March Wrap Up

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children, # 1)172 Hours on the MoonSomething Strange and Deadly (Something Strange and Deadly, #1)VilletteTwilight by Stephenie MeyerPanic by Lauren Oliver

Sweet Evil by Wendy HigginsA Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan DennardSweet Peril by Wendy HigginsUninvited by Sophie JordanSnitch (Bea Catcher Chronicles, #2)

  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs review
  • 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad review
  • Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard review
  • Villette by Charlotte Bronte review
  • Twilight by Stephenie Meyer review
  • Panic by Lauren Oliver review
  • Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins review
  • A Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard review
  • Sweet Peril by Wendy Higgins review
  • Uninvited by Sophie Jordan review
  • Snitch by Olivia Samms review

How many books did you read this month? What was your favorite? I think my favorite book I read was probably 172 Hours on the Moon. It still gives me chills!

 

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Uninvited by Sophie Jordan Review

Uninvited (Uninvited, #1)

Uninvited by Sophie Jordan

Published HarperTeen 2014

Genre: Young Adult Dystopia

Format: Hardback from the library

Other books in this series: Unleashed

Buy this book: AmazonBarnes & Noble

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When Davy Hamilton’s tests come back positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome (HTS)-aka the kill gene-she loses everything. Her boyfriend ditches her, her parents are scared of her, and she can forget about her bright future at Juilliard. Davy doesn’t feel any different, but genes don’t lie. One day she will kill someone.

Only Sean, a fellow HTS carrier, can relate to her new life. Davy wants to trust him; maybe he’s not as dangerous as he seems. Or maybe Davy is just as deadly.

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Now, this book is marketed as being like “The Scarlet Letter,” which is one of my favorite stories of all time. Therefore, I was very interested to see how this would translate over to a dystopian book. The good old dystopian genre that we have all grown to love. And after finishing this book, that’s exactly what it was. Another dystopia. Another plot setting, sure, the idea was unique. But what happened after that has been done numerous amounts of times. It felt like just another one that could easily get lumped into the rest of the genre. Of course, my standards are higher because I have read so many dystopian books over the past two years, and maybe that was a little bit of the problem. If this book had come out sooner, it would probably be original and unique. It just depends on how much young adult dystopian worlds you have read and I just so happened to have read a lot. Seriously, I’m probably a future expert by now.

This HTS gene was really cool. I liked the concept – finding the gene that shows people who kill, but I feel like that should be expanded to maybe just violence. But the thing I did not understand the entire freaking book was why does Davy not have such harsh reactions to violence than everyone else does? Yes, she grew up in a fancy house with a nice family and lots of priveleges. But that shouldn’t stop her from having the same feeling for violence as everyone else with this gene does. There are mall shootings and fights and Davy is repulsed by it all. Which doesn’t make any sense because she has the gene. She doesn’t fit in with the rest of the HTS carriers. I will give this book points for not making her the chosen one or the exception or any of that. Of course, there is always book two.

Davy was an okay character. She was likable enough to lead this story. The only problem I really had with her was mentioned in the above paragraph. Then, there is Sean. First of all, it took maybe a chapter or two for them to fall totally and deeply in love. Now, I get that this is a short book in a duology and all of that. Even because there were a couple of times later in the book that showed maybe some other feelings for each other than just looks and Davy did recognize that she was maybe using him (but kept doing it anyway). So…instalove alert. Other than that, Sean was probably my favorite character because he made the most sense. He dealt with his issues reasonably. Maybe a little too brash at times but that’s the whole point of the HTS gene. Our other side characters, Gil and Sabine, were barely even in the story. Gil was nice from what we saw of him, but to be honest, I kept forgetting who Sabine even was.

This book was lots of fun to read. It had a really cool concept for the first little bit of the book when it was going in a “Scarlet Letter,” segregated kind of feel. And I would really have enjoyed this book a lot more without the part two. That’s when everything got really cliche and it went downhill from there. I will pick up the second book in this duology to see how the story finishes up. I hope this one turns out better.

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Divergent Movie Review

Divergent (2014) Poster

Divergent (2014) Movie Review (spoiler free)

Going into this movie, I had rather low expectations. Recently, young adult book to movie adaptations have been rather lackluster and none have really pleased me (except the Hunger Games movies). In addition, the score on Rotten Tomatoes was terrible, and I generally agree with what they have to say on that website. So today, my best friend and I went to see this movie. We were the only ones in the theater, which was incredibly awesome. Anyway…

I TOTALLY LOVED IT.

