Monday, October 31, 2011

Crossed by Ally Condie

In this sequel to Matched, Cassia leaves her home to work in the Outer Provinces. No one knows that she's actually on the search for Ky, who was sent to another work camp. But when she hears that Ky has escaped into the desolate canyons, Cassia leaves the Society and follows him. During her search, Cassia hears more talk of the Rising, a rebellion that is planning to overthrow the Society. She desperately wants to join and is willing to sacrifice anything to be a part of something important.

Crossed was an okay novel and I liked it well enough. The writing was good but the plot was nonexistent. It's obvious that Crossed is the second book of the trilogy because not that much happens and it is used as a build up for the final book. Unfortunately, this makes Crossed pretty boring. I enjoyed the writing, but that didn't make up for the lack of action.

It also doesn't help that I don't actually believe that Ky and Cassia are in love. Their relationship/romance in Matched was written so poorly and the readers were just told that they loved each other even though they interacted like three times throughout the novel. So it was hard to read about how much they loved each other because I just didn't believe it.

The book is also split into two parts, which Ky and Cassia each taking turns to narrate. I liked this a lot, especially when the two were separated, because the reader could see what each was doing. However, as soon as their stories intersect, the double narration is annoying because I could never tell you was actually talking.

Despite the slow pace, there were still enough twists and turns in Crossed to make me want to read the last novel in the trilogy. I don't know if I'll actually read it or just look up some spoilers online to see what happens.

6.5 out of 10.
FTC: received from Flamingnet
Release Date: November 1, 2011

2011/Dutton/384 pages.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday - 57

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

First Comes Love by Katie Kacvinsky

Like his name, Gray is dark and stormy. Dylan, a girl always searching for what's next, seemingly unable to settle down, is the exact opposite: full of light and life. On the outside, they seem like an unlikely couple. But looks can be deceiving and besides, opposites attract.

What starts as friendship, turns into admiration, respect and caring, until finally these two lone souls find they are truly in love with each other.

But staying in love is not as easy as falling in love. If Dylan and Gray want their love to last, they're going to have to work at it. And learn that sometimes love means having to say you're sorry. (From GoodReads)

This is the same author who wrote Awaken (which I still haven't read!). I like that we're seeing the actual relationship between these two characters; most books show two people falling in love and then it ends when they're together. So it seems like this book could be really good! Unfortunately we have to wait until May 8,2012 to read First Comes Love.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday - 6

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish for those who like lists and books!

Top Ten Books to Read During Halloween

1. Down a Dark Hall by Lois Duncan
This book freaked me out! It's essentially a ghost story and I was actually afraid to go to sleep while I was reading this. Granted, I was in middle school, but still.

2. Stranger With My Face by Lois Duncan
Another favorite of Lois Duncan, this book was really creepy as someone is impersonating the main character and looks just like her! Lifetime recently made an original movie out of this book.

3. I Know What You Did Last Summer by Lois Duncan
This is the last Lois Duncan book, I swear! She is such a good author, though! This book is way better than the movie and just a good, suspenseful read.

4. The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson
I read this when I was really young (maybe 10?). After reading it I decided never to read horror again because I was so scared. Not sure how the book would be now but then I was thoroughly freaked out. The movie is pretty similar to the book, but wasn't as scary.

5. Goosebumps Series by R.L. Stine
I loved these books so much! They aren't that scary now but when I was in elementary school they definitely were.

6. The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
Not super frightening but definitely eerie. Would you want to hear the echoes of dead bodies? I didn't think so.

7. Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
This isn't scary in the conventional sense but it's apocalyptic and has a hopeless feel to it.

8. Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann
This book wasn't super scary either, but the ending was so creepy!

9. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
Another favorite from my childhood; I loved these stories. And some of the pictures were really scary, too!

10. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
The zombies or "Unconsecrated" are really creepy in this. Another apocalyptic and hopeless novel.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Amplified by Tara Kelly

When privileged 17-year-old Jasmine gets kicked out of her house, she takes what is left of her savings and flees to Santa Cruz to pursue her dream of becoming a musician. Jasmine finds the ideal room in an oceanfront house, but she needs to convince the three guys living there that she's the perfect roommate and lead guitarist for their band, C-Side. Too bad she has major stage fright and the cute bassist doesn't think a spoiled girl from over the hill can hack it. . .

