9/30/11

Follow Friday!

Follow Friday! The question this week:


What book would you like to see made into a movie, and who would you cast as your favourite characters?


Ok, so I know The Mortal Instruments Series is being made into a few movies, but I still can't get over the fact that Alex Pettyfer (who I've loved since Alex Rider: Storm Breaker) isn't playing Jace. And no matter how good Jamie is, I'm always going to have this little nagging at the back of my mind saying "it should be Alex!" So yeah, if I could go back and cast all the characters, Alex would definitely be Jace.


How about you guys?

9/24/11

Imaginary Girls

Author: Nova Ren Suma
Pages: 348
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Format: E-book (ARC)
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Summary (from Goodreads)Chloe's older sister, Ruby, is the girl everyone looks to and longs for, who can't be captured or caged. When a night with Ruby's friends goes horribly wrong and Chloe discovers the dead body of her classmate London Hayes left floating in the reservoir, Chloe is sent away from town and away from Ruby.

But Ruby will do anything to get her sister back, and when Chloe returns to town two years later, deadly surprises await. As Chloe flirts with the truth that Ruby has hidden deeply away, the fragile line between life and death is redrawn by the complex bonds of sisterhood.

With palpable drama and delicious craft, Nova Ren Suma bursts onto the YA scene with the story that everyone will be talking about.
--- 
My Summary: Chloe is Ruby's younger sister - a girl content with living in the shadow of her older sister. But Chloe's not the only one: Ruby has the entire town under her spell. But when strange things start to happen and a girl is found dead, people begin to suspect that Ruby isn't as perfect as she seems. 

To keep her away from her sister's influence, Chloe is sent out of town. But when she returns years later, Ruby decides she isn't going to let her sister out of her sight anymore and begins to do everything she can to keep them together forever.

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book. It was a mix of a few genres: a little bit of paranormal, a little bit of mystery and suspense... which combined to make an awesome book.

This definitely didn't feel like a debut novel. The writing was flawless and perfectly paced, and the use of imagery was so well-done that I could clearly envision the events of the story unfolding in my head. I also loved the eerie atmosphere of the entire book - it puts you on edge and makes the story all the more addicting.  

The plot builds until you're desperate to know what's going on, while at the same time you don't want the book to end. I've only read a few other novels that manage to give me these conflicting emotions, so you know this is a good read!

Final Thoughts: I definitely recommend this to fans of paranormal YA and creepier, edgier novels. 

Wintergirls

Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Pages: 278
Publisher: Marion Llyod Books
Format: Paperback
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


Summary (from Goodreads)

“Dead girl walking,” the boys say in the halls. 

“Tell us your secret,” the girls whisper, one toilet to another.
I am that girl.
I am the space between my thighs, daylight shining through.
I am the bones they want, wired on a porcelain frame.


Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the skinniest. But what comes after size zero and size double-zero? When Cassie succumbs to the demons within, Lia feels she is being haunted by her friend’s restless spirit.

In her most emotionally wrenching, lyrically written book since the multiple-award-winning Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson explores Lia’s descent into the powerful vortex of anorexia, and her painful path toward recovery.
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My Summary: Ever since best friends Lia and Cassie made their 'skinny pact' years ago, each one has been on their own downward spiral. Cassie became bulimic, while Lia became anorexic. Both girls managed to get themselves down to dangerously low weights, and Lia was hospitalized multiple times while Cassie managed to keep her secret from her parents. Since Lia's release, Cassie hasn't spoken to her, leaving her completely alone.

But one night Cassie calls Lia from a motel room in the middle of nowhere. Lia doesn't pick up, thinking it's a prank - only to find out the next day that Cassie died the night before only a few hours after calling her. When Lia checks her phone again, she finds 33 missed calls - every single one from Cassie.

Now in the wake of her friends death, Lia must face facts: she's spiraling out of control. Haunted by guilt and thought of Cassie, Lia throws herself into a frantic search for the truth about the night Cassie died. Because Lia's convinced that finding out what happened to her friend will save her.

My Thoughts: This book was so, so powerful. Laurie Halse Anderson pours so much emotion into her writing that it makes it painful to read. The thing is, though, you absolutely need to keep reading - you have to find out what happens to Lia or it'll drive you nuts. Because despite what she's doing, you know she wants to get better... she's just not strong enough.

