Friday, May 30, 2014

The Gospel of Winter Revew

The Gospel of Winter

TITLE: The Gospel of Winter
AUTHOR: Brendan Kiely
PUBLISHER: Margaret K. McElderry Books
PAGES: 304

INSIDE COVER SUMMARY: As sixteen-year-old Aidan Donovan's fractured family disintegrates around him, he searches for solace in a few bumps of Adderall, his father's wet bar, and the attentions of his local priest, Father Greg--the only adult who actually listens to him.

When Christmas hits, Aidan's world collapses in a crisis of trust when he recognizes the darkness of Father Greg's affections. He turns to a crew of new friends to help make sense of his life: Josie, the girl he just might love; Sophie, who's a little wild; and Mark, the charismatic swim team captain whose own secret agonies converge with Aidan's.

The Gospel of Winter maps the ways love can be used as a weapon against the innocent--but can also, in the right hands, restore hope and even faith. Brendan Kiely's unflinching and courageous debut novel exposes the damage from the secrets we keep and proves that in truth, there is power. And real love.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: This book is more about the aftereffects rather than the incidents themselves. I think most people don't image all the ways someone can be affected by something like this and just how extensive the damage can be, even for someone's future. I'm having a hard time getting my thoughts down about this book because the subject matter is just so heartbreaking. This isn't a happy book, so be prepared if you choose to read it.

CHARACTERS: I feel disconnect from the characters. I don't know anything about anybody so that makes it hard to get into the story because I don't have strong feelings towards any of the characters.

COVER: I am obsessed with the cover. The actual hard cover of the book has a silhouette of a teenage boy on it. The dust jacket has bright red words on it and a pretty gray design that looks like a stained glass window, but it is all printed on vellum so when the dust jacket is on the book, you can see the silhouette through it.

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

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Dear Killer Review **MAJOR SPOILERS**

Dear Killer

TITLE: Dear Killer
AUTHOR: Katherine Ewell
PUBLISHER: Katherine Tegen Books
PAGES: 368

SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS: Rule One--Nothing is right, nothing is wrong.
Rule Two--Be careful.
Rule Three--Fight using your legs whenever possible, because they're the strongest part of your body. You're arms are the weakest.
Rule Four--Hit to kill. The first blow should be the last, if at all possible.
Rule Five--The letters are the law.

Kit takes her role as London's notorious "Perfect Killer" seriously. The letters and cash that come to her via a secret mailbox are not a game; choosing who to kill is not an impulse decision. Every letter she receives begins with the "Dear Killer," and every time Kit murders, she leaves a letter with the dead body. Her moral nihilism and thus her murders are a way of life--the only way of life she has ever known.

But when a letter appears in the mailbox that will have the power to topple Kit's convictions as perectly as she commits her murders, she must make a decision: follow the only rules she has ever known, or challenge Rule One, and go from there. 

OVERALL IMPRESSION: I'm intrigued by the plot. It's a really strange and twisted situation, which makes for good reading in my eyes.

I did not like the ending at all. For me, a perfect ending would have been Kit killing Alex and getting away with everything. And that being her last murder, she moves with her mom and starts over with a normal life, with nobody ever finding out. I feel like Kit giving herself up at the end goes against her personality and is not something that she would choose to do.

CHARACTERS: I liked Maggie a lot, so it was kind of hard for me reading this knowing that Kit was planning on killing her. I was kind of hoping that she would change her mind, but I also knew if she did change her mind that would go against everything she has ever known and the rules that keep her in line.

COVER: The cover is okay. I like the script in the background that looks like it could be one of the letters she receives.

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

Monday, May 26, 2014

The Here and Now Review

The Here and Now

TITLE: The Here and Now
AUTHOR: Ann Brashares
PUBLISHER: Delacorte Press
PAGES: 256

BACK COVER SUMMARY: This is the story of seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn't come from a different country. She came from a different time--a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins.

Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they're from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she's told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth.