Seriously. I adored this movie. All the way through. My friend and I both took a deep breath at the beginning and just watched the entire way through. I missed two phone calls without even feeling my phone in my back pocket. That’s how much I loved this movie. I was totally absorbed in it. It has been a while since I have read the books, once when it first came out, and again on a reread. However, I have never really been a huge fan of the books. I don’t find a huge meaning in them. They have beautiful writing, sure, but I never connected to the characters or the plot or the world or any of it. Sure, I enjoyed them. But I have read a lot better in my life. (My best friend is a super Divergent fangirl, thus why I went to the movie. Otherwise, I probably just would have waited for the DVD.)

I cried three times. There you go. I think that’s a pretty good basis for how much I loved this movie. Prepare for the gushing.

I know the cast has been highly criticized, especially when it was first put together. But, gosh, they did a good job. I loved Shailene Woodley as Tris. She does not look like the tough girl who could enter the Dauntless compound. She looks like a normal girl, pushing herself through these tough challenges. Heck, I read the book and doubted if she would stay. Her acting was perfect. I really felt for her through everything and connected with her character. Theo James as Four. THEO JAMES AS FOUR. OH MY GOD. Yet another perfect cast. Four is such a tough character, thus the long wait for an actor, but they found him. He was done so well. I loved him on screen. I felt all the feels for that guy. Ansel Elgort was an amazing Caleb. Caleb is probably one of my favorite characters in the series, other than Four, and he was done on screen so well. I cannot wait to see his character development in Insurgent. Yay! The rest of the cast – Ashley Judd, Jai Courtney, Zoe Kravitz, Maggie Q, Tony Goldwyn (who shall be forever known in my head as the President) – all killed their own respective parts. But let’s not forget about Kate Winslet as Jeanine. I got chills. Her pure presence on screen was astounding. She looked the part and she played it well. Once again, I am way too excited about Insurgent.

It’s been a while since I read the book, so I don’t really know any big differences between the book and the movie. But purely as a movie, it was a great plot. I really liked the way they explained all the factions at the beginning and all the rituals, which was probably the hardest part to the movie. After that, it just kept being exciting. I loved all the scenes with Tris and Four and how the buildup took a while, but it was never too much. Their relationship was paced so well, where I felt it lacked in the book. I loved all the action sequences, especially the big battle at the end. Everything was done so well with the plot.

I loved the little talks Four would give Tris before she went into to anything. It made their relationship so much more adorable while not making it all about the physical! The scene at the beginning when they are running from the train and then jumping into Dauntless compound was done so well and it was so exciting. I really loved the scene at the Erudite compound, especially the one with Jeanine and Tris. It really added to the tension between all of the factions. All of the simulations were also done very well, although I do think the aptitude test was different from the book, especially looking at the beginning with all the mirrors. I did love Tori’s line: “What is it with Abnegation and mirrors?”

The script was also really nice. I don’t know, again, if there were direct quotes from the book. I felt like there might have been, but I am not sure. The only line I felt was really cheesy (I laughed) was when Tris goes: “I am divergent!” It was just so cheesy…I also loved the score and there were a couple of songs that I am going to download. The lightning and the camera shots were also all done really well. It was put together so nicely and I enjoyed the entire thing.

Overall, I am so excited for Insurgent! After having rather low hopes, this totally fueled my passion for the series. It might have been better than the book. Maybe. However, I can promise that it was definitely more fulfilling and thought provoking.

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A Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard Review

A Darkness Strange and Lovely (Something Strange and Deadly, #2)

A Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard (Something Strange and Deadly #2)

Published HarperTeen 2013

Genre: Young Adult Steampunk

Format: Hardback from the library

Other books in this series: Something Strange and Deadly (#1), Strange and Ever After (#3)

Buy this book: AmazonBarnes & Noble

From here, there will be spoilers from the first book! If you have not read Something Strange and Deadly, the first book in the series, do not continue with this review! 

