Friday, May 17, 2013

Review: Eleanor and Park


Title: Eleanor & Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Release Date:
February 26th 2013
Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Pages: 325
Source: Netgalley
Summary:
"Bono met his wife in high school," Park says.
"So did Jerry Lee Lewis," Eleanor answers.
"I’m not kidding," he says.
"You should be," she says, "we’re sixteen."
"What about Romeo and Juliet?"
"Shallow, confused, then dead."
''I love you," Park says.
"Wherefore art thou," Eleanor answers.
"I’m not kidding," he says.
"You should be."

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.”
My Thoughts: 
The first thing I noticed about this book was the beautiful cover. It was so simple yet it caught my attention immediately, and I am so glad. Guys, this book was amazing. Eleanor and Park is such an incredible coming of age story and I am so happy I was able to read it!

This book was just so deep and emotional. Rainbow hit the mark on this book perfectly. What I really loved about this story were the characters, Eleanor and Park. Each character was just so incredible and lovable.  I really adored seeing how Eleanor and Park’s relationship grew over time. It was such a realistic approach to young love that I was reminded of my high school days.

The romance wasn’t the only thing I loved. Seeing Eleanor’s home life and watching her struggle really added to the story. Sometimes she really aggravated me with how she acted or what she said, but then I saw why. It just was such a strong part for me.

The only thing I didn’t like about this book was the ending. I wanted more and it felt a bit too open for me. I kind of hope there will be a sequel or companion in the future!

If you’re looking for a great story, pick this one up!
Rating: 4.5/5

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Review: Uses for Boys


Title: Uses for Boys
Author: Erica Lorraine Scheidt
Release Date:
January 15th 2013
Publisher: St Martin’s Press
Pages: 240
Source: Netgalley
Summary:
“Anna remembers a time before boys, when she was little and everything made sense. When she and her mom were a family, just the two of them against the world. But now her mom is gone most of the time, chasing the next marriage, bringing home the next stepfather. Anna is left on her own—until she discovers that she can make boys her family. From Desmond to Joey, Todd to Sam, Anna learns that if you give boys what they want, you can get what you need. But the price is high—the other kids make fun of her; the girls call her a slut. Anna's new friend, Toy, seems to have found a way around the loneliness, but Toy has her own secrets that even Anna can't know.

Then comes Sam. When Anna actually meets a boy who is more than just useful, whose family eats dinner together, laughs, and tells stories, the truth about love becomes clear. And she finally learns how it feels to have something to lose—and something to offer. Real, shocking, uplifting, and stunningly lyrical, Uses for Boys is a story of breaking down and growing up.”
My Thoughts: 
This book has been one of the hardest I have ever had to review, simply because it was just so strange. To begin with, I wasn’t expecting what this story was really about. I figured it was going to be a fluffy coming of age story but I was so wrong. Uses for Boys is a much darker and mature story centered on a young girl.

This story focuses on what Anna feels is love. By being neglected by her mother and father at a young age, she turned to what she thought as a substitute – sex. It was such a depressing story but I saw the importance in it. While not everyone is graced with stable parents, others try to fill that void the best they can. For Anna, it was the company of boys. Instead of using her mind and personality, she used her body to attract love.

The story is meant to make you feel uncomfortable in my opinion and in my case it did. While it was awkward to read at some points I could vividly picture this kind of thing happening to someone in real life. The writing was very well done and I lost myself in Anna’s mind quite often.

As I said before, this book was hard for me to review. It was just so strange. If you want and out of the box coming of age story try reading Uses for Boys. There are large amounts of mature themes in the book though, so be wary of that.

Overall, I really did enjoy reading this book.
Rating: 3.5/5

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Waiting for Wednesday (11)


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine! Each week, bloggers spotlight what upcoming release they're eager for.

Title: 45 Pounds (More or Less) by K.A. Barson
 Released: July 11th 2013 
Summary from Goodreads:
“Here are the numbers of Ann Galardi’s life:
She is 16.
And a size 17.
Her perfect mother is a size 6.
Her Aunt Jackie is getting married in 8 weeks, and wants Ann to be her bridesmaid.
So Ann makes up her mind: Time to lose 45 pounds (more or less) in two
months.

