Saturday, June 2, 2012

Review: Starters

With a captivating excerpt and unique plot line Starters by Lissa Price had me drawn in from the start. Callie lost her parents to the Spore Wars and may lose her little brother soon. To prevent herself from losing him she signs up at Prime Destinations.   This a business that rents out teen bodies to people called Enders who are senior citizens that want to experience being young again.   While renting out the body to one customer something strange happens and this changes Callie’s life forever.
One of my favorite things about this book was definitely the interesting plot.  Since dystopians are popping up all over the place, they each have to have something about them that draws in the readers and Starters was one of them that caught my eye and my interest.  Who would have ever thought of elders buying out teens bodies to be young again?  Certainly not me still a teenager myself.  I could never even begin to imagine this happening and for Callie to have dealt with it all gave me a whole lot of respect for her. I loved the way the plot was laid out and how the story flowed.  With so many different things happening throughout the book, there was almost never a dull moment.  It was a complete mix of action, compassion, and science fiction.  If I had one complaint about the plot it would probably have been all the unanswered questions I was left with at the end of the book.  Some of the questions may have been left unanswered so that they can be answered in the sequel, but I felt like there were too many questions that I wanted answers to.
The science fiction part of this book was great! The whole elders renting out teen bodies scenario was creepy, yet realistic which made it even creepier. I loved the way Lissa Price built her Starters world around the Spore Wars and the Enders. From the way she described it the reader could definitely tell that the part of the world where Callie lived was controlled by the Enders and that people outside of that area didn’t seem to notice or care.
Character development and character relationships in this book were a little all over the place for me. There were some characters that I enjoyed reading about and there were others that were bland. As for the relationships characters had there were some that I was fond of while others were awkward and unsatisfactory.  Callie our main character in Starters, had pretty good character development throughout the book. There were points in the story where I questioned some of her decisions and actions, but after everything she went through and experienced the fact that she was still holding it all together was something. Michael who was a friend of Callies and helped her look after her little brother was an interesting character. At times he seemed really sweet and it seemed as if he genuinely cared about Callie and her little brother, but at other times it seemed as if he could care less.  As for character relationships, I don’t wanna give away too much about who all Callie interacted with, but I will say this not everyone was who they said they were and this made for some super interesting twists that you will not be expecting
Starters is a great book to read if you love dystopians and science fiction mixed with some thrills! Once you get into it you will not be able to put it down because of all the mysterious happenings it has in store. Even after you’ve reached the end you will be wanting more and dying to know what happens next.    

My rating for Starters by Lissa Price is 4.5 out of 5 palm trees

Enticed by the world of Starters?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Review: Goddess Interrupted

There are books that I find that I truly enjoy and devour them, but then there are the books that although they keep me intrigued they aren’t my favorite. Most readers highly enjoyed this book and thought it was absolutely wonderful. But, although I enjoyed it, Goddess Interrupted was not a favorite.
The first book in the series, The Goddess Test was okay, but sadly did not meet the expectations that I had expected. Nevertheless it was good enough for me to want to continue on with the series and read the second book. Goddess Interrupted turned out to be a lot more interesting than its predecessor and succeeded in making the read enjoyable and captivating. 
In The Goddess Test, Kate, the main character was one of my favorite characters throughout the book. I loved how emotionally strong she was and how she dealt with all the problems/challenges she was faced with. To my disappointment, Kate was completely different in this book. She got back from her 6 month break hoping that Henry would be more open to her and would act more lovingly toward her. Because Henry was not acting the way that Kate had wanted she began to become unsure of herself and was somewhat annoying by obsessing about Henry’s feelings for her. On the other hand, Henry’s character was portrayed much better in this book and I liked his character a lot more than before and I really like how he was written as having more emotion. He was so distant in The Goddess Test and I didn’t get to know him very well which resulted in me not liking him.  
I love books that incorporate action into them while also having romance. In The Goddess Test the excerpt of the book misled me into thinking that it would have more action in it than it actually did. Goddess Interrupted, I am happy to say was more action oriented and I liked it more. It wasn’t completely action oriented, so romance lovers don’t worry, but it was enough for an action lover like me to enjoy the story as well. 
Although there were many aspects of this story I enjoyed, my favorite part of the story was probably the plot and Aimee Carter’s description/explanation of the Underworld. I have read many greek mythology based books and the plot for Goddess Interrupted was very unique and original. I loved the twist that one of the gods betrayed the others and helped the titans! It was unexpected for me, especially since in Greek myths the gods always seem to be fighting against the titans, not with them.  
In most writers descriptions of the Underworld, the writers describe it as grey, dreary, gross, and sometimes gruesome. I loved Aimee Carter's description of the Underworld. It was one of the most interesting and one of my favorite takes on it.  
Overall, I thought Goddess Interrupted was a good read and the writing was well done, but it just wasn’t for me. I think that others who enjoy more romance would like this book a lot more than I did, but readers should definitely give it a chance.
 My rating for Goddess Interuptted is 3.5 out 5 palm trees

