Saturday, June 25, 2011

Divergent Review

487 pages
In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself. During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her. 

Review: 
OK. Divergent. I held off on reading this book because I sometimes do that when I'm excited about a book so I want to save it (lol). Now that I've finished it I have to say it wasn't the best dystopian novel I've ever read. I don't think that this book was worth the hype surrounding it but nevertheless it was a good read. The competition between and characteristics of the different factions definitely made the book more interesting. I did feel like the book was a little slow at times and that there should have been more action. I think that more could have been done with the conflict inside the book. I felt like the extreme conflict basically came out of nowhere. Beatrice was an extremely conflicted character but this definitely gave her an edge in the book and in the conflict surrounding the different factions. Beatrice was also a very strong character and defied the odds when she was expected to be weak. I think that when the adventure and real conflict started the book definitely picked up for me. I am interested in seeing where the author takes this story in the next novel in the series. Overall I'd recommend this book to anyone who likes a good dystopian novel.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Tempest Rising Review

352 pages
Tempest Maguire wants nothing more than to surf the killer waves near her California home; continue her steady relationship with her boyfriend, Mark; and take care of her brothers and surfer dad. But Tempest is half mermaid, and as her seventeenth birthday approaches, she will have to decide whether to remain on land or give herself to the ocean like her mother. The pull of the water becomes as insistent as her attraction to Kona, a gorgeous surfer whose uncanny abilities hint at an otherworldly identity as well. And when Tempest does finally give in to the water's temptation and enters a fantastical underwater world, she finds that a larger destiny awaits her—and that the entire ocean's future hangs in the balance.

Review:
Another mermaid book! I have to say that this book was a sweet read. It was definitely more than I thought it would be. Tempest was a strong female character although a little boy crazy. I enjoyed the triangle between Tempest, Kona, and Mark. I found Tempest's attraction to both guys interesting and amusing at times. The beginning of the book did start off slowly but the action definitely picked up in the book when Tempest finally decided to explore the world underwater. I think the only thing that I didn't enjoy was some lack of detail. I wanted there to be more of a description of Tempest's life outside her relationships. I felt like there wasn't much focus on her land family and school. I do hope for a sequel because I am curious as to how things will turn out for her family in the future as there were hints to what could await her brothers later on. This is definitely a good read for those who enjoy a nice mermaid tale. Perfect for a day at the beach.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Throne of Fire Review

452 pages
Ever since the gods of Ancient Egypt were unleashed in the modern world, Carter Kane and his sister Sadie have been in trouble. As descendants of the House of Life, the Kanes have some powers at their command, but the devious gods haven't given them much time to master their skills at Brooklyn House, which has become a training ground for young magicians.
And now their most threatening enemy yet - the chaos snake Apophis - is rising. If they don't prevent him from breaking free in a few days' time, the world will come to an end. In other words, it's a typical week for the Kane family.

Review:

Ok usually I love Rick Riordan books but I have to admit this one didn't suck me in as the Percy Jackson series did. Maybe its the way in which the story is told by the different characters but I feel like the book started out a little bit slow and certain aspects of the books seemed drawn out and long. I was a little bit confused when the book started because I didn't know how they got to that point from the previous book. There seems to be gaps in the storytelling sometimes. However, it was still a great read.  I do love how the Egyptian myths come to play in the storytelling and there is definitely a lot of action and adventure in this book. I think Carter's obsession with Zia was a little strange but sweet at the same time. Sadie was sometimes annoying but when she embraced being a heroine she was wonderful. All in all this is worth reading, especially if you read the first book, but just to see how the story develops. I will definitely read the third one when it comes out just to see what happens next.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Outside In Review

326 pages

Me? A Leader? Okay, I did prove that there's more to Inside than we knew. That a whole world exists beyond this cube we live in. And finding that led to a major rebellion - between worker scrubs like me and the snobby uppers who rule our world. Make that ruled. Because of me, we're free. I thought that meant I was off the hook, and could go off on my own again - while still touching base with Riley, of course. He's the one upper I think I can trust. But then we learned that there's outside and then there is Outside. And something from Outside wants In.