Continue reading

Waiting on Wednesday: The Art of Lainey

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that features to be released books! For this week, I picked:

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The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes: Soccer star Lainey Mitchell is used to getting what she wants, and when her boyfriend Jason breaks up with her for no reason, what she wants is to win him back before the start of their senior year. Lainey and her friend Bianca check the interwebz for tips and tricks, but the online dating advice is all pretty lame.

Then the girls stumble across a copy of The Art of War. Didn’t someone once say that love is a battlefield? Jason isn’t going to stand a chance once Lainey and Bee go all Zhou Dynasty on him…

Old school strategy and subterfuge meet modern-day dramarama in the story of a girl who sets out to win at all costs and ends up discovering what’s really worth fighting for.

Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins Review

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Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins

Published HarperTeen 2012

Genre: Young Adult Paranormal

Format: Paperback from the library

Other books in this series: Sweet Peril, Sweet Reckoning

Buy this book: AmazonBarnes & Noble

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What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences?

This is the reality for sons and daughters of fallen angels.
Tenderhearted Southern girl Anna Whitt was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She’s aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn’t until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage and her willpower is put to the test. He’s the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.

Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?

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I started off thinking that this would be just another angel book. There are so many of them out there that I have stayed away from them for a while. I picked this book up from my library because it has been on my TBR list since forever (it’s almost two years). That’s why I started reading – to get another book off my TBR list. I had almost been thinking about giving up on my hopes of reading this book. And then, I read it. Boy, am I glad I kept this book all this time!

Anna is such an interesting character – half angel and half demon, a combination not normally found in Nephilm. The entire concept of angels was totally unique in this book. The demons are twelve dukes, all having children that do their work for them. It’s a little bit like Percy Jackson with demigods, except these demons are evil and based on six of the seven deadly sins as well as six modern sins. It’s a very interesting setup from the beginning. I loved the romance between Kaidan and Anna. Sure, at times it seemed like it was moving a bit too quickly, but that was one of the most intriguing parts. Was it because of the sinfulness of lust? Or was it real? And it seemed like it could go both ways at the same time. They had a very cool dynamic that I really enjoyed reading. The minor characters were really nice too. I enjoyed reading about the different jobs all the different Nephilm had based on their parents and I wish we saw more of a mixture, something I am hoping for in the second book.

The plot is cool because the first part is about Anna discovering what it means to be a child of a demon and the second part is her dealing with that. Most of the time, this would be split into two books and would get too drawn out, but this was perfectly timed. I really enjoyed the road trip feel of the first part and because it was only with our two main characters, Anna and Kaidan, it was really easy to get to know them without the input of minor characters. The second half was when we met more minor characters and dukes, but kept our relationship with Anna and Kaidan going. This helped balance out the book very nicely.

The writing wasn’t the best ever and this book is more for fun that to take some life lesson from. But it really is fun! I loved the world building and the supernatural elements, although everything had a new twist on top of it! The book really kept me reading and I am very excited to pick up the next two in this trilogy.
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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Things on my Bookish Bucket List

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by Broke and Bookish, is for the top ten things on your bookish bucket list! This one took me a little bit of time to come up with, but here they are. Here’s hoping I accomplish all of them!

  1. Reread the entire Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. I read these when I was probably too young to fully understand them, so I would really like to go through them again with a new outlook on life.
  2. Buy another bookshelf. My bookshelves are really small boxes that I stack on top of each other (it actually looks a lot better than that description sounded) and I need to expand them taller!
  3. Read 100 books this year. So far, I am doing pretty well on my progress!
  4. Read a classic every month. I am really liking being a member of the Classics Book Club which has really helped with encouragement for this!
  5. Attend Book Expo America. I’m hoping to accomplish this in 2015, but we will have to see!
  6. Create a book blog event. This one will take a while, but I think it would be a lot of fun.
  7. Visit the Library of Congress. This one will be fulfilled in only a couple of weeks! Visiting this library has been a dream of mine for a long time.
  8. Visit the home of a classic author. Most of my favorite classic authors lived in England, which is across the pond, but I am going to search for some classic American authors to visit!
  9. Attend an author meetup or signing. I don’t live in a very big city, so this will require some traveling as well for me.
  10. Finish the entire Pretty Little Liars series by Sara Shepard. Seriously, I have been working on this one for a while and more books just keep being published! It’s so annoying.

Wish me luck with my goals! What are some of yours?