Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - 92

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine for bloggers and readers to see what new books will be released soon.
Catherine by April Lindner

A forbidden romance. A modern mystery. Wuthering Heights as you've never seen it before.

Catherine is tired of struggling musicians befriending her just so they can get a gig at her Dad's famous Manhattan club, The Underground. Then she meets mysterious Hence, an unbelievably passionate and talented musician on the brink of success. As their relationship grows, both are swept away in a fiery romance. But when their love is tested by a cruel whim of fate, will pride keep them apart?

Chelsea has always believed that her mom died of a brief illness, until she finds a letter her dad has kept from her for years -- a letter from her mom, Catherine, who didn't die: She "disappeared."

Driven by unanswered questions, Chelsea sets out to look for her -- starting with the return address on the letter: The Underground.

Told in two voices, twenty years apart, Catherine interweaves a timeless forbidden romance with a compelling modern mystery. (from GoodReads)

I wasn't the biggest fan of Wuthering Heights, but I absolutely adored April Lindner's retelling of Jane Eyre, so I'm willing to give Catherine a shot. Catherine will be released January 2, 2013.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday - 38

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish for bloggers who like to make lists about books.
Top Ten Characters Who Remind Me of Myself or Someone I Know

1. Hermione Granger - Myself
I think Hermione and I are the same person, especially in regards to school. We can both be know-it-alls and are crazy about doing schoolwork and studying. I think the only thing that's different is I probably wouldn't be dating Ron.

2. Chelsea's Dad (from Past Perfect by Leila Sales) - My Dad
Both are total history buffs, even if my dad doesn't dress up in colonial garb and work in Williamsburg (He is a history teacher, though).

3. Peeta Mellark - My Sister
They are similar in that they both like to bake! My sister doesn't bake nearly as much as Peeta, but she does like trying new recipes occasionally and she's certainly better at cooking then me.

4. Taylor Edwards (from Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson) - Myself
I just finished reading this book and it's amazing! I definitely recommend it. I picked Taylor because we're both close with our dads and the book takes place not too far away from me!

5. Ron Weasley - My Brother
Both have red hair, are the younger/youngest family member, both are goofy. They can also be a little lax when it comes to schoolwork. As Hermione, I wouldn't want to date Ron because he kinda reminds my of my brother.

Alright, I'm tapped out! This was a hard topic! So what characters remind you of someone your know?

Monday, June 25, 2012

When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle

In this intensely romantic, modern recounting of the greatest love story ever told, Romeo’s original intended—Juliet’s cousin Rosaline—tells her side of the tale.

What’s in a name, Shakespeare? I’ll tell you: Everything.

Rosaline knows that she and Rob are destined to be together. Rose has been waiting for years for Rob to kiss her—and when he finally does, it’s perfect. But then Juliet moves back to town. Juliet, who used to be Rose’s best friend. Juliet, who now inexplicably hates her. Juliet, who is gorgeous, vindictive, and a little bit crazy… and who has set her sights on Rob. He doesn’t even stand a chance.

Rose is devastated over losing Rob to Juliet. This is not how the story was supposed to go. And when rumors start swirling about Juliet’s instability, her neediness, and her threats of suicide, Rose starts to fear not only for Rob’s heart, but also for his life. Because Shakespeare may have gotten the story wrong, but we all still know how it ends… (from GoodReads)

I was debating whether or not to read When You Were Mine because there were some bad reviews on GoodReads. But since it was a 2012 debut and a retelling of Romeo and Juliet, I thought I'd give it a chance. While nowhere near as good as the original, it was still an enjoyable read.

Sometimes a reader just needs something light, easy reading and contemporary, which is why I had fun reading When You Were Mine. I had problems with some aspects (how Rosaline put all the blame on Juliet, when Rob/Romeo was responsible for leaving her in the dust, how some plot points in the play were disregarded, a lot of stream of consciousness narration) but as a whole I liked the novel. It was nowhere near perfect, but it was fun. Even though she can babble on, Rosaline does have a great voice. Her thoughts were similar to mine and she sounded like a real teenager.

I was sad that Rosaline was left by Rob, because they seemed to have a great relationship. They were best friends but are becoming something more just as Juliet arrives. I do maintain that it was unfair of her to only blame Juliet. Rob could make his own decisions, which he did. Some of the time I wish we could get a Juliet or Rob point-of-view, because I was starting to become interested in their storyline (Rosaline's does become a little boring).

