Thursday, February 26, 2009

Review: This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

I'd heard great things about young adult author Sarah Dessen, but this is the first book I've read by her. I really enjoyed it!

Here's the summary, from Barnes and Noble:

When it comes to relationships, Remy doesn't mess around. After all, she's learned all there is to know from her mother, who's currently working on husband number five. But there's something about Dexter that seems to defy all of Remy's rules. He certainly doesn't seem like Mr. Right. For some reason, however, Remy just can't seem to shake him. Could it be that Remy's starting to understand what those love songs are all about? From acclaimed author Sarah Dessen, this is a captivating novel about a tough-as-nails girl and the unexpectedly charming boy who's determined to soften her up.

The characters were believable, the situations were real, and I just really liked the story. Dexter seemed very sweet, but he wasn't perfect either, which was nice.

I wasn't sure if this story would end happily or not. I was happy with how it ended - not everything was perfect, but they were trying. I think it would have been disappointing if Remy hadn't ended up leaving for college. I like that she 'gave in' to love eventually, but didn't give up her life and her plans for it. I like that she was a strong young female character, but she wasn't perfect, and we knew that right away.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book, and will definitely be reading more by Sarah Dessen.

Rated: 4/5

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

It's a Miracle!

I went into a bookstore today....and didn't buy anything!

I know - it's miraculous!

Well, except that I'll probably end up buying the books I was looking at online instead. For some reason, lately I have been finding that some hardcovers from Barnes and Noble are cheaper online than they are in their store. I'd much rather pay $10 than $15 for the same book.

So, maybe it's not such a miracle after all...

Oh well, a girl can try!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Review: Wake by Lisa McMann

I had heard great things about this book. And they were all right. This book was fantastic!!

Here's a synopsis from Barnes and Noble:

For seventeen-year-old Janie, getting sucked into other people's dreams is getting old. Especially the falling dreams, the naked-but-nobody-notices dreams, and the sex-crazed dreams. Janie's seen enough fantasy booty to last her a lifetime.
She can't tell anybody about what she does — they'd never believe her, or worse, they'd think she's a freak. So Janie lives on the fringe, cursed with an ability she doesn't want and can't control.
Then she falls into a gruesome nightmare, one that chills her to the bone. For the first time, Janie is more than a witness to someone else's twisted psyche. She is a participant....

So, it definitely sounded intriguing. And I was sucked in right away. I love Janie - she was an awesome character, and I really cared about her from the first page. I loved the way the book was written too. It was a really quick, easy read. I wish it had been longer, it was just over 200 pages, but I could have read a lot more! Great plot, and great characters. I really can't say enough good things about it.

I liked Cabel right away, and hoped he would end up being a big part of the book. I was heartbroken when she found out that he was a drug dealer and sleeping with Shay. Poor Janie!! So, I was relieved to find out the truth, and to find out that he really did care about Janie. I got goosebumps reading parts of it, and after I finished I went back to re-read a few parts.

There is another book in the series that just came out (Fade), so I'll be getting that! The third installment comes out in 2010.

Rated: 5/5

Review: Vampire Diaries-The Return: Nightfall by LJ Smith

The title of this one is a mouthful.
It's the 5th book of the Vampire Diaries series - written nearly 20 years after the first books were published.

If you haven't read any of them, this may give a lot away!

It picks up a few days after the last book ends. I thought it seemed kind of forced - the 4th book has a pretty reasonable ending, but she had to do something to make a dramatic enough start for this book. So, Elena is alive again, but has reverted to a baby-like state. It was a little odd. The major thing that bugged me about the book is that she had the characters using computers and cell phones suddenly. There was no mention of this technology in the first books of course. But suddenly Elena's diary is something she types on her computer, and they all are carrying cell phones.

I tried to get past that. The story-line was interesting...Damon is under the influence of some dark forces and doesn't realize it. So, sometimes he's good, and sometimes he isn't. Stefan is gone for most of the book, so Damon is supposed to be Elena's protector, but half the time he's the one hurting her.

I found some of it kind of confusing to keep up with. And a lot of the things that happened seemed to be pretty convenient (like Elena being able to magically do things when she needed to be able to do them, even though she had no idea she could).

I didn't realize the book would be left so wide open either...there will definitely be another one.

Overall, it was an ok book. Since I feel like I 'know' the characters, I had to keep reading to find out what happened. It could have been shorter, and I think she could have done without some parts of it. But, I'll probably get suckered into reading the next one, since I have to know how it turns out!

Rated: 3-3.5/5

Monday, February 16, 2009

Review - The Vampire Diaries by LJ Smith

I'm going to review all of these together. They were originally published as four separate books, but were re-issued with two novels in each book. They were written in the early 90s, and the author just released a new book in the series this month (I'm reading it right now).

I'd heard good things about these books. A lot of things in them are similar to Twilight. Not nearly as good though. I did enjoy the books, but think someone a little younger might enjoy them more. The relationships are not as intense as in Twilight, but it's the same type of thing - vampire and human girl in love. I don't really know WHY Stefan loves Elena though, she's pretty stuck up and spoiled. I did like her friends though. I liked the character of Damon also - Stefan's brother who also wants Elena. I thought the first two books were the strongest of the series. The fourth was mostly told from the point of view of Elena's friend.

I was hoping for a little more with these books, but they were quick reads and I did stay interested. I even got a little spooked a few times. I just didn't feel as connected to the characters as I would have liked to. If I weren't comparing them to other great vampire young adult books that I've read recently (Twilight or Vampire Academy), I might have liked them more. I think that young teens might enjoy them more than I did though.

Rated: 3.5/5

Review: Where the Heart Is - Billie Letts

This book has probably been on my shelf for a couple years and I decided to pick it up on a whim. I knew the basic story, but that was about it.

The novel is about a 17 year old pregnant girl who is abandoned at a WalMart by her boyfriend on their way to California to start a new life. She has nowhere to go, and no money. She ends up living in the WalMart, and meeting people from the town who end up helping her when she needs it, and becoming important parts of her life.

I didn't realize there was so much more to the story - she actually has her baby (in WalMart of course!) pretty early in the book, so a lot of the story is about what happens afterwards. For the most part it's a pretty feel-good book about good people and overcoming hard circumstances. Some of it seemed pretty cliche, and things seemed to work out pretty well for a girl who just had a baby in a WalMart, but overall it was a pretty good book.

Rated: 3.5/5

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I'm behind

I've finished a couple books and haven't reviewed them yet. Oh well, I'll get to it. I think I'm pretty much the only one that reads this anyway! ha :)

In other news, I have a Barnes and Noble 15% off coupon burning a hole in my pocket. I've been trying to spend less money lately, so I haven't used it yet. Maybe if we go to the mall on Saturday... We'll see!

Ok, back to my book!

Monday, February 9, 2009

What's Next?

Do you ever find yourself looking forward to the next book on your list before you've finished what you're currently reading?

That's what I'm doing right now. I think I just haven't had time to really get 'into' my current book. I'm sick, so even though I'm sitting around a lot, I haven't felt like reading too much. When I do read it, I like it. So maybe I just need to set aside a block of time to devote to it.

I thought about starting the Harry Potter books again next, but I think there are a few other books I want to read first. I think I'm going to start The Vampire Diaries books after this one. They sound like quick, interesting books.

Now I just have to make it through my current book...

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Review: The Reader by Bernhard Schlink

I'll admit that the reason I picked up this book is because I want to see the movie. I adore Kate Winslet, and have heard only good things about the film. I knew the basic storyline, but not much more. It was A LOT different from the other books I've been reading lately!

Here's a synopsis from Barnes and Noble:
Set in postwar Germany, The Reader is a provocative, morally challenging, and deeply moving novel about a young boy's erotic awakening in a clandestine love affair with a mysterious older woman. Falling ill on his way home from school, 15-year-old Michael Berg is rescued by Hanna, a woman twice his age. For a time, the two become passionate lovers. Then, one day, Hanna disappears without a word. Years later, as a law student observing a trial in Germany, Michael recognizes his former lover on the stand, accused of a hideous crime. And as he watches Hanna refuse to defend herself against the charges, Michael gradually realizes that she may be guarding a secret more shameful than murder.

I was sick while reading this, so it took me a little while to get through it, but it was a pretty powerful story. After reading it, I'm even more interested in seeing the movie. The story is told from Michael's perspective, so Hanna's thoughts and motives are a mystery.

Apart from the middle section, which was a little slow at times, I enjoyed the book. If you don't like depressing or dark stories, you might not like this one.

Rated: 3.5-4/5

Friday, February 6, 2009

Young Adult Novels

Apparently I'm addicted to young adult books. I'm trying to read something else now, and having a hard time staying focused on it. I guess it could also be because I'm sick, but I think I've just gotten so used to other things, that I'm having a hard time with this one.

So, when exactly did I become hooked?

I read the Harry Potter books in 2007. Yes, I was a late-comer to these...I saw a lot of the movies first, and did read the first book awhile ago, but thought it was kind of juvenile. I eventually decided to read the rest (my husband persuaded me, he loved the books) and absolutely loved them! But it didn't really cross my mind to read any more books aimed towards young adults. One of the reasons I didn't want to read Twilight for so long was because I thought it would be too 'teen-ish' and I wasn't really interested. But, I obviously enjoyed that series when I read it in September (oh, and in November too). So, that was probably when it happened. I started looking at other popular young adult books online, reading some great reviews on blogs, and thinking that a lot of them sounded like really good stories...

My wish list grew, and I decided to try a few. I definitely got lucky with the first few that I read, because they were FANTASTIC! Wow. I had no idea there were all these great books out there - I'd never even looked in the teen section at the bookstore!

A lot of the stories aren't really things that I thought I would like either. Who knew? I've definitely been surprised (in a very good way) at what I'm actually enjoying. It's nice to step outside your comfort zone once in awhile!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Review: Specials by Scott Westerfeld

Specials is the third book in the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld. I can't say much about it without giving anything away from the previous don't read this if you haven't read them.

Tally's become a Special. She's seeing things very clearly now. She and Shay and the rest of the Cutters are working for Dr Cable and their main goal is to find the New Smoke. But David and the other New Smokies have been working hard to get people to join them. Tally is disgusted when she sees Zane and realizes he is just 'average' and not special like her. She helps him escape, and follows him to the New Smoke, with the intention of taking them down when she gets there. But her time in the wild changes her.

I was really sad about Zane, and wished for more of his relationship with Tally in the book. I thought the kissing scene when she was following the Crims was really good. I didn't feel as connected to Tally for a lot of this book, since she was so different. And Shay made me mad, but I was glad that she was 'despecialized' at the end, and back to...normal. I did like the ending and the fact that Tally and David are 'working' together again. I realized that the next book in the series doesn't have the same's just told several years after this book ends. So, I'm intersted to see what it's like. I'll pick it up when it comes out in paperback I think.

Rating: 4/5