Saturday, February 11, 2012

Book Review: Lies by Michael Grant

It's been seven months since all the adults disappeared. Gone.
It happens in one night. A girl who died now walks among the living; Zil and the Human Crew set fire to Perdido Beach; and amid the flames and smoke, Sam sees the figure of the boy he fears the most: Drake. But Drake is dead. Sam and Caine defeated him along with the Darkness--or so they thought.

As Perdido Beach burns, battles rage: Astrid against the Town Council; the Human Crew versus the mutants; and Sam against Drake, who is back from the dead and ready to finish where he and Sam left off. And all the while deadly rumors are raging like the fire itself, spread by the prophetess Orsay and her companion, Nerezza. They say that death is a way to escape the FAYZ. Conditions are worse than ever and kids are desperate to get out. But are they desperate enough to believe that death will set them free? (Summary by Goodreads)
Young Adult
Genre: science fiction
Pages: 447 in the US hard cover addition
Publishing Company: HarperCollins
Publication Date: May 4th 2010

For me this book is where the story really drew me in. Up until this book I liked the series, but I definitely wasn't fangirling over it. I don't know exactly what about this one really sucked me in, but I know that it did. I love most of the characters- even though sometimes I feel like their are too many- it really only focus' on a few each book. I hated all the characters your supposed to hate with a passion and loved a majority of the main characters. Though I do really dislike the main characters love interest, she's really annoying and I can't really connect with her. A big part for me is that I like to be able to see what the main character sees in their love interest- don't get me wrong I see that here. She's smart and can be very helpful to him when he needs her, but she also puts pressure on him and overall I just don't care for her much.

Luckily, romance takes a less important part in this book so I am able to enjoy it anyway. The action of Lies is just as good as ever, though at times I felt it was a little predictable. I guessed the twist at the end very early on, but in this case it didn't take much away from the book. The description and story in Grants words is more important than simply what took place. I really like Grants writing style it's easy to read and the children feel like children- granted ones that are having to grow up very fast.

What really intrigued me about this was all the questions which are being brought up all of a sudden. It's issue in the lasts books are still present, they didn't just go away, but new problems are arising and your trying to figure things out along with the characters.

As for the villains in this book, The Human Crew from the last book play a major role, and what a major creep is Zil? I wanted to smack him so much through out this book. The Britney and Drake thing was fascinating and I really liked that idea, though that in it's own brings up some major questions. Caine plays less of a role in this one and you really start to see how tame he is in contrast to Drake, who is without a doubt a sociopath.

These books are sort of long but at no point do I wish it was shorter, I like the progression of the story and how it unfolds. I have grown to really like the alternating character perspectives and I love the count down of hours till the big action of the book. It constantly keeps you wondering what that big event is going to be.

As soon as I finished this book I started the next one which for me means it was a good read. I definitely recommend this for people who are fans of Lord  of the Flies and/or Lost. It's such a good story and it will have you dying to know what brought about the Fayz and what's on the other side of that barrier.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

February to-be-read

I have a good amount of books picked out for this month so I'm not positive I'll get through all of them. Here they are though, I'd love to know what you thought about them if you read them.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

All About You Tag

This is a tag that's been going around on the tubes for a while, so I figured I'd have a go at it.

1. What was your favorite book of 2011 & your least favorite book of 2011?
Looking for Alaska by John Green. It's now my second favorite book, that's how much I loved it.
My least favorite would probably be Sea Change by Aimee Friedman, I don't know why but I think I just don't really like mermaid/siren books.

2. What is your most annoying habit whilst reading?
Sometimes I yell things at the book when I get a little to into it lol. Other than that I don't think I have any really annoying habits that I notice anyway.

3. How quick do you usually get through a book?
It really depends on the size of the book and how much I'm liking it. Generally it takes me about three or four days; but if the books huge or I'm not feeling it it can take me a week to a week and a half. It usually takes me under a week though.

4. How many books do you read a week?
I usually read one or two, however sometimes on a good week I can read three or four. Again it'll all depends on a few different factors.

5. Of all the Youtube book bloggers -- Who would you most like to meet?
This seems a little weird because I'm doing it on my blog lol. But out of book bloggers I would most like to meet Stacey and Jessica from ChapterChicks or Misty from TheBookRat. Then again, I'd be happy to meet any book blogger =)

6. How do you organize your bookshelves?
I have two shelves and currently I have one which has my to-be-read books which is organized into the tentative order I would like to read them in. The other has books I have read in alphabetical order and then my adult books in a mess on the last two shelves. Plus I have a little makeshift shelf with my classics and 90's mass market paper backs and above my computer are a few of my favorites. And finally I have a trunk where I put the ones I didn't really care for but would like to keep anyway, and some boxes of ones I'm getting rid of.

7. Quick reads or big 'n' chunky reads?
It depends on the mood I'm in. Recently I've been more into chunky ones because theres more story and it allows the reader to get more invested in the world the authors created. But smaller books are nice sometimes for a nice light break. My preference though would usually be somewhere in the middle; just I nice averaged size book.
8. Which book related land/place would you like to live in and why?
Hmm... this is a hard one. I'm gonna go with the cop out and say Harry Potter xD.

