Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Bloodlines (Bloodlines #1)

Title: Bloodlines (Bloodlines #1)
Author: Richelle Mead
Rating: 4.2/5
Summary: When alchemist Sydney is ordered into hiding to protect the life of Moroi princess Jill Dragomir, the last place she expects to be sent is a human private school in Palm Springs, California. But at their new school, the drama is only just beginning. 

Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, Bloodlines explores all the friendship, romance, battles and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive - this time in a part-vampire, part-human setting where the stakes are even higher and everyone's out for blood.
My Thoughts: For all the fans of the Vampire Academy this is a must-read! I was so heartbroken after finishing The Vampire Academy especially since I fall in love with Adrian. This troubled, eccentric boy who is constantly smoking or drinking and doesn't care a bit what someone else thinks about him. Seeing Rose broke his heart, broke my heart and I couldn't be so happy for this ending of the Vampire Academy. 

Strong awesome and deeply developed characters that seem so real and that easily find a way into your heart... The story is told from Sidney's POV, the alchimist that appeared before and helped to rescue Rose. She's a strong girl and such a different voice when compared to Rose. Sydney is a thinker, a smart intelectual girl that struggles with how she was raised and how she begins to feel. 
Full of suspense, danger, drama, and even a little forbidden love thrown in, Bloodlines was everything I have come to expect from a Richelle Mead novel. This book will satisfy even the worst cravings that Vampire Academy fans have had since the final installment. Of course, that satisfaction is only for a short time, as it wouldn't be one of Richelle's books without an ending that leaves you reeling and desperate for more. While Bloodlines had one of the more mild cliffhanger endings compared to others, I still cannot wait until The Golden Lily is released to see what happens next. Several things were placed into play and I can only imagine where those twists will lead. A round of applause to Richelle Mead for pulling off yet another fantastic start to a great new series.

Anna and the French Kiss

Title: Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Rating: 4.5/5
SummaryAnna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris - until she meets Etienne St. Clair: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.

As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near - misses end with the French kiss Anna - and readers - have long awaited?
My Thoughts: Anna and the French Kiss is literary nitrogen oxide. Stephanie Perkins has such a refreshing, invigorating prose and it seems so effortless. Like she just woke up one day and thought, "I'm going to write a book about the awesomest protag and the dreamiest British dude ever. Yes, I think I will." Anna's voice is so relatable and enjoyable. I love how she respected the fact that St. Clair had a girlfriend (for the most part.) But I had to throw her a bone... It's ETIENNE ST. CLAIR we're talking about. I just loved being inside Anna's head, period. She was delightful. And what to say about St. Clair. He was so adorably...ordinary. There was no fierce, murderous staring and evasiveness. He's just a happy guy with a British accent who loves people, who's actually kind of French and American, too. Sure, that sounds plain enough, but Perkins is obviously magical and transforms St. Clair into one steaming helping of (insert food of you choice :D). I cannot put my finger on what it is I love so much about him. You'll just have to read and find out.I was so worried this wouldn't live up to the hype. It did, you guys. I'm still thinking about it days later. I want to re-read it sooo bad. I cannot wait for Stephanie Perkins' next novel.

Trial by Fire (Raised by Wolves #2)

Title: Trial by Fire (Raised by Wolves #2)
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Rating: 4/5
SummaryThere can only be one alpha. 

Bryn is finally settling into her position as alpha of the Cedar Ridge Pack—or at least, her own version of what it means to be alpha when you’re a human leading a band of werewolves. Then she finds a teenage boy bleeding on her front porch. Before collapsing, he tells her his name is Lucas, he’s a Were, and Bryn’s protection is his only hope.

But Lucas isn’t part of Bryn’s pack, and she has no right to claim another alpha’s Were.  With threats—old and new—looming, and danger closing in from all sides, Bryn will have to accept what her guardian Callum knew all along. To be alpha, she will have to give in to her own animal instincts and become less human. And, she’s going to have to do it alone.

Bryn faces both the costs, and the rewards, of love and loyalty, in this thrilling sequel to 
Raised by Wolves.

My Thoughts: "Trial by Fire" is an excellent sequel to the 'Raised by Wolves' series. This time Byrn is adjusting to her new role as Alpha of her pack. No sooner that she is out of school for Thanksgiving her first real challenge drops right into her backyard. Lucas a runaway were who was beaten nearly to death by his Alpha has come to Byrn seeking assylum. Unfortunately, she cannot grant it without the were's Alpha's permission and since that Alpha happens to be Byrn's nemesis, Shay; that option is not going to happen. So, Byrn informs Shay that she would not be returning his runnaway were until she investigates the reason he has trespassed on her land. This buys her a little time. 

