Sunday, April 28, 2013

Strangelets by Michelle Gagnon

Strangelets

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. I've been busy with school, but I caught up on my reading (a little bit). I have a lot to review now so expect some reviews!

Strangelets by Michelle Gagnon

4.5 stars

Sophie is lying in a hospital bed in California. She knows she’s going to die, but instead of being scared she’s embracing it. Declan is a typical bad boy. The one time he decides to do something without thieving to buy something for his girlfriend he ends up in a situation where he’s gunned down in an alley in Ireland. Anat is trying to escape her life and be with the man she loves. Doing so involves her crossing through a booby-trapped tunnel between Israel and Egypt. These three strangers should’ve died at the same time, a thousand miles apart, and the same age of 17. But they didn’t. They awaken in an abandoned hospital and discover they aren’t alone. Three other teens are with them and they are from different countries. As they band together to find away to escape they encounter things that aren’t from this planet and a desolate Long Island. One teen harbors a secret that could get them home, but what will they risk to be home again? Wow… this book is so different. It’s absolutely thrilling. I was completely engrossed in this book and it’s just so freaking good. This book has a lot of everything. There’s a lot of science talk and concepts that tie in to the big secret of what’s going on, but it was really intriguing. I’m terrible at science and I hate learning about, but I actually enjoyed the science that Gagnon introduced. I would talk about more things involved that make this book so awesome and unique, but it would ruin the experience of reading. Trust me this is one experience that you don’t want to miss.


The main female characters are Sophie and Anat. I really liked Sophie. She was real and probably the easiest for me to connect to. Sophie was interesting, but I feel like we didn’t really get to know her. We didn’t know her hobbies or friends before she was sick and I feel like it’s kind of a key trait in writing a book with a cancer patient. A person is always different before they are sick and we would get slight glimpses of it, but they were small. Anat definitely knows how to kick ass and I was very intimidated by her character even though I wasn’t even in the book. It’s refreshing to see a heroine take the lead in a journey, but Anat is too hard and expects too much out of people. She realizes that Sophie is recovering and doesn’t have much strength or have military background but she still treats her as though she should be in tip-top-shape. I don’t think that’s a very fair judgment. I also found it annoying how she always seemed to want to hit somebody for moving too slow. I liked her more as the book went on, but she was really hard for me to like at first.The main female characters are Sophie and Anat. I really liked Sophie. She was real and probably the easiest for me to connect to. Sophie was interesting, but I feel like we didn’t really get to know her. We didn’t know her hobbies or friends before she was sick and I feel like it’s kind of a key trait in writing a book with a cancer patient. A person is always different before they are sick and we would get slight glimpses of it, but they were small. Anat definitely knows how to kick ass and I was very intimidated by her character even though I wasn’t even in the book. It’s refreshing to see a heroine take the lead in a journey, but Anat is too hard and expects too much out of people. She realizes that Sophie is recovering and doesn’t have much strength or have military background but she still treats her as though she should be in tip-top-shape. I don’t think that’s a very fair judgment. I also found it annoying how she always seemed to want to hit somebody for moving too slow. I liked her more as the book went on, but she was really hard for me to like at first.

Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: Sophie-8.5 Anat-8

The main male character is Declan. Declan isn’t a bad character. In fact, he’s a pretty interesting one. I don’t get why he needed to have such a ‘bad boy’ stereotype. I like, OK love, bad boys but that doesn’t mean I need one in every story. Declan being stereotyped as a bad boy didn’t make me like him any more as I would’ve thought. He wasn’t bad character in the least. He had good qualities and I enjoyed his POV. I’ve been noticing that YA is starting to have a lot more male POV or maybe it’s just the books I’m reading. I like having a male POV along with female ones. It makes the story more interesting. I think I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed the story if it was just one POV. Why I’m talking about POVs when I should be talking about Declan is something I have no answer for. I need to get back on task. Declan isn’t a remarkable character, at least not for me. He was pretty stereotypical and not even in the way that I would find myself loving. *cough* Damon Black *cough cough*I guess what I’m trying to say is Declan is a pretty normal guy that’s only memorable traits are getting himself into trouble, picking locks, and fighting his feelings for Sophie. Things I did really like about him are his intelligence and caring for Sophie. I guess getting into trouble a lot made him have a quick mind. He also helped Sophie a lot. There is a lot of walking in this book. I mean a lot and Sophie is recovery from cancer and he helps her walk. That’s a pretty admirable trait.


Swoon Worthy Scale: 8

The Villain- This is something I really liked. I won’t spoil anything except that you will be surprised where this book goes. 

