4/30/12

Between the Lines

Author: Jodi Picoult
Pages: 358
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Format: Paperback (ARC)
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Summary (from Goodreads)What happens when happily ever after…isn’t? Delilah is a bit of a loner who prefers spending her time in the school library with her head in a book—one book in particular. Between the Lines may be a fairy tale, but it feels real. Prince Oliver is brave, adventurous, and loving. He really speaks to Delilah. And then one day Oliver actually speaks to her. Turns out, Oliver is more than a one-dimensional storybook prince. He’s a restless teen who feels trapped by his literary existence and hates that his entire life is predetermined. He’s sure there’s more for him out there in the real world, and Delilah might just be his key to freedom. Delilah and Oliver work together to attempt to get Oliver out of his book, a challenging task that forces them to examine their perceptions of fate, the world, and their places in it. And as their attraction to each other grows along the way, a romance blossoms that is anything but a fairy tale.

***

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

My Summary: Delilah's always been a bit of a loner. Ever since she broke the head cheerleader's knee, she's been a social outcast. Her only friends are her books and Jules, the resident punk-rocker. Delilah's always loved books, but when she find a fairy tale called Between the Lines, something clicks. Suddenly Delilah is able to hear the characters speak, and her dream guy - Oliver, the dreamy prince and hero of the story - tells her something shocking: he wants out of the book. 

And Deliliah is the only person who can help him.

My Thoughts: Having never read anything by Jodi Picoult, I have only one thing to say: why did nobody tell me about her sooner?! 

Between the Lines was an awesome read. I loved the depth of the characters and the way the three different narration styles fit together. I really liked the sketches as well - they definitely added that extra layer of dimension to the story and helped me visualize Oliver's world a little better.

As one would expect from a seasoned author like Jodi Picoult, the writing was almost flawless. The pacing and atmosphere fit the story perfectly, and Delilah seemed extremely genuine (and exactly like the 15-year-old she was supposed to be. I love it when authors get that right!).

Final Thoughts: An awesome read if you're looking for something light and fun! I recommend it to all those bookies out there who have ever wished that their favourite characters would come to life.

4/22/12

Sweetly

Author: Jackson Pearce
Pages: 310
Publisher: Little, Brown
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Summary (from Goodreads)As a child, Gretchen's twin sister was taken by a witch in the woods. Ever since, Gretchen and her brother, Ansel, have felt the long branches of the witch's forest threatening to make them disappear, too.

Years later, when their stepmother casts Gretchen and Ansel out, they find themselves in sleepy Live Oak, South Carolina. They're invited to stay with Sophia Kelly, a beautiful candy maker who molds sugary magic: coveted treats that create confidence, bravery, and passion.

Life seems idyllic and Gretchen and Ansel gradually forget their haunted past -- until Gretchen meets handsome local outcast Samuel. He tells her the witch isn't gone -- it's lurking in the forest, preying on girls every year after Live Oak's infamous chocolate festival, and looking to make Gretchen its next victim. Gretchen is determined to stop running and start fighting back. Yet the further she investigates the mystery of what the witch is and how it chooses its victims, the more she wonders who the real monster is.

Gretchen is certain of only one thing: a monster is coming, and it will never go away hungry. 

***

My Summary: No matter how hard she tries, Gretchen can't make herself forget the night her sister was taken from the woods. Living without her twin is tough, and Gretchen and her brother Ansel seem to be stuck, unable to move forward with their lives.

Until the day when their stepmother kicks them out, and they find themselves on the road with nothing but the gas in their tank and a few dollars in their pocket. With nowhere else to go, they head for the beach - somewhere they know they'll be safe from the threat of the woods and the monster that snatched their sister.

But just as they're about to reach their destination, the car breaks down, leaving them stranded in the middle of a town that wants nothing to do with outsiders like themselves. They end up being invited to stay at the home of the local chocolatier... but something about her isn't quite right, and Gretchen is sure Sophia Kelly knows more about the string of disappearances of young women in Live Oak than she's letting on.

