Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Season by Sarah MacLean

Lady Alexandra Stafford has just turned seventeen and begun her London Season. Alex isn't looking forward to the luncheons, countless balls and other events that will showcase her talents in hopes of finding a suitable husband, one with money and a title. Alex is different than most young ladies; she's most certainly not a "delicate flower" and loathes the fact that many men believe women to be their intellectual inferiors. But when she begins to see her brothers' friend Gavin in a new light, she might actually want to attend those balls and luncheons. That is, until Alex finds out that Gavin's father's death may have not been an accident, but murder. With her two friends Ella and Vivi, Alex is determined to find the murderer and and steal Gavin's heart in one fell swoop.

The Season is definitely one of the best books I've read in a long time. I love mysteries, romance and historical fiction, so this book is a perfect fit. Alex is not like most girls living in 1815 - she doesn't want to be courted or attend any balls or dances. She's smart and funny, a perfect combination for some witty dialogue. All of the characters meshed well together, from her friends, three older brothers, even the villains of the story. And I must mention the love interest Gavin. He was such a great character: very handsome, very romantic and believed in the same things as Alex. Even though the mystery aspect of this book could have been better fleshed out, The Season kept me flipping pages to find out what happened next.

8 out of 10.

Release Date: March 1, 2009

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Waiting On Wednesday - 6

I haven't done a Waiting On Wednesday post in forever! But now that swimming is almost over (one day of practice left before Districts!), I'll have some free time to do fun blog things. As you know, Waiting On Wednesday was created by Jill at Breaking The Spine.

Just One Wish by Janette Rallison

Seventeen-year-old Annika Truman knows about the power of positive thinking. With a little brother who has cancer, it’s all she ever hears about. And in order to help Jeremy, she will go to the ends of the earth (or at least as far as Hollywood) to help him believe he can survive his upcoming surgery.

But Annika’s plan to convince Jeremy that a magic genie will grant him any wish throws her a curveball when he unexpectedly wishes that his television idol would visit him. Annika suddenly finds herself in the desperate predicament of getting access to a hunky star actor and convincing him to come home with her. Piece of cake, right?
Janette Rallison’s proven talent for laugh-out-loud humor, teen romance, and deep-hearted storytelling shines in a novel that will have readers laughing and crying at the same time.

This book looks so cute and funny. I haven't really read a humorous book in awhile so that will be a nice change. Look for it in stores on March 5.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz

Schuyler Van Alen lives with her rich grandmother in New York City and attends a pretigious high school in which all the students come from the wealthiest and most influential families. The girls are beautiful, thin, and seem to have it all - including immortality. And Schuyler's one of them. These are the Blue Bloods, a group of vampires that have ruled New York for centuries. Not quite your normal vampires, they shed their mortal bodies every 100 years and are born again, with memories hidden until the age of sixteen. These vampires are immortal, but something is preying on the Blue Bloods, and killing them. Schuyler must figure out who is behind the attacks before it is too late.

I've wanted to read this series for awhile, but didn't have the book until my friend let me borrow hers. She was raving about Blue Bloods so I expected it to be good. And it was. But I wasn't that impressed with it overall. The plot was interesting, even though it was another of the never-ending vampire novels. I'm glad that Melissa de la Cruz decided to go in a different direction with her vampires. These ones actually "die" in that they shed their mortal bodies and are born again at a different time. This is interesting because the characters are now different people and have different relationships with each other. The person you were bonded to in one lifetime could be born as your twin brother (which actually happens). Although, I wished the author explained more about the Blue Bloods and their history. Everything seemed rushed, and not fully explained, but I hope everything will be cleared up in the next few books. Things I didn't like included the dialogue, which sounded forced and a little cheesy to me. The plot could have been polished slightly so it wasn't so rough around the edges. I think one more round of editing would have done the book wonders. Even with its flaws, Blue Bloods took an unoriginal theme and made it original and new, which is always a good thing.

6 out of 10.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Skinned by Robin Wasserman

Lia Kahn was perfectly normal, until the accident that almost killed her. The damage to her body was so bad that she was downloaded into a new, mechanical body. She has a computer for a brain, and cannot feel pain, age or even die. Now that she has become what is called a "skinner" she is branded as unhuman by her friends, society, and even her family. Trying the be normal, Lia continually denies her existence and tries to act human. That is, until she meets others like her, who challenge Lia to realize her full potential.

So. This book was okay. Yes, just okay. When I first started the book, I liked it immediately. Lia's voice was just so real, the writing was good, and the plot was interesting. And I as kept reading, I started liking Skinned less and less.

