Jumping off Swings by Jo Knowles

Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Tells, from four points of view, the ramifications of a pregnancy resulting from a "one-time thing" between Ellie, who feels loved when boys touch her, and Josh, an eager virgin with a troubled home life.

This was a really easy and quick read but was so poignant and gritty. I think all teens should read this to realize the gravity of their decisions. I felt bad for all the teenagers involved because it was a sad situation, and unfortunately it's becoming more and more common these days.

I like the writing of this author and really enjoyed this one, I read it in about three hours. It's a good book and I highly recommend it!


Fallen - Lauren Kate

 There’s something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.

Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price’s attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He’s the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.

Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce–and goes out of his way to make that very clear–she can’t let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret, even if it kills her. 

I have to be honest with myself on this review - I didn't finish the novel. I began it and found the scene incredibly boring and Luce didn't make an impression on me at all. With YA books, the beginning is so important because it sets the pace of the novel. For people like me who have ADD and don't like lengthy descriptions of their dinner, this book really bored me. I wish this review could've been better, but I just couldn't get into it. The only reason I still have it is because the cover is gorgeous and I like the way the dust jacket feels. ;)


Deadly Little Secrets - Laurie Faria Stolarz

Some secrets shouldn't be kept...

Up until three months ago, everything in sixteen-year-old Camelia's life had been fairly ordinary: decent grades; an okay relationship with her parents; and a pretty cool part-time job at the art studio downtown. But when Ben, the mysterious new guy, starts junior year at her high school, Camelia's life becomes anything but ordinary.

I thought this book was a really good and pretty fast-paced. I actually enjoyed Camelia's character and love Ben. This one was VERY reminescent of Twilight in my opinion, with the mysterious guy coming in and saving her then disappears again but it was still executed well!

I thought it was a nicely written novel and there was many twists that I didn't see coming. I liked the set up and the characters seemed real and believable to me, which was nice. I'm looking forward to the next book, Deadly Little Lies!


As You Wish by Jackson Pearce

Ever since Viola's boyfriend broke up with her, she has spent her days silently wishing—to have someone love her again and, more importantly, to belong again—until one day she inadvertently summons a young genie out of his world and into her own. He will remain until she makes three wishes.
Jinn is anxious to return home, but Viola is terrified of wishing, afraid she will not wish for the right thing, the thing that will make her truly happy. As the two spend time together, the lines between master and servant begin to blur, and soon Jinn can't deny that he's falling for Viola. But it's only after Viola makes her first wish that she realizes she's in love with Jinn as well . . . and that if she wishes twice more, he will disappear from her life—and her world—forever.

This is a charming novel with a wistful, fairytale-like feel to it. I read this book in one day and felt like I lost a companion when it was through. I found myself relating to Viola and I really liked her, which is surprising for me since I do not bond well with female protagonists. I could remember feeling what Viola was, about being invisible and really wanting to fit in.

While this story is a love story, it's also about self acceptance, learning about yourself, and really knowing what is important in life. I think the most important lesson was it isn't the quantity but the quality of friends you keep is what makes life worth living. This one is definitely a favorite and one of the sweetest love stories I'd read in a long time. Please get it if you get a chance.


Wake - Lisa McMann

Friday, December 11, 2009
Ever since she was eight years old, high school student Janie Hannagan has been uncontrollably drawn into other people's dreams, but it is not until she befriends an elderly nursing home patient and becomes involved with an enigmatic fellow-student that she discovers her true power.

I have to say that I love the idea Lisa McMann had but I didn't like the result. I didn't like this one at all unfortunately. I'd heard nothing but good things about it so I was really excited but when I read it, I felt very underwhelmed. I found the book to be very unrealistic. I know that books are supposed to be fiction and to take you away, but I feel the author pushed it a little too far. A nineteen year old drug narc for the police with barely any training? C'mon...

All and all, good idea - just didn't care for the book.


Perfect Chemistry - Simone Elkeles

Thursday, December 10, 2009
When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created “perfect” life is about to unravel before her eyes. She’s forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she's worked so hard for—her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect. Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more.  

Perfect Chemistry is the novel that made me fall in love with Simone Elkeles and her writing style. The first thing that drew me in was the cover - how gorgeous and sexy is that? Secondly, her characters are so easy to love and relate to. I loved how the author touched on the racial and stereotype card, but wasn't shoving it down the reader's throat.

