Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Covet (The Clann #2) by Melissa Darnell

Covet, the second book in The Clann series was even better than the first one. And I liked the first one a lot, so that’s saying something.

I’m going to use the Goodreads summary for this one because I think that it does a really good job of describing it:
Dangerous to be together. Painful to be apart. Savannah Colbert knows she broke up with Tristan Coleman for the right reasons. Most of all, to keep from killing him with her new vampire abilities. But try telling her heart. Now, lost in a sea of hostile Clann faces, Sav tries to come to terms with what she's becoming and what that means for her future. And that someone is doing their best to bully her into making a terrible mistake.

Tristan can't believe Sav won't even talk to him. If being apart is her decision, fine. Just don't expect him to honor it. But even as he prepares to fight for the girl he loves, forces beyond their control take them both in directions neither could have foreseen or prepared for.

A reckoning is coming... and not everyone will survive.”

            In Crave, I really loved Savannah and Tristan because they seemed so genuine and they were both really funny. I also thought that their relationship was adorable. But in this book, I developed love for other characters, as well. Like Savannah’s dad. He was totally awesome. He liked fashion and he always wanted to buy Savannah new things (even though she declined most of the time. What was wrong with her?). But also, he still loved Savannah’s mom even though they were divorced and couldn’t be together (he was a vamp, she was a witch -> it didn’t really work out too well…) and he still wanted to do nice things for her (even if he had to trick her into doing them). Another person I loved in this book was Ron Abernathy. He may have a nerdy name, but he was anything but a dork. He was hilarious, always cracking jokes and, well, being funny. He was AMAZING.

This second book was a lot different than Crave because a whole new aspect is introduced: Savannah learns how to do magic. I liked Savannah even more after she learned magic because she actually stood up for herself and she could go toe-to-toe with any of the Clann members and win. It’s also different because a whole new species is introduced (they’re awesome).

This book certainly did not have the notorious sequel syndrome; this second book was even better than the first! The plot always kept me guessing and I was super surprised at some of the events. I was also slightly disturbed at one part, which I was surprised about; I didn’t think these books were so hardcore. Also, Covet was really funny. I was laughing all the way through the book and I couldn’t stop at some parts.

There was one thing that really stood out to me: the ending. Oh. My. Gosh. The last words of the book were, “What have I done?” I mean, how intense is that? PRETTY FREAKING INTENSE, PEOPLE. I’m practically begging for more right now. The third installment, Consume, is expected to come out some time in 2013 and I can’t wait for that day!

This book was fantastic! 5 Smileys!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Zeitoun by Dave Eggers

Yet another school book done! Three down, one to go, and one week of summer left L! Anyway, Zeitoun by Dave Eggers was one of the better ones that I have had to read for school, but it didn’t exactly blow me out of the water.

            Abdulrahman Zeitoun was born in Syria, one of many Muslim children. After a life on the sea, he decided to settle down in New Orleans. With his wife, Kathy, and his four children, he lived happily, owned a well-known contracting business, and was quite prosperous until the night that Hurricane Katrina hit. Kathy, her son, and three daughters escaped the storm, but Zeitoun insisted that he stay to protect the house. It wasn’t the storm that was so bad; it was the aftermath. Suspicious of everything that moved, the police arrest Zeitoun and his three friends on the charges of looting. Sent to a makeshift prison at a Greyhound station, and then a high-security prison, Zeitoun suspects that he was arrested for more than just looting. Completely hopeless and without any form of contact to the outside world, will Zeitoun be released? Or will he serve a long sentence in prison for a crime that he didn’t commit?

            Being a book for school, I didn’t expect much from Zeitoun. Sure, the subject is important, but I didn’t expect the delivery to be entertaining. There were times when this book was enjoyable, but there were also times when it was incredibly slow.

            One thing that I didn’t like was that the time skipped back and forth. One second, the story would be progressing, and the next it is telling you about something that happened in Zeitoun’s past; and it didn’t always connect with the current situation. I found that it distracted from the story, but it did help the readers to better understand Zeitoun and get a glimpse of his past.