Additionally, as if the situation with Lucas is not enough, there is a coven of psychics whose members have varying degrees of mental capabilities who have targeted Byrn unless she hands over Lucas as well. 
Byrn's former guardian and protector, Cullen, cannot assist her with her new found problems but sends her cryptic messages. There are plenty of twists and turns, surprises, humor, and emotional crisis. That is what makes this book such a great read. 
Jennifer Lynn Barnes once again proves her writing excellence with this sequel. She is straight forward in her approach and has a flare for building with pazzazz the climax of storyline. My only criticism is that at times, considering the shelter background of Byrn it was hard to believe the maturity she often showed in this book. However, it did not deter from enjoyment of the read. 

Raised by Wolves (Raised by Wolves #1)

Title: Raised by Wolves (Raised by Wolves #1)
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Rating: 3.8/5
Summary: Adopted by the Alpha of a werewolf pack after a rogue wolf brutally killed her parents right before her eyes, fifteen-year-old Bryn knows only pack life, and the rigid social hierarchy that controls it. That doesn't mean that she's averse to breaking a rule or two. 

But when her curiosity gets the better of her and she discovers Chase, a new teen locked in a cage in her guardian's basement, and witnesses him turn into a wolf before her eyes, the horrific memories of her parents' murders return. Bryn becomes obsessed with getting her questions answered, and Chase is the only one who can provide the information she needs.
But in her drive to find the truth, will Bryn push too far beyond the constraints of the pack, forcing her to leave behind her friends, her family, and the identity that she's shaped?

My Thoughts: Raised By Wolves is an interesting book written from the point of view of fifteen year old Bryn, who was literally raised by wolves. The premise intrigued me. I've always liked things like The Jungle Book and such, I like seeing how being raised by a different species (werewolves in this case) would affect the behavior and attitude of a human. All of the pack detail in this book have been studied carefully, and you can tell Jennifer Lynn Barnes has done her research. I've always been intrigued by pack behavior  and that is this something this book definitely goes into depth on. One thing I wasn't particularly fond about in the whole pack mentality was their bonds with each other. How the wolves claimed a person, how one person was someone else's. Extreme possessiveness is not something I'm particularly fond of , I'm afraid. And I don't really thing Chase and Bryn's relationship was romantic in any way, because it was based on a need, and they didn't exactly fall in love or anything. They needed each other because they could relate to each other through their experience with the Rabid.
I do wish that Barnes explored Chase and Bryn's potential relationship more in this book, as a sucker for YA romance, I was left with nothing to obsess over. The plot flowed well and the writing was good, although nothing really took me by surprise. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend you read it if you like werewolves (like me!) or just feel like you want to read a good book.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Chain Reaction (Perfect Chemistry #3)

Title: Chain Reaction (Perfect Chemistry #3)
Author: Simone Elkeles
Rating: 5/5
Summary: Luis Fuentes has always been sheltered from the gang violence that nearly destroyed his brothers’ lives. But that didn’t stop him from taking risks—whether he’s scaling a mountain in the Rockies or dreaming of a future as an astronaut, Luis can’t stop looking for the next thrill. 

Nikki Cruz lives her life by three rules—boys lie to get their way, don’t trust a boy who says “I love you,” and never date a boy from the south side of Fairfield. Her parents may be from Mexico, but as a doctor’s daughter, she has more in common with her north-side neighbors than the Latino Blood at her school. Then she meets Luis at Alex’s wedding, and suddenly, she’s tempted to break all her rules.
Getting Nikki to take a chance on a southsider is Luis’s biggest challenge, until he finds himself targeted by Chuy Soto, the new head of the Latino Blood. When Chuy reveals a disturbing secret about Luis’s family, the youngest Fuentes finds himself questioning everything he’s ever believed to be true. Will his feelings for Nikki be enough to stop Luis from entering a dark and violent world and permanently living on the edge?
My Thoughts: The book was by far my favorite Perfect Chemistry book plot wise. When Nikki's story begins, my heart immediately break for her. The impenetrable wall built around her is justified, and we see why she would not be falling for anyone anytime soon-especially Luis. 
Luis moves back to Illinois with his madre to live close to Alex and Brittney's growing family.(YES, they DO get MARRIED!!!)He's surprised to see that the neighborhood isn't quite as he remembered it, but it isn't long before we learn that things are not as calm as they seem. I loved that the other Fuentes brothers make appearances in this book and how wonderfully evident it is that family truly does come first with these boys. No matter what's going down, they've got each others back. It's an underlying theme in all three books, but we especially get to see that dedication to family in this book.  Chain Reaction was an amazing book, and the epilogue ties all the loose ends of the Fuentes family.  I'm really hoping that we may be learning of new Fuentes books in the future. I can't recommend this series enough. If you haven't yet read them, go get them now!  Este libro fue increĆ­ble!

Never Have I Ever (The Lying Game #2)

Title: Never Have I Ever (The Lying Game #2)
Author: Sara Shepard
Rating: 4.5/5
SummaryMy perfect life was a lie. 
Now I’d do anything to uncover the truth.
Not long ago, I had everything a girl could wish for: amazing friends, an adorable boyfriend, a loving family. But none of them know that I’m gone—that I’m dead. To solve my murder, my long-lost twin sister, Emma, has taken my place. She sleeps in my room, wears my clothes, and calls my parents Mom and Dad.
And my killer is watching her every move.
I remember little from my life, just flashes and flickers, so all I can do is follow along as Emma tries to solve the mystery of my disappearance. But the deeper she digs, the more suspects she uncovers. It turns out my friends and I played a lot of games—games that ruined people’s lives. Anyone could want revenge... anyone could want me—and now Emma—dead. 
My Thoughts: This sequel to Shepard's The Lying Game packs a serious punch. Emma is still pretending to be her long lost (deceased) twin sister Sutton, and she's getting rather good at living the lie. It was fun to "watch" Emma further settle into Sutton's day to day routines... all the while keeping a lookout for her sister's killer. The plot of Never Have I Ever was much more fluid and fast moving than its predecessor, and Sutton's narration remains fresh and interesting. I also appreciate that Shepard made many of the supporting characters much more approachable and endearing this time around. These improvements as well as the book's cliffhanger ending make number three in this series an absolute must read! 


Title: Ripple
Author: Mandy Hubbard
Rating: 4/5
SummaryLexi is cursed with a dark secret. Each day she goes to school like a normal teenager, and each night she must swim, or the pain will be unbearable. She is a siren - a deadly mermaid destined to lure men to their watery deaths. After a terrible tragedy, Lexi shut herself off from the world, vowing to protect the ones she loves. But she soon finds herself caught between a new boy at school who may have the power to melt her icy exterior, and a handsome water spirit who says he can break Lexi's curse if she gives up everything else. Lexi is faced with the hardest decision she's ever had to make: the life she's always longed for - or the love she can't live without?
My Thoughts: Teen girl turned siren. It was a concept I liked, and I wanted to see where the author went with it. I haven't read anything about these creatures since the ancient mythology I loved to read in my teens. I enjoyed the story. A little dark. A little haunting. A little sad. You definitely feel the MC's suffering throughout, and for once I don't mind that a protagonist doesn't really fight back when tormented and misunderstood by her peers, because the reason she doesn't is believable. I won't do the "spoiler" thing, but there was a little glitch with the love triangle that didn't click with me. But, the story held my interest, and after finding a little time to start the book one night, I ended up quickly finishing it the next evening with only a couple breaks.Ripple was completely predictable, so don't start this book thinking you're gonna get a whopper of a twist thrown at you. However, I still found the story really enjoyable. The prose was simple and sweet, Lexi had decent character growth and her romance with Cole developed at a believable pace. All in all, Ripple was a good book and worth picking up. 

Epic Fail

Title: Epic Fail
Author: Claire LaZebnik
Rating: 3/5
Summary: Will Elise’s love life be an epic win or an epic fail?
At Coral Tree Prep in Los Angeles, who your parents are can make or break you. Case in point:
As the son of Hollywood royalty, Derek Edwards is pretty much prince of the school—not that he deigns to acknowledge many of his loyal subjects.
As the daughter of the new principal, Elise Benton isn’t exactly on everyone’s must-sit-next-to-at-lunch list.
When Elise’s beautiful sister catches the eye of the prince’s best friend, Elise gets to spend a lot of time with Derek, making her the envy of every girl on campus. Except she refuses to fall for any of his rare smiles and instead warms up to his enemy, the surprisingly charming social outcast Webster Grant. But in this hilarious tale of fitting in and flirting, not all snubs are undeserved, not all celebrity brats are bratty, and pride and prejudice can get in the way of true love for only so long.
My Thoughts: A modern day Pride and Prejudice, Epic Fail failed to capture my heart. Here's the character rundown:
Elise Benton = Elizabeth Bennet
Derek Edwards = Fitzwilliam Darcy
Juliana Benton = Jane Bennet
Chase Baldwin = Charles Bingley
Webster Grant = George Wickham
And that’s what the book is all about in a nutshell. 
I judge the power of an engaging read by it’s ability to compel me to finish it at a fiendish pace. I was done with this book in half-a-day. It’s not a classic. It’s not perfect. It has a few pitfalls. And no, don’t go by it’s lack-lustre cover.
It’s a bendy, light-hearted summer read that does justice to the mother of all chick-lit books. 