Alex is amazing and a favorite boy character of mine. He's so cocky but it's in an endearing way and you can't help but love him. The two of them have their own set of problems, but they never had the woe is me attitude. They were both strong and that's what I love most about it. This is a great read and I completely devoured it.


Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins

Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.

I thought this one was really good, though nothing can compare to the first book in my opinion ;). I thought this book was more on the political side of things but there are still huge decisions that Katniss is being forced to make. She has to work out her feelings for Gale while trying to convince everyone that she and Peeta are in love. My heart goes out to her and I can't imagine having to go through everything she does between Hunger Games and Catching Fire.

The ending was a surprise to me but I'm not sure if I liked it. It'll be interesting to see what Suzanne Collins does in the third book, Mockingjay, which will be out in August of 2010! I still really enjoyed it and thought it was amazing.


The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins

Tuesday, December 8, 2009
 In a future North America, where the rulers of Panem maintain control through an annual televised survival competition pitting young people from each of the twelve districts against one another, sixteen-year-old Katniss's skills are put to the test when she voluntarily takes her younger sister's place.

I only have one thing to say about this: wow. I was late on the bandwagon for this series, and I'm actually glad about that because the second book Catching Fire is out already and I don't have to wait.

I thought the idea is amazing and Suzanne Collins has such a distinct writing style that's absolutely addicting. I kept turning the pages wanting more and more. This is an epic series, I think it's up there with Harry Potter as a must read! I loved Katniss as a character, she reminds me so much of myself in trying to be brave and keep romance out of the picture that I liked her almost instantly.

The story was a little slow at first but after the first chapter it goes and doesn't relent on you until the end. What a ride! I could feel my heart pumping and when that happens just from a book, I know it's a keeper!


Silver Pheonix - Cindy Pon

Friday, December 4, 2009
No one wanted Ai Ling. And deep down she is relieved—despite the dishonor she has brought upon her family—to be unbetrothed and free, not some stranger's subservient bride banished to the inner quarters.

But now, something is after her. Something terrifying—a force she cannot comprehend. And as pieces of the puzzle start to fit together, Ai Ling begins to understand that her journey to the Palace of Fragrant Dreams isn't only a quest to find her beloved father but a venture with stakes larger than she could have imagined.

I can't begin to describe how much I adored this book! It totally captured me from the beginning and I loved Cindy's style of writing. After I finished the novel, I admit that I stalked her a bit on Goodreads...

I found Ai Ling to be a really stunning character in that she was very beautiful but couldn't exactly get it right. She's flawed, but wonderfully so. I loved the imagery and the journey for the characters. The end did upset me a bit, but it didn't take away from the book as a whole.

Awesome book! I want to read it all over again. :)


The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong

If you had met me a few weeks ago, you probably would have described me as an average teenage girl—someone normal. Now my life has changed forever and I'm as far away from normal as it gets. A living science experiment—not only can I see ghosts, but I was genetically altered by a sinister organization called the Edison Group. What does that mean? For starters, I'm a teenage necromancer whose powers are out of control; I raise the dead without even trying. Trust me, that is not a power you want to have. Ever.

Now I'm running for my life with three of my supernatural friends—a charming sorcerer, a cynical werewolf, and a disgruntled witch—and we have to find someone who can help us before the Edison Group finds us first. Or die trying.

I thought I loved the Summoning, but Kelley outdid herself with the second one! The Awakening had so many twists and turns, as well as constant action that I found myself aching to keep readind and not wanting anyone to bug me. The Edison Group is such an amazing idea for a villan, I think inhumane experiments are very eerie and a good idea for a plot line. With a single villian, it would be easier to conquer but with this group of supernaturals, they don't know what they're up against or what the group has in store and that makes it all the more chilling!

Another thing I really enjoyed about this novel was the character development and the way the characters interacted with each other. You could tell Chloe was starting to somewhat come to terms with her ability and used them a little more to her advantage but some of the scenes gave me chills, so I can only imagine how frightening it was for her. Simon and Derek are sweet together and make such good brothers, I'd wished there was a little more dialoge between the two of them.

Chloe and Derek. Need I say more? They make the cutest pair and I can't wait to read more about them. I'm so happy that Kelley Armstrong didn't write Chloe and Simon together as much and making Derek, the awkward and quiet guy, the one in the spotlight. That thrilled me to no end! I can't wait for the third book in the series to find out what happens next! More, more, more!


