Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Review: Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist

Nick and Norah meet at a club under unusual circumstances.  Nick is the straight bass guitar player in a local NYC "all gay band".  He just finished his set and is more or less flipping out because his ex-girlfriend, Tris, was at the show with another guy and is now approaching.  He spontaneously asks the girl standing next to him to be his "five minute girlfriend."  Her response was to kiss him, which they were both surprisingly turned on by.

It turns out that Norah, Nick's five minute girlfriend, is sort of friends with his ex.  They attend the same school and have known each other for years, but I wouldn't say that they are BFFs by any means.  Norah is in the midst of getting over a breakup of her own and decides to help Nick get over Tris by taking him out for the evening.  

The entire book is one really long date that goes well into the following morning.  They both make several mistakes in the process of getting to know each other, but their mutual love of music keeps pulling them back together.  

I decided to read this book because I loved Dash and Lily's Book of Dares, which was the second collaboration between Cohn and Levithan.  The narration alternates between the two main characters/authors each chapter, which was an essential part of the story.  This book simply would not have worked without hearing both characters' inner dialog.  As is often the case, men and women see things differently.  There was quite a bit of humor in hearing the two vastly different interpretations of the same conversation or event.

This is a realistic and entertaining love story that was a very fast read.  I don't think it was quite as good as Dash and Lily, but it was a solid 3 stars.  I picked up a copy of the movie from the library last weekend, so stay tuned for my movie review later this week.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Review: Miss. Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children, #1)

Jacob is a sixteen year old high school boy who never really fit in.  He is the only person in his family that has a strong relationship with his grandfather, but even he hasn't been able to believe his grandfather's outrageous stories for years.  After his grandfather dies, Jacob is determined to uncover what his final words truly meant.  

His grandfather grew up during World War 2 and fled to an orphanage off the coast of England for refuge as a boy.  He always described it as paradise with all sorts of peculiar children.  He showed Jacob pictures of the children, but nobody in their right mind would have believed the photos were real.  Bees flying out of a boy's mouth, a girl floating in thin air, another child that is invisible, etc.  This is the best part about the book in my opinion.  Ransom Riggs used dozens of unaltered old photographs from collectors and wove the story around the images.  It was very creative, imaginative, and unlike anything else I have ever read.

The majority of the story is spent on the island as Jacob tries to discover the truth behind his Grandfather's past.  I really enjoyed the story, but I would have been disappointed if I read this book when it was first released.  I didn't realize until the end of last year (three years after the release of this book) that there was going to be a sequel.  The ending is left wide open and there are a million loose ends, which would have been extremely frustrating to the reader that believed this was a stand-alone novel.  As it stands today, I am anxious to pick up where this story left off and already requested a copy of Hollow City from the library.  

The movie version of this book is currently in production and scheduled to be released in March 2016.  I'm not sure how they will incorporate the pictures into the film, but I am excited to see how this story will be depicted on the big screen.  The setting will be very unique with the old school and the island with its ever changing weather.  There is a lot of action and several "monsters" at the end of the book, which should appeal to a wider audience than just the YA reading population.  With the hit or miss success of YA books to movies in recent years, I really hope this movie will get the support it deserves.       

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating.

I have yet to read a Dessen book that I haven't loved.  I just started reading her books over the past couple of years, so I'm playing catch up, but this book is already on my TBR list.

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
Release Date: May 5, 2015

Saint AnythingGoodreads Overview:

Peyton, Sydney's charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion's share of their parents' attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton's increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?

Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.

The uber-popular Sarah Dessen explores her signature themes of family, self-discovery, and change in her twelfth novel, sure to delight her legions of fans.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Review: Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead

Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy, #5)

Spirit Bound is the fifth book in the Vampire Academy series.  Rose and Lissa are determined to uncover the truth about the possibility of turning a strigoi back into his/her original state.  Specifically...if they can turn Dimitri back into a dhampir.

The majority of this book takes place at the Royal Court, but it isn't the safe haven it is made out to be.  There is a lot of action that takes place politically as well as physically.  I was happy to see that Christian, Lissa, and Adrian had a larger role in this book than they did in the previous.  Only connecting to them through the bond or Adrian walking dreams left a tremendous void in my opinion. 

I enjoyed seeing Adrian in his natural element.  His arrogance and royal status really stood out, but in a positive way.  I have a feeling Rose is going to break his heart in the long run, but I wouldn't worry about him.  There are a lot of fangirls (Flo and I included) that will step up in a pinch if he ever needs a date to one of his numerous royal functions.

Just when I thought the story was on track for a predictable ending, Richelle threw us for a loop.  Rose must fight for not only her career as a guardian, but her freedom as well.  Her friends and family are behind her, but they have a long fight ahead of them.

There was a MAJOR cliffhanger of an ending.  I can't imagine what people went through who read this book at the time of its release.  Hanging in the balance for a year must have been PAINFUL.  Fortunately...I downloaded the final book from the library as soon as I closed the cover on Spirit Bound.  I can't wait to see how the series will conclude and would recommend it to any YA fan.

