4/24/13

The Mockingbirds


Author: Daisy Whitney 
Pages: 332 
Publisher: Little, Brown 
Format: Hardcover 
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads)

Some schools have honor codes. 
Others have handbooks. 
Themis Academy has the Mockingbirds. 

Themis Academy is a quiet boarding school with an exceptional student body that the administration trusts to always behave the honorable way--the Themis Way. So when Alex is date raped during her junior year, she has two options: stay silent and hope someone helps her, or enlist the Mockingbirds--a secret society of students dedicated to righting the wrongs of their fellow peers. In this honest, page-turning account of a teen girl's struggle to stand up for herself, debut author Daisy Whitney reminds readers that if you love something or someone --especially yourself-- you fight for it.



My Summary: Alex - known around school as 'piano girl' - is like every other student at Themis Academy: gifted and driven. But when a night at a concert turns her life around, Alex has no choice but to seek out the Mockingbirds - a disciplinary group dedicated to righting wrongs that the administration blinds themselves to.

Now with her friends behind her, Alex is speaking out for all the girls whose voices weren't heard - and figuring out who she is in the process.

My Thoughts: Although I didn't agree with everything in this book, I thought it did make a great read. It also make me want to re-read To Kill a Mockingbird! Alex was a very dynamic character - we really get to see her grow throughout the course of the novel. I also loved the secondary characters; Casey, T.S., and Martin were a great support system for Alex, and they were far from flat and one-dimensional (like most secondary characters seem to be). 

I really liked the idea of a disciplinary committee that was seperate and secret from the aministration of the school. School politics and favouritism is so often a factor when it comes to deciding punishments for studetns, so I think this would be a great thing to have in place for any school. 

I enjoyed the writing style as well - the writing flowed naturally, and I felt like the way Alex's thoughts were portrayed made her character seem all the more realistic. I found myself flying through the pages, finishing within eight hours of starting.

Final Thoughts: If you enjoy contemporary lit that's a little more on the edgy side I definitely recommend you check out The Mockingbirds!

4/6/13

Infatuate


Author: Aimee Agresti 
Pages: 416 
Publisher: Harcourt 
Format: Hardcover (ARC) 
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): Haven Terra is still recovering from an internship that brought her literally to the brink of hell when a trip to New Orleans leads to more trouble. There, while taking part in a student volunteer program, Haven and her friends Dante and Lance run across an enclave of devils known as the Krewe. 

 These shape-shifting devils are more reckless and vicious than any Haven, Lance, and Dante have encountered. Yet the friends soon discover that their French Quarter housemates are also angels in training, and together they must face off with the Krewe in their quest for wings. 

 But Haven’s resolve is tested when Lucian, the repentant devil with whom she was infatuated, resurfaces and asks her for help escaping the underworld. Can he be trusted? Or will aiding him cost Haven her angel wings—and her life?



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

My Summary: After barely escaping with her life, Haven is ready for a vacation. Really ready. And so are her friends. But when their volunteer trip to New Orleans turns out differently than what they were expecting, Haven and the rest of her angel-in-training friends find themselves having to work harder than ever to resist temptation and switch over to the dark side. 

My Thoughts: I adored the first novel in the Gilded Wings series, so when I found out I'd be getting the chance to review Infatuate, I was pretty pumped. I ended the last book toting a team Lucian banner, and I was hoping for more Lucian + Haven in this installment.

I kind of missed the character of Aurelia Brown - she was a kick-ass villain! - but luckily Lucian was still present in this installment (can you tell I'm team Lucian?). The author did a great job of capturing the spirit of New Orleans and the jazz age - you could feel it in the atmosphere of the book.

The pacing in this installment was definitely improved in this one - I was flipping pages at a steady speed, never bored or waiting for the story to pick up. I also liked that we got to see more of Haven as a person - she may not be the most memorable character, but she's definitely got some strength and knows how to get herself out of some tough situations. She isn't afraid to make her own decisions and stand up for what's right - a trait all main characters need, in my opinion. Dante, as always, was perfection - who doesn't love him? He's awesome. End of story.

The ending was pretty shocking. I need to get my hands on the next installment ASAP!

Final Thoughts: I definitely recommend this novel to fans of Aimee Agresti's first novel  Illuminate and those who enjoy paranormal YA (particularly of the angel and demon variety).

The Rising


Author: Kelley Armstrong 
Pages: 406
Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: Hardcover 
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): Things are getting desperate for Maya and her friends. Hunted by the powerful St. Clouds and now a rival Cabal as well, they're quickly running out of places to hide. And with the whole world thinking they died in a helicopter crash, it's not like they can just go to the authorities for help. 

All they have is the name and number of someone who might be able to give them a few answers. Answers to why they're so valuable, and why their supernatural powers are getting more and more out of control. 

But Maya is unprepared for the truths that await her. And now, like it or not, she'll have to face down some demons from her past if she ever hopes to move on with her life. Because Maya can't keep running forever.



My Summary: When Maya and her friends made it out of the wreckage of their helicopter's crash, they had no idea where to go or what do to. On the run from the  corporation that gave them the perfect lives, they've got nothing but the clothes on their backs, the money in their pockets, and the knowledge that something is very, very wrong with them. 

My Thoughts: You know that feeling you get when you finish a book that you absolutely adored and you just can't get it out of your head? You're just in this big bubble of emotion because you're happy about the way the book turned, out but you're incredibly sad because it's over.... This, my friends, is what I call a book hangover. And The Rising gave me the monster of all book hangovers.

I remember the day I picked up The Summoning. It was just after I'd read the last Twilight book and was looking for another series to get my mind off it  - kind of like a rebound book. But after reading a few dozen pages, I knew that this wasn't going to be some trifle fling. I was in love with Kelley Armstrong's writing, and I knew it. 

After flying through the first book, I dragged my parents to the store so I could get my hands on The Awakening, which I finished within six hours. I was hooked, but the next book wasn't slated to release for another year or so. In that year I managed to dog-ear my copies of both books, reaching for Kelley's other series when I was finished. I loved everything about the series and the world that Kelley had built. 

I had a mad dash to the bookstore the day The Reckoning was released, flying through the doors four minutes before they were set to close. The cashier saw the book in my hands and laughed, telling me I was one of the dozen people she'd seen that day with the same harried look as they sprinted for the Kelley Armstrong display. I went home that night and read it cover to cover, then flipped it over and started again. Such was my love for this series.

When I found out about the Darkness Rising trilogy, I was a little worried. Would I like the characters as much as I did Chloe, Derek, Simon, and Tori? Would I be able to enjoy the books, knowing that my favourite characters wouldn't be making a return until the third? The answer was yes (not surprisingly). Kelley's writing pulled me in just like it had the first time around, expanding the world that I'd already envisioned in my head. Maya and Daniel and Rafe were great characters in their own respect, each with their own defined personalities. No character recycling here - I promise.

This book was everything I expected it to be and more. With the return of my favourite characters came the return of some of their most pressing problems. I'm not ashamed to admit I let out a little fangirl scream when Chloe and Derek made their appearance. Getting to see them from another character's point of view was something I've been anticipating for a long time. 

I loved getting to see the Cabal politics going on (and Sean!), and the way the characters never stopped growing. The relationship dynamics were incredibly realistic, and... I'm just really happy with the way things turned out, okay? *sniffles* It wasn't a perfect ending in the fairy-tale sense, but it was the perfect ending for them. 

Final Thoughts: Do I even need to say it? After that novel of a review? Really? Fine. IF YOU HAVEN'T ALREADY, CHECK OUT KELLEY ARMSTRONG'S DARKEST POWERS AND DARKNESS RISING SERIES!