Book Review: The Young World by Chris Weitz

After a mysterious Sickness wipes out the rest of the population, the young survivors assemble into tightly run tribes. Jefferson, the reluctant leader of the Washington Square tribe, and Donna, the girl he’s secretly in love with, have carved out a precarious existence among the chaos. But when another tribe member discovers a clue that may hold the cure to the Sickness, five teens set out on a life-altering road trip to save humankind.

The tribe exchanges gunfire with enemy gangs, escapes cults and militias, braves the wilds of the subway and Central Park…and discovers truths they could never have imagined.

Release Date: July 29, 2014

I actually had no prior knowledge of this novel before I went to Book Expo America and was just desperate to get a copy of Ryan Graudin’s The Walled City.  However, it turned out that Little, Brown Books for Young Readers was actually dropped The Young World with The Walled City, and I quickly decided that this was a book I had to read ASAP!

First thing you should know about this novel is that it is told in a dual point of view between a male and female character.  Now, I know what you are thinking, the voices have to be super distinct in order for this to work, and Weitz did this extremely well.  Jefferson’s voice was extremely straight forward and honest, just like his personality. He does have a tendency to go off on small tangents, but not nearly as much as his co-narrator, Donna.  Jeez, Donna’s voice is ridiculously annoying at times.  She overuses the word “like,” uses an extensive amount of pop culture references, and has a sarcastic cadence that really can get a bit much.  However, it is all of these things that made me adore her voice. See, Donna talks just like any teenager I know.  Plus, the pop culture references (which I normally don’t care for) helps a lot in this book to help show when the sickness began and what things these kids remember from Before.

Another thing I really liked was Weitz’s decision to capitalize certain words in order to emphasize their importance to the vernacular of the kids still alive. Examples: Before, Adults, etc

The plot moves at a decent pace, utilizing the “journey” trope, and then miraculously speeds up towards the end, which kind of took the winds out of my sails as a reader. But, I suppose Weitz set it up so there could be more than one novel.  I can’t say that I loved this book, but I definitely didn’t hate it, and look forward to the next installment.

3.5 Bards

3.5bards

 

Waiting on Wednesday

waiting on wednesday

 

Every week Breaking the Spine hosts the bookish meme for book bloggers to share what books they are waiting on to be released!  This week I’m waiting on:

Release Date: 2015

After surviving a disastrous battle at prom, Alyssa has embraced her madness and gained perspective. She’s determined to rescue her two worlds and the people and netherlings she loves. Even if it means challenging Queen Red to a final battle of wills and wiles… and even if the only way to Wonderland, now that the rabbit hole is closed, is through the looking-glass world—a parallel dimension filled with mutated and sadistic netherling outcasts.

In the final installment of the Splintered trilogy, Alyssa and her dad journey into the heart of magic and mayhem in search of her mom and to set right all that’s gone wrong. Together with Jeb and Morpheus, they must salvage Wonderland from the decay and destruction that has ensnared it. But even if everyone succeeds and comes out alive, can they all truly have their happily ever after?

 

Book Review: The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

Luke is the perfect boyfriend: handsome, kind, fun. He and Emaline have been together all through high school in Colby, the beach town where they both grew up. But now, in the summer before college, Emaline wonders if perfect is good enough.

Enter Theo, a super-ambitious outsider, a New Yorker assisting on a documentary film about a reclusive local artist. Theo’s sophisticated, exciting, and, best of all, he thinks Emaline is much too smart for Colby.

Emaline’s mostly-absentee father, too, thinks Emaline should have a bigger life, and he’s convinced that an Ivy League education is the only route to realizing her potential. Emaline is attracted to the bright future that Theo and her father promise. But she also clings to the deep roots of her loving mother, stepfather, and sisters. Can she ignore the pull of the happily familiar world of Colby?

Emaline wants the moon and more, but how can she balance where she comes from with where she’s going?

