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!