Saturday, March 31, 2012

Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg

Published: April 1, 2012
Publisher: Point
Format: ARC
Page Count: 278 pages
Source: Publisher

Chasing love. Chasing fame. Chasing a future.

Emme, Sophie, Ethan, and Carter are seniors at a performing arts school, getting ready for their Senior Showcase recital, where the pressure is on to appeal to colleges, dance academies, and professionals in show business. For Sophie, a singer, it's been great to be friends with Emme, who composes songs for her, and to date Carter, soap opera heartthrob who gets plenty of press coverage. Emme and Ethan have been in a band together through all four years of school, but wonder if they could be more than just friends and bandmates. Carter has been acting since he was a baby, and isn't sure how to admit that he'd rather paint than perform. The Senior Showcase is going to make or break each of the four, in a funny, touching, spectacular finale that only Elizabeth Eulberg could perform.
I received a review copy of this book for an honest review from Scholastic Point. Thank you so much!
TAKE A BOW is a thrilling and all-around great novel that focuses on music, fame, and staying true to yourself.
Elizabeth Eulberg has a writing style that I have never seen before. She drew my attention in just from the prologue, and she made her writing style such a breeze that I stayed up until three in the morning to find out what would happen to our characters.
Speaking of characters, I want to mention the characters. TAKE A BOW focuses on four main characters (and switches to each character’s POV) -- Sophie, Ethan, Carter and Emme. Each have a dream and goal to become famous for different reasons. Eulberg thought out and put effort into making her characters life-like, and she definitely succeeded. Each character will make you laugh, make you feel sorrow, make you want to throw the book down, and make you want to pick it back up. It’s incredible what Elizabeth Eulberg can make a book do to your mind.
And I have to mention the thing that was my absolute favorite part of the book -- the music. Music is involved throughout the entire novel, whether its playing a guitar, writing out song lyrics, or even the music A Little Night Music. I’m a huge lover of music and musicals, so when Eulberg introduced both of the elemental qualities in the book, I literally wanted to dance around the room while hugging the book. Again, Elizabeth Eulberg is a mastermind when it comes to writing style and characters.
If you’re a fan of Glee or any type of musicals, TAKE A BOW is a must read. Eulberg captivated me into this world and didn’t let me go until the very last word! 
Overall, TAKE A BOW is fascinating and wonderful story with great plot-lines of how everybody is famous in their own way. You really need to go pick up TAKE A BOW!


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Isle of Night by Veronica Wolff

Published: September 6, 2011
Publisher: NAL Trade
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 302 pages
Series: The Watchers, #1

Is life offering fewer and fewer options? Then join the dead. 

When Annelise meets dark and seductive Ronan, he promises her a new life-if she has the courage to chance the unknown. Now, she's whisked away to a mysterious island and pitted against other female recruits to become a Watcher-girls who are partnered with vampires and assist them in their missions. To survive and become a Watcher, Annelise has to beat out every other girl, but she's determined to do so, because to fail doesn't mean dishonor-it means death.

While ISLE OF NIGHT did have its moments, some parts honestly fell flat for me.

I have heard so much buzz about this book. So much, that it was being called a mixture of THE HUNGER GAMES and VAMPIRE ACADEMY. I knew I had to read this book right away. Some parts were epic and adventurous, but others didn't satisfy me.

I, like, loved Annelise. She's so strong, and with everything that she's been through, she always looks forward and is expecting the best of what the future holds. Veronica Wolff definitely made Annelise shine in this book. She has also crafted together other marvelous and wicked characters that made me want to read the book all night long.

Two words: Boarding. School. That's the key point that hooked me into the story. Anything that takes place in a boarding school, you can bet that I'll be reading it. Wolff made this boarding schools so visualize, that I would sometimes cringe when it would be brought up. Because lots of crazy stuff is happening inside this particular academy. Dark and twisted stuff.

But then those epic plot twists just magically faded sometimes. One chapter, I would be so into the story, that I never wanted to put it down. And then the next four would be lame and boring. Maybe ISLE OF NIGHT had too much action that made me expect all of that action to happen in every single chapter.

Overall, ISLE OF NIGHT is a good read with high climatic plot points, but also includes boring and eye-rolling scenes.

My Rating:

Sunday, March 25, 2012

In My Mailbox (11)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren!

Here's what I got in my mailbox this week:

Leave the link to your IMM in the comments!

Happy Reading! 

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

Published: April 19, 2011
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 293 pages
Series: The Goddess Test, #1

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, ruler 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.

THE GODDESS TEST is a great re-telling of the Peresphone myth, but unfortunately, lacks in action.

Aimee Carter has an electric writing style. It sucked me into the story, which made me devour this book in about two days. She really captures the feelings of each chapter, especially Henry. Also, she has crafted together an original spin on a Greek myth that totally worked out and was successful in the end.

Kate was a great character. She really cared for her mom and would do anything to keep her alive (obviously, she did something huge just to do that). She had a back story, and it wasn't insta-love with her feelings for Henry. There were other great characters in THE GODD∑SS T∑ST, such as Ava, Henry (who really stole the show for me), Kate's mother Diana, among many more.

The only flaw in THE GODDESS TEST is that there is almost no action in the book. With a character-driven book, it takes awhile for me to get into the story until I fully understand the characters and their motives. Once you get about 70 pages into THE GODDESS TEST, it gets suspenseful and just awesome. Let's give a round of applause to Aimee Carter for making a great novel!

My Rating:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Return to Finkleton by KC Hilton

Published: February 23, 2012
Publisher: Createspace
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 210 pages
Source: Author
Series: Finkleton, #2

When the Finkle children discovered magical secrets in Uncle Harry’s shop, they vowed to keep them safe. Two years later Jack, Lizzy and Robert realized that the perfect weather wasn’t the only secret waiting to be discovered in the mysterious shop. Things aren’t always what they seem to be! 

There were people who would stop at nothing to acquire land in Finkleton. Of course, there were also those determined to protect the little village from greedy outsiders. Will selfish desires destroy the village of Finkleton? 

It was only a matter of time before those who cared about Finkleton and those who cared only for themselves would come into conflict. The result of this outcome would likewise depend on a matter of time. 

Once again Jack, Lizzy and Robert must learn to work together to protect the magical secrets of Finkleton. 

Come along to Finkleton. A new, magical adventure is about to begin!

RETURN TO FINKLETON is magical, whimsical, and a fun journey into the marvelous land of Finkleton!

Let me say this: I love middle grade novels. Sure, I’m 14, but middle grade novels had that little spark that can take you into a magical place that, almost always, does not focus on romance. K.C. Hilton’s latest novel is one of the best middle grade novels I’ve ever read.
Two words: The. Imagination. This world that Hilton has created is fun, magical, but also haunting. This vivid and bright place has the one of the best storytellers telling the book. Every little detail of the book played out perfectly clear inside my head, and I didn’t want to set the book down.
K.C. Hilton also has the magnetic writing style that entices the reader into the story and doesn’t let them leave the world of Finkleton until the very last page. This fun experience had me actually dreaming about what would happen next to our beloved characters.
Overall, RETURN TO FINKLETON is a wondrous and great middle grade novel that I highly recommend you go read!  

My Rating:

Sunday, March 18, 2012

In My Mailbox (8)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren!

Leave the link to your IMM in the comments below so I can check it out! Also, tell me what Hunger Games District you are in! :D

Happy Reading!

Friday, March 16, 2012

BZRK by Michael Grant

Published: February 28, 2012
Publisher: Egmont USA
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 386 pages
Series: BZRK, Book One

Time is running out for the good guys. But what happens when you don’t know who the good guys really are?

Noah and Sadie: newly initiated into an underground cell so covert they don’t even know each other’s real names. Trained for combat on the nano level, they are thrust into a war they can barely grasp. 
Vincent: feels nothing and cares for no one. Fighting a personal battle with Bug Man, the greatest nano warrior alive.

The Armstrong Twins: wealthy, privileged, fanatical. Are they the saviors of humanity or authors of the darkest conspiracy in history?

On one side: Charles and Benjamin Armstrong’s Nexus Humanus. On the other: a group of teen hackers who call themselves BZRK.

Twenty-first-century warfare that takes place on the macro and nano level for the highest stakes: humanity’s free will.

It’s time to choose sides

Michael Grant's BZRK is captivating, fascinating, and one of the best written stories I've read in 2012.

Michael Grant has a writing gift. His writing style lured me into the world of BZRK, then snatched me away, making me want to turn the pages all night long to find out if all the craziness in this book will be resolved. Grant can make a reader beg for more after finishing any of his novels, and rarely any writers can do that for me.

