Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - 130

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

Just One Year by Gayle Forman

Companion to JUST ONE DAY. It will be in Willem's POV.

"Can you fall in love in just one day? Can you become a new person? How about in just one year? In JUST ONE DAY and its companion novel JUST ONE YEAR, sheltered American good girl Allyson “LuLu” Healey and easygoing actor Willem De Ruiter are about to find out against a guidebook-worthy array of foreign backdrops. Equal parts romance, coming-of-age-tale, mystery and travel romp (with settings that span from England’s Stratford upon Avon to Paris to Amsterdam to India’s Bollywood) JUST ONE DAY and JUST ONE YEAR show how in looking for someone else, you just might wind up finding yourself." (from GoodReads)

I'm on such a Gayle Forman kick right now! After reading the amazing Just One Day I am in desperate need of the sequel! How can you leave us off on such a cliffhanger! Just One Year will be released October 15, 2013.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday - 75

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

Top Ten Books I Recommend the Most

1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
After I read this (before it was really popular) I got almost all of my friends to read it by the time the movie came out. I told them they wouldn't be able to put it down, which was definitely the case.

2. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
I have been trying to get my one friend to read this for a couple of years now and she finally did. She literally read the first three books of The Mortal Instruments series in a week. Now we're really excited for the movie!

3. A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
I tell everyone who likes historical fiction and/or fantasy to pick this series up! I still think it's Libba Bray's greatest work.

4. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
I don't really recommend this now because a lot of people have read them at this point, but when I was younger I always told people to read HP. When they listened to me they got an amazing story!

5. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
After people read The Mortal Instruments I always recommend The Infernal Devices. I (secretly) like them better because historical fiction just improves everything. Also they are a nice addition to the Shadowhunter world.

6. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
I always recommend this because who doesn't like Paris and romance?!

7. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
This series has a super special place in my heart since I read it back in middle school! Plus it's great dystopian literature.

8. Divergent by Veronica Roth
Not many people I know have read this at this point, but with the movie coming out soon I'm sure everyone will jump on the bandwagon.

9. The Secret Life of Prince Charming by Deb Caletti
Deb Caletti writes the best contemporary lit, plus this is a road trip book!

10. My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult
The first Jodi Picoult book I read (I think I've read 10+ by now) and it's one of the best!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Just One Day by Gayle Forman

A breathtaking journey toward self-discovery and true love, from the author of If I Stay.
When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.

Just One Day is the first in a sweepingly romantic duet of novels. Willem’s story—Just One Year—is coming soon! (from GoodReads)

I have not been this engrossed in a novel in so long - I literally could not put Just One Day down. I think it's an amazing novel and I can't wait for the sequel!

After reading Where She Went, Just One Day was a nice change of pace, even though some parts of the story are similar (long-lost love being one of them). It's crazy that these novels are by the same author because the voices are so different, but in a good way!

I was super jealous of Allyson because she travels so much in this book! We see her in London, Paris and Holland, but before the story begins Allyson was on a three-work tour of Europe. The travel bug in me has awoken and now I want to go somewhere fun. Thanks Gayle Forman. But seriously, the locations in this book come alive and I felt like I was there along with Allyson.

The main part of the story is Allyson's one day in Paris with Willem. I would never do in a million years what she did, that is go to a different country with someone I just met. Luckily for Allyson, Willem is not a serial killer but instead a pretty sweet guy. Until it appears that he abandoned Allyson in Paris, but I think there's more to the story than the readers realizes. Thus the point of the sequel!

The other half of the book is Allyson picking up the pieces after Willem's betrayal. I'm not a fan of mopey characters, but at least there is some great character development while Allyson is in college. She even challenges her relationship with her overbearing and protective mother and it was nice to see that development as well.

Of course the book ends on a cliffhanger, so now I'm dying for Just One Year, which is from Willem's point of view. Does this sound similar to another series?

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

2013/Dutton Juvenile/368 pages.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Where She Went by Gayle Forman

It's been three years since the devastating accident . . . three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.

Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future-and each other.

