Monday, April 29, 2013

Who Done it?- Multiple authors

Summary:(from goodreads) A star-studded anthology with a devilish hook, whose proceeds benefit 826nyc: the fabulous literacy non-profit founded by Dave Eggers.Can you imagine the most cantankerous book editor alive? Part Voldemort, part Cruella de Vil (if she were a dude), and worse in appearance and odor than a gluttonous farm pig? A man who makes no secret of his love of cheese or his disdain of unworthy authors? That man is Herman Mildew.The anthology opens with an invitation to a party, care of this insufferable monster, where more than 80 of the most talented, bestselling and recognizable names in YA and children’s fiction learn that they are suspects in his murder. All must provide alibis in brief first-person entries. The problem is that all of them are liars, all of them are fabulists, and all have something to hide.

Review: I generally find it somewhat hard to review anthologies but I think in this case there is enough to warrant a discussion. I had high hopes for this book. The premise was really intriguing and the proceeds went to a good cause. I have to say that it didn't live up to my expectations. I just feel like it could have been done so much better. I wish the stories had been more interconnected. Although there was some overlap in the stories, it started to get repetitive after a while. If it had been done more in the style of a murder mystery dinner it could have been a lot more mysterious. My other problem with it was the ending. Again, thing just could have ended so much better.  That's not to say I didn't enjoy it at all. I thought it was pretty entertaining and a lot of the stories were funny. This anthology was a fun read and I did enjoy it but if you are expecting a dark murder mystery you are going to be disappointed.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kristen Cronn-Mills

Summary:(from goodreads) This is Beautiful Music for Ugly Children, on community radio 90.3, KZUK. I'm Gabe. Welcome to my show."My birth name is Elizabeth, but I'm a guy. Gabe. My parents think I've gone crazy and the rest of the world is happy to agree with them, but I know I'm right. I've been a boy my whole life.When you think about it, I'm like a record. Elizabeth is my A side, the song everybody knows, and Gabe is my B side--not heard as often, but just as good.It's time to let my B side play. 

Review: I"m honestly sure how I feel about his book. I really liked the story line. Honestly the title is what caught my attention, when I read the summary I decided to give this one a try. I thought the story was good but there wasn't a whole lot as far as plot. This book definitely focuses more on the characters than an action packed plot but it still had a nice balance. My main problem with the book was that I felt like it should have been longer. It seemed to end a little bit suddenly. I wanted more from these characters. Gabe is a really awesome character. He has passion and drive and despite dealing with a difficult issue he is able to overcome the obstacles. John and Paige were also great secondary characters. Especially John, I can't even really explain the relationship that he and Gabe have but I loved it. This book handles the issues well. Gabe has such an honest voice and that is what really open peoples eyes to these issues and what can be done to prevent the type of bullying that happens here. Overall, i enjoyed this book quite a lot and will be interested to read other works by this author.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Rapture by Lauren Kate

This review may contain spoilers of previous books in the series.
Summary:(from goodreads) The sky is dark with wings . . . .
Like sand in an hourglass, time is running out for Luce and Daniel. To stop Lucifer from erasing the past they must find the place where the angels fell to earth. Dark forces are after them, and Daniel doesn’t know if he can do this—live only to lose Luce again and again.Yet together they will face an epic battle that will end with lifeless bodies . . . and angel dust. Great sacrifices are made. Hearts are destroyed. And suddenly Luce knows what must happen.
For she was meant to be with someone other than Daniel. The curse they’ve borne has always and only been about her—and the love she cast aside. The choice she makes now will be the only one that truly matters.In the fight for Luce, who will win?
Review: This is the fourth and final book in the Fallen series. I thought the book went really slow and was bored during some parts. It just seemed like a lot of it was unnecessary. The entire portion of the book where they are trying to track down the relics just started to seem annoying and repetitive after a while. Things got more interesting towards the end and I have mixed feelings about the way things ended. I think it was a fitting ending for the series but a part of me just feels like it was just a little bit anti climatic after everything they went through. I liked the characters more in this book then I did in the last one. Luce and Daniel both turned out to be stronger characters than I anticipated, they are willing to do anything it takes to be together. I also like Cam a lot more in this book. He was a character I never really knew what to think of but he was awesome in this book. Overall, I just thought this book was OK but people who are fans of this series should definitely read this one.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shephard

Summary:(from goodreads) In the darkest places, even love is deadly.
Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father's gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true.Accompanied by her father's handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father's madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island's inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father's dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it's too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father's genius—and madness—in her own blood.Inspired by H. G. Wells's classic The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Madman's Daughter is a dark and breathless Gothic thriller about the secrets we'll do anything to know and the truths we'll go to any lengths to protect.

Review: I wasn't entirely sure what to expect when I started this book but I ended up really enjoying it. The story has a lot of dark and creepy elements which is what really made this book stand out. The plot was well paced and there were so many surprising plot twists that had me on the edge of my seat. The way this book ended made me really excited to see how this story continues. I liked all the characters as well. Juliet made a really great narrator. Her conflicting emotions about what was going on added a different dimension to the story. Montgomery and Edward were both great characters as well, i was very surprised at how things were left with both of them at the end of this book. I can't wait to see where things lead. . M

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Try Not to Breathe by Jennifer R. Hubbard

Summary:(from goodreads) Learning to live is more than just choosing not to die, as sixteen-year-old Ryan discovers in the year following his suicide attempt. Despite his mother’s anxious hovering and the rumors at school, he’s trying to forget the darkness from which he has escaped. But it doesn’t help that he’s still hiding guilty secrets, or that he longs for a girl who may not return his feelings. Then he befriends Nicki, who is using psychics to seek contact with her dead father. This unlikely friendship thaws Ryan to the point where he can face the worst in himself. He and Nicki confide in one another the things they never thought they’d tell anyone—but their confessions are trickier than they seem, and the fallout tests the bounds of friendship and forgiveness. 
Review: After enjoying Hubbard's previous book The Secret Year I was excited to give this one a try. I was a little bit surprised by how subtle the issues that Ryan was dealing with really were. He wasn't a character who had a big neon sign labeling him as crazy, even if he felt that way sometimes. This book was a more of an honest look at a guy who made some bad choices and did stupid things but in the end is able to overcome it. At some points in the story, I almost forgot what his issues at all.  I think Ryan is a character that a lot of people can relate to because I think everyone has those moments where they feel overwhelmed by life. I think the slow plot development is part of what made this book stand out for me and I really liked it.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Butter by Erin Jade Lange

Summary:(from goodreads) A lonely obese boy everyone calls "Butter" is about to make history. He is going to eat himself to death-live on the Internet-and everyone is invited to watch. When he first makes the announcement online to his classmates, Butter expects pity, insults, and possibly sheer indifference. What he gets are morbid cheerleaders rallying around his deadly plan. Yet as their dark encouragement grows, it begins to feel a lot like popularity. And that feels good. But what happens when Butter reaches his suicide deadline? Can he live with the fallout if he doesn't go through with his plans? With a deft hand, E.J. Lange allows readers to identify with both the bullies and the bullied in this all-consuming look at one teen's battle with himself.
Review: I really liked this book. The premise is what originally caught my attention when I first heard about it and i knew I wanted to read this one. The author handled the subject matter really well. Although, the scenario is a little on the extreme end of the spectrum, it  still takes a  serious look at suicide and bullying and how these two pieces fit together. What really made this story for me is Butter. He has such and honest voice that it is hard not to root for him and hope he finds a way out of the situation he has found himself in. I honestly felt so bad for him during certain parts of the book. He is really in a bad place mentally and physically and I loved watching his journey to finding a little bit of self worth. Also, the story behind how he got the nickname butter was somewhat disturbing and I think that is what really set things in motion for him. I think everyone who wants and honest and heartbreaking look at the relationship between bully and victim should pick this one up.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Speechless by Hannah Harrington

Summary:(from goodreads) Everyone knows that Chelsea Knot can't keep a secretUntil now. Because the last secret she shared turned her into a social outcast—and nearly got someone killed.Now Chelsea has taken a vow of silence—to learn to keep her mouth shut, and to stop hurting anyone else. And if she thinks keeping secrets is hard, not speaking up when she's ignored, ridiculed and even attacked is worse.But there's strength in silence, and in the new friends who are, shockingly, coming her way—people she never noticed before; a boy she might even fall for. If only her new friends can forgive what she's done. If only she can forgive herself.
Review: The female character that everyone loves to hate is pretty common in young adult books. She is snarky, bitchy and loves to gossip without sparing anyone else's feelings. Chelsea Knot is that girl. At least she was at the beginning of the book. Once she comes to realize that she is hurting other people she has a change of heart. I really liked the level of character development in this book. Even though her vow of silence maybe wasn't the best way to handle the situation. She was able to reflect on her mistakes and learn how to move on. The friends that she makes during her journey of self discovery are really great. Sam and Asha were both well developed and fun characters. I also really liked Noah and Andy even though they were more minor characters. The only thing I didn't like was I felt like her vow of silence really served very little purpose in the grand scheme of things. Which I guess, it what she comes to realize but I still felt like it could have been a bigger deal in the end. Overall, I thought this was a really great read.