My Thoughts: This is my second book of Jackson Pearce's, and I was definitely not disappointed. Usually I'm not one for fairy-tale retellings, but Pearce has a dark, edgy style that makes the fairy-tales a lot more modern and easy to relate to. The romance is always there as well, but it's not the main focus of the story - a major plus. I also really liked how Sweetly was linked to Sisters Red, and in the way it was done, I'm hoping it means there's a lot more of Jackson Pearce's writing to look forward to (you'll know what I mean if you've read both books already... I'm not giving anything away!).

Final Thoughts: I definitely recommend this book (and the author's other novels) to anyone who enjoys paranormal YA and stories that are a little darker and edgier than the usual. 

4/19/12

Follow Friday!

Welcome to the weekly blog hop! :)


Question: If you could have two fictional characters battle it out, who would they be and who do you think would win? 


Hmmm... I think my picks would have to be Jace and Will from TMI and TID. I feel like it'd be awesome to see the older generation battle it out with the younger generation just to see who's more superior, you know? Maybe that's just me though :P As for the winner...  I honestly have no idea. I may be leaning towards Jace though, because of the whole... well, those of you who've read the books know what I'm talking about ;) 

4/18/12

Divergent

Author: Veronica Roth
Pages: 487
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


Summary (from the author's official website)In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself. 

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves… or it might destroy her.


*** 

My Summary: In the future, Chicago is separated into five different groups, each with a  different virtue or focus. Once a year, all the sixteen year olds gather to pick which faction they will belong to for the rest of their lives. Growing up in a place where selflessness is held above all else, Beatrice knows the right thing to do would be to choose to stay with her family. But what if she doesn't belong? Her struggles with her families way of life seem to be telling her that Abnegation is the last place she should be... or is it?

After taking a test designed to tell her which faction she is most likely to succeed in, Beatrice is more confused than ever. Deciding to put what she wants first, Beatrice makes the choice to leave - a choice that will alter her in ways she can't even imagine.

My Thoughts: I am seriously disappointed in all of you! *Points to readers* Why did nobody tell me how freaking awesome this book was?! What happened to "friends don't let friends not read the most awesome books ever?", hmm?

I finally picked this book up from the library a few days ago because I'd read almost everything in the YA section except Divergent and figured it was time to give it a try. My first clue that it was amazing came when the librarian asked me how many times I'd re-read it. I told her it was my first time reading it and she actually gaped at me. Full-on mouth open in shock and horror gaped. So I ran home and started reading. Two hundred pages later I had to tear myself away to finish some homework, but all I could think about was getting back to the book. It is that good. The story gets stuck in your head and even though horrible things are happening all you want to do is immerse yourself in the atmosphere and the story. The characters were great - they had so much depth (especially Four, love him!) and Tris was anything but predictable. I loved the whole idea of factions based on virtues (and pretty much everything about this book). The writing flowed really well, and the pacing was perfect.

Final Thoughts: I recommend this book to anyone who likes a good YA novel and is looking for something new and refreshing. If you haven't read this book yet, do yourself a favour and get a copy. ASAP. And if you already have and loved it like I did, go pre-order Insurgent!

4/17/12

The Calling

Author: Kelley Armstrong
Pages: 326
Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Summary (from Goodreads)In The Calling, the sizzling second book in the Darkness Rising trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong pumps up the romance, danger, and suspense that left readers of The Gathering clamoring for more.

Maya Delaney’s paw-print birthmark is the sign of what she truly is—a skin-walker. She can run faster, climb higher, and see better than nearly anyone else. Experiencing intense connections with the animals that roam the woods outside her home, Maya knows it’s only a matter of time before she’s able to Shift and become one of them. And she believes there may be others in her small town with surprising talents.

Now, Maya and her friends have been forced to flee from their homes during a forest fire they suspect was deliberately set. Then they’re kidnapped, and after a chilling helicopter crash, they find themselves in the Vancouver Island wilderness with nothing but their extraordinary abilities to help them get back home. Plentiful action and romance in this second installment in the Darkness Rising series will keep readers enthralled to the very last page!