It is no secret that Sarah Dessen is an author who pretty much defined my high school years and her novel This Lullaby is still one of my favorite novels of all time. So when I got this book last summer I devoured it and then put it aside.  It is almost personal for me to write a review of a novel by her, since I adore her work so much.  Well, I decided to suck it up and re-read The Moon and More so I could finally start doing some reviews of Dessen’s work.  Oh yeah, have I mentioned that Dessen is a North Carolina based author, and a lot of her summer stories feature landscapes and beaches from the Outer Banks?  Yay North Carolina!  So I decided that I’m going to re-read all of my favorite books by her so I can do some reviews and support her and hopefully introduce her to a whole new generation of young readers.

sarahdessen signedAll of Dessen’s novels have endings that are perfectly fitting and satisfying.  Now, saying this, be aware that not all of the novels end with a happy romance or anything like that.  Some of the stories are more based on the individual destiny of the character and the outcome of familial issues.  The Moon and More is one that is more based in Emaline’s destiny than about romance, which means that the summary can be a little misleading.  Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of adorable romantic moments between Emaline and the two leading men, Theo and Luke, but the story is really about Emaline.

I love this about this novel because it really focuses on how Emaline has been disappointed by her family and the fact that she comes to realize that her dreams aren’t necessarily what she thought they were.  The novel basically outlines how Emaline comes to adore her half-brother, work hard the entire summer, and eventually she understands that the things that happen with her estranged Father are devastating, but that a relationship between them can still be salvaged.  Go and read this book now.  Be sure to watch out for more of my Sarah Dessen reviews coming up…as I will be rereading my favorites!

4.5 Bards

four.fivebards

Book Review: The Secret Diamond Sisters by Michelle Madow

17160608The three sisters grew up not knowing their father and not quite catching a break. But it looks like their luck is about to change when they find out the secret identity of their long-lost dad—a billionaire Las Vegas hotel owner who wants them to come live in a gorgeous penthouse hotel suite. Suddenly the Strip’s most exclusive clubs are all-access, and with an unlimited credit card each, it should be easier than ever to fit right in. But in a town full of secrets and illusion, fitting in is nothing compared to finding out the truth about their past.

 

I really liked this book.  It didn’t have a whole lot of substance but it was a great beach read.  I think I even read it in one day.  It was every girls fantasy come true, who wouldn’t want to discover they had a rich father?  And go from poor to very wealthy in an instant!  I would have loved that!  And the fact they got to move to Vegas, how cool!

I thought each sister was great, they had their own unique characteristics and voices.  I do think some of the activities that the girls were getting into may have been a bit far fetched for their ages.  I doubt that even with the social elite a 15 year old would be able to get into a club and drink.  But what do I know.  I thought the bond between the sisters and their father was a bit lacking, but that may be explored later in the series.  There was something off about the father and the fiance’s relationship.  It wasn’t explained to any depth, it could be a book with in itself I’m guessing.  That part doesn’t seem like a big part of the plot so I wasn’t bothered that it wasn’t really explored or explained.

Madow did a great job describing the city and all of the unique things to do there, and now I want to go back!  It also left me wanting more from the sisters.  What happens when they start school?  Will they ever get to know their dad?  The good news is that there is another book!  So I will be picking that up soon!  Like I said this is a great beach read, but don’t expect too much from it!  Just enjoy the ride!

 

4.5 Bards

four.fivebards

Book Review: One Past Midnight by Jessica Shirvington

For as long as she can remember, Sabine has lived two lives. Every 24 hours she Shifts to her ′other′ life – a life where she is exactly the same, but absolutely everything else is different: different family, different friends, different social expectations. In one life she has a sister, in the other she does not. In one life she′s a straight-A student with the perfect boyfriend, in the other she′s considered a reckless delinquent. Nothing about her situation has ever changed, until the day when she discovers a glitch: the arm she breaks in one life is perfectly fine in the other.

With this new knowledge, Sabine begins a series of increasingly risky experiments which bring her dangerously close to the life she′s always wanted… But just what – and who – is she really risking?

Release Date: July 22, 2014

Now, this book had a really cool premise.  The idea that a person could wake up in a different life, different WORLD, really, every 24 hours is absolutely fascinating.  (Now all I can think is that maybe we ALL do this but we don’t remember it like Sabine does) It does really play with the whole idea of fate and whether or not one specific life may be the best for her.

So, Sabine has two separate worlds, and a lot of the novel is her trying to decide which life she hates less enough to stay in it permanently (presuming that if she dies in one life, that she doesn’t die in the other).  This brings up all kinds of questions about suicide, mental health facilities, terminal illness, patient/doctor relationships, true personalities, and nature versus nurture.