Villain Scale: 8.5

The three other members of there are Nico, Zane and Yosh. Nico isn’t an incredibly likable character. For a while I couldn’t stand him, but he eventually grows on you. Zane was nice enough. Yosh is hard to trust because something always seemed off about her. I have spoilers in this section, but my spoiler tags aren't working on my blog and I'm not sure how to do the highlighter spoiler. So if you want to see spoilers you can go here.


Character Scale: 9

This book was really cool (probably not the best choice of words, but I think of anything else). I never felt bored reading Strangelets. I was sucked into the journey, even with all the walking or running. This book blew my mind. I wasn’t expecting anything that I was thrown (well a few basic things, but not the paranormal twists). This book is full of surprises and I don’t think it’s one that should be missed.


Cover Thoughts: I really like the cover. I don’t love it, but it has a creepy feel. Kind of similar to the book and it also fits the book. So yay! Plus the cover is what drew me in and made me curious.

A copy was provided by Netgalley and Soho Press in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Conspiracy of Alchemists by Liesel Schwarz

A Conspiracy of Alchemists (The Chronicle of Light and Shadow, #1)

A Conspiracy of Alchemists by Liesel Scwarz

First in The Chronicle of Light and Shadow series

3 stars

Eleanor “Elle” Chance is a pilot and she finds herself in a world she never thought to be. The year is 1903 and the world is divided between light and shadow. On the side of light, science is embraced and used to transform everyday life by harnessing magical energies to develop new technology. With each advance of science, the shadow- realm of the supernatural- loses a part of itself. The alchemists have a plan to gain back their right to magic and it involves a sacrifice a young woman with special powers that harness the magic of the Shadow. Elle is the daughter of a scientific genius and she is determined to get the job her friend, Patrice has assigned her. With the help, much to Elle’s dismay, of a Warlock named Hugh Marsh. Elle’s dragged into the world of the battle for the Shadow between Warlocks and Alchemists. A Conspiracy of Alchemists is far from perfect. It’s not an amazing debut, but I consider it to be a pretty solid one. This story has elements that will appeal to all audiences. There’s steampunk, romance, paranormal, fantasy, history, and action. This book dragged a lot for me in the beginning and even in the middle. It didn’t pick for me until 60%. That’s why I’m giving it three stars. It’s worthy of four stars or even three and half stars, but it dragged far too much for me to give it a higher rating. When there wasn’t an interesting action scene going on there was a lot bantering between Marsh and Elle or talk of science and technology. I’m terrible at science so this is a pain for me and I had to reread a lot of those parts to understand what they were talking about. The banter between Marsh and Elle was actually hard for me to like, but they both started to grow on me. I found myself enjoying their arguments even if they were stupid.


The main female character is Elle. Elle isn’t a bad heroine. She has a backbone and I actually really liked her. I didn’t like her all the time, but she was a character that had substance. She wasn’t just there. I liked her love for flying and science. Elle is very unconventional for a woman of her time and I love that in a historical. Elle has determination and it’s a very admirable trait. Although sometimes it made her incredibly stupid because of her stubbornness, but that’s not a bad thing. I like when characters are stubborn, it shows personality. Elle also has a power that not very heroines have in YA and I actually really liked the concept behind it. I want to talk more about it, but I don’t want to spoil anything.


Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 8.5

The main male character is Marsh. I like Marsh. I don’t love him like Damen or Dimitri, but Marsh isn’t half bad. The more we learned about Marsh, the more I liked him. By the end of the book I can happily say that I was routing for Marsh and Elle.


Swoon Worthy Scale: 7.5

The Villain- We knew who the villain was early on because we got his POV, but there was a huge twist I did not even see coming. The signs were probably there, but I didn’t think anything of it.

Villain Scale: 8

Patrice was a part of the book for a really long time. There was also a brief meeting with a Nightwalker (vampire) and Elle on the train to Constantinople. I really liked that encounter and I want to see more of this character in the future. Mrs. Hinges was hilarious and I really liked her. Is it just me or are most nurses/maids really funny?


Character Scale: 8

I did have problems with the pacing and I almost gave up on it, but something told me to keep going and I’m glad I did because this was pretty good. It’ very different from typical YA, but I really liked it. It has a bit of everything and I like when books have more than one genre. I’ll definitely be reading the sequel and I can’t wait to see where Elle and Marsh go next because that epilogue was absolutely great (even though I saw that part coming).


