YA book reviews, reading and recommending since 2009

Archive for August, 2010

Mockingjay withdrawal symptoms?

I’m currently in the midst of reading Mockingjay and I know how some of you finished Mockingjay within hours of getting it. And please for the love of God do not post any spoilers in the comments below. I have not finished the book! (And even if I did finish the book, I’m sure others who’ve not read it will not appreciate it.) Kthxbai.

No, wait. That’s not what I wanted to talk to you about. For those of you who finished Mockingjay and are craving more dystopian, here is a list of dystopian novels I read and loved.

Birthmarked by Caragh M. O’Brien

I have nothing but praises for this book. I won’t give anything away but you can say that it is my favorite dystopian of all time. It made me teary-eyed, something Hunger Games did not achieve, which is why it’s my #1 favorite. The writing was phenomenal and I must say, I am very impressed by this book. I absolutely cannot wait for the sequel! Very highly recommended. I cannot stress enough. Buy it, now.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

This novel started out slowly but as it progressed, I found myself liking the characters and I was unable to put it down till I finished it! The tension and the suspense is very similar to Hunger Games so fans of Collins will probably love it as well. And did I mention that the paperback is on sale now for only $8.99 on Book Depository and FREE SHIPPING!

The Owl Keeper by Christine Brodien-Jones

Christine Brodien-Jones pulls off middle grade dystopian very well and do not underestimate it just because it’s suitable for middle graders. The world-building was amazing and the writing was stunning. A must-read!

Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder

When I first started this book, I wanted to pull my hair out in frustration. Everything was so confusing and I had difficulty understanding the complex world that Trella lived in. So I skipped ahead a few pages and I slowly began to understand the setting and the world. Wow, Snyder has created a world so foreign yet so familiar. The scrubs are like people who have low income while the Uppers are those who have the money and wealth. Recommended!

The Passage by Justin Cronin

Do not be intimidated by its size. The Passage was an engrossing, thought-provoking read that had me on the edge of my seats. Although a book so big was bound to have ‘slow moments’, the last half of the book was so pulse-pounding, I could not stop reading! I urge you to give this book a chance. What a fantastic novel!

And my most anticipated upcoming 2010 dystopian novel:

Matched by Ally Condie

In the Society, Officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.

I want to read this book so badly. November 30th 2010. Remember that date.

2011 and 2012 will be a great year for dystopian lit. Lenore came up with a list of 2011 and 2012 dystopian novels. I can barely contain my excitement!

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Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler final cover

About a week ago, 21 Pages revealed the final cover for Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler. It was simply stunning. I thought the ARC cover was nice but this one blew my mind. The colors are so vivid, bright and will definitely catch my eye at the bookstore. I have been dying to read Fixing Delilah ever since I first hear about it, months ago. Has the new cover got you interested as well? 😀

About FIXING DELIILAH:
“We all long for what could have been.” Things in Delilah Hannaford’s life have a tendency to fall apart. She used to be a good student, but she can’t seem to keep it together anymore. Her “boyfriend” isn’t much of a boyfriend. And her mother refuses to discuss the fight that divided their family eight years ago. Falling apart, it seems, is a Hannaford tradition. Over a summer of new friendships, unexpected romance, and moments that test the complex bonds between mothers and daughters, Delilah must face her family’s painful past. Can even her most shattered relationships be pieced together again?

Read Now! with Taylor Swift

Fellow Taylor Swift fans and book lovers, here’s some exciting news about our favorite girl-next-door Taylor Swift!

Taylor Swift will be going to Scholastic for a unique live literacy event for students! On October 27, Taylor will appear in Read Now! with Taylor Swift, a webcast that’s exclusively for schools in the U.S. and around the world. Taylor will participate in a live interview and take questions from students in the live audience and online. The event will end with a live performance.

Schools and classrooms can begin registering for the live webcast event on August 23 at www.scholastic.com/readeveryday. But there’s more! On August 23rd, we’ll be opening an essay contest for 10 lucky students and their guardians to attend the event LIVE at Scholastic headquarters (all expenses paid!) and even meet Taylor Swift! For more details, head over to On Our Minds @Scholastic.

On a side note, have you heard Taylor’s newest song, Mine? 😀

In My Mailbox (57)

I haven’t done In My Mailbox in ages so here’s about a month’s worth of books.


Received:
Bad Girls by Rebecca Change
A Place of Secrets by Rachel Hore
(Courtesy of S&S UK!)
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater (I bought this one a while back and it’s finally here! Doodled!)
Passing Strange by Daniel Waters

Bought:
Linger by Maggie Stiefvater (I need a pretty hardcover to match my pretty Shiver hardcover. By the way, you can win a shiny new Linger over here.)
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (Finally right? I’m like the last person on the planet to read the MI series. Six words: Hot romance and lots of action!)
Bad Girls Don’t Die by Katie Alender (For YOU guys to win! Look out for the giveaway soon.)
The Karma Club by Jessica Brody (I loved this book so much, I had to buy a copy for myself!)
Kiss Me Deadly: 13 Tales of Paranormal Love by Maggie Stiefvater, Becca Fitzpatrick, Rachel Vincent, Diana Peterfreund, Michelle Zink and many other authors! (So excited for this because many of my favorite authors are in it!)

Borrowed (not pictured):
The View from the Top by Hillary Frank
And Then I Found Out The Truth by Jennifer Sturman
Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs
Wanted by Sara Shepard (Really? I mean come on, I totally saw the ending coming.)
The Passage by Justin Cronin (The beginning was slow but the second half of the book was very addictive! Every attempt to put it down was unsuccessful. I would soon return to my novel, eager to gobble it up.)

