Sunday, August 31, 2014

ARC Review: Ignite by Lily Paradis

*I received a digital ARC of this novel in exchange for my honest review*

Back-of-the-Book Blurb: After her father’s untimely demise in a mining accident and her mother’s abandonment, Lauren Lindsay is no stranger to loss. She’s used to living life for one person: herself. That is, until another family tragedy thrusts three children into her care and uproots her life in ways she could never imagine. Lauren's first instinct is to run, until she meets their striking, mysterious neighbor Dean Powell. Their immediate chemistry and his connection with her late father just might be enough to keep her in town long enough to uncover pieces of her past that she never had answers to. Dean’s shady past and her reluctance to trust him could cost her the life she's always been searching for, but will she run back to her old life? Or will she choose to stay and live the life her father always imagined for her?

My Thoughts: So at first I thought this book was going to be New Adult, which is definitely not my style. I was about to email the publicist and say "no thanks" when I got an email saying it was young adult just with slightly older characters. I'm glad I read it! This book was good. I'm not a massive fan of romance, so it got to be too much at some points, but otherwise it was a good book. I found it to be a pleasant read. If you're interested, check it out now!

Final Rating: 8/10 stars!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Review: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

I have to admit, this was an impulse buy. I was alone in the airport and trying to kill time so I grabbed this. Mind you, I had seen it at my local indie before, but I wasn't sure if I was interested. I'm still not sure if I'm interested and I've read the book. This isn't YA, but I read mostly adult fiction and like to share my reviews of some of those books.

Back-of-the-Book Blurb: Don Tillman, genetics professor, is getting married. Or he will be, when his sixteen-page, scientifically valid survey yields a candidate (see: the Wife Project). Designed to filter out the drinkers, the smokers, the vegans, the late arrivers, Don's questionnaire is, for the socially challenged academic, the most logical method to find the perfect partner. Enter Rosie Jarman. Don quickly disqualifies her as a potential wife but is drawn into Rosie's quest to find her biological father (see: the Father Project). When something like a friendship develops, Don must confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie and the decidedly unscientific conclusion that sometimes you don't find love, it finds you.

My Thoughts: I feel like I've read a lot of Australian books lately. I'm not sure if that's true. Anyway, this book was okay. It was pretty slow and didn't beg me to read it. I even left the book at my mom's house for a few days and felt nothing. Normally I'd be dying to get back to whatever book I'd started. It was just not an extraordinary book. I think I'll read the sequel though, because everything's more interesting with a baby. If you're interested in reading this I would suggest borrowing it from the library, because if you read it you probably won't again.

Final Rating: 6/10!

Review: Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta

Back-of-the-Book Blurb: Limitation Placers in Francesca's Life: St. Sebastian's - Pretends it's a coed school by giving the girls their own toilet. The Psycho Girls - The only female companions to be found at St. Sebastian's: Tara Finke, ultra-feminist; Siobhan Sullivan, former "Slut of St. Stella's Academy"; and Justine Kalinsky, impossibly dorky accordion player. The Sebastian Boys - Thomas Mackee: Specializes in musical burping. Probably dropped on his head a few times as a baby. Will Trombal: Perpetually frowning, smug moron with no personality. Now, if only Francesca could stop daydreaming about him. Mia - The Queen of the Limitation Placers, Francesca's vivacious mother. Thinks she knows what's best for Francesca and makes her attend hateful all-boys school; until the day she is suddenly stricken with acute depression, leaving Francesca lost, alone, and without an inkling of who she really is.

My Thoughts: This book was a tad hard to get into. That being said, once I got into it it was great. I know that I said Jellicoe Road was hard to get into, but that was a result of confusion, whereas this was a result of lack of interest. Thankfully, the book wasn't a bit cliché. I do wish the author had given Will more life. His character was utterly flat and static until the very end of the novel. I felt like I knew nothing about him other than the fact that he was Francesca's crush. The character development in this book was very average, not good, not bad. Francesca's mother was an interesting character. Excepting the characters, I enjoyed the novel.

Final Rating: 7.5/10 stars!

Review: Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

I found out about this book a few months ago, but was apprehensive to buy it because I rarely purchase hardcovers. Luckily, I discovered Book Depository a couple weeks ago. I promptly ordered six books and Love Letters to the Dead was one of them.

Back-of-the-Book Blurb: Sometimes the best letters go unanswered. It begins as an assignment for English class: write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain -- he died young, and so did Laurel's sister May -- so maybe he'll understand what Laurel is going through. Soon Laurel is writing letters to lots of dead people -- Janis Joplin, Heath Ledger, River Phoenix, Amelia Earhart, Amy Winehouse...It's like she can't stop. She writes about her new high school, her new friends, her first love -- and her shattered life. But the ghosts of Laurel's past can't be contained between the lines of a page forever. She must face up to them -- before they consume her.

My Thoughts: This book made me feel so many things. I felt heartbroken about Laurel and May. At some points the story was a tad hard to follow. I do wish more was said about how Laurel was before May's death, because it focused mostly on May's personality. It was hard to tell if Laurel had always been edgy, like May, or more of a goody-two-shoes. Either way, I enjoyed this book. It wasn't extraordinary, but it was a quick and easy read. I love when books make me feel sad, excited, or any other emotions. All in all, if you're looking for something that will tug at your heart, go for this. If you are looking for something that will really make you think, then this is probably not the book for you.

Final Rating: 7/10 stars!

