Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Sequels Ever

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the wonderful girls at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week there's a new topic to go gaga over.

This week's topic is: Top Ten Best Sequels Ever. Some books have second book syndrome, but these one blew it out of the park

1. Catching Fire (The Hunger Games) by Suzanne Collins: I for one loved this book! In fact, I liked it more than Mockingjay. Going back into the arena gave me more of what I loved from the first and the Katniss/Peeta love was swoon worthy.

2. Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer: Cinder blew me away and I wasn't sure if Scarlet would live up to it, but it exceeded my expectations. I loved Scarlet and Wolf and I love how it tied in with the first book. This is going to be a series to remember.

3. Through the Ever Night (Under the Never Sky) by Veronica Rossi: This is a dystopian worth mentioning. The characters are wonderful and the storyline is new and different. This sequel took everything we knew about the first book and stepped it up a notch. 

4. Lola and the Boy Next Door (Anna and the French Kiss) by Stephanie Perkins: Not sure if this entirely counts since it's a new set of characters, but Perkins writes teenagers so well and this book was everything the first book was and more. 


5. It's Not Summer Without You (The Summer I Turned Pretty) by Jenny Han: Ugh, what can I say about this series? Every book was perfection and I would love to read more about Belly's summers and boys. Heartbreaking and so real, Han has captured the essence of summer and this may have been the only love triangle I actually liked.

6. The Evolution of Mara Dyer (The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer) by Michelle Hodkin: The first book made me ask a lot of questions and this book just gave me more. Now, this is not a bad thing at all, in fact it's tangling the story up so much that I know by the time I read the final book, I'll be blown away by all the clues hidden throughout the books. Amazing series so far!

7. Where She Went (If I Stay) by Gayle Forman: This book broke my heart.As if the first book wasn't bad enough, Forman dug that knife deeper. It was great seeing the story told from Adam's point of view and it answered so many questions. Beautiful and heartbreaking.

8. Insurgent (Divergent) by Veronica Roth: Some people may not have liked this book, but it was perfect to me. There was a lot of character development and the post traumatic stress was the perfect addition to the series. Oh and that ending? Let's not forget that!


9. Shift (Shade) by Jeri Smith-Ready: This was another great series. Aura and Zach are the cutest couple ever and each book took an important step in the story. It was perfection, all of them.

10. The Dead Tossed Waves (The Forest of Hands and Teeth) by Carrie Ryan: I liked the second and third book better than the first only because it was more relatable. All three are so different but they tie together nicely and they were all equally scary. Still one of the bet zombie series I've read. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Review: Just One Day

Just One Day
Author: Gayle Forman
Published: January 8, 2013
Hardcover, 368 pages
4 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.

This book started with Shakespeare. Anytime Shakespeare is involved, I know I'll enjoy the story. Allyson is on a European senior trip before going off to college and she's been doing everything she's told. But when she meets Willem, seduced by his performance in an impromptu performance of Twelfth Night, she only hesitates a bit when he asks her to go to Paris with him. The most insane thing she's ever done takes her on a journey that she never thought possible. The day in Paris with Willem is one she will never forget, especially since she wakes up the next morning to find him gone. 

I was heartbroken when Allyson woke up, knowing that Willem would be gone. Even though we are warned on the back cover, it's still hard to read as she wakes up to discover she is alone. It was easy to see why Allyson fell for him. Tall, charming, and ready to show her a world she's never seen. But when he's gone, I wanted to hate him, but I didn't know why he left and neither did she. Allyson goes to college in September anyway, trying to forget that faithful night. She lives life half alive, thoughts of Willem constantly in her head. When someone falls in love, that love get stained on them, as Willem says int he book, and there is no doubt that Allyson is stained. Her journey through her first year of college is bittersweet. The way she acts, like she's lost the love of her life, is not exagerated. This is how a young girl whose never been in love before would feel. She gave her everything to someone who disappeared from her life. 

