Friday, May 30, 2014

Famous Last Words by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

16075953Famous Last Words by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski
Series: N/A
Publisher: Henry Holt & co.
Format: ARC
Pages: 288
Source: Won.

In Famous Last Words by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski, sixteen-year-old Samantha D’Angelo has death on the brain. Her summer internship at the local newspaper has her writing obituaries instead of soaking up the sun at the beach. Between Shelby, Sam’s boy-crazy best friend; her boss Harry, a true-blue newspaper man; and AJ, her fellow “intern scum” (aka the cute drummer for a band called Love Gas), Sam has her hands full. But once she figures out what—or who—is the best part of her summer, will she mess it all up?

As Sam learns her way around both the news room and the real world, she starts to make some momentous realizations about politics, ethics, her family, romance, and most important—herself.

The one thing I absolutely loved about this story was the focus on Sam's job. I loved seeing how her job was a major part of her life and everything that went on in the office. However that was not enough to make me completely fall in love with this book.
For the most part I didn't connect with the characters. Sam bugged me. I just could not grow to like her. She was focused and hard working, two traits I usually really enjoy in a character but she was also kind of spineless in the beginning. I tried to like her I really did but in the end I liked AJ a lot more. AJ was awesome, a drummer and really into music. I could really identify with that aspect considering music has played a huge part in my life.
This was a pretty cute read. There just wasn't enough going on to keep me entertained however. The mysterious aspects in the story were fine for a while but I found myself not really caring whether they solved the mystery with the mayor or not.


Friday, May 23, 2014

Chasers by H.W. Vivian

21821174Chasers by H.W. Vivian
Series: N/A
Publisher: LuLu Publishing Services
Format: Paperback
Pages: 287
Source: Received for review.

The small town of Winston, Colorado, has a secret-one that hides in its children. Long ago, there were many children who suffered from the local "condition." There are fewer of them now, but Shelby is one of them. She was born with a ruby embedded in her skin. In the same year, two other kids in town, Gary and May, were born with emeralds. Now a teenager, Shelby nurses a crush on Gary, while he sticks close to the fragile May and tries to protect her from, among other things, Shelby's bullying. Despite their differences, however, their births connect them; when May goes missing, Gary needs Shelby's help. Together, Shelby and Gary learn the unspeakable truth about each other-and about the chasers. Death lurks around every turn; in order to survive, Shelby, Gary, and May must work together. It is now their responsibility to save an entire generation of people also born with their "condition" before a century-old grudge destroys them all.

This one took a little while to get into but once the action got started I was hooked. I had to know what would happen to Shelby, Gary and May to the point that I was staying up late trying to reach the end. This is like nothing I have ever read before, the idea that these kids have a debt to pay due to something that happened a long time ago and therefore have this really weird curse was just plain interesting.
Even though the beginning in this one is kind of slow, it does pick up and the events that the three teenagers have to go through is definitely action packed. One of the main things that drew me into this was the friendship between the characters. They would have risked their lives for each other in an instant, even though May and Shelby did not get along in the beginning.
The one thing that really took away from the story for me was Shelby. I just did not like her and I could not connect with her at all. She was selfish and nasty and a major brat. She did turn around towards the end but I just could not start liking her. May on the other hand was a sweetheart. Both her and Gary were my favorites. They stuck together through everything and Gary was so protective of May and definitely proved that guys and girls could be friends without romance being thrown in.
If you're looking for a quick read with an interesting back story I recommend that you give this one a chance. The action is fast paced and the fact that all of these teens would risk their lives for their friends really brings a lot to the story.
**Copy provided via the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.**

Monday, May 19, 2014

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

6752378City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare
Series: The Mortal Instruments, #4
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 424
Source: Borrowed

The Mortal War is over, and sixteen-year-old Clary Fray is back home in New York, excited about all the possibilities before her. She’s training to become a Shadowhunter and to use her unique power. Her mother is getting married to the love of her life. Downworlders and Shadowhunters are at peace at last. And—most importantly of all—she can finally call Jace her boyfriend.

But nothing comes without a price.

Someone is murdering Shadowhunters, provoking tensions between Downworlders and Shadowhunters that could lead to a second, bloody war. Clary’s best friend, Simon, can’t help her—his mother just found out that he’s a vampire, and now he’s homeless. When Jace begins to pull away from her without explaining why, Clary is forced to delve into the heart of a mystery whose solution reveals her worst nightmare: she herself has set in motion a terrible chain of events that could lead to her losing everything she loves. Even Jace.

This book was not my favorite in the series so far. To be honest not too much happens in this one and it didn't hold my attention as well as the previous installments. This being said I still liked the book, when everything did start happening boy did it go down. I was not expecting the bad guy to be who it was and the reasons behind it.
I wasn't a huge fan of the Simon focus in this. I wasn't a fan of Simon before and I'm still not. My favorite character still remains Magnus and I have a feeling that this will stay the same for the rest of the series. Even though we don't get much of Magnus or Alec in this book the little bit that is shown with them was angsty and I couldn't help but want more.
 I cannot wait to finish this series. I hope that the last two books are more action packed like the first three books in the series because that is where this book really seemed to lag. I can't wait to find out what happens to the gang next, because the ending to this one left me holding the book wondering what horrible things were to come.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Stones of Power: The Exile by Eric Buffington

18656790Stones of Power: The Exile by Eric Buffington
Series: Stones of Power, #1
Publisher: Center One Publishing
Format: Paperback
Pages: 288
Source: Author for review.

In a world where each person is born with a magic ability, the island of Denall is on the verge of an attack from a power hungry sorcerer, Mordyar, as he scours the world in search of the Stones of Power. While the stones are gathering and their power begins to be revealed, four boys leave their village on a rite of passage into adulthood and are swept into an adventure that will make men and heroes of them, if they can survive.

I'm generally not a huge fan of fantasy but I really want to try to read more of the genre. I was definitely surprised by the amount of enjoyment I had reading this book. I ended up getting absorbed in the story and rooting for the characters to pull through. And there was enough action to keep me turning the pages quickly to find out what would happen next.
The whole idea of these boys having to leave their village at 18 for a whole year to become men was interesting. The trouble they continually found themselves in was nerve wracking because I became so invested in these boys' story that I did not want anything horrible to happen to them, which of course everything that could go wrong did and although I didn't want that to happen I'm glad it did. Throughout the book Kaz really develops from a boy to a strong willed man.
The characters were a huge part of why I liked the story. Kaz was optimistic and no matter what happened he would do anything to help his friends. Farin was snarky and hard headed but he ended up being one of my favorite characters in the end. I was not as fond of Bendar as the others. He seemed off to me, throughout the book I kept wondering just what he was up to but I will say that he eventually grew on me.
If you're a fan of epic fantasy I think you would really enjoy this. It has adventure and action plus it focuses heavily on friendship and growing up. Even if you're like me and don't find yourself loving fantasy I really recommend giving this a try. You might just end up really loving it. I will definitely be reading the sequel when it's released since I need to know what happens to the characters.
**Copy provided via the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.**

Monday, May 12, 2014

Redcliffe: The Adventures of Two Southern Girls by Kathryn B. Hauer

Redcliffe: The Adventures of Two Southern Girls by Kathryn B. Hauer
Series: N/A
Publisher: Redcliffe Management LLC
Format: Paperback
Pages: 207
Source: Author for Review

