Wednesday, June 23, 2010

How to Take The Ex Out of Ex-Boyfriend by Janette Rallison

Sixteen-year-old Giovanna Petrizzo finds it hard enough to fit in. Three years since her family moved to Texas, she's still the newcomer compared to everyone around her. It doesn't help matters when her twin brother, Dante, takes on the mayor's son by running for class president. The least she could expect, though, would be for her boyfriend, Jesse, to support their cause. But Jesse's apparent defection triggers Giovanna's rash emotional side, and before she knows it, she's turned Jesse from the boy of her dreams to the exboyfriend she dreams of winning back.

This book surprised me... and not in a good way. I have read, and actually own a few other books by Janette Rallison, and I have loved them. Unfortunately, I didn't have the same fondness for this book. It was done in her usual witty, amusing style, but it just.. didn't quite hit the mark for me.

Some particular complaints:
  • Don't the names Giovanna and Dante make you think of rich brats? Arrarently not the case (on either count) in this book-- which was a little disappointing since I was so hyped up for catfights. ;)
  • Jesse is a cowboy. Of course he's a cowboy... Wranglers and boots. No thanks.
  • Texas??? Really??
I did kind of like Giovanna though (other than the mouthful of a name). She was a bit sassy and hot headed and stubborn. I must like her because I relate so well. Her scheming was pretty pathetic but amusing at the same time. This book had one of those "smiling heart" endings, but I would still pick up My Fair Godmother over this if you have a hankering for a Janette Rallison book. Good luck!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

Lights shine in the city of Ember—but at the city limits the light ends, and darkness takes over. Out there in the Unknown Regions, the darkness goes on forever in all directions. Ember—so its people believe—is the only light in the dark world. And now the lights of the city are beginning to fail. Is there a way to save the people of Ember? No one knows. But Lina Mayfleet has found a puzzling document, and Doon Harrow has made discoveries down in the Pipeworks. With these clues, they start their search.

This was a fun little book. I didn't love it, didn't hate it. It was just a quick read. I picked it up yesterday and finished it a short while later. It was a little predictable, mostly, but it was also an interesting concept.

In Ember, you get a job assignment at the age of twelve. Lina, who is dying to be a messanger, draws the occupation of "Pipeworks Laborer"-- underground, cold, damp, and stinky-- exactly the opposite of what she was hoping for. Doon draws messanger which is where he DIDN'T want to be. He knows Ember is in trouble-that each time the generator goes out in the middle of the day, it could be the last time. He longs to be underground near the generator, in hopes that he can figure out a way to fix it. Doon begs Lina to trade jobs and she is over the moon. Soon their paths cross again, for good this time. The embark on a dangerous and thrilling adventure in hopes of saving their city, only to uncover secrets that could change everything.

Once you get to the end of the book, and you know why things are the way they are and the reasoning behind it, it's just... interesting. It made me want to pick up the next book in the series, The People of Sparks. Not immediately, but it IS in my stack and I will read it at some point. This is a great book for 4th graders on up, if you have some rugrats at home with "nothing to do" (this said in a whiney voice) now that it's summer. Happy Reading!!

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

Anidori -Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kilendree spent the first years of her life listening to her aunt's incredible stories, and learning the language of the birds. Little knowing how valuable her aunt's strange knowledge would prove to be when she grew older. From the Grimm's fairy tale of the princess who became a goose girl before she could become a queen, Shannon Hale has woven an incredible, original and magical tale of a girl who must understand her own incredible talents before she can overcome those who wish her harm.

I might get a hard time from a lot of people for this....but I LOVED this book. You see, about six months ago, my friends highly recommended this book to me. I picked it up from the library, started reading, and... put it back down, never (or so I thought) to pick it up ever again. The first chapter of this book was a struggle to get through. A struggle as in I almost had to super glue my eyes open. I know that I am not the only one who had had this problem either. The problem now with my aforementioned problem is that, because I put this book down as I was nearing the end of Chapter One, I've spent these past six months missing out on an amazing book.

