Thursday, February 9, 2012

Review: A Million Suns

A Million Suns
A Million Suns by Beth Revis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Across the Universe was one of my favorite reads of 2011. When you read a book that is just so UN-putdownable, the stakes are pretty high. I'm happy to say that A Million Suns... DELIVERED. The year is young, but I can say that this will be one of my favorites of 2012. Since I know that some people have not yet read this book, I like to leave reviews that are thoughts and not necessarily a summary.

First of all, the cover? GORGEOUS. Space is cool. Secondly, AHHHHHHH! I loved the second book just as much (if not more) than ATU.

WHAT I LIKED: 1) In the first three chapters a SHOCKING and I mean SHOCKING discovery is revealed. I never saw it coming. 2) Amy and Elder. I love these characters and care what happens to them. ATU ended with lots of tension between Amy and Elder. A secret was confessed and it was very clear that things would change between them. It doesn't magically go away in the second book, there is some awkwardness between them and confusion about feelings. There is a lot of tension and they spend a lot of the book apart, but for different and important reasons. Elder in this book, really grew up as he should as new leader of the ship. He is tested so much, that I want to virtually yell at the ship and tell them to give him a "frexing" break! He has a lot on his shoulders and it was fun watching him try to deal with problem after problem. 3) The unexpected enemies. And yes, there are a few of them that emerge as the "bad guys." I again, was entirely shocked to see who ended up on the "wrong" side. 4) The mystery unfolds like a scavenger hunt and I couldn't have loved that idea more! I really love that these stories have been so mysterious. If you like space, romance, and mystery, the "Across the Universe" has so far been such a beautiful combination of all three.

Finally... I CANNOT WAIT. I repeat. I. CANNOT. WAITTT to read Shades of Earth next.


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Monday, November 7, 2011

Lo gives thanks to... Twilight.
Oh yes, I went there. I'm anxiously awaiting the movie later this month... I have midnight showing tickets... but it all started with the books.

Let me tell you a short little story. I just turned 30 years old, I'm not a young adult anymore. BOO!!

I was lucky to have parents that brought me to the library often when I was young, and I would check out books many at a time and read whole books in a day or so. I enjoyed books in elementary school... like Toad & Frog, the Ramona series, Amelia Bedilia...etc. Then in middle school, I started reading books like Goosebumps,The Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley books. In High School I started moving on to Christopher Pike & Stephen King for fun and then I really enjoyed the classics like To Kill a Mockingbird, Wuthering Heights, etc.

So... then came college. I was a business major. Guess what books I read? Accounting, Statistics, etc... I took the more than 4 year plan, because I had to work and go to school. Somehow, in all of my studying, I forgot that I actually liked reading for FUN.

Cut to, 2008. People are lugging around these big books at work. When I asked, they told me it was Twilight. And so, the seed was planted. I stalled. The movie came out, didn't watch it. Almost completely forgot about it. Then, I watched a movie called, Adventureland. If you haven't seen it...oh my gosh, I can't say enough about it. It is one of my absolute favorite movies, ever. Funny. Sweet. Sexy. Heartbreaking. And I was introduced to a lovely young actress named Kristen Stewart. So I started doing my research about her other movies, and found that she was actually in Twilight. So, by the time I'd come around to watching Twilight, it was already out on video on demand. I got comfy one night and put it on and just fell in love with the story. Of course, the movie ends on a "cliffy" so I ordered all 4 books and read them in probably 5 days total.

I could. not. stop. reading.

I think people either love the series or hate it, but I will forever be grateful to Twilight for introducing me back into reading Young Adult for FUN. I may be one of the few people that wasn't interested in the Harry Potter books. Those didn't excite me the way Twilight did. Later, the book that started me on a dystopian path was, The Hunger Games. When I devoured the Hunger Games series, I found many others that I absolutely LOVED, like Divergent, Enclave, Matched, Delirium, and Across the Universe.

I really feel certain, that had it not been for my love of everything Twilight, I would never have gone back to Young Adult books and never would found all these other great reads. Thank you, Twilight and Stephenie Meyer, and the beautiful cast of the Twilight movie series for helping me discover reading again.

So... what book are you most grateful for?? Let Beth Revis know and you could win! (See Below)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow. This book to me is a 4.5 star book, and depending on what day, it could either way 4.5 or 5 out of 5 stars. In fact, I thoroughly enjoyed it, however I have a feeling that there will not really be a middle ground book. I THINK people will either love it or hate it.

The book trailer. I mean look: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer Book trailer

I had this book on my TBR list, but it didn't get pushed up until I saw that awesome book trailer. And the cover is so beautiful!

The official "goodreads" summary doesn't explain much, but I think that's exactly how you should go into it. And, er, that is how I went in. :) If you don't really know what you are getting into, the twists in the book are that much of a greater impact. This book is all of these: mysterious, scary, funny, exciting, paranormal, and thrilling, plus romance where what starts as a smoking, bad rap boy who's slept with basically every girl in school, that will become Mara's swoony and misunderstood love interest with his own shocking secret. The thing I like about this book is that if it is scary it is tiny-noises-startle-me scary,*raises hand* or, if it's funny, it is literally-laughing-out-loud funny that if someone is watching you read they might think you were crazy.

As I read, I kept asking is this a Young Adult book? That's not a bad thing. I (unfortunately) am not in the age group typically belonging to YA. I thank Twilight for my love of Young Adult books. As I was reading though, it had some similarities to a more "mature" Twilight. Again, I mean this in a good way. I like that they are just typical modern teens. I could see some parallels between the two stories, on some quotes, but this isn't about my love for Twilight... This book is strong enough to be classified on its own.

In conclusion, this book is exciting and a fun read. It leaves on a killer cliff-hanger though and so, as I try to stay organized, I add it to my literal excel spreadsheet of books in a series that I can't wait to get back into.


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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Review: Warm Bodies

Warm Bodies
Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a nice, very quick read. There will be no sequel. The story sounds silly, but I was very surprised how quickly I began to understand and like "R". I liked the way the book is broken up into sections and pictures of the human body. It has a bit of everything in the book : drama, humor (laugh out loud), action, love and yes, a bit of cheesiness. Yet, it was enjoyable and I rooted for the "zombies". I have absolutely no idea how this is becoming a movie that is already filming for release next year. I am not familiar with most of the actors' work, but I just may check it out.

All in all, I really liked the main characters of "R", "M", Julie, and Nora. I had no idea how the book would end because there is so much going on, but I like it. It's open and sweet and very unique.

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Monday, October 10, 2011

Review: The Maze Runner

The Maze Runner
The Maze Runner by James Dashner

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Romance factor: If you are looking for romance, keep looking, dystopian romance lovers. :( There are many other dystopians that have better romances. I haven't read many books in which there is a male protagonist, and to be honest, they are usually the hardest for me to get into. I'm happy to say that "The Maze Runner" finally turned around my male protagonist bad streak. I really rooted for Thomas (Tom)and cared about the relationships he had with the others. There WERE a couple of things that frustrated me in this story, I really couldn't visualize some of the things and I always felt that there were too many questions and not enough answers, but I suppose that is the point. I stalled a bit in the beginning, but once the story gets going it gets GOING and the book is hard to put down. Too bad I had to do actual things like work and sleep and such... :) I wouldn't say this was my favorite book that I've read this year, but I definitely wanted to continue the story and cared for some of the characters. This story is definitely a first of the series, so maybe not the most exciting ever, but there are a lot of building blocks and so many questions. Overall, it is a good read and I have started the next book in the series,"The Scorch Trials" which is already a super-fast paced story that is making me excited and has me flipping the pages. Recommended.

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Saturday, October 1, 2011

You Are My OnlyYou Are My Only by Beth Kephart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, Oh, My Heart. This book made me FEEL things. The power of words are strong here...

I had the opportunity to chance upon an electronic copy of the ARC and I'm so glad I did! I'm excited for the release so others can read it an enjoy it and love it as much as I do. If you are wondering how much time it will take to read, don't worry! It's a quick read, but it packs a powerful and meaningful punch. The chapters are paced perfectly so that after each chapter there is almost a bigger cliff hanger than the previous one and there's never a dull moment.

As usual, I won't summarize the book entirely, there are "official summaries" for that.

What I thought: This story is told using two narratives, alternating chapters/characters-- Emmy who's Baby was stolen in broad daylight, and Sophie-- who is home-schooled by her mother and not allowed to leave their home. They are on the run from the "No Good" and move constantly. As we get to know the characters, we find out very quickly what connection they hold. Later, there are characters that chance into Emmy and Sophie's life who will steal your heart.

I am a first time reader of Beth Kephart's writing and I am incredibly impressed with the beautiful details and poetic way of saying something so simple. Her characters feel so real, that it almost felt like I knew them personally. To me, the sign of a good book is when I'm highlighting quotes that I want to remember and come back to. The characters are memorable and purposeful and I want to hug them and stroke their fictional hair and cry with them. Which brings me to my next point... I was reading through my tears and grasping tissues in the later part of the book. Finally, the ending was absolutely brilliant and so visually descriptive that it felt like I was right there next to them taking in the scene.

Overall To me, I know when I've read a good book when after I read, I can't stop thinking about the characters and the story. To me, it is a good story when I'm typing up a review at nearly 2 a.m. to try to capture the way I feel about it, right away. This story is fantastic and I definitely recommend to anyone who comes across my review. 5/5 stars.

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Review: Uglies


My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Why I read this story: It was on my to-read list due to good reviews and word-of-mouth. Also, I found the second book, "The Pretties" at a Borders closing sale for $2! I love sales!! So, anyway, since I found the second book for $2, I decided to move it up to #1 on my to-be-read list and bought the Uglies at regular price.

My thoughts: I can't make up my mind on if I want to give it an "ok" or "I liked it." I think it's somewhere in the 2.5 range. This story had an interesting beginning and then fizzled out for me very quickly. Somewhere around 15 chapters in, I was ready to give it up and call it a loss. I think it's the fact that the main character, Tally, isn't very likeable... but then again that's their world and they all are brain-washed. Her BFF, Peris, was so much more incredibly annoying (that's the point, though.)But then... since I'd invested a bunch of my time to the book, I decided to keep it going. My reasoning? I'd previously thought the book, "Delirium" had a slow start and I ended up LOVING it.

So right when I was about to give up, it brought me back in! It got interesting and exciting! I started rooting for Tally when previously she didn't have much depth. I loved her romantic interest! And, then I started thinking that it would have probably have been a great read if I knew HIS story from the beginning, because he is so much easier to like.

So to keep score: First part of book: two stars, middle: three and a half stars!... now the ending...

Not as quite as exciting as I think it could have been. The ending felt a bit rushed as if the author was trying to rush things to get to the good part, but then you read up to the last page and find out that the good part must be in the next book. Good thing I already have the book!

Overall: 2.5 stars I want to find out what happens next, so I will read the next book. ($2 book remember?) Does that mean I liked the book? I know that I didn't LOVE it. I didn't HATE it, either. Hmmm... I think it just means that I want to find out what happens next. I don't feel a huge urgency to get to it, but I know I'll go back to it later.