First off, let me just say that this book has uncanny similarities to The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson. Both girls are in terrible car accidents and almost die, both girls' parents decide to "download" their brain into new bodies. They each feel alienated by a certain family member and both girls are deemed "unhuman" by society. These similarities were what attracted me to Skinned, since I really liked Adoration. But there is where the connection ends. Skinned takes place at least a hundred years in the future, as opposed to the fifty years in Adoration. And normally that wouldn't be a bad thing at all. Except I felt that the author took every stereotype (ok that's an exaggeration) of the future and put it into the book. I don't know, it just felt like too much science fiction for my taste. Like, this is hard to explain, but it felt like science fiction as I was reading it. And I don't want that. I want to feel like the story is real, or at least could be real. That's what good fantasy or science fiction does, it makes you feel like you're in the book and experiencing everything with the characters. Anyway, that's the main reason I didn't like Skinned. It just didn't click with me. I might read the sequel, Crashed, but I'm not sure yet.

6 out of 10.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott

On the outside, Alice is Ray's daughter. They live in a small apartment, and he homeschools her. The neighbors don't ask questions, and they don't know the truth. They don't know that Alice is not the girl's real name and that Ray is not her father. When Alice was ten years old, Ray kidnapped her from an aquarium. Threatening her with the her parents' death, Alice has been forced to endure physical, emotional, and sexual abuse for five long years. Now that Alice is fifteen, she's too old for Ray's little girl fantasies. Alice knows her death is imminent, but what she doesn't know is Ray's plan for her, one far worse than death.

I can't really say I enjoyed reading this book, due to the disturbing subject manner. It's hard to like Living Dead Girl, because of the abuse that Alice has to endure. Fortunately, it isn't overly explicit, but I would only recommend it for mature, older teens. On the other side, I think this is an important book to read. You get to see a glimpse into the life of people who are sexually abused and see how they feel. Elizabeth Scott, as always, did a wonderful job portraying Alice. This book was written a little different than her other books, with shorter sentences. Some might say book was of a lower reading level, but readers need to remember that Alice is still only as smart as a ten year old, so her vocabulary and sentence structure would be limited. The theme reminded me somewhat of Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, but I can't make any direct connections because I haven't read the book. Living Dead Girl also showed the reader how an abused little girl could still be strong and courageous, and how the abuse did not break her spirit.

6 out of 10.

Friday, February 13, 2009

My Bookshelves

It's been so much fun seeing everyone else's bookshelves, so I thought I'd post pictures of mine, too. Seeing everyone else's makes me feel like I have no books, but here are the ones I do own.

The top shelf has all my ARC's and books that I haven't read yet.
This shelf has all my favorite books like the Gemma Doyle Trilogy and the Uglies series. Some of my books are missing, like Twilight and The Da Vinci Code.
These are two shelves above my desk. The top one has the last four Harry Potter books and paperback Nancy Drews. The bottom shelf has my hardcover Nancy Drew books, some of which I haven't even read.
So there's my bookshelves!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hello Again!

Sorry there's no Waiting On Wednesday tonight. I had a late meet so I didn't get a chance to do it. I just got home an hour ago because our meet didn't start until 5 pm. It was the last meet of the season so I'm really sad that the seniors are leaving! I can't believe that will be me next year. I also have to review Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott. It was...interesting. You can read all about it in my review. In other news, I get my SAT scores tomorrow! I'm excited and a little nervous. I want to know how well I did and if I'll have to take them again.

Have a good night everyone!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Envy: A Luxe Novel by Anna Godbersen

Two months after Elizabeth Holland's dramatic homecoming, Manhattan eagerly awaits her return to the pinnacle of society. When Elizabeth refuses to rejoin her sister Diana's side, however, those watching New York's favorite family begin to suspect that all is not as it seems behind the stately doors of No. 17 Gramercy Park South.

Farther uptown, Henry and Penelope Schoonmaker are the city's most celebrated couple. But despite the glittering diamond ring on Penelope's finger, the newlyweds share little more than scorn for each other. And while the newspapers call Penelope's social-climbing best friend, Carolina Broad, an heiress, her fortune - and her fame - are anything but secure, especially now that one of society's darlings is slipping tales to the eager press.

In this next thrilling installment of Anna Godbersen's bestelling Luxe series, Manhattan's most envied residents appear to have everything they desire: Wealth. Beauty. Happiness. But sometimes the most practiced smiles hide the most scandalous secrets... (Taken from inside cover)

This series is so good and Envy did not disappoint. As I've stated before, The Luxe series is like Gossip Girl in 1900, but since it's historical fiction, it's even better. Anna Godbersen writes so well and there is a lot of historical facts and information that show that Anna did a lot of research. The story continues right where it left off in Rumors, and the characters never fail to create drama for themselves and others. As soon as you think all is well in Manhattan, there's a twist and everything falls apart again. Even after three books, I never tire of the characters and plot, which means the author is doing a wonderful job of storytelling. This series is perfect who likes historical fiction, romance, and a lot of scandalous secrets just waiting to be spilled.

