Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Review: Perfected

This book was a book that delivered the unexpected.

Perfection comes at a price.
As soon as the government passed legislation allowing humans to be genetically engineered and sold as pets, the rich and powerful rushed to own beautiful girls like Ella. Trained from birth to be graceful, demure, and above all, perfect, these “family companions” enter their masters’ homes prepared to live a life of idle luxury.
Ella is happy with her new role as playmate for a congressman’s bubbly young daughter, but she doesn’t expect Penn, the congressman’s handsome and rebellious son. He’s the only person who sees beyond the perfect exterior to the girl within. Falling for him goes against every rule she knows…and the freedom she finds with him is intoxicating.
But when Ella is kidnapped and thrust into the dark underworld lurking beneath her pampered life, she’s faced with an unthinkable choice. Because the only thing more dangerous than staying with Penn’s family is leaving…and if she’s unsuccessful, she’ll face a fate far worse than death.
Summary: The lives of these girls are planned from the day their born. They are promised luxury as long as they behave properly. But what is behaving properly in the congressman's house? Ella is brought into situations that she was never trained for, as a pet, she knows very little, but as a person, she begins to see things for what they truly are. Even though the country labels her as property, she still has the mindset of a 16 year old girl; someone who wants to learn and experience new things, but she can't exactly show that. She is a showpiece, and if she doesn't act like it, there will be serious repercussions. 
PROS: The story line of this book is so incredibly unique, it's slightly dystopian, with some aspects of reality that actually make it kind of horrifying. Is this something America might actually do? It wouldn't surprise me. There are twists and turns in every chapter; things that I never saw coming, but still made perfect sense. All the characters were perfectly created; the congressman, Ella, Ruby, Penn, the congressman's wife, all of them and more. They were written by the hand of someone who knew what they were doing. Every character was necessary, everyone had a place, and a point to make. None of them were dull, they all added something even more unique to the story. 
CONS: The ending came quickly. It was a good ending, it felt right with the rest of the story, but it felt like it was just rushed in there. The book didn't lack anything, except for maybe an ending that had a little bit more explaining to it. That is my only complaint. 
Rate: This book was absolutely beautiful; it was elegant, interesting, horrifying, exciting. It was all those things and more. THIS IS A MUST READ. IF YOU ARE ANY KIND OF READER, YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK, 4.5 out of 5 books (because books are better than stars). 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Review: Zac and Mia

I received this book from ALA in July, and I was absolutely thrilled to get it, I had heard so many positive things about it, I knew that it would a sort of twist off of The Fault in Our Stars, but in the best way.
“When I was little I believed in Jesus and Santa, spontaneous combustion, and the Loch Ness monster. Now I believe in science, statistics, and antibiotics.” So says seventeen-year-old Zac Meier during a long, grueling leukemia treatment in Perth, Australia. A loud blast of Lady Gaga alerts him to the presence of Mia, the angry, not-at-all-stoic cancer patient in the room next door. Once released, the two near-strangers can’t forget each other, even as they desperately try to resume normal lives. The story of their mysterious connection drives this unflinchingly tough, tender novel told in two voices.

Summary: Zac is sick, really, really sick, but it seems as though he is given a second chance when he receives a bone marrow transplant. He knows his odds are low, but he has a surprisingly positive perspective about it. His next door neighbor in the hospital, Mia, however, does not have the same attitude, even though she has a 90% chance at surviving and he has about 30%. They are two people that probably would never get along out in the real world, but hospital worlds are different. At the beginning, their friendship is weird, and very non-communative, but things grow slowly but surely. 

PROS: I love the way that Zac thinks. He is all about statistics and facts, and, to me at least, it's a fair perspective when you have cancer. This book sticks to reality, this isn't a gooey love story, or a sappy novel about how you can make the best out of cancer. No, cancer is cancer, and they realize that. I loved how Zac and Mia didn't automatically become the best of friends, because those type of things don't just happen. They simply seem to understand each other, and at times they can be selfish, and at other times they prove to be loving. 

CONS: I wish Mia's perspective would've been entered into the book sooner, because it was hard to figure out what was going on with her, but that's why you have to be patient with this book. You also have to be patient with Mia, I promise, eventually she will grow on you. 

Rate: I love the realism in this book, I love the fact that it's set in Australia. I love that you get to see two very different perspectives on similar situations. 5 out of 5 books (because books are better than stars). 




Thursday, November 20, 2014

Frenzy

Just so everybody knows (Amber speaking) I am in a reading frenzy right now, reading everything in sight. I have read three books in the last five days alone, so just know that there are gonna be a ton of reviews coming! But also, I would love to review any and all of you suggestions, so just let me know! Because I am completely obsessed at the moment and I'm not completely sure how long this will last!

Review: The Stepsister's Tale

This is a book I was definitely excited for, I love reading fairy tales, especially when they're twisted or told from a different perspective.

What really happened after the clock struck midnight?
Jane Montjoy is tired of being a lady. She's tired of pretending to live up to the standards of her mother's noble family—especially now that the family's wealth is gone and their stately mansion has fallen to ruin. It's hard enough that she must tend to the animals and find a way to feed her mother and her little sister each day. Jane's burden only gets worse after her mother returns from a trip to town with a new stepfather and stepsister in tow. Despite the family's struggle to prepare for the long winter ahead, Jane's stepfather remains determined to give his beautiful but spoiled child her every desire.
When her stepfather suddenly dies, leaving nothing but debts and a bereaved daughter behind, it seems to Jane that her family is destined for eternal unhappiness. But a mysterious boy from the woods and an invitation to a royal ball are certain to change her fate….
From the handsome prince to the evil stepsister, nothing is quite as it seems in Tracy Barrett's stunning retelling of the classic Cinderella tale.
Summary: Jane is a hardworking girl who is taking care of a once wealthy, but now poor family. Instead of attending balls and being swept off her feet, she is milking cows and sheep, scrubbing floors, making meals. But, wait, wasn't that Cinderella's job? When Isabella (Cinderella) arrives, she is one of the most beautiful girls Jane has ever laid eyes on. But, she has never lifted a finger in her life. The girl is honestly spoiled, and Jane really does hate how fancy her clothes are and how she refuses to do any work. When the girls father dies, all Isabella does is mope around by the fire places, drawing pictures in the ashes. And once the royal ball comes, things just get even more questionable. 
PROS: I loved the way that this book was entirely its own, while sticking to the original plot of the original story. Everything makes perfect sense and it all fits so well together. I love Jane, and it's important to have a main character that is enjoyable to read about, she keeps her family and the books together. 
CONS: I don't want to spoil anything, but compared to the rest of the book, I found the ending a little bit lacking, the author seemed to just cut is off short and I wish there would've been just a little more. 
Rate: The book in its entirety was excellent, and a definite suggestion, but I can't really get over how much I would've loved a really good ending. 4 out of 5 books (because books are better than stars) 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Review: H2O

I received this book from the ALA conference, with no knowledge of the author, and no knowledge of what I was getting myself into when I picked it up to read.

27 is a number Ruby hates.
It's a number that marks the percentage of the population that has survived. It's a number that means she's one of the "lucky" few still standing. And it's a number that says her father is probably dead.
Against all odds, Ruby has survived the catastrophic onset of the killer rain. Two weeks after the radio started broadcasting the warning, "It's in the rain. It's fatal and there's no cure," the drinkable water is running out. Ruby's left with two options: persevere on her own, or embark on a treacherous journey across the country to find her father-if he's even still alive
Summary: Ruby is just a girl who lives in England with her slightly broken family, and "evil" step-father. She likes boys, and and partying and rebelling, but, one day, all of that is taken away from her. Toxic rain is falling from the sky and people are dying left and right. She spends the beginning just trying to figure out the basics of surviving, and things begin to get more and more complicated every second. Eventually, she is forced to leave her home and go on a journey to find her father, not knowing if he's alive, or dead. 
PROS: A lot things that make up this book seem very realistic; there is panic, irrational behavior, confusion, and misunderstanding; even the toxic rain seems reasonable, it honestly had me thinking "oh crap, this could happen to the world, like tomorrow". I actually started stock-piling water just in case. I also love the smooth, relatable writing style that this book is written in. 
CONS: Ruby just seems a little too calm throughout this entire thing. She's just kinda like "Oh, dead body, well that sucks". I understand that each brain acts differently in terrifying situations, but still. She is also a little too focused on her image. She cares so much about what she looks like, and who she talks to, that I simply don't understand it. Why are you wearing a sequined dress while there is death rain everywhere? I do not know. The book also had a slightly disappointing ending, but it did make me want to read the next book in the series, so I will be waiting for that. 
rate: This book was just a book for me. A mediocre book. It's in the middle of awesome and awful. 2.5 out of 5 books (because books are better than stars).  


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Review: To All The Boys I've Loved Before

The title sounds cheesy, and to be honest, my expectations were low for this book, saying how much I dislike the other novels from Jenny Han, but to be perfectly honest, when I got this book from ALA in July, I immediately read it, and did not put it down  until I was finished.
What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them…all at once?
Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

Summary: Lara Jean is you average teenage girl, she has her crushes and her secrets and her slightly dysfunctional family, but then things kind of get turned extremely upside when a box full of love letters to every boy she has ever had a crush on has been sent to each one of them directly. She then has to cover her tracks, she has undo what has been done, she has to make the boy she's in love with think that she's not in love with him, or else, everything will turn into chaos. 
PROS: This book kept me guessing, I went "oooh" and "aaah" over every single chapter. I love who Lara Jean is. She isn't your classic story book girl; she doesn't have the all the bells and whistles and googly eyes, no, she's quirky and different and has a lot of flaws that make her believable. Each character is easy to understand and easy to picture in your head, which is something I love in a book. I love it when books are so detailed that they literally come to life inside your head. 
CONS: I don't have a super long list of cons, but this book was definitely lacking something. It wasn't very challenging, definitely a seventh grade reading level sort of book, and in some chapters, even though I found them entertaining, I also found them slightly unnecessary to the book overall. 
Rate: This was a genuinely good book, a book to read if you're simply trying relax; a total chick novel. 3.5 out of 5 books (because books are better than stars).

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Review: Fat Angie

I was extremely excited about this book from the beginning, I had heard quotes, small synopses, and I just thought "This is going to be a book I'll remember", and, well, I haven't forgotten it yet.
Her sister was captured in Iraq, she’s the resident laughingstock at school, and her therapist tells her to count instead of eat. Can a daring new girl in her life really change anything?
Angie is broken — by her can’t-be-bothered mother, by her high-school tormenters, and by being the only one who thinks her varsity-athlete-turned-war-hero sister is still alive. Hiding under a mountain of junk food hasn’t kept the pain (or the shouts of "crazy mad cow!") away. Having failed to kill herself — in front of a gym full of kids — she’s back at high school just trying to make it through each day. That is, until the arrival of KC Romance, the kind of girl who doesn’t exist in Dryfalls, Ohio. A girl who is one hundred and ninety-nine percent wow! A girl who never sees her as Fat Angie, and who knows too well that the package doesn’t always match what’s inside. With an offbeat sensibility, mean girls to rival a horror classic, and characters both outrageous and touching, this darkly comic anti-romantic romance will appeal to anyone who likes entertaining and meaningful fiction.
Summary: My summary is the books summary. It contains horror, love, depression, and anything else that you would want in a book. 
PROS: This book really touched me. It was funny, I love Angie and her personality, but I also love the message of the book as a whole. What this girl goes through, and how she reacts to things, actually makes me respect her. I couldn't do what Fat Angie does. Her whole life is a mess, and I thought that it made this book much more enticing. I didn't have a desire to put it down. I read this book in two hours. 
CONS: I thought that everything that was happening to her was a bit much. I wouldn't take anything out of it, every page was important, but every page also broke my heart. 
Rate: This novel inspired me, and made me appreciate what I have in this world. I love Fat Angie. I love the novel, and the girl. 5 out of 5 books (because books are better than stars)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Review: The Young Elites


 I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.
OMG THIS BOOK ADSKFJIEWJVEPVJ!!!!!!!
Sorry if this review is going to sound a bit rav-y, I just loved it so much which means a lot considering I didn't exactly love Marie Lu's Legend series. The whole story was just amazing and I've haven't read a supernatural-ly book this awesome in awhile. I loved the supporting characters in the book and I hope the second book will give more information about the Elites. Adelina was a character that I loved and hated at the same time. I hated how she couldn't make her mind up about decisions (which eventually got her and others into trouble), but I loved how she was such a strong female lead. The Young Elites is a book that I would recommend to anyone because it's an awesome action book infused with a little bit of romance and comedy. The ending will leave you wanting more. SO MUCH MORE.
5 Stars!!!!!!!


