Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Review: Chain Reaction by Simone Elkeles

Chain Reaction (Perfect Chemistry, #3)Chain Reaction by Simone Elkeles

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary:Like his brothers, Luis Fuentes is a risk taker; whether he's scaling the Rocky Mountains or dreaming of a future as an astronaut, Luis is always looking for the next thrill. Nikki Cruz lives her life by certain rules -, don't trust a boy who says "I love you", boys lie to get their own way and never date a boy from the south side of Fairfield. Then she meets Luis at his brother Alex's wedding and suddenly she's tempted to break all her rules. Getting Nikki to give him a chance is Luis's biggest challenge, until he finds himself targeted by the head of the gang that nearly destroyed his brothers' lives. Will Luis's feelings for Nikki be enough to stop him from entering a dark and violent world that could prove to be the ultimate risk?

Despite the fact that Luis was probably my least favorite Fuentes, this book, in my opinion rivals Perfect Chemistry.

I figure I'll be nice to the few viewers we have and start keeping my reviews organized like Crystal and Rachel.

Characters: Luis was the smartest Fuentes academically, yet he seemed the stupidest when it came to making real, important choices. He was the least funny as well, but he will make you laugh still so don't worry. Nikki might be seen as weak and vulnerable due to her past, but I liked her. i especially liked the way she handled her first meeting with Luis. She showed some girl power! Either way, both Luis and Nikki are carrying major baggage in the relationship. Guess what? Alex and Carlos have major roles as well:)
Plot: more gang drama... The Latino Blood is building back up. And of course the tension filled romance like the others in the series.
Writing: I still love the alternating POVs. Plus, Simone Elkeles is just so funny.

Would I recommend it to a friend? If you've read any in this series, you would have fallen in love with a Fuentes and would want to read this.

If you didn't know, in all of the epilogues, the characters are much older and have kids. I wish that there would be a follow up series on the kids' lives. That would be entertaining.

These trailers are a bit corny, but the actors are pretty easy to look at.

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Review: Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles

Rules of Attraction (Perfect Chemistry, #2)Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Summary:When Carlos Fuentes returns to America after living in Mexico for a year, he doesn't want any part of the life his older brother, Alex, has laid out for him at a high school in Colorado. Carlos likes living his life on the edge and wants to carve his own path—just like Alex did. Then he meets Kiara Westford. She doesn't talk much and is completely intimidated by Carlos’ wild ways. As they get to know one another, Carlos assumes Kiara thinks she’s too good for him, and refuses to admit that she might be getting to him. But he soon realizes that being himself is exactly what Kiara needs right now.

I must say that I liked Perfect Chemistry more, but I still loved Carlos' story nonetheless.

Carlos had me laughing just like his brother. However, he liked to cause trouble, so he came off much more immature than Alex who only joined Latino Blood to protect his family. I love how the Fuentes boys care so dearly for their significant others. Even when it seems like they are treating their girls like poop, they truly are thinking about them and trying to keep them out of danger.

I liked Kiara a lot because she tried to keep up with Carlos' snide comments. Along with that, she could out hike Carlos, and she was capable of fixing cars. She's definitely a strong character, but she had some struggles. For example, you couldn't help but feel for her as she battled her speech impediment.
Alex is actually a pretty big character. However, Brittany not so much. She does give some wise words in her short appearance.

Because the protagonists are living in close quarters, it seemed like they were inevitably going to develop feelings for each other. The odds did not seem to be against their love as much as in Perfect Chemistry.

Overall, a very nice love story, again filled with humor and drama.

Would I recommend it to a friend? Yes, especially if you read Perfect Chemistry.
I absolutely love the epilogues of these books. They are set in the time in which the boys are old enough to have kids. That's all I'm going to say.

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Happy Halloween!


Pardon my crooked arrow.  I was sans stencil.

Mockingjay 2012

I finally got my power back.  Thanks a lot, Sandy (she says while glaring).  So I decided to carve my pumpkin since I now had light (thank goodness! Electricity is the greatest.) and carving in the dark is not the smartest idea. 
I worked on it, and then people in the house saw it.  No one knew what it is.  Seriously, someone asked if it was a witch on a broom.  It was a bit depressing that nobody recognized this iconic symbol!  This series is amazing , and if you haven't read it because you want to be the rebel, the "I'm not going to read this because everyone else is" kind of person, just give it a go. Suzanne Collins is an amazing writer (a review of HG will be up shortly).

Happy Halloween all! Be safe and don't get sick on candy tonight!

I made another one, and before I show the picture I must apologize to Ms. Jennifer Lawrence: Jennifer Lawrence, I am sorry for butchering your face.  It was not intended to go this way.

Katniss has seen better days.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Review: Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

Perfect Chemistry (Perfect Chemistry, #1)Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary: A fresh, urban twist on the classic tale of star-crossed lovers.
When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created 'perfect' life is about to unravel before her eyes. She's forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she's worked so hard for: her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect. 
Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more.
In a passionate story about looking beneath the surface, Simone Elkeles breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart.

This book is le meilleur!

