Monday, February 27, 2012

Ashley's March Book: PANDEMONIUM

You guys, I am so excited for this book. So excited that I didn't even want to wait until March to write up this post. It doesn't even come out until tomorrow... Good thing I pre-ordered it on Amazon and will have it by tomorrow afternoon!




Title: Pandemonium
Author: Lauren Oliver
Year Published: 2012

Synopsis:   After escaping from Portland, Maine, Lena makes it to the Wilds and becomes part of an Invalid community, where she transforms herself into a warrior for the resistance. A future without Alex is unimaginable, but Lena pushes forward and fights, both for him and for a world in which love is no longer considered a disease. Swept up in a volatile mix of revolutionaries and counterinsurgents, Lena struggles to survive—and wonders if she may be falling in love again.

Why?: The first book I picked for this blog was Delirium, and I absolutely loved it. I've been waiting for this sequel for like 6 months, and I am so excited that it's finally (almost) out! If you haven't read Delirium yet, go read it now.

Expectations: I have such high expectations for this book. I expect Lena to be epic, and I expect her experiences in the Invalid community to have completely changed her. I'm really hoping Alex come back, but I'm not sure he will. Or that he'll even be good for Lena anymore. And Hana. I want her to come back and be awesome too, but I'm pretty sure she won't because of what happened in Hana.

Judging a book by its cover: I assume the girl on the front is supposed to be Lena, and it looks like she's more mature and ready to take on the world now. Also, flowers might be important? 



I serisously can't wait. 


--Ashley

"Luck is a fragile force. It can easily turn bad in the wrong hands."

My Pre-Reading
Paul's Post


I apologize in advance for any and all spoilers.

Going into this book having absolutely no expectations was kind of nice, because it meant I was pleasantly surprised. The writing style was done very well, and the story was definitely interesting and different from most other YA novels out there right now. Although some parts were pretty predictable (i.e. the Mirror Dragon is female), it was still written in such a way that you wanted to keep reading to find out more. 

Also, I really liked that way that Goodman had Eon/Eona grow throughout the novel. It seemed like a sort of identity crisis at times, and other times it was more of a means of survival. Having Lady Dela there to help her through most of her issues without knowing it was also very nice. And as much as I kind of hate to say it, I'm kind of glad Heuris Brannon was murdered. I think he was holding Eona back, and that once he was gone she began to grow and mature exponentially. 

My only real gripe about this book was that the chapters were so long. I prefer shorter chapters.

I really enjoyed the story, and I will most likely read Eona. Probably when it comes out in paperback and Paul buys it. I'd give this novel a 3/5. 


--Ashley

Sunday, February 26, 2012

"Heroes are made by the paths they choose, not the powers they are graced with."




My Pre-Reading
Paul's Pre-Reading

I was really, really excited for this book. I thought that a modern retelling of the Persephone myth would be really cool. I was not entirely disappointed. The concept was very good, and I thought that the structure was a very interesting one. Jumping around in time usually keeps things pretty interesting, and Ashton executes it very well. 



Nikki did kind of annoy me at times, because I don't think she handled some situations very well. I don't think running off with Cole just because her boyfriend was at a football camp and she ends up assuming things (wrongly) and doesn't give him a chance to explain himself was a very good idea at all. It was rash, and totally uncalled for. I mean, I know her mom was killed by a drunk driver and all and she had to deal with the repercussions of that, but still. I don't believe that some of her actions and decisions were justified or entirely realistic. 

I did think that the "Daughters of Persephone" concept was very interesting though. These women are born only to be fed on by the Everlivings in the hopes that maybe one of them will survive and be able to become queen. But hey, guess what, none of them do. Except Nikki, who wasn't even one of the daughters. Just some random girl Cole decided to experiment with.

Although some aspects were a little disappointing, I really enjoyed this book as a whole. And I'm definitely looking forward to the sequel. Which, again, doesn't come out until at least next year. So, a 4/5 for this one. It was definitely a very good debut novel. 

--Ashley

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children



Title: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Author:
Ransom Riggs
Year Published: 2011

This is my last OLD review! So I will be back to trying to thoroughly evaluate novels that I have read shortly after reading them after this. 

Well this novel was another one of Ashley's creepy choices. The picture on the front is quite unnerving, as are the photographs throughout the novel. I liked how they were interspersed. 

I enjoyed this story. It was very interesting, mixing Harry Potter with X-men almost. 

I promise I will be more thorough after this one, but I iwll give this novel a 4/5.

-PAUL

Death Cure





Title: The Death Cure
Author: James Dashner
Year Published: 2011 

Another book I read a few months ago. This was the third in a trilogy and now I hear there will be a prequel. 

This was an interesting conclusion. Many questions were finally answered. I remember one thing I didn't enjoy, but understood was that he didn't want his memory back. It was written understandably, but I wanted to know so bad!

I am, again, not going to try to write a false review. I will just conclude by giving this book a rating of 3.5/5.

-PAUL

Crossed



Title: Crossed
Author: Ally Condie
Year Published: 2011

 This was my November choice, so this is really late. 

I remember enjoying this book. I liked that it was a lot about survival. The first novel, Matched, was in the city. I am looking forward to the third part of the trilogy. I am not going to try and make up details I liked or didn't like so I will just give this book a 3.5/5.

-PAUL

The Future of Us

I really need to post these sooner. I read this book like 2 months ago. This review will not be as in depth as it should be.




Title: The Future of Us
Author: Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler
Year Published: 2011

I really enjoyed the way this book was put together. The two points of view. The story. The facebook. 

I liked the little tid bits the authors put in about the time period. I remember getting those AOL Free Trial CDs in the mail. I used a few as frisbees and made a few hover crafts from others. 

The characterization of each character was deep for the minimal about we saw many of them. I liked his brother and wanted to know more about his story. 

I give this novel a 4/5.

-PAUL

Everneath

This is the most recent book I am reading. As in, I am still reading this one! I'm just a little late on my Pre.




Title: Everneath
Author: Brodi Ashton
Year Published: 2012

Synopsis: Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she's returned - to her old life, her family, her friends - before being banished back to the underworld... this time forever.

She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can't find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these months reconnecting with her boyfriend, Jack, the one person she loves more than anything. But there's a problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who first enticed her to the Everneath, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. And he'll do whatever it takes to bring her back - this time as his queen.

Why? This was Ashley's pick and it looks very interesting. I like mythology and taking a modern twist on an old tale is always interesting.

Expectations: I expect this to have many references to mythology and to have an epic story involving the Underworld.

Judging a book by its cover: The cover is captivating, The dress is flowy and the smoke is intriguing.

-PAUL

Cinder!!!

I have have fallen a little behind with these...again...

I finished Cinder very shortly after starting it! I LOVED it!



I absolutely adored this book! I was not quite expecting it to be this good, even though Ashley did tell me she loved it. The plot on paper sounds really weird. A cyborg mechanic. Moon people. Almost Psychic Moon People, at that. A plague. And upon all that, a Cinderella retelling.

Meyer did an amazing job retelling the classic fairytale. The characters all had depth. I never wanted to put down this book. At the end of each chapter, Meyer makes you want to read the next chapter immediately. 

Like Ashley, my only gripe with this novel was that I figured out what Cinder was within the first 100 pages. 

I give this novel a 5/5.

I can NOT wait until the next novel in the Lunar Chronicles!

I hope this series goes places. I saw an interview with Meyer in which she talked about a potential movie deal. I would love to see this story told in film.

-PAUL

Sunday, February 12, 2012

"Even in the future the story begins with 'once upon a time'"

Paul's Pre-Reading
My Pre-Reading

I apologize in advance for any and all spoilers.


First and foremost, this book exceeded all of my expectations. And that's really saying something, because I had super high expectations for Cinder. Amazon definitely didn't fail me in recommending this novel.


I really don't have the words to describe how absolutely wonderful this novel was. The plot, although loosely centered around the Cinderella fairy tale, has so many other twists and turns that Cinder becomes so much more than just another Cinderella. Other than Cinder being a cyborg, Meyer also introduces a ruthless queen from a nation based on the moon, a devastating worldwide plague, a handsome prince who has to cope with the loss of his father while taking on the role of Emperor, and a missing moon princess who everyone believes to have been killed years before. 


Seriously hardcore. 