The Summoning - Kelley Armstrong

Wednesday, December 2, 2009
After years of frequent moves following her mother’s death, Chloe Saunders’s life is finally settling down. She is attending art school, pursuing her dreams of becoming a director, making friends, meeting boys. Her biggest concern is that she’s not developing as fast as her friends are. But when puberty does hit, it brings more than hormone surges. Chloe starts seeing ghosts–everywhere, demanding her attention. After she suffers a breakdown, her devoted aunt Lauren gets her into a highly recommended group home.

At first, Lyle House seems a pretty okay place, except for Chloe’s small problem of fearing she might be facing a lifetime of mental illness. But as she gradually gets to know the other kids at the home–charming Simon and his ominous, unsmiling brother Derek, obnoxious Tori, and Rae, who has a “thing” for fire–Chloe begins to realize that there is something that binds them all together, and it isn’t your usual “problem kid” behavior. And together they discover that Lyle House is not your usual group home either…

From the moment I opened this book I was hooked. It starts off with a bang and doesn't stop until you close it. I thought the plot was really good and I really enjoyed Kelley Armstrong's writing. I wasn't a fan of the ending because I really don't like cliffhangers but it is worth the wait. I have The Awakening on request at my library - I'm number 3 so hopefully I'll be able to read it soon! Chloe is very relate-able and likable and you really feel for her. In some ways I wish there wasn't any other magical students in the Lyle house but I know the plot wouldn't have worked had she not added it in. It's a quick read, I finished it in about a day and a half. You're not going to want to put the book down!


Bonechiller by Graham McNamee

Friday, November 27, 2009
Four high school students face off against a soul-stealing beast that has been making young people disappear their small Ontario, Canada, town for centuries.

I got this book as an attempt to broaden my horizons and I wasn't sure if I'd like it. The truth was I really didn't like it - I loved it! It really took me by surprise and I was shocked to find myself continually turning the pages to have more. I loved the mystry of the monster in this novel, it's always the unknown that scares us so much.

I loved the ending and loved the characters and found myself wanting to be friends with them and get to know them. I related a lot to Ash, I'm also not girly and loved that Danny liked that about her. You don't have to be a frilly girly girl to be liked.

Very spooky story and the book was executed so well and the writing was great!


Breathe, a ghost story by Cliff McNish

Thursday, November 26, 2009
Jack is not a normal boy. He can talk to ghosts. In his new home, an aging farmhouse, he meets the Ghost Mother, a grief-stricken spirit who becomes very attached to him...too attached. He learns that the Ghost Mother is preying in the cruelest imaginable way on four child ghosts who are trapped in the house, stealing their energy to sustain her own. Before Jack can figure out how to help them, the Ghost Mother takes possession of his real mother's body. Jack wants to fight back, but he has severe asthma and risks fatal attacks with any physical exertion. It will take all his resources, and his mother's as well, to fight off the Ghost Mother and save the ghost children from a horrible fate.

This was another novel I wasn't sure I'd like and ended up really loving it! There was a deep sense of darkness in this novel, and it was almost a whimsical ghost story, if that makes sense. I was reminded of Coraline in this story, such as the ghost children and the evil mother but I really liked it.

The writing was really well done and I liked the ease in which he transitioned into a new chapter or section. The book did make me look around the room a few times I was pleasantly surprised at that from a book for the 9-12 age group. The cover is very creepy as well and I loved it. The ending was awesome too and made me understand the ghost mother a bit more. Another to add to the collection!


Send Me Down a Miracle - Han Nolan

Wednesday, November 25, 2009
There's a startling, almost itchy moment in every adolescent's life when she or he first realizes that adults are fallible. Yet, for 14-year-old Charity, the revelation is even more profound: not only is her dad (the town's preacher) merely wrong about the eccentric Adrienne Dabney, he's dang-blasted and over-the-top wrong. Although she's always been a perfect preacher's daughter, Charity is about to shock the whole town by standing up to her father, proving him wrong in front of God and everyone.
Very good read - Very much infused with religion so I don't recommend it if you don't believe in God. It's about a girl named Charity who is the preacher's daughter and has always been a goody goody until Adrienne moves into town. She's very different and artistic, doesn't care what people think and Charity is drawn to her. Then Adrienne claims to have seen God in a chair in her home and it turns their town completely upside down.