But everything changes when Prenna falls for Ethan Jarves.

Thrilling, exhilarating, haunting, and heartbreaking, The Here and Now is a twenty-first century take on an impossible romance. A girl from the future might be able to save us...if she lets go of the one thing she's found to hold on to.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: The concept of this book is so interesting to me. It has the dystopian elements that I love, but lately have been getting redundant, so the time travel element is a nice change. I really loved the idea of this book, but I feel like more could have been done with it. More detailed explanations about the future, time travel, what some of the characters were trying to accomplish.

CHARACTERS: I loved both Prenna and Ethan. The relationship between the two of them is so cute and sweet, but it's also very natural as well, none of that irritating insta-love here.

COVER: I don't really like the cover. The font is too harsh and the partial face is kind of creepy.

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

Friday, May 23, 2014

Since You've Been Gone Review

Since You've Been Gone

TITLE: Since You've Been Gone
AUTHOR: Morgan Matson
PUBLISHER: Simon and Schuster Books For Young Readers
PAGES: 464

BACK COVER SUMMARY: It was Sloane who yanked Emily out of her shell and made life 100% more interesting. But right before what should have been the most epic summer, Sloane just...disappears. All she leaves behind is a to-do list. On it, thirteen Sloan-inspired tasks that Emily would normally never try. But what if they could bring her best friend back?

Emily now has this unexpected summer, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected) to check things off Sloane's list. Who knows what she'll find.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: This was a really cute, fun summer read. It is the perfect contemporary book to read to make you feel great. It is a rather large book, but it doesn't feel that way when you are reading. This is a sweet story about coming out of your shell and expanding your comfort zone to do things that are good for you and help develop you as a person. 

CHARACTERS: I really enjoyed watching Emily grow over the course of the story. She is just a great character and is able to come out of her comfort zone and realize that she can enjoy life just by pushing herself a little bit. I also really liked the group of friends that Emily makes during her summer adventures. Frank, Collins and particularly Dawn seem to be really good for Emily.

COVER: I really like the cover. It makes me want to go out and get an ice cream cone and have a summer adventure of my own.

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

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Killer Instinct Review

Killer  Instinct

TITLE: Killer Instinct
AUTHOR: S.E. Green
PUBLISHER: Simon Pulse
PAGES: 272

BACK COVER SUMMARY: Lane is a typical teenager: Loving family. Good grades. After-school job at the local animal hospital. Martial arts enthusiast. But her secret obsession is studying serial killers. She understands them, knows what makes them tick.


Because she might be one herself.

Lane channels her dark impulses by hunting criminals--delivering justice when the law fails. The vigilantism stops shy of murder. But with each visceral rush, the line of self-control blurs.

And then a young preschool teacher goes missing. Only to parts. 

When Lane excitedly gets involved in the hunt for the Decapitator, the vicious serial murderer who has come to her hometown, she gets dangerously caught up in a web of lies about her birth dad and her own dark past. And once the Decapitator contacts Lane directly, Lane knows she is no longer invisible or safe. Now she needs to use her unique talents to find the true killer's identity before she--or someone she loves--becomes the next victim...

OVERALL IMPRESSION: This book is not a book for everyone. It is dark and twisted and I don't think that everyone will enjoy it. On the other hand, I was sucked in from the first chapter. I loved the writing style and how it made me feel like I was in the story. 

I feel very much like my brain has been scrambled after finishing this. I loved trying to figure everything out, and the ending was a shocker for me. I don't want to say too much and give anything away, but this book is filled with twists and turns.

CHARACTERS: It's hard to relate to the characters in this book. Lane has a pretty dark personality, but she makes a wonderful main character and I really enjoyed reading about her.

COVER: The cover is okay. It's pretty plain and a little creepy.

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

Friday, May 16, 2014

To All The Boys I've Loved Before Review

To All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #1)

TITLE: To All The Boys I've Loved Before
AUTHOR: Jenny Han
PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
PAGES: 368

BACK COVER SUMMARY: Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren't love letters than anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she's written. One for every boy she's ever loved--five in all. When she writes, she can pour out her heart and soul and say all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean's love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: The beginning was a little bit slow moving, but about 60 pages in, it picks up and starts to get interesting. This was cute, and a really good example of the perfect contemporary read. I was expecting it to delve more into each of the letters and maybe go on to explain more about each of the boys that Lara Jean felt she was in love with, but this is more about what Lara Jean does after she discovers the letters have been sent out and doesn't really have a whole lot to do with the letters themselves.

CHARACTERS: I can really relate to the main character, Lara Jean. On page 32, she talks about her fear of driving, and it sounds exactly like me. She's also into scrapbooking, which I love as well. I loved the relationship between Lara Jean, Kitty and Margo. It is the exact relationship that I would want if I had sisters. 

COVER:  I like the cover. I like the glimpse into Lara Jean's room and I like the handwritten font of the title.

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

Rainbow of Books Challenge - Bout of Books

The Rainbow of Books Challenge is hosted by Neon Yeti Reads as part of the Bout of Books Readathon. This was a little bit of a challenge for me, as I'm moving soon and most of my books are packed up in boxes. But here's what I found for my rainbow book tower:

 photo IMG_0005.jpg

1. White - Rain by Amanda Sun
7. Indigo - Echo by Alyson Noel

The only book I've read from this list is Dear Killer, but I can't wait to read them all!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Spell It Out Challenge - Bout Of Books

Spell it out challenge

This challenge is hosted by Kimberly Faye Reads as part of the Bout of Books readathon. I'm going to use my first name and books that I have previously read.

Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1)
Tell Me a Secret
Across The Wide And Lonesome Prairie: The Oregon Trail Diary Of Hattie Campbell
The Eye of Minds (The Mortality Doctrine, #1)
The Yellow House Mystery (The Boxcar Children, #3)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Books You're Looking Forward To Challenge

So I literally just finished reading my second book for the readathon (Killer Instinct by S.E. Green) and my brain feels like it has been scrambled. That book just left me in shock basically, so I decided to take a break and work on this challenge. This challenge is part of the Bout of Books readathon and it is hosted by River City Reading. Basically, you create a list of books that you are looking forward to reading. So, here's my list in no particular order.

 How to Tell If Your Cat Is Plotting to Kill You
1. How To Tell if Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You

The Program (The Program, #1)
2. The Program by Suzanne Young

Seriously... I'm Kidding
3. Seriously...I'm Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres

Rebel Belle
4. Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

5. S. by J.J. Abrams

6. Room by Emma Donoghue

Eleanor & Park
7. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Splintered (Splintered, #1)
8. Splintered by A.G. Howard

Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores
9. Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores

Through the Zombie Glass (White Rabbit Chronicles, #2)
10. Through the Zombie Glass by Gena Showalter

Monday, May 12, 2014

Bout Of Books Readathon Progress

Bout of Books

Goals: I don't have any really specific goals. I'd like to read as much as I possibly can and I'd like to participate in a few of the challenges.


MONDAY (5/12/14):
Books Read From Today: The Here and Now, Killer Instinct
Books Completed Today: The Here and Now
Pages Read Today: 134 + 138 = 272
Challenges Participated in Today: If you like X, try Y -- The Book Barbies
Total Number of Books Read: 1
Total Pages Read: 272

TUESDAY (5/13/14):
Books Read From Today: Killer Instinct, Since You've Been Gone
Books Completed Today: Killer Instinct
Pages Read Today: 119 + 180 = 299
Challenges Participated in Today: Books You're Looking Forward To -- River City Reading
Total Number of Books Read: 2
Total Pages Read: 571

WEDNESDAY (5/14/14):
Books Read From Today: Since You've Been Gone
Books Completed Today: None
Pages Read Today: 57
Challenges Participated in Today: None
Total Number of Books Read: 2
Total Pages Read: 628

