Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Swear by Nina Malkin

This is the second, and last, book in the Swoon series. My review of the first book is located here: Swoon.

It's been six months since Dice has seen Sin - ever since he professed his love to Dice, but then mysteriously left after their one night together.

Now, Dice is managing to get by. She is living with one of her friends, Marsh, and has started a band with her bandmates, Duck, Crane, and Tosh. As things become awkward-but-flirty way between Tosh and Dice, Crane goes missing. Marsh, who was dating Crane, thinks it's because he wants to break up with her, but later they find out that Crane was taken!

After Dice and Tosh kiss, Sin automatically appears, brokenhearted that Dice would stop loving Sin. That wasn't the case, but it was how Sin took it and felt devastated over Dice's decision.

Everyone goes on the hunt for Crane, and finds out that he was in another plane - as in, the ghost who lives in his house stole Crane in order to obtain her true prize: Sin.

Antonia has wanted Sin every since she died in the fire, hundreds of years ago. Now, with Crane as collateral, her and Sin are finally going to get married. Sin doesn't want to marry Antonia, but finds no other way in order to save Crane.

Dice realizes that she still loves Sin, so she tries to find a way to stop the marriage. Will Sin and Dice be able to prevent the wedding and be together, or will Dice have to watch Sin devote his life to another? Read Swear to find out!

My Thoughts/Reflections
Honestly? I'm not sure how I feel about this book. The first book, I was on the edge with liking/disliking it. This book didn't change my opinion - I actually think it lead me to the dislike ladder more.

It seemed that there was a lot of stuff crammed into this book. First finding out Sin left, then meeting Tosh, but, oh, no wait, back to Sin reappearing. Then with the disappearances, Antonia, and Dice accepting her magic to be a witch?

It was just too much.

The character developments was better in this novel, though. Other than that, I don't think I would recommend this series to too many people... It wasn't my style at least so, while others may like it, I will be putting this on my back burner for those unusual readers who like magic and mystery.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Swoon by Nina Malkin

Candice, or Dice as her friends call her, moved from New York to a small town in Connecticut: Swoon. Nothing to extraordinary happens there - it's just a small town with families who've known each other their whole lives.

Except one day, Dice's cousin Pen falls from a tree, dies, and is possessed by a revengeful spirit. How can Dice know this? She's somewhat psychic and saw his spirit go into Pen.

Now Dice has to figure out how to get the spirit out of Pen. The problem is, when Dice touches Pen, the spirit (who's name is Sinclair, or Sin for short) comes alive and Dice is falling in love with him.

Dice has a problem falling in love with a boy that is living through her cousin, so Dice and Pen do a exorcism ritual. Instead of getting rid of Sin, Dice accidentally gives Sin his own body.

Now Sin can act on his revenge that he has been waiting to instill for hundreds of years.

How can Dice love such an evil person? Throughout this story, Dice tries to stop Sin from evicting his revenge, while also searching for answers to lay his spirit to rest once and for all.

When Dice and Sin find the answers he's been looking for, will he disappear, becoming a peaceful spirit at rest and leaving Dice broken hearted? Or will he keep trying to find revenge for what had happened? Read Swoon to find out!

My Thoughts/Reflections
This was an interesting novel. For some reason, I couldn't focus on the style of writing that Nina Malkin wrote. It seemed all over for me and I started to drift through a few parts in the novel.

That being said, I loved the storyline. I haven't read a story where the main, swoonworthy guy possesses a...girl! That makes a twist for the girl that falls in love with him.

I liked Dice. A lot. She was mellow, level-headed, and independent. Her parents were never home, she took care of herself and lived alone for most of the week, and she was very loyal to her friends. When Sin was possessing Pen, even though Dice was already falling in love with him, she knew he couldn't keep possessing her because it was wrong, so she picked her family over the boy she loved.

That's loyalty and strength. Good thing it kinda backfired on her and Sin got his own body instead of leaving altogether.

I'm reading the second book in this series, Swear, so I'll see what happens with Sin and Dice after this novel.

Like I said, while this wasn't my favorite novel, I think it's a good read and an interesting storyline. For those who like paranormal and "weird" pick up this book because you might enjoy it!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Dead to You by Lisa McMann

For 9 years, Ethan has been missing from home. He was abducted right outside of his house when he was 7 and, now, at 16, he is finally coming home.

