Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

The first day of high school is always a little intimidating and scary. New places to go, new upperclassmen.

It's torture for Melinda. She went to an after-summer party with a group of her friends before the school year started. As a freshman, she should be a nobody who has her middle school friends. But after that party, everyone in high school, from freshmen to seniors, knows her name.

She called the cops at the party and ruined it for everyone who was there. Some even got arrested.

But something happened at that party that made her call the cops.

Something she's never talked about. Not a single word to anyone.

So Melinda starts off high school as an outcast. A loner. She has no friends and a lot of the student body hates her on sight.

With all of the hostility toward her, Melinda starts to hide. She becomes mute. By not talking, she's able to hide in herself.

Her grades are going downhill, her parents are disappointed in her, and she's lost the will to live.

The only class that she's even remotely interested in is Art, but that doesn't help her GPA or her personal life.

When someone Melinda used to be close to was hanging out with the wrong crowd, Melinda felt she needed to come clean as to why she called the cops.

But after a whole year of silence, could Melinda finally speak up and tell everyone what really happened? Will anyone believe her after all of this time? Read Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson to find out!

My Thoughts/Reflections
I have been meaning to read this book for so long. I don't know why it's taken me so long, but I'm glad I finally bought it and read it.

This book is so profound. It's about a hard, harsh topic, but unfortunately it happens to high schoolers.

Laurie Halse Anderson did a wonderful job portraying an abused girl and hearing her side of the story. The writing was really well and it was worded like a 14 year olds thoughts and reasoning.

It was also something that a 14 year old should never have to go through.

Melinda made a shell of herself. She stopped talking, stopped caring. She felt like there was nothing left to live for. She had no friends and the one she made - a new transfer student - ditched her to join a more popular group. Everyone hated her for calling the cops and she was an outcast.

But she was still able to care for a person that she was close friends with in middle school. She was also trying to do what everyone wanted, while also feeling a fraction of who she used to be.

This was an amazing novel. I wish I would have read it sooner, but I'm glad that I finally bought it and added it to my personal collection.

I think all teen girls should read this. It can happen to anyone and reading through Melinda's story is not only informative but also eye opening and heart wrenching. The topic may be too mature for some parent's viewpoints of their daughters, but this book should be read by all at one point or another. I know that if I have a daughter, I will try to get her to read this book and have a detailed conversation about it after she's done to talk about what she should do if anything like this ever happens to her or any of her friend's.

Again, a great novel that I will not forget anytime soon.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Burning Bridges by Nadège Richards

*I received a free PDF version of this novel from the author for my honest review.*

This is a dystopian novel of a world where there is a New Haven and an Old Haven.

Echo is from the New Haven world. She is the Princess of Thediby, the one that will combine two families together with her marriage to Prince Noah, Prince of Delentia.

Ayden is from Old Haven, a world that has been picked apart and left in ruins. Work is hard to come by, money is something everyone wishes they have, and just making it to tomorrow is a blessing.

When Echo and Ayden meet, worlds collide. They can't stop thinking about each other. Even though their friendship is forbidden, they have to see each other or they feel as if a part of themselves is missing.

But when Noah finds out and then Echo's father, the King, finds out, things go very wrong. Echo is forbidden to see Ayden again. She can't accept that fate, so she defies the rules and runs away.

Only the King put out a reward for anyone to find both Echo and Ayden to bring them back to New Haven.

Will Echo and Ayden be able to escape from her father's rules? Will they always be running for their freedom to be with each other? Or will the King win and separate the two...for good? Read Burning Bridges by Nadège Richards to find out!

My Thoughts/Reflections
This was an intriguing novel. I was automatically sucked into the story as the reader is reading a very intense scene that is on the brink of war, then was transported 5 weeks earlier to how the war started.

The world that Richards created was amazing. Her writing was very easy to follow and before I knew it I had read 100 pages without a single pause in the story.

There were a few grammatical and punctuation errors, a few times where the wrong names were used in areas, but for a first novel I thought those errors were minor to the great story she created.

