Tuesday, January 31, 2012

ten things we did (and probably shouldn't have)- Review

Ten Things We Did by Sarah Mlynowski

Goodreads Description
2 girls + 3 guys + 1 house – parents = 10 things April and her friends did that they (definitely, maybe, probably) shouldn't have.
If given the opportunity, what sixteen-year-old wouldn't jump at the chance to move in with a friend and live parent-free? Although maybe "opportunity" isn't the right word, since April had to tell her dad a tiny little untruth to make it happen (see #1: "Lied to Our Parents"). But she and her housemate Vi are totally responsible and able to take care of themselves. How they ended up "Skipping School" (#3), "Throwing a Crazy Party" (#8), "Buying a Hot Tub" (#4), and, um, "Harboring a Fugitive" (#7) at all is kind of a mystery to them.
In this hilarious and bittersweet tale, Sarah Mlynowski mines the heart and mind of a girl on her own for the first time. To get through the year, April will have to juggle a love triangle, learn to do her own laundry, and accept that her carefully constructed world just might be falling apart . . . one thing-she-shouldn't-have-done at a time.

My Thoughts
I thought this book was cute, smart, fun and most importantly hilarious. On more than one occasion I actually laughed out loud a true indicator to the book’s hilarity.  I really can’t say how much I loved this book.
I thought that April and Vi’s plan to trick their parents was genius. I also loved that Mlynowski includes samples of the emails throughout the book. They definitely added to the story.
April was a fun character to watch develop. In the beginning she thought she knew exactly what she wanted, only to learn at the end that what she thought she wanted wasn’t what she wanted at all. The fun part, of course, was seeing April discover this. The truth is sometimes we really do have to fall on our face to be able to see what we always wanted. This is true with April.
April thinks that living with Vi is a dream come true, which it is in a way. I’m sure looking back April wouldn’t regret making that decision and would understand that everything that happened to her brought her to the point she needed to be. However, that’s not to say that everything she went through was easy. She learned the hard way that people aren’t always who we think they are and even the best of friends have differences and make mistakes.
My other favorite character was Hudson. He was so sweet and always willing to help April. One of my favorite parts of the book was when Hudson helps April out (I won’t tell you with what) when Noah wouldn’t. Then Noah has the nerve to get mad about it! (Can you say jerk?!)
Noah was by far my least favorite character. The things he did got on my nerves. He just acted like a total jerk throughout most of the book and all April could talk about was on sweet he was. I just didn’t see it.
Overall, this book is a fun, lighthearted read that will have you laughing your butt off while in the same breath teaching readers valuable life lessons. A definite must read!

Grade: A
Friday, January 20, 2012

The Maze Runner-Review

The Maze Runner (Maze Runner, #1)

Goodreads Description:
When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.

Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.

Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.
My Thoughts:
I picked up The Maze Runner hoping for a dystopian that was less love story driven and more government gone wrong. While The Maze Runner, does in fact have less of a love story component, there wasn’t a clear villain and the evil government in charge of taking their memories and keeping them locked in the Glades is only somewhat revealed at the end.
For me, this story kind of flat lined. It wasn’t terrible but it was far from great. The memory erasing part was a little confusing for me because some things they remembered, while others they didn’t. They remembered words and the language from their old life, yet they still created weird slang terms (which I didn’t particularly care for). Also, it seemed like every time Thomas remembered anything he would point out that while he remembered the concept the details were unclear. I found that distracting.
I liked the idea of the maze and how every day it changed. However, I didn’t care for the way the maze was solved. I think there was a better way to do it.
The pace of the book is somewhat slow and for much of the book the reader is left completely in the dark about what’s going on. Even Thomas himself, has a hard time getting the answers from others. I didn’t understand why there was so much secrecy between everyone. It would have made more sense to me if when Thomas got there they told him everything they knew instead of making me learn as he went along.
I kept hoping this book would get better and I must admit that I kept turning the pages because I was eager to know what happened. However, I feel like I was kept in suspense too long and not given enough details of what was going on. I will probably eventually finish the series but it’s not at the top of my TBR pile.
Grade: C
Thursday, January 19, 2012

Clockwork Prince-Review

Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices, #2)

Goodreads Description:
In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa's powers for his own dark ends.
With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister's war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move and that one of their own has betrayed them.

Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will; the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?

As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.