Only he can't remember anything that happened before the abduction.

Ethan has been on the run for the last year. He happened to see a missing child's website and a "futuristic" photo of himself - the ones where the cops change a photo from when the child was missing to what they should look like today.

After that, Ethan was introduced to his family again: his mother, father, younger brother Blake, and his younger sister, Gracie, who wasn't even born when Ethan was taken.

Everything happened very quickly for Ethan when he was taken home, but he assumed that everything will go back to normal after the initial shock of being back home.

That wasn't the case. There were still some who questioned why Ethan couldn't remember the first 7 years of his life, and there was a lot of tension for Ethan.

However, Ethan was finally in a stable home after years of living on the streets. He got along great with his parents and with Gracie, had a girlfriend he was crazy about, and was actually doing well in school.

Will the tension die down for Ethan? Will he feel completely at home soon? Read Dead to You to find out!

My Thoughts/Reflections
Wow. This book was filled with intense scenes that sometimes made my jaw drop. I can't imagine finding out that I was kidnapped 9 years ago and being re-introduced to my family who looked for me for years.

I can see why Ethan felt overwhelmed at first.

This book definitely took me by surprise and kept me guessing throughout the novel.

I don't want to say too much and give spoilers, so I'll just say that Lisa McMann wrote a great novel and now I might read her trilogy that I've heard so much about, Wake (Dream Catcher), to see if her other works are this good.

I would definitely recommend this to anyone, and the narrator was a male so it is a good book for teen guys as well as girls.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Illuminated by Erica Orloff

Callie loves going to her Uncle Harry's place in New York every summer. It lets her escape her dad's controlling presence - always wanting her to be prepared for law school to follow his practice.

Callie doesn't want to be a lawyer, though. She loves history and philosophy, like Harry. Harry finds rare manuscripts and follows the history of that piece to find out where it came from and who it was from.

While Callie has never seen her uncle in action, she likes the adventure of his job. Then, she gets her own chance when Harry lets her try to find the source of a rare manuscript with mysterious writings on it. Now she has to figure out who the mysterious A. is, when it was written, where it was last seen - all while not letting the public know. Otherwise, others will try to get it for themselves.

Along with Callie on this adventure is August. His father is also very famous for finding rare manuscripts, so they have been mysteriously paired together after Harry played matchmaker.

Little did Harry know that they were going to fall in love - and not the teenage love that Harry was expecting.

Will Callie and August be able to figure out who A. is? Read Illuminated to find out!

My Thoughts/Reflections
Okay, I admit. I saw the cover and had to have this book. It's a beautiful cover and I assumed the story was going to be an epic love story.

It wasn't quite like that, though. Sure, Callie and August fell in love, but there wasn't enough chemistry written about their feelings. It was like they saw one another and BAM! Love. No hesitation, so that was a little disappointing to me.

However, I liked the adventure part of the story. Reading about Callie and August going from place to place to find out who A. was and where the piece was originated from made me excited for the adventure and hoping they would find the answer.

While this wasn't the best story I've read, I would recommend it to anyone wanting a short, fast read about soul mates and adventure.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Amy has had a difficult 3 months at the end of her junior year. Her father died, her twin brother went to a rehab center in North Carolina, and her mother decided that her and Amy were going to move from California to Connecticut after Amy finished school.

Only Amy doesn't drive anymore. So, when her mom needs the Jeep in Connecticut, Amy is road tripping with an old friend, Roger.

Amy and Roger don't remember each other that much, since they have barely seen one another in 10 years, but Roger needs to get to Pennsylvania to stay at his dad's for the summer break off of college (which he goes to college in Colorado).

After careful planning, Amy's mom makes all of their decisions by reserving rooms at hotels and mapping out the roads to take, making a 4 day trip from CA to CT.

Instead of following the carefully made out plans, though, Roger and Amy decide to take a little...detour.

Which ends up taking more than 4 days and cutting them off of the money Amy's mother supplied at the beginning of the trip.

This doesn't stop Amy or Roger, though. The detour gives them freedom from their troubled background, and also gives them a chance to complete some unfinished business - for both of them.

My Thoughts/Reflections
Wow. This was an amazing book. Usually I'm all about the chemistry between the two characters, but the content and the way this book was written blew my mind.

I've read some road trip books before, so I wasn't expecting amazingness from this novel. Boy was I wrong. Reading Amy's troubled thoughts about what had happened to make her not want to drive was spell bounding. Even though I was able to figure out very early on what happened, reading her reactions and thoughts kept me on the edge of my seat.

Also, I really enjoyed the details of every state her and Roger drove/stopped through. I'm not much for riding in the car hours upon hours, but with company like Roger, I might be able to handle it. This book actually made me want to road trip - something I never thought I'd want to do.

This is a must read book, I think. The struggles that both Amy and Roger go through during this novel is very relatable and their reactions are real. Even if the reader can't relate to either of their stories (like myself) it is still a well written novel that will snare the reader's attention and keep them wanting more until the last page (and maybe even after they've finished!).

So...go read it to join Amy and Roger's adventure during their "epic detour"!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Boys Next Door and Endless Summer by Jennifer Echols

This book has both books in the series (Summer) so I will be splitting this blog between the two reviews and saving my comments for both books at the end of the post.

The Boys Next Door (Book #1)
Lori has always been excited for the summer. She gets to live out on the lake wakeboarding and hanging out with her friends, including her neighbors, the Vader brothers.

Lori has had a crush on the middle Vader, Sean, since she can remember, and now that she's turning 16 she's hoping that Sean will feel the same way back.

When Sean steals his younger brother, Adam's, girlfriend from him, Lori thinks it's the perfect plan for her and Adam to "pretend" date to make both Rachel (Adam's ex) and Sean jealous.

After awhile, though, Lori gets excited to see Adam and starts to forget to look for Sean to see if the plan is working. Is Lori starting to like like Adam?

All of a sudden, Sean and Rachel break up because Rachel says she still loves Adam. Now that there is no reason to "date" one another, will Lori go after Sean, or will she stay with Adam because she's fallen in love with him?

Endless Summer (Book #2)
This is a spoiler for book 1, but Endless Summer starts on the same day that The Boys Next Door ends, showing us that Adam and Lori do get together.

For one day.

Adam and Lori fell asleep in Adam's truck for the whole night, putting Lori's dad and Adam's parents on alert that they were officially together. Unfortunately, Adam is not very trustworthy. He is reckless and because of his ADHD, he likes to do dangerous things without really thinking about it.

Not the best boyfriend material for a father to look at with his 16 year old daughter. To ensure the night out doesn't happen again, both parents decide that Adam and Lori can't date each other.

Throughout the novel both Adam and Lori try to find a way to date again, thinking of ridiculous plans to get their parents to listen to their story.

Will their plans work? Can Lori and Adam officially be together again, or will their parents keep them separated? Read Endless Summer to find out the ending of this 2 book series!

My Thoughts/Reflections
I enjoyed this story! It's about love and fighting for what one wants, which is exactly what Adam and Lori do throughout both novels.

I'm glad that the author started the second book on the exact day the first book left off. I'm not sure if I've read a series like that before, so it was nice to get a different beginning to the second book of a series.

Ahh, Adam. I liked Adam better than Sean, even though Lori was obsessed with Sean in the first book. He was too cocky and ignorant whereas Adam paid attention to Lori and joked around with her, had the same interests.

I have to say, though, that if my parents ever forbid me to date someone, that would be telling me to do the opposite. I know they are 16, which gives the parents some rights to that, but I would not have taken it well, like both Lori and Adam did throughout the second novel.

This series reminded me a lot of the Summer series by Jenny Han (I posted about all three books earlier this month) but there were also some differences from that series.

For any girl who has had years long crush - I would recommend this to you. I would also recommend it to anyone wanting a light, quick, fun summer read as these are books that one can fly through and laugh out loud with.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally

Jordan Woods is the best quarterback in the state. Woods is a shoe-in to go to college football, and maybe even the pros?

The only problem is... Jordan is a girl, which makes her not wanted by too many colleges. Her dream college is Alabama, which they have contacted her, but it seems they want her as a poster girl rather than a player on their team.

Right before the beginning of football season, Tyler Green transfers to her high school...and he's also a quarterback. Not only is Ty good, but he's also extremely handsome. So handsome that Jordan is finding her concentration on the game drifting - which is not good considering she needs to get a full ride through college with a football scholarship.

