Saturday, November 16, 2013

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

Paperback: 182 Pages

Publisher: Dalmatian Press

ISBN: 1-4037-6498-0

My Rating: 4/5
Poor Oliver...Starved and mistreated as a workhouse orphan, he runs away to London, hoping to find a better life. But twists and turns-and some rather odd characters-await him in his tale. Oliver's fate is in the hands of villains and thieves, one kind old gentleman, one woman with a change of heart, and a twisted man who follows his every move.

Everyone knows the story of Oliver Twist so I'm not really going to go into any detail here. I will say that I liked it, just like before even though it's a little deranged haha. I guess I didn't really realize (or maybe I didn't remember) just how sad little Oliver Twist's story is. I don't really feel like I should say much haha. It's a classic story, I'm sure everyone has read it so I'll just say that I liked it and if you haven't read it you should. The version of the book I got would be good for kids because there are lots of pictures in it. I didn't realize that these little $1 books were going to essentially be picture books but they are good little quick reads either way.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Paperback: 336 Pages

Publisher: Razorbill

ISBN: 978-1-59514-188-0

My Rating: 3.5/5
Clay Jensen doesn't want anything to do with the tapes Hannah Baker made. Hannah is dead. Her secrets should be buried with her. Then Hannah's voice tells Clay that his name is on her tapes-and that he is, in some way, responsible for her death. All through the night, Clay keeps listening. He follows Hannah's recorded words throughout his small town...and what he discovers changes his life forever.

I really really struggled with what to rate this book. I did really like it. It kept me interested and I enjoyed reading it. But after finishing the book and reading the ending I was a little disappointed. I actually explained the book in great detail to a friend that's a male and he just looked at me and said "Was this book written by a guy?" Why yes, yes it was. I want to give you fair warning that my review may contain spoilers. I might need to vent about my frustrations and reveal key points in this novel. So just a heads up. With that being said, I think Asher is a good author and I would definitely like to read something else from him so long as it's not a similar style of book.

One of the things I really enjoyed about 'Thirteen Reasons Why' was the dual narration. There are two main voices. Although it's Clay Jensen's POV, Hannah Baker has an equal amount of narrating if not more. I've never read a book with a simultaneous narration from two distinctly different characters. It was great and Asher did amazing in that aspect. Now on to what I didn't like. I didn't like her 13 reasons for why she killed herself. I know that we all handle stress differently and stuff but to me, she faced nothing different than any other teenage girl or (in some cases) boy. I read this book in a very small amount of time, it was an easy read but I honestly kept holding out hope that something would happen. Something besides rumors and other peoples flaws as characters. I was waiting for it to come out that she was raped, not that someone else was. And how can she sit there and berate people for not reaching out to help her when she couldn't reach out and help the girl being raped? She's a walking contradiction. I won't say more about the book then that but I have something to say about all 13 reasons.

Overall, I did like reading this novel. It was interesting and it kept me engaged; however, I'd never read another one like it. I was really disappointed and I feel like it gives an extremely negative message. She justifies killing herself for rumors and things that she let happen? If we all reacted the same way I think the world would be a very small place. I struggled with whether to give this book a 3 or a 4 so it is officially my first book that I've given a half a point to. I do fully encourage everyone to read this book and see what you think yourself. Very few people dislike it from what I've seen so give it a shot.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Paperback: 179 pages

Publisher: Dalmatian Press

ISBN: 1-4037-6497-2

My Rating: 5/5
Alice's adventures get "curiouser and curiouser" in Wonderland. From a Queen with no heart (who must win), to a Duchess with no point (but her chin), to a Cat with no parts (but its grin)-Alice is the only one who makes any sense in this wonderful tale of nonsense.

I absolutely can not find a picture for the cover of this book. I looked everywhere for one to use but I can't find one. So the picture above isn't the picture for this book, just to clarify. With that being said, I'm sure we've all heard of Alice in Wonderland whether from watching one of the many movies or by reading the classic book. I picked this one up because I was at Walmart and they had this whole big section of books that are classics there for $1 a piece....I mean, who can pass on books that are $1 especially such amazing ones! So I grabbed it up and just decided to read it today since I knew it would be a quick, easy and enjoyable read.

I don't really feel the need to explain the book because I'd be shocked to find a person who hadn't heard of it. But, in a nutshell, it's about Alice who falls asleep and has this curious dream about falling down a rabbit hole into Wonderland. There she runs into all sorts of creatures and problems. She seems to be a short-tempered child as she continuously loses her temper but seems to be able to control her anger fairly well.