I did have a few problems with the characters. Yes, there was character development throughout the novel. Echo grew to learn the truth and to obtain what was right and what she wanted rather than what others wanted her to do.

But I felt like she was clinging to Ayden too much. For a strong willed character who went after what she wanted, she kept acting like a girl losing her head over a boy that she couldn't bear to be away from.

And Ayden, who's 5 years older than Echo, acted more like a teenager than a 22 year old when it came to Echo. Don't get me wrong, he was amazing for his family when his father was being absentee with his alcohol. He just seemed...like a lost little puppy when away from Echo...

I think that if the characters were more about "doing" than thinking and wishing, I would have liked them better. They want to be together forever? Great! Do something about it. Go away from the place that will eventually trap them. Not stare longingly into one another's eyes and then be shocked when you get caught.

However, even with my conflicted feelings about Echo and Ayden, I do think this was a great novel. And even better, we get to read more in Richard's second novel, Deceiving Destiny, which comes out December 2012 - so just 5 more months.

For anyone who likes dystopian novels or who likes a girl fighting for what she wants, I would recommend this novel to you. It was very well written and the reader was definitely snared into the story from the first page, making it a quick read and leaving the reader wanting more by the end of it.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Desire Becomes Her by Shirlee Busbee

Here's a new and different post than what I usually post on this blog. I won a free Early Reader copy of Desire Becomes Her through LibraryThing and figured since I'm writing a review for LibraryThing I'll add it on here.

This won't be a regular thing - this blog is still for the Young Adult novels and topics that I'm obsessed with. I just thought to post something a little different to throw off my regular viewers/readers of my blog :-)


After Gillian Dashwood was found at the crime scene where her husband was murdered, everyone in London and the towns outside of London knew about her - and not in a good way. While she wasn't convicted of murdering her husband, the killer was never found and gossip proclaims that she's the one who killed him.

Lucian Joslyn has been living a bachelor's life, but when he meets Gillian, thoughts of owning is own place with responsibility kept popping up in his mind.

At first Gillian and Lucian did not like each other. Sure, they had a great connection with one another, and couldn't stop thinking of each other, but they had ill conceived stories about one another.

Once they were together enough, though, they knew the gossip wasn't correct about either one of them and found that they couldn't ignore the spark between them anymore.

But the killer who really murdered Gillian's husband is still out there. And Gillian has the proof right under her nose.

The killer will stop at nothing to clear her/his name - even if it means killing another victim to do so. Will Gillian and Lucian be able to stop the killer, or will they be truly committed to a crime they didn't commit? Read Desire Becomes Her by Shirlee Busbee to find out!

My Thoughts/Reflections
I read romance novels. The two most read genres I read are Young Adult and Romance.

For some reason, I could not get into this book.

First, the attraction between Gillian and Lucian... It didn't seem there. When they met they didn't like each other. But after seeing each other for 2 meetings, they ended up in bed together. Then they got married.

They still had secrets from each other, but yet they felt they could get married?

Second, the back story that added Gillian and Lucian's family seemed strained. I know this is the second (or possibly later) story in this series, so if I would have started from the beginning it might make sense. But I found myself skipping over pages until I saw either Gillian or Lucian's name.

As for the killer, I didn't really care who it was. For the longest time, the story wasn't about who the killer was, but who had documentation that belonged to Gillian and who was blackmailing her for them.

All in all, I would say I was very disappointed with this novel.

There were a few places where I thought it was a good story, but if I compared it to other Historical romance novels that I've read in the past? Very low rating.

This was also the first book novel I've read of Shirlee Busbee. Maybe I'll try another one of hers to see if it was just a fluke. But definitely not one that I would recommend to my friends who like romance novels.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Night of the Purple Moon by Scott Cramer

I received this paperback novel for free by the author for an honest review.

