Friday, July 5, 2013

Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Publishing Date: February 26, 2013

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Pages: 325 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 5/5

Summary (From Goodreads):

"Bono met his wife in high school," Park says. 
"So did Jerry Lee Lewis," Eleanor answers. 
"I’m not kidding," he says. 
"You should be," she says, "we’re sixteen." 
"What about Romeo and Juliet?" 
"Shallow, confused, then dead." 
''I love you," Park says. 
"Wherefore art thou," Eleanor answers. 
"I’m not kidding," he says. 
"You should be." 

 Set over the course of one school year in 1986, Eleanor and Park is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.

I am far beyond astounded by this book.

I can not put into words all the things I have felt, and, my gosh, the tears I have cried due to Eleanor & Park.

Ever since reading The Fault in Our Stars, I've been longing to read more contemporary fiction.  So, when I saw how much all my friends and several of my favorite authors had all been saying how awesome Eleanor & Park was, I decided I'd read it next.

I figured, considering the fact that the last contemporary book I read was all about a girl who had cancer, that Eleanor & Park would be a cute, lighthearted read in comparison.  Little did I know.

This book is filled to the brim with emotion.  Gallons of it.  Rivers of it.  Oceans of it.  Not a page went by that I was not thoroughly enthralled by the beauty or the reality of this book.  I read the entire book in a single day because I simply refused to put it down.

Rainbow Rowell beautifully tells a love story that is so simple, and yet somehow unlike any other.  It's something seen a million times before, and yet, never seen quite like this.  It's heartbreakingly beautiful.

And, even though you may cry more than you think it should be possible to cry over a book, you won't want to take it back.  Something about this book, charming and touching as it is, will gain a special place in your heart.  Something you won't want to let go of.

And isn't that the whole point of a book? To add a little something to each and every person who reads it? I think Eleanor & Park definitely added something beautiful to me, and it's something I'm glad to have.

Favorite Quote:
"Eleanor was right.  She never looked nice.  She looked like art, and art wasn't supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something."

Peace out, Girl Scouts,

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Review: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Review: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Publishing Date: October 25, 2010

Publisher: Harper

Pages: 470 (Paperback)

My Rating: 4/5

Summary (From Goodreads):

What if you only had one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

 Samantha Kingston has it all: looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it turns out to be her last.

 The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. Living the last day of her life seven times during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.

I'm not quite sure what to do about this review.

It's funny, as soon as I finished reading the book, I had so much to say, so many thoughts to convey.  I was two people all at once: the busy-bee inside of me was thinking of all the things I could include in my review, every single feeling I had and why I felt that way.  I was bursting at the seams with thoughts and emotions that I had to let out.  And then there was the calm side of me, that just sat for about 15 minutes (yes, there were tears) and listened to my heartbeat.  I was amazed at how alive I was,  how beautiful it was to just be.  

So, as I start this review, I have one million things to say, but absolutely no idea how to say them.

War between the two sides of me.

I suppose I'll start with the fact that things have more than a surface-level meaning, and how well Before I Fall conveys that.  For the first half of this book (if not more), I hated it.  I hated everything about it.  I loathed the self-obsessed main character (Sam Kingston), I loathed her friends' (and her own) lack of morality, and I thought it was nothing more than another stupid, "teen-y", idiotic book that makes it look okay to party and do drugs and have sex as much as you want.  I had basically already written the hate-review in my head.

And then I got farther in.  I realized that this book was not glorifying immorality, but rather using it to represent mistakes.  Big mistakes, small mistakes, stupid mistakes, all those stupid things we humans do. The mistakes that come back to bite you in the butt.  And that's exactly what happened: it bit Sam in the butt.  If she hadn't been doing what she'd been doing, she never would have been in a position where she was going to die anyway.  

But it didn't just make it seem like humans should never make mistakes and that we're awful beings if we do mess-up.  It showed that you have to learn from mistakes.  You have to pick yourself up again when you fall, and you have to learn to do it right.  Even if it takes you a thousand tries.  You have to learn.  

So is there content that I most definitely don't agree with in this book? Yes.  But I think that Lauren Oliver used it to show that just because we mess up doesn't mean that things can never be right again.  Doesn't mean that things can never be beautiful again.  Sure, it might not (and probably won't) be easy, but there's always a way to come back from your worst nightmare.

Another thing this book beautifully depicts is that there can't just be bad or good in life.  There can't just be white and black.  Sure, individual actions can be right or wrong, but life? No, life is a complete mix of the beautiful and the horrible.  On her best days, Sam still managed to mess something up.  On her worst days, she still managed to find at least a shred of goodness within her.  Nothing is white and black in life, and nothing is white and black about people.  

So, my feelings for this book are kind of in a jumble.  I'm sure I could have waited a couple of hours, or even days, to write this review, and I'm sure it would have been much clearer.  But, if Before I Fall taught me one thing, it's that you can look back on a moment and remember it.  You can summarize your feelings, or maybe even feel them again.  But you'll never be in that specific moment ever again.  So I wrote this review in the moment, writing how I feel right here, right now.

You guys, go enjoy your own moments. 

Peace out, girl scouts.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Review: A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers

Review: A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers

 Publishing Date: February 18, 1998 (First published 1993)

Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers

Pages: 520 (Paperback)

Rating: 5/5

Summary (From Goodreads):

Torn by her love for a handsome aristocrat, a young slave girl clings to her faith in the living God for deliverance from the forces of decadent Rome.

I honestly have no idea how to respond to that.