I thought Allyson would immediately return to the scene of the crime, but she spends most of her year away from there in school. There was no filler. It was important to see her develop through these months, to see how hard this has affected her and to see if she could gather the strength to find answers. She finds herself in a Shakespeare class and makes friends with Dee, a man who hides his true self from everyone. They help each other in the ways they need it most and both grow together as friends. Allyson discovers a lot about herself throughout the year. and yes, Willem continues to haunt her, but she learns to survive. When lie brings her back to Paris, it's time for her to put everything she's learned to the test.

Forman writes beautifully. Her first novel, If I Stay, blew me away. Her words flow off the pages like poetry, sucking me into a world not unlike my own, and making me feel things I haven't felt in a long time. I remember the terror of falling in love, the high that comes with it, and she captures this wonderfully. It's in the simple words that she uses that make the story leap from the page. When Willem describes falling in love like being a stain, I wanted to shout this analogy to the word. It was so perfect, so true, that I may not be able to think of love the same way again. Life isn't easy, and love is harder, but that does not mean we don't try. That does not mean we give up. Allyson's story may seem far fetch to some, but we all go through this, it just may not take place in Europe. This is a beautiful story that made me laugh, swoon and cry. Willem's story will be told in Just One Year, and hopefully then we will get the answers to our long awaited questions.

“Or maybe it's not a miracle. Maybe this is just life. When you open yourself up to it. When you put yourself in the path of it. When you say yes.” 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Review: The Disenchantments

The Disenchantments
Author: Nina LaCour
Published: April 18, 2013
Paperback, 307 pages
4 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

Colby and Bev have a long-standing pact: graduate, hit the road with Bev's band, and then spend the year wandering around Europe. But moments after the tour kicks off, Bev makes a shocking announcement: she's abandoning their plans - and Colby - to start college in the fall.

But the show must go on and The Disenchantments weave through the Pacific Northwest, playing in small towns and dingy venues, while roadie- Colby struggles to deal with Bev's already-growing distance and the most important question of all: what's next?

To be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect going into this book. In fact, I must not have read the back cover very well because I didn't even realize the narrator was a male until I read the first page. I knew there'd be music, some drama, and hopefully some laughs, and I was mostly right, though none of it was the way I expected it to be, which turned out to be perfect.

Colby and Bev's relationship is one of a kind. She's this gorgeous girl who fronts a girl band. She makes out with random people and she likes to live life as freely as possible. Colby likes routine, like schedules and plans. So when Bev tells him that she's going to college in the fall instead of taking off to Europe with him like they'd planned, Colby doesn't know how to process this information. He's furious, for good reason, and she's told him while they're on the road with her band, The Disenchantments, on the final tour before everyone's life changes. Watching all this unfold through Colby's eyes gives this story that different edge that it needed. If this were narrated by Bev, I don't think it would have struck readers as much. 

What I loved most was that this played out like a John Green novel. He's one of my favourite authors and his characters have a way of sticking with you long after the last page. They are funny and multi-dimensional and his plots are unlike anything out there. LaCour has the same spirit as Green. Her characters jump off the page and not just because they all have such different looks. They are each so strong in their own ways and the minor characters we meet throughout the story hit you as hard as the mains. This is a road trip book, which Green does so well, that never bores. Each night the band plays a different venue, each more random than the last. The band is not very good which made me laugh since the band is everything to them. I love that they kind of suck, it's much more realistic that way. Garage bands are just about the music, and boy did these girls love the music.