Her best friend, Henry, is also on the football team and wants to go to school in Michigan, making their friendship distant since they might not see one another after senior year is overwith.

Also, did I mention that Jordan's father is the great Donovan Woods, the best NFL player in the south? You would think that Don would be a proud father of a girl quarterback player, but he's always trying to persuade Jordan to do things besides football, bringing the excitement and proudness Jordan feels when she plays a football game.

With everything going downhill with her father, best friend, and a new quarterback in town that makes Jordan's knees weak, Jordan isn't sure if she's going to prove to Alabama that she can not only sponsor for Alabama but that she can play as well.

What will happen if she can't play? Will she be able to get everything right before the end of the football season?

My Thoughts/Reflections
I admit, this book surprised me. I was expecting to like it because the main star of the football team, captain and quarterback, was a female, and I, oh, so love it when a girl can take charge in a guy's environment.

But the chemistry in this book blew me away! That I was not expecting, but I truly loved it all the way throughout the book!

Jordan is one strong cookie. She was raised by going to her father's professional football games, followed her older brother who played football, so it was to be expected that she would be strong willed and determined to be who she wanted to be, despite the odds.

I'm also glad that Jordan was able to be a girl for a change. While I love tough, athletic Jordan, girly Jordan showed that she became a more diverse person throughout the novel and grew into a well rounded person.

I think this book is great for teen girls, but I also think it can be aimed toward teen guys since it is about football and Miranda Kenneally was able to describe the game very accurately. It might also make guys appreciate athletic and tough girls after reading what Jordan went through to be a female football player.

I would recommend this book to everyone, so go read it ;-)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Aces Up by Lauren Barnholdt

After Shannon Card's dad gets laid off from his job, Shannon realizes she needs to make money in order to go to college next year. She's already been accepted to Wellesley, the school she's wanted to go to, through Early Admission, but now she doesn't have the funds to pay for it.

In order to remedy that problem, Shannon gets a fake ID so she can work at the casino serving drinks to get $10 an hour plus tips. She realizes, though, that she might not make enough in time for school.

Shannon meets Cole through an anonymous letter Cole sent her to ask her if she wanted to join his club, Aces Up, by playing poker using math skills. Shannon is very good at math which is why Cole singled her out.

At first, Shannon says no because she doesn't want to do anything illegal (even though she's underaged and working in a casino) but after she sees more and more of her parents's items being sold (car, boat, etc.) she gives in to make the cash for school faster.

Throughout this secrecy of working at the casino, playing at the poker tables, and school, Shannon also got wrangled into tutoring her old friend and crush, Max. After months without talking, Shannon realizes that she still might have feelings for Max even though she's "kinda" with Cole while they aren't playing poker.

Seems Shannon has a lot on her plate. Can she juggle it all without getting caught?

My Thoughts/Reflections
This was a great read! I've read Lauren Barnholdt's other book, Two Way Street, but I think I liked this story better!

I will admit, though, it seemed that Barnholdt was trying to make Shannon act like she was in high school to remind the readers of that. Shannon said, "like", "totally", and "omg" a lot throughout the novel which was a little annoying at times.

The struggle Shannon has with juggling so many things is enough to make a grown woman start pulling her hair out, so I admire Shannon trying to do all of those events. The illegal gambling and working? Gutsy, sure, but not the best role model for 17 year old either.

At the end, Shannon made a decision that, I think, was very mature and showed that Shannon grew up throughout the story. I would definitely recommend this book to teens who feel stressed and out of control.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Dreamland Social Club by Tara Altebrando

Luna Jane Dryden, more known as Jane, has moved around all of her life. Her dad is an "engineer builder" but he is more known for building roller coasters.

When Jane's grandfather, a man she's never met, passes away and gives his house to his two grandkids (Jane and her older brother, Marcus), Jane's family moves to Coney Island - a town of amusement parks, ghosts of what used to be, and an unusual tourist place in New York.

Upon arrival there, Jane and her family kept saying, "It's just for one year. Just for one year." After meeting some of the Coney Islanders and going to school with a variety of classmates, Jane starts to connect with people and places throughout the amusement park.

Jane's mom was raised on Coney Island during the prime of it's life - where she was part of the "carny" family, but ran away to have a  normal life. Jane is finding clues of her mother's life since she passed away when Jane was 6 years old.

Another thing at her new home that Jane is getting used to is the variations of people at school. There are midgets, giants, tattooed students, and normal high school students. Jane is unsure where she fits in and what clubs to join, even though she's curious about the Dreamland Social Club that is very mysterious at school.

With a new official in town talking about remaking the amusement parks of Coney Island, there are rough times between Jane and her new obtained friends - her dad wants to be a park of Loki's group whereas her friends don't want Coney Island to change with Loki's  plans.

My Thoughts/Reflections
I really enjoyed this book. I didn't know before hand that there was a place called Coney Island until I read the Author's Notes at the end of the book, so it was interesting to find out that some of the rides actually do/did exist.

And Leo. I loved Leo! Beautiful tattooed boy and Jane's attraction to one another was not very obvious (well on Leo's side that is) but Leo was the mysterious boy who would talk and sometimes hangout with Jane, but never talk about what he was feeling.

The awkwardness and confusion that Jane felt when she got to Coney Island is what every new student feels. That's how I felt, anyway, so I think this could be very relatable.

The part about living practically on a tourist site? Might not be as relatable.

I think teens would like this story - even guys despite the fact that there isn't a guy narrator. Who wouldn't want to read about living and roaming through an amusement park?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

The Scorpio Race - a race on an island where water horses exist. Horses that are more beast than animals, smell like rotten meat, salt, fish, and eat raw meat and blood. Horses that are so brutal, they fight each other just to have a meal for fun. The horses come out of the sea and onto land the closer it gets to October, hunting and looking for food.

The island, Thisby, is known for their Scorpio Race every November 1. Men die. Horses die. On the beach are blood stains from the loses of this race, but every year, this race is looked upon as a chance to beat the odds.

Sean Kindrick, 19 years old, has won 4 of the 6 races he's raced in. This is to the fact that he has his water horse, his capaill uisce as they are called, Corr. He has trained this horse for years to know what Corr wants and how to keep Corr away from the urge to join the sea.

Kate Connelly, known as Puck, was never supposed to ride in the Scorpio Races. With money problems and her older brother leaving the island, Puck had no choice but to enter, hoping to win to save herself and her younger brother, Finn, from losing their house and money.

Puck's parents were killed in the sea by capaill uisce, though, making it hard for Puck to ride a capaill uisce. After attempting to get near a water horse, Puck decides to ride her mare, Dove. A normal horse with no special attributes, just a love for Puck.

Everyone is vouching for Sean Kindrick to win for his 5th year in a row, whereas Puck is the horse and rider that will lose right away, and probably won't even survive the race.

As Puck starts training Dove to race and not run away from the capaill uisce, Sean finds himself drawn to her and helps her train for the upcoming race. Sean has always been alone, not connecting well with people but rather horses, knowing exactly what to do and say to horses to calm them down. However, after spending time with Puck, Sean is finding himself fascinated with Puck, making him wonder what will happen in the Scorpio Races.

Will Puck survive the race? Will Sean win his 5th race, gaining Corr as his own and starting his own life? Read The Scorpio Races to find out!

My Thoughts/Reflections
This was an amazing read! I've read Maggie Stiefvater's other books, The Wolves of Mercy Falls, but I think this novel is far and beyond her first trilogy.

The storyline behind this novel is very different than what I've read before, which is why I think I like it so much. It's about horses that come out of the water and are man-slaughtering beasts that it's hard for humans to catch them, and racing them is not only about the race, but also about surviving.

Both Sean and Puck seem older than they are. The island is a rough place to live, which is why many people from the island decide to go to the mainland. Sean and Puck are both island lovers, though, and have very big reasons to race, and win, the Scorpio Races.

The connection between Sean and Puck is more mature as well. There are times when they are together, but don't say a word. They just enjoy each other's company, without needing to talk to fill the silence.

Now, the storyline might be a little...morbid.


The strength both Puck and Sean have to even go through in order to get to the Scorpio Races is inspiring and makes the reader cheer for both characters.

I would definitely recommend this book to everyone! Guys, girls, teens, adults. It's a great read. A different story and even the characters are more serious and mature than a lot of YA novels. So far I think it's a stand alone book, although the author did leave room for a follow-up, so there is no cliff hanger ending! :-)

Whatcha waiting for? Go get this book and enjoy this great story now!

