Friday, March 16, 2012

The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

The Future of Us
by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler
Date Released: November 21, 2011
Pages: 356


It's 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They've been best friends almost as long - at least, up until last November, when Josh did something that changed everything. Things have been weird between them ever since, but when Josh's family gets a free AOL CD in the mail,his mom makes him bring it over so that Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they're automatically logged onto their Facebook pages. But Facebook hasn't been invented yet. And they're looking at themselves fifteen years in the future.

By refreshing their pages, they learn that making different decisions now will affect the outcome of their lives later. And as they grapple with the ups and downs of what their futures hold, they're forced to confront what they're doing right - and wrong - in the present.

My Review:

Okay, so I was wary about reading this book because right before I checked it out of the library I read a couple review of it and a good number of them were on the negative side. But I ignored that and read it anyway because I've noticed there are times when books get horrible reviews, but I end of loving them.

I did end up liking this one. I loved the whole concept of seeing what your life is like in 15 years through Facebook. And despite some things that annoyed me, the plot was pretty good. And the things that did annoy me weren't the plot's fault, but the character's. Not that that sentence made any sense.

One thing I liked about how the characters saw their future, was that it was through Facebook instead of an alternative like actual time travel. Their glimpse into their future lives through Facebook really left a lot of things unsaid, which could be a good or a bad thing. So the plot was good.

I wasn't too keen on the character of Emma. She really bugged me. I mean she took things WAY too seriously and overreacted about pretty much every single thing she read about her future. She freaked out when she saw her future husband and got rid of him because she thought he was a jerk. She had never met the guy and would have no way of knowing that! For all she knew he could be the awesomest guy on the planet. But no. She decides that she hates him. Along the same lines was how she manipulated her job and the city where she lived. She found out she was a marine biologist and she was excited about that. But when she saw she was living in Ohio she automatically assumes her husband is being completely inconsiderate of what she wants to do. By reading that one fact she just automatically assumes that she isn't happy with her career in the future. For all she knows she could have a super duper cool job swimming with dolphins at the local aquarium! Just because she doesn't live by the ocean doesn't mean she doesn't have an awesome marine biologist job.

Josh on the other hand was a much better character. He definitely wasn't as obsessed with his future as Emma and for the most part left it alone. Except for one thing. He tried to force a friendship with Sydney. He didn't check his Facebook constantly so for all he knows befriending Sydney in high school ruins their future together! So that little thing about him kind of peeved me off, but no where near as bad as Emma. He also acted like a girl whenever he talked about how "OMG I TALKED TO SYDNEY TODAY."

Overall this book was actually pretty good once you look past those character flaws. The one thing I wish they had told us that they really didn't was when Kellan got pregnant. I kind of wanted to know that.

My Rating:

Monday, February 27, 2012

Legend by Marie Lu

by Marie Lu
Date Released: November 29, 2011
Pages: 305

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias' death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

My Review:

My goodness was this book amazing. Probably my favorite book of the year.

At first I was a little wary because the chapter format is a little different, but I was quickly swept up by the story and didn't care any longer.

Both of the main characters, June and Day, were fantastic. They had background stories and depth, and went against many stereotypes we have for the two main romantic leads. June was a military prodigy, something you may not expect from the girl. She scored a perfect score on The Trial, a placement test every citizen takes when the turn 10, the only person ever to do so. Or so people thought. Turns out Day also scored a perfect score and this is discovered by June when she is investigating Day's background.

That is another thing I liked about June. Normally when one character betrays another character I get really mad at said character. Especially when they are starting to become a possible shipping couple. But after June turned Day in she refused to just walk away and accept what Day was being accused of. Her love for him compelled her to clear his name even though it would go against everything she was raised to believe. And she succeeded.

I also really loved this quote: "Each day means a new twenty-four hours. Each day means everything’s possible again. You live in the moment, you die in the moment, you take it all one day at a time.” He looks toward the railway car’s open door, where streaks of dark water blanket the world. “You try to walk in the light" It is Day's response when June asks how he got his name, Day since his real name is Daniel.

The ending of Legend definitely set itself up for the sequel, which comes out later this year. I believe it is called Patriot.

My Rating:

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Black Butler Vol. 1

Black Butler
by Yana Toboso
Date Released: January 26, 2010
Pages: 192


When a terrible fire claims his parents, Ciel Phantomhive must step up as the head of his father's company and as Earl Phantomhive. It would be a lot for the young boy to handle were it not for his faithful butler, Sebastian. Ever at Ciel's side, it seems there's little Sebastian can't do, whether it's saving a dinner party gone awry or probing the dark secrets of London's underbelly. He's almost too good to be true...or at least, too good to be human..

My Review:

A small disclaimer before I start. I have never reviewed a manga before, so this is going to be quite different.

This is the first "real" manga I have read. I mean I have read all of the Maximum Ride mangas, but those are Americanized. You even have to read them from left to right. Whereas normal mangas are read from right to left, which took me a little while to get used to.

I really liked the characters. But why is there always an attractive guy in any manga or anime I see? I mean Sebastian wasn't all that bad looking, if ya know what I mean. And even Baldroy (Bardroy? I'm not sure how to spell that and don't have the book handy...) was pretty good looking. I really liked the twist that Ciel was only 12. Even though it wasn't really a twist since it told us that in the summary.

The pictures were also masterfully drawn. Some of them had much more detail than I would have expected. Example being in either chapter 3 or 4 when the Italian mobster guy, whose name I can't remember, was holding a gun. And let me tell you that. That gun was masterfully engraved, let me tell you.

I also liked the story line. It was just enough to keep me interested throughout the weekend when I read it. Elizabeth was a good addition, I really liked her. Especially after she put Sebastian in a dress.

My Rating:

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

The Near Witch
by Victoria Schwab
Date Released: August 2, 2011
Pages: 282


The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.
If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.
There are no strangers in the town of Near.
These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.
But when an actual stranger--a boy who seems to fade like smoke--appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.
The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion.
As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi's need to know-- about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.
Part fairy tale, part love story, Victoria Schwab's debut novel is entirely original yet achingly familiar: a song you heard long ago, a whisper carried by the wind, and a dream you won't soon forget

My Review:

Throughout the whole book this movie would not get out of my head:

And that is a good thing, because I loved (well, I still love it) this movie. But back to the book. I kept thinking about this movie because of how the kids kept walking out of their rooms at night because they were being drawn by the witch's powers was a theme in both of these stories.

This book was amazing. And it was awesome! Everything about this book was just the bee's knees, and yes I did just say that. My favorite part of it was Cole. He was an awesome and strong character. His character had depth and a story behind his actions. When he shied away from Lexi because he was afraid to let himself love again, that just made me love him anymore. I felt like he was protecting Lexi in a way by not endangering her by getting close to her....yeah that sentence didn't make much sense.

And the writing style was beautiful. I really felt like I had been reeled into the world of Near and was there as it was happening.

And the world of Near itself was masterfully crafted. It didn't sound like any world I had read about before. The idea that witches could be welcomed into society (or semi-welcomed) like Dreska and Magda were. Or they could be feared for generations after they had disappeared, like the Near witch was.

And Uncle Otto was such a good villain-who-wasn't-actually-the-villain. And of course I loved that Lexi would just completely ignore whatever he said and go sneak out to see Cole.

I could not put this book down. I read it in probably about 3 hours. It was so good! Everybody should read this book who likes YA fiction. It doesn't matter if you are a fantasy fan or not, you should read this book right now.

My Rating:

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

Ruby Red
by Kerstin Gier
Date Released: May 10, 2011 (American publication)
Pages: 324


Gwyneth Shepherd’s sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!

Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon—the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the eighteenth century and in contemporary London, they can trust.

My Review:

I can pretty much sum up this book with one onomatopoeia: eh. It was just eh.

It started off awesome! I was hooked right away. The main character wasn't awesome, but I figured I would warm up to her. And the plot was interesting enough. But at about half way through the book, it just went downhill from there. The plot started to lose steam, I started disliking the main character even more. Characters I had originally liked I started disliking.

Then I stopped reading for two days because I had a bunch of tests and I just could not get back into the story. I struggled through the last fourth of it for about a week. And then 20 or 30 pages from the end, I just couldn't finish it. At first I thought it was because I was reading at night and I was just really tired, but then I tried reading it during lunch the next day. I still only got through a page in about 20 minutes.

The element that really helped this book sink down was the plot. At first it sounded so good! Time travel because of a gene was something I had never read before. But after the author tells us about Gwyneth's first time traveling incident, the plot lost all of its steam. It felt like there were holes. Whenever explanations were offered they were rushed through. And some things that need more detail were just lacking and had me slightly confused.

I would urge you away from reading this book. Do not be enticed by the pretty cover!

My Rating:

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Book Blurbs

I was looking through my reviews from January and realized that because of the two weeks without computer, I missed reviewing a couple books. So I present you with quick little blurbs about each of them. Kind of a semi review.

1. All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin
4 stars
Kind of slow in a couple of spots, but overall a really good read. If you're a fan of dystopian, you should read this book. I can't wait until the sequel comes out later this year.

2. Away by Teri Hall
5 stars
This was such a great book! If you haven't read the first one yet (The Line) go read it now. Then read this one. Especially if you are a fan of dystopian.

3. First Date by Krista McGee
5 stars
A great quick read for fans of realistic fiction. This was such a cute book!

4. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
5 stars
I loved this book. It was amazing and awesome and talked a lot about Jack the Ripper. Great book for fans of fantasy-ish stories or historical fiction.

5. Bright Young Things by Anna Godberson
3 stars
Probably not the best flapper era book I've read. I lost interest towards the end and had a hard time finishing. Unless you're a hardcore Anna Godberson fan or have never read a flapper book before, I wouldn't highly recommend this book.

Monday, February 6, 2012

In My Mailbox #3

In My Mailbox:

In My Mailbox is hosted every week by Kristi the Story Siren.

I am going to go ahead and apologize for posting pretty much nothing the last month. But I am going to try to make up for that now.

From the Library:
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Status: Review is here

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
Status: Review is here

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier
Status: Currently reading, review should be up within the next couple of days.

On my Nook:

A Million Suns by Beth Revis
Status: Review is here

Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Status: To read and review

Legend by Marie Lu
Status: To read and review

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
Status: To read and review

Entwined by Heather Dixon
Status: To read and review

Truth by Julia Karr
Status: Currently reading

From Barnes & Noble:

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
Status: To read and review, though I can't believe I have held off getting this book for so long!

Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce
Status: To read and review

Article 5 by Kristen Simmons
Status: To read and review