Thursday, June 27, 2013

Two Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt

There are two sides to every breakup.

This is Jordan and Courtney, totally in love. Sure, they were an unlikely high school couple. But they clicked; it worked. They're even going to the same college, and driving cross-country together for orientation.

Then Jordan dumps Courtney -- for a girl he met on the Internet.

It's too late to change plans, so the road trip is on. Courtney's heartbroken, but figures she can tough it out for a few days. La la la -- this is Courtney pretending not to care.

But in a strange twist, Jordan cares. A lot.

Turns out, he's got a secret or two that he's not telling Courtney. And it has everything to do with why they broke up, why they can't get back together, and how, in spite of it all, this couple is destined for each other. (From GoodReads)

I kind of stumbled upon this book by accident. I am a member of PulseIt and decided to look at what free books they were offering. I really enjoyed Lauren Barnholdt's Sometimes It Happens so I decided to read Two Way Street. I'm so glad I did because I seriously read it in one sitting, it was that good!

Two Way Street switches POV a lot: between Jordan and Courtney and then past and present between the both of them. I actually really liked that because we got to see what was going on during the road trip and what happened in the past when they were in a relationship. The story comes together very nicely and isn't jumpy at all.

I also thought that Two Way Street was hilarious, especially Jordan's thoughts and commentary on certain things. I think I laughed out loud a few times. Lauren Barnholdt really captured the teenage voice in this book.

The secret that Jordan is keeping is very interesting and you kind of figure it out pretty early on. I don't know how likely it would happen in real life but it still made for a good story!

The only negative I can say about Two Way Street is that it really dates itself by talking about MySpace a lot. I didn't realize that this book was published in 2007, when MySpace was really big. The old social networking site is discussed a lot because the characters are posting comments and whatnot on each other's pages. If MySpace had been replaced by Facebook this would have been totally modern (barring the talk of Instant Messenger and mp3s). I couldn't help but cringe every time MySpace was mentioned because it's so obsolete now.

Other than that, I really enjoyed Two Way Street and thought it was a fantastic contemporary novel. I can't wait to read more by Lauren Barnholdt!

Rating: 9 out of 10.
FTC: read on Pulse It

2007/Simon Pulse/288 pages.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - 143

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at The Broke and the Bookish for bloggers and readers who want to see what new books are going to be released.

Champion by Marie Lu

The explosive finale to Marie Lu’s New York Times bestselling LEGEND trilogy—perfect for fans of THE HUNGER GAMES and DIVERGENT!

He is a Legend.
She is a Prodigy.
Who will be Champion?

June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic—and each other—and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps Elect while Day has been assigned a high level military position. But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them once again. Just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything he has. With heart-pounding action and suspense, Marie Lu’s bestselling trilogy draws to a stunning conclusion. (from GoodReads)

I just read and loved Prodigy so I'm super excited to see how everything ends! Champion will be released November 5, 2013.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday - 88

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

Top Ten Books I've Read So Far in 2013

1. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
I absolutely adore this trilogy (probably more than The Mortal Instruments) and I was dying to know how it all ended. Luckily, Cassandra Clare wrote a beautiful conclusion to The Infernal Devices. I can't get over how it all wonderfully came together in the end.

2. Just One Day by Gayle Forman
I stumbled upon this book at my library and I ended up loving it! There's a lot of travel and unrequited love.

3. Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley
This book was recommended on NPR and it's one that sticks with you. The main character's younger brother disappears the same time that an extinct bird makes a reappearance in his small town. There's some beautiful symmetry in the storylines. Plus I love the title!

4. The Language Inside by Holly Thompson
I was wary of reading The Language Inside because it's in verse but it actually makes the story so much better. The protagonist writes poetry in her free time so it makes sense plotwise. Emma moves back to the US after living in Japan her whole life so there's nice discussion on different cultures.

5. Two Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt
I just finished this yesterday so I haven't written a review for it yet but I would definitely recommend it to fans of romance/contemporary. There were some hilarious lines/thoughts from the characters and I love the mystery aspect of it.