That’s a lot of things, right?! So much jam packed into a book that has a really cool premise…it can almost be overwhelming. There is also a crazy love story that takes place in one of the worlds that really makes the reader to avoid the other life, much like the character. I don’t know about anyone else who read it, but I would have had a super hard time choosing based on the circumstances of both worlds, just like Sabine did. Kudos to Shirvington for making me feel all of the feels.

In addition, just when you think it’s going to end completely in your tears, Shirvington gives you a glimpse of hope that makes you wish there was a second novel so you can continue Sabine’s unique story.

Even if you haven’t read Shirvington’s other novels (I’ve only read one), this novel can easily make you a fan, and I think you should put this on your To-Be-Read list.

4 Bards.

fourbards

Novella Review: Finding Cinderella by Colleen Hoover

A chance encounter in the dark leads eighteen-year-old Daniel and the girl who stumbles across him to profess their love for each other. But this love comes with conditions: they agree it will only last one hour and it will only be make-believe.

When their hour is up and the girl rushes off like Cinderella, Daniel tries to convince himself that what happened between them only seemed perfect because they were pretending it was perfect. Moments like that with girls like her don’t happen outside of fairytales.

One year and one bad relationship later, his disbelief in insta-love is stripped away the day he meets Six: a girl with a strange name and an even stranger personality. Daniel soon realizes the way he pretended to feel about Cinderella and the way he really feels about Six may not be so different after all. Especially when the two loves of his life end up being one in the same.

Unfortunately for Daniel, finding Cinderella doesn’t guarantee their happily ever after…it only further threatens it

Have I ever mentioned how much I love a novella? Well I do. They are the perfect length for a cute little beach read or to read between some serious YA dystopian novels. This book was super cute and made me feel all warm and cuddly inside. For the sake of honesty it is a YA book but I wouldn’t let teens read it. It has some strong language and sexual content.

I love that it was written from Daniels point of view. It is a nice change of pace to read a novella from the male POV. I thought his personality was refreshing and if he was 10 years older I would have a major crush on him. I also really like Six, I thought she was a great female lead character. Loved Daniel and Six’s relationship and banter. It was all great.

I really didn’t think the story needed the twist at the end. I would have been fine without it. It didn’t really add much to the story and felt a little pushed. I can appreciate that it shows real life consequences to adult decisions that you make as a teen, however for me it wasn’t necessary. But that was the only thing I can find off about this book.

I give this cute novella 4.5 bards.

four.fivebards

Waiting on Wednesday

waiting on wednesday

 

Every week Breaking the Spine hosts the bookish meme for book bloggers to share what books they are waiting on to be released!  This week I’m waiting on:

Release Date: September 2, 2014

Eveny Cheval just moved back to Louisiana after spending her childhood in New York with her aunt Bea. Eveny hasn’t seen her hometown since her mother’s suicide fourteen years ago, and her memories couldn’t have prepared her for what she encounters. Because pristine, perfectly manicured Carrefour has a dark side full of intrigue, betrayal, and lies—and Eveny quickly finds herself at the center of it all.

Enter Peregrine Marceau, Chloe St. Pierre, and their group of rich, sexy friends known as the Dolls. From sipping champagne at lunch to hooking up with the hottest boys, Peregrine and Chloe have everything—including an explanation for what’s going on in Carrefour. And Eveny doesn’t trust them one bit.

But after murder strikes and Eveny discovers that everything she believes about herself, her family, and her life is a lie, she must turn to the Dolls for answers. Something’s wrong in paradise, and it’s up to Eveny, Chloe, and Peregrine to save Carrefour and make it right.

Top Ten Tuesday

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted for us book blogger types by the Broke and the Bookish. They provide a topic, and all of us participants post our answers on our blogs and we hop around checking out one another’s answers! This week’s topic is:

Top Ten Favorite Movies

1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

2. Heathers

damage

3. Alice in Wonderland

4. Clue

5. The Princess Bride

6. The Polar Express

7. Across the Universe

8. Frozen

9. Shawn of the Dead

10. 10 Things I Hate About You

What are some of your favorite movies?! Maybe we have some in common!