The small things that happened are what made me love this book. Meg's tattoo, the lost amp, the graffiti, Colby's art and Bev's carvings. This book was full from beginning to end. Each new town brought new characters, new challenges, and moments where I wasn't sure if Colby and Bev would make it through the trip together. Colby's voice put me right in the van with these girls, the pain he felt every time he looked at Bev and knew he couldn't have her. The longing in his voice whenever he spoke to his parents. The need to leave his mark on the world, and the familiar feeling of not knowing what you'll be doing with your life when everyone around has it all planned out. This book hit that area after high school and before the rest of your life right on the head. We all feel lost when we graduate from what we know. Some people go off to school, others take a year off, and then there are those that just want to see the world and escape real life fir awhile. Plans change, people change, and all you can do is try to keep going, try to make new plans and love the people anyway. This book captured every feeling I felt when school ended, and I love how it all played out. This was not a typical love story, it was about friends who have changed without each other knowing it, and dealing with what comes next. Beautiful writing and wonderful characters made this a heartwarming read that made me glad it wasn't the comedy I thought it would be.

“Searching, always. And yes, we all are, or soon will be, disenchanted, I still want to know it all: the heartbreak, the fear, the friendship, the anger, the love. All of it.”

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Split Second

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Split Second

by Kasie West
Publication Date: February 11, 2014

From Goodreads:

Life can change in a split second.

Addie hardly recognizes her life since her parents divorced. Her boyfriend used her. Her best friend betrayed her. She can’t believe this is the future she chose. On top of that, her ability is acting up. She’s always been able to Search the future when presented with a choice. Now she can manipulate and slow down time, too . . . but not without a price.

When Addie’s dad invites her to spend her winter break with him, she jumps at the chance to escape into the Norm world of Dallas, Texas. There she meets the handsome and achingly familiar Trevor. He’s a virtual stranger to her, so why does her heart do a funny flip every time she sees him? But after witnessing secrets that were supposed to stay hidden, Trevor quickly seems more suspicious of Addie than interested in her. And she has an inexplicable desire to change that.

Meanwhile, her best friend, Laila, has a secret of her own: she can restore Addie’s memories . . . once she learns how. But there are powerful people who don’t want to see this happen. Desperate, Laila tries to manipulate Connor, a brooding bad boy from school—but he seems to be the only boy in the Compound immune to her charms. And the only one who can help her.

As Addie and Laila frantically attempt to retrieve the lost memories, Addie must piece together a world she thought she knew before she loses the love she nearly forgot . . . and a future that could change everything.

The first book in this series, Pivot Point, blew me away. I loved the special abilities, the private lives, and the integrating into normal society. West wrote the two different worlds perfectly, connecting each together without over lapping information. I can't wait to dive back into Addie's world and see where her next search will take her.

Has anyone read Pivot Point? Who's looking forward to this book? What book are you dying to read? I'd love to know!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Anticipated Fall Reads

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week they post a new topic that the participants come up with a top ten list for.

This week is all about the books on our Fall TBR lists, be they books actually released around now or just books we are planning to read. My list is a mixture of both.

1. Allegiant by Veronica Roth: Pretty sure this is on everyone's list!
2. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black: I just won a copy of this, can't wait to read this new tale of vampires! 3. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell: I've been hearing amazing things about this book, so there' no doubt I'll pick it up!
4. Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano: Her writing is amazing and this new series sounds fantastic!

5. This Song Will Save Your Life by Laura Sales: This looks like a nice change from other contemporary books. Music, DJs, and all that jazz.
6. Champion by Marie Lu: Prodigy broke my heart and I know this one will probably not repair it, but I can't wait to see how this series will end!
7. The House of Hades by Rick Riordan: This series is so good and each character is perfectly crafted. Yes, I want to see what will happen to Percy and Annabeth, but that's not the only reason I'm excited for this book. I feel like this will be a game changer and Riordan never disappoints!
8. Resist by Sarah Crossan: One of my new favourite dystopian series about a world without oxygen.

And two that I still haven't read but will very soon!

9. Frostbite by Richelle Mead: I fell in love with Vampire Academy and once I get my hands on this book, I'll fly through this series!
10. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor: This book has been popping up around me a lot lately, so it's been bumped up my list and will be consumed very shortly.

