Monday, July 29, 2013

Spring Break (Summer #4) by Katherine Applegate

In the next book in the Summer series, Summer heads back to Florida for Spring Break. She'll be with Seth, Marquez, and Diana for a week and it should be perfect. But on the plane she meets Austin, who changes the way she looks at her life. **SPOILERS AND PROFANITY AHEAD**

I had many problems with this book. First of all, Seth is the "love of Summer's life". They have been together nine months and are already thinking about college and marriage. A little unrealistic, but sure. Then Summer goes ahead and kisses Austin? Well Summer, that is called cheating. You are a slut and do not deserve Austin or Seth. I really don't think your infidelity should let you have any guy because you're not worth it. If you are "so happy and in love" with Seth as you claim, then you should have no problem staying devoted to him. I don't care what you say about Austin and how he's sick or whatever, it doesn't matter. A kiss is a kiss. The tarot card lady and Seth on the plane I could handle, but it seems a little unrealistic how she meets ANOTHER hot guy on her plane ride is just too ridiculous. 

Okay, now to Seth. Seth, Seth, Seth. You don't deserve Summer either. YOU CHEATED ON HER WITH HER COUSIN. And worse? You couldn't even tell her at the end of the story. You are a terrible terrible boyfriend and I think Summer should have just gone with Austin rather than be with a jerk and a liar like you. 

Diana... You are a terrible person as well. You are a bad cousin and a friend to Summer. I don't care what feelings you have for Seth, he is your cousin's boyfriend and you have to respect that. I understand that you "did the right thing" in the end, but that still gives you no excuse for what you did. And don't even try using your depression and whatnot as an excuse. There is no excuse for cheating.

Marquez... You are more of the more redeemable characters in this story. However, you get to angry and afraid and run away from all you problems. I thought you had learned this before, but apparently not. You need to grow up and deal with the shit in your life.

JT... I had kinda liked you in the last summer, but not anymore. You don't deserve any girl in your life.

Diver... You're my favorite character because you haven't done too many things wrong. You also run from your problems, but I think that you have a better reason too.

In case you couldn't tell, this book made me very angry. I found it to be unrealistic with terribly flawed characters. Also, this book is supposed to represent Summer's spring break, but there really wasn't too much other plot going on besides who cheated on who. K.A. Applegate, I still love you with all my heart. And maybe it was your purpose to anger me, but I just wanted to throw this book across the room. 2 out of 5 stars.

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Bling Ring by Nancy Jo Sales

A true story, the Bling Ring is about 6 teenagers with an obsession for fame who stole from celebrities like Lindsay Lohan, Orlando Bloom, and Paris Hilton and then took pride in wearing the things they stole. 

The first time I heard about the Bling Ring was when I saw an ad for the 2013 movie while watching YouTube. I saw Emma Watson was playing in it and did some more research on its inspiration. It seemed baffling how they would wear the stolen items and how they managed to break into the houses so easily, so I decided to read this. It's best described as a magazine article that is 288 pages long. There's pictures, quotes, and commentary.

As a whole, I found this to be interesting and boring at the same time. There were moments I'd really get into the story and others I would consider not even finishing it. I enjoyed learning more about pop culture and how an obsession with fame has completely destroyed America. There were a lot of cool tidbits that were worth reading. The rest of it seemed to drag on and on and isn't worth your time or mind. I wouldn't recommend this. If you're interested in the case, do research on the internet instead. Also, I really want to see the movie now. 2 out of 5 stars.

Of Poseidon (Of Poseidon #1) by Anna Banks

The prince of Syrena, Galen, is sent to land to find Emma. He's heard that she has the special power to communicate with fish and is therefore royal. However, things are more complicated than he thought and Galen and Emma have to figure out which world they belong in. 

I'll start with the positives. The cover is beautiful and I really like the idea of the story. I also really like the name Galen. I'm always reading and searching for really cool names to name my future children. At first I thought, "Whoa! Galen! That's an awesome name!". But then I thought more about how he would probably get made fun of... But anyways! Emma was a fresh voice and I liked how she and Galen interacted. This book made me laugh out loud at multiple times because of the clever wording and characters of Rayna and Toraf.

Now to the negatives. First, I found it very disturbing that **SPOILER** Emma's BEST FRIEND dies, and she seems hardly affected by it throughout the book. I mean, that's pretty traumatizing. I just don't think the author fully reflected the devastation, guilt, and confusion that Emma should have felt. I also disliked how the story was told. The flap claims that it is "Told from both Emma and Galen's points of view", however Emma's is told from a 1st POV and Galen's is a 3rd POV. That is really confusing and I don't know why the author did that. I think she should have done one of those story tellings that is so popular now where the characters alternate but their name is at the top of the chapter and they both speak in 1st. My last complaint is about the plot. Or the lack of it. There was literally nothing going on because they got next to nothing accomplished. It was clear that the author was planning a sequel, which is no excuse to make your first book go nowhere!

I wish that there had been more description of the Syrenans and their world and customs and everything. Sadly, I have to give this book 3 out of 5 stars. It really does have a lot of promise, so I think I'll be reading the next book and see if that redeems it. 

Stolen by Lucy Christopher

Gemma is supposed to be traveling with her parents. In a moment of defiance, she goes off to get coffee and meets a handsome guy named Ty. The next thing she knows, she's in a deserted area of Australia with no one around but Ty. He has stolen her and intends to keep her there forever. But as time goes on Gemma realizes that maybe Ty isn't the person she thought he was. 

This was recommended to me by my Goodreads friend, Queen Taco, a few years ago. I requested it from the library but had never gotten the chance to read it. A few weeks ago at the library I saw it and decided to give it a try. 

This was the most mindblowing book ever. It is written in the form of a letter from Gemma to Ty, which is a little strange at first but you get used to it quickly. I've never read a book that has made me cry more this hard. I was completely devastated and heartbroken, but in a good way because this book was amazing. 

I loved Ty so much, and I loved Gemma. And I loved them together. Reflecting back on this book, I realize that the author was giving readers an experience with Stockholm syndrome, and my god it worked. I could go on and on and on about what a fantastic book this was. Instead, I'll just highly recommend it. It is honestly just incredible and I have no complaints. 6 out of 5 stars.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Purity by Jackson Pearce

As Shelby's mother was dying, she promised her 3 things that would later become known as The Promises. She promised to love and listen to her father, live without restraint, and love as much as possible. Shelby has never doubted The Promises and believes that they are a way of guiding her in life. However, when she and her father start to plan the Princess Ball and she finds out she has to vow to be free of drugs, sex, and alcohol. She and her friend, Jonas, are always finding loopholes to The Promises and so Shelby decides that she needs to find a way out of it. Throughout the Ball preparations, Shelby starts to learn what her mother really meant.

When I first picked up this book, I didn't have high expectations for it. I don't really believe in purity and haven't enjoyed the books I've read about it (I'm talking about you, Pure by Terra Elan McVoy). However, I was pleasantly surprised. Although it was a bit predictable, it was a lot deeper than I thought it would be. It had some very good lessons about promises while being entertaining and humorous. It's a nice short book with some realistic characters. 4 out of 5 stars.

The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

The Metamorphosis is about Samsa, a traveling salesman, who wakes up one morning to find out that he is now an insect. He and his family become alienated from each other because of his new form.

This is one of my required summer reading books for AP English. I thought that it was very interesting and humorous at times. I like to believe that he really wasn't a bug, but instead very sick and unable to communicate with his family. This is such a short read, it was only 74 pages. I suggest if you have a spare moment to read it. I also look forward to discussing it in class. 4 out of 5 stars.