The characters in BZRK were just wonderful. Each character had their own story and backbone, which I always appreciate  when the author gives us a glimpse of a the character's history. Grant has molded these bright and intricate, yet dark and gruesome, characters in a way that made me want to read about every single characters. Props to Michael Grant!

And the whole world of BZRK is just totally insane. We have a sixteen-year-old character nicknamed "The Bug Man" who leads a nano army, as well as other characters that try to stop him. The first few chapters of BZRK are one of the most darkest and captivating chapters I've ever read. BZRK will flip your mind upside down with it's greatness and insane storyline.

Overall, Michael Grant's BZRK was a great story which has left me dying for the sequel.

My Rating:

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

How to Ruin a Summer Vacation by Simone Elkeles

Published: October 8, 2006
Publisher: Flux
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 234 pages
Series: Ruined, Book One

Going to Israel with her estranged Israeli father is the last thing Amy wants to do this summer. She’s got a serious grudge against her dad, a.k.a. “Sperm Donor,” for showing up so rarely in her life. Now he’s dragging her to a war zone to meet a family she’s never known, where she’ll probably be drafted into the army. At the very least, she’ll be stuck in a house with no AC and only one bathroom for seven people all summer—no best friend, no boyfriend, no shopping, no cell phone… 
Goodbye pride—hello Israel.

Simone Elkeles is a master romance teller. I mean, come on: the Perfect Chemistry trilogy? Enough said. Unfortunately, I didn't get what I was hoping for from this novel.
The romance in this novel was great, as they always are in Simone Elkeles' books. She has this way that entices the reader to being drawn to the characters and watch their love escalate from the ground. I was interested in watching Amy and Avi's love bloom and Simone Elkeles did a fantastic job in the romance part of this book.
But the main character Amy drove me up the wall. I'm not sure why, but Amy and I just didn't click. I found her a bit annoying and non-trustful. I did like how Simone Elkeles did put foreign language in the book. I found it fascinating and just purely fun.
And as always, Simone Elkeles has a perfect writing style. She weaves and crafts out love stories into a perfect form that keeps the reader intrigued and mesmerized by the relationship in the story.
Overall, this novel was a good romance novel, but Amy's character was flat and boring to me.
My Rating:

Friday, March 9, 2012

Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood

Published: February 7, 2012
Publisher: Putnam
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 330 pages

Everybody knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they're witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship--or an early grave. 

Before her mother died, Cate promised to protect her sisters. But with six months to choose between marriage and the Sisterhood, she might not be able to keep her word... especially after she finds her mother's diary, uncovering a secret that could spell her family's destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate stars scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra. 

If what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren't safe. Not from the Brotherhood, the Sisterhood -- not even from each other.

Grab a bowl. Add a great writing style that reminds you of classic Jane Austen. Dash in their some unique and developed characters. And add a pinch of magic to it. What do you get? You get BORN WICKED.

BORN WICKED is magical. When I started off on just the first page, I was sucked into the world -- right then and there. The story dragged me and kept me up all night reading to find out what would happen to Cate. I think what really hooked me into the story was Spotswood's incredible writing style. It reminded me of Jane Austen, but she puts a unique and quirky spin on it that just really shined throughout the entire novel.

Jessica Spotswood has created great characters, and you feel emotions for them. With everything that's been put on Cate's shoulders, I felt bad and cringed every time something else would happen to her. It takes a lot of work to make me feel that way about a book, and Jessica Spotswood sure did deliver with this one.

And the magic that happens throughout the book is so much fun to read about. At the very first, we find out that Cate's younger sister can change the seasons. The way that Spotswood incorporated magic and spells and romance in the book just really made me feel in awe, and I cannot wait for the rest of the Cahill Witch Chronicles!

I highly recommend you go and read BORN WICKED!

My Rating:

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Hourglass by Myra McEntire

Published: June 14, 2011
Publisher: Egmont USA
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 394 pages
Series: Hourglass, Book One

One hour to rewrite the past . . . 
For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn’t there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents’ death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She’s tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.

So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson’s willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may change her past.
Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he’s around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should have happened?

HOURGLASS is brilliant. The first few pages didn't really capture my attention, but believe me, the speed picked up and the story got very interesting and complex. Myra McEntire's debut was just great!

