Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Books I've read- march-june 2010

I realize most of you could care less about what i've read. Well, could care less about books in general, i suppose. But i happen to know that a couple people do care. So if you don't, just skip this entire post. It's the books i've read over the past four months. And please forgive the spelling errors. I wrote all this on my iphone and don't feel like editing. :)

Books I've read- march 2010

Just Henry **** 703 pgs.
By Michelle Magorian
In post WWII Britain, Henry has to deal with rations, a stepfather he can't stand, an annoying half sister, prejudices everywhere and an overpowering and demanding grandmother. To deal, he goes to the cinemas. Henry loves movies and realizes he wants to make them someday. When Henry finds he has a natural ability to take pictures, what he finds in some of his developed pics sets off a string of events that not only changes his past, but also how he feels about his future.

I really enjoyed this book. It wasn't a fast read, it took me about a week and a half to finish, but the author gave so much detail about what the characters lives were like in 1949-1950 that I was surprisingly intrigued. I usually prefer mysteries (which this ended up having plenty of), lots of twists and surprises (ditto) and I didn't think it would, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Barbarian **
By Lynne Ewing
(this is the first in a series)
Obie lives in LA with two of his friends.
They seem like normal guys, dealing with high school stereotypes, girls, parties, music-- but they are Renegades and are on the run from bounty hunters who want to capture them and send them back to Nefandus where they will be enslaved.
It was just ok. Not worth it to read the rest of the series or it's female counter-part.

The Summer I Got a Life *****
By mark fink
Andy and his brother Brad don't exactly get along. But they have one thing in common- they are both looking forward to their family vaca to Hawaii. But plans change suddenly and instead of an island paradise, the boys are shipped off to The Middle of Nowhere, Wisconsin to stay with a crazy aunt and uncle they hardly know. Despite this, it turns out to be the best thing that ever happened to Andy.
I LOVED this book. It was hilarious (I laughed out loud several times and even laughed til I cried once!). It was sweet too. It's written by a guy who produced Full House, Saved by the Bell, and Growing Pains. He's written another YA novel, Stepping Up, that I would like to read. I adored his writing style.

Among the Hidden **1/2
Margaret Haddix
Luke is a third child. And that is bad. Against the law, actually. He has to stay hidden in his family's attic. He used to be able to play outside with his brothers or help his father on their farm, but a new subdivision is going in and rich people are taking over their neighborhood. Luke has never met anyone outside his own family but when he notices lights on and curtains moving in one of the new houses when no one is supposed to be there, he is determined to see if it's another third child. Maybe he's not Alone after all.

I liked this one ok. It's the first in a series of eight, I think. I got online and read a summary of the rest of the series. It's cheating, I know. But I really didn't want to take the time to read the rest of it.

The Hunger Games *****
By Suzanne Collins
North America no longer exists. A new country, Panem, was built out of it's ruins. The Capitol is filled with rulers who govern all of Panem and are harsh, uncaring and cruel. Each year, one of the twelve districts in Panem are required to Randomly select two 'recruits' to participate in the televised Hunger Games. They are a sick, twisted version of a reality show where all 24 'recruits' are forced to fight to their death. Last one standing wins.
Sixteen year old Katniss, steps in to take the place of her little sister. The story follows her throughout The Games.
I LOVED the book. In fact, I've already ordered the second one. The third is due out this summer. Collins blends action, suspense and romance perfectly.

The Iron King ****
By julie kagawa
Meghan's little brother is kidnapped and she finds herself looking for him in a world she never even knew existed. Faeries, satyrs, ogres... Should all be in childrens stories, but Meghan has to accept they are real. She realizes quickly that the world as she knew it is gone, her best friend, Puck, isn't who she thought he was and Prince Ash, who wants to kill her, is way more appealing to her than he should be...

I'd give the first third or so of the book about 3 1/2 stars, but the last half or so 4 1/2. I really enjoyed it. The sequel comes out in august and I can't wait to see what happens.