*** 

My Summary: After being rescued from their burning town and evacuated by helicopter, Maya and a few of her friends realize they aren't as safe as they thought they were. When this knowledge leads to the pilot being knocked out and the helicopter spinning out of control, all seems lost. 

An emergency landing in the middle of the forest forces the group to utilize skills they'd inadvertently been developing since childhood - and discover some new information about themselves and the mysterious company that ran their lives back home. 

My Thoughts: I've been a huge fan of Kelley Armstrong's ever since I picked up The Summoning - her first YA book - almost four years ago and fell in love with the characters and the atmosphere of the world she'd created. I'm not ashamed to admit I was (and still am) a teensy bit obsessed with the series and the rest of Kelley's books (mainly her Women of the Otherworld Series). Her writing has this amazing flow to it, and her characters are always deep and interesting.

 Basically, everything she writes is gold - and The Calling was no exception.

One of the things I loved about this book was that the author gave us enough info to form ideas about what was going on but left enough room for speculation. Kelley's books often have this effect - I had so many theories about what was going to happen in The Reckoning that I had to write them out and rationalize them to myself. In this installment we found out a little more about Maya's heritage and the reason Serena was killed. I personally liked getting to know the other characters better, and the twist near the end... 

Final Thoughts: If you've never read anything by Kelley Armstrong, I suggest you get yourself over to a bookstore as soon as possible and pick up her Darkest Powers trilogy and the first two books in the Darkness Rising trilogy. They're great reads - especially if you're looking for a twist in your paranormal YA. 


4/16/12

Croak

Author: Gina Damico
Pages: 311
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format: Paperback (ARC)
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads)Sixteen-year-old Lex Bartleby has sucker-punched her last classmate. Fed up with her punkish, wild behavior, her parents ship her off to upstate New York to live with her Uncle Mort for the summer, hoping that a few months of dirty farm work will whip her back into shape. But Uncle Mort’s true occupation is much dirtier than that of shoveling manure.

He’s a Grim Reaper. And he’s going to teach her the family business.

Lex quickly assimilates into the peculiar world of Croak, a town populated entirely by reapers who deliver souls from this life to the next. Along with her infuriating yet intriguing partner Driggs and a rockstar crew of fellow Grim apprentices, Lex is soon zapping her Targets like a natural born Killer.

Yet her innate ability morphs into an unchecked desire for justice—or is it vengeance?—whenever she’s forced to Kill a murder victim, craving to stop the attackers before they can strike again. So when people start to die—that is, people who aren’t supposed to be dying, people who have committed grievous crimes against the innocent—Lex’s curiosity is piqued. Her obsession grows as the bodies pile up, and a troubling question begins to swirl through her mind: if she succeeds in tracking down the murderer, will she stop the carnage—or will she ditch Croak and join in?
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

My Summary: Lex has always been a good kid - until a few years ago when she started changing. Lex went from straight-A student to punk practically overnight, sucker-punching everyone who gets within a five foot radius. After her principal threatens to expel her a week before the last week of school, Lex's parents decide to send her to stay with her Uncle Mort on the farm for the summer.

But life on 'the farm' is not as simple as it seems. Uncle Mort's been hiding a huge secret - he's a Grim, someone who collects the souls of the dead.

 And he wants Lex to be a part of the family business.

My Thoughts: This novel was exactly what I needed in the midst of this reading slump I've been in. I was a little reluctant to pick it up because I'd never read anything about Grim Reapers, but I am so glad I did.

Damico's writing style is awesome and worked really well with the story she was trying to tell. Lex was a great character, and I found myself identifying with her almost immediately. And seriously guys, this book was hilarious. I laughed out loud at so many points that I had to stop reading it in public (there's nothing like a frazzled-looking teenaged girl laughing at nothing on the bus to freak people out).   Lex's sarcasm and thought process were really funny, and the dialogue between Lex and Driggs (and just about everyone else) was so realistic that I could picture my friends saying the same things. Croak was one of those books that - when I realized there were only a few pages left - I started reading slower to savour the rest.

Final Thoughts: If you're looking for something witty, funny, and original, I definitely recommend you check out Croak as soon as possible.  