Let's talk about the characters. Emerson was a strong, fierce, and well rounded-out character. The story behind her is so tragic, and you just can't help but want to jump into the story and let her know that you feel for her. Is that weird? Not for me. Myra McEntire's writing style made me see everything visually inside my mind. Lily was just that awesome best friend that, honestly, rarely appears in YA books. She's quirky, sarcastic, and just a great character. We have Michael, the love interest, who does really feel for Emerson. I think Kaleb was also a great character. I felt horrible for him of what happened in the book!

Next, the writing style. Myra McEntire, you are a genius! She has unfolded this time travel story that was epic and adventurous. She described everything almost perfectly, and this story that she has created was just... just so wonderful!

And can we all just give a big round of applause for the photography team? How amazing is this cover?! If you have seen it already, turn the cover sideways. She's. Walking. Down. A. Wall. It's so cool!

Overall, Myra McEntire's debut novel HOURGLASS was great and awesome. I definitely recommend you go pick this one up!

My Rating:

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Book Review: Everneath - Brodi Ashton

Published: January 24, 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 370 pages
Series: The Everneath Trilogy, Book One

Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she's returned- to her old life, her family, her friends- before being banished back to the underworld... this time forever. 

She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can't find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists. 

Nikki longs to spend these months reconnecting with her boyfriend, Jack, the one person she loves more than anything. But there's a problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who first enticed her to the Everneath, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. And he'll do whatever it takes to bring her back- this time as his queen. 

As Nikki's time grows short and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she's forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole's...

One sentence really describes this book for me: This book is amazing

First, Brodi Ashton's writing style. It was purely incredible. The way that she described this story, and the way the she explained it all out was just simply awesome. I got sucked into the story like Nikki did into the Everneath. Brodi Ashton has crafted a fast-paced, page-turner, and well-done novel. Props to Brodi!

Next, the characters. Nikki is such a great character. She's complex, she has meaning, and she's so strong -- even with dealing all of this craziness surrounding her. I felt so bad for Jack. When Nikki returns (not a spoiler, it happens in the first chapter), you can literally sense that Jack's heart is broken. And Cole is just one of those characters you love to hate. He's so wicked with everything that he's done to Nikki, but then he has a story behind him that makes him so interesting and fascinating to read about!

And can we just talk about the originality of this story? Yes, it is a re-telling of a Greek myth, but there's a story and backbone to it, and it just really shines out compared to a lot of YA novels out there today. 

Overall, Brodi Ashton's debut novel EVERNEATH was a fast-paced, original and addictive novel. I'm dying for book two now. This is not a book to miss!

My Rating:

Friday, March 2, 2012

Book Review: Fever - Lauren DeStefano

Published: February 21, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster BYR
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 341 pages
Series: The Chemical Garden, Book Two

Rhine and Gabriel have escaped the mansion, but danger is never far behind. 

Running away brings Rhine and Gabriel right into a trap, in the form of a twisted carnival whose ringmistress keeps watch over a menagerie of girls. Just as Rhine uncovers what plans await her, her fortune turns again. With Gabriel at her side, Rhine travels through an environment as grim as the one she left a year ago - surroundings that mirror her own feelings of fear and hopelessness. 

The two are determined to get to Manhattan, to relative safety with Rhine’s twin brother, Rowan. But the road there is long and perilous - and in a world where young women only live to age twenty and young men die at twenty-five, time is precious. Worse still, they can’t seem to elude Rhine’s father-in-law, Vaughn, who is determined to bring Rhine back to the any means necessary. 

I read WITHER in early February and loved it. You would expect the same from the sequel, right?


The "Sophomore Slump" got to Lauren DeStefano. FEVER disappointed me on extreme levels.

First, the writing style. WITHER had one of the best writing style's in a young adult book ever. When I started reading this, I noticed that writing style had changed so much -- and not in a good way. It was awkward and did not flow together at all. I had to go back a couple times and re-read a sentence because it didn't process correctly in my brain. The writing style was the major downfall of the story.

Next, the characters. Rhine, the main character, NEVER -- and I mean never -- takes care of herself. When in WITHER, I thought she was so strong and I was glad that she looked for others. But she never thinks or cares for herself -- any. And of course, we don't learn anything else about Gabriel. He's almost like Gale from THE HUNGER GAMES -- he's just sort of there. And as always, Vaughn is crazy, ludacris, ignorant, did I mention crazy stalker. 

Then, we have the ending. The ending. Out of 341 pages, the last -- and I seriously mean last -- paragraph is really the only thing that makes me want to read book three. Why does this always happen?

Overall, FEVER let me down. But due to very last paragraph, I will be picking up book three.

My Rating: