Friday, December 21, 2012

A World Away Review

A World Away by Nancy Grossman
A summer of firsts

Sixteen-year-old Eliza Miller has never made a phone call, never tried on a pair of jeans, never sat in a darkened theater waiting for a movie to start. She’s never even talked to someone her age who isn’t Amish, like her.

A summer of good-byes

When she leaves her close-knit family to spend the summer as a nanny in suburban Chicago, a part of her can’t wait to leave behind everything she knows. She can’t imagine the secrets she will uncover, the friends she will make, the surprises and temptations of a way of life so different from her own.

A summer of impossible choice

Every minute Eliza spends with her new friend Josh feels as good as listening to music for the first time, and she wonders whether there might be a place for her in his world. But as summer wanes, she misses the people she has left behind, and the plain life she once took for granted. Eliza will have to decide for herself where she belongs. Whichever choice she makes, she knows she will lose someone she loves.
This book surprised me.  I wasn't expecting something quite like it.  I've been so busy with school that I haven't be able to read (let alone post), but this book made me want to review it. 
Eliza is a very conflicted young girl, who doesn't know what next year will mean for her life.  The first part of the book introduces the world she is used to and longing she has to escape it.  Then, we get to the real world, and its beautiful.  It really made me appreciate everything I have.  But, there is still that memory of the world left behind, a world we now see is also beautiful.  Eliza must now choose. 
This girl is a great character.  I always knew what she was thinking, and no matter what she was doing, even if it was washing the dishes, didn't bore me.  The characters Eliza meets aren't as fleshed out as she is.  They are really there to help move Eliza down the plot, but the story never lost my interest. 
Often in reviews you might see how the book was devoured in less than two days.  I read this book in three; however, I haven't been reading regularly since the summer and it now takes me two weeks to read one book.  For me and my busy schedule, three days is unbelievable. 
Although this book kept me reading it didn't surprise me, Eliza's real world experience brought teenagers who were as swallow and static as any other typical high school story.  I believe the reason for this was to sharply contrast Eliza's Amish home, but I didn't appreciate how these characters made sweet Amish Eliza seem stupid with no common sense.  However, that was only a portion of the book.  The rest was excellent, and, honestly, I would be on my way to the book store right now if it weren't for that one part--I don't buy books.
If you are looking for something out of the ordinary, don't get this, but if you are looking for a good read and some insight into the Amish world, I would reccommend this for you.

Friday, August 10, 2012

How to Save a Life Review

How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr Review

August 10, 2012

Genre: Chick-Lit

Rating: 7/10

Summary: Jill MacSweeney just wishes everything could go back to normal. But ever since her dad died, she’s been isolating herself from her boyfriend, her best friends—everyone who wants to support her. And when her mom decides to adopt a baby, it feels like she’s somehow trying to replace a lost family member with a new one.

Mandy Kalinowski understands what it’s like to grow up unwanted—to be raised by a mother who never intended to have a child. So when Mandy becomes pregnant, one thing she’s sure of is that she wants a better life for her baby. It’s harder to be sure of herself. Will she ever find someone to care for her, too?

As their worlds change around them, Jill and Mandy must learn to both let go and hold on, and that nothing is as easy—or as difficult—as it seems.

This book started out good, exactly as I expected it to.  We are introduced to both girls and they are both somewhat normal—they both come off a bit creepy but other than that.  Jill is very relatable; she is a brat, but no matter how nice a teenager may seem on the outside, guaranteed, they are brats at home, or at least most of the time.  Jill is a little bit brattier, but her Dad just died so I understand.  I enjoyed reading from both their point of views because although Jill is more relatable, Mandy has these little subtle personality quirks that make her fun to read about especially reading how she sees other characters like Jill and Jill’s mom, Robin.  The side characters were very well fleshed out, except Jill’s sort-or-former friends that act like sheep, but they were such a small part of the story that they are almost not worth mentioning and didn’t ruin the story at all, promise.   

The storyline is a bit trickier.  After the fun of meeting the new characters wore off, I had no idea where this story was supposed to go, but the ending seemed plain enough.  There was this pause and I kept waiting for something exciting to happen to rocket me through the rest of the book.  That didn’t happen.  The book did pick up and I really enjoyed how it wrapped up, but it was more at a golf cart pace.    Once I was finally through it, I was glad I had read it.  Even though it was a slower read (I mean, it is summer), and not much happened I loved the characters that were so real I found myself worrying for them and breathing a sigh of relief when they changed for the better, Jill was less bratty. 

If you don’t mind another pregnancy book, and are ready to make some new friends then I highly recommend How to Save a Life. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Review: Theo Boone- Abduction

Theodore Boone: The Abduction by John Grisham
Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 217
 Genre: Mystery Thriller Middle Grade
From: Borrowed

Status: Read in less than 24 hours.
I loved the first book because it had all the thrill of the court room, except the main character was thirteen.  The entire idea is hilarious, but interesting enough to peak at even if this book is middle grade.  Abduction is the sequel (I admit I like the first book more).  Theo was more of a victim in this book, and less of a kid lawyer, but his knowledge of the law is what helped him in the end.  Everything was still great, and had all the style and humor of the first.  A thirteen year-old besting a police man and a real lawyer kept me laughing.
Theo made me wonder why I don't read middle grade more often.  John Grisham sells as many books as he does because of his great pronounced style. Not many authors have that. 
For fans of Law&Order.

