Friday, December 30, 2011

Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Title: Delirium
Author: Lauren Oliver site
Format: Audiobook
Voice Actress: Sarah Drew site
Published: 2/01/2011
Publisher: Listening Library
Source: eMedia Library

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy. 

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.
Characters:
I really liked that Lena isn’t your typical dystopian heroine. She’s clumsy, awkward, shy, na├»ve, and always follows the rules. Many of her reactions and emotions throughout the book were very well conveyed and believable. She’s also described as a plain Jane. (But actually described, unlike a certain “book that shall not be named”) Lauren Oliver did a great job at creating a very authentic and human character. Though I wasn’t surprised, having read her debut Before I Fall, which also has a great main character.

Plot:
I liked the flow of Delirium’s plot. It was very well paced, without many time gaps.  And it has plenty of different twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat, and your eyes glued to the pages. And the ending is just mind-blowing!

Writing Style:
Delirium’s your basic first person POV from the point of view of Lena.

Overall:
When I first read Delirium early this year, I was a little skeptical seeing as I am not a fan of romance, and this book is all about forbidden love. This review is based on my recent rereading with the audiobook (sequel coming out soon, so I needed a refresher), and I’m happy to say that I enjoyed it a lot more the second time around. I give Delirium 4 stars. It is one of the best dystopians to come out of 2011. 


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Holiday Break Reading Challenge Day 7 - Your Favorite Book Character of 2011 in Pictures


Today's challenge activity was to write a post about your favorite character you read about in 2011. Hands down (or hand and "whiphand"), that would have to be Drake Merwin from the Gone series by Michael Grant. Anyone who has ever met me or read my posts has probably had the pleasure of hearing me gush about the Gone series, which I discovered earlier this year. Out of the many lovable characters in the series, of course, my favorite would have to be the psychopathic, immortal, and whiphanded killer. Here's a collage of some my favorite Drake fan art found through deviantart.com.


Fan art artists from collage, left to right: "Mr. Whiphand" by kangel, "Drake Merwin Fanart" by FallsApart, "Gone -- Drake Merwin" by Zexionluver4ever, "Beware the Whiphand -- Drake Merwin" by Malsavaidity, and "Drake Marker Sketch -Gone-" by TheIronyIsPalpable.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Where's Waldo?


I know some of you are wondering, "What happened to Emma B., my favorite YA blogger?". Well, lots of holiday busyness paired with a family emergency and generally being tired. But rest assured, more reviews and the like are on their way shortly. Including reviews of My Beating Teenage Heart by C.K. Kelly Martin, and Delirium by Lauren Oliver. And if you don't hear from me sooner, here's wishing you a Happy Holiday!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

E-Book & Self-Published Reading Challenge


I decided to join the 2012 Ebook Challenge and the 2012 Self-Published Reading Challenge, both hosted by Workday Reads. I have an ereader, but I don't use it as often as I should. And of course I'm always looking for ways to support self-published authors. I'm going with the "DVD level", 25 books, for the ebook challenge. And the "Paragraph level", 10 books, for the self-published challenge. Here's a list of some ebooks (some self-published, some not) that I've already committed to reading.

-Quest of the Demon by M.J. Sawyer
-Happy Birthday to Me by Brian Rowe
-Notes to Self by Avery Sawyer
-Unearthed by Rebecca Bloomer
-Ugly to Start With by John M. Cummings

If you're participating with either challenge, feel free to link-up in the comments section. Clicking on the challenge image will take you to the challenge sign-up page.



Zombie Reading Challenge


I decided to join Book Chick City's Zombie Reading Challenge. I decided to start off with the lowest level, "One Chomp", for reading six zombie themed books.  I love books about zombies, and hopefully this challenge will motivate me to read more zombie fiction. Here are some zombie themed book from my "to-read" list I might read for the challenge. (I fly by the seat of my pants in choosing books. No committing for me.)

-Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel
-Dust & Decay by Jonathan Maberry
-My Life As a White Trash Zombie by Dianna Rowland
-Bad Taste In Boys by Carrie Harris
-Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
-Married With Zombies by Jesse Peterson
-Feed by Mira Grant

If you're participating in the challenge, link up your post page in the comments section so I can check it out. Click on the image at the top of this post to go to the challenges sign-up page.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday (#6)

Top Ten Tuesday is a bookish meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week's Top Ten is...
Top Ten Childhood Favorites

One of my absolute favorite books of all time. When I first read the audio book, I reread it at least 3 times after. It was also the first book that moved me to tears. 

