12/30/12

Wanderlove

Author: Kristen Hubbard 
Pages: 338 
Publisher: Delacorte
Format: Hardcover 
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): It all begins with a stupid question: Are you a Global Vagabond? No, but 18-year-old Bria Sandoval wants to be. In a quest for independence, her neglected art, and no-strings-attached hookups, she signs up for a guided tour of Central America—the wrong one. Middle-aged tourists with fanny packs are hardly the key to self-rediscovery. When Bria meets Rowan, devoted backpacker and dive instructor, and his outspokenly humanitarian sister Starling, she seizes the chance to ditch her group and join them off the beaten path. 

 Bria's a good girl trying to go bad. Rowan's a bad boy trying to stay good. As they travel across a panorama of Mayan villages, remote Belizean islands, and hostels plagued with jungle beasties, they discover what they've got in common: both seek to leave behind the old versions of themselves. And the secret to escaping the past, Rowan’s found, is to keep moving forward. But Bria comes to realize she can't run forever, no matter what Rowan says. If she ever wants the courage to fall for someone worthwhile, she has to start looking back.



My Summary: Bria thought her life was over when Toby - her boyfriend of two years - decided to end their relationship. Heartbroken and devastated, Bria doesn't see the point in attending art school without him and neglects to mail in her forms. 

Bria thinks the best way to get over Toby is to get away for a few weeks, so when her friends shoot down her Europe idea, Bria decides Central America would be a lovely alternative. She books herself a flight with a tour group, not realizing she's stuck herself with middle-aged tourists that don't even possess an ounce of adventure. 

A few days into her by-the-book tour, Bria's rescued by  a brother and sister backpacker duo who know Central America like the back of their hands. But can she ever escape from her past? Is she willing to forget it, or will she let it affect her future? 

My Thoughts: A couple of days ago I asked my Goodreads friends for book recommendations, and boy did you guys deliver! The minute I picked this one up I knew I was hooked. Bria was a great main character, as well as Starling and Rowan. I loved the dynamic of their relationships, as well as how they each develop as the story progresses.

This book ignited my sense of adventure. I've always had the travel bug, but after reading Wanderlove I'm itching to get away (and backpacking feels like a great way to go). Europe, anyone? 

The inclusion of the drawings really added that extra touch. I loved getting to see the world through Bria's eyes. Kristen Hubbard has a way with imagery - I could see the islands Bria was describing, feel the smells and the colours...  and I'm not the most imaginative of people.

Final Thoughts: I definitely recommend this to anyone who loves edgy contemporary literature, as well as anything to do with romance and travel. Fans of 13 Little Blue Envelopes will love it!

12/26/12

Days of Blood & Starlight

Author: Laini Taylor 
Pages: 517 
Publisher: Little, Brown 
Format: Hardcover 
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

 This is not that world. 

 Art student and monster's apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it. 

 In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she'll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life. 

 While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope. But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?




Guys, any review I attempt to write for this book will not do it justice. No matter what. So I recommend you pick this up as soon as possible and dive right in. If you enjoyed the first installment - and I will be shocked if you didn't - you will adore this installment. It will break your heart into a million tiny little pieces and you will enjoy it. So please do me a favour and pick it up, okay?  

The Hallowed Ones

Author: Laura Bickle 
Pages: 320 
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 
Format: Paperback 
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): Katie is on the verge of her Rumspringa, the time in Amish life when teenagers can get a taste of the real world. But the real world comes to her in this dystopian tale with a philosophical bent. Rumors of massive unrest on the “Outside” abound. Something murderous is out there. 

Amish elders make a rule: No one goes outside, and no outsiders come in. But when Katie finds a gravely injured young man, she can’t leave him to die. She smuggles him into her family’s barn—at what cost to her community?



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

My Summary: Katie is due to set out on her Rumspringa - the chance every amish teenager gets to experience the real world and decide whether or not to stay - when disaster strikes. The world outside is no longer a safe place (if it ever was) and the elders make a decision not to allow anyone in or out. But when Katie stumbles upon an injured stranger, she decides to take a chance and hides him in her family's barn. 