Now we all know how Romeo and Juliet ends so I was curious to see what the author decided to do with that. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

When You Were Mine had flaws but if you take it for what it is - light reading, contemporary, fun - you'll definitely enjoy it.

Rating: 7 out of 10.
FTC: read online at Pulse It

2012/Simon Pulse/334 pages.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Bumped by Megan McCafferty

When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society. Girls sport fake baby bumps and the school cafeteria stocks folic-acid-infused food.

Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and have never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Up to now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they are searching for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend, Zen, who is way too short for the job.

Harmony has spent her whole life in Goodside, a religious community, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to convince Melody that pregging for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from.

When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe, both girls’ lives are changed forever. A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common.

From New York Times bestselling author Megan McCafferty comes a strikingly original look at friendship, love, and sisterhood—in a future that is eerily believable. (from GoodReads)

I've been looking forward to reading Bumped since it's been released and now I've finally got a chance to get it from my library. While not my favorite futuristic novel, I thought Bumped was pretty good.

What I liked about Bumped the character of Melody. I felt like I really connected with her and I liked the direction of her storyline. I especially liked her best friend/love interest Zen. I enjoyed reading about their relationship and those were my favorite parts. I had to stop myself from skipping ahead to read scenes between them. It's a bad habit of mine.

I also liked the infertitlity aspect and how it was handled. I feel like if all women over 18 were infertile, what occurs in Bumped would occur in real life. Since we're so consumeristic, I can see corporations trying to profit off teen pregnancy like they do in Bumped. There are so many things promoting pregnancy in Bumped's world: music, clothing, food. While other countries might force teenagers to get pregnant to keep the population stable, I could definitely see the United States using consumerism and materalism to get girls to do the same thing.

What I didn't like that much was the new slang that everyone uses. I could mostly figure out what they were saying but it did get a little obnoxious. If people in real life ever started speaking like that, I'd have a real problem. I also was not a fan of Harmony's point-of-view. She's not a bad character, but the heavy religious narration was not my cup of tea. She was raised pretty much like the Amish and Mennonites, and the way she thinks is just really annoying to me, as someone who is not religious. I much prefered reading about Melody.

Overall, I did enjoy Bumped. It wasn't amazing, but still pretty good. After finishing this, though, I am looking forward to reading Thumped. I really want to see how everything plays out.

Rating: 7 out of 10.
FTC: borrowed from library.

2011/HarperCollins/323 pages.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Book vs. Movie: Game of Thrones

I guess this should actually be called Book vs. TV Show, but since it's the one and only of its kind (so far) I'll just include it with the movies.

So like any good reader, I read both A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings before watching seasons 1 and 2 of the HBO fantasy drama Game of Thrones. I actually started watching the first season while I was still reading the first book, so it was cool to see the characters come to life almost immediately after reading it.

I think that Game of Thrones is the best book to visual medium I've ever encountered. HBO spares no expense when it comes to costumes, sets, and locations. They did a magnificent job casting the actors, so everyone looks and sounds pretty much as I imagined them to. The script is wonderful and nothing is left out. I know the real reason is because they dedicated an entire season to one book. It's like making a ten hour movie. Literally, everything that happens is included and there are even scenes that have been added to enhance the viewing experience and to help non-readers understand what's going on.

In the first season nothing was changed, but in the second season there were some changes. Dany's, Jon's and Robb's storylines are altered, but I didn't mind too much because it gets all the characters to the same place in the end.

Overall, I think HBO did an excellent job with the adaptation (it helps that the author, George R.R. Martin, is a producer) and I'm looking forward to the third season! So if you read A Song of Ice and Fire or are just looking for a good show to watch, I highly recommend Game of Thrones.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

House Rules by Jodi Picoult

When your son can't look you in the eye...does that mean he's guilty?

Jacob Hunt is a teen with Asperger's syndrome. He's hopeless at reading social cues or expressing himself well to others, though he is brilliant in many ways. But he has a special focus on one subject - forensic analysis. A police scanner in his room clues him in to crime scenes, and he's always showing up and telling the cops what to do. And he's usually right.