8 out of 10.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin

Naomi has amnesia and can't remember any of the past four years. She can't remember picking heads on the coin toss. She can't remember losing the bet to go back into school to get the yearbook's camera. And she definitely can't remember falling down the stairs and busting her head open. But she can remember James, the new boy who found her and called the ambulance. Even though she has a boyfriend, Naomi can't help but feel drawn to this boy who wants to forget his past the same way she can't remember hers.

I actually really liked this book, despite some things within the book that I didn't like. Does that even make sense? I'll start with the things I did like: the characters of Naomi and her best friend Will. I felt bad for Naomi because she couldn't remember anything, but I found her journey to dicovering new things about her life very interesting. For example, she couldn't remember her parents' divorce, or the fact that her mom is remarried with a daughter and her father has a fiancee. As for my other favorite character, Will, he was a sweetheart. He was unconditionally loyal to Naomi and seemed to know everything about her. They were both co-editors of the yearbook and Will would make Naomi these cute little mix CDs. I loved him, haha. Now for things I didn't like: James. Actually that's the only thing I didn't like about Memoirs, but it's a big part. He was an odd character and supposed to be Naomi's love interest. He had some mental issues, like he spent time in mental facility, but he wasn't completely cured all the way. He just wasn't the right fit for Naomi, who I felt needed someone stable in her life after the head trauma and James was just an emotional mess. I also felt like the as the book progressed it was more about Naomi and James's relationship than about her losing her memory. Despite the things I didn't like (*cough*James*cough*), I was satisfied with the ending and overall enjoyed reading this book.

7 out of 10.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The ABC's of Kissing Boys by Tina Ferraro

Parker Stanhope has been playing soccer all her life. As a junior, she has seniority and will get to play on the varsity team. But due to some incoming players, all the juniors get moved up to varsity, except two. And one of those two is Parker. Now that she's still on JV, her friends have abandoned her and Parker will do anything to get them back. Including an elaborate scheme involving her older brother's best friend and a kissing booth. But Parker isn't as good at kissing as she is playing soccer...

This book was adorable! It was a very quick read, as I read it in less than a day. But it was still really good. The whole premise was interesting, to say the least. Parker must kiss her brother's best friend at the kissing booth, and he keeps reminding her that it must look geniune. Like most girls, Parker doesn't have much experience in kissing, so she enlists the help of freshmen neighbor Tristan to teach her the ropes. Now, that shounds extremely awkward, but Parker is not like other girls and sees the practicality in learning to kiss well. I liked Parker's boldness and that she wasn't self-conscious during the "lessons". It's nice to see a heroine as confident as Parker. The romance between Tristan and Parker was really cute, and borrowed some themes from Romeo and Juliet because both their fathers hate each other. The ABC's of Kissing Boys was funny, romantic, and even had some great lessons on the definition of true friendship

8 out of 10.

This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

Remy may seem cold-hearted when it comes to relationships, but it's more like she's careful. After seeing her mother go through four (soon to be five) marriages, Remy just doesn't believe in love. She breaks up with her current boyfriend when she feels herself getting too involved, so she can spare herself from the heartache that she has seen her mother experience. But when Dexter comes along, everything changes. He's a musician (and therefore off-limits, as per Remy's rules) and different than Remy's previous boyfriends. Dexter actually seems to like (maybe love) her and Remy can't decide whether to break her rules and take a chance on him.

This is the seventh Sarah Dessen book that I've read, and I must say, they are amazing. I love her distinct writing style, and even though every protagonist's voice is different, I could still tell that it was written by Sarah. I didn't like This Lullaby as much as some of the other books I've read by her, but it was still good. Remy was an interesting character, one that didn't believe in love at all. I felt bad for her, because love can be a wonderful thing, and Remy would shut herself off in all the relationships so she wouldn't get too attached. I can understand wanting to protect your heart but Remy took no risks whatsoever when it came to relationships. I'm glad that by the end of the book Remy changed a lot and saw that it was better to be loved and hurt than never to have loved at all (I think I changed/butchered that quote somehow, but oh well). I really liked Dexter and felt he was one of the stronger Dessen male characters. He was funny and sweet and actually had a personality (unlike Wes from The Truth About Forever, who was kind of bland). I also liked the dynamics between Remy and her friends Jess, Lissa, and Chloe. All in all, if you're a fan of Sarah Dessen you won't be disappointed with This Lullaby.

7 out of 10.