Abby, her younger siblings Jordan and Toucan, and her father are very excited to see the comet fly across the sky. It's said that it will change the moon purple and will alter the colors of the sunrise and sunset for a couple of weeks after the comet shower.

But when all 3 wake up after falling asleep before the comet flew by, their life had been changed... All because of the purple moon.

All of the adults are dead. Abby found her dad outside on the lawn; He never made it back inside.

Older teenagers, around the ages of 14 and older, also didn't make it past the night of the comet.

With her neighbors, Kevin and Emily, the group of adolescents find a working radio station 2 days after the comet. Thankfully, Kevin is science smart and can understand that the CDC is creating a cure.

Because they find out that once teens hit puberty, they will be infected as well and won't survive the attack.

Abby and Kevin are 13. Emily and Jordan are 12. They have gathered all of the children on Castine Island and have built their own community in order to survive: cleaning up the town, finding and planting food, preserving water, and more.

But if a cure isn't found soon, will human kind cease to exist? Will Abby and Kevin stay young long enough to take the cure? Or will they have to leave their siblings and new family before they are ready? Read Night of the Purple Moon by Scott Cramer to find out!

My Thoughts/Reflections
I labeled this as a science fiction genre, but it could also be post apocalyptic or dystopian as well. It seems that this type of story is becoming very popular. I just reviewed another novel, Ashes, where adults died and teens were the only survivors, but there was more to the story than what Night of the Purple Moon is about.

This is a short novel, just 177 pages long, and it reads very quick because the reader wants to know what will happen next.

I also think this can appeal both male and female readers as the narration bounces between the two Leigh siblings Jordan and Abby.

The thought of having no adults around might be appealing to pre-teens and teens, but after they read this book, they will think twice about saying that, or wanting to grow up and be an adult before they are!

I enjoyed this novel and am grateful I got a free copy to read and review this novel.

I believe this is Scott Cramer's first novel? Don't quote me on that, I just can't find any more books by him on websites to prove otherwise. For his first novel, I thought he did a great job keeping the story concise and had great character development.

Who would have thought that 12 and 13 year olds would be able to create a community and take care of multiple little kids? Being able to farm, do laundry, find clothes, etc.

I would recommend this to any reader and ages 12/13 and older, since the main characters are around 12 and 13 - the "adults" of the characters that is. Also, for anyone who likes science fiction and "end of the world" novels, this will be up their alley as well.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris

Janelle thought she had a lot going on in her life. Her father is an FBI agent, her mother is fading away - living in a shell, so Janelle has been taking care of her 14-year-old brother Jared.

And to add to Janelle's problems, she gets hit by a truck that came out of nowhere and dies by the impact.

Only she wakes up... And Ben Michaels is standing over her, a boy she has never talked to before. But Janelle knows, deep down inside, that Ben brought her back to life.

And she's set to prove it one way or another.

There happens to be more that's going on besides Janelle dying. There are people in her town that are dying from radiation burns - horrible burns. Only no one can find out who these people are. There are no records about them; the Feds can't even get a match on their dental records.

Janelle and her best friend Alex like to snoop in her father's FBI cases, so they get in a little too deep in this radiation case.

And find out that there is a bomb ticking down to 40 days before it blows up... Which will destroy Earth.

But then Janelle finds out Ben's secret... And it links to her father's FBI cases...

After her father was killed by 3 gunshots, Janelle is even more determined to figure out this case.

Because solving this case could mean the survival of the whole planet. And finding out her father's killer.

My Thoughts/Reflections
I tagged this as a science fiction novel because it does go into alternate universes and non-human abilities. This is also one of the very few Young Adult science fiction novels I have read and I was really impressed with it!

Janelle is a character that I really liked. She was the head of the house since both of her parents were MIA - in person and in spirit. That's enough for a 17-year-old to handle with a younger brother.

But she also wanted to help her father in his cases before he died. And she caught on to certain aspects very quickly that even her father was impressed - and he was in charge of his own group in the FBI.

