Friday, August 10, 2012

The Invasion (Animorphs #1) by K.A. Applegate

The Invasion (Animorphs, #1)

Animorphs! What a blast from the past. These novels were seriously my 3rd grade life. I only got up to number 37 for some strange reason though. I don't know why I never got farther than that lol. A few days ago, my boyfriend mentioned a hawk. The mention of the hawk reminded me of Tobias, one of the Animorphs who was stuck in a red-tailed hawk form. And then as I was remembering all the characters and the battles and the covers and the aliens and everything I began to get very excited! So then I ran upstairs to retrieve the few Animorph books I had purchased at used book stores and such. And then I promptly began reliving my childhood and reading #13, which had Tobias on the cover. And I sat there, just reading my beloved Animorphs book while my boyfriend fell asleep. Lol.

I'm not sure why I had loved these books so much, considering they were science-fiction, the type of books that I didn't and still don't read. Maybe it was the appeal of the Yeerk invasion and how "real" it all seemed. Like, what if they were real?! And how they were just normal kids but they were given special powers and it's all just so amazing! Haha anyways the next day I took a trip to the library and went to the children's section and behold, there were the books that I had loved so much. I did some research on the Animorphs when I got home and found out that they were being re-released! The fangirl in me is very happy because these books were literally my life. I've read that they're making small changes to make them more timeless, because pop-culture has definitely changed since the 90s! Haha so anyways...

The Invasion is about 5 kids, about middle-school age, who walk through a construction place when they see a dying alien (an Andalite). He tells them about the Yeerks, an invading parasitic alien species that crawl into people's ears and control their mind and body. He gives them the ability to morph into other animals after they have absorbed their DNA. The only thing is that they have to morph back into their human form before 2 hours or they will be stuck that way forever. Until the Andalites can come to Earth and save everyone, it's up to the Animorphs to protect their planet.

This is really awesome series, and maybe I'm just biased because I'm living in nostalgia, but I recommend that you try out this series. And if you're too old for it, recommend it to someone in middle school. Or just read them anyways because they're amazing. 5 out of 5 stars.

Between The Lines by Jodi Picoult & Samantha van Leer

book jacket

Delilah is a high-school loner who finds comfort in a picture book called "Between The Lines"  that she found in her school's library. Even though she knows she's too old to be reading fairy tales, she loves to read about Oliver, a handsome prince who sets out to save a princess. He fights dragons, tricks trolls, escapes mermaids, etc. Delilah likes to believe in happy endings, ever since her dad left her and her mom. That's why she can relate to Oliver, whose father was killed protecting his kingdom from a dragon. One day, Oliver from her book talks to her. It turns out that he lives a life too when the book is closed. When someone is reading the book he is an actor saying the liens that were written for him. Oliver has always wondered what was outside his book and desperately wants to get out.

For those of you who may not know, Jodi Picoult wrote this novel with her teenage daughter. I read in Entertainment Weekly that she had wanted to write a novel targeted towards a younger audience because he readers may have wanted to "share her stories with their children or younger siblings". That made me laugh a lot because sorry Jodi, I'm not in a huge rush to tell my younger brother about gay parenting rights, emancipation, cancer, abduction, etc. When I heard that Picoult was writing a young adult book I was very excited and knew I had to get my hands on it. And by the way, the picture of the two was taken by my favorite photographer Adam Bouska, who I actually got to meet the other day. He is a wonderful man and his pictures are extremely beautiful. Here is a video of him and them during the photoshoot: In case you couldn't tell, I am a huge fan of Adam.

Between The Lines has a really cool concept and a nicely narrated story. The plot is decently paced and the characters are likable. The chapters are alternated between a narration of Oliver, Delilah, and the story itself. I like books with chapters like this, which is why I enjoy Jodi's writing. It's a nice romance without being too much of a romance, and it also touches up upon family matters and friendship. I enjoyed this novel and I would recommend it, whether you've read any of Jodi's other novels or not. 5 out of 5 stars.

Getting Over Garrett Delaney by Abby McDonald

Getting Over Garrett Delaney

When Sadie met Garrett, she knew that one day they would fall in love and live happily ever after. But until that happens, she will have to settle with being very close friends until he realizes his unknown passion for her. Sadie has been pining after Garrett for two years and they have plans to go to a writer's camp together over the summer.Sadly, Garrett gets accepted while Sadie doesn't. It will still be okay though, right? They'll call and text and pick up right where they left off when he gets back. But after a few days, Garrett calls Sadie and tells her that he's fallen in love... with another girl. This event is not unusual, he has had his fair share of girlfriends over the years while Sadie gives helpful advice and waits her turn. This phone call is the last straw for Sadie. She is tired of waiting around for a guy that is clearly not going to love her back so with the help of some new and old friends, she sets out to Get Over Garrett Delaney.

I thought this was a wonderful book. The narration is spot-on and realistic and I really felt Sadie's pain over lusting over her best friend who, just isn't noticing her! This novel had everything in it: a hilarious narrator and main character, a realistic plot, and thoughtful messages. It went by quickly and I really liked the self-empowerment that Sadie went through when she realized that she should stop sculpting herself around a guy. Never change yourself for another person, never! I recommend it, as I found myself smiling and cheering Sadie on the entire time. The only thing I didn't agree on was how Sadie decides to go "cold-turkey" and start ignoring Garrett and just pretending he doesn't exist. I mean, I guess if that's what you have to do! But they were like BEST friends so it was kinda like "okayyy if you say so". The only reason I'm not giving this novel 5 stars is because of the ending. I'm fine for everything it stood for, but I'm not a huge fan of when author's make characters nice and then do a 180. Lol anyways: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My Sister's Stalker by Nancy Springer

My Sister's Stalker
Rig is just living a typical teenage life. His parents are divorced and he lives with his eccentric mother. His sister Kari, short for Karma, lived with their dad before she went off to college. Rig misses his sister and after numerous calls and texts, he Googles her. He comes across a fan site for her featuring some creepy pictures that seem to have been taken through her bedroom window. He seeks help from his mother, but she is always willing to believe the best in people and thinks that it’s cute. Therefore, Rig is forced to seek out his dad, whom he has a difficult relationship with. Rig’s family has to get to the bottom of the stalker issue before Kari gets into real danger.
I read this book because it was less than 100 pages, and sounded somewhat decent. Well, I was wrong . This was the worst book that I’ve read in a LONG time. And I read a lot of books. The writing is choppy and juvenile, which I can forgive because a 15 is supposed to be narrating the story. The basic idea of this novel is interesting, but I think it could have been better told. The plot was basically like “Bam! Bam! Bam!” with one bullet being thrown after another. It was unrealistic, though I know these things do happen, and had be rolling me eyes the entire time. As you can see though, it wasn’t so completely horrible that I finished it. There was no character development and some very unbelievable events.
But the ending. OMG. It was really stupid. That’s the only way that I can put it. If the author had chosen a different ending, I would have been like **sigh** what a waste of my time. But now I am angry! LOL. So I will tell you about the ending and not worry about spoiling it for you because I hope you spend your time reading a better novel. Basically, Rig is like “I feel creepy because I had to think like the stalker would” and his dad is like “ohh, that’s called incest. But it’s okay!” And you’re like “that was a completely stupid little paragraph to put in there”. Argh! Just frustrating! Anyways. Don’t read this book. 1 out of 5 stars.