ARC Review: Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

**Thank you to Penguin for providing me with this ARC in exchange for my honest review.**

I should begin this review by saying Meg Wolitzer is one of my favorite authors. I read The Interestings at the beginning of the summer and loved it. I can honestly say there were tears streaming down my face by the end. I was so so so excited when I heard she was writing a young adult book!

Back-of-the-Book Blurb: If life were fair, Jam Gallahue would still be at home in New Jersey with her sweet British boyfriend, Reeve Maxfield. She'd be watching old comedy sketches with him. She'd be kissing him in the library stacks. She certainly wouldn't be at The Wooden Barn, a therapeutic boarding school in rural Vermont, living with a weird roommate, and signed up for an exclusive, supposedly life-changing class called Special Topics in English. But life isn't fair, and Reeve Maxfield is dead. When a journal-writing assignment leads Jam into a mysterious otherworld she and her classmates call Belzhar, she discovers a realm where the untainted past is restored, and she can feel Reeve's arms around her once again. But, as the pages of her journal begin to fill up, Jam must confront hidden truths and ultimately decide what she's willing to sacrifice to reclaim her loss.

My Thoughts: As Sylvia Plath is a huge part of this novel, I decided to read The Bell Jar after finishing Belzhar. I definitely think Belzhar helped me think more deeply about The Bell Jar. Belzhar was an excellent read. It was stunningly original, which is a quality that is often missing from young adult books. I was certainly not expecting the ending. The ending was amazing, as was the rest of the book. I have nothing but good things to say about this book. The characters were lovely and had tremendous growth throughout the novel. I highly recommend you hit up your local indie on September 30!

Final Rating: 9.5/10 stars!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

ARC Review: Random by Tom Leveen

This book comes out August 12, so be sure to pick it up!

Back-of-Book Blurb:
Late at night Tori receives a random phone call. It's a wrong number. But the caller seems to want to talk, so she stays on the line. He asks for a single thing - one reason not to kill himself The request plunges her into confusion. Because if this random caller actually does what he plans, he'll be the second person connected to Tori to take his own life. And the first just might land her in jail. After her Facebook page became Exhibit A in a tragic national news story about cyberbullying, Tori can't help but thing the caller is a fraud. But what if he's not? Her words alone may hold the power of life or death. With the clock ticking, Tori has little time to save a strange - and maybe redeem herself - leading to a startling conclusion that changes everything.

My Thoughts: I could not put this down! It was a quick read for me - I picked it up after finishing my homework and set it down right before dinner. I was really not expecting the ending which is certainly a nice change! These days so many books are predictable and that makes reading them a much less enjoyable experience. Anyway, this book was great. The story really shocked me and certainly kept me interested until the very last page. In fact, I wish it was a longer book! I would definitely recommend this book to any YA fan. There isn't much I can compare it to, but as long as you like young adult fiction, you'll like this book. Tom Leveen keeps it packed with electric bursts of emotion and it's packed with amazing characters. Leveen's character development in this story is extraordinary. I really loved this book.

Final Rating: 9/10 stars!!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Review: Burn for Burn and Fire with Fire by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

I have to admit, I didn't think I was going to like this series. However, I have enjoyed books by both Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian before so I figured I'd give it a go. I was pleasantly surprised.

Burn for Burn (Book 1)

Back-of-Book Blurb: Lillia, Kat, and Mary are not friends. In fact, they barely know one another. But a chance encounter in the girls' room proves they have something big in common. The girls have all been hurt--by a bully, an ex-friend, an almost boyfriend--and now they want payback. They hatch a scheme to work in secret, to help each other right the wrongs. Forget waiting for karma. They're taking matters into their own hands.

My Thoughts: This book was really good! I didn't think I would continue with the series when I began the book but now I've read the second, Fire with Fire, and I'm dying to read the third, Ashes to Ashes, which comes out September 16! The Jar Island atmosphere added to the story. It's a story about revenge, but it isn't the typical story. It's new and fresh and unique.

Final Rating: 9/10 stars!

Fire with Fire (Book 2)

Back-of-Book Blurb: I'm not giving a blurb for this one because it'll spoil the first book!

My Thoughts: OMG OMG OMG. This book is amazing. I could not put it down. It's almost 200 pages longer than the first book, which I loved because I love long books. This book was so awesome and the ending just killed me. I'm dying to read Ashes to Ashes because I can't wait to see how this trilogy ends. I would definitely say this is my favorite trilogy! I love Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian and I hope they do more collaborations in the future.

Final Rating: 10/10 stars!

I'm not sure if I can wait a whole month to read the last book! I'm going to do some serious hunting for an ARC!!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Wow. This book is really something. If all parents were as amazing as Dante's and Ari's respective parents I think the world would truly be a better place.

Back-of-Book Blurb: Dante can swim. Ari can't. Dante is articulate and self-assured. Ari has a hard time with words and suffers from self-doubt. Dante gets lost in poetry and art. Ari gets lost in thoughts of his older brother who is in prison. Dante is fair skinned. Ari's feathers are much darker. It seems that a boy like Dante, with his open and unique perspective on life, would be the last person to break down the walls that Ari has built around himself. But against all odds, when Ari and Dante meet, they develop a special bond that will teach them the most important truths of their lives, and help define the people they want to be. But there are big hurdles in their way, and only by believing in each other - and the power of their friendship - can Ari and Dante emerge stronger on the other side.

My Thoughts: This book was great. I really enjoyed it. It is one of few very diverse young adult books. I think it will one day be praised as a very important book for young LGBTQ people. The writing by Sáenz was excellent.

Final Rating: 8/10 stars!