While I'm not a sciencey person, I was sucked into this story and wanted to know all of the answers to the mysteries in this novel. And the author, Elizabeth Norris, wrote it well enough for a non sciencey person to understand, which I really appreciated!

I do have to warn any interested readers - this is a sad novel. I can count right now 4 sad parts to this book, and most of them were right at the end.

So it's a tearjerker, but good news is that there will be a second novel coming out in this series. It won't be out until April 2013, but we will get to delve more into the world that Norris has created and maybe get some happy news rather than crying some more.

I definitely recommend this novel to anyone wanted a "forbidden" love with a bad boy, a science fiction setting, or a novel about survival.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

When Alex decided to skip school and leave Illinois to go to Michigan, she wasn't expecting the beginning of the apocalypse to start. On her way to spread her parents ashes at Lake Michigan like they wanted, she was  hiking through the woods, using the skills from her father when she was younger.

Then an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) occurred, so strong that it killed anyone between the ages of 14-40. Young kids and senior citizens were the main population that survived the EMP.

Only... Alex survived it, and she's 17...

And others around her age survived through it...only they weren't the same. In fact, they were cannibals and killed living people/animals on site.

They turned into zombies.

She also got an unusual gift from the EMP - the ability to smell other people and animals. She could smell their feelings, their essense, and she could also tell if they were survivors or something else - zombies. 

Alex was fighting to stay alive with two other survivors: 8-year-old Ellie and 20-year-old Tom. They decided to stick together and try to find places that were away from big cities, and to head to Canada.

Only things went downhill when a group of older men and women kidnapped Ellie to use her as collateral damage to get into shelters. Kids and animals are very rare after the EMP went through.

Then Tom got shot in the leg and he couldn't walk anymore. So Alex left him to get help in a town close by called Rules. When she got help, though, and returned for Tom he was no longer there.

Alex soon found herself making a place for her in Rules, but all was not as it seemed. Would Alex try to find Tom and Ellie again, or would she stay in the "safe" town of Rules and make a new life? Read Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick to find out!

My Thoughts/Reflections
A zombie story. I don't think I've ever read one of those... I may have attempted a few but gave up after awhile.

This was the first one that I read from start to finish and really enjoyed it. It's certainly not my favorite genre of book, but it was very different for me and kept me interested throughout the whole novel.

I've read some reviews that say this was a horror novel, and I can see where they were going with that. There were times I was reading and my jaw literally dropped. There were other times when I had to close the book for a minute and try to wrap my head around what I just read.

Overall, this book really kept me on my toes. I didn't know where it was going to lead, and it definitely had a cliffhanger ending for the next novel in this trilogy series.

I think there was a lot of variety of information in here. The town Rules creeped me out when Alex was talking about it - I don't know how she stayed there, but I guess the appeal of a roof over her head and food in her stomache was thinking loud and clear.

I also really liked Alex. She's tough. Before the EMP she had a brain tumor that was slowly killing her, but when the EMP went through, it seemed like all of her symptoms were gone. That's when she got her "ability" of smell.

She was also a great camper/fighter. She never gave up when the zombies were after her and she was always thinking with a clear head - you can't say that about too many 17-year-olds!

For anyone who likes a horror/science fiction book, I would definitely recommend this to you! Also, if you like zombie books, this would be right up your alley!

This is the first novel in a trilogy series. The second novel, Shadows, will be released September 25, 2012. I know I will definitely be checking it out to see what happens to Alex in the situation she is left in at the end of this first novel!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Hourglass by Myra McEntire

For the past 4 years, Emerson has been able to see apparitions - people who are obviously from the past with the hoop skirts and old fashioned hair do's, when no one else has seen them.

She's also had a rough time with it because right after she started to see things that weren't there, both her parents died in a vehicle accident. The grief was too much for her, on top of the abnormality that was introduced to her, and had to be medicated to cope.

Now, at 17, Emerson has been weening herself off of her meds without telling her brother. The "ghosts" are starting to come back, but Emerson tired of feeling like a zombie.