A Northern Light - Jennifer Donnely

Friday, November 20, 2009
Sixteen-year-old Mattie Gokey has big dreams but little hope of seeing them come true. Desperate for money, she takes a job at the Glenmore, where hotel guest Grace Brown asks her to burn a bundle of secret letters. But when Grace's drowned body is fished from the lake, Mattie discovers the letters reveal the grim truth behind a murder.

What an incredible book! An all-time favorite for me. Mattie is 16 in the year 1906 and takes work at a hotel where she accepts letters from a woman to burn. When the woman turns up dead in the lake, it's up to Mattie to discover to see if it was a homicide or sucide. This was based on a true story and is amazing. Highly recommend it!


Unwind - Neil Shusterman

Sunday, November 15, 2009
In a society where unwanted teens are salvaged for their body parts, three runaways fight the system that would "unwind" them.

Connor's parents want to be rid of him because he's a troublemaker. Risa has no parents and is being unwound to cut orphanage costs. Lev's unwinding has been planned since his birth, as part of his family's strict religion. Brought together by chance, and kept together by desperation, these three unlikely companions make a harrowing cross-country journey, knowing their lives hang in the balance. If they can survive until their eighteenth birthday, they can't be harmed -- but when every piece of them, from their hands to their hearts, are wanted by a world gone mad, eighteen seems far, far away.  

A very adventurous and heart pounding novel! I found many times where I was turning the pages and holding my breath at the same time. I thought it was so interesting how the teenagers came together and their different stories. I'm not sure I could pick a favorite character!

The writing was really good and thought it was very well done. I really like Neil Shusterman as an author and look forward to his other books.


The Bright Forever - Lee Martin

On an evening like any other, nine-year-old Katie Mackey, daughter of the most affluent family in a small town on the plains of Indiana, sets out on her bicycle to return some library books.

This simple act is at the heart of The Bright Forever, a suspenseful, deeply affecting novel about the choices people make that change their lives forever. Keeping fact, speculation, and contradiction playing off one another as the details unfold, author Lee Martin creates a fast-paced story that is as gripping as it is richly human. His beautiful, clear-eyed prose builds to an extremely nuanced portrayal of the complicated give and take among people struggling to maintain their humanity in the shadow of a loss.

This book is about a little girl named Katie who was kidnapped in the 1960's-1970's time frame. The book has about five main characters: Mr. Dees (Katie's tutor), Ray (Mr. Dees friend), Clare (Ray's wife), Gilley (Katie's brother), and Junior (Katie's father). They all are intertwined with this kidnapping and it was really interesting to see how they came together and the interactions between them. It was an excellent read and I couldn't put it down because I just HAD to know what happened next. I love books like that! Definitely a favorite and definitely recommend it!


Come Back - Claire and Mia Fontaine

Saturday, November 14, 2009
How does an honor student at one of Los Angeles's finest prep schools- a nice girl from a happy, loving home- trade school uniforms and afternoons at the mall for speedballs in the back of a truck in rural Indiana? How does her devoted mother emerge from the shock of finding that her daughter has not only disappeared but had been living a secret life for more than a year?

I thought this would be a good book to read since I have experience with a family member suffering addiction. It didn't disappoint. Amazing book, it's from both Mia and Clair's POV and your heart breaks for both of them. Even if you don't have someone suffering, it teaches you humanity and how to be kind and understanding to people.


Rebel Angels - Libba Bray

Ah, Christmas! Gemma Doyle is looking forward to a holiday from Spence Academy, spending time with her friends in the city, attending ritzy balls, and on a somber note, tending to her ailing father. As she prepares to ring in the New Year, 1896, a handsome young man, Lord Denby, has set his sights on Gemma, or so it seems. Yet amidst the distractions of London, Gemma’s visions intensify–visions of three girls dressed in white, to whom something horrific has happened, something only the realms can explain. The lure is strong, and before long, Gemma, Felicity, and Ann are turning flowers into butterflies in the enchanted world of the realms that Gemma alone can bring them to. To the girls’ great joy, their beloved Pippa is there as well, eager to complete their circle of friendship.

But all is not well in the realms–or out. The mysterious Kartik has reappeared, telling Gemma she must find the Temple and bind the magic, else great disaster will befall her. Gemma’s willing to do his intrusive bidding, despite the dangers it brings, for it means she will meet up with her mother’s greatest friend–and now her foe, Circe. Until Circe is destroyed, Gemma cannot live out her destiny. But finding Circe proves a most perilous task.