Oh, and of course Cinder has the crazy step-mother and step-sister who hate her. And the one step-sister who loves her is killed by the plague. And her only friend, Iko the android, gets sold for parts. And even though the prince falls in love with her, she can't be with him because 1) he doesn't know she's Cyborg and 2) even if he could get over the whole cyborg thing, she's also Lunar. And since the Lunars can mind-control people, he feels he can't trust her once he finds out what she really is. Or, at least 2/3 of what she really is. Because not only is she Lunar, but she also happens to be the missing Lunar princess.


The only real gripe I had was that it was pretty obvious from the first 75-100 pages that Cinder was the missing princess. But really, I think that all the hints at that just make it even better. The reader realizes before Cinder does who she really is, and everything she does and realizes just makes the reader more restless for her to find out her real past. Which she doesn't until like the last 5 pages.


I cannot wait for the rest of The Lunar Chronicles to be published, and I really hope Marissa Meyer writes many more books. I'll read all of them. As soon as they come out. I give this a 5/5, and would definitely call it one of my favorite books ever. It's definitely the best YA book I've read in a long time.


Go buy Cinder. Now. And then read it.


--Ashley

Friday, February 10, 2012

"In dreams, and in love, there are no impossibilities."



I've been trying to write this post for like three days, and I keep getting distracted or forgetting what I want to say.

I think it's really cool that Hilary Duff decided that she wanted to add "author" to her resume alongside actress and singer. Assuming she's written at least a few of her songs, it's safe to say she knows how to tell a good story. Which is pretty much what this book was - a good story. The writing wasn't exceptional, but it wasn't awful like some books by other celebrities tend to be either. I thought that the main characters (Clea, Ben, and Sage), were introduced well and then had pretty good development over the course of the book. There could have been a bit more, but it was enough.

Not much really happens in this book though, and it makes me feel like the whole thing was a set up for the rest of the series (I think it's part of a trilogy... like everything else). I appreciate the need to set up a story if you intend to take three books to tell it, but by the end of the book I felt like Clea had more problems than she started with. The only problem that ended up resolved was that she figured out who the shadowy man in all of her pictures was and how he played a part in her life/lives. Oh, but then he disappears again. Sorry, Clea. I guess she also kind of finds out what happened to her dad, but at the same time she still has no idea where to find him or even if he's still alive.

I'm really intrigued as to how Devoted is, and I kind of really want to read it. I think that Hilary will have learned from her first novel and improved on the second one, and I'm interested in how the story pans out. I'd probably give this book a 3/5, and I'd recommend it to fans of Hilary Duff who are looking for a quick, easy read.
 
--Ashley

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Paul's February Book - Eon: Dragoneye Reborn



Paul's Post


Title: Eon: Dragoneye Reborn
Author: Alison Goodman
Year Published: 2008

Synopsis:   Eon has been studying the ancient art of Dragon Magic for four years, hoping he'll be able to apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune. But he also has a dark secret. He is actually Eona, a sixteen-year-old girl who has been living a dangerous lie for the chance to become a Dragon-eye, the human link to an energy dragon's power. It is forbidden for females to practice the Dragon Magic and, if discovered, Eon faces a terrible death. After a dazzling sword ceremony, Eon's affinity with the twelve dragons catapults him into the treacherous world of the Imperial court, where he makes a powerful enemy, Lord Ido. As tension builds and Eon's desperate lie comes to light, readers won't be able to stop turning the pages...

Why?: Paul picked this book for February, so I get to read it now!

Expectations: I have no idea what to expect from this book. It seems like an interesting story, but I haven't read anything else by this author and I had never even heard of this series until Paul got this book.

Judging a book by its cover: The cover has what looks to be a huge eyeball in a dragon's claw. Or maybe  it's some sort of disc. I'm not entirely sure. I guess dragons will be important. Dragon-eyes too.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

"It was love because it was worth it."



My Pre-Reading


I really enjoyed reading The Future of Us. I thought the basic idea behind it - that two teenagers could see their futures via Facebook, which hadn't even been invented in 1996 - was very interesting. Especially since I totally remember 1996 and the AOL cds, AIM, dial-up internet, Oasis... And it's also kind of cool knowing about everything they mention in 2011 too.