Wondrous Strange **1/2
Lesley Livingston
Kelley is an actress who lives in NYC who meets Sonny Flannery. He guards the Samhain gate which connects the mortal realm to the Faeries Otherworld. Kelley doesn't believe in all this faerie garbage but circumstances surround her until she has no choice but to believe in- and maybe even become a part of- the Otherworld.

This book was borderline lame. It was mostly predictable, even from the very beginning, the romance was barely there, characters weren't developed well, and... Did I mention it was predictable? And, not that this has anything to do with it really, but I hated the name Sonny on the main guy. It didn't seem to fit him at all. Ok, to be fair, he wasn't developed all that well so I don't really know him, but Sonny. Really? That's what old grandmothers call the little neighbor boys who bring in their mail for them. Not this tall good looking Janus who protects mortals from the nasty creatures from the Faery world. Ok I'm done. I didn't like it.

Shiver ****
Maggie Stiefvater
Grace has an obsession with the wolves that live in the woods behind her house. Ok, just one wolf in particular- the one with the yellow eyes.
Sam lives two lives. In the winter, he lives with his pack watching the girl but in the few previous months of summer, he gets to be who he really is-Sam.
The two finally meet but as winter approaches again, Sam struggles to not change back so he can stay with grace, and the precious thing they've found in each other.
I enjoyed this one a lot. It started out strong, lagged a bit in the middle but the ending was good. I'd read the sequel, linger, that comes out in July. I'm curious to see where she takes it.

Need ****
Carrie Jones
Zara's stepfather died a few months ago and she just can't seem to get her feet back under her. Worried for her daughter, her mom sends her to Maine to stay with her stepgrandmother, betty, hoping a change of scenery will breathe some life back into Zara. Too bad it's danger that's replaced the pain. A man is following Zara, calling her name, trying to lure her into the woods. Young men are disappearing. megan, the popular girl, hates Zara from the get-go, and these strange occurances all seem to be related.
Nick, Devyn, and issie- zara's new friends are determined to help her figure out what's going on. Too bad they know more than they're letting on....
This one was great. I love the narrators personality- it carries the reader through the entire book. She's witty, sarcastic, practical. I was hooked from page one and had a hard time putting it down.

Wake *****
Lisa Mcmann
Janie gets thrown into other peoples dreams. It can happen any time someone falls asleep- English class, study hall, at her after school nursing home job. She can't control it and it's getting worse, happening more often and, frankly, ruining her life. She can't tell anyone- who would believe her anyway so she has to deal with it on her own. But the dreams are getting scary and the people in them are begging her for help. But it's their dreams. She can't help them. Can she?

I couldn't put this one down. I loved the style- short blips of days, no chapters. Loved it. Hooked from page one.

Rash ****
Pete Hautman
It's 2074 and the US had now become the United Safer States of America. It is a nation obsessed with safety. Everything dangerous is outlawed- football, alcohol, tatoos, guns, big dogs, french fries. People get sent to prison for the simplest of crimes, including road rage.
Bo, a sixteen year old with a dad and a brother already in prison, realizes he has a bit of a temper problem and finds himself with a three year sentence. Although prison may not be as bad as the crazy society he just left...

I picked this book up knowing the author catered to mainly teenage boys. It was full of farting, football, and anger issues- but I really enjoyed the authors writing style and his main character. I was a bit disappointed with the ending, it was abrupt, but I'd read another book by Hautman.

Tips on having a gay (ex) boyfriend
Carrie Jones ****1/2
Sucks bad when your boyfriend of two years decides to tell you he's gay. Sucks even more that he left for for some dorky band geek who seems to have lost the ability to buy pants that cover his ankles. Belle's giving herself one week- and one week only- to wallow in self pity. Her old friends and some new friends help her not only figure out what the heck went wrong, but who she really is.
Loved this book. Finished it in one Saturday, couldn't put it down. It's funny, it's sad, it's sweet, it's about friendships, old loves, new loves. Loved it.
Carrie Jones is great. I read Need by her and loved the writing style so I decided to see what else she wrote. Glad I did.

Fade (sequel to Wake) ***
Lisa mcmann
Janie and Cabel are undercops in high school. Their new assignment is to find out whuch teacher is a sexual predator. Janie uses her abilities as a dream catcher to slip into teachers and students dreams and see if they tell her anything. It seemed like an easy assignment at first but soon she and cabel both realize they are in over their heads.
This one wasn't nearly as good as the first, Wake. It was still a fast read, but it lacked something. Can't quite put my finger on what though. Not sure i wanna read the third one.

Tried to read Cirque de Freak By Darren Shan
But I didn't like the writing style. It was really juvenile. Liked the movie, thought book would be better like they usually are, but not this time.

Books I've reAd- April 2010

Beautiful Creatures ****
By Kami Garcia and Margaret stohl
Ethan wate has lived in south carolinas small town of Gatlin his whole life. Nothing exciting ever happens and he's determined to get out after graduation. Then a new girl shows up. Everyone immediately hates her since she's the niece of the towns shut in, macon ravenwood. These people hate anyone or anything that is anything but normal in their eyes.
Ethan is drawn to Lena and not only cause she's beautiful but because he's been dreaming about her, about losing her, long before he even met her.
Ethan funds himself pulled into a world He never even knew existed.

I really liked this one. It was a sweet live story, but with plenty of drama and suspence. There is a sequel, beautiful darkness, coming out in October. I want to find out what happens to Lena and Ethan. :)

City of ashes **** 1/2
(second in The Mortal Instruments trilogy)
Cassandra Clare
Clary discovered there's a whole other world she never knew about in the first book...a world of vampires, warewolves, faeries, warlocks, demons and the shadowhunters who hunt them all down to protect the humans, aka mundanes. And not only did she realize what's really out there, but she's a shadowhunters herself and she never knew since her mother hid tons of secrets from her.
Now that she knows who she really is, she has to help her new shadowhunters friends, including her newfound brother Jace, hunt down Valentine who has stolen the second Mortal Instrument.

After the nasty surprise in the first book, I was hesitant to read the rest of the series. A friend read them and told me to keep reading. Glad I did. I could hardly put this book down.

City of Glass ***1/2
(third in The Mortal Instruments series)
Cassandra Clare
Valentine now has two of the three Mortal Instruments in his possession. If he gets hold of the third one and uses the three together to raise the Angel Raziel in order to get one desire, the lives the Shadowhunters now lead will be changed forever. If not destroyed entirely. Clary and Jace and the Lightwoods have travel to Idris in order to do everything in teir power to stop him. And try ti save Clary's mother in the process.

The first half of this book was really good but I felt like it started to drag towards the end. The nasty surprise in the first book did righten itself in the end, which was a me! ;)
I really enjoyed the series. Great suspence, drama, romance (albiet a bit wierd at times!) liked it.

13 reasons why *****
Jay Asher
Two weeks after a classmate commits suicide, clay jensen finds a package on his door step with no return address. He's surprised to find a set of cassette tapes with sides labeled 1-13. He quickly realizes it's from Hannah Abbott, the girl who killed herself. According to Hannah, there are 13 main reasons she killed herself, or thirteen people to be more exact. She wants all 13 of them to listen to the tapes and pass them to the next on the list or the tapes will go public and all their dirty secrets will come out. Clay honestly has no idea what he did to hurt Hannah, but he's has no choice but to find out.
This book was unique and very well written. The author alternates between hannah's narrative and clays reaction so we get to know them both very well. It's tragic, but I couldn't put it down. Loved it.

Dreamland ***
Sarah dessen
Caitlin's big sister runs away right before she's due for her freshman year at Yale. Caitlin and her parents are shocked, her mom more than any of them. Her sis leaving is the first in a string of events that makes Caitlin spirial downward and the worst thing is that no one even seems to notice.

I enjoyed this one. It was shocking with the topic it dealt with and I had a hard time understanding the main characters feelings cause thankfully I've never dealt with what she went through. But it was well written. I'd try another book by Dessen. She's got a ton of them.

Project 17 ***
Laurie Stolarz
Derik is desperate to get out of taking over the greasy restaurant his parents own. Danvers state hospital may be his ticket out. It's an old mental institute that is about to be knocked down. If he can find s group of people and do a film, like a reality tv show, for a chance to be on tv, maybe he can get outta his town. So six teens break in to the hospital to make the film, but it quickly turns into something nightmares are made of.

It was a quick read and I enjoyed it. The characters weren't all that developed though so it was hard to get to know them. Then the end just kind of was wrapped up and predictable.

Love (and other uses for duct tape)
Carrie jones ***
(sequel to tips on having a gay ex boyfriend)
Belle is finally over losing her boyfriend to another guy, but it's the trusting issue she's having problems with. She's having a hard time believing her new boyfriend, Tom, isn't going to just up and leave her like Dylan did. Add to that a serious problem her best friend is going through, seizures that have started up again, and a dating mother, and a next dour neighbor who dad is s using him, and belle has a lit of things to work out.

I liked this one but it wasn't as good as the first one. We got to know belle well, but she seems ti not really know herself (which I guess is a theme in the book). It got a little whiny at the end and then just ended abruptly. The whole book was leading up to two big events and it ended before either of them worked themselves out. Frustrating.

Girl, Hero
By Carrie Jones
I picked this one up cause it's by the same author who wrote Tips on Having a gay ex boyfriend (whch I liked) bit I only got 15 pages in or so before I stopped. It was weird. The main character wrote to John Wayne. The dead actor. Like the whole book waS journal entries to him. Like, she wondered what he did on his first day of high school, etc. It was too weird.

Keeping the Moon ***1/2
by Sarah Dessen
Colie has never fit it. First she was fat and the subject of ridicule and fat jokes then after she lost the weight a nasty rumor was started and she couldn't get out from underneath it.
She's shipped off to spend the summer with her aunt and what promises to be the worst summer of her life becomes life changing when she learns what it means to have her first friendship and most importantly what she learns about herself.
I thought I wasn't going to like this one at first but I really enjoyed it. I'd like to read some current stuff from Dessen.

Eighth grade bites **1/2
(the chronicles of Vladimir Tod)
Heather brewer
Vladimir is half human, half vampire and an orphan being raised by his pseudo-aunt. He not only has to deal with typical middle school stuff- bullies, being in the shadow of his best friend, Liking a girl who may or may not even know he exists...but also having to hide capsules of blood within his sub sandwiches, being the only one of his kind with no one to turn to for advice, a crazy new teacher who may be trying to kill him AND the mysterious death of his parents three years ago. That's a lot of stress for a 14 yr old.
This is the first in a series I've come across several times, so I thought I'd give it a shot. It was ok. I almost quit reading it two or three
Times. Plot was ok, A bit predictable though. Characters were developed ok. Vlad the best, of course, but the others not at all really.
I think I'll cheat and look up summaries on the other books. :)

Soul Enchilada
I didn't even get far enough in the book to figure out the plot. I sure couldn't figure it out from the book jackets description. I got three chapters in (now, granted they were short) but the only thing that happened so far was the main chick took her car to the car wash. Really. That's it. I gave up.

Tantilize *1/2
Cynthia t. Smith
Quince's parents left her a restaurant in their will and with her uncles help, she is determined to see it succeed. They do a remodel of the restaurant and come up with a vampire theme in order to stand out but it's bringing in all the crazies. Their head chef is murdered violently, people in town are disappearing, quinces best friend Kieran, who is part- werewolf, is acting strange, and the new chef is a little weird.

It was borderline awful. The plot was odd (a vampire themed restaurant run by a 17 yr old?!), the emotions and personality of quince were not developed (she is turned into a vampire against her will, her uncle turns out to be a bad guy, then is later killed and she barely blinks an eye).
I met a librarian the other day a d she recommended this one, Soul Enchilada, and nation by Terry Prather and her first two recommendations were not so good.

The maze runner ***1/2
James Dashner
Thomas wakes up in a dark elevator with his memory wiped clean. He is forced into the Glade, a place surrounded by 40 foot walls, a crazy unsolvable maze and deaDly creatures. He's not the only one though. The glade is full of boys, all teens who also woke to find themselves there one day. They live a well ordered life, each with their own job and their main objective is to solve the maze a d get back home...whatever that means.
Their lives were relatively normal until Thomas arrived. He's different somehow. Then the next day, the glade receives it's first girl. Thomas doesn't have memories of her, but knows they are connected somehow. The rest of the Gladers are suspicious of them. Their appearance has changes the Glade forever.

I enjoyed this book. I liked the main characters. It kind of reminded mr of Lost a bit: they find themselves in a strange place, stranded; they are all strangers forced together; they have to figure out why they were all sent there; gotta figure out how to get home; lots of unanswered questions until the end, etc.
There is a sequel coming out in October. I'm curious to see what happens to Tom, Teresa, Minho, and newt.

Books I've read- may 2010

The Dark Divine ***1/2
Bree Despain

"Grace- daughter of the local pastor- always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared and her brother Jude came back covered in his own blood.
Now that Daniel's returned, grace must choose between her growing attraction to him and her loyalty to her brother.
as grace gets closer to Daniel, she learns the truth about that mysterious night and how to save the ones she loves, but it might cost her the one thing she cherishes most: her soul." (books jacket)

I enjoyed this book but didn't love it. It was a good plot line, different. I wished the brothers story had been followed, maybe tell the story from two perspectives.

Gone ****
Michael grant

One minute everything Is quite normal in Sam's life. He's sitting at school listening to his teacher drone on and the next, the teachers gone. Poof. Into thin air. And it's not just a cute practical joke. Every adult, every teen over the age of fifteen is gone. Like they were never there.
then the bullies step in wanting to take control. But the high school bullies are nothing compared to what's coming. Sam, along with Astrid, Edilio, Quinn, and some others have to step up and protect not only their town but their lives, cause something terrible is coming to take over.

I really enjoyed this one. It's got suspense, terror, gore, romance, great character development, unique plot line. Loved it. Sequel is called Hunger. I'd like to get it.

Ruined **1/2
Paula Morris
Rebecca is sent to stay with a family friend in new Orleans while her father is on a business trip. New Orleans may as well be another country. Everyone is focused on "old money" and lineage. If you're not one of the original families in new Orleans, you may as well be invisible. That's what Rebecca is. She has no friends until she meets Lisette in the cemetery one night. Problem is, her friend isn't alive. And the fact that she can see her at all may mean that Rebecca isn't who she thinks she is.

This one was just ok. I ended up skimming over several pages of details about new Orleans. I wanted to see what happened- it was quite predictable and a bit abrupt at the end.

Incarceron ***
Catherine Fisher
Incarceron is a prison. A prison that can think for itself. It keeps watch over every thing and everyone contained within it's walls. And only one man has ever escaped, although many wish to.
Finn is a prisoner who has no memories beyond three years ago. He believes he came from Outside. Not many believe there is an Outside but when he meets Claudia, who claims she's from outside Incarceron, she says she CAn help him escape. But escaping from Incarceron isn't going to be easy.

