Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Reading Update!

Hi Everyone!

So I just finished a good book, Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld, and will be getting to a review soon! I have a big exam on Thursday and am also leaving for a trip that day so I am quite busy at the moment. I will do a review both on Afterworlds and also Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe! Stay tuned and I apologize for the wait!

-Julia :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Book Review: Four by Veronica Roth

Now reviewing... Four by Veronica Roth

I decided to give this book 4 stars! 

I was a huge fan of the Divergent trilogy, so I was really excited when I first heard that Four was going to be published! I mean, I wasn't a fan of the ending of Allegiant (book #3), but I don't think anyone that read that series enjoyed that ending. Regardless, I threw this book on my "to be read" list and waited until a good opportunity to buy it came around. Finally, that day presented itself last week when I had a bunch of gift card money on Amazon, woo hoo! Finally, for the last few days, I was able to quickly read this book and get a better understanding of Four/Tobias. 

If you have read Divergent, I would highly recommend this book. If you haven't yet read Divergent, I would start there and read the trilogy, then read this one last. Although it technically is like a prequel, it will definitely make a lot mroe sense after the other three books!

Here is a blurb about the book:

"Two years before Beatrice Prior made her choice, the sixteen-year-old son of Abnegation’s faction leader did the same. Tobias’s transfer to Dauntless is a chance to begin again. Here, he will not be called the name his parents gave him. Here, he will not let fear turn him into a cowering child.

Newly christened “Four,” he discovers during initiation that he will succeed in Dauntless. Initiation is only the beginning, though; Four must claim his place in the Dauntless hierarchy. His decisions will affect future initiates as well as uncover secrets that could threaten his own future—and the future of the entire faction system.

Two years later, Four is poised to take action, but the course is still unclear. The first new initiate who jumps into the net might change all that. With her, the way to righting their world might become clear. With her, it might become possible to be Tobias once again."


So the book is split into four (of course) sections labeled "The Transfer", "The Initiate", "The Son", and "The Traitor". Each section depicts a certain important time in Tobias's life starting with his transfer from Abnegation to Dauntless and ending with his traitorous thoughts against his current faction. I really enjoyed each section and found it interesting learning new things about Tobias. 

In "The Transfer", we get to understand more of why he transferred from Abnegation to Dauntless. If you have read Divergent, you know that it was because his father beat him, which is as good a reason as any to get away. This portion of the book really looked into his previous life and what he was thinking heading into his new life in Dauntless. 

In "The Initiate", we learn about the newly christened Four and why he has gained that name. Turns out, he only has four fears (which is also already known if you have read Divergent). We also get to see the beginning stages of a hateful relationship between Four and Eric, future Dauntless leader. In Divergent, it was a little unclear why Four and Eric hate each other so much, so it was nice to read about how their relationship started and what events led to their rocky "friendship".

In "The Son", