Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - 160

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

Uninvited by Sophie Jordan

The Scarlet Letter meets Minority Report in bestselling author Sophie Jordan's chilling new novel about a teenage girl who is ostracized when her genetic test proves she's destined to become a murderer.

When Davy Hamilton's tests come back positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome (HTS)-aka the kill gene-she loses everything. Her boyfriend ditches her, her parents are scared of her, and she can forget about her bright future at Juilliard. Davy doesn't feel any different, but genes don't lie. One day she will kill someone.

Only Sean, a fellow HTS carrier, can relate to her new life. Davy wants to trust him; maybe he's not as dangerous as he seems. Or maybe Davy is just as deadly.

The first in a two-book series, Uninvited tackles intriguing questions about free will, identity, and human nature. Steeped in New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan's trademark mix of gripping action and breathless romance, this suspenseful tale is perfect for fans of James Patterson, Michelle Hodkin, and Lisa McMann. (from GoodReads)

This sounds really weird, but in a good way! I can't wait to see what happens. Uninvited will be released January 28, 2014.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday - 106

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish for bloggers who like to make lists about 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. Frost by Marianna Baer
The main character in this book gets to live in a little cottage with her friends while going to a boarding school. When weird things start happening, you're not sure if it's the house or psychological. Either way, it's pretty spooky.

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.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - 159

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.

On The Fence by Kasie West

For sixteen-year-old Charlotte Reynolds, aka Charlie, being raised by a single dad and three older brothers has its perks. She can out-run, out-score, and outwit every boy she knows--including her long-time neighbor, and honorary fourth brother, Braden.

But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn't know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at a chi-chi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world of makeup, lacy skirts, and bedazzlers. Even stranger, she's spending time with a boy who has never seen her tear it up in a pick-up game.

To cope with the stress of faking her way through this new reality, Charlie seeks late night refuge in her backyard, talking out her problems with Braden by the fence that separates them. But their Fence Chats can't solve Charlie's biggest problem: she's falling for Braden. Hard. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high. (from GoodReads)

I really enjoyed The Distance Between Us so I'm looking forward to what the author does with this topic. Unfortunately we have to wait until July 1, 2014 to find out. That's so far away!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday - 105

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

Top Ten Unusual Character Names

1. Gemma - The Gemma Doyle Trilogy by Libba Bray
I actually really like this name but I thought it was so weird when I first started reading A Great and Terrible Beauty. It's like Emma but different!

2. The Selection Trilogy by Kiera Cass
I'm not even picking one name, when this series features monikers such as America, Maxon and Aspen. I think the author was trying to pick the most outrageous names.

3. Caymen - The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
I thought this was such a interesting choice for a name because it's the same of a certain island where the wealthy store their money (albeit spelled differently). Since the novel focused so much on wealth and what it does to your personality, I was intrigued by this name.

4. Tally - The Uglies Series by Scott Westerfeld
I thought this name was hilarious because we used to have a dog named Talli.

5. Katniss - The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Even though I explained to my dad that the series was futuristic, he wasn't buying this name. According to him, names haven't changed that much over a few centuries, so why would they in the not-so-distant future. He had a good point.

6. Augustus - The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
This is such an uncommon name nowadays and I was surprised to see it in a YA book. Not really a fan of the nickname Gus but Augustus sounds pretty authoritative.

7. Felicia - Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans
I think Felicia is such a pretty name! It reminds me of the American Girl doll Felicity too. More people should name their kids this!

8. Rhine and Rowan - Wither Trilogy by Lauren DeStefano
I think these names are really cool, even though they are pretty weird.

9. Hermione - Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
I had to put this on the list! Now this name seems so normal but when I first started reading the series I couldn't wrap my mind around such an odd name.

10. A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin
This is fantasy so it's obvious that the names will be pretty crazy. Some interesting ones include: Stannis, Cersei, Rickon, Bran, Joffrey, Melisandre and Sansa.

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Elite by Kiera Cass

The hotly-anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestseller The Selection.

Thirty-five girls came to the palace to compete in the Selection. All but six have been sent home. And only one will get to marry Prince Maxon and be crowned princess of Illea.

America still isn’t sure where her heart lies. When she’s with Maxon, she’s swept up in their new and breathless romance, and can’t dream of being with anyone else. But whenever she sees Aspen standing guard around the palace, and is overcome with memories of the life they planned to share. With the group narrowed down to the Elite, the other girls are even more determined to win Maxon over—and time is running out for America to decide.

Just when America is sure she’s made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she’s struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending. (from GoodReads)

I saw the issues that other people had with The Selection and while I agree with most of them (the lack of world building, the similarities to The Hunger Games, the crazy names), I still enjoyed the story. It wasn't the best writing but it was still fun. Unfortunately, the things that were wrong in The Selection are magnified in The Elite.

I'm sorry, but a love triangle cannot sustain an entire novel; there needs to be some plot. The main conflict of The Elite was whether America should choose Maxon or Aspen. America would fluctuate between the two men and it was the most boring thing to read about. Love triangles can be amazing or they can be contrived. I honestly don't care about any of our three characters and that made this book difficult.

The little plot we got was about the rest of the Selection, now that there were only five girls left. That aspect was just a rehashing of the first novel. The only exciting parts came when the rebels attacked the building. But even that lost some thrill when the characters are just stuck in hiding not doing anything.

There is one part where America has to make a presentation about a charity she would support as princess. The position she took was interesting but I saw it coming from a mile away. So I wasn't even surprised by the "twist."

I did a Waiting on Wednesday on The One because I am a teeny bit curious about what happens but if never finish the trilogy I won't be that disappointed either.

Rating: 6 out of 10.
FTC: borrowed from the library.

2013/HarperTeen/323 pages.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten. (from GoodReads)

I seriously can't believe that I waited this long to read The Fault in Our Stars. I wanted to borrow it from the library but it has been on hold or out since it was released. I eventually saw a copy of the novel on my friend's bookshelf and she reluctantly let me borrow it. This is definitely my favorite John Green book, which is really saying something because he's an awesome author.

The story is destined to be depressing. That's what happens when your main character has terminal cancer. Though it's not terminal in the sense that "oh I have a year to live." It's more of the fact that Hazel knows she will eventually die from cancer, but the doctors aren't really sure when. Now that her disease is slightly stabilized, Hazel is able to go to classes at the community college and attend a cancer support group. Which is where she meets Augustus! He is such an awesome character and definitely one of those John Green signature personalities. The relationship between Hazel and Augustus is so, so sweet, especially since he understands her due to him having cancer at one point too.

There were other interesting and important characters as well. I loved Hazel's parents, who were so supportive and loving. Augustus's friend Isaac was hilarious. The author of their favorite (fake) novel makes an appearance and is a little rough around the edges but ultimately a good guy.

I just want to warn those who haven't read the book (which is probably no one at this point): you will cry. I predicted the ending but it didn't make it any less sad! This is going to be even harder to watch on-screen, when it's made into a movie.

I really enjoyed The Fault in Our Stars now that I've finally read it. I think I devoured it in about a day - I just could not put it down. I would probably consider this my favorite John Green novel and I hope that whatever he writes next can top this novel.

Rating: 10 out of 10.
FTC: borrowed from a friend.

2012/Dutton Books/313 pages.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - 158

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.

Raging Star by Moira Young

Saba is ready to seize her destiny and defeat DeMalo and the Tonton...until she meets him and he confounds all her expectations with his seductive vision of a healed earth, a New Eden. DeMalo wants Saba to join him, in life and work, to create and build a healthy, stable, sustainable world…for the chosen few. The few who can pay.