Cover Thoughts: The cover is gorgeous. I wish I had a physical copy of it. Yes, there’s a girl on it, but she’s not really the focus. The whole cover fits the story pretty perfectly and I love how different it is.

A copy was provided by Netgalley and the publishers for an honest review.



Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Undead Next Door by Kerrelyn Sparks

The Undead Next Door (Love at Stake, #4)

The Undead Next Door by Kerrelyn Sparks

Fourth in the Love at Stake series

5 stars

Heather Westfield is a recently divorced single mom living in Texas. When she met Jean-Luc Echarpe she couldn’t deny her attraction to him. Something’s off about Jean-Luc. He sleeps all day, has sword wielding bodyguards, and never seems to age. Heather has always lived a quiet life, but her world is changing and they might have a chance at happily-ever-after. That’s if a murderous vampire villain doesn’t kill them first. Kerrelyn Sparks is one of my favorite writers ever. I absolutely adore her books and this series holds a special place in my heart. The Love at Stake series is the first adult series I ever started. I read the series out of order so I knew kind of what happened in Jean-Luc and Heather’s story. I enjoyed this book though. It’s probably one of my favorites in the series. It isn’t my favorite (that title goes to The Vampire and the Virgin, which is the first book I read by Ms. Sparks), but it’s a really good book. I was never bored and if I remember correctly I sped through this book in a day.


The main female character is Heather. Heather is probably one of the more real heroines in the Love at Stake series. What do I mean by real? I mean she doesn’t have any special powers like telepathy. She’s incredibly normal. That’s probably my favorite thing about Heather. I like when authors bring heroines in that are completely human and have absolutely no clue of another world or power. It makes it more enjoyable and interesting. Heather is also a mom. You don’t see that very often in romance novels. She’s a great mom and she also so has a job, a real job. Not some corporate CIA or FBI job. She’s just a normal school teacher. Aside from being a normal heroine, she’s strong and she’s very determined. I liked that about her and it made for an interesting part when Jean-Luc revealed his big secret.


Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 8

The main male character is Jean-Luc. Jean-Luc is a fashion designer and he isn’t gay at all. I appreciate that he has a job that could be consider as gay, but he is obviously a very straight man. I like Jean-Luc a lot. He isn’t my favorite of the men in the series, but he’s not my least favorite. He’s funny and I really liked his interaction with Heather’s daughter. He’s definitely swoon worthy and he can handle his own with killer vamps and arguing Highlanders.



Character Scale: 8

I really enjoy this series and urge people to pick because it’s not very well known. The Undead Next Door was definitely a great installment! It’s also a really funny book, which is one of my favorite things about this series. You’ll never fail to laugh out loud with these characters.



Swoon Worthy Scale: 8

The Villain-Some things are better left to be unknown for the book. Not the fiercest villain, but still an interesting battle scene as always.


Villain Scale: 7.5

There’s Cody, Heather’s ex. He’s a jerk and I didn’t like him at all. I’m curious though about where he ends up in the future. Bethany, Heather and jerk face Cody’s daughter, she’s absolutely adorable. She’s also funny and cute which is perfectly uplifting. Then there’s the neighbor and Heather’s friend, Fedelia. She’s absolutely hilarious. Constantly threatening people with a gun is a way to win my heart in a book and make me laugh.


Character Scale: 8

I really enjoy this series and urge people to pick because it’s not very well known. The Undead Next Door was definitely a great installment! It’s also a really funny book, which is one of my favorite things about this series. You’ll never fail to laugh out loud with these characters.


Cover Thoughts: I actually hate the cover. The guy is kind of creepy looking and it just looks weird. I don’t like it at all.

Friday, April 12, 2013

17 & GONE by Nova Ren Suma

17 & Gone

17 & Gone by Nova Ren Suma

5 stars (I changed my mind this book is too good to be just 4.5 stars)

There are spoilers and it's best not to click unless you've read the book. Unless you don't care about being spoiled then go for it! For the spoiler review click here.



Lauren starts to have visions of girls who have gone missing a few months before her seventeenth birthday. All these girls are 17 and gone. While Lauren struggles to shake the nightmares and uncover the questions about why these girls are speaking to her and how to help them. In a little house in Lauren’s dreams all the girls await and causing Lauren to wonder why she’s the only girl that can leave the house. Is she next? Will she be 17 and gone like Abigail? This book was so good. I had mixed feelings after reading it and even though I loved it I wasn’t sure if I loved it enough to give it five stars. It is good enough and beyond that to be five stars for me. This book was just perfect. I’m absolutely entranced by Ms. Suma’s writing. I consider her to be a writing witch. She weaves stories with words so perfectly. Her descriptions are entrancing and the story is always interesting. I never want to put a book of hers down, but sometimes life gets in the way and it forces me to do just that. This book is just so different. It’s a lot like Imaginary Girls in writing style and I urge anyone that even remotely liked that book to read 17 & Gone. While I noticed that a lot of people had a problem with the fact that Imaginary Girls had no plot or explanations to the things happening, 17 & Gone does.