Spoiler Alert...Don't read the following if you haven't finished reading Spirit Bound

Seriously??? After everything Rose went through to bring Dimitri back from the dead and he refuses to see her.  Love changes????  Are you kidding me?  If Rose were going to put a stake through someone's heart, it would have been Dimitri's instead of the person she is being accused of killing.  By the end of the book I felt like there was hope for them, but his dejected attitude was beyond frustrating.

I was, however, happy to see that Lissa and Christian were able to work out their differences.  They are such a great couple and didn't deserve the misery they were putting themselves through.  It will be interesting to see how their relationship progresses in the final book.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Starflight by Melissa Landers

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating.

Starflight by Melissa Landers
Release Date: February 2, 2016

I just finished reading Melissa's debut novel, Alienated, and already have a copy of the next book in the series...Invaded.  It is currently a two book series published by Disney-Hyperion, but could possibly become a three book series depending upon sales.  Regardless, she already has another series in the works and revealed the cover last week. 

StarflightGoodreads Overview: 

Life in the outer realm is a lawless, dirty, hard existence, and Solara Brooks is hungry for it. Just out of the orphanage, she needs a fresh start in a place where nobody cares about the engine grease beneath her fingernails or the felony tattoos across her knuckles. She's so desperate to reach the realm that she's willing to indenture herself to Doran Spaulding, the rich and popular quarterback who made her life miserable all through high school, in exchange for passage aboard the spaceliner Zenith.

When a twist of fate lands them instead on the Banshee, a vessel of dubious repute, Doran learns he's been framed on Earth for conspiracy. As he pursues a set of mysterious coordinates rumored to hold the key to clearing his name, he and Solara must get past their enmity to work together and evade those out for their arrest. Life on the Banshee may be tumultuous, but as Solara and Doran are forced to question everything they once believed about their world--and each other--the ship becomes home, and the eccentric crew family. But what Solara and Doran discover on the mysterious Planet X has the power to not only alter their lives, but the existence of everyone in the universe..

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Review: Alienated by Melissa Landers

Alienated (Alienated, #1)

Cara Sweeney is a high school senior and is currently top in her class.  She is smart, popular, has a boyfriend....everything a typical teenager would hope for.  She is approached by her principal to host an exchange student from L'eihr.  Where is that you ask?  It is on another planet!  Three Aliens from an advanced society are scheduled to arrive on Earth to foster a relationship with the humans.  Both species have something to gain from the arrangement, but everyone is skeptical and leery.  Cara's Mom was cured of cancer thanks to the L'eihrs and her family could use the money to pay for college, so she agrees to host one of the exchange students.

Aelyx is exceptionally good looking, strong, and intelligent, but lacks emotion and tact.  He comes off as arrogant at first and puts off a lot of the student body.  As tensions build, so does the violence.  Cara and Aelyx develop a more personal relationship and you can slowly see them changing.  They begin to realize they aren't that different after all and an alliance may be in their best interest, but is it too late?

This book is a fast read with plenty of action and romance to keep the pages turning.  I couldn't relate to the way Aelyx handled certain situations, but I understand he was doing what he thought was best.  Cara has a very loving and supportive family, but her "friends" left much to be desired.  When things began to heat up, they fled faster than anyone.  They did redeem themselves slightly in the end, but I don't think I would ever truly be able to trust them again. 

The ending left me hopeful and anxious to read the next book.  Fortunately, I already have a copy of Invaded and should be able to get to in within the next couple of months.    

I had a chance to meet Melissa at a signing in Columbus and thought she was extremely sweet.  There are some great quotes in this book that literally made me laugh out loud.  I would share them, but taken out of context I don't think they would be nearly as funny.  I would suggest picking up a copy of Alienated to experience them for yourselves first hand.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: The Conjurer's Riddle by Andrea Cremer

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating.

The Conjurer's Riddle by Andrea Cremer (The Inventor's Secret #2)
Release Date: November 3, 2015

I read the first book in this series last month and just noticed there is now a cover for the second book on Goodreads.  It took me a little while to get used to the the steampunk style of writing since it is drastically different than Andrea's Nightshade series.  By the end, I was invested in the story and characters and really want to see what will happen next.  

The Conjurer's Riddle (The Inventor's Secret, #2)Goodreads Overview:

In this sequel to The Inventor's Secret, Charlotte and her companions escape the British Empire, but they haven't left danger behind. In fact, if they go against the revolutionaries, they face even greater peril. 

Charlotte leads her group of exiles west, plunging into a wild world of shady merchants and surly rivermen on the way to New Orleans. But as Charlotte learns more about the revolution she has championed, she wonders if she's on the right side after all. Charlotte and her friends get to know the mystical New Orleans bayou and deep into the shadowy tunnels below the city–the den of criminals, assassins and pirates–Charlotte must decide if the revolution's goals justify their means, or if some things, like the lives of her friends, are too sacred to sacrifice.

This alternate-history adventure series asks the questions: What would have happened if America had lost the Revolutionary War? And what would people be willing to do to finally taste freedom?