Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Glass Wall by Madison Adler

You might have neighbors that act like they’re not from planet Earth. But what if they aren’t?

What if the fate of humanity depends on you—a High School senior with mediocre grades, a suspicious nature, and a few secrets—one furry and one illegal?

On the same day her mother returns to rehab, Sydney meets her quirky foster family, complete with a lazy bloodhound and chickens. But she isn’t the only one new to this Seattle neighborhood. The strikingly handsome Rafael and his sister Harmony move in across the street. They try their best to fit in, but Sydney soon realizes there's something not right about them.

What she ultimately discovers means nothing will ever be the same for her again.
In fact, it won’t be the same again for anyone . . . if the ancient beings returning to Earth have their way.

I had a friend recommend this to me last week. She really liked it. But to be honest, it just really wasn't my cup of tea. 
The "strikingly handsome" Rafael-- I had the hardest time with him! When everyone else was swooning for him, I was questioning his sexuality. Really?? Makeup? Feathers? Rhinestones?? Taking hours and hours to get "dolled up" when people are on their way to kill you? Everyone kept talking about how he was "so in love" with Sydney, but there wasn't even a hint of romance. 

The whole book Sydney was convinced that Rafael and his family were aliens. Actually that leads me straight into the one redeeming quality of this book. I absolutely loved Al and Betty. Especially Al. He was hilarious. I loved his and Sydney's "sleuthing" efforts. And I loved Betty and her Ebay obsession. Even Grace and Ellison. I pretty much loved every *human* in this book. Everyone else, I just don't know.

This is one of those "cheapy" Kindle books on Amazon. I got it for free, but I think it's only $.99 now. Honestly, it's worth reading just for the interactions between Sydney and her foster family. But if you're expecting a good "fairy" tale, read something else. 
Happy Reading!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter

This is the second book in a series!
Read the first book, Heist Society (it's awesome--read my review of it HERE), before reading this review.
Katarina Bishop has worn a lot of labels in her short life. Friend. Niece. Daughter. Thief. But for the last two months she’s simply been known as the girl who ran the crew that robbed the greatest museum in the world. That’s why Kat isn’t surprised when she’s asked to steal the infamous Cleopatra Emerald so it can be returned to its rightful owners.

There are only three problems. First, the gem hasn’t been seen in public in thirty years. Second, since the fall of the Egyptian empire and the suicide of Cleopatra, no one who holds the emerald keeps it for long, and in Kat’s world, history almost always repeats itself. But it’s the third problem that makes Kat’s crew the most nervous and that is simply… the emerald is cursed.

Kat might be in way over her head, but she’s not going down without a fight. After all she has her best friend—the gorgeous Hale—and the rest of her crew with her as they chase the Cleopatra around the globe, dodging curses, realizing that the same tricks and cons her family has used for centuries are useless this time.

Which means, this time, Katarina Bishop is making up her own rules.

I loved this book! I'm sad that I let it sit on my bookshelf for so long before picking it up. I went through a weird phase for a while where I didn't want to read any sequels. I'm so glad that didn't last! 

I want to know something. Is Ally Carter secretly a crazy good thief? How does she know all the things she knows?!? She seriously must have amazing contacts, or a really great imagination. Either way, I am totally impressed. I have liked what I have read in her Gallagher Girls series, but I LOVE these Heist Society books. 
I still think Kat is awesome, and Hale is still hot as ever, but I'm a little frustrated when it comes to Kat + Hale. It's been two books now, and there still has been very little romance. When is he finally going to make a move??? I'm sick of little hints at them crushing on each other. Just make out already and get it over with. Seriously. 

Even with the lack of romance, though, this book was great. Honestly, I liked it even better than Heist Society, which, if you read my review of it, is saying something. Could I have raved more?? :) Anyway, read this series. If you haven't, you are missing out! Sadly, the third book in the series has yet to be announced. It's still in the editing stages and doesn't even have a name yet. (According to Ally Carter's blog) But hang in there and try really hard to be patient. It IS in the process of becoming a book. Plus, it takes time to write awesomeness like this. :)

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots by Abby McDonald

Can a boy-hungry Jersey girl survive the wilds of Canada with her eco-identity intact?

Jenna may hail from the ’burbs of New Jersey, but Green Teen activism is her life. So when her mom suggests they spend the summer at Grandma’s Florida condo, Jenna pleads instead to visit her hippie godmother, Susie, up in rural Canada. Jenna is psyched at the chance to commune with this nature she’s heard about — and the cute, plaidwearing boys she’s certain must roam there. But after a few run-ins with local wildlife (from a larger-than-life moose to Susie’s sullen Goth stepdaughter to a hot but hostile boy named Reeve), Jenna gets the idea that her long-held ideals, like vegetarianism and conservation, don’t play so well with this population of real outdoorsmen. A dusty survival guide offers Jenna amusing tips on navigating the wilderness — but can she learn to navigate the turns of her heart?

This was exactly the change of pace I needed after some of the books I've read lately. I thought this was a great light read. Honestly, I'm a little bummed I didn't save it for summer--it would have been a great "beach read". It was kind of nice having some "summer" in the midst of our winter-that-finally-looks-and-feels-like-winter though.

Jenna cracked me up. From page one, I loved her. Yes, she was immature and a bit overbearing at times, but I loved her growth in the book as she learned when to "stick to her guns" and when to compromise. I don't think there was a single character in the book that I didn't like. I felt like every single one contributed to the story and made it that much better. Even the hilarious book store owner, and her "real" romance novels. Oh how I laughed. :)

If you can get past the unrealistic tales of Jenna kayaking, mountain biking, and rock climbing like a pro *on her first try*, it's a really cute story. I'd definitely recommend this-even to actual teens! :) There's only the "f-word" once at the end, and an awkward-for-Jenna-scene that has to do with a drawer full of "protection" from Susie. Like I said though, it was just cute. Definitely worth a read.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Another Faust by Daniel and Dina Nayeri

One night, in cities all across Europe, five children vanish - only to appear, years later, at an exclusive New York party with a strange and elegant governess. Rumor and mystery follow the Faust teenagers to the city’s most prestigious high school, where they soar to suspicious heights with the help of their benefactor’s extraordinary “gifts.”

But as the students claw their way up - reading minds, erasing scenes, stopping time, stealing power, seducing with artificial beauty - the side-effects of their own addictions. And as they make further deals with the devil, they uncover secrets more shocking than their most unforgivable sins.

At once chilling and wickedly satirical, this contemporary reimagining of the Faustian bargain is a compelling tale of ambition, consequences, and ultimate redemption.

Okay, let's be honest here. I saw Faust at the opera when I was in high school and I absolutely hated it. So why read a book based on the same story? Funny you should ask-- I read it because the next book in this "series" (which I'm actually thinking now that they are all just companion books) is called Another Pan and is a retelling of, Can you guess???, Peter Pan. Really, the only reason I read this was in case it was relevant to the book I actually wanted to read. :)

While this telling of Faust was actually mostly decent, it was so boring. I was intrigued enough to keep reading, but it was definitely a struggle. I was 150 pages into the story before they even started school, and even then, there was so much useless information, and it seemed like the important parts of the story were mostly glazed over. There was one twist at the end that actually surprised me, but then an already-strange story got downright bizzare and ended with a kind of "WTFlip??? moment".

So, am I still going to read Another Pan? You bet. But will I ever read this again? No freaking way.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Good For You by Tammara Webber



Reid Alexander's life is an open book. His Hollywood celebrity means that everything he does plays out in the public eye. Every relationship, every error in judgment is analyzed by strangers. His latest mistake totaled his car, destroyed a house and landed him in the hospital. Now his PR team is working overtime to salvage his image. One thing is clear—this is one predicament he won’t escape without paying for it.

Dori Cantrell is a genuine humanitarian—the outward opposite of everything Reid is about. When his DUI plea bargain lands him under her community service supervision, she proves unimpressed with his status and indifferent to his proximity, and he soon wants nothing more than to knock her off of her pedestal and prove she's human.

Counting the days until his month of service is over, Dori struggles to ignore his wicked magnetic pull while shocking him with her ability to see past his celebrity and challenging him to see his own wasted potential. But Dori has secrets of her own, safely locked away until one night turns her entire world upside down. Suddenly their only hope for connection and redemption hinges on one choice: whether or not to have faith in each other.

Author Recommendation: Mature Young Adults (language, drinking, sexual situations)

I've said it before-- I hate Reid Alexander. It's old news, right?

It's also old news that I loved Emma and Graham. However, I really felt like their story was wrapped up nicely in Where You Are, so I was a little wary of "a third book" that was all about Reid. No Emma/Graham buffer? No thank you. Although to be honest, I started to thaw towards Reid by the end of the second book, and I was curious to find out how the series concluded.

Tammara Webber has told me multiple times to give Reid a chance--"He can change!" she says. So I started this book being cautiously optimistic. I figure, if the author is telling me to suck it up and give him a chance, it's for a good reason. :)

I ended up loving this book. Surprisingly, it was probably my favorite in the series-- even with Emma and Graham M.I.A. Dori actually turned out to be one of my favorite characters, and this is the only book she's in! I loved how genuinely service-oriented she was. And it was kind of funny to me that Reid was doing community service- even if it was court-ordered. It is the complete opposite of anything he would ever do, and I, like Dori, was surprised that he actually put effort into it. 