Told from Adam's point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance. (from GoodReads)

When I first heard that there was a sequel to If I Stay, I mistakenly thought that it was a retelling of the first novel from Adam's point-of-view. So I was surprised to hear that it's set in the future ... and Adam and Mia aren't together!

Even though we only get a glimpse of Adam and Mia's relationship in If I Stay, I still thought they were great together. I was even more curious now and wanted to see what happened to the loving couple I had read about before. Luckily for the readers, many questions are answered, like what happened after Mia woke up? Did she go to Julliard? Why did Adam and Mia break up? Will they get back together? The story is told in the present tense, and there are many flashbacks, both before and after the accident. I enjoyed reading about the evolution of their relationship, along with the personal lives of both Mia and Adam. It's especially interesting seeing Adam as a world famous rock star!

I know that some people will be annoyed by Adam as he is extremely whiny in the beginning. When he recounts his reaction to Mia leaving him, it's pretty sad. There's depression and anger and his emotions seem to be over the top. While I get that that would be annoying, I didn't mind too much. I was too engrossed in the overall story and writing to worry about some of the details.

Overall, I really enjoyed Where She Went. I love revisiting these characters to see what they've been up to and I think it's a great sequel to an already wonderful story.

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

2011/Dutton Juvenile/264 pages.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Promised by Caragh M. O'Brien

After defying the ruthless Enclave, surviving the wasteland, and upending the rigid matriarchy of Sylum, Gaia Stone now faces her biggest challenge ever. She must lead the people of Sylum back to the Enclave and persuade the Protectorat to grant them refuge from the wasteland. In Gaia's absence, the Enclave has grown more cruel, more desperate to experiment on mothers from outside the wall, and now the stakes of cooperating or rebelling have never been higher. Is Gaia ready, as a leader, to sacrifice what--or whom--she loves most? (from GoodReads)

After reading and enjoying both Birthmarked and Prized, I was very much looking forward to the conclusion, Promised. While I like this trilogy overall, I think Promised was the weakest of the three books.

I had trouble getting into Promised, which never happened with the first two books. First, I couldn't remember what had happened or even who certain characters were. Apparently, this book skipped ahead a year, but I'm not exactly sure. It's also been awhile since I've read the sequel, so I'm probably rusty. But Gaia is the Matrarc, meaning she is the leader of New Sylum. I thought it was neat that she had so much authority, but it went to waste when many of her subjects didn't listen to her and she wasn't the best at decision-making. I shouldn't be too hard no Gaia because she is only seventeen, but I can't deny that she's pretty immature.

Much of Promised is Gaia trying to convince the Protectorat to give her people water, and this involves her sneaking in and out of the Enclave several times with no results. There was a lot of back and forth - will he give them water? Will Gaia be killed if she enters the Enclave another time? I started getting tired of it and just wanted something to happen! Luckily at the end there is a lot of action which makes up for the rest of the novel.

Two points I wanted to make that I didn't like about Promised: one, I couldn't stand how there was a love quadrangle. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Gaia has no less than THREE male suitors. Love triangles are bad enough but three men vying for Gaia's affections?!? What was even worse was that she hardly interacted with Will or Peter, so what was the point? I love Leon so I didn't really mind but I couldn't help rolling my eyes every time it was brought up.

Another thing I disliked was how preachy Gaia would get whenever discussing babies. There's a subplot where a group of women become surrogate mothers, and Gaia could not understand how a women could give up a baby she carried, even though it's genetically not hers. I totally get if that's not your thing, but you don't have to insult a person who decides to do that.

So it probably sounds like I didn't enjoy Promised at all, which isn't the case. I still think Caragh M. O'Brien is a good writer and that definitely made me enjoy this novel more. I still like this world-building and wanted to know what was going to happen at the end. I would also definitely read more by this author. There were just a few things I didn't like in Promised that weren't really in the other books.

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

2012/Roaring Brook Press/304 pages.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - 129

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

Since You Asked by Maurene Goo

A humorous, debut novel about a Korean-American teenager who accidentally lands her own column in her high school newspaper, and proceeds to rant her way through the school year while struggling to reconcile the traditional Korean values of her parents with contemporary American culture. (from GoodReads)

I think this sounds really cute and funny, plus it's a 2013 YA debut!!! I'm also looking forward to reading about the cultural differences. Since You Asked will be released July 1, 2013.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday - 74

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

Top Ten Books I Just Had to Buy But Still Haven't Read

1. Dust Lands by Moira Young
Technically this was a Christmas gift, but it still counts. As you can see, I have yet to read it, even though I really want to!

2. America Again: Rebecoming the Greatness We Never Weren't by Stephen Colbert
Another Christmas gift that I haven't touched yet.

3. Shut Out by Kody Keplinger
This is the last book from Christmas, I promise! I don't know why I haven't read any of these yet.

4. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
I'm counting this because I preordered it in December and obviously I still haven't read it because today is the release day! Can't wait til my copy arrives in the mail.

...And I think that's it! What a short list! I attribute this to the fact that when I buy a book I end up reading it right away. What books are sitting on your shelves, waiting to be read?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Liar, the Bitch, and the Wardrobe by Allie Kingsley

If you’re going to step on people on your way to the top, you might as well do it in stilettos . . .

. . . Or so she’s been told. Lucy Butler, former wallflower, lands her dream job working for her idol, world-famous fashion photographer Stefano Lepres. But in a world where getting doused in coffee for not getting the order right is the new normal, she isn’t getting any closer to her ideal of being behind the camera herself. Then a superstar actress generously takes Lucy under her wing and teaches her the ways of the rich and famous—treating her to racks of designer clothes and introducing her to a life of private planes and penthouse suites. Soon Lucy is dating a rock star, attending the hottest Hollywood parties, and dressing the part.

Lost in the luxury, she loses sight of the things that once mattered most. It’s going to take a hard blow from the high life to send Lucy back to the real life she always wanted.

From an industry insider—and featuring wardrobes personally selected by celebrity stylist Robert Verdi—this is a novel that will keep you guessing and introduce you to a world you know exists; you’ve just never seen it unretouched. (from GoodReads)

So when I started The Liar, the Bitch and the Wardrobe (cute title, by the way!) I fully expected it to be pretty much a remake of The Devil Wears Prada. So I wasn't disappointed that it turns out pretty much the same way as its predecessor. It would have been nice for it to be an original story, but I was okay with what I got. I thought this novel was cute and fun and perfect for people interested in Hollywood and celebrities.

So if you've seen The Devil Wears Prada you know that a lowly girl gets a job working for a high-powered   executive working in the fashion industry. This book follows that plotline, except Lucy becomes the assistant to a famous celebrity photographer, in the hopes of being a photographer herself. Of course, the job is nothing like she expects (she hasn't watched Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep in a movie together) and is surprised that she is little more than a glorified servant.

Just like Anne Hathaway's character, Lucy gets caught up in the glamour and lights of Hollywood when she becomes friends with a celebrity socialite (who is pretty much just famous for being famous). She wears fabulous clothes, dines in luxury, and jet sets across the globe. I was definitely living vicariously through Lucy - I wish someone would buy me designer outfits and take me to Paris!

Naturally, Lucy realizes that her career is going no one and her new "friends" are actually her friends. Which is great message, but we've heard it a million times. The Liar, the Bitch and the Wardrobe definitely lacks originality, but the story was fun enough that I didn't mind too much. If you like this type of setting/plot then I recommend this novel. It also falls into the category of "New Adult" so if you're in your early 20s here's a character of the same age!

Rating: 7 out of 10.
FTC: sent a copy by the publisher.

2012/Berkeley Trade/292 pages.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - 128

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

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.

Told in a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice, THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together. (from GoodReads)

I absolutely love Leila Sales and think her books are hilarious, so of course I'm looking forward to her newest endeavor! Plus I adore the title! This Song Will Save You Life will be released September 17, 2013.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday - 73

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

Top Ten Books on My Spring 2013 TBR List

1. Taken by Erin Bowman
A world in which boys are taken at the age of 18? I need to know what's behind this!

2. Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt
This seems like such a cute contemporary novel.

3. The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen
It's been forever since I've read a new Sarah Dessen novel, and I'm so ready!

4. Reboot by Amy Tintera
When you die you are "rebooted" and brought back to life with new abilities. Yes please!

5. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
So this is released the day before Spring actually begins, but I'll definitely be reading it this Spring, so it counts. I am looking forward to this book more than any other! I need to see how everything ends. Only about a week left!

6. Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown
This book is about "sexting" and the consequences that follow. It sounds really interesting!

7. Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland
A beach romance to get me ready for summer!

8. The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler
Haven't read anything by this author since Twenty Boy Summer so I'm definitely looking forward to this forbidden romance!

9. Dead Silence by Kimberly Derting
The last Body Finder novel!

10. How My Summer Went Up in Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski
Summer road trip book, enough said.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - 127

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

If He Had Been With Me by Laura Nowlin

If he had been with me, he wouldn't have died.

Throughout their whole childhood, Finn and Autumn were inseparable—they finished each other's sentences, they knew just what to say when the other person was hurting. But one incident in middle school puts them in separate social worlds come high school, and Autumn has been happily dating James for the last 2 years. But she's always wondered what if...

The night she's about to get the answer is also one of terrible tragedy. (from GoodReads)

This sounds like it could be really sad, but hopefully it will be good too! If He Had Been With Me will be released April 1, 2013

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday - 72

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

Top Ten Series I Would Like to Start But Haven't Yet

1. Defiance Series by C.J. Redwine
This includes Defiance and Deception, which hasn't been released yet. Defiance is a fantasy/adventure/romance novel and sounds really good!

2. Unbound Series by Eve Marie Mont
The first book, A Breath of Eyre, has been on my To Read list for a pretty long time now that there are three books out! The first book is about a girl who is thrown into the world of Jane Eyre, which is one of my favorite novels.

3. The Selection Series by Kiera Cass
There are three books on the GoodReads page; how did that happen?! And apparently, this novel has been optioned for TV, which is super exciting. I can't wait to read this series.

4. Hemlock Series by Kathleen Peacock
Hemlock is about a werewolf virus that's infecting everyone - I think that seems really cool.

5. Healer Series by Maria V. Snyder
Touch of Power is about a girl with power of healing, which I'm sure will make for an exciting story.

6. The Cahill Witch Chronicles by Jessica Spotswood
The first novel in this series is Born Wicked, about Cate and her sisters who are witches, which is obvious from the title.

7. Possession Series by Elana Johnson
A futuristic novel where boys and girls are forbidden to interact, so there has got to be a great romance in this!

That's all I got for this one! What series do you recommend that I start??

Friday, March 1, 2013

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

One choice can transform you--or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves--and herself--while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable--and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

"New York Times" bestselling author Veronica Roth's much-anticipated second book of the dystopian "Divergent" series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature. (from GoodReads)

I FINALLY read Insurgent! I've been waiting to read it since it was released almost a year ago. It's actually okay that I waited because now there isn't that much time until the conclusion is published. I have a few thoughts on Insurgent but I can say that I enjoyed it.

Looking back, I didn't realize that it's been over a year since I read Divergent. Normally I don't have a problem jumping back into a series, but this time I was so lost. There is not recap at the beginning of Insurgent and I was really hazy on minor characters and plot details. A lot of the names of Tris's friends and peers went right over my head. I couldn't even remember who Will was, and he was such a huge part of Tris's development in this book.

I can definitely tell that Insurgent is the middle book of the trilogy, because it wasn't as good as its predecessor and there is a lot of set-up for the last novel. There is still action and plot twists, but it's nothing like the whirlwind exciting ride that was Divergent. 

The whole book is centered around this "secret" that is the reason why there are factions in the first place and  explains why their community is fenced it. That detail was something that I totally forgot. Luckily at the end you find out the secret, and now I'm really excited to find out what happens next because the book ends on a cliffhanger!

So overall I liked Divergent a lot better but Insurgent was still a quick and enjoyable read. I can't wait to see how everything wraps up for Tris and Tobias!

Rating: 8 out of 10.
FTC: Christmas gift.

2012/HarperTeen/525 pages.