But when Jacob's small hometown is rocked by a terrible murder, law enforcement comes to him. Jacob's behaviors are hallmark Asperger's, but they look a lot like guilt to the local police. Suddenly the Hunt family, who only want to fit in, are directly in the spotlight. For Jacob's mother, Emma, it's a brutal reminder of the intolerance and misunderstanding that always threaten her family. For his brother, Theo, it's another indication why nothing is normal because of Jacob.

And over this small family, the soul-searing question looms: Did Jacob commit murder? (from GoodReads)

I love immense love and adoration for Jodi Picoult and her novels. Her books are always informative, thought-provoking and extremely readable. I have trouble putting them down and even though they are usually long, I can read them so fast. House Rules was no different than this.

Asperger's is not something I'm unfamiliar with. My neighbor has Asperger's and my cousin has autism (though it's very high-functioning). Even with these relations, I still learned so much about this developmental disability. I'm pretty sure Jacob was an extreme case of Asperger's in that he had every trait, but I think it was good to highlight exactly what Asperger's entails. I especially loved getting his point-of-view, and seeing exactly what he thought. I was actually surprised that Jodi Picoult decided to write it, but I'm glad she did.

Throughout the novel, we also get Jacob's mom's perspective, which I loved. She was an amazing woman and you could tell she loved her two sons so much, even though she had to struggle as a single mother. She would do anything for Jacob and it's apparent when she's dealing with his murder charge.

I thought the mystery/court case aspect was very well-done, but it was frustrating that they just didn't ask Jacob what happened, because supposedly he can't lie and doesn't do it very well. The whole time I was wondering who the real culprit was, and we do get an answer to that eventually. I was also disappointed in the ending - it was very vague and I thought that was unfair to readers who invested so much in the story and characters.

Overall, I thought House Rules was an excellent addition to Jodi Picoult's portfolio and it stands up against some of her best novels. Now I can't wait to continue reading her work - she has so many books!

Rating: 9 out of 10.
FTC: borrowed from library.

2010/Atria/532 pages

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - 91

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine for bloggers and readers to see what new books are coming out.
Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill

Meant to be or not meant to be . . . that is the question.

It's one thing to fall head over heels into a puddle of hazelnut coffee, and quite another to fall for the—gasp—wrong guy. Straight-A junior Julia may be accident prone, but she's queen of following rules and being prepared. That's why she keeps a pencil sharpener in her purse and a pocket Shakespeare in her, well, pocket. And that's also why she's chosen Mark Bixford, her childhood crush, as her MTB ("meant to be").

But this spring break, Julia's rules are about to get defenestrated (SAT word: to be thrown from a window) when she's partnered with her personal nemesis, class-clown Jason, on a school trip to London. After one wild party, Julia starts receiving romantic texts . . . from an unknown number! Jason promises to help discover the identity of her mysterious new suitor if she agrees to break a few rules along the way. And thus begins a wild goose chase through London, leading Julia closer and closer to the biggest surprise of all: true love.

Because sometimes the things you least expect are the most meant to be. (from GoodReads)

The romance sounds like it's going to be really cute... and the book takes place in London! Can't get much better than that! Meant to Be will be released November 13, 2012

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday - 37

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish for bloggers to make lists about books.

Top Ten Books on My Summer TBR List

1. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
I still can't believe I haven't read this yet! I'm dying to know what happens next. Too bad this has about 30 holds at my library.

2. Defiance by C.J. Redwine
This was a Waiting on Wednesday pick a few months back and it will be released at the end of August!

3. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
I adored Matson's first novel, Amy and Roger's Epic Detour, and this seems like another perfect summer read.

4. A Midsummer's Nightmare by Kody Keplinger
I can't believe I still need to read this and Shut Out! I'm so behind!

5. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
John Green is amazing and I really need to get my hands on this.

6. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Another book that I think everyone but me has read.

7. What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
All of Sarah Dessen's books take place during the summer so that's when I try to read them.

8. The Rivals by Daisy Whitney
I just read The Mockingbirds and I can't wait to see what happens next!

9. The Story of Us by Deb Caletti
Most of her novels take place during the summer, but even if they don't they are still amazing!

10. The Diviners by Libba Bray
Her Gemma Doyle Trilogy is one of the best and I can't wait to see what else she has to offer.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter



It's always been just Kate and her mom--and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear that her mother won't live past the fall.

Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld--and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.

Kate is sure he's crazy--until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she suceeds, she'll become Henry's future bride and a goddess.