Never had  I read such an emotionally-involved and beautifully articulated story as this one.

This story takes place a few years after Christ's death, set mostly in Rome.  Somehow, Francine has managed to create one of the most beautiful stories I have ever read in my life.

A Voice in the Wind is one of those stories where you get overly-attached to the characters, and you've absolutely no idea why.  With the exception of Hadassah.  With Hadassah, you absolutely know why you love her.

Hadassah is probably the sweetest, most beautiful woman whom I've ever read about.  Her faith is miles beyond any I've ever seen, and she serves with true love all those whom she is around.

This book as a whole pushed my faith to its limits, challenging me to serve more, to love more, and to be all that I can be.  I'd encourage anyone and everyone to read this, for all that is has within its pages.  This is one of those books that has forever changed my perception of life.  I believe that it will be one of those books that I look back on and say, "Part of the reason I am the person that I am is because I read that book."

This book is a challenge to everyone's faith, from the unbeliever to the strongest of Christians.

So, I'll close with quote:
"Unless we have something worth dying for, Atretes, we've nothing worth living for."

Peace out, Girl Scouts,

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Review: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Review: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Publishing Date: May 10, 2011 (first published 1999)

Publisher: Square Fish

Pages: 214 (Paperback)

Summary (From back cover):

Melinda Sordino's freshman year is off to a horrible start.  She busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops, and now her friends- and even strangers- all hate her.

Months pass and things aren't getting better.  She's a pariah.  The lowest of the low.  Avoided by everyone.  But eventually, she'll reveal what happened at the party.  And when she finally speaks the truth, everything will change.

I'm not really sure how I feel about Speak.  In my opinion, it was very middle of the road.  Not too great, but also not bad at all.

There were some things about this book that were absolutely beautiful.  Times when Laurie seemed to stun me with her eloquence or her observation of something so often dismissed or not thought of.

Other times, however, I was left just sort of facepalming.

I will give her this, however, that Speak is perhaps one of the most accurate portrayals of a high school that I've ever seen in my life.  Often, high schools are either WAY overplayed on the strictness/ how they work, or WAY underplayed.  This version wasn't quite perfect, but man, it was close.  I was seriously impressed with the accuracy of her portrayal.

Speak was a good book, but not the best.  Other than what I've already mentioned, I don't really have anything bad or good to say about Speak.  It was not a waste of time, but I also would not put it at the top of my to-read list.

Rating: 3/5

Favorite Quote: "You have to know what you stand for, not just what you stand against."

Peace out, Girl Scouts!

(Note- This is my OPINION.  I know tons of people who really liked this book, so if you think you'd be interested, I'd go ahead and suggest that you check it out.  I didn't think it was a poorly-written book.  It just wasn't one of my favorites.)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Publishing Date: January 10, 2012

Publisher: Dutton Books

Pages: 368 (Hardcover)

Summary (From Goodreads):

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.

 Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

 Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

I've been wanting to write this review for a long time.  There's so much to say, but it's almost impossible to say it.  I've tried to make myself just sit down and do it.  Get it done.  Rip it off like a band-aid.  But each time, I just couldn't find the words.  Or, at least, the right words.  I think I've finally found them though.

Love is not entirely composed of happy things.  If it were, what would love be at all? When people think of love, it is usually in that ooshy-gushy, holding hands, iwillloveyouforeverandever, type thing. But love is made up of more than that.  Love is made up of more than just happiness.

Love can be made up by dreary things, sad things, things that cause countelss emotions.  Sure, happy things are a part of love, but they are not love in its entirety.  Love can be for something melancholy or gloomy, like a rainy day.  Love can be the hard things in life, like rough days that somehow make you stronger.  The days that, in the end, push you harder and make you grateful.  That is why a heart-breaking, emotional, tear-jerking story such as this one can even be described as love, and can be described as something completely beautiful.

This is the story of cancer patient, Hazel Lancaster.  She grew up knowing that she was going to die.  She constantly stays tethered to an oxygen tank, and hasn't really had many true friends since she was diagnosed.

Until she meets Augustus Waters.   A cancer survivor himself,  something about Hazel catches his eye when they see each other at a "Cancer Support Group" meeting.  He asks her to come see a movie at his house with him, and that is the beginning of everything.

These characters are some of my favorites, possibly ever.  As opposed to a strong, kick-butt, dystopian female who can do everything for herself, Hazel is quite dependent on others.  But she is still strong.  Stronger than I've ever been, at least.  She finds a way to maintain her independence and her own opinion, even when everyone else tells her she can't.  Even the knowledge that she's dying won't let her stop living.

And Augustus Waters.  Oh, Augustus Waters.  What can I say? He's a great person.  Absolutley beautiful.  I don't really know what to say about him.  You can just read about him.  I don't think I could find any words that accurately describe him.  He's just his own person.  The only words to desrcibe him are Augustus Waters.

I'll admit, for a long time, I didn't really want to read this book.  I was worried that I would go into it with high expectations and it wouldn't live up to what everyone else claimed it was.  In additon, I rarely read contemporary.  I like to stick with dystopia, urban fantasy, medieval fiction, etc.  Mainly, fiction with a good bit of action in it.  So, this book had no general appeal to me.

About a month ago, though, I saw my best friend put up a review for this book.  She gave it five stars and went on about how good and emotional it was.  So, I decided it was worth a shot.  Little did I know what I was walking into.

I've never cried over a book like I have for The Fault in our Stars.  I've cried hard, but not like this.  This was sheer, raw emotion.  It was one of the most beautiful things I've ever read, which makes it hard to talk about.  It cuts deep into you, reaching into emotions buried so deeply inside, you barely knew you had them at all.  It touches a part of us that we all fear, a part of our hearts that is innate in nearly every human.

So, what can I say?  Read the book.

Favorite Quote: “My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations.” 

Rating: 5/5

Peace out, Girl Scouts,

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Review: Delirium Stories by Lauren Oliver

Review: Delirium Stories by Lauren Oliver

Publishing Date: March 5, 2013

Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: 208 (Paperback)

My Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads):

For the first time, Lauren Oliver's short stories about characters in the Delirium world appear in print. Originally published as digital novellas, Hana, Annabel, and Raven each center around a fascinating and complex character who adds important information to the series and gives it greater depth. This collection also includes an excerpt from Requiem, the final novel in Oliver's New York Times bestselling series.

 Hana is told through the perspective of Lena's best friend, Hana Tate. Set during the tumultuous summer before Lena and Hana are supposed to be cured, this story is a poignant and revealing look at a moment when the girls' paths diverge and their futures are altered forever.

 Lena's mother, Annabel, has always been a mystery--a ghost from Lena's past--until now. Her journey from teenage runaway to prisoner of the state is a taut, gripping narrative that expands the Delirium world and illuminates events--and Lena--through a new point of view.

 And as the passionate, fierce leader of a rebel group in the Wilds, Raven plays an integral role in the resistance effort and comes into Lena's life at a crucial time. Crackling with intensity, Raven is a brilliant story told in the voice of one of the strongest and most tenacious characters in the Delirium world.

Ok, so as far as who should read this, I seriously would not suggest reading these stories (except for Hana) if you have not already read Delirium and Pandemonium.  Otherwise, you should be fine.  I'll split this review up into each individual story, so this will be a 3-part review.

This is the first of the novellas that Lauren published, and I've been dying to read it ever since it came out.  I do not have an e-reader, though, so I restrained myself (I could not contain my excitement when they decided to publish all the stories in one paperback).

In Requiem, we get to see life from Hana's point of view.  In Requiem, however, Hana has already been cured.  So, even though it is extremely interesting to see life from a cured's POV, I've always wanted to see something from Hana's POV before she was cured.  And Hana offers us a glimpse into her mind that last summer she spent with Lena.

I'd say that of the 3 stories, Hana was the least mind-numbing, and yet still, it was entirely emotionally involved.

WELL.  Let's just say, have the tissues and a pint of your favorite ice cream ready.

This tells the story of Lena's mother as a teenager before they attempted to cure her, and also from her point of view in the crypts.

I never really liked Lena's mother in the primary works of the Delirium trilogy.  She seemed so distant, and almost abandoning of Lena.  And this story completely changes things.  You finally see her motives, her thoughts, and all that she's been through.  And I now think an entire series should be written just from Annabel's POV.

And... well... *sob*.


Raven's story was by far my favorite.  I think, after just having read Annabel, I was still totally wrapped up in her story, and completely expecting Raven to be a drag.  As much as I've always wanted to see something from Raven's POV, I still was not expecting it to be that good.  Little did I know.

Pretty much, this is all I can say about Raven:

So, if you're a Delirium fan, and you were thinking of skipping over these novellas just because you think that they won't add much to the story or that they will be a waste of time: DON'T.  It's worth every penny.  I promise.

Peace out Girl Scouts,

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Review: Prodigy by Marie Lu

Review: Prodigy by Marie Lu

Publishing Date: January 29, 2013

Publisher: Putnam Juvenile

Pages: 371 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 2 of 5 stars

Summary (From Goodreads): 

June and Day arrive in Vegas just as the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo dies, and his son Anden takes his place. With the Republic edging closer to chaos, the two join a group of Patriot rebels eager to help Day rescue his brother and offer passage to the Colonies. They have only one request—June and Day must assassinate the new Elector.

 It’s their chance to change the nation, to give voice to a people silenced for too long.

 But as June realizes this Elector is nothing like his father, she’s haunted by the choice ahead. What if Anden is a new beginning? What if revolution must be more than loss and vengeance, anger and blood—what if the Patriots are wrong?

Warning- If you have not read Legend, the first book in the trilogy, there may be a few spoilers in this review.  Sorry guys. I'll start reading some first installments or stand-alones soon, I promise!

My expectations for Prodigy were sky high.  I expected this to be an awesome, adrenaline-filled, emotional, blow-it-out-of-the-park book.  Unfortunately, however, Prodigy met absolutely none of my standards.

First things first though: THERE IS HOPE.  At the end, I got somewhat emotionally involved (for the first time in the entire book), so it's possible that Champion (book 3) could be a complete mind-numbing blowout of a book.  Prodigy just didn't happen to be in my case.

For starters, Prodigy had the worst case of Bridge Book (basically Middle Child Syndrome for books) that I have seen in quite some time.  I've seen authors make their bridge books absolutely awesome before, but on average, most middle books in a series are exactly what the name implies: a bridge from the first book to the last book.  Prodigy was definitely one of them.  It just lacked emotion on my part.

Also, June seriously got on my nerves this time.  And she might have been likable, if Marie Lu had not written EVERY FLITTING THOUGHT THAT WENT THROUGH HER MIND.  I understand, you want to make a point that June pays attention to detail.  But I also do not need, or want, to know every little piece of information around her.  I do not care if "Ninety-two seconds later, we stop before a set of wide glass doors.  Then someone scans a thin card (about three by five inches large, black, with a reflective sheen and a gold Republic seal logo in one corner) across the entry screen."  Especially if that card had absolutely zero relevance to the scene.  I'm not recreating it.  I do not need its dimensions or its every single little detail.

She also keeps up with time on an inhuman level.  Not merely to the minute, but to the second.  NO ONE IN REAL LIFE KNOWS THAT IT'S BEEN EXACTLY 92 SECONDS THEY'VE BEEN WALKING DOWN A CORRIDOR. In Legend, June seemed very elite, but still human.  In Prodigy, however, she took on very robotic characteristics, and it got quite annoying.  Marie made it out to be that June had virtually no weaknesses.  Frankly, I can't stand a main character who knows and can do everything.  And that's more or less what June became in this book.

Moving away from June, let's talk about the dialect.  I normally never get mad at authors for putting dialect into their stories.  It has to be seriously bad for me to get annoyed.  But.  Marie did not use slang or dialect (to my recollection) in Legend, but she chose to in Prodigy.  Which seriously bugs me.  It would be fine if they were set years apart.  But there is only a week or two between the end of Legend and the beginning of Prodigy.  DIALECT AND SLANG DO NOT CHANGE IN THE COURSE OF TWO WEEKS.  She didn't even mildly work it in.  She added the word "..., yeah?" to the end of almost every. single. sentence.  And she made up a word, goddy, which she also proceeded to use at least 50 (or more) times in the novel.  I am all for an author using dialect or slang, but only if it is executed well.

In addition to all of that, the writing also felt somewhat childish to me.  There were several times that I though, "There is no way that an adult woman was writing this." Many parts of the book were ridiculous, irrational, or implausible.

Finally, the lack of emotional connection seriously irked me.  In several parts of this story, I felt like I was simply reading words on a page rather than being completely immersed in a story.  Any time there were serious moments, I had an urge to laugh.  I'm normally a person who gets emotionally involved in a book pretty easily.  But this book was so cheesy that I laughed through over half of the scenes that were supposed to come off as emotional or intense.

There were several moments when you could tell that Marie Lu was attempting to give the audience a good scare or to blow their minds.  But most of those moments were either super-predictable, or just kind of, "eh." Any time she was shooting for extreme emotion, I found myself with a severe lack of reaction.

So.  To say that I was disappointed with Prodigy is an understatement.  I expected so much from this book, and it certainly did not come to par in my opinion.  I've read several reviews of friends who liked it, but it just really irked me. I am a very detail-oriented person, and I feel like the details just weren't really thought about in this installment.  I will still most certainly read Champion, because I think Marie could pull off an awesome book if she writes as well as she did with Legend.  So, I'm crossing my fingers that Champion is the best book of them all, and hopefully the series can only go upward from this point.

Peace out, Girl Scouts,

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday (#4)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme held by The Broke and Bookish that asks readers to tell their top ten picks for the given list each week.

This week's topic: Top Ten books I HAD to buy, but are still sitting on my shelf unread

I don't really have a ton of these, but I do have enough unread classics laying around that someone should probably shoot me for my negligence.

1. The Riddle by Alison Croggon- I read the first in this series, The Naming, dying because I loved it so much, and still have never gotten around to reading the next one.
2. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen- I absolutely loved Pride and Prejudice.  When I finished reading it, slightly less than a year ago, I immediately had to start Sense and Sensibility.  I bought it, made it about 10 pages through, then quit because I was bored.  I still haven't gotten around to reading it.
3. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte- Sorry, guys.  I was on a British lit kick when I bought all this stuff. But I had just seen the movie (my parents got it for me for Christmas), and so of course, I had to read the book! But I never got around to it.
4. The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart- Ok, so in addition to British lit, I had a pretty big interest-in-King-Arthur kick when I saw some documentary or movie or something about him on History channel.  I can't really remember what it was that I saw, but I immediately had to go out and by a book on King Arthur.  What did it do, however? It sat on my shelf.  And it's been sitting there since a summer or two ago.  I feel kind of bad for it.
5. The Two Towers/ The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien- Oh, this is by far the worst.  I hide my face in shame at the fact that I haven't read these yet.  I read the first book, and it took me an eternity to do so, and so I just never started the second two.  They're still sitting on my shelf, begging for me to read them.  I really need to get to that.

Ok, so that is my list of bookish shame.  What about you guys?

Peace out Girl Scouts,

Monday, March 18, 2013

Review: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Review: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Publishing Date: February 5, 2013

Publisher: Fiewel and Friends

Pages: 452 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads):  *Warning- there will be some major spoilers in the snippet if you have not read the first book in the series, Cinder.  I'm not really touching on Cinder's p.o.v. in Scarlet in this review, though, so it's still safe and spoiler-free :)  Just skip to the bottom of the dotted lines.  

The fates of Cinder and Scarlet collide as a Lunar threat spreads across the Earth...

 Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She's trying to break out of prison- even though if she succeeds, she'll be the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive.

 Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother's whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder.

Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

This is no average "Little Red Riding Hood" story.  No, in this tale, Little Red exchanges her riding hood for a red hoodie, and her somewhat childish name for a more feminine and "grown-up" version, Scarlet. This time, when Grandma goes missing, Scarlet pulls out the guns.  She will leave no stone un-turned until she finds her grandmother.  And in this tale, Scarlet chances upon an entirely different kind of wolf.

Set in futuristic France, Scarlet and her grandmother have been farmers for as long as she can remember.  She has lived with her grandmother since she was a little girl, and has barely spent any time away from her ever since she moved in.