9. Which Character would you most like to date?
Another toughie, I think if you read all the time it gets hard to choose just one fictional love interest. I'm going to say Dimitri from the Vampire Academy series. but there are so many more.

10. What is your favorite series this year? Which out of the series is your favorite? And why do you like them?
I'm taking it that this year means 2011. I don't think I've read any series all the way through this year. I only read the first two but I'm going to go with the Iron Fey Series and my favorite would be the Iron King because one of Megan's decisions pissed me off in the second one. [insert angry face here]

11. What do you find annoying about some authors?
Probably just when any romance that I want to happen in the book doesn't end up happening, I'm a big baby about that lol.

12. Which is your favourite Classic that you've read?
There are a lot of classics I love but my favorite if I had to pick one is probably Lord of the Flies... or a Separate Peace. If the Outsiders counts as a classic though (I consider it to be one xD) then that is my favorite.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Character Spotlight Mondays

This is a new segment I've been thinking about starting up. I want to get some variety onto this blog, so if you have any ideas please let me know. Anyway, so what this will be is basically a segment I do on Mondays where I talk about a book character (or characters) I'm really liking at the moment or ones that are my favorite characters in general. Feel free to share you opinion on the character(s), I'd love to know what you think of them!

I'm going to start by warning you that I have a very dark taste in characters. Whether it be in books or movies, I always fall for the bad guy. Sometimes I like the good guy as well but I usual obsess over the villains, a fact that disturbs my friends to know end.

Today, keeping that in mind, I would like to talk about the male characters I love in the Gone series by Michael Grant.

Sam Temple: I figured I'd start with the guy your supposed to like. Although I can't condone his choice in women I can't help but love Sam as a character. He's so human and in being so imperfect which is really what I like about him, you don't see that often in a male lead. Plus, who doesn't want to give him the worlds biggest hug sometimes?

Caine Soren: I warned you. Yes, I do like Caine- probably more so than Sam. I can't put my finger on exactly what I find so endearing about him but he might just be my favorite character in the series. He knows he's bad, and he owns it.

There are so many characters in this series that I can't list all my favorites, but those are the two big ones. Though I also have taken a sick liking to Drake, the baddest of the bad, and Edilio because he's such a sweetie.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Book Review: Siren by Tricia Rayburn

Seventeen-year-old Vanessa Sands is afraid of everything--the dark, heights, the ocean--but her fearless older sister, Justine, has always been there to coach her through every challenge.  That is until Justine goes cliff diving one night near the family's vacation house in Winter Harbor, Maine, and her lifeless body washes up on shore the next day.

Vanessa's parents want to work through the tragedy by returning to their everyday lives back in Boston, but Vanessa can't help feeling that her sister's death was more than an accident.  After discovering that Justine never applied to colleges, and that she was secretly in a relationship with longtime family friend Caleb Carmichael, Vanessa returns to Winter Harbor to seek some answers.

But when Vanessa learns that Caleb has been missing since Justine's death, she and Caleb's older brother, Simon, join forces to try to find him, and in the process, their childhood friendship blossoms into something more. 
Soon it's not just Vanessa who is afraid.  All of Winter Harbor is abuzz with anxiety when another body washes ashore, and panic sets in when the small town becomes home to a string of fatal, water-related accidents . . . in which all the victims are found grinning from ear to ear. 

As Vanessa and Simon probe further into the connections between Justine's death and the sudden rash of creepy drownings, Vanessa uncovers a secret that threatens her new romance, and that will change her life forever.
(Summary by Goodreads)
Young Adult
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 344 in US hard cover edition
Publishing Company: Egmont
Publication Date: May 10, 2011

Let me start off by saying that yes I picked up this book purely based on its cover. Can you blame me? I mean, the eyes and title are shiny. But honestly I think the cover may have been the best thing about this book. That may sound harsh, and I really didnt hate the book, its just that there was absolutely no wow factor. But the cover gets five stars, so theres that.

Characters: Considering the only character I really really liked was Justine and she died within the first couple chapters (not a spoiler, it says it on the back cover), I wasnt thrilled with the characters. It wasnt that I particularly disliked any of them, I just didnt feel any connection with any of them, not even the main character. The love interest was okay, though Rayburn could have made their romance so much more intense. I mean, for one thing, can anyone tell me whether or not they had sex in that scene in Simons room? It was very brushed over and unclear, and if they did infact do it,  does anyone else think its a little skanky so soon in their romantic relationship? But other than that I felt the characters were likeable but not very well developed or interesting. Also I would have loved to know more about Justine, now theres a character with actual depth in the book. In fact I would have prefered it if the book focused on her and Calebs relationship instead of Simon and Vanessa who were equally dull and one dimensional.

Plot: The plot was also okay, I was interested in what was happening and the mystery was pretty well done. I liked the actual siren aspect a lot. I read it last month so I really dont remember if it was predictable or not, but I know the plot was pretty good. There were certain things that confused me about the siren mythology and especially the ending I found to be unclear.

Ending: The main reason I found this to be unclear was that to be honest, I was kind of rushing to finish it. I dont even remember clearly the action at the end because by this point I just wanted to be done and on to the next book. I know that I was confused by what was going on because, again, I thought it was unclear. And I also know that it was very unrealistic, I cant say why without spoiling it, but take my word that for me to say an aspect of a paranormal romance book was unrealistic, which does seem quite ironic and paradoxical, is really something. I have a high tolerance generally for lack of realism in a book that is built on a foundation of things that don't actually exist in real life.

So I was very disapointed in this book, and even more so that it comes with a sequel. Really? Is that really necessary? Even if I had liked it, it doesnt need a sequel. Though now that I'm involved I'll most likely read it at some point, sigh. If you still want to read this, I suggest picking it up from the library.

Overall Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Book Review: Annexed by Sharon Dogar

Everyone knows about Anne Frank and her life hidden in the secret annex – but what about the boy who was also trapped there with her? In this powerful and gripping novel, Sharon Dogar explores what this might have been like from Peter’s point of view. What was it like to be forced into hiding with Anne Frank, first to hate her and then to find yourself falling in love with her? Especially with your parents and her parents all watching almost everything you do together. To know you’re being written about in Anne’s diary, day after day? What’s it like to start questioning your religion, wondering why simply being Jewish inspires such hatred and persecution? Or to just sit and wait and watch while others die, and wish you were fighting. As Peter and Anne become closer and closer in their confined quarters, how can they make sense of what they see happening around them? Anne’s diary ends on August 4, 1944, but Peter’s story takes us on, beyond their betrayal and into the Nazi death camps. He details with accuracy, clarity and compassion the reality of day to day survival in Auschwitz – and ultimately the horrific fates of the Annex’s occupants.
Summary by Goodreads
Young Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 337 in the US hard cover edition
Publishing Company: Houghton Mifflin
Publication Date: October 4, 2010

When I first saw this book in the book store, I'll admit, I was pretty excited and purchased it right away without a second thought. I'm one of those people who is interested in learning about this ghastly period in history- its just awful to think of what human beings are really capable of. I've always been interested especially about Peter Van Pels. Don't ask me why, I couldnt tell you. However, though my initial reaction was that of interest when I got home and thought about it I became wary about actually picking it up. There are so many ways that this could go horribly horribly wrong.

About a year later when I finally got the courage to pick it up, I was pleasantly surprised at what I found. Sharon Dogar clearly did lots of research before writing this work, and it didnt come off as disrespectful in any way- which honestly was my biggest fear going into this. She's a very good writer and the way it was set up was done well. It was done in two parts, The Annex and The Camps, along with a preface and an epilogue. It was also broken up into moderately sized chapters, which werent numbered but had a heading such as; August 21, 1942- Peter's Father is Angry. I liked the size of the chapters, because it provided a perfect stopping point and I loved the dates at the beginning of each chapter. However I could have done without the, to put it bluntly, kind of corny headings which basically just summed up what you were about to read.

As far as how she did in the actual writing of the characters, she did a pretty good job. Peter I thought was very true to how the actual Peter Van Pels was portrayed in Anne's diary, though I've only read bits and pieces and seen a few of the movies. The rest of the characters also stayed true, though the only problem I had was in the portrayal of Anne herself. I felt like Dogar made her rather annoying- and as most people do I generally find Anne Frank very likeable- so I wasnt thrilled with that.

I also felt like Dogar had a few cop outs in the book. For instance several times there would be a conversation that didnt take place in Annes actual diary, and this would be explained by Peter asking Anne not to write about it in her diary. I dont know why but it irritated me at points. But for the most part the way Dogar presented Peter as the shy, insecure boy who was confused about his loyalty towards his religion and  nervous about things like sex was very effective. It was true to what a sixteen year old boy stuck in an inclosed space with his family and people he hardly knows, for an indefinite amount of time, would be going through.

I really liked the tone of the book, and as I said before I loved the way it was written. Especially in Part 2 you really got to see her talent in her heart wrenching portayal of the death camps. This also represented all the research she had done, it went through the trip there and what we know of Peters actual time in Auschwitz. She filled in the blanks to certain things she wasnt positive about, but they were educated guesses to the best of her knowledge.

In the epilogue at the end of the book it reveals the fate of each of the people who lived in the annex. This may have been the most hear breaking part, you learn about how they died, and find that only Otto Frank survived.

After reading this I recommend that all young adults read this book. It's eye opening, and I think teens would benefit from reading it. If nothing else, at least the second part in order to get an idea of how absolutely dispicable the nazi's really were. This book makes you feel a mixture of sadness and anger but also a bit of happiness during some of the scenes in the annex. Some of Peter and Anne's conversations are very deep and definately force you to think. This was a hard task to undertake but Sharon Dogar did a very good job with it. It definately resonates with you for days after you finish and I personally still think about it sometimes, and I read it at the very beginning of January.

Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars