Thursday, June 25, 2009

Review: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

This is a childrens/young adult book.

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod's family . . .

I wasn't exactly sure what to expect with this book, but I had heard good things. I really enjoyed it. It's geared more towards younger people, but is a great story that I know a lot of adults have liked too. It was very creative and kept me turning the pages. I think it would be a great book for young boys. I know it has been compared to Harry Potter in that way (although the story is quite different).

Rated: 4/5

Review: Carpe Corpus by Rachel Caine

Carpe Corpus is the 6th book in the Morganville Vampires young adult series by Rachel Caine. Spoilers here if you haven't read the previous five books!

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
In the small college town of Morganville, vampires and humans lived in (relative) peace—until all the rules got rewritten when the evil vampire Bishop arrived, looking for the lost book of vampire secrets. He's kept a death grip on the town ever since. Now an underground resistance is brewing, and in order to contain it, Bishop must go to even greater lengths. He vows to obliterate the town and all its inhabitants—the living and the undead. Claire Danvers and her friends are the only ones who stand in his way. But even if they defeat Bishop, will the vampires ever be content to go back to the old rules, after having such a taste of power?

I really like this series, but this one started out a little slow for me. I think that was mostly because I had a hard time remembering where the last one left off. I read the other 5 all pretty much back to back, but it was several months ago. Once I got caught up, I enjoyed the book. It's a good series, and I like the twists and turns the story takes.

I love Shane...and Myrnin is always interesting! The series continues with a new book this fall I think. I'll be picking it up!

Rated: 4/5

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Review: Willow by Julia Hoban

Willow is a young adult novel.

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
Seven months ago, on a rainy March night, sixteen year- old Willow's parents died in a horrible car accident. Willow was driving. Now her older brother barely speaks to her, her new classmates know her as the killer orphan girl, and Willow is blocking the pain by secretly cutting herself. But when one boy —one sensitive, soulful boy—discovers Willow's secret, it sparks an intense relationship that turns the "safe" world Willow has created for herself upside down.

I loved this book. I had heard really good things about it, and it didn't disappoint. The characters are believable, the relationships are real, and you feel all of the pain that Willow is going through as if it's happening to you. I cried a lot while reading it, and will definitely check out more by this author. Highly recommend this one!

Rated: 5/5

Review: Kiss Me, Kill Me by Lauren Henderson

Kiss Me, Kill Me is the first book in a young adult series by Lauren Henderson.

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
When 16-year-old Scarlett Wakefield transfers from St. Tabby’s to Wakefield Hall Collegiate, she is relieved that no one knows her dark, haunting secret. A few months ago, Scarlett was invited to an elite party with a guest list full of the hottest names in British society, including Dan McAndrew. Before the party, Scarlett had only imagined what it would be like to have her first kiss with Dan, but on the penthouse terrace, Dan leaned in close and she no longer had to wonder. Their kiss was beautiful and perfect and magical, and then . . . Dan McAndrew took his last breath as she held him in her arms. No one knows how or why Dan died, and everyone at St. Tabby’s believes Scarlett had something to do with it. But now that she’s safely hidden away at Wakefield Hall, Scarlett would rather forget that it ever happened. Only she can’t. Especially when she receives an anonymous note that will set her on the path to clearing her name and finding out what really happened to the first and last boy she kissed.

I wasn't really sure what this book was about when I picked it up. For some reason, I was thinking it was paranormal, but it wasn't. I also didn't realize it was part of a series until the end.

The story was interesting, and the characters were enjoyable, if somewhat predictable (not all, but some). Scarlett is a typical teenage girl, who just wants to fit in and be liked, and wants to kiss the cute boy that she has a crush on. She wasn't counting on him dying after they kissed, and although she tries to move on, she finds herself needing to know what really happened. By the end of this book, she has some pretty good clues, so I'm interested to see what will happen next. I'm not sure how many books are in the series, I believe the 2nd was just published in the last couple months, and I'm waiting to get it from the library.

Rated: 3.5-4/5

Monday, June 15, 2009

Review: When it Happens by Susane Colasanti

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
Sara and Tobey couldn't be more different. She is focused on getting into her first-choice college; he wants to win Battle of the Bands. Sara's other goal is to find true love, so when Dave, a popular jock, asks her out, she's thrilled. But then there's Tobey. His amazing blue eyes and quirky wit always creep into her thoughts. It just so happens that one of Tobey's goals is also to make Sara fall in love with him. Told in alternating points of view, Sara and Tobey's real connection will have everyone rooting for them from the minute they meet!

This YA book had been on my wish list for awhile, and I really liked it. I liked the fact that it was told from both perspectives. I liked that even though Tobey and Sara were so different, it was still believable that they would like each other.

I really enjoyed Tobey's perspective. I thought it seemed really real as far as a teenage guy's perspective. He was nervous to talk to Sara even though he liked her so much. He made a fool of himself in front of her and felt like an idiot. And he definitely wasn't perfect, which would cause problems later on.

Overall, a great YA book. Believable characters and relationships, and well-written.

Rated: 4.5/5

Review: Two Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
This is Jordan and Courtney, totally in love. Sure, they were an unlikely high school couple. But they clicked; it worked. They're even going to the same college, and driving cross-country together for orientation.
Then Jordan dumps Courtney -- for a girl he met on the Internet.
It's too late to change plans, so the road trip is on. Courtney's heartbroken, but figures she can tough it out for a few days. La la la -- this is Courtney pretending not to care.
But in a strange twist, Jordan cares. A lot.
Turns out, he's got a secret or two that he's not telling Courtney. And it has everything to do with why they broke up, why they can't get back together, and how, in spite of it all, this couple is destined for each other.

I've been reading a lot of quick YA books lately. This one was cute - I liked the way it was written - you got the story from both points of view, and it flipped back and forth from the past to the present as the story unfolded. The relationship was unlikely, but worked. Both characters had flaws, but you still liked them and rooted for them.

Even though I figured out Jordan's secret right away, I was still interested to see how it would turn out. It was a very quick read, and I'd read more by this author.

Rated: 4/5

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I Must Have Jinxed the Weather

Ever since I posted about it being so nice out, and reading less because I was outside more, it's been gloomy, rainy, and cold.

Which has provided a lot more time to read! I've been reading a lot of quick light books lately too, so it seems like I'm getting through quite a few of them pretty fast.

Now I'm just behind on reviewing them!!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Review: Perfect You by Elizabeth Scott

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
Kate Brown's life has gone downhill fast. Her father has quit his job to sell vitamins at the mall, and Kate is forced to work with him. Her best friend has become popular, and now she acts like Kate's invisible.
And then there's Will. Gorgeous, unattainable Will, whom Kate acts like she can't stand even though she can't stop thinking about him. When Will starts acting interested, Kate hates herself for wanting him when she's sure she's just his latest conquest.
Kate figures that the only way things will ever stop hurting so much is if she keeps to herself and stops caring about anyone or anything. What she doesn't realize is that while life may not always be perfect, good things can happen — but only if she lets them....

I read another Elizabeth Scott book recently, and it was really cute, so I tried another one. I liked this one just as much. It was a very quick, light read. YA of course. I think a lot of girls can relate to Kate in this story - I know I did. I read a few reviews that thought it was a little boring and whiny, but I didn't really think so. I didn't take Kate as being whiny - she was insecure, and unsure about herself. I think a lot of girls that age feel that way. Also, her sarcasm was something I could relate to for sure.

A cute book, I'll be reading more from Elizabeth Scott for sure.

Rated: 4/5

Review: Gone by Michael Grant

Gone is the first book in a YA series by Michael Grant.

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
In the blink of an eye.
Everyone disappears.
Everyone except for the young. Teens. Middle schoolers. Toddlers. But not a single adult. No teachers, no cops, no doctors, no parents. Gone, too, are the phones, internet, and television. There is no way to get help.
Hunger threatens. Bullies rule. A sinister creature lurks. Animals are mutating. And the teens themselves are changing, developing new talents—unimaginable, dangerous, deadly powers—that grow stronger by the day.
It's a terrifying new world. Sides are being chosen and war is imminent.
The first in a breathtaking saga about teens battling each other and their darkest selves, gone is a page-turning thriller that will make you look at the world in a whole new way.

I admit, that it took me awhile to pick up this book...because I thought the cover looked dumb. Yep, I judged this book by its cover. I didn't know what it was about, but I thought it looked dumb.

I was wrong. I mean, I was right about the cover. I don't like it at all. But I was wrong about the book - I actually really liked it!

The book is not told in first person, but the main focus is on the character of Sam. He's a normal, average guy...except that he isn't. A lot of the kids are hiding secrets, and he's one of them. It was sometimes hard for me to remember that the main characters in the book are all 14 years old. This was a pretty big book (about 550 pages), but it was hard to put it down, so it didn't take too long to get through it! It got creepy in parts, and I really wasn't sure what would happen. I knew it was the first book in a series, so I wasn't sure if anything would get resolved at the end or not. I will say that I'm definitely looking forward to reading the next book, Hunger, which just came out. And yep, that one also has a bad cover. Oh well.

Rated: 4/5

Friday, June 5, 2009

Review: Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris

Dead and Gone is the 9th book in the Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire Series by Charlaine Harris.

Summary from Barnes and Noble:

For Sookie Stackhouse, the day to day activities of the vampire and were communities in and around Bon Temps, Louisiana, are of vital interest, She's blood-bound to the leader of the vamps, a friend to the local were pack, works for a man who is shifter, and has a brother who is a were-panther…
But for most of the humans in Bon Temps, the vamps are mysterious seductive creatures-and they don't even know about the weres.
Until now. The weres and shifters have finally decided to follow the lead of the undead and reveal their existence to the ordinary world.
At first it seems to go well. Then the mutilated body of a were-panther is found in the parking lot of the bar where Sookie works. The victim is someone she knows, so she feels compelled to discover who-human or otherwise-did the deed.
But what she doesn't realize is that there is a far greater danger than the killer threatening Bon Temps. A race of unhuman beings--older, more powerful and far more secretive than vampires or werewolves-- is preparing for war. And Sookie will find herself an all-too human pawn in their battle…

I really like this series. This one was a little...busy though. There were a lot of different things going on and it seemed to be a little too much at times. Some of the characters were only in it for a few pages, and people just seemed to randomly pop up throughout the story.

It was nice to see a bit more of Eric in this one though. I do like him and Sookie together, although I'm constantly torn about who she should end up with!

I finally saw the first season of True Blood, the HBO show that is based on this series, and I love it! I'm eagerly awaiting the 2nd season, which starts next week!

Rated: 4/5

Not Finishing a Book

Do you ever stop part-way through a book and decide not to finish it?

I very rarely do this. Even books that I find really dull, I try to make it through, in case it picks up. And I usually read reviews and summaries of books before reading them, to make sure it sounds interesting to me in the first place.

Last night I started a book. I only made it about 20 pages, but just couldn't get into it. The writing was not my style, and the character was everything was written in a very southern way that was just getting on my nerves. (I don't really know how to describe that better, but it was driving me nuts!)

I know 20 pages isn't much of a chance to give a book, so I may pick it back up again. But I put it down and started something else, and ended up reading 45 pages of that one with no problem. So maybe the other one just isn't for me.

I have to admit, I feel like a bit of a failure putting a book down without finishing it. I'm sure if I don't read it, it will haunt me and I'll always wonder if I should have kept at it, and wondering if I'm missing out on a great book because I didn't read it!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

So Many Books, So Little Time

Anyone else read a lot less as the weather gets nicer?

Maybe it's just because I'm in Minnesota and we only seem to have a few months of nice weather a year! I've been spending more time outside, and since it's lighter out longer, I feel like I can get more done in a day....and by the time I look at the clock, it's getting late and I missed out on a lot of reading time that I'd normally take advantage of!

I have a big stack of books from the library...and it's constantly big. As soon as a I finish a few, a few more than I put on hold are in. It's never-ending! Not that I'm complaining! It's nice to always have some reading options. But I'm definitely not finding as much time to read lately. Luckily some of the books I've been picking up are shorter, light reads - great for summer weather! So the number of books I'm reading might not actually be decreasing, but the number of total pages probably is!

Besides just the nicer weather, there are a lot more things going on this time of year. And my daughter is now walking (running!) around, so that keeps me quite busy. One nice thing is having my lunch hour at work to read. As long as I don't have to be running errands or going to any appointments!

So, my stack and my wish list continue to grow... and I'll read when I have the time!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

May in Review

May was a pretty good month for me as far as reading. It was also a pretty busy month, so I'm surprised I read as many books as I did! Along with a trip to Las Vegas, and my little sister's wedding, I managed to read 13 books. Not bad!

I read 6 new authors this month, and 9 different authors total. I started a series, finished a series, got further in another, and read several stand-alone books. All but two of the books I read this month were young adult books.

My favorite of the month was probably If I Stay by Gayle Forman, and I also really enjoyed Just Listen by Sarah Dessen. I read a lot of great ones this month, so it's hard to pick just one or two favorites!

I have several library books out right now, and a few on my own shelf if I ever find time for those! I'm not sure how much reading I'll get done in June since we'll be spending more time outside (as long as the weather cooperates), but I'm looking forward to quite a few books, so I'm sure I'll find the time for them!

Review: Bloom by Elizabeth Scott

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
Lauren has a good life: decent grades, great friends, and a boyfriend every girl lusts after. So why is she so unhappy?

It takes the arrival of Evan Kirkland for Lauren to figure out the answer: She's been holding back. She's been denying herself a bunch of things (like sex) because staying with her loyal and gorgeous boyfriend, Dave, is the "right" thing to do. After all, who would give up the perfect boyfriend?

But as Dave starts talking more and more about their life together, planning a future Lauren simply can't see herself in — and as Lauren's craving for Evan, and moreover, who she is with Evan becomes all the more fierce — Lauren realizes she needs to make a choice...before one is made for her.

This was a really quick, cute read. I needed something light, and this was it! I enjoyed the characters and the relationships. The awkwardness between Lauren and Dave at times, between Lauren and Evan at first, and between Lauren and her Dad seemed very real. Even if you don't really have anything in common, I found her character easy to relate to.

Rated: 4/5