4/15/12

Emily for Real


Author: Sylvia Gunnery
Pages: 190
Publisher: Pajama Press
Format: Paperback (ARC)
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads)
Seventeen-year-old Emily’s world crumbles when her boyfriend dumps her, and when she thinks her life can’t possibly get any worse, a series of secrets are revealed that threaten to tear her beloved family apart. Emily’s heart has been broken into a hundred pieces and she feels like there is no one to turn to, until an unexpected friendship blossoms with a troubled classmate named Leo. Sometimes moody but always supportive, Leo is Emily’s rock in an ocean of confusion and disbelief.

But Leo doesn’t have an easy life either. He struggles to be both mother and father to his little sister while his mom battles her alcohol addiction. His deadbeat dad darts in and out of the picture, and Leo would rather he stay away, permanently. The two friends lean on each other, and in the end discover the inner strength to face whatever life throws at them.

With incredible insight into the teenage psyche and speckled with pitch-perfect humor, author Sylvia Gunnery has created a heart-warming coming-of-age story that explores the intricacies of family and friendship.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

My Summary: When Emily's grandfather dies, he leaves behind a few dark secrets that threaten to tear apart her entire family. To add to her troubles, her jerk of a boyfriend breaks up with her after meeting someone else. Emily's sure life can't get much worse - until her best friend starts hooking up with some guy and Emily's on her own. When she meets Leo, they develop an unlikely friendship that helps them both cope with the hardships in their lives.

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this novel. The pacing was great and the writing style was simple and easy to follow. Emily was not made out to be some amazing, special protagonist - she was just a normal girl going through a very tough time. I loved the realness of the characters and the situations - they seemed extremely genuine and realistic.

Emily's friendship with Leo was also portrayed very well - they were both people struggling with difficult situations, and the way they relied on and found solace in each other was really well-written.

Final Thoughts
: I recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys realistic contemporary YA and coming-of-age novels.

4/13/12

Follow Friday!

IT'S FRIDAY, FRIDAY, GOTTA GET DOWN ON...

I'm done I swear.

Question: What book or books would you be nervous to see as a movie adaptation because you believe the movie could never live up to the book?

Well, one that's coming up would be the first
 Mortal Instruments movie, City of Bones. I love that series, and I really hope that the movie stays on track with the books. They did a really great job of following the books in the Hunger Games movie, so I hope they can do the same for CoB. I love the cast so far, so hopefully it doesn't disappoint!

Anyways, if you aren't too busy, check out my post,
Things Bibliophiles Do ! I'm trying to get some more suggestions so I can turn it into "100 Things Bibliophiles Do". Pretty please leave a comment? :) Also, If you follow me in more than one way (GFC, Linky, Networked) le t me know and I'll be sure to follow back in all the same ways. Have a great weekend guys!

4/11/12

Things Bibliophiles Do


There are some things we all do that are a little...well, odd. Admit it - us bookies have our own little habits. And now it's time to own up to them. 


You know you're a bibliophile when you...