6. Unwind by Neal Shusterman
My friend recommend this to me and I'm so glad I read it. It's a futuristic novel in which parents can decide to "unwind" their children. I'll let you figure out what that means!

7. Where She Went by Gayle Forman
I read If I Stay a pretty long time ago so I finally decided to read the companion novel. I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was!

8. Prodigy by Marie Lu
Just finished this yesterday and I can't wait to read Champion!!

9. Sever by Lauren DeStefano
I wasn't the biggest fan of Fever but Lauren DeStefano really pulled out all the stops in the conclusion to the Chemical Gardens Trilogy. I loved the way the story ends!

10. The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd
This is based on an H.G. Wells classic where Juliet's father creates animal-human hybrids. I was so excited to learn it's part of a series!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Prodigy by Marie Lu

June and Day arrive in Vegas just as the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo dies, and his son Anden takes his place. With the Republic edging closer to chaos, the two join a group of Patriot rebels eager to help Day rescue his brother and offer passage to the Colonies. They have only one request—June and Day must assassinate the new Elector.

It’s their chance to change the nation, to give voice to a people silenced for too long.

But as June realizes this Elector is nothing like his father, she’s haunted by the choice ahead. What if Anden is a new beginning? What if revolution must be more than loss and vengeance, anger and blood—what if the Patriots are wrong?

In this highly-anticipated sequel, Lu delivers a breathtaking thriller with high stakes and cinematic action. (from GoodReads)

I think I like Prodigy better than Legend which is such a surprise because the second book of a trilogy usually falls prey to the Middle Book Syndrome. Regardless, I'm very happy because I got an exciting story out of my good fortune (and Marie Lu's fantastic writing).

I read Legend over a year and half ago, so in the beginning I had trouble remembering exactly what  happened. But as I kept reading, the details came back to me so I was still able to enjoy the story. What I love about this trilogy is how action-packed and intense it is. June is a trained fighter and a genius, so she is a master at analyzing a situation and figuring out what to do. Day is super graceful and strong, so he can easily run around, cause diversions and escape captors. Together they are practically unstoppable and that's why I loved reading about them. Even though they are both young, they definitely have the ability to start a revolution and change the way their country operates.

The romance (particularly between June and Day) is an important part of the book and I enjoyed reading about it. My one complain about Legend was that the romance between our two narrators was too rushed so I was glad to see it develop more in Prodigy. The author couldn't resist with adding in secondary love interests and I would have preferred if the drama could have just been between Day and June sans jealousy and love triangles (or rather, squares). Day's longtime ally and friend Tess has a crush on him and it's obvious that the new Elector is infatuated with June. I didn't get the Tess love triangle because isn't she like thirteen? That's a little young even if Day is only two or three years older. I didn't mind Anden as much even though he is also five years older than June. A tad unrealistic, especially since June is 15. As you can see I'm really rooting for June and Day to be together!

There were plenty of twists and turns in the plot and the characters go places I didn't imagine (the Colonies, anyone?). The parallels with the Colonies was a nice touch and how it's not so much different from the Republic after all. The ending of the book was totally unfair, but in a really good way.

Overall, I'm really looking forward to Champion and I only have to wait until November to read it! It really is my lucky day.

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

2013/Putnam Juvenile/371 pages.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Viral Nation by Shaunta Grimes

After a virus claimed nearly the entire global population, the world changed. The United States splintered into fifty walled cities where the surviving citizens clustered to start over. The Company, which ended the plague by bringing a life-saving vaccine back from the future, controls everything. They ration the scant food and supplies through a lottery system, mandate daily doses of virus suppressant, and even monitor future timelines to stop crimes before they can be committed.

Brilliant but autistic, sixteen-year-old Clover Donovan has always dreamed of studying at the Waverly-Stead Academy. Her brother and caretaker, West, has done everything in his power to make her dream a reality. But Clover’s refusal to part with her beloved service dog denies her entry into the school. Instead, she is drafted into the Time Mariners, a team of Company operatives who travel through time to gather news about the future.

When one of Clover’s missions reveals that West’s life is in danger, the Donovans are shattered. To change West’s fate, they’ll have to take on the mysterious Company. But as its secrets are revealed, they realize that the Company’s rule may not be as benevolent as it seems. In saving her brother, Clover will face a more powerful force than she ever imagined… and will team up with a band of fellow misfits and outsiders to incite a revolution that will change their destinies forever. (from GoodReads)

There was a lot going on in Viral Nation and the author took a huge risk of writing about the challenging topic of time travel. While this novel shares many of the characteristics of other dystopian/post-apocalyptic books, the protagonist and science fiction aspect allow it to stand on its own.

I thought the most interesting part of Viral Nation was the main character Clover, specifically because she has Autism, albeit a high-functioning version (probably Asperger's). She has an awesome therapy dog to help with the anxiety but I thought it was wonderful that the author chose to write a character that was so different from any I had ever read before. Autism isn't well-represented in YA, so it was nice to see it here and play such a big role.

Clover is a pretty awesome character. She's super smart and along with the help of her brother and some new friends, she's trying to take down the Company, which is the evil entity that has control over Clover's city. It wasn't clear what exactly the Company has done, except make everyone believe they have to take the vaccine every day and just wield power over the citizens like in every other dystopian society. Hopefully we'll learn more about how malevolent the Company actually is in the sequel.

Time travel actually plays a big role in the novel, and I tried not to think too hard about it. I'm not a huge fan of this topic because it's usually confusing and not thought out well enough. I thought Shaunta Grimes did a good job writing about time travel for the most part. The characters kept talking about how they were in different time loops which was definitely confusing because one character knew things but didn't know them at the same time. That's why I stay away from time travel!

I'm looking forward to the sequel of Viral Nation and I hope everything (the setting, plot, characters) continues to develop further.

Rating: 8 out of 10.
Release Date: July 2, 2013
FTC: sent a review copy by the publisher.

2013/Berkley Trade/320 pages

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Taken by Erin Bowman

There are no men in Claysoot. There are boys—but every one of them vanishes at midnight on his eighteenth birthday. The ground shakes, the wind howls, a blinding light descends…and he’s gone.

They call it the Heist.

Gray Weathersby’s eighteenth birthday is mere months away, and he’s prepared to meet his fate–until he finds a strange note from his mother and starts to question everything he’s been raised to accept: the Council leaders and their obvious secrets. The Heist itself. And what lies beyond the Wall that surrounds Claysoot–a structure that no one can cross and survive.

Climbing the Wall is suicide, but what comes after the Heist could be worse. Should he sit back and wait to be taken–or risk everything on the hope of the other side? (from GoodReads)

As soon as I started reading Taken, I was completely drawn in. I wanted to learn more about the Heists, especially because it was so mysterious. Where do the boys go? Why are they taken? However, as the story progressed, too many plot points were crammed in, making the book jumbled and not developed enough.

The beginning of Taken is so good, which makes it extra disappointing that the excitement dies down halfway through the novel. Gray is upset because his older brother Blaine is about to be Heisted and he's trying to deal with the feelings. Even though they don't share much page time, I could really see the brotherly relationship between the two. I was so surprised when we learn about the secret Blaine is keeping and thought that was a wonderful twist. I even enjoyed Gray's budding relationship with Emma in the beginning of the novel.

When Gray leaves Claysoot, that's when the writing suffers. He is brought into another dystopian society and it's pretty obvious who the bad guys are. So obvious that Gray figures it out pretty quickly and then is thrown into yet another dystopian society. This is what I mean when I say that the plot was crammed with too many events. I think the book would have been better if he had stayed in AmEast and that world was developed further.

The author also utilizes the device of deus ex machina, meaning that a random character saves the day and it's just totally unrealistic. Naturally there has to be a love triangle in this book, which took away even more of Taken's originality.

I didn't hate Taken and still want to see what happen next in the series. I just hope the next novel is a bit more developed than this one.

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

2013/HarperTeen/360 pages.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - 142

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.

Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd

To defeat the darkness, she must first embrace it.

Months have passed since Juliet Moreau returned to civilization after escaping her father's island—and the secrets she left behind. Now, back in London once more, she is rebuilding the life she once knew and trying to forget Dr. Moreau’s horrific legacy—though someone, or something, hasn’t forgotten her.

As people close to Juliet fall victim one by one to a murderer who leaves a macabre calling card of three clawlike slashes, Juliet fears one of her father’s creations may have also escaped the island. She is determined to find the killer before Scotland Yard does, though it means awakening sides of herself she had thought long banished, and facing loves from her past she never expected to see again.

As Juliet strives to stop a killer while searching for a serum to cure her own worsening illness, she finds herself once more in the midst of a world of scandal and danger. Her heart torn in two, past bubbling to the surface, life threatened by an obsessive killer—Juliet will be lucky to escape alive.

With inspiration from Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, this is a tantalizing mystery about the hidden natures of those we love and how far we’ll go to save them from themselves. (from GoodReads)

I really enjoyed the predecessor to this novel, The Madman's Daughter, and I'm really excited to see what happens next. It's neat how the author is drawing inspiration from classic works, like in this case the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Her Dark Curiosity will be released January 28, 2014

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday - 87

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

Top Ten Books on My Summer 2013 TBR List

1. This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
I absolutely adore Leila Sales because her books are hilarious. I'm so looking forward to her newest novel, but of course I have to wait until September to read it!

2. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Everyone has been talking about this book and the other day my friend said it was really good. I can't wait to read it because I love mysteries.

3. The Shadows in the Silence by Courtney Allison Moulton
This book was released over the winter and it's the conclusion to one of my favorite trilogies. I seriously need to buy a copy of this book to see how it all ends.

4. Since You Asked by Maurene Goo
This is a summer release and I love how it's about a high schooler reconciling her Korean and American heritages!

5. The Distance Between Us by Kacie West
This seems like a great summer read about a girl who falls in love with a rich boy in town, the ones her mother always warned her about.

6. The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen
Sarah Dessen's books are always set during the summer, so obviously that's when I have to read The Moon and More!

7. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke
This is another summer release in which the protagonist falls in love with the devil.

8. Dualed by Elsie Chapman
I think this book sounds amazing and I'm super excited to read it. It's set in a world in which everyone has a twin that they must kill before they reach a certain age.

9. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Don't judge me but I still haven't read this!

10. Perfect Scoundrels by Ally Carter
Another series I love that I have to catch up on.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - 141

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.

The Lair by Emily McKay

In the battle against the vampiric Ticks, humanity was slowly but certainly headed for extinction. For months, twin sisters Lily and Mel had been "quarantined” with thousands of other young people being harvested for their blood—food for the Ticks. Finally escaping with a few friends, the twins are separated—and must continue the fight on their own . . .

After making it to a resistance base camp in Utah, Lily learned to survive at all costs. But when a Tick attack decimates the fighters, Lily and her pregnant friend, McKenna, decide to make the hard trek north to Canada—and safety.

Meanwhile, Mel is being taught how to survive by the very vampire that turned her. Living without her sister is hard, but dealing with the fact that her autism was cured by the vampire bite is an even bigger challenge.

But when a monstrous betrayal places Lily in mortal danger, Mel must set out to find her, save her, and begin to unravel the empire of destruction that the Ticks have built. (from GoodReads)

I really enjoyed The Farm, especially how it was a new take on the vampire trend. It looks Mel will be taking center stage in this book, which will be nice! The Lair will be released November 5, 2013.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday - 86

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish for bloggers who like to make 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!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Plague in the Mirror by Deborah Noyes

In a sensual paranormal romance, a teen girl’s doppelgänger from 1348 Florence lures her into the past in hopes of exacting a deadly trade.

It was meant to be a diversion — a summer in Florence with her best friend, Liam, and his travel-writer mom, doing historical research between breaks for gelato. A chance to forget that back in Vermont, May’s parents, and all semblance of safety, were breaking up. But when May wakes one night sensing someone in her room, only to find her ghostly twin staring back at her, normalcy becomes a distant memory. And when later she follows the menacing Cristofana through a portale to fourteenth-century Florence, May never expects to find safety in the eyes of Marco, a soulful painter who awakens in her a burning desire and makes her feel truly seen. The wily Cristofana wants nothing less of May than to inhabit each other’s lives, but with the Black Death ravaging Old Florence, can May’s longing for Marco’s touch be anything but madness? Lush with atmosphere both passionate and eerie, this evocative tale follows a girl on the brink of womanhood as she dares to transcend the familiar — and discovers her sensual power. (from GoodReads)

I was extremely intrigued by the synopsis of Plague in the Mirror, especially the idea of doppelgangers. For anyone who has watched The Vampire Diaries, you know that if it's done right, doppelgangers can make for an amazing story. Unfortunately for the readers, the concept was not executed correctly, making the book a little overwhelming.

There was so much going on in Plague in the Mirror and it seemed as though the author had a lot of ideas and tried to cram them all into one novel. First, there's May touring Italy with Liam and his mom, helping her write her latest travel book. That could be a story right there. Then we have Cristofana, the malicious doppelganger that wants to switch places with May. Ok, different story. And yet, we have time traveling to the past and romance with a 14th century artist. May's parents are also getting divorced, so that's another subplot. Seriously, there were so many subplots that the author has enough material for about 4 books. A really skilled writer might have been able to weave all these ideas together cohesively, but that didn't happen in Plague in the Mirror.

What I liked about the novel: Florence! The author did a great job of describing the city, both the present day and past versions. I want to visit Italy so badly, and this story just awoke the travel bug in me. I was very jealous of May getting to eat gelato in the warm summer nights in such a beautiful place. I also liked Liam and the little romance between him and May. That was pretty much the only part I cared about reading.

I wasn't really a fan of the time-traveling aspect, because I thought it was unrealistic. Mainly I'm talking about the fact that May kept wanting to travel to the 14th century, right in the middle of the bubonic plague. I love history, but that is not a time I would want to live in. May is drawn to the 1300s because she sees Marco and falls instantly in love with him. I couldn't stand to read about their interactions, especially because they didn't even speak the same language! I get that he's attractive, but it's so annoying to see a character risk her life for a guy she doesn't know and can never know because they can't talk to each other. That part was so irksome!

By the end, I started skimming because I honestly didn't care what happened. I only kept reading because I wanted to see how things between May and Liam ended up. Out of all the cool elements of Plague in the Mirror, that was the only truly compelling part (based on the execution). I'm only recommending this to people who might want to read about all these different subplots, but don't have too high of expectations.

Release Date: June 11, 2013
Rating: 6 out of 10.
FTC: reviewed for LitPick

2013/Candlewick Press/272 pages.

Sever by Lauren DeStefano

Time is running out for Rhine in this conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Chemical Garden Trilogy.

With the clock ticking until the virus takes its toll, Rhine is desperate for answers. After enduring Vaughn’s worst, Rhine finds an unlikely ally in his brother, an eccentric inventor named Reed. She takes refuge in his dilapidated house, though the people she left behind refuse to stay in the past. While Gabriel haunts Rhine’s memories, Cecily is determined to be at Rhine’s side, even if Linden’s feelings are still caught between them.

Meanwhile, Rowan’s growing involvement in an underground resistance compels Rhine to reach him before he does something that cannot be undone. But what she discovers along the way has alarming implications for her future—and about the past her parents never had the chance to explain.

In this breathtaking conclusion to Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden trilogy, everything Rhine knows to be true will be irrevocably shattered. (from GoodReads)

When I first started this trilogy, I was blown away by Wither, but merely enjoyed Fever. Now that I've finished the series I can say that overall this is one of my favorites. In the conclusion, the story came together perfectly and I loved the ending.

Sever addressed a lot of the questions that readers may have from the first two books. We finally get to meet Rhine's twin brother Rowan which is especially important because Rhine has been searching for him since the beginning. I loved seeing them interact and even though they have been away for a year their sibling bond is still evident.

Cecily, Linden and Linden's uncle Reed play really big parts in the book. I loved getting to know them better. Cecily has really developed from a shallow and naive little girl to a caring and warm mother and friend to Rhine. Linden has always been an interesting option for Rhine in terms of love interest but I enjoyed their friendship as well. Reed is nothing like his brother Vaughn and it was neat seeing another "first generation" character. This time Rhine is searching for Gabriel too and unfortunately he is barely in this book. I would have liked to see more of him!

Out of the entire series Vaughn, Linden's evil father, is definitely the most interesting. He took Rhine away from her brother and forced her to marry Linden, performed experiments on unwilling participants (including Rhine) and yet the reader is still able to sympathize with him. It's obvious that he loves his son very much and wants to find a cure to save him. That obviously doesn't excuse his atrocious behavior, but it makes it easier to understand his motives.

My only criticism is that the beginning of Sever is a little slow and I wish we were given more information on the Chemical Gardens, for which the trilogy is named. However, I think fans of these books will be satisfied with the ending and the ultimate direction of the story.

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

2013/Simon & Schuster/374 pages.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Language Inside by Holly Thompson

A nuanced novel in verse that explores identity in a multicultural world.
Emma Karas was raised in Japan; it's the country she calls home. But when her mother is diagnosed with breast cancer, Emma's family moves to a town outside Lowell, Massachusetts, to stay with Emma's grandmother while her mom undergoes treatment.

Emma feels out of place in the United States. She begins to have migraines, and longs to be back in Japan. At her grandmother's urging, she volunteers in a long-term care center to help Zena, a patient with locked-in syndrome, write down her poems. There, Emma meets Samnang, another volunteer, who assists elderly Cambodian refugees. Weekly visits to the care center, Zena's poems, dance, and noodle soup bring Emma and Samnang closer, until Emma must make a painful choice: stay in Massachusetts, or return home early to Japan. (from GoodReads)

I was not expecting The Language Inside to be written in verse and it made me nervous because I'm not the biggest fan of this style of writing. But I loved it in this book! It worked so well and made the story more beautiful.

Since The Language Inside was written in verse, there aren't that many words on each page. I was able to read this book in a day, so I'm not kidding when I say the pages literally flew by. The story was so compelling that I wanted to keep reading and learn more about the characters and the two cultures featured prominently: Japanese and Cambodian.

I thought it was so cool that Emma was raised in Japan - I can't even imagine what it would be like to live in another country. Emma has lived in Japan since she was a baby and even though she's an American citizen, she feels Japanese. She also is of Greek descent, so she doesn't look Japanese either. That was a bit of a conflict for Emma because people didn't understand how she could be from Japan. Emma has to learn to reconcile Japanese and American culture and it's hard for her in the beginning.

In the story, Emma meets Samnang, who is ethnically Cambodian, at a long term care facility. He befriends Emma and makes her want to stay in the States. Their relationship was so cute, especially when he would help Emma when she got migraines. Emma is fascinated by Cambodia's culture and Samnang introduces her to the food and dance of the country.

Overall I really enjoyed the book and was impressed by how the author was able to fit such well developed characters and plot into a novel written in verse. If any of these topics sound interesting then you should definitely read The Language Inside!

Rating: 9 out of 10.
FTC: reviewed for LitPick

2013/Delacorte/528 pages.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - 140

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.

Unbreakable by Kami Garcia

Supernatural meets The Da Vinci Code in this action-packed paranormal thriller, the first book in a new series from New York Times bestselling author Kami Garcia.

I never believed in ghosts. Until one tried to kill me.

When Kennedy Waters finds her mother dead, her world begins to unravel. She doesn’t know that paranormal forces in a much darker world are the ones pulling the strings. Not until identical twins Jared and Lukas Lockhart break into Kennedy’s room and destroy a dangerous spirit sent to kill her. The brothers reveal that her mother was part of an ancient secret society responsible for protecting the world from a vengeful demon — a society whose five members were all murdered on the same night.

