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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Jamie Campell Bower to play Jace Wayland

So, the news is out!  Did you hear it?  Jamie Campell Bower has been cast as Jace Wayland in the new Mortal Instruments movie.  If you don’t know who Jamie Campell Bower is (because I didn’t) his lovely picture is there in the corner of the screen.  You may know him as Anthony Hope from the movie Sweeny Todd?  No?  Well, he also played Caius in New Moon.  And even though they’re not out yet, he will appear in Part 2 of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and in Breaking Dawn.  So, now you know who he is.  (Me too).  Personally, I look forward to seeing him play Jace

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Book Review: All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin

Title: All These Things I’ve Done

Author: Gabrielle Zevin

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Publication date: September 27, 2011

Hardcover: 368 pages

Stand Alone or Series: Series–this is the first in a series

How I got this book: Galley from BEA

Why I chose this book: I read the synopsis pre-BEA, and absolutely adored the concept.  How could I not read a book involving caffeine speakeasies and chocolate-contraband?

Synopsis:

In 2083, chocolate and coffee are illegal, paper is hard to find, water is carefully rationed, and New York City is rife with crime and poverty. And yet, for Anya Balanchine, the sixteen-year-old daughter of the city’s most notorious (and dead) crime boss, life is fairly routine. It consists of going to school, taking care of her siblings and her dying grandmother, trying to avoid falling in love with the new assistant D.A.’s son, and avoiding her loser ex-boyfriend. That is until her ex is accidently poisoned by the chocolate her family manufactures and the police think she’s to blame. Suddenly, Anya finds herself thrust unwillingly into the spotlight–at school, in the news, and most importantly, within her mafia family.

Review:

I have to say that my final judgement of this book is not a good one.  Yes, I liked the writing style; it was a nice quick read–but it felt like it was lacking something, though I’m not quite sure yet.  At the moment, I’m not sure if I’ll read the next installment when it comes or not. 

Anya isn’t your typical character–but I found her very hard to relate to.  For a catholic girl, she sure is lacking in morals.  She thinks like a drone, and I can’t fathom how she falls in “love” with Win–aka Goodwin.  I just don’t see the romance between them.  There is no defining scene that makes Win fall for Anya.  There is no defining scene that makes Anya have feelings for him in return.  It’s just POOF, they’re there. 

The plot is an interesting one.  Set in the future, where chocolate is banned and there are coffee speakeasies?  Yes, I was definitely interested.  But I’m thoroughly disappointed.  At the moment, I’m thinking I will read the next installment, though.  I need to give Zevin a second chance, at least.  But if it doesn’t pick up, I’m going to have to write off the series.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Book Review: Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter

Title: Uncommon Criminals

Author: Ally Carter

Publisher: Hyperion

Publication date: June 21, 2011

Hardcover: 304 pages

Stand Alone or Series: Series–this is the second in a series

How I got this book: I got this one from Book Expo America!

Why I chose this book: I love Ally Carter.  I think she is a legit genius. 

Synopsis:

Katarina Bishop has worn a lot of labels in her short life: Friend. Niece. Daughter. Thief. But for the last two months she’s simply been known as the girl who ran the crew that robbed the greatest museum in the world. That’s why Kat isn’t surprised when she’s asked to steal the infamous Cleopatra Emerald so it can be returned to its rightful owners. There are only three problems. First, the gem hasn’t been seen in public in thirty years. Second, since the fall of the Egyptian empire and the suicide of Cleopatra, no one who holds the emerald keeps it for long — and in Kat’s world, history almost always repeats itself. But it’s the third problem that makes Kat’s crew the most nervous, and that is . . . the emerald is cursed. Kat might be in way over her head, but she’s not going down without a fight. After all, she has her best friend — the gorgeous Hale — and the rest of her crew with her as they chase the Cleopatra around the globe, dodging curses and realizing that the same tricks and cons her family has used for centuries are useless this time. Which means, this time, Katarina Bishop is making up her own rules.

Review:

I was very anxious when I got this book and started reading it.  To be honest, I didn’t think Carter would be able to top Heist Society.  But I was wrong.  Uncommon Criminals was just as good, if not better.  And since it was amazing, that it saying something.  I love reading about heists and gadgets and cons.  It has to be one of my favorite subjects.  And Carter presents it in a way so that it’s still morally okay.

