Saturday, May 30, 2009

Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen year old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck...

If I Stay is a young adult novel that had me in tears almost the whole way through. It's a quick read (200 pages) and I had a hard time putting it down. It's heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time.

I can't say much about it without spoiler, so don't read any further if you haven't read it!

It's difficult to imagine losing your whole immediate family in a moment. That's what happens to Mia, and she's left with the decision to stay or to go. To stay alive and live her life without her parents and younger brother or to go and hopefully be reunited with them in some sort of afterlife. Either decision will be heartbreaking. The book really makes you think about your own life and what you would do if you were the one forced to make this choice. There are things to live for, but is it enough?

This book was really well-written and thought-provoking. I thought the ending was great. Until the very end, I wasn't sure what she would end up doing.

This is the kind of story that sticks with you, long after you read the last page and put the book down.

Rated: 5/5

Review: Bloodfever and Faefever by Karen Marie Moning

I decided to review both of these together, since I read them back to back and can't exactly remember what happened in which book! There will be SPOILERS if you haven't read either of them, beware! These are the 2nd and 3rd books in the Fever series...this is an adult series.

Summary of Bloodfever from Barnes and Noble:

I used to think my sister and I were just two nice southern girls who'd get married in a few years and settle down to a quiet life. Then I discovered that Alina and I descend, not from good wholesome southern stock, but from an ancient Celtic bloodline of powerful sidhe-seers, people who can see the Fae. Not only can I see the terrifying otherworldly race, but I can sense the sacred Fae relics that hold the deadliest of their magic.
When my sister was found dead in a trash-filled alley in Dublin, I came over to get answers. Now all I want is revenge. And after everything I've learned about myself, I know I have the power to get it....
MacKayla Lane's ordinary life underwent a complete makeover when she landed on Ireland's shores and was plunged into a world of deadly sorcery and ancient secrets.
In her fight to stay alive, Mac must find the Sinsar Dubh-a million-year-old book of the blackest magic imaginable, which holds the key to power over both the worlds of the Fae and of Man. Pursued by Fae assassins, surrounded by mysterious figures she knows she cannot trust, Mac finds herself torn between two deadly and irresistible men: V'lane, the insatiable Fae who can turn sensual arousal into an obsession for any woman, and the ever-inscrutable Jericho Barrons, a man as alluring as he is mysterious.
For centuries the shadowy realm of the Fae has coexisted with that of humans. Now the walls between the two are coming down, and Mac is the only thing that stands between them....

Summary of Faefever from Barnes and Noble:

He calls me his Queen of the Night. I’d die for him. I’d kill for him, too. When MacKayla Lane receives a torn page from her dead sister’s journal, she is stunned by Alina’s desperate words. And now MacKayla knows that her sister’s killer is close. But evil is closer. And suddenly the sidhe-seer is on the hunt: For answers. For revenge. And for an ancient book of dark magic so evil, it corrupts anyone who touches it.
Mac’s quest for the Sinsar Dubh takes her into the mean, shape-shifting streets of Dublin, with a suspicious cop on her tail. Forced into a dangerous triangle of alliance with V’lane, an insatiable Fae prince of lethally erotic tastes, and Jericho Barrons, a man of primal desires and untold secrets, Mac is soon locked in a battle for her body, mind, and soul. As All Hallows’ Eve approaches and the city descends into chaos, as a shocking truth about the Dark Book is uncovered, not even Mac can prevent a deadly race of immortals from shattering the walls between worlds—with devastating consequences.…

I enjoyed the first book of the series, and these were no different. Each one ends with a big cliffhanger, and leaves you wanting more! I believe there will be 5 books total in the series, but the fourth is not out yet, so I guess I have to wait now. That will be especially hard after how the 3rd book ended! Some questions are answered, but there are so many more!

I really enjoy the characters in the books, and just when I feel like I've figured out one of the mysterious ones, they surprise me again. Mac is a strong, believable character. She's tough, but she's vulnerable. She's heartbroken over her sister's death, and not willing to trust anyone completely.

I feel like I could re-read these books and pick up on lots of little things I didn't catch the first time. There is a lot of information and tiny clues here and there. I think that's what makes them so interesting. Plus, the sexual tension between Mac and several of the characters is definitely entertaining!

Looking forward to the next two books!

Rated: 4/5

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Review: Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Summary from Barnes and Noble:

Quincie Morris has never felt more alone. Her parents are dead, and her hybrid-werewolf first love is threatening to embark on a rite of passage that will separate them forever. Then, as she and her uncle are about to unveil their hot vampire-themed restaurant, a brutal murder leaves them scrambling for a chef. Can Quincie transform their new hire into a culinary Dark Lord before opening night? Can he wow the crowd in his fake fangs, cheap cape, and red contact lenses — or is there more to this earnest face than meets the eye? As human and preternatural forces clash, a deadly love triangle forms, and the line between predator and prey begins to blur. Who’s playing whom? And how long can Quincie play along before she loses everything?

I really didn't know what this book was about when I picked it up at the library. It was a little different than I was expecting, but I did like it. I was constantly wondering who the 'bad guy' was and second guessing myself. I had no idea how it would turn out. I suspected things, but was still a little suprised at how it all ended up. I also thought the ending was kind of abrupt. Interesting story though, and different from other vampires/wolf stories out there.

Rated: 3.5/5

Review: North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
As he continued to stare, I wanted to point to my cheek and remind him, But you were the one who wanted this, remember? You're the one who asked-and I repeat-Why not fix your face?
It's hard not to notice Terra Cooper.
She's tall, blond, and has an enviable body. But with one turn of her cheek, all people notice is her unmistakably "flawed" face. Terra secretly plans to leave her stifling small town in the Northwest and escape to an East Coast college, but gets pushed off-course by her controlling father. When an unexpected collision puts Terra directly in Jacob's path, the handsome but quirky Goth boy immediately challenges her assumptions about herself and her life, and she is forced in yet another direction. With her carefully laid plans disrupted, will Terra be able to find her true path?

I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was pretty mature for a young adult book, and I think it's a great book for any girl (or woman) to read. I liked Terra and really enjoyed the relationships in the book, even though some were painful. Jacob was a great character and I thought their relationship was written really well. It seemed real. And even though the book is told from Terra's perspective, you still feel like you know the other characters and can feel what they are going through.

Can't say much else about it, except that I liked it more than I thought I would and definitely reccomend it!

Rated: 4.5/5

Monday, May 18, 2009

Review: Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
Halley has always followed in the wake of her best friend, Scarlett. But when Scarlett learns that her boyfriend has been killed in a motorcycle accident, and that she's carrying his baby, she's devastated. For the first time ever, Scarlett really needs Halley. Though their friendship may be tested by the strain, like a true friendship, it will endure.

Another Dessen book! And of course, I enjoyed it. Most of this book was read by a pool in sunny Las Vegas, which certainly didn't hurt!

A lot of this story was about Halley's relationship with a 'bad boy' named Macon. I was torn between liking him and feeling like he was wrong for her. Scarlett's pregnancy as a high school student was interesting to read about as well. Not much else to say about it, except that it was a good read. I really like Sarah Dessen's books, and think they're great for young women.

Rated: 4/5

Review: Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

Continuing on my Sarah Dessen kick...

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
When Annabel, the youngest of three beautiful sisters, has a bitter falling out with her best friend-the popular and exciting Sophie-she suddenly finds herself isolated and friendless. but then she meets owen-a loner, passionate about music and his weekly radio show, and always determined to tell the truth. And when they develop a friendship, Annabel is not only introduced to new music but is encouraged to listen to her own inner voice. with owen's help, can Annabel find the courage to speak out about what exactly happened the night her friendship with Sophie came to a screeching halt?

I really liked this one. I loved Owen and found him endearing. I liked the fact that we didn't know what had happened between Annabel and Sophie until pretty far into the book. I also enjoyed the sister relationships. Maybe because I'm one of three sisters (although I'm the middle sister). I loved the conversations Annabel and Owen had about music and life.

I read most of this book on an airplane home from Vegas, which says a lot -- I have a hard time reading on planes, but was hooked on this book, and the 3 hour flight was over before I knew it!

Rated: 4.5/5

Review: The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
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 the dangerous secrets behind Lyle House . . . before its skeletons come back to haunt me.

This book was promising, but when it ended I felt like it was a little lacking. I didn't feel very connected to most of the characters. It's the first book in a series, so I'm looking forward to reading the next book to hopefully get to know everyone a little better. The idea behind it is interesting, and different from a lot of the other popular YA books out there right now, so I think the series has potential. And I will admit that I got a little creeped out a couple times when reading it! I'm interested to see where the relationships will go, and to find out what happens next, since the ending was a big cliff-hanger!

Rated: 3.5/5

Friday, May 8, 2009

Review: Wintergirls by Leslie Halse Anderson

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
"Dead girl walking," the boys say in the halls.
"Tell us your secret," the girls whisper, one toilet to another.
I am that girl.
I am the space between my thighs, daylight shining through.
I am the bones they want, wired on a porcelain frame.

Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the skinniest. But what comes after size zero and size double-zero? When Cassie succumbs to the demons within, Lia feels she is being haunted by her friend's restless spirit.

This book was intense and hard to read at times. I think having a daughter now makes me even more disturbed about this kind of thing.

I loved the writing. Loved the strike-through text. Loved seeing into Lia's mind, and felt myself pleading with her as I read. I was in tears several times, and felt emotionally drained by the time I finished the book.

I think every girl has felt unhappy about how they look at some point, or wanted to have control over SOMETHING in their life when things felt out of control. This would be a great book for any girl to read. I think the author did a lot of great research, and it felt very real.

Rated: 4.5/5

Review: Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

I am becoming a huge fan of Sarah Dessen. I have really liked all the books I've read by her so far, and this one wasn't any different.

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
Ruby is used to taking care of herself. But now she's living in a fancy new house with her sister Cora—a sister she hasn't seen in ten years—and her husband Jamie—creator of one of the most popular online networking sites. She's attending private school, wearing new clothes, and for the first time, feels the promise of a future that include college and her family. So why is she so wary? And what is Nate— the adorable and good-hearted boy next door— hiding behind his genial nature? As Ruby starts to see, there's a big difference between being given help, and being able to accept it. And sometimes, in order to save yourself, you've got to reach out to someone else.

I liked the story, I loved the characters. I think what I like about Dessen's story-telling is that even if you have nothing in common with the characters, you feel connected to them, and you feel like you understand what they're going through.

The only thing I would have liked was to see what happened once Ruby started college. I wanted to find out more about her relationship with Nate.

Rated: 4.5/5

Review: The Key by Marianne Curley

The Key is the final book in the Guardians of Time Trilogy by Marianne Curley. This is a young adult series.

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
In the thrilling, final installment of the Guardians of Time trilogy, tentative guard members Matt and Rochelle have emerged as crucial players in fulfilling the prophecy of the Named. Matt has learned that he is the son of an immortal, while Rochelle is struggling with her newfound powers and her fear that the group doesn't trust her. In fact, their leader is certain that someone in the close-knit circle is a traitor-but who? As suspicions mount, friction threatens to tear apart the Guard. Will the members of the Named be able to overcome their fears and unite the Guardians of Time in their last stand against evil and chaos?

I enjoyed this series, it was different from other things I've been reading lately. This book again was told from the perspective of two characters. Different characters. I found it a little hard to get used to that and had to keep reminding myself WHO was narrating, since each book had different characters narrating. (This one was told by Matt and Rochelle). At the same time, it was interesting to get so many different perspectives throughout the series. There was a lot of action in this one, the plot moved quickly and kept me guessing.

I liked the way the series ended. The fact that it wasn't perfect made it feel more realistic. I was sad, but I think it was the way it had to happen!

Rated: 4/5

Friday, May 1, 2009

April in Review

April was a busy month for me (including my daughter turning ONE!), and I didn't get as much reading done as I had in March.

I read 11 books total, and 4 new authors.

My favorite book of the month was City of Glass by Cassandra Clare. If you haven't read The Mortal Instruments series, you should DEFINITELY check it out!

I started a couple new series, continued a couple series, and read some stand alone novels. Of the 11 books, 9 were books from the library. (The only two I bought were City of Glass and From Dead to Worse).

I'm looking forward to the next Sookie Stackhouse book - it comes out next week and I'm on the waiting list for it at the library. I have several library books already to read, and have a few on my own shelf that I'm hoping to get to! May will be another busy month for me, so we'll see how much reading I can get done!