I'm also pretty much a sucker for a book that switches perspectives, especially if it's well done. And I think having two authors made this one even better. Having a conflict between two best friends that neither is willing to talk about or even think about also 
made this book even more intriguing. Apart from having to figure out how the present will affect the future, the reader is left wondering what in the world happened between Emma and Josh that caused their friendship to splinter so much.

Although I feel like the plot wasn't anything spectacular past the underlying idea of seeing your future through Facebook, I felt like the characters and their development more than made up for any lack of plot. Even the minor characters had quite a bit of depth to them, which is fairly unusual in YA novels. Usually it's like "Oh hey, these are the people you need to care about. These other people don't really matter so they don't get any development whatsoever." But Emma & Josh's other friends, Kellan and Tyson, actually get to develop some on their own.

Overall, this book had some really nice elements. I think certain parts could have been a little better, but nothing major. I'd give this book a 4/5, and would for sure recommend it to pretty much everyone. Go read it!

--Ashley

Friday, February 3, 2012

Ashley's January Pick: Cinder



So this is a book I haven't started yet, so I figured I might as well write a Pre Reading for it before I start it tonight. 






Title: Cinder
Author: Marissa Meyer
Year Published: 2012


Synopsis: Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl....


Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.


In this thrilling debut young adult novel, the first of a quartet, Marissa Meyer introduces readers to an unforgettable heroine and a masterfully crafted new world that’s enthralling.


Why?: I agree with Ashley's choice of this one fullheartedly! A fairytale with cyborgs and a dystopia?!? Yes, please! I am really looking forward to this one.


Expectations:  I have big expectations for this one. I am also excited to continue the series, which already has release years for three other books up until 2015.


Judging a book by its cover: I like this cover. The colors are simply and eye catching. The cyborglike bones in the leg intrigue me. The picture reminds me of the cyborg from Animorphs.


-PAUL





Paul's January Pick: Elixir






Title: Elixir
Author: Hilary Duff
Year Published: 2010


Synopsis: Clea Raymond has felt the glare of the spotlight her entire life. The daughter of a renowned surgeon and a prominent Washington DC politician, she has grown to be a talented photojournalist who takes refuge in a career that allows her to travel to the most exotic parts of the world. But after Clea's father disappears while on a humanitarian mission, Clea's photos begin to feature eerie, shadowy images of a strange and beautiful man—a man she has never seen before. When fate brings Clea and this man together, she is stunned by the immediate and powerful connection she feels with him. As they grow closer, they are drawn deep into the mystery behind her father's disappearance, and they discover the centuries old truth behind their intense bond. Torn by a dangerous love triangle and haunted by a powerful secret that holds their fates, together they race against time to unravel their pasts in order to save their lives—and their futures. 


REVIEW


I have wanted to read this book for some time now. I really like Hilary Duff as an actress, musician, and person. Its always interesting when nonwriting celebrities publish a novel that's fiction. Another one I want to read is Modelland by Trya Banks. 


After reading this novel, I could tell that Hilary Duff wasn't a writer. It wasn't horribly written, but some parts were choppy. It took me a few chapters to get used to the writing style. 


The story was overall nice. If Duff was still in her late teens, I could totally see this being a movie starring her. The wig scene reminded me of one of her music videos. I definitely pictured Clea as Duff throughout the novel. 


The novel came to an interesting close. Nothing particularly mind blowing, but I enjoyed it.


Overall, this was an entertaining book that I will probably read the sequel to. The characters didn't have a lot of depth, but the concept was well thought out. 


I will give this novel a 2.5/5.


-PAUL

Paul's February Pick: Eon: Dragoneye Reborn

Instead of making a post yesterday I tried to finish this book during the day, but didn't until last night. 

For all the books I have missed I am just going to make one post. 



EON: Dragoneye Reborn
Author: Alison Goodman
Year Published: 2010
Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Eon has a dream, and a mission. For years, he's been studying sword-work and magic, toward one end. He and his master hope that he will be chosen as a Dragoneye-an apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune. But Eon has a dangerous secret. He is actually Eona, a sixteen-year-old girl who has been masquerading as a twelve-year-old boy. Females are forbidden to use Dragon Magic; if anyone discovers she has been hiding in plain sight, her death is assured.When Eon's secret threatens to come to light, she and her allies are plunged into grave danger and a deadly struggle for the Imperial throne. Eon must find the strength and inner power to battle those who want to take her magic...and her life.


