1.31.2012

Book Review: The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan


There are many things that Annah would like to forget: the look on her sister's face before Annah left her behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, her first glimpse of the Horde as they swarmed the Dark City, the sear of the barbed wire that would scar her for life. But most of all, Annah would like to forget the morning Elias left her for the Recruiters.

Annah's world stopped that day, and she's been waiting for Elias to come home ever since. Somehow, without him, her life doesn't feel much different than the dead that roam the wasted city around her. Until she meets Catcher, and everything feels alive again.

But Catcher has his own secrets. Dark, terrifying truths that link him to a past Annah has longed to forget, and to a future too deadly to consider. And now it's up to Annah: can she continue to live in a world covered in the blood of the living? Or is death the only escape from the Return's destruction?


My Review: I liked this one better than the first one, but sadly I wasn't all that impressed. I don't think the characters were carried over very well from the second book. I didn't think they were all that realistic, and I thought they were all very distant. I didn't feel like the story went anywhere. I felt like I was left where the first one ended. I was sort of confused.

I wish there had been more emotion in the book, and more explanations. How exactly did everything get the way it is? The ending wasn't very satisfying at all. I didn't leave me wanting more like the second book did. It left me thinking... that's it? Nothing happened.

I'm really disappointed that I didn't enjoy this one. I had high hopes for it, and it fell short. I do like all the book covers in the series, though.



Thanks for reading!

1.30.2012

Safe and Sound



I absolutely love this song. Can't wait for The Hunger Games!


1.29.2012

In My Mailbox (9)

In my mailbox is a weekly even hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren.com. It's a great way to meet other bloggers and share what books you've received in the past week, whether they be from your mailbox, a library, a friend, or a bookstore. This week I got two books:


1. The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan
I got this one from my school's library. I've been waiting for this one for a long time now, and so I was really excited to see that my library finally had a copy! I didn't love the first one, but the second one was really good so I'm excited to see how this one turns out.

2. Divergent by Veronica Roth
I got this one at the used bookstore downtown, The Book Barn. I've read so many good reviews about this book, especially from another blogger and friend of mine, Lulu the Bookworm! I can't wait to read it!


That's what was in my mailbox this week! What about yours? Leave links to your posts in the comments, and I'll check them out!

Thanks for reading!



1.28.2012

Book Review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs


Synopsis (from Goodreads.com):
A mysterious island.

An abandoned orphanage.

A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.
My Review: I don't think this book quite lived up to all the hype about it, but I did enjoy it. I'll start out by saying it isn't as creepy or scary as it's made out to be. The creepiest part of the book is the pictures. The pictures are pretty interesting, but I think they took some of the focus off the actual story. I think the book would have been better if it just had the descriptions of the pictures. It is pretty cool how they were included, but it could have been done better.
I enjoyed the characters. They were all realistic and dimensional. They were well-developed and thought out.
The story was unique and engaging. It wasn't as adventurous or action-packed as I thought it would be, but it did have a few interesting twists. There was a little bit of a cliffhanger ending, so I'm hoping the second book pops up soon!
I think it was a great debut novel. It was well thought out, and if the pictures hadn't taken a lot of the spotlight, then it would have been pretty darn awesome.
Despite it's few fall backs, I would definitely recommend this book, especially to mystery and paranormal fans.


Thanks for reading!

1.26.2012

Chapter Samplers: Exposed by Kimberly Marcus

Synopsis:
In the dim light of the darkroom, I'm alone, but not for long.
As white turns to gray, Kate is with me.
The background of the dance studio blurred, so the focus is all on her legs extended in a perfect soaring split.
The straight line to my squiggle,
my forever-best friend.


Sixteen-year-old Liz is Photogirl—sharp, focused and confident in what she sees through her camera lens. Confident that she and Kate will be best friends forever.