Monday, February 6, 2012

We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han

*Note: This is the last book in the Summer Series by Jenny Han. I've reviewed both the first and second books here: The Summer I Turned Pretty and It's Not Summer Without You.

 **Second Note: I've been able to keep these reviews non spoilery, but since this is the last book in the series, THERE WILL BE SPOILERS! So, read further at your own risk.

Belly is in college now, and she's been dating Jeremiah for 2 years. They are going to school together and everything is working out well for them. That is, until Belly finds out about a secret that Jeremiah kept from her, ruining all chances of a happy ever ending.

When Belly and Jeremiah decide to work things out, Jeremiah pulls out a ring and PROPOSES to Belly!! Where she then said yes!!! (As I'm having a major heartattack right about now!)

Belly and Jeremiah decide to get married in August, before her second year of college and at the end of the summer. When both tell their families the good news, they were met with disapprovement and anger. Belly's mom thought they were too young and Jeremiah's dad didn't understand why they had to get married right away.

Oh, and Conrad. He was surprised by this news and very upset because he still loves Belly - always had.

The day before Belly and Jeremiah's wedding, Conrad tells Belly that he loves her and doesn't want her to marry Jeremiah - that he wants to be with her instead. Will Belly go through with the wedding? Will she pick Conrad over Jeremiah?

My Thoughts/Reflections
Oh, oh, oh!! This book!! I really had a heartattack when Belly said yes to Jeremiah! I've made it quite known which team I'm on (Conrad's) so when she said yes, my brain was screaming, "No! No! NO!"

I was not a happy camper.

However, after that drama was initiated, I was hoping and praying things would turn out for the best for Belly. She deserved to be happy and with Conrad's track record, he did not have a good streak, so I was happy if she was happy.

I was also excited because, like the second book of the series, one of the brothers narrated a few chapters and it WAS Conrad, so I got to see what he was thinking and feeling - something very hard to do because Conrad is very hard to read.

I'm very, very glad that I waited for this series to be concluded because I would have been a mess waiting to see what happens every new summer. I absolutely adored this series and I might have to make them a part of my personal collection.

They are fast reads and keep you on the edge of your seat - I would say it's a must read for any teen girl confused by life and love. I think that pretty much covers all teenage girls :-) Now, go get all 3 to see what happens between the trio!!

Friday, February 3, 2012

It's Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han

This is the second book in the Summer Series by Jenny Han. I've reviewed the first book in the series at this link: The Summer I Turned Pretty. There may be some spoilers in this review from the first novel of this series.

It's a year since Belly has "turned pretty" and gained the attention of both Jeremiah and Conrad. However, things have dramatically changed. 

For instance, no one is going to the beach house at Cousins Beach. Susannah, Jeremiah and Conrad's mother, passed away from cancer. There is a piece missing in everyone's heart and it wouldn't be the same to go back to the beach house without it's main link: Susannah. 

This is Belly's first summer without going to the beach house and she feels lost. She doesn't know what to do with herself and is just wishing for the summer to be over - a first for her because she usually wants summer to never end. 

When Belly gets a call from Jeremiah that Conrad is missing and asks for her help to find him, she's unsure what will happen or whether she should see either brother after what happened with their mother. She goes, though, and reconnects with both Jeremiah and Conrad, but in a way that was not how Belly foresaw. 

My Thoughts/Reflections
Again, a great book to the first in the series. I'm still team Conrad, I will admit, even if I don't like some of the things he does in this book. 

I was so sad to find out about Susannah. I really wanted her to be able to go to the beach house again and enjoy summer, so I was devasted to find out that she didn't make it. Reading the emotions through Belly and Jeremiah were heartwrenching, but seeing them overcome their heartbreak to help Conrad was true dedication. 

This book was told mainly through Belly's viewpoint, but some rare chapters were told through Jeremiah's thoughts, which I enjoyed and appreciated Jenny Han doing. It's nice to get into one of the brother's thoughts and see what they are thinking. Maybe it will be Conrad's turn in the next and final book!

One thing I do want to mention though is Belly. It might seem like she complains and whines a lot (at least according to the boys) but I really like her as a narrative. She says it like it is and she seems a lot more mature than 16 years old. I can't wait to see what happens in the final book!