REVIEW

I very much enjoyed this book. The last hundred pages, as usual, kept me reading. I like when a book gives you all the information throughout the novel to solve a problem yourself. There were many instances when I used clues to figure out questions Lord Eon had. Sometimes figuring answers out is frustrating when they haven't, but in this case it was written well enough that I was not frustrated at all. I merely waited for Lord Eon to discover the truths. 

Gender roles are a big part of this novel. I loved how they were done. Lady Dela's character was one of my favorites. I hope the sequel delves into her background more and her potential romantic life. 

Where we left Lord Ido at the conclusion of the novel was interesting. I did not expect it and look forward to where the sequel takes the character. 

Overall, I think it was a well written novel that may have started out episodic, but ended with a big wonderful bang. I look forward to the sequel. I have already added it to my wishlist on Amazon so maybe next month, although the paperback comes out at the end of March I believe. 

I give Eon: Dragoneye Reborn a 4.5/5.

-PAUL

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Ashley's February Book: Everneath



Title: Everneath
Author: Brodi Ashton
Year Published: 2012

Synopsis: Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she's returned - to her old life, her family, her friends - before being banished back to the underworld... this time forever.

She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can't find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these months reconnecting with her boyfriend, Jack, the one person she loves more than anything. But there's a problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who first enticed her to the Everneath, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. And he'll do whatever it takes to bring her back - this time as his queen.

Why?: This book has been on my "Recommended for You" list on Amazon for like 3 months. And every time I clicked on it to look at it, I wanted it a little bit more. Then, I was in Books-A-Million one day and for some reason they had it before it was supposed to be released. And then I was set on getting it eventually. So, here we are, and now I'm finally going to read it! Only a week after it came out too!

Expectations: I'm really expecting a lot from this book, even though it's Ashton's debut novel so I have no idea how she writes. A modernized Persephone story? That just has to be epic. Please don't let me down, Brodi Ashton.

Judging a book by its cover: From the cover, the only thing I can tell is that a girl will be important, and it looks like she's walking out of the fog or raising from the ground. And maybe the color red will play a pretty big role. I love this cover though, I think it's so pretty and elegant. It's one of the things that kept me coming back to this book until I finally bought it.



--Ashley

Paul's January Book: Elixir

Welcome back to Paul!


Title: Elixir
Author: Hilary Duff
Year Published: 2010

Synopsis: Clea Raymond has felt the glare of the spotlight her entire life. The daughter of a renowned surgeon and a prominent Washington DC politician, she has grown to be a talented photojournalist who takes refuge in a career that allows her to travel to the most exotic parts of the world. But after Clea's father disappears while on a humanitarian mission, Clea's photos begin to feature eerie, shadowy images of a strange and beautiful man—a man she has never seen before. When fate brings Clea and this man together, she is stunned by the immediate and powerful connection she feels with him. As they grow closer, they are drawn deep into the mystery behind her father's disappearance, and they discover the centuries old truth behind their intense bond. Torn by a dangerous love triangle and haunted by a powerful secret that holds their fates, together they race against time to unravel their pasts in order to save their lives—and their futures.

Why?: Paul got this book for his birthday and enjoyed it, so he gave it to me to read too. And I'm not going to lie... I kind of wanted to read it anyway. I like Hilary Duff as an actress and a singer, so I figure she deserves a chance at being an author too.

Expectations: I'm really not expecting all that much from this one. Assuming Hilary wrote at least some of her songs, she can paint a pretty decent, albeit fairly shallow, picture with words. I'm fairly certain the plot and the characters will be at least well structured, but I don't think the actual writing part will be anything spectacular.

Judging a book by its cover: From the cover, it seems like a girl and a boy will be the m
ain focus of the book, with the boy being in pictures or something like that.

I'm already behind again... Ugh. I just need to not read until I catch up on my blogging completely. I'm sorry for neglecting you all.


--Ashley

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I'm Back!!!

I am FINALLY back!!!

I haven't posted since OCTOBER 19!!! 

Since then, I have read a few books as well as graduated!



Hopefully over the next few days/weeks, I will catch up.

I probably won't get them all done unless I have a plan so my plan will be to do one every day of the week, most likely excluding weekends until I am caught up. Starting tomorrow, of course. 

Until then!

-PAUL