confusing, like when a teacher gives instructions, but you're the only one who wasn't listening.  

So it's not my favorite book ever, but I certainly liked it, and I would recommend that you read it, especially if you're up for something new!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Book To Movie Adaptations I'm Looking Forward To/Ten Book To Movie Adaptations I Still Need To Watch 

Top Ten Tuesday is brought to you by the brokeandbookish

So here's my list of movie adaptions I want to see! 

1. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Set to release this January- have you seen the trailer yet? 

2. Mockingjay Part 2 by Suzanne Collins
Coming out this month! Check out the trailer

3. Allegiant Part 1 by Veronica Roth
March of 2016!  I love Tris' hair in the trailer

4. The Scorch Trials by James Dashner (Yeah, yeah, I haven't seen it yet.) 

5. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
This is one of my favorite books, so when it was released that a movie adaption was underway, I was suuuuper psyched!  Unfortunately, there's been some director problems, so I think the release date is being delayed. 

To finish off my post, I'll list 5 other books that have been optioned as movie adaptions! 

6. Legend by Marie Lu

7. Looking for Alaska by John Green

8. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

9. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

10. The Selection by Kiera Cass

That's all!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Red Queen

Title: Red Queen
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Genre: dystopia, action, YA
Pages: 388
Purchase this book here

Mare Barrow lives in a world divided by two blood types: red and silver.  The reds are the laborers- the workers.  They slave away in their grimy villages, supplying the silvers with every leisurely need.  The silvers are the nobles.  They sit in their mansions, or their expensive flats in the capital of the country, laughing at the insignificance of the reds.  There is one special thing about the silvers, though: they have a special ability, each of them.  Some have the strength of a giant, some can bend the rays of the sun at their will, some can leek into the minds of their neighbors.  It is these abilities that create a rift between society.  The kingdom is so cleanly divided that nobody quite knows what to do when one day, Mare Barrow, common red, quite obtrusively shoots lightning out of the palm of her hand directly at the new queen-to-be- by accident. 

This book was fantastic! It was choke full of action, and there was a twist around every corner. This was definitely worth my time, and I can't wait for the next one to come out. 

As you can see from the summary, this book is a dystopian book.  I for one, love dystopia, and if you do to, you should definitely pick this book up. What drove me to read this was probably just how popular it was, so, I figured, I might as well see what all the hype was about.  It definitely has a Throne of Glass feel to it, along with a Hunger Games sort of social system.  That being said, this is a book entirely of its own sort, so don't be afraid of picking up some repeat dystopia book. 

The actual story telling of this book was down right phenomenal. When you start reading a dystopian book, or at least a book that takes place in its own world with its own ways of society, you usually get some amount of information dump.  The author explains all the rules and ways of society all at once, or as needed. That never actually happens in Red Queen.  This is how you can see just how great of a writer Victoria Aveyard is. She doesn't tell you all the background information, she shows you it. If you're a writer, you've probably heard that term before: Show, don't tell; and that's exactly what Aveyard does.  She doesn't tell you that Silvers are viewed as superior to Reds, she shows you through the two interacting in society.  She doesn't tell you that only Silvers have abilities, she shows you when everyone is shocked at Mare possessing a power. Having a good story is only half of the equation, you also need to be a good storyteller. 

So.... moving on to the characters. There are a lot of characters in this book, and sometimes it can be a little hard to keep track of them all, especially since a lot of them have odd names.  However, the major characters are very complex, and their personalities are strongly developed.  There is no bad guy and good guy.  Every character has a little bit of each in them. 

The action and suspense in this book is great, and you should definitely give it a shot!  It also has a great lesson in treating all people as your equal.  So go read this book, and remember, "power is a dangerous game". 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Looking for Alaska

Title: Looking for Alaska
Author: John Green
Genre: Realistic Fiction, YA
Pages: 221
Purchase this book here

Miles Halter decides to leave his uneventful life in Florida and attend the boarding school his dad went to in Alabama.  He's excited about finally being an independent teenager, and starting his own life, but he's not quite prepared for just how much excitement and thrill is coming his way when he meets Alaska Young, a girl just as captivated as he is with the concept of the mysterious beyond, and the sufferings of life.  

This was a fantastic book!  I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I picked it up, but I sure wasn't expecting such a deep, significant novel.  I'm a sucker for those realistic fiction books with deeper meanings, so I really enjoyed this book! 

 I liked this novel because of it's poetic feel.  The book is full of huge questions about life, and lots and lots of beautiful theories on the nature of humans.  Miles, the main character, takes a world language class, and John Green takes what Miles learns, and throws it into Miles' real life.  You get to experience the trials of livign through the eyes of someone who's always questioning, always conscious of the "great perhaps". 

Miles is also obsessed with people's last words.  The book itself is full of very ironic last words, funny last words, and meaningful last words.  It makes me want to know other people's final statements.  

If I had to pick a favorite character, it would be Alaska.  She transformed her dorm room into a library, which is totally something I would do.  Plus, she's really good at math.  She was in precalculus, and according to Miles she was extremely good at it. She's just pretty awesome in general.   

My only warning about this book is that it does have sexual scenes and drug/alcohol use, so if you're uncomfortable with that, this book is probably not for you.  

Also, it doesn't really have chapters.  It is divided with a bolded header at certain parts, but it doesn't have actual chapters. 

Other than those few things, this book was great!  I definitely recommend it.