Across the Universe (Across the Universe #1)

Title: Across the Universe  (Across the Universe #1)
Author: Beth Revis
Rating: 4/5
SummarySeventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.
Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone - one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship - tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.
Now, Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.
My Thoughts: I enjoyed the book much more than I thought. Even if there are explanations which I found too pseudo-scientific for my taste and not convincing at all, and most of the action didn’t really kick until way past half of the book, I’m looking forward to reading the second book. I just hope this year 2011 will be enough full of good books, so that I would get distracted from the waiting. I’m not a patient person :P I really expected a romance with a side plot of mystery instead of a mystery with a smidgen of romance. But, it worked, it entertained and had me doing the whole guessing game of “who-done-it” even though I figured it out before the time was right. Then there were the whole similarities between this book and Synder’s INSIDE OUT. Colony ship turns unknowing dystopian world. Here comes a teenager to the rescue!!! Yet, even with the concept similar to the OUT books, this one was highly original and spoke reality to me. Something like this could happen, all you have to do is feed people the wrong information. Beth Revis did a wonderful job and I look forward to reading more from the series. 

Shift (Shade #2)

Title: Shift (Shade #2)
Author: Jerri Smith-Ready
Rating: 4/5
SummaryAura’s life is anything but easy. Her boyfriend, Logan, died, and his slides between ghost and shade have left her reeling. Aura knows he needs her now more than ever. She loves Logan, but she can’t deny her connection with the totally supportive, totally gorgeous Zachary. And she’s not sure that she wants to.
Logan and Zachary will fight to be the one by her side, but Aura needs them both to uncover the mystery of her past—the mystery of the Shift.
As Aura’s search uncovers new truths, she must decide whom to trust with her secrets…and her heart.
My Thoughts: This book was definitely better than the first one. There was more Zach (yummy), more Logan (sweetheart), and more of the other characters I can't help but feel for. Lovely.  When we left off, Logan had turned Shade. Now, Aura's doing everything in her power to bring him back like she did before. Once she does, Aura has to figure out why this happens and if she can save more ghosts from worse fates. On top of that, things with Zach are starting to warm up. She still loves Logan, but she sees herself with Zach more and more. But the universe just seems to conspire against them. Can Zach and Aura keep the DMP off their backs long enough to breathe?
I love how there's this awesome mix of mystery with government bad guys out to control everything they don't understand. On top of that, it's a love story and a story of loss and understanding. Practically everything you could want in a book is right here. Action, suspense, mystery, love, heartache. Bloody brilliant, as Zach would say. 

Shade (Shade #1)

Title: Shade (Shade #1)
Author: Jerri Smith-Ready
Rating: 4/5
Summary: Love ties them together. Death can't tear them apart.
Best. Birthday. Ever. At least, it was supposed to be. With Logan's band playing a critical gig and Aura's plans for an intimate after-party, Aura knows it will be the most memorable night of her boyfriend's life. She never thought it would be his last.
Logan's sudden death leaves Aura devastated. He's gone.
Well, sort of.
Like everyone born after the Shift, Aura can see and hear ghosts. This mysterious ability has always been annoying, and Aura had wanted nothing more than to figure out why the Shift happened so she can undo it. But not with Logan's violet-hued spirit still hanging around. Because dead Logan is almost as real as ever. Almost.
It doesn't help that Aura's new friend Zachary is so understanding—and so very alive. His support means more to Aura than she cares to admit.
As Aura's relationships with the dead and the living grow ever complicated, so do her feelings for Logan and Zachary. Each holds a piece of Aura's heart...and clues to the secret of the Shift.
My Thoughts: Shade introduces us to a unique and interesting world where sixteen years ago there was what is now known as "the shift" Everyone born after the date of "the shift" are able to see and communicate with ghosts. The heroine, Aura, was born after this shift and spends most of her time trying to avoid ghosts, until her boyfriend Logan becomes one. Aura struggles between her love for the ghost boyfriend and her growing attraction to the Scottish foreign exchange student Zach.(LOVE HIS ACCENT) 
The writing itself was simple and engaging. I loved the flow of the dialog between the characters. Each had their own individual “voice”. I was absolutely able to lose myself between the pages, which for me is always the mark of a well written book. While I still have plenty of unanswered questions about some of the plot lines introduced, I was satisfied with the way Shade ended. I will definitely be buying the next in the series as I’m anxious to find out what happens. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Twisted (Pretty Little Liars #9)

Title: Twisted (Pretty Little Liars #9)
Author: Sara Shepard
Rating: 4/5
Summary: It’s been a year since the torturous notes from A stopped and the mystery of Alison DiLaurentis’s disappearance was finally put to rest. Now seniors in high school, Aria, Spencer, Hanna and Emily are older, but they’re not any wiser. The Pretty Little Liars have more secrets than ever - twisted secrets that could destroy the perfect lives they’ve worked so hard to rebuild. 

Aria’s jealous of her boyfriend’s new exchange student. Spencer’s getting a little too cozy with her soon-to-be-stepbrother. Hanna’s one scandalous photo away from ruining her dad’s Senate campaign. And Emily will do anything to get a swim scholarship.
Worst of all: Last spring break in Jamaica, they did something unforgivable. The girls are desperate to forget that fateful night, but they should know better than anyone that all secrets wash ashore … eventually.

My Thoughts: When last we left Aria, Spencer, Hanna and Emily, they had survived the fire that A set to kill them. A's now dead, and we all know who A was and why they (singular person, but I'm avoiding gender) wanted the girls dead. They were best friends again and all was well. 

Now it's a year later and they're not friends anymore. They went on vacation together to Jamaica and something bad happened and it tore them apart again. They made (and kept) a promise never to talk about what happened...but now it seems someone knows. And they're getting notes and texts from A again.

This book (and series) is a whole clown car of crazy. I mean that in the best possible way. I cannot wait to see what comes next. :)

I have my theories about what's going on, and I'm excited to see if I'm right. We have three more books and the next one comes out in December sometime. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Wolfsbane (Nightshade # 2)

Title: Wolfsbane (Nightshade # 2)
Author: Andrea Cremer
Rating: 4/5
SummaryWhen Calla Tor wakes up in the lair of the Searchers, her sworn enemies, she’s certain her days are numbered. But then the Searchers make her an offer—one that gives her the chance to destroy her former masters and save the pack—and the man—she left behind. Is Ren worth the price of her freedom? And will Shay stand by her side no matter what? Now in control of her own destiny, Calla must decide which battles are worth fighting and how many trials true love can endure and still survive. 
My Thoughts: I like Calla. She's definitely a kick-butt girl. But the whole Ren vs. Shay thing tends to get a little old. We get a lot of Shay in this book but not too much Ren. Although we do find out a surprise about him (which I pegged early on). I really liked the new characters we meet, especially Connor. I liked his personality and sense of humor. 
There is definitely another book coming up. The ending is a definite cliffhanger and while these books aren't my favorite, I will read the next one! The ending was by far my favourite bit. I hadn't adored Adne up until she suggested her awesome plan. And awesome it was! That was exactly how that book should have gone out - and I really can't wait to see what Cremer does with it come Bloodrose.

Supernaturally (Paranormalcy #2)

Title: Supernaturally (Paranormalcy #2)
Author: Kiersten White
Rating: 4/5
SummaryEvie finally has the normal life she’s always longed for. But she’s shocked to discover that being ordinary can be . . . kind of boring. Just when Evie starts to long for her days at the International Paranormal Containment Agency, she’s given a chance to work for them again. Desperate for a break from all the normalcy, she agrees.

But as one disastrous mission leads to another, Evie starts to wonder if she made the right choice. And when Evie’s faerie ex-boyfriend Reth appears with devastating revelations about her past, she discovers that there’s a battle brewing between the faerie courts that could throw the whole supernatural world into chaos. The prize in question? Evie herself.
So much for normal.
My Thoughts: The pacing of Supernaturally is slower than Paranormalcy, and it has less action. Instead, this is a book that’s more focused on character development, with Evie trying to figure out who she is (literally) and where she belongs. While I didn’t love Supernaturally as much as Paranormalcy because Evie repeatedly keeps secrets from those she cares about, – Lend and her relationship in particular suffer (I wanted more kisses!) – in no way does Supernaturally fall prey to the sequel syndrome. White successfully brings back Evie’s fresh and distinctive voice, and though Evie is often insecure (which isn’t surprising considering what she discovered in Paranormalcy), she continues to remain loveable (for the most part) and hilarious. 
At times, Evie's dialogue seemed a bit superficial (too much of the typical dumb blonde), but it was quickly    redeemed by her quips at Jack or Reth.
Overall, it was a good reads, and I would recommend it!