But everything changes in one blurry night. Suddenly, Kate is avoiding her, and people are looking the other way when she passes in the halls. As the aftershocks from a startling accusation rip through Liz's world, everything she thought she knew about photography, family, friendship and herself shifts out of focus. What happens when the picture you see no longer makes sense? What do you do when you may lose everything you love most? Told in stunning, searingly raw free verse, Exposed is Kimberly Marcus's gut-wrenching, riveting debut and will appeal to fans of Ellen Hopkins, Laurie Halse Anderson and Virginia Euwer Wolff.
Over on RandomBuzzers.com (a great website for book lovers!), there are a bunch of chapter samplers you can read. This is awesome, because if you're interested in a book you can see if it's on the list and read the available section, and see if it's something you'd like to read. The 'shelf' has lots of books from Random House like The Maze Runner by James Dashner. They also have a 'featured' section. Exposed was featured on Random Buzzers a few weeks ago, so I thought I'd go see if they had a chapter sampler. They did! You can read it HERE.


This book seems really interesting, and unique! It's written in free-verse form, and I've never read a whole free-verse book. Also, I love photography, especially film photography. I'm adding this one to my wish list!


Thanks for reading!

1.18.2012

Book Review: The Deliverer by Jason D. Morrow


 Synopsis (from Goodreads.com): After a series of strange events, Silas Ainsley realizes that he is not a normal seventeen-year-old. In his journey to escape from two mysterious headhunters, Silas discovers his life and death are key to saving an entire world, called Marenon, from darkness and destruction. The only way to get to Marenon is to die, and Silas has just arrived.



My review: *I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.* I really enjoyed this book! It was fast-paced, action-packed fantasy! Of course I loved it! It was written in alternating perspectives, which is another thing I really enjoy. The characters were all really nicely developed right off the bat. It's great when it's written like that, because it's easier to get a sense of who the character is and who they become as the book goes on.
The book starts of in our world, giving us time to relate with Silas in particular and learn a bit about who he is. Then it switches off the Marenon along with great description and explanation. No confusion there! :)


Also nice about this book: It's about a teenage boy. So refreshing! It's nice to read about teenage boys every once in a while and see some hardcore action. This is a great book for that!


Don't be put off by its 'self-published' status. It's clear a lot of hard work has gone into this book and it is definitely worth reading!







Thanks for reading!

1.17.2012

Book Review: The Project by Brian Falkner

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com):
It begins with a book, the most boring book in the world, a book so boring no one could ever read it—the perfect place to hide a dangerous secret.

When best friends Luke and Tommy volunteer to help move books from their library's basement to higher ground during a quick rising flood, they discover the only surviving copy of the most boring book in the world: Leonardo's River, lost for over 100 years. The book is connected to Leonardo da Vinci and is worth millions, so they return that night to steal it. Unfortunately, they're not the only ones with that plan. . .
 
My Review: This book was certainly interesting. Brian Falkner definitely has a unique writing style. It didn't draw me in as much as Brain Jack did, but it was enough to keep me reading.
The main characters, two teenage boys, were funny and realistic. I love that. I especially love the prank the boys pulled that started out the whole misadventure. And then there was something about proving what the most boring book in the world was. That was rather amusing. 

Something that I found rather interesting was that one of the main characters has a photographic memory. It is a constant source of amusement, annoyance, and awe in the book, and turns out to be very important in more than one occasion. The other main character spoke German. Very cool, seeing as I neither have a photographic memory, nor do I speak German.

The whole stealing Leonardo's River thing didn't really turn out as expected. That's part one of the surprise in this book. The thieves weren't exactly crazy book collectors, or people trying to get rich from a crazy book collector. Part two of surprise: Leonardo's River. Not exactly what it seems. Part three: really unexpected. I can't say more without adding spoilers, but I was definitely surprised.

I expected this book to be somewhat cliche and was excited to see that it wasn't, even if it was definitely different. This is a good on-the-side misadventure book. A fun read. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did!



The brilliant book trailer:



Thanks for reading!

