Thursday, July 26, 2012

Review for Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Where She Went (If I Stay, #2)Where She Went (If I Stay #2)
By Gayle Forman
Published by Dutton Juvenile
Bought Paperback
264 pages

"It's been three years since the devastating accident . . . three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.

Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future-and each other."-

Where She Went is a breath-taking read. Gayle Forman is a spectacular writer brandishing a rare talent that I think everyone should experience. No one captures a story and creates such amazing characters as her: her writing is truly one in a million.

Just as it's predecessor, Where She Went is raw and undoubtedly one of the most heartbreaking - yet completely beautiful reads. When you're reading, you do not just feel for the characters (namely, Adam) - you feel them. You will completely be immersed in Adam's emotions. Its like the pages ooze his thoughts and deepest feelings.... that connection is indescribable.  If you have any doubts about Adam narrating the book, put that fear away and lock it up because honey, you want to experience the pain, torture, and later joy through his eyes. In the beginning, Mia seems like a distant mirage almost, but later her persona shines forth - changed from the previous book obviously - but still the Mia I grew to love. Their connection is palatable and I can sincerely say, they are one of my favourite couples because of their realness and deep-rooted friendship.

Where She Went picks up three years after Mia left for Juilliard. Through Adam, we see some things that have transpired in "flashbacks" if you would call it that. Especially regarding the aftermath of the accident. I really enjoyed this and some memories brought a smile to my face. Forman's writing will have you on an emotional roller coaster. Somehow the reader is left feeling happy - a hopeful happy, with a touch of sadness, by the end. Its hard to explain exactly what emotions boiled within me. I found that the pacing of this book was nice and all the while I was hoping for a nice ending (as for telling you if it does end that way, my lips are sealed) all I can say is I am deeply satisfied.

I'd highly recommend Where She Went to those who have read If I Stay. I'd recommend this series to everyone who can handle epic romances that may have some side effects, namely heart breaking, crying, laughing, smiling, and ultimately loving. Its true that this series is intense but its the best kind of intense.


My gaze returns to earth and when it does, its her eyes I see. Not the way I used to see them - around every corner, behind my own closed lids at the start of each day. Not in the way I used to imagine them in the eyes of every other girl I laid on top of. No, this time it really is her eyes. A photo of her, dressed in black, a cello leaning against one shoulder like a tired child. Her hair is up in one of those buns that seem to be a requisite for classical musicians. She used to wear it up like that for recitals and chamber music concerts, but with little pieces hanging down, to soften the severity of the look. There are no tendrils in this photo. I peer closer at the sign. YOUNG CONCERT SERIES PRESENTS MIA HALL.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Review for Social Suicide by Gemma Halliday

Social Suicide (Deadly Cool #2)
By Gemma Halliday
Published by HarperTeen
Bought Paperback
277 pages

"Twittercide: the killing of one human being by another while the victim is in the act of tweeting.

Call me crazy, but I figured writing for the "Herbert Hoover High Homepage" would be a pretty sweet gig. Pad the resume for college applications, get a first look at the gossip column, spend some time ogling the paper's brooding bad-boy editor, Chase Erikson. But on my first big story, things went . . . a little south. What should have been a normal interview with Sydney Sanders turned into me discovering the homecoming queen-hopeful dead in her pool. Electrocuted while Tweeting. Now, in addition to developing a reputation as HHH's resident body finder, I'm stuck trying to prove that Sydney's death wasn't suicide.

I'm starting to long for the days when my biggest worry was whether the cafeteria was serving pizza sticks or Tuesday Tacos. . . "- Goodreads

Social Suicide is a great follow up to Deadly Cool, that you can easily devour in one sitting. Halliday's ability to create a witty, mysterious-yet-light, almost fluffy story amazes me.  It 'goes down easy' leaving the reader to want a second helping.

Hartley is as sarcastic and witty as ever. She can't seem to stay away from bad situations (involving her classmates) and is sucked into another investigation. Hartley is very determined and immerses herself into her work- that of writing an article for her school's newspaper regarding the death of Sydney. Her antics and tactics are hilarious and over the top. Hartley is a great protagonist who portrays a teenage girl's attitude well. Her best friend Sam is as great as ever and Chase certainly held to his position in the series. I liked the interactions between every character and their conversations. Side characters such as Hartley's mom, Detective Raley, and all the suspects had a certain charisma about them that makes the story SO entertaining.

The plot had a nice pace that keeps you reading until you figure out who the killer is... I applaud Halliday's ability to keep the reader guessing who the suspect is and what their motives are.  The character's detective skills very creative and I loved the situations they found themselves in. But, yes there's usually a but, I felt as though Social Suicide fell into a very similar plot style as the first book, Deadly Cool. I found myself nodding and going, "yep, something similar happened in the first." Also, I was really hoping that Hartley and Chase's relationship would develop into something more. I certainly appreciate the author's way of doing things, I do not want insta-love but I just wish maybe their friendship would have been taken a step further.

I'd recommend this to those who love mysteries and who love charming characters that have wit on their side. Social Suicide is a great light, mystery read.


Then Chase leaned in close. "Hey."
"What?" I whispered back.
"Are you wearing perfume?"
I swallowed hard. "No," I lied. "Why would I be wearing perfume?"
Chase shrugged. "Maybe you're going out?"
I gritted my teeth together. Sam was so going to hear about this.
Chase sniffed the air. "You sure you're not wearing anything? It smells like jasmine."
"Must be the bushes," I said.
Chase shifted. "I don't think there are any jasmine bushes around here. Don't they have flowers?"
"I don't think so."
"Yeah, little white ones, right? There are definitely no little white flowers on these bushes."
"Shhh!" I said. "Someone's coming."
Which, thankfully, was true.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Review for The Luxe by Anna Godbersen

The Luxe (Luxe, #1)The Luxe (Luxe #1)
By Anna Godbersen
Published by HarperCollins
Bought Paperback
433 pages

"Pretty girls in pretty dresses, partying until dawn.
Irresistible boys with sly smiles and dangerous intentions.
White lies, dark secrets, and scandalous hookups.
This is Manhattan, 1899.

Beautiful sisters Elizabeth and Diana Holland rule Manhattan's social scene. Or so it appears. When the girls discover their status among New York City's elite is far from secure, suddenly everyone - from the backstabbing socialite Penelope Hayes, to the debonair bachelor Henry Schoonmaker, to the spiteful maid Lina Broud - threatens Elizabeth's and Diana's golden future.

With the fate of the Hollands resting on her shoulders, Elizabeth must choose between family duty and true love. But when her carriage overturns near the East River, the girl whose glittering life lit up the city's gossip pages is swallowed by the rough current. As all of New York grieves, some begin to wonder whether life at the top proved too much for this ethereal beauty, or if, perhaps, someone wanted to see Manhattan's most celebrated daughter disappear...."- Goodreads

The Luxe can be compared to Gossip Girl (or so I've heard) just with very (very!) pretty dresses and the fact that its 1899. I was utterly swept up in all the scandals and found myself devouring this novel in one day.

Since there are so many characters whose stories intertwine completely, like a kitten whose stuck in a ball of yarn (bad comparison), I cannot really relate them all to you in detail. That would just make a really long review. So. Elizabeth is what I would consider the main character. I understood her and sympathized with her situation: that of choosing between keeping her family off the streets of Poor Land or following true love. I found myself completely drawn to her younger sister though: Diana. I loved her mischievousness and playfulness. The fact that she was a devoted book reader won me over and I really just love her relationship with Him (no names, for spoilers sake). There was also Will who I thought was sweet, Henry who I thought was a total hottie, Penelope who I hated, Lina who I sympathized with, and many others.

The plot was slow. I loved the intricate way that each other's lives and desires became tangled but I found the writing style hard to follow. There was a lot of description and the POV was one I wasn't used to. It was like it was being narrated yet the reader is able to know the characters thoughts (omniscient? I think that's what its called). I found it hard to become fully invested in the story, instead I was just a side person viewing it all. That was why I could fully connect with the characters; meaning I didn't really care what happened to them. Enjoyable, though, was how each chapter rotated between all five main teenage characters. I liked being able to jump into each other's story, although I always wanted to go back to Diana's and His story.

I'd recommend this to Gossip Girl lovers, that enjoy scandals, mystery, high-society, history,  romance, deception, betrayal, luxury, and all those sorts of things. Clear your schedule because The Luxe will snatch you in and hold you down until you're through with it.


 "Oh... I know you," Diana said, surprised at herself for thinking that he was actually delicious-looking even though everyone else thought so, too. "You're the famous Henry Schoonmaker." She bravely held his gaze. "The one who can't sit still and breaks hearts all over the place. Well, that's what they say, isn't it?
"Why do you girls always love gossip so much?" he asked in reply. "Do you think all the stories about me are true?"
"If they are true, then you are a very interesting person." She smiled, tucking her lower lip under her teeth.
"Well, I deny them all categorically." He shrugged before continuing: "Except the one about me liking pretty girls, which is more or less true. But how old are you? You can't have been out for very long at all. Look at you, you've probably never even been kissed, and you're---."
"I have too been kissed," she interrupted, the way a child would. She felt her cheeks flush, but was too thrilled to be right where she was  to really mind.
"Not very well, I'd bet," Henry replied with an arch of his eyebrow.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Review for Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

Ruby Red (Edelstein Trilogie #1)
By Kerstin Gier
Translated by Anthea Bell
Published by Square Fish
Bought Paperback
352 pages

"Gwyneth Shepherd’s sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!

Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon—the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the eighteenth century and in contemporary London, they can trust."-

Ruby Red was a great time travel book that had me reading late into the night! I believe that this series holds much promise for an exciting tale.

Gwyenth Shepherd is a character that most girls will relate to; she's a normal girl (except for her gift) and has thoughts just like an average teenage girl. She's into things like movies, hanging out with her best friend etc. Gwen's relationship with her best friend Lesley was simply fantastic. I loved (gah LOVED!) that she confided in  her and didn't have any secrets. Their strong friendship allowed Gwen to deal with, well with having her life turned upside down: it grounded her. Lesley's role in the story was super, she's definitely one of my favourite characters.

Ruby Red did start off a bit slow, I think the author wanted to properly introduce all the characters to the reader and have them understand the situation. I thought the character development was great. Every character had their own personality and background. Gideon is your typical male counterpart to the main character but I found his personality qualities were great. How can one resist some arrogance? Especially when they know that under neath it all is a sweet boy? One thing I'd like to mention to potential readers: at the end of the book there is a character page to help you keep track of everyone --use it! I didn't know about it till the end but I think it would have helped greatly.

The author was definitely using this book to set up the real adventure; I felt at the end that the excitement just started. It took a long time before the interesting parts began happening, namely Gwen travelling back in time with Gideon. The first half of the book introduces us to the characters and to the situation, as well as explains what these time travelers are all about. A few things regarding the mysterious 'Circle' flew over my head but I found it all very fascinating. The fact that it was set in London was so awesome (I've always wanted to go there). And the little quotes/diagrams in between the story really helped to clear up family ties and such. I must also applaud the translator of this book (it was originally written in German) - the story flowed smoothly and I kept on forgetting that this was a translation.

I'd recommend this to time travel fans that love some romance and intrigue thrown in there. Ruby Red had me begging to read more, I want more adventures with Gwen and Gideon!


"Gideon, this is Gwyneth Shepherd," said Mr. George, with a little sigh. "Gwyneth, this is Gideon de Villiers."
Gideon de Villiers. The polo player. The other time traveler.
"Hello," he said politely.
"Hello." Why was my voice hoarse all of a sudden?
Gideon nodded. "I was on my way up in any case. See you, Mr. George. Good-bye for now, Winnie."
Who was Winnie?
"Gwyneth," Mr. George corrected him, but Gideon had already turned the corner.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Review for Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer

Between the LinesBetween the Lines

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Review for Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

Of Poseidon (Of Poseidon #1)
By Anna Banks
Published by Feiwel & Friends
Won from Claire
336 pages

"Galen is the prince of the Syrena, sent to land to find a girl he's heard can communicate with fish. Emma is on vacation at the beach. When she runs into Galen — literally, ouch! — both teens sense a connection. But it will take several encounters, including a deadly one with a shark, for Galen to be convinced of Emma's gifts. Now, if he can only convince Emma that she holds the key to his kingdom . . . "-Goodreads

Of Poseidon may make mermaid haters -oops, I mean Syrena-haters- turn to Syrena-lovers. Banks really created a fun, funny, fishy tale that leaves readers dangling, or in my case, floundering on a hook.

The start of this book was a bit rocky for me. Emma and her best friend are on the beach about to do some surfing when, you guessed it, Emma bumps into a gorgeous guy. That didn't bother me, it was what happens after. Whoever has read the book knows what I mean, it just shocked me and devastated me. As the story continues my emotions stabilized though and all was alright.

Emma is a very down to earth type of girl, she views herself as an average girl and it was easy to connect with her because of that. Her sarcastic remarks and sauciness made me smile and I thought it was a nice touch that she has qualities you find in teenage girls - for instance, she is very easily embarrassed and blushes. Galen is what you'd expect a prince of the Syrena to be: incredibly handsome, smart, and of course loyal. Although it was a bit of an insta-love connection, I couldn't help but fall head over heels for those two. In the beginning their interactions with one another will have you tingling and sometimes even laughing. The secondary characters were amazing too: Galen's sister, Rayna and Toraf's relationship was priceless; Galen's brother Grom, Rachel and Emma's mother had great personalities that added so much to the story. It caused so many laughs and I just loved all of them.

The writing was smooth in itself. The POV's do switch between Emma and Galen. The only thing that takes some getting used to is that Galen's POV is third person, while Emma's is first person. It took some time for me to get used to it but in the end, I thought it made the writing style very unique and it gave a very different perspective on things.

The plot was really interesting. Although predictable (I was able to decipher the answers), I thought it was intriguing. I loved the political aspect that Banks took, it creates a sense of unrest and 'more things to come'. But, let me warn all you potential readers, the ending is a major 'wow' or perhaps more of a 'NO, how can it end right now?!?!'

I'd highly recommend this to romance, Greek mythology, and Syrena lovers. Of Poseidon is a great summer read that will leave you screaming and begging for more! And ohmysweetgoodness, I AM begging for more!


 "So, it kind of threw me when she said she didn't like fish," Toraf says.
"I noticed. Surprised me too, but everything else is there."
"Bad temper."
"The eyes."
"That white hair is shocking though, isn't it?"
"Yeah. I like it. Shut up."
"Plus, you feel the pull---" Toraf is greeted with a forceful shove that sends him skidding on one foot across the slippery marble floor. Laughing, he comes back to stand beside Galen again.
"Jackass," Galen mutters.
"Jackass? What's a jackass?"
"Not sure. Emma called me that today when she was irritated with me."
"You're insulting me in human talk now? I'm disappointed in you, minnow."

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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Review for The Duff: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger

The Duff: Designated Ugly Fat FriendThe Duff: Designated Ugly Fat Friend
By Kody Keplinger
Published by Little Brown/Poppy
Bought Hardback
280 pages

"Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him. Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone."- Goodreads

The Duff is a quirky read for more mature audiences regarding a girl who is dubbed as "the Duff" - the designated ugly fat friend within a group. The Duff shows Bianca's transition between hating the term to growing to appreciate it and doing likewise to the one who called her that.

Bianca Piper is dubbed "the Duff" by Wesley Rush, an arrogant -and lack of better term- man slut. Although I did not completely connect with Bianca and never really did understand her decisions, her voice really made this story have a nice vibe to it. Her humor lightened the dialogue up and pried some smiles out of me. Wesley is somewhat of a jerk. He's arrogant, popular with the ladies, handsome, and completely a teenage boy. Even when he opened up to Bianca in their very messed up "relationship" (why yes, it consisted of only the three letter word), I still did not fall head over heels for him. The only redeeming thing about Wesley Rush is that he took an interest in Bianca and cared about her - he did show some sensitivity. When he sticks up for Bianca regarding her dad I finally had that major fan-girl moment. But I highly disagree with the "relationship" they had. (Although it did cause some butterflies to do back flips in my stomach when they would talk and banter.) By the end of the book, I felt like they were a great couple and I was happy that they were going to start a *cough* healthy relationship. Sigh. What can I say? Wesley -and even Bianca- totally grew on me. Their hate-turned-love thing worked out in the end.

Bianca's best friends were awesome. I just wish we could have seen more of them and I was angry at how Bianca kept secrets from them. I wish I had two besties like that! Her parent's characters were really well done too. Especially Bianca's dad. He was such a complex character and their relationship is one that I think many can relate too.

The whole plot was focused around Bianca's struggle with her life: this consisting of her Dad and Mom's situation, her problems with her friends, and of course her "enemies-with-benefits" relationship with Wesley. Somehow, it was a page-turner, I couldn't put it down. The writing quality had a smooth flow and like I said before, Bianca's voice really adds a special element to the book. The ending was sweet and I thought it was well done. A nice stand-alone ending.

I'd recommend this to older audiences (just because of the content) who love a good romantic comedy but also a book that has a lot of character development. Bianca really went from a "duff" to a "duff" that knew she was good enough.


 Wesley sighed. "Fine. You're being really uncooperative, you know. So I guess I'll be honest with you. I've got to hand it to you: you're smarter and more stubborn than most girls I talk to. But I'm here for a little more than witty conversation." He moved his attention to the dance floor. "I actually need your help. You see, your friends are hot. And you, darling, are the Duff."
"Is that even a word?"
"Designated. Ugly. Fat. Friend," he clarified. "No offense, but that would be you."
"I am not the-!"
"Hey, don't get defensive. It's not like you're an orge or anything, but in comparison...." He shrugged his broad shoulders.


"Look," he said, "you have hot friends....really hot friends." He paused, watching the action on the dance floor for a moment, before facing me again. "The point is, scientists have proven that every group of friends has a weak link, a Duff. And girls respond well to guys who associate with their Duffs."


With one swift motion I jumped to my feet and flung the contents of my glass in Wesley's direction.


"If you think I'm letting one of my friends leave this place with you, Wesley, you're very very wrong," I spat. "You're disgusting, shallow, womanizing jackass, and I hope that soda stains your preppy little shirt."

Monday, July 2, 2012

Review for Stuck by Jennifer Bosworth

Struck (Struck #1)