After telling her brother, Thomas, that she is seeing them again, he found a "counselor" for Emerson to talk to.

And that counselor happened to be Michael, a college student who understood more about Emerson than she did herself.

It just so happens that Michael has a very similar ability. He sees apparitions as well. And, he can travel to the future.

Emerson found out that she's his other half. While he can travel to the future, Emerson can travel to the past. Together, they make a complete time traveling package where they can go anywhere through time.

And Michael needs Emerson's help to change one little event that happened 6 months ago - to save someone who died in order to protect other people who have abilities.

But changing history is never a thing to mess with, because who knows what can happen and what will be changed in the future...

My Thoughts/Reflections
Time-travel seems to be the next big thing in Young Adult literature. I thought this was refreshing with new information and contexts about time travel, but there was something that kept me from loving this novel like most other time travel novels.

I admire Emerson. She lost so much and gained a scary and crazy ability to see apparitions from another time.

But at the same time, I can't help but compare her to Bella from Twilight in the sense that she's all about Michael. Since they are two halves of a power, they have this strong connection with each other. Every time they touch, heat and sparks literally channel through each other.

So when she felt that she lost him, she started to channel Bella when she lost Edward in the second novel/movie... And I didn't enjoy that Emerson.

She's so strong willed and independent, but did a whole 360 degrees and became so dependent on Michael is was a little sickening.

And I didn't even mention Kaleb!! Kaleb is another "superpower" guy who seemed to fall hard for Emerson, even though Michael had the "she's mine" vibe from the beginning. (Yes, like Jacob in Twilight.) But I somehow liked Kaleb and Emerson more than Michael and Emerson.

This novel was alright. It definitely wasn't my favorite. I didn't even get into the Hourglass aspect - the organization where anyone who can manipulate time get together to learn more about their ability. Or Jack/Jonathan Landers - the evil villain in this story who used Emerson for his own purposes. There was just a lot going on in this novel - and not too much of it appealed to me, overall.

But apparently the next novel (which is already out) is through Kaleb's point of view... So I may have to take one more chance on this series since I liked Kaleb the most out of the characters.

For anyone who liked Twilight - this is a novel for you. For anyone who likes time travel, I would also recommend this novel to you. But if you don't like one or the other, I would suggest staying away from this book as those are the only two things I can think about after reading it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Cover Reveal - Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

After Cassandra Clare tweeted about using the hashtage #ClockworkPrincess on Twitter - the cover has finally been revealed for the last novel in the Infernal Devices series: Clockwork Princess!! Here it is:

Isn't it gorgeous?!? I love the book she's holding and how it's lit from the inside!

Now, don't get too excited - this doesn't come out until March 19th, 2013 so we still have a ways away. But now we can look at this cover and expect great things to come! :)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Eona by Alison Goodman

This is the second book in this series. I have reviewed the first novel here: Eon

Now that Eona's secret has been leaked that she's a female Dragoneye, she's finding herself on the run. Her and her group are trying to find Kygo, the true heir to the throne.

Kygo is building an army to go against his uncle, Sethon, who has declared himself Emporer instead of Kygo.

Along with the Emperor and political problems, Eona has found herself one of the last two Dragoneyes, including Lord Ido. As much as Eona hates to admit it, she needs Ido's help to controlling her Mirror Dragon, so she has to sneak in and out of Sethon's castle to get Ido.

Eona finds herself falling for two guys. Kygo is drawing her attention as the sparks start to ignite between the two of them, but she's unsure if Kygo likes her as a person or the power that she holds as a Dragoneye.

And the more she uses her Dragoneye power with Ido, the more she is sucked into an attraction of darkness with Ido. But he's a murder - killing the other 10 Dragoneye's to gain unlimited power.

The closer Eona's group gets to Sethon's army, the more things start to become confusing. Eona has no idea who to trust, she can't trust her feelings for either men, and she's also getting odd feelings with her ancestor's belongings, feelings of betrayal, power, and rage.

Will Eona be able to do the right thing for their country, or will the power of her Mirror Dragon be too much for her to resist? Read the sequel, and final, book in this series, Eona, to find out!

My Thoughts/Reflections
This is a great ending to this two novel series! Goodman put the reader back into the story where the first left off, not wasting any time jumping back into the adventure and chaotic world of the Empire of the Celestial Dragons.

In this novel, Eona stopped with the pretense of going under the name of Lord Eon since most have found out that she's a 16 year old girl instead of a 12 year old boy. She's also undercover a few times in this novel to sneak into places, and has to portray a girl, which she finds hard since she's been a boy for the last 4 years.

Again, I really enjoyed Alison Goodman's writing. She created a whole new world with unique traditions and rules - something which I would find hard to do as a writer.

She also really made the reader crush on both male characters (well at least me anyway!) I truly disliked Ido in the first novel, but the more Eona and Ido were together, I could see the connection and almost root for them to be together.

And there was always a connection between Eona and Kygo, even if she was acting as a boy in the first novel. In this book, we got to see their connection increase more now that Kygo knew she was female.

I really loved these two novels and where Goodman went with it. I would definitely recommend these books and try to convince readers that, even though they are large novels, they are definitely worth reading to experience the world of the Empire of the Celestial Dragons!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Eon by Alison Goodman

Every year, a new apprentice is chosen for the year of the Dragoneye. This year, it is the Rat Dragon who is looking for a new apprentice to one day become the new Dragoneye.

Eon is one of the candidates trying to become the apprentice. No one thinks he is going to stand a chance because he's crippled - he was run over by a wagon and shattered his hip.

But Eon does have one thing to his advantage: he can see all 12 of the Dragons - not something that just anyone can do.

There is a deep secret about Eon though... he's actually a 16-year-old girl named Eona. Only females aren't allowed to be Dragoneye, so she's hiding her true self hoping that the Rat Dragon will choose her to become the new Dragoneye.

When Eon doesn't get chosen by the Rat Dragon, everything is lost.

Until Eon sees the Mirror Dragon - the dragon that has been missing for 500 years. The Mirror Dragon picks Eon as it's human Dragoneye, but Eon would not confess her true name in front of the Dragon council.

Because of that, Eon cannot call her dragon. But she is the new "hero" to save the emperor, the new Mirror Dragoneye after 500 years, and everyone is looking to her to save their council.

Things get even worse when Lord Ion, Lord of the Rat Dragon, tries to take over the whole Dragon council to become the one Dragoneye Lord.

Will Eon be able to connect with her dragon? Can she save everyone from war and destruction without being killed for lying about who she really is? Read Eon by Alison Goodman to find out!

My Thoughts/Reflections
It's been a long while since I've read a fantasy novel, so I immensely enjoyed getting back into this genre - and I picked a great novel to start again!

Alison Goodman did a fantastic job with this dragon based world! The writing was easy to follow and she was very detailed in this new world for the readers to understand.

I loved Eon! This character was very brave, very courageous, but also able to act older than what she is and face a whole council of Dragon Lords who have been studying this for the last 12 or more years. She had about a week tops.

If I were in Eon's shoes, I'm not sure I would have done as well at 1) hiding who I really was 2) follow along with the Dragoneye politics or 3) prepare to do ceremonies that only very well trained Dragoneyes could do.

She's like the new Katniss, only I think better as she not only had to fight other adults but had to rule her part of the Dragoneye council.

And she has to work with dragons, which can be very temperamental.

I really enjoyed this novel. Sure, it's 530 pages and there might be a few times where I glanced over paragraphs that were too descriptive and not enough action. But overall, I loved this novel and can't wait to delve right into the second (and last book) of this series.

For anyone who wants another version of the Hunger Games or likes fantasy with dragons, this is definitely the book for you. Also, anyone who loves a strong female leader, you need to pick this up right away.

I'll be reading and reviewing the next book, Eona, right away, so stay tuned!