Friday, March 28, 2014

Half-Bad Review

TITLE: Half Bad
AUTHOR: Sally Green
PUBLISHER: Viking Juvenile
PAGES: 416

BACK COVER SUMMARY: Seventeen-year-old Nathan lives in a cage: beaten, shackled like a dog, trained to kill. In a modern-day England where two warring factions of witches live amongst humans, Nathan is an abomination, the illegitimate son of the world's most terrifying and violent witch, Marcus. Nathan's only hope for survival is to escape his captors, track down Marcus, and receive the three gifts that will bring him into his own magical powers--before it's too late. But how can Nathan find his father when his every action is tracked, when there is no one safe to trust, not even family, not even the girl he loves.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: First off, there's a table of contents in this book. I can't even remember the last time I read a fiction book with a table of contents (random, I know, but it caught my attention). I really liked this book. It does move a little slowly, but I feel like that's okay. This book is a lot of back story and world building, and I think that will make the sequel really great because all of that will be done and we will be able to dive into the meat of the story. 

CHARACTERS: For some reason I really like Celia. She is the witch who keeps Nathan locked up in the cage, but for some reason I feel like she is doing her best to help Nathan with the circumstances she has been given.

COVER: The cover of this book is amazing. I didn't realize that the blood on the cover is actually in the shape of a face until I saw someone on Youtube point it out, but that made me love it even more. 

**I received an ARC of this book from Amazon Vine for my honest review.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

"Real" Book Challenge - March Update

In March I read 7 real books. That brings my total for this challenge so far to 23 books.

These Broken Stars (Starbound, #1)
1. These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

2. Roomies by Sara Zarr & Tara Altebrando

The Beginning of Everything
3. The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

Gated (Gated, #1)
4. Gated by Amy Christine Parker

Half Bad (Half Life, #1)
5. Half Bad by Sally Green

Divergent (Divergent, #1)
6. Divergent by Veronica Roth

Insurgent (Divergent, #2)
7. Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Book Haul #24

I have been waiting to get my hands on these book FOREVER and they are finally here! I'm currently reading Half Bad and then I'm going to jump straight into Divergent.

What did you get this week?

Gated Review

TITLE: Gated
AUTHOR: Amy Christine Parker
PUBLISHER: Random House
PAGES: 352

BACK COVER SUMMARY: Lyla Hamilton and her parents moved to the Community following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, looking to escape the evil in the world. They have thrived under the strict, charismatic leadership of Pioneer. Now seventeen, Lyla knows certain facts are not to be questioned:

Pioneer is her leader.
Will is her intended.
The end of the world is near.

Pioneer has visions of the imminent destruction of humanity. He says his chosen must prepare to fight off the unchosen, who will surely seek refuge in the compound's underground fortress--the Silo.

Lyla loves her family and friends, but lately she'd rather think about a certain boy outside the Community than plan for married life in the Silo with Will. But with the end of days drawing near, she will have to pick up a gun, take a side, and let everyone know where she stands.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: I loved this book so much. I've heard some talk of people not liking this book, so I was a little worried going into it, but I ended up loving it. There is a creepy cultish feeling in the begininng of the book, which hooked me right away. I'm fascinated by stories about cultures like the LDS or Amish, people who keep to themselves and have their own set of rules so this book was really interesting to me.

CHARACTERS: I really like Cody. He seems like your everyday average boy, and that's refreshing to read about in young adult novels these days. I also really liked the character of Pioneer. I feel like he plays his role extremely well, even though I don't personally like him, I felt his character was very well done.

COVER: The cover of this book is really creepy. I'm not really sure that it fits with this book though. To me, the cover says haunted ghost story or something along those lines, which this book is not at all. 

**I received an ARC of this book from Amazon Vine for my honest review.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Roomies Review

TITLE: Roomies
AUTHOR: Sara Zarr & Tara Altebrando
PUBLISHER: Little, Brown
PAGES: 279

BACK COVER SUMMARY: When East Coast native Elizabeth receives her freshman-year roommate assignment, she shoots off an e-mail to coordinate the basics: television, microwave, mini-fridge. That first note to San Franciscan Lauren sparks a series of e-mails that alters the landscape of each girl's summer--and raises questions about how two girls who are so different will ever share a dorm room.

As the countdown to college begins, life at home becomes increasingly complex. With family relationships and childhood friendships strained by change, it suddenly seems that the only people Elizabeth and Lauren can rely on are the complicated new boys in their lives...and each other. Even though they've never met.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: This book brings back some memories for me. I remember getting the information about who my college roommate was going to be and contacting her to figure out who would bring the fridge and who would bring the microwave. That was about all of our communication until we met on moving in day. This book takes it farther and the two girls continue to e-mail each other and form a friendship before they even move in together.