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Review: Wanderlove

Out of all the books I have ever read, I have never read one the made me want to travel and experience the world as much as Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard.  Beautifully written and completely awe-inspiring, Kristen Hubbard wrote an amazing novel about figuring out who one really is and who one really wants to be.
Before reading Wanderlove I wanted to travel, but after reading it, I want to travel even more.  The reason for this is because Bria, the main character in Wanderlove inspired me.  Bria, at the beginning was somewhat of a mess.  She is trying to run from her past and her future at the same time.  She is stuck not knowing exactly what to do and decides on a whim to take a trip to Central America with a tour group.  Soon after arriving she ditches the tour group and goes off with two backpackers she has just met in the hope that she can somehow embrace her wild side and get off of her own beaten path. As you watch Bria’s character grow throughout the story and learn more about her you as the reader also grow along with Bria by realizing that there are so many things that sometimes we miss out on because of focusing on the big things instead of the little things.
The writing in this book is phenomenal.   Even if you’ve never been to the places that Kirsten Hubbards mentions in the book you will feel as if you are there experiencing and seeing some of the amazing experiences that Bria saw and lived.  Although this book was so captivating that I didn’t want to put it down, I did, because I wanted to savor the story and I wanted to enjoy it.  Each place I read about was new and exciting.   Each location she wrote about I wanted to jump on a plane and go there right away just so I could experience it in its full beauty. 
Although the writing was amazing and the storyline equally awesome, one of my favorite things about this book was the drawings done by the author herself that were placed all throughout the book. The drawings are breathtaking.  Not only does Kirsten Hubbard seem to have brilliant writing skills, but she also seems to have a talent for drawing. Each of the different drawings matched perfectly with the scene she was describing and they were simple, yet elaborate enough to still be impressive. 
I enjoy books with romance in them.  Not the ones where the whole story is solely based on the romantic aspect, but ones like Wanderlove that let the characters get to know each other and the romance just creeps up on you and happens at the perfect time.  Rowan, the male interest in Wanderlove isn’t what you would call the perfect guy, though he ends up being perfect for Bria.   Rowan’s past is a little sketchy and like Bria, he is running from his past.  The two help each other piece back together their lives and put each other back on the right path. 
Wanderlove is magical, heartbreaking, and awe-inspiring.  Kirsten Hubbard has made her way onto my list of favorites with Wanderlove and I will be eagerly awaiting a new book from her.

My rating for Wanderlove is 5 out of 5 palm trees

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Review: The Fault in Our Stars

Friends of mine had been persuading me to read a book by John Green because they thought his previous books were amazing. I finally agreed and picked up John Green’s newest book The Fault in Our Stars. This book was absolutely breathtaking and heartfelt.  Never have I read a book with characters that had such real, raw emotions and experiences. Reading this book makes you look at life with a different perspective and shows you how to enjoy some of the little things/experiences that we have in our short time on earth.
The Fault in Our Stars begins the story with Hazel, a girl who has been diagnosed with cancer. When first diagnosed she thought she was going to die, but then a miracle happened. Her doctor found something to help prevent her cancer.   At the age of 16, Hazel has been homeschooled since being diagnosed with cancer and instead of going out with friends stays home a lot. Her mother, trying to get her out of the house to meet new people and not waste her life convinces her to go to a cancer support group. This is where she meets Augustus Waters.
I knew this book was going to be sad. In the excerpt it tells you that Hazel has cancer and you assume that the book will be sad. What I didn’t assume was that this book was going to be funny and heart-wrenching and magical all at the same time. I assumed that this book would be about dying and how Hazel and Augustus coped with it. I was wrong yet again. This book is about the opposite of dying, it’s about living. The Fault in Our Stars shows us about just how beautiful and amazing life really is. It shows us that life is sad but there are more important things to be doing and experiences we could be having instead of worrying about little things like dying.
The thing I think I like most about this book is just how real the whole story is. John Green portrays the characters so well and doesn’t hide anything even the not so happy parts within the story. This aspect makes the story even more enjoyable because you feel what the characters are feeling and you experience their experiences.
There are some books that after you have read them, they leave you thinking about them for days. The Fault in Our Stars is one of those book for me. As it goes through the story and Hazel and Augustus think about life and death and all the things that they want and wished they could do. This continually makes me think about everything that I want to do and what I would do in their place; how I would handle having cancer and figuring out what to do with myself when I didn’t know how much more time I had.
This is such an amazing book that I think that any kind of reader would enjoy diving into it. It shows such an honest view of cancer and life; how much having a sickness really sucks and how life doesn’t have to be miserable because of it. Hazel and Augustus teach us that being sick doesn’t have to ruin your life and that life is worth living no matter what.

My rating for The Fault in Our Stars is 5 out of 5 palm trees

Friday, March 2, 2012

Special Review: The Lorax

In honor of The Lorax  movie coming out in theaters today I am doing a special review on the book The Lorax by Dr. Seuss.   I love Dr. Seuss books, therefore what a good excuse to review one of his books --  after all, his books have great messages for small children, young adults and even seniors.The messages are good for all.
My generation grew up reading Dr. Seuss’ stories. All those rhymes and silly things in them made the books a favorite to read. Rereading The Lorax  as a teenager made me realize Dr. Seuss’ books teach the readers something important that we don’t necessarily realize as kids. These golden nuggets of wisdom are ordinary ideas like saving the trees that Dr. Seuss turned into extraordinary stories of fiction with amazingly unique characters.
The Lorax speaks for the trees, for they have no tongues. He speaks for the Bar-ba-Loots (bear like creatures), which eat the truffula fruits and use them for shade. He speaks for the Swomee Swans who love to play in the clear air above the truffula trees. He speaks for the Humming fish who love to hum in the pond. The Lorax speaks for all the creatures living in the truffula forest and he tries to convince The Once-ler or the villian in this story to stop cutting down all the truffula trees for these lovely trees provide homes, shelter,shade and food for many creatures.....the trees are all these animals habitats.
While the book looks at the destruction of natural habitats, the book also pokes at the greed of big business and nonsensical material goods that are created that waste our planets natural resources. The Once-ler, when he finds the truffula forest decides to cut them down for his own greedy purposes and create an article of clothing called thneeds which look like footy pajamas. The Lorax predicts that these thneeds will not sell and no one will like them, but they instead become a become a big hit as lots of people buy the thneeds. The popularity of the thneeds causes the Once-ler to continue to ruin not only the lorax’s home, but also the other animals.
    The Lorax  was first published in 1971. Although this book was written such a long time ago it has touched on subjects happening right now. Things that we should be trying to prevent.  Dr. Seuss predicted the future on how things might be for us and by writing this wonderful childrens book, he created a reminder for all of us that trees and animals natural habitats should be preserved and taken care of so they do not disappear altogether.
    The Lorax  is an amazing children book that everyone should read to their children to encourage the value of little things like trees and animals that can’t speak for themselves.  Help speak for the truffula trees, the bar-ba-loot, the swamee swans, and the humming fish or they might not be here soon.

“UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is ever going to change. It’s not.” -The Lorax

 My rating for The Lorax  is a forest of truffula trees out of 5 trees

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Review: The Goddess Test

Books about Greek mythology intrigue me.  Every time I hear about a book that has Greek mythology in it I immediately snatch it up and I have to read it.  I love hearing different authors perspectives on the old tales and how they change them and make them relate to this newer day and age. The GoddessTest by Aimee Carter gives an all new twist to the myth of Persephone and Hades.
After reading the excerpt and others gushing reviews I have to say I had some pretty high expectations of this book.  It was because of these high expectations that I did not enjoy the book as much as I thought I would.  The book was not bad, it just was not the amazingly, awesome Greek mythology, action-packed book I had expected and it has to be absolutely amazing for me to really like a romance book.
Most reviews have gushed over the romance part of this book which was swoon worthy, but, by just reading the excerpt I  had assumed that it was more action packed than it actually was.   One specific quote led me astray. “He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld--and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.” I have read many books regarding Greek mythology.  This quote stating that the main character Kate had to try and pass these seven tests led me to believe that that this was not just going to be a regular romance book.   Other Greek mythology stories tell you about all the challenges and tests that these heroes have to go through and they are never easy. Most of the challenges Kate endures don’t really seem like challenges at all but things that she probably should not do anyways.
I love well developed characters and the stories I enjoy the most are ones where I can connect and sometimes swoon over them. I am sad to say that Henry better known as Hades the male lead  in this book was not the guy for me.  While I understand that Henry was going through an awful heartbreak with Persephone the love of his life, I felt like he was sad and depressed all the time and it made him a somewhat boring character.   
Though the majority of this review has been about what I disliked about this
story, there were many parts that I did enjoy!! I really loved how the Greek gods were like normal people. Instead of completely portraying them as mystical, godly beings the reader gets to see them in a more humane light.  Lots of them even become friends with Kate as she goes through her challenges.
James and Kate were by far my two favorite characters.  James was just like his god he portrayed and knowing lots about the different Greek gods I could tell which one he was from the beginning.  He was so supportive of Kate, even when she was angry with him.   I would have liked him to end up with Kate instead of Henry. They just seemed like the better match. My favorite thing about Kate was that she was such a strong character, emotionally.  Some of the people and things she had to deal with I probably would not have been able to handle as calmly as she had.  Her mind was her own and she didn’t let anyone influence her choices. 
The end of this book was really enjoyable for me. It answers a lot of questions and it ties almost everything together which I was really appreciative of because 9 times out of 10 I hate cliffhangers.
For the most part I thought this book was pretty good.  Although The Goddess Test lacked a few aspects that I wished it had included like action I enjoyed reading The Goddess Test and would recommend it to any Greek mythology fan. Or if you happen to be a romance fan, readers of that genre will also find this book a enjoyable read. Even though this wasn’t my favorite book, I do look forward to reading the sequel: Goddess Interrupted.  As I am a softie for Greek Mythology.