            The thing that I hated the most was the ending. It was so BORING. I literally zoned out for most of the last 30 pages. I honestly couldn’t tell you what those last pages said. I couldn’t even give you a clue, because I don’t even have a clue. It was some political jargon that didn’t seem all too important to the story line, so I didn’t pay too much attention to it. Another thing I hated? DOGS DIED. That isn’t really a spoiler because that is not at all what this book is about, but that’s important to me. I love dogs and Zeitoun sees at least 20 dead dogs. But I was happy about Zeitoun’s concern about the animals.

            What I liked most about Zeitoun was Zeitoun himself. Being real people, the characters cannot be credited to the author. However, I thought that Zeitoun seemed like a really nice guy. His wife and kids seemed like good people, as well. Their whole family was the best part of this book because they were awesome.

            I think it’s really strange that what happened to Zeitoun happened just seven years ago. There are color pictures of it and everything. I read Unbroken this summer as well, and I could compare some of what happened to Louis Zamperini to what happened to Zeitoun (and some of the things he saw). It just seems so bizarre that the same inhumane treatment could happen in 2005 as in the 1940’s. Also, they still live in the same house and they still have their contracting business, which I think is awesome because I’ve never read a nonfiction book where the “characters” are still alive, or one that happened so recently, too.  I think it’s cool that I could actually go and see them and their house if I really wanted to. (Which would be kind of creepy if I did that. Don’t worry; I’m not a creeper. Heh. Heh.)

This book was powerful, but slightly boring. 3 1/2 Smileys!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Foretold (The Demon Trappers #4) by Jana Oliver


In the United States, Foretold by Jana Oliver comes out in December. However, in the UK, it came out August 2nd. Instead of waiting for the US release date, I decided to order the book all the way from England. That is how much I love The Demon Trappers series. And the last book did not disappoint.
            Beck’s mom, Sadie, was dying of cancer. Even though she had always treated Beck like she hated him, he loved her. Unwilling to let her die alone, Beck and Riley go down to Sadlersville, where Beck is treated with such suspicion and cruelty that Riley can’t help but be curious about his past. Discovering his past was not easy, for he kept it well hidden, but even after she discovered the horrible truth, she felt no different about Beck: she loved him. Now he just had to decide how he felt. Oh, and the Fallen angel Sartael is finally making his move against Lucifer and Ori still holds Riley’s soul in his grasp. Could there possibly be a happy ending to such a horrible story? (Horrible as in tragic. Not as in this story is bad quality. It’s actually awesome, amazing, and any other positive words you can come up with. J)

            First off, may I just say that this is one of my favorite series? I've always loved the characters, especially Riley and Beck, but in this final installment, I felt that I got closer to both of them. After Beck finally admits to himself that he loves Riley, he becomes adorable. She turns him into a little puppy and it's just so cute. Riley was funny, as always, not a wimp, and could actually take care of herself. She was also smart and capable. A proper heroine. Beck was sweet and awesome and wonderful, as usual. I fell in love with him in this book and I’m sure you will, too.
            I literally could not stop reading this book. I went over to my friend’s house and brought it with me. I stayed up until 4 o’clock in the morning reading it. It was so captivating that I felt like I couldn’t breathe when I wasn’t reading it (and sometimes even when I was). I didn’t know what was going to happen next and I was so wrapped up in their world that I pretty much stopped living for the two days I read this.