I know I wasn't very nice when I reviewed Between the Lines last year, but I take it all back-- if only so you can read Where You Are and Good for You (this book). I'm still not cracked up about the first book in this series, but these last two books more than make up for my issues with the first. I really hope you get a chance to read these, and I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. :)

Happy Reading!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Breathless: Book One of the Jason and Azazel Trilogy by V.J. Chambers

Azazel is seventeen and sexually frustrated. Her biggest issue is trying to figure out why her seemingly normal boyfriend won't sleep with her.

Then Jason races into her life. He won't say where he came from or who's chasing him. He's a delicious puzzle, a boy who has no problem using his fists to solve arguments or quoting Plato to justify his actions. Azazel is drawn to him. She's obsessed with finding out his secrets.

What she doesn't know is that Jason's secrets are entwined with her own town's secrets. Her friends and family have conspired to use her as a pawn in a violent scheme. Soon, she will have to choose between protecting Jason and staying loyal to everyone she's ever trusted.

I really hate writing a negative review this early in the year, but it must be done.

I wish I would have known what this book was really about before I started reading it. Had that been the case, I wouldn't have ever picked it up. I may as well warn you of 2 things at this point. 1) I'm going to rant, and 2) My rant will contain spoilers of this book.

When I first started reading this book, I actually quite liked it. I didn't really know where the story was going, but I mostly liked the characters and I liked the interactions between Azazel and Jason. It soon went into a rapid downward spiral. Come to find out, everyone in town is secretly a Satanist and they "worship" through having sex. Seriously. Not only that, but they basically think Azazel is the devil and she needs to join their group of crazies, but in order to do that, she has to lose her virginity in some twisted ritual and then kill Jason. Obviously she doesn't want to do either, so her parents tell her ex-boyfriend to rape her "for the cause." It doesn't happen, she gets away with Jason. After that they find out that everyone believes that Jason is the "Savior of the World" (aka Jesus). Then "the devil" and "Jesus" start sleeping together.

I am a very religious person, and this was the most blasphemous, sacrilegious, disrespectful piece of trash I have ever read.

Shame on you, V.J. Chambers, for taking something that is sacred to millions of people and turning it into something so offensive.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.

Elisa is the chosen one.

But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can't see how she ever will.

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And he's not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people's savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.

Most of the chosen do.

This is going to seem totally random, but do any of you watch the TV show "The Vampire Diaries"? It's one of my very favorites. Me and a couple of my closest friends watch it religiously and then chat about it pretty much all week long (Team Damon FOREVER! haha). Anyway, one of the things we always joke about is how we should never get attached to any character because they are constantly killing people off on the show. Even major characters.

The point of me bringing this up while I'm reviewing a completely unrelated story is that the whole time I was reading this book, it was reminding me of "my show." I'd just start getting attached to a character and they would die. So I'd move on to liking someone else, and they'd die. Honestly, for book two in this series, Ms. Carson is going to basically have to start from scratch. :)

Even after all that, and the fact that pretty much the entire book was Elisa traveling different places, I STILL loved it. That is seriously saying something! I am so excited to read the second one to find out what is going to happen for Elisa next. It's just one of those stories that has stayed with me. I keep thinking about it, even though I can't imagine what the second book will bring. This is a book I would definitely recommend, but be warned-- it's not a happy story. It's about war and death. It's just so well-written though, that it's hard to put down!

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Did You Miss Me?

I'm back!!

I can honestly say that I didn't read hardly at all this past month. Insanely, it's been kind of nice. December is always a hectic time of year for us, and it was a relief to not feel like I HAD to be reading.

That said.... I've missed it. I'm very glad to be back to work on this, my little labor of love. I hope you all had a great holiday! I especially hope you all got some fabulous books for Christmas. :)

Just so you all know, I will start reviews again next week, and I will follow (or try to!) the same schedule of posting on Tuesdays and Thursdays. As for right now, I wanted to do a little list of my favorite books from last year. So here's my....

Top 11 of 2011:
(Not in any specific order)   
**If you want to read my reviews of these books, all you have to do is click on the title. 

Now, here are 12 little beauties that I'm really looking forward to reading in 2012:
Everneath by Brodi Ashton

The Selection by Kiera Cass
Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter

Destined by Aprilynne Pike
The Crimson Crown by Cinda Williams Chima
Embrace by Jessica Shirvington
Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins
Timepiece by Myra McEntire
Dreamless by Josephine Angelini
Elemental by Emily White
The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg
Again, just click on the title of the book if you want more info on it.

Anyway, these are just a few of the books that I'm so excited for this year. I can't wait to get back to reviewing books, and hearing your thoughts on them.

What were your favorite books of 2011? What are you looking forward to in 2012?

Happy Reading!