I absolutely love the story of Alice in Wonderland and I've loved it for a very long time. I was so excited when I saw this at Walmart for just $1. It's a perfect book for kids because it's a picture book. The pictures aren't colored or anything but they are still in there and the illustrations are quite enjoyable. Definitely worth a purchase!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck

Hardcover: 448 Pages

Publisher: Splinter

ISBN: 978-1-4027-8403-3

My rating: 1/5
The last thing Kelsey Hayes thought she'd be doing this summer was trying to break a 300-year-old Indian curse. With a mysterious white tiger named Ren. Halfway around the world. But that's exactly what happened. Face-to-face with dark forces, spell-binding magic, and mystical worlds where nothing is what it seems, Kelsey risks everything to piece together an ancient prophecy that could break the curse forever.

I honestly did really try to give this book a fair chance. I know that SO many people absolutely loved it but I just couldn't get into it. There was just something about it, the way it was written, the way the characters talked, I just couldn't get into. They didn't talk normally. It was almost like...English wasn't their first language (even though it was for some) but they still spoke it....unnaturally. Now, I want to give it a fair review even though I didn't like it. And I definitely do not want to deter anyone from reading it. I think you should absolutely check it out for yourself and I hope that people don't just buy books based on reviews.

The main character in the story was Kelsey. She's 17 and just graduated high school. She got a job at a circus where she gets to work with the dogs and a tiger. The thing that first just irked me the wrong way was how she saw the tiger and instantly was like, dang, that tiger is so special, so different. How many tigers has she worked with at 17? Then she said the tiger smelled of sandalwood and jasmine and that the smell lingered after the tiger was gone, but she said she was standing in the back watching the it doesn't add did you smell that tiger over everything else? And the other thing I couldn't stand was the way ALL the characters talked. Like they bought a Word-A-Day calendar and were trying to use big words. At one point Kelsey is told a story about a prince who was tortured and killed. After hearing the story she basically says "what a tragic series of events" or something along those lines. People just don't talk like that. I won't lie, I only read the first 100 pages or so and all the characters talked like that the whole time. No one had their own individual "voice" if you know what I mean.

Overall, I didn't like 'Tiger's Curse' and I won't buy the next book. With that being said, I hope that you'll check it out for yourself. Please don't ever take any person's review as the be all, end all over a book. Just because it doesn't work for me, doesn't mean it won't work for you. It actually seems to be loved more than it isn't by most people so I'm probably just the exception. Check it out, or don't, it's really up to you but I won't pick it up again.

Friday, June 28, 2013

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

Paperback: 496 Pages

Publisher: McElderberry Books

ISBN: 978-1-4169-7224-2

My Rating: 5/5

WARNING: Don't read the area in green if you haven't read City of Bones and you plan on reading it, it contains spoilers!!

Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what's normal when you're a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like her best friend, Simon. But the Shadowhunters won't let her go-especially her handsome, infuriating newfound brother, Jace. And Clay's only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil-and also her father. When the second of the Mortal Instruments is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor suspects Jace. Could Jace really be willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?

It's been a long time since I read 'City of Bones' by Cassandra Clare so I had to refresh my memory before getting into City of Ashes. I don't know why I waited so long between the two because when I read 'City of Bones' I was instantly obsessed and the same holds true for 'City of Ashes.' All the same characters are there but with some new developments. This book was a little shocking. There were lots of points where I was just like "WHAT?????" but not in a bad way haha. It's really engaging and I'm glad I finally decided to pick it back up.

This book is the story of the Shadowhunters but, as we all know, there are also demons, werewolves, vampires, warlocks, and pretty much anything else you can think of. 'City of Ashes' is basically Clary and Jace's story with a little bit of Simon thrown in. There are a few deaths and some significant changes in key characters which were totally unexpected! We learn more about the notorious Valentine but also get hints that something else is going on...something about Valentine, Jace and Clary but it never quites get out there so I'm super anxious to read the next book and find out what it is.

Overall, I loved 'City of Ashes' just as much as I loved 'City of Bones.' Clare did an amazing job with this book as she did with the first one! I'm hoping to have the rest of the series read so I can be caught up for the new book release in April of 2014 but my To Be Read pile is HUGE right now. Yes, I've been totally slacking in the reading department. I tried to describe this series to a friend and the only thing I could think to say was that it is True Blood for a younger crowd. In case you didn't know, I love True Blood immensely! If you haven't checked out this series yet, you need to. It's absolutely amazing!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead

Paperback: 608 Pages

Publisher: RazorBill

ISBN: 978-1-59514-440-9

My Rating: 4/5

The Queen is dead and the Moroi world will never be the same. Now, with Rose awaiting wrongful execution and Lissa in a deadly struggle for the royal throne, the girls find themselves forced to rely upon enemies and to question those they thought they could trust...But what if true freedom means sacrificing the most important thing of all? Each other.

I'm a little sad to be writing this review. I've loved the Vampire Academy series for so long! So it's completely crushing for me to be writing my last review on the series. There are other series from Richelle Mead that will take place in the Moroi World (Bloodlines) but I'm fairly confident they won't have Rose Hathaway or Lissa Dragomir in them, which is heartbreaking. With that being said, I can honestly say that Vampire Academy has been one of my top three for favorite series! I love it and everything about it. Although I found the final book to be a little slow till about halfway, it was exponentially better than the ending to some other series....not naming any names (Twilight!).