            This was an epic love story. There was no insta-love; it took its sweet time. It took four books before they finally fell in love, but it was so worth it. It was unlike any book I have ever read and amazing is the only word coming to my mind. I cannot say anymore on this subject. This book emotionally drained me because…

            THIS WAS THE LAST FREAKING BOOK. *cries out of sadness, but also joy* What am I going to do with my life now? I really loved the ending and it was adorable (this is why I am crying with joy. The ending made me really happy, but the fact that it was the ending didn’t), but I DON’T WANT THIS STORY TO END. IT CAN’T!! I couldn’t read for the rest of the day because I was so distraught and I had to find something to do and, of course, this was the day that there was literally nothing to do. I can’t say anymore on this subject except for READ THIS SERIES. READ IT NOW AND ENJOY YOUR TIME WITH IT BECAUSE IT WON’T LAST FOREVER. *cries some more*

This book was absolutely breathtakingly amazingly awesome. 5 Smileys!

Monday, August 13, 2012

All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin

When I saw the cover and title of Gabrielle Zevin’s All These Things I’ve Done, I knew I had to read it. The cover it dramatic and the title is unique. Even the story line is unique. But there was just something that was missing.

            It’s 2083 in New York City and chocolate is illegal. Anya Balanchine was born into a family that deals with this contraband. Her family is basically the mafia of NYC. Some people have family problems, but most don’t end in death. Both of Anya’s parents were killed before she was 10 and her older brother, Leo, got brain damage during the shooting that killed her mother. Her guardian is her dying grandmother, but it’s Anya who really runs the show. She stays off the radar until she is accused of poisoning her ex-boyfriend with tainted chocolate. But then she falls for the new assistant DA’s son, Win. The DA thinks that Anya will ruin his chances of being elected as the head DA, so he is willing to negotiate to break them apart. Will Anya and Win’s love survive? Could Anya’s life possibly get more complicated?

            So, character-wise, I’d say that this book was a tad lacking. Leo was my favorite character, but he was apparently a little “simple-minded.” I noticed nothing wrong with him. He was just a really nice big brother and Anya treated him like he was a little kid. The worst part is that he knew that she treated him that way and repeated said, “I’m an adult, Anya. Not a little kid.” I agreed with him. Win was also a good character because he was funny and nice. But Anya didn’t really stand out. I mean, she was okay and everything, but she lacked fire. She wasn’t a bad narrator and I liked her all right, but she wasn’t my favorite.

            The writing was kind of weird. Overall, it was pretty standard, but then there were times when it addressed the readers and I didn’t like that; it detracted from the story and distracted me. There was actually a part that said, “his is foreshadowing, dear readers- more and deeper humiliations to come...” Thanks for that, Zevin. I could never have figured that out myself.

            The story and concept were unique, but I didn’t really understand the reasoning behind the banning of chocolate and it is never really explained. The world-building was pretty good, but it wasn’t really anything special. Overall, I wasn’t very impressed with this book. I really don't have much to say about this book as a whole.

This book was okay. 3 Smileys!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Wow. I can’t even- wow. I have no words for Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. In a good way, of course!

            Alina Starkov has always carried something inside her (not a baby, you sickos.). A power unlike any other. The Sun Summoner. But she doesn’t know that. Not until her convoy is attacked in the dark place called the Fold, the most dangerous place in war-torn Ravka. When the Darkling, the most powerful Grisha (basically wizard-type people), realizes her talent, she is whisked away to the palace, where she is trained, catered to, and all-around spoiled. But she is also taken away from her lifetime friend, Mal. Both were orphaned at a young age and grew up together; they had been inseparable ever since. But when Alina finds that the Darkling may not be who he seems, she has to use all of her strength and power to not only save all of Ravka, but the entire world.

            Alina was one of my all-time-favorite narrators. She was hilariously funny and she was brave, but not stupidly so. She wasn’t unrealistically tough; she was a very realistic character and I connected with her instantly. Alina was amazing by herself, but when you put her and Mal together, they were unbelievable. I absolutely loved them together, but I also loved them separately. Mal was a totally believable teenage guy. In the very first moment I met him, I wanted to be his friend. He was hysterical and seemed like a fun guy to be around. The other characters, such as the Darkling, were also amazing.

            I thought that the plot was out of this world (literally -> puns!) Something I really liked about this book was that the villain’s plan actually made sense. I could see where he was coming from and I could actually see the logic behind it. He wasn’t some cliché evil guy that just wanted to take over the world and kill all human kind (which is really stupid. What’s the point of ruling the world if you have no one to rule? But I digress.)

            Leigh Bardugo did a fantastic job with world building. I could picture everything that was going on and I had a firm understanding of the way Alina’s world worked. She did a brilliant job with the world building, as well as the writing. It was witty, creative, and beautiful. One couldn’t possibly ask for more, really. This was pretty much the perfect book. I read it in less than one day, nearly non-stop reading. I literally could not put it down! The story drew me in right away (mostly because of the characters. I seriously loved them so much.) and kept me in, and before I knew it, I was done the book and really sad about that fact. I never wanted it to end!

            If you are looking for a really super-fun read that is AMAZINGLY AWESOMTASTICLY BRILLIANT, then read Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. You won’t be sorry!

(Sorry if this doesn’t make any sense. It is extremely late and I can barely form coherent thoughts. But I hope you all have a wonderful day!)

I am in love. I am totally and completely in love with this book. 5 Smileys!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Scorch Trials (The Maze Runner #2) by James Dashner

Warning: If you have not read The Maze Runner, then this review may contain some spoilers.

Once again, Mr. Dashner has amazed me. I am officially in love with The Maze Runner series and with Thomas.

            Just as Thomas and the other Gladers thought they were finally safe, WICKED forces them into yet another Trial; this one taking place in the Scorch, the land ravaged by the deadly solar flares and filled with Cranks, people with the Flare. They must cross this land and reach a safe haven within two weeks. The day before they are set out into the Scorch, Teresa disappears and is replaced with a boy named Aris, who was in the same position as Teresa in the Glade, only his Maze was filled with only girls. This time, WICKED has made the Trials even harder and the Variables ever more dangerous. Plus, Thomas will be betrayed worse than he could ever imagine. If the Variables don’t kill him, the heartache might.

            I still loved Thomas, Newt, and Minho. They were my favorites in The Maze Runner and they did not disappoint! I loved them for all of the same reasons as I did in The Maze Runner. Newt was funny and Minho was tough. Thomas was sweet, compassionate, kind, and brave, sometimes stupidly so, which made him even more endearing. In this book, I found a new sense of respect for her. She had to do a lot of hard things and she did them without complaint. There is also a new character, Brenda, who I really liked. She was smart and funny and an all-around cool person.

            The plot was amazing. There were some parts where I was so surprised, and slightly aghast, but it was so nicely paced. As most of you who have read The Maze Runner already know, Dashner’s writing is fantastic. My favorite quote from this book was, “He turned to look just in time to see the rain start falling outside as if the storm had finally decided to weep with shame for what it had done to them.” It may not sound like much, but in context, this is a powerful quote. I just love Dashner. And the ending? CLIFFHANGER! I need the next book, The Death Cure, immediately if not sooner! This is a definite should-read! So go read it now! And I hope you all have a wonderful day!

I am IN LOVE with this series! 5 Smileys!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Blackwood by Gwenda Bond


          Blackwood by Gwenda Bond is the story of Miranda Blackwood and Phillips Rawling. Miranda’s mother died when she was younger, leaving her alone with her now-alcoholic father, Hank. They live on Roanoke Island, the site of America’s first true mystery: 114 settlers disappeared over the course of a few years, never to be heard from again. Until now, that is. When 115 people mysteriously disappear in her small town, Miranda’s father included, no one knows what happened. Later, Miranda’s father is found dead, which adds another layer of mystery onto this age-old tale. 
          Phillips could not be happier: he was finally off that inescapable island. Sure, it took a lot of hard work to finally get sent to a reforming boarding school, but the endless pranks and bad behavior was worth it. Phillips wanted to get off the island for one reason: the voices were louder there. He can hear the voices of the dead, but it seems that they are all connected to the island. Unfortunately, when all of those people go missing, his father, the chief of police, calls him back home and back to Miranda.