1.13.2012

Boo-yah!

New ratings system is up! And I added it to all my old posts! Woot! Here it is:


It's also on my sidebar for easy reference :).
Just for fun, here's an awesome video:


Thanks for reading!

Borrowing Abby Grace Winner


The winner of the Amazon vouchers for Borrowing Abby Graces is Tristan! Congrats! You've been notified via Twitter and email. Don't forget to confirm!

Thanks to all who entered! I wish you all could've won something!

Check back tomorrow for a review of The Project by Brian Falkner!

1.12.2012

A Few Orders of Business...

I've been having lots of Internet issues lately. Our dumb computers won't stay connected, and when the disconnect they can't locate our network. I would compensate for this at school, but the school's server blocks blogger. Sometimes I think the universe is telling me I should quit blogging. Admittedly, I've considered it. Luckily for the people who enjoy reading my blog, I like it too much to seriously consider it. That's one reason for my lack of posts lately. The other is homework. I detest homework.


Well that was just in case you were wondering. Not really all that important. Here are my somewhat more important matters:


1. The giveaway I'm currently hosting, the one for Borrowing Abby Grace, ends tomorrow. Hurry up and enter if you haven't already! The books are definitely worth reading, and they're short! So even if you're swamped by homework like me, or have other more pressing things that dominate your reading time, Borrowing Abby Grace is perfect!


2. I'm adding a rating system to my reviews! I'm going to go back through all my old reviews and add the system to them, but that might take a while. So while all of the old reviews might not have a rating, the new ones will (as soon as I get one set up)! I'll have the key to my rating system somewhere on my sidebar as soon as I work out the details.

1.08.2012

Book Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern


Synopsis (from Goodreads.com):
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des RĂªves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

My Review: Wow. This book was magnificent. I am almost speechless.


I was hooked by page one, unable to put the book down as the tale inside unfolded. As the story progressed, I noticed three different parts slowly unfurling and coming together in ways I didn't expect. Throughout the novel there was a sense of excitement and foreboding. Things that seemed unimportant become monumental.


I loved the ways the characters unfolded and became tangible and familiar, and I loved the ways their paths crossed, some in unexpected ways. I loved watching the "game" unfold, holding my breath as I waited for the next move. I especially loved watching the love story shine through.


The Night Circus was beautifully written and wonderfully presented through both the lovely cover and ensnaring opening. The end left me breathless, not wanting it to end but feeling complete and perfect all at once.


I adore this book and am glad to have read it. I will definitely be re-reading it in the near future, and hope that everyone else who reads it loves it as much as I did.

I wish I could give it a million stars:

 
 




Thanks for reading!

1.06.2012

Fablehaven by Brandon Mull

This summer while I was on vacation, my aunt asked me if I'd read the Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull. When I said I hadn't, she insisted that I had to and then proceeded to ask if she could buy them for me. My response: Heck yeah! I love books! We left a few days after this awesome occurrence, and when I got home I dutifully placed my wonderful new books on my shelf.

Before I continue my story, let me tell you about Fablehaven. It is a middle grade series about preserves for magical creatures (fairies, dragons, satyrs, trolls, centaurs, demons, etc.). Mostly it is about one preserve in particular (called Fablehaven), more specifically the brother and sister (Seth and Kendra) who come to visit their grandparents who are the caretakers of the preserve. It sounded like a good series, something I would like a lot. Unfortunately they're not the type of books I normally review here (not that it matters all that much) and I signed up for A.P. Literature and Composition. A.P. Lit = lots of reading and essays. Fablehaven was pushed to the back burner and virtually forgotten.

Over Christmas break, I was re-organizing my bookshelf when Fablehaven caught my eye. Books! One's I hadn't read! I hadn't had new books in a while (this was before Santa came...) and I was desperate for something to read. I also felt sort of bad that it had taken so long for me to remember my aunt's gift. So I set to reading.

The first in the series is clearly a middle grade book, but I didn't let that throw me off. I kept reading, discovering as I did that I loved the characters and the magical world the author had created for them. I was completely hooked. That was before I got to book two. I quickly discovered that I wasn't going to be able to put this one down. The need to find out what happened next led to my finishing of nearly one book a day. These books aren't small. They're not Lord of the Rings huge, but they're definitely not small.

As school started up again this week, my reading time has sadly been cut down. I'm going on four days for the fifth and final book in the series, and it's killing me. Really. In the time I've written and posted this blog post, I could have made considerable progress with the book. That's why I'm so glad it's Friday. I finally get to finish my book! I finally get to see what happens next!

So if you have any free time and are looking for a great series, I suggest Fablehaven. It is absolutely fantastic. I'm in love with it. Read these books. The end.



Well that's why I'm excited for Friday and the weekend. What are you looking forward to? Thanks for reading!

1.04.2012

Book Review: Trash by Andy Mulligan

Synopsis (from Goodreads): In an unnamed Third World country, in the not-so-distant future, three “dumpsite boys” make a living picking through the mountains of garbage on the outskirts of a large city.

One unlucky-lucky day, Raphael finds something very special and very mysterious. So mysterious that he decides to keep it, even when the city police offer a handsome reward for its return. That decision brings with it terrifying consequences, and soon the dumpsite boys must use all of their cunning and courage to stay ahead of their pursuers. It’s up to Raphael, Gardo, and Rat—boys who have no education, no parents, no homes, and no money—to solve the mystery and right a terrible wrong.
My Review: I absolutely loved it. I liked how the driving force of the novel was the mystery, but that the state of the country (really similar to the Philippines) wasn't left out. I think the author did a really good job of balancing everything out, including the characters (the book was written in alternating points of views). The book was written as a group of people, mostly three boys, telling a story, telling what happened to them. It was a great story, and left lots of room for me to think.

The author did a great job with the alternating perspectives, spacing them out just right. I liked how each person had their own specific voice, and how they said things how they were. The way the characters acted made the book very realistic. It was an excellent read.

I highly recommend this book, especially to dystopian and mystery fans. The book is fairly short making it a quick read, but one that lingers afterwards.

If you're interested, here are some links:




Thanks for reading!

1.02.2012

2011 Challenges

So I only did one challenge in 2011, and that was the 2011 YA Reading Challenge hosted by For The Love of YA.  I started out with the "Fun Size" reading challenge, then upped it to the "Jumbo Size." I finished! Here is my list:

1. Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
2. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
3. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
4. Fire by Kristin Cashore
5. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
6. The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa
7. The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa
8. Need by Carrie Jones
9. Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick
10. The Thirteenth Chime by Emma Michaels
11. Matched by Ally Condie
12. The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
13. Brain Jack by Brian Falkner
14. Firelight by Sophie Jordan
15. City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare
16. Reckless by Cornelia Funke
17. Beastly by Alex Finn
18. The Dead Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan
19. I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
20. Captivate by Carrie Jones
21. Lemonade Mouth by Mark Peter Hughes
22. Entice by Carrie Jones
23. Across the Universe by Beth Revis
24. Solid by Shelley Workinger
25. Forever by Maggie Stiefvater
26. I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
27. Far From the War by Jeffrey David Payne
28. A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
29. Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick
30. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
31. The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa
32. Enchanted Ivy by Sarah Beth Durst
33. The Death Cure by James Dashner
34. Sea Change by Aimee Friedman
35. The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan
36. Settling by Shelley Workinger
37. Borrowing Abby Grace Episodes 2 and 3
38. Borrowing Abby Grace Episode 3
39. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
40. Ice by Sarah Beth Durst

Pretty good, eh? I think I'm going to try for a few more challenges this year, like the Debut Author Challenge and the Dystopia 2012 Challenge. I'm still looking for more. ;).

Thanks for reading!

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