Sunday, March 27, 2011

We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han


***SPOILERS for the previous books***



Summary:
Belly has been with Jeremiah for two years. They are the cutest couple and everything is perfect. Until it's not. As their relationship takes a turn for the worst, Belly has to figure out her feelings for him before they make it forever.

Conrad screwed everything up with Belly. He thought he was doing the best thing for both of them when he pushed her away. He gave his brother the go ahead to be with her. All he wanted was for Belly to be happy. Now he knows what a huge mistake he has made.

Belly knows she has to choose, but which brother will it be?

Review:

So, I am a huge fan of Jenny Han. Once again she has struck true on matters of the heart. Out of all of Belly's books this was the most moving and heart wrenching. Of course, it is all worth it just for the ending. Books as beautiful as this are few and far between, I can't even remember the last time I read an ending as good as this one!!!

Reviewed by: Lostnthestacks

This was an advance review copy. We'll Always Have Summer will be available on April 26, 2011. Put your copy on hold in April!

Angel Burn by L. A. Weatherly

Summary:
Alex has watched every person he has ever loved die by the hands of angels. He has nothing left except his job, he is an angel assassin.

Willow is a psychic, who along with her thrift store wardrobe, has a less than stellar reputation at school. When the most popular girl in school comes to her for a reading she discovers that angels are here on earth and they aren’t the good beings that they portray themselves to be.

Alex is assigned to kill Willow, when he goes to scope her out he immediately knows something is not right. Willow is half human, half angel. She doesn’t have an evil aura like the other angels and he can’t bring himself to kill her. He starts to question why he was sent to harm her, could the angels have infiltrated his program and be calling all the shots? Do they want Willow dead just because she is an anomaly or is it something more?


Review:

This book is completely NOT what I was expecting. From page one I was hooked on the adrenaline and suspense. Angels are a really popular theme in YA right now, and it’s nice to see an original plot even though the ending left a lot to be desired. I guess we will just have to keep an eye out for Weatherly’s next book.


Reviewed by: Lostnthestacks


This was an advance review copy. Angel Burn will be available on May 24, 2011. Put your copy on hold in May!

Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

Summary: When Helen sees the most beautiful boy she has ever laid eyes on she has an unexpected response, she wants to kill him. Right in front of the whole school she tries to choke him to death! Helen doesn't know why she feels so strongly about Lucas Delos but she needs to find out before someone gets seriously hurt.

Her whole life she has known she is different but she never imagined that it all led back to her ancestors. Helen finds herself smack dab in the middle of a real life Greek tragedy, complete with demi gods and tales of doomed destiny.

Review: While the plot starts out a little shaky on the details of what's going on with Helen it gets good really quickly after that. I loved Angelini's modern twist on Greek mythology. Her world-building is vibrant and some of my favorite scenes are of Helen discovering her new found abilities. Helen and Lucas overcome obstacle after obstacle only to find themselves in a worse situation than they started out in. Theirs is a love never meant to be but you can't help but hope that they will find a way to be together.

Reviewed by: Lostnthestacks

This was an advance review copy. Starcrossed will be available on May 31, 2011. Put your copy on hold in May!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Jane by April Lindner


Summary:
"Forced to drop out of an esteemed East Coast college after the sudden death of her parents, Jane Moore takes a nanny job at Thornfield Park, the estate of Nico Rathburn, a world-famous rock star on the brink of a huge comeback. Practical and independent, Jane reluctantly becomes entranced by her magnetic and brooding employer and finds herself in the midst of a forbidden romance.

But there's a mystery at Thornfield, and Jane's much-envied relationship with Nico is soon tested by an agonizing secret from his past. Torn between her feelings for Nico and his fateful secret, Jane must decide: Does being true to herself mean giving up on true love?"

Review:
I was excited that someone finally decided to tackle my favorite romantic classic--Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. I absolutely loved this book literally from its gorgeous front cover (don't you love that pop of pink?) to cover. Over and over again, we see authors take on Jane Austen's classics, especially Pride and Prejudice. But it appears that Jane has been neglected until now (well, there is Jasper Fforde's The Eyre Affair).

What I really enjoyed about Lindner's take on this story is that she modernized it while staying true to the original. The pacing, the characters, the plot line--everything fell into place. Fans of Bronte's work will see the tiny details recreated with subtle and meticulous care. It made me smile when I made the connection between the two versions.

But even if you've never read the classic, Jane makes the storyline accessible to teens and new readers. You will swoon over the dark and brooding Nico Rathburn--and wonder what secrets this rock star is hiding behind his strong facade. Your heart will break with Jane's just the same.

I must admit though that I have always felt the ending of the original Jane Eyre a bit hurried and too neatly tied up. Lindner has chosen to respect Bronte's narrative, keeping her version very similiar. So the ending may leave you wanting more....but doesn't Jane always?

Reading Rating:
Though this isn't the fastest of reads, it is worth it all the same. Some may argue that Lindner stayed too close to the original, but since it is a classic often overlooked--I think it is important that she offered a story to give a new generation of readers a glimpse into Bronte's world. I loved every minute of this timeless love story. Worth putting on your "to read" list!

Reviewed by: ch3rrybl0ss0m

For other classics with a modern twist, try these titles:

Bumped by Megan McCafferty


Summary:
"When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society. Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and have never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep.

