Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Rules by Stacey Kade

Publication Date: April 23, 2013
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Format: eGalley
Page Count: 416
Synopsis1. Never trust anyone.2. Remember they are always searching.3. Don’t get involved.4. Keep your head down.5. Don’t fall in love.

Five simple rules. Ariane Tucker has followed them since the night she escaped from the genetics lab where she was created, the result of combining human and extraterrestrial DNA. Ariane’s survival—and that of her adoptive father—depends on her ability to blend in among the full-blooded humans in a small Wisconsin town, to hide in plain sight at her high school from those who seek to recover their lost (and expensive) “project.”

But when a cruel prank at school goes awry, it puts her in the path of Zane Bradshaw, the police chief’s son and someone who sees too much. Someone who really sees her. After years of trying to be invisible, Ariane finds the attention frightening—and utterly intoxicating. Suddenly, nothing is simple anymore, especially not the rules…
Review: This book was just what I needed. The timing was great. I was worried about reading too many contemporaries, and I was in the mood for something fast, so The Rules was just perfect! The Rules is technically science fiction, but it's mainly set in high school, so it was just a fantastic blend, and right for me.

   As you might already be able to tell, I really enjoyed this book. Our main character is Ariane Tucker, and for the most part, I really liked her. She was strong and stubborn, which I always love in a protagonist. I was easily able to imagine her in my mind, and the whole book played out like a movie. Perhaps it was my investment into the story, or maybe it was Stacey Kade's clear and concise prose, but The Rules was such a breeze to read! The book is over 400 pages, but the pages flew by.

   Back to the characters, Ariane was definitely likable. It's so easy to sympathize with her as she's in an awful situation. However, sometimes, she'd push my buttons. There were times when I felt like she was making the same mistakes over and over, without learning from them. But in the end, her intelligence and wit definitely won me over. She surprised me all the time.

   The book is written in two different points of views--Ariane's and Zane's. I enjoyed both very much, as both characters were complex and intriguing. I didn't prefer one over the other. Zane was a great character. He had the perfect balance of dreaminess and flaws.

   The plot was fast-paced, which is always a good thing for me. It kept me hooked through every chapter. I'll admit, quite a few times, things were predictable, but there were also surprising twists.

   The Rules is an extremely enjoyable novel with its perfect combination of romance, suspense, and easy-to-read prose. The first book isn't even out yet, and I'm already dying for the sequel!

   4.5 keys.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer

Publication Date: June 26, 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Format: ARC
Page Count: 352
SynopsisGigi, Bea, and Neerja are best friends and total overachievers. Even if they aren't the most popular girls in school, they aren't too worried. They know their "real" lives will begin once they get to their Ivy League colleges. There will be ivy, and there will be cute guys in the libraries (hopefully with English accents)! But when an unexpected event shows them they're missing out on the full high school experience, it's time to come out of the honors lounge and into the spotlight. They make a pact: They will each take on their greatest challenge--and they will totally "rock" it.

Gigi decides to run for student rep, but she'll have to get over her fear of public speaking--and go head-to-head with gorgeous California Will. Bea used to be one of the best skiers around, until she was derailed. It could be time for her to take the plunge again. And Neerja loves the drama club but has always stayed behind the scenes--until now.

These friends are determined to show the world that smart girls really can get what they want--but that could mean getting way more attention than they ever bargained for. . . .
Review: I received this book for review a looong time ago, and I am so ashamed to have not read this until now. I wasn't expecting much from this book, to be frank. I was going to read it for the sake of just reading it. But quickly, I became immersed in Gigi's world of academics and best friends. And I immediately decided that: (1) Gigi should be real and be my best friend, and (2) this book is crazy great.

   Gigi is a sophomore, a grade above me, and so I had a personal connection with her. Also, like I am, Gigi is obsessed with her grades. She's a lovely character, and her loyalty to her friends is so firm! I loved it. Bea and Neerja are fabulous best friends. The bond between the three girls is so beautiful. Everyone should have a friendship like these three.

   The characters were just fantastic in this book! I loved Mike so much. He was just the sweetest boy ever. Will, on the other hand, brought a sneer to my face. I liked how friendly Sienna was, despite the "mean popular girl" stereotype, and I loved how much I disliked Ava. The pull I had to each of the characters was really great to experience. I was just so into the book and all the characters! It was so easy to enjoy this novel.

   Sarah Strohmeyer's writing is easy to read and has bursts of delightful humor. Smart Girls Get What They Want takes readers on a lovable ride of smart girls, cute boys, and looking beneath the surface.

   4.5 keys.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Publication Date: October 23, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Format: ARC
Page Count: 544
Synopsis: Mara Dyer once believed she could run from her past.

She can’t.

She used to think her problems were all in her head.

They aren’t.

She couldn’t imagine that after everything she’s been through, the boy she loves would still be keeping secrets.

She’s wrong.

In this gripping sequel to The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, the truth evolves and choices prove deadly. What will become of Mara Dyer next?
Review: I remember really liking The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, but I couldn't remember much of the plot or the characters. This proved to be a problem for me when diving into the sequel. Characters would be mentioned and I wouldn't remember who they were. It took me awhile to even realize that Daniel is Mara's older brother, not her younger brother.

   But once I got refreshed, it was easier to read. Because the book was really thick, I think there were lots of parts where things were drawn out unnecessarily. I found myself getting frustrated really easily throughout this novel. There were scenes where I was rolling my eyes, wanting the plot to just move. I think one of my main problems with this book, besides the dragging plot line, was that I didn't connect with Mara. I liked her in the first book, but in this book, I was just annoyed. I wanted her to be more active and--I don't know--on her feet (?) to find things out, instead of being too scared and needing Noah so much.

   The creep factor in this book was definitely high. The scariness of Mara's situations were undoubtedly intense. I got chills and goosebumps, and I couldn't help but pity Mara for being in such a crappy situation. Hopefully, things will get better for her in the third book, because she gets put through so much in this installment.

   The second book once again ends in an awful cliffhanger. But this time, I'm not sure if I'll be too keen on reading the third book. The Evolution of Mara Dyer contains lots of "hold your breath" moments, but it was also a disappointment for me after loving the first book as much as I did. Of course, that's just how I felt, and after looking on Goodreads, it seems like I'm one of the very few that didn't love it!

   2 keys.

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