My rating for The Goddess Test is 3 out of 5 palm trees

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Review: Divergent

Let me start out with saying that I absolutely LOVED this book! After seeing so many new dystopian books pop up on shelves and after reading the excerpt from this book I was a little worried that it might be a little to much like The Hunger Games or that because it was so well reviewed I might be end up being disappointed. Thankfully I was not disappointed and Divergent was as good as others had stated in their reviews. Divergent, while somewhat like The Hunger Games in the sense that it was a dystopian and that they both had strong female leads was in all other ways completely different from each other. With a strong main character and an enticing dystopian world Divergent had me hooked by page one!
Debut author Veronica Roth has a wonderful writing style that starts the story off at an amazing pace. Readers will not be able to put the book down because they will be dying to know what happens next.  In the compelling world of Divergent, society is divided into five factions each dedicated to something different.  Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Erudite (the intelligent), and Amity (the peaceful).  Certain days, each year, all 16 year-olds must choose the faction in which they would prefer to be in for the rest of there lives.  Once the character chooses they must then pass initiation to remain in the faction. The main character of Divergent, Beatrice, or Tris as we get to know her as, has to make a decision between her family or the faction she thinks she truly belongs in.  Her choice might shock you because Tris is different, Tris is Divergent.
I did not particularly like Tris at first, although I love her name!  I thought she seemed a little shallow and that she seemed to not have self confidence; she did not believe in herself.  The more I read the more I started to realize that Tris was not like that at all and the only reason that she appeared to be that way in the first place was because of her placement in the faction of Abnegation, the selfless. The more I got to know her the more I liked her. She was tough and brave and she didn’t let what others thought of her bring her down. I admired how she made her own choices and that those choices were not based on what everyone else was doing but what she believed was right. It was interesting to watch her grow as a character throughout the book and to see all the things she learned about herself and the world she lived in. Though the world building in this story is amazing, I think its the characters similar to Tris that really make you fall in love with this book.
Four is Tris’ love interest in Divergent, and he is now on my list of favorite fictional guys.  Let me just gush for a minute on how much I loved his and Tris’ relationship!  The relationship that develops between the two of them throughout the book is so realistic and honest.  Four had an amazing, yet conflicted personality.  He was completely closed off from almost everyone and kept a close reign on his emotions, but there were those rare times when he let his vulnerable side show which let the reader and Tris get to know him better.  Four pushed Tris when she almost gave up and he was a great teacher helping Tris train for initiation. The relationship was not overly sappy, but it was still swoon worthy and amazing.
Even though Four was an amazing character, there were others that helped make the story just as great. All the characters somehow contributed to Tris’ success  or downfalls. Some helped make her stronger by trying to make her life harder. During initiation some even tried to kill her, but Tris made friends that helped to protect her.
If there was one thing I that I did not enjoy about this book it would have to be the ending. I felt it was awkward and incomplete. There seemed to be more that could have been added to it. In most books that have sequels the authors leave the readers with a cliffhanger, but in Divergent the ending does not feel like a cliffhanger. The way the book ended did not necessarily make me want to read the next book. I want to know what happens to the characters and that is what is made me excited to read the sequel.
Divergent is such an amazing book and I would recommend it to any reader who loves action and a little bit of romance. Readers will stay up all night reading this book dying to know what happens next. I cannot wait to see what happens in the sequel Insurgent which comes out in May. If you haven’t read Divergent yet go right on to your public library or local bookstore and read this amazing debut novel!  Looking forward to other great works from Veronica Roth.

My rating for Divergent is 5 out of 5 palm trees

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Review: What Happened to Goodbye?

I usually love to read science-fiction and action books and so the time had come for me to add a little variety and switch genre's for one read. That is when I turned to What Happened to Goodbye? by Sarah Dessen which is one of  those books that may not be so action-packed but is still wonderful all the same.
I speak from experience as a teenage girl, Sarah Dessen's books are easy to relate to. What teenage girl at some point doesn’t want to just start all over again and become someone new, someone different? Enter Mclean Sweet, the main character of What Happened to Goodbye?, also known as Eliza, Lizbet, Beth, and Liz. Her parents are divorced and she lives with her dad who relocates frequently. Trying to escape her past, everywhere she goes Mclean changes her personality first from perky girl, to drama queen, finally to all around joiner. But, when she arrives in Lakeview everything changes. Mclean is forced to somewhat be herself again.  Almost everyone one at some point in their life wants to change who they are or start over
One thing that has impressed me with Sarah Dessen’s books is just how real her stories seem and how easy it is to relate to all her characters. The stories she tells deal with a lot of problems that teens face everyday and some that I can relate to in my daily life.  We all have troubles with our families, our friends, boys, and you don’t find many writers who really write about such real problems, but it is something I love about Sarah Dessen’s books.
In the last Sarah Dessen book I read Just Listen, one of my favorite aspects of the book was the characters. I loved their unique personalities, how well they interacted with one another, and how the author makes them come to life. How you can find characters in the stories that are just like people you know in your real life. In this book that is also one of the many things that I really enjoyed about reading it. I love how each and every one of the characters has a completely different personality yet they all mesh together perfectly. Mclean for example, has one of those personalities that others can’t help but connect with and she instantly starts making friendships the minute she gets to Lakeview. She creates relationships with all that she meets, even those that might not fit in, which is one thing I love about her character. While I loved almost all the characters there were a few that stood out besides Mclean. One character I really enjoyed reading about was Deb, one of the girls in the story that Mclean becomes close friends with. Even though at the beginning Deb, was a little out of the circle and shy once we got to know her I loved her sparky and happy personality that made me want to become friends with her myself. Dave was also a character that stood out to me from the beginning and while I liked how he was different from some of the other guys I have read about in Dessen’s books I didn’t fall for him like I did some of the others. Dave just didn’t connect with me like I thought he would. To me, there was just nothing special about Dave. He seemed to have no flaws and he was just to perfect, just like out of a book. The other guys I have read about from her books just seem more real to me in the way that they have flaws and have feelings  and I could picture them in being real, but Dave being so flawless just doesn’t fit in this unperfect world.  Seeing as he was different I thought I would have some kind of connection with his character, but even now as I think about it I feel as if I didn’t get to know enough about Dave to truly make an assessment on his character.
I loved many things about What Happened to Goodbye?, but one thing that disappointed me in this book was the lack of connection/romance between Mclean and Dave. Maybe, this book was intended to be more focused on the family aspect instead the sweet and romantic aspect, but even so I felt like Mclean and Dave had so much potential as a couple that could have been elaborated on. I wanted to enjoy reading about Mclean and Dave so much that I would jealous of Mclean, but because I never really felt there relationship click, that didn’t happen.
I enjoyed this book thoroughly. Although I would not consider this book my favorite of Sarah Dessen’s I did think it was a good read and even if one is not a contemporary or realistic fiction fan I think anyone could enjoy reading this meaningful,light hearted book.

My rating for What Happened to Goodbye? is 3.5 out of 5 palm trees

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Review: Trickster's Queen

Starting out, I didn’t exactly have super high expectations about this book. While the first book, Trickster’s Choice was a good read it wasn’t as action packed as I had thought and hoped. Trickster’s Queen was completely different than its prequel drawing me into the story by page one!
Usually when reading a sequel to a book, the reader finds the first one much more enjoyable, but with these two book this is not the case.  As Aly’s adventure continues she is faced with new challenges and all kinds of adventures.  Between spying on the palace and protecting the future queen Aly has her hands full.   Besides the exciting action with the rebellion we are drawn deeper into Aly’s relationships with the other characters and we get to know them and Aly just a little bit better, allowing us to find more things in common with the characters.  Some of these people are the spies that she has trained to help her and others are leaders in the rebellion that she has grown fond of and become partners with. While in Trickster’s Choice we didn’t get to see Aly interact a lot with others, in this book we get to see her fight, strategize, and love which shows us a lot more of Aly that we had not seen before.
As Aly grows as a character throughout the book she also learns things about herself and her companions that she thought she never would. While, at times, her confidence is a good thing at some points in the book Aly grows too confident in herself and makes mistakes, making her easy to relate to as a character.    When reading if I realize that the character has no flaws and is perfect it ultimately turns my interest level down. I think most readers are like me and enjoy reading about main characters that have flaws and sometimes make mistakes.   We like to know that they are human like we are and that even the amazingly brave and wonderful characters we read about in book are not without flaw.
Not to give any part of the story away, but Aly learns that sometimes people need to split up for a little while to figure what they want, and sometimes people need to leave permanently to achieve what they had always wished for, and that the people we put on thrones or on pedestals don’t necessarily want to be there.
In the end, I thought this was a great read! It captured me in and I was able to relate so much more to the characters. I was glad that I was able to finish Aly’s adventure and that I could experience the journey alongside Aly and all the other characters we met along the way.

My rating for Trickster's Queen is 5 out of 5 palm trees