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

Emaline has been with Luke ever since freshman year. Now, it's her last summer before college. Everything between them has been pretty constant, but Emaline is starting to wonder if things need to be changed. She works for her family business in Colby, a small beach town, and meets Theo, a very driven guy from New York. Emaline also has some problems with her father (not Dad) who had broken a very important promise to her. She is very conflicted about what to do with her life and how to stay loyal to Colby and escape at the same time.

The romance of this novel was interesting. It didn't have the swoon-worthy guys I was used to and this novel wasn't really focused around the romance at all! That was a bit refreshing. I really could relate to Emaline and Luke's relationship because I have been with the same guy for almost three years. Like them, there is a lot of comfort and he is a great guy. It was strange how much their relationship mirrored ours. I liked Emaline and all of her flaws and also I LOVED Morris and Benji. They are easily the best characters in this book. Theo however, was cute at first but then he started to annoy me. 

I liked how realistic The Moon and More was and how there were so many different problems woven in. The only thing I disliked was how I felt I didn't get enough closure with the different characters. But I guess that's just how life is!

If you're looking for a good summer read, check this out. 4 out of 5 stars.

The Child Thief by Brom

Think about all you know about Peter Pan. Now, forget all of it. Brom tells the story of Peter, the child thief, who preys on abused and abandoned children. He tells them of a better place with no grownups. But unlike Neverland, this is a dangerous place. Avalon is dying and Peter needs an army of children to help save the Lady, the overseer of the land. Add Nick, a fourteen-year-old, who is new to the Devils, trolls, pixies, witches, and flesheaters, and you're in for a treat. 

A few months ago, I read Krampus, another book by Brom. The cover terrified me, yet it sounded so interesting that I kept reading it. Surprisingly, it was one of the best books I've ever read. So I decided to read another book by Brom.

There is honestly so much going on in this book to fit into this review. It is a completely awesome, dark adaption of Peter Pan. Also, I like how Brom only took the idea of Peter from Peter Pan and not too much else in his story. That's what makes it so familiar and different at the same time. 

All the characters in this novel are amazing. There's Peter, my favorite, who is extremely devious and cunning but at the same time just a lost child. I love how you get the background story on him which shapes who he is now. I also love Nick, who is just as lost in different ways. The thing I like about Brom's stories is how there is really no good or bad. Each character could be either depending on how you look at him. 

The plot is fast paced and very adventurous. Also, what makes The Child Thief even more amazing is the illustrations. There are beautiful pictures of various scenes and and characters throughout the book. It's like an adult picture book.

This book had be flinching, cheering, and crying all at different parts. It's a dark story and there's violence, gore, and cussing so it's definitely more for adults. However, if you're interested, I highly recommend that you give it a try. You're in for a treat. I love this so much that I'll give it 6 out of 5 stars.

What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton

Cassidy has a pretty good life. She has two awesome best friends and is a great student and cheerleader. The only thing she doesn't have is a guy. When she is is on a school ski trip and meets a guy named Dax, who invites her to a party, she is flattered. Cassidy goes off to meet him that night, and then remembers nothing. He took everything from her, including a lock of her curly red hair. She begins to alienate herself and discover how she can keep living in the new life she has now. 

I really liked Cassidy as a character. She was easy to relate to and was by no means perfect. I also LOVED Corey. He was awesome. 

The plot was a little slow at times, but I think that the author did a really good job of reflecting Cassidy's confusion about her rape. She is so so lost, and as a reader you feel lost with her. One thing I really liked about this book was how it almost didn't focus on the rape at all. It was pretty much of what Cassidy is feeling and how she is learning to cope. Of course she's angry with Dax, but she doesn't spend pages and pages venting about how much she hates him or anything.

It's very thought provoking and worth reading, so I would recommend it. 4 out of 5 stars.

August Magic (Summer #3) by Katherine Applegate

This is the last book in Summer's summer. I think this was a nice conclusion to the series and wrapped up things nicely.

