Thursday, November 11, 2010

Paranormalcy (Paranormalcy #1) by Kiersten White | Review

Paranormalcy (Paranormalcy #1) by Kiersten White | ReviewParanormalcy by Kiersten White
Series: Paranormalcy #1
Published by Harper Teen on August 31, 2010
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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5 Stars

Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours.

But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

So much for normal.

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I had heard that Kiersten White’s debut novel was good but I had no idea just how good until I read it.  This year has been full of fantastic debuts and Kiersten White’s is another one to add to the list.

Evie has always wanted to be normal.  She has always wanted to belong.  Working for the International Paranormalcy Containment Agency means that will never happen.  She will always be alone.  Then she meets Lend.  Well, actually, she captures him.  At first she just wants someone her own age to hang out with but eventually she just wants Lend.  Too bad something out there is killing paranormals and Evie has to find out what it is before it’s too late.

Paranormalcy isn’t one of those books that starts off with a lot of action but it does start off with a lot of humor.  Evie seemed lonely a lot of the time but it didn’t seem to stop her from cracking jokes.  I liked that about her.  In the beginning it was one of the few things I liked about her but she did grow on me as I got more into the book.  Lend, on the other hand, I liked from the start.  He wasn’t the typical love interest which intrigued me.  He was insecure, alone, and actually kind of vulnerable.  It was nice to read about a more realistic guy.

The faeries were what made the book really interesting.  They had a major role in the story but they confused me a lot of the time.  They did finally become a little more clear at the end but I was lost at some parts.  The faery prophecy was very unique though and I definitely want to know more about it in the next book.

Overall, Paranormalcy is a fabulous book with a kick-ass heroine (the pink taser is awesome).  If you haven’t already checked this one out, do so NOW!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Linger (Wolves Of Mercy Falls #2) by Maggie Stiefvater

Linger (Wolves Of Mercy Falls #2) by Maggie StiefvaterLinger by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: Wolves of Mercy Falls #2
Published by Scholastic on July 20, 2010
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 360
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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4 Stars

In Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabelle, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.

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SPOILERS:  If you have not read the first book in this series, Shiver, do not read this review because it contains spoilers from that book.

If you have followed my blog for a while, you know how much I loved Shiver.  I mean, I adored it.  I couldn’t praise it enough.  In fact, I have loved all of Maggie Stiefvater’s works until now.  Sadly, Linger was nowhere near as good as Shiver and not even close to anything I expected.

Sam and Grace are finally together.  After everything they have been through they deserve to be together and they deserve a break from all the chaos.  Too bad that isn’t going to happen.  Spring is here and the new wolves are shifting back to humans.  This is the first time Sam has met them and he has no clue how bad things are.  Both of the new wolves are hiding shocking secrets about their past and who they are but they aren’t the only ones.  Grace is hiding something from Sam and by the time she admits it, it may be too late.

From the very beginning, I knew that Linger was different from Shiver.  Shiver is told from just Grace and Sam’s POV’s whereas Linger has added two new voices into the mix.  Isabel and Cole are characters from the first book who get a lot more attention in Linger.  At first, I couldn’t understand why Cole was so important but as the book went on I realized what role he played.  Isabel, on the other hand, confused me.  I don’t understand her yet but I hopefully will by the end of the next book.  Sam and Grace are still just as great as always but I didn’t feel the connection to them that I felt in the first book.  Their relationship lost some of it’s meaning when Cole and Isabel were brought in.

The plot was just as good as the first book, if not better.  Linger was definitely a pageturner.  I had such a hard time putting it down.  The whole story was brilliant, especially the ending.  I didn’t see that coming at all.  I was shocked and on the edge of my seat.  It’s a total cliffhanger and now I have to wait another year before I can read the final book.  I hate it!  I want it now!

Overall, Linger wasn’t as good as Shiver but Maggie Stiefvater is incapable of writing a bad book.  If you read and enjoyed Shiver, I recommend running out to buy this one as soon as you can.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson | Review

The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson | ReviewThe Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
Published by Dial Books For Young Readers on March 9, 2010
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 288
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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5 Stars

Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker, bookworm and band geek, plays second clarinet and spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulted to center stage of her own life - and, despite her nonexistent history with boys, suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two. Toby was Bailey's boyfriend; his grief mirrors Lennie's own. Joe is the new boy in town, a transplant from Paris whose nearly magical grin is matched only by his musical talent. For Lennie, they're the sun and the moon; one boy takes her out of her sorrow, the other comforts her in it. But just like their celestial counterparts, they can't collide without the whole wide world exploding.

This remarkable debut is perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, and Francesca Lia Block. Just as much a celebration of love as it is a portrait of loss, Lennie's struggle to sort her own melody out of the noise around her is always honest, often hilarious, and ultimately unforgettable.

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The Sky Is Everywhere was beyond extraordinary. I was completely drawn in and blown away. I didn’t want to put it down to go to sleep but I wanted to stop so it wouldn’t end. I absolutely loved Jandy Nelson’s debut novel.The writing in The Sky Is Everywhere was gorgeous. I would quote some of my favorite lines but there were just too many. This review would be pages long. As I was reading the book I sometimes had to stop to savor the writing. I can’t do justice to it. You will have to read it for yourself.

Lennie was a great character but she was only on of many. I loved her, Gram, Big, Joe, Toby, Sarah, pretty much everybody. They were so unique and most of them were hilarious. I really felt like I connected with Lennie the most, though. She was so confused and she felt guilty for every small bit of happiness that she got. Gram, Big, and Toby were also sad but Lennie was completely torn apart. Joe and Sarah were great friends who did all they could to help her through it.

I don’t want to give away anything about the book but I will say that it was a quick story. I tore through the book and the plot never once dragged. I don’t think there was a single thing about The Sky Is Everywhere that disappointed me.

Overall, The Sky Is Everywhere is a new favorite for me. Jandy Nelson’s debut is spectacular and it goes straight to the top of my recommendation list. I can’t wait for more from this new author.

What others are saying about The Sky Is Everywhere:

The Book Smugglers’ review: “Jandy Nelson’s Debut is incredible, I loved it and I can’t recommend it enough.”

The Flyleaf Review’s review: “This book has wormed its way into my heart, just like Joe wormed his way into the heart of Lennie and her family, and I think it is going to be a very long time before I am able to “move on.””

Alexa Loves Books’ review: “Jandy Nelson wrote an incredibly lovely story, and I certainly think The Sky is Everywhere is worth a read.”

Friday, March 5, 2010

Albatross by Josie Bloss | Review

Albatross by Josie Bloss | ReviewAlbatross by Josie Bloss
Published by Flux on February 1, 2010
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 229
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
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4 Stars

What's so cool about nice guys?

Everyone at Tess's new school warns her that Micah is bad news—a heartbreaker. But she can't ignore her attraction to this brooding, brilliant, friendless emo hottie who can turn on the charm—or heart-shredding scorn—at a moment's notice. Starting over in a new town after her parents' split isn't easy for Tess, and Micah feels like her first real connection. But what happens when their bond suddenly feels like shackles? And Micah starts to remind Tess of her freakishly controlling father?

With Albatross, Josie Bloss takes her storytelling in a new direction by exploring the dark side of relationships.

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I really had no idea what to expect when I started Albatross. I hadn’t read any reviews and the summary didn’t give much away. I kind of liked not knowing what was coming and in the end I really liked the book.

Tess is new in town. After a rough divorce she moves to a new town in Michigan with her mom, one where she knows no one and doesn’t really care. All that changes when she meets Micah. He is unlike anyone Tess has ever known and she is immediately drawn to him. Despite everyone warning her against him, Tess begins to spend more and more of her time with him. Will Tess’ friends warnings prove to be true or will things be different with Tess and Micah?

One of the drawbacks about Ablatross was that it didn’t immediately capture my attention. It was only once I got about 60 pages in that I became interested in the story. The first part was background and it was a little boring. Once I got past that part I enjoyed the book and read it pretty quickly.

Tess wasn’t a very strong heroine through most of the book and it bugged me. I hated how she acted with Micah and how she wasn’t confident in herself at all. She finally grew as a character towards the end of the book and that was when I started to like her, when she got a backbone. And all I will say about Micah is that he was a dick. You will have to read the book to find out why.

Overall, Albatross was a really good book and really unique. It wasn’t a happy book most of the time but it had me smiling at the end. I definitely plan on checking out Josie Bloss’ other books.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Miles Between by Mary E. Pearson | Review

The Miles Between by Mary E. Pearson | ReviewThe Miles Between by Mary E. Pearson
Published by Henry Holt on September 1, 2009
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 272
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
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5 Stars

Destiny Faraday makes a point of keeping her distance from her classmates at Hedgebrook Academy. Her number-one rule: Don’t get attached. But one day, unexpectedly finding a car at their disposal, Destiny and three of her classmates embark on an unauthorized road trip.

They’re searching for one fair day—a day where the good guy wins and everything adds up to something just and right. Their destination: Langdon, a town that Destiny’s unsuspecting companions hope will hold simply a day of fun. But, as Destiny says, “Things are not always what they seem.” Only she knows that Langdon holds far more than that—a deep secret she has never shared with anyone.

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Wow! I don’t know what to say about The Miles Between. I am speechless. I feel like whatever I say won’t adequately praise this book. I started it and I couldn’t put it down until I was finished with it. There was no dragging me away from this one.

The Miles Between is the story of four very different teenagers thrown together by a road trip. Well at least that’s what the synopsis says. What the synopsis doesn’t say is that it is so much more than that. It’s a story of numbers, coincidences, friendships, romances, and secrets. Secrets that are shared between new friends and secrets that will shock you. I wasn’t expecting anything about this book.

Destiny, Mira, Seth, and Aidan aren’t your typical main characters. They start out as little more than strangers and end up as a lot more than friends. And they were all so unique. I don’t feel like I can truly describe Destiny without giving away parts of the book so if you want to know more about her, you will just have to read it. The others are a little bit easier to describe. Mira is very loud and outspoken but she has hidden depths. Seth isn’t the typical boarding school boy and he has definitely noticed that Destiny isn’t the typical boarding school girl. Aidan is a stickler for rules until suddenly, with one road trip, he decides to break them all. And with some very comical results.

Overall, The Miles Between is one to be added to everyone’s to-read list. It was such an amazing story full of funny coincidences that I think everyone will enjoy!

What others are saying about The Miles Between:

And Another Book Read’s review: “I highly recommend this book to any reader looking for a very powerful, real and emotional read.”

My Pile of Books’ review: “This book is an all around, thought-provoking, page-tuner, clean YA read.”

Frenetic Reader’s review: “I loved the concept; I’m always up for road trip books, because they always bring plenty of fun and adventure.”

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

After by Amy Efaw | Review

After by Amy Efaw | ReviewAfter by Amy Efaw
Published by Viking Juvenile on August 11, 2009
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 350
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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5 Stars

An infant left in the trash to die. A teenage mother who never knew she was pregnant . . .

Before That Morning, these were the words most often used to describe straight-A student and star soccer player Devon Davenport: responsible, hardworking, mature. But all that changes when the police find Devon home sick from school as they investigate the case of an abandoned baby. Soon the connection is made. Devon has just given birth; the baby in the trash is hers. After That Morning, there's only one way to define Devon: attempted murderer.

And yet gifted author Amy Efaw does the impossible. She turns Devon into an empathetic character, a girl who was in such deep denial that she refused to believe she was pregnant. Through airtight writing and fast-paced, gripping storytelling, Ms. Efaw takes the reader on Devon's unforgettable journey toward clarity, acceptance, and redemption.

picadillyblueDevon is not the kind of girl who does this. She is not the kind of girl who gets arrested. She is not the kind of girl to abandon her baby to die in a trash can. In fact, Devon’s not even the kind of girl who gets pregnant.

Yet Devon does all of these things and they land her in more trouble than she could ever imagine. She is the girl who has straight A’s and Olympic dreams. How will people look at her if they know what she has done? And how can she be part of the Olympics if she lives in jail for the rest of her life?

With the help of some new friends and a fierce lawyer, Devon might be able to salvage her life but is she willing to face the truth to get there?

After is very deserving of all 5 stars. It is a book that moved me and really made me think. I mean, before reading this, there was no doubt in my mind that Devon was guilty and deserved everything she got but after really getting inside Devon’s head, I was skeptical. What could make somebody do that to their own child? Is there ever really a reason?

Reading After was a little hard. It dealt with such a delicate subject but a subject that is growing more and more every day and Amy Efaw did a fantastic job of getting inside the mind of someone who would abandon their own flesh and blood. I didn’t think it would be possible to like Devon but I did find myself on her side.

Also, the ending truly left me smiling. While the story is sad I felt that Amy Efaw did a wonderful job in getting her point across and I look forward to more books from her in the future.

What others are saying about After:

All About {n}’s review: “I’d recommend this to parents and teens – because it is a very thought-provoking subject and one that I think could spark some important discussions.”

Overflowing Heart Reviews’ review: “I was really impressed with this book… right until the end.” (Review contains spoilers!)

Respiring Thoughts’ review: “Harsh, brutal, and well-told, After is a great example of why people should read contemporary YA fiction.”

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Shiver (Wolves of Mercy Falls #1) by Maggie Stiefvater | Review

Shiver (Wolves of Mercy Falls #1) by Maggie Stiefvater | ReviewShiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: Wolves of Mercy Falls #1
Published by Scholastic on August 1, 2009
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 390
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
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5 Stars

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without.

Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human… until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human—or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

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Grace’s friends and family have never truly understood her. They can’t understand the feelings she has for the wolves that live in the woods behind her house, especially not the connection she has for one wolf in particular–her wolf.

Her friends believe she is too caught up in the wolves behind her house and not enough in the people in her school. She just doesn’t seem to understand that she should be associating with humans and not animals. What she doesn’t know is that the wolves are human, at least for part of the year.

When things start to go bad and the wolves seem to be in danger, Sam shows up and Grace immediately knows who he is. What she doesn’t know is how it works and how long he will remain human, and with her.

Can Grace and Sam find a way to be together, forever and always? Can the wolves find a way to let Sam go or will they try to stop his relationship, in any way they can?

OMG, this is just an amazing book! One of the best books I have read in a while and I was just shocked at how much this book enthralled me. I couldn’t put it down and now that it’s over I just want more. It is just that kind of book.

Shiver was just the perfect beginning to what I expect will be one of the best trilogies I will ever read. Sam and Grace were just such great, lovable characters. I am also more than willing to admit that I would love a Sam of my own. He just seems so sweet and perfect. I honestly can’t think of one bad thing to say about Shiver. It made me laugh, cry, and hold my breath till I knew what would happen. The only thing I can’t think that made me mad was that it ended and I have to wait a whole year for the next book.

I am terribly sad to say that I have never read anything by Maggie Stiefvater before this but I am extremely happy to say that I plan on remedying that very soon. Shiver was an amazingly well-written book that I plan on re-reading many times over the years. I can’t wait for the sequel, Linger and I plan on reading her other YA book, Lament, as soon as I can. If you haven’t read anything by Maggie Stiefvater yet, what are you waiting for? Run, don’t walk, to the nearest bookstore, library, or a friend’s bookshelf until you find one of her books!

Similar books:
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause

Thursday, February 19, 2009

After The Moment by Garret Freymann-Weyr | Review

After The Moment by Garret Freymann-Weyr | ReviewAfter the Moment by Garret Freymann-Weyr
Published by Houghton Mifflin on May 18, 2009
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 328
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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5 Stars

A new novel by the Printz Honor author Garret Freymann-Weyr, about a boy who discovers what happens when love fails us—or we fail love.

Maia Morland is pretty, only not pretty-pretty. She’s smart. She’s brave. She’s also a self-proclaimed train wreck. Leigh Hunter is smart, popular, and extremely polite. He’s also completely and forever in love with Maia Morland. Their young love starts off like a romance novel—full of hope, strength, and passion. But life is not a romance novel and theirs will never become a true romance. For when Maia needs him the most, Leigh betrays both her trust and her love.

Told with compassion and true understanding, After the Moment is about what happens when a young man discovers that sometimes love fails us, and that, quite often, we fail love.

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After The Moment is a story of love–love that is true but cannot hold strong through tough times. This book was a little more serious than I expected touching on subjects such as self-mutilation, death of a loved one, bullying, and many others. Even though it was a bit more serious it was truly an amazing story.

Leigh Hunter is the golden boy: soccer star, straight-A student, and boyfriend to Astra Grein. At least, he is until his stepsister’s father dies and he is asked to move to Washington to be there for her. Leigh and Astra decide that they would rather have a long distance relationship than break up but Leigh never expected to fall for Maia Morland, the train wreck.

Maia has many different problems. Her stepfather that actually cares about her is in jail, her mother doesn’t notice her, and she has her own issues such as self-mutilation, anorexia, and she had a tendency to act out sexually until her psychiatrist made her sign a contract.

When Leigh meets Maia he never once thinks that he could love her. She is the exact opposite of Astra and yet he can’t get her off his mind. Leigh begins to drive Maia to her prison visits and in the process, gets to know her. He doesn’t realize that he loves her until being away from her to visit his mom in Maine. When he returns home he goes straight to Maia’s and is surprised to find out that she feels the same way. They begin dating, even though Leigh still hasn’t broken up with Astra.

Finally, Leigh decides that he needs to end things once and for all with Astra and decides to go to New York and tell her in person. He never knew that his decision to stay in New York for one extra night would have such drastic consequences. When he returns to Washington nothing is the same and when he finds out why, he wishes he could change things but he can’t.

Unknowingly Leigh breaks Maia’s trust and loses their relationship. He will always love her but they can never be together.

And if you want to know why, you will just have to read the book. I wouldn’t just give away the ending.