Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Scarlet Review

292 pages

Many readers know the tale of Robin Hood, but they will be swept away by this new version full of action, secrets, and romance. Posing as one of Robin Hood’s thieves to avoid the wrath of the evil Thief Taker Lord Gisbourne, Scarlet has kept her identity secret from all of Nottinghamshire. Only the Hood and his band know the truth: the agile thief posing as a whip of a boy is actually a fearless young woman with a secret past. Helping the people of Nottingham outwit the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham could cost Scarlet her life as Gisbourne closes in. It’s only her fierce loyalty to Robin—whose quick smiles and sharp temper have the rare power to unsettle her—that keeps Scarlet going and makes this fight worth dying for.

Review:
At first I wasn't sure I would like this novel and I was right. I absolutely loved it! Most Robin Hood stories don't really focus on a woman as being a member of the band. Scarlet brings a fresh new perspective and imagination to the Robin Hood tale. Scarlet is a brave heroine who fights just as hard as the men if not harder in Robin Hood's band. I really love the mystery behind Scarlet's true origins and how they're revealed as the book goes on. There is also a really great twist to Scarlet's identity that I really liked and appreciated. There is a lot of action in this novel and a bit of a love triangle as well. All in all this makes for a great book to read. I definitely recommend this if you like adventure, Robin Hood, and a strong female heroine.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Scored Review

240 pages

Set in the future when teenagers are monitored via camera and their recorded actions and confessions plugged into a computer program that determines their ability to succeed. All kids given a "score" that determines their future potential. This score has the ability to get kids into colleges, grant scholarships, or destroy all hope for the above. Scored's reluctant heroine is Imani, a girl whose high score is brought down when her best friend's score plummets. Where do you draw the line between doing what feels morally right and what can mean your future? Friendship, romance, loyalty, family, human connection and human value: all are questioned in this fresh and compelling dystopian novel set in the scarily forseeable future.

Review:
For a dystopian novel this was ok and a little bit boring at parts. I loved the concept of scores determining a kids future. I think it was interesting that a friend's decisions could influence your own score. It was also intriguing to see the way kids reacted to the scoring software and how it changed their school and home lives. Imani is a main character who basically plays by the rules but eventually has to open her eyes to the other side of the scoring software. When Imani's teacher assigns her an essay for a scholarship she is tossed into the path of one of the "unscored,"Diego. This sets off a chain of events to where Imani discovers more about the scores than she thought possible. I wish there was more action and I didn't really feel like there was any kind of grand climax in the book at all. The ending was a bit open ended and it did leave me wanting to know more about what happens to Imani. If there is another novel I probably will read it just to see what happens next. I recommend this as a good quick read with a "big brother is watching" theme.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Classic Monday: Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

1911
176 pages

It was Friday night. Mr and Mrs Darling were dining out. Nana had been tied up in the backyard. The poor dog was barking, for she could smell danger. And she was right - this was the night that Peter Pan would take the Darling children on the most breath-taking adventure of their lives, to a place called Neverland, a strange country where the lost boys live and never grow up, a land with mermaids, fairies and pirates - and of course the terrible, evil, Captain Hook. Peter Pan is undoubtedly one of the most famous and best-loved stories for children, an unforgettable, magical fantasy which has been enjoyed by generations.

I remember thinking I knew all about Peter Pan from Disney before I read this book. The Peter Pan story is so much more than that. Peter Pan is a timeless character who you can't help but love. Definitely the definition of a true classic, a story that can be told time and time again without losing any of its appeal.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Upcoming Reviews

ARC:
Ordinary Magic by Caitlen Rubino-Bradway

Bought:
Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen
Scored by Lauren McLaughlin
Zombies Don't Cry by Rusty Fischer

Friday, February 24, 2012

Fever Review

341 pages

Rhine and Gabriel have escaped the mansion, but danger is never far behind. Running away brings Rhine and Gabriel right into a trap, in the form of a twisted carnival whose ringmistress keeps watch over a menagerie of girls. Just as Rhine uncovers what plans await her, her fortune turns again. With Gabriel at her side, Rhine travels through an environment as grim as the one she left a year ago - surroundings that mirror her own feelings of fear and hopelessness. The two are determined to get to Manhattan, to relative safety with Rhine’s twin brother, Rowan. But the road there is long and perilous - and in a world where young women only live to age twenty and young men die at twenty-five, time is precious. Worse still, they can’t seem to elude Rhine’s father-in-law, Vaughn, who is determined to bring Rhine back to the mansion...by any means necessary. In the sequel to Lauren DeStefano’s harrowing Wither, Rhine must decide if freedom is worth the price - now that she has more to lose than ever.