Welcome to the world of informercial diet plans, terrifying wedding dance lessons, endless run-ins with the cutest guy Ann’s ever seen—and some surprises about her NOT-so-perfect mother.

And there’s one more thing. It’s all about feeling comfortable in your own skin -- no matter how you add it up!”

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Review: The Rules for Disappearing

Title: The Rules for Disappearing
Author: Ashley Elston
Release Date: May 14th 2013
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Pages: 320
Source: Purchased

Summary:
She’s been six different people in six different places: Madeline in Ohio, Isabelle in Missouri, Olivia in Kentucky . . . But now that she’s been transplanted to rural Louisiana, she has decided that this fake identity will be her last.

Witness Protection has taken nearly everything from her. But for now, they’ve given her a new name, Megan Rose Jones, and a horrible hair color. For the past eight months, Meg has begged her father to answer one question: What on earth did he do – or see – that landed them in this god-awful mess? Meg has just about had it with all the Suits’ rules — and her dad’s silence. If he won’t help, it’s time she got some answers for herself.

But Meg isn’t counting on Ethan Landry, an adorable Louisiana farm boy who’s too smart for his own good. He knows Meg is hiding something big. And it just might get both of them killed. As they embark on a perilous journey to free her family once and for all, Meg discovers that there’s only one rule that really matters — survival.”

My Thoughts: 
When this book first came into my radar, I was beyond intrigued. I have always been interested in what a person has to endure while they are in the witness protection program. I super excited for the book needless to say. Yet, with there being so much potential for an amazing story, I was saddened when the whole thing fell flat for me.

In the beginning of the novel, the story felt so strong. I mean, I had to force myself to stop reading to do other things. I was so drawn into the mystery of Megan and her family and wondering what could have happened to them to put them in such a situation that they had to become new people.

Later as the story progressed, my feelings started to change. I started to slowly lose interest in the story and the direction it was headed. While I really liked Megan in the beginning, I couldn’t stand her by the end. I just had so many issues with her character that I started to not care about the book at all. I found her annoying and selfish. It was obvious her and her family were in a large amount of danger and yet she made such bold decisions that often put not only her, but her whole family in jeopardy. It aggravated me so much I just wanted to reach into the book and slap her! Simply put I couldn’t connect with Megan and I like that greatly impacted my whole experience with the book.
Another person I found myself loathing was Teeny, Megan’s little sister. While the reader is supposed to feel bad for Teeny because of her mental state of changing identities so much, I just couldn’t stand her! She was so whiny and a brat. I had no care for her at all.

A large portion of the story has to do with Megan’s romantic life. Now, I don’t mind romance here and there, but when it completely drowns out the plot of the book, then I have a problem. The romance between Megan and Ethan felt so rushed and insta-loveish. It didn’t help the story progress at all. In fact, most of the decisions Megan made had to do with Ethan. She literally endangered her family just to see a boy. It was just so irritating.

Now, I didn’t completely hate this book. I really loved the thriller parts of the book and the mystery of what happened to Megan and her family. I just wish there were more parts of that, instead of the love story.

In the end this book just wasn’t for me at all.


Rating: 2/5

Monday, May 13, 2013

Review: Burn for Burn


Title: Burn for Burn
Author: Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian
Release Date: September 18th 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Pages: 368
Source: Purchased

Summary:
“BIG GIRLS DON'T CRY...
THEY GET EVEN.

Lillia has never had any problems dealing with boys who like her. Not until this summer, when one went too far. No way will she let the same thing happen to her little sister.

Kat is tired of the rumors, the insults, the cruel jokes. It all goes back to one person– her ex-best friend– and she's ready to make her pay.

Four years ago, Mary left Jar Island because of a boy. But she's not the same girl anymore. And she's ready to prove it to him.

Three very different girls who want the same thing: sweet, sweet revenge. And they won't stop until they each had a taste.”
My Thoughts: 
I first read Jenny Han’s The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy and fell in love with it. When I heard she was coming out with a new book I could not wait. I loved the idea of three very different girls coming together for one thing – revenge.

The one thing that I really liked about this story was how three girls bonded and came together. Out of all of them, Mary’s perspectives were by far my favorite. I could identify more with Mary and her past than the other two and wanted to see how her end of the revenge worked out. As for the other two, Lillia and Kat, I didn’t really get attached to. Lillia’s character seemed to me like the typical popular girl. To me there wasn’t anything special to her. My feelings were the same for Kat too.

As far as the actual plot, I really enjoyed seeing the planning and scheming the girls did. The actual revenge scenes themselves were satisfying and totally drama filled. While I loved some parts of the book, others just felt boring and cliché. Just like typical high school drama, which I mean is okay, but I was expecting something a little more.

While I read this book thinking it was a contemporary, but towards the end there’s a plot twist that completely throws me off. The whole story takes a huge turn that made me confused. It just wasn’t what I was expecting.

While the book is very entertaining and I did enjoy it, it just wasn’t amazing. If you’re looking for a lighter read then I suggest picking this up.
Rating: 3/5

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Review: Long Black Coffin


Title: Long Black Coffin
Author: Tim Curran
Release Date: December 18th 2012
Publisher: DarkFuse
Pages: 390
Source: Netgalley

Summary:
“The Long Black Coffin is a '67 GTO. A street-eater and a life-taker. Like an open grave, it's hungry for death.

Vic Tamberlyn committed suicide in it. His son Kurt asphyxiated in it. Maybe there's no connection, but Kurt's best friend, Johnny Breede, doesn't believe it. He begins seeing dark connections, convinced that beneath the skin of the Coffin there beats a black, terrible heart. But it's even worse than he can imagine.

For the Long Black Coffin has a history. And that history will lead Johnny into a web of murder, insanity, and sexual perversion. He'll learn gruesome family secrets that connect a decade-old series of child abductions to a primordial evil that lives on in the car in the form of a sadistic teenage girl.

A girl whose mother was human, but whose father was anything but.”

My Thoughts: 
I have never been a huge horror fan but I’ve been trying to branch out and read different things. While I was browsing netgalley one day, this book caught my attention right away. While it wasn’t the best read ever, it was still enjoyable.

The writing was super creepy and compelling and captivated me from the prologue (which was creepy and made we want to read more). The writing kind of reminded me of Stephen King’s (which is saying a ton). The main protagonist Johnny Breede was funny and full of spunk but still was practical and had a conscious.  

While the story mostly had an eerie moods, there were some pretty cool scenes in it too. There was a lot of drug and party scenes that led to some interesting comments. My favorite line would have to be “Swear I just saw a unicorn smoking joints with centaurs”! Yes – that’s actually from the story. Those druggie scenes were majorly cray. I really liked these parts because as a new horror reader, it was nice to have some light parts to calm my nerves.

Now, onto the gory goodness. The actual horror story was really interesting, especially with the dark themes and mystery involved with this story. Kurt, who was Johnny’s best friend, played a huge role to the plot in the beginning. I really liked seeing his obsession with his father and trying to analyze his life. The real central part about Kurt was the introduction to his father who was cruel and had a deadly secret. The whole story from there has to do with Johnny discovering what it is and dealing with the demons that came with it.

There were a lot of sexual scenes that kind of added a weird twist to the story. If you don’t like sex or are too young, then I don’t suggest reading this book. There were parts in the book that felt long and drawn out but later those parts lead to something greater. Also, the mystery was built over time and actually served a purpose rather than a filler. Really loved that too.

Towards the end I started losing interest in the story simply because I got tired of the sex. Other than that, I’d recommend this book to those looking for a horror novel that isn’t super gory.