The Gemma Doyle series has continued to charm me and the sequel to A Great & Terrible Beauty didn't disappoint me! I enjoyed it very much and you find yourself falling in love with Gemma and her friends. This book provided non stop action and mystery, it always left you thinking and craving more. There were some times when I was actually scared and had goosebumps on my arms!I really like Libba Bray as an author, she seems really down to earth as well. On to the last book in the trilogy! *sniff*


Evernight - Claudia Gray

Monday, November 9, 2009
 Bianca wants to escape.

She's been uprooted from her small hometown and enrolled at Evernight Academy, an eerie Gothic boarding school where the students are somehow too perfect: smart, sleek, and almost predatory. Bianca knows she doesn't fit in.

Then she meets Lucas. He's not the "Evernight type" either, and he likes it that way. Lucas ignores the rules, stands up to the snobs, and warns Bianca to be careful—even when it comes to caring about him. 

I actually found out about this series by a fluke. I was at Half Price Books the other night and picked it up, thinking it looked interesting but went over my budget so it was the one to get the cut. Well, I returned a couple days ago and it was still there so I got it...I'm so glad I did.

The beginning was a bit slow for me but by the end I was turning the pages at lightening speed to find out what happened next! I love forbidden love stories and I think this one is one of the ultimate! I prefer this series much more than House of Night! I can't wait for the second one, Stargazer to come out!


Eat, Pray, Love - Elizabeth Gilbert

Thursday, November 5, 2009
Elizabeth Gilbert tells how she made the difficult choice to leave behind all the trappings of modern American success (marriage, house in the country, career) and find, instead, what she truly wanted from life. Setting out for a year to study three different aspects of her nature amid three different cultures, Gilbert explored the art of pleasure in Italy and the art of devotion in India, and then a balance between the two on the Indonesian island of Bali.

Starting out, I thought this book was great and was going to have potential. I was right on some levels, on others however, I feel it fell a little short. As much as I really enjoyed the descriptions of everywhere she went, I wanted to hear more about the people she visited and had more dialogue. The blocks of text on the pages seemed never ending and almost made it seem unreadable. There were humorous parts and I enjoyed Liz's sense of witty humor and the way she thought of things. She did inspire me to create a journal where I talk to God and I'm grateful for the spiritual things I took away from the book. Overall, it's a good read and I liked it but it isn't a novel I devoured and would read again.


Marked - P.C. & Kristin Cast

Wednesday, October 28, 2009
 The House of Night series is set in a world very much like our own, except in 16-year-old Zoey Redbird's world, vampyres have always existed.  In this first book in the series, Zoey enters the House of Night, a school where, after having undergone the Change, she will train to become an adult vampire--that is, if she makes it through the Change.  Not all of those who are chosen do.  It’s tough to begin a new life, away from her parents and friends, and on top of that, Zoey finds she is no average fledgling.  She has been Marked as special by the vampyre Goddess, Nyx.  But she is not the only fledgling at the House of Night with special powers.  When she discovers that the leader of the Dark Daughters, the school's most elite club, is misusing her Goddess-given gifts, Zoey must look deep within herself for the courage to embrace her destiny--with a little help from her new vampyre friends.

I really enjoyed this book. There was a lot of dark humor and completely lovable characters. This is a world where vampires were not unknown and teenagers get marked with a sign they are to be changed into one. They go to a school called House of Night and either reject the change or accept it. Fascinating and I love it was written by a mother daughter team!


Betrayed - P.C. and Kristin Cast

Fledgling vampyre Zoey Redbird has managed to settle in at the House of Night.  She’s come to terms with the vast powers the vampyre goddess, Nyx, has given her, and is getting a handle on being the new Leader of the Dark Daughters. Best of all, Zoey finally feels like she belongs--like she really fits in. She actually has a boyfriend…or two. Then the unthinkable happens: Human teenagers are being killed, and all the evidence points to the House of Night. While danger stalks the humans from Zoey’s old life, she begins to realize that the very powers that make her so unique might also threaten those she loves. Then, when she needs her new friends the most, death strikes the House of Night, and Zoey must find the courage to face a betrayal that could break her heart, her soul, and jeopardize the very fabric of her world.

Here we have the second book in the House of Night series! This one is my favorite, because I saw the most character development and I loved that Damien found a little friend - how adorable was that? I did find Zoey to be a bit annoying in this book, but I love the side characters so much that it didn't matter to me.

