Friday, March 29, 2013

Review: Hooked

Title:  Hooked
Author:  Liz Fichera

     From GoodReads, "When Native American Fredricka ‘Fred’ Oday is invited to become the only girl on the school’s golf team, she can’t say no. This is an opportunity to shine, win a scholarship and go to university, something no one in her family has done. 

But Fred’s presence on the team isn’t exactly welcome — especially not to rich golden boy Ryan Berenger, whose best friend was kicked off the team to make a spot for Fred.

But there’s no denying that things are happening between the girl with the killer swing and the boy with the killer smile..."

      I saw the cover of this book while browsing my local book store and was immediately "hooked."  
     Although I am not a golfer and I am not Native American (two characteristics of the main character Fredricka (Fred) Oday), I could relate to this story.  I loved the fact that in order to go after what she wanted (to play golf), Fred had to go out of her comfort zone, in this case, a different school.  Of course, the boys on the golf team, did not welcome her with open arms... especially the one that got cut from the team in order to make room for Fred.  
    I loved the relationship and the dynamics between Fred and teammate Ryan Berenger.  It was fun to see what would develop between the two, who were completely opposite.  I also enjoyed watching Ryan morph into a better human being because of the influence of Fred.  
    The family dynamics of the Oday family were interesting to read about as well because they were so very different from my own.  Not every family is perfect, but it was refreshing to see a book where the main character had a very strong relationship to at least one of her parents and I really liked how connected Fred and her father were.
     I found myself smiling at many things in this book.  The only thing that bothered me was how incredibly mean many of Ryan's friends were and the fact that he didn't seem to notice it until he met Fred.  Maybe that was due to the fact that he was often this way as well and didn't seem to care until she came into his life and then he strived for something better.  

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Guest Review: Legend

Review by Shay S.

Title:  Legend
Author:  Marie Lu

From, What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.
From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths--until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

This book is full of action and suspense. It reminds you of The Hunger Games because the country fell apart and divided. Day has to elude the authorities of the Republic and figure out how to help his family without letting his mother know he is still alive. June, the little sister of Captain Metias has to hunt down Day for the murder of Metias. These teens cross paths and realize what has happened. Unexpected twist and turns on every page. Action in every chapter, this book is definitely a book I would recommend to a reader that loves action and a thriller.

Guest Review: Monstrumologist

Reviewed by Trey S

Title:  Monstrumologist
Author:  Rick Yancey

     From GoodReads,"These are the secrets I have kept. This is the trust I never betrayed. But he is dead now and has been for nearly ninety years, the one who gave me his trust, the one for whom I kept these secrets. The one who saved me . . . and the one who cursed me. So starts the diary of Will Henry, orphan and assistant to a doctor with a most unusual specialty: monster hunting. In the short time he has lived with the doctor, Will has grown accustomed to his late night callers and dangerous business. But when one visitor comes with the body of a young girl and the monster that was feeding on her, Will's world is about to change forever. The doctor has discovered a baby Anthropophagi--a headless monster that feeds through the mouthfuls of teeth in its chest--and it signals a growing number of Anthropophagi. Now, Will and the doctor must face the horror threatenning to overtake and consume our world before it is too late."
     I really enjoyed this book, I thought it was very exciting and action packed and kept me wanting to read more. I really liked the main characters personalities and how you could really connect to them even though they were completely different than you because the author really made them personable and relatable. I would enjoy reading more books by this same author because he has all of the elements that I really enjoy in a book including action, drama,science fiction, and fantasy. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Guest Review: Quarantine: The Loners

Reviewed by Tom P

Title: Quarantine: The Loners
Author: Lex Thomas

From, it was just another ordinary day at McKinley High—until a massive explosion devastated the school. When loner David Thorpe tried to help his English teacher to safety, the teacher convulsed and died right in front of him. And that was just the beginning.

A year later, McKinley has descended into chaos. All the students are infected with a virus that makes them deadly to adults. The school is under military quarantine. The teachers are gone. Violent gangs have formed based on high school social cliques. Without a gang, you’re as good as dead. And David has no gang. It’s just him and his little brother, Will, against the whole school.