Having a best friend makes everything more fun! Join Caroline and Cassie as they chase down a runaway horse, rescue an orphan, teach hummingbirds to eat from their hands, visit a blind fortune-teller, unite star-crossed lovers, organize an elaborate Christmas pageant, and lose a little girl in a hide-and-seek game gone wrong. Sounds like fun any girl could have, doesn't it? Guess what - Caroline and Cassie live in South Carolina back in 1840, without cell phones, TVs, or cars. But living back then doesn't put the brakes on their crazy, fast-paced lives. Do you think that girls in history were dull and dutiful? Not these two partners in a house where the grown-ups aren't paying much attention, Caroline and Cassie get in - and out - of their share of trouble. Redcliffe is a book-within-a-book where modern-day best friends Bailey and Bianca lead readers to our heroines. When Bailey and Bianca go to their teacher's wedding, a mean guest shocks them with unkind words. The stories their teacher tells them explain that racist comment and take the girls back into the antebellum South where they - and you - get to know Caroline and Cassie. Living on an immense Southern cotton plantation means plenty of excitement for two fun-loving girls. Can Caroline and Cassie manage to stay out of trouble for more than one chapter? Find out in this lively novel where girls like you have non-stop adventures.

If you know me at all then you know I enjoy Middle Grade novels immensely. When I had the chance to read this book for review purposes I was beyond excited. I absolutely love anything to do with the American South around the time of the Civil War this includes the antebellum period as well as reconstruction.
Even though this book happens mostly during the 1840's in Pre-Civil War South Carolina, the beginning and end of the book is set during modern times focusing on a Caucasian and African American set of friends. The rest of the story is during the 1840's and focuses on a plantation owner's daughter who just so happens to be friends with the girl who is her slave.
For the most part the book is kept pretty light, which is good for the age level it is intended for, there are however times when the harsh realities of the time period are shown which I was grateful for. It was handled in a way that wouldn't be too harsh for middle grade children but still shows that life for slaves wasn't a wonderful thing.
Out of the two sets of girls, Caroline and Cassie were my favorites. They were smart and interested in learning. They didn't let the stigma's of the time they lived in get in the way of their friendship even though Caroline technically did own Cassie, I really do believe that they cared about each other. I think if more time was spent with Bailey and Bianca that those characters would have been interesting as well, but since only 3 chapters were spent with them I didn't really form any attachments to them.
As much as I enjoyed the focus and how it was portrayed, the grammar was a major issue for me. There were times where I was reading and there would be a word out of place or an extra word that didn't need to be there and it really threw me off.
Even with the issues with the grammar, I think this would be a good book for Middle Grade readers because it introduces history in a way that isn't too brutal but also promotes understanding that life was not good for slaves during the Civil War era.

**Copy provided via the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.**

Monday, May 5, 2014

Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

11828537Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
Series: N/A
Publisher: Dial Press
Format: Paperback
Pages: 287
Source: Purchased

Told with deadpan humour and bitter irony, Kurt Vonnegut's cult tale of global destruction preys on our deepest fears of witnessing Armageddon and, worse still, surviving it ...

Dr Felix Hoenikker, one of the founding 'fathers' of the atomic bomb, has left a deadly legacy to the world. For he is the inventor of 'ice-nine', a lethal chemical capable of freezing the entire planet. The search for its whereabouts leads to Hoenikker's three ecentric children, to a crazed dictator in the Caribbean, to madness. Felix Hoenikker's Death Wish comes true when his last, fatal gift to mankind brings about the end, that for all of us, is nigh ...

Compared to Galapagos this book was a little better. However I was left wholly unimpressed by this novel as well. The idea seemed so cool when I picked it up, but then again I was also on a Vonnegut kick at the time.
I couldn't stay focused while reading this, the characters did absolutely nothing for me. I did not find myself caring about what happened to any of them. I would have enjoyed more about the atomic bomb and the people who were working on it, however what I got instead was snippets about the "father" of the atomic bomb and a whole bunch about a made up religion and the children of the man who created the bomb.
When everything starts to happen and the pace picked up I couldn't help just wishing the book would be over so I could put it down and move on. I've heard this book described as Vonnegut's greatest work but I can't say that I agree I would take Slaughterhouse-Five over this one any day.