Are any of these of your list? What other new books should I be dying to read? Let me know!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door

Lola and the Boy Next Door
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Published: July 9, 2013
Paperback, 368 pages
5 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

Lola Nolan is a budding costume designer, and for her, the more outrageous, sparkly, and fun the outfit, the better. And everything is pretty perfect in her life (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighbourhood. When Cricket, a gifted inventor, steps out from his twin sister's shadow and back into Lola's life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

There's just something about Perkins's writing that gets right into my soul and makes me want more. Maybe it's her brilliantly flawed characters that come alive and beg to be heard. Or her settings, rich in detail and just as much a character as the rest. Though I bet it's both these things, twisted together to create a story that leaps off the page and feels like it's happening to your best friend. After reading Anna and the French Kiss, I knew I'd found a new favourite author. And the sequel did not disappoint. Each character was unlike any before and it was refreshing to see such diversity in such a small amount of space.

Lola does not live a typical life. Raised by her uncle and his boyfriend, she loves to be theatrical. She goes everywhere in costume, a new wig everyday and a stand out outfit to match. She knows people thinks she's quirky, but it's all she knows. Her life is working out exactly as planned, she's got great plans for her winter formal dress and she's dating an older rockstar. But when she spots one of the Bell twins, people she grew up next door to most of her life, she knows it's not long until she sees the other, Cricket, and the heartbreak that comes with him. Before she knows it, she's feeling things she shouldn't be and trying to get her life back in order.

One thing that stood out most to me was how non stereotypical this novel was: Two gay dads that are strict and act like normal parents would, no special programming about gay marriage. A female teenage character who's had sex and does not let this change who she is. A male love interest with little to no sexual experience, and a drug recovering mother who isn't there to be taught a lesson or change who the female is, she's just there because that's how life really is. Everything about this book felt real. The emotions Lola felt for Cricket resurfacing after not seeing him for years. He broke her heart, but seeing him after all that time and having him be so different than she remembers creates new feelings that can't be ignored. Real life is hard and sometimes there are people who will get hurt, and maybe she didn't do things the best way possible, but that just made it more real. I've never been one for love triangles, but this one was not forced at all. It was similar to the one in The Hunger Games, where you knew there was really only one person she could pick. Perkins could write just about anything and I'd root for it.

I love how she connected Lola's story to Anna and Etienne's. Lola and Anna work together and Etienne knows Cricket from school. They play small roles in this book, but they are pivotal and help Lola to make some hard choices. I can't wait until all the stories come together in the final book, Isla and the Happily Ever After. I've fallen in love with these characters so quickly and I can't wait to see more of them. Lola is one of a kind, eccentric and outspoken, and Cricket is just as he's described, the boy next door who would do anything for the girl whose heart he broke. Realistic obstacles, strict parents, and problems every teenager faces, this book will break your heart and then make you laugh at the next page. This book was utter perfection, an equal contender for its predecessor, and I know the finale will not disappoint. Some YA books fall short, but this was is perfect and heart warming. If you have not discovered this series yet, then what are you waiting for?

“Just because something isn't practical doesn't mean it's not worth creating. Sometimes beauty and real-life magic are enough.” 

“And if I'm the stars, Cricket Bell is entire galaxies.” 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Side Effects May Vary

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't wait to be read" selection is:

Side Effects May Vary
Author: Julie Murphy
304 pages
Expected Publication Date: March 18, 2014

From Goodreads:

What if you’d been living your life as if you were dying—only to find out that you had your whole future ahead of you? 

When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, her prognosis is grim. To maximize the time she does have, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs—however she sees fit. She convinces her friend Harvey, whom she knows has always had feelings for her, to help her with a crazy bucket list that’s as much about revenge (humiliating her ex-boyfriend and getting back at her arch nemesis) as it is about hope (doing something unexpectedly kind for a stranger and reliving some childhood memories). But just when Alice’s scores are settled, she goes into remission.

Now Alice is forced to face the consequences of all that she’s said and done, as well as her true feelings for Harvey. But has she done irreparable damage to the people around her, and to the one person who matters most? 

Julie Murphy’s SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY is a fearless and moving tour de force about love, life, and facing your own mortality.

Here's a snippet:

Harvey laughed to himself in a sad way and rubbed his eyes. “You want me to help you with a list of things you won’t disclose to me.” He leaned forward and bit the skin around his thumb. “Classic.”
“You won’t regret it.”
“Harvey,” I said, my voice low. “Trust me.”
I knew what this looked like. It looked like I was using Harvey. But here was the reality of the situation: the minute my life went from semi-permanent to most likely temporary, I decided to latch on to everything in my world that had always been permanent, and for me, Harvey was so permanent he was concrete.

This book sounds so delightfully different and I can't wait to get a hold off it! What do you think? What book are you eagerly anticipating? Let me know!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I'd Like to See Turned Into Movies or TV Shows

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week they post a new topic that the participants come up with a top ten list for.

This week's topic is Books I'd like to see turned into movies or TV shows

1. Soul Screamers series by Rachel Vincent: By far my favourite series and I think it would make a great TV show. There are too many books to make movies out of them, but there's more than enough content there to get through some seasons, and even add some new content, I won't mind.

2. The Curse Workers series by Holly Black: Another fantastic series that would make a great show. There could be so much back story created with both Cassel and Lila and we could explore some of the tricks and mischief that happened before the series began.

3. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins: I fell in love with this book, these characters, and Paris! This make a fantastic movie with so many amazing visuals and swoon worthy romance. 

4. Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder: I read this book a while ago, but it's stuck with me since. This would make a great sci-fi movie for a younger audience with twists and turns and mysteries throughout it. 

5. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer: The world Meyer has built in these books would look fabulous on screen. The characters are sharp and strong and visuals play an important part throughout these books. I'd die if I got to see Cinder and Scarlett light it up in a theatre!

6. Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi: Dystopians have become a hit with The Hunger Games and I think this one would make a great follow up after Divergent. The atmosphere would look great on screen, especially the Aether. 

7. This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers: I need to have Summers on every list because she is such a great author. This zombie book is unlike anything I've read and it captures what teens would feel during an ordeal like this so perfectly. It would hit some people hard and it would be visually creepy and stunning.

8. Can You Keep a Secret by Sophie Kinsella: By far my favourite stand alone from her and if they don't plan on making anymore Confessions of a Shopaholic movies, why not try another one of her books? They are all so funny and charming and would make the perfect rom-coms!

9. Shade series by Jeri Smith-Ready: I think this could make a good series, but it would also work well as movies. A world where people under 17 can see ghosts would look awesome on screen and I think it would be nice to be able to expand some character while still focusing on Aura. Maybe even have some of the first season be pre Logan death? There's a lot to explore in this world and I'd love to see it done!

10. True Believer by Nicholas Sparks: I had to put Sparks on here because the movies made from his books are always so wonderful. There is always so much love and heartbreak that it can be overwhelming, but sometimes that's what you need. This one is one of my favourites because of the ending and I think it would transfer well onto film (just like all his other books!)

I'd love to see any one of these books beautified on screen, either large or small, and if I'm lucky enough to see just one of them, I'll be happy. Any one have any doubles? I'd love to hear what you think and what your lists look like!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Review: Imaginary Girls

Imaginary Girls
Author: Nova Ren Suma
Published: June 14, 2012
Paperback, 348 pages
4 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

Chloe's older sister, Ruby, is the girl everyone looks to and longs for, who can't be captured or caged. When a night with Ruby's friends goes horribly wrong and Chloe discovers the dead body of her classmate London Hayes left floating in the reservoir, Chloe is sent away from town and away from Ruby.

But Ruby will do anything to get her sister back, and when Chloe returns to town two years later, deadly surprises await. As Chloe flirts with the truth that Ruby has hidden deeply away, the fragile line between life and death is redrawn by the complex bonds of sisterhood.

This book gave me the chills from beginning to end. The opening chapter promises mystery, lush settings, and possibly even murder. Even the cover haunts me as I still try to get this story out of my mind. It begs not to leave, it promises to stay with me in the dark, under the water, in the woods, and in my dreams. Ruby and Chloe are characters I've never encountered before and don't think I ever will again. There's nobody like them out there, no one with quite the same bond that these sisters share, a bond that threatens to suck me in with them and never let go.

Ruby is the kind of girl everyone loves. She rules the small town her and her sister, Chloe, have grown up in. Ruby raised Chloe and would do anything for her. Chloe is cool by association, invited to parties because her sister will be there, and looked at by boys because she has the long almost black hair like her sister. When Ruby tells her friends that Chloe can swim across the town reservoir one night, a blackened pool of water that seems to have no end and holds the mystery of the sunken town of Olive, Chloe jumps in without hesitation, knowing her sister will take care of her. When her swim finds her in the middle of the reservoir looking at a dead body in a rowboat, Chloe's life is suddenly ripped apart. She is sent to live with her dad, separated from Ruby. The chapters she spends there are the saddest in the book. It's clear Chloe loves Ruby and doesn't feel like the same person without her. Two years later, Chloe returns to town and things  are certainly not what they seem. Suddenly Chloe is deep in a world she's never known, keeping secrets from Ruby and feeling a strange pull to the town of Olive. Only Ruby knows the truth and Chloe is determined to seek it out.

This small town is just as much a character as Ruby or Chloe. The way that everything seems to revolve around Ruby is enough to send a shiver up my spine. And Olive, the sunken town under the reservoir, is even more haunting. Ruby tells stories of the people who still live down there, gils instead of lungs, and hoping for people to go swimming so they can pull them under. At any mention of Olive, I gripped the pages tighter, knowing there was no way for me to be prepared for what could happen next. Every setting stood out: The house that Ruby and Chloe live in, unfinished and strategically placed by the reservoir. The old cemetery where the people of Olive are buried, and the reservoir itself, black and endless with more secrets than you can count. 

Chloe is the perfect narrator for a tale like this. She is unreliable, a girl obsessed with her sister and willing to do whatever it takes to be with her. And Ruby, a mysterious girl full of secrets and magic, even more unreliable than Chloe. Both girls leave haunting words on every page. They have a relationship unlike anything I've ever read, almost obsessive, but full of love. They only know each other, they know there is no one else that can be counted on, and they go through life needing each other. The further into the book I got, the less I knew about these two girls. Shrouded in mysteries, the girls are just as obscure of the town of Olive; it was hard to know if they actually really existed. Most of the time, I wasn't sure if they were real. I wasn't sure if any of the story was real or if it was all in Chloe's head. That's the beauty of this book. It tightroped along the line of reality and fantasy just enough to make me question everything I read. Who existed and who was just in Chloe's head? Was the town of Olive real? Is it still under the water just like Ruby says it is? None of these questions are answered, like I knew they wouldn't be. The story went in a direction that I couldn't have imagined, but in the end made perfect sense. 

The mysterious and haunting nature of this book  keeps me thinking about it days after finishing it. It's the kind of book I could read four times and still not have answers to my burning questions. Just like the girls in this book, this book is unreal and chilling, leaving me breathless and scared to go near dark waters at night. Suma is a brilliant writer, someone who can make me believe everything she wrote even though I was confused and scared most of the time. I hope the people of Olive enjoy this review and stay away from me when I'm swimming.

“The story you choose to tell isn't always the story you believe.” 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Review: Truly, Madly, Deeply

Truly Madly Deeply
Author: Hannah Jayne
Published: July 2, 2013
Paperback, 262 pages
2 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

They Said It Was An Accident...

Sawyer Dodd is a star athlete, a straight-A student, and the envy of every other girl who wants to date Kevin Anderson. When Kevin dies in a tragic car crash, Sawyer is stunned. Then she opens her locker to find a note:

You're welcome.

Someone saw what he did to her. Someone knows that Sawyer and Kevin weren't the perfect couple they seemed to be. And that someone—a killer—is now shadowing Sawyer's every move...

I had really high hopes for this book. The description sent an eerie chill up my spine. A car accident kills Sawyer Dodd's boyfriend, Kevin, but when she gets a note in her locker that just says "you're welcome", she's not so sure it was an accident anymore. I was eager to see what else would happen to Sawyer after she got the note in her locker. A few more things happened to her that could have been scary and should have been, but somehow just didn't give me the thrill I was hoping for.

There wasn't much character development. Sawyer feel flat and did not really it the description set for her on the back cover. Yes, she did track, but I saw nothing saying that she was a star athlete, and nowhere did it mention hoe great her grades were. Perhaps this is who she was before the accident, but there is no indication of that anywhere in the book. Some more background history on her and her life would had made me like her more. I found there wasn't much to like. We discover early on that she was in an abusive relationship, but I didn't feel her pain, I didn't feel how scared she was to be around other people. Not that I've been through  anything like that, but in books I've read before, there has always been an emotional and physical change after a character goes through distress. There wasn't much feistiness to her, and I think that could have benefitted her in the situations she got herself into.

There were a lot of characters amped up as suspects. I had fun trying to guess who the culprit was and enjoyed having new suspects come into play. I think if I had read this book in one sitting, I may have enjoyed it more. The suspense may have been more evident to me and I might have jumped if I read it during a thunderstorm. I wouldn't tell anyone not to read this. A lot of reviews I've read have said very good things, but I guess it just wasn't the book for me. I haven't read many thrillers and maybe that's just not a genre I'm into. I'd say read it and judge it for yourself. It's a quick read and there is a lot of emotional struggles. I'm curious to see what you guys thought of it, and don't get me wrong, I won't be spreading hate for this book or anything, it just wasn't for me. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday:

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine. It highlights the books that we are most anxiously awaiting!

Lauren Oliver
Expected Publishing Date: March 4, 2014
Hardcover, 416 pages

(summary from Goodreads)

Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn't know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

I can't wait to read Lauren Oliver's new book. Her first book, Before I Fall, blew me away and I loved Delirium as well. Her writing is beautiful and poetic and her characters have a way of getting into my head. This book sounds like it will be a mix between the two, and Im excited to see the new things she can bring to the table. 

Any other Lauren Oliver fans out there? Does this book sound as good as her others?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Books you'd pair with required reading/should be required reading

Top Ten Tuesday is a fantastic meme hosted by the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is all about high school reading. I loved reading in high school, though some of the books they made us read weren't that great so I went and read my own instead. This week's list is broken into two categories (because it always seems easier to come up with 5 instead of 10!)

contemporary books paired with required reading

1984 by George Orwell/ The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Dystopian novels have changed a lot throughout the years and I think it would be fun to compare and contrast these two extreme novels.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee/ The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney

Taking the extremes from both books and comparing how rape is discussed differently. I like the idea of revamping an old tale and I loved both of these books.

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien/ Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

I read HP first, but once I read the LOTR trilogy, I noticed a lot of similarities, though HP was much easier to get through. I'd love to have a discussion about these two.

Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger/ The Spectacular Now by Tim Thrapp

These two characters reminded me of each other and their destructions would be fun to dissect side by side.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding/ Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Both are about kids/teens being stranded on a island without parental supervision. Boys in one, girls in the other. The differences and similarities will surprise you.

books that should be required readings

Looking for Alaska by John Green: I wish I had read this in high school, it was thought provoking and much better than most of the books I read!

Speak or Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson: There are realistic issues in these books that need to be in the forefront of people's minds. What better way than to discuss them in class.

Go Ask Alice by Anonymous: A first hand experience about what drugs can do to a person. It's harsh, but what better time to teach people then when they are in the right age group to be tempted.

Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers: bully is an issue that teens need to stop from happening. By putting it all on the table, hopefully kids would come forward if it was happening to them.

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver: The other side of bullying and popularity, this book goes through the steps of grief, forgiveness, and redemption. All important qualities for teenagers to know about.

I would have rather read books about hard issues and things I could relate to as opposed to some of the books we were made to read. Though I did love the Shakespeare and they should never stop teaching teens the glory that is plays!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Review: Vampire Academy

Vampire Academy
Author: Richelle Mead
Published: August 16, 2007
Paperback, 332 pages
5 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger...

Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.

Normally I shy away from vampire books. Ever since Twilight, I've been worried about how YA authors look at these supernatural creatures. I prefer books like Interview With the Vampire if I want some blood sucking fun, but Mead took these creatures and created something new that hit the mark on the head and I'm glad I decided to read this book. Mead's vampires are different, kick ass, and strange all at once and it made for a solid read.

Rose is a Dhampir, ahalf vampire, half human, who's sole purpose in life is to protect the Moroi, full vampires that are being hunted by Strigoi, immortal dangerous vampires. There are a lot of different vampires in here and that's what makes it so unique. Rose and her Moroi best friend, Lissa, have a bond that not many other Dhampir/Moroi pairs have. She can feel everything Lissa feels and this brings them very close together. After being dragged back to St. Vladimir's Academy after being away for two years, Rose suddenly finds herself fighting to be near Lissa and defending the rumours that start spreading throughout the campus about the two of them. Throw in some hot boys, forbidden romance, and dead animals, and you've got yourself a vampire story for the ages.

Rose is not your typical YA Mary Sue. She's hardcore, kicks serious butt, and doesn't let anyone step on her or Lissa. It's refreshing to read a voice like hers, where, yes, even though she thinks the guy is cute, she doesn't let this get in the way of everything else going on in her life. In no way does the romance take centre stage and the rest of the plot get pushed into the background. In fact, I wanted more romance. I craved Rose and Dimitri to just make out and get the tension over with. Dimitri being her fighting instructor and five years older than her doesn't make for an easy romance. At no point did the age difference seem weird and gross, and the way it was handled throughout the book was spectacular. I'm certainly not done with the two of them. Rose and Lissa's friendship was comforting and nice to see in a YA series. Normally it's all about the romance, but I'm glad their friendship took the forefront and was challenged and put to the test throughout the book. The personal bond between the two was realistic and well written. It came off as best friends would, even though the differences between the girls could have meant quite the opposite. 

The book is set at a boarding school, therefore there will be drama between the students. The mean girls were there, threatening Rose and spreading rumours, but it never got too focused on that drama. What I loved about this book was that them being vampires wasn't the only responsibility they had. They were very much human, but still had the vampire characteristics. School took place at night and there were feeders for the Moroi to feed on. The differences between the Dhampirs and the Moroi was interesting to read about, given that the Dhampir were more human and did not have to drink blood and could go out in the sunlight. They are treated differently and it came off like racial slurs at some points and this made it feel very real. It's never about humans versus vampires in this book, it's vampire versus vampire and it came off very well. I'm curious to see where this series will go and how Rose and Lissa's relationship will evolve. I also can't wait to watch the movie, out next year!

“Only a true best friend can protect you from your immortal enemies.” 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Stacking the Shelves: The Epic Rival Girls Next Door

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews featuring the books we got this week, and I also mention blog news/happenings of the past week.

I went down to Toronto for the week to visit my family. Trips down there always end up with my lugging books back here. I like to pick up books that I can't find in the book store here, so here are the winners:

Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Imaginary Girls by Nova
The Rivals by Daisy Whitney
The S Word by Chelsea Pitcher
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

I've already starting reading Imaginary Girls, but I can't wait to dive into any one of these books. Successful shopping trip!

Has anyone read any of these? Which do you recommend to read first?

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