Katerina is one of my favorite people.  (I say people, because she feels so real to me.)  She’s dynamic, with a lot going on in her mind.  And not to mention her endearing relationship with the steamy Hale!  Boy is that boy romantic.

Long story short, I give Ally Carter, and Uncommon Criminals, five stars.  Out of five.  Really, I would give them twenty stars if I could, though I don’t think it’s allowed. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Book Review: He’s So Not Worth It by Kieran Scott

Title: He’s So Not Worth It

Author: Kieran Scott

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publication date: June 7, 2011

Hardcover: 368 pages

Stand Alone or Series: Series–this is the second in a series

How I got this book: E-galley from S&S

Why I chose this book: I read the first book in the series–She’s So Dead to Us, and it was excellent-ay.  I couldn’t wait for this next installment.

Synopsis:

Ally Ryan, come on down to the Jersey Shore and forget your troubles!

Have you recently been humilated in front of your friends and family at your former best friends birthday party? Was your almost boyfriend partly responsible for that humilation by withholding some vital information about where your estrangerd father is? Did you come home to find said estranged father sitting on your stoop?
 
If so, then it sounds like you could use a vacation! The Jersey Shore is the place to be. Your mother may be living with her boyfriend of only a few months, but at least the stunt Shannen pulled has put some of your friends back in your court. Even so, you’re still angry and what better way to get over Jake than to blow off some steam with local guy, Cooper. People will hardly recognize your new attitude, but the old one wasn’t getting you anywhere, so who cares!
 
Jake Graydon, an exciting opportunity is waiting for you in the service industry!
 
Are your grades so low your parents have grounded you for the summer? Did you the girl you really like unceremoniously leave you behind? Would you rather eat dirt than see your friends again? Then a job at the local coffee shop is just the ticket! Suprisingly, Ally’s father is the new manager so you get to be reminded of her nearly every day. Maybe it’s time to start flirting with your best friend’s ex or even taking school a bit more seriously. Especially when you finally see Ally and she’s hanging around with some loser and it’s couldn’t be more clear that she is over you.

Review:

Kerien Scott’s new novel, He’s So Not Worth It, is one I will not soon forget.  With a stunning ending, the novel keeps replaying through my head, even though I’ve finished it days ago.  The beginning, while good, was a bit slow, making me put the book down and pick it back up constantly.  This happened constantly throughout the story, where I felt the plot was going nowhere.  But the stunning characters, relationship shambles, and delightful prose was enough to overshadow it.  Now here’s the big question I want to answer: Should Ally keep Jake at the end of book two?  At the moment I’m going to say NO.  But, if things change the way I think they will in book three, I really hope they get to have that fairy-tale ending.  If you haven’t read She’s So Dead to Us, the first installment, get to it!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Book Review: Vixen by Jillian Larkin

Title: Vixen

Author: Jillian Larkin

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Publication date: December, 2010

Stand Alone or Series: Series–this is the first in a series

Hardcover: 432 pages

How I got this book: Bought

Why I chose this book: I really love historical fiction…and the roaring twenties.  It’s exciting to read about the speakeasies, illegal activities, flapper lifestyles, etc.  So obviously, this book seemed perfect for me.

Synopsis:

Jazz . . . Booze . . . Boys . . . It’s a dangerous combination.

Every girl wants what she can’t have. Seventeen-year-old Gloria Carmody wants the flapper lifestyle—and the bobbed hair, cigarettes, and music-filled nights that go with it. Now that she’s engaged to Sebastian Grey, scion of one of Chicago’s most powerful families, Gloria’s party days are over before they’ve even begun . . . or are they?

Clara Knowles, Gloria’s goody-two-shoes cousin, has arrived to make sure the high-society wedding comes off without a hitch—but Clara isn’t as lily-white as she appears. Seems she has some dirty little secrets of her own that she’ll do anything to keep hidden. . . .

Lorraine Dyer, Gloria’s social-climbing best friend, is tired of living in Gloria’s shadow. When Lorraine’s envy spills over into desperate spite, no one is safe. And someone’s going to be very sorry. . . .
Review:

The Cover:  I don’t love or hate this cover.  It’s okay.  I like that the person on the cover is dressed in a style from that time, so it really helps visually.  However, I’m not much for covers that shows the persons face, because I think that it takes away some of the imagining for a reader.  Overall, it’s just nice.

The Characters:  Gloria is my in between character.  I neither love her, nor hate her.  She tends to get on my nerves sometimes, by the things she thinks and does.  She has a know-it-all attitude that some may find endearing, but I did not.  Otherwise, you can tell she is, at heart, a kind person.  She’s just a little confused and on the wrong road. 

Clara is my favorite character.  She has a past that she’s keeping secret – and boy is it a whooper! – that lends an air of mystery to her.  But as she grows and changes in Chicago, you get to see the new person she’s becoming.  She’s smart, and it learning from the mistakes of her past. 

Lorraine is my least favorite character.  Not because she’s poorly written–quite the opposite.  Her personality just repels me.  She’s sneaky, conniving, and has what she gets coming to her.  I don’t want to say much else, because as soon as you start reading, you’ll see what I mean.
The Story:  My favorite part of this story is the romance between Marcus and Clara.  It’s so sweet and awkward, but is backed by secrets that need to come into the light for them to truly work.  But as the story thickens, you can see that they truly care for each other–no matter how much they both try not to.

I thought it was interesting that a romance between a white girl and a black boy was written about.  It’s something I hadn’t even thought about for the time period–and it truly sticks to it’s time.  You get to feel the apprehension of what it was like when black and white people tried to mix. 

The mobsters (mostly) stay behind the scenes or in dark corners, but they’re always lurking, always a thought.  I love how there is an undertone of threat in the novel that at any moment,  all hell could break loose.  You really understand the tension of the time period.  What these people did was illegal–going to speakeasies, all the liquor, etc.  I love that it is all touched upon in the story.

Spare Thoughts:  I have to say that this story is very much like Godbersen’s Bright Young Things, with the way it’s set up, and the story setting, etc.  But I can’t condemn it for that, since they basicly came out at the same time. 
Overall:  The story was addicting.  I would reccomend this to anyone who has a penchant for the roaring twenties, booze, romance, scandal, or just good unclean fun.

Final: Reading Vixen was like taking a leap back in time.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Book Review: What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

Title: What Happened to Goodbye

Author: Sarah Dessen

Publisher: Viking

Publication date: May, 2011

Hardcover: 402 pages

Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone

How I got this book: Bought

Why I chose this book: For real?  It’s Sarah Dessen, literary mastermind.  Everyone who’s anyone reads her books.  Seriously.

Synopsis:

Who is the real McLean? Since her parents’ bitter divorce, McLean and her dad, a restaurant consultant, have been on the move-four towns in two years. Estranged from her mother and her mother’s new family, McLean has followed her dad in leaving the unhappy past behind. And each new place gives her a chance to try out a new persona: from cheerleader to drama diva. But now, for the first time, McLean discovers a desire to stay in one place and just be herself, whoever that is. Perhaps Dave, the guy next door, can help her find out.

Review:

Well Sarah Dessen, you’ve done it again.  I can honestly say that Dessen is one of the top masters of the Young Adult genre.  Not many can do it all as well as she can.  What Happened to Goodbye is probably one of the most complex stories she’s written – or anybody’s written – to date.  That said, I don’t feel it was her best story.  It didn’t have the same outstanding, I’ll-never-forget-it qualities like her works This Lullaby or Just Listen.  But it was magnificent.  The romance, which I’m always dying to read, was tinged a bit with sadness, which unsettled me.  But it was realistic, so I have to give it it’s props.  As always, her quirky characters amused me and made my day.  Especially Dave Wade, who made me smile all the time. 

One thing I can say about this novel is that it was addicting.  I read it all in one sitting, and it nearly took up my whole day.  But it definitely wasn’t a waste!  I feel like I was part of something profound, which is what a novel should be like. 

I also love the names that Dessen choses for her characters.  Some of them I hated at first – Dexter, Remi, Mclean (Sorry, if one of these happens to be your name!)- but I ended up loving them by the end of the story–probably because I fell so completely in love with the characters and their stories. 

Point in case–read this book! 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Book Review: Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer

Title: Wolfsbane

Author: Andrea Cremer

Publisher: Philomel

Publication date: July 26, 2011

Hardcover: 400 pages

Stand Alone or Series: Series–this is the second in a series

How I got this book: ARC from Philomel

Why I chose this book: It took me a while to get around to reading the first book of the series.  I honestly didn’t think I would like it.  But once I did, I was hooked, so obviously I had to read the second installment.