1. Pre-order a book online and check the mailbox obsessively for the next few days even though you know it hasn't even been released yet.
2. Laugh out loud to funny lines in books.
3. Try to explain what you're laughing about to someone else and fail miserably.
4. Say 'never mind' and return to your book after failing to explain the joke.
5. Go to the mall with a certain amount of money to buy something else and end up having to budget after you buy a book or two.
6. Refuse to walk into a bookstore with non-book-loving friends because you know they just won't get it.
7. Wince when someone cracks the spine of a brand new book.
8. Promptly yell, "WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU?!" when you see the above event occurring. 
9. Check the publication date of a novel because it seems to have the same story-line as Twilight.
10. Look forward to the novel-study portion of your English courses.
11. Write fanfiction *raises hand guiltily*.
12. Sometimes forget that your favourite dreamy male characters are fictional. *sigh*
13. Eavesdrop on conversations people have about your favourite book and shake your head because they just don't get it.
14. Plan your outings based on the proximity to a bookstore. Example: You need groceries but you go to Wal-Mart instead of the grocery store because they have a pretty decent selection of books and you're running low.
15. Refer to your lack of new books to read as 'running low'.
16. Look at the stack of books next to your bed and refuse to start one because you're not 'in the mood' for a particular genre.
17. Watch the mailbox to figure out what time the mail gets delivered so you can check it at the correct time every day.
18. Covertly lean in to smell an old book when nobody's looking.
19. Spend hours rearranging your bookshelf so you can optimize the limited amount of space you have.
20. Say things like, "why don't we just go ahead and turn the guest room into a library?"
21. Start feeling really stressed when you don't get to read for more than a few days.
22. Re-read a certain book or series more than once a year.
23.Start doing things to be more like the main character in one of your favourite books. Example: braiding your hair or taking up archery (if you don't know which character I'm referring to, please ... leave).
24. Spend more time on Goodreads than you do on Facebook.
25. Treat books like precious newborn babies (as you should!).
26. Have made and kept friends because of a mutual interest in books.
27. Arrange your books 2 or 3 rows deep on your bookshelf when you start to run out of room.
28. Start stacking books around your room because there are no more ways your could possibly fit any more books on your shelves.
29. Spend hours trying to decide which copy of a book has the best cover before you place your order.
30. One of the top ten bookmarks on your bookmarks bar is a link to a book-buying website... or Goodreads.


Let me know how many you got, or leave some of your own in a comment below! I'm hoping to update this list soon and turn into '100 Things Bibliophiles Do'. Thanks for reading guys! :)

Crossed

Author: Ally Condie
Pages: 367
Publisher: Dutton Juvenille
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads)Chasing down an uncertain future, Cassia makes her way to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky--taken by the Society to his sure death--only to find that he has escaped into the majestic, but treacherous, canyons. On this wild frontier are glimmers of a different life and the enthralling promise of a rebellion. But even as Cassia sacrifices every thing to reunite with Ky, ingenious surprises from Xander may change the game once again. 
Narrated from both Cassia's and Ky's point of view, this hotly anticipated sequel to Matched will take them both to the edge of Society, where nothing is as expected and crosses and double crosses make their path more twisted than ever.
--- 
My Summary: After leaving her safe, comfortable life in the Society, Cassia has spent the last few months working in camps for Aberrations like Ky, planting crops and doing hard labour while she waits for her placement to take her closer to him. She's determined to find him, but when she finally reaches the same camp, she discovers he's escaped with two fellow campers. Desperate to reach Ky, Cassia and her friend Indie make a break for it, risking everything to follow Ky into the Carving.

My Thoughts: I've been hearing a lot of mixed reviews about this installment in the Matched trilogy, but I honestly really enjoyed it. Crossed had a lot more action than its predecessor, but at the same time the writing was also a lot more poetic and the plot more character-driven than anything else. I really liked the fact that we got to know a lot more about Ky in this installment - he's such an interesting character, and it's great that we get to know him a little better in this book. 

I also liked that Xander - although he wasn't a very large presence in this book 0 was not completely thrown by the wayside. He was still pretty significant in this installment, which makes me think we haven't seen the last of the love triangle just yet...

Final Thoughts: I recommend this series to anyone who enjoys dystopian novels (YA). Ignore the mixed reviews and find out for yourself! I definitely think it's worth the read.

4/9/12

Acts of Courage: Laura Secord and the War of 1812

Author: Connie Brummel Crook
Pages: 258
Publisher: Pajama Press
Format: Paperback
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Summary (from the publisher's official website): She had been running, stumbling, walking for sixteen hours. It seemed that every muscle was screaming in pain. She did not even stop to check the new wound. When she reached the top of the hill, she stopped abruptly, trembling at an unexpected sight.

Clusters of tents and groups of men around campfires were silhouetted against the sky.

In Acts of Courage, Connie Brummel Crook dramatizes the life of one of Canada’s most enduring heroines, Laura Secord. from young Laura Ingersoll’s early days in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, amidst the turmoil that followed the American Revolutionary War, the story outlines her father’s difficult decision to move his family to Upper Canada. Laura’s subsequent meeting and courtship with James Secord is described against the backdrop of homesteading in the Niagara Peninsula and of enduring the imminent threat of American invasion. These first sections of the book provide the background for Laura’s courageous rescue of her husband from the battlefield at Queenston Heights, and her even more amazing trek to warn Col. Fitzgibbon of the American’s secret plans to attack the British outpost at Beaver Dams.
---

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. 

We all think we know the story behind Laura Secord's heroic and courageous act, but do we really? In this biographical novel from Pajama Press, we learn about Laura's life before the war and the events leading up to her warning the soldiers about the imminent attack. We learn about Laura's courage and how she made the long, perilous trek to the soldiers' encampment, saving her country.

I loved that while it does include a lot of important historical facts, this book does NOT sound like a textbook. The author mixes just enough fiction with fact to create a story that will keep you reading till the very end. 

As a fan of historical fiction and biographies, I enjoyed Acts of Courage and definitely recommend it to anyone looking to learn more about this great Canadian icon without having to crack open a textbook.

4/7/12

Teen Boat!

Authors: Dave Roman & John Green
Pages: 144
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads)High school can be a time of terrible angst—Fs on tests, bullying jerks, broken hearts, and late-stage puberty are just some of the potential issues that all teen boys face. But what about the issues facing a Teen Boat? In this hilarious send-up of teen story tropes, the best-selling author Dave Roman and the cartoonist John Green deliver high school and high seas drama with a boatload of laughs. 


--- 
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

My Summary: Being a teenager can be tough - there are so many things to worry about that making it through high school can feel like the ultimate achievement. But what if you had to go through all these things with the added burden of transforming into a boat?

Readers will love the hilarity of Teen Boat as he struggles to get make it through some tough teen issues without getting shipwrecked (sorry, I had to).

My Thoughts
: I had no idea what to expect when I opened up the package that contained Teen Boat!. I read the premise, and all I could think was that I had to read this novel and figure out what the whole teen-who-turns-into-a-boat thing was about - and I'm really glad I did. There were some great lines that made the book really enjoyable, and the way they poked fun at (while also sympathizing with) teen life was awesome.

Final Thoughts: I recommend you check out this book if you're a fan of graphic novels and want something light and funny that's quick to read. 

Pandemonium

Author: Lauren Oliver
Pages: 375
Publisher: Harper Teen
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Gah, it's so difficult to get my thoughts together for this one! Pandemonium was everything I expected and more: Lauren Oliver's writing was gorgeous and flawless as usual, and everything about the book was just... perfect. It was one of those books that was impossible to forget about - when I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about it and vice versa. I loved Lena's growth in this installment, and Julian... well, I don't know if I'm on the Lena-Julian bandwagon yet, but I definitely like his character.

And OMG, that ending! Why, Lauren, WHY? My little piggy heart can't take all these feelings!

Anyways, if you haven't gotten this from my quickie review already: GO OUT AND BUY PANDEMONIUM. And if you haven't read Delirium yet... *points to bookstore* just go, okay? GO BUY THEM BOTH AND ENJOY THE AWESOMENESS THAT IS THIS SERIES!

4/6/12

Follow Friday

Welcome to Follow Friday! I seriously thought this week would never end. TGIF!


Question: Have you ever bought a book because of a bad review? 


Yes, I am proud to say I have. And you know what else? I bought a book that only had 2 stars on Goodreads once! I heard that gasp too, don't think I didn't! 


The thing is, to me, Goodreads is a great tool. An amazing tool, actually. It's entertaining and informative and I freely admit to spending ten times the amount of time on Goodreads than Facebook  (stop gasping, I already know I'm weird for an 18 year old). But the thing is, I don't base my purchases solely on what I read on Goodreads. 





See, ever since I was little I would wander around my local bookstore, picking out books that looked or sounded interesting. I'd write them down, and each time I bought one I'd cross it off. Each time I found something new I'd add it to the list. Sound familiar? I had my own little Goodreads system going before the day that faithful google search took me there. Nine year old me was like this with her little filing system:


And it felt good guys. I was an awesome little secretary with all my awesomeness - I don't care if that doesn't make sense. But my system wasn't flawless - I did end up getting some books that weren't the greatest. 