Review: 
As the second book in this series I wasn't sure what else could go wrong. Everything seemed to end well in the last book and they were on course to a major change. However, Maria V. Snyder definitely cooked up something unexpected in this one. We see more action and a development of the romance between Trella and Riley. I have to say that this book did remain mostly a mystery to me while reading it because I wasn't sure who was creating the problems on Inside. I love how Trella always gets back on top after putting herself in danger to help others. I was a little disappointed with her reluctance to take control but also impressed with her ability to get everyone organized when there actually is danger. This book really gives a lot of insight to how societies can end up when changes are made and no clear leadership is taken. I really hope there is a next book because I'm curious to how certain things ended and why other certain things happened and I would like to see them finally land on another planet. I recommend this book again to those who like dystopian fiction but you should definitely read the first book before this one.

Inside Out Review

315 pages
I'm Trella. I'm a scrub. A nobody. One of thousands who work the lower levels, keeping Inside clean for the Uppers. I've got one friend, do my job and try to avoid the Pop Cops. So what if I occasionally use the pipes to sneak around the Upper levels? The only neck at risk is my own…until I accidentally start a rebellion and become the go-to girl to lead a revolution.

Review:
As far as dystopian novels go this is a good one. Trella does not disappoint as the heroine of this novel. She is the Queen of the Pipes and she explores and goes where no one else dares to go. This is of course a useful characteristic about her as the book goes on. The scrubs suffer so much in a controlling and overpopulated environment and they have such a negative view of the uppers even though they truthfully don't know much about them. As Trella gets to know the people she has had so many negative views about in the past she learns that there is more to everyone than meets the eye. This novel is about bringing different types of people to work together for the greater good. Its about tearing down boundaries and misconceptions. And of course its about action, adventure and a little romance. I definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in dystopian novels.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mermaid: A Twist on the Classic Tale Review

240 pages


The story of two very different women, one mortal, one mermaid, and the clash between worlds best kept apart... It is a cold day at the end of the world when a young woman, a princess in hiding, looks out across a Northern sea and sees something she could not have seen. It looks...it can't be. It looks like a mermaid's tail. And, as she looks more closely, she sees that the mermaid is dragging a drowning sailor in her arms. Because, only hours before, another princess, the daughter of the sea queen, has decided to risk everything and take a look at the world above the sea: the world of mortals. And there she finds a storm, a shipwreck, a sailor, and sets in train events which will change both women's worlds forever.

Review:
This was such a heartwarming amazing twist on The Little Mermaid fairytale. The Little Mermaid is one of my favorite fairytales as well as Disney movie. I loved how Carolyn Turgeon showed the point of view of the princess as well in this book. Even though the ending was bittersweet I enjoyed her take on this classic fairytale. The love triangle in this book was so sad. I found myself rooting for the mermaid yet feeling for the good heart of the princess as well. I enjoyed the way that the princess found to end the rivalry between her kingdom and the prince. I think that Carolyn Turgeon also did a good job with the twist in which the way the mermaid becomes a human. It is definitely a far cry from the magic of the Disney movie. All in all this was a great read and I think that those who enjoy fairytales and romance will definitely enjoy this.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Plague Review

497 pages
It's been eight months since all the adults disappeared. GONE.
They've survived hunger. They've survived lies. But the stakes keep rising, and the dystopian horror keeps building. Yet despite the simmering unrest left behind by so many battles, power struggles, and angry divides, there is a momentary calm in Perdido Beach. But enemies in the FAYZ don't just fade away, and in the quiet, deadly things are stirring, mutating, and finding their way free. The Darkness has found its way into the mind of its Nemesis at last and is controlling it through a haze of delirium and confusion. A highly contagious, fatal illness spreads at an alarming rate. Sinister, predatory insects terrorize Perdido Beach. And Sam, Astrid, Diana, and Caine are plagued by a growing doubt that they'll escape - or even survive - life in the FAYZ. With so much turmoil surrounding them, what desperate choices will they make when it comes to saving themselves and those they love? 


Review:
Wow. Out of all the books in the Gone Novel series this is definitely the best. It is also the most explicitly gruesome one I have read so far. From the plague killing people off, to giant bugs erupting out of the kids' skin, nothing remains the same in the FAYZ. There is so much turmoil and adventure going on in this one novel. The battle for control of the FAYZ becomes more intense. I still don't like the fact that you don't see Sam step up as much but you do see a change in Caine's way of approaching things. Most of the characters go through personal changes as well that make this novel even more exciting. I know that anyone who reads this novel will enjoy it but I recommend you read the first three first so you understand how the characters got to this point. I definitely can't wait for the next novel in this series!

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Queen of Water Review

304 pages

Born in an Andean village in Ecuador, Virginia lives with her large family in a small, earthen-walled dwelling. In her village of indígenas, it is not uncommon to work in the fields all day, even as a child, or to be called a longa tonta—stupid Indian—by members of the ruling class of mestizos, or Spanish descendants. When seven-year-old Virginia is taken from her village to be a servant to a mestizo couple, she has no idea what the future holds. In this poignant novel based on a true story, acclaimed author Laura Resau has collaborated with María Virginia Farinango to recount one girl's unforgettable journey to self-discovery. Virginia's story will speak to anyone who has ever struggled to find his or her place in the world. It will make you laugh and cry, and ultimately, it will fill you with hope.

Review:
I absolutely loved this book. The twists and turns that Virginia's life takes is an amazing journey of self discovery. This story is even more amazing since it is based on a true story. It's sad that something like this had to happen to Virginia but at the same time she persevered and became a better woman for it. Laura Resau did an amazing job telling this story. I was never quite sure what would happen next in Virginia's story or if she would ever see her family again. The way that Virginia was kept down and frightened by the mestizo couple that took her is terrible. The fact that she was abused and basically a slave since she wasn't paid is even worse. I am glad that this story was given a voice and I recommend it to anyone who wants to read something that will inspire them in life.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Pretty Little Liars Series Review


Among the mega mansions and perfectly manicured hedges of Rosewood, Pennsylvania, everyone has something to hide—especially four very pretty little liars.
High school juniors Spencer, Hanna, Aria, and Emily have been keeping secrets ever since their best friend, Alison DiLaurentis, disappeared three years ago. But when the girls begin receiving threatening notes from someone named “A,” their secrets—the big ones, the little ones, even the long-buried ones—no longer seem so safe.

Review:
These are some of the worst 8 books I have ever read and that says a lot. The characters are foolish and predictable. The things that are happening in the books don't even make sense. It amazes me that the television show based on the books is so much better than what I read. It was really hard for me to even continue reading these books but I had to finish with the hopes that they would get better. They didn't and I was extremely glad to finish them. The way Spencer, Hanna, Aria, and Emily are treated by their parents is so completely ridiculous to me in these books. I like books that have really great plot and character development but these characters were as shallow as a kiddie pool. I don't understand why anyone would like these books but I really can't recommend them as a great series to read. However, everyone has an opinion and I'm sure some people enjoy these so read them at your own discretion.

Madame Tussaud Review

 
464 pages
The world knows Madame Tussaud as a wax artist extraordinaire…but who was this woman and how did she become one of the most famous sculptresses of all time? In these pages, her tumultuous story comes to life as only Michelle Moran could tell it. The year is 1788, and a revolution is about to begin… 

Review:
Michelle Moran always writes great historical fiction novels and this one is no exception. I love how Madame Tussaud is shown to be very involved in the French Revolution. You really get an in depth view of what the French Revolution may have been like amongst the common people. The anger and misunderstandings that are expressed within Madame Tussaud's circle make the emotions of that time period come alive. I really enjoyed reading this book and seeing how Madame Tussaud survived this reign of terror. This was an excellent and enjoyable historcial fiction and I recommend it for fans of such.  

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Starcrossed Review


496 pages
Helen Hamilton has spent her entire sixteen years trying to hide how different she is—no easy task on an island as small and sheltered as Nantucket. And it's getting harder. Nightmares of a desperate desert journey have Helen waking parched, only to find her sheets damaged by dirt and dust. At school she's haunted by hallucinations of three women weeping tears of blood . . . and when Helen first crosses paths with Lucas Delos, she has no way of knowing they're destined to play the leading roles in a tragedy the Fates insist on repeating throughout history. As Helen unlocks the secrets of her ancestry, she realizes that some myths are more than just legend. But even demigod powers might not be enough to defy the forces that are both drawing her and Lucas together—and trying to tear them apart.

Review:
I love books based on mythology and this was definitely a good one. At first I wasn't fond of Helen in the book because I always like strong main characters and I didn't feel like she was one. However, as the book went on and some things became more clear I found Helen to be a more enticing character than I anticipated. The love between her and Lucas was so intense and I found myself being drawn into the complications of their romance. I think that the author, Josephine Angelini did a great job and took an interesting twist on Greek/Roman mythology. The ending definitely left me wanting more and I can't wait for the next book in the series to come out. Definitely a recommended book for fans of young adult fiction and mythology.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Awaken Review

320 pages

Maddie lives in a world where everything is done on the computer. Whether it’s to go to school or on a date, people don’t venture out of their home. There’s really no need. For the most part, Maddie’s okay with the solitary, digital life—until she meets Justin. Justin likes being with people. He enjoys the physical closeness of face-to-face interactions. People aren’t meant to be alone, he tells her. Suddenly, Maddie feels something awakening inside her—a feeling that maybe there is a different, better way to live. But with society and her parents telling her otherwise, Maddie is going to have to learn to stand up for herself if she wants to change the path her life is taking. In this not-so-brave new world, two young people struggle to carve out their own space.

Review:
Wow. I just finished reading this book and it was so amazingly real. Katie Kacvinsky did a good job writing this dystopian novel. Its amazing because you see so many similarities to our world today and where we could possibly head if we choose technology over people. One interesting phrase stuck out to me from this book. Maddie was referring to the online world and she said "I can be whoever I want to be in that world.... I can be the best version of myself. Better yet, an exaggeration of the best version of myself.... I can delete my flaws by pressing a button." That really hit home with me because I've noticed that in today's world a lot of people do in fact use the internet to put up an image of themselves that they want others to see. I think that the author really connected this novel with life as it is right now and I enjoyed reading this book immensely. I ca 't wait until she finishes writing the sequel so I can see what happens to Maddie and Justin. This is definitely a must read for fans of dystopian novels.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Matched Review

366 pages
Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

Review:
This was a nicely written dystopian novel. It kind of reminded me a little bit of The Giver with the way the society is so perfect. The citizens in this novel were so willing to have things decided for them to keep life as perfect as they were used to. I liked the main character Cassia because even though she was conflicted about the Society she was willing to question it and decide things for herself. I think that the love triangle between Xander, Cassia, and Ky is a difficult one especially since Ky and Xander are revealed to have some interesting similarities. I am very interested in seeing where her journey takes her in the next novel in this series when it comes out. This is definitely a great read for those who love dystopian novels.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Quote of the Day

"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages."
-William Shakespeare

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Tale of Two Castles Review

320 pages
Newly arrived in the town of Two Castles, Elodie unexpectedly becomes the assistant to a brilliant dragon named Meenore, and together they solve mysteries. Their most important case concerns the town’s shape-shifting ogre, Count Jonty Um: Someone is plotting against him. Elodie must disguise herself to discover the source of the threat amid a cast of characters that includes a greedy king, a giddy princess, and a handsome cat trainer.

Review:
I love fairytales and fairytale remake books. I have also loved Gail Carson Levine's books ever since I came across Ella EnchantedA Tale of Two Castles does not disappoint. This book gives a great twist to the Puss In Boots fairytale. Instead of being a direct replica of that tale it has its own original storyline. This is a fun and delightfully sweet read. Even though the heroine Elodie is young she doesn't come across that way in the book. This book isn't a typical fairytale book in the sense that the characters aren't what they seem. I think that this book would be enjoyable for anyone who likes fairytales no matter what the age.