Read any of the above? Thoughts? 🙂

We have winners!

I’m sure everyone is eagerly waiting to know who is the lucky winner who won the $70 gift card! Scroll down to find out!

But first here’s the winner of the JUSTIN BIEBER BIOGRAPHY giveaway:
Maggie Burmann!

Sea and tank top giveaway winner:
Josie!

A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend winner:
Cassandra!

And last but not least, the winner of my $70 gift card giveaway…
Casey (The Bookish Type)!

Winners, I’m contacting you now! 🙂 Enjoy and stay tuned for more giveaways.

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: June 7th 2010
Buy it from: Book Depository (free shipping worldwide!)
Silver star (3.5/5 stars)
Synopsis: Scarlett March lives to hunt the Fenris– the werewolves that took her eye when she was defending her sister Rosie from a brutal attack. Armed with a razor-sharp hatchet and blood-red cloak, Scarlett is an expert at luring and slaying the wolves. She’s determined to protect other young girls from a grisly death, and her raging heart will not rest until every single wolf is dead.

Rosie March once felt her bond with her sister was unbreakable. Owing Scarlett her life, Rosie hunts fiercely alongside her. Now Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves and finds herself drawn to Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an ax– but loving him means betraying her sister and has the potential to destroy all they’ve worked for.

Twenty-five-year-old Jackson Pearce delivers a dark, taut fairy tale with heart-pounding action, fierce sisterly love, and a romance that will leave readers breathless.

Review: Sisters Red was an intriguing paranormal mystery filled with a cast of engaging, dynamic characters. Pearce managed such an innovative twist on story of Little Red Riding Hood and turned it into an absorbing read with sinister wolves.

Pearce’s writing was remarkable and she portrayed Scarlett’s and Rosie’s relationship in a convincing light. I was initially doubtful of Rosie’s gratitude to Scarlett but the guilt she faced was enough to convince me. My favorite character would be Rosie as she was three-dimensional as compared to her sister. From her growing feelings for Silas to her guilt for occasionally going against her sister, they were all done in a very realistic voice. Scarlett, on the other hand, had only one goal and that was to kill all wolves. It wasn’t that I disliked her but she came off too artificial to me. I was hoping she’d have more of a personality. But I did like several chapters in her POV, especially in the beginning, which showed how her past deeply affected her.

The wolves were well done and literally sent chills down my back. I liked how Pearce would describe the wolf’s transformation, from an ordinary human to a ferocious wolf. Scarlett is a very ruthless person when it comes to the wolves and she would never let one escape. Be warned that the killings were gory but cleverly done.

Although the story started out action-packed, the plot started to get draggy in the middle of the book and Sisters Red was in danger of losing readers. Luckily, it wasn’t long until the pace quickly picked up. The ending was a bit of a let down as it happened too quickly and I was expecting a much bigger showdown and Pearce to surprise me. But no, I predicted the climax and the conclusion. Nevertheless, Sisters Red was a wholly satisfying read and good enough to be a standalone book (although Pearce has a sequel to it that is titled: Sweetly).

Review copy provided by publisher.

Spells by Aprilynne Pike

Spells by Aprilynne Pike
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: May 4th 2010
Bronze star (2/5 stars)

Synopsis: Six months have passed since Laurel saved the gateway to the faerie realm of Avalon. Now she must spend her summer there, honing her skills as a Fall faerie. But her human family and friends are still in mortal danger–and the gateway to Avalon is more compromised than ever.

When it comes time to protect those she loves, will she depend on David, her human boyfriend, for help? Or will she turn to Tamani, the electrifying faerie with whom her connection is undeniable?

Review: While I thoroughly enjoyed Wings, Spells was a huge disappointment for me and I finished the book shaking my head in utter disappointment. The major problem with Spells was that it lacked a good plot line. Throughout the novel, there was no action and the suppose ‘danger’ Avalon was facing was nowhere to be found. It wasn’t until more than 3/4 of the book when the action picked up. A good book requires a good plot. While there are many other supernatural books out there, the Vampire Academy books, for example, have cringe-worthy dialogue and yet everyone reads the books. Why? Because of the exciting plot. The need to find out what happens next is enough to convince the reader to continue with the series, no matter how juvenile they are.

Moving on, Laurel’s stay in Avalon was completely boring. There was no action and instead of showing how the potions worked, Pike told the readers how it worked instead. Laurel irritated me many times. I was frustrated by how she kept repeating herself and not seem to be doing anything to I hated how conflicted she was and she was turning into — you guessed it– BELLA SWAN.

The love triangle was dragged out and by the end of the book, I officially reached the point where I simply didn’t care who Laurel chooses in the end. I was sick of reading about her conflicted feelings. Another major flaw in the book was that the supposedly bad guys were not evil at all. If the trolls were actually scary and did actual harm, the story would have been more exciting. Instead, Laurel would harp constantly about how dangerous they were and the actual fight scene was a miserable portion of the book and gave me the impression that Pike had the scene just to add some drama to the plot. Honestly, the rest of the book was like a tortoise crawling at snail pace. And the big reveal about Chelsea was a complete flop. It was out of place with no hints in the book indicating the big reveal.

It may seem like I have nothing nice to say about the book I admit, I like Pike’s writing which was the main reason why I adored Wings. In conclusion of my long rant on why I didn’t like this novel, reading Spells was like ordering a cheesecake but only to be served a muffin. It fell short and I had expected more. I don’t recommend this book, at all. Even if you enjoyed Wings. Get it from the library if you want to. Do give Wings a chance though, it had a lot of potential.

Review copy provided by publisher.