There were many twists in this one that I wasn't expecting and that was a pleasant change. Sometimes paranormal books can be screaming the ending from the beginning but I thought P.C. and Kristin did a good job of keeping the reader in suspense. The end was such a cliffhanger! I am so glad I have the next book in line because I'd be dying if I had to wait to see what happens next.


The Sweet Far Thing - Libba Bray

Tuesday, October 13, 2009
It has been a year of change since Gemma Doyle arrived at the foreboding Spence Academy. Her mother murdered, her father a laudanum addict, Gemma has relied on an unsuspected strength and has discovered an ability to travel to an enchanted world called the realms, where dark magic runs wild. Despite certain peril, Gemma has bound the magic to herself and forged unlikely new alliances. Now, as Gemma approaches her London debut, the time has come to test these bonds.

The Order - the mysterious group her mother was once part of - is grappling for control of the realms, as is the Rakshana. Spence's burned East Wing is being rebuilt, but why now? Gemma and her friends see Pippa, but she is not the same. And their friendship faces its gravest trial as Gemma must decide once and for all what role she is meant for.

The last of the series! I don't know to be happy or sad that it's over. This was also a very good read - Libba Bray didn't leave an ending that is a fairytale and everything works out in the end, I was truly sad when I read the ending. I wasn't expecting it but I still loved it so much. There is nonstop energy and action, coupled with the wonderful love triangle between Kartik and Simon. I was constantly turning the pages and wondering what would happen next. You learn a lot more about the characters in this last book and I think Libba finished it beautifully!


Hold Tight - Harlan Coben

 Tia and Mike Baye never imagined they’d become the type of overprotective parents who spy on their kids. But their sixteen-year-old son Adam has been unusually distant lately, and after the suicide of his classmate Spencer Hill—the latest in a string of issues at school—they can’t help but worry. They install a sophisticated spy program on Adam’s computer, and within days are jolted by a message from an unknown correspondent addressed to their son: “Just stay quiet and all safe.”

Meanwhile, browsing through an online memorial for Spencer put together by his classmates, Betsy Hill is struck by a photo that appears to have been taken on the night of her son’s death . . . and he wasn’t alone. She thinks it is Adam Baye standing just outside the camera’s range; but when Adam goes missing, it soon becomes clear that something deep and sinister has infected their community. For Tia and Mike Baye, the question they must answer is this: When it comes to your kids, is it possible to know too much?

All I can say about this book is wow. Coben certainly knows how to draw you in from the first chapter! This book has so many different elements that it's hard to even describe it in a review. There was a boy that committed suicide and his best friend Adam becomes withdrawn and strange. So his parents install a spy program on his computer and find out some serious things and he ends up missing. Meanwhile there is a crazy man on the loose murdering women. I promise that most of it is related, hah. I really loved it and finished it in two days. I seriously couldn't put it down. I've added his other novels to my list of must reads!


Looking For Alaska - John Green

Saturday, October 10, 2009
Before. Miles "Pudge" Halter is done with his safe life at home. His whole life has been one big non-event, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave "the Great Perhaps" even more (Francois Rabelais, poet). He heads off to the sometimes crazy and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young. She is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. Then . . . After. Nothing is ever the same.
I loved this 'kindasorta' love story.

So many of my favorite quotes are from this novel. I wish I could quote the whole thing! John Green has created such endearing characters that tug at your heartstrings and make you root for them in anything they do. Pudge made me want to go out and find my own 'great perhaps'.

Alaska is one of my all-time favorite female characters. She's so strong and beautiful on the inside out and I love how she doesn't take anything from anyone. When I found out she was a book lover, I was sold! ;)


Center of Everything by Laura Moriarty

Growing up with a single mother who is chronically out of work and dating a married man, 10-year old Evelyn Bucknow learns early how to fend for herself. Offering an affecting portrayal of a troubled mother/daughter relationship, one in which the daughter is very often expected to play the role of the adult, the novel also gives readers a searing rendering of the claustrophobia of small town midwestern life, as seen through the eyes of a teenage girl.

I read this book when I was still in HS and enjoyed it, I found it at the store on a limb and wanted to reread it. It was just as enchanting and wonderful as the first time. It's a story about Evelyn and her mother Tina and their battles with life and it's one of the best coming of age books I've read. The characters are so honest and real - you could see a bit of yourself in them at any given time. It made me cry, made me laugh...really a wonderful read!


