Friday, April 30, 2010
"Cooper Blake has everything going for him—until he wakes from a car accident with his football career in ruins and a mysterious, attractive girl by his side. Cooper doesn’t know how Samantha got there or why he can see her; all he knows is that she’s a ghost, and the shadows that surround her seem intent on destroying her.
No one from Cooper’s old life would understand what he can barely grasp himself. . . . But Delilah, the captain of the cheerleading squad, has secrets of her own, like her ability to see beyond the physical world, and her tangled history with Brent, a loner from a neighboring school who can hear strangers’ most intimate thoughts. Delilah and Brent know that Cooper is in more trouble than he realizes, and that Samantha may not be as innocent as she has led Cooper to believe. But the only way to figure out where Samantha came from will put them all in more danger than they ever dreamed possible." -Goodreads.com
It seriously pains me to write this review, mostly because I just don't like giving bad reviews, but also because I'm such a fan of Amelia Atwater-Rhodes. I've loved all her stories, partcularly Hawk Song and Persistence of Memory, and had high expectations for this one as well.
Unfortunately, I was sadly diasappointed. The first thing about this one in particular was that it was told with a male MC. There's nothing wrong with this, I just don't connect as well to those stories. Never have. But I've read other books by Rhodes told from a male POV and haven't had too much of a problem with it. With this one, it was more than that. Something about the characters made it nearly impossible to feel for them, to form any sort of bond or sense of comaraderie.
And the story itself wasn't even all that engaging. It seemed almost as if Rhodes was sick of her own story and played it out as quickly as she could just to be done with it.
Sure, there were bits of humorous dialogue and a couple unexpected plot twists, but not quite enough to make this one worth while in my opinion. The only real reason that I continued this story through to the end was... loyalty, I guess. And a genuine hope that it would surely get better. And it did, towards the end. If I hadn't finished reading it, I probably would have given this one a single star.
Happy Factor: 2/5
Other books by Amerlia Atwater-Rhodes: Hawk Song, Demon in my View, Shattered Mirror, Persistence of Memory
Thursday, April 29, 2010
"Megan is used to moving from place to place -- it's typical for an army brat. But she drew the line at South Korea. She insists on staying in the States to finish her last two years of high school. So her parents made arrangements for Megan to live with their friends, the McGowans...and the McGowans' 7 sons.
Turns out, living with 7 boys might as well be a foreign country! The boys are messy. They are cliquey (who knew?). And worst of all, two of the oldest boys are H-O-T. (A problem considering they are supposed to be Megan's "brothers.") Megan is definitely in enemy territory. She needs to win over the boys' hearts without totally crushing her own.
And when Megan starts falling for one of them, sibling rivalry takes on a whole new meaning....
What is a girl to do?" -Goodreads.com
I have two brothers (both younger, thankfully) so I was able to to sympathize with Megan to an extent on this one. It also made reading this book that much more enjoyable, because believe me when I say that Kate Brian got the sibling thing down perfectly. The bathroom wars, the bickering over the TV, the fist-fights, all of it. It made for a very enjoyable read.
Bits of the dialogue got on my nerves sometimes, and there were parts that seemed a little unrealistic (I mean, have you ever seen a fifteen year old I-hate-the-world punk admit that he was wrong, and to a girl, no less? Yeah, me neither), but I liked how the story went and how it was told, and it all ended up okay in the end.
Very cute, and with some important life lessons (namely, if I ever have seven sons, I should just shoot myself and get it over with).
Happy Factor: 4/5
Other books by Kate Brian: The Private series, The Princess and the Pauper, Fake Boyfriend
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
"When Miranda Barnes first sees the sleepy town of St. Yvette, Louisiana, with its moss-draped trees, above-ground cemeteries, and her grandfather's creepy historic home, she realizes that life as she knew it is officially over. Almost immediately, there seems to be something cloying at her. Something lonely and sad and . . . very pressing. Even at school and in the group project she's been thrown into, she can't escape it. Whispers when she's alone, shadows when no one is there to make them, and a distant pleading voice that wakes her from sleep. The other members in Miranda's group project, especially handsome Etienne, can see that Miranda is in distress. She is beginning to understand that, like her grandfather before her, she has a special gift of communicating with spirits who still walk the town of St. Yvette. And no matter where she turns, Miranda feels bound by their whispered pleas for help . . . unless she can somehow find a way to bring them peace." -Goodreads.com
This was a good read, though a little long at points. I think I liked the idea of the story more than the actual story. Ghosts, pleas for help, and pretty boys; what's not to love, right? But honestly, I think ghosts are falling into the same problem that vampires did a couple years ago: there are only so many way you can switch them up before all the stories start to sound the same.