The longer I kept reading, the more these characters' flaws showed through. Summer is a bit of a slut. I mean, she says she and Seth are official, and then she's kissing Sean. Yet... she "loves him"? Excuse me, they've known each other for 2 months. But whatever, I will pretend that that is forgivable. Diana annoys me because she feels like revenge is justified. And Marquez, she draws back every time she feels too emotionally involved. It just begins to feel a little bit unrealistic.

Despite that, I think that this is a fun summer series (no pun intended) and if you're looking for a really easy read, try this. 3.5 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

July's Promise (Sumer #2) by Katherine Applegate

July's Promise is the second book in the Summer series. It picks up the story right where the first leaves off. 

I felt like the this book had more excitement than the first one but I found it to be pretty unrealistic. The dialogue is great and the plot is good, just sometimes it made me roll my eyes. As I'm writing this I've already read the third book and I get the 2nd and 3rd confused. So I'm just going to review my overall thoughts there!

In conclusion, I still think this is a cute series. The characters are easy to relate to and all have very different personalities. If you liked the first book in this series, I definitely recommend you read the second. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Monday, July 1, 2013

June Dreams (Summer #1) by Katherine Applegate

This book is about Summer, who hails from Minnesota, who comes down to live in Florida with her aunt and cousin for the summer. On the plane a lady tells her about three boys she will meet. One will seem to be dangerous, one will seem to be right, and one will seem to be mysterious. With that in mind, she meets 3 guys: Diver, Adam, and Seth. Summer tries to figure out her relationships with them as well as with her cousin Diana, who seems to have some stuff going on. 

I read this a few years back and loved it. Now, I still think it's a good story but its definitely not the best story I've ever read or anything haha. I find it to be unrealistic most of the times but its a cute, cheesy story. It's a little dramatic, but fun and simple. All the characters are very likable.

It's a little addicting and if you're in the mood for a bit outdated, cheesy, summer series, read this! 3 out of 5 stars. Also, please note that I did not give this 3 stars because I disliked the story. I gave it 3 stars because I don't believe it was exceptionally great and thought provoking.

Tempest (Tempest #1) by Julie Cross

Tempest is about 19-year-old college kid named Jackson. He's completely normal, except for the fact that he can "jump", or time travel, backwards. One day, some people randomly occur and shoot Holly. In a panic, Jackson jumps and ends up in year 2007. He can't get back to 2009 but knows that he must do whatever it takes to find out how to save Holly. 

I really wanted to like Tempest, however it seemed to drag on and on and on. It took me longer than average to read it and it was hard for me to get into. I loved the concept and I really liked Jackson, Holly, and Adam. All the characters were awesome and I think they were the best part of the book. However, it got a little confusing for me with all the jumping and trying to understand how everything works. See, this isn't like time traveling we are used to. If you go back and change something, it doesn't affect the future. I'm not going to give anything away, but as the story progressed and Jackson understands more and more, I just became more confused lol. 

Also, I hated the ending. I kind of understood why he did it, but I still hated him for it. Also, you could tell that there was going to be a sequel and I hate when authors do that! This was going to be a 4 star book until the ending. I disliked it so much that I had to knock off a star. Thumbs up on the cover though, I think it's really pretty!

I feel like other people will enjoy this book more than I would, but I wouldn't recommend it. I think that it was too slow, predictable, and slightly confusing. Also, I'm totally guessing that that little girl with the red hair is Jackson and Holly's daughter. I'm calling it now haha. I don't think I'll be reading the next book in the series. 3 out of 5 stars.

The Stranger by Albert Camus

This book was recommended to me by my father. It is about a guy who is living his life as an outsider. He is not unhappy about this, he just lacks emotional connections to life. He is an observer of things and gets caught up in an unfortunate series of events. That's all I'm going to tell you because I don't want to give it away.

This reminded me a bit of The Sun Also Rises by Hemingway in its simplistic writing and how the characters are just going along with what life gives them. The Stranger was originally written in French (just so you know). I personally liked this story and would consider reading it again in the future.

It's not necessarily exciting or plot driven, but I like the simpleness of it and the messages. 3.5 out of 5 stars.