Running with Scissors - Augusten Borroughs

Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Running with Scissors is the true story of a boy whose mother (a poet with delusions of Anne Sexton) gave him away to be raised by her psychiatrist, a dead ringer for Santa and a lunatic in the bargain. Suddenly, at age twelve, Augusten Burroughs found himself living in a dilapidated Victorian in perfect squalor. The doctor's bizarre family, a few patients, and a pedophile living in the backyard shed completed the tableau. Here, there were no rules; there was no school. The Christmas tree stayed up until summer, and Valium was eaten like Pez. And when things got dull, there was always the vintage electroshock-therapy machine under the stairs...

I really enjoyed this one, it was a slow read at first so it was harder to get into but once it hit the 50th or so page, it was very funny and quite enjoyable. It's a memoir and Augusten's parents are toxic towards one another. His father is a distant alcoholic and his mother is a crazy writer who is very self-absorbed. The parents get a divorce and his mother starts seeing a therapist, Dr. Finch. His mother seems incapable of caring for Augusten so she sends him to live with the therapist. Dr Finch is very strange and morbid, as are his wife and children. Their house is always in disarray and there's always something wrong. A pedophile falls in love with him, the doctor thinks his turds foresee the future, and their Christmas tree stays up virtually all year long. It was really funny and enjoyable, I recommend it!


A Million Little Pieces - James Frey

Tuesday, September 15, 2009
 A Million Little Pieces is a story of drug and alcohol abuse and rehabilitation as it has never been told before. Recounted in visceral, kinetic prose, and crafted with a forthrightness that rejects piety, cynicism, and self-pity, it brings us face-to-face with a provocative new understanding of the nature of addiction and the meaning of recovery.

My mom read this book a year or so ago and when we were in the book store she recommended it to me. Since we are pretty similar in book taste, I decided to take her up on it. The book is a memoir and the author's accounts of his six weeks in rehab. He woke up on a plane with his two front teeth knocked out and a broken nose. Now I know that the author has admitted he embellished some parts of the story but I still really enjoyed it.

As long as I am entertained, I could care less where it comes from. It was heartbreaking at some parts and I truly felt for James. I was mad when he was mad, I was sad when he was, I celebrated his victories and was pissed at him when he went backwards. I have to admit that it was hard to get into the book in the beginning because there are no quotes and sometimes it's hard to follow who's speaking. Overall it's a great book and I highly recommend it!


Night World no. 1 - LJ Smith

Monday, September 14, 2009
 In Secret Vampire, Poppy thought the summer would last forever. Then she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Now Poppy's only hope for survival is James, her friend and secret love. A vampire in the Night World, James can make Poppy immortal. But first they both must risk everything to go against the laws of Night World.

Fugitives from Night World, three vampire sisters leave their isolated home to live among humans in Daughters of Darkness. Their brother, Ash, is sent to bring the girls back, but he falls in love with their beautiful friend.

Two witch cousins fight over their high school crush. It's a battle between black magic and white magic in Spellbinder.

I wasn't too keen of Secret Vampire and was a little weary after that story. After that, Daughters of Darkness was really good and I loved Spellbinder. I recommend this book and the group of stories in it. I'm glad this one was the first book, since I don't think I'd continue on if the second had been the first.

Night World no. 2 - LJ Smith

Sunday, September 13, 2009
In Dark Angel, Gillian is saved from drowning by her guardian angel. Only visible to Gillian, Angel will fulfill her heart's every desire. But when Angel starts making strange and sinister requests, Gillian must question who he truly is and where he came from.

Armed with a wooden stake, martial arts, and the will to resist a vampire's mind control, Rashel struggles to avenge her mother's death in The Chosen. Then she meets Quinn, her soulmate, who is part of the world she has vowed to destroy.

Hannah receives notes warning her of incredible danger in Soulmate. But if death is her destiny, is the Lord of the Night World's love strong enough to save her?
I liked the first book better, the stories weren't as compelling as I'd hoped. The Chosen started off promising, but ended really cheesy. I should stop comparing everything to Twilight! ;) I liked Dark Angel, but I thought the end was really silly. I wish it could've ended a little more dark than it had.


A Great and Terrible Beauty - Libba Bray

Saturday, August 1, 2009
A Victorian boarding school story, a Gothic mansion mystery, a gossipy romp about a clique of girlfriends, and a dark other-worldly fantasy--jumble them all together and you have this complicated and unusual first novel.