The final book in the series, Last Sacrifice, picks up literally right where Spirit Bound left off. I don't want to reveal anything in case some of you aren't that far in the series. I will say that I found the first half of the book to be pretty slow going and boring...which is probably why it took me so long to read it. But the second half flew by in a second. There was a ton of stuff going on, unexpected deaths was a big one. There were a lot of things that I found to be predictable in the end. I mean, you just knew it was going to happen either way.

I initially was going to give Last Sacrifice a 3/5 but the last half of the book made up for the boring parts in the beginning. I didn't give it a solid 5 because of a few reasons, the slowness in the beginning, the ending was too perfect and there definitely should have been more....drama. I mean, I love all the characters but the ones that were most important that lived were too...happy? haha. That sounds mean. It was too fairy tale, happily ever after-ish. Despite all that, I love Richelle Mead as an author and I can't wait to start reading Bloodlines! If you haven't checked out the Vampire Academy series yet, I really don't know what you're waiting definitely should....right now!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Plights by B. Pine

Paperback: 256 Pages

Publisher: Silver Leaf Books


Release Date: February 11, 2013

My Rating: 5/5

The children grow, the dragons watch. And they can't help but wonder what lies in store for them all. The wonderful tale of the young Draca Wards continues. After surviving their initial confrontation with various dragons, it is now apparent that children are indeed a force to be reckoned with. Realizing this, the Academy Headmaster, the Debellos dragon Humo, changes tactics and directs his deadly attention on Galen and Princess Jania. Sanguis continues her schemes to make Rohen her own. And the sinister dragon Obitus has also formed a dangerous plot to recover the child druid Megan. But although their Tueri dragon protectors are either absent or powerless to guard the wards, the children are not defenseless. They have a helpful young ally. And their powers are emerging. Read more of the adventures of Rohen, Megan, Jania, Ben, and Galen as they continue their education at the renowned Academy in the second installment of the Draca Wards Saga. Find out if any more wards are discovered, and whether any other dragons make their presence known.

First off, let me start by saying that I almost always put the reading level for every book. Since this is a YA blog I assume everyone knows that; however, I sincerely feel that The Draca Wards Saga by B. Pine is an incredible series that literally everyone can enjoy. This won't be the first or the last time that I compare The Draca Wards Saga to the Harry Potter series but in the same fashion, they are both incredible and could easily be loved by one and all.

Plights picks up where Familiar Origins leaves off. I don't want to say too much about this book because it's the second in the saga and I really think they are incredible so no spoilers! I will say that all my favorite characters make an appearance including (but not limited to) Ghalen  and Rohen. I have really liked Rohen's character since I read Familiar Origins and that still holds true. There were some very descriptive events that took place in this book that seriously gave me chills. One being an infestation of ticks and lice!

When an author is capable of putting you right into the world they've created and make you feel what the characters feel, you're in for one amazing ride and that is exactly what Pine did with this Saga. It was a long time for me to wait between reading Familiar Origins and then reading Plights but I remembered everything easily and it was like it was yesterday when I read Familiar Origins. Again, Pine amazes me with her abilities as an author and continues my undying love for the Draca Wards Saga! If you haven't read this series yet, you need to!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Reading Level: Ages 14 and up

Hardcover: 544 Pages

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

ISBN: 978-0-06-202404-6

My Rating: 5/5
One choice can transform you-or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves-and herself-while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love. Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebrating and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge and choices will become even more irrevocable-and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

It's been a long time since I was able to read a full book or write a review as I'm sure most of you noticed. So I apologize for that and if this review is really not up to the standards of my others. With that being said, let's start!

First of all, I love love love this book. I also really loved Divergent and read it in a very short amount of time. Insurgent is a continuation of Divergent and an amazing one at that. Most books lose their sizzle from book 1 to book 3 but not Insurgent! If possible, it gets better.

Tris struggles through some amazingly difficult situations and substandard living conditions. She is very real for me in Insurgent. She acts how I would expect a normal person to act. Having to shoot her best friend in Divergent, she is unable to even hold a gun in Insurgent because it's too painful and she is overwhelmed with a flashbacks and emotions. Even when her life is in jeopardy, she still can't seem to sum up the courage to fire a gun. This story is full of twists and turns! Help comes to Tris from a lot of unexpected sources, she risks her own life over and over again, and she is still overwhelmed over the events that happened in Divergent.

Overall, this book was incredible. Roth has easily become one of my favorite authors with her superb writing style and sheer talent. I can't wait to read more from her! Which will be sort of soon with the third book in the Divergent series being released on 10/22/2013. I can't wait! If you haven't picked up Divergent yet I very strongly recommend that you do! It's one book you won't regret purchasing and you will easily fall in love with it over and over.