One day, her grandmother disappears.  And Scarlet can't find her for weeks.  She has to keep up with the farm while she searches, though, so she has to trust the authorities to search while she keeps farming and dealing with clients.

Soon, on a delivery, Scarlet meets a very interesting person.  A street fighter named Wolf.  And thus began her adventures, along with an entirely new type of danger entering her life.  But she won't give up.  Not until she finds her grandmother.

Scarlet is a feisty chick.  She won't let someone tell her what she can and cannot do.  She knows what she wants, and she's not going to stop until she gets it.  She's a kick-butt heroine, and there's no way anyone but herself will define her.

Wolf.  Oh my goodness, Wolf.  I'd say he's pretty much unlike any male protagonist I've read in my life, ever.  Just... *swoon*.  He's there for Scarlet when she needs him, but he knows that she is strong enough to stand on her own.  He is strong, but not prideful.  He is caring, but careful to keep control of his emotions.  Wolf has his faults, like everyone else, but rather than not acknowledging them or even taking pride in them, he works to overcome them.  He pushes to be the best he can be.

There are some books that you must take in slowly.  Reading carefully, calmly, and making sure you really understand a sentence or paragraph before you move on.  Other books, you can read at a steady pace, happy and always moving forward, but stopping to smell the roses along the way.  Some books, however, you must devour.  You slip a toe into the water, only to discover that you're being pulled into the deep by a violent tide.  Scarlet is one of those books.

I began slowly, trying to ration out a certain amount of chapters or pages per day.  But no.  Once I began, I couldn't help myself.  I was constantly reading, caught up in the non-stop action.  It's a book that will leave you wondering where the time went, why it all went by so fast.  But it's beautiful, and you'll love it anyway.  It's worth every second of reading.  For every ounce of expectation you have after reading Cinder, it spits back tenfold the amount of emotion.

Favorite quote from the book:
"But her grandmother had never suggested she could think the same of Scarlet.  You'll be fine, she always said after a skinned knee, a broken arm, after her first youthful heartbreak.  You'll be fine, because you're strong, like me."

Peace out, Girl Scouts,

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Review: Requiem by Lauren Oliver

Review: Requiem by Lauren Oliver

Publishing Date: March 5, 2013

Publisher: HarperCollins

Pages: 391 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): 

They have tried to squeeze us out, to stamp us into the past.
 But we are still here.
And there are more of us every day.

 Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight.

 After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancĂ©e of the young mayor.

 Maybe we are driven crazy by our feelings. Maybe love is a disease, and we would be better off without it. But we have chosen a different road. And in the end, that is the point of escaping the cure: We are free to choose.
 We are even free to choose the wrong thing.

WARNING: If you have not read the first two books in this trilogy, Delirium and Pandemonium, there WILL be spoilers in this review for those books.  

Now, on with the review.

Oh, how it hurts me to know that this is the final installment of the Delirium series.

But what goes up what must come down, just as what begins must end.  Even if it's beautiful.

Delirium holds the mark of a truly good book, in that it connects with you.  It connects with every piece of you, and you feel like you're there.  Like you're a part of it.  Like you're in love.  Like you're hurt.  Like you're scared.  I still strongly think that Alex is my first love. Because he is.  This story became a part of me, a part of my emotions.  It is by no means an average book.

Delirium, Pandemonium, and Requiem flow seamlessly.  They are set in a futuristic America where love is considered to be a disease known as the Deliria.  There is a cure administered to all citizens above the age of 18 that eradicates love from the recipient's mind.  There are boundaries, curfews, laws, and walls in this America.  Things to keep people safe.  To keep them from the Deliria.

Lena Haloway is the main character in this series.  She is an average, rule-following girl.  And then she catches the Deliria.  And everything changes.  She falls in love, and these books are her story.

Book 1.
This is the beginning.  The easy, beautiful, painless beginning.  It eases you into the series.  Sweeps you off your feet.  Makes you fall in love.  It draws you in.

Book 2.
This book begins with hurt, pain, and a bitterness that almost creeps into yourself.  But it begins to build you back up.  You begin to love the characters again, even if you thought you never would, after Delirium.  Slowly, but surely, you fall in love with the characters all over again.

Book 3.
The heartbreak that this book begins with is nearly unbearable.  The most awful, terrifying choice lies before Lena, and it breaks your own heart nearly as much as it is breaking hers.  It makes it unbearable to put the book down.  You are left reading for hours on end, dying to know what happens in the end, yet still willing the book to last forever because you don't want the story to stop.

Requiem is beautiful.  Not merely for the fact that people chose to love even when love seemed so impossible, but also for the fact that people chose to stand up.  They didn't let corrupt leaders control them.  They stood up for what they believed in.

Even though this book seems to be focused on love, it's really about so much more than that.  It's focused on everything that's worth fighting for.  The Delirium series, and especially Requiem, shouts a message to the world.  It screams that there cannot be freedom without responsibility, there isn't health without pain, and there can never be love without choice.  If you're going to fight for something, make it something worthwhile.  Something you believe in.  Something good.  And give it all you have.

Favorite quote from the book:
"This is what amazes me: that people are new every day.  That they are never the same.  You must always invent them, and they must always invent themselves, too." 

P. S. - After you read the book, if you're looking for a really good tear-jerker, you can read Lauren Oliver's goodbye letter to Lena here.

Love you guys,

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Back from Living Under a Rock.



Sorry I've been such a blogging jerk for the past 3 weeks.  I've totally ignored all notifications, comments, and friends' blog posts.

So, basically, I've been gone from the blogosphere for about 3 weeks straight.

Ok, so, long story short, I got the flu (week 1), then I got behind in school and had not time to read or blog until I got caught up (week 2 and 3).

But I'm back! And finally reading again.  It's quite nice.  :)

So, anyway, I am currently devouring Scarlet by Marissa Meyer, and should have a review up by next weekend at the latest.

Guys.  It's so good.  I can't even describe.  Feels.

Anyways, so glad to be back.  I missed you guys a ton.

Love you all!

Peace out girl scouts!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Review: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Review: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Publishing Date: September 20, 2011

Publisher: Greenwillow

Pages: 423 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads)

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.

Every book I read leaves an impact in some way or another on my life.  Some mediocre.  Some bad.  Some good.  Some thought-provoking.  Some light-hearted.  Some inspiring. 

Every once in a while, though, a book comes along that blows away all the others.  A book that makes you laugh, makes you scream, makes you cry, makes you vomit from heart-brokenness, makes you die a little bit on the inside, makes you happy, makes you sad, makes you scared, makes you angry, and makes you fall in love.

The Girl of Fire and Thorns is one of those books.

Many books have made me cry, even if just a little, over the course of my life.  I've read exactly three books, however, that have evoked enough emotion to force me to curl up into the fetal position in my closet and bawl for 20 (or more) minutes, shaking from head to toe. 

The first- Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
The second- Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
The third- The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

I could say so much about any of these books.  I could talk about how the characters are emotionally-attaching, or how they’re strong, or how heartbroken they leave you.  I could talk about how well-written they are, or how wonderful the plot is.  But, in all honesty, these books evoke so much emotion, that there’s no way to describe them other than for you to experience it yourself.

So, this review is going to be short and sweet, because I just don’t have much to say. Or rather, I have far too much to say, and I can't possibly fit it all into one post.

One of my favorite quotes from the book:
"The beauty of the night sky offers strange comfort. It is unchanging.  Immune to the wars of this world.  Something to count on."

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday (#3)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme held by The Broke and Bookish that asks readers to tell their top ten picks for the given list each week.

This week's topic: Top Ten 2013 Debuts I'm Looking Forward To

EEP.  I'm super excited about this one.  There are soooo many books that are coming out this year that I've been waiting ages for.

1. Requiem by Lauren Oliver- Oh gosh.  Emotions.  Feels.  Cannot contain.  Too much.

2. Prodigy by Marie Lu- OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG.  I CAN'T WAIT FOR THIS ONE.  I'm so excited.

3. Detergent by Veronica Roth- JK, that's not the real title.  But that's what her fans jokingly call the third novel that is hopefully going to come out late this year.  But seriously, I'm stoked for this book.

4. Just One Day by Gayle Foreman- I normally don't read a ton of stuff like this, but this book actually looks really interesting to me.  It came out late last week (still technically a 2013 release), but I haven't had time to pick it up yet.  I can't wait!

5. Mind Games by Kiersten White- I've actually already posted this as a "Waiting-On-Wednesday", and for those of you who have been around long enough to see that post, you understand just how much I cannot wait for this book.  So.  Stinking. Pumped.

6. Taken by Erin Bowman- I think this one could be good or bad.  But I'm pulling for good.  Hopefully I'll like it a lot!

7. (Oh no! We're getting closer to the end of the list!) The Ward by Jordana Frankel- Gotta love some good old dystopian. ;) 

8. Poison by Bridget Zinn- Looks like it could be a pretty good story!

9. Options by Abbi Glines- I think the cover's pretty interesting on this one.  Not much of a blurb so far, but it sounds pretty cool.  I definitely can't wait until they come out with a little more info on it or I start seeing reviews!

10. Last, but definitely not least, Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier! I just finished reading Ruby Red, the first book in the trilogy, and plan to read Sapphire Blue, the next book as soon as possible! If all goes well with the second book, I'm sure I won't be able to wait for book three!  Plus... just look at the cover.

So, those are my top 10 cannot-wait-for releases of 2013! What about you guys?

Peace out Girl Scouts!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Publishing Date: January 3, 2012

Publisher: Feiwell & Friends

Pages: 390 (Paperback)

My Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads) 

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . . 

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Oh, Cinder.

My heart? Yeah.  That's not there anymore.  It's gone.  Torn to shreds.  Thanks to you.

So, seriously.  Growing up, Cinderella was always my favorite princess (except, I was always pretty jealous of Belle's library.  I mean come on.  Look at it.)

But, aside from the library in Beauty and the Beast, growing up, Cinderella was always my favorite.  I just loved the idea of a rags to riches story, and I loved how Cinderella was sweet and kind and it payed off for her in the end, no matter how unlikely it was.  I mean seriously, if the GRIMM BROTHERS will give Cinderella a happy ending, this girl clearly deserves a happy ending.  They weren't exactly known for kindness in their fairy tales.

But, this wasn't quite the case in Cinder.

Instead of befriending little forest creatures, Cinder in our story befriends androids.  She is New Beijing's best mechanic.  She is a cyborg, and many of the normal humans look down on her because of that.  She is treated as second rate.  It reminded me very much of racial prejudices that existed in America between whites and blacks a few decades ago.

Anyhow, Cinder has a lot against her.  She's "down-and-out".  I love underdogs.  Because, typically, there's so much more to them than there is to someone who seems to have everything or to be winning.

One day, Prince Kai, son of the emperor, stops by Cinder's kiosk in the market asking for some help with his android.  This proves to be merely the beginning of her adventures.  You see, there's something very unique about Cinder, which I won't give away for spoilers' sake.  But she becomes a rather high point of interest over at the castle for more than a couple of reasons.

Don't even let me start on Kai.  Oh, I could gush on him for hours.  He is sweet, kind, handsome, responsible, and he cares for his country.  Let's just go ahead and add him to my list of book boyfriends.  Pretty high up there, at that.

Cinder is sweet, obedient, and kind.  She thinks of others before herself, and does what's best for the people she cares about.  She deserves the world, just like the classic Cinderella.

As the story moves on, things seem to be getting better for Cinder.  And then boom, Marissa Meyer decides to tear my heart to shreds.  Oh my gosh.  The emotions.  I can't even put into words.  That ending.  I'm still crying on the inside.

When I picked up this book, I wasn't expecting much at all.  I was expecting a four-star-at-best, happy, fun, Cinderella story.  But no. WARNING:  THIS BOOK WILL KILL YOU INSIDE. But you'll love it anyway.  It was so amazing, so emotionally-attaching and heartfelt, and I know that it's going to be on my mind for quite some time.  I am ever-so-eagerly awaiting the sequel, Scarlet, that comes out in (EEP) less than a month.

So, is this novel real? Not at all.  The emotional damage? VERY. VERY. REAL.

Favorite quote from the book:
"Even in the future, the story begins with Once Upon a Time."

Peace out Girl Scouts!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Review: Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

Review: Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

Publishing date: May 22, 2012 (first published January 6, 2009)

Publisher: Square Fish

Pages: 352 (Paperback)

My rating: 3.5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!

Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon—the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.



I don't really have much to say about this book.  There's just nothing that stellar about it.  Is it bad? No, not at all.  But is it great? Definitely not.

I'd say that this entire book was setting up for the rest of the series.  Because of that, however, it felt like over the course of first 330 pages (out of 352), absolutely nothing happened.  Nothing.

Because Gwen, the main character, has never been prepared at all for time travel, the first few scenes where her time travel is uncontrolled were pretty interesting.  But other than that, I'd say that the whole book was leading up to the end.  Nothing really got exciting.  

Actually, until the last two chapters, I was dead set on giving this book 3 stars, mainly because it was so cliche, average, and predictable.  The end however, in my opinion, should have been the climax of the first book.  She shouldn't have ended it there, as it was the first time that I really started to become emotionally invested in the book.  Gier spent way, way too much time on exposition and introduction to the story.  So, when I finally hit the last chapter/epilogue, interesting things began to happen.  This was the only thing that...
             a) gave me hope for the rest of the series
             b) bumped it up another half star.

As far as characters go, Gwen was pretty annoying.  I know that she's new to time travel and all, but she acts like a child 99% of the time.  It was very frustrating for me to have to sit there and watch her figure things out, because often, she was pretty whiny and incredibly slow about it.  Hopefully, in the next book, she'll be less of an amateur to time travel, so she'll have things sorted out a bit more.

Gideon, however, I liked a good bit.  He was pretty annoying at the beginning of the book, as he was extremely arrogant, but as the book progressed, he softened up a little bit and stole my heart.  Even when Gwen was freezing him out (annoying child that she is), he was patient with her, even though it may not have shown on the outside.  Gwen's biggest problem with getting to know him was that she couldn't pick up on his mannerisms very well, so she was always at odds with him.  I'm pretty sure that will get better later though, because towards the end of Ruby Red, they definitely were less angry with each other and more tolerant of one another.  Who knows? We'll see what the rest of the series holds.

So, Ruby Red was a good book, but I wouldn't say that it's much more interesting than your average time travel book.  I do think, however, that the plot could pick up in the next two books, which makes me anxious to read the rest of the series.

Favorite quote from the book: 
“If we were in a film, the villain would turn out to be the least-expected person. But as we aren't in a film, I'd go for the character who tried to strangle you.” (I went for humor this time.  Nothing too deep I picked up on.)

Peace out Girl Scouts!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Review: Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols

Review: Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols

Publishing Date: July 10, 2012

Publisher: MTV Books

Pages: 336

My Rating: Abandoned (0 of 5 stars)

Summary (from Goodreads):
Heaven Beach, South Carolina, is anything but, if you live at the low-rent end of town. All her life, Leah Jones has been the grown-up in her family, while her mother moves from boyfriend to boyfriend, letting any available money slip out of her hands. At school, they may diss Leah as trash, but she’s the one who negotiates with the landlord when the rent’s not paid. At fourteen, she’s the one who gets a job at the nearby airstrip.

But there’s one way Leah can escape reality. Saving every penny she can, she begs quiet Mr. Hall, who runs an aerial banner-advertising business at the airstrip and also offers flight lessons, to take her up just once. Leaving the trailer park far beneath her and swooping out over the sea is a rush greater than anything she’s ever experienced, and when Mr. Hall offers to give her cut-rate flight lessons, she feels ready to touch the sky.

By the time she’s a high school senior, Leah has become a good enough pilot that Mr. Hall offers her a job flying a banner plane. It seems like a dream come true . . . but turns out to be just as fleeting as any dream. Mr. Hall dies suddenly, leaving everything he owned in the hands of his teenage sons: golden boy Alec and adrenaline junkie Grayson. And they’re determined to keep the banner planes flying.

Though Leah has crushed on Grayson for years, she’s leery of getting involved in what now seems like a doomed business—until Grayson betrays her by digging up her worst secret. Holding it over her head, he forces her to fly for secret reasons of his own, reasons involving Alec. Now Leah finds herself drawn into a battle between brothers—and the consequences could be deadly.