I enjoyed this one. I really wanted to find out what happens at the end but I was disappointed for some reason. I'm trying to pinpoint why. Maybe cause there were unanswered questions (hence, the sequel, Sapphique which I don't think I'll read), maybe cause there was absolutely no romance in the book? Or maybe cause Finn's (the main character, mind you) character and personality gets a bit overwhelmed and pushed aside by Claudia at the end. I wanted him to take charge. He was just kind of pulled along. Ah well. I guess my questions will remain unanswered.

Plan b ***
Jenny O'connell
uh, i guess i forgot to wrote this one down. Can't even remember it now. See, this is why i do this.

The book of Luke **
Jenny O'connell
Emily is always the nice girl. But it seems to be getting her nowhere. Her family rips her out of school in the middle of her senior year, her boyfriend breaks up with her the day she moves, and to top it off, her dad isn't even moving with them. And she's supposed to smile and accept all these changes? Nope. Emily is done being nice. It's time for payback. Only she doesn't see the path of destruction she's about to leave in her wake.

It was ok. I had a hard time believing that a few minor changes could make someone act like this character did. She admits it was uncharacteristic of her, but I think some of her actions were a bit extreme, especially for a former nice girl.

Books I've reAd- june 2010

Downsiders ***1/2
Neal Shusterman
Talon lives in an entire secret world under new York city- and he's not the only one. Men, women, children, have been down there for a hundred years. They are forbidden to go "Topside" but when Talons sister gets sick, he has no choice. He needs some magic pills the topsiders use to cheat death. There he meets Lindsay, who is as curious about his world as he is about hers. Their chance meeting could change the way Downsiders think- and could also lead to it's total destruction.

I really like Shusterman's writing style. His ideas are unique and delivered very well. The characters are developed, mysteries unfold, plots thicken... I liked it.

Daniel X: watch the skies **1/2
James Patterson (audio book)
(second in series)
Daniel follows Number Five (alien on "the list") to Hollisworth, a small town filled with nice, hardworking people who have suddenly turned zombie-like. Daniel, along with help from his imaginary friends (Joe, Dana, Emma, ---) have to figure out how to defeat this guy. Problem is, Daniel has never faced an Alien this high up on The List. Number Five is powerful, mean and sees humans as playtoys meant for his own amusement. Can Daniel save Hollisworth and it's people before it's too late?

I feel like this one as I did about the first one: it was ok. Entertaining. I needed an audiobook for me and D fir our way to Florida that would be appropriate if the kids heard it too. It was.
You can definately tell it was for a younger audience. A few gaps in plot (ie- "why doesn't Daniel just shoot him now and be done?") but it did it's job- we were entertained.

The Vampire Diaries ***
The awakening and the struggle
LJ Smith
Elena is her towns golden girl. Popular, beautiful, leader... But when a new guy comes to town and seems totally disinterested in her, she vows to do anything it takes to make him hers. She just has no idea what she's messing with though. Her life is about to change forever.

I watch the tv show on WB, so I was curious about the books. They are very different from each other. The tv series took the underlying or and it's main characters and rewrote it. For the better, in my opinion. I'm enjoying the books, but I like the pace (slower) and the tv characters more. Which is odd since I always like books better than the movies.

The Vampire Diaries ** 1/2
The Return and Dark Reunion
LJ smith

Elena is now a vampire and is dealing with her new life and also some terrible dark Power that's come to Falks Church (it's mystic falls on tv). Can she, Damon, and Stefan come to a truce and with together to save the town and it's people?

These two were a bit predictable. Especially dark reunion. Disappointing.


Teaque said...

oh my goodness!!!!!!!! You have read a ton of books!So jealous! I HAVE read more this summer than normal, but we're talking only 3 books!

Amy said...

Thanks for share your book reviews :o) I added a few to my ever growing list of to-be-read books. I am thinking I should make a list too, because you are right it is getting too hard to remember what I have read much less what it was about and if I liked it....I'll work on that :o) And finally post something new to my has literally be ages since I posted anything! So, sad really. But thanks again :o)

Michelle said...

Impressive! Now, I just need to know which book(s) have water on the cover...