IF SHE FAILS... (from GoodReads)

When I started The Goddess Test, I wasn't sure if I would like it. Unlike many other people, I'm not a big fan of mythology. But I was willing to give The Goddess Test a chance because if it's well-written I know I would like it. (Example: Troy by Adele Geras). However, I didn't like The Goddess Test at all.

My biggest problem is that the mythology was so confusing. All of the characters are supposed to be Greek gods but it was almost impossible for a person not well-versed in mythology to figure out who was who. There was a guide in the back of the book but couldn't the author make the names more similar so I didn't have to keep flipping pages? Henry is Hades but other characters don't have the same beginning letter: Calliope is Hera, Ella is Artemis, Theo is Apollo, etc. Even the things/traits that you associate with certain gods were missing. Phillip, who is supposed to be Poseidon, is the horse master. Couldn't he have something to do with water? He could be the boat master or something.

Other than being utterly confused throughout The Goddess Test, I was also bored. Kate is supposed to go through seven tests and if she passes (without dying first like all the other girls) she gets to become Henry/Hades's queen. She doesn't always know when the tests are coming and neither does the reader. I thought this part of the novel would be really epic, with interesting challenges to test Kate's strength, fortitude, intelligence and other characteristics like that. Nope. I won't give away what the tests were but they were super lame.

Overall, I was disappointed in The Goddess Test. It did a terrible job of translating the mythology into a modern context and the plot didn't hold my attention. I also didn't care for any of the characters including our protagonists Kate and Henry. Suffice to say, I will not be reading the sequel.

Rating: 3 out of 10.
FTC: received from publisher.

2011/Harlequin/298 pages.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney

Some schools have honor codes.
Others have handbooks.
Themis Academy has the Mockingbirds.

Themis Academy is a quiet boarding school with an exceptional student body that the administration trusts to always behave the honorable way--the Themis Way. So when Alex is date raped during her junior year, she has two options: stay silent and hope someone helps her, or enlist the Mockingbirds--a secret society of students dedicated to righting the wrongs of their fellow peers.

In this honest, page-turning account of a teen girl's struggle to stand up for herself, debut author Daisy Whitney reminds readers that if you love something or someone--especially yourself--you fight for it. (from GoodReads)

This wasn't on my To Read list, but when I saw it at my library, I decided to get it. And now I'm so glad I picked it up because The Mockingbirds was amazing!

The Mockingbirds had a lot of great elements but my favorites were the secret society aspect and all the homages to To Kill a Mockingbird, which is a fantastic novel. I think secret societies are extremely fascinating and I love that this one focuses on helping students get justice. They're like nice vigilantes who use means other than violence to prove a point. The point they proved in The Mockingbirds was that date rape is not okay, ever.

I was a little nervous reading about date rape, especially because it's something that a lot of girls and women go through, but I think the author handled the subject very sensitively. That's probably because she went through something very similar and it definitely shows in the narration. The main character, Alex, is just like any other girl until she is date raped. She can't remember exactly what happened (though she starts to get flashbacks) and I'm so glad she decided to stand up for herself and go to the Mockingbirds. Part of me wished she went to the police, because date rape is a very serious crime, but I can totally understand not wanting your parents/the whole world to know. So at least she was proactive in doing something.

This book was very readable and I couldn't put it down because I wanted to know how the case turned. The Mockingbirds ended in a way where I want to see what happens next. Luckily for me, there is a sequel, called The Rivals. So overall I think that any girl can relate to The Mockingbirds and I hope that it inspires girls and young women to speak out when they are in trouble or hurt.

Rating: 9 out of 10.
FTC: borrowed from library.

2010/Little, Brown/332 pages.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Gilt by Katherine Longshore

Summary:Kitty Tylney has always been best friends with Catherine Howard, living in the Duchess of Norfolk's manor with other young girls. Kitty and Cat have dreamed of the opulent court of King Henry VIII, but never expected to go. But when Cat is selected to attend Queen Anne of Cleves, she leaves Kitty behind and begins her ascent. When Cat catches the eye of the king and soon after marries him, she invites Kitty to join her at court. Kitty is excited for the balls, pretty gowns, and expensive jewels, but she isn't expecting the gossip, secrets and power-seeking enemies. Can she protect Cat from those who wish to bring her down?

The Tudors and King Henry VIII are two of my favorite subjects, so I was very excited to read Gilt. I already had some knowledge about Catherine Howard, but it was interesting to read the story from the point-of-view of her best friend, Kitty. What's funny is that this is the second book I've read about Catherine Howard that is from someone's point-of-view. I guess authors don't like writing about her directly?

From what I can tell, most of Gilt is pretty accurate, which is good for history buffs like me. The whole cast of characters is present, including Francis Dereham, Jane Boleyn and Thomas Culpepper. I think that the author might have watched the tv show The Tudors because Thomas Culpepper's characterization was very similar to the one in the show. He's a pretty slimy guy in both, but I've read books where he was nice/normal.

Since I've read so much about the Tudors, this didn't really add anything to what I already knew. Some parts of the book were a little boring because Kitty isn't at court as long as Catherine, but once she becomes a lady-in-waiting, the plot picks up. I knew what happened to Catherine, but I was looking forward to see how everything would end for Kitty. So it was nice to have some kind of surprise in regards to the ending.

All in all, I liked Gilt, mainly because of the topic it covered. Kitty was a pretty good heroine, but her extreme loyalty (which might be good in some cases) was stronger than her self-preservation, which could be annoying. I think Gilt is a decent addition to the genre and I think fans of this time period will also enjoy it.

Rating: 7 out of 10.
FTC: Flamingnet Book Reviews.

2012/Viking/398 pages.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg

From the much-buzzed-about author of THE LONELY HEARTS CLUB (already blurbed by Stephenie Meyer, Lauren Myracle, and Jen Calonita), a prom-season delight of Jane Austen proportions.

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single girl of high standing at Longbourn Academy must be in want of a prom date.

 After winter break, the girls at the very prestigious Longbourn Academy become obsessed with the prom. Lizzie Bennet, who attends Longbourn on a scholarship, isn't interested in designer dresses and expensive shoes, but her best friend, Jane, might be - especially now that Charles Bingley is back from a semester in London.

 Lizzie is happy about her friend's burgeoning romance but less than impressed by Charles's friend, Will Darcy, who's snobby and pretentious. Darcy doesn't sem to like Lizzie either, but she assumes it's because her family doesn't have money. Clearly, Will Darcy is a pompous jerk - so why does Lizzie find herself drawn to him anyway? (from GoodReads)

I thought that Elizabeth Eulberg's first novel, The Lonely Hearts Club, was adorable and loved that it was Beatles' themed. Now Eulberg tackles another favorite subject of mine, Pride and Prejudice. Prom and Prejudice was highly readable and did justice to the Jane Austen classic.

I was a little leery of reading Prom and Prejudice because I thought it would be too light and fluffy and I was more in the mood for a substantial book. But I actually enjoyed it a lot! Like I said earlier, it's extremely readable and I seriously couldn't put it down. I think I read it in one day or so (it helps that it's pretty short).

It's been a few years since I've read Pride and Prejudice, but everything came back to me once I started this book. I think Eulberg did a great job translating the original into the modern retelling. There were a few changes, but the important elements remained intact.

So, overall, I really enjoyed Prom and Prejudice and think any fans of the original will enjoy this as well!

Rating: 8 out of 10.
FTC: borrowed from library.

2011/Scholastic/231 pages.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.

There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.

She’s wrong. (from GoodReads)

Ugh. This book. I did not like The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer at all. It looked so promising. The cover is beautiful, the title is intriguing, the summary is suspenseful. Even the prologue was interesting. But everything soon fell apart after that.

Like I just said, the beginning actually is good. Mara has no recollection of how she is in the hospital and how her friends died. It's a big mystery, and as the reader, I wanted to learn more. Luckily for us, Mara starts having flashbacks and memories are revealed in her dreams. Suddenly strange things are happening, like hallucinations, and part of me liked wondering if the paranormal stuff was real or if it was all in Mara's head.

However, as soon as Noah, our romantic interest, is introduced, the book starts to descend into mediocrity. He is creepily obsessed with Mara as soon as she starts at her new school, and made me think that he had ulterior motives (he actually does). By the way, the reason he wants to get to know Mara is kinda corny and felt like it was just thrown in there for the heck of it. But Noah is a notorious playboy and doesn't date the girls he sleeps with. But as soon as Mara comes along, Noah is ready to settle down because she is "different" and "special." Honestly, I didn't see what was that great about Mara.

On the other hand, Mara is just obsessed with Noah as he is with her. He's pretty much all she thinks about. Noah would also say and do annoying things, like demanding to drive her to school even though it was out of his way. Halfway through the book, the author forgot she was writing a paranormal mystery and started writing a plain old romance. Seriously, the middle of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is devoid of anything remotely paranormal, until the author remembered what she was writing.

The ending was a cliffhanger but even that wasn't enticing enough for me to suffer through the sequel. This is probably one of the few books where I have no interest at all in seeing what happens next, and I think that is quite the accomplishment. Suffice to say, I was very disappointed in The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer.

Rating: 4 out of 10.
FTC: borrowed from the library.

2011/Simon & Schuster/452 pages.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - 90

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine for bloggers and readers to get excited about upcoming books.
The Program by Suzanne Young

Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone.

With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in.

And The Program is coming for them. (from GoodReads)

This sounds so good! And a little creepy. Unfortunately we have to wait until April 30, 2013 to read this.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday - 36

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish for bloggers who like making lists about books.

Top Ten Beach Reads

1. Sleepaway Girls by Jen Calonita
So for this list I decided to only pick books that take place during the summer. Luckily there are a ton of books that I like that fit the bill. Sleepaway Girls follows Sam as she is a camp counselor for the first time. I read this book to get ready for summer because her camp is so awesome!

2. Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
This book has such a beautiful cover and is set at the beach.

3. The Secret Life of Prince Charming by Deb Caletti
This is probably my favorite Deb Caletti book where and there's a road trip!

4. Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen
Most of Sarah Dessen's books take place during the summer but this is one of the first I read so it holds a special place in my heart.

5. Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Road trip books are perfect for the beach!

6. 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
Another travel book!

7. Sea Change by Aimee Friedman
Summer on an island and mermaids? Sounds like a beach read to me!

8. Past Perfect by Leila Sales
This book is about a girl who works at a Revolutionary War era theme park (sorta like Williamsburg).

9. Lovestruck Summer by Melissa Walker
I think the title says it all.

10. Death by Bikini by Linda Gerber
A mystery at the beach!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

The demon Lilith has been destroyed and Jace has been freed from her captivity. But when the Shadowhunters arrive to rescue him, they find only blood and broken glass. Not only is the boy Clary loves missing–but so is the boy she hates, Sebastian, the son of her father Valentine: a son determined to succeed where their father failed, and bring the Shadowhunters to their knees.

No magic the Clave can summon can locate either boy, but Jace cannot stay away—not from Clary. When they meet again Clary discovers the horror Lilith’s dying magic has wrought—Jace is no longer the boy she loved. He and Sebastian are now bound to each other, and Jace has become what he most feared: a true servant of Valentine’s evil. The Clave is determined to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. Will the Shadowhunters hesitate to kill one of their own?

Only a small band of Clary and Jace’s friends and family believe that Jace can still be saved — and that the fate of the Shadowhunters’ future may hinge on that salvation. They must defy the Clave and strike out on their own. Alec, Magnus, Simon and Isabelle must work together to save Jace: bargaining with the sinister Faerie Queen, contemplating deals with demons, and turning at last to the Iron Sisters, the reclusive and merciless weapons makers for the Shadowhunters, who tell them that no weapon on this earth can sever the bond between Sebastian and Jace. Their only chance of cutting Jace free is to challenge Heaven and Hell — a risk that could claim any, or all, of their lives.

And they must do it without Clary. For Clary has gone into the heart of darkness, to play a dangerous game utterly alone. The price of losing the game is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she even still trust him? Or is he truly lost? What price is too high to pay, even for love?

Darkness threatens to claim the Shadowhunters in the harrowing fifth book of the Mortal Instruments series. (from GoodReads)

So when I first heard that Cassandra Clare was adding more books to The Mortal Instruments series, I was both excited and afraid. I wanted to revisit the characters but City of Glass ended so beautifully that I was afraid that it would be ruined with more books. However, I think my fears were unfounded because I'm really enjoying the continuation of this story.

It's probably bad, but I didn't really remember much of City of Fallen Angels. Luckily, there is some recap in the beginning of City of Lost Souls, so I was able to figure out what was going on pretty quickly. That being said, I like the direction these books are going. Sebastian was a loose end before but now we're tying that up, which is great. Even though he's evil, Sebastian is such a interesting character. I think you could write an essay analyzing him, there's that much there.