My thoughts about recommendation are the same: go read it! I love these books and the hardships the "kids" have to go through with Susannah and heartbreak from boys is very relatable, so I think there are many readers who would understand the rollercoaster Belly is going through. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

Summer is Belly's favorite time of the year. It's the time where she gets to go to Cousins Beach, to the beach house with her mom, older brother, and her mom's best friend Susannah and her two sons: Conrad and Jeremiah.

Summer is the time that Belly can hangout with her other family, and fall even more in love with Conrad, who she's loved since she was 10 years old. 

This summer is different. Belly got rid of her glasses and is actually growing up. Both Conrad and Jeremiah are starting to notice, but Belly only has eyes for Conrad. 

However, Conrad is acting strange, distant. He's drinking and smoking, acting sullen and moody. Belly doesn't know why, but when she gets attention from another summer boy, Cam, she decides to make Conrad jealous. 

Another thing Belly loves about summer is hanging out with her "second mother", Susannah. It's the time where Belly can be girly around Susannah and talk girl shop. 

When Belly finds out some awful and sad news toward the end of summer, though, Belly realizes that everything is going to change before next summer can come. It might not be the same as Belly remembers and she's not sure if she wants to deal with that change. 

My Thoughts/Reflections
I've been wanting to read this book for awhile, but I decided to wait until all 3 books in the series (The Summer I Turned Pretty, It's Not Summer Without You, and We'll Always Have Summer) were out and available. And boy am I sure glad I did!

I'm just going to say it. I love Conrad. Ever since Belly described both Jeremiah (golden, jester, happy, go lucky) and Conrad (dark, unattainable, unavailable, wears a smirk, quiet), I knew Conrad was going to be the main guy. The mood swings that boy puts Belly through is enough to intrigue any reader. 

Belly has two lives, but her real life starts in the summer. Summer defines Belly and she is always looking forward to the trip to Cousins Beach. 

Their is even a little bit of mystery in this novel. Belly is being left out of a secret. She doesn't realize it at first, but it becomes clear that everyone knows something that they aren't telling Belly, and once she finds out, she almost wishes that she was left in the dark. 

I loved this book. It's a light summer read full of romance and growing up, taking chances and risks, and learning that not everything turns out well for the people she loves. I can't wait to read the next installment to see what next summer brings for Belly!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

Mackie Doyle is not a normal teenage boy. In fact, he might not even be human, but everyone in his small town, Gentry, kindly avoids any conversation dealing with Mackie's biological background.

See, Mackie replaced a human boy when he was a baby. His older sister, Emma, who was 4, saw Mackie and stayed with him all night, just looking at him and trying to touch him, knowing he wasn't her real brother.

No other "kidnapping" has happened for 7 years, until one day, a classmate of Mackie, Tate, finds her baby sister dead in her crib. Except it's not her sister (Natalie). Instead, it's one of the creatures.

In the town of Gentry, the townspeople pretend nothing happens. They pretend that when their children die at a young age, it is really their children and not a creature from  underground. That's they way it's always been. When Mackie has to go underground for medicine to stay alive, he meets his kinspeople - the creatures he should have grown up with.

The things that make Mackie different from normal, human people is that he has a no tolerance for iron or steel. You could say he's allergic to them and gets a bad reaction, even to blood. Otherwise, Mackie tries to live a normal, human life with his human family.

When Natalie was stolen from her home and Tate was trying to find answers, Mackie decided to try and find out why the creatures take children and where Natalie was. After he found the answers, he had to decide if he should take action, or pretend everything was alright like he usually does.

My Thoughts/Reflections
This is a different novel. I've read paranormal and supernatural books, but this topic is one I've never read before. I liked it. It wasn't my favorite novel, but Brenna Yovanoff created a world where ignorance and oblivion was necessary to survive.

There were times where I yelled at the book, "Just TELL her!! Stop ignoring the problem!" But then there were other times where I cheered on Mackie when he was doing the right thing. I did enjoy the storyline and Mackie's bravery at the end of the novel.

One thing that did frustrate me at first was the nameless group that lives underground - the nameless group that technically Mackie was from. I like having labels so not having a label to call them was a bit disconcerting for me. I got over it though :-)

Overall, I enjoyed this novel. It was different and interesting - another world that I was introduced to from a new author I've never read before. I would recommend this to both teen guys and girls (since it's a guy that was the narrator) and to anyone who feels out of place in school or the small town they live in.