I loved the way the author gave you bits and pieces of Cassie and Lia's past slowly, so that by the end your opinion of both girls has been formed and altered multiple times. Cassie is not who you think she is, and neither is Lia, but by the end you understand why they are the way they are. 

I also loved the way the author portrayed the internal struggle Lia was having with herself. This glimpse into the mind of someone with anorexia really helps you understand why these people can't simply "get better", and I loved that the author didn't make it seem like recovery was easy. 

Final Thoughts: I recommend this novel to fans of darker contemporary literature (over the age of 16). 

9/23/11

Follow Friday!

Happy Friday everyone! 


This week's question:



Are there are books or series that you tend to read over and over again?



Definitely! As a chronic re-reader, I've read almost every book I own at least twice. But some of the series and books I always, always go back to are:



- The Darkest Powers Series - Kelley Armstrong
- The Mortal Instruments Series - Cassandra Clare
- A Series of  Unfortunate Events - Lemony Snicket
- The Children of the Lamp Series - P.B. Kerr
- The Spiderwick Chronicles - Holly Black
-  Stolen - Lucy Christopher


How about you?

9/17/11

100 Most Popular YA Novels

This list was taken from imlovingbooks.com (go check out her blog, it's awesome!). I was surprised at how many of them I've read already!




crossed out
 = read
bold = on my to-read list
regular = not read
1. Alex Finn – Beastly
2. Alice Sebold – The Lovely Bones
3. Ally Carter – Gallagher Girls (1, 2, 3, 4)
4. Ally Condie – Matched
5. Alyson Noel – The Immortals (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
6. Anastasia Hopcus – Shadow Hills
7. Angie Sage – Septimus Heap (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
8. Ann Brashares – The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (1, 2, 3, 4)
9. Anna Godbersen – Luxe (1, 2, 3, 4)
10. Anthony Horowitz – Alex Rider (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
11. Aprilynne Pike – Wings (1, 2, 3)
12. Becca Fitzpatrick – Hush, Hush (1, 2)
13. Brandon Mull – Fablehaven (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

14. Brian Selznick – The Invention of Hugo Cabret
15. Cassandra Clare – The Mortal Instruments (1, 2, 3, 4)
16. Carrie Jones – Need (1, 2, 3)

17. Carrie Ryan – The Forest of Hands and Teeth (1, 2, 3, 4)
18. Christopher Paolini – Inheritance (1, 2, 3, 4)
19. Cinda Williams Chima – The Heir Chronicles (1, 2, 3)
20. Colleen Houck – Tigers Saga (1, 2)
21. Cornelia Funke – Inkheart (1, 2, 3)
22. Ellen Hopkins – Impulse
23. Eoin Colfer – Artemis Fowl (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
24. Faraaz Kazi – Truly, Madly, Deeply
25. Frank Beddor – The Looking Glass Wars (1, 2, 3)
26. Gabrielle Zevin – Elsewhere
27. Gail Carson Levine – Fairest
28. Holly Black – Tithe (1, 2, 3)
29. J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter Series
30. James Dashner – The Maze Runner (1, 2)

31. James Patterson – Maximum Ride (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
32. Jay Asher – Thirteen Reasons Why
33. Jeanne DuPrau – Books of Ember (1, 2, 3, 4)
34. Jeff Kinney – Diary of a Wimpy Kid (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
35. John Boyne – The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
36. John Green – An Abundance of Katherines
37. John Green – Looking for Alaska
38. John Green – Paper Towns
39. Jonathan Stroud – Bartimaeus (1, 2, 3, 4)
40. Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl – Caster Chronicles (1, 2)
41. Kelley Armstrong – Darkest Powers (1, 2, 3)
42. Kristin Cashore – The Seven Kingdoms (1, 2)
43. Lauren Kate – Fallen (1, 2, 3)
44. Lemony Snicket – Series of Unfortunate Events (series)
45. Libba Bray – Gemma Doyle (1, 2, 3)
46. Lisa McMann – Dream Catcher (1, 2, 3)
47. Louise Rennison – Confessions of Georgia Nicolson Series
48. M.T. Anderson – Feed
49. Maggie Stiefvater – The Wolves of Mercy Falls (1, 2, 3)
50. Margaret Peterson Haddix – Shadow Children (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)