Quarantine was one of the best books I’ve ever read! It incorporates so many characteristics featured in a well-written novel.
Its suspense is constant throughout and gives just the exact amount of information away to make it entertaining. There were no “boring parts” of the book or sections where you just wanted to skip over completely. Something new is always unraveling from beginning to end and always surprises you. Quarantine is very hard to predict due to the broadness of the plot, but that’s what a real novel should look like. It’s never fun to read something where it’s obvious what’s going to happen next. Lex Thomas did a great job of pacing the story and speeding certain parts up to get to the action and more entertaining events that really defined the book.
The dialogue used in Quarantine was very realistic. Considering all of the characters are teenagers, it’s inevitable that there’s going to be swearing and inappropriate language. However, I like how it captures the situation in a real-world perspective with realistic reactions. I mean, if you were trapped in a school with violent gangs for three years and barely living, you wouldn’t exactly get your stress out by saying, “Gosh darn it!” Along with the captivating phrasing, I also enjoyed how Lex Thomas used description appropriately. Some books either go on and on with endless adjectives and phrases, or there are others that leave you saying, “So what is that?!” This book was definitely an epitome for the usage of description.
Quarantine’s plot is very unique and original. It’s fascinating the storylines people can come up with. This book reminded me of the Hunger Games at parts with it’s unfathomable situations and well-written sequences. I believe Lex Thomas really ended the book with well, incorporating both suspense and reassurance. If the sequel is half as good, I would look for it to still be great.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Guest Review: NERDS: The Cheerleaders of Doom

Reviewed by Keaton

Title:  N.E.R.D.S.:The Cheerleaders of Doom (Book 3)
Author:  Michael Buckley

     From Barnes and NobleThe NERDS series combines the excitement of international espionage with the awkwardness of elementary school as it follows the adventures of a group of unpopular fifth graders who run a spy network from inside their school. With the help of cutting-edge science, they transform their nerdy qualities into incredible abilities, and the results are awesome, inspiring—and hilarious.
This third installment in the series stars Matilda “Wheezer” Choi, the asthmatic who can fly and kick butt courtesy of her nanobyte-enhanced inhalers. Matilda loves pro wrestling and hatesanything “girlie.” Unfortunately for Wheezer, when a former-NERD-turned-villain gets extensive plastic surgery in order to become a cheerleader, Matilda must swallow her pride to successfully infiltrate the squad. The villain with pom-poms, Gerdie Baker, has created a device that opens portals to other worlds, and if Matilda doesn’t find a way to destroy it, the fates of all the worlds will be at stake.

     Book 3 of the N.E.R.D.S series is an action-packed, edge-of-your-seat novel that will leave you hungry for the next few books in the series. The book features agent “Wheezer” Matilda Choi in some pretty tough situations that she will have to lead her team out of. Choppers, or as you may get to know him, Screwball, vows revenge on his former team. He begins his plan slowly in a hospital for the criminally insane where madness outside is already taking place. Outside Gerdie Baker, an ugly cheerleader-wanna-be, begins to construct a device capable of opening portals to different universes. Little does she know about the actual power of her device, it begins to have tears in her world. Things that once were are no more. The Washington Monument (ZAP) gone. The Great Pyramids (ZAP) gone. Gerdie continues to use her bridge device to steal riches from the different universes and soon there won’t be anymore of her world to go around. So, who do you call for an interuniversal crisis? None other than N.E.R.D.S! This is the book for a person who loves action, mystery, and if your just a plain nerd!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Title:  Catching Jordan
Author:  Miranda Kenneally

     From GoodReads, "What girl doesn't want to be surrounded by gorgeous jocks day in and day out? Jordan Woods isn't just surrounded by hot guys, though-she leads them as the captain and quarterback of her high school football team. They all see her as one of the guys, and that's just fine. As long as she gets her athletic scholarship to a powerhouse university. But now there's a new guy in town who threatens her starting position... suddenly she's hoping he'll see her as more than just a teammate."  
     From the moment I read the opening paragraph and was immediately surprised, I knew this book would be amazing!  Nothing in this book is as it seems... which made it unpredictable and really fun!  Even though the main character, Jordan Woods, is an athlete (and I unfortunately am not), she was totally relatable.  Her voice was so strong and I love the fact that she had insecurities and didn't always know what to do.  
     I also really liked the fact that Jordan had to struggle and didn't always get everything she wanted.  Author, Miranda Kenneally, didn't make everything easy for the characters and several of them didn't get what they were dreaming about, which was more true-to-life and I admire her for not having a fairy tale story.  
    While I really enjoyed the character of Jordan... I also really liked the supporting characters in this book., especially Jordan's best friend, Sam Henry.  The interactions between these two characters were some of my favorites in the book.  I also liked how Jordan interacted with her team.  It was unique to see a girl go against stereotypes.
     I have not had this book very long and I cannot keep it in the library.  Many of the girls checking it out return it the very next day and proclaim it an AMAZING read.. I couldn't agree more.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Review: Bittersweet

Title:  Bittersweet
Author:  Sarah Ockler

     From GoodReads, Once upon a time, Hudson knew exactly what her future looked like. Then a betrayal changed her life, and knocked her dreams to the ground. Now she’s a girl who doesn’t believe in second chances... a girl who stays under the radar by baking cupcakes at her mom’s diner and obsessing over what might have been. 

So when things start looking up and she has another shot at her dreams, Hudson is equal parts hopeful and terrified. Of course, this is also the moment a cute, sweet guy walks into her life... and starts serving up some seriously mixed signals. She’s got a lot on her plate, and for a girl who’s been burned before, risking it all is easier said than done. 

It’s time for Hudson to ask herself what she really wants, and how much she’s willing to sacrifice to get it. Because in a place where opportunities are fleeting, she knows this chance may very well be her last..."

     I bought this book because I have read several books by Sarah Ockler and liked them and this book, while different from her other books, didn't disappoint.  What I like most about books by Ockler is the fact that she is willing to let her characters be vulnerable.  So many YA books are just a bunch of fluff, while her books have a lot of substance.  Another reason this book appealed to me was the cupcake references and the small descriptions of cupcakes under the titles of the chapters.  Each of them sounded delicious and made me wish that I could bake some.  I don't think my creations would come out as tasty as described in the book.
     I really liked the main character, Hudson.  I could identify with all of her conflicting emotions even though I hadn't experienced any of the things that she was going through.  I also liked her interactions with her family, especially her younger brother, Bug.  I thought that their relationship showed that they were allies in a common problem.
     The fact that Hudson was using her cupcake baking as an excuse to escape her life was a unique plot line.  I also liked how she edged her way into doing the thing that she loved the round-about way, in this case, a former figure skater who starts training the boy's hockey team.  I loved the interactions between Hudson and the boys she was trying to help, especially in the beginning when they weren't too excited about the fact that a girl who knew nothing about hockey was trying to help them.
     If you are interested in reading a great story about not hiding from your past, this is a terrific read.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Review: Flawless

Title:  Flawless
Author:  Lara Chapman

     From GoodReads, "Sarah Burke is just about perfect. She's got killer blue eyes, gorgeous blond hair, and impeccable grades. There's just one tiny-all right, enormous-flaw: her nose. But even that's not so bad. Sarah's got the best best friend and big goals for print journalism fame. 

On the first day of senior year, Rock Conway walks into her journalism class and, well, rocks her world. Problem is, her best friend, Kristen, falls for him too. And when Rock and Kristen stand together, it's like Barbie and Ken come to life. So when Kristen begs Sarah to help her nab Rock, Sarah does the only thing a best friend can do-she agrees. For someone so smart, what was she thinking? 

This hip retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac is filled with hilariously misguided matchmaking, sweet romance, and a gentle reminder that we should all embrace our flaws."

     Around the time that I graduated from high school or shortly thereafter a movie with Steve Martin and Darryl Hannah came out called Roxanne.  (I realize by writing this that I'm telling my age, but oh well.)  Anyways, the movie was about a guy with an incredibly large nose who is trying to get the girl of his dreams and this book reminds me of that movie except that it is a girl with a large nose and there is the added problem that the guy that she really likes happens to be dating her best friend who happens to be gorgeous.
     Flawless happens to be a retelling of the famous play Cyrano de Bergerac, which I haven't actually read or seen, but knew the basic premise.  The story follows main character, Sarah Burke (the girl with the big nose).  Sarah has been best friends with Kristen for years and that friendship is tested when Sarah falls big-time for Kristen's boyfriend, Rock Conway.  
     I loved that going after what you want and remaining loyal to a friend were at constant odds in this novel and I think that the reason I liked it so much was that it was so utterly believable.  Sarah's choices were gut-wrenching at times for her and I could totally see where she was coming from.  
     Also, I must say that Rock Conway, the boy that Sarah has feelings for in the book, is an amazing character and I have a novel crush on him as well.  It's rare that you see a guy character that is good-looking, intelligent, romantic, and cares how other people feel.  
     I also really liked the cover of the book and thought it was very clever that the actual nose is missing on the cover so that you could see how truly beautiful Sarah is without her nose. The one person that should have supported Sarah the most, her mother, was at times a baffling character.  I cannot fathom that a teenage girl's mom would leave her brochures about plastic surgery!  Wow!  I have no doubt that this kind of mother is out there though.  It made it easier to understand why she is the way she is when you read the book though.  I understand her better, but I don't condone how she treated her daughter at times.
     I think that this book will appeal to anyone that has something about them that they don't like.  (I guess that probably is mostly everybody!)  There is a huge (pun intended!) message in this book about accepting who you are that I think is a great message to be sending teens (and adults)!  

Friday, June 3, 2011

Review: Enclave

Title:  Enclave
Author:  Ann Aguirre

     From GoodReads, "In Deuce’s world, people earn the right to a name only if they survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed ‘brat’ has trained into one of three groups–Breeders, Builders, or Hunters, identifiable by the number of scars they bear on their arms. Deuce has wanted to be a Huntress for as long as she can remember. 

As a Huntress, her purpose is clear—to brave the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She’s worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothing’s going to stop her, not even a beautiful, brooding Hunter named Fade. When the mysterious boy becomes her partner, Deuce’s troubles are just beginning. 

Down below, deviation from the rules is punished swiftly and harshly, and Fade doesn’t like following orders. At first she thinks he’s crazy, but as death stalks their sanctuary, and it becomes clear the elders don’t always know best, Deuce wonders if Fade might be telling the truth. Her partner confuses her; she’s never known a boy like him before, as prone to touching her gently as using his knives with feral grace. 

As Deuce’s perception shifts, so does the balance in the constant battle for survival. The mindless Freaks, once considered a threat only due to their sheer numbers, show signs of cunning and strategy… but the elders refuse to heed any warnings. Despite imminent disaster, the enclave puts their faith in strictures and sacrifice instead. No matter how she tries, Deuce cannot stem the dark tide that carries her far from the only world she’s ever known."

     I have to admit that the initial reason for picking up this book was because some of the reviews said that this was for "fans of Hunger Games."  I read all three of the Hunger Games series and loved them all so I was anxiously awaiting my chance to read this book and I must say that Enclave grabbed me in the beginning in the way that Hunger Games did not.  It took about ten chapters for Hunger Games to get into the action bits of the story whereas this book got into it right away.  
     The main character, Deuce, is a Huntress and has trained all of her life to fulfill her destiny.  She is excited about the prospect of going out on her first Hunt until she finds out that she is partnered with Fade. Fade is a boy that was raised Topside, but came to the Enclave as a young child (they call them "brats" in the book) and has never really been accepted by the other society members.  What follows is a story that is full of action, unlikely friendships, and survival by any means necessary.
     I loved the characters of Deuce and Fade and really liked how their relationship developed throughout the story.  Deuce is one kick-ass female lead character.  She is strong, determined, and compassionate all at the same time.  Fade is mysterious, inquisitive, and brave, but has a true heart.  The way the two characters develop throughout the story is remarkable.  
     There were other characters in the book that were expertly written as well.  Even the characters that turn out to be bad guys and gals are so masterfully written that you just enjoy hating their guts.  I cannot say enough about this amazing book by Ann Aguirre.  This isn't a genre I normally enjoy all that well, but with the recent books coming out being so amazing, I may have to rethink my bias on the matter.  I am truly hoping that there is more to come in this story and the way that the book left off it leaves it open for more adventures to come.  I can't wait to see what happens next!

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