My Thoughts:
Upfront, let me just say that I am a huge fan of Cassandra Clare’s. The Mortal Instruments series is one of my favorite series. That is why when I heard she was releasing a new series, The Infernal Devices, I picked it up as soon as it was out. However, I wasn’t crazy about Clockwork Angel and the truth is I’m not sure why. I didn’t hate it or anything. I just didn’t feel connected to the story or the characters as I did in The Mortal Instruments. Now, all of that being said, here are my thoughts on Clockwork Prince.
The disconnect I felt in Clockwork Angel ceased to exist in Clockwork Prince. From page one, I was completely emerged in the story. The characters that I only vaguely cared about it Clockwork Angel, held my heart in the palm of their hand.
As in any novel by Cassandra Clare, there was more than enough action and suspense to go around. Charlotte’s leadership of the Institute is being questioned and Consul Wayland has given them a time limit to find the Magister. And as the time ticks quickly away, the Magister always seemed to be one step ahead of them.
Despite all of the action and time crunch, Tessa, Will, and Jem somehow find enough time to create one of, if not the, most perfect love triangles I have ever read. Throughout Clockwork Angel, I was exclusively on Team Will. But now, having read Clockwork Prince, I must admit that I am not sure where my allegiance lies.
Will, is strong and confident and full of mystery. He hides his feelings and never lets anyone see who really is. (However, I don’t think he’s fooling anyone but himself.) He pushes everyone away but in this book we finally are able to understand why.
Jem is sweet and sincere. He has a great attitude and more patience than anyone I’ve ever encountered. In the first book, I thought he was pushover. (I’m not sure that’s the exact word I’m looking for but what I mean by that is that he kind of just goes with the flow). However, in Clockwork Prince, we see Jem lose his temper (which I actually enjoyed) and he also takes initiative in his relationship with Tessa.
Tessa is a strong heroine. She is brave and wants to do whatever she can to help Charlotte keep the Institute. On more than one occasion, she puts herself at risk to help the greater good. It is clear that Tessa has feelings for both Will and Jem and I don’t think even Tessa herself knows which one she cares for more.
I am still not sure why I didn't have this connection in Clockwork Angel. I think it had to have more to do with my mood than the actual quality of the book. I am hoping to eventually reread it.
Clockwork Prince is an excellent book. I loved the characters and I am dying to know how everything ends up. I can’t think of an outcome that I will be happy with (just because I love Will and Jem so much and don't want to see either of them hurt) but I know if anyone can come up with one it will be Cassandra Clare.
Grade: A+
Monday, January 16, 2012

Advice RT Teen Day or BEA?

I have wanted to go to a book convention for a while now. I’ve gone to a couple of book signings but living in Alabama you don’t get the opportunity to attend a ton of book signings and book conventions. However, I have decided that this year I am going to go to one.
Now, the problem is I can only go to one. My top choices are RT Teen Day and then of course BEA. I’ve looked into both of them and I am kind of torn between which one I would rather go to.
Any advice? Personal experience about either?
Any information about either would be extremely appreciated. Thanks!

Monday Pick-Me-Up

Monday Pick-Me-Up is a weekly post intended to get everyone over their Monday Blues by sharing quotes I thought were funny in the books I read the previous week.

This week’s quotes come from Ten Things We Did and Probably Shouldn’t Have. I loved this book and found it hilarious. Review will be up later this week, as I am behind on posting reviews. Enjoy!

“I bolted awake. A siren.
The police were outside my house. Ready to arrest me for underage partying, excessive flirting, and an overcrowded hot tub.
But wait.
My brain turned on. No, not the cops. Just my phone—my dad’s ringtone.
Which was even worse.
I rummaged around the futon. No phone. Instead I felt a leg. A guy’s leg. A guy’s leg flung over my ankle. A guy’s leg that did not belong to my boyfriend.
Oh God. Oh God. What did I do?
WEEEooooooWEEEEoooooWEEEoooo!”  pg 1 (yep that’s how this story starts!)

“How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck chlamydia?”  (sorry don’t have the page number on this one I read it on my kindle, it’s closer to the end though)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Review- We'll Always Have Summer

We'll Always Have Summer (Summer, #3)

Goodreads Description:
It's been two years since Conrad told Belly to go with Jeremiah. She and Jeremiah have been inseparable ever since, even attending the same college-- only, their relationship hasn't exactly been the happily ever after Belly had hoped it would be. And when Jeremiah makes the worst mistake a boy can make, Belly is forced to question what she thought was true love. Does she really have a future with Jeremiah? Has she ever gotten over Conrad? It's time for Belly to decide, once and for all, who has her heart forever
My Thoughts:
I read this book immediately following It’s Not Summer without You. I was dying to know how it ended. Who would Belly chose Jeremiah or Conrad? The boy that was there for her when she needed him or the boy she would always love?
The book starts off with a bombshell. Belly and Jeremiah have been dating for a couple of years now and they are both in college at the same school. Everything is going great until Belly finds out that Jeremiah cheated on her during Spring Break. Belly is crushed and reasonably so. The guy that she thought she could always count on betrayed her. How could she get past it?
Well, she was actually able to fairly easily. She knew Jeremiah was sorry and that he wouldn’t do it again. He was her Jeremiah that she had known since childhood. How could she not forgive him?
I was torn by her decision to stay with Jeremiah after that. I’ve always been one to say that if a guy ever cheated on me it was over. It didn’t matter the circumstances. In my mind, there were no excuses. However, I found myself actually wanting her to give him another chance. He was so sweet and caring in the second book I couldn’t help but want to see him get another chance. That being said, when I first read it I was crushed. I felt like he had let me down as well.
As the book progresses, you realize that Jeremiah isn’t just the sweet guy we have come to love in previous books. He’s a college student. He likes doing what college kids like to do. The further you get into it the more it becomes apparent that Jeremiah (despite how much he cares for Belly) isn’t mature enough or ready for the kind of commitment he’s trying to make. It’s also apparent that Belly still has feelings for Conrad.
In We’ll Always Have Summer, we get a glimpse inside of Conrad’s head. It’s great to finally see exactly what he’s thinking and feeling. For two whole books we have been kept in the dark and never really know where he stands. In this book, we finally find out.
I really enjoyed this series. I was completely torn between the two brothers and I didn’t think it was going to be possible to come up with an ending that I would like and where everyone would end up where they were supposed to be.  Han found a way to do both. I felt the ending was realistic and right for the characters.
Overall, I think it was an excellent series. My eagerness to find out who Belly chooses kept the pages turning at a rapid pace.
Grade: A
Thursday, January 12, 2012