I loved this series when I was in the first and second grade. My favorites were Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, Junie B. Jones and the Yucky Blucky Fruitcake, and Junie B. Jones and Her Big Fat Mouth.

I always thought these books were so cool. They were written as though they really were some girls journal. Full of hand drawn illustrations, and lots of funny stories.

4) Magic Tree House series by Mary Osborne Pope When I was in elementary school, I'd had a fascination with ancient Egypt and mummies.  So, of course, the first one I'd ever read was Mummies in the Morning. I also really liked Night of the Ninjas.

I probably read almost all of the Sweet Valley Kids books in about 3rd or 4th grade. The ones I read again and again were A Curse on Elizabeth and Trapped in Toyland

These were pretty short chapter books about a kid detective in San Francisco, solving mysteries in his neighborhood. My favorite was The Case of the Fleeing Fang

I loved The Boxcar Children. The whole idea of kids surviving on their own in the wilderness really appealed to me. I didn't even read any other books in the series because it wasn't about survival, they were solving mysteries. (Didn't make sense then, doesn't make sense now.) 

I read every Goosebumps book my library had. The only one that ever gave me nightmares though, was Night of the Living Dummy. Some of my Favorites were One Day at Horrorland, The Cuckoo Clock of Doom, How I Got My Shrunken Head, It Came From Beneath the Sink, and Welcome to Camp Nightmare

The classic stories of the house keeper that takes instructions too literally and bakes a mean pie. Anyone who said they didn't laugh reading Amelia Bedelia stories are lying to you. 

The, also, classic stories of two best friends that may not always get along but always have lots of fun. 

Here are some other favorites that didn't fit on the list. 


What was in your Top Ten this week? Don't forget to link-up in the comments section. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Future Release Review: Fracture by Megan Miranda

Title: Fracture
Author: Megan Miranda site
Format: ARC, 262 pages
Release Date: 1/03/12
Publisher: Walker & Company
Source: Pre-publication buzz tour


“Eleven minutes passed before Delaney Maxwell was pulled from the icy waters of a Maine lake by her best friend Decker Phillips. By then her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. And yet she somehow defied medical precedent to come back seemingly fine
-despite the scans that showed significant brain damage. Everyone wants Delaney to be all right, but she knows she's far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can't control or explain, Delaney finds herself drawn to the dying. Is her altered brain now predicting death, or causing it?
Then Delaney meets Troy Varga, who recently emerged from a coma with similar abilities. At first she's reassured to find someone who understands the strangeness of her new existence, but Delaney soon discovers that Troy's motives aren't quite what she thought. Is their gift a miracle, a freak of nature-or something much more frightening?”
How it starts:
Delaney and her best friend Decker (17) go to some play kind of game in the snow with their friends in the small town of Falcon Lake, Maine. They decide to take a shortcut over the lake and end up regretting it. After Decker runs ahead, Delaney trips and falls, creating a fracture in the ice and falls through.

She then wakes up after being in a coma for 6 days. She was not expected to make it; she’d been under the freezing cold water for eleven minutes.  It’s almost unheard of to make it after seven. The doctors say it’s nothing less than a miracle.
Though Delaney can still walk and talk fine (strangely without even needing rehab), her damaged brain seems to have rewired itself in strange ways. She feels an unexplainable “tugging” and “itch” in her brain while in the hospital.  What does this mean?

Characters:
I have mixed feelings about Delaney (protagonist). I definitely liked her, and pretty much everyone, for the first 50-75 pages or so; but then it seemed like her character development just came to a standstill, leaving her feeling kind of 2D.  And then she does something incredibly stupid (mentioned in Troy description). I will say kudos to Miranda for not making her character the normal short, skinny heroine girl. Delaney doesn’t really play the hero. I believe she even said at one point “I’m not that kind of girl”.

I hated that Decker (best friend/romantic interest) was so hot and cold so much of the time. There is kind of an explanation for it, but still. It made him really hard to like. During the beginning of the book I was yelling at the characters to just get together already. But then Decker’s character is kind of a jerk half the time. I personally wasn’t really rooting for either of them. Neither one really seemed that desirable.

