Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wither (The Chemical Garden Trilogy) by Lauren DeStefano

Destefano's debut novel, Wither is gripping and entertaining.

The premise is rather interesting. The character's live in a world in which females don't live past the age of 20 and men don't live past the age of 25. A mutation in genes has caused this horrific fallout and scientists are looking for a cure. North America is believed to be the only landmass that exists.

Young women are stole off the streets, some forced to marry and produce offspring while others are brutally murdered or forced into a life of servitude.

The character's are well written and interesting, each with their own flaws that make them real. The relationships between characters are dynamic and unique.

Despite a disappointing and predictable ending, I enjoyed the novel and look forward to reading the rest of this trilogy.

The cover is stunning and this is one book can judge the the cover.

Grade: A-

Overview {B&N]
By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. She can thank modern science for this genetic time bomb. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children.
When Rhine is kidnapped and sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can’t bring herself to hate him as much as she’d like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband’s strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement. Her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next, and Rhine is desperate to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive. Will Rhine be able to escape—before her time runs out?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Everlasting (Immortals) by Alyson Noel

Everlasting if the final book in, The Immortals series. This book does NOT stand alone, you must have read the previous books in the series to fully understand what is going on with the characters and plot.

The characters are well developed and have grown considerably since the first book, Evermore.

About half way trough the book the ending becomes predictable. The ending is very, Hollywood and cliched, which makes for a disappointing end to a series that started out with so much potential.

I really wanted to love this book but I couldn't. I didn't hate it either, I just felt let down.

Grade: C

Overview: [B&N]
Their epic love story has captured the hearts of millions and enchanted readers across the world. In this beautiful finale, their journey draws to a spectacular conclusion—where all will be revealed.
Their darkest enemies now defeated, Damen and Ever are free to embark upon their final quest—to free Damen from the poison lingering in his body. If they can just find the antidote, they’ll finally be able to feel each other’s touch—and experience the passionate night they’ve been longing for. But their fight to be together will lead them into the most formidable terrain yet…into the dark heart of Summerland.
Here in a land of scorched earth and endless rain, Ever and Damen will discover their relationship’s hidden origins, expose a secret history they never imagined…and come face to face with the true reason fate keeps tearing them apart. Only then, when the final mystery is unraveled and the last secret revealed, Ever and Damen’s future will hinge on one ultimate decision that will put everything at stake….even eternity.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The City of Ember (Books of Ember) by Jeanne DuPrau

The City of Ember has an imaginative plot and likable character, however it is slow moving, drawn out and choppy. The character's are realistic but lack development.

The book is absolutely s-l-o-w moving --- yet I was intrigued enough to finish it. Many, things are left unanswered or unexplained, which means you HAVE to read the next book(s) to get the full "story".

The book is okay and predictable. [I doubt, I will be reading the rest of the books in this series].

Grade: C-

Overview: [B&N]
The city of Ember was built as a last refuge for the human race. Two hundred years later, the great lamps that light the city are beginning to flicker. When Lina finds part of an ancient message, she’s sure it holds a secret that will save the city. She and her friend Doon must decipher the message before the lights go out on Ember forever! This stunning debut novel offers refreshingly clear writing and fascinating, original characters.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Abandon by Meg Cabot

Abandon is the first book in a new and dark trilogy by Meg Cabot.

The concept is exciting and enticing but the plot itself lacks development. The characters are weak on this modern twist of a classic greek, myth.

My hope is that this first book is just a setup and back story to what I hope will be a decent trilogy. I adore, Meg Cabot and have invested enough time in this story and her characters that I will give the second book in this series a try.

The story is loosely based on the greek, myth of Hades and Persephone. The main character is a seventeen year old girl, named Pierce. She drowned, came back to life, moved and is now dealing with a mysterious and dark character who reappears from her past.

The reading is easy and light but lacks, Cabot's usual entertainment value.

Grade: C

Overview [B&N]

New from #1 New York Times bestselling author Meg Cabot, a dark, fantastical story about this world . . . and the underworld.
Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can't help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she's never alone . . . because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.
But now she's moved to a new town. Maybe at her new school, she can start fresh. Maybe she can stop feeling so afraid.
Only she can't. Because even here, he finds her. That's how desperately he wants her back. She knows he's no guardian angel, and his dark world isn't exactly heaven, yet she can't stay away . . . especially since he always appears when she least expects it, but exactly when she needs him most.
But if she lets herself fall any further, she may just find herself back in the one place she most fears: the Underworld.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Art of Racing in the Rain: A Novel by Garth Stein

The Art of Racing is a quick read. It is told mainly through the eyes/thoughts of Enzo, a sweet, smart dog!

Enzo's life is pretty easy for a dog -- who's only wish is be human in his next life. He is loyal to his owner and together they go on a life journey. One that involves, love, marriage, a child, death, betrayal and car racing.

Take out all the long, tedious, boring details dealing with cars and racing and you have a pretty good book. I loved the dog -- hated the racing. The character's could use some more development (with the exception of, Enzo) and the "shocking" plot twits are rather cliche.

Check it out or borrow it. Skip over the car racing passages(among others) and just enjoy the story of, Enzo.

Grade: B- [Without, Enzo this book would receive a D, rating]

Overview [B&N]
Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver. Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn't simply about going fast. Using the techniques needed on the race track, one can successfully navigate all of life's ordeals. On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through: the sacrifices Denny has made to succeed professionally; the unexpected loss of Eve, Denny's wife; the three-year battle over their daughter, Zoë, whose maternal grandparents pulled every string to gain custody. In the end, despite what he sees as his own limitations, Enzo comes through heroically to preserve the Swift family, holding in his heart the dream that Denny will become a racing champion with Zoë at his side. Having learned what it takes to be a compassionate and successful person, the wise canine can barely wait until his next lifetime, when he is sure he will return as a man. A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life..

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Maze Runner (Maze Runner Trilogy, Book 1) by James Dashner

The Maze Runner --- a thought provoking, character rich read? No.

An fun, entertaining, action packed read? Yes!

A Lord of the Flies meets the Hardy Boys read. Filled with mystery and intrigue. Many twists and turns in the plot line.

With the exception of one female, all the character's are male --- however don't let this stop you from reading this book -- you don't need to be male to understand the dynamics of this story.

Many things happen in a short span of time, each more interesting than the previous. The mystery of who these young people are, along with the mystery of why they are there is intriguing and carefully crafted by Dashner.

This is one book --- that is nearly impossible to figure out! The cliff hanger ending, leaves your mind running circles inside it's own maze of thoughts.

Grade: A

Overview [B&N]
When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.
Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.
Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.
Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Dark and Hollow Places (Forest of Hands and Teeth, Book 3) by Carrie Ryan

The Dark and Hollow Places is the final installment in the Forest of Hands and Teeth series and you will NOT be disappointed.

The book starts off in the Dark City and is narrated by Annah. I strongly suggest you read the first two books in the series before you read this one otherwise you will lose the dynamics of the relationships between the characters.

This book is perhaps the darkest of the three, which is saying quite a bit since this series if full of dread in a world that feels void of hope. Ryan's ability to capture individuals feelings and personalities is superb, which in turn makes her writing realistic and entertaining.

This is one of the best conclusions to a trilogy that I've read --- I'm not normally a huge fan of zombie books but this series has make me a fan. I am sorry that this one is over and hope to read more from Ryan.

Grade: A

Overview [B&N]

There are many things that Annah would like to forget: the look on her sister's face before Annah left her behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, her first glimpse of the Horde as they swarmed the Dark City, the sear of the barbed wire that would scar her for life. But most of all, Annah would like to forget the morning Elias left her for the Recruiters.
Annah's world stopped that day, and she's been waiting for Elias to come home ever since. Somehow, without him, her life doesn't feel much different than the dead that roam the wasted city around her. Until she meets Catcher, and everything feels alive again.
But Catcher has his own secrets. Dark, terrifying truths that link him to a past Annah has longed to forget, and to a future too deadly to consider. And now it's up to Annah: can she continue to live in a world covered in the blood of the living? Or is death the only escape from the Return's destruction?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

All That's True by J. L. Miles

Andi's brother is dead. Her father is having an affair with her best friend's step mom and her mom is an alcoholic.

Andi's, teenage life is complicated. She is living an upper crust life in the south and her family is falling apart.

Miles captures teen angst perfectly. She writes the book from the prospective of a teen girl and she captures her perfectly.

The book is sprinkled with humor and heartbreak --- You will find it quite enjoyable as it is fast paced and entertaining.

