Monday, September 29, 2014

Blog Tour: Rooms by Lauren Oliver | Review

Blog Tour: Rooms by Lauren Oliver | ReviewRooms by Lauren Oliver
Published by Ecco on September 23, 2014
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

The New York Times bestselling author of Before I Fall and the Deliriumtrilogy makes her brilliant adult debut with this mesmerizing story in the tradition of The Lovely Bones, Her Fearful Symmetry, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane—a tale of family, ghosts, secrets, and mystery, in which the lives of the living and the dead intersect in shocking, surprising, and moving ways

Wealthy Richard Walker has just died, leaving behind his country house full of rooms packed with the detritus of a lifetime. His estranged family—bitter ex-wife Caroline, troubled teenage son Trenton, and unforgiving daughter Minna—have arrived for their inheritance.

But the Walkers are not alone. Prim Alice and the cynical Sandra, long dead former residents bound to the house, linger within its claustrophobic walls. Jostling for space, memory, and supremacy, they observe the family, trading barbs and reminiscences about their past lives. Though their voices cannot be heard, Alice and Sandra speak through the house itself—in the hiss of the radiator, a creak in the stairs, the dimming of a light bulb.

The living and dead are each haunted by painful truths that will soon surface with explosive force. When a new ghost appears, and Trenton begins to communicate with her, the spirit and human worlds collide—with cataclysmic results.

Elegantly constructed and brilliantly paced, Rooms is an enticing and imaginative ghost story and a searing family drama that is as haunting as it is resonant.

picadillyblueIt really should come as no surprise that Lauren Oliver’s adult debut is spectacular.  Rooms is everything I didn’t know I was looking for in a book.  The writing is gorgeous, the characters are extremely flawed, and the mystery is captivating.

Rooms is not a book you want to rush through.  It’s definitely compelling enough that you will want to sit and read it straight through but it’s a book full of stories that take time to completely understand.  Every character has a story all their own.  Sandra and Alice, the two resident ghosts, spend a lot of time telling theirs and I have to say that theirs were the most interesting stories of the group.  They both lived and died in time periods relatively far in the past and they both have secrets and mysteries surrounding their lives and deaths.  That’s not to say that the other characters don’t have interesting stories though because they do.  Caroline, Minna, and Trenton all have things they are hiding and each story is very compelling.  Even though I may not have liked the characters, their stories had me hooked.

While I say that I didn’t like the characters, I don’t think readers are really meant to like them.  I sympathized with parts of each character but other than that, they are greatly flawed and hard to like.  Trenton is a little bit of an asshole but he’s by far the most likable.  He is seriously depressed and contemplating suicide.  He doesn’t see that there is anything left for him to live for but going back home for his father’s funeral forces him to look at things a little differently, especially when he starts hearing and seeing ghosts.  Minna is closed off to the world and she is a giant bitch.  There is no nice way to put it.  She thinks of no one but herself.  She has a daughter that she’s forced to think of at times but Amy plays a really small part in the story and, it seems, Minna’s life.  Caroline is a lot like Minna but an older version.  She’s very self-centered.  Even when she says she’s doing something for her kids, she’s really thinking of herself.  The one thing that really makes these people tolerable is that they have all have secrets that readers don’t find out about at first.  Once you start to see the dark pasts of the characters, it’s a lot easier to see how they come to be who they are.

Lauren Oliver’s writing style translates to the adult age range brilliantly.  I truly have yet to find something she has written that I don’t like.  She is one author who could write a phone book and have people rush to grab it off the shelves.  The writing style in Rooms is a little spare but never lacking in details that matter.

Overall, Rooms is a novel that can appeal to many people of many age ranges.  The subject and content are definitely better suited for adults but the appeal of this one is widespread.  And what do you know, another Lauren Oliver novel gets added to my shelf of favorites?

What others are saying about Rooms:

Fantasy Book Critic’s Review: “There is real content in the very believable characters’ attempts to make sense of their lives.”

Fic Fare’s review: “This story has a bit of everything… drama, angst, humor and sadness.”

Fiktshun’s review: “The author’s first attempt at a novel aimed at an adult audience was hugely successful.”

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About the author:

Lauren Oliver is the author of the New York Times bestselling YA novels Before I Fall, Panic, and the Delirium trilogy: Delirium, Pandemonium, and Requiem. Her books have been translated into thirty languages. She is also the author of two novels for middle-grade readers, The Spindlers and Liesl & Po, which was a 2012 E. B. White Read-Aloud Award nominee. Lauren’s first adult novel, Rooms, will be published in September 2014. A graduate of the University of Chicago and NYU’s MFA program, Lauren Oliver is also the co-founder of the boutique literary development company Paper Lantern Lit. You can visit her online at www.laurenoliverbooks.com

Purchase ROOMS here!

Add ROOMS on Goodreads!

Follow Lauren on Twitter!

Visit Lauren’s Website!

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the blog tour!

15-Sep Reading Lark
16-Sep Midnight Garden
17-Sep Icey Books
18-Sep I Swim For Oceans
19-Sep Fiktshun
22-Sep Fiction Fare
23-Sep Read My Breath Away
24-Sep Queen Ella Bee Reads
25-Sep A Dream Within a Dream
26-Sep Anna Reads
29-Sep Katie’s Book Blog (ME!)
30-Sep Sweeps 4 Bloggers
Sep-31 Mod Podge Bookshelf

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Panic by Lauren Oliver | Review

Panic by Lauren Oliver | ReviewPanic by Lauren Oliver
Published by Harper Teen on March 4, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 408
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

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.

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Panic, Lauren Oliver’s latest young adult novel, is very different from anything she’s written in the past.  I completely adored this wonderfully unique new story from her.

One thing that hasn’t changed from Lauren Oliver’s previous books is her style of writing.  Panic has the same gorgeous writing that is typical in all of Lauren Oliver’s books. Even if you completely hate the story and the characters, the writing is enough to make you enjoy this book.  If you’ve read anything by Lauren Oliver, you  know this is true.  And if you haven’t read anything by Lauren Oliver, here’s a good place to start.

So far, every book of Lauren Oliver’s (that I’ve read) has had characters that I truly don’t care for, at least not at first.  It was the same with Panic.  Heather has pretty low self esteem and I hated the way she saw herself.  She quickly changed but for the first few chapters I just wanted to smack some sense into her.  Her friend, Nat, was pretty awful.  I was expecting some great friendship like with Hana and Lena in Delirium but that wasn’t the case.  Nat was bitchy and selfish.  I couldn’t tell if Dodge was a good guy or a bad guy.  He was a bit creepy, to be honest.  I wasn’t all that fond of him.  My favorite character (even though he lied) was definitely Bishop.  He was a good guy and such a sweetheart.

The story is so unique.  Panic is a competition held in the tiny town of Carp, Michigan.  It’s a very dangerous competition where many people have been injured or died.  I know for a fact that I would not be brave enough to participate but I loved living vicariously through Heather, Nat, and Dodge.  Some of the challenges were pretty crazy but others seemed pretty cool.  Also, I totally didn’t expect this book to be contemporary but it definitely is.  It’s also a standalone which I loved.  Everything tied up very nicely at the end.

Overall, Panic is another fabulous book from Lauren Oliver.  It has just cemented my love for her writing and I’m once again eagerly awaiting her next book!

What others are saying about Panic:

River & Sam’s review:What the blurb doesn’t tell you is how adrenaline ridden and emotionally exhausting this novel is.” 

Uncorked Thoughts’ review: “Lauren Oliver has once again captured me in another of her wonderful worlds that she has created.”

Chicklish’s review: A compelling, fast-moving yet tender and insightful book, I would recommend this to fans of action – and any books, really!”  