Review:
This was a good novel, not as good as the first one, but good. There was something about this book that I didn't really like. I think that Rhine's narration turned me off a bit. I felt like Rhine's focus was mostly her thoughts for too much of this novel and most of it was taken up with her hallucinations and prior memories. I also wasn't the biggest fan of Rhine in this novel because she seemed to go through periods of strength and weakness one after another. Besides that the story was still a good one. Rhine and Gabriel seem to have a realistic relationship where everything isn't all love all the time. The world outside the mansion is a new experience for Rhine as well as Gabriel. Rhine seems to have remembered a world that was better than it actually is. Rhine and Gabriel are both unprepared for the things they have to deal with in the outside environment. There is a lot of violence towards women in general in this novel because of society's need to produce children and the fact that some people choose to take advantage of those who are dying. This story definitely leaves you with a good cliffhanger in the end and I can't wait to see what the next book in the series brings. I recommend this novel to anyone who has read Wither and wants to see the continuation of Rhine's story.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Truth Review

299 pages
In this sequel to "XVI," Nina Oberon's life has changed enormously. After her mother was killed, Nina discovered the truth about her father, the leader of the Resistance. And now she sports the same Governing Council-ordered tattoo of XVI on her wrist that all 16-year-old girls have. But Nina won't be anyone's stereotype.

Review:
This was a fantastic second book in the XVI series! I love that this novel is basically about uncovering truth and questioning what society may portray as truth. Once again Nina is back as a stronger heroine who has to deal with a lot more in this novel than she had to in the first one. There is also a bit of a love triangle which is interesting because Nina also starts to question the "truth" about love. This novel was well paced and also contained a lot of action. The ending left me both satisfied and wanting to see how Nina's story and life will end up. I definitely recommend this as a great dystopian read but you should make sure to read the first novel in the series before you dive into this one.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Burn Mark Review

407 pages
In a modern world-where witches are hunted down and burned at the stake-two live interact. Cleo is from a family of witches, and is desperate to develop the 'Fae' and become a witch herself. Lucas is the son of the Chief Prosecutor for the Inquisition and his privileged life is very different from the witches he is being trained to prosecute. And then one day, both Cleo and Lucas develop the Fae. In one fell stroke, their lives are inextricably bound together, whether they like it or not.

Review (ARC):
This novel had a pretty interesting alternate reality concept. A modern day world where when someone having magical powers is basically known to all yet they are discriminated against and heavily regulated. There is also a sort of "mafia" feel to this novel and it definitely makes things more interesting.Lucas is part of a long line of Inquisitors with no history of witchcraft on either side of his gene pool. Yet he ends up developing the Fae. Cleo on the other hand grew up on the wrong side of the law and all she wants is to develop the Fae. I really liked how Lucas and Cleo end up being bound together and I think it is especially interesting how they test each others prejudice about each other's lives. Parts of this novel did get tedious at times but it was overall a good read. I recommend this book to anyone who likes stories about alternate realities, magic, witches and gangs.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Posse of Princesses Review

300 pages

Rhis, princess of a small kingdom, is invited along with all the other princesses in her part of the world to the coming of age party of the Crown Prince of Vesarja, which is the central and most important kingdom. When Iardith, the prettiest and most perfect of all the princesses, is abducted, Rhis and her friends go to the rescue. What happens to Rhis and her posse has unexpected results not only for the princesses, but for the princes who chase after them. Everyone learns a lot about friendship and hate, politics and laughter, romantic ballads and sleeping in the dirt with nothing but a sword for company. But most of all they learn about the many meanings of love.