Cusick did manage to keep my attention with the story, and there were several parts where I followed the characters with interest. There were some unresolved plot points in the end that kind of make me want to continue the series, but I haven't decided for sure yet.
Happy Factor: 3/5
Other books by Cusick: The Unseen, The House Next Door
Monday, April 26, 2010
Sunday, April 25, 2010
"Everyone knows the unwritten rule: You don't like your best friend's boyfriend.
Sarah has had a crush on Ryan for years. He's easy to talk to, supersmart, and totally gets her. Lately it even seems like he's paying extra attention to her. Everything would be perfect except for two things: Ryan is Brianna's boyfriend, and Brianna is Sarah's best friend.
Monday, April 19, 2010
"With the stunning revelation surrounding Bliss's true identity comes the growing threat of the sinister Silver Bloods. Once left to live the glamorous life in New York City, the Blue Bloods now find themselves in an epic battle for survival. Not to worry, love is still in the air for the young vampires of the Upper East Side. Or is it? Jack and Schuyler are over. Oliver's brokenhearted. And only the cunning Mimi seems to be happily engaged.
Young, fanged, and fabulous, Melissa de la Cruz's vampires unite in this highly anticipated fourth installment of the Blue Bloods series." -Goodreads.com
I didn't expect to like this book. If I'm being honest, I was expecting this one to be the last one I would read in this series. Don't get me wrong, I loved Blue Bloods and Masquerade, but Revelations killed it for me. I read this one as kind of a last-chance sort of thing and expected it all to go downhill.
But it didn't. Within the first fifty pages I was sucked in (no pun intended). Once again, the chase is on and this time I'm following it every step of the way. I'm not sure what else to say without giving something away, but I was happy with the amount of action in this one and especially pleased with the ending.
I will happily pick up the next in this series, which I believe comes out at some point this year (I'm too lazy to actually look it up).
Happy factor: 4/5
Other books by Melissa de la Cruz: Blue Bloods, The Au Pairs, The Ashleys
Saturday, April 17, 2010
The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks
"Seventeen year old Veronica "Ronnie" Miller's life was turned upside-down when her parents divorced and her father moved from New York City to Wilmington, North Carolina. Three years later, she remains angry and alientated from her parents, especially her father...until her mother decides it would be in everyone's best interest if she spent the summer in Wilmington with him. Ronnie's father, a former concert pianist and teacher, is living a quiet life in the beach town, immersed in creating a work of art that will become the centerpiece of a local church.The tale that unfolds is an unforgettable story of love on many levels--first love, love between parents and children -- that demonstrates, as only a Nicholas Sparks novel can, the many ways that love can break our hearts...and heal them."
Ten Little Indians by Sherman Alexie
Hourglass by Claudia Gray
Thursday, April 15, 2010
"Hayden was born a werewolf, a Dark Guardian. But her ability to sense the feelings of fellow werewolves has made her life unbearable. She runs away, only to be tracked by charming, mysterious Daniel, a newcomer to the pack and the one Shifter immune to her powers. As she reluctantly follows him home, Hayden finds herself falling dangerously in love. . . .
But even as her feelings for Daniel deepen, Hayden begins to wonder if he is who he claims to be. Where did he come from and why has no one ever seen him transform? When they stumble upon the body of a Shifter still in wolf form, her worries grow. Someone is killing her kind. Is her handsome tracker really a hunter? And is Hayden now his prey?"-Goodreads.com
I adored each of the first three books in this series, but when you think about it, they all seem to tell pretty similar tales. One of my main fears when I picked up this book was that, after a fourth re-telling, it would start to become painfully obvious and distrssingly annoying that there really was nothing new to add to these stories.
I needn't have worried. Hawthorne has come through once again with something new; an original perspective on an original situation. It didn't feel redundant or monotonous, despite my doubts.
You could tell that Hawthorne stepped a little out of her element for this one, though. There were some actual battle scenes, which always adds some excitement. But love and romance are Hawthorne's strengths and some of those action sequences seemed a bit rushed and/or strained.
The other thing that bugged me a little was something I had expected to be in there, but wasn't. In previous books (all three of them, I think), there had been some aluding to the possibility that keeping the werewolves a secret from the world was becoming too much of a challenge in a world full of advnaced technology and that maybe it was time to start thinking about going public with their species. By the end of the last one, it had become the primary issue on their minds and I thought that this one would have some sort of final decision on that, some key action that would signal the beginning of a movement. Or, you know, anything. But there was no mention of the issue anywhere in the fourth book. I feel like it was just left kind of hanging there, with no conclusion in sight.