I also loved seeing more of the secondary characters, such as Alec, Magnus, Isabelle, Jordan and Maia. They really shined in this installment and it was nice to see their point-of-views. The only thing that confused me was how involved Jordan and Maia are in the Shadowhunter world. Maybe this was addressed in the last book and I don't remember, but suddenly they are part of the gang and in the thick of things. I didn't mind at all, I was just a little confused.

The only thing I don't like about these last three books is that Clary and Jace are always having problems! I feel so bad for them and their relationship; they have been through so much. Most of the problems aren't even their fault, it just comes with being a Shadowhunter. I really hope the series ends happily for them! They deserve it.

Overall, I liked City of Lost Souls better than City of Fallen Angels, but it still wasn't as good as the first three. I can't believe there's only one book left though! There's so much to be wrapped up. I can't wait to see how it ends!

Rating: 8 out of 10.
FTC: personal copy

2012/Margaret K. McElderry/534 pages.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - 89

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine for bloggers and readers to learn about new books.
Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans

Since her untimely death the day before her eighteenth birthday, Felicia Ward has been trapped in Level 2, a stark white afterlife located between our world and the next. Along with her fellow prisoners, Felicia passes the endless hours downloading memories and mourning what she’s lost—family, friends, and the boy she loved, Neil.

Then a girl in a neighboring chamber disappears, and nobody but Felicia seems to recall she existed in the first place. Something is obviously very wrong. When Julian—a dangerously charming guy Felicia knew in life—comes to offer Felicia a way out, she learns the truth: a rebellion is brewing to overthrow the Morati, the guardians of Level 2.

Felicia is reluctant to trust Julian, but then he promises what she wants the most—to be with Neil again—if only she’ll join the rebels. Suspended between Heaven and Earth, Felicia finds herself in the center of an age-old struggle between good and evil. As memories from her life come back to haunt her, and as the Morati hunt her down, Felicia will discover it’s not just her own redemption at stake… but the salvation of all mankind. (from GoodReads)

I think this sounds really good and it's written by fellow book blogger Lenore! So I'm sure it will be amazing!! Level 2 will be released January 15, 2013.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday - 35

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish for bloggers who like to make lists about books.

Rewind: Top Ten Fictional Couples

1. Clary/Jace from The Mortal Instruments Series
I'm reading City of Lost Souls right now so I get to revisit one of my favorite couple. Unfortunately, all is not roses with their relationship, so I hope these two crazy kids can work it. They sure have been through a lot.

2. Katniss/Peeta from The Hunger Games Trilogy
This was obviously my team before we knew how it ended, plus I love how sweet Peeta was. I want a guy who will bake me things!

3. Ellie/Will from The Angelfire Trilogy
I don't know how many people have read this books, but they're really good! Ellie and Will's relationship is so well-written and doesn't fall prey to "insta-love." I can tell that they really love each other!

4. Scarlett/Rhett from Gone With the Wind
Both characters are really similar and are made for each other!

5. Kat/Hale from Heist Society
They are sort of a couple in the second book, but I'm looking forward to seeing their relationship progress even further.

6. Elizabeth/Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice
I think this is probably on everyone's lists.

7. Violet/Jay from The Body Finder
I love how Violet and Jay start out as best friends and then become even closer as the books go on.

8. Jane Eyre/Mr. Rochester from Jane Eyre
Another classic romance!

9. Four/Tris from Divergent
I have yet to read Insurgent, but I want to see what happens next between these two!

10. Anna/St. Clair from Anna and the French Kiss
I love St. Clair! Still need to read Stephanie Perkins's other book, as well.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin

The future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance.

In the east, Daenerys, last scion of House Targaryen, her dragons grown to terrifying maturity, rules as queen of a city built on dust and death, beset by enemies.

Now that her whereabouts are known many are seeking Daenerys and her dragons. Among them the dwarf, Tyrion Lannister, who has escaped King’s Landing with a price on his head, wrongfully condemned to death for the murder of his nephew, King Joffrey. But not before killing his hated father, Lord Tywin.

To the north lies the great Wall of ice and stone – a structure only as strong as those guarding it. Eddard Stark's bastard son Jon Snow has been elected the 998th Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, but he has enemies both in the Watch and beyond the Wall, where the wildling armies are massing for an assault.