Then I started using Goodreads and life was awesome. It was great! All I had to do was search a book's name and I could see what thousands of people thought about it. Awesome. But sometimes I'd end up buying a book based on people's recommendations and it was like "how did this have a 4.5 star rating? It sucks!" Then I bought a book that had a horrible rating, and it turned out to be one of my favourite books of all time - which is why I don't base my purchases only on Goodreads ratings anymore. Me buying a book happens like this:

- Wander around the bookstore for a few hours

- Pick up any books that interest me
- Lay all the books out side-by-side
- Read the summaries on the back
- Put back the ones that don't interest me
- Open up the books that remain and read the first couple pages
- Buy the ones that make me want to keep reading


Sometimes, if I'm unsure, I'll check the GR page for the book. But only if I'm unsure.


Anyways, this is how I found Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. I hadn't been very close attention to the whole debacle until I happened to read a copy of the petition set out by that insane guy whose name I forget and won't bother looking up because he isn't worth a millisecond of my time. I read that thing and went, "what the hell? Is this guy a rapist or something? How does he possibly get aroused by this stuff?" 
And like thousands of bloggers, I went out and bought a copy of Speak. And guess what? After reading it, I looked like this:

And I thought about the guy who had the audacity to bash that book, and I got MAD. Because that book did NOT deserve to get bashed. And he did it anyway. 

ANYWAYS. Sorry for the long post guys. Have a good weekend!

4/1/12

The Chaos

Author: Nalo Hopkinson
Pages: 256
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Format: Paperback (ARC)
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads)An acclaimed fantasy author navigates the world between myth and chaos in this compelling exploration of identity, told with a Caribbean lilt.

Sixteen-year-old Scotch struggles to fit in—at home she’s the perfect daughter, at school she’s provocatively sassy, and thanks to her mixed heritage, she doesn’t feel she belongs with the Caribbeans, whites, 
or blacks. And even more troubling, lately her skin is becoming covered in a sticky black substance that can’t be removed. While trying to cope with this creepiness, she goes out with her brother—and he disappears. A mysterious bubble of light just swallows him up, and Scotch has no idea how to find him. Soon, the Chaos that has claimed her brother affects the city at large, until it seems like everyone is turning into crazy creatures. Scotch needs to get to the bottom of this supernatural situation ASAP before the Chaos consumes everything she’s ever known—and she knows that the black shadowy entity that’s begun trailing her every move is probably not going to help.

A blend of fantasy and Caribbean folklore, at its heart this tale is about identity and self acceptance—because only by acknowledging her imperfections can Scotch hope to save her brother.
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Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
My SummaryScotch just wanted to spend the night at a poetry slam with her brother after a long day. But things are never easy for Scotch, whose mixed-race heritage makes her feel like an outsider in every social group. But race is the least of her worries when strange things start to happen: a volcano appears in the Toronto Bay, and her brother disappears. Scotch's world turns to chaos as people around her struggle to figure out what's going on and the world turns into something you'd see in Alice in Wonderland. Now, alone in the midst of all this insanity, Scotch must struggle against the weirdness around her and find her brother. 
My Thoughts: This book is like nothing I've ever read before. The closest thing I can compare it to is probably Alice in Wonderland because there are times when you honestly have no idea what to expect next. I loved the use of mythology and folklore weaved into the story - I found myself googling a lot of the stuff after finishing the novel because it was so interesting (on an unrelated note, can you believe 'googling' isn't a word? I thought it was for sure!). 
Also, being Canadian and having lived in Toronto for a good chunk of my life, I loved that the story was set there. The author did an amazing job of making the city come to life through her descriptions (even when things started to get really strange). I also really liked the dialogue and the dynamics of the characters - it seemed very natural and age-appropriate, which is pretty rare to find in most young adult novels.
Final Thoughts: I would definitely recommend this novel to anyone looking for something really different from the usual love triangle and vampire / werewolf thing. Check it out!