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Requiem (Delirium #3) by Lauren Oliver | Review

Requiem (Delirium #3) by Lauren Oliver | ReviewRequiem by Lauren Oliver
Series: Delirium #3
Published by Harper Teen on March 5, 2013
Genres: Dystopian
Pages: 391
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has transformed. The nascent rebellion that was underway in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight. After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven. Pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels.

As Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain of the Wilds, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor. Requiem is told from both Lena and Hana's points of view. They live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.

I was very hesitant to read Requiem.  I had an ARC for months before it came out but I just couldn’t force myself to read it.  All I had seen was pretty bad reviews and I just didn’t want to end up hating the final book in a trilogy that I adored.  Finally though I couldn’t put it off any longer.  While I didn’t love it nearly as much as the first two books, I was happy with how things ended and I felt that everything tied up nicely.

Requiem was a very slow read for me.  After devouring the first two books, I expected to do the same with this one.  That was not the case.  Things progressed very slowly and I found my attention wandering while reading.  There’s more buildup than actual action in Requiem and I was most disappointed with that.  The revolution has arrived!  Why isn’t anyone actually doing anything though?  Don’t expect to be on the edge of your seat with this one.

I was also really disappointed with the whole love triangle aspect of this book.  Really, I was disappointed with it for the whole trilogy.  I understood Alex and Lena’s relationship in the first book and I loved it.  When the second book came out I didn’t know what to expect based on the ending of the first book.  I was really upset when some new guy was introduced and we were expected to believe that Lena was in love with him and not Alex anymore.  It just didn’t work for me.  With Lena’s personality, her reluctance for her relationship with Alex, and so on, I just didn’t see it as realistic.  I really didn’t get it in Requiem.  Lena came across as this insecure girl who couldn’t stand on her own two feet and instead needed a man to help her with everything.  Then of course there was Alex.  He’s not the same Alex from the first book, that’s for sure, but boy did I still love him.  Julian just never did it for me and no matter what I’m team Alex all the way.

Lucky for me, Lauren Oliver’s fabulous writing really held the book together and made me continue reading. I could quote this whole book to you guys, it’s just so gorgeous.  Lauren Oliver manages to take a completely bleak and almost hopeless world and make it beautiful.  I adore that about her writing.

As for the ending, I know that’s what I was really worried about when I started Requiem.  While I admit it was a little abrupt, I felt that everything readers needed to know was included in the book and to me, the ending was pretty much perfect.  It’s a very open ended ending, that’s for sure, but in this case, there’s nothing wrong with that.  Also, no matter what anyone says, Lena definitely made her choice as to which guy she was really in love with.  It wasn’t a huge focal point at the end but it came across very clear to me and I really don’t see how people think she didn’t choose.  I was more than satisfied with the way this trilogy ended.

Overall, while not perfect, Requiem was a good ending to the Delirium trilogy and I really do think fans will enjoy it.

Looking for more reviews of Requiem by Lauren Oliver?

Mundie Moms’ review
Uncorked Thoughts’ review
Beauty and the Bookshelf’s review
Queen Ella Bee Reads’ review

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Short Story Saturday: Hana (Delirium #1.5) by Lauren Oliver | Review

Short Story Saturday: Hana (Delirium #1.5) by Lauren Oliver | ReviewHana by Lauren Oliver
Series: Delirium #1.5
Published by Harper Teen on Februrary 28, 2012
Genres: Dystopian
Pages: 64
Format: ebook
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
2 Stars

The summer before they're supposed to be cured of the ability to love, best friends Lena and Hana begin to drift apart. While Lena shies away from underground music and parties with boys, Hana jumps at her last chance to experience the forbidden. For her, the summer is full of wild music, dancing—and even her first kiss.

But on the surface, Hana must be a model of perfect behavior. She meets her approved match, Fred Hargrove, and glimpses the safe, comfortable life she’ll have with him once they marry. As the date for her cure draws ever closer, Hana desperately misses Lena, wonders how it feels to truly be in love, and is simultaneously terrified of rebelling and of falling into line.

In this digital story that will appeal to fans of Delirium and welcome new admirers to its world, readers will come to understand scenes from Delirium through Hana's perspective. Hana is a touching and revealing look at a life-changing and tumultuous summer.

I’ve always been a fan of Lauren Oliver’s books whether they be contemporary or dystopian. However, Hana really let me down. I was expecting a lot more from this novella and in the end, I just didn’t get what I expected.

Hana really impressed me in Delirium. She wasn’t the typical best friend character who ended up being a total backstabber. She was actually a good friend to Lena and while I didn’t love her at first, I did by the end of the book. However, she really let me down in Hana. She was immature and really only ever thought about herself. All she cared about was boys and she dreaded the cure and she was positive that Lena could never understand what she was going through. She didn’t appear to be a good friend to Lena at all in this novella. I was hoping for an expansion of their relationship but that’s not what I got at all.

The story didn’t really go anywhere. I read Hana thinking that it would help me understand things in Requiem but now that I’ve read it and have started Requiem, I see no reason for reading Hana. Sure if you want more stories set in the world of the Delirium trilogy, check this one out, but don’t expect much from it.

Overall, Hana really didn’t go anywhere and it didn’t contain any information that I felt was necessary to the story in the rest of the books. Like I said, if you want more set in the world of the Delirium trilogy, check this one out but otherwise just pass on this one.

Looking for more reviews of Hana by Lauren Oliver?
Thursday, March 1, 2012

Pandemonium (Delirium #2) by Lauren Oliver | Review

Pandemonium (Delirium #2) by Lauren Oliver | ReviewPandemonium by Lauren Oliver
Series: Delirium #2
Published by Harper Teen on February 28, 2012
Genres: Dystopian
Pages: 329
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

I’m pushing aside
the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana
and my old school,
push,
push,
push,
like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flame.

Lauren Oliver delivers an electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Delirium. This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, forbidden romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite.

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Really?  That is the end?  Why must you continue to do this to me, Lauren Oliver?  Oh the wait is going to kill me!

Okay now for my review!

Pandemonium is an amazing follow-up to Delirium but I expected no less from Lauren Oliver.  Pandemonium was a lot darker than Delirium and that I did not expect.  It was still greatly enjoyable but be warned: there are not many happy moments in this book.  Still, in my opinion, it was better than Delirium.

Lena’s life changed completely when she lost Alex and had to go into the Wilds alone.  She became a much harder person, more likely to hate than love.  Of course she wasn’t alone in the Wilds for long.  She was found by Raven and welcomed into her homestead.  There she met Tack, Blue, Hunter, Squirrel, Grandma, Grandpa, Lo, Sarah, and Miyako.  They made her part of their family and Lena started to move on with her life.  Things changed though.  The resistance became more forceful and the Wilds were no longer safe.  Lena had a choice: to stay in the Wilds until death finally caught up with her or to go back to the cities and stand up with the resistance.  Of course she chose the resistance but she never expected to fall in love with the enemy.

There was a lot of death in Pandemonium and I definitely teared up at each and every loss.  It seemed like every time things would look up for Lena something bad would happen again.  I loved how strong she was but I loved even more to see her breakdown.  She is such a human character and that is what makes her awesome.

The plot in this one was very different from Delirium.  Right from the start you are hooked because there is so much going on.  Also, each chapter is either Now or Then, Then being right after Lena made it into the Wilds.  It made for a very interesting story and I liked the way it was told.  It wasn’t confusing at all which I was originally worried about.

Overall, Pandemonium is a must-read if you liked Delirium.  It is action-packed, brutally real, and at times, super sweet.  And that ending!  The wait for Requiem really might kill me.  =)

Looking for more reviews of Pandemonium?

Pen To Paper’s Review
I Eat Words’ Review

Monday, October 10, 2011

Delirium (Delirium #1) by Lauren Oliver

Delirium (Delirium #1) by Lauren OliverDelirium by Lauren Oliver
Series: Delirium #1
Published by Harper Teen on February 1, 2011
Genres: Dystopian
Pages: 441
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

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Lauren Oliver has done it again. I fell in love with her writing when I read Before I Fall and I am in love all over again.  Delirium is a beautifully written dystopian that makes you question everything you know about love.  I can’t wait to dive into the sequel.

Lena is very straight-laced at first.  She does what she is told, she doesn’t question authority, and she looks forward to getting cured.  Alex is the exact opposite.  He hates the cure and he is willing to risk everything to fight against it.  As he and Lena become friends (or more than friends) she starts to understand why he questions the authority and her rebellious, brave side comes out.  It was awesome and I hope to see more of that Lena in the next book.  Hana and Grace were also two fabulous characters that I would have liked to know more about. Grace was such a brave little girl and I hope things turn out okay for her.  Hana was actually a lot braver than I expected and Lena was lucky to have her as a friend.  I really hope that is not the last we see of her in the books.

The plot was a little slow at the beginning but not slow enough for me to be bored.  It really picked up after Lena found out Alex’s secret and after that I was thoroughly hooked.  Fair warning: you will not be able to put this book down!

Overall, Delirium is another fabulous book from Lauren Oliver and a wonderful start to this trilogy.  I can’t wait to start reading the sequel.  If you haven’t read this one already, do it now!

What others are saying about Delirium:

Wondrous Reads’ review: “I read through the majority of Delirium while simultaneously asking myself if there was anything more beautiful than Lauren Oliver’s words.”

Fantastic Book Review’s review: “I don’t know how Oliver was able to pull it off but I’m just ecstatic that this book surpassed all of my expectations.”

Bookieholics’ review: “I strongly encourage you to read this book!”

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver | Review

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver | ReviewBefore I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Published by Harper Teen on March 2, 2010
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 470
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

With this stunning debut novel, New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver emerged as one of today's foremost authors of young adult fiction. Like Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why and Gayle Forman's If I Stay, Before I Fall raises thought-provoking questions about love, death, and how one person's life can affect so many others.

For popular high school senior Samantha Kingston, February 12—"Cupid Day"—should be one big party, a day of valentines and roses and the privileges that come with being at the top of the social pyramid. And it is…until she dies in a terrible accident that night.

However, she still wakes up the next morning. In fact, Sam lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she ever imagined.

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I have no words to describe Before I Fall. It’s an absolutely stunning debut novel that I couldn’t put down. I never wanted it to end and not that I have finished it, I can’t stop thinking about it.February 12 is a normal day for Sam Kingston, right up to the part where she dies. What’s even weirder is that she wakes up the next day. Except it’s not the next day, it’s the same day and Sam gets to live it over. In fact, she gets to live it over seven times. Each day is exactly the same as the original except for what Sam does. Sam has the power to change everything about that day and maybe even save her own life.

Sam was not someone I liked to begin with. In fact, I couldn’t stand her or her friends. They were all so mean and full of themselves. I almost gave up reading because I didn’t like them but boy am I glad I stuck it out. I don’t think the story would have had nearly as much impact if Sam was a good person to begin with. It just wouldn’t have worked. I get that now but it did bug me in the beginning.

The story itself was amazing. It was so unique. It was really cool to see how changing one little thing can change the whole course of things. It’s not something I have ever thought about in depth but I don’t think I will be able to stop myself now. =]

Overall, Before I Fall is a beautiful debut novel that I will be buying a finished copy of. I also recommend that everyone do the same thing because it is one book you will want to read over and over again. I know my review didn’t do it justice so you should read it and find out for yourself how great it is!

What others are saying about Before I Fall:

Rather Be Reading’s review: “Please, if you haven’t read Before I Fall, stop what you’re doing right this second and start reading it.”

Book.Blog.Bake’s review: “Going back to the days of high school is not exactly fun, but Before I Fall does a terrific job of really exploring a teenager’s identity.”

Steph The Bookworm’s review: “Anyways, I enjoyed the book not because of Sam’s sudden change of heart; I enjoyed it because it was well written with very three-dimensional characters and an interesting concept.”