Up to now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. Harmony has spent her whole life in Goodside, a religious community, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to convince Melody that pregging for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from.

A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common." --Courtesy of Amazon.com

Review:
I was excited to see a new title by Megan McCafferty who wrote Sloppy Firsts, Second Helpings, etc. However, this is quite a departure from her previous works tackling the growing dystopian genre in teen lit. The premise was a very intriguing one--a world where its future (and children) depend on teenage girls, but it didn't quite live up to my expectations.

Riding the popularity of MTV's 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom series (which I am admittedly addicted to watching), McCafferty's novel is good in theory but the execution seemed to fall short. Neither of her main characters came across as very likeable and their personalities & beliefs seemed to change without reason midway thru the story. Perhaps a bit more character development? However, I did have major love for Melody's best friend, Zen--the bright spot for me. His character is funny, easy going, and laid-back. He's the type of guy you could easily fall in love with.

Also, the book seems to be littered with dated cultural references (a HUGE pet peeve of mine). Authors have to be very careful and subtle when using pop cultural. I cringed every time Melody asked if she looked "fertilicious." Everything felt a little forced and alternated between being rushed or dragging. Towards the end the story started to pick up with several twists--some of which were a bit shocking but others which were a bit predictable.

Just when the plot seemed to be picking up and getting intense, the book ended VERY suddenly. I kept swiping the page on my eReader looking for the last pages that I knew I must have missed. I've heard of cliff-hangers, but the ending quite literally just left me. Hopefully, the sequel will fill in the gaps and develop the story more as Melody & Harmony figure out the ending for their complicated futures.

The clock is ticking--and time is running out.

Reading Rating:
This book took a while to get into. At first, Melody & Harmony's alternating voices seemed to clash and were too stereotypical--with Meloday as a airheaded, angsty teen and Harmony as a devout and strong-headed believer. The voices seemed to become more natural as the book progressed, but I just really couldn't get into this one as much as I desperately wanted to. Despite its faults though, it was a very quick read and quite literally was over before I realized it. Look for a sequel in the works...

Reviewed by: ch3rrybl0ss0m

This was an advance readers' copy (courtesy of netgalley). The final version of, Bumped, will be released on April 26, 2011. Put your copy on hold then!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

White Cat by Holly Black



Summary:

Cassel Sharpe is a talented con artist who works as a bookie at his snooty prep school. But skilled as Cassel is, it’s nothing compared to the rest of his family, who are curse workers, able to control people’s memories, luck or emotions with the touch of a finger. Three years ago Cassel murdered a friend, the daughter of a crime lord, and now he’s having nightmares about a white cat and sleepwalking on the roof of his dormitory. He eventually realizes that he can’t even rely on his own memory.


Review:

The first in Holly Black’s Curse Workers series, White Cat, is a true adventure down the rabbit hole complete with mobsters, magic and murder. Following a white cat in his dreams, Cassel is shocked to learn there may be more to his nightmares than he realizes. After sleepwalking onto the roof of his school, he is forced to take a medical leave of absence. Soon Cassel discovers that his older brothers have been working him and getting him to carry out their crimi- nal schemes. With his memories buried, who can Cassel trust to lead him to the truth? Only the white cat may have the answers.


For the full effect of Black’s awesome storytelling, try out the audiobook read by Jesse Eisenberg, star of the movie, The Social Network. His voice is pitch perfect as Cassel Sharpe.

Look for the sequel, Red Glove, out on April 5!


Reading Rating:

I must admit--this book is NOT what I expected! I thought this would be a girlish fantasy, but this is the perfect guy book (and girls too) who want a little bit of suspense, adventure, and humor. It was a great listen as an audiobook, and I found myself wanting to put in the CD wherever I went. Loved, loved, loved :-)


Reviewed by: ch3rrybl0ss0m

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares



Summary:

Imagine this: You're in your favorite bookstore, scanning the shelves. You get to the section where a favorite author's books reside, and there, nestled in comfortably between the incredibly familiar spines, sits a red notebook. What do you do? The choice, I think, is obvious: You take down the red notebook and open it. And then you do whatever it tells you to do.


Review:

When Dash stumbles across Lily’s book of dares, he steps up to the challenge and follow the set of ridiculous clues she has left behind. But two can play this game, and Dash is just the guy to keep things interesting. Written by the authors of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, Cohn and Levithan's newest collaboration brings together two sixteen-year-old teenagers as they trek across New York City during winter break on a massive scavenger hunt.


What first starts out as a clever distraction develops into a whirlwind friendship--at least from the safety of the notebook’s pages. However, can this unlikely pair make the jump from the page to real life? A fun and heartwarming story, this book can easily be devoured in one or two sittings. It will make you laugh out loud as Lily challenges a Scrooge like Dash to sit on Santa's lap. So which will you choose-- truth or dare?


Reading Rating:

This book reads like a fast and fun scavenger hunt. Traipse around NYC during the holidays with Dash & Lily. It will leave you wanting more--and with a sudden urge to hit up your coolest used bookstore. And it's rumored to be optioned for a movie! Also, this was my VERY FIRST eBook I read on my brand-new nookcolor...it made me fall in love with reading books in a new way :-)


Reviewed by: ch3rrybl0ss0m

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