Friday, May 31, 2013

Dying to Know you by Aidan Chambers

Summary:(from goodreads) Karl, aged seventeen, is hopelessly in love. But the object of his affections, Firella, demands proof, and poses him a series of questions regarding his attitude to the many sides of love. But Karl is dyslexic, and convinced that if Firella finds out, she will think he is stupid, and unworthy of her, and leave him.So Karl asks a local writer to help him construct his replies - and an unlikely, but extremely touching, friendship develops between the two men. They both come to learn a great deal about about life from a very different perspective, and when an act of violence shatters their calm, they find their respective appraisal of life shifting in profound ways.Review: I wasn't really sure what to think about this book when I picked it up. The premise is an interesting one, but I was worried that it was going to be lacking in action. It was a definitely a more character driven story. I was surprised to find that the story is narrated by the author that Karl visits who is never named. I thought this book was just OK. I liked the depth that developed over the course of the novel. However, I feel like there was never any character development. Things weren't really much different by the end and the original premise of the story is forgotten pretty early on. Another thing is I didn't really have a connection with any of the characters. I enjoyed them but didn't love them. I feel like I maybe would have enjoyed it more if it was told form Karl's perspective. It seems like it would have been more relatable that way.  Despite those things I did get drawn into the story and enjoyed it quite a bit while i was reading it. I enjoyed it but it wasn't one of my favorites.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Bewitching by Alex Flinn

Summary:(from goodreads) Bewitching can be a beast. . . .
Once, I put a curse on a beastly and arrogant high school boy. That one turned out all right. Others didn't.I go to a new school now--one where no one knows that I should have graduated long ago. I'm not still here because I'm stupid; I just don't age.You see, I'm immortal. And I pretty much know everything after hundreds of years--except for when to take my powers and butt out.I want to help, but things just go awry in ways I could never predict. Like when I tried to free some children from a gingerbread house and ended up being hanged. After I came back from the dead (immortal, remember?), I tried to play matchmaker for a French prince and ended up banished from France forever. And that little mermaid I found in the Titanic lifeboat? I don't even want to think about it.Now a girl named Emma needs me. I probably shouldn't get involved, but her gorgeous stepsister is conniving to the core. I think I have just the thing to fix that girl--and it isn't an enchanted pumpkin. Although you never know what will happen when I start . . . bewitching

Review: This is another one of Alex Flinn's fairy tale retellings and this one was just as good as the others. I liked that this book had retellings of a few different fairy tales thrown in. Although, the main focus of the story was the story of Emma and Lisette. Emma was a really great main character in a lot of ways. She was quiet and liked to read, and didn't really have to many friends. She was easy to relate to. Kendra was also a really awesome character. Hearing her stories of some of the places she has been throughout history added a lot to the story. My only problem was that I wish she had been in the story more. Hopefully we get more of Kendra's story some day. You don't necessarily have to read Beastly first but I think this book will be way more enjoyable if you do.   If you are a fan of Alex Flinn's other fairy tale retelling I think you will enjoy this one as well.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Flash Burnout by L.K. Madigan

Summary:(from goodreads) Fifteen-year-old Blake has a girlfriend and a friend who’s a girl. One of them loves him; the other one needs him.
 When he snapped a picture of a street person for his photography homework, Blake never dreamed that the woman in the photo was his friend Marissa’s long-lost meth addicted mom. Blake’s participation in the ensuing drama opens up a world of trouble, both for him and for Marissa. He spends the next few months trying to reconcile the conflicting roles of Boyfriend and Friend. His experiences range from the comic (surviving his dad’s birth control talk) to the tragic (a harrowing after-hours visit to the morgue).In a tangle of life and death, love and loyalty, Blake will emerge with a more sharply defined snapshot of himself.

Review: This is a book I have been wanting to read for a really long time and I was happy to finally get my hands on a copy. There wasn't to much going on as far as plot, this book was all about the characters. The best thing about this book is Blake. He is such a realistic character and his struggles are something that I think a lot of teens can relate to. The photography element was interesting as well. Not only was it Blake's hobby but a lot of the time the photos he took added another dimension to the story. I don't know if that makes sense but it feels more thought out then just giving a random hobby to a character.  I liked Marissa a lot as well. There was quite a bit of dram going on in this book and it kept things from getting boring. My only problem with this book was the way thing ended, especially regarding Marissa. I wish their had been a little bit more closure. This book more than met my expectations that I had for it.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Seth Baumgartner's Love Manifesto by Eric Luper