The main female character is Lauren. Lauren isn’t my favorite heroine ever, but I did like reading from her perspective. I was just as confused as her to her situation. Her story is quite moving. Lauren is far from being a great heroine, but she’s no Mary Sue. I liked learning about what she went through when she was little with Fiona. SPOILER! Seriously I kid you not if you click on the spoiler tag it’ll ruin the whole book for you. (view spoiler)

Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 7

The main male character is I guess her boyfriend Jamie. He is absent for quite a bit of the story. I didn’t really like Jamie, but I didn’t hate him either. I do appreciate the choices he made for Lauren in the end though. This makes me like Jamie a lot even if he was hardly ever present.


Swoon Worthy Scale: 6

The Villain- I’ll just leave this one with the answer of I’m not sure. I just don’t know what to put without giving anything away.

Villain Scale: Undecided

The girl that Lauren first saw that started the visions is Abigail or Abby. I’m not sure how to explain what I think about Abby. (view spoiler) There’s also Fiona Burke who plays a huge part of Lauren’s story. It’s hard to explain any of the girls of Lauren’s visions without giving anything away, which is why I put off writing a review right away. I have my opinions about these girls, but I can’t talk about them because it gives too much away.

Character Scale: 8.5

I enjoyed this book immensely. I officially consider myself to be a fan of Suma’s work. I’m so happy to have read this book because it really made me think about things. Not only what Lauren is experiencing, but also about how many girls go missing. The girls that went missing were real (view spoiler) I find this incredibly scary because it happens so easily and sometimes it’s voluntary, but going missing is such an often occurrence. This book made me think about the girls that have recently been going missing in my little town. They are a lot like Abby and Fiona and all the other girls that go missing. I think this book is absolutely amazing and I encourage everyone to read it. This is definitely a great book and it won’t have an impact on everyone, but it’s worth reading. Sorry for the not-so-great review! It's hard to review a book that you don't want to give away.


Thank you Penguin Teen for the Advanced Reader Copy and Ms. Suma for signing it!

Cover Thoughts: I absolutely love the cover. It is just so perfect. I love how they have Abby’s missing poster on the cover and I just love it.



Monday, April 8, 2013

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

1000000 5 stars

Charlie is starting high school and he’s nervous. He’s never exactly fit in. He’s not a nerd, but he isn’t popular. Charlie is just there. Charlie is a wallflower who is living a life and trying to run from it. As Charlie navigates through high school he writes letters to an unknown person about his life. He meets and befriends Patrick and Sam at a football. They introduce Charlie to the world of first dates, mix tapes, family drama, friends, sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.







You know when you buy a book and think to yourself ”Wow this is gonna be great!” You’re worried it might be that amazing or it could fail miserably and disappoint you or just be that average book in the mass of the others. I had that feeling before starting this book. It’s been forever since I read a book like The Perks. I was obsessed with books like this when I was in sixth grade, but stopped reading them. When I was on that obsession kick I had come across The Perks of Being a Wallflower several thousand times and thought about reading it, but never picked it up. What really prompted me to want to read the book was the movie and then I started seeing great reviews for this book and I was sold and knew I just had to have it. I got it and I don’t great paying $12 at Books a Million for a book with a little over 200 pages. This book was worth it. So worth it. This book won’t be for everyone. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is different and I loved every single minute of it. I loved the quotes and Charlie, Sam, and Patrick made me laugh a lot.


The main male character is Charlie. Charlie is a wallflower and can I just say that he is absolutely adorakable! I mean this kid knows absolutely nothing and is so socially awkward, but he manages to be a believable character. I loved reading Charlie’s letters to his unknown pen pal. I connected with Charlie because I am somewhat of a wallflower. Charlie is easy to relate to in ways that are real. I’m not able to relate to Charlie’s emotional and physical trauma, but I was able to other things in his life. Charlie is one of those rare characters that has a story that made me think about it for days actually weeks. I’m still in shock over it even though I knew it was going to happen. The signs were there but the ending was unexpected.

Swoon Worthy Scale: 9

The Villain- Let’s just skip right past this one before I start to rage and scream about the unfairness of this situation and anyone who has experienced this from an adult.