            First of all, I found this book very interesting. Roanoke and the mystery that surrounds it has always been one of my favorite history lessons. I love how Bond comes up with a reason for why everyone disappeared and what happened to them. I have never read a book that has to do with Roanoke, so it was a fresh concept for me that I really enjoyed. It was nice how there was no insta-love, too. This book was also unpredictable and I could never see what was coming next. It surprised me multiple times and I’m not that easily surprised.
I found Miranda hilariously funny. She was always cracking jokes and I laughed out loud at some of them. She was also really tough, which I also appreciate. She was never scared of anyone and she took every situation pretty lightly. I could really connect with her character and I liked that she was dorky and said “frak” besides being “too kool 4 skool,” like most YA heroines lately. Another really awesome thing about Miranda was that she loved her dog. I am also obsessed with my dog, so I appreciated it when she thought of him and put his safety on the top of her list, much like I would have done. Most YA novels do not include animals or pets of any kind, so I found her use of animals refreshing.

 Phillips was another amazing character. First of all, he is a freaking genius. He’s really good at coming up with plans and scheming, so he’s pretty awesome. He can pretty much get away with anything he wants to and not just because he’s amazingly good-looking, either. He can actually think and his brain gets him out of situations instead of his face. He has all the appearance of a bad-boy, but the temperament of a puppy. He’s the best of both worlds, really.
Overall, I really liked this book!

This book was pretty good! 4 Smileys!

Shift by Kim Curran

Shift by Kim Curran was quite a trip. It was slightly disturbing, but in a fantastic way and it was an incredible idea.
      16-year-old Scott Tyler was average, maybe even a loser. He had one kind-of-friend, his family argued, and he wasn’t really popular. At all. Then, one night he tries to climb the Pylon. One moment he’s scaling it, the next he’s laying on his back on the sidewalk with no idea how he got there. Aubrey, the most beautiful girl that Scott could imagine, tells him that he is a Shifter: one that can alter the decisions that he has made in the past with a single thought. However, Scott is extremely old to have only manifested his powers, which disappear around age 20. Aubrey is a part of ARES, a secret organization of Shifters, whose enemy is the SLF, who are basically anarchists. Scott believes that ARES has the best intents, but there may be something hiding on the shadows that they want to keep secret. Will Scott and Aubrey find out what is actually going on before they become victims themselves? Read and find out!

            First things first: the characters. Scott, the protagonist of the story, was not really likable in the first couple chapters of the story. I couldn’t really relate to him and I thought that he was kind of humdrum. However, once the story picked up, he became increasingly likable. He was hilarious, and when he was in danger, he became the sass-master. By the end of the book, I loved him. In the beginning, Scott was kind of a loser and he was really weak, but by the end he fund his own power and became more confident, so he was a really dynamic character. On the other hand, I loved Aubrey from the very beginning. She was really strong and she definitely wore the pants in their relationship. She was also witty and she had a level of confidence and power that Scott did not have. I definitely connected with her because she was awesome.

            Now for the plot/idea. I loved the idea of this book. It is something I had never heard of before, so it was fresh and new. The whole Shifting idea was a little confusing in the beginning, but Curran described it really well. She had a way with telling the story that made such a complicated topic seem like the easiest thing in the world. I also loved her British terms and slang (because I am not British I found them amusing).

The story took turns all over the place. I didn’t know what was going to happen and there were seemingly random events that occurred, but they all came together seamlessly in the end. The story and diction were AMAZING in this book. It was a tad disturbing at parts, which I thought was AWESOME. Cannibalism. That’s all I’m going to say about that. The single bad thing about this book was the first few chapters. I thought that they were a little slow, but that could have been because I was trying to read it during a very busy time, but once I started reading it for real, it was sweet. Once the end came, I didn’t want it to end. I wanted it to keep going. I’ll have a second please!

Shift was a great book! 4 1/2 Smileys!