 And then there’s Troy (other romantic interest. Yep, it’s a love triangle. Ugh). Honestly I didn’t really like Troy either.  He was really kind of creepy, even in the beginning. Until Delaney’s character finds out more about him, I don’t see his appeal. I mean, Delaney gets in his car, and later in his apartment, after only knowing him for all of 5 minutes. I couldn’t help yelling “stranger danger” in my head.

Of the three main characters, there really wasn’t one I was rooting for, which sucks. As a reader, I want to want the book’s characters to succeed. But I just didn’t get that in Fracture.

Plot:
The plot wasn’t half bad.  The whole mysterious “tugging” to others and Delaney wondering whether she’s crazy or not kept me entertained. There was a problem with the pacing though. As it got toward the end, it felt kind of rushed. Like there was so much going on, and not enough space in 250 pages to say everything.

The ending lacked any closure or answers. And without a cliffhanger (there isn’t any sequel planned), it just seemed like Fracture ended so abruptly. Delaney’s family is kind of falling apart, and then she has her special ability to deal with and nothing gets resolved. Basically in the end, there’s a death, a kiss, THE END. It was like the author was writing and all of the sudden was incapacitated on page 262 (last page) and the publisher just published what they had without an ending. This feeling is probably due to the lack of “hope for the future” that usually ends stand alone books.

Overall:
Fracture didn’t do it for me. At the beginning, I thought I had a real hit on my hands but it was not meant to be. This book may make a splash for others, but from me, Fracture gets a thumbs down. I give it 2.5 stars for at least having a very intriguing beginning. 



Friday, December 2, 2011

Future Release Review: Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Before I go any further, this book's title put a song in my head throughout my reading it. Just listen as far as the chorus to see what I mean. (1:10 minutes in) 

Title: Every Other Day
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes site
Format: Ebook
Release Date: 12/27/2011
Publisher: Egmont
Source: Netgalley

“Every other day, Kali D'Angelo is a normal sixteen-year-old girl. She goes to public high school. She attends pep rallies. She's human.

And then every day in between . . . She’s something else entirely.

Though she still looks like herself, every twenty-four hours predatory instincts take over and Kali becomes a feared demon-hunter with the undeniable urge to hunt, trap, and kill zombies, hellhounds, and other supernatural creatures. Kali has no idea why she is the way she is, but she gives in to instinct anyway. Even though the government considers it environmental terrorism.

When Kali notices a mark on the lower back of a popular girl at school, she knows instantly that the girl is marked for death by one of these creatures. Kali has twenty-four hours to save her and, unfortunately, she'll have to do it as a human. With the help of a few new friends, Kali takes a risk that her human body might not survive . . . and learns the secrets of her mysterious condition in the process.”

Every Other Day is set in a world very similar to ours. The big difference is that instead of Darwin discovering evolution when he set out on the Beagle, he discovered preternatural creatures (hellhounds, zombies, basilisks, ect.). And so the hunting Kali is compelled to do is very illegal, what with hellhounds being an endangered species and all. Through the whole book, Kali is wondering who she is; not her personality, but what species. As far as she knows she’s one of a kind.

Characters:
There weren’t any characters in this book I had problems with. I didn’t find anything about Kali I disliked; I just had a hard time relating to her for whatever reason. She has the whole “kick ass heroine” thing going on, and she’s easy to root for. She was just a little 2D personality wise.

Again, nothing liked or disliked with Zev. Although he’s the romantic interest, he doesn’t play a major role in this book. Perhaps we’ll see more of him in the sequel.

The real money is in the supporting characters. All the banter between Skylar and Bethany was so funny I almost peed my pants. (I always seem to like the funny characters the best. Never noticed this before.)

Plot:
This book has a great plot. Every Other Day is action packed, with a few tear-jerking moments and plenty of twists and turns. Some that even I didn’t see coming. (This, unfortunately, doesn’t happen very often.) And a cliff hanger ending completes the package that, hopefully, promises a sequel.

Overall:
I really enjoyed this book and found the concept (especially what species she turns out to be) very unique. It was well paced and I was never bored. I really hope there will be a sequel. Every Other Day gets 3.5/5 stars from me. I can see this book being a big hit!