I absolutely could not put this book down. I finished it in about twoish days and I am so happy I got the other two books in the series or I'd be going out to Barnes and Noble in my nightgown to get them! It's about a sixteen year old girl named Gemma and it's set in the late 1800's-1900's and something terrible happens to her family. She then moves to London where she goes to an all girl boarding school and discovers things about her mother and some other magical properties. It was really interesting and I found myself reading really late into the night so I could know what happens next. I can't wait to start the second one! This book and series is easily one of my favorites ever, not to mention the gorgeous cover! Love.


The Vampire Diaries (1 & 2) - LJ Smith

Monday, July 20, 2009
 Elena: the golden girl, the leader, the one who can have any boy she wants.
Stefan: brooding and mysterious, he seems to be the only one who can resist Elena, even as he struggles to protect her from the horrors that haunt his past.
Damon: sexy, dangerous, and driven by an urge for revenge against Stefan, the brother who betrayed him. Determined to have Elena, he'd kill to possess her.
Collected here in one volume for the first time, volumes one and two of The Vampire Diaries, the tale of two vampire brothers and the beautiful girl torn between them.

Having read the Night World books by the author and wasn't a fan, I wasn't sure how I would feel about this series. At first I was a little distrusting, but once Damien came into the picture, I enjoyed it very much. I'm really interested to see where LJ takes it, I have the third and fourth so luckily I don't have to wait long. :)


The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian

Sunday, May 10, 2009
Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.
I thought this book had everything I was looking for: humor, substance, and heart! I'd heard through the grapevine that all Jacob lovers needed to read this novel and they were absolutely right. Your heart absolutely goes out to Junior and all of his endeavors. You can tell his heart is in the right place but nothing works out for his benefit.

Junior is also a cartoonist so there were drawings in the book and I thought it was a great addition and it broke up the novel wonderfully. I found myself turning the pages not only to keep reading, but to see what illustrations were going to be on the page. Some of the accounts actually happened to the author as well, so that was neat that he put so much of himself into the book and Junior's character.

I felt that by the end of this novel I could have considered Junior a friend, and I laughed with him, cried with him, and felt everything he felt as if I were going through it too. I fell in love with this character so much and I believed in him so much. I adored this novel and I can safely say it's one of my absolute favorties to read so please get yourselves a dozen copies!


The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things - Carolyn Mackler

Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Fifteen-year-old Virginia Shreves has a larger-than-average body and a plus-size inferiority complex, especially when she compares herself to her slim, brilliant, picture-perfect family. But that’s before a shocking phone call — and a horrifying allegation — about her rugby-star brother changes everything.

I read this book when I was in high school and recently decided to reread it because I love the book and the message in it so much. Virginia is one of my favorite characters in a book and I wanted to be her best friend so badly. This book was so funny and heart-warming, it really brings the sense of family back in play. I loved reading Virginia's lists and hearing about Frog Boy.

Overall this is a must-read if you're a teenager or a tween, it's such a good coming of age novel and even though Virginia is overweight, she's just like any other teen girl I know and that makes her all the more wonderfil and endearing!


Leaving Paradise - Simone Elkeles

Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Nothing has been the same since Caleb Becker left a party drunk, got behind the wheel, and hit Maggie Armstrong. Even after months of painful physical therapy, Maggie walks with a limp. Her social life is nil and a scholarship to study abroad—her chance to escape everyone and their pitying stares — has been canceled.

After a year in juvenile jail, Caleb’s free . . . if freedom means endless nagging from a transition coach and the prying eyes of the entire town. Coming home should feel good, but his family and ex-girlfriend seem like strangers.

Caleb and Maggie are outsiders, pigeon-holed as "criminal" and "freak." Then the truth emerges about what really happened the night of the accident and, once again, everything changes. It’s a bleak and tortuous journey for Caleb and Maggie, yet they end up finding comfort and strength from a surprising source: each other.

I thought this book was really raw and gripping. I felt horrible for both Maggie and Caleb, and I also felt angry at the other for being so stubborn. I adore Simone Elkeles and how she's always able to pull out such emotion in me and makes me both LOVE and LOATHE certain characters.

This love story is wonderful, I love pairing the most unconventional characters and seeing how they might fall in love or be friends. I don't think there could be a more unconventional couple than this. Would you really fall in love with a person who was ruining your life? This novel is very thought provoking and well done!