In this fresh new novel by critically acclaimed author Tara Kelly, Jasmine finds out what happens when her life gets Amplified. (from GoodReads)

I really enjoyed Amplified and I am so glad I got a chance to read it. Like Virtuosity, it's about a music, so it already had me hooked there, but it was so different (in a good way!).

The plot centers around Jasmine, an aspiring musician of industrial rock. I've never heard of industrial rock, so it was interesting to learn more about this musical subgenre. Unfortunately for Jasmine, her father wants her attend Stanford and kicks her out when she refuses. I thought it was a bit of an overreaction on both Jasmine's and her father's parts. Stanford is an excellent school and a great opportunity, and the fact that her father said she could even major in music made it hard for me to see why Jasmine would give that up. But I admire her spunk because there is no way I'd leave home with only a thousand dollars and nowhere to stay.

Even though I thought that part was a little unrealistic, I still loved Amplified. My favorite aspect was the characters. There were many and they all offered something different to the plot. Veta was the most interesting, since she was sort-of psychic (if you believe in that) and really was a true friend to Jasmine. And the love interest Sean was another favorite. He starts out a little rude to Jasmine, but you warm up to him quickly.

I read Amplified very quickly because the plot moved fast and I wanted to see if Jasmine would have what it takes to make the band. I especially like the ending: it was open-ended and left me wanting a sequel! So I would definitely recommend Amplified for fans of YA.

8 out of 10.
FTC: from the publisher.
Release Date: October 25, 2011

2011/Henry Holt/304 pages.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Splendor Falls by Rosemary Clement-Moore

Sylvie Davis is a ballerina who can’t dance. A broken leg ended her career, but Sylvie’s pain runs deeper. What broke her heart was her father’s death, and what’s breaking her spirit is her mother’s remarriage—a union that’s only driven an even deeper wedge into their already tenuous relationship.

Uprooting her from her Manhattan apartment and shipping her to Alabama is her mother’s solution for Sylvie’s unhappiness. Her father’s cousin is restoring a family home in a town rich with her family’s history. And that’s where things start to get shady. As it turns out, her family has a lot more history than Sylvie ever knew. More unnerving, though, are the two guys that she can’t stop thinking about. Shawn Maddox, the resident golden boy, seems to be perfect in every way. But Rhys—a handsome, mysterious foreign guest of her cousin’s—has a hold on her that she doesn’t quite understand.

Then she starts seeing things. Sylvie’s lost nearly everything—is she starting to lose her mind as well? (from GoodReads)


While I enjoyed The Splendor Falls, there were some things I didn't like that prevent me from giving this book a higher rating.

I was really excited because I love spooky, mysterious books and it's perfect timing for Halloween. Unfortunately, The Splendor Falls didn't really scare me, but I don't blame the book because it takes a lot to frighten me. But if you like that kind of atmosphere, definitely check this out.

Something I had a problem with was the length of the book and its correlation to the speed of the plot. I don't mind long books as long as there is a lot going on and I'm interested. A lot of The Splendor Falls was narration and I found myself skipping ahead to find some dialogue or action. In the middle, the book moves painfully slow and not much happens. So the 500+ pages are unnecessary. During the climax, when it starts getting action-packed, the plot moves very quickly and things are resolved in only a few pages. So I was extremely disappointed with the pacing of the novel.

I liked Sylvie and I thought it was interesting seeing her research her family and try to find out more about the area and the ghosts. There was a lot of cool lore and legends that I would have liked to see more of. While Sylvie is trying to find out things about her ancestors she finds a diary and I would have liked to see some excerpts from that instead of Sylvie just summarizing for the reader.

Naturally, there are two love interests, Rhys and Shawn. It's obvious who is better and not because the reader gets to pick, but because Sylvie pretty much decides she doesn't like one, which is fine. But the author keeps trying to throw the love triangle in there. I also didn't like how Sylvie had Shawn all figured out - she was almost psychic in her ability to "read" him. Also, a big chunk of the story has Sylvie and Rhys meeting and Sylvie knows he's hiding something so starts questioning him. At least three or four times Rhys evades her questions but then asks Sylvie something and she refuses to tell him anything. It gets super annoying because if both characters opened up, it would have sped everything along so much faster.

So I really wanted to rant about this because it's been on my mind since I finished reading The Splendor Falls. Honestly, the book is by no means awful but I just really didn't like some things the author did. So it's frustrating because this book could be really cool. I would say to give this a chance if you like creepy, mystery type books but otherwise this might be too slow for your taste.

Rating: 7 out of 10.
FTC: using Buzz Bucks on Random Buzzers

2009/Delacorte/518 pages.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Guest Post: Anthony Garcia on Why Writers Write

I feel so lucky to have a guest post to share with you guys! I'm glad I have something different for Simply Books because I feel like a lot of the content is the same. Writer Anthony Garcia offered to discuss why writers write which I think will apply to a lot of people. Enjoy!

Why do Writers Write?

Professional and amateur writers alike will likely one day be asked the big question: Why do you write? What compels you to put pen to paper -- or, more likely, fill up that empty white page on your computer -- to create stories, poems or journal entries? This question is good to consider, if you are taking English classes in an online graduate program, giving answers in a job interview, or if you are just writing for fun in your journal. Thinking of why writers write can be an especially good reflective writing exercise, as odd as it may sound. In answering this question, you may be surprised by the answers that come up.

What motivates writers has been examined by quite a few people. It's a question that vexes most writers and non-writers. Ask both the famous and the unknown scribes, and many will hesitate. Many don't know why they write; for some it seems to almost be a compulsion, for others, it becomes a dedicated meditation.

As it turns out, though, there are plenty of good reasons to write. For example, writing is a form of stress relief for many people. The stress relief theory supports the idea that people will be better equipped to deal with the challenges and burdens of everyday life if they write about them, because it allows for them to process and consider action steps.

Of course, stress-relief is far from the only valid reason to write. Just ask columnist Mark Coker. While writing for the Huffington Post, Coker turned to his fellow writers for answers, using Twitter to ask these scribes what it is that compels them to write. Some of the answers were simple. One writer tweeted back that she writes because she can't paint. Some were more philosophical. One writer responded that he writes because he believes that it is the best gift that he can give back to the world. Writing is a skill that he holds. It would be selfish, he said, to hold back that skill from the rest of the world.

Others responded that when they don't write, it actually hurts them. Another said that writing is a way to make sense of an often confounding world. Another had perhaps the most satisfying answer of all: He tweeted that he writes because it's what he loves to do. It brings him joy.

This last answer is an important one. And it's the one that Stanley Fish, writing for the New York Times, turned to when he tackled this same question. In his column, Fish writes about listening to a writer being interviewed on the radio. At one point, callers asked whether the writer turned to creating novels and stories as a way to deal with the death of his brother at a young age. The writer said, " him.
The writer explained that he wrote simply because he enjoyed the art of turning words into sentences, sentences into paragraphs and paragraphs into compelling stories. There was no greater reason for his love of writing than that.

Fish, in his column, appreciated that answer. Why does anyone do anything? Why does a professional baseball player hit home runs? Because he's good at it and he enjoys watching the ball sail into the seats. Why does a painter spend hours painting landscapes and sunsets? It's something that she enjoys. Why does the sculptor sculpt, the lawyer argue in a courtroom and the long-distance runner pound the pavement every morning? You get the idea.

Fish and the others remind us that we often look for bigger reasons for why creative people turn to their craft. For example, in his column for the Huffington Post, Coker discusses the mixture of chemicals that occur in the brain when people are working at their creative peak. But he admits that this reason for writing -- it's for the high that it brings -- isn't quite as satisfying as saying writers write because they're passionate about the art of crafting spellbinding sentences.

If you enjoy writing and it brings you joy, don't worry too much about the reasons behind your motivations for writing. Just write. Each person writes for personal reasons, but if it makes you happy, it's legal, and it could be good for you, what more can you want from a passion?

Anthony Garcia recently completed his graduate education in English Literature. A New Mexico native, he currently resides and writes in Seattle, Washington. He writes primarily about education, travel, literature, and American culture.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday - 56

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

Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock

Mackenzie and Amy were best friends. Until Amy was brutally murdered.

Since then, Mac’s life has been turned upside down. She is being haunted by Amy in her dreams, and an extremist group called the Trackers has come to Mac’s hometown of Hemlock to hunt down Amy’s killer: A white werewolf.

Lupine syndrome—also known as the werewolf virus—is on the rise across the country. Many of the infected try to hide their symptoms, but bloodlust is not easy to control.

Wanting desperately to put an end to her nightmares, Mac decides to investigate Amy’s murder herself. She discovers secrets lurking in the shadows of Hemlock, secrets about Amy’s boyfriend, Jason, her good pal Kyle, and especially her late best friend. Mac is thrown into a maelstrom of violence and betrayal that puts her life at risk.

Kathleen Peacock’s thrilling novel is the first in the Hemlock trilogy, a spellbinding urban fantasy series filled with provocative questions about prejudice, trust, lies, and love. (from GoodReads)

I think this sounds really good! I especially like how being a werewolf is actually tied to a virus; that's definitely a new twist. I can't wait to see how this turns out. Hemlock will be published sometime in 2012.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday - 5

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish for those that like lists and books!

Top Ten Books I Read/Bought Based on the Cover and/or Title

1. A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
Both the cover and the title got me on this one. First off, this (along with the two other books in the trilogy) cover is gorgeous! I love that the model has red hair and that it's historical. Also, I think A Great and Terrible Beauty is one of the best titles ever - it sounds just like a classic!

2. The Things That Keep Us Here by Carla Buckley
I am in love with titles that could be sentences on their own or are important phrases, hence why I love this one. The title is what made me read the book so I could find out what those things are!

3. Across the Universe by Beth Revis
Another double threat of title and cover. The cover is beautiful, with the colors and the stars and the silhouettes. And the title - it's The Beatles, enough said.

4. All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin
Another phrase/sentence title! I also love the song that this title reminds me of: "All These Things That I've Done" by The Killers.

5. Wither by Lauren DeStefano
The cover is so lovely in my opinion! I love the colors and the model and even the weird birdcages. Unfortunately, I don't like Fever's cover as much as this one.

6. Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick
I didn't really like this book that much, but I do really like the cover. I even like it more than Hush, Hush's cover! I like that it's all gray with the rain.

7. Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
This cover is gorgeous! I love how it blends the modern and the historical without looking cheesy.
8. Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
This is one of the few covers I like that doesn't feature humans, haha. I love the blue glass and how it almost looks real.

9. Matched by Ally Condie
I like how simple this cover is - but the girl in the bubble is pretty meaningful. I also love the girl's dress.

10. Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez
Even though this cover doesn't have much to do with the actual book, I still like it! And boy, does that girl have a lot of hair!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez

Now is not the time for Carmen to fall in love. And Jeremy is hands-down the wrong guy for her to fall for. He is infuriating, arrogant, and the only person who can stand in the way of Carmen getting the one thing she wants most: to win the prestigious Guarneri competition. Carmen's whole life is violin, and until she met Jeremy, her whole focus was winning. But what if Jeremy isn't just hot...what if Jeremy is better?

Carmen knows that kissing Jeremy can't end well, but she just can't stay away. Nobody else understands her--and riles her up--like he does. Still, she can't trust him with her biggest secret: She is so desperate to win she takes anti-anxiety drugs to perform, and what started as an easy fix has become a hungry addiction. Carmen is sick of not feeling anything on stage and even more sick of always doing what she’s told, doing what's expected.

Sometimes, being on top just means you have a long way to fall... (from GoodReads)

I thought that Virtuosity was a great novel about a very interesting topic. Most YA novels have protagonists who are extremely ordinary as to appeal to a wider audience; but Carmen has a special talent. She is amazing at the violin, so good, in fact, that's she has won a Grammy and even has her record deal for her music. I liked reading about a character who was so gifted because it was just so different.

I was also really interested in Virtuosity because I love music and I played clarinet for 8 years. I was hoping that I would be understand Carmen's background and issues better. Carmen was so well-written that I didn't need the musical background to know her. On the outside, it seems as though Carmen has it all, but there's other things going on that not many people know about. For one, Carmen's mom is crazy and puts a ton of pressure on her, in addition to the pressure that Carmen puts on herself. If that wasn't enough, Carment also has neviousness problems and has to take anti-anxiety medicine to relieve them. Her dependence on the drug gets so bad that she even has to take them to practice the violin.

This is where Jeremy steps in. Even though in the beginning he was a bit of a jerk, I still liked him. I guess I more liked the witty banter between the two. I definitely liked the romance aspect since I'm a big fan of that, but I think the book could have been written without it too. There's definitely enough going on that you would still have a pretty good story and could focus even more on Carmen's music and the problems that come along with it.

Overall, I enjoyed Virtuosity. There's even a bit of a twist at the end, and I liked the way that Carmen reacted to that. I thought it was very mature. For fans of (classical) music, I would whole-heartedly recommend Virtuosity, though I think anyone will enjoy it.

Rating: 8 out of 10.
Simon & Schuster GalleyGrab
Release Date: October 18, 2011

2011/Simon Pulse/304 pages.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Her Brother's Shotgun Wedding by Noreen Riley

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Her Brother's Shotgun Wedding is the story of Evelyn Dunleavy, her close knit circle of family and city-dwelling friends, and the chaos that ensues when her oldest sibling, Michael, announces that he is getting married. In London, where he now lives, to the girlfriend no one really knows. And by the way...she's pregnant.

The rest of the story follows Evie over to London for a few months as the official family delegate charged with getting to know her soon to be sister-in-law. It certainly doesn't hurt that because of his cramped living quarters her brother has lined up a room for her in the apartment of one of his groomsmen, Nate, that Evie feels an instant attraction to...despite his love of the music group ABBA, or the fact that he chooses curries over pizza. It doesn't help that Michael still considers his sister to be off-limits from the advances of his friends.

She comes to the quick conclusion that wedding planning can be stressful no matter which side of the Pond you hail from, and it's always more fun to have your best friends around you for a bachelorette party, especially when the bride-to-be is seven months pregnant. (from GoodReads)

I thought A Funny Thing was such a cute novel! I really enjoyed reading and laughing about Evie and her crazy friends and family.

I haven't read that many chick lit adult novels, but A Funny Thing was definitely one of the better ones. I liked the storyline a lot, especially because I love London, so it was nice to spend some time there through Evie.

All the characters were hilarious, including Evie and her family. Evie's mom was the best because she kept trying to use British slang even though she's American and it just sounded so funny. I could definitely see someone trying to do that and failing. But everyone else from Evie's siblings and even niece and nephew were great with their witty comments.

The main focus of the book is Evie's burgeoning romance with roommate Nate. First off, I love that name. And Nate was so sweet and it was cute how they both liked each other but wouldn't say anything to each other. I really enjoyed reading about their interactions and seeing them get to know each other better.

So, if you're looking for a fun and light novel, look no further than A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Her Brother's Shotgun Wedding (whew, the title is a mouthful).

7 out 0f 10.
FTC: sent to me by the author

2009/ Publishing/290 pages.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday - 55

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

52 Reasons to Hate My Father by Jessica Brody

What's a girl gotta do to earn her dad's trust (fund)?

Seventeen year-old Lexington Larrabee, heiress to the billion-dollar Larrabee Media empire, is beautiful, famous, spoiled, and has never had to work a day in her life. But all of that changes on her eighteenth birthday when her ever-absent, mogul father decides to take a more proactive approach to her wayward life. Every week for the next year, she will have to take on a different low-wage, character-building job if she ever wants to receive her beloved trust fund. But if there’s anything worse than working as a maid, a dishwasher, and a fast food restaurant employee, it’s the arrogant, albeit moderately attractive, college intern her father has assigned to keep tabs on her.

Jessica Brody once again skillfully captures the humor and complexity of being a teen. Readers of all ages are sure to fall in love with this delightful riches to rags comedy. (from GoodReads)

I really enjoyed Jessica Brody's debut novel, The Karma Club, so I'm definitely excited to read this. I think the book sounds like it will have a good message. Unfortunately, we have to wait until July 2012 (!) for the release.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday - 4

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish for those who like books and lists!

Top Ten Books I Wish I Could Read Again for the First Time

1. The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
This is pretty obvious because these books were so awesome and I miss the anticipation and excitement that came with each new release.

2. The Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins
I picked this series for the same reason as HP; I miss not knowing what was going to happen next. But luckily we still have the movies to be excited about!

3. The Giver by Lois Lowry
This is one of my all-time favorite books and was my favorite book when I was younger. Just an awesome dystopia that really shocked me at the end.

4. Perfect You by Elizabeth Scott
I thought this book was just so cute when I first read it! This is definitely one of Elizabeth Scott's best novels.

5. Blood Red Road by Moira Young
This book took me a little bit to get into, with the weird writing style, but I ended up loving it! Can't wait for the sequel.

6. The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare
Yet another awesome series.

7. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
Loved this book! I thought it was very suspenseful and interesting.

8. Girl, Stolen by April Henry
This was so good and also suspenseful. Wish I could get that feeling back on another read.

9. Down a Dark Hall by Lois Duncan
This book was so creepy and I was a little afraid to go asleep after reading this. But reading it again probably won't be the same.

10. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
I loved this book after I had to read it for summer reading! Definitely a favorite but now that I know the end it probably won't be as good.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday - 54

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

Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder

Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan assumes their wounds and diseases into herself. But rather than being honored for her skills, she is hunted. Healers like Avry are accused of spreading the plague that has decimated the Territories, leaving the survivors in a state of chaos.

Stressed and tired from hiding, Avry is abducted by a band of rogues who, shockingly, value her gift above the golden bounty offered for her capture. Their leader, an enigmatic captor-protector with powers of his own, is unequivocal in his demands: Avry must heal a plague-stricken prince—leader of a campaign against her people. As they traverse the daunting Nine Mountains, beset by mercenaries and magical dangers, Avry must decide who is worth healing and what is worth dying for. Because the price of peace may well be her life...(from GoodReads)

This book reminds me a little of Shannon Hale's Books of Bayern series, which I love. I'm not usually big on high fantasy, but this sounds like it could be really good! Hopefully it lives up to my expectations. Touch of Power will be released on December 20, 2011.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday - 3

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun meme started by The Broke and the Bookish for those who like lists!

Top Ten Book Endings That Left Me With My Mouth Hanging Open

1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
This ending doesn't have a super crazy cliffhanger but I was amazed at the sheer awesomeness of this book.

2. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Now this does have a crazy cliffhanger that literally left me dumbfounded. I can't believe I waited a year between this and Mockingjay, how did I survive?

3. Wither by Lauren DeStefano
After I finished this, I loved it, and I really wanted to know what happened next. Can't wait for Fever!

4. Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
Definitely need to know what happens in the next book!

5. If I Stay by Gail Forman
This had such a great ending and I'm really surprised I haven't read Where She Went yet.

6. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
This ending made me so angry and surprised me so much. Luckily, everthing gets resolved in the end.

7. Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Another unexpected ending and I really can't wait to see where Oliver takes the next book.

8. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
This is self-explanatory but a certain character dies and it's very sad :(

I honestly couldn't think of anymore - I'm brain dead right now haha. What books should fill my 9 and 10 spots?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick

Nora Grey's life is still far from perfect. Surviving an attempt on her life wasn't pleasant, but at least she got a guardian angel out of it: a mysterious, magnetic, gorgeous guardian angel. But, despite his role in her life, Patch has been acting anything but angelic. He's more elusive than ever and even worse, he's started spending time with Nora's arch-enemy, Marcie Millar.

Nora would have hardly noticed Scott Parnell, an old family friend who has moved back to town, if Patch hadnt been acting so distant. Even with Scott's totally infuriating attitude Nora finds herself drawn to him - despite her lingering feeling that he's hiding something.

Haunted by images of her murdered father, and questioning whether her nephilim bloodline has anything to do with his death, Nora puts herself increasingly in dangerous situations as she desperately searches for answers. But maybe some things are better left buried, because the truth could destroy everything - and everyone - she trusts. (from GoodReads)

I've had this on my shelf for awhile now, but just haven't read it. I know Hush, Hush wasn't the greatest of literature but I enjoyed it for the most part. However, I was disappointed in Crescendo, which I believe is suffering from middle book syndrome, since there is a third book after this.

Crescendo really didn't have much of a plot. Nora breaks up with Patch pretty early on in the book because he won't tell her what he was doing at Marcie Millar's house one night (the stuck-up popular girl that Nora hates). Not really grounds for a break-up in my book, but go for it, Nora. However, Nora spends the rest of book pining over Patch and getting angry when he gets a new girlfriend. It's never mentioned that it's Nora's doing but I guess it makes for some relationship drama.

With the addition of new guy, Scott, there's supposed to be a love triangle but it's practically non-existent. Scott is not appealing at all and even Nora realizes this (wonder what happened to the book jacket writers?). She pretty much just hangs out with Scott to get back at Patch, even though she knows something is going on with him.

Nora spends a lot of time breaking into people's houses, walking around seedy parts of town, and naturally just finding herself in a whole heap of trouble. There is some more backstory on her murdered father which was kinda interesting but not really well-written and left some plot holes. The ending was a cliffhanger which does make me want to read the next book (darn you!).

Overall, Crescendo was not that great, or even as good as its predecessor Hush, Hush. I might read the next book, but I'm definitely not buying a copy of it.

Rating: 6 out of 10.
FTC: Christmas gift.

2010/Simon & Schuster/427 pages.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Past Perfect by Leila Sales

All Chelsea wants to do this summer is hang out with her best friend, hone her talents as an ice cream connoisseur, and finally get over Ezra, the boy who broke her heart. But when Chelsea shows up for her summer job at Essex Historical Colonial Village (yes, really), it turns out Ezra’s working there too. Which makes moving on and forgetting Ezra a lot more complicated…even when Chelsea starts falling for someone new.

Maybe Chelsea should have known better than to think that a historical reenactment village could help her escape her past. But with Ezra all too present, and her new crush seeming all too off limits, all Chelsea knows is that she’s got a lot to figure out about love. Because those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it…. (from GoodReads)

When I read Leila Sales's debut novel, Mostly Good Girls, I fell in love with this author's writing. Mostly Good Girls was hilarious and I was so excited to hear that she was writing another book. Luckily for me, Past Perfect was just as funny and awesome as its predecessor.

The thing that I loved the most in Past Perfect was the setting. Chelsea works at a colonial village a la Williamsburg in Virginia. I got the feeling that this was supposed to be Williamsburg (since the novel takes place in Virginia) but a little smaller. I love history so I was super jealous that Chelsea got to pretend to be living during the Revolutionary War as her job. I may be a dork but I just thought that was the coolest thing. And what was even better was that right across the street from Essex is a Civil War Reenactment Camp and the two historical sites have a "war" with each other. The kids that work at each place prank each other and it really just seemed like a fun way to spend your summer.

So a big part of the book is Chelsea trying to get over her ex, Ezra, but it's really tough because he gets a job at Essex so she has to see him all the time. But, to take her mind off Ezra, she starts to like Dan, a member of the rival Civil War reenactors. So there's a little bit of the star-crossed lovers thing because Chelsea and Dan can't be together. Which is kinda dumb and kinda awesome at the same time. Seriously, guys, I need to become a reenactor.

What I really liked about Past Perfect (besides all the other amazingness) was that it had a really great message. The message was about learning from the past and recognizing the mistakes you made. Which is why history is so important. We, as a society, need to examine our past and see what went wrong and what went right.

Overall, I loved Past Perfect! It was funny, romantic, historical, smart and had the best setting ever! Please read this!!

Cover note: I think it's really cute, but it honestly has nothing to do with the book. Hmmm...

Rating: 10 out of 10!
Release Date: October 4, 2011
FTC: Simon & Schuster GalleyGrab

2011/Simon Pulse/322 pages.