On all sides bitter conflicts are reigniting, played out by a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves. The tides of destiny will inevitably lead to the greatest dance of all…(from GoodReads)

I feel so accomplished that I am all caught up with this series! Five books and close to five thousand pages later, now I just have to wait a decade or so for the last two books (For those who don't know, Martin is notorious for taking a very long time to write).  So I have a few thoughts on A Dance With Dragons and I'd like to share them.

It's taken me awhile, but I think I'm finally immersed in the world of A Song of Ice and Fire. It helps a lot that I've started watching the tv show (which I love!) and I recognize the complexity and creativity of the world Martin has created. I do so like spending time in Westeros and the Free Cities and North of the Wall. This series is rich in characters, details, history and storylines.

My only problem is that I'm not the biggest fan of the writing. I've said this every time, but the books are too long. This is again an issue with A Dance With Dragons. It would be one thing if the 900+ pages were warranted due to the plot. But plot-wise, very little happens in this book. Many of the characters are stuck in their respective places (Jon at the Wall, Daenerys in Mereen, etc) and little is resolved. Every chapter shows each character going over the motions of their lives, without anything actually happening or changing. A Dance With Dragons is definitely a filler book.

Also, Martin has a lot of unnecessary description and narration. Sometimes I wished I had a red editing pen to cross things out that were not needed. Instead, I just skimmed those paragraphs and I didn't miss out on anything. With a finely edited book, that should not happen.

While I'm starting to love this world (and it really is magnificent), Martin needs a really good editor and then this book and future books could be great. I do want to know what happens so I'm looking forward to the next installment. Hopefully we won't have to wait six years.

Rating: 7 out of 10.
FTC: borrowed from my brother.

 2011/Bantam/1017 pages

Friday, June 1, 2012

Fateful by Claudia Gray

A tragic tale about falling in love on the world’s most infamous ill-fated sea voyage as heroine, Tess, discovers darker secrets that lie beneath the doomed crossing… and a hidden brotherhood that threaten to tear her lover from her forever.

The RMS Titanic is the most luxurious ship ever built, but for eighteen-year-old Tess Davies it’s a prison. Travelling as a maid for the family she has served for years, Tess is trapped in their employ amid painful memories and family secrets.

When she meets Alec, a handsome upper class passenger, Tess falls helplessly in love. But Alec has secrets of his own… and soon Tess is entangled in a dangerous game. A sinister brotherhood that will do anything to induct Alec into their mystical order has followed him onboard. And Tess is now their most powerful pawn.

Tess and Alec fight the dark forces threatening to tear them apart, never realising that they will have to face an even greater peril before the journey is over…

New York Times best-selling author Claudia Gray delivers adventure, dark paranormal suspense, alluring romance, and a truly surprise ending, set against the opulent backdrop of the Titanic's first — and last — voyage. (from GoodReads)

I was really excited to read Fateful because I enjoyed the Evernight series (also written by Claudia Gray) and I am obsessed with the Titantic. I thought this would be the perfect combination. While I liked Fateful, it wasn't as good as I was hoping it would be.

As soon as I started reading Fateful, I could tell that I was reading a novel by Claudia Gray. They all have a similar tone and writing style. But sometimes I didn't like that for this book. It's supposed to take place in 1912 and sometimes I felt like the author tried too hard to make dialogue/writing style sound relevant and others times I thought it sounded too modern. Writing in the past is very hard, but when it's done right the book is that much better.

I liked that Claudia Gray tried to explore different things. There was romance, paranormal beings (with the werewolves), class and gender struggles, and obviously the Titantic. Sometimes these things would get left on the wayside because there was so much going on. For example, I would forget that Tess and company were even on the Titantic because there was a lot of focus on the other aspects of Fateful. That being said, I did like reading what it was like to be a servant in the early twentieth century and seeing Tess struggle and ultimately overcome her station was a nice touch.

There was a bit of instant romance but it's hard to avoid when your book is only 300 or so pages. Tess and Alec's relationship was rushed (especially considering his big "secret") but I really liked Alec so I didn't mind too much.

The Titantic references were always fun to pick out and added some authenticity to Fateful, which was good.

In regards to the ending, I haven't decided if I like it or not. I almost feel as though it's a cop-out, but it does end happily, so I can't argue with that.

Overall, I liked the Evernight series better than this but it's hard to go too wrong when your book takes place on the Titantic.

Rating: 7 out of 10.
FTC: borrowed from library

2012/HarperCollins/328 pages.