Maybe they'll return to it in a future book, even though there's no mention of one as of yet.
Happy Factor: 4/5
Other books by Rachel Hawthorne: Moonlight, Thrill Ride, Caribbean Cruise, Suite Dreams
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
"It's a question as old as time itself: which is better, the zombie or the unicorn? In this anthology, edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier (unicorn and zombie, respectively), strong arguments are made for both sides in the form of short stories. Half of the stories portray the strengths--for good and evil--of unicorns and half show the good (and really, really bad-ass) side of zombies. Contributors include many bestselling teen authors, including Cassandra Clare, Libba Bray, Maureen Johnson, Meg Cabot, Scott Westerfeld, and Margo Lanagan. This anthology will have everyone asking: Team Zombie or Team Unicorn?" -Goodreads.com
On a general basis, I don't like anthologies. But there's something about this one. Maybe it's because it's a bunch of my favorite authors, maybe because this is one of those questions that I find myself switching sides on on a regular basis and I'm hoping that this might help me make the final decision, and maybe it's because I just can't say no to such an awesome cover. But any way you look at it, I'm super excited about this book.
It comes out September 21, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
I'm bringing this up because I just saw the movie The Last Song and adored it. A close friend (ironically the one who has never read Twilight) read the book and told me that it's a must-read. After seeing the movie though, I just don't know if I'll like it ans am slightly worried that if I do read it, it'll ruin the movie for me. I have the same fear for My Sister's Keeper, which I also saw the movie for and have been told I need to read the book.
Monday, April 12, 2010
"Mally and Merry Brynn thought that with the death of David Jellico, their nightmarish visions of the future and past were gone for good. Now, Merry's only worries revolve around cheer tryouts, and Mally has slipped back into her homebody, tomboy ways.
Then a cheerleader lands in the hospital. And a mysterious, beautiful mountain lion is maimed.
When they begin to suspect their friend Eden was involved in both events, Merry and Mally are catapulted back into a world of visions that they do not yet understand. And this time, they must race to prevent the people they love most from unspeakable tragedy." -Goodreads.com
I was honestly surprised at the twists and turns that this book took. I've stopped reading the front flap before starting a book, so I didn't really have any expectaions set for what this one was going to be about. When the plot turned to Mally's friend Eden and a whole bunch of interesting events and mysteries surrounding her, I was unprepared for it (in a good way).
Part of me feels like this sudden plot twist seemed to come a little out of no where even though Mitchard dropped some hints in the first in the series, The Midnight Twins. I have no idea where she's going to take this story in the next one, which I guess is part of the fun.
I loved reading about the love and struggles both with Mally and Merry, mostly, I think, because they reminded me so much of how I am with my own sister. Mitchard definitely has the sibling thing down pat.
Slow at points, but an altogether cute read.
Happy Factor: 3/5
Other books by Jacquelyn Mitchard: The Midnight Twins, No Time to Wave Goodbye, All We Know of Heaven
Saturday, April 10, 2010
"Nothing has been the same since Caleb Becker left a party drunk, got behind the wheel, and hit Maggie Armstrong. Even after months of painful physical therapy, Maggie walks with a limp. Her social life is nil and a scholarship to study abroad—her chance to escape everyone and their pitying stares — has been canceled.
After a year in juvenile jail, Caleb’s free . . . if freedom means endless nagging from a transition coach and the prying eyes of the entire town. Coming home should feel good, but his family and ex-girlfriend seem like strangers.
Caleb and Maggie are outsiders, pigeon-holed as "criminal" and "freak." Then the truth emerges about what really happened the night of the accident and, once again, everything changes. It’s a bleak and tortuous journey for Caleb and Maggie, yet they end up finding comfort and strength from a surprising source: each other."
Friday, April 9, 2010
The first time I ever heard of this book was actually on Scott Westerfeld's blog, because he was a part of the team that determined which book won the National Book Award for Young People's Literature back in 2007 (this was the winner, in case you didn't notice the giant award on the cover). Then, a few months ago, a friend of mine mentioned the author, Sherman Alexie, and how much respect they have for him and his books. So I thought, why not? and picked it up.