51. Maria V. Snyder – Study (1, 2, 3)
52. Markus Zusak – The Book Thief
53. Markus Zusak – I am the Messenger
54. Mark Haddon – The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
55. Mary Ting – Crossroads
56. Maureen Johnson – Little Blue Envelope (1, 2)
57. Meg Cabot – All-American Girl (1, 2)
58. Meg Cabot – The Mediator (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
59. Meg Cabot – The Princess Diaries (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
60. Meg Rosoff – How I Live Now
61. Megan McCafferty – Jessica Darling (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
62. Megan Whalen Turner – The Queen’s Thief (1, 2, 3, 4)
63. Melina Marchetta – On the Jellicoe Road
64. Melissa de la Cruz – Blue Bloods (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
65. Melissa Marr – Wicked Lovely Series
66. Michael Grant – Gone (1, 2, 3, 4)

67. Nancy Farmer – The House of the Scorpion
68. Neal Shusterman – Unwind
69. Neil Gaiman – Coraline
70. Neil Gaiman – Stardust
71. Neil Gaiman – The Graveyard Book
72. P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast – House of Night Series
73. Philip Pullman – His Dark Materials (1, 2, 3)
74. Rachel Caine – The Morganville Vampires Series
75. Rachel Cohn & David Levithan – Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist
76. Richelle Mead – Vampire Academy (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
77. Rick Riordan – Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series
78. Rom LcO’Feer – Somewhere carnal over 40 winks
79. S.L. Naeole – Grace (1, 2, 3, 4)
80. Sabrina Bryan & Julia DeVillers – Princess of Gossip
81. Sarah Dessen – Along for the Ride
82. Sarah Dessen – Lock and Key
83. Sarah Dessen – The Truth about Forever
84. Sara Shepard – Pretty Little Liars (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
85. Scott Westerfeld – Leviathan (1, 2)
86. Scott Westerfeld – Uglies (1, 2, 3)
87. Shannon Hale – Books of a Thousand Days
88. Shannon Hale – Princess Academy
89. Shannon Hale – The Books of Bayern (1, 2, 3, 4)
90. Sherman Alexie & Ellen Forney – The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
91. Simone Elkeles – Perfect Chemistry (1, 2, 3)
92. Stephanie Meyer – The Host
93. Stephanie Meyer – Twilight Saga (1, 2, 3, 4)

94. Sue Monk Kidd – The Secret Life of Bees

95. Susan Beth Pfeffer – Last Survivors (1, 2, 3)
96. Suzanne Collins – Hunger Games (1, 2, 3)
97. Suzanne Collins – Underland Chronicles (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

98. Terry Pratchett – Tiffany Aching (1, 2, 3, 4)
99. Tonya Hurley – Ghost Girl (1, 2, 3)
100. Wendelin Van Draanen – Flipped
If I haven't reviewed one of these and you'd like me to tell you what I thought of it, leave the name of the book in a comment below :) Also, I'm looking for some recommendations, so if you've read and loved any of the ones I haven't, please let me know!

9/13/11

Anna and the French Kiss

Author: Stephanie Perkins
Pages: 384
Publisher: Speak
Format: Paperback
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


Summary (from Goodreads)Anna can't wait for her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a good job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. So she's not too thrilled when her father unexpectedly ships her off to boarding school in Paris - until she meets Etienne St. Clair, the perfect boy. The only problem? He's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her crush back home. Will a year of romantic near-misses end in the French kiss Anna awaits?
--- 

My Summary
: Anna loves everything about her life in Atlanta - she has the perfect best friend, the perfect job, and the perfect crush. 



All that changes when Anna's jerk of a father (cough*Nicholas Sparks*cough) decides to show off to his rich Hollywood friends and ship her off to a boarding school in Paris WITHOUT asking her. Now Anna's spending her senior year halfway across the world, and the only french words she knows are oui and bonjour. But there may be something great about Paris, and she meets a guy who wants to show her it all. When Anna starts to fall for St. Clair - who is, unfortunately, taken - drama starts unfolding. Can she manage to control her feelings and stay friends with the person that's made Paris home for her?


My Thoughts: I don't know how many dozens of reviews I've read for this book since the day it came out. Seriously. And every one said the same thing: "this book is awesome! Loved it!" but of course, being the skeptic I am, I didn't believe it could be that good. 


But oh, it was.


I adored this book. The characters were amazing and genuine and real and I didn't feel like the book was written by someone way older than the characters - the dialogue felt natural (and made me laugh out loud multiple times) and it never read as forced. And of course you guys know I'm gonna talk about St. Clair... he. Is. Perfect. Seriously, I would go to France just to get one like him. And him and Anna are awesome together (loved the chemistry!).


