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.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Between by Jessica Warman


Imagine that it's your birthday, and you have a bunch of friends spending the night on your family's boat. You hear a thumping noise that wakes you up, so you go outside to investigate. You lean over the boat to see a girl face down in the water. And then you realize that the girl is you.

This is how Between starts out of Liz. She finds herself not quite in the afterlife, and not quite on Earth. Instead, she is Between. For some reason, she is unable to remember the events leading up to her death. It's like parts of her memory has been wiped clean. She has nothing else to do than to wait and observe the people around her as they, as well as her, try to put all the pieces together. 

This was an awesome book. I'm going to try not to give too much away, because it ruins the experience. I read Breathless by Warman, and though I don't really remember what happens in it (I forget everything I read... lol), I remember I really enjoyed it. And Between was even better. It's a haunting mystery which has just the right amount of supernatural elements. It's also a romance and a story about family and friendship. I loved how you know exactly how much Liz does, and you're figuring out her death just like she is. From the very first chapter, Between tells of intriguing mystery lays all the pieces out for you, and then helps you put them together.

It was slightly predicable at times, and not at others. How it happens is what makes it interesting. I honestly can't think of one thing that I don't like about this book, because it was just that awesome. I know that I'm being kinda vague, but if you know any more it will ruin the experience of the book!! Read this one, it's worth it. And it has a little bit in it for everyone. 5 out of 5 stars, and I would give it 6 if I could.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Never Been Kissed by Melody Carlson

Never Been Kissed
Elise is going to be attending a new school her junior year, and what time is better than now to reinvent herself and get ride of her NBK badge? She falls for an already-taken guy named Asher and is crushed to see him with his girlfriend. Then, she gets an email from Asher telling her that he’s actually into her, but his girlfriend (Brianna) is super jealous and so that they should just communicate over email, and then in person act like they hate each other. Then out of nowhere, Elise is arrested for something she knows she didn’t do. Can she prove her innocence before it ruins her reputation and life?
I picked up this book because I turned to a page and it mentioned sexting, a topic I haven’t read a book on before (It’s so new it’s not even a word on my laptop lol). The story itself was interesting and I thought that there were a lot of good lessons incorporated into it. Thumbs up to Melody for that.
I found the writing to be a little juvenile and predictable, but there were a few parts I didn’t see coming in there. Like Asher’s emails? Seriously? Can Elise really be that naïve? It was also a little dramatic and hard to believe, but putting those thoughts aside, it was a decent book.
The matters of sexting are serious, and I like how I learned JUST how serious it can be.
If you’re looking for a REALLY light and entertaining read, this one’s for you. Don’t expect a whole lot from it though, the writing is just decent. The themes are good though, and it would probably make a good movie. I would have given this 2 stars, but the concept and morals of Elise redeemed it a bit.
3 out of 5 stars.

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

The Notebook
After reading The Best of Me, I was like “No more Nicholas Sparks books.” But I loved the Notebook (the movie) so I decided to give this one a try.
One thing that bothered me was how similar it was to The Best of Me. Guy and girl fall in love when they’re young, girl’s parents disapprove of guy, they go separate ways, meet again years later and realize out they’re not satisfied with their lives, and find they still have a connection. Exact same formula right?
The last chapter or so were so touching and sweet, and made me cry, even though I already knew what was going to happen. The rest of the story, however, I found to be adequate. There were some thoughtful and memorable quotes in there, but I didn’t really FEEL the romance.
If you saw the movie and are interested in reading the book, I suggest you just skip the book and just leave it at that. And if you are thinking about reading the book and then watching the movie, just watch the movie. I think it told the story better and you see more into the personalities of the characters. I wished I could have loved this book as much as I loved the movie, but I just didn’t. The movie was more of Allie and Noah when they were young, and the romance then and what made it so great and such, but the book seemed to be more about when they get crabs (whoops that sounds better in my head) and go on the canoe and about old Noah talking about his love for his wife. And as sweet as that is, I wanted to know more about their past. There were some amazing moments in the story, but at other times, it was boring for me.
I recommend the movie, because it was amazing. The book? Yeah, on a smaller scale. I like the story, but not so much how it's told. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Crossed (Matched #2) by Ally Condie