Review:
I was first introduced to Sherwood Smith as an author from randomly picking up her novel of Crown Duel and Court Duel. I really enjoyed those and hoped for more. A Posse of Princesses isn't as good as those novels, but it is a bit of a fun light-hearted romantic read. Rhis isn't the typical princess of a fairytale, she has a strong mind and does things her own way. I do wish that This was more of a action character, that is, enjoying sword fighting and horseback riding, but she is still able to make a pretty formidable character. There is an awesome twist in this novel (even though I figured it out quite early) that is definitely a bit different from most books I read. I recommend this book to anyone who loves fairytale-like stories and romance.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Classic Monday: Lord of the Flies by William Golding

1954
208 pages

William Golding's classic tale about a group of English schoolboys who are plane-wrecked on a deserted island is just as chilling and relevant today as when it was first published in 1954. At first, the stranded boys cooperate, attempting to gather food, make shelters, and maintain signal fires. Overseeing their efforts are Ralph, "the boy with fair hair," and Piggy, Ralph's chubby, wisdom-dispensing sidekick whose thick spectacles come in handy for lighting fires. Although Ralph tries to impose order and delegate responsibility, there are many in their number who would rather swim, play, or hunt the island's wild pig population. Soon Ralph's rules are being ignored or challenged outright. His fiercest antagonist is Jack, the redheaded leader of the pig hunters, who manages to lure away many of the boys to join his band of painted savages. The situation deteriorates as the trappings of civilization continue to fall away, until Ralph discovers that instead of being hunters, he and Piggy have become the hunted: "He forgot his words, his hunger and thirst, and became fear; hopeless fear on flying feet." Golding's gripping novel explores the boundary between human reason and animal instinct, all on the brutal playing field of adolescent competition.

I'm not sure if kids have to read this in school anymore but this is definitely one of those "I can't believe they let us read this in school" books. Violent yet with an interesting message, it brings to thought what would you do in a similar situation. It shows a breakdown of civilization when placed in uncivilized circumstances. Definitely a classic worth reading.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Upcoming Reviews

ARC:
Burn Mark by Laura Powell

Bought:
A Posse of Princesses by Sherwood Smith
Truth by Julia Karr
Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen

Friday, February 17, 2012

Fire Stones Review



Mackenzy Evers can't believe how close she is with Chance now that they've finally allowed themselves to be with each other. But her past with Varun and her quest for the goddess Vesta's magical stones can tear her away from him forever. Book 2 of the Fire Wars Series.

Review:
The first book in the Fire Wars series was pretty good. Not necessarily the storyline but the romance more than made up for it. This book was a bit of a disappointment. The storyline seemed rushed and the romance seemed confused. Mackenzy doesn't know what she really wants in this book and at the end of the novel a lot of questions were left unanswered. There were a lot of random things that began to happen in the story and I was generally left unsatisfied when I finished reading. I am curious to read the next novel to see how this story ends but I really hope it is written in a more clear and exciting manner.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Daughter of the Centaurs Review

362 pages
Malora knows what she was born to be: a horse wrangler and a hunter, just like her father. But when her people are massacred by batlike monsters called Leatherwings, Malora will need her horse skills just to survive. The last living human, Malora roams the wilderness at the head of a band of magnificent horses, relying only on her own wits, strength, and courage. When she is captured by a group of centaurs and taken to their city, Malora must decide whether the comforts of her new home and family are worth the parts of herself she must sacrifice to keep them.

Review:
After reading this novel I don't exactly hate it but I don't exactly love it either. This novel could have been a really good one, the concept and back story was interesting, however the story as a whole was just lacking. It took me a while to get through this book because the writing style just didn't connect with me at all. Malora seems to be a strong female character but she seems to back down a lot in situations that most strong heroines wouldn't accept. I felt like I didn't get too clear of a picture on how Malora felt about the centaurs and everything else going on around her. Close to the end of the novel, the story picks up and I am curious to see where the author will take Malora's story in the next novel. Other than that I wouldn't necessarily recommend this novel unless you're really bored and have absolutely nothing else to read.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!