What I also loved was that the characters weren't one-dimensional: they had interests and quirks and issues, and that made it so easy to relate to them. And of course the writing was great - it never lagged or got boring, making it easy to finish (less than 4 hours for me, a personal record).


Final Thoughts: I really recommend this anyone who enjoys reading about travel or romance - especially people who read and loved Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes. There are a few mentions of drinking though (it's France!) so watch out with younger teen readers.

9/10/11

All Good Children

Author: Catherine Austen
Pages: 320
Publisher: Orca
Format: Paperback (ARC)
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Summary (from the author's official website):

 "Living with hope is like rubbing up against a cheese grater. It keeps taking slices off you until there's so little left, you just crumble."

Quick-witted, prank-pulling graffiti artist Maxwell Connors is more observant than the average New Middletown teenager. And he doesn't like what he sees. New Middletown's children are becoming frighteningly obedient, and their parents and teachers couldn't be happier. As Max and his friend Dallas watch their classmates transform into model citizens, Max wonders if their only hope of freedom lies in the unknown world beyond New Middletown's walls, where creativity might be a gift instead of a liability.
For those who like their dystopias with a rich character sauce and a side of humour.
--- 
My Summary: Life hasn't been what you'd call 'easy' for Max - ever since his father died three years ago, his mother, his sister, and himself have been forced to uproot their lives. Going from being filthy rich to just scraping by, Max is pretty angry about the way his life is  - especially because people in New Middletown treat him like he's worthless now. Max strikes back with his art - sprawling graffiti scenes painted on every surface that will hold paint. Most would call him a trouble-maker, but Max manages to do all this while maintaining an A+ average at an academic school, so he gets away with a lot.
Until strange things start happening to the kids in New Middletown, and Max can't shake the suspicion that it's being caused by the parents in the city. As everyone he cares about begins to change - into what he calls 'zombies - Max must fight to protect the only things he has left: his family and his art. 
My Thoughts: I really, really enjoyed this novel for a number of reasons: the first of which being that it's a dystopian, but it's not too far in the future, so it's easy to envision Max's world. The second reason being that it begs the question: when does government control and  involvement in our lives go too far?
I also really enjoyed the writing. The author did a great job with imagery, painting a desolate landscape inside my head. And she didn't shy away from emotion, either: unlike with a lot of protagonists, you can really see how much Max cares about his mom and little sister, along with his best friend Dallas - you can feel his desperation towards not being able to help or protect the people he loves. His emotions come across very strongly to the reader, which I love; how many times have you read a book where something happens and the protagonist goes, "oh no... this sucks"? I know I've had a quite a few, and this novel was a refreshing change from that.
Final Thoughts: I strongly recommend this novel to anyone who is a fan of realistic dystopians, and to anyone who hasn't really ventured very far into the genre and would like something not too crazy to start off their exploration. Check it out! I know I'm looking forward to a lot more from author.

9/9/11

Follow Friday!

Happy Friday, everyone! Let's get the party started ;)

Have you ever wanted a villain to win at the end of a story? If so, which one?


I feel like I should go into hiding after saying this: I was actually pretty happy about the ending in City of Fallen Angels. *Ducks to avoid objects thrown by readers* Seriously though, it was such a great plot twist, and I can't wait to see (*SPOILER SPOT HERE IF YOU HAVEN'T READ IT. NO? OK, FINE, BUT DON't SAY I DIDN'T WARN YOU!*) Jace and Clary battle it out. I get all tingly just thinking about it :P


How about you? Have you ever wanted the villain to win?

9/4/11

Is it just me, or...?

Like the rest of us, my collection of books seems to multiply every time I turn around. And I don't mind that. Seriously. But being the unemployed-student-living-at-home has it's drawbacks, the first of which being that I only have 2 bookshelves that are already overflowing with books. But what's a book-lover to do? The obvious, right? "Sell the books you don't want! You'll make some money and clean out some of the clutter from your shelves! It's the best thing to do!!!"


WRONG.


My friends, selling your books online may seem like a good idea at first. And it would be, too - were it not for the ENORMOUS (and quite frankly, ridiculous) cost of shipping them (even within your own state/province/city!). Why? Because I live in Canada, where there is no such thing as 'Media Mail' and the average cost of shipping a book from London, Ontario to Toronto, Ontario (2 hours away) is a whopping $10... for a paperback. A PAPERBACK. I kid you not. The other day I went to go ship a hardcover book to someone who had purchased it from me on amazon.ca and it cost me $12 - which is DOUBLE what amazon credits you for shipping (a measly $6) and more than what I sold the book for (my asking price was $7). So what's a girl to do?


I'd love some suggestions! I'm a bit of a newbie when it comes to using the postal services, so I'd really appreciate some advice from you guys! If I can figure this thing out, I'll definitely start having more giveaways (which I really want to do! I'd be happy knowing my books are safe with you guys!). Thanks guys! :)

9/3/11

Forgotten

Author: Cat Patrick
Pages: 288
Publishers: Little, Brown
Format: Paperback
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads)Each night when 16 year-old London Lane goes to sleep, her whole world disappears. In the morning, all that's left is a note telling her about a day she can't remember. The whole scenario doesn't exactly make high school or dating that hot guy whose name she can't seem to recall any easier. But when London starts experiencing disturbing visions she can't make sense of, she realizes it's time to learn a little more about the past she keeps forgetting-before it destroys her future. 

Part psychological drama, part romance, and part mystery, this thought-provoking novel will inspire readers to consider the what-if's in their own lives and recognize the power they have to control their destinies.
--- 
My Summary: Ever since London was 6 years old, she`s had no memories to speak of. Every night at 4:33 am, her memory resets and she`s back to square one, not remembering anything about the day before. She can`t remember the past... but she can see the future. She remembers things that haven`t happened yet, and once they do happen, she forgets about them. London doesn`t know why or how this happens, but she knows her mother and her best friend Jamie are the only constants she can rely on.

Then she meets Luke, and try as she might London can`t find him in her visions of the future. But after falling in love with him, London can`t figure out why he`s such a huge part of her present but not her future.

My Thoughts: I really, really like this novel! I finished it in one sitting, less than 5 hours. The main character is really likable, and you sympathize for her - imagine how difficult it would be to start your whole life over from scratch each and every morning! And despite it all, she doesn`t sit around and complain - she does what she can to try and maintain some semblance of normalcy. 

Luke was a great character as well. I loved the way the author made him seem so familiar - you start feeling like you know him yourself. And his talents... well, let`s just say I`d let him paint my ear anytime (that`ll make more sense after you read the book, I swear).

I really enjoyed the author`s writing style, and the way the reader knows what`s going on even when London doesn`t. And the twist at the end was amazing!

Final Thoughts: I definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a refreshing read. 

The Forest of Hands and Teeth

Author: Carrie Ryan
Pages: 308
Publisher: Delacorte
Format: Paperback
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Summary (from Goodreads): In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?
--- 
My Summary: Decades before Mary was born, the Return happened: a virus spread across the entire world, turning people into cannibalistic zombies. The remaining survivors built fortified gates and separated themselves into tight-knit villages, learning to live with the death all around them. By the time Mary comes around, surviving with the Unconsecrated - the zombies - has become second nature; an art-form. The people in Mary's village are taught one thing from birth: they are the only surviving humans on Earth, and it is their Holy duty to marry and carry on the next generations.


But in a ruled by twisted religious views and expectations that all girls will become good little housewives, Mary has a dream: to see the ocean - the mystical place her mother told her about before she too became an Unconsecrated.


My Thoughts: After hearing so many rave reviews for the second and third novels in Carrie Ryan's series, I knew I had to take a chance, trust my Goodreads friends, and buy the first book. And am I ever glad I did! 


First off, Carrie Ryan`s writing is amazing - deeply descriptive and poetic, making it easy to imagine myself in Mary`s world. Ryan was also able to make the reader feel the same emotions as Mary - the fear and the heartbreak and the isolation - which is really hard to accomplish. I loved the unsure feel of the entire thing, and I was on the edge of my seat until the very end.


What I adored about this novel (other than the amazing writing) was the fact that there was no love triangle - throughout the entire novel, Mary knew who she wanted to be with. Props to the author for that! The only thing I disliked about the novel was Mary`s selfishness: at points I wanted to grab her and yell, are you serious?! Look around you, girlie!


Final Thoughts: If you`re like me and unsure if you will like zombie books, I suggest you start out with this one. I recommend this novel to dystopian and zombie-book lovers. There is a bit of gore in the novel, so if you are the squeamish type, you may want to skip this one.