Review-It's Not Summer without You

It's Not Summer Without You (Summer, #2)

Goodreads Description:

Can summer be truly summer without Cousins Beach?
It used to be that Belly counted the days until summer, until she was back at Cousins Beach with Conrad and Jeremiah. But not this year. Not after Susannah got sick again and Conrad stopped caring. Everything that was right and good has fallen apart, leaving Belly wishing summer would never come.
But when Jeremiah calls saying Conrad has disappeared, Belly knows what she must do to make things right again. And it can only happen back at the beach house, the three of them together, the way things used to be. If this summer really and truly is the last summer, it should end the way it started--at Cousins Beach.

My Thoughts:
I read The Summer I Turned Pretty several months ago and loved it. I waited a while to buy It’s Not Summer Without You and the final book, We’ll Always Have Summer, because I had so many books still left to read that I had already bought. However, when I did finally buy them I read the last two books back to back in literally two days. I’m going to try to separate the reviews as much as possible but no promises that there won’t be some crossovers.
It’s Not Summer without You starts out by letting us know that Suzanne has died and this summer for the first time Belly won’t be going to Cousins Beach. Instead, she will be spending her summer at home with her friends there. Belly is less than thrilled about this and it’s obvious to everyone.  However, Belly is contacted by Jeremiah with news that Conrad is missing and he needs her help to find him. Soon Belly realizes that she might get to go to Cousins Beach after all.
In It’s Not Summer without You, Han alternates between Belly’s point of view and Jeremiah’s. I thought this was an interesting change. It was nice to get one of the guy’s prospective on Belly. Also, this book revealed the sweet and caring side of Jeremiah. I found myself going back and forth between which guy I wanted Belly to end up with. Jeremiah was so sweet and good to her but clearly Conrad is the one she is in love with.
This book also tackles the difficult issue of dealing with losing someone you care about and just dealing with the issues of being a teenager and growing up in general. I felt like all of the characters did a lot of growing up in this book and took a huge step in becoming who they are meant to be.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was a very quick read and the entire time I was dying to know what happened next. Word of advice: Have the final book in the series handy because you are not going to be able to stop until you know how this story ends.
Grade: A
Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Shiewo: A Fantasy Flight to Adventure (Shiewo's Odyssey, #1)

Shiewo: A Fantasy Flight to Adventure (Shiewo's Odyssey, #1)

Goodreads Description:
The universe of Orberana is a place of great wonder and peril, a dizzying landscape filled with clouds that can talk, clockwork beings that mark their own time, and painted animals that awake in the night.

Shiewo Morose is the captain of a flying ship powered by music. She is also a determined young woman on a mission: a quest to find the Wishing Fish that created Orberana.

Sailing above the clouds, Shiewo and her crew (Erduu the bamboo, Theo the cloud, Livingston the goldfish, and Felix the painter) are headed for worlds of crazed clockwork bureaucrats, tyrannic kings, and tornado children--worlds that will test not only the crew's bravery... but their very understanding of adventure.

Theirs is the odyssey of a lifetime...

My Thoughts:
Shiewo: A Fantasy Flight to Adventure is first and foremost an adventure story. This book is filled with twists and turns and several surprises along the way. The characters and setting are completely unique. When I first read the description I wasn’t sure how I would like it. It just seemed like it might be too “out there” for me. However, Cho also included a link for me to read the first part of the book. Once I read it, I realized that while the characters and setting were different, it was different in a good way.
The characters in this book are different and sometimes if a character is too different then it takes away from the story. This was not the case in this book. At times the characters seemed very human and I almost forgot that they weren’t.
Shiewo: A Fantasy Flight to Adventure is fun, quick and an easy read. Cho is definitely an author with a huge imagination and creates a world where anything goes. Anyone looking for something new and different should give this book a try.   You can buy the ebook for just .99 and this book is well worth the price.

Grade: B-

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