Synopsis:

This thrilling sequel to the much-talked-about Nightshade begins just where it ended-Calla Tor wakes up in the lair of the Searchers, her sworn enemy, and she’s certain her days are numbered. But then the Searchers make her an offer-one that gives her the chance to destroy her former masters and save the pack-and the man-she left behind. Is Ren worth the price of her freedom? And will Shay stand by her side no matter what? Now in control of her own destiny, Calla must decide which battles are worth fighting and how many trials true love can endure and still survive.

Review:

n the second installment of the Nightshade series, we follow Calla as she attempts to regain her pack, and a semblance of her life.  It could be a suicide mission, but Calla feels it’s worth it.  Just how many lives are going to be sacraficed in this war?  You’ll have to read to find out.

I have to say, the cliffhanger endings are getting a little old, Andrea!  Okay, now that I’ve got that out… I have to truthfully say I was disappointed with this installment of the Nightshade series.  I felt like it was slow-moving, and I constantly set it aside to read something else.  But now that I’ve finally gotten through it, I can give my opinion.  I liked it, I did.  But… It wasn’t as good as the first novel.  The best aspect of it had to be the conflicting emotions Calla feels towards Shay and Ren, which really puts me on the edge of my seat.

(Also, as a side note, I’d like to point out my view on the cover controversy–it’s not actually a controversy, but I thought that sounded cool.  Anyway, they had an original cover posted, and the ARCs that got sent out had the original cover on them.  Sometime they decided to change it, and now there is a new one.  I’ll point both covers below, so you can see.  I, personally, love the original one.  I think it matches better with the first book, as well.  Just my opinion.)

New Note: I couldn’t find a picture of the new cover.  Actually, I could, but it wouldn’t upload 🙁  But if you’re dying to see the new cover, you can see it at Amazon or Goodreads.

 

Book Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Title: Divergent

Author: Veronica Roth

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Publication date: May, 2011

Hardcover: 496 pages

Stand Alone or Series: Series–this is the first in a series

How I got this book: bought

Why I chose this book: I can’t help it.  I’ve been drawn into the dystopian craze, and I’m proud of it!

Synopsis:

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves… or it might destroy her.

Review:

Divergent is one of those books that inspires people to write a book of their own.  It has the gore and grit that fans of the dystopian genre will enjoy.  There are parts in there that are sure to make the weak-of-stomachs queasy. Veronica Roth’s world is creative, original, full of detail, addicting, and so much more.  I found the main character, Tris, badass in her own way.  The best aspect about her being that she knows when to be afriad, and that fear is described so potently that everyone can relate to her (even though most of us have never been shot at).  Tris’s love interest–and instructor–Four, is frustrating, lovely, and sometimes downright mean.  I have to admit, he’s not my ideal guy, but he is perfect for Tris. 

With dystopian being so popular lately, I was a little unsure of how I would feel about divergent.  Would it be your typical, run of the mill, different day New York dystopian.  Well, it takes place in New York, but that’s where the similarities end.  Roth knows how to keep the reader turning pages and begging for more.  I can’t wait ’till the next installment.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Why are teenagers attracted to dystopian books?

Being a teenager myself, I hope that I can clear this up a little.  Dystopian books have been a short time YA popular read.  (Before it was vampires and werewolves).  Meaning, they haven’t been very popular in past years, but have seemed to pick up in popularity greatly.  We even have the Hunger Games Series (a very popular YA dystopian series) coming out as a movie.  So why are teenagers attracted to such a thing as the end of the world as we know it?  Well, I have a few theories and ideas. 
Obviously, I don’t know the exact reason why teens love dystopian.  I wish I did.  But everyone is different, and therefore reads it for a different reason. 
Theory number 1: The differnece between teens and other human beings
Teens, like myself, feel a distinct disconnection between regular society and themselves.  Yes, we are all alone.  And maybe that’s why the dystopian genre appeals to us.  Most dystopian books are about teens that are different than anyone else, but somehow they make it through the end of the world.  They’re different, dystopian is different, we’re different—I’m seeing a connection.
Theory number 2: The law of attraction
My next theory is that teens just love the gore and battles and general weirdness that comes along with dystopian.  Really.  It can be that simple; we’re just weird.  We loved vampires for how long, why can’t we love a little killing (in the metaphorical sense…I think)? 
Theory number 3: We have strong stomachs
Let’s face it.  Our bodies are stronger.  We have strong stomachs.  Once you get older, that will surely leave you.  But for now, we’re good and ready to read about the blood and the gore.  If you’ve read novels such as The Hunger Games, where there is killing, or Across the Universe, were it talks about cryogenics (which is awesome!), then you know things can be pretty graphic when it comes to dystopian novels.  Not many people can handle that.  But I would bet that most of the people who can, are teenagers.
So now that I’ve repeated myself numerous times, and probably haven’t made any sense at all, what are your feelings on the whole teen/dystopian love?  Do you have a theory of your own?  Let me know!

Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick: Cover Reveal

So it’s time to reveal the cover of Silence, the third and final installment in Becca Fitzpatrick’s Hush, Hush Series…

Are you ready for this?

Ba Bam!
So what do you think.  Even though I’m not a big fan of the series (come on.  Patch is a creeper) I really do love this cover.
So there you have it folks.  Another cover reveal from moi.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Book Review: Wildfire by Karsten Knight

Title: Wildfire
Author: Karsten Knight
Publisher: Simon & Shuster Children’s Publishing

Publication date: July 26, 2011

Stand Alone or Series: Series (I think.  If not, I really hate the ending!)

Hardcover: 400 pages

How I got this book: ARC from S&S

Why I chose this book: I’m not gonna lie.  I love judging books by their covers.  It’s something I do.  And I absolutely love the cover of this book.  It’s something that you can study and ponder over.  Perfecto!

Synopsis: (This is a really long one.)

Every flame begins with a spark.

Ashline Wilde is having a rough sophomore year. She’s struggling to find her place as the only Polynesian girl in school, her boyfriend just cheated on her, and now her runaway sister, Eve, has decided to barge back into her life. When Eve’s violent behavior escalates and she does the unthinkable, Ash transfers to a remote private school nestled in California’s redwoods, hoping to put the tragedy behind her. But her fresh start at Blackwood Academy doesn’t go as planned. Just as Ash is beginning to enjoy the perks of her new school—being captain of the tennis team, a steamy romance with a hot, local park ranger—Ash discovers that a group of gods and goddesses have mysteriously enrolled at Blackwood…and she’s one of them. To make matters worse, Eve has resurfaced to haunt Ash, and she’s got some strange abilities of her own. With a war between the gods looming over campus, Ash must master the new fire smoldering within before she clashes with her sister one more time… And when warm and cold fronts collide, there’s guaranteed to be a storm.

Review:

Karsten Knight is hilarious, his book is amazing, and his story is addicting.  When I first picked up Wildfire (yesterday) I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about reading another greek mythology YA book.  They’ve been coming into popularity lately.  But Karsten Knight makes his book a must read with all the witty repatoire, the steamy romance, and the new spin on greek mythology.  Ash is a badass main character, with good comebacks and a fiery attitude.  Oh, and she happens to be a volcano goddess!  With her band of friends (also gods and goddesses), we follow her as she battles with her evil sister, Eve, who has tried to ruin her life more than once.  You will laugh.  You (might) cry.  You will be addicted.  Read Karsten Knights, Wildfire, hitting shelves July 26, 2011!

Is there a book out there for you?

The summer is coming, and with it a new tide of books are making their way onto the bookstore shelves.  Whether you read hardcopies, or the e-versions, I know there’s a book out there for you.  So here is my half-assed attempt at finding that book for you:

Love British Accents and creepy killers (rephrase: murder mysteries)?  Then this upcoming book is for you:
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson–Hits Shelves September 29, 2011
Love vampires and general awesomeness?  Then this upcoming book is for you:
Bloodlines by Richelle Mead–Hits shelves August 23, 2011
Don’t like reading series, but love epic stand alone novels? Then this upcoming book is for you:

Texas Gothic by Rosemarie Clement Moore–Hits shelves July 12, 2011
Like the Undead (Zombies!!)?  Then this upcoming novel is for you:

Dead Rules by Randy Russell–Hits shelves June 21, 2011
Love history, including events such as the titanic?  Then this upcoming novel is for you:

Fateful by Claudia Gray–Hits shelves September 13, 2011
Love Greek Mythology, Gods, and Goddesses?  Wanna see that mixed with normal high school life?  Then this upcoming novel is for you:

Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini–Hits Shelves May 31, 2011
I know, I realize most of these books don’t come out in the summer, per say, but I still think you will find a novel here (hopefully) that you will begin to look forward to.  I know I’m looking forward to all of them!  Let me know what books you’re looking forward to in the comments!