“[Life]It is what you make it. If you think you can't change the world, then go on and follow the path already carved out for you. But there are other roads to choose, they're just harder to trudge through. Changing the world isn't easy, but I sure as hell am going to keep trying. Are you?” 

The story is not your typical corny, played out love story. I've heard it called a modern West Side Story. Personally, i think Perfect Chemistry is better, but I know that is sacrilegious to some so I'm going to back myself up.

Note: The POVs alternate between Brittany and Alex.

Alex Fuentes is hilarious! He acts like the bad boy who doesn't care, but he's only in the gang to protect his family. He'll fight for the people he loves.  Warning: You will fall in love with him.

Brittany seems like the obnoxious, perfect girl that you just want to hate, but she turns out to be much more. She's actually pretty smart and very caring, especially for her sister.

Wanna see who reminded me of Brittany and Alex?

Alex and Brittany shouldn't be together, coming from different social and economic backgrounds. Society wants them apart, but they defy what they "should" be and follow their hearts. This book challenges the molds that we are all supposed to fit, truly giving the deeper message of not "judging a book by its cover."

It's starting to sound all mushy gushy, so I'll tell you that there is DRAMA! There's a lot of drama with Alex's gang, so get ready for the danger. And you know the friends and family of the two lovers will not be in favor of their being together.

There's a bit of Spanish in this book, much more than the amount of French in Anna and the French Kiss, but you will get the gist of what the characters are saying. When in doubt, just assume that it's probably something inappropriate and insulting that's being said. That being said, there's a significant amount of profanity in this.

Would I recommend this to a friend? Oh my goodness, yes! Go get your copy now! This book is so much more than meets the eye. It truly has a deeper message that everyone should receive.

This rap is awful! Do not base your decision about whether or not you should read it on this, but I got a good laugh from it:

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Review: Dead to You by Lisa McMann

Dead to YouDead to You by Lisa McMann

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Summary:Ethan was abducted from his front yard when he was just seven years old. Now, at sixteen, he has returned to his family. It's a miracle... at first. Then the tensions start to build. His reintroduction to his old life isn't going smoothly, and his family is tearing apart all over again. If only Ethan could remember something, anything, about his life before, he'd be able to put the pieces back together. But there's something that's keeping his memory blocked. Something unspeakable...

Just get used to it. When I love an author's work, I'm going to then read them all. Besides Cryer's Cross, which I am halfway through, and the Unwanteds, her middle grade novel, I've read all of Lisa McMann's books.

After reading the blurp for this book, I kept thinking,"Something's gonna happen," over and over, but up until the end, nothing really jumps out at you but you still have that feeling of its imminent arrival.

The book's events are what I think would be typical if this happened in real life, so it is therefore very realistic. The family tries to get used to having another member around. The parents are thrilled to have their kid back, but are totally paranoid of losing him again. The one sibling is jealous of the attention the new member is getting and causes trouble. And the newly found child, Ethan, is just trying to get settled and win the neighbor's heart. Some people might find it boring, but it's the build up for the big finish.

I'm like Rachel, but turned down one notch when it comes to the hopeless romantic. I'm going to admit to totally rooting for Ethan to win Cami's heart.

Maybe it's because I knew something shocking had to occur, but I always found myself wanting to find out what happens next in this book. I was on the edge of my phone, nook, and book.

When that thing happened that you knew was going to happen happened, my mind was blown...

Would I recommend it to a friend? Yeah, I quite enjoyed the suspense of the book.

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Review: The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan

The Lover's DictionaryThe Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Summary: basis, n. 
There has to be a moment at the beginning when you wonder whether you’re in love with the person or in love with the feeling of love itself. 
If the moment doesn't pass, that’s it—you’re done. And if the moment does pass, it never goes that far. It stands in the distance, ready for whenever you want it back. Sometimes it’s even there when you thought you were searching for something else, like an escape route, or your lover’s face. 
How does one talk about love? Do we even have the right words to describe something that can be both utterly mundane and completely transcendent, pulling us out of our everyday lives and making us feel a part of something greater than ourselves? Taking a unique approach to this problem, the nameless narrator of David Levithan’s The Lover’s Dictionary has constructed the story of his relationship as a dictionary. Through these short entries, he provides an intimate window into the great events and quotidian trifles of being within a couple, giving us an indelible and deeply moving portrait of love in our time.

This is a really short book, so it's going to be a short review.

I thought the format of this book was the coolest thing since sliced bread! I actually learned a ton of new words.

The story wasn't bad. It was good, not the best. It was simply a person's documented experiences with love, betrayal, happiness, sadness,heartbreak, everything that goes along with that thing called love.
I don't know why this is classified as an adult fiction book, because there was no more mature content that I could see, so don't be discouraged by that.

Would I recommend it to a friend? Yes, just for the format of the book. I've never seen anything like it before.