Book Review: Where the Rock Splits the Sky by Philip Webb

The moon has been split, and the Visitors have Earth in their alien grip. But the captive planet? That’s not her problem. Megan just wants to track down her missing dad…

The world stopped turning long before Megan was born. Ever since the Visitors split the moon and stilled the Earth, permanent sunset is all anyone has known. But now, riding her trusty steed Cisco, joined by her posse, Kelly and Luis, Megan is on the run from her Texas hometown, journeying across the vast, dystopic American West to hunt down her father. To find him, she must face the Zone, a notorious landscape where the laws of nature do not apply. The desert can play deadly tricks on the mind, and the quest will push Megan past her limits. But to solve the mystery of not just her missing father but of the paralyzed planet itself, she must survive it–and an alien showdown.

This book was a strange jumble of genres mixed together, it was dystopian, sci-fi, western, and YA.  And you might be thinking how does a book with so many genres come together?  Well I will tell you, it turns out to be a pretty cool book.  I really liked the setting of the book, that in of itself was a character (and probably my favorite character).  The Zone, as it is called, was a forever changing, forever adapting, and full of surprising place.

The author spent a lot of time developing the setting and that was great but the other characters could have used some work.  Megan our main character was ok, she was a bit dry and I didn’t connect with her.  I did like Kelly, who was funny and trying to add some humor into the book.  Luis was cliché, he was Hispanic and spoke in broken English the whole book.  I am just glad he didn’t portray other typical Hispanic characteristics (like Machismo).

The one thing that really got on my nerves was the character’s dialog.  They all had this really awful southern accent.  I don’t know how many times I have to tell people, we don’t talk like that.  Not every sentence that we utter has a metaphor or some sort of antiquated phrase.  It is a poor representation of Southerners.

Over all I thought the book was good.  It would make a great movie, if the actors dropped the fake southern accents.  The setting and descriptions of the zone were fantastic.  The ending was predictable and a shame.  It had potential to be a series of books and not just one.  But alas the ending did not lend itself to another book.

3.5 Bards.

3.5bards

Book Review: Falling by Design by Valia Lind

22080441Brooklynn Summers has a plan for her life: graduate from high school, get into a top fashion school, prove to her family that she’s not a failure. She wishes someone in her life understood her need to create because her parents sure don’t support her dreams, her sister hates her, and the deadlines are soon approaching.

Enter Grayson Banks.

There are a few things in life Brooklynn can’t stand: mismatched patterns, cheap polyester, and Grayson. No boy has ever publicly humiliated Brooklynn like Grayson has. When he suddenly moved away in eighth grade, Brooklynn happily wished him good riddance. But on the first day of senior year, Grayson comes back, with his piercing blue eyes and a smile that melts icebergs, he is not exactly the boy Brooklynn remembers. She quickly realizes that Grayson’s intentions have completely shifted, but she’s not sure if she can put their past behind her.

Grayson understands Brooklynn’s creative ambitions and he devises a plan to showcase her work to the world. When the two agree to work together, suddenly, there is more than just fabric paint that’s having a chemical reaction to its environment. Brooklynn cannot help but feel pulled into Grayson’s arms, but memories and misunderstandings surface, putting in danger whatever small comradeship these two childhood enemies have constructed.

Can Brooklynn overcome her own insecurities, finally making her dreams come true? Even a dream she didn’t know she had.

Ahhhh!  I loved this book.  It was so stinking good.  Just the right amount of romance, and heartache, and friendship to keep me reading from start to finish.  It took me two days maybe a total of 6 hours to read, it was that good.  I loved how innocent it was, there was no real life drama (there was teen drama) or some horrifying incident.  It was your classic boy likes girl so he picks on her, then realizes that is not a great way to get a girl!

I loved Grayson, he was genuine and sweet and patient, everything a teenage girl wants in a boy, and he is HOT (according to the characters).    I thought his back story was good, and I loved that he had support from his family.  I really liked Dakota and Chance and their bickering.  I hope we get to read about their romance *hint hint*.

Brooklynn was a great character as well.  She was insecure and talented and had personality traits we all could identify with!  I was a little worried that I would get lost in fashion talk, but I really didn’t!  Valia put in just the right amount of detail to keep me involved and not lose me.  There was nothing about this book that I didn’t enjoy.  It was a great contemporary YA romance!  I really hope Valia Lind continues writing!

5 Bards

fivebards

 

 

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