Thank goodness I have friends that kept on my case to read it! I got it from the library in April, renewed it twice (because I had to give myself a pep talk every time I thought of picking it up), and finally on Sunday, I read it. Once I got past the first chapter, I couldn't put it down.

This book broke my heart over and over again-- from Ani's treatment by her family and then her friends and then her love interest. I was also very proud of Ani too. She overcame so much throughout the book that I could hardly believe she was the same character when I put the book down as she was when I met her a mere 400 pages earlier.

I say this a lot about books that I like, but I really don't want to say much for fear that I will give something away. I didn't know the Grimm's fairy tale of the Goose Girl, which I prefer when I read these retellings. So if you don't know the story, I don't want to ruin it for you now. All I can say is READ THIS BOOK! Skim the first chapter if you get bored, but DON'T STOP. Good luck!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong

This review is for the final book in the DARKEST POWERS trilogy. If you are planning on or already reading this series, don't read this yet!!!  :)

My name is Chole Saunders. I'm fifteen, and I would love to be normal.
But NORMAL is one thing I'm NOT.
For one thing, I'm having feelings for a certain antisocial werewolf and his sweet tempered brother--who just happens to be a sorcerer--but, between you and me, I'm leaning toward the werewolf.
My friends and I are also on the run from an evil corporation that wants to get rid of us--permanently.
And finally, I'm a genetically altered necromancer who can raise the dead, rotting corpses and all, without even trying.

I already said this up at the top, but this is the final book in the series I have been reading this past week. I, again, really liked this book. I was starting to get a little sick of reading about the same characters though. I guess discovering a really awesome series after all the books have come out has its pros and cons. I always complain about having to wait for "the next book" to come out, but I guess I like having a break from the story to build up excitement for the next. But then there's the waiting, which always sucks. It's a double-edged sword, I tell ya.

I still liked this book, like I said, and I was glad for an ending. Although, let's be honest-- it wasn't really an "ending." I don't know that with "supernatural powers" that last their whole lives, these characters stories can ever really be "over". But, the trilogy is ended (as far as I know) and the story was tied up as well as could be expected. One thing I CAN say, without giving anything away, is that this book definitely is not lacking in the twists, turns, gore, adventure, tension, and action....department. Is that a department??? It is now.

Overall, a good ending to a fantastic trilogy. I hope you aren't disappointed-- I wasn't! :) Now I'm off to read something with NO ghosts or re-animated corpses. Wish me luck!

Spells by Aprilynne Pike

Six months have passed since Laurel saved the gateway to the faerie realm of Avalon. Now she must spend her summer there, honing her skills as a Fall faerie. But her human family and friends are still in mortal danger--and the gateway to Avalon is more compromised than ever.

When it comes time to protect those she loves, will she depend on David, her human boyfriend, for help? Or will she turn to Tamani, the electrifying faerie with whom her connection is undeniable?

This past weekend, we took a little camping trip up to a nice, quiet lake and it was so relaxing that I laid around and read. ALL WEEKEND. I bought this book a few weeks ago and it's been sitting in my room, collecting dust, because I refused to pick it up until my GIANT stack of books next to my bed was a very small stack of books. Or at least until it wasn't higher than the edge of my bed. ;) Well, this plan failed because I knew that this would be the perfect book to curl up with next to a peaceful lake. So, resolve--tossed, book--packed and read. And the verdict is in....

It was even better than Wings, the first book in the series. (Which if you read my review for Wings, you'll know that that is saying A LOT.) I must say though, I didn't really honestly know what this book was about, just that I loved the first book so much that I was dying to continue the story. I had no idea Laurel would go to Avalon for the summer-- so when she did, I was thinking, "Really?? This is what I've been waiting for?" Not that it wasn't neat to get a view into the fairy "world"-- I was kind of just waiting for Tamani to make a move. :) Then she goes home and the real action (no, not that kind) begins.