Rating: 3/5 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Review: Rape Girl


Title: Rape Girl
Author: Alina Klein
Release Date: September 1st 2012
Publisher: namelos
Pages: 126
Source: Netgalley

Summary:
“Valerie always wanted to be the smart girl. The pretty girl. The popular girl.

But not the rape girl.

That’s who she is now. Rape Girl. Because everyone seems to think they know the truth about what happened with Adam that day, and they don’t think Valerie’s telling it.

Before, she had a best friend, a crush, and a close-knit family. After, she has a court case, a support group, and a house full of strangers.

The real truth is, nothing will ever be the same.”

My Thoughts: 
I never feel comfortable talking or reading about rape because of how intense and horrific it can be. While I have not read many books on the topic I was interested in this young adult version because I wanted to see a younger perspective on it. I wanted to see how a young girl would cope with the aftermath of such a horrifying event. Sadly though, Rape girl fell short for me. Now, don’t get me wrong, the story has some very powerful and realistic scenes that left me feeling raw.

I really wanted to connect to Valarie and feel all the pain and sorrow she had to go through, but I couldn’t really feel anything for her. This whole book is super short and to be honest it felt incomplete by the end and some chapters felt like they were put together at the last minute. I just didn’t have enough time with Valarie to actually develop strong enough feelings for her struggle. Also, I had a huge problem with her character too.

While Valarie went through an unforgivable experience, it deeply bothered me on how she seemed only concerned with how other’s would view her rather than trying to cope. It bothered me so much because I just couldn’t connect with that at all. I wanted to be in her mind and see how her mental health was after the event and see how she worked through that. The social aspect just really turned me off. I mean Valarie’s mother having her breakdown felt more realistic to me than anything else. It was just so frustrating, and the ending didn’t do anything for me either.

While this book missed the mark for me, I do see the importance of this story. Rape Girl is a powerful and graphic novel I feel would be great for young readers. While the story didn’t go into enough depth for me, I think it would be a great read for younger readers wanting a glimpse of tougher issues.

Rating: 2/5

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (10)


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine! Each week, bloggers spotlight what upcoming release they're eager for.

Title: The Walking Dark by Robin Wasserman
 Released: September 10th 2013
Summary from Goodreads:
“They called it the killing day. Twelve people dead, all in the space of a few hours. Five murderers: neighbors, relatives, friends. All of them so normal. All of them seemingly harmless. All of them now dead by their own hand . . . except one. And that one has no answers to offer the shattered town. She doesn't even know why she killed—or whether she'll do it again.

Something is waking in the sleepy town of Oleander's, Kansas—something dark and hungry that lives in the flat earth and the open sky, in the vengeful hearts of upstanding citizens. As the town begins its descent into blood and madness, five survivors of the killing day are the only ones who can stop Oleander from destroying itself. Jule, the outsider at war with the world; West, the golden boy at war with himself; Daniel, desperate for a different life; Cass, who's not sure she deserves a life at all; and Ellie, who believes in sacrifice, fate, and in evil. Ellie, who always goes too far. They have nothing in common. They have nothing left to lose. And they have no way out. Which means they have no choice but to stand and fight, to face the darkness in their town—and in themselves.”

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Review: Every Day


Title: Every Day
Author: David Levithan
Release Date: August 28th 2012
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Pages: 324
Source: Purchased

Summary:
“Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.

There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.”

My Thoughts: 

I have never read a book quite like Every Day in my entire reading life.

When I first went into this novel, I expected it to only focus on the romance but I was so wrong. This story is about all the different people in the world. It’s so beautiful and just amazing. I really loved seeing A go through the bodies and seeing the lives they lived through a new perspective. It made me really think about how everyone is unique in their own way. That was my favorite part of the whole book. The journey through each person.

The love A had for Rhiannon was deep. I mean he/she found every way possible to be near her. I know that sounds creepy to some people but I found it kind of sweet. The only thing I didn't like about the book was how it ended. I felt like there were too many questions left unanswered and it simply felt rushed. I kind of hope there’s a companion or sequel in the future because I want to know what happened to A and also Rhiannon.

So overall, I am so happy I read this book. It’s original and brings up a tons of thought provoking questions. It’s a very beautiful book.

Rating: 4.5/5  

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Review: The New Hunger


Title: The New Hunger
Author: Isaac Marion
Release Date: January 28th 2013
Publisher: Zola Books
Pages: 140 (ebook)
Source: Purchased

Summary:
“New York is a bayou. New Orleans is a reef. The entire country has been devastated by natural disasters and governmental collapse, and on top of everything else there is the annoying problem of zombies trying to devour you at every turn. But sixteen-year-old Nora and her younger brother Addis are about to discover the most frightening thing yet: being abandoned in this horrific world by their own parents.

Left with only a bag of clothes and a first-aid kit, Nora and Addis begin a harrowing journey to connect with anyone who isn't looking to rob them or eat them. A wounded man wrecks a meal of green beans and French fries at the top of the Space Needle in Seattle. An attempt to get a good night’s sleep in a fortified motel is ruined by an undead face staring at them through the window. And they just can’t seem to shake someone – something – that’s been following them everywhere they go….

Meanwhile, a girl named Julie is traveling toward the city in an SUV with her parents. She is only twelve, but has already seen friends die and her school burn. She has watched her father become nearly as cold and remorseless as the Dead. All she wants is someplace to call home, even if it never really will be.

And somewhere nearby, a tall man awakens in the woods, unsure of exactly where he is, or even who he is. As he struggles to remember details of his life, a single consonant comes to him: R. He is…a name that begins with R….

Isaac Marion once again demonstrates his remarkable gifts as a storyteller as he brings the world of WARM BODIES back to life. Grounding his characters in real emotion, Marion makes you root for them to save the world even as they simply try to stay alive.”
My Thoughts: 
It’s no secret that I loved Warm Bodies and when I found out Isaac made a prequel I may have squealed and flailed a bit. Even though it’s so short, I LOVED IT. I just LOVED it.

Its incredible how in such a short novella, Isaac was able to create such an apocalyptic world that seemed so real I felt like I was part of it. Seeing R from when he first turns was so insightful. I really liked watching him try to fight of becoming a zombie and to try and stay as human as possible. It made me like him even more than I did originally and I didn’t think that was possible. R’s story was probably my favorite out of the three because of how profound and deep is thoughts are. R is such a complex and interesting character because he is so different.

It was neat seeing Julie as a child and seeing some insight into her. Though I thought it was a tad boring I still liked seeing a snippet of her mother.

The most depressing and terrifying story involves Nora and Addis. To be fair, I feel like this whole prologue was Nora’s and just featured R and Julie. It was heart breaking to watch Nora struggle to survive and protect her little brother from the world and the monsters inhabiting it. I was such a contrast of seeing Addis in this world. He’s only a boy and still has his innocence. I really loved him and the happy lightness he added to the book.

This novella really helped answer some questions I had while reading Warm Bodies. It’s insightful and an emotional roller-coaster. If you liked Warm Bodies or zombie novels, than I suggest picking this up.

Rating: 5/5 

My review of Warm Bodies is here

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Review: The Hallowed Ones


Title: The Hallowed Ones
Author: Laura Bickle
Release Date: September 25th 2012
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Pages: 311
Source: Purchased

Summary:
“Katie is on the verge of her Rumspringa, the time in Amish life when teenagers can get a taste of the real world. But the real world comes to her in this dystopian tale with a philosophical bent. Rumors of massive unrest on the “Outside” abound. Something murderous is out there. Amish elders make a rule: No one goes outside, and no outsiders come in. But when Katie finds a gravely injured young man, she can’t leave him to die. She smuggles him into her family’s barn—at what cost to her community? The suspense of this vividly told, truly horrific thriller will keep the pages turning.”

My Thoughts: 
This book was perfect. I absolutely adored it from beginning to end.

I have never read a book such as The Hallowed Ones before but Laura beautifully blended two genres I never thought would go together – dystopian and religion. Yet, this story was so incredible and so unique.

The writing was beautiful and captivating and I just couldn’t get enough. The actual story itself was haunting and disturbing. The religious beliefs made the story feel even more eerie and I feel like that added to the mood of the book a lot. The monsters in this book were terrifying and gave me chills. They were just so creepy!

I really loved Katie and how strong of character she was. Katie was a fighter and stood up for what she believed in. I mean that’s saying a ton considering how she brought up. I loved seeing her question everything and making her own path. I just really loved Katie.

Even the romance between Katie and Alex was sweet and actually helped push the story along rather than smother it. I really loved these two together and I don’t often say that about characters in books.

Overall guys this book is incredible and I can’t stop gushing about it. I feel like this book is under rated and totally recommend you all pick it up!

Rating: 5/5 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (9)


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine! Each week, bloggers spotlight what upcoming release they're eager for.

Title: Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay
Released: July 23rd 2013
Summary from Goodreads:
"In the beginning was the darkness, and in the darkness was a girl, and in the girl was a secret...
In the domed city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra, a Smooth Skin, is raised to be a human sacrifice whose death will ensure her city’s vitality. In the desert outside Yuan, Gem, a mutant beast, fights to save his people, the Monstrous, from starvation. Neither dreams that together, they could return balance to both their worlds.
Isra wants to help the city’s Banished people, second-class citizens despised for possessing Monstrous traits. But after she enlists the aid of her prisoner, Gem, who has been captured while trying to steal Yuan’s enchanted roses, she begins to care for him, and to question everything she has been brought up to believe.
As secrets are revealed and Isra’s sight, which vanished during her childhood, returned, Isra will have to choose between duty to her people and the beast she has come to love."


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Review: I Hunt Killers


Title: I Hunt Killers
Author: Barry Lyga
Release Date: April 3rd 2012
Publisher:  Little, Brown and Company
Pages: 361
Source: Purchased

Summary:
What if the world's worst serial killer...was your dad?

Jasper "Jazz" Dent is a likable teenager. A charmer, one might say.

But he's also the son of the world's most infamous serial killer, and for Dear Old Dad, Take Your Son to Work Day was year-round. Jazz has witnessed crime scenes the way cops wish they could—from the criminal's point of view.

And now bodies are piling up in Lobo's Nod.

In an effort to clear his name, Jazz joins the police in a hunt for a new serial killer. But Jazz has a secret—could he be more like his father than anyone knows?”
My Thoughts: 
This book was freaking incredible and I loved it so much! I have always had a strong fascination with serial killers, but what I really loved was the psychology of a serial killer. I was always curious on what made them tick. When I came across this novel, I couldn’t help but get extremely excited. And I am so glad I did because this book did not disappoint!

I have to give huge props to Barry for making such an engrossing and disturbing story. I could not read this fast enough. Jasper was such a complex character and seeing his mindset after being with his father was fascinating. Watching Jasper struggling to fight becoming evil like his father made me root for him through the whole book.

The story was so gruesome and disturbing and I just couldn’t stop reading it. I had to know what was going to happen next. I mean the scenes felt so vivid and believable. I was just left in awe. Even the minor characters helped the story grow and that’s what I love to see. I especially loved Jasper’s friend, Howie. He often gave me the comic relief I needed after super intense scenes!

The plot twist at the end was a perfect and left me needing the sequel.

I Hunt Killers is an amazing story and a must read! 

Rating: 5/5

Monday, April 29, 2013

I always feel like a horrible person for abandoning my blog for such a long time. The truth is time just got the best of me and while I tried to tackle my personal life, my blog unfortunately suffered. Reading is my life and I am so honored I made so many friends here because of it. I'm not going to give up on blogging, in fact I am going to slowly try to get myself back into it. I'm not the best blogger in the world but I really love doing it. I guess what I am trying to say is thank you so much for those who have became my friend and for those in the future I will get to know. It really is a blessing to have such amazing people to talk to everyday. I look forward to getting to know you all better and I truly mean that. Thanks for sticking around.

XOXO
- Kat