Doubt thou the stars are fire; 
Doubt that the sun doth move;
Doubt truth to be a liar;
But never doubt I love. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Classic Monday: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

1813
334 pages

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife."
So begins "Pride and Prejudice," Jane Austen's witty comedy of manners--one of the most popular novels of all time--that features splendidly civilized sparring between the proud Mr. Darcy and the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet as they play out their spirited courtship in a series of eighteenth-century drawing-room intrigues. Renowned literary critic and historian George Saintsbury in 1894 declared it the "most perfect, the most characteristic, the most eminently quintessential of its author's works," and Eudora Welty in the twentieth century described it as "irresistible and as nearly flawless as any fiction could be."

Pride and Prejudice is an example of a wonderful classic novel. This being one of the first classic novels I read, it holds an especially special place in my heart. Elizabeth Bennet's courtship with Mr. Darcy is comedic yet intriguing and you can't help to be drawn in to that and the relationships of those around her. This novel is both romantic and entertaining and promises to be a great read to lovers of the romantic classics.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Upcoming Reviews

Bought
Daughter of the Centaurs by K.K. Ross
Fire Stones by Kailin Gow
The Book of Wonders by Jasmine Richards
A Posse of Princesses by Sherwood Smith

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Forgetting Curve Review




Aiden Nomura likes to open doors—especially using his skills as a hacker—to see what’s hidden inside. He believes everything is part of a greater system: the universe. The universe shows him the doors, and he keeps pulling until one cracks open. Aiden exposes the flaw, and the universe—or someone else—will fix it. It’s like a game. Until it isn’t. When a TFC opens in Bern, Switzerland, where Aiden is attending boarding school, he knows things are changing. Shortly after, bombs go off within quiet, safe Bern. Then Aiden learns that his cousin Winter, back in the States, has had a mental breakdown. He returns to the US immediately. But when he arrives home in Hamilton, Winter’s mental state isn’t the only thing that’s different. The city is becoming even stricter, and an underground movement is growing. Along with Winter’s friend, Velvet, Aiden slowly cracks open doors in this new world. But behind those doors are things Aiden doesn’t want to see—things about his society, his city, even his own family. And this time Aiden may be the only one who can fix things... before someone else gets hurt.

Review (ARC):
After reading Memento Nora I was excited to see what happens next to the characters. The Forgetting Curve does not disappoint. Aiden is a new character who is introduced to us as Winter's cousin. Aiden is the character most focused on in this book even though we also get some insight from Velvet and Winter as well. Aiden is a hacker who comes back to the US to find out exactly what happened to his cousin Winter. While there Aiden slowly unravels the mystery of what really happened to Winter with some help from Velvet and others he meets along the way. I really enjoyed the way this story progressed and the concept of a conspiracy between the government and a major drug company. I also appreciated the fact that they worked at solving their problems in more realistic ways locally instead of the usual "head to a government office and knock some heads together" type of action. I definitely recommend this novel especially if you've read Memento Nora first.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Other Life Review

320 pages
3 years, 1 month, 1 week and 6 days since I’d seen daylight. One-fifth of my life. 98,409,602 seconds since the heavy, steel door had fallen shut and sealed us off from the world. Sherry has lived with her family in a sealed bunker since things went wrong up above. But when they run out of food, Sherry and her dad must venture outside. There they find a world of devastation, desolation...and the Weepers: savage, mutant killers. When Sherry's dad is snatched, she joins forces with gorgeous but troubled Joshua - an Avenger, determined to destroy the Weepers. But can Sherry keep her family and Joshua safe, when his desire for vengeance threatens them all?