THURSDAY (5/15/14):
Books Read From Today: Since You've Been Gone, Legend
Books Completed Today: Since You've Been Gone
Pages Read Today: 209 + 49 = 258
Challenges Participated in Today: Spell It Out Challenge -- kimberlyfaye reads
Total Number of Books Read: 3
Total Pages Read: 886

FRIDAY (5/16/14):
Books Read From Today: Legend
Books Completed Today: None
Pages Read Today: 209
Challenges Participated in Today: Rainbow Book Challenge -- Neon Yeti Reads
Total Number of Books Read: 3
Total Pages Read: 1095

SATURDAY (5/17/14):
Books Read From Today: Legend, Tuck Everlasting, Rain
Books Completed Today: Legend, Tuck Everlasting
Pages Read Today: 45 + 139 + 14 = 198
Challenges Participated in Today: None
Total Number of Books Read: 5
Total Pages Read: 1293

SUNDAY (5/18/14):
Books Read From Today: Rain
Books Completed Today: None
Pages Read Today: 15
Challenges Participated in Today: None
Total Number of Books Read: 5
Total Pages Read: 1308

Monday, May 5, 2014

Dear Nobody Review

Dear Nobody: The True Diary of Mary Rose

TITLE: Dear Nobody: The True Diary of Mary Rose
EDITED BY: Gillian McCain & Legs McNeil
PUBLISHER: Sourcebooks Fire
PAGES: 336

SUMMARY (from Goodreads): Go Ask Alice was a hoax. But Dear Nobody is a true teen diary so raw and so edgy its authenticity rings off every page.

"I am a freak."

The words and drawings of Mary Rose present a gritty, powerful, no-holds-barred true experience of a teen girl so desperate to be loved, so eager to fit in that she'll go to extremes that could cost her her life.

This is not a story about addiction. Or sexual promiscuity. Or cystic fibrosis. It's the story of a young woman with a powerful will to live, who more than anything wants to be heard...and loved.

This compelling, emotional account ensures her voice will not be forgotten.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: This was a heartbreaking story. I feel so bad about everything this girl had to go through. All she wanted was acceptance and she compromised herself in an attempt to get it. This story is not for everyone. It's extremely emotional and I had a hard time getting through it. 

CHARACTERS: This is a hard category to write about for this book. I feel like I understand Mary Rose because we were reading directly from her diary. There aren't really any characters in this book that I like. I feel like with everything that's happening to Mary Rose that she should have a support system in her family at the least, but there's no one there for her and it breaks my heart.

COVER: The cover is fine. It's hard for me to judge the cover of this book with the intensity of feelings that I have about the book itself.

**I received an E-ARC of this book from Netgalley for my honest review.

The Fault in Our Stars Review

The Fault in Our Stars

TITLE: The Fault in Our Stars
AUTHOR: John Green
PUBLISHER: Dutton Books
PAGES: 318

INSIDE COVER SUMMARY: Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has brought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: I have been wanting to read this book for a really long time. This is my first John Green book, and now I want to read all of his books. I was competely sucked in from the very first line. I love the writing style and the voice.

I enjoyed the story line of this book so much. The pacing of the story was perfect. I love how the events unfolded, particularly the part of the story that has to do with Hazel's favorite book.

CHARACTERS: The character development throughout this book was great. I felt like I knew each of the characters personally. Hazel and Gus just fit together perfectly. Isaac was a great character as well.

COVER: I am obsessed with the cover. The colors are gorgeous and I love how it looks like a chalkboard.

April 2014 Reading Update

This month I read a total of 7 books. That means so far this year, I have read 31 books.

The World Of Veronica Roth's Divergent SeriesDear Nobody: The True Diary of Mary RoseFaking NormalLiv, ForeverThe Fault in Our StarsDear Killer

This month for the 2014 "Real" Book Challenge, I read 6 books, bringing my total for this year to 29 books.