Thursday, December 15, 2011

Review: Leftovers (and a bit of raging)

Okay okay, I know. I've been a flake this year. Apologies! This semester has been especially rough; as soon as I finish one thing, there seems to be ten other things that need to be done. Have you guys ever felt that way? As much as I love the college experience, my biggest discontentment with the schooling system is how little freedom students truly have to pick the classes they want to take. Now of course, this doesn't apply to every college student out there, but this has been an ongoing discussion between my classmates and me. Say, if you want a career in pre-med, you have all these prereqs that are ridiculously hard, and all your free time is spent building up your CV with hours of volunteering, research, lab work, extracurriculars, etc. Sometimes I feel so stressed I just want to scream, WHY. Us pre-med kids aren't the only ones who feel this way. Same goes for other paths, I'm sure. And I know that I really do have a choice, in that I could just choose not to be a doctor and instead pick something that won't steal my youthful years from me. After going this far though, it's too hard to see my cards holding anything else for me..

Anyways, I know public ranting is extremely annoying, but sometimes it helps to share a bit of what's peeving you, if only to infinitesimally relieve your burdens. Sorry guys! I'm on winter break now, which will last for over a month (yay!), so hopefully I'll get to simmer down and post some more reviews and such.

Onto the review!


Leftovers

Author: Laura Weiss
Publisher: MTV Books
Release Date: 1 January 2oo8
Pages: 256


A devastating novel of desperation and revenge from one of today's most compelling new voices in fiction. In this follow-up to her heartbreaking debut, Such a Pretty Girl, Laura Wiess once again spins a shattering tale of the tragedies that befall young women who are considered society's Leftovers.
 
Blair and Ardith are best friends who have committed an unforgivable act in the name of love and justice. But in order to understand what could drive two young women to such extreme measures, first you'll have to understand why. You'll have to listen as they describe parents who are alternately absent and smothering, classmates who mock and shun anyone different, and young men who are allowed to hurt and dominate without consequence. You will have to learn what it's like to be a teenage girl who locks her bedroom door at night, who has been written off by the adults around her as damaged goods. A girl who has no one to trust except the one person she's forbidden to see. You'll have to understand what it's really like to be forgotten and abandoned in America today.
 
Are you ready?


Luna's Take:

I love this author. She has a way with words, and I equate her writing abilities to those of Stiefvater, Clare, and Collins. I first got hooked after reading her book, How It Ends. You can read my review here. That being said though, I didn't like this one as much as How It Ends.
That sounds like a huge contradiction, right? How can I rave about this author and yet not fully love one of her novels? Essentially, I almost feel like I know this author. Her writing is so poignant and memorable, her own personally seeps out between the lines. If you've ever felt a deep connection with a book (the story itself, and not the characters), you know what I mean. If not, I'm pretty sure I must sound like a psych patient to you.. ;D

Ultimately, even though I didn't like this as much, I still want to read her other books. It's kind of like, oh there were a couple hiccups in this one, but who cares! The author is still amazing, and this stuff is better than the majority of other YA works out there!

The two main characters, Ardith and Blair, have some pretty effed up lives. Ardith lives in a fairly shabby house on the outskirts of town with middle-aged parents who can't seem to loosen their grasp on teenagedom and an older brother who leeches on any decent-looking girl within eyesight. You know how in high school, there was always that kid whose parents were gone for the weekend, so his house automatically became party central? That's how Ardith's house is, except for her it's 24/7, rain or shine. She lives in constant fear of being assaulted by hordes of drunken people right outside her room, so she padlocks her door every night and sleeps with a screwdriver under her pillow.

Ardith, instead of being noticed too often, is frequently ignored by her job-crazy mother and absent father. She lives in near isolation, in a posh house with two parents who can't even stand to look at each other without resentment. When her parents commit the ultimate act of betrayal against her, she begins to fall apart internally, losing her passion for life and passively conforming to their societal expectations.

The characters themselves were sketched out extremely vividly, which was my favorite part about this novel. Weiss has a way of allowing her readers an exclusive, raw look into the intricacies of her characters' lives. When I read the summary, I was so excited to find out what the girls did.. Upon discovering what it was though, I found myself rather disappointed. I thought the ending could have been elaborated upon, or at least dramaticized more. But I can't complain too much, because I still managed to breeze through the book in less than 24hrs :P Looking forward to reading more from this author!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Review: Sisterhood Everlasting

Gahh I know, I know, it's been about 3 years since my last post.. Sorry for being MIA, I just had a lot of stuff going on (typical cliché, yes). I've been doing some undergraduate research for a Fellow (who happens to not be a fellow) at the med school near my university, and all the grunt work can take quite a while. Other than that, I'm taking a couple summer classes at a local college and still holding a job to pay off some of my spending sprees. But I have been reading in the interim, and now the "stuff" in my life has died down a little, and I want to share this amazing book I recently read. So all excuses laid aside, here goes my first review since the Ice Age.



Sisterhood Everlasting
(The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants #5)

Author: Ann Brashares
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: 14 June 2011
Pages: 349

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Ann Brashares comes the welcome return of the characters whose friendship became a touchstone for a generation. Now Tibby, Lena, Carmen, and Bridget have grown up, starting their lives on their own. And though the jeans they shared are long gone, the sisterhood is everlasting.

Despite having jobs and men that they love, each knows that something is missing: the closeness that once sustained them. Carmen is a successful actress in New York, engaged to be married, but misses her friends. Lena finds solace in her art, teaching in Rhode Island, but still thinks of Kostos and the road she didn’t take. Bridget lives with her longtime boyfriend, Eric, in San Francisco, and though a part of her wants to settle down, a bigger part can’t seem to shed her old restlessness.

Then Tibby reaches out to bridge the distance, sending the others plane tickets for a reunion that they all breathlessly await. And indeed, it will change their lives forever—but in ways that none of them could ever have expected.

As moving and life-changing as an encounter with long-lost best friends, Sisterhood Everlasting is a powerful story about growing up, losing your way, and finding the courage to create a new one.



Luna's Take:

First off, I know this review will probably be a little exclusive, since I know not all of you have read this series. But I just HAD to review it (can you tell I'm a huge Sisterhood fan??). I actually finished reading this over a week ago. I purchased the book its opening day, and it didn't take me too long to breeze through it. Hopefully I can get some of you to convert into fans, too. :)

This book starts off about 10 years after the conclusion of the last one, so the girls have all just turned 29. Although I'm still about a decade younger than the Sisterhood in this book, I didn't feel that the age barrier prevented me from fully understanding and empathizing with how the characters felt during the story. This is a tribute to Brashares, because I feel she manages to keep the core of each girl intact, despite there being such a long gap in the storyline.

Not to give anything away, but I wasn't too surprised that the girls weren't as close at the onset of this book as they were when they were mere teenagers. Anyone can attest to it - life happens. You find yourself more connected to some people than others over time. It is partly because of this bridge that Tibby decides to bring the Sisterhood back together, and they all end up meeting in Santorini.

What did surprise me was the fact that Lena and Kostos still have not gotten together! Their relationship has been a tortuous and tumultuous one, but at the end of the last book, as Kostos whispers "Someday" to Lena in Greek, I truly believed that their intertwined fates were sealed. As my favorite character (and not just because our names are so similar), Lena shocks me at times. But there are plenty of other twists in store for those of you who read this; it's so hard not to give much away!

One of the only criticisms I have about the book is regarding its dimensions - it's HUGE! Brashares had this book published under a different company, and I think that affected the length and width of it.. So now, it looks just a tad awkward next to the other four in the series, which are all synchronized - not only in size, but also in cover design. But really, this is just a superficial detail. Overall, I LOVED the conclusion to this epic saga; I ended the book in tears of happiness! So if you haven't yet touched a Sisterhood book, it's not too late to start!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Review: Illusions


Illusions (Wings #3)

Author: Aprilynne Pike
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: 3 May 2011
Pages: 375


Laurel hasn't seen Tamani since she begged him to let her go last year. Though her heart still aches, Laurel is confident that David was the right choice.

But just as life is returning to normal, Laurel discovers that a hidden enemy lies in wait. Once again, Laurel must turn to Tamani to protect and guide her, for the danger that now threatens Avalon is one that no faerie thought would ever be possible. And for the first time, Laurel cannot be sure that her side will prevail.



Luna's Take:

It feels like I'd been waiting for the third installment in the Wings series for forever and a day, so you can probably guess just how psyched I was to finally have this in my hands! Ever since the first book, I'd been completely hooked into both Laurel's human world and the fantastical realm of Avalon.

Safe to say, this book did not disappoint. Tamani crosses the threshold into the human world by posing as a typical high school student, all for the purpose of being able to act as Laurel's guardian up close (and personal!). One of the main reasons I think Pike really impressed in this book is the fact that she fleshes out most of the characters so they become more 3-D to readers. Personally, I felt that Tamani's character was lacking a bit of description and personality in Wings and Spells. Before, it seemed to me that all he obsessed about was Laurel this, Laurel that, did Laurel have breakfast today because that's an essential meal in every faerie's life, etc. Not to say that he wasn't overly-protective of her in this book, because he was, but his motivation and willingness to execute his goals are much more evident to us. We are able to read some passages from his POV, as well.

The main problem at this point is the appearance of Yuki, who is a foreign exchange student later revealed as a rogue faerie in the human world. Tamani and Laurel, among others, are baffled by her existence, especially since Laurel is the only known scion. They do their best to tread on water around Yuki, fearful of their predictions on how much she might know or not know about themselves, and this mystery lasts throughout the majority of the novel, making the plot thicken considerably.

The passion between Laurel and her two favorite leading men is absolutely smexy, too. At times, it's true that the love triangle can be a bit maddening, but most times, it's pure hilarity to witness Laurel's constant internal struggle to choose between the two.

I would definitely recommend this to all fans of Pike's previous two books, and if you haven't picked up on this series yet, be sure to get your own copy of Wings! Scoot scoot!

Rating: 5/5

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Review: The Sky is Everywhere

I'm back!!! And just in case you guys can't tell how ecstatic I am for school to be over, I'll tack on a few more !!!s. Anyways, I've gotten to read some fabtabulous books since the end of my term, so here's my first review post-finals-induced-hiatus!


The Sky is Everywhere

Author: Jandy Nelson
Publisher: Speak
Release Date: 22 March 2011
Pages: 288

Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker, bookworm and band geek, plays second clarinet and spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulted to center stage of her own life—and, despite her nonexistent history with boys, suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two. Toby was Bailey’s boyfriend; his grief mirrors Lennie’s own. Joe is the new boy in town, a transplant from Paris whose nearly magical grin is matched only by his musical talent. For Lennie, they’re the sun and the moon; one boy takes her out of her sorrow, the other comforts her in it. But just like their celestial counterparts, they can’t collide without the whole wide world exploding.


Luna's Take:

This book made my heart ache a little. I almost don't know how to review it; there don't seem to be words satisfying enough to describe how I felt upon finishing it. Safe to say, Nelson's writing style is so enchantingly lyrical and breathtaking, I couldn't stand it at times. And just a little disclaimer for those of you who haven't read the book yet: Tears will be shed. Especially if you're a big ol' hopeless romantic at heart, as I am.

There are many different ways to mourn a lost one. Shortly following her older sister's death, Lennie undergoes a sexual awakening that is as surprising as it is sudden. Indeed, her feelings toward the opposite sex are so shocking because she has always been one to follow in her sister's shadow, making all her emotions and desires pre-death to be expressed in a muted fashion, and she therefore didn't quite live up to her full potential. Post-death, she attempts to bury her anguish and depression by pouring her heart out to two boys. While Bailey's boyfriend, Toby, helps Lennie remember Bailey in her glory, new boy Joe blows into town and alleviates Lennie's pain simply by being the happy ball of sunshine that he is. And while both of them help shoulder her crushing pain somewhat, it is only through self-reflection and contemplation that Lennie can truly learn to heal.

I'm sure that doesn't cover it all, but all I know is, my mind was going in all directions while reading this book. There were times I felt so strongly for Lennie's suffering, and other times when I had this huge grin on my face for the comical way in which she expressed her inner turmoil and confusion. Most of us have lost a dearly beloved, and I think Nelson truly managed to capture the core emotions we ourselves feel in our journey to recovery. Her words will stay with me, long past the last page.

Rating: 5/5

Monday, May 2, 2011

cover revealed for silence!

Have you guys seen the newly-revealed cover for Becca Fitzpatrick's Silence? It just came out today and it's 110% GORGEOUS. Can't wait for this to come out. :)


Silence

Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: 14 October 2011
Pages: 400

And I know Waiting on Wednesday's a couple days away; I just couldn't wait to rave about this cover! Look at how beautimus Patch is... (heartheartheart). And I know I'm probably not the only one who's jealous of Nora in this image. I've loved all the covers in this series so far, and this one definitely doesn't disappoint! Gahh, who else cannot WAIT until October rolls around?!

Friday, April 29, 2011

the hunger games movie casting: effie

Okay, taking a short little break from studying here to announce... *drumroll* ...that the role of Effie Trinket has been scored by...



A Ms. Elizabeth Banks!
At first, I didn't know whether she could pull off our bubbly busybody, Effie, but at second glance, I think she could, with some effort. The only movie I remember her from is The Uninvited, and she played a fairly creepy role in that film. Anyways, just wanted to share for anyone who didn't know.

Back to hittin' those books!

Monday, April 25, 2011

review: The Goddess Test

Hello!

Sorry for the long interval since my last post; it's finals week! I probably won't post again until next week, when school is all over and done with. For now, I'll leave you guys with this review...


The Goddess Test

Author: Aimée Carter
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: 19 April 2011
Pages: 304

It's always been just Kate and her mom—and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear her mother won't live past the fall.
Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld—and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.
Kate is sure he's crazy—until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride, and a goddess.


Luna's Take:

I love this cover! The "Greek-ified" title is cool too, even though sigma isn't actually pronounced with an "e" sound.. But oh well (Sorry, is my status as a college student that obvious now? :p).

Also, I've recently had a penchant for reading books regarding Greek mythology. As summer reading for my senior literature class, we read Edith Hamilton's Mythology, and there my obsession began.

So obviously, I got really wrapped up in The Goddess Test. Carter didn't really overload readers with facts on mythology, but enough was in there to keep fans like me happy. The description of the relationship between Kate and Henry was fairly swoonly, too. I was able to see it foster and grow throughout the book.

Appearances aside, this is not your typical read. One of the underlying plotlines is a murder mystery that remains to be solved. I don't normally read about this theme, but Carter wrote it in a way that drew me in and made me excited to read the subsequent chapter.

Though it wasn't a perfect read - some of the character sketches didn't quite agree with me - I enjoyed The Goddess Test, and recommend it to fellow Greek mythology lovers and to anyone who wants to discover some tidbits about mythology!

Rating: 4/5

Friday, April 22, 2011

follow me friday #1

First off, happy Earth Day, everyone! I always love this often-forgotten holiday. Two years ago, I planted a tree near my high school (named Grubby... long story), and I made sure to take the time to visit him today. Plus, today's the one month mark until my 19th birthday! Though I'm not sure that's a number worth celebrating. What's really special about 19? Last year of teenagedom? Prime number?

Rambling's done, now onto the post subject!



Follow Me Friday is a book meme hosted by Parajunkee. It provides members of the blogosphere to check out some new blogs, meet some cool peeps, and stalk some fellow bloggers (and possibly get some new followers, woot~).

This Week's Question: What is on your current playlist?

So my playlist is a bit all over the place, but that's one of the reasons I love it. :)

"Give Me Strength" by Snow Patrol
"All This Time" by OneRepublic
"Background" by Lecrae
"My Boots" by LIGHTS
"Nothing Left to Lose" by Mat Kearney
"Live Your Life" by T.I.
"Talking to the Moon" by Bruno Mars
"Time is Running Out" by Muse
"Look After You" by The Fray
"The Scientist" by Coldplay
"Someone Like You" by Adele


I've been listening to some of these songs on replay for quite some time, but others are new finds. My favorite genre usually falls in the "alternative" range, but I like to mix it up with some other songs every once in a while.

What have you been listening to recently?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

cover clash: headless ladies

"Cover Clash" is a book meme that highlights how some book covers are truly too similar to one another. While "Cover Clash" is a regular feature, I post it fairly sporadically. Feel free to participate as well, but don't forget to credit me!
 There have been cases where some covers are reused for different books, but then there are those like these...


 
 
Things I Know About Love 
by Kate Le Vann
 
Don't Expect Magic
by Kathy McCullough
 
I get how it's considered artsy at times when the subjects photographed don't show their heads/faces, giving the picture a mysterious vibe, but really? It's kind of overdone, in my opinion. Don't be afraid to show your faces, ladies! Everyone goes through puberty, a couple of zits shown to the public aren't the worst of your worries. :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

review: Wither

Man... It's been a Murphy's Law kind of day. You know, one of those days where it seems like nothing goes right, and everything that could ever possibly go wrong does. Sigh. That darn Murphy.

Sorry for being such a Debbie Downer; hopefully this review will make up for my cloudy mood!

Wither (Chemical Garden #1)

Author: Lauren DeStefano
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: 22 March 2011
Pages: 356

What if you knew exactly when you would die?

Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limted time she has left.



Luna's Take:

Gahh, this book! And the beautimus cover! I'm sure you all have heard the hype. And in my opinion, it's true! But let me elaborate a little.

To start, if I was living in the world of Wither, I would pass away in two years. Two years! Imagine having such a short life; what would you do? And what would I do? I kept pondering this question all throughout my reading, and I came up with only one answer that satisfied me: I would quit school, rack up my (meager) savings from my piggy bank, and backpack all over the world. So basically, nothing but me and what I could carry on my back. And when my time came, I'd want to be relaxed, staring at the myriad colors of a setting sun, or something along those lines. Cheesy, no? Granted, this is considering I that I'd have free will. What if you couldn't choose how to life your truncated life?

This is the sad reality of Rhine's world. The novel is set in a post-apocalyptic world, where an incurable virus runs rampant, killing females at twenty and males at twenty-five. With no antidote at hand, females are forced into servitude at the hand of eligible bachelors desiring campanionship and future offspring.

Rhine is thrust into this position, acting as one of the "sister wives" to Linden. Though we as a society are prone to shun polygamy, the characters in Wither have grown accustomed to such a distasteful practice. Her story is unbelievable yet heartrending, and I felt myself pulled into the story as if I was one of the characters myself. If you know me well, you know I *love* The Hunger Games series, and this first installment to the Chemical Garden provided many dystopian parallels that I loved.

Honestly, this was one of those novels that left me wanting so much more at the end, but in a good way. Hopefully we'll see more of Gabriel next time! Anyone else in the DeStefano fan wagon with me?

Rating: 5/5

Sunday, April 17, 2011

cover clash: peek-a-boo!

Cover Clash is a little segment I want to start that highlights how some book covers are truly too similar to one another. Have you guys ever noticed that? There have been cases where some covers are reused for different books, but then there are those like these...


Overprotected by Jennifer Laurens





Exposure by Therese Fowler

...that make you wonder whether the designers for these book covers were too lazy and decided to semi-plagarize off one another. I had seen the cover of Overprotected first, and when I came upon Exposure, I seriously thought it was the sequel. 

What are your thoughts? Personally, I'm kind of over the whole "peeking eyes" routine. A bit too cliché for my tastes.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

in my mailbox #2

In My Mailbox is a book meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren.
 
The title of this entry is actually a lie (I know, shame on me, blah blah blah). I didn't actually get these books in the mail.
So this weekend, I came back home for a little refresher before going back to school and hitting the books in preparation for FINALS... bleck. Anyways, lucky me, because today happened to be the last day that the Borders near my house stayed in business. Have you guys ever been to a bookstore that was going to close soon? It was like a bibliophile's heaven. Everything was 90% off! Now, I should give the disclaimer that I happened to step into the store 30 minutes before it closed (forever), so everything was dirt cheap. Let me tell you though, it was so competitive in there! I was going to reach for this book when this random woman snatched it right from underneath me! And to add insult to injury, she also swiped ALL the books from the shelf and cradled her victory bundle in her arms. I would have spit at her if it weren't so socially inacceptable... not really... well, maybe.
 
Okay, that's enough rant time. Now to show off my fruits of the day! I forgot to bring my camera with me, so these were taken with my shotty - yet reliable - webcam. Woo hoo!
 

Jealousy by Lili St. Crow
Torment by Lauren Kate
Vixen by Jillian Larkin

Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
The Line by Teri Hall
Outside the Ordinary World by Dori Ostermiller

White Cat by Holly Black
The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
You by Charles Benoit

A Kind of Intimacy by Jenn Ashworth
The Frenzy by Francesca Lia Block
Betrayal by Gillian Shields

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
Push by Sapphire
Rebel Angels by Libba Bray
 
I know these aren't all YA fiction, but I always like to branch out in consideration to my reading range. One thing I should mention, though - I already have my copy of Torment (and am eagerly awaiting the third installment!), so I might just have my newly-bought copy up for grabs! ;)
 
Happy reading~

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

waiting on wednesday 04.13.11

Waiting on Wednesday is a book meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine. What future releases are you anxiously waiting for?


Glow
Glow (Sky Chasers #1)

Author: Amy Kathleen Ryan
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: 27 September 2011
Pages: 320

First off, I love the cover! It's simple yet elegant, and I'm all for images within O's. Here's a little summary...


What if you were bound for a new world, about to pledge your life to someone you'd been promised to since birth, and one unexpected violent attack made survival—not love—the issue?

Out in the murky nebula lurks an unseen enemy: the New Horizon. On its way to populate a distant planet in the wake of Earth's collapse, the ship's crew has been unable to conceive a generation to continue its mission. They need young girls desperately, or their zealous leader's efforts will fail. Onboard their sister ship, the Empyrean, the unsuspecting families don't know an attack is being mounted that could claim the most important among them...

Fifteen-year-old Waverly is part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space; she was born on the Empyrean, and the large farming vessel is all she knows. Her concerns are those of any teenager—until Kieran Alden proposes to her. The handsome captain-to-be has everything Waverly could ever want in a husband, and with the pressure to start having children, everyone is sure he's the best choice. Except for Waverly, who wants more from life than marriage—and is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth.

But when the Empyrean faces sudden attack by their assumed allies, they quickly find out that the enemies aren't all from the outside.

Glow is the most riveting series debut since The Hunger Games, and promises to thrill and challenge readers of all ages.



I can't wait! Basically, I'll be into any book that's put in comparison to The Hunger Games, because really, how could I resist? And if the book's already bound for a series deal, it must be worth a read. Only 5+ months to wait... Sigh.

new design giveaway

So I don't know if you all check out Siobian over at The Owl Bookmark Blog, but she's currently hosting a giveaway for a new custom design! One lucky blogger will win a package including:

ê custom header
ê custom background
ê link bar with up to 5 buttons
ê signature
ê blog button with code
ê custom rating system for reviews
ê custom colors to match new design
ê installation

I know I will definitely be participating. My blog needs a revamping! If you guys feel the same way, be sure to check this out!


Siobian's Awesomely Original Design!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

review: Breathing Underwater

YUM.
Do you guys have an Einstein's near your house? We have one on campus, and I'm completely addicted now. My friend suggested I try the Cookies & Creme Frap, and it's like a mouthful of heaven every time you take a sip... highly recommended!
And now, onto the review.



Breathing Underwater

Author: Alex Flinn
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: 1 October 2002
Pages: 263
  
Like father,
like son

Intelligent, popular, handsome, and wealthy, sixteen-year-old Nick Andreas is pretty much perfect — on the outside, at least. What no one knows — not even his best friend — is the terror that Nick faces every time he is alone with his father. Then he and Caitlin fall in love, and Nick thinks his problems are over. Caitlin is the one person who he can confide in. But when things start to spiral out of control, Nick must face the fact that he's gotten more from his father than green eyes and money.


Luna's Take:

First thing: DON'T be repelled by this book solely because it was first published over 8 years ago and thus considered "ancient" in the ever-progressing bloggosphere. I had read something else of Flinn's, Beastly, over the summer, and I really liked her storyline, so I decided to try out another of her works.

Let me just say, it's a decision I definitely don't regret. Upon the first 50 pages or so, I really thought Nick was a fairly average guy, albeit one with some serious anger management issues. We find that his ex-girlfriend Caitlin put a restraining order on him because he allegedly treated her poorly, although we don't find exactly what that entails until nearly the end of the novel. However, throughout journal entries that Nick writes, I initially deduced that all that happened was him hitting Caitlin. Once.

Not to say I support abusive relationships, because I am 110% against them. It's just that with all that Nick's been through, I sort of understood where his anger came from. He shouldn't have hit his girlfriend, sure, but he really didn't know how to ask for help, who to tell, and so on and so forth. If you think I'm crazy though, don't feel afraid to disagree!

As I read on, I realized there was a bucketload of things readers weren't privy to from the get-go. I personally did not like Caitlin as a character. To me, she seems kind of weak and meager for the majority of the book, someone who can't really speak up for herself when it counts. 

All in all, I suggest picking up a copy of Breathing Underwater for an intense ride.

Rating: 4/5

Saturday, April 9, 2011

in my mailbox #1

In My Mailbox is a book meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren. Be sure to join in the fun and share your IMM! 

Gahh second post today, I'm on a roll!
Anyways, I figure that since I had such a huge shipment of books that landed on my doorstep the other day, I should share my list with you guys. :)
I would post up a picture of all my fabulous books, but unfortunately, I forgot to do that when I was back home, and now I'm in my dorm again... Sad. Probably won't be going back in a while, so I'll just post up higher-quality images of all the books I received! Here they are...


 

Hourglass by Claudia Gray

 
Sleepless by Thomas Fahy

 
Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
  
Inside Out
by Maria V. Snyder

 
Crash Test Love by Ted Michael

 
Breathing Underwater
by Alex Flinn

 
Teach Me by R.A. Nelson

 
Girl Parts by John M. Cusick



 

Ruby Unscripted
by Cindy Martinusen-Coloma 
 
 
Intertwined by Gena Showalter

 
If I Stay by Gayle Forman


One Day by David Nicholls


Swoon by Nina Malkin




Taken By Storm
by Angela Morrison



The Maze Runner
 by James Dashner


 
Infinite Days
by Rebecca Maizel

 
The Secret Year
by Jennifer R. Hubbard

 
Falling Under
by Gwen Hayes


Strange Angels
by Lili St. Crow

 
The Tear Collector
by Patrick Jones



The Trouble With Mr. Darcy
by Sharon Lathan















Sorry for the weird spacing. I'm not... how do you say, "computer-savvy." Anyways, don't they look awesome?! I love getting tons of books all at once, clearly. And I don't feel embarrassed telling you guys, since I know you're all book nerds at heart! Don't deny... I can't even decide which cover is my favorite. Sleepless? Twenty Boy Summer? The Secret Year?
If you all have any suggestions as to which I should attack first, comment away! And also tell
me whether you'd prefer me to review one over the others.

*EDIT 04/10/11
So I went over to my friend's place and was on her computer, checking out my blog (how vain of me, I know). She has a Mac, and I realized how my IMM looks horribly disfigured! Just saying, I have a Dell and this post looks alright on my laptop... So I guess I'm just saying, sorry if this looks really horrible on your Mac! I'll try and gain some computer skills by next time...

wishlist #1

Hey all!
So I don't know if you guys visit Isalys & Vanessa @ Book Soulmates, but each month, they host something called Random Acts of Kindness. I've snatched one of their buttons, so you can go ahead and check it out on the right, but basically, it's where bloggers post up their own wishlists then check out other blogger's lists to see if they can make their dreams come true... in a "random act of kindness!" :)
I think the theory behind this idea is simply brilliant, and I can't wait to participate! Anyways, the following is my current wishlist. Just a disclaimer, this is definitely the shortened version - my original one is wayy too long.
So here goes!

1) Lies (Gone #3) by Michael Grant - paperback
2) City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Insturments #4) by Cassandra Clare
3) Wither (Chemical Garden #1) by Lauren DeStefano
4) Entwined by Heather Dixon
5) Through Her Eyes by Jennifer Archer
6) Leap by Jodi Lundgren
7) The Absolute Value of -1 by Steve Brezenoff
8) Sing Me to Sleep by Angela Morrison
9) By the Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead by Julie Anne Peters
10) My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares

Good luck to all the other bloggers out there participating in RAK - hope I can help you out, too!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

review: Where I Belong

Hola! Hope everyone's having a nice day so far. As for me, the weather's been great recently! A little cool, but that's the way I like it, really. Nice and crisp. And now, to the review!


Where I Belong

Author: Gwendolyn Heasley
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: 8 February 2011
Pages: 289

Meet Corrinne. She's living every girl's dream in New York City—shopping sprees at Barneys, open access to the best clubs and parties, and her own horse at the country club. Her perfect life is perfectly on track. At least it was. . . .
When Corrinne's father is laid off, her world suddenly falls apart. Instead of heading to boarding school, she's stripped of her credit cards and shipped off to the boonies of Texas to live with her grandparents. On her own in a big public school and forced to take a job shoveling manure, Corrinne is determined to get back to the life she's supposed to be living. She doesn't care who she stomps on in the process. But when Corrinne makes an unlikely friend and discovers a total hottie at work, she begins to wonder if her life B.R.—before the recession—was as perfect as it seemed.


Luna's Take:

When we first meet Corrinne, she's a total brat. Take all the stereotypes you have about snobby rich girls, multiply it by 3.14159, and you have our main character. When she finds out that her once opulent father lost his job, she completely blows her top. Because, she won't be able to buy designer clothes anymore! Or go to that super snazzy boarding school! And let's not even talk about her having to move all the way to hick-ville Texas in order to accomodate their lack of cash flow.

As we progress through the book, she does mature a bit, but not as much as I would've hoped. In this way, I was disappointed in the book. As a cover-judger, I thought this might've been more amazing, profound, whatever... But my hopes were left in the dust. Sigh. The ending was not red carpet worthy, either.

That's not saying this doesn't make a good light read, because it really does. Just a forewarning though - if you're looking for a book with more meat, don't choose this one.

Rating: 3/5

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

the hunger games movie casting: peeta & gale

Hey all!

Sorry I'm a little late on the uptake for this one, school's been pretty killer lately. Anyways, I was surfing the net just now and came upon this little gem: the casting for for Peeta and Gale in The Hunger Games movie has been announced! Let's see our men of the hour...


Josh Hutcherson starring as Peeta Mellark

Liam Hemsworth starring as Gale Hawthorne

What do you guys think? I have to admit, I was a little disappointed when Jennifer Lawrence snatched the role of Katniss. With respect to acting, I do believe she's perfect for the role; her Oscar nomination speaks for itself! But as for appearance-wise, I think she's a little too all-American for my tastes. Personally, I thought Hailee Steinfield parallels Katniss's looks better. Though it might have been her age that impeded her from landing the role, who knows?

Anyways, onto the guys.
Before I get into anything else, let me just mention one thing.
HOW IN THE WORLD did Josh get so smoldering hot?! All I remember of him is from the movie Bridge to Terabithia, which was in 2007, sure, but still. He's grown up so much! No more do rag hairstyle for him! I know, I know, "do rag" makes no sense here. It's just the phrase I use to describe the hair some guys have - you know the type - slightly too long, flippy, with an air of unkemptness. Like JB style, tenfold.

But as for his similarity to Peeta... ? Where are the blonde locks? The bright blue eyes? It may be picky of me to mention, but for once, I'd like casters of a novel-adapted-movie to pick actors who can both act AND look the part. Sigh. Josh does give an air of sensitivity though, at least to me. I feel he can at least act the part.

Now I've never watched The Last Song, but that may just be due to the fact that I don't approve of Miley. So I don't know if Liam can act, AND I don't like his looks, especially when comparing him to intense, passionate Gale. Liam's a bit too pale and light-haired for the part, but who knows? With some sun and a dye job, he may do just fine. At least he's got a cool name going on for him.

Any thoughts from you fellow bloggers?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

review: How It Ends

I've fallen in love. With a book. Its name is How It Ends and I just can't stop thinking about it. You know when you read a truly amazing book, you keep going over and over the plotline events and simply sit there, feeling utterly amazed at the intense connection you feel with the characters or story or whatever? Well, case in point.

How It Ends

Author: Laura Wiess
Publisher: MTV
Release Date: August 2009
Pages: 344
 All Hanna's wanted since sophomore year is Seth. She's gone out with other guys, even gained a rep for being a flirt, all the while hoping cool, guitar-playing Seth will choose her. Then she gets him -- but their relationship is hurtful, stormy and critical, not at all what Hanna thinks a perfect love should be. Bewildered by Seth's treatment of her and in need of understanding, Hanna decides to fulfill her school's community service requirement by spending time with Helen, her terminally ill neighbor, who she's turned to for comfort and wisdom throughout her life. But illness has changed Helen into someone Hanna hardly knows, and her home is not the refuge it once was. Feeling more alone than ever, Hanna gets drawn into an audiobook the older woman is listening to, a fierce, unsettling love story of passion, sacrifice, and devotion. Hanna's fascinated by the idea that such all-encompassing love can truly exist, and without her even realizing it, the story begins to change her.
Until the day when the story becomes all too real...and Hanna's world is spun off its axis by its shattering, irrevocable conclusion.


To me, a book distinguishes itself as the cream of the crop if it can make me cry. I don't think I've ever cried out of sheer happiness, so what I'm referring to are the tears that are elicited from a really tender and touching or else devastatingly heartwrenching moment. I wouldn't say this makes me a masochist, for wanting to have a book that can bring out a real good tearfest from me, I just think it's important for me to feel a connection with what I'm reading.

With that being said, Laura Wiess is the go-to author if you're prepared for a bonafide bawl-a-palooza. I can't quite describe it precisely, but Wiess just knows which parts of the book she needs to spell out for readers and which parts are fairly self-explanatory. One thing I strongly dislike about some books is how they assume the readers are dumb and need everything explained to them, as if we don't know what foreshadowing or metaphors are.

And truthfully, I don't think the blurb above does the book enough justice. It makes How It Ends sound a bit trite and unassuming, but seeing as how I've been raving about it this entire entry, I don't find that very accurate.

The character development is just wonderful, I have to say. The book is told both in first and third person. Weiss makes sure to clearly differentiate from Hanna and Helen, the two main characters. And when the storytelling came along, I felt myself being drawn into what was happening, insomuch that I could really familiarize myself with the events.

But seriously, you should pick up a copy of this for yourself. This review can't even hold a flame to How It Ends. Try it out, you might find yourself raving about it, too! :)