Thursday, September 29, 2011

review: Past Perfect

pub date: October 4, 2011
publisher: Simon Pulse
pages: 322
source: Simon and Schuster Galley Grab
format: digital
appeals: contemporary, romance, family, historical reenactment,
content: I don't remember...

This is one of those instances where I read the book over a month ago and just realized that I never wrote the review that I was going to write and that I thought I had written. So, um...yeah, I can't remember details anymore, so here are some broad strokes of what I think I thought way back in August.

I remember that I loved Chelsea. She had such a fun personality. Very easy to read, her story just flowed from one thing into another. I really wanted her to find her place and get what she wanted. I wanted her to succeed.

The plot was fun and wild and so wacky. I laughed out loud on more than one occasion by the situations she found herself in.

I liked the main love interest. Not the ex-boyfriend (blah!), but the crush. I liked him!

There was no pat, perfect, ending. Which is sort of annoying as a reader, but also rather refreshing.

There was a lot of insight in this book, about family, love, and life. You know what I mean? When you read a book and things happen and after these things happen a character will sum up everything they learned in just a few sentences and those few sentences apply to things in life as a whole, not just to that one character. I like books like that.

I loved the setting--two reenactment camps across the street from each other. Which made for a lot of fun.

I'm thinking this might have been a completely pointless review. But, there you have it. I did enjoy this book a lot when I read it. I just wish I remembered more detail.

All Chelsea wants to do this summer is hang out with her best friend, hone her talents as an ice cream connoisseur, and finally get over Ezra, the boy who broke her heart. But when Chelsea shows up for her summer job at Essex Historical Colonial Village (yes, really), it turns out Ezra’s working there too. Which makes moving on and forgetting Ezra a lot more complicated…even when Chelsea starts falling for someone new.

Maybe Chelsea should have known better than to think that a historical reenactment village could help her escape her past. But with Ezra all too present, and her new crush seeming all too off limits, all Chelsea knows is that she’s got a lot to figure out about love. Because those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it…

Friday, September 23, 2011

review: Chain Reaction by Simone Elkeles

pub date: August 16, 2011
publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
pages: 308
source: library
appeals: romance, street fiction, realistic, gangs
content: sex, violence, lots of swearing (lots of it the f-word)

I was excited for this book for such a long time, but in the end I was disappointed. 

1) I felt like it was the same story as Perfect Chemistry and Rules of Attraction. Boy is involved in gang, girl wants to save him. They have a connection with each other that they've never felt with anyone else. Girl sleeps with boy the night before some big gang thing goes down so that he'll have a reason to leave the bad boy life and stay with her. It was great the first time. Okay the second time. The third time all I could say was, Really? What happened to that book rumor I heard at the beginning of the year about the girl being a gang member and Lois trying to get her to leave the bad girl life for him? I miss that book that never was.
 2) This also seemed cornier than the other two. They all, at times, have corny elements and dialog, but this one took the cake. Or should I say cob. (yes, this book was as corny as that joke).

3) I am a reserved person and I hate big scenes in life, I loath them in books. There are two of them in this book. The first was an embarrassing wedding scene where Alex and Brittany have a personal conversation just before being pronounced man and wife. The second was just in front of family, but it was still horribly embarrassing (to me as the reader) and that was between Carlos and Kiara. Both were seriously cringe worthy. And very corny.

4) Content was toooo much. I just wasn't in the mood for all that swearing. Sometimes I can handle it without a problem, but this time it jarred me out of the story.  And the sex in it seemed much more than the other two in the series, though I could be wrong because it has been a while.

On the plus side, it was fun to read about Alex and Britney and Carlos and Kiara. I love the family dynamic. It was also a fun romance, though it would've been more enjoyable if I hadn't felt like I'd read the main plot twice before. All three girls that fall for those trouble-making Fuentes boys, are different and original, which I really love. And the epilogue made me laugh, just like the other ones did.

This is a really harsh review of this book. I feel a little bad about it, but what can I say? I just wasn't feeling the attraction to this story. This is definitely the weaker of the three.

I remember reading an interview with Simone on someone's blog a long while ago (don't remember where or when exactly), and Simone said that the covers are stock photos and in Rule of Attraction she added a bit about kissing between cars so that the cover made sense with the story. Well, I think she did the same with this one. The shower scene in Chain Reaction didn't blend in as well with the plot, it didn't even really matter. It looks a lot sexier on the cover than it actually was. Which isn't really a critism, just an observation.

Luis Fuentes has always been sheltered from the gang violence that nearly destroyed his brothers’ lives. But that didn’t stop him from taking risks—whether he’s scaling a mountain in the Rockies or dreaming of a future as an astronaut, Luis can’t stop looking for the next thrill.

Nikki Cruz lives her life by three rules—boys lie to get their way, don’t trust a boy who says “I love you,” and never date a boy from the south side of Fairfield. Her parents may be from Mexico, but as a doctor’s daughter, she has more in common with her north-side neighbors than the Latino Blood at her school. Then she meets Luis at Alex’s wedding, and suddenly, she’s tempted to break all her rules.

Getting Nikki to take a chance on a southsider is Luis’s biggest challenge, until he finds himself targeted by Chuy Soto, the new head of the Latino Blood. When Chuy reveals a disturbing secret about Luis’s family, the youngest Fuentes finds himself questioning everything he’s ever believed to be true. Will his feelings for Nikki be enough to stop Luis from entering a dark and violent world and permanently living on the edge?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

review: Variant by Robison Wells

pub date: October 4, 2011
publisher: HarperTeen
source: NetGalley
format: digital
appeals: mystery, boarding school, big-brother-is-watching
content: violence, but it's not graphic violence (for the most part)

Wow, wow, wow. What a great, exciting, wonderful novel! I really love this book.

Benson was a very sympathetic character. He was locked in a boarding school with high walls and lots of security. No one had ever escaped and those that try, die. All Benson wanted was to escape. It was his main focus for the whole book. And I am impressed with Wells, because Benson so easily could have become annoying and whiny. But he wasn't. He was focused and proactive and acted towards his goal.

There are a lot of twists in the plot and wow, how I loved them. I just had to keep reading to find out how Benson would handle everything. Maxfield Academy was a very believable environment, with believable teens dealing with their situation in a believable way.  

What makes it better is that Wells is a Utah author! Yay for Utah!

It reminded me of The Maze Runner by James Dashner, but way better. I wasn't a fan of the Maze Runner, but I so totally am a fan of Variant

Benson Fisher thought that a scholarship to Maxfield Academy would be the ticket out of his dead-end life.

He was wrong.

Now he’s trapped in a school that’s surrounded by a razor-wire fence. A school where video cameras monitor his every move. Where there are no adults. Where the kids have split into groups in order to survive.

Where breaking the rules equals death.

But when Benson stumbles upon the school’s real secret, he realizes that playing by the rules could spell a fate worse than death, and that escape—his only real hope for survival—may be impossible.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

cover disgust

no cover lust here...just cover disgust

this book came into the library last week and when I first saw it I thought it was a mash-up.


Ugly Women from Outer Space


Little Women and the Blackhead Epidemic
But no, this is the actual cover for Little Women, the sweet story about sisterly relations by Louisa May Alcott.

I can't figure out what demographic this cover is supposed to appeal to...Cyborgs? It just frightens me.

Monday, September 19, 2011

review: A Web of Air by Philip Reeve

pub date: October 1, 2011
publisher: Scholastic Press
pages: 304
series: Mortal Instruments Prequel #2, or Fever Crumb #2
appeals: Steampunk, future, flight, action, adventure, rationality
content: some violence

This is the second book in the Fever Crumb series, following (obviously) Fever Crumb. And it was great. I have not read the Mortal Instruments books, though I think I might need to. I really love this world. But with my to-read pile, it might be a while...

I enjoyed Fever Crumb, but I liked this one even better. I think. It's been a year since I read Fever Crumb, so it's hard to compare. Anyway, this was a fun and adventurous (and near the end a) very suspenseful book.

What I really love about A Web of Air and it's predecessor is the world. I'm not sure how far into the future these books take place, hundreds at least, but there has been a great Downsizing, and much of the technology and knowledge of our age has been lost. It's fun to see how Reeve changes our world in this future. So inventive and fun to read. The silly play of Naill Strong-Arm flying to the moon, because of course flight isn't possible, and Mad King Elvis of America. It's great stuff.

Fever is a engineer so she is smart and mechanical and very set on being rational in all things, including love. Sometimes that really annoys me, but other times I really like her for it. All of the characters in A Web of Air have depth to them, and there are a lot of surprises on who is doing what and why behind the scenes. Which made for a surprising read.