Rating: 8/10- I <3 Theo Boone.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (22)

Top Ten Books I'd Save if There was a Zombie Apocolaypse
Hosted at The Broke and the Bookish.

  1. Narnia-  I have this really beautiful edition of the all of the books in a blue leather cover. This would be the first thing in my bag.
  2. The Hunger Games Trilogy- I have all three of these and I would save all of them! (They count as one).
  3. The Bible- okay so I lied. This would be the first thing in my bag.  I should probably just put a copy of this in my emergency kit anyway.
  4. The Sky is Everywhere-  So beautiful and poetic.  The Sky is Everywhere is worth saving.
  5. Revolution-  I bought a copy of this book just because I want my kids to read it one day.  I'm not sure it will make though because I plan on rereading to the point of it falling apart.
  6. Water for Elephants - One of the best books ever. After a zombie apocolaypse it will be hard for people to believe anything like this could have possibly happened.
  7. Beastly - I think this would be the perfect escape.
  8. The Harry Potter Series
  9. Little House on the Praire - Any of these I can find
  10. Possibly the most important- a Survival Guide.
Seriously if there was a disaster I would want to be prepared.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (21)

Top Ten Books You'd Hand to Someone Who Says They Don't Like Reading (poor people).
Hosted at the Broke an the Bookish.

  1. Hunger Games! Some of my friends who are not readers have asked to borrow this book from me.
  2. The Sky is Everywhere- It's an easy read, its fun, filled with poetry adding texture, and it's still a really good book.
  3. Dairy Queen- really cute read and not to long
  4. Water for Elephants- This one was amazing and went by really quickly for me.  I think that the large size isn't as bad as it seems because it goes by really quickly.  That is why the Help wouldn't be a good choice.  It may be awesome, but it was kind of slow.
  5. Kissed by an Angel is another one that goes by past.  I just wouldn't give them the trilogy in one.  The cliffhangers at the end should be enough to keep them reading.
  6. This Side of Paradise by Steven Layne- SOOO GOOD! Both genders will like this book, and it is just awesome! Really good for book clubs or read alouds and EVERYTHING!! sorry I got a little excited.
Anything else that went by quickly, but was still good I would suggest, but there aren't a lot of them out there.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Blogspiration (1)

This is hosted at GrowingUpYA and Saz101. This is a new meme, kind of like Wordless Wednesday, except it can be a quote to or anything found inspiring!  Since this kind of goes with my blog title I'm very excited! Please go check it out at one of these blogs. 

My first Blogspiration:
This makes some much sense right now.  Ever feel like there's not enough time in the day?  If we could learn to say no to things like that, maybe we could finally get something done!  Everyday should be used so that there are no regrets

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Alchemy of Forever Review

The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Pages: 256

Synopsis: After spending six hundred years on Earth, Seraphina Ames has seen it all. Eternal life provides her with the world's riches but at a very high price: innocent lives. Centuries ago, her boyfriend, Cyrus, discovered a method of alchemy that allows them to take the bodies of other humans from jumping from one vessel to the next, ending the human's life in the process. No longer able to bear the guilt of what she's done, Sera escapes from Cyrus and vows to never kill again.

Then sixteen-year old Kailey Morgan gets into a horrific car accident right in front of her, and Sera accidentally takes over her body while trying to save her. For the first time, Sera finds herself enjoying the life of the person she's inhabiting--and falling in love with the boy who lives next door. But Cyrus will stop at nothing until she's his again, and every moment she stays, she's putting herself and the people she's grown to care about in danger. Will Sera have to give up the one thing that's eluded her for centuries: true love? 

  The beginning is very under developed. In a whirlwind the story begins, and we are introduced to two characters.  There is no way to tell who they are or why they do what they do.  Then before any personality is shown they both run away.  Id did serve as a launch into the story because once I got past that I glided through the first 100 pages.  Sera has a plan, her mind locked on target, and she has had many centuries to enact it.  Her persistence was inspiring.  Maybe even good enough to write a song. Hmm?  Motivating that persistence was this slow-burned-until-blazing human compassion.  She could look at a person and see the best of who they really were.  Where we saw a drug-addicted girl, she was a desperate cry for help and peace, no matter what form that might come from.  It's the kind of feeling one might get about a reconciled murderer (one who had been forced to do it by another).
         The minute we were introduced to who was Kailey I felt this beautiful connection to all that she was, and such sadness that she was gone.  Sera seemed to combine with her, but I had no idea how Sera was going to pull it off.  It was like waking up one day and realizing what a bitch you were.  Sera complains about how she never got to grow up, but she has.  Her experiences, however horrible, made her wise even though her body is sixteen.  This became obvious when other characters revealed how Kailey was, and how enthralled with the teenage drama she had been.
         Noah was great.  He had this way of making jokes even when the circumstances weren't very good, and he always respected Kailey and Sera even if he didn't like what they asked.  As soon as he walked on the page I liked him.  If Alchemy of Forever had been one of those crazy love triangle books I'm confident I would have been loyal to Noah. 
       The ending:   Hmmm..... the last page snuck up behind me and jumped out when I least expected it.  Then twisted a knife in my back.  How could that have happened?  It couldn't have been the ending, just a sick joke someone was playing slipping me an unfinished copy.  There were so many unanswered questions and possibilities left.  I don't even fully understand what happened.  It just-

Rating- 7/10- Awesome, but left something to be desired.  

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (3)

Hosted by Breaking the Spine 
Soooo many good new realeases, and so many up-coming.
This week I'm waiting for Stealing Parker, a companion novel to Catching Jordan.  I really want to read Jordan, but haven't come around to it yet.  Still, I'm waiting for Parker.
 Status: Very Excited!

This book is about a girl who falls for the new baseball coach.  It is supposed to be a romantic tale that is to prove that girls like sports too.  After books like Dairy Queen this is a popular element in YA, but this is one of the few that focuses on the sports...or at least I hope it does.  Guarenteed: Romance.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson Review

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
Publisher: speak (penguin group)
Genre: YA Contemporary
From: Christmas Present

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker, bookworm and band geek, plays second clarinet and spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulted to center stage of her own life - and, despite her nonexistent history with boys, suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two. Toby was Bailey's boyfriend; his grief mirrors Lennie's own. Joe is the new boy in town, a transplant from Paris whose nearly magical grin is matched only by his musical talent. For Lennie, they're the sun and the moon; one boy takes her out of her sorrow, the other comforts her in it. But just like their celestial counterparts, they can't collide without the whole wide world exploding.

This remarkable debut is perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, and Francesca Lia Block. Just as much a celebration of love as it is a portrait of loss, Lennie's struggle to sort her own melody out of the noise around her is always honest, often hilarious, and ultimately unforgettable.

In some ways Lennie is just like me; she is a clarinet player, can't stop thinking about boys, and has this great passion.  I slid this book into my bag because of these similarities.  I raced through the book because of Lennie's grief and love.  I had lost someone the day I picked it up.  I could relate to what she was going through because I was going through the exact same thing. 
       It must have been easy for Jandy to write this (easy: in terms of writing a book) because I read as much passion in the writing as Lennie blasts through her clarinet.  Jandy had to write all the poems Lennie left all over town, and in some ways that was my favorite part; when I paused at the end of a chapter and saw a poem waiting for me, it made me want to forge forward to the next chapter.  A paperback of this book was in my stocking this year and I have destroyed it already.  My second grade librarian would die if she saw all the stuff I've done to this book.  I've written in the margins, bordered my favorite parts, and underlined all these delicious similes and metaphors Jandy has left nicely packaged in the paragraphs.  My pen is the bookmark, and if that doesn't destroy the spine the constant bending back of the cover will.  When I'm done, this book will look like Lennie's copy of Wuthering Heights. 
        The writing is so amazing that I'm surprised when the twists  come even though I've read it before there are some books that just make me want to play music or write.  Inspiration is a truly rare gift that agonizing hours of searching can not give you, it is discovered.
         I suppose I should write a little about Joe because he is undeniably amazing.  I fell in love with his smile.  The way he saw Lennie, he didn't know her but he came to her house because he knew about her passion in music.  Boys are so simple minded, they can only focus on one thing and for Joe that is music.  It is the way he measured every thing in life.  If only he would drop out of the pages and play his guitar for me while smiling his million watt smile. 
         I haven't gotten to the heart-wrecking decision, Toby-or- Joe part yet (I'm re-reading), and I know it's coming so I've been reading slower to avoid the inevitable.  I want to believe it won't come, but I'm a realistic person and just because the cover is different doesn't mean the story will be in anyway changed. 
Status: Dreading the end.

Score: 10/10- This book is so different from everything else on the shelves.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (2)

There are of course so many good books coming out this year, but there was a cover reveal that caught my eye and I wanted to share.  So here is waiting on Wednesday presenting...

 One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

I loved Divergent so much, and the end left a little drool hanging out of my mouth before it was spit away when I shouted when it ended.  Unfair Veronica, you know that leaving the end like that will make us wait eagerly for the sequel, unfair! 
      This cover is so beautiful.  It follows the style of the first one, but there is this gorgeous tree leaves thing going on.  I love it.  It's not a faction symbol, is it?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

In My Mailbox (6)

This will include all the lovely Christmas presents I got.

Christmas Present     Status: Just Finished

Christmas Present                           Christmas Present
Status: Read                        Status: Read Duh!

 On Kindle                                     Christmas Present
Status: Read                                    Status: Read
From Library                              Christmas Present
Status: Read                             Status: Being Re-read

On Pulse it
Status: Being Read
                                                           On Kindle
                                                  Status: Being Read

Status: Being Read