Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

Genre: fantasy
Series and Book #: Ruby Red Trilogy #1
Pages: 322

Sixteen-year-old Gwen lives with her extended—and rather eccentric—family in an exclusive London neighborhood. In spite of her ancestors’ peculiar history, she’s had a relatively normal life so far. The time-traveling gene that runs like a secret thread through the female half of the family is supposed to have skipped over Gwen, so she hasn’t been introduced to “the mysteries,” and can spend her time hanging out with her best friend, Lesley, watching movies and talking about boys. It comes as an unwelcome surprise then when she starts taking sudden, uncontrolled leaps into the past.

She’s totally unprepared for time travel, not to mention all that comes with it: fancy clothes, archaic manners, a mysterious secret society, Gideon, her time-traveling counterpart. He’s obnoxious, a know-it-all, and possibly the best-looking guy she’s seen in any century….


I don't read a lot of time travel novels. They're somewhat rare (considering most YA novels are about werewolves, vampires. faeries, etc) and a lot of times they're the same. They're mostly about a girl who can travel back in time and she falls in love with a boy ... blah blah blah. Ruby Red was a refreshing break from the serious, melodramatic time traveling novels.

Gwen and her friend Lesley don't take the time-traveling very seriously. For instance, Gwen takes her cell phone back to the eighteenth century and takes pictures of the people she meets. She also has Lesley Google everything she doesn't understand or can't remember from history lessons. I somewhat pitied Gwen, because everyone expected her perfect cousin Charlotte to get the gene, and when she started to time travel, no one believed her and they mocked her because she wasn't as pretty or smart. But Gwen was sharp and witty. She was also very stubborn, making for an interesting MC.

It felt like the author was cramming the entire plot into one novel. This made me a little breathless. It was also confusing. Gwen doesn't know what's going on (because she hasn't been introduced to "the mysteries") therefore the reader doesn't know what's going on. I would have liked if we'd had a bit more explanation and slower events, or at least enough time to breath in between!

Overall, this was a great novel. The MC was marvelous, the extensive accounts from previous time travelers was a brilliant add, and Kerstin Gier just had to end on a bit of a cliffhanger. Though the novel was fast and somewhat confusing, the characters were marvelously written as was the history behind the Temple and the Twelve. I can't wait for Sapphire Blue to come out in October!

The Cover: This is the newest cover, the one that matches the sequel's. I kind of like the original just because it was had a very sophisticated feel. But this is just as lovely as the first, and I especially love the background.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

Genre: social issues
Series and Book #: none
Pages: 444

Ambitious teen Craig Gilner is determined to succeed at life—which means getting into the right high school to get into the right college to get the right job. He accomplishes step one by getting into Manhattan’s extremely selective Executive Pre-Professional High School. And that’s when things start to get crazy.

At Craig’s new school, the pressure is unbearable. There, he’s just average, and maybe not even that. He sees his once-perfect future crumbling away. Craig stops eating and sleeping until, one night, he nearly kills himself.

Craig’s suicidal episode gets him checked into a mental hospital, where his new neighbors include a transsexual sex addict, a girl who has scarred her own face with scissors, and a recovering garbage-head named Bobby who needs his help. There, isolated from the crushing stresses of school and friends, Craig is finally able to confront the sources of his anxiety.


The characters were my favorite part of the story. Craig had so many people and influences in his life. His school friends, who treated him terribly; his family, who loved him and wanted him to get better no matter what; and the adults at the hospital, who helped him realize what real friends were like and helped him deal with his depression. Craig was also an excellent character to watch develop and change. He's trying to be a normal kid while at the same time trying to be an adult.

The plot hops around a lot. The first couple of chapters have Craig depressed, then the next few have him not, and then it goes back to before high school, to when he's depressed again and finally to the hospital. I would have liked if everything had been a sequence of events rather than a reference to the past and then being plopped back into the present.

Overall, Craig doesn't really act like he's depressed. I mean, I knew he was. I could tell by the way he was uncomfortable and nervous all the time, wondering if anything was going to happen with his friends around, but he was upbeat and tried so hard to be normal for everybody. I also loved how much his character changed. Ned Vizzini wrote the transition excellently, taking us from Point A: the beginning of the depression with his stressful school and mean friends, to Point B: managing his depression and finding that life doesn't have to be about girls and drugs and trying to fit in.

The Cover: I love the map brain. Craig's own city of his mind.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Release: Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter

Kate Winters has won immortality. But if she wants a life with Henry in the Underworld, she'll have to fight for it.

Becoming immortal wasn't supposed to be the easy part. Though Kate is about to be crowned Queen of the Underworld, she's as isolated as ever. And despite her growing love for Henry, ruler of the Underworld, he's becoming ever more distant and secretive. Then, in the midst of Kate's coronation, Henry is abducted by the only being powerful enough to kill him: the King of the Titans.

As the other gods prepare for a war that could end them all, it is up to Kate to save Henry from the depths of Tartarus. But in order to navigate the endless caverns of the Underworld, Kate must enlist the help of the one person who is the greatest threat to her future.

Henry's first wife, Persephone.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Release: Forgiven by Jana Oliver

The days are growing darker for 17-year-old demon trapper Riley Blackthorne. With her father’s reanimated body back safely, Beck barely speaking to her because of a certain hunky Fallen angel, and a freshly-made deal with Lucifer, she has enough on her hands to last a normal teenage lifetime. Though she bargained with Heaven to save his life, her ex-boyfriend Simon has told the Vatican’s Demon Hunters that she’s working with Hell. So now she’s in hiding, at the top of everyone’s most-wanted list.

But it’s becoming clear that this is bigger than Riley, and rapidly getting out of control: something sinister is happening in Atlanta… or someone. The demons are working together for the first time ever and refusing to die, putting civilians in harm’s way. Riley thinks she might know who’s behind it all, but who’s going to believe her? Caught between her bargain with Heaven and her promise to Lucifer, Riley fears the final war is coming – and it may be closer than anyone thinks…

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Legend by Marie Lu

Genre: sci-fi, dystopian
Series and Book #: Legend #1
Pages: 305

Once known as the western coast of the United States, the Republic is now a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors, the Colonies.

Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a military prodigy. Obedient, passionate, and committed to her country, she is being groomed from success in the Republic’s highest circles.

Born in the slums of the Republic’s Lake Sector, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered, and Day becomes the prime suspect. Now, caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in the race for his family’s survival, while June tries desperately to avenge Metias’s death.

But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths to which their country will go to keep its secrets.

Ohmygosh. June and Day each had their own, singular voice that I think Marie Lu did an excellent job writing. June was more calculating and observant whereas Day was hesitant and blunt.

The world that Day and June live in was wonderfully written. I loved how everything was explained. Marie Lu didn't spare details during the Skiz fights, the sectors, and the government buildings. I could see everything she was describing, which is the best thing of a book. I love the setting of books no matter what I read. If there is strong writing when it comes to setting, I immediately fall head-over-heels for it!

I wish that June's strength would have been constant throughout the book. I felt that once she met Day, all of her skills vanished and her resolve crumbled. I wanted there to be more examples of the techniques she'd picked up in the military. Same with Day. At the beginning, June describes all of these amazing feats that Day had completed, but I never experienced any of them.

Overall, the setting and the characters of this novel were well written. Lu's descriptions of the places and people June and Day meet was exceptional. I found myself pulled into the story. There wasn't as much romance as I was told there would be. It was all more towards the end, and still then June didn't know if she could trust Day and vice versa. The characters voices had a lot of heart behind them as well. I found myself caring for Day's family and June's brother. I also loved the undercurrent of government corruption. Can't wait for the sequel!

The Cover: LOVE the Republic seal, shiny metal, and gold!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Genre: social issues
Series and Book #: none
Pages: 213

Standing on the fringes of life...

offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

This is the story of what it's like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie's letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends. The world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite.


This was a really fast read that I thought went through so many important things in such a short amount of time. Charlie's starting to grow up in high school, and he doesn't understand much of what's going on around him, but he understands others pain and happiness. He tries to make everyone around him happy, whether it's by being himself or by being someone else.

Charlie was such a cool kid. He didn't force anyone into anything; he never mocked anyone; he simply stood and watched. This gave an interesting narrative in which there wasn't much opinion. Instead, it was Charlie retelling the event, adding a few comments, but going nowhere further.

Overall, The Perks of Being a Wallflower grasped teenage years. It takes us from freshman year all the way to graduation, but not with a single character. It offers a perspective from everyone. How Charlie feels about his new school and friends, how his friends feel about growing up and moving on, about relationships and love. Charlie sees it all, but not through his eyes alone. He also sees his friends and their attitudes towards some of life's greatest years.

The Cover: I like how there's only the one picture, and even then the model remains anonymous just like Charlie!

Friday, March 23, 2012


(At least in the US)

Is anyone else FREAKING OUT????

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Genre: social issues
Series and Book #: none
Pages: 313

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.