Fair Coin (Coin #1) by E.C. Myers

Fair Coin (Coin, #1)

Ephraim (what an awesome name!) comes home after school and finds his alcoholic mom passed out with pills in her hand. He immediately calls 911 and she is taken to the hospital. Ephraim's mom had attempted suicide because she had identified Ephraim's body earlier because he had been hit by a car and died. Ephraim is puzzled and finds the fake Ephraim's personal items in his mom's purse. Among them he finds a library card with a picture of him and having his name (very strange considering he never lost his) and a coin. Being the coin collector he is, he knows that there is something strange about the quarter. It doesn't face the right way and identifies Puerto Rico as being a state. Ephraim later receives some anonymous instructions saying to wish upon the coin. He goes for it, and wishes that his mom would be more normal. Surprisingly, the next morning he wakes up to the smell of bacon and a healthy breakfast. Since the coin had worked, he begins to make more wishes. Maybe now he can get Jena, his longtime crush, to finally notice him. Or maybe he can solve other problems. But when his wishes begin to have small side effects, Ephraim must figure out what he is supposed to do next.

We've all made wishes before. On shooting stars, 11:11, coins before throwing them into fountains, eyelashes, birthday candles, you name it! Or at least I have. Fair Coin was an awesome book! At first it seems like a fantasy paranormal book, but it soon grows to be way more than that! The plot, imagination, and mystery and amazing and the characters are realistic and exciting. It’s seriously an AWESOME story if you can follow along with it.

And also, the cover is so pretty that it deserves to be noted. And I LOVE the title. A fair coin means that you have an equal chance at getting heads and tails, so I think that it’s really appropriate.

The only thing that kept me from giving this novel 5 stars was how it was a little confusing. About halfway through, my face was like O_o... because I was thoroughly like “wait, what?" I think this would be an awesome story if I ever read it a second time, just because I know a little more about what’s going on and I can read it a little slower and more carefully, rather than just plowing through the book because I wanted to know what happened. So, I suggest taking notes. I’m not kidding you! It was a little mind boggling.

I recommend Fair Coin if you’re into dystopian, sci-fi novels or if you liked the Uglies by Scot Westerfeld (I think his name is :P). I look forward to the next book in the series, which made me extra excited because I didn’t know that this was a series! I’m also wondering what more there is to write about. Hmm… Anways, 4.5 stars out of 5.

Sugar and Spice (L.A. Candy #3) by Lauren Conrad

Sugar and Spice (L.A. Candy, #3)

In the concluding novel of the L.A. Candy series, Jane has her game face on. She knows that people have lied to her, and she’s ready this time. This time around, she’s sworn off guys, but what happens when Caleb and Braden both want her? What is she supposed to do? And what about Scarlett? She’s having her own troubles with Liam and her family. And of course we have Madison. But she has her own skeletons (figuratively) that she’s trying to keep in the closet.
This was my favorite book of the three. My thoughts on the writing and the series remain the same. They’re just fun afternoon novels! The plot twists in this novel were really unsuspected and I especially liked the ending and Jane’s decision with guys. If you enjoyed the other two books in this series, I would recommend reading this last one. It really pulls everything together. And I am looking forward to reading Lauren’s second series soon. :) 4 out of 5 stars.

The Darlings by Cristina Alger

The Darlings: A Novel

Paul Ross married Merrill Darling, not knowing about the foreign life he would be thrown into. He became used to an elite New York life. Due to economic hardships, Paul loses his job. But luckily (or unluckily, however you choose to think about it), Carter Darling (Paul's father-in-law) offers him a job to oversee a legal team at his company. Then a large-size scandal shakes the company and that Darlings are thrust into the public eye, but not in a good way. Paul receives some information and must decide whether he wants to save himself and Merrill, or protect his family's name. As you read on through this novel, you realize that things on the outside are not always how they appear to be, and there is so much more to know.

I originally wanted to read this because I read a review for it in Entertainment Weekly and they mentioned it as being "like Gossip Girl", and of course the fangirl in me was like "GOSSIP GIRL” and put it on my to-read list without further thought. After reading it, I reflect back on its “gossipgirlness” and realize that the only things they have in common are that they take place in New York, they are part of the elite upper class, and there is a scandal. That’s all. LOL.

I thought the concept of this book was pretty interesting, but I think it would have been better for me to know more about the whole Wall Street issues before reading this. The good things about this novel were the interesting moral dilemmas, because I do love to contemplate those. I also loved the romantic part of this novel. And when I say “romantic” I don’t mean there’s a huge romance aspect, I just mean that I love the way that Paul and Merrill think of each other and their thoughts in the narrative. They truly, truly love one another and the author describes it perfectly. I fell in love with Paul a little bit just because it was so adorable how much he loves his wife.

Otherwise, I found this novel to be really slow and LONG. It was kinda boring to be honest. I also had a somewhat difficult time following all the character’s narrations. There is seriously like 7 people telling the story (not through 1st person) and they have similar sounding names, so I don’t know. It’s probably me haha. I probably would have been more into the story if the author had done a Jodie Picoult thing where there are different fonts and easily divided chapters of different narrators.

I think this book would make an interesting movie but as a novel, it was just okay for me. The end was really cool though, in my opinion! 3 out of 5 stars.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Sweet Little Lies (L.A. Candy #2) by Lauren Conrad

Sweet Little Lies (L.A. Candy, #2)

In the sequel to L.A. Candy, Jane returns to L.A. after a picture scandal with Madison by her side. Even though Madison is helping Jane now, we all know she has something more devious planned. Scarlett, Jane's best friend, tries to warn her about Madison. But Scarlett is also facing her own drama regarding guys. The lies continue to grow...

My review of this novel is pretty much like the first. I think it's a cute, fun story with likable characters. My only complaint is how they are supposed to be on a "PG rated reality show", a "family show", yet they go out to clubs, drink, party, and hook up with guys. Is that family rated? If you consider Jersey Shore to be a family show, then maybe! And also, the girls on the show are 19, underage to be drinking and going to clubs. So how is that okay to show on a TV show? Anyways... Sweet Little Lies is a nicely paced novel with plenty of "Hollywood drama". Enjoyable, but forgettable. A good summer read though and I will be reading the next one. 4 out of 5 stars.

The Hunger Pains: A Parody by the Harvard Lampoon

The Hunger Pains: A Parody

In case you couldn't tell by the title or the cover, this short story is a parody of the well-known Hunger Games. Instead of Katniss Everdeen you have Kantkiss Neverclean, who volunteers in her sister's place to take part in the annual Hunger Games. She has to figure out how to survive and learn who to trust.

Haha! What a funny book. I am not one to defend the Hunger Games and all the little things that the Hunger Pains "ruined". Instead, I laugh at all the flaws that become apparent. The things that I enjoyed about this novel were the obvious name changes and how everything was exaggerated in a silly way. I especially liked how they poked fun at Peeta, or "Pita", who is described as "doughy" and having a large head. LOL. And I really like Peeta! (And Josh Hutcherson). So, all in all, if you liked the Hunger Games, aren't going to throw a fit about the parody, and are in need of a laugh, read this book. It's short enough too! 4 out of 5 stars.

dancergirl (WiHi #1) by Carol M. Tanzman

dancergirl (WiHi, #1)

Ali's friend films a video of her dancing and puts it up on the Internet. Soon, she is known to everyone as "dancergirl". Some people admire her, but others are jealous and bitter at the attention she is receiving. Before long, there are other videos of Ali dancing. But the new videos weren't approved by Ali and they seem to be filmed through her bedroom window. Ali receives numerous threats and she and her friends work together to get to the mystery of her stalker.

Well... I am sorry to say that I didn't enjoy this book. It was seriously a very, very, very long read and I couldn't find myself getting into it. The plot idea is interesting, which is why I picked it up in the first place. The first few chapters are confusing when the characters are being introduced and such. But aside from the interesting plot twists, I found the whole "viral video" thing to be a little unrealistic. Like the "staring in the halls", "everyone's a hater/lover" thing. I did enjoy how I was trying to figure out who Ali's stalker was with her, because I knew exactly as much information as she did. This book was just mehh to me. I wouldn't recommend it. 2 out of 5 stars.

**Also, I apologize for this short review. I am trying to catch up on all my reviewing :)

Faking 19 by Alyson Noel

Faking 19

Alex is a smart, popular, beautiful Orange County girl who is best friends with the most popular girl in school. It may seem like she has it all, but she is having family problems, failing all her classes, and might not even graduate. But she wasn’t always doing so poorly in school. The first two years of high school she was a straight A student and was involved in many honors classes and extra curricular activities. After that, her life started going downhill. As a way to escape her troubled life, her friend M (yes her name is M) start making trips to L.A. on their own. They meet Trevor and Connor, rich older guys who are from Britain. So that they don’t seem immature and underage, they lie and say that they are 19 (hence the title) and attending college. But soon Alex learns that lying isn’t going to get her anywhere and that the people she is close to are not who she thinks they are. She must reevaluate her life and decide what to do with her future.

This is the second time that I’ve read this novel and I enjoyed it even more the second time. I am also a SoCal girl, and I enjoy living vicariously through Alex and M lol. The story is fun, interesting, and easy to follow. I really appreciated how this novel is more than it seems to be. There are definitely a lot of good messages in here. You actually learn a few things about life, because it’s more than a frivolous novel about partying and lying. Faking 19 is not a love story and it is more than chick-lit. It is realistic and the characters are well-developed. I strongly recommend that you read this novel. It is short, fun, and has some important themes. 5 out of 5 stars.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

First Step 2 Forever by Justin Bieber

First Step 2 Forever

At this point, you may be wondering why you are reading a review for Justin Bieber's book on my blog or on Goodreads, because that means that I must have read the book! Well, I have a story behind that. Apparently I promised by a very close friend of mine (she likes Justin Bieber) that I would read this book. I don't really remember that promise too well, but it sounded vaguely familiar. So here we are.

Alright, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. There are some very LARGE pictures of Justin which at times are... slightly scary. There are many, many pictures. MANY. Not so many words though... lol. First Step 2 Forever is basically Justin's story about how he got discovered and how his life has changed. You may be rolling your eyes, but my heart does go out to him after reading this. He really is just your average guy, but unlike your average guy, he got really lucky and was able to follow his dream. And look where he is now! Though I really don't believe that he actually WROTE this book (I even checked the copyright and it was like "Biebertime books" or something, soo... yeah. I have theories that he was telling someone his story and they just typed it out for him, but not a ghost writer) and his slang terms made me facepalm a few times it was bearable and I learned a few things.

Bieber is smarter than people give him credit for and he is inspiring. I liked is sense of humor that was apparent though his words and his strange Canadian slang. This is something that fans would enjoy, and even non-fans would learn something new and be like "he sounds pretty cool". I'm not a die-hard fan and I enjoy his music but I think he's a bit overrated. I don't need to see JB wrapping paper when I go to Target. Or folders, or notebooks, binders, toothbrushes, dolls, should I go on? All in all, it's a decent story about a kid who got to follow his dreams. 3 out of 5 stars.

L.A. Candy (L.A. Candy #1) by Lauren Conrad

L.A. Candy (L.A. Candy, #1)

Jane and Scarlett are just your every day girls. They recently moved to L.A. in hopes of a change of scenery. Scarlett is a UCLA (I think) student and Jane works for a prestigious event planner. Then one night, they are approached by a TV producer. He says that he's going to be filming a new "reality show that is a PG version of Sex in the City" and that Jane and Scarlett are what he's looking for. They agree, and soon realize what "reality" really is and get caught up in all the show's dramas.

First off, let me say that I've never seen the Hills and I don't know too much about Lauren Conrad, so my review is based simply off of the novel. I chose to read this because the cover is really cute, and it sounded decently interesting. I had actually started reading this a few years ago when it came out, but I think I had to return it to the library and never got around to finishing it. Anyways, here are my thoughts about it.

There's really nothing too special about it, the plot is interesting enough and the characters are decently developed. This novel is what I would consider a "beach read" where it's just a quick, fun, and really light book. I liked how it gave me more of an insight into reality TV shows, since Lauren Conrad was on one. It really made me realize that you can't believe everything you see on TV!

One thing that does make me a little angry is the low reviews on , mostly of which are saying "she should stick to TV and not write a book", but it's not a bad book. It's just an okay, decent one but it doesn't need to be ragged on just because of the author's prior career. If you've ever read the A-list series, this novel fits into that category haha.

I have already read the second book in the series. They're entertaining and good enough that I'm not rolling my eyes saying "who let this person write a book". If you're up for a fun, quick novel then check this one out. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult

Lone Wolf

Edward, 24, moved to Thailand after a huge fight with his dad. He returns after 5 years at the call of his mother (she had divorced Edward years back, is now married and has twins). Edward's sister, Cara, and their father, Luke, are in the hospital after a bad car accident. Cara will be okay, but Luke's state is undetermined. Cara wants to wait for her dad to come back, if he will, but Luke wants to end the life support. And since Cara is not 18, she does not have the legal rights to make the decision. Luke also has no true claim to the decision, since he had been absent for the past 5 years. The plot develops, and everyone is forced to reanalyze their life and the choices they have to make.

This is another wonderful novel by Jodi Picoult. The characters are well shaped and the moral dilemma is ever so present. I also found it really interesting to learn about wolves and new legal aspects that are in this novel. The title and cover are also extremely awesome. I really have no negative comments and think that this one is worth picking up. I learned quite a few things and think this is a beautiful unique story. Something I personally like is how thre are different points of view,. This way I feel more connected to the characters and don't get bored as easily haha.

Although I have seen the plot formula she uses in every single one of her books (and I find it slightly annoying when I am able to find this out in an author **cough**Nicholas Sparks**cough**), I still enjoyed this and found it very educational and touching. I would recommend this. 5 out of 5 stars.

The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle

Hello Readers!

It has been quite a while and I sincerely apologize for that. The last few months of school were very busy and filled with homework and tests. I'm sure you can relate. Anyway, today was the last day of school and I am looking forward to catching up on my reviews. I apologize in advance if they are somewhat short and not be the best :P I will try to remember the most of these books. I am currently 11 books behind my reading goal of the year, but don't worry! I will catch up this summer! Let's get on to the review now ...

The Beginning of After

The Beginning of After is a story about mourning and just dealing with life. Laurel, your average teenager, is completely devastated when she finds out that her parents and brother were killed during a car crash. She would be dead too if she hadn't had to study for school. Laurel cannot believe that the person driving the car, her neighbor's father, lies in a coma while her family was not spared. Laurel has to learn how to get on with her life and the changes that have been made. She has to learn to accept and adapt.

This book did not make me cry and I found it to be just okay. It was a decent read, but not something that was just SOOO special and touching. It is definitely not up to the standards of Sarah Dessen or Sarah Ockler, and I found this to be a little disappointing. This novel has good intentions, but I felt like there could have been MORE from it and I could have felt more connected to Laurel. 3 out of 5 stars.

Also, if you're in the mood for a touching story about loss, acceptance, and a little romance, try reading Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler. I'll give you a link to my review of it here.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter
This novel takes place in a southern Georgia town after World War I. Four characters feel like there is more to life and are just looking to find it. They feel isolated and misunderstood. These misfits find solace in John Singer, a deaf-mute. Carson McCullers then takes us through the lives and thoughts of these 5 people and what it means to be lonely.
This is the novel that I chose to read for my English Honors novel project, and it was pretty good. It was a little slow at times, but it’s a kind of heavy read. I liked how I was able to relate to a lot of things, even though this book was written 70 years ago.
It was a really thought provoking story and has some deep meanings. I also had to research the author, and everything I learned was really interesting. I really enjoyed this story an would recommend it to someone if they had to do a novel project like I did. 4 out of 5 stars.

I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella

I've Got Your Number
Poppy Wyatt’s life is perfect. She is engaged to the most amazing man and has a job she loves. But when she loses her wedding ring, everything starts to fall apart. In her panic, her phone also gets stolen from her. Now where are people going to call if they find her ring?! Poppy looks in a trashcan and finds a phone. Finders keepers right? She’ll just use it until her ring is found. But the phone’s owner, Sam Roxton, is not happy. Especially when Poppy starts reading his messages and “fixing” his life. But as Poppy and Sam start facing their lives and denials, they realize that nothing is as they thought it was.
This was such a cute, fun story. It was hilarious, and you find yourself loving Poppy as a person. She’s so adorable and easy to relate to. Especially when she plays Scrabble (LOL). And the footnotes were just too funny.
The real only complaint I have was the flap that has the summary. Sam and Poppy do not “upend each other’s lives through emails and text messages”. I hate when the summaries do that!
Another thing that’s notable is that when people send texts, they do not sign their name at the end of every one. And people don’t say things like “hi wts up? Wnt 2 go 2 d movi?” But unlike my previous rant of misleading texts, it was tolerable.
I like how as frivolous as this story is, it really does have some good messages worth remembering. And there are a lot of unpredictable events in this book! It’s a hilarious novel that’s worth reading on a lazy afternoon. Sophie Kinsella doesn’t disappoint at all, or at least for me. 5 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Envy (Empty Coffin #1) by Gregg Olsen

Envy (Empty Coffin, #1)

When 15 year-old Katelyn is electrocuted by a coffee maker and found dead in her bathtub, her death is pronounced accidental. But twins Hayley and Taylor feel that it was more than that. They feel that things are not always what they seem, and that they must find out why Katelyn died. Could it have been murder? Or suicide? Either way they know something's up, and they're going to figure it out.

I was intrigued by the creepy looking cover and the interesting plot. It's based on a real story about cyberbullying. Interesting enough, correct? Correct. This should have been a five-star book hands down. But there were a few things that bothered me.

On the positive side, I like the message that this book sends about cyberbullying and how it shows the evil side of humans. I liked the mystery of it all and how it came together. It was fun and suspenseful. The plot is really interesting too. The characters were pretty realistic, and I liked how you got to see into all of their differnent minds and their ambitions. And unlike some stories, I wasn't able to predict the ending for this one. I had a basic idea, but it was a lot more complicated than I thought. I also liked the title and the cover choices. And where the title comes from, I thought that was pretty cool. But on the cover it says "murder is such a dirty word", when the book isn't... really... yeah. You'll see.

About the bad things, I felt that Gregg Olsen was trying TOO hard to be hip and cool and relate this to teens. That is who it's written for, after all. He includes many text messages and IMs in his book, which is fine by me. But the thing that was annoying was the shortened text lingo. I don't know where you adults get off, but us kids do not talk like that. I love texting, and I have NEVER encountered anyone who talks like they did. Because no one does. Her mutilates their messages so something like: "I'm busy right now, I'll talk to you later" would be "bzy rt nw, ttul :P". And you as a reader are like, wtf... There were times I had to read them very slowly because I had no idea what they were talking about. Nobody talks like that. Does it really take that much more time to type out actual words?

Another thing was the supernatural aspect. I can handle a whole "twin sense" thing, because I believe that there are some things in this world that just cannot be explained. But the whole "I'm going to submerge myself in a bathtub and let letters come to me" and "now they are pulsing from Scrabble letters" just made me roll my eyes. It just seemed TOO hokey and unrealistic. I like stories that blend fact and fiction together, but I don't like when its really obvious what is real and what isn't.

I knew that this was only the first book in a series, but I had hoped that there would be different situations and characters. I was a little disappointed to find out that they would be the same. I mean, how many crimes can one town have? But yeah...

I'm interested to seeing what the other books in this series (and their covers) will be like and I may just have to read them. I recommend this one if the plot entertains you, but I'm warning you not to get your hopes up! 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

Have you ever asked yourself "What if?" What if Hadley hadn't gotten into a fight with her mom that morning? What if she hadn't been four minutes late? Hadley is forced to go across seas and timezones to be present at her dad's second wedding. She doesn't want to go, because who wants to visit a dad who left you and your mom and haven't seen for a few years, only to be invited to be the maid of honor in his wedding to another woman? She misses her plane and is stuck on the next flight, where the stars have it that she meets a cute British boy named Oliver. Hadley soon realizes that things are not always what they seem and that second chances are allowed.

I wasn't expecting too much out of this novel, but it sounded cute so I borrowed my friend's book. I apologize ahead of time for the short review.

The plot is quick paced and the characters are all very realistic and lovable. Though slightly predictable, it's still cute and fun. This is the type of book I can see being turned into a cheesy Hollywood movie. That would be okay, as long as they cast a really cute guy as Oliver. Like.... Ryan Reynolds! Except he's too old to be Oliver and not British (but hot). Maybe like one of the guys from One Direction.. If they acted haha :D

This is a story that takes you through the highs and lows of a teenage life, while exploring love and family matters at the same time. It's a cute quick read, but not anything super special. 4 out of 5 stars.

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Animal Farm

In a satirical novel of Communist Russia, Orwell tells a story about how Manor Farm's animals are treated cruelly and decide to revolt against Farmer Jones. They establish a new way of running the farm based on the idea that all animals are created equal. However as time passes, it seems to be that that is no longer the case.

This is my second time reading Animal Farm. The first time I read this, which was last year, we had not learned about the Russian Revolution in school. Now a year later we learned about the Russian Rev, so I decided to re-read the book. Why would a school make kids read Animal Farm before their sophomore year, which is where you learn what it was based on? That's just... strange.

This is a really cool story in the way that it satires Stalin and Lenin, etc. Now that I actually know the stuff, I liked seeing how it all played out with animals. This is probably my favorite book I've had to read in high school because it's so simple, yet not. It wasn't boring at all and was easy to follow. I think Orwell did a perfect job of getting his point across and explaining human nature. I recommend that you read this one at some point or another. 4 out of 5 stars.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Wuthering Heights

Lockwood travels to Wuthering Heights in hope that he can heal from his broken heart. He finds the people living there fascinating, and his servant tells him the dramatic history of Heathcliff, the Lintons, and the Earnshaws. Heathcliff and Catherine fell in love at a young age, but misfortune forced them apart. Years later, Heatcliff returns to find his Catherine married to someone else. He becomes obsessed with getting revenge with every one who he blames for his loss.

I had to read this book for Honors English and if it hadn't been required reading, I probably would have liked it a lot more. As one of my guy friends pointed out, it's basically a literary soap opera.

I love how thought-provoking it is. Is Heathcliff insane and obsessed? Or is he really just THAT in love with Catherine? There is so much going on and so many questions that arise from it. And then there is like incest. Which is... interesting.There are so many complications and things that the author doesn't tell you. Like is Nelly Dean really telling the truth? Or is she making up parts? And it can even be argued that she loves Heathcliff herself.

The only thing that I didn't like about Wuthering Heights was how confusing it was. It's a "frame story" meaning that there are narrators telling of other narrators. Even though Nelly Dean is telling the majority of the story, it is really Lockwood who is writing all of this down in his diary. So it can be a little confusing to keep track of who is talking. Especially with all the weird punctuation. And the character names. It gets to be quite complicated! There is Catherine Earnshaw, the one who loves Heathcliff, and Catherine Linton, her daughter. And then there is Edgar, who is sometimes referred to as "Linton" and then another character named "Linton". I had to keep a family tree near me when I read so I wouldn't get confused.

Though slightly confusing and as required reading, Wuthering Heights wasn't all that bad. It's a timeless story that can still be loved today. 4 out of 5 stars.

The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks

The Lucky One

Logan Thibault (pronounced "T-bow", not "Thigh-balt") is an ex-marine. In Iraq, he found a picture of a woman and posted it on the bulletin board. Weeks passed and no one claimed it, so he took it for himself. He found himself becoming luckier, whether it be in poker or in combat. His friend, Victor, insists that it is a lucky charm though Logan doesn't really believe it. When they are sent home, Victor encourages him to seek the woman out because he "owes her". He does, and meets Beth. Beth lives in a small North Carolina town and is a single mother. They fall in love. And then there is Clayton, Beth's evil ex. He doesn't like Thibault, and he especially doesn't like him near Beth or her son.

I swore I would never read another Nicholas Sparks book, and look what happened. The movie is coming at the end of this month, so I figured I would read it... lol.

First of all, I will put aside the obvious similarities and formula that Sparks uses while writing novels. If I didn't, I would spend this entire review ranting about how its like the exact same thing as his other books. Anyways.

One thing Sparks does wonderfully is his character development. The Lucky One is told in three points of view: Logan's, Beth's, and Clayton's. Each character has their own voice and way of thinking that is extraordinarily realistic. You can even follow and almost sympathize with Clayton through his words, even though he's the "bad guy". And that's a really weird thing to find yourself relating to the villain and being like "oh, I see where he's coming from." It's awesome at the same time though.
The storyline is a little slow at the beginning, but afterward is pretty quick paced. The plot is interesting and generates many different emotions.

And the ending... After reading The Best of Me, I was expecting the worse. And I was about ready to kill Nicholas Sparks when I was reading that last chapter. Lucky for Sparks, he is still alive right now.

Overall, this is a really sweet romance. It's a light read, though not too special. I look forward to when the movie comes out at the end of the month. I will probably be dragging my reluctant boyfriend with me haha :D . 4 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Mocking Jay (The Hunger Games #3) by Suzanne Collins

Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3)

Mockingjay is the final book in the Hunger Games trilogy. District 12 is gone and Katniss and a few other tributes have been evacuated to District 13, where they will live now. Luckily she is reunited with her family and Gale. But Peeta is in the Capitol’s hands. Katniss is free of being a pawn, or is she? Thirteen wants her to be the face of the war, but all Katniss wants is to kill Snow. What is the right thing to do? And who can she really trust?


There are so many aspects of this novel that I enjoyed, and a few things that I didn’t. I liked how this story was so much more than people think it is. They think it’s a wonderful dystopian series, which it is. But what people overlook is how closely it characterizes humans as a whole. I’ve read the Uglies a cajillion times and so I could pretty much predict what was going to happen. Putting that aside, I believe that Collins correctly portrays human nature and their strive for power. It reminds me a bit of Lord of the Flies thinking. 

The war aspect was portrayed perfectly, because it was very realistic and historically based. In the author's note, she mentions that she knows a lot about war, which leads to the great way that she can create a literary one.

I liked how this is not a romance. Yes, there is a love triangle, but the romance does not take over or distract from Katniss' story and true purpose. Which is a very nice thing to see in a book that has so much hype. And for every one who is like, "Team Gale or Peeta?", I like Peeta better, but let us not forget that this is not a romance!!!!

I like how the author is not afraid to kill characters. Not all books can have a happy ending... 

The connection between roses and Prim’s name. Its very contradictory, because President Snow's roses are evil and symbolize the cruelty of the world. But at the same time, Prim is short for "primrose", which Katniss has to appreciate.

There were a lot of things that I didn’t like about the ending. One was Gale’s absence. He just… disappears at the end. And you don’t hear from him. It makes me angry. He was supposed to be her best friend, and look how much they communicate after the war is over! And then there’s Katniss. She chooses Peeta (which is fine by me because I liked him better. Oh yes, I chose sides!) and has children, but seems so nonchalant and like, “I’m with Peeta, but whatever. I could have lived without him…” And her children? She didn’t even want them and doesn’t mention their names. That bugs me because I think she could have thought of some really cool names. The fact that she doesn’t is significant and just… argh. And I like what the last line implies, but it’s so awkward and poorly formed in my opinion. “But there are so much worse games to play.” Isn’t that just awkward sounding? And last, how Katniss can’t just be a littttle bit happy. I understand she’s been through a lot, but it’s time for a new beginning. She can’t see just a little bit of that?

 At the end when they take the vote on a last Hunger Games, I really trusted Katniss to vote no. But she votes yes, “for Prim”. Since she experienced the Games twice and knows how horrible they are, why would she EVER want to put someone else through it? No matter how evil they were? And it’s not even the children. That bugged me so much and I lost a little respect for Katniss. And then we don’t even find out what happens with the Games! Darn you loose ends…

Overall, I think that Mockingjay is a daring way of ending the series, and I can see why some people didn't like it. There were definitely some things that bothered me. Despite the multiple things I can find wrong with this book, I did enjoy reading it. And for the entire series, I think it's worth reading if you love to read. If you are not the type of person that reads books for fun, I would like to recommend you read a different book that can offer you more than this hyped-over franchise. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

What Boys Really Want by Pete Hautman

What Boys Really Want
Let me introduce you to our two main characters: Lita and Adam. Lita and Adam are best friends and have a rather violent relationship (when they first met she hit him with a lunchbox). Lita has always wanted to be a published author, like her mother. So when Adam decides to self-publish a book called “What Boys Want”, a self-help book that gives readers an insight to boys thinking, she can’t believe it. How could he be taking her dream away? Especially because she’s sure that he can’t write a book. She is also trying to help her friend, Emily, get with Adam’s friend, Dennis. But Dennis has his eyes on Blair, who is known for her “skankiness”. But Blair seems to have a thing for Adam, which is not OKAY with Lita. And Adam has his own problems, with figuring out how to publish his book and of course, what he wants.
What Boys Want was surprisingly good! Despite the awful cover (I will get to that later), I decided to read it because I had read another book by Pete Hautman. The plot of this story is quick paced, interesting, and humorous. There were so many times that I found myself LOLing at the hilarious events and things these characters said. The dialogue is very real, and I can imagine teenagers actually saying those things. This is very rare in a YA book because let’s face it. Adults, as close as you can get, you’re not our age and don’t know how we talk even though you think you do. All the characters were really funny and lovable. There’s Adam and his strange logic and Lita with her temperamental scheming. Even the minor characters like Blair are likable. The idea of this book is really cool too because I learned more about the book publishing process. It was interesting to see all the different relationships between people unfold. And I really appreciated how Adam and Lita never liked each other and that they were seriously just friends. Although the word “friends” is debatable because Lita seems pretty cold towards Adam the whole story if you ask me.
One thing I must says is how I think Pete needs to get a new publisher. I think this is a wonderful read, but the amazingness is taken away because of the presentation. First of all is the title. It is “What Boys Really Want” when the book that Adam is writing is called “What Boys Want”. This is very deceiving and I do not like the title lying to me, even though at the end of the book Adam’s book is renamed. Maybe they added the “really” to draw in readers. Still. Next is the cover. I do not like seeing people on the cover of my books. I do not like this cover. It’s relevant to the book, but could have been majorly improved. And the last thing is the inside flap. “And Adam would never end up in a fistfight with Lita’s boyfriend.” Okay, during the story, Lita does not even have a boyfriend. And the event they are talking about happens in the last 20 pages. So why would you even put that in your description if it’s basically a lie? Therefore, I think Pete needs to get a new publisher who will actually read the book before the jacket and cover are designed. If anyone read “The Big Crunch”, you may remember how the jacket flap said that there was a character named “Jen” when really they meant “June”. How can you put the wrong name in your description??? Case in point.
Anyway, despite my ranting I really did like this book. It was funny, realistic, and a great light read. I recommend it if you don’t want to read anything too serious. 5 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games #2) by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2)

In the sequel to the Hunger Games we find Katniss returning home from the Games with Peeta, a strange turn of events than what was expected. Things are supposed to be better now, but they're not. The Capital is furious at Katniss for holding out the berries in defiance. Now Katniss must do everything she can to keep herself and her loved ones alive. Not only that, but she's caught in a tricky situation with Gale and Peeta. Many of the Districts are on the verge of rebellion, which Katniss has only fueled.

Catching Fire was very imaginative and exciting, and though parts were a little predictable I found myself thoroughly absorbed in this dystopian world. Since I've read the Matched and the Uglies series, I have a pretty good idea about what's going on in the lost district. There was a lot of the same stuff as the first book, which is the reason I'm giving this 4.5 stars instead of 5. The characters, the action, the love... Anyway. I really liked this and would recommend it to anyone who read the first book. I haven't decided between Peeta or Gale yet, but I'm thinking Peeta. But then again, I don't think its fair to be judging because we really don't know that much about Gale right? I can't wait to read the last book and see what happens to Katniss & friends. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars

Hazel is a surviving cancer patient who is living her life to the best of her ability. In her cancer support group, she meets Augustus Walters. Augustus (or Gus, as he is sometimes called) is handsome, hilarious, has an interesting outlook on life, and is interested in Hazel. The two grow closer and end up going on a journey together that will change their lives and how they perceive and live it.

This book is so special that it makes me tear up just thinking about it. I loved Paper Towns and Will Grayson, Will Grayson (OMG David Levithan <3) so I wanted to read his latest book, even if it didn't sound THAT interesting to me. This was a truly amazing story. Let me first start with the cover and the title.

The cover itself is amazing, though you have to read the book first and then try to understand it. There are two clouds in a blue sky: one black and one white. A black cloud? What could it mean? I'll let you think about that. The title was taken from a line in Julius Caesar (it's explained in the book) when Brutus is talking to Cassius and they talk about how it's their fault their life is the way it is, not their fates'. And then Hazel and Gus disagree about it, because obviously it's not their fault they have cancer. Therefore, there are faults in their stars, not them. I also liked how Augustus' name is Augustus, another reference to Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.

Though the plot was a little slow in the beginning, it quickly became very interesting. Hazel and Gus are so lovable and REAL. They are such admirable characters with big hearts. And the romance? It's sweet and sad and everything all at once. Its heartbreaking and wonderful to read about their life as they live between life and death.

John's writing is absolutely beautiful. It can have you laughing on one page and then crying the next. I literally marked every other page because there were so many quotes I liked. "Some infinities are larger than other infinities" was my favorite. Its the perfect paradox and I still ponder all of its different meanings.

I loved everything about this book and wouldn't change a thing. They're making it into a movie, and I'm really crossing my fingers that they'll make it right and they won't ruin it. I recommend this book, because I really enjoyed it. 5 out of 5 stars.

Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony


Glory's mother died when she was young, and ever since then her father raised her as a piano prodigy. When she moves to a new house she falls in love with Frank, her neighbor. Now Glory is missing, and readers go back in time to discover what led to her disappearance.

This book is unlike anything I've ever read. Instead of reading white pages filled with black type, you are looking at colorful pictures that tell a story. There are various pictures of newspaper clippings and notes, but this book is 90% visual. I loved how the story came together even though it was a little confusing and I had to read it more than once. It was also really interesting how a story could be told through all just pictures. I would recommend "reading" this, just because it's so quick and fun. I liked how so much of the story was left up to the reader's imagination and interpretation. 5 out of 5 stars.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1) by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)

When I first heard about the Hunger Games it was about when the last book was published. I heard what it was about and had no real interest in reading it. Even when I knew there was going to be a movie, I didn't want to read it. Then I was like, "Well, since it's a dystopian book and every one's talking about it, I might as well read it..." And I'm glad that I did.

This was one of the most interesting dystopian books I've read in a while. What an interesting concept! Teenagers fighting to the death, what will they think of next?

The Hunger Games has a winning protagonist who is easily likable. Peeta (btw, awesome name. It's like Peter but with a British accent. Pee-tahhh! lol) is adorable in his soft-hearted way. And Gale, even though he's not really a part of the story, is present in spirit and lovable all the same. Even the strange characters, like Effie and Haymitch, who you can't really figure out if they're good or bad, have their own charm to them.

The plot was quickly paced and exciting. I liked how the romance was just an aspect, and not what drives the story. I liked the suspense, though it was very predictable at times. Another thing that I really liked was how this dystopian world wasn't hard to understand. The Uglies is my favorite dystopian series of all times, and even as I read it for the cajillionth time I still pick up on things that I didn't before. There wasn't too much strange lingo or slang that leaves the reader scratching their head. It's a pretty straight-forward, easy read.

And let me just add that I'm glad that there is a new book cult out there that is likable for girls AND guys. Yes, I'm talking about you, Twilight. And I can't wait for the movie. And I still have to read the other books. Anyways, read this if you haven't. You won't regret it, especially since everyone is going to be talking about it. 5 out of 5 stars.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Water for Elephants

Jacob Jankowski had a good life ahead. He was going to become a vet at Cornell University and live a happy life. Then, his parents die in a car crash and Jacob finds out that they had no money because they were paying for his schooling. Now Jacob is homeless and sees his future as bleak. He finds himself getting a job in the Benzini Brother's Circus where he begins to realize that like the circus, life is an illusion.

After seeing the movie twice, I decided to read the novel that inspired it. It was surprisingly similar to the movie and I did enjoy it overall.

I really liked Jacob's character, but I didn't care too much for Marlena. I also was a little confused about how Jacob turned from being such an innocent, optimistic guy into his older self. I think the rest of the characters were portrayed relatively well.

The plot was really interesting, and I liked how in the author's note at the end I realized that I'd gotten a glimpse of actual stories, such as the elephant stealing the lemonade and the jake leg. I like circus', or at least the idea of them and the setting was magical and wonderful.

I wanted to enjoy this book more, but with seeing the movie before-hand, I just don't think that they can be compared. In all honestly, I probably preferred the movie better. I also think that the book had some descriptive sexual scenes and thoughts that weren't necessary to the aspects of the story at all.

All in all, Water for Elephants was an enjoyable story that I would recommend if you're interested in circuses. 4 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1)

Imagine that it is many years into the future and  a deadly plague with no cure is taking over the world. Cinder, a cyborg who lives in New Beijing with her evil stepmother and stepsisters (except one sister isn't evil), doesn't remember her past and lives an unfair life slaving for her stepmother and doing various mechanicary. One day, Prince Kai visits her and asks her to fix one of his androids. Soon after, her beloved sister comes down with the plague and is sent to be hospilitized. Cinder's stepmother blames Cinder for her daughter's death and volunteers Cinder to be part of the plague research. In other words, they'll inject her with antibodies and she'll die. Instead, something out of the ordinary happens. Cinder is faced with discovering her past and the secrets that the people around her are keeping. Meanwhile, Prince Kai is faced with his own problems regarding the Lunar people and what is best for the country.

I've read contemporary fairy tale retellings, but never a futuristic one. Cinder did not dissapoint me. I want to say that it's dystopian, but it's probably more towards science fiction. The world this story takes place in is amazing. Though there is death and scary Lunar people (moon colony people! omg!) and not a whole lot of happiness, it's still fascinating. I loved reading about how earth ends up and how androids and cyborgs live among humans.

The characters are realistic and likeable. Cinder is a promising protagonist and Kai and Iko were equally enjoyable. The plot is quick paced and very interesting. The imagery was very desriptive and I felt like I had a really clear picture of the futuristic world. There was definitely a romance aspect, but it wasn't overpowering and didn't take away from the story. There's definitely cliffhanger at the end, but it's not totally horrible like in some books (I'm talking about you, Bumped...) that you don't want to read the other ones. And I had totally predicted it from like page 50... I'm just that good lol.

I liked how the author retold Cinderella. There were a million things different about the story, but she kept close to the original tale. I like how there was still a ball and the author didn't mutilate the story so that it was completely different.

I am really looking forward to reading the rest of the books in this series. Supposedly they're supposed to be about different fairy tales, so we'll see! I really enjoyed Cinder, and I recommend it to anyone who's interested in a new series! 5 out of 5 stars.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Lola and the Boy Next Door

Lola's life is pretty much great. She love to dress up in costume and spend time with her wonderful boyfriend, Max. The only problem is that he two protective, gay dads don't like him. And since he's 22, and a musician, I suppose they have reason not to. Everything changes when the Bell twins move back in next door. Lola finds herself talking to Cricket, her childhood through 9th grade love, and having to reconsider all the relationships in her life.

Overall, this was a surprisingly good book. I didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I did. There were so many different aspects to it, such as family, friendship, and individuality. There were also many, many humorous parts in it! Lola is very lovable, but she does have her flaws. But doesn't everyone? The dialogue was so real and I could totally imagine it happening in real life. While some parts of Lola had me rolling my eyes because they were just silly, there were also tons of great parts. I admire Lola's style and confidence to wear just about anything. I liked all the other characters as well.

The only thing that made me a little upset was Max. He really seems like a sweet character and the author does a 360. Oh well...

I was only about 3/4ths done with Lola when I realized that I was reading a sequel.... lol. The good thing about it is that it's a different set of characters, so you're not missing a whole lot if you didn't read the first. I enjoyed Lola, so now it's time to go back and read Anna and the French Kiss haha.

I recommend this to anyone who hasn't forgotten their first love or anyone who wants a light, humorous, one-day read. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The Help

Aibileen has worked her whole life as a maid in Jackson, Mississippi. She had never thought too much of it and lived a simple life. But ever since her son was killed and treated poorly by white men, the "bitter seed was planted". Skeeter is a white woman who recently graduated college. She wants to be a writer, but she hasn't gotten the right opportunities. Inspired by her past life as well as her old maid Constantine, she decides to write a book that is filled with stories of colored women working for white families. The only problem is that she is going to need maids' stories. Aibileen eventually agrees to help, because she feels that it will help change the world. Writing a book like this is dangerous, and many maids are scared and believe it isn't worth the risk. Along with Minnie, Aibileen's best friend, the three begin to work on their project. Their actions will be life changing.

When I heard about the Help, I had no intentions of reading it. When I heard it was being turned into a movie, I still had no intentions of reading it. Even after I say the movie, I still didn't want to read it. I watched the bonus clips on the disk, and finally decided to read it. I'm glad that I did, because this was a truly wonderful book.

The characters were extremely well-developed, realistic, and lovable. They all had distinguishable voices that came through very well. I'm glad that I had seen the movie before reading the book because it helped me understand it better. The writing is absolutely beautiful. It makes me feel angry, sad, dissapointed, happy, scared, and proud. Only a wonderful book can make you feel all those emotions.

Even though this type of literature isn't my favorite, I still found myself enjoying the Help a lot. I liked the story, the characters, and how the story was told. I would recommend this one  even if you think it doesn't interest you. It's a fantastic story than anyone can enjoy. 5 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler

Hudson Avery is best known as the Cupcake Queen of Watonka. She spends most of her time inventing new cupcake recipes, watching after her brother, and helping out her mother at their diner. She’s always had a passion for ice-skating, but when she discovered her father was cheating on her mom, she threw the competition and gave up on her dream. Years later, she’s invited to compete in a skating competition that could change her life. A super cute hockey guy offers to get her rink time if she helps the hockey team (who have had a killer losing streak) and teaches them some of her tricks.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I love making cupcakes (and various other deserts), so I personally adored the little cupcake descriptions at the beginning of each chapter. There were a lot of good ideas and I plan on writing them down to recreate! But anyway… back to the book.
The characters were all very likable and realistic. I liked the idea of the story and how there were so many different aspects to it. It was really cute and had many humorous parts. I liked the setting and the messages ad everything in general!
The only thing that I found to be strange was Hudson’s relationship with Kara. First of all, it’s Hudson’s fault they stopped being friends. It’s understandable that Kara would hate Hudson, but for Hudson to hate Kara? That doesn’t make any sense. I don’t think she’s justified in being mean, because Kara didn’t do anything.
The only reason it's not 5 stars is Hudson’s love interest. I wish that more would have happened. And the competition…. Seriously….
The cover is gorgeous, but I think there should have been a cupcake!!! It would have been way cuter.
Sarah Ockler is a wonderful writer (Twenty Boy Summer was better) and Bittersweet doesn’t disappoint. It shows more of a playful edge of the writer. I recommend this one for anyone who wants a sweet, wintery romance/self-discovery story. 4 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tilt by Alan Cumyn


Stan is your average sixteen-year-old guy. He wants to make the JV basketball team and has a huge crush on Janine, who is supposedly "tilted" and a "gwog" (aka a lesbian). He lives with his mother and his younger sister, Lily ever since his father abandoned them when Stan was young. His father shows up one day with Stan's half-brother and things get confusing.

I really don't have a lot to say about this book. The characters weren't well-developed and just average. The plot was a little confusing and bland. I felt like the book didn't even reach a full conclusion, and could have continued on for longer.

The way the author wrote bothered me a lot, because pretty much every sentence was a fragment. Example: "Especially if Feldon was gone." Another thing I noticed was how the author wrote in a passive voice (we just learned this in English so I'm an expert lol).

There wasn't anything really special, and I can't think of anyone to recommend this one to. The only positive thing I can say about this is that Stan was likable and there were a few humorous parts. You're probably best off skipping this one. 2 out of 5 stars.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Shine by Lauren Myracle


When Cat hears that her former best friend was attacked in a hate crime, with the words "Suck this, faggot" written on his chest, she is determined to get to the bottom of it. It was no secret to anyone that Patrick, her friend, was gay and that homophobia may have had a big part in the act. As Cat asks questions to try to figure out what happened, she learns how to confront her past and become a stronger person.

People in this world are so cruel. It made me sick when I read the things that the characters said, because I know that some people are like that. I like to think of myself as an advocate for gay rights, and this harsh reality of a southern town was hard to read. Hate and intolerance are ugly things, and I hope that hate crimes and harsh words like the ones spoken in the book will eventually cease to exist. Shine touched me on so many levels and had me feeling angry at some times and heartbroken at others.

I liked how the characters were presented in this book, like there aren't any "good" or "bad" ones. They are all very human with their flaws. Even Cat isn't perfect, because she's quick to assume and not very assertive at first.

The plot was drawn out nicely, giving little details and clues to what truly happened. The story becomes even darker when the prominent aspect of meth is introduced. I think there's a lot more to this book than it seems.

The only objection I have to Shine is the romance aspect. I think it seemed a little convenient and the story would have been fine without it. Also, the ending. I like justice, and I guess in a way it was justice, but it was more like karma justice than law justice.

Another thing I'd like to add is how beautiful the cover of this book is. I love the dark shack and bare tree and ominous sky, and then that one beautiful burst of color, which is the flower. I think it really portrays the book perfectly.

Shine is a heartbreaking story with a lovely heroine and a sad mystery. I recommend this one if the plot sounds interesting to you. 5 out of 5 stars.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus

Le Cirque des Rêves is a very special circus. It appears one day when it was not there the day before, promising to open at nightfall. Inside there are a number of enchanting performances to thrill the audiences. What the visitors do not know is that the circus is the venue for a much more dangerous "game". It is between Celia Bowen and Marco Alisdair, both have been trained since they were young for the game. They fall in love, and begin to realize that the "game" they are involved in is much more dangerous than they thought, and that there is a lot more at risk.

I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book. There were definitely some things I liked, and a few others that bothered me. So I will list them here.

Things I liked:
  • The writing. The author has a magical way of drawing the reader into the story and enchanting you, just like the circus would have done. The imagery is amazing, and there is so much detail in the book you can clearly imagine what it would have been like in this magical venue.
  • The plot. A circus that opens at night and is much more than it seems? A mysterious vibe and contest between two illusionists? I'm game.
  • The imagination. There are so many dream-like qualities about the contents of the circus tents. I wish they were real.
  • The romance. There basically was no romance, which was a nice touch that made the book seem more special.
Things I Disliked:
  • The writing. Some times it was wonderful, but at others it seemed choppy and didn't seem to flow.
  • The timeline. The story jumps from the present to the future and I became very confused at some times trying to follow it. I had to pay very close attention to when things were happening.
  • The romance. The book jacket describes it as "a deep, passionate, and magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands". Let me just say that I have read plenty of romance books in my life, and this was not a romance. They were basically thrown at each other and then were like "Hey, I'm in love with you". And then a few chapters later Marco is like, "I can't live without you." And then I think, "WTF you don't even know each other..." I get that there can be love at first sight romances, but this didn't feel like one. It didn't feel authentic, and the book jacket lied to me.
  • The slow plot. It was.... slow. I felt that there could have been more action and excitement, but that's just me.
  • The characters. It was a little bit difficult to keep track of the characters because of their names. There was one time when I realized that I had blended two guys together and apparently they were different people. But that's just a mistake on my part for not careful reading.... lol
Overall, this was a pretty good story. I would recommend it to readers who enjoy Maggie Stiefvater, because she has a similar way of drawing out the plot and taking the time to describe everything. I also have a feeling that it would make a very, very good movie. I think this is one of those books where you either love it or you don't. I loved it more than I disliked it. If the idea of the black and white circus intrigues you, give the Night Circus a try. 4 out of 5 stars.