Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Predicteds by Christine Seifert (November Pick)

"We wanted to know what makes a good kid good and a bad kid bad. Can you blame us for that? We found an astoundingly, marvelously simple answer: The brain isn't so much a complicated machine as it is a crystal ball. If you look into it, you will see everything you want to know."
-Dr. Mark Miliken, senior researcher at Utopia Laboratories

Who will it be?
Will the head cheerleader get pregnant?
Is the student council president a secret drug addict?

The whole school is freaking out about PROFILE, an experimental program that can predict students' future behavior.

The only question Daphne wants answered is whether Jesse will ask her out...but he's a Predicted, and there's something about his future he's not telling her.

It's that time of month again... No, not that time, silly. It's time to review our book club pick. Did you get a chance to read it? What did you think?

I have to admit, it wasn't what I expected. I thought it would have a little more of a Dystopian feel to it, even though I'd heard that it wasn't really that kind of story. I still liked the story in the end, which is the important part, right?

I know I say this a lot, but how do people come up with these ideas?? It's so bizarre to think that, in reality, we probably aren't that far off from the concept of this book coming to pass. Children (ideal age is 14-15) are being "profiled" based on test results that determine whether or not they are going to commit a violent crime or give in to addictive behaviors. The ones that test positive for these behaviors are segregated from everyone else and treated as less than human.

To me, this book was more about human nature than anything else. Philosophers have argued that in general, "men in the mass are naturally and fundamentally selfish, quarrelsome, power hungry, cruel and perverse" (Thomas Hobbes theory of "State of Nature"). The Predicteds put that theory to the test.

So now I'm wondering, What are your thoughts about this book? Did it end the way you thought it would? What would you have done in Daphne's situation? In Jesse's?

I hope you enjoyed this book. Like I said, it wasn't what I was expecting, but I liked it just the same.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war-- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

Holy. Mother. Of. Pearl.

I loved this book!

When I started reading, the first thought that came to mind was WEIRD. It really was strange at first. Juliette's thoughts were often in run-on sentences with very little punctuation and she had a bit of an obsession with counting. It didn't take long to get used to though and it tapered off throughout the book anyway.

One of the things I absolutely loved about this book was how quickly a potential love interest was introduced. I hate when I invest time in a book and it takes 100 pages to even hint at a love interest. Luckily, that wasn't the case this time. Another thing I love is short chapters. For me, short chapters equal just one more chapter thoughts when I read. Which, generally, turns into about 10 more chapters. Smaller chapters made this book SO MUCH HARDER to put down (That, along with the great romance, of course!). Which is saying something, since it was already pretty tough to close. :)

My only real complaint about this book is the ending. I felt like nothing really got resolved, and while the book was at a good stopping place, not a whole lot actually happened in the story. It was a bit like a great build-up to a whole-lotta-nothin'. I'm anxious for the next book in the series--which is about a year away still. How many times must I say I HATE WAITING!! I am the least patient person alive. Woe is me. Now go read this so I'm not alone in my torturous waiting.

P.S. I really can't end without mentioning the cover. Gorgeous!

P.P.S. Here's the book trailer , plus you can read the first chapter on Tahereh Mafi's site ( Click Here ) and go to Synopsis. There's a bubble that says "Read the First Chapter". Click there. You'll be glad you did.

Happy Reading!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Holiday Schedule

I don't normally do this, but this holiday season I'm going to take a mini-break.

Here's my official schedule:

  • Tuesday, November 22: Review-- Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
  • Thursday, November 24: Off for Thanksgiving
  • Tuesday, November 29: Review-- The Predicteds by Christine Seifert (November Book Pick)
  • Thursday, December 1: Review-- The Maze Runner by James Dashner **PLUS(!!!) The drawing for my book giveaway. Still trying to reach 56 followers. HINT, HINT. :)
  • Thursday, December 29: Review-- December Book Pick
However, unofficially, reviews could possibly pop up every now and then in December. They'll just be sporadic if I post.

I'll be back "officially" on Tuesday, January 3, 2012.

I just wanted to let you all know so you didn't think I died. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season. Ask for LOTS OF BOOKS for Christmas. I am....  See you back here in 2012!

Happy Reading!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Shattered Dreams by Ellie James

Release Date: December 6, 2011
Sixteen-year-old Trinity Monsour wants nothing more than to live a normal life. But that isn’t as easy as it seems. Trinity is different. She is special. She sees visions, and for those she’s seen, it’s already too late.
Trinity arrives on her aunt’s doorstep in New Orleans with virtually no knowledge of her mysterious heritage. She begins settling into life at a new school and even starts making friends. But all too quickly her dreams accelerate; twisted, terrifying visions of a girl locked in a dark room. And when the head cheerleader, Jessica, goes missing, Trinity knows she has no choice but to step forward with what she’s seen.
But people believe that Trinity has information about Jessica’s disappearance not because of a dream, but because she is involved. She is kind-of dating Jessica’s ex-boyfriend, Chase, and Jessica did pull a nasty prank on Trinity. Revenge seems like the likeliest scenario. 
Nothing prepares Trinity for the dark odyssey that ensues while searching for Jessica, including the surprising romance she finds with Chase, or the shocking truths she learns, not just about the girl who has gone missing, but the past that has been hidden from her.

Let me start by saying that, overall, I quite liked this book. There were quite a few loose ends by the end of the book, even for a series. But I did like the story. It was one of those slightly creepy ones--the kind I love.

My biggest and only real complaint is who Trinity ended up with in the end. I wanted it to be with another "certain someone". I'm actually really bummed about it, to tell the truth. However, my hope lies in the Goodreads description for the next book in this series (Midnight Dragonfly series) in which it alludes to a possible connection between the two. (YAAAAAAYY!!) For now, I suppose I'll twiddle my thumbs and anxiously await the next book. I hate waiting. :)

I thought the suspense in this book was fantastic. There were enough twists and turns and uncertainty to keep me guessing. It was one of those books where everyone is a suspect, and I thought that aspect of it was very well done.

My very favorite character, surprisingly, wasn't even a main character. There were two favorites actually. The first was Trinity's aunt Sara, who was fierce and loyal and protective, and I absolutely loved her. The second was Dylan, who you'll just have to find out about when you read the book. And trust me, you want to be reading this. Especially if you're a fan of creepy stories, like I am.

Happy Reading!

**I recieved this egalley from the publisher for the purpose of review.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Falling Under by Gwen Hayes

Theia Alderson has always led a sheltered life in the small California town of Serendipity Falls. But when a devastatingly handsome boy appears in the halls of her school, Theia knows she's seen Haden before- not around town, but in her dreams.

As the Haden of both the night and the day beckons her closer one moment and pushes her away the next, the only thing Theia knows for sure is that the incredible pull she feels towards him is stronger than her fear.

And when she discovers what Haden truly is, Theia's not sure if she wants to resist him, even if the cost is her soul.

My mother always told me, "Never judge a book by it's cover." I'm sure she meant that metaphorically, but it applies to my life in more ways than one. Unfortunately, I am often the victim of "cover lust". I see a book that's beautiful on the outside and assume that the inside will be just as beautiful. However, my experience with books (and people) has taught me that generally, the more breath-taking the outside, the more ghastly the inside.

(Don't be offended, all you beautiful readers. You have looks AND substance. :D )
(( Unlike this book. ))

Really? I feel like I've written this same review a lot lately--where I've liked one or more of the elements in the book but overall really didn't like the story. One thing I did like was that Haden (the main male character) could touch someone else while still looking at Theia and she would feel it. I thought this small part of the book had a lot of potential to add to the story, but the author chose not to really pursue anything with it.