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Review: A Midsummer's Nightmare by Kody Keplinger

A Midsummer's NightmareA Midsummer's Nightmare by Kody Keplinger

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary:Whitley Johnson's dream summer with her divorcé dad has turned into a nightmare. She's just met his new fiancée and her kids. The fiancée's son? Whitley's one-night stand from graduation night. Just freakin' great.
Worse, she totally doesn't fit in with her dad's perfect new country-club family. So Whitley acts out. She parties. Hard. So hard she doesn't even notice the good things right under her nose: a sweet little future stepsister who is just about the only person she's ever liked, a best friend (even though Whitley swears she doesn't "do" friends), and a smoking-hot guy who isn't her least, not yet. It will take all three of them to help Whitley get through her anger and begin to put the pieces of her family together.
Filled with authenticity and raw emotion, Whitley is Kody Keplinger's most compelling character to date: a cynical Holden Caulfield-esque girl you will wholly care about.
J'aime Kody Keplinger!  Every time I read something by her, I'm amazed at how young she is.
I have no idea why I even picked up her first book, The DUFF, but ever since I've been loving this girl's work!

On to my thoughts on this one. Ok, some people might be weirded out that Whitley and Nathan are step siblings and had sexual relations. You might be questioning my tastes in books after also having read On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves where the protagonists have a 14 year age difference, but I assure you that these are goodies!

The thing about Kody Keplinger is that she will delve into the "risque" topic of sex, but in no way is it ever gross and graphic. She goes beyond the climactic kiss that most ya novels have, but not to the point where you feel uncomfortable reading it. So, I guess it's advised that you be mature in order to read this.

And of course, there are her characters who always have distinct voices. First, there's Whitley. She has got sass! She is very sarcastic and immature, but grows up by the end of the book. She's been described as a female Holden Caufield: I can see it a bit. Then there's Nathan. I love him. He's the hot, caring nerd. And, finally comes Harrison, the funny, gay best friend. If you've read Shut Out, he's in there because all of Kody's novel are set in Hamilton. Even Wesley and Bianca have a cameo.

The writing isn't complicated, but it flows nicely. Her stories are always quickies for me.

The story's kind of predictable. It's simply one about going through the struggles of adolescence and coming out strong! Nonetheless, I enjoyed it.

Would I recommend it to a friend? Yes,this has everything in it-romance, drama, humor.

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Review: From What I Remember by Stacy Kramer & Valerie Thomas

From What I Remember...Goodreads SummaryKYLIE: Mexico? What a nightmare! I should be putting the finishing touches on my valedictorian speech. Graduation is TODAY! Wait! Is this a wedding band on my finger 
MAX: It started with Kylie's laptop and a truck full of stolen electronics and it ended in Ensenada. It was hot, the way she broke us out like some chick in an action movie. But now we're stranded here, with less than twenty-four hours before graduation. 
WILL: Saving Kylie Flores from herself is kind of a full-time occupation. Luckily, I, Will Bixby, was born for the job. And when I found out she was stuck in Mexico with dreamy Max Langston, sure, I agreed to bring their passports across the border - but there's no reason to rush back home right away. This party is just getting started. 
LILY: This cannot be happening. It's like some cruel joke. Or a bad dream. I close my eyes and when I reopen them, they're still there. Max and Kylie Flores, freak of the century. In bed together. If Kylie thinks I'm giving him up without a fight, she's dead wrong.
Rating: 4 out of 5

My Summary: The book starts off with your heroin Kylie; the outcast, valedictorian, aspiring screenwriter and total stickler for the rules. Her trusty sidekick is the quirky and lovable Will, who also gets caught in the whirlwind of events. On the last day of school, of course the annoying teacher assigns one last paper due the next day and luck would have it that Kylie gets stuck with the hot and obnoxious jock-type, Max. Then, problems ensue when Kylie and Max try to complete the assignment  Crazy carjacking and kidnapping scene later and you find the pair, Kylie and Max, in beautiful coastal Mexico. In Mexico, the two become fast friends and in the midst of the partying (maybe a little two hard) relationships developed and more shenanigans unfold, not to mention the awkward encounter with Lilly, Max's girlfriend. The gang then faces the problem of getting back to California in time for graduation.

Review:   In one word: entertaining. Thoroughly, wholeheartedly entertaining. Realistic? No! I had a really hard time rating this book because it was so borderline 3.5-4.  It's not that it was bad; it just wasn't great. Once you got past the unrealistic plot it's really quite a fun book! I liked the characters for the most part, but none of them were that memorable.  I also thought the whole kidnapping scene was too weird; I wish the author found some other way to get the teens to mexico that was more realistic. I also didn't like the random chapters with Kylie's little brother; they were particularly bothersome when I was trying to get into the story and it felt like they kept interrupting the plot. I admit that I may have skipped over some of them because I just didn't feel like reading them. On a positive note, this book was really fun. Despite being unrealistic, the over the top story line was enjoyable and found myself imagining myself in their crazy situation. I also am a huge fan of books that switch points of view, which is partially what kept me hooked (minus the aforementioned brother's chapters). And of course I liked that Max fell for Kylie, I'm a huge supporter of the nerd and jock couple, as a nerd myself haha!

Overall: It was good, but definitely not great. If you enjoyed any of the Hangover movies, this book is slightly reminiscent of them. This is one of those books to read when your bored buts it is not a urgent must read. 

Happy Reading! 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary: Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumors in her lungs... for now. 

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumors tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault. 

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

When I started reading this book, I thought, Sigh, another cancer book. I am pleased to say that I was very, very wrong. I love this book so much.
Plot: It kept me hooked. What is with me and pulling all nighters for these amazing books I read? The plot is so creative and amazing and hjadsfj;a (that was a keyboard smash) it just made me so happy and sad and yeah. Sorry, that was my moment of incoherence. Please disregard.
Characters: Augustus Waters = perfection. Seriously. Can't I meet someone like that? Hazel is great too. Why are all of these characters so freakin lovable? I love the witty conversations with each other and how well versed they are. Peter Van Houten is actually one of my favorite characters though. He is hilarious, even though he is a big meanie (Rachel is also a big meanie).
Style: John Green is a fantastic writer. He uses a lot of vocabulary words, and he obviously has great style. His book was easy to read and stylistically perfect. Why can't all writers be like this?

This book is literally one of the best books I've ever read. It made me cry (which I rarely ever do while reading books).

Would I recommend this book to a friend? Positively. Everyone reading this post go out and buy it right now. Please.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hey Guys!

So, I know Carly has mentioned me in several of her posts, but I think its fitting that i formally introduce myself. My name is Rachel and I'm an avid reader of the YA section plus whatever else. Realistic and historical fiction are my favorite genres and every so often the dystopian and paranormal worlds tickle my fancy. I try to read as much as I can but the unfortunate obstacle of school prevents me from doing so as often as I'd like. I am open to reading anything so recommendations are always welcome. Happy reading!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Review: The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary: Mara Dyer once believed she could run from her past.
She can’t.
She used to think her problems were all in her head.
They aren’t.
She couldn’t imagine that after everything she’s been through, the boy she loves would still be keeping secrets.
She’s wrong.
In this gripping sequel to The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, the truth evolves and choices prove deadly. What will become of Mara Dyer next?

The blurb is as mysterious as the first book's, but I love this book so much. I'm probably gonna go and reread it a couple of times now. And freak out about the awesomeness of the incroyable book I just devoured in one all nighter. Anyway, on to the technicality review stuff.
Plot: It can get a little confusing, but as long as you either are a very thorough reader or go back and reread the confusing parts you should be fine. The plot itself is amazing. It was quite emotional and you could really see the depth of the characters. It was sort of depressing, but Noah makes it all better <3 There is a sort of mystery aspect to the plot, which made me quite the happy camper. Some parts of the novel made my skin crawl, which was also delightful. I am not a girl who is easily scared.
Characters: The characters are amazing, and I love all of them! Huge spoiler alert: Jude is indeed alive. Mara is, as always, very likable and witty about everything. She is one of the few female main characters whom I liked. Noah is very well developed in this sequel, which makes me extredibly (a word I made up - extremely + incredibly) happy. Noah and Mara's relationship just makes me happy. Mara's brother, Daniel, is also shown a lot in this book; he is also one of my favorites. The characters are all just so lovable.
Style: Michelle Hodkin is a great writer who obviously very well versed. I as a grammar nazi am thoroughly pleased by her usage and word choice. She has expansive vocabulary and occasionally even uses a word that I don't know. Kudos to her!

Would I suggest this to a friend? Assuming that this friend has read the first one, I wouldn't need to! The first book is amazing and leaves you on a cliffhanger, so this friend would feel the need to read it him/herself.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Cover Art: Mara Dyer Series by Michelle Hodkin

Ever since Mara #2 came out, she's been on my mind.  I remember seeing an article come up on my FlipBoard about an underwater romance and being like,"Oh my god! That's the Mara Dyer cover!!!"  Heather Landis took a series of photos for this shoot and called it "Abyss of the Disheartened."

They are beautiful photos, kinda disturbing, quite an original idea.  So far, the first two books have gotten their covers from the pictures coming from this shoot, so which picture do you think will be chosen for book 3 if it were to come from the "Abyss...?"  Personally, I'm feeling the last one, but my opinion may change once I get the chance to read The Evolution.

Author Event: Lemony Snicket!!

For me, "The Series of Unfortunate Events" were the books that you remember reading ravenouly as a child, getting them as soon as they came out and finishing in a day.  I had never heard of Lemony Snicket touring.  Of course he had to have at some point since there are signed books by him available.  Anyways, I was super duper excited yesterday.  I had gotten all 13 books in their first editions sent to me to get ready for the event.  Apparently, Mr. Snicket would only sign 2 books from the series per person, so I dragged my family along so that I could get all of my books signed.

This was the most famous author I'd ever seen, so I was curious about the turnout.  You had to get the bracelets at 5:30 when the event started at 7:00.  The store was also really odd in that every book that you didn't purchase at the store had to be stickered.  Oh, how I feel terrible for the person that had to do all 26 of mine (American and British editions).

7:00 rolls around and it was presentation time!  Adults had to stand in the back and children had to sit in the front.  It just turned out that I chose an area that needed to be kept clear to stand and was left to quickly snag a spot in the children's section.  Yes, I was the jerk that sat in the front row, completely towering over the kids behind me.  The one girl next to me told me that the grown-ups had to sit in the back.  Wow, did I feel old!  This was so odd for me because every other book signing I've been to, I've been the youngest there.
I think I need to find some friends my own age.

The presentation was on Lemony Snicket's new book, "Who Could That Be at this Hour?".  Somehow, I chose the worst possible seat in the one second I had to choose.  What are the odds?  The laptop with the presentation was not folded down so I got a great view of it's logo and about an inch of the projection screen.  Daniel Handler/Mr. Snicket was great.  He was enthusiastic with the audience, engaging them though he kinda had to keep them active as they were all kids with short attention spans.

Somebody asked me today if the guy was mean.  I don't know if I would say mean, but he is allowed to be pessimistic and very sarcastic since he never actually claims to be Lemony Snicket.  He simply says that he is just some handsome man that is on behalf of Lemony Snicket.  It was kinda cute that the kids were trying to figure out his identity.  This guy is hysterical.  I think the parents were laughing more than the kids.  Now, I'm intrigued to read his adult stuff.  I imagine that they are very witty and intelligent like he is.   

There weren't nearly as many people there as expected despite the fact that the same event in NYC sold out and people were turned away.  The whole "only 2 books" things got thrown out the door.  I got all of my books signed and was a happy camper:)  In the end, I didn't need my family to come at all, but it was cool to have them there.  Family, I hope you read this after all of the times you said "I
hope you appreciate your family."  Seriously, even Daniel Handler commented on how many times my parents said that line.

Here's him singing and playing accordian.  This is the kind of strange things that you will find at a Lemony Snicket book signing.
*If you want to see someone fall on her face, I managed to catch it.  Check it out on Youtube:

Thursday, October 25, 2012

New Blogger Update: Bienvenue Crystal!

Even though Crystal did say that I have to introduce her so that it wouldn't look like a random person started writing on LisLesLivres, I was planning on telling of this chouette chick regardless.  So, here I am going to tell of Crystal's credentials, why she makes a nice addition to the blog: She is a voluminous and vivacious reader.  Seriously, who else was able to read Divergent by Veronica Roth in one weekday night? Now, that is impressive!  Crystal is a very passionate reader who takes reading very seriously, even denouncing the book club at our school because not much reading actually takes place (I can attest to this because I am a proud original member of this club who really hopes to take it over next year, giving it some reform.).  Like both Rachel and me, Crystal watches a ton of movies and wanted to start her own blog reviewing movies and books, etc. but all of our schedules are a little too busy to maintain a blog on our own.  Thus, we have come to work on this together.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Review: Forget You by Jennifer Echols

Forget YouForget You by Jennifer Echols

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There’s a lot Zoey would like to forget. Like how her father has knocked up his twenty-four-year old girlfriend. Like Zoey’s fear that the whole town will find out about her mom’s nervous breakdown. Like darkly handsome bad boy Doug taunting her at school. Feeling like her life is about to become a complete mess, Zoey fights back the only way she knows how, using her famous attention to detail to make sure she’s the perfect daughter, the perfect student, and the perfect girlfriend to ultra-popular football player Brandon.  But then Zoey is in a car crash, and the next day there’s one thing she can’t remember at all--the entire night before. Did she go parking with Brandon, like she planned? And if so, why does it seem like Brandon is avoiding her? And why is Doug--of all people-- suddenly acting as if something significant happened between the two of them? Zoey dimly remembers Doug pulling her from the wreck, but he keeps referring to what happened that night as if it was more, and it terrifies Zoey to admit how much is a blank to her. Controlled, meticulous Zoey is quickly losing her grip on the all-important details of her life--a life that seems strangely empty of Brandon, and strangely full of Doug.
Another one of my favorites, this is the book that got me started with my Jennifer Echols obsession!
Zoey was not a strong character. However, I definitely commiserated with her. From the other reviews that I've watched or read, Zoey gets labeled as weak,stupid, and silly for being with Brandon. I don't think people are keeping in mind that she only decided to try things with him after a serious family problem arose. Naturally, she was trying to forget what happened. And then later she gets in a car accident and forgets everything, so I think she deserves some slack.
I loved Doug. He was the good bad guy who really liked Zoey, sometimes even acting like a jerk because he couldn't express himself. I thought he was a truly caring person even when Zoey was choosing Brandon over him. And he was half Japanese with green eyes and a swimmer.
The majority of the book is confusing and foggy because Zoey is the narrator. While she tries to piece together what happened that night so do you. I like that part of the book, the figuring out what happened, because it wasn't solely a romance. There was drama and funny lines in this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Would I recommend to a friend? Yup, and I already have.

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Review: The Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

Masque of the Red Death (Masque of the Red Death, #1)Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Everything is in ruins.

Summary: A devastating plague has decimated the population, and those who are left live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles around them.
So what does Araby Worth have to live for?
Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery makeup . . . and tantalizing ways to forget it all.
But in the depths of the club--in the depths of her own despair--Araby will find more than oblivion. She will find Will, the terribly handsome proprietor of the club, and Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does.
And Araby may find not just something to live for, but something to fight for--no matter what it costs her.

I like Edgar Allan Poe's work. Yes, he definitely had his issues,but he could write some cool stories.
This book has some elements of Poe in it, but it had its own story too. Obviously, the there's a plague as well as death in the story. But we have ourselves a classic love triangle as well. I personally preferred Will over Eliot. Eliot was too radical, trying to start a revolution, for me. I liked Will because of his devotion to his family despite his bad boyish persona. Even though I liked him better, I didn't fall in love with either too much. I don't think the characters in this one are very strong, but the idea of the book is just so cool that they can be compensated for.
I will admit to being confused over what time period this takes place. It seemed like it was another of the dystopian futuristic genre that I'm kinda getting sick of. With the population decimated from the sickness, it also seemed like a post apocalyptic. But then the characters were riding in carriages. Well, at the book signing that included Bethany Griffin, Aprilynne Pike, and Elizabeth Norris, it was discovered that the setting is the past, Poe's time period.
I enjoyed this one. I will definitely read the next. Some people will like it, but those really into Mr. Poe may be offended at the thought of this book.
Completely off topic, but this book's cover art is the best I've seen in a while. The lettering in the title is foiled and shiny. If you look carefully, the image on the front looks as if it was shattered. I'm glad I got a physical copy of this one.

Would I recommend to a friend? yes

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Review: On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves

On the IslandOn the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary: Two people stranded on an island struggle to survive—and slowly fall in love
Anna Emerson is a thirty-year-old English teacher desperately in need of adventure. Worn down by the cold Chicago winters and a relationship that’s going nowhere, she jumps at the chance to spend the summer on a tropical island tutoring sixteen-year-old T.J.
T.J. Callahan has no desire to go anywhere. His cancer is in remission and he wants to get back to his normal life. But his parents are insisting he spend the summer in the Maldives catching up on all the school he missed last year.
Anna and T.J. board a private plane headed to the Callahan’s summer home, and as they fly over the Maldives’ twelve hundred islands, the unthinkable happens. Their plane crashes in shark-infested waters. They make it to shore, but soon discover that they’re stranded on an uninhabited island.
At first, their only thought is survival.  As T.J. celebrates yet another birthday on the island, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man.
J'adore, j'adore, j'adore!
If you're like Rachel, the huge age difference between Anna and T.J. is a major "no no." I'm going to tell you the same that I told her, partly mocking her since she actually says this phrase but being completely honest since the book was really good. I said for her to give it a whirl.
The age difference is definitely taboo, but the book is a beautiful and realistic love story. Under the circumstances, being trapped on an island with only each other, obviously the two would become pretty close.

I was very much into the series "LOST." I enjoy dramatic survival stories that are fictionalized and add in other elements than the harsh challenges of survival. I liked that "LOST" focused on character development and relationships, and I thought that this book did that too.

I will admit that some of the situations T.J. and Anna get in and how they get out of them regarding the other indigenous creatures is a bit far fetched, but the vast majority of the actual living on the island details seemed like they could have happened.

This is the first self published book that I've read, and I was really impressed. And now it is a Penguin book.

This was optioned for a movie, so I'm interested to see how it plays out. I think too many people will be
opposed to the age difference, but I'm rooting for it to happen.

Would I recommend to a friend? Yes*
*I'd recommend to a mature friend, perhaps someone sick of YA and wanting to go in the adult fiction direction. The writing is pretty simple, but the content obviously more mature.

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Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #1)The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary: Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
It can.
She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.
There is.
She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.
She’s wrong.

The blurb is very elusive, but I promise this book is fantastique! This has to be one of my favorite books. There is somewhat of a supernatural element that is still vague even after finishing, but what drives the story is the personality of the characters in my opinion. At first, Mara doesn't want to let the infamous Noah Shaw into her life. While they're still getting to know each other, they challenge is other. Their banters are hysterical, each rebuttal more witty than the next. It's obvious that Michelle Hodkin is a very intelligent person with an extensive vocabulary. I love these characters, love their chemistry. I usually do not like the main female protagonists in the books that I read. I'm always wondering why the flawless guy always falls for her when there's so many things about her that irk me. But Mara's different. She has the wit to stand on her own, yet is very kind and caring to the people she loves. Noah is the guy who has a reputation for being a bad boy, probably seen as the rich, stupid, arrogant guy by his peers. He puts up this facade, but underneath it, he is a boy that every girl would fall for-kind, smart, funny, beautiful. And he's British! If you don't know, I love accents.
The story line itself can get cloudy, especially at the end, but keep in mind that it is part of a series so all should be explained. Once you start reading, I am confident that you won't even mind the uncertainty of the supernatural aspects because the characterization was done that well.

I haven't read the next book, but I'm very excited to. I just don't know when I'll have the time to.

Would I suggest to a friend? READ IT NOW!!!

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Reaction to the Reactions: The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Need something to brighten your day?  Even if you haven't read The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, this will get you laughing.

The Michelle Show: the family reacts to Evolution: So The Evolution is now, officially, out in the world. You can read it if you want to. And I really hope you want to...

Book 2 came out today, and I am beyond excited to read it.  I will have to finish my current read first though. Even though I wanted to read all of Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus' books, Mara takes precedence.

I'm now inspired to write a review of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer now.

ATTENTION PEOPLE WHO LIKE SIGNED BOOKS: You can order a signed and or personalized copy of Michelle's books from Books & Books before 10/25.  So, basically, hurry up!  I ordered a copy of course!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Update: Rachel will make her debut

I've mentioned this girl in some of my posts and in my photos.  She's agreed to become a coblogger, so I'm going to have to do some editing.

Anyway, to the one possible reader other than myself, this girl is my twin.  We had to have been separated at birth, and I've actually written about our "meeting" on our Goodreads friends details.  She reads most of the same books I read, so get ready to hear some lame puns because she's an even bigger fan of them than me.

I'm excited.  We've wanted to be booktubers with another friend of ours, whom I've also invited to be a contributer, but I know there would be a lot of staring and silence if we were to post videos.

Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1)Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary: Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris - until she meets Etienne St. Clair: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home. As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near - misses end with the French kiss Anna - and readers - have long awaited?

There's a reason why this book has a 4.25 average rating on goodreads. C'est magnifique! Honestly, I wasn't expecting much from this one since the title was so corny, but I picked it up and read the blurb since I'm very much interested in the French language. It wasn't until last summer that I actually read it. I'm the kind of person who reads books about the places they're at when he or she is on vacation. However, I read this on an extremely delayed train ride from Venice to Rome which was after I was in Paris. I still got that magical feeling of being there though, and was like"Oh, I was just there!" or "Darn, I didn't know that cool thing was there!"
On to the story, yes it is a bit predictable but the characters are what makes the story. All of them are funny and very real. I love Anna because she's just a girl who's trying to get situated in a new area. She fails initially at speaking French, but she gets it together (If you don't speak French, don't worry. Everything is basic since Anna is learning throughout the book.) I felt for her when she was ostracized. And of course there's the Etienne St. Clair. Why don't boys like this exist in real life? He's witty and kind to everybody. He is probably my number one literary crush.
This is a light, cute read with a ton of humor and romance that is not overbearing.

Would I recommend to a friend? MOST DEFINITELY!

P.S. I wrote a letter and sent my copy of Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door to Mrs. Perkins, and I received a thoughtful postcard and my books back. I love this lady and everything she writes!

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P.P.S. I took these this summer after I had read the book.  You'll understand if you read.

Point Zero

Notre Dame

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Review: When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle

When You Were MineWhen You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Summary: In this intensely romantic, modern recounting of the greatest love story ever told, Romeo’s original intended—Juliet’s cousin Rosaline—tells her side of the tale. What’s in a name, Shakespeare? I’ll tell you: Everything.
     Rosaline knows that she and Rob are destined to be together. Rose has been waiting for years for Rob to kiss her—and when he finally does, it’s perfect. But then Juliet moves back to town. Juliet, who used to be Rose’s best friend. Juliet, who now inexplicably hates her. Juliet, who is gorgeous, vindictive, and a little bit crazy...and who has set her sights on Rob. He doesn’t even stand a chance.     Rose is devastated over losing Rob to Juliet. This is not how the story was supposed to go. And when rumors start swirling about Juliet’s instability, her neediness, and her threats of suicide, Rose starts to fear not only for Rob’s heart, but also for his life. Because Shakespeare may have gotten the story wrong, but we all still know how it ends….

I'm a huge fan of Shakespeare's original Romeo and Juliet, so I was really interested in the premise of this title. I had never heard of any book on Rosaline, only Juliet. So, I read it. It was okay. I was a little disappointed that it was set in modern day because I was so enthralled by Shakespeare's age. Likewise, it was very easy to read. Even though decoding Shakespearean language is difficult, I find his diction very interesting and romantic. Sometimes, I wish we could all talk like that which was why I personally was a little upset by the setting of this book.
It's obvious that the story line of Romeo and Juliet is within the plot of this book, but still, there are other elements that make this its own story.

I liked this book, didn't love it. I think my expectations were too high because there is no book like it.

Would I recommend it to a friend? Yeah (That wasn't a passionate "yeah," but nonetheless a "yeah.")

This was optioned to be a movie, and the screenplay was written by the people behind 500 Days of Summer. I'm interested to see how that turns out.

I saw this author at the NYPL Teen Author Reading Night this summer, and she said that the sequel is going to be a little "darker" than this one. I thought the ending was suitable for a stand alone, but I will definitely check out the next book. And, she wrote something punny funny in my book. She thought my name was Harley and not Carly, so she wrote that I have an awesome name anyway, making sure to put in "What's in a name?"

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Author Signing: Over You by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

Earlier this afternoon, I went to Nordstrom for the ladies' author event.  While they signed copies of Over You, free makeovers by Estee Lauder were given to help "get over" your ex.  So, I brought 5 of their books.  This summer, at the NYPL Teen Author Reading Night, I had seen Emma and gotten 3 books signed.
The place was crowded, tons of girls getting their faces redone.  After locating the table, only Nicola was there signing.  Of course, I wasn't sure if she was Emma or Nicola so I surreptitiously looked at the book she was then signing to see whose name she wrote.  It was Nicola.  Right after she finished, Emma had walked up back from lunch.  What perfect timing! I gave them all my books, they signed them.  Emma sorta remembered me, wondering how some of the books were half signed by her, but then when I told her how we had met earlier, she pieced it together.
If you can't tell by the fact that I've decided to blog about books, I love them! I collect first editions and protect them in protective mylar which obviously protects them, but gives them a clean, sharp look.  If you're reading, Rachel, they were not the only authors I've met that thought they and my collection were cool, so yeah...
These authors were super sweet, and we all were smiley.  I got a picture with them, and I'm in a picture on their phone so I feel even cooler (As a nerd, these things make me happy.).  I'm thinking that the picture will show up on their Twitter, but I will post my photo below as well.  I know their books get mediocre ratings on Goodreads, but they were so friendly that I'm going to read all of their books in a row starting now, so get used to a lot of Emma and Nicola:)

I think this is one of the few, if not only, signing where something weird or awkward didn't happen.  You will enjoy those stories once I get to posting...

I feel out of place without red lipstick:(

Friday, October 19, 2012

Review: Everyday by David Levithan

Every DayEvery Day by David Levithan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Summary: In his New York Times bestselling novel, David Levithan introduces readers to what Entertainment Weekly calls a "wise, wildly unique" love story about A, a teen who wakes up every morning in a different body, living a different life.
Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl. 
There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.
It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.
With his new novel, David Levithan, bestselling co-author of Will Grayson, Will Grayson, and Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, has pushed himself to new creative heights. He has written a captivating story that will fascinate readers as they begin to comprehend the complexities of life and love in A’s world, as A and Rhiannon seek to discover if you can truly love someone who is destined to change every day.

Just got to warn you, I wanted to cry during the first chapter. This is a very bittersweet book, so if you want a cute, light, read, this is not the right book, but nonetheless an awesome choice. It really makes you question what makes a human human. What are the characteristics that make us up and why we feel?

I went to the book signing of this book tour. It was the second time I have seen David Levithan. He is a nice, funny guy. I aspire to be this guy one day. Editor, author, founder of PUSH, David Levithan has the best jobs. And, his inscriptions had cute little sayings related to the book titles.

Would I recommend to a friend? YES

Recognize any of these cool people?

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Review: A Tinfoil Sky by Cyndi Sand-Eveland

I'm just going crazy with posting all my goodreads reviews...

A Tinfoil Sky
by Cyndi Sand-Eveland

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Summary: Mel and her mother, Cecily, know what it’s like to live rough, whether it’s on the streets or in the apartment of an abusive man.When Cecily announces that they’ve had enough and that they are going to go home to her mother’s, Mel dreams of security, a comfortable bed, and a grandmother’s love seem to be about to come true. But some mistakes cannot be easily forgiven or erased. Her grandmother is not what Mel expects, and though the local library offers sanctuary, a real home seems beyond her grasp. Mel’s determination to rise above what fate has dealt is about to change that. 
Cyndi Sand-Eveland’s work with homeless youth gives her characters an authenticity no reader will forget. Ultimately, a story of hope and acceptance, A Tinfoil Sky is a powerful, can’t-putit- down novel.

It was short, but I will admit that for me it was not quick. When I wasn't reading it, I didn't find myself wanting to be. I found the story a bit slow and sad. However, I did like the main character Mel. She was just someone trying to find her way like we all are during some part of our own lives. After reading the ending, I was a bit disappointed that it wasn't particularly happy. Thinking about it now, it would have been too predictable if it were the way I wanted it to end, so I commend the author for taking a risk with the ending. Overall, this was a good book. It wasn't one of my favorites due to personal preferences, it being a little too depressing for me..

Recommend to a friend? No

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Review: League of Strays by L.B. Schulman

League of StraysLeague of Strays by L.B. Schulman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

(actually 3.5/5 stars)
** spoiler alert **
Summary:This suspenseful debut follows a group of teenage misfits in their delicious quest for revenge on those who have wronged them at their high school. When a mysterious note appears in Charlotte’s mailbox inviting her to join the League of Strays, she’s hopeful it will lead to making friends. What she discovers is a motley crew of loners and an alluring, manipulative ringleader named Kade. Kade convinces the group that they need one another both for friendship and to get back at the classmates and teachers who have betrayed them. But Kade has a bigger agenda. In addition to vandalizing their school and causing fights between other students, Kade’s real intention is a dangerous plot that will threaten lives and force Charlotte to choose between her loyalty to the League and her own conscience.
Frankly, I just found this one boring. The main character Charlotte was one of those people who did everything to please her parents but didn't do anything for herself until the league of strays. It was difficult to connect with her. As for Kade, he was the elusive good looking guy that was the head of the league and Charlotte's love interest. He was too distant. I wasn't able to like him at all because I really wasn't given much about him.
The premise of the book was different than anything else I've read. The kids plan things to get back at someone who's embarrassed them. These things that they do become extremely even violating the law. The only one that feels guilty and says anything is Charlotte which was quite refreshing. The other kids kinda gave me a psychopath vibe as they felt no remorse for their revenge. I just thought the whole thing was bizarre, and it was hard for me to get through it.
The cover's pretty neat, but we all know that trite maxim: Never judge a book by its cover.

Would I recommend to a friend? Nope