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Waiting on Wednesday (73)

This week, I'm waiting on...

Rush by Eve Silver. Here's what Goodreads has to say: When Miki Jones is pulled from her life, pulled through time and space into some kind of game—her carefully controlled life spirals into chaos. In the game, she and a team of other teens are sent on missions to eliminate the Drau, terrifying and beautiful alien creatures. There are no practice runs, no training, and no way out. Miki has only the guidance of secretive but maddeningly attractive team leader Jackson Tate, who says the game isn’t really a game, that what Miki and her new teammates do now determines their survival, and the survival of every other person on this planet. She laughs. He doesn’t. And then the game takes a deadly and terrifying turn.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Adult Book Mini-Reviews (2)

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. I wasn't sure what to expect from this book, but no matter what I was thinking, this novel was even better than I could have imagined. Told in a unique format, the storyline circled around rather than progressing in a strictly linear fashion, which would not work for all books but was phenomenal here. From the background given on Oscar's family to the perspectives of those around him and finally to Oscar himself, every part of this book was emotional and moving. The story is both brutally realistic with its ties into the reign of Trujillo and somehow almost dream-like with its treatment in other areas, but all in all, I loved every moment of this.

Recommended? Absolutely!

American Gods by Neil Gaiman. You know those books that are chock full of those passages where you have to stop and read them over and over again because the words are so beautiful and so unsettling and so true that you need to ingrain them in your memory? That's this book, and that's why you have to read it. I won't say that the plot was absolutely perfect or all the characters absolutely wonderful (although I did love Shadow), but this is a profound book. Not a perfect story, no, but inventive, creepy, and beautiful. This is the kind of book you want to read with post-its in hand to mark down the best passages for posterity.

Recommended? No, if you're looking for a great story. Yes, if you're looking for spectacular writing.

Nobody: Review

Title: Nobody
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Release Date: January 2013
Published By: EgmontUSA
Pages: 393
Goodreads Rating: 3.69 stars

Review: No one sees the Nobodies: they're forgotten as soon as you turn away. The Institute finds them and takes them away for training, but an untrained Nobody is a threat to their organization - and threats must be eliminated. Claire has been invisible her whole life, missed by the Institute’s monitoring, but now they’ve sent Nix to remove her. Yet the moment he lays eyes on her, he can’t make the hit - and suddenly, they're both threats to the Institute.

First of all, don't forget to enter the giveaway for this book that's going to close soon! And now, onto the review - NOBODY had a very cool concept behind it, which I loved. The idea of people who are metaphysically altered so that no one notices or remembers them and then using them as assassins is intriguing, and I especially enjoyed the exploration of what kind of emotional effects this has on a person. However, I did feel that at times, the emotional aspect was emphasized too much as to almost feel like the characters were excessively complaining.

That's not to say that the emotions took away from the pacing of the book, though, which was excellent. The narration of the book made reading it smooth and easy, and the suspense ratcheted higher and higher as I feel deeper through the pages. In general, the pacing was fast when it needed to be while able to fall into a slower tempo to explore the feels.

But let's talk about the feels now. I have to say, this was the one part of the book that I was, shall we say, not such a big fan of. One of the biggest pet peeves I have in young adult books is insta-love romance, and this novel certainly had that early on in the story. Just a few hours after Nix and Claire met, it was like they had this magical connection and fell deeply in love. While I understand that it makes sense for them to be compelled to each other, the romance was just not believable for me and detracted from the book.

All in all, NOBODY featured a fascinating concept that's sure to pull in readers and keeps your interest up through an engaging and fast-paced plot. I did wish for a better romance because that was the big aspect that stopped the book from being as good as it could have been, but if you're willing to overlook that, there is a great story waiting between the pages. 

Waiting on Wednesday (72)

This week, I'm waiting on...

Severed Heads, Broken Hearts by Robyn Schneider. Here's what Goodreads has to say: Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them—a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: in one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra’s knee, his athletic career, and his social life.

No longer a front-runner for Homecoming King, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra’s ever met, achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures.

But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: if one’s singular tragedy has already hit and everything after it has mattered quite a bit, what happens when more misfortune strikes?

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Giveaway: Nobody and Every Other Day

This is your opportunity to win one copy of Nobody and one copy of Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes!

Here's what Goodreads has to say about Nobody: There are people in this world who are Nobody. No one sees them. No one notices them. They live their lives under the radar, forgotten as soon as you turn away.

That’s why they make the perfect assassins.

The Institute finds these people when they’re young and takes them away for training. But an untrained Nobody is a threat to their organization. And threats must be eliminated.

Sixteen-year-old Claire has been invisible her whole life, missed by the Institute’s monitoring. But now they’ve ID’ed her and send seventeen-year-old Nix to remove her. Yet the moment he lays eyes on her, he can’t make the hit. It’s as if Claire and Nix are the only people in the world for each other. And they are—because no one else ever notices them.

And here's what it says about Every Other Day: Every other day, Kali D’Angelo is a normal sixteen-year-old girl. She goes to public high school. She argues with her father. She’s human.

And then every day in between . . . she’s something else entirely.

Though she still looks like herself, every twenty-four hours predatory instincts take over and Kali becomes a feared demon-hunter with the undeniable urge to hunt, trap, and kill zombies, hellhounds, and other supernatural creatures. Kali has no idea why she is the way she is, but she gives in to instinct anyway. Even though the government considers it environmental terrorism.

When Kali notices a mark on the lower back of a popular girl at school, she knows instantly that the girl is marked for death by one of these creatures. Kali has twenty-four hours to save her, and unfortunately she’ll have to do it as a human. With the help of a few new friends, Kali takes a risk that her human body might not survive . . . and learns the secrets of her mysterious condition in the process.

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Minimalist Movie Adaptions

Matteo Civaschi has created two minimalist movie posters summarizing the plots of book-to-movie adaptations that I thought were very clever! It's amazing how he summarized them with so few images. See if you can guess what movies they are before you see the titles...



Waiting on Wednesday (71)

This week, I'm waiting on...

45 Pounds (More or Less) by K. A. Barson.
Here are the numbers of Ann Galardi’s life:

She is 16.

And a size 17.

Her perfect mother is a size 6.

Her Aunt Jackie is getting married in 10 weeks, and wants Ann to be her bridesmaid.

So Ann makes up her mind: Time to lose 45 pounds (more or less) in 2 1/2 months.

Welcome to the world of informercial diet plans, wedding dance lessons, embarrassing run-ins with the cutest guy Ann’s ever seen—-and some surprises about her NOT-so-perfect mother.

And there’s one more thing. It’s all about feeling comfortable in your own skin-—no matter how you add it up!

What are you waiting on?

Wish You Were Dead: Review

Title: Wish You Were Dead
Author: Todd Strasser
Release Date: September 2009
Published By: EgmontUSA
Pages: 236
Goodreads Rating: 3.83 stars

Review: The day after anonymous blogger Str-S-d wishes the popular girl would die, Lucy vanishes, tearing apart the world of Madison, Lucy's friend and the last person to see her alive. When two more popular students disappear after their names are mentioned on Str-S-d’s blog, the residents of Soundview panic. Meanwhile, Madison receives anonymous notes warning that she could be next. The clock is ticking. Madison must uncover the truth behind the mysterious disappearances... before her name appears in Str-S-d’s blog.

WISH YOU WERE DEAD was just the kind of psychological suspense I love to read. The plot was immediately compelling, grabbing the reader from the first page and refusing to let go through the end. The further you go into the book, the faster the pace picks up, until you reach the point where you're basically flipping pages as quickly as you can to find out who the killer is and why they're on this mission. And let me just say - the big reveal does not disappoint. Of all the characters in the book, it truly was the last one I expected, just as should be in a good mystery.

One aspect that I especially liked was the narration. Although Madison wasn't really a go-getter kind of character, it didn't bother me for two reasons: the first is that I was content to see the plot unfold through her eyes and the second is that her narration somehow perfectly complemented the book. Usually you would expect a certain tone from such a dark book, and while the serious parts were serious and the creepy parts were creepy, Madison's narration took a more light-hearted approach than you might anticipate - and it worked.

The only part of the novel that truly bothered me was the romance. I always seem to have quibbles with this in books so this really could just be me, but the romance seemed like something that was just sort of hastily shoved into the plot for the sake of having a romance. I found Tyler more tiresome than enchanting, and frankly, I couldn't understand why Madison didn't feel the same way. 

All in all, WISH YOU WERE DEAD was an excellent young adult suspense novel that I would rank high for its intriguing plot concept and shocking mystery reveal. I only wish that the romance was better, but the narration and cool plot more than make up for this flaw. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys young adult thrillers but doesn't want something that would make them scared to go to sleep.

Cursing in Books

Something I've been wondering about for a while is the subject of cursing in novels because it often seems to be a different story from cursing in real life. In general, I curse out loud only when under the most extreme of conditions; it's not that I think it's necessarily immoral (although I know some do, and that's a valid position too), but I think it's one of those things that's most effective in moderation. Curse words are those that hold a lot of negative strength but if they're always used to express minor bad things, then that defeats their purpose. Of course, that's my personal stance and I don't judge those who either curse all the time or not at all.

However, novelizations are different because in books, the writing is all in the voice of a character, be it directly through dialogue or in first-person narration. Cursing is sometimes necessary depending on the character - some personality types are just more inclined to curse and an author would be remiss to include that if that's the case. So, most of the time it's fairly clear whether to have a character curse or not and it's also clear why a character who might curse once in a while shouldn't drop an f-bomb every six seconds.

But what about the characters who would, if they were living, breathing people, drop f-bombs every other word? I'm still of the position that cursing should be used in moderation. Just as you don't need to show every single possible detail of a character in excruciating detail for a reader to know him or her, you don't need to have the character curse all the time for the reader to get the idea. Otherwise, it can become numbing and lose its effectiveness, which fits in with my philosophy on cursing in real life.

What do you think about cursing in books?

Waiting on Wednesday (70)

This week, I'm waiting on...

Reboot by Amy Tintera. Here's what Goodreads has to say: Five years ago, Wren Connolly was shot three times in the chest. After 178 minutes she came back as a Reboot: stronger, faster, able to heal, and less emotional. The longer Reboots are dead, the less human they are when they return. Wren 178 is the deadliest Reboot in the Republic of Texas. Now seventeen years old, she serves as a soldier for HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation).

Wren’s favorite part of the job is training new Reboots, but her latest newbie is the worst she’s ever seen. As a 22, Callum Reyes is practically human. His reflexes are too slow, he’s always asking questions, and his ever-present smile is freaking her out. Yet there’s something about him she can’t ignore. When Callum refuses to follow an order, Wren is given one last chance to get him in line—or she’ll have to eliminate him. Wren has never disobeyed before and knows if she does, she’ll be eliminated, too. But she has also never felt as alive as she does around Callum.

The perfect soldier is done taking orders.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Fathomless: Review

Title: Fathomless
Author: Jackson Pearce
Release Date: September 2012
Published By: Little, Brown
Pages: 291
Goodreads Rating: 3.64 stars

Review: Celia Reynolds is the youngest in a set of triplets, and while her sisters are powerful, all she can see is the past, which seems so insignificant -- until she meets Lo. Lo doesn't know who she is, or was. She clings to shreds of her humanity, even as she's tempted to embrace her dark immortality. The two form a friendship, but soon they find themselves competing for the affection of a boy, Jude. Lo wants more than that, though. According to the others, there's only one way for Lo to earn back her humanity: persuade a mortal to love her - and steal his soul.

I genuinely enjoyed this novel, as I have with this author's previous books (she's basically an auto-read for me, now), but for much of the story, I found myself alternating between "this is so cool!" and "this is so cliche!". The "cool" aspects definitely included the premise because I just loved the concept of the so-called ocean girls. It was mysterious and suspenseful, not to mention delightfully creepy, to read about their slow transformation from human to monster.

And when I say suspense, I do mean suspense. It was actually difficult to put this book down, which is how you know you're reading a good book. A book you like will capture you while you're reading it, but a truly good book will capture you even when you're not - and that's what FATHOMLESS did. Even at the parts where I didn't like certain characteristics of the book, I still had that overarching urge to know what's going to happen next, what the secret behind the mystery is, if everything will end up okay.

As for the cliche aspects, though, I did think that the ultimate mystery reveal was somewhat... disappointing. The story was building up so much, and maybe my expectations were just getting raised too high, but it just wasn't as super-amazing-awesome-cool as I thought it would be. I also felt that the romance was very traditional, very young-adult. Not that there's anything horribly wrong with that, but I'm always on the look-out for romances that are different, and this was not one of them.

Still, I very much enjoyed FATHOMLESS and continue to hold the same appreciation for Jackson Pearce's wonderful fairy tale retellings. I absolutely loved the suspenseful nature of the story and the charged concept behind it, and though I did wish for a better plot twist and more in the way of a unique romance, I highly recommend this to any fans of fairy tale retellings or of the author's previous books.

Unbreak My Heart: Review

Title: Unbreak My Heart
Author: Melissa C. Walker
Release Date: May 2012
Published By: Bloomsbury Childrens
Pages: 240
Goodreads Rating: 3.83 stars

Review: Sophomore year broke Clementine Williams’ heart. She fell for her best friend’s boyfriend and long story short: he’s excused, but Clem is vilified and she heads into summer with zero social life. Enter her parents’ plan to spend the summer on their sailboat. Then she meets James at one of their first stops along the river. He and his dad are sailing for the summer and he’s just the distraction Clem needs. Can he break down Clem’s walls and heal her broken heart?

UNBREAK MY HEART was the perfect feel-good book to read during Hurricane Sandy. While I was curled up on my couch freezing under mountains of blankets, this adorable summer story kept me warm with its numerous references to sunshine and of course, the cute romance. Of course, this is definitely more than just a stereotypical chick flick because the characters do truly have dimension, and Clem's growth from beginning to end was certainly well-written.

Starting with the good, the romance was just what you would expect - which is, by no means, a bad thing. It was sweet, slow-paced, and while maybe not totally swoon-worthy, I'm sure none of us would protest having a James or the female equivalent in our lives. I did feel that it was the slightest bit cliche because, let's be honest, we've all seen this kind of storyline quite a bit in our YA fiction experiences, but it was far from being irritatingly so. Predictable, yes, but still good? Yes!

While I really did enjoy this book, there was one aspect that did kind of annoy me, and that was, well, the drama. Of course Clem was going through a heck of a lot of trouble and I sympathized with her, but she was oftentimes so melodramatic that for much of the beginning, I thought she did something truly horrible. What she did was bad and she should've known better, sure, but it wasn't this horrendous crime that she should have to spend her entire summer moping around for. It just seemed like the entire time what she did was being spun into something much larger than it actually was.

All in all, UNBREAK MY HEART was just what you look for in a feel-good book: lots of sun, a cute boy, and a girl who heals just in time for a happy ending. The romance was sweet and lovely, and while I did wish the story was perhaps not quite so melodramatic, I still enjoyed it and recommend this to fans of contemporary fiction.

Waiting on Wednesday (69)

This week, I'm waiting on...

Some Quiet Place by Kelsey Sutton. Here's what Goodreads has to say:

Elizabeth Caldwell has perfected the art of pretending to feel emotion, but it’s always a lie. After a near-fatal car accident when she was a small child, Elizabeth lost the ability to feel any emotion, but along with that loss she gained bizarre abilities: she can see the personified Emotions she cannot feel. Fury, Resentment, Longing—they’ve all given up on her, because she doesn’t succumb to their touch. All, that is, save one. Fear. He’s consumed by the mystery of Elizabeth’s past, consumed by her.

And then there are Elizabeth’s cryptic, recurring dreams, in which there’s always love, and there’s always death. Haunted by these dreams, Elizabeth paints them, knowing that they somehow hold the key to the mystery of her past.

But a shadowy menace is stalking Elizabeth. Her survival depends on uncovering the truth about herself. And when it matters most, she won’t be able to rely on Fear to save her.