Welp.  I'm done.  I've hit my stupid limit for the year.

And it's the first week of January. 

No.  Just no.  Let me put that in Spanish for you:


My philosophy is that a book should always, always, always equal or exceed its cover in awesomeness.  This book did not even come close.

Wow.  This is my first abandoned book.  Ever.  Which is saying a lot.  No matter how much I loathe a book, I usually try to manage through until the end of the novel.

So... now that we have a picture of just how much I did not like this book, let's get to why.

First- Sex references.  They were everywhere.  Not just here and there, not just occasionally, but everywhere.  This is pretty much the main reason that I abandoned the book.  I won't tolerate that.  I kept thinking Okay, this is going to get better in a second. She'll get off of it.  But no.  She'll take breaks sometimes, but the references are the norm, not vice versa.  Seriously, what happened to marriage, or morality for that matter?

Second- Drugs/Cigarettes/Cursing.  Too much of it for my tastes.  There wasn't a ton of cursing, but there was a lot of underage drinking, which I highly disapprove of, as well as some references to drugs other than alcoholic beverages.

Third- Pure Stupidity.  If I wasn't completely disgusted at this book for reasons 1 or 2, then I was either really bored with lack of plot or the sheer stupidity of the story line that did somewhat exist.  The sentence, "Heeeeeeey." was actually in a single conversation 3 times. THREE. TIMES. Just... no.

Fourth- Severe lack of adrenaline/adventure.  When I picked this up, I was thinking, Yay! A story about flying and adrenaline!  But no.  When I did finally make it to a scene where she flies the plane, which took forever to get to, it was entirely boring.  Whatever "danger" she felt she was in, she definitely didn't show it. She may have felt a bit apprehensive, but there was an extreme lack of strong emotion to me.  This book was not even remotely centered on the adrenaline of flying, but rather her whining the entire. time.

So, I sincerely apologize if I just insulted one of your favorite books, but this novel insulted both my morals and my intellect.  I was not going to leave that unsaid.

So, first book of 2013.  Way to kick off the year.  I can safely say that Jennifer Echols and I will not be meeting again.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday (#5)

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that asks bloggers to feature books that they are ever-so-eagerly waiting for.

Top of my to-read list for this week:

Publication Date: January 29, 2013

Snippet from Goodreads:
June and Day arrive in Vegas just as the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo dies, and his son Anden takes his place. With the Republic edging closer to chaos, the two join a group of Patriot rebels eager to help Day rescue his brother and offer passage to the Colonies. They have only one request—June and Day must assassinate the new Elector.

It’s their chance to change the nation, to give voice to a people silenced for too long. 

But as June realizes this Elector is nothing like his father, she’s haunted by the choice ahead. What if Anden is a new beginning? What if revolution must be more than loss and vengeance, anger and blood—what if the Patriots are wrong?

EEEEP.  Guys.  I'm so excited.  There is LESS THAN A MONTH left until Prodigy comes out.  Ah, I thought I'd never see the day.  I'm so excited.  Legend was amazing, and I've been waiting (rather impatiently) since the day I finished it to read Prodigy.  I can't wait to see where Lu is going with this one.

So, what are you guys waiting on this Wednesday?

Peace out Girl Scouts!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday (#2)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme held by The Broke and Bookish that asks readers to tell their top ten picks for the given list each week.

This week's topic: Top Ten Books I Resolve to Read in 2013

Happy New Years everyone!  I know that sometimes I definitely have books that I really want to read, but never end up getting to.  These are the top ten books that I seriously don't want to forget this year.

1. The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson-  I've been wanting to read this book for ages.  My best friend recommended it to me forever ago (I think it was around March-ish 2012) and I just never really got around to reading it.

2. Wither by Lauren DeStefano- another one I've been meaning to read for quite a while.

3. Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brian- I've heard this series is great and can't wait to read it.

4. Enclave by Ann Aguirre- Well, for those of you who do not know, I write a pretty good bit.  But rarely do I ever stick to a single story line.  I usually abandon most of my novels by Chapter 5, merely because I get tired of writing them, the idea is similar to another book, or I think up something better.  Well, this story kind of piques my interest because my best friend told me that it was very similar to a story that I was writing before.  It made me definitely want to check this book out, and I just haven't yet.

5. Reckless by Cornelia Funke- I loved the Inkheart series and I can't wait to try out some more of her writing.

6. The Two TowersThe Return of the King, and The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien- Well, I think it goes somewhat unsaid that any self respecting reader should read the LOTR series and the Hobbit.  I started and finished The Fellowship of the Ring this year, but set it aside after that to take a breather.  I want to finish these books this year.

7. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi- Yet another one I planned to read ages ago but never got around to.

8. Article 5 by Kristen Simmons- I've heard this book is phenomenal, and I definitely can't wait to see what all they hype is about.

9. Cinder by Marissa Meyer- Growing up, Cinderella was always my favorite princess.  Now, there's a Cinderella story with a YA twist? I'm in.  I've heard it's great and I cannot wait to read this one.

10. Last, but not least of course, is Speechless by Hannah Harrington- I had this book on my TBR list long before it came out, patiently waiting for it, but sadly, it came out after I started this crazy school year and took a small break from reading. Now that I'm back, I definitely can't wait to read it!

So, these are the top 10 for me, but believe me, there are many, many more.  Do you have a top book that you are going to read in 2013?

Peace out Girl Scouts!