Jack’s choice is clear: to fight DeMalo and try to stop New Eden. Still uncertain, her connection with DeMalo a secret, Saba commits herself to the fight. Joined by her brother, Lugh, anxious for the land in New Eden, Saba leads an inexperienced guerilla band against the powerfully charismatic DeMalo, in command of his settlers and the Tonton militia. What chance do they have? Saba must act. And be willing to pay the price. (from GoodReads)

I didn't love Dust Lands, but the first novel of this trilogy was so good that I need to know what happens all the way through. Raging Star will be released April 15, 2014.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday - 104

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

Top Ten Books I Was Forced to Read

1. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
This was one of the summer reading books for my AP Lit class senior year. Out of the four, it was the only I actually enjoyed. It's pretty long with small print but so worth it. The main character tells the story of his childhood, and of his friendship with the odd Owen Meany.

2. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
This is one of my favorite classic novels and I'm so glad my teacher put this on the list. It doesn't even read like it's from the 19th century. I love the relationship between Jane and Mr. Rochester and the Gothic atmosphere is so spooky.

3. Macbeth by William Shakespeare
I can tell why this is considered one of Shakespeare's greatest works. I can't remember everything that happens, but it has a ton of twists and turns and creepy Lady Macbeth seeing blood on her hands.

4. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
This is super popular now that the movie was just released (which was really good by the way!). I really enjoyed the novel before the film and it's such an easy read.

5. 1984 by George Orwell
I'm not really a fan of the ending of 1984 but it was interesting to read one of the first dystopian novels.

6. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
I never really hear people talk about Ethan Frome but it's such a good book. It's really good for discussions because it deals with emotional cheating.

7. Hamlet by William Shakespeare
This is one of my favorite Shakespeare plays, mostly because my friends and I had to rewrite it for class and perform it.

8. Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
I had to read this for my 9th grade world history class during the section on Africa. I think I talk about this book a lot but it's about a boy living in South Africa during Apartheid.

9. The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank
I read this in 8th grade and we could all really relate to Anne because we were around the same age.

10. Tangerine by Edward Bloor
This was a book I read in 7th grade but I think adults would enjoy it too! It has a huge twist at the end that you will not see coming.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

I have two weeks. You’ll shoot me at the end no matter what I do.

That’s what you do to enemy agents. It’s what we do to enemy agents. But I look at all the dark and twisted roads ahead and cooperation is the easy way out. Possibly the only way out for a girl caught red-handed doing dirty work like mine — and I will do anything, anything, to avoid SS-Hauptsturmf├╝hrer von Linden interrogating me again.

He has said that I can have as much paper as I need. All I have to do is cough up everything I can remember about the British War Effort. And I’m going to. But the story of how I came to be here starts with my friend Maddie. She is the pilot who flew me into France — an Allied Invasion of Two.

We are a sensational team. (from GoodReads)

I'm behind on reviews, but since I just finished Code Name Verity, I thought I'd review it first. When I started this book, I didn't like it that much. However, by the end I was in love!

I began the book not really enjoying it because it's really dense and there's a lot of description of airplanes and British military terms. There's still some acronyms that I don't know the full meaning of and if you're not careful you'll get hung up on all the lingo. I wanted the story, so I ignored a lot of the technical stuff that I didn't care for.

I absolutely love the idea of an unreliable narrator and it works super well for this story. The narrator (I can't say who it is because it's a spoiler) tells the story of how she and Maddie, a British female, pilot became best friends. She's telling this story instead of being tortured, because in it she's supposed to be disclosing important Allied military information. People will have a different opinions of the narrator because she's technically a traitor, but she had been tortured so can you really blame her? I'd probably be spilling all kinds of secrets.

The first half of the book I thought was okay. Once the book switches narrators halfway through it gets so much better. You find out all this new information about the characters and there's some twists and turns of the plot. I find myself flipping back to the first half to see how everything tied together and looked for clues that I had missed the first time around. The way Elizabeth Wein weaves the two stories together is amazing.

The ending is very sad but I thought it fit well with the story and that made me not hate it as much. I wish there was more character development between the narrator and Maddie - at times it was hard to tell that they were best friends. I also loved that both the characters are strong women. One was a pilot and the other was a spy, which was unheard of during World War II. Well, at least it's unheard of in movies and books. I'd love to read more about females in WWII, I'm sure it would be fascinating.

Overall, if you like historical fiction, especially WWII fiction, you have to pick this book. If you just like a good story where you have to piece together the facts, you'll probably enjoy Code Name Verity too.

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

2012/Egmont Press/447 pages.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - 157

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 One by Kiera Cass

The Selection changed the lives of thirty-five girls forever. And now, the time has come for one winner to be chosen.

America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown—or to Prince Maxon's heart. But as the competition approaches its end and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose—and how hard she'll have to fight for the future she wants.

From the very first page of The Selection, this #1 New York Times bestselling series has captured readers' hearts and swept them away on a captivating journey... Now, in The One, Kiera Cass delivers a satisfying and unforgettable conclusion that will keep readers sighing over this electrifying fairy-tale long after the final page is turned.

I wasn't the biggest fan of The Elite but I do want to find out what happens with America and Maxon! Will they end up together? I need to know. The One will be released May 6, 2014.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday - 103

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

Top Ten Best/Worst Endings Series Ending


1. Requiem by Lauren Oliver
I really do love this series but I was so disappointed by the ending! The book just ends and you don't find out what happens to the characters. I get that that's the point the author wanted to make, but I didn't like it!

2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Howling
I still love this book, but I wasn't the biggest fan of Ginny, so I didn't like how Harry and her ended up together.

3. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
I didn't mind the ending but the rest of the book was not my cup of tea. Which is unfortunate because this trilogy is awesome.

4. The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray
I did enjoy the book mostly expect the part where a certain character dies.

5. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
I truly believe this series should have ended with Eclipse... this book was rough.


6. Specials/Extras by Scott Westerfeld
Extras is a companion novel so I didn't know what you would consider the "ending." Both books are great though and I absolutely love the world that Westerfeld created.

7. Sever by Lauren DeStefano
I was surprised by how much I liked Sever, especially because I didn't like Fever. The ending actually makes sense and is a nice conclusion.

8. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
I cried so much reading this but it's pretty much perfect.

9. The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan
This trilogy is so understated and underappreciated but I love it.

10. Runaway by Meg Cabot
This was a fun conclusion to the Airhead trilogy.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday - 102

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

Top Ten Book Turn-Offs

1. Religious Preaching
I don't mind books having religious undertones and if it's done right these books can be very interesting (see: The Opposite of Hallelujah by Anna Jarzab). But I do not like a book that's preachy and you can tell that the author wants to get their own religious message across.

2. Insta-Love
Anytime a book has "instant love" or "instant connection," I'm turned off. Those types of relationships aren't realistic and make the characters look weak. I want to see the relationship develop slowly - there's no reason for the characters to have love at first sight.

3. High Fantasy - I'm really not a big fantasy person, but if it's done right I love it (aka Harry Potter). So the plot has to sound extremely intriguing for me to pick up a book that's set in an alternate world.

4. Poetry/Verse - I don't like poetry that much so when a book is written in verse I definitely shy away from it. I have read some great novels written in this style but it's still something I avoid.

5. Non-Fiction - I just really enjoy reading fiction and have no interest in non-fiction most of the time.

6. Self-Harm - Not really a fan of reading about depressing parts of the human psyche and this one is hard to read about. I just want to help the character!
7. Sexual Abuse - Same as the above, too depressing to read about.

8. For Fans of Twilight - If it's like Twilight then I'm probably not going to like it.

9. Eating Disorders - Another "issue" but this one hits close to home for my family and I so I don't need to read about it too.

10. Drug Abuse - Ok, I ran out of ideas so I'm listing all of the ills in our society. I like my books to
be happy!