Villain Scale: 8.5

The people that Charlie meets along the way to finding himself are what really made this book for me. We have Patrick, the goofball who always put a smile on my face. He’s the kind of friend that’s always there for you and I love Patrick. I also like that he had a story in Charlie’s story, too. Patrick has a presence and he makes it enjoyable even when I cried for him. Then there’s Patrick’s stepsister, Sam. Charlie is hopelessly in love with Sam and I actually really liked her character. Charlie and Sam have a very fun relationship, but it also has its ups and downs. I’m still not sure what happens between Sam and Charlie in the future because the possibilities are broad and endless. I kind of want to keep it that way. There’s Mary Elizabeth, Charlie’s first girlfriend. This is where Charlie starts to show that he is a guy and I liked that he was honest even though it hurt people along the way because Mary Elizabeth wouldn’t have moved on and would still be with Charlie and Charlie would be miserable. There’s Craig, who I never liked and still don’t. He eventually becomes Sam’s boyfriend and is present for quite a bit of the novel. There’s Candace, Charlie’s sister. I liked her presence in the novel even though it wasn’t great. She had just as much as a story in Charlie’s letters as everyone else. There’s Bob, Sam and Patrick’s stoner friend. I actually thought he was funny and I liked him. Then there was Bill, Charlie’s English teacher and a big role in Charlie’s coping. Bill gives Charlie many books and I think that in a way those books got Charlie through a lot. One of my favorite things about the characters in this book is that they are all insightful and say at least one thing that make you stop and think.

Character Scale: 10

This book isn’t for everybody. Some people won’t like the style, maybe they won’t connect, or they went in with too high of expectations. I went into the Perks with expectations but with absolutely no idea of how I wanted the book to be. I was surprised because, yes my expectations were high, but I also didn’t have a certain area of where I wanted The Perks of Being a Wallflower to be. For me this book was perfect and I just embrace it and I’ll probably re-read it one day.

Now the movie is absolutely amazing. If you watch the movie before you read the book chances are you’ll be disappointed because there’s a lot missing and a lot added. I absolutely love the movie and in my opinion it’s better than the book because there is more Patrick. I also received a clear understanding of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The movie is great in its own way and so is the book. I just can’t compare them because I love them both equally but for different things.








Cover Thoughts: Call me crazy but I like the cover. I don’t love it, but I think it fits and that’s why I like it.




Friday, April 5, 2013

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451: And Related Readings

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

2 stars

Guy Montag is fireman. He burns books for a living and enjoys it. But Montag has a secret and it could be his downfall in the world that he lives in. Eh… what to say that hasn’t already be said about this book? Well for starters in my opinion this book is boring and it is full of metaphors. This book is like a brain workout. It doesn’t that I have to read this for English class and that means an in depth exploration of the book. This book isn’t bad, but it’s painstakingly slow. I did enjoy it sometimes though. The world is fairly interesting and definitely different. It’s probably not different now, but this book is older than my mom so it’s original in my opinion.


The main male character is Guy Montag. He is known as Montag throughout most of the novel so I’ll call him Montag. Montag is an OK character. It’s hard for me to connect to a hero like Montag. Why? Here are some reasons: 1) I’m not a middle-aged man. 2) I’m not going through a dystopian-mid-life crisis. 3) I don’t enjoy setting fires because I’m not a pyromaniac. 4) I don’t live in a world like this and can’t imagine a place with books because it’s blasphemy. I’m sure there are people out there that love Montag. I’m not one of those people. I don’t like or hate him. For me he was just a part of the book and getting a valuable point across.

Swoon Worthy Scale:   
No, just, no.

The Villain-
I don’t know who to point my finger at first. Captain Beatty is the obvious choice since he was the evilest person in the book, but I think Mildred has a spot up there too.

Villain Scale: 5

I’m not going to breakdown anything else. Since I had to suffer through this book, I’m not rehashing it. If you’re curious about it and a fan of classics go for it. I don’t hate anything about this book except that I think this book has way too many metaphors and it’s boring. It’s not particularly bad, but it isn’t amazing. I was also the only person in my class to actually finish reading the book. I should deserve a medal for what I went through. It took me fifteen minutes just to read ten pages. That is ridiculous. Metaphors are good, but I don’t need five hundred of them in a book with less than 300 pages. I’m critical and don’t have much to say about it besides the basic complaint from a high schooler forced to read this book.


Cover Thoughts: My cover has a phoenix on it. Just like in Harry Potter.