I am very unsettled about the ending of this book. It's the middle of the trilogy, so of course it leaves me hanging on what is to become of Fever, and I am bugged that it does so. I want a happy ending! And I want it a particular happy ending! And I really need the third book Right Now to find out if I (and Fever) get that happy ending. Sometimes a years seems soooo very faaaaar away.

Two years ago, Fever Crumb escaped the war-torn city of London in a traveling theater. Now, she arrives in the extraordinary city of Mayda, where buildings ascend the cliffs on funicular rails, and a mysterious recluse is building a machine that can fly. Fever is the engineer he needs - but ruthless enemies will kill to possess their secrets.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Back to the Books winner

Hey all,
I completely forgot to pick winners earlier today! Oops. But I did remember before going to bed, so I'm rather impressed with myself. Anyway, with the help of, here are the winners:

US giveaway for Where She Went by Gayle Forman is:

INT giveaway for a $10 book from The Book Depository or a $10 gift card from Amazon is:
Jennifer E

Congrats! I sent an email, so check your inboxes.

Thanks to everyone for stopping by and Welcome New Followers! Also, all you students, good luck getting back into the books.

review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

pub date: September 29, 2011
publisher: Dutton
pages: 338
source: LibraryThing Early Reviewer program
appeals: romance, contemporary, realistic, California,
content: off the page sex, swearing (2 f-word)

I love LibraryThing's early reviewer program because they sent me this book! Yay early reviewer!

I had a difficult time with this book in the beginning. I didn't like the decisions that Lola was making and I was really irritated with her. Mostly I did not like her relationship with her boyfriend, Max. She was 17 while he was 22 and their relationship was very physical. As in they were sleeping together. Ugh. Especially when I knew from the beginning that in the end Lola will be with the boy next door, and not with the older man. It was just...ew. Everything physical was off page, but still too much.

However, it didn't take me long to fall in love with Lola. Even if I didn't like her decisions in the beginning, she was such a sweet and endearing and quirky and original character. I enjoyed being inside her head (except when she was gushing over Max) and I loved how she grew as a person. She really did grow up and I loved tagging along as she did so. 

Cricket. sigh. Cricket. He is SO cute. Everything about his is just awesome. I love his name. I love his style. And I love how he loves Lola. I love how introverted and smart and sweet he is. He is a great love interest. Much better for Lola than the older guy.

Perkins is so fun to read. Her stories flow and are addicting and so funny. I love all her characters, they are fully formed and their emotions are real. I love her settings, too. I really enjoyed San Francisco with Lola and Cricket. And Anna and Etienne. Yes, Anna and Etienne are in the book quite a bit. Much more than I was expecting.

I really like this book. A lot.

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit -- more sparkly, more fun, more wild -- the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket -- a gifted inventor -- steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

Monday, September 5, 2011

review: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

pub date: September 20, 2011
publisher: HarperCollins
pages: 432
source: NetGalley
appeals: fantasy, romance, adventure, magic, religion,
content: violence and war

I loved this book. From the very first page, I was drawn into the story and didn't want to put the book down.

I loved Elisa. Even in the beginning, when she isn't a particularly appealing main character, I still really liked her because I understood her. I understood her fears and why she thought what she thought and did what she did. But as the book went on, I loved her because of her bravery and smarts. I loved how her world view changed. How she changed.

The romance was great. Sudtle and very real. And hopeful. There was also a lot of sadness which made me mad. I didn't want sadness. I was very impressed with the world Carson created. The religion and different perceptions of God from all the different characters was so interesting. I loved the geography of the land. It's varied landscapes and peoples. They felt very real and fully developed. The land was its own character.

My one issue is that I thought it ended too soon. The resolution was too quick. And I'm kind of sad it's a trilogy. I loved Elisa, but now I have to wait knowing there is more to her story. It would've been nice to know this was the end. The story was wrapped up neatly so I'm wondering where it's going to go in the next book.

I'm not a big fan of the cover, but I like it better than the previous cover. The previous cover had a skinny, light-skinned beauty on the front. That wasn't Elisa. So at least this one doesn't give the impression of what isn't.

you should definitely pick up this book!

Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.

Elisa is the chosen one.

But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will.

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And he’s not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.

Most of the chosen do.