Thursday, August 21, 2014

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Genre: YA Contemporary
Published: April 2nd, 2009
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Page Count: 201

 Just listen, Adam says with a voice that sounds like shrapnel.

I open my eyes wide now.
I sit up as much as I can.
And I listen.

Stay, he says.

Choices. Seventeen-year-old Mia is faced with some tough ones: Stay true to her first love—music—even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving her family and friends behind?

Then one February morning Mia goes for a drive with her family, and in an instant, everything changes. Suddenly, all the choices are gone, except one. And it's the only one that matters.

If I Stay is a heartachingly beautiful book about the power of love, the true meaning of family, and the choices we all make.

A book like this wouldn't normally be a book that I'd pick up by myself. I've never exactly been a fan of books that deal with realistic devastation and heartache, mostly because books like these are so relatable and can really hit home. So, to avoid the emotional breakdowns and 2 am philosophical life pondering, I try my best to stay away from these types of books--even if they are critically acclaimed. However, a few months ago, I saw the trailer for the movie adaptation of this book, and while I was convinced that it was going to unleash all the feels, I decided that it would be a good idea to read the book because the movie looked interesting. And, boy, I'm glad I did!

I have always been a music geek. I played piano when I was younger, then moved on to the clarinet, then onto the alto saxophone. And I did it all, too. Concert band, jazz band, and Friday night football pep band (my school doesn't provide a marching band). So, to see the main character live and breathe music was pretty cool. I don't see these type of characters a lot in YA, but when I do, I absolutely end up loving and understanding the character on a level not usually bestowed upon most characters I like. Mia was such a sweet character, and upon her flashbacks that really helped you get to meet the characters, I discovered that she was such a normal teenager. She wasn't self-depreciative or fit into the YA female character stereotype, which I liked. She wasn't some far-fetched teenage girl trope; she was real and unique.

From reading this book, the main message I got from it is that love prevails and that love is something worth living for. For me, that was such a great message and I don't think many people realize nowadays the power that love has. It made me so emotional reading about Mia's struggle to stay alive and how the memories of her past really strengthened her and made her question what life really was all about and the importance of friends, family, and love.

This book, in all honesty, was such a good read. It sucked me in right from the start and I was able to finish it in one night. It was such a quick read to begin with, but bam, before I knew it, the book was done. There were tears and moments where I just had to put the book down and digest the raw emotions that poured from this book. I regret not having read this book earlier because I really did enjoy it! If you haven't read this book already, I highly suggest it.

4.5 Splashes

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Entangled Teen Releases!

Today is release day for four amazing Entangled Teen titles and we are excited to share them all with you.  There's a little something for everyone this month so read on to find out more about them.

Only Knight Assassin by Rima Jean and Donna of the Dead by Alison Kemper are on sale for just $.99 for a limited time so be sure to pick up your copy today before they go back to full price!

About the Book
Title: Searching for Beautiful
Author: Nyrae Dawn
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Pub. Date: March 4, 2014

Before it happened…
Brynn had a group of best friends, a boyfriend who loved her, a growing talent for pottery. She had a life. And then…she had none.

After it happened…
Everything was lost. The boy she now knew never loved her. The friends who felt she betrayed their trust. The new life just beginning to grow inside her.

Brynn believes her future is as empty as her body until Christian, the boy next door, starts coming around. Playing his guitar and pushing her to create art once more. She meets some new friends at the local community center, plus even gets her dad to look her in the eye again…sort of. But letting someone in isn’t as easy as it seems.

Can Brynn open up her heart to truly find her life’s own beauty, when living for the after means letting go of the before?

Find Nyrae Online:

About the Book
Title: Til Death
Author: Kate Evangelista
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Pub. Date: March 4, 2014

Sixteen-year-old Selena Fallon is a dreamer. Not a daydreamer, but an I-see-the-future kind of dreamer. Normally, this is not a problem, as she has gotten pretty good at keeping her weird card hidden from everyone in her small town. But when Selena dreams of her own rather bloody death, things get a little too freaky—even for her.

Enter Dillan Sloan. Selena has seen the new guy in a different dream, and he is even more drool-worthy in person. Beyond the piercing blue eyes and tousled dark hair, there is something else that draws her to him. Something…electric. Too bad he acts like he hates her.

