Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Paper Towns by John Green

Publication Date: October 16, 2008
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 305
SynopsisQuentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life--dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge--he follows.

After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues--and they're for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees of the girl he thought he knew.
Review: I'm a fan of John Green's books, so I had high expectations for this one. I'd heard that this book is one of his better ones, and I was very excited to read it.

   I've noticed that all of John's protagonists are pretty similar (minus Hazel from TFioS). They have the same feel to them--not too popular, geeky in an endearing way, and pretty brainy. Quentin was no different. Although I did like Quentin's character for the most part, I found him rather obsessive over Margo. She was all he thought about, and I understand that the mystery surrounds her, but even Margo's friends weren't as invested as Quentin was. It's strange because after their childhood friendship, Margo and Quentin never even spoke to each other before the night she disappeared.

   I think that I would've really loved this book if I liked Margo. However, I just didn't. I mean, I could see why a lot of people did. She did the things that no one dared to. She had spunk and a certain charisma. But for some reason, I just didn't connect with her character. She was difficult to understand. She ran away often and acted rashly. I think because she was such a secretive person, I had a hard time clicking with her.

   Like all of John's books, this book is loaded with metaphors and humor. Honestly, this book had me laughing out loud in several parts, especially throughout the road trip. My goodness, Ben Starling (one of Quentin's friends) was just so hilarious.

   John Green's signature intellectual writing style and subtle humor make Paper Towns a likable book. But it fell a little flat to my expectations.

   3.5 keys.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna

Publication Date: August 28, 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: ARC
Page Count: 432
Synopsis: Eva’s life is not her own. She is a creation, an abomination—an echo. Made by the Weavers as a copy of someone else, she is expected to replace a girl named Amarra, her “other”, if she ever died. Eva studies what Amarra does, what she eats, what it’s like to kiss her boyfriend, Ray. So when Amarra is killed in a car crash, Eva should be ready.

But fifteen years of studying never prepared her for this.
Now she must abandon everything she’s ever known—the guardians who raised her, the boy she’s forbidden to love—to move to India and convince the world that Amarra is still alive.

What Eva finds is a grief-stricken family; parents unsure how to handle this echo they thought they wanted; and Ray, who knew every detail, every contour of Amarra. And when Eva is unexpectedly dealt a fatal blow that will change her existence forever, she is forced to choose: Stay and live out her years as a copy or leave and risk it all for the freedom to be an original. To be Eva.
Review: Usually, I read reviews of a book before reading it myself, but that wasn't the case with The Lost Girl. Maybe that's why I loved it so much, maybe it was just because the book is that great. Either way, though, this book isn't one you want to miss.

   Eva is a character you can't help but like. She might sometimes act rashly, but her heart is in the right place, and her mind is level. She has so much vulnerability, yet loves to act tougher than she is. The fact that she tries her best to put on a brave face in every uncomfortable situation she's put in (and she's placed in a lot) is so admirable.

   There's a lot more to this book than I initially thought. I think this book really focuses on Eva's independence and the morals of the society. There's a lot going on, especially in the repressive position Eva is put under. She wants to break free and be her own person, but the fact that she's an echo causes her much distress and pressure. You can really sympathize with Eva as you read. There's much emotion in this book.

   I really loved the characters in this book. Eva was a fabulous protagonist. Her caretaker in the beginning of the book, Mina Ma, was just hilarious and lovely. Sean, the love interest, was smart and very likable. Matthew, Eva's creator, was icy, mysterious, and yet, although he's somewhat a villain, he also tries to hide his soft side, which I think readers may see a little of. Amarra, Eva's other (the girl she was modeled after), was pretty awful. I hated her along side Eva. Amarra sought out to destroy Eva even before she had a chance to try.

   The Lost Girl really blew me away with the deep emotions it stirred, the extremely readable prose, and the impossibility to put it down. I highly recommend this book. It's one of my favorites of the year.

   5 keys.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Giveaway: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Hey, everybody! Thanks to the lovely people at Media Masters Publicity and HarlequinTEEN, I have one copy of Pushing the Limits to give away to one my lucky readers. Are you excited? You should be, because this is one book you don't want to miss.

SynopsisNo one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.

Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.
About the author: Katie McGarry was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and she remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings and reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.

Writing has given Katie an excuse to pursue her passions. Research for her books has provided her with the amazing opportunity to train with baseball players, ride along in a drag car at ninety-six miles per hour and experience boxing and mixed martial arts. Katie loves to visit schools and talk to teenagers about her research, writing and the truth that no dream is out of reach.

You can find Katie at her website, Twitter, and Facebook.

Also, here's the fantastic book trailer!

Okay, so you guys are excited for the giveaway, right?


So, here are the rules:

  • Sorry international folk, but only US and Canadian residents are allowed to enter!
  • You can get extra entries by following Katie on Twitter and liking her Facebook page.
  • This giveaway will run until August 31, 2012.
  • The prize will be shipped out by the publisher.
  • The winner will be contacted by email and will have 48 hours to respond with shipping info before a new winner is selected.
  • Fill out the form!

Can't wait to get your hands on Pushing the Limits? You can purchase it online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Indie Bound!

Good luck and may the odds be ever in your favor!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Frostbite by Richelle Mead

Publication Date: April 10, 2008
Publisher: Razorbill
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 327
SynopsisRose loves Dimitri, Dimitri might love Tasha, and Mason would die to be with Rose...

It’s winter break at St. Vladimir’s, but Rose is feeling anything but festive. A massive Strigoi attack has put the school on high alert, and now the Academy’s crawling with Guardians—including Rose’s hard-hitting mother, Janine Hathaway. And if hand-to-hand combat with her mom wasn’t bad enough, Rose’s tutor Dimitri has his eye on someone else, her friend Mason’s got a huge crush on her, and Rose keeps getting stuck in Lissa’s head while she’s making out with her boyfriend, Christian! The Strigoi are closing in, and the Academy’s not taking any risks... This year, St. Vlad’s annual holiday ski trip is mandatory.

But the glittering winter landscape and the posh Idaho resort only create the illusion of safety. When three friends run away in an offensive move against the deadly Strigoi, Rose must join forces with Christian to rescue them. But heroism rarely comes without a price...
Review: I decided to keep on reading the series, even though Vampire Academy didn't exactly suit my fancy. I liked Frostbite significantly more than I did the previous installment, and although I still am not a huge fan of Rose, I think I'm slowly--very slowly--becoming a fan of the series.

   As mentioned before, I'm still not too fond of Rose. I will admit that she is a more likable character than in the first book, but I still had a few problems. She sometimes acted very immaturely and she was just so fickle when it came to boys. She basically had three boys wrapped around her finger and she lead each of them on in a different way. No me gusta. Thankfully, just like in VA, she got better as the page number increased. She pulled off some really kick-butt things and, despite some eye-roll-worthy outbursts, Rose matured as a character.

   Frostbite really improved in many ways, such as character development, romantic relations (mainly between Rose and Dimitri), and plot. I felt like there was more going on in this book. Also, although I'm not swooning over him, I can see why so many readers like Dimitri. He's a cool guy. Though with Adrian being introduced, I can be convinced either way. ;)

   With new characters and gradual, yet certain, development, Frostbite is an extremely readable addition to the Vampire Academy series. I hope I like the next book even more.

   3.5 keys.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Publication Date: August 16, 2007
Publisher: Razorbill
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 332
SynopsisSt. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger...
Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.

Review: After being told so many times by a close blogging friend to read this book, I finally got myself a copy. With the huge fanbase and hype around this series, I had these expectations:
  • a lovable, kick-butt heroine
  • a swoon-worthy love interest
  • lots of similarities to Half-Blood (or vice versa)
  • an all around amazing "omg new favorite" book
   Unfortunately... you guys know how this sentence is going to end--I was a bit disappointed. Mostly with the main character. Rose is a very popular and loved heroine around the blogosphere. However, I didn't like her all that much (*raises shield to block the hate I know I'm going to get*). She came across as very rude, jealous, and pompous. She thought she was better than everybody else, she was extremely infatuated with all things boy, and--my goodness--her self esteem was higher than the Empire State Building. She constantly reminded the reader that her body was very curvy and desirable. She constantly deemed other students at the academy "lame" or "boring" which her best friend called her out on a few times. As for her jealousy, oh my goodness. Rose ruined her best friend's friendship with a boy for a lot of the book because she was jealous. She patched it up later, but seriously, to do that to your best friend? Awful. Fortunately, I did really like her starting from the last third of the book. She brought out her kick-butt side. She was also very loyal. But all in all, Rose Hathaway did not float my boat.

   Even though Rose was not my favorite heroine ever, I did enjoy some other characters, particularly Lissa. Lissa is Rose's best friend and has a lot going on. She's special. She's kind. And she also has some darkness in her. I really sympathized with Lissa, much more than I did Rose. I found Lissa more enjoyable and relatable. I also loved Christian. I would actually like to read a book in Lissa's point of view, both because I like Lissa and because I want some more Christian. 

   As for Rose's love interest, the blogger-famous Dimitri Belikov... I expected a little more from him. He was a pretty nice guy, though I didn't find myself swooning over him. As a reader, I didn't get to see him often, so I don't really have any strong feelings towards him.

   I did a lot of similarities to Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout, probably more than two published books should have. But after the first books, both series go off in completely different directions, so I'm not too bothered.

   I felt like nothing really happened for the first half of the book. But once the plot got rolling, I was absorbed. I definitely think that I liked the book more and more as the page number increased. Considering this, I think I might try the next book in the series. One thing that I really, really loved about this book was the ending. It was so satisfying and a non-cliffhanger (thank goodness--I'm so tired of cliffhanger endings).

   2.5 keys.

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