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Review: Life by Commitee

I absolutely love Corey Ann Haydy. I've loved her since about the beginning of time, so it's easy to say that I had rather high expectations for this book. And, as usual, she did not disappoint me.
Tabitha might be the only girl in the history of the world who actually gets less popular when she gets hot. But her so-called friends say she’s changed, and they’ve dropped her flat. Now Tab has no one to tell about the best and worst thing that has ever happened to her: Joe, who spills his most intimate secrets to her in their nightly online chats. Joe, whose touch is so electric, it makes Tab wonder if she could survive an actual kiss. Joe, who has Tabitha brimming with the restless energy of falling in love. Joe, who is someone else’s boyfriend.Just when Tab is afraid she’ll burst from keeping the secret of Joe inside, she finds Life by Committee. The rules of LBC are simple: tell a secret, receive an assignment. Complete the assignment to keep your secret safe. Tab likes it that the assignments push her to her limits, empowering her to live boldly and go further than she’d ever go on her own. But in the name of truth and bravery, how far is too far to go?

Summary:Tabitha has been basically exiled by everyone in her school the moment she becomes hot. She's not sure why, it's not her fault. The only thing that's good in her life is Joe. Joe is sweet to her, he understands her, the only problem is that he has a beautiful girlfriend who is loved by everybody. Tabitha is alone and almost depressed, and she's simply looking for a way to make her life better. One day she finds Life by Committee, and after that, her entire live begins to change. She gets tasks that she has to complete, involving her life, or she'll get kicked out. She tests herself to see how much she can accomplish, until, things start to get complicated... 

PROS: Life by Committee is very relatable, everyone has things in their life that they don't understand and they wish they could change, and this is a girl who does something about those things. I loved all of the characters, they were all very unique and they tied well into the story as a whole. Corey writes in a relaxing style; it's very nice and easy to read. There wasn't a moment in this book where I got bored, or even wanted to put down. 
CONS: This book was awesome, this book was great, but, all in all in wasn't brilliant, it wasn't life changing. 
Rate: THIS BOOK, THIS BOOK IS HAPPINESS. 4.5 out of 5 books (because books are better than stars). 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Review: The Kingdom of Little Wounds

The Kingdom of Little Wounds was my very first Medieval book. I was excited to start it because I honestly had no idea what to expect from it.This novel has received a lot of ridicule for not  being suitable for YA readers, but, as an 18 year old -- 17 when I read this -- I thought this book was like a breath of fresh air.

On the eve of Princess Sophia’s wedding, the Scandinavian city of Skyggehavn prepares to fete the occasion with a sumptuous display of riches: brocade and satin and jewels, feasts of sugar fruit and sweet spiced wine. Yet beneath the veneer of celebration, a shiver of darkness creeps through the palace halls. A mysterious illness plagues the royal family, threatening the lives of the throne’s heirs, and a courtier’s wolfish hunger for the king’s favors sets a devious plot in motion. Here in the palace at Skyggehavn, things are seldom as they seem — and when a single errant prick of a needle sets off a series of events that will alter the course of history, the fates of seamstress Ava Bingen and mute nursemaid Midi Sorte become irrevocably intertwined with that of mad Queen Isabel. As they navigate a tangled web of palace intrigue, power-lust, and deception, Ava and Midi must carve out their own survival any way they can.

Summary: This book is told from mainly two perspectives; Ava Bingen, and Midi Sorte, but there is also 2nd person dialogue so you can read about all the mysterious and questionable things happening inside this one castle. The Kingdom is in distress as one of their beloved princesses dies the night of her wedding. No one is truly certain of how she dies, but the grieving cannot last very long, for there are far too many other dramatic things happening. 

PROS: This book is thick, about 600 hundred pages, so you know that there is no missing detail. The way Cokal phrases, and describes things is beautiful. I called this book a breath of fresh air because it contains something that many books are missing; reality. There has been a lot of negative feedback about how graphic this book is, but there is nothing in here that wouldn't have happened in Medieval times. Sad to say, but there was: poverty, disease, cruel punishment, and sexual abuse in this time period. 

CONS: I do have to admit that this book doesn't belong in the hands of anyone under the age of 16, simply because all the facts about this time period can be hard to swallow. I also had trouble getting through the entire thing since it was so big, but I can say that I finished it and was very happy with the ending. 

Rate: This book is different from most books in the YA category, and I definitely thought it deserved the Michael L. Printz award that it won. 5 out of 5 books (because books are better than stars).