Review (ARC):
I absolutely loved this novel! This is one of those dystopian novels where the world has been taken over by mutant killers. Sherry was stuck in a bunker with her family for 3 years. With food running out it was finally time for them to venture outside. Sherry and her dad aren't prepared for the way the world has changed outside of the bunker. Of course as things usually happen they run into some trouble and Sherry's dad gets taken. Then a random guy shows up out of nowhere and rescues Sherry setting off the  chain of events in this novel. Sherry is a strong character who doesn't tap into her strength until after she is rescued by Joshua. She also seems to be a bit obsessive compulsive when it comes to the way she counts and narrates things. Of course you have to take into account how long she has been stuck in a small bunker with her family. Joshua on the other hand it strong and mysterious but also completely obsessed with revenge on the mutants. Even though this novel progressed slowly it keeps you interested and the ending throws quite a surprise your way. I am very interested to see whether there will be a second novel so that I can see what happens next in Sherry's story. I definitely recommend reading this novel if you love a great dystopian novel with and even better ending. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Classic Monday: Emma by Jane Austen

1815
396 pages
Beautiful, clever, rich - and single - Emma Woodhouse is perfectly content with her life and sees no need for either love or marriage. Nothing, however, delights her more than interfering in the romantic lives of others. But when she ignores the warnings of her good friend Mr Knightley and attempts to arrange a suitable match for her protegee Harriet Smith, her carefully laid plans soon unravel and have consequences that she never expected. With its imperfect but charming heroine and its witty and subtle exploration of relationships, Emma is often seen as Jane Austen's most flawless work.

This is a humorous and fun victorian novel. Emma is a meddler in relationships and is usually successful at matchmaking but she finds out she may have bit off more than she can handle in her latest attempt. This is a great classic novel which has an amusing look at relationships and matchmaking.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

SUPERBOWL SUNDAY!!!!!



Thursday, February 2, 2012

Memento Nora Review

184 pages
On an otherwise glossy day, a blast goes off and a body thuds to the ground at Nora's feet. There are terrorist attacks in the city all the time, but Nora can't forget. In Nora's world you don't have to put up with nightmares. Nora goes with her mother to TFC--a Therapeutic Forgetting Clinic. There, she can describe her horrible memory and take a pill to erase it so she can go on like nothing ever happened. But at TFC a chance encounter with a mysterious guy changes Nora's life. She doesn't take the pill. And when Nora learns the memory her mother has chosen to forget, she realizes that someone needs to remember. With newfound friends Micah and Winter, Nora makes a comic book of their memories called Memento. Memento is an instant hit, but it sets off a dangerous chain of events. Will Nora, Micah, and Winter be forced to take the Big Pill that will erase their memories forever?


Review:

This book was definitely different from what I expected as it's a bit shorter than most of the books I like to read. However, that didn't make the story any less intriguing. I loved the concept of a pill being able to take away any traumatic memory you have. Of course something like that can be abused and this book explores those possibilities. This story is told through the view of Nora, Micah and Winter with Nora being the main focus. I found Nora to be an interesting character. She seemed to like going about life unaware until her mothers memory opens her eyes to make her want to remember. On one hand Nora could be seen as the shallow, spoiled rich girl but there is definitely a deeper side to her. I liked the fact that Nora, Micah and Winter all had artistic sides to them that helped them to open up and create something bigger than they thought it would be. The storyline in this novel moves quickly and while their are a few mysteries and questions left in the end I can definitely say I enjoyed reading it. If you are a fan of dystopian novels I believe you will enjoy this one. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Article 5 Review

384 pages
New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., have been abandoned. The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes. There are no more police—instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior—instead, there are arrests, trials, and maybe worse. People who get arrested usually don't come back. Seventeen-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren’t always this way. Living with her rebellious single mother, it’s hard for her to forget that people weren’t always arrested for reading the wrong books or staying out after dark. It’s hard to forget that life in the United States used to be different. Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs, like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes, and how to pass the random home inspections by the military. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow. That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings…the only boy Ember has ever loved.

Review: 
Can you imagine losing simple freedoms like religion and ability to read whatever you like? That's the world Ember Miller lives in. I loved this book so much but Ember as a character leaned more towards annoying me for most of the book. Ember is a strong character yet she tends to complain a lot and make foolish decisions when around Chase. However, she pretty much gets it together by the end. I loved Chase as a character. He's strong with an air of mystery around him. I loved the way Chase took care of things for Ember and the other side of him that was revealed in the end. There was a lot of action throughout this book and events happened quickly but also excitingly. I really enjoyed this novel and I can't wait to see what happens next in Ember's story. I definitely recommend this to those who love a good dystopian novel.