When Selena learns she’s being targeted by a force bigger and darker than anything she ever imagined, she’s had enough. Despite her death dream, Selena is not going to give up easily, especially when she discovers that Dillan isn’t what he seems…and might not actually hate her after all. Dillan might be the only person who can save her.

Find Kate Online:

About the Book
Title: Knight Assassin
Author: Rima Jean
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Pub. Date: March 4, 2014

Find it: GoodreadsAmazon, B&N

Seventeen-year-old Zayn has special powers she cannot control—powers that others fear and covet. Powers that cause the Templar Knights to burn Zayn’s mother at the stake for witchcraft. 

When a mysterious stranger tempts Zayn to become the first female member of the heretical Assassins, the chance to seek her revenge lures her in. She trains to harness her supernatural strength and agility, and then enters the King of Jerusalem's court in disguise with the assignment to assassinate Guy de Molay, her mother’s condemner. 

But once there, she discovers Earic Goodwin, the childhood friend who still holds her heart, among the knights—and his ocean-blue eyes don’t miss a thing. Will vengeance be worth the life of the one love she has left? 

Find Rima Online:

About the Book
Title: Donna of the Dead
Author: Alison Kemper
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Pub. Date: March 4, 2014

 Find it: GoodreadsAmazon, B&N, iBookstore

Donna Pierce might hear voices, but that doesn’t mean she’s crazy. Probably.

The voices do serve their purpose, though—whenever Donna hears them, she knows she’s in danger. So when they start yelling at the top of their proverbial lungs, it’s no surprise she and her best friend, Deke, end up narrowly escaping a zombie horde. Alone without their families, they take refuge at their high school with the super-helpful nerds, the bossy class president, and—best of all?—Liam, hottie extraordinaire and Donna’s long-time crush. When Liam is around, it’s easy to forget about the moaning zombies, her dad’s plight to reach them, and how weird Deke is suddenly acting toward her.

But as the teens’ numbers dwindle and their escape plans fall apart, Donna has to listen to the secrets those voices in her head have been hiding. It seems not all the zombies are shuffling idiots, and the half-undead aren’t really down with kids like Donna…

Find Alison Online:

Elusion by Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam

Elusion by Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam
Genre: YA Dystopia
Expected Publication: March 18th
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Page Count: 400

Soon, Elusion® will change the world and life as we know it.

A new technology called Elusion is sweeping the country. An app, visor and wristband will virtually transport you to an exotic destination where adventure can be pursued without the complications—or consequences—of real life.

Regan is an Elusion insider. Or at least she used to be. Her father invented the program, and her best friend, Patrick, heir to the tech giant Orexis, is about to release it nationwide. But ever since her father’s unexpected death, Regan can’t bear to Escape, especially since waking up from the dream means crashing back to her grim reality.

Still, when there are rumors of trouble in Elusion—accusations that it’s addictive and dangerous— Regan is determined to defend it. But the critics of Elusion come from surprising sources, including Josh, the handsome skeptic with his own personal stakes. As Regan investigates the claims, she discovers a disturbing web of secrets. She will soon have to choose between love and loyalty…a decision that will affect the lives of millions.

Suspense, thrills, and romance fuel this near-future story about the seductive nature of a perfect virtual world, and how far one girl will go to uncover the truth behind the illusions.

*A review copy was provided by the publisher*

Ever since I discovered this book, I knew that I absolutely had to read it. The cover is absolutely gorgeous and the idea of the book really just drags you in. I jumped into the book as fast as I could and I didn't want to put it down at all. For 400 pages, the plot moves quickly and didn't drag at all. You just end up being sucked into this dangerous and striking futuristic world that, after reading a few duds, really brightened my mood.

Right off the bat, there is some amazing character development going on. The characters just felt so real. Regan and Patrick, Josh and Regan's mother . . . they all just came to life almost immediately. I loved Regan's determination and how she really strove to gather information before she acted out. It was kind of nice to see more of a reserved personality when it came to making decisions rather than the popular rash decision making going around. 

The thing that stuck out most about this novel was the imagery. It was like taking a deep, refreshing breath once I opened up the book and soaking in all the goodness of it. The world of Elusion was so enchanting and magical. Everything about it had such a dreamlike quality that it's not hard to imagine a piece of technology like this being popular. Even out of the world of Elusion, the world building was just so vivid. I can see a world like the one depicted in Elusion being a possible future that it was almost scary to read about.

The one thing that I didn't like was the romance. I've been finding this to be a problem lately with the books I've read and I'm finding less and less of a tolerance for it. Maybe I'm just being too picky with the book, but I didn't find the romance to be convincing. Regan's relationship with her best friend Patrick and her dad and her mother just felt so authentic, but when it came to the romance, I wasn't buying it. Maybe this also had to do with the fact that I wasn't that particularly drawn towards the love interest either. Hopefully in the next book (since we're left with such a crazy cliffhanger, of course there's another book) this romance will better develop itself.

I recommend this book to anyone looking for a new, original, and exciting read. It was such a roller coaster of a plot and completely unpredictable for the most part. I'm so excited to see where things go next with this series. It's such a twisted and thrilling idea that it stands out so much in my mind compared to the other books I've read so far this year.

4.5 Splashes

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (29)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where bloggers get to show what makes the hands all grabby.

This week's pick:

Hungry by H.A Swain
Expected Publication: June 3rd, 2014
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends

In the future, food is no longer necessary—until Thalia begins to feel something unfamiliar and uncomfortable. She’s hungry.
In Thalia’s world, there is no need for food—everyone takes medication (or “inocs”) to ward off hunger. It should mean there is no more famine, no more obesity, no more food-related illnesses, and no more war. At least that's what her parents, who work for the company that developed the inocs, say. But when Thalia meets a boy who is part of an underground movement to bring food back, she realizes that most people live a life much different from hers. Worse, Thalia is starting to feel hunger, and so is he—the inocs aren’t working. Together they set out to find the only thing that will quell their hunger: real food.
H. A. Swain delivers an adventure that is both epic and fast-paced. Get ready to be Hungry.

Doesn't this sound interesting? It's a different concept and I can't even imagine what it's like to live without eating food. I'm curious to see what this book is all about.

What is everyone else waiting for this Wednesday?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Death Sworn by Leah Cypess

Death Sworn by Leah Cypess
Genre: YA Fantasy
Expected Publication: March 4th, 2014
Publisher: Greenwillow
Page Count: 352

When Ileni lost her magic, she lost everything: her place in society, her purpose in life, and the man she had expected to spend her life with. So when the Elders sent her to be magic tutor to a secret sect of assassins, she went willingly, even though the last two tutors had died under mysterious circumstances.
But beneath the assassins’ caves, Ileni will discover a new place and a new purpose… and a new and dangerous love. She will struggle to keep her lost magic a secret while teaching it to her deadly students, and to find out what happened to the two tutors who preceded her. But what she discovers will change not only her future, but the future of her people, the assassins… and possibly the entire world.

*A review copy was provided by the publisher*

I've never read any of Cypress's books before, but this one really caught my eye. Just look at that cover! It screams everything that I live for in fantasy. I was excited to read this book. Even the premise of the story sounds interesting. Except . . . after reading it, I have no idea what to think of it. There were certain things that made me enjoy the novel . . . and then there were other things that made me literally cringe.

To begin with, while I didn't feel as close to Ileni as I could, I liked her. Her flaw was that she made stupid decisions because she thinks very rashly, but that's okay. I could deal with that. You know, I've got to give her some kudos, though. She walks into this assassin mountain hovel and isn't as afraid as to be expected by others. I'm pretty sure, in her situation, without magic, a home, and stuck with a bunch of killers, I'd be a catatonic ball of hair and clothing on the floor while a pool of tears surrounds me. Also, she doesn't let other people push her around. She sticks to her ideas (however, dangerous and ill-planned) and follows them through.

While her stubbornness is a great quality for a character to have, sometimes I was left thinking 'Are you kidding me? Come onnnn.' Throughout the novel, her rash thinking and other various actions left to some mild annoyance on my side and had me not caring occasionally.

The biggest problem that I had with the novel was its romance. Alright, so I can deal with a forbidden and dangerous love fest between an assassin and a former sorceress. Sweet deal, if you ask me. However, the hot and cold feelings between the two of them was giving me mental whiplash. Sometimes, you could tell that there was some attraction, and within about .2 seconds (not even joking!) they're heatedly fighting with each other and hate one another, and I'm wondering how they could possibly end up liking one another because this didn't even look like a healthy relationship even to YA standards (and there are some pretty unhealthy relationships there). So obviously, there's this side of me that wants them to get all smoochy-smoochy and then in the next, I'm rolling my eyes.

Another thing that irked me (that mostly involves said romantic relationship) was the inconsistent characterization. I don't expect an assassin to have a really mushy and gentle side at the turn of a switch, so when he did, I was literally cringing at the book. Ileni also had some inconsistent characterization towards the end of the book that came out of nowhere and left me a little confused, but I won't divulge that here.

But in all, the plot interested me. Death Sworn has such a good idea for it and I am left wondering what will happen next. However, there were plenty of things that bothered me to no end. I was tired of the romance and the characters. At the end of the book, I just wanted some answers. Yet, I can't help thinking about this book. And this where I come full circle and once again state that I have no idea what to think of this book in the end. I can see that others have deeply enjoyed this novel and hope that others will too.

A confused and hesitant 2.5 Splashes

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Panic by Lauren Oliver

Panic by Lauren Oliver
Genre: YA Contemporary
Expected Publication: March 4th, 2014
Publisher: HarperCollins
Page Count: 416

Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.
Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.
Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn't know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.
For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

 *A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher*

I've only ever read two of Lauren Oliver's books (Delirium and Pandemonium) and I truly did enjoy her writing. If there's one thing that stands out with her books, it is her writing. Seeing that she wrote this book, I was pretty excited to start reading it, thinking that I would just as thoroughly enjoy it as I have her other books, but sadly, Panic didn't reach my expectations.

The book is told in the points of view of Heather and Dodge, two newly high school graduates that decide to join in the dangerous game of Panic for their own secretive reasons. For a while, I didn't care about either of them. I'd say it wasn't until about half way through that I found myself interested in Heather's story. For some reason, they didn't connect with me. I found Dodge to be very one-sided and I only found Heather to be interesting once a lot of her character growth had gone by. At first, I thought Heather to be very . . . immature in some aspects, and her decisions would annoy me (like joining Panic).

I was very confused by the first few chapters of the book for some reason. I don't know, maybe I read through them too fast and missed something, but it was difficult at first to keep track with what was going on. Heather was going to do the Jump for some reason and some person's thoughts were running through her head and a bit of the rules of Panic were kind of mentioned. It was all very jumbled and everywhere, in my opinion, and I think all that mess slowed down the plot at first.

Speaking of plot, another thing that really bogged it down was Lauren Oliver's writing, I think. I remember reading Delirium and just finding these passages of pure brilliance. Her writing truly is something lovely. However, she's got Panic, this high-stakes game where kids could die and there are illegal happenings, and I felt as if her beautiful writing didn't fit with the story. And especially with Dodge, I didn't feel as if it would be part of his character to go off on these long internal dialogues of the beauty or the ugliness of the world. 

My last qualm with Panic was Panic itself. Yes, this sounded like such a cool idea. I read the Panic events and was very into what was happening, but a game like this just didn't seem likely to happen with a bunch of teenagers in today's kind of setting. From what I read, I don't believe it was dystopian, so I'm just going to go with a present day setting for this book. I found it very unlikely that a bunch of teenagers running this game each and every summer wouldn't have been caught and the game shut down by now. Where were the angry parents? Also, with some of these events, they were too cruel and dangerous (and illegal) for a bunch of teenagers to come up with and play.

Panic seems like such a good premise for a book. I see that other people really enjoyed this book, but I couldn't get into it as much as other people did. The events that happened in the game just seemed too unlikely and I would just get plain old bored during some parts of the book. I didn't care for the characters as much as I would have liked, either. Sadly, this book wasn't for me. In the end, this book just earned itself three stars.

3 Splashes

Thursday, February 20, 2014

I Can Explain

So, if you haven't noticed yet, I haven't posted in just about a month on here. Isn't that just terrible??? I've been a terrible blogger! I mean, I guess I could say I've been busy with school work and I picked up the Harry Potter books for the first time in forever (yes, I know. I am ashamed of this fact) and those are the reasons why I haven't been blogging, but I still feel bad anyway. I love blogging!

Anyway, hopefully that'll change because I want to go back to blogging whether it kills me or not. I miss talking with all you book and twitter friends! Hopefully soon my blog will be busy with posts and memes.

Love you all,
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