It's a really interesting concept and I love the idea that they are from two completely different worlds. I actually live in the bay area, so I enjoyed hearing the references to the city and places that I have been. It was just really neat hearing about these places I've actually seen.

This is a really quick and light read. I feel like it's a good "palate cleanser" to read between heavier books. While it's not necessary, I'd love to see a short sequel of the girls' interaction and how things go during their first year of college, actually living together. I think that would be fun to read about.

CHARACTERS: I liked both Lauren and Elizabeth. I like how their lives are completely different, but they are still both teenage girls with the same internal issues.

COVER: I like it. It's cute!

**I received an ARC of this book from Amazon Vine for my honest review.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Beginning of Everything Review

TITLE: The Beginning of Everything
AUTHOR: Robyn Schneider
PUBLISHER: Katherine Tegen Books
PAGES: 352

SUMMARY (from Goodreads): Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them--a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: in one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra's knee, his athletic career, and his social life.

No longer a front-runner for Homecoming King, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra's ever met, achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures.

But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: if one's singular tragedy has already hit and everything after it has matter quite a bit, what happens when more misfortune strikes?

OVERALL IMPRESSION: This wasn't as amazing as I had hoped it would be, but I still liked it. A lot of the book was slow moving, but there were a few places with a lot of feels. There was also a twist that I didn't expect at all that really helped draw me into the story.

CHARACTERS: I really liked Toby. He just seemed very genuine and like a great friend. I loved the character development that Ezra, the main character, goes through as the book progresses. We see him change as he tries to figure himself out.

COVER: The cover is extremely relevant to the book both with a physical occurrence that happens in the book, as well as the symbolism of the ups and downs that these characters go through. I don't have many yellow books, so I love the colors they used.

**I received an ARC of this book from Amazon Vine for my honest review.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Speak Review + Movie Comparison

TITLE: Speak
AUTHOR: Laurie Halse Anderson
PAGES: 208

BACK COVER SUMMARY: Melinda Sordino's freshman year is off to a horrible start. She busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops, and now her friends--and even strangers--all hate her. Months pass and things aren't getting better. She's a pariah. The lowest of the low. Avoided by everyone. But eventually, she'll reveal what happened at the party. And when she finally speaks the truth, everything will change.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Every high school should have this book on their required reading list. It shows that you never know what anyone is going through and you shouldn't judge people before you know their story. This book is filled with emotion and I believe that it depicts how many teenagers feel, even if they never experience anything near as traumatic as Melinda did. High school is a rough time where teens are trying to find themselves and figure out how to deal with emotions and life and they don't always have someone they can talk to about it. This book taught me that when I have kids, I need to make sure I don't get wrapped up in my own life so much that I'm not there for them and they know they always have someone to come to.

CHARACTERS: Mr Freeman is my favorite character. I feel like he is the only supportive character in the book. He forces Melinda to face her emotions/past without even realizing it. 

Melinda's parents make me angry. They're so wrapped up in their own worlds that they don't even realize that Melinda is crying out for help in the only way she knows how (by staying silent).

COVER: The cover is really symbolic of the book. I love the tree, as that is a big part of this story, but I also love how the tree covers her mouth.

MOVIE COMPARISON: When I was reading the interview at the back of the book, I discovered that a movie had been made starring Kristen Stewart. I actually like the movie quite a bit, but as usual the book was much better. I don't like the way the movie portrayed Andy, he just didn't come off the same way as he did in the book. If you liked the book, I would suggest giving the movie a try.

Friday, March 14, 2014

These Broken Stars Review

TITLE: These Broken Stars
AUTHORS: Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
PUBLISHER: Disney Hyperion
PAGES: 374

INSIDE COVER SUMMARY: It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they're worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other's arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder--would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won't be the same people who landed on it.

The first in a sweeping science fiction trilogy, These Broken Stars is a timeless love story about hope and survival in the face of unthinkable odds.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: The first part of the book is pretty exciting. There's a lot of chaos and panic happening. Then, the next portion is a little slow moving, but we learn about the characters and we see their interaction with each other.  

About 3/4ths of the way through the book, something happens that made me need to keep reading well past my bedtime.

There was quite a bit of hype around this book, and for me I think that hurt my feelings toward it. I was expecting something spectacular and I felt like that just wasn't there for me. Now, I did really enjoy this book, and I think the sequel will be extremely good.

CHARACTERS: I feel like there is a lot of good character development throughout the course of this book. I really like both Tarver and Lilac and I like the way they engage with each other. 

COVER: One of my favorite covers ever. It is so gorgeous!

**I received a finished copy of this book from Amazon Vine for my honest review.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Monthly Recap - February 2014

In February I read a total of 8 books! Here's what I read and a mini review of each.

Have you read any of these? What did you read in February? Let me know in the comments!