Summary:(from goodreads) Seth Baumgartner just had the worst day of his life.His girlfriend dumped him (at Applebee's), he spied his father on a date with a woman who is not his mother (also at Applebee's!), and he lost his fourth job of the year. It's like every relationship he cares about is imploding, and he can't figure out what's going on.To find answers, Seth decides to start an anonymous podcast called The Love Manifesto, exploring "what love is, why love is, and why we're stupid enough to keep going back for more." Things start looking up when Seth gets a job at a golf club with his hilarious and smut-minded best friend, Dimitri, and Dimitri's sister, Audrey. With their help, Seth tracks down his father's mystery date, hits the most infamous bogey in the history of golf, and discovers that sometimes love means eating the worst chicken-salad sandwich you can ever imagine. 
Review: This book was a lighthearted and fun book that takes a look at the meaning of love. Seth was an easy character to relate to.The way things ended up was a little bit surprising but it added a lot to the story. I thought the love manifesto wasn't a big enough part of the story. Although, we do get some brief segments from it, apart from that Seth doesn't really talk about it. Seth does learn a lot about love over the course of the book and I think that was my favorite part of it. The plot was pretty  character driven, which is to be expected. Seth was really the only character that I liked, everyone else was kind of annoying. overall, this was a fun and cute story.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Kill Order by James Dashner

Summary:(from goodreads) The prequel to the New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series.Before WICKED was formed, before the Glade was built, before Thomas entered the Maze, sun flares hit the earth and mankind fell to disease.Mark and Trina were there when it happened, and they survived. But surviving the sun flares was easy compared to what came next. Now a disease of rage and lunacy races across the eastern United States, and there’s something suspicious about its origin. Worse yet, it’s mutating, and all evidence suggests that it will bring humanity to its knees.Mark and Trina are convinced there’s a way to save those left living from descending into madness. And they’re determined to find it—if they can stay alive. Because in this new, devastated world, every life has a price. And to some, you’re worth more dead than alive.
Review: This is the prequel to the Maze Runner series and I thought it was a pretty good read. It was fast paced and there was a lot of action. This book is set during the time of the flares and goes into a lot more detail of how things happened than the original trilogy does. Just when you think things can't get any worse for the characters it does. My only problem with this book was that I didn't like the way the book ended. I wish there had been a little bit more closure on this story, even though I sort of know where these characters are going to end up. Also, Mark wasn't my favorite character. I liked him but I thought Alec and Trina were more interesting. I would recommend reading the Maze Runner trilogy before you read this because I think it is more enjoyable that way. I am excited to read more books by this author.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal

Summary:(from goodreads) Ari Mitchell feels invisible at her Brooklyn high school. Her hair is too flat, her style too preppy, and her personality too quiet. And outside school, Ari feels outshined by her beautiful, confident best friend, Summer. Their friendship is as complex and confusing as Ari’s relationship with her troubled older sister, Evelyn, a former teenage mom whose handsome firefighter husband fills Ari’s head with guilty fantasies.When an unexpected inheritance enables Ari to transfer to an elite Manhattan prep school, she makes a wealthy new friend, Leigh. Leigh introduces Ari to the glamorous side of New York—and to her gorgeous cousin, Blake. Ari doesn't think she stands a chance, but amazingly, Blake asks her out. As their romance heats up, they find themselves involved in an intense, consuming relationship. Ari's family worries that she is losing touch with the important things in life, like family, hard work, and planning for the future. When misfortune befalls Blake's family, he pulls away, and Ari's world drains of color. As she struggles to get over the breakup, Ari must finally ask herself: were their feelings true love . . . or something else?
Review: I didn't really know that much about this book when I started it. However, I was pleasantly surprised by it. It did take me a little while to really get into it but once I did I really liked it. This book takes place in the 80's which was awesome, even though I kept forgetting about it especially in the first half. My favorite part of this book was all the characters. Ari was a character that I think a lot of people can relate to as she falls in love for the first time and deals with insecurities. Leigh, Blake, Del, Evelyn and Patrick were all great as well. The only ones who annoyed me were Ari's parents, especially her mom. She was serious and cirtical all the time and this is something that is starting to annoy me more than absent parents.  This book deals with love and relationships, but not only romantically. Ari learns how to be a good friend, daughter and lover. I will definitely read more by this author.

The Queen of Everything by Deb Caletti

ummary:(from goodreads) People ask me all the time what having Vince MacKenzie for a father was like. What they mean is, was he always crazy? High school junior Jordan MacKenzie's life was pretty typical: fractured family, new boyfriend, dead-end job. She'd been living with her father (the predictable optometrist) since her mother (the hippie holdover) had been too embarrassing to be around. Jordan felt like she finally had as normal a life as she could. But then came Gayle D'Angelo.Jordan knew her father was dating Gayle, and that Gayle was married. Jordan knew it was wrong, and that her father was becoming someone she didn't recognize anymore, but what could she do about it? And how could she -- how could anyone -- have possibly guessed that this illicit love affair would implode in such a violent and disturbing way?
Review: I am a fan of Deb Caletti's books and this one was next in my quest to read all her books. I really liked it. This book had a lot of family drama that kept things moving along. Even though I had figured out the direction things were headed, it didn't affect how much I enjoyed it that much.  I think what was different about this book was that the drama is centered around the adults rather than the main character. Although, Jordan was affected by everything that happened she was not the main participator. Jordan was a really great main character. The book is written as is she is telling the story after everything has happened.You get to see her insights into how she would have done things differently. My favorite characters apart from Jordan were her grandparents. They added a lot of humor to the story. overall, I  liked this book. Fans of Caletti's other books should definitely read this one as well.