Feb 25, 2010

Review | Thirsty by Tracey Bateman

"Hello, I'm Nina Parker…and I'm an alcoholic."

For Nina, it's not the weighty admission but the first steps toward recovery that prove most difficult. She must face her ex-husband, Hunt, with little hope of making amends, and try to rebuild a relationship with her angry teenage daughter, Meagan. Hardest of all, she is forced to return to Abbey Hills, Missouri, the hometown she abruptly abandoned nearly two decades earlier – and her unexpected arrival in the sleepy Ozark town catches the attention of someone – or something – igniting a two-hundred-fifty-year-old desire that rages like a wildfire.
Unaware of the darkness stalking her, Nina is confronted with a series of events that threaten to unhinge her sobriety. Her daughter wants to spend time with the parents Nina left behind. A terrifying event that has haunted Nina for almost twenty years begins to surface. And an alluring neighbor initiates an unusual friendship with Nina, but is Markus truly a kindred spirit or a man guarding dangerous secrets?
As everything she loves hangs in the balance, will Nina's feeble grasp on her demons be broken, leaving her powerless against the thirst? The battle between redemption and obsession unfold to its startling, unforgettable end.

Thoughts: Thirsty is unlike any other vampire book I’ve ever encountered. First off, it was a Christian book about vampires. I have to admit I was completely unaware it was considered a “Christian/Religious” book until after I read it and rated it on Goodreads. I was a bit surprised but then it sort of made sense, you know? All the talk about being saved and giving up alcoholism that Nina was faced with and how she found His way. Things like that just made more sense. Not that I was completely clueless to what they meant, I was just surprised at how focused it was at points about religion.

Anyways, I liked it. The characters were completely believable, honest, and likeable. I was able to understand Nina’s situation because the author’s descriptive writing helped me see what Nina was feeling and going through as she struggled to pick up the pieces of her life and make it work. We also got a few glimpses on what Hunt and Nina’s daughter, Meg, were going through and how they were trying to deal with Nina’s situation. This added a lot more depth to the story and I really liked how vivid the author was about each character’s emotions because I felt I connected with each of them.

The story was a little different than I expected because although it is technically a “vampire book,” it wasn’t really centered on that. Sure there were a few vampires, some good and some bad, and they all intertwined the story just right but really, the author could’ve just replaced the “vampires” with regular humans and made some of them a bit insane and trying to kill others and all that good stuff and it would have worked just as well.

There was only one thing that at a few times bothered me. At the beginning of every chapter and sometimes towards the end or even in the middle, there would be sort of a flashback. I really liked learning more on the characters pasts and how each thing contributed to how their lives turned out, but there were maybe a couple of times were I was a bit confused about who’s past we were reading about. After a few sentences though I would figure it out and it would be all good.

So the whole book has some great twists and turns that’ll keep you entertained until the very end. I was happy with the conclusion because it felt like real closure. I definitely recommend this to any adult-fiction readers who are looking to enjoy a good vampire book that has some religion, and is without that whole “Twilight-y” feeling.

Favorite Line: "After a full day of every grade, including my own, calling me 'Puke' and knocking my books out of my hands, I figured if God existed, it wasn’t for kids like me. At home that afternoon, I snuck into dad’s vodka. And I felt better..."

This book was provided by my local library

Feb 24, 2010

Review | Evernight by Claudia Gray

Title: Evernight by Claudia Gray
Series: Evernight, #1
Genre: YA - Paranormal
Publication: February 10, 2009 by HarperTeen
Format: Paperback
Source: Borrowed
Rating: ★★

Synopsis: Bianca wants to escape.

At the eerily Gothic Evernight Academy, the other students are sleek, smart, and almost predatory. Bianca knows she doesn't fit in.

When she meets handsome, brooding Lucas, he warns her to be careful—even when it comes to caring about him. But the connection between them can't be denied. Bianca will risk anything to be with Lucas, but dark secrets are fated to tear them apart . . . and to make Bianca question everything she's ever believed.

Thoughts: Honestly, I did not like this book. I gave it two stars though, because I felt the attempt the author made to make this a unique and original vampire book was worth an extra star. I guess I am just nice that way :) But there were too many things that bothered me about the book altogether that has me doubting if I will really want to read the rest of the books in this series

For one thing, the characters annoyed me immensely. Bianca especially because I thought she was silly and an idiot the whole time. First of all, her relationship with Lucas bugged the hell out of me and there wasn't a single time where I thought he might be worth the effort. I pretty much disliked everyone else, except for maybe Balthazar, who also sometimes got a bit annoying too with his whole I-hate-being-a-vampire-self.

The second thing that really bothered me was the ridiculous plot twist in the middle. It threw me off completely and not in that cool sort of way where you suddenly can't put the book down because it got so good; more in what seemed like the author changed her mind halfway through the book and decided not the edit what she had previously written to match the rest of the book. It was strange.

I'm not one to bash a book, really. I'll just stop here. For the first half of the book, I just wanted to smack Bianca. And for the rest of it, I was just really hoping that it would get better, but for me, it didn't. I think I will eventually decide to give book two a try, just to see if I was maybe just crazy. I just really hope I enjoy it better.

Feb 23, 2010

Review | The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga

Is this my hidden Mutant Power--The ability to screw up absolutely any decent situation?
Fanboy has never had it good, but lately his sophomore year is turning out to be its own special hell. The bullies have made him their favourite target., his best (and only) friend seems headed for the dark side (sports and popularity), and his pregnant mother and the step-fascist are eagerly awaiting the birth of the alien life form known as Fanboy's new little brother or sister.
 Fanboy, though, has a secret: a graphic novel he's been working on without telling anyone, a graphic novel that he is convinced will lead to publication, fame, and--most important of all--a way out of the crappy little town he lives in and away from all the people who make it hell for him. When fanboy meets Kyra, a.k.a. Goth Girl, he finds an outrageous, cynical girl who shares his love of comics as well as his hatred for jocks and bullies. Fanboy can't resist someone who actually seems to understand him, and soon he finds himself willing to heed her advice--to ignore or crush anyone who stand in his way. But Kyra has secrets, too. And they could lead Fanboy to his dreams...or down a path into his own darkness.

Thoughts: I really had no idea what this book was about and really just picked it up because it was the only Young Adult book there was in audio format at the library I was at that day. The voice Lyga gives Fanboy was what captured my attention from the beginning. Fanboy, whose real name I was never really sure of, is in that awkward age of fifteen, a nerd who is smarter than everyone else, loves comics and has only one real friend on most days. He is clueless about girls, gets bullied by older and bigger guys from school, and believes he has a way out of the suburban hell he is living in. A typical teenager with real problems, like dealing with his parents divorce and trying to fit in, Lyga was able to capture the misery, anxiety and confusion that teenagers usually go through in those tough years.

I instantly loved Fanboy and was able to understand what he felt like when he isolated himself from his family and most other people like many teenagers do. I enjoyed seeing high school through his eyes, and watching him struggle in his everyday life, while trying to figure things out. When he meets Goth Girl, they bond instantly…sort of. She is emotionally damaged and packed with an attitude that questions everything and has many issues of her own. Their love for comic books and hatred of jocks and popular students brings them together and takes an interesting turn later in the book as a few twists change the Fanboy’s journey through life.

The one thing I disliked was the abrupt ending. It sort of left us hanging there. And yet, I have to admit it kind of fit the entire book. It was a completely believable ending, one you would expect but I couldn’t help but want to know more afterwards. It was missing that sense of resolution and that made me a bit sad to see the book end.

This book was real, funny, dorky and also quite dark at certain points. The ending was its only weak point but there is another book, Goth Girl Rising, which hopefully gives us a satisfying ending that I was hoping for as it continues Kyra’s story.

Favorite Line(s):
"There are three things in this world that I want more than anything. I'll tell you the first two, but I'll never tell you the third."

"I want to not ride the bus to school every day, but that would be a waste of a really big want--it'll take care of itself eventually."

Feb 11, 2010

Review | At Face Value by Emily Franklin

"You've never seen a nose as big as mine."

A tennis champion, straight-A student, and editor of the school paper, Cyrie Bergerac has learned to live with her (ahem) peculiar proboscis. And she's got an armory of witty retorts for every schnoz joke that comes her way. But despite her talents and charm, Cyrie is convinced that no guy—hot or otherwise—would deem her crush-worthy. Certainly not Eddie "Rox" Roxanninoff, who's gorgeous, smart, and genuinely nice to boot!
There's someone else smitten with Rox, too. It's Leyla, Cyrie's pretty yet tongue-tied best friend. Helping Leyla seduce Rox through email provides a wonderful way for Cyrie to express her true feelings. But watching her crush hook up with Leyla may be more than she can take. Will Cyrie find the strength to risk it all—nose be damned—and confess her love?

Thoughts: This is a cute, fun, witty and quick read. A modern take on the Cyrano de Bergerac tale, At Face Value is like a any other romantic high-school comedy with seventeen year old, Cyrie Bergerac falling in love with someone she shouldn't.

I liked Cyrie, who is a near-perfect student with outstanding grades, a great relationship with her parents and best friend. However, her appearance is less than flawless. Specifically, her nose, and it's size.

Although its completely predictable from the beginning, it is a sweet book to enjoy over the weekend with clever, enjoyable characters and laugh-out-loud moments.

NOTE: Some blogger have noticed that after I changed my URL, they no longer receive updates on their list. I do not know how to fix this, except to remove yourself as a follower and then follow again. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Feb 9, 2010

Review | Wings by Aprilynne Pike

Laurel was mesmerized, staring at the pale things with wide eyes. They were terrifyingly beautiful—too beautiful for words.

Laurel turned to the mirror again, her eyes on the hovering petals that floated beside her head. They looked almost like wings.

In this extraordinary tale of magic and intrigue, romance and danger, everything you thought you knew about faeries will be changed forever.

Thoughts: Being a newbie to the faerie genre, I was a bit surprised that I enjoyed this more than what I originally expected. I had read one book previously about fey(?), and I was really iffy on the whole genre afterwards, but this completely changed my mind.

From the beginning, I found the book very enjoyable. I've read a few other reviews that complain on the beginning being too much like a "fairy tale" but I thought it was perfect. After all, it is about faeries.

I really liked Laurel, and I know she was a little too perfect, but she is someone I would love as a friend. I enjoyed her relationship with her parents and the friendship she had with David. I loved all the characters really and I am already torn between the love triangle that began to form in this first book (out of four!).

It is a great book to start off with if you haven't read any other faerie books because it gives a lot of background information if you don't know anything, but doesn't overwhelm you with too much. The story is great, with lots going on to keep it interesting throughout the book, and provides enough to explain how the faerie world works. I can't wait for the next book :)

NOTE: Some blogger have noticed that after I changed my URL, they no longer receive updates on their list. I do not know how to fix this, except to remove yourself as a follower and then follow again. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Feb 2, 2010

Review | The Everafter by Amy Huntley

Madison Stanton doesn't know where she is or how she got there. But she does know this—she is dead. And alone, in a vast, dark space. The only company she has in this place are luminescent objects that turn out to be all the things Maddy lost while she was alive. And soon she discovers that with these artifacts, she can reexperience—and sometimes even change—moments from her life.
Her first kiss.
A trip to Disney World.
Her sister's wedding.
A disastrous sleepover.
In reliving these moments, Maddy learns illuminating and sometimes frightening truths about her life—and death.
This is a haunting and ultimately hopeful novel about the beauty of even the most insignificant moments—and the strength of true love even beyond death.

Thoughts: This book was unlike anything I've ever read and the author's view on the afterlife is completely different.

The author used lost items to connect Madison back to her life and we begin to see who she is through the glimpses into her memories, slowly building a character you can relate to and understand. As the story develops, we experience happy, sad, confusing and funny moments that show us what her life was like, who were the people she loved, and keeps us guessing on how she died.

I loved the idea of The Everafter, especially being able to relive moments after dying. When the novel travels back to a certain time, there's no knowing what could happen.

The ending was a complete shock to me, and I did not see it coming. I was glad we find out what happens and how, but I was a bit disappointed there were so many unanswered questions left in the end.

Although it starts off a bit too slow for my like, it gets much better. This is an enjoyable and quick read, with a completely unique view on what happens when you die, and will leave you thinking even after you've put it down.