Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

The undead can really screw up your senior year ...

Marrying a vampire definitely doesn’t fit into Jessica Packwood’s senior year “get-a-life” plan. But then a bizarre (and incredibly hot) new exchange student named Lucius Vladescu shows up, claiming that Jessica is a Romanian vampire princess by birth—and he’s her long-lost fiancé. Armed with newfound confidence and a copy of Growing Up Undead: A Teen Vampire’s Guide to Dating, Health, and Emotions, Jessica makes a dramatic transition from average American teenager to glam European vampire princess. But when a devious cheerleader sets her sights on Lucius, Jess finds herself fighting to win back her wayward prince, stop a global vampire war—and save Lucius’s soul from eternal destruction
(Summary taken from goodreads).

There are no words to describe this book, oh, wait, I have one: AMAZING! Seriously, this was one of the best vampire books that I have ever read. I loved it so much that I actually re-read it just a little while ago! The storyline is phenomenal and the characters are hilarious. If you haven’t read this book, then what are you waiting for? Go pick it up!
            First off, if Lucius Vladescu showed up at my door claiming that I was a Romanian vampire princess and his fiancé I think I might be the happiest person on earth. Okay, maybe I’m overreacting a little, but I loved Lucius. He was pretty much the perfect guy. Sure, he didn’t really fit in with American culture, but he was proper, sweet, and well overall wonderful. However, I can’t blame Jessica for not wanting to have anything to do with him at first. I mean, all of a sudden this random guy just starts telling her all these things about how she’s suppose to marry him and that he’s a vampire and so is she. So, can you really blame her? Plus, she’s very realistic and only believes in what can be proven. Still, she was a great character.
            The story itself was not only great, but hilarious as well! I think I really enjoyed it because it wasn’t all about her being a vampire. Sure, that was mostly the focus of it, but it still had some romance and drama mixed in as well. Plus, I love Ms. Fantaskey’s writing style. She really gave the characters personalities that stood out.
            So, overall, I loved this book and would definitely recommend it. It’s a fun, fast paced read, that’s great for anyone who loves a good laugh. I also can’t wait for the sequel Jessica’s Guide to the Dark Side. It’s sure to be just as good. So check this one out and let me know what you think! :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Cruel Summer by Alyson Noel

“This was supposed to be my best summer yet, the one I’ve been working toward since practically forever.  Now I’m being banished from everything I know and love, and it just doesn’t make any sense.”
Having recently discarded her dorky image--and the best friend that went with it--Colby Cavendish is looking forward to a long hot season of parties, beach BBQ’s, and hopefully, more hook-ups with Levi Bonham, the hottest guy in school. But her world comes crashing down when her parents send her away to spend the summer in Greece with her crazy aunt Tally.
Stranded on a boring island with no malls, no cell phone reception, and an aunt who talks to her plants, Colby worries that her new friends have forgotten all about her. But when she meets Yannis, a cute Greek local, everything changes.  She experiences something deeper and more intense than a summer fling, and it forces her to see herself, and the life she left behind, in a whole new way(Summary taken from goodreads).

Normally, I would have never given Cruel Summer a second glance, but since I really enjoy the way Alyson Noel writes and have only read her Immortal series, I figured I’d break out and give it a try. Unfortunately, I found myself rather disappointed. The writing style did not please me and the overall plot was a bit all over the place.
            First of all, I hated Colby. At first, she was tolerable, because it was understandable what she was going through. Her parents were splitting up and as they made this big decision they decided, hey! Why don’t we just ship you off to Greece for the summer! Therefore, it’s understandable that she would be upset. That be said, she complained constantly! It’s reasonable to be mad for a little while, but she was in Greece! How many opportunities are you going to get to go there? Might as well enjoy it while you can, don’t you think? Then there was Yannis, who I didn’t mind, but I felt as though he really wasn’t in the book that much. Not enough to have a huge impact on me. So for that, I was rather disappointed.
            Overall, I didn’t really like the way it was written. I still love Miss Noel’s writing style, but just not in this book. It would switch between emails, her journal, letters she was writing to her parents, and her blog. Normally in books, I don’t mind if the perspective switches from one character to another, but this just bothered me. It was probably because I disliked her so much, so the fact that everything was coming from her didn’t help. Overall, the book was okay. Nothing really stuck out and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it, but it wasn’t too bad.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris—until she meets Étienne St. Claire: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.
As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near-misses end with the French kiss Anna—and readers—have long awaited? (Summary taken from goodreads).

Despite the ending being completely obvious from the beginning, I loved this book! It was so cute, happy, and overall amazing! Even though it was obvious like I mention before, there were still a ton of twists and turns that I never saw coming. This was another one of those books that had me hooked from the get go and one that I would definitely recommend.
            Anna’s character was easy to relate to. As amazing as being shipped off to Paris for senior year sounds (I would love that!), you can’t blame her for being upset. Everything just started falling into place for her and then surprise! She’s going to France! Still, she was seemed like an average teenager. Worried about what people will think of her, falling for an irresistible, but taken guy, and so forth. Then there’s Étienne St. Claire or just St. Claire as his friends call him in the book (though Étienne is a pretty awesome name). I loved that fact that despite how perfect he seemed to be, he was short, which was really kind of cute. I give Miss Perkins credit for creating a character that isn’t like all the others out there. Overall, he’s a total sweetheart. He’s the kind of guy that is there for you when you need him, but willing to defend your honor at a moment’s notice. That being said, I loved St. Claire.
            The storyline was crafted wonderfully and the writing style was great. Just when I thought I knew what was going to happen next there was twist! It really kept me on my toes, but it was also one of the major factors that drew me in. I really enjoyed the writing. It was really light and enjoyable. She also talked about the many different historical sites Paris which was amazing! Not only was it a great story, but there was bit of history mixed in there too!
            Overall, I love, love, love Anna and the French Kiss. When I finished it, I truly wished it hadn’t ended, it was just that good! That being said, I highly recommend this book for anyone looking for a good chic lit read. It’s amazing!

Quick Update

Hey everyone! I know I haven’t posted in what pretty much forever, so my apologies for that. I’ve been really busy lately and I know that sounds like the worst excuse in the world, but it is unfortunately true. Therefore, I haven’t had too much time to read (which really breaks my heart). However, the past few days I’ve been wicked sick, which isn’t any fun :( So, as I spent most of my time lying on the couch, I was also reading! I managed to get quite a number of books done, so that means a handful of posts are coming soon! Okay, well I just wanted to keep everyone in the loop and thank you everyone who has been following me :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her...until Patch comes along. With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment, but after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure whom to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is far more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel. For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life (Summary taken from goodreads)

When I started this book, I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about it. I had friends that thought it was absolutely amazing, but then my best friend, well she hated it. Actually, she despises it with a passion. So, what did I think? Well, I actually really enjoyed it! I borrowed the book from a friend and she told me, “Oh, it’s really slow in the beginning, but it gets better as it goes on.” Personally, I thought it started off really strong and stayed that way throughout the book. I couldn’t find a dull moment in this one whatsoever.
            The characters were what made it interesting. Personally, I love Patch. He was a total jerk, I’ll admit to that, but for some reason, I couldn’t help but love him as a character. Sure, he teased Nora and pushed her buttons, but it seemed more playful than anything. He was also one of those dark characters with a hidden past, but it was definitely intriguing. I actually liked Nora too. Most times if I like the male main character, I usually dislike the female one. However, Nora seemed really level-headed. She didn’t complain constantly about Patch (though she did get annoyed with him) and she wasn’t a total ditz. I also really liked Nora’s friend Vee. She was hilarious! She definitely enhanced the story in many ways.
            The writing style was phenomenal! I though Fitzpatrick did a great job. It wasn’t choppy or over descriptive. The storyline itself was interesting as well. Again, I wasn’t really sure about this book. I mean fallen angels? It just seemed a bit cliché because it feels like most books nowadays are about fallen angels who fall in love with a human. Though, when I read Hush, Hush the fallen angel thing didn’t really bother me. To be honest, I hardly noticed it. So, thumbs up for the story line :) I also really like the cover! I’m not a huge fan of his hair (weird, I know), but I really, really like the wings. They look so cool!
            Overall, I am so glad my friend let me borrow Hush, Hush. I would recommend it to those who enjoy a mix of action and romance (which it certainly had the perfect balance of!) I’m also looking forward to reading the sequel, which I still have to get my hands on! Anyway, I would check this one out! If you’ve read it or not, let me know what you think! :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Blue Moon by Alyson Noel

Eager to learn everything she can about her new abilities as an Immortal, Ever turns to her beloved Damen to show her the way. But just as her powers are increasing, Damen’s are waning.  In an attempt to save him, Ever travels to the magical dimension of Summerland, where she learns the secrets of Damen’s tortured past; a past which he has always kept hidden from her. But in her quest to cure Damen, Ever discovers an ancient text that details the workings of time. Now Ever must choose between turning back the past and saving her family from the accident that claimed their lives—or staying in the present and saving Damen, who grows sicker every day... (Summary taken from goodreads)

After reading Evermore, I had high expectations for Blue Moon. Thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed. Just like with Evermore, this book had me hooked from the start. I could not put it down! It was one of those books that you tell yourself you’ll one read one more chapter and then you realize twenty minutes later that you’ve read seven more. Now, not everyone likes this series, but I for one love it!
            The characters were amazing as usual. I really loved how Noel introduced a new character into the mix: Roman. He was so mysterious, sort of like Damen. I wasn’t sure how to feel about him. I liked him sometimes and hated him others. Damen, as always, stole my heart once again. Though, I still really hate how hot and cold he can be, I can’t help but love him. I really enjoyed Ever in this book. She seemed to be breaking out of her shell more. In the first one, she kept to herself so much, but in this one she definitely burst out a bit more. It was a nice change.
            The storyline itself was really creative. I don’t know how she does it, but Noel crammed so much into that book! There is never a dull moment. It’s just this string of events that gets you hooked. The ending was great! Though, I was wicked mad! There was a huge twist! Which, of course, I’m not going to tell you about :)
            I just got the third one in the series Shadowland, so I’m very excited. I need to know what happens next! If you enjoyed Evermore, then definitely read Blue Moon. You won’t be disappointed. If you haven’t started this series, then what are you waiting for?! Check it out! If you read this book or enjoyed the review, be sure to let me know! :)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Though he may not speak of them, the memories still dwell inside Jacob Jankowski's ninety-something-year-old mind. Memories of himself as a young man, tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. Memories of a world filled with freaks and clowns, with wonder and pain and anger and passion; a world with its own narrow, irrational rules, its own way of life, and its own way of death. The world of the circus: to Jacob it was both salvation and a living hell.

Jacob was there because his luck had run out - orphaned and penniless, he had no direction until he landed on this locomotive 'ship of fools'. It was the early part of the Great Depression, and everyone in this third-rate circus was lucky to have any job at all. Marlena, the star of the equestrian act, was there because she fell in love with the wrong man, a handsome circus boss with a wide mean streak. And Rosie the elephant was there because she was the great gray hope, the new act
(Summary taken from goodreads).
that was going to be the salvation of the circus; the only problem was, Rosie didn't have an act - in fact, she couldn't even follow instructions. The bond that grew among this unlikely trio was one of love and trust, and ultimately, it was their only hope for survival

            Water for Elephants is my favorite book and that's saying something. I love most of the books I read, but not many of them make it onto my favorite list. I absolutely devoured this novel. I had borrowed the book from the library and then as soon as I finished it, I went out and bought it. Strange? I know, but it was that good! It’s one of those books that I want to keep and read over and over again. I fell in love with it from page one and from there on, I couldn’t stop. This was one of those books that just grabs a hold of you and refuses to let go. It was also one of those books that didn’t have a dull moment. The action took off right from the prologue.
            The storyline was fantastic. It really gave an inside view to circus life during the great depression, a time when they were extremely popular. Basically, the story was told through the memories of Jacob Jankowski, who is now ninety or ninety three, he can’t remember. After a few chapters on his life in the circus, it would switch back to his life in the nursing home. I thought this was an interesting perspective, because as I read, I sympathized with both Jacob as a young and old man. The story was also pretty out there. It focused on many of the “freaks” of the circus, but by doing that, it brought the reader into another fascinating world.
            The characters were amazing! I loved Jacob. He was probably my favorite out of all of them. He had this innocence about him, but at the same time he was willing to fight for what he loved. All at once, Jacob's life took a turn for the worst. You just can’t help but feel bad for him. Marlena was such a sweetheart. She cared about everyone, which is something I really admired about her. Yet, this same quality was a bit of a downfall for her. She never wanted to see anyone get hurt. I would say more, but then I would be giving away some spoilers, so you’ll just have to read it and find out what I mean. There was also August, Marlena’s husband. In some aspects, he could be considered the antagonist, but he didn’t bother me. Sure, he could be quite a jerk at times, but I thought he enhanced the story. He definitely added to the drama of it all. Finally, there’s Rosie the elephant. She was adorable!  Gruen gives her such a sense of humor; it’s actually kind of cute. From the moment she was introduced, you can’t help, but love her. She was just that great!
            The writing style was phenomenal. Gruen provided the perfect amount of description. Sometimes writers add too much and then it just drags on and sometimes they don’t add enough! However, Gruen did a fantastic job. There was a bit of obscenity throughout the book, but it wasn’t obscene for the point of being obscene. It was woven into the storyline and belonged there. Overall, Gruen had me on my seat the entire time. I just had to know what happened next!
            So my suggestion: READ THIS BOOK! Seriously, it’s amazing. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. It’s a great story that truly reaches in and touches your heart. The characters interact wonderfully and like I said, Rosie is adorable :) So be sure to check this one out! I highly recommend it!

Also, Water for Elephants has been made into a movie!!! It features Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson and is set to come out April 22nd. I'm super excited for the movie and can't wait to see it! Check out the trailer below :)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Matched by Ally Condie

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow. (Summary taken from goodreads)

            To be truthful, I really didn’t enjoy this book. My best friend had been reading and she told me how much she loved it and how good it was.  Knowing how honest she is about books (and she’s honest! If she hated a book, she’ll say it), I figured if it was really that good, I’ll give it a try. It started off strong, but for me, it faded towards the end and it lost its appeal. It wasn’t awful or anything, it just didn’t reach my expectations.
            The storyline itself was interesting.  It focuses around this perfect society where everything is chosen for you. The people that live there really don’t have a say in anything, but they are fully aware of what’s going on. The one thing I really didn’t like about the story was that it felt like it had an undertone of fascism. Maybe I was reading too much into it, but that is definitely what the Society seemed to be. For those of you who don’t know what fascism is, it is, according to the Encarta Dictionary, any movement, ideology, or attitude that favors dictatorial government, centralized control of private enterprise, repression of all opposition, and extreme nationalism. Basically, it’s a dictator that controls almost all aspects society. Though Matched had no set dictator, the Officials, which were the head of the Society, definitely had some major control factors. They controlled where people worked, what they ate, when their recreation time was, and so on. They also were against people acting out against the Society and going against the rules. See the possible connections to fascism? I’m not saying that was the author’s purpose, in fact, it might have been unintentional, but that’s how I felt when I read it. The idea of this “perfect world” also kind of freaked me out. I can’t begin to imagine being told what to do by someone else. It would be too weird.
            The characters were okay. Cassia was great in the beginning, but after she sees Ky and starts to fall for him, she got annoying. Her feelings for Ky and Xander just kept being dragged on and on and it started to get boring. I loved Xander though. He was so sweet and he really cared about Cassia. He was willing to do anything for her. Ky, I didn’t really like. He was so up and down with the way he acted with her, that I was ready to shout, “Stop all ready!” Therefore, overall, the characters really didn’t do it for me.
            However, I did enjoy the writing style. The storyline flowed smoothly and I wasn’t lost in anyway whatsoever. I really appreciated the fact that she described the different processes in the society. It made the story easier to follow and actually, it made it kind of interesting too. The writing was definitely a great part of the book.
            So, I didn't think this book wasn’t the greatest, but I’m not going to lie, I would probably read the sequel. I still want to know what happens next. I wouldn’t buy it though. I would wait for it to come out at the library and then borrow it. Still, many people have found this book quite great, so I guess you’ll just have to find out for yourself!