After reading this, I am still COMPLETELY in love with Tamani, really a little bugged at David, and I still can't wait to see what happens next. I can't wait to find out if my assumptions about the end of the book are true, or if my imagination is going a little out of control. I'm frustrated that I have to wait... AGAIN... but I know it'll be worth it. If you have not yet discovered this series, 1) shame on you! :)  and 2) get your butt to the library! You're missing out!

Happy reading!

Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter by R. J. Anderson

Deep inside the great Oak lies a dying faery realm, bursting with secrets insead of magic. Long ago the faeries mysteriously lost thier magic. Robbed of their powers, they have become selfish and dull-witted. Now their numbers are dwindling and their very survival is at stake.

Only one young faery--Knife--is determined to find out where her people's magic has gone and try to get it back. Unlike her sisters, Knife is fierce and independent. She's not afraid of anything--not the vicious crows, the strict Faery Queen, or the fascinating humans who live nearby. But when Knife disobeys the Faery Queen and befriends a human named Paul, her quest becomes more dangerous than she realizes. Can Knife trust Paul to help, or has she brought the faeries even closer to the brink of destruction?

Dun-dun-dun... :) 

I absolutely loved this book. I must have been having fairy withdrawls, now that I'm over my "Jane Austen" phase. Anyway, I think this is the first book I've read with small fairies. (Fablehaven had small fairies but they weren't the main characters.) I thought that would be weird for me. I mean, really? Ten-inch-tall fairies?? With NO magic? So basically it's a book about midgets, right? Wrong. Knife was a pretty hardcore fairy. She was fearless and sassy and adventurous and....strong. I loved her!

When the book started, I thought it would take awhile for the story to pick up. I have to admit, I was yawning through the first few pages, but then she gets summoned by the Queen, given her occupation and the adventure begins.

I can't say much without giving a lot away so I'm jsut going to say, READ THIS!! This was a wonderful first novel from R. J. Anderson and I can't wait to see what she has up her sleeve next! Enjoy!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

The Book of Mormon

This was a goal I set for myself this year that I have been really slacking on. Well, on May 6th, I was challenged to read The Book of Mormon. So, I did. I started that day and set a 30-day schedule on this awesome website called Read the Scriptures (click here to check it out). I finished this morning (Day 28) and I wanted to document my success in accomlishing this goal. What an amazing experience and thanks to an incredible website, all I had to do was check my email every day!
Thanks to the people who run for simplifying daily scripture study and thanks to the wonderful person who challenged me to do this and better myself through it!

Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko

Murderers, Mob Bosses, and Convicts...
These guys are not your average neighbors.
Not unless you live on Alcatraz. It's 1935 and twelve-year-old Mosse Flanagan and his family have just moved to the infamous island that's home to criminals like notorious escapee Roy Gardner, Machine Gun Kelley, and, of course, Al Capone. But that's just the beginning of Moose's troubles because on Alcatraz the kids are all cowed by the clever, danger-loving daughter of the warden, Piper Williams. Now Moose has to try to fit in at his new school, avoid getting caught in one of Piper's countless schemes, and keep an eye on his sister, Natalie, who's not like other kids. All Moose wants to do is protect Natalie, live up to his parents' expectations, and stay out of trouble. But on Alcatraz, trouble is never very far away. 

I have been trying to find a book for my month in my book club-- I have Children's/YA, and the sequel to this book was recommended to me from a friend. I figured I should read the first before the sequel, so... here we are. I wasn't really sure what to expect when I picked it up, but I have to say--It was NOTHING like the back cover made it sound.

This book should have been about Natalie-- because it basically was. Natalie is Moose's older sister who is forever "age 10" (thanks to the delusion of her mother...) and has Autism. The whole book is spent trying to get Natalie into a school for children with special needs. Moose is appointed the task of "baby-sitting" her and making sure she stays happy while his mother and father are constantly working.

This book really could have been set anywhere and the fact that it was set on Alcatraz (an idea I LOVED until I stared reading it) was a bit lost on me. I was just really disappointed. This was such a great idea but the storyline fell REALLY short for me. Needless to say, this will NOT be my book club pick.

The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong


If you had met me a few weeks ago, you probably would have described me as an average teenage girl—someone normal. Now my life has changed forever and I’m as far away from normal as it gets. I'm a living science experiment—not only can I see ghosts, but I can raise the dead without even trying. Trust me, that is not a power you want to have. Ever. I’m running for my life with three of my supernatural friends and we have to find someone who can help us gain our freedom back before the Edison Group finds us first. Or die trying.

This is Book Two in the Darkest Powers trilogy, and I think I liked this one even more than The Summoning. There was that GIANT twist at the end of Book One that made me want to pick this one up immediately. I was trying to figure out how it could possibly get better (well, technically worse)... and then it did!

In Book One, I wasn't a huge fan of Derek-- I was more "Team Simon". That completely changed for me in this book. Not that I don't still like Simon, I just understand Derek better. You learn A LOT more about his background and his life in this book and he gained my sympathy vote, for sure. Not only symapthy though, I just grew to genuinely like his character. He is stubborn and pig-headed and has dictator-like tendencies at times.... but only to protect the people he cares about. I can't wait to see how the "final chapter" of this story unfolds for him....

This book was infuriating and heart-wrenching and amusing and sometimes, again, creepy... There was one scene in Book One that particularly stands out to me as horrifying-- my stomach still churns when I think about it. And this book didn't disappoint in that area. There was most definitely a scene like that in this book. Luckily, there's only one that's REALLY awful and the rest are bearable.

This is definitly not a book to read late at night, when you're home alone-- unless you aren't a wuss (like me). I actually still did read it at night, but I had to watch TV after to get my mind off of it. It's just too difficult to put down!! So, suffer through the gore-- you won't be disappointed!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

My name is Chloe Saunders and my life will never be the same again.

All I wanted was to make friends, meet boys, and keep on being ordinary. I don't even know what that means anymore. It all started on the day that I saw my first ghost—and the ghost saw me.

Now there are ghosts everywhere and they won't leave me alone. To top it all off, I somehow got myself locked up in Lyle House, a "special home" for troubled teens. Yet the home isn't what it seems. Don't tell anyone, but I think there might be more to my housemates than meets the eye. The question is, whose side are they on? It's up to me to figure out...

I loved this book. Period. I loved it so much that, even though it freaked me out, and even though it was REALLY late when I finished it, I immediately started reading book two. Let me tell you why I loved it...

First off, for some unknown reason, I love books that scare the crap out of me. I don't know why--
I don't pretend to understand it. I just know that when I am can't-get-out-of-bed-because-something-is-going-to-reach-out-and-make-me-pee-my-pants terrified, I STILL can't put them down. This was that kind of book for me. Not the whole book, but parts of it were just....creepy. Very creepy. I must have some weird glitch in my brain. Seriously-- who likes being scared?

I also loved Chloe. I have had some major issues with the female characters in many books lately, but Chloe was just so...real. I felt for her. She grows up without a mom, with an unattentive, uninterested father who is always on business trips. If that wasn't sucky enough, she also sees dead people. Nice way to add insult to injury, huh?

So, one day at school, she sees a ghost-- a charred janitor that's missing clumps of flesh-- and he knows she can see him. When he tries talking to her, she FREAKS (normal reaction, HELLO!?!?) and ends up getting doped up and shipped off to a home for "troubled" teens. That's when things get weird-- as if seeing ghosts isn't weird enough, right?

Crazy stuff starts happening-- we're talking people raised from the dead, poltergeists, werewolves, get the idea.

This book was amazing. I loved the storyline and there was not a single second that I was bored as I read it. I would whole-heartedly recommend this book to anyone with a little guts... and a strong stomach. :)

Happy reading!! (Watch for my review of Book 2: The Awakening, coming soon!)