But by doing so, has she put her entire community at risk? Or worse?

My Thoughts: I definitely did not expect to enjoy this book as much as I did, but once I started reading I couldn't peel myself away from the pages. The author managed to perfectly combine genres I never dreamed would go well together - dystopia and ... is there a genre for tales of amish life? Does anybody know?  No?

I loved every aspect of this book. It was haunting and creepy and kept me guessing and I seriously need to re-read it as soon as possible because the wait for the second installment is going to kill me dead. 

Final Thoughts: I definitely recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys paranormal YA, romance, or dystopia and is looking for a refreshing, unique read for the new year. 

Will Sparrow's Road

Author: Karen Cushman 
Pages: 224 
Publisher: Clarion 
Format: Hardcover 
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): In his thirteenth year, Will Sparrow, liar and thief, becomes a runaway. On the road, he encounters a series of con artists—a pickpocket, a tooth puller, a pig trainer, a conjurer—and learns that others are more adept than he at lying and thieving. Then he reluctantly joins a traveling troupe of "oddities," including a dwarf and a cat-faced girl, holding himself apart from the "monsters" and resolving to be on guard against further deceptions. At last Will is forced to understand that appearances are misleading and that he has been his own worst deceiver.



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

My Summary: At the age of thirteen, Will Sparrow runs away from 'home' and sets out on his own adventure after his father sells him to an innkeeper for beer. Although he isn't the brightest or the quickest, Will is determined to make a better life for himself by doing what he can. Along the way he meets people who do what he aspires to: steal, cheat, and lie to keep themselves alive - and realizes that he isn't the thief he thought he was.

My Thoughts: I'm a huge fan of historical novels, especially when there's an adventure involved. And Will Sparrow's Road had all the elements that make up a great read. I loved the character growth and realization by Will that perhaps he isn't cut out for a life of crime in the real world. Poor Will had a hard life, but when he runs away he discovers that he hasn't had the worst of it. He learns to care about more than just himself, and even manages to make a few friends along the way.  

Final Thoughts: I recommend this novel to anyone looking for a well-written historical MG read.   

Extraordinary Rendition

Summary: When Ali Hussein, suspected terrorist and alleged banker for Al Qaeda, is finally transported from Guantanamo Bay to the US mainland to stand trial, many are stunned when Byron Carlos Johnson, a pre-eminent lawyer and son of a high-profile diplomat, volunteers to represent him. On principle, Johnson thought he was merely defending a man unjustly captured through rendition and water-boarded illegally. But Johnson soon learns that there is much more at stake than one man’s civil rights. Hussein’s intimate knowledge of key financial transactions could lead to the capture of—or the unabated funding of—the world’s most dangerous terror cells. This makes Hussein the target of corrupt US intelligence forces on one side, and ruthless international terrorists on the other, and puts Byron Carlos Johnson squarely in the crosshairs of both.



If this sounds right up your alley, you're in luck! Extraordinary Rendition is available for Kindle and Nook at a special discounted holiday price of $1.99!!! If you're interested, click the links below. For more info, click on the book cover and you'll be directed to the goodreads page. Don't wait, though - this awesome price is only available until the 7th of January. Merry (Belated) Christmas, everyone! 

For Kindle 

For Nook 

Enjoy!  

12/8/12

Status Update

Hey guys! I know I announced it on twitter, but in case you've been missing me lately: I'm taking a short break because of exams.


(This is me right now)

Sorry guys! It's the only way I'm going to pass. A big hug goes out to any authors waiting on a review - they'll be out soon, I promise! 

At this point I have three exams left to take: chemistry, calculus, and biology. I bombed wrote physics last night, and chem is in 2 days, meaning I gotta get my butt moving if I plan on maintaining my GPA. See you guys! I'll be back by the 19th, but if you need anything feel free to contact me by email. 

And remember: it's not you, it's me.