Crossed (Matched, #2)
Crossed is the sequel to Matched. Ky had been sent out to the Outer Provinces and Cassia was sent to a camp. They both can’t forget the relationship they had, and will do anything to find each other again. Crossed is about searching, love, and secrets.
I LOVED Crossed. I’ve read a few dystopian series and the Matched series has definitely put its mark on my list. First of all, I loved how this story was told in alternating points of view, between Ky and Cassia, like in the Shiver stories. I wish that the author would have been consistent and done it in the first book but anyways… It really gave Ky more of a character and made him more likable. I also love Xander, hopefully there will be more of him in the last book!
I liked the addition of the new characters Indie, Eli, and I liked Vick. Indie was a little too sneaky for me though, and not friend material.
The writing was beautiful, but I thought the storyline was a little slow. I wish there was more action and more romance. And they spend the entire time looking for the Rising and then look what happens? Like… geez.
I love the simple romance that Ky and Cassia have. They’re not like Bella and Edward status and are just simply in love. I don’t like how Ky treats her at one point though, it’s not right and just makes me sad.
Despite the slowness, I loved the romance and the entire dystopian story. I have suspicions that the Rising is like the Society in it’s own twisted way. All in all, I thought Crossed was a good story and I can’t read to tread the next story in the series. Hopefully all my questions will be answered! 5 out of 5 stars.

Mini Shopaholic (Shopaholic #6) by Sophie Kinsella

Mini Shopaholic: A Novel
When we last left off Becky, she had just had a baby. Mini Shopaholic continues her story about 2 years (I think) later. She still lives with her parents because all of her house plans fell through and Minnie has turned out to be a problem child. She’s a bit of a spoiled brat (though Becky is in denial). On top of that, there’s been a huge dilemma with the banks which is causing everyone to cut back and create budgets. Becky sees how stressed Luke is and plans a surprise party to take the edge off things. As she gets further into planning, she begins to realize how difficult it is to create her dream party on a budget.
This was a nice addition to the Shopaholic books. Becky hasn’t changed much and it’s a fun book. Nothing new and special here, and Becky still hasn’t gotten over her addiction (wait what addiction?). Becky is so sweet and lovable, though slightly irritating at times. The only complaint I have about this book is the lack of connection between Becky and Minnie.  I felt that more of the story was focused on the surprise party rather than her relationship with Minnie. I would have liked to see some parts about their bond instead of Minnie just acting out.
It’s a cute story, a good weekend read, and worth reading if you enjoyed the others. 4 out of 5 stars.

Something Blue (Darcy & Rachel #2) by Emily Giffin

Something Blue (Darcy & Rachel, #2)

Something Blue is the sequel to Something Borrowed. It is told in Darcy’s point of view of her side of the story, and how karma has hit her hard. She goes to Europe in hope to start a new life, but then she realizes that to have a better life, she must also become a better person.
I really enjoyed this novel, and how it was told in Darcy’s point of view. When I first read the blurb, I was like “Why would I want to read an ENTIRE story about Darcy? She's such a…” I was happily proven wrong, and ended up enjoying hearing the other half. It helps you to understand Darcy as a person and see her motives. She’s still not the best person, but at least I can see what caused her to act the way she did and feel the same feelings as her.
I loved Ethan in this story, he was one of my favorite characters in the first book. I found Something Blue to be very redeeming for Darcy, and that is a wonderful thing to say. Even if I didn’t like her for most of the book, I respect her for becoming a better person in the end.
If you read and enjoyed the first book, I strongly encourage that you read this one. It’s completing. I don’t know about you, but after Something Borrowed, I felt like there was something missing, and this filled it. I wish they would have somehow incorporated this into the movie, because I think it would have made it a lot more interesting and believable. I like to be fair, and Rachel, as lovable as she is, DID sleep with her friend’s fiancé. Nevermind that Darcy had cheated on Dex and gotten pregnant with his friend, it was still wrong.
5 out of 5 stars for this compelling read, it was well thought out and interesting, and just good chick lit in general!