Now Kennedy has to take her mother’s place in the Legion if she wants to uncover the truth and stay alive. Along with new Legion members Priest and Alara, the teens race to find the only weapon that might be able to destroy the demon — battling the deadly spirits he controls every step of the way.

Suspense, romance, and the paranormal meet in this chilling urban fantasy, the first book in a new series from Kami Garcia, bestselling coauthor of the Beautiful Creatures novels.(from GoodReads)

I'm not really the biggest fan of Beautiful Creatures but I'm willing to give this book a chance because I love the concept. It sounds like the tv show Supernatural with the demon hunting (haha I just saw that they mention this in the synopsis!). Unbreakable will be released October 1, 2013.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday - 85

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

Top Ten Books That Feature Travel in Some Way

1. Just One Day by Gayle Forman
I absolutely adored this book! It's about a girl who decides to go to Paris on a whim with a stranger. In real life this would be so dangerous but of course a romance blossoms between Lulu and Willem. She travels to other countries too, such as England and Denmark.

2. 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
This is pretty much the ultimate travel book, as the main character goes all over Europe to find letters from her dead aunt.

3. Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
If you love road trips you can't miss out on this novel. Amy and Roger drive from California to Massachusetts and there's plenty of self-discovery along the way.

4. Across the Universe by Beth Revis
This book features intergalactic travel in that its a spaceship traveling to a new planet.

5. The Secret Life of Prince Charming by Deb Caletti
This is also a road-trip novel but on a smaller scale since the characters only drive around the Pacific Northwest. It's about sisters who travel around trying to give back items that their father stole from his ex girlfriends.

6. The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson
Obviously this is the sequel to 13 Little Blue Envelopes so more travel!

7. Spark by Amy Kathleen Ryan
Another book of space travel.

8. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Anna goes to school in Paris for her senior year (so jealous!) so I'm counting this as travel.

9. The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd
I just finished and really enjoyed this book! Juliet goes to a creepy island near Australia where her father is experimenting on the natives.

10. Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
I've noticed that Maureen Johnson writes a lot about travel! This is about an American who goes to school in London.

Monday, June 3, 2013

America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren't by Stephen Colbert

Book store nation, in the history of mankind there has never been a greater country than America. You could say we're the #1 nation at being the best at greatness.

But as perfect as America is in every single way, America is broken! And we can't exchange it because we're 236 years past the 30-day return window. Look around--we don't make anything anymore, we've mortgaged our future to China, and the Apologist-in-Chief goes on world tours just to bow before foreign leaders. Worse, the L.A. Four Seasons Hotel doesn't even have a dedicated phone button for the Spa. You have to dial an extension! Where did we lose our way?!

It's high time we restored America to the greatness it never lost!

Luckily, AMERICA AGAIN will singlebookedly pull this country back from the brink. It features everything from chapters, to page numbers, to fonts. Covering subject's ranging from healthcare ("I shudder to think where we'd be without the wide variety of prescription drugs to treat our maladies, such as think-shuddering") to the economy ("Life is giving us lemons, and we're shipping them to the Chinese to make our lemon-flavored leadonade") to food ("Feel free to deep fry this book-it's a rich source of fiber"), Stephen gives America the dose of truth it needs to get back on track. (from GoodReads)

I'm in love with Stephen Colbert. I watch his show all the time and even got to see a live taping of The Colbert Report last summer. I think he's hilarious and so smart. Obviously I had to read his latest book! America Again was like his show in book form; he still uses satire and irony to make his point. Any fans of Colbert will love this book!

There isn't a whole lot to say since there aren't any characters or plot in this book. It's mostly Stephen speaking as his character about different topics, such as health care, the economy and taxes. The book provides 3D glasses for the pictures in the beginning of each chapter. There are fun footnotes and little extras by "other people" (aka Stephen Colbert pretending to be someone else).

I enjoyed this book a lot and it gave me a lot to think about! If you like his show, I would definitely recommend America Again! Or you might like it if you're interested in humor and politics!

Rating: 9 out of 10.
FTC: Christmas gift.

2012/Grand Central Publishing/240 pages.