I am a huge, huge fan of John Green's. I've read all his books (from Looking for Alaska to Will Grayson, Will Grayson) and this one was completely different. It was much darker than the others. There wasn't as much witty humor--it was all dark and depressing and centered around death. Although this is pretty much the central theme of the novel. Hazel's dying, Augustus had cancer, and everyone she knows has had cancer. She's been surrounded by death her entire life and she knows it's coming for her, so there's not much to laugh at. But Augustus was this bright figure that showed up and she learns that even through cancer and death, there can be laughter and happiness.

My favorite thing about John Green is that he takes these random, obscure things and puts them into his writing. Like the addition of An Imperial Affliction and Peter Van Houten. I mean, it doesn't exist, but I've never read another author who creates a fake book and makes it a central theme of his novel (unless you count books of spells from witch books, or encyclopedias of demons, etc). At first it was just an obsession of Hazel's but in the end it morphed into this connection between her and Augustus.

Overall, another excellent addition to John Green's writing. As always, his writing is thought consuming and real, and he creates characters that naturally draw you in. No matter what genre you like, I strongly suggest you read his books.

The Cover: This one's very plain. I like the one with all the writing surrounding the clouds better. But simplicity is key here, and the cover is spunky and clean.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Awaken by Katie Kacvinksy

Genre: futuristic, social issues
Series and Book #: none
Pages: 309

“Don’t be short term to me.” I stared at the words and my mind traveled to Justin and I wondered where he was, what he was doing.

Maddie lives in a world where everything is done on the computer. Whether going to school or on a date, no one ever leaves home. There’s really no need. And for the most part, Maddie’s okay with the solitary, digital life—until she meets Justin.

Justin likes being with people. He likes physical closeness and face-to-face conversations. People aren’t meant to be alone, he tells her.

Maddie is beginning to believe him. Maybe there is a different, better way to live, and perhaps Justin will be the one to help her start living it.

"People, solid and living and breathing together in the same world, are not meant to be surrounded by that much darkness."
-Awaken by Katie Kacvinksy, pg 60

Maddie was a very strong teenage character. She was rebellious, had fights with her father, and didn't try to get close to anyone. I loved how she knew exactly what she wanted and knew exactly who she was. She didn't try to really fit into any mold that her father wanted her to be.

There was more interaction than I thought there would be. I figured that most everybody didn't leave their homes; therefore, I assumed there would be no sports, or shops, or clubs, or banquets. I was somewhat shocked when Justin took Maddie to the coffee place and when Maddie went to soccer. I think it took away from the original concept of there being so much technology that society was utterly consumed in it.

Overall, the message this novel tells is scary at how accurate it is to most of what people do today. Facebook, Tumblr, blogging...the Internet has taken over society and occupies most people's time. Kacvinsky's book predicts where we're headed in the near future, even if it is forty-eight years away.  All of the relationships Kacvinsky wrote were excellent. When Maddie spoke with her friends and her parents, there was a slight feeling that she was disconnected from them. But when she was with Justin and his friends, there was warmth and friendliness. The distinction between those who were on the computer and those who weren't (not just between Justin and Maddie's friends, but throughout the novel) was very clear. They give a good look at how different life is when you're away from others and when you're not.

The Cover: I like how it's slightly pixilated and the flowers are behind the glass jar. Nothing is clear, just like a computer screen.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Genre: sci-fi, post-apocalyptic
Series and Book #: unknown
Pages: 338

“You can’t touch me,” I whisper.

I’m lying, is what I don’t tell him.

He can touch me, is what I’ll never tell him.

Please touch me, is what I want to tell him.

But things happened when people touch me.

Strange things.

Bad things.

Dead things.

No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal, but The Reestablishment has plans for her. Plans to use her as a weapon.

But Juliette has plans of her own. 

After a lifetime without freedom, she’s finally discovering a strength to fight back for the very first time—and to find a future with the one boy she thought she’d lost forever.


My favorite part of this book was the setting and the politics that Juliette is surrounded by. With most post-apocalyptic novels, life is usually seen though the eyes of a main character that thinks everything is perfect. Juliette knows that her world is corrupt and disgusting. She's raw and truthful. I love how Tahereh Mafi doesn't try to cover that up. It's very original and I love it.

Admittedly, I kind of liked Warner, even if he was a psycho maniac who had a very creepy crush on Juliette. Adam was alright. He's not one of my favorite love interests ever but the romance (and history) between him and Juliette was excellently plotted.

Overall, this is one of my favorite books. Mafi's writing is excellent. The words flow so naturally that it really seems Juliette is speaking through them. The villains were deliciously creepy and the romance was wonderfully set up. The history between Adam and Juliette was definitely a great point of this novel, making the romance richer. The whole thing was dark, romantic, and psychologically thrilling. *Squee!* was pretty much my only thought throughout this entire book!

The Cover: Sharp and eye-catching. The whole image just grabs your attention.