Overall, I felt like I've read this same "type" of story, only done much better by other authors. Sad, but true. Kind of bummed that I bought it.... Live and learn, right?

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Where You Are (Between the Lines, #2) by Tammara Webber

Graham Douglas doesn’t do romantic relationships, but he was knocked for a loop when he met Emma Pierce on the set of his last film. As they grew closer, he did everything in his power to keep from falling for a girl being pursued by superstar Reid Alexander. Now home in New York, his life is once again under control, until Emma appears and shows him how not over her he is.

Emma Pierce is forsaking an up-and-coming Hollywood career to embark on a life she’s only dreamed of—the life of a regular girl. After spending months burying her feelings for the two night-and-day guys who vied for her heart while filming her last movie, a twist of fate puts her in a coffee shop in the middle of Manhattan with the one she still misses.

Brooke Cameron was a fresh-faced Texas girl when she arrived in LA. Now she’s a beach sitcom star turned conceited heiress on the big screen. Having just survived three months on location with her ex—Hollywood’s reigning golden boy—she’s older and wiser and has set her sights on her close friend Graham. The only thing standing in her way is the girl he can’t forget.

Reid Alexander can sum up his life in one word: boring. Between film projects, there’s little going on outside of interviews, photo shoots, and the premiere of the film he finished last fall. The next-to-last thing he expects is to get a second chance with Emma, the girl who rejected him. The last thing he expects is for his still-bitter-ex to be the one to offer it to him on a platter.
Author Recommendation: Mature Young Adults (language, drinking, sexual situations)

First of all, I'm sorry this is late this week. You'd think that having a four-day weekend would be conducive with getting lots of reading done, but alas, it is not. Not when you have two wild little children and house guests all weekend. Anyway, my reviews this week will be on Wednesday (obviously) and Friday (we hope).

So, some of you may be surprised to see that I read the second book in this series seeing as I gave the first book, Between the Lines, a bit of a scathing review earlier this year. However, since reviewing Between the Lines, the author, Tammara Webber, contacted me. We started a bit of a correspondence, and I quite like her. I told her that I would read the next in the series when it came out, so here we are.

To be honest, I actually really liked this book. (What's with the tone of surprise!?!?) I'm not sure if it's because I could recognize Tammara's "voice" in her writing, or if it was because my favorite part of the first book (Graham and Emma) were the largest part of this book. If I had to wager a guess, I'd say it was a combination. I probably wouldn't have ever read this book otherwise, and I'm very glad I did. While I still thought it was highly inappropriate for teenagers (Note the author's recommendation of appropriate audiences), I loved every second of the romance in it. I'm a sucker for a good love story.

By the time I finished the first book, Between the Lines, I hated Reid and felt sympathy for Brooke. This time around, it was the complete opposite, which I wasn't expecting. I never thought I'd be saying this, but I actually started to like Reid a little. Emphasis on "little". I think the final book in this series is about him, which I now look forward to reading next month when it's released. 

So, my NEW opinion: Read these, but only if you think you can handle them. They aren't for the faint of heart. There are mature elements in them, including strong language and sex. Consider yourself warned. :)

In case you've forgotten, I'm still working to get to 56 followers! If we make it to 56 followers, I'm going to give away a book of the winner's choice. If you don't recall this giveway, refresh your memory HERE. Please tell all your friends!! I'd much rather give a book to one of you than buy one for myself. Seriously. I love giving books away! And if you haven't entered, do it! Thanks.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Cross My Heart by Katie Klein

True love can blossom in unexpected places. This is Jaden pretending not to notice. . . .

Jaden McEntyre and Parker Whalen are a wrong fit from the start. Jaden is driven and focused, Harvard Med School within reach. Parker has a past-a reputation-and the rumors about his mysterious habits abound. So there's no reason why, when they're assigned to work together on a project in English, they should discover they have anything in common, or even like each other, and they definitely shouldn't be falling in love. 