Grade: A-

Editorial Reviews:

Publishers Weekly
A precocious Southern girl has an uneasy coming-of-age in Miles's by-the-numbers newest (after Cold Rock River). After Andi's older brother dies in a fraternity hazing accident, her mother hits the bottle and her father starts sleeping with her best friend's stepmother. Andi, meanwhile, goes through the routine adolescent gauntlet of heartache, struggles with peer pressure, and learning a little about herself and her place in a difficult world. Miles does a credible job of capturing Andi's adolescent voice and weaving in dilemmas and issues with a light touch, and even if the plot goes right where you expect it to and the supporting cast is a bit on the bland side, it covers the coming-of-age bases with ease.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Enclave by Ann Aguirre

Enclave is another dystopian [and zombie] novel and it does not disappoint. It has an amazing storyline and well developed, unique characters. A strong female lead and a plot that is entertaining as well as full of twists and turns.

This novel is rather unique in that civilization takes place above and below ground, each with there own "set" of rules. I am extremely excited to see what happens next. Aguirre leaves you standing at the edge of a cliff as you tremble in anticipation of what will transpire next.

Book 2, Outpost will be out in the fall of 2012! Which is a long, long, long time to wait, so I suggest you get a copy of your own so you can revisit Aguirre's exciting, gritty and rather spooky world until she entertains us again.

Grade: A

Overview: [B&N]
New York City has been decimated by war and plague, and most of civilization has migrated to underground enclaves, where life expectancy is no more than the early 20's. When Deuce turns 15, she takes on her role as a Huntress, and is paired with Fade, a teenage Hunter who lived Topside as a young boy. When she and Fade discover that the neighboring enclave has been decimated by the tunnel monsters—or Freaks—who seem to be growing more organized, the elders refuse to listen to warnings. And when Deuce and Fade are exiled from the enclave, the girl born in darkness must survive in daylight, in the ruins of a city whose population has dwindled to a few dangerous gangs. As the two are guided by Fade’s long-ago memories, they face dangers, and feelings, unlike any they’ve ever known.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

King of the Screwups by K. L. Going

King of Screwups is an excellent book. The story is narrated by the main character, Liam. It is told in flashback --- present day fashion.

Going captures her characters perfectly. I had no idea that Going was female until I finished her book. It is rare when an author can capture an opposite sex character in a way that she has.

This story is rather emotional, touching and funny. Liam has a dysfunctional relationship with is father at best and his father's "screw up" of a brother gives Liam the love and attention he craves from an adult figure.

Her characters are engaging. The storyline is entertaining and fast paced, expect to read this in a few hours.

Grade: A

Synopsis: [B&N]
Liam Geller is Mr. Popularity. Everybody loves him. He excels at sports; he knows exactly what clothes to wear; he always ends up with the most beautiful girls in school. But he's got an uncanny ability to screw up in the very ways that tick off his father the most.
When Liam finally kicked out of the house, his father's brother takes him in. What could a teenage chick magnet possibly have in common with his gay, glam rocker, DJ uncle who lives in a trailer in upstate New York? A lot more than you'd think. And when Liam attempts to make himself over as a nerd in a desperate attempt to impress his father, it's his "aunt" Pete and the guys in his band who convince Liam there's much more to him than his father will ever see.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

If You Were Here by Jen Lancaster

If You Were Here is Lancaster's first published work of fiction. All over her previous work has been (hilarious) memoirs --- and --- she continues to make her audiences laugh.

This story is a modern version of the movie, The Money Pit, that pays special tribute to John Hughes. The storyline is strong and the character's are real. This is a book that will make you laugh aloud!

This is an absolute perfect summer read and a book you will want to add to your collection.

Grade: A+

Overview [B&N}

The fiction debut of the New York Times bestselling author of My Fair Lazy.
Told in the uproariously entertaining voice readers have come to expect from Jen Lancaster, If You Were Here follows Amish-zombie-teen- romance author Mia and her husband Mac (and their pets) through the alternately frustrating, exciting, terrifying-but always funny-process of buying and renovating their first home in the Chicago suburbs that John hughes's movies made famous. Along their harrowing renovation journey, Mia and Mac get caught up in various wars with the homeowners' association, meet some less-than-friendly neighbors, and are joined by a hilarious cast of supporting characters, including a celebutard ex- landlady. As they struggle to adapt to their new surroundings- with Mac taking on the renovations himself- Mia and Mac will discover if their marriage is strong enough to survive months of DIY renovations.

Sing you Home by Jodi Picoult

Zoe and Max have spent thousands of dollars in trying to conceive a child. After Zoe's most recent miscarriage her life starts to fall ...