The other thing I feel I should mention is that every year, I go on a week-long trip up to Montana and spend time on the Indian Reservation up there helping out with some local projects. Reading about life on the Rez from Alexie's perspective made me not only completely nostalgic for Montana, but also kind of shocked me because of how much there is going on that white people like myself never see. I mean, I always knew that things on Indian Reservations were pretty bad. I know that they're very poverty-sticken areas and that alcohol is a serious problem. But it just never really hits you until you hear it straight from the horse's mouth.
This book was incredibly heart-wrenching, especially for someone like myself who's had the opportuninty to see a lot of this stuff first-hand. I'm so gald that Alexie has been able to write down this, and other stories that will hopefully help people realize that there are a lot of changes that need to be made in these areas.
But one of the great things about this book is that not once does it give off a woe-is-me vibe. Alexie's not looking for pity here, he's just telling it like it is. And the way he tells it is stinkin' hilarious. I laughed out loud several times while reading this book. The MC Junior has such a great and original way of looking at life, even when things are at thier worst. You just can't help laughing with him even as you're crying for him. I can't help but compare it to Libba Bray's Going Bovine (review here) despite the obvious differences.
And now that I've written pretty much the longest review ever....
Happy Factor: 5/5
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
"Fans of The Twilight Saga will be enthralled by this riveting story of Bree Tanner, a character first introduced in Eclipse, and the darker side of the newborn vampire world she inhabits. In another irresistible combination of danger, mystery, and romance, Stephenie Meyer tells the devastating story of Bree and the newborn army as they prepare to close in on Bella Swan and the Cullens, following their encounter to its unforgettable conclusion." -Goodreads.com
I vaguely remember Bree Tanner from Eclipse, though it's been a while since I read it. Still, it's by Stephenie Meyer, so it pretty much can't be bad. I'm just excited that she's finally started writing again, 'cause her last actual book came out in August of '08.
This one will be released June 5, 2010
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
"Deep inside the great Oak lies a dying faery realm, bursting with secrets instead of magic. Long ago the faeries mysteriously lost their magic. Robbed of their powers, they have become selfish and dull-witted. Now their numbers are dwindling and their very survival is at stake.
Only one young faery—Knife—is determined to find out where her people's magic has gone and try to get it back. Unlike her sisters, Knife is fierce and independent. She's not afraid of anything—not the vicious crows, the strict Faery Queen, or the fascinating humans living nearby. But when Knife disobeys the Faery Queen and befriends a human named Paul, her quest becomes more dangerous than she realizes. Can Knife trust Paul to help, or has she brought the faeries even closer to the brink of destruction?
Talented newcomer R. J. Anderson creates an extraordinary new fantasy world and weaves a gripping tale of lost magic, high adventure, and surprising friendship in which the fate of an entire realm rests on the shoulders of one brave faery rebel." -Goodreads.com
It took me a really long time to get around to reading this one. A huge part of it was that the author posted the first chapter before the book came out, and I read it. It's not that the first chapter wasn't good, but it was the beginning of the story and started out with a nine or ten year old protaganist. Having nothing else to go on (the synopsis doesn't really say anything about age), I assumed that the entire story would be told from the view of a rebellious ten year old. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I just don't really get into middle-grade novels anymore. Not since I was in middle school myself, really.
But I did read it, eventually. And thank goodness the first chapter was the only one with such a young character telling the story. By the end of the second chapter, I was hooked. The story was exciting and the characters engaging. A very fun and enjoyable read.
Cover: 2/5 (UK Cover: 5/5)
Happy Factor: 5/5
Other books by R.J. Anderson: Wayfarer (June 2010)
Monday, April 5, 2010
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Friday, April 2, 2010
"Mormon housewife Becky Jack is seven months pregnant with her fourth child when she meets celebrity heartthrob Felix Callahan. Twelve hours, one elevator ride, and one alcohol-free dinner later, something has happened…though nothing has happened. It isn’t sexual. It isn’t even quite love. But a month later Felix shows up in Salt Lake City to visit and before they know what’s hit them, Felix and Becky are best friends. Really. Becky’s husband is pretty cool about it. Her children roll their eyes. Her neighbors gossip endlessly. But Felix and Becky have something special…something unusual, something completely impossible to sustain. Or is it? A magical story, The Actor and the Housewife explores what could happen when your not-so-secret celebrity crush walks right into real life and changes everything."-Goodreads.com
Such a cute and amazingly well-done story! Shannon Hale is laugh-out-loud hilarious and the dialogue alone was enough to keep me reading.
Very high recommendation to anyone even remotely interested. You won't regret it.