As they bond over Edith Wharton's tragic novella, Ethan Frome, the "bad boy" vibe Parker plays begins to dissipate. Soon, Jaden finds herself shedding her own "good girl" image: sneaking around to be with him, confiding in him, and ultimately falling hard for this leather-wearing, motorcycle-driving loner who plays into the rebel stereotype.

Still, Jaden can't shake the feeling that there's more to Parker than he's letting on. He's hiding something from her, and discovering the truth means reconciling the Parker she's grown to love with the person he really is. Because it's possible that his life inside the classroom-everything Jaden knows-is one, massive lie.

Just reading the book description makes me want to read this all over again. My friend Stacy told me about this book and since I wasn't reading anything and was in the mood for a love story, I thought I'd give it a go. So, I started it one night, thinking I'd get a bit of reading done before going to sleep, and ended up sleep-deprived. I couldn't put it down. I started and finished it in one sitting, then, when I woke up the next morning (or more accurately, later the same morning), all I wanted to do was continue the story. I was so bummed that I was done reading it.

I'll admit that there were a few "rolling my eyes" moments when I first started reading about Jaden. The words "over-achiever" and "prude" came to mind. But as the story progressed, I really started to love her. Mostly I loved who she was when she was with Parker. She was more mellow and laid back. Less save-the-world, and more....fun.

I immediately liked Parker. It had to be that "jerk appeal" that drew me in. I'm hopeless, I know. But I liked him even when he started to shed that persona and reveal the smart, caring, wonderful Parker. That doesn't mean he didn't still have his secrets though.

There were things in the story that I never would have guessed. I think this book had one of my very favorite twists in a book ever. It was completely unexpected. Twists are always bad in books. You can always count on that. If something highly unexpected happens in a book, you can pretty much bank on it being some horrible turn in the story. I was really torn when this particular "change of events" happened, surprisingly. It completely changed how I looked at the entire story. I think that's why I wanted to read it again so badly.

This book is only available (as far as I know) in e-book format. Even if you don't have an e-reader, it's really worth buying and reading from your computer. The great news with that is that it's only $3.99 on Amazon. I love inexpensive books! Yes, this story wasn't very original at first, but I thought it evolved into something that was completely unique. At least from anything I've previously read. Completely worth buying. Plus, who doesn't love a love story??

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

November Book Club Pick

November's Book Club pick will be:

The Predicteds by Christine Seifert

Your future is not your own...

"We wanted to know what makes a good kid good and a bad kid bad. Can you blame us for that? We found an astoundingly, marvelously simple answer: The brain isn't so much a complicated machine as it is a crystal ball. If you look into it, you will see everything you want to know."
-Dr. Mark Miliken, senior researcher at Utopia Laboratories

Who will it be?

 Will the head cheerleader get pregnant?

 Is the student council president a secret drug addict?
The whole school is freaking out about PROFILE, an experimental program that can predict students' future behavior.

The only question Daphne wants answered is whether Jesse will ask her out...but he's a Predicted, and there's something about his future he's not telling her.

So I was at my local Sam's Club last week picking up some Halloween candy (among other things) when I stumbled across this book while perusing the novels--something I always do at Sam's Club because they generally have the best deals on books. Even better than Amazon, mostly. I was immediately intrigued by not only the cover but also by the very brief, somewhat vague blurb on the back of the book. Since it was only $6.50, I decided to pick it up and give it a shot. That afternoon, I read a bit more about it on Amazon and Goodreads, and I'm very intrigued. From what I've read about it, it's not as "Dystopian" as it sounds, which may work well for me since I'm quite picky about my Dystopian novels. I decided that I really wanted to read this for Book Club this month, so I hope you are all able to find a copy. Check your local stores. Some might carry it for cheaper than you're able to find it online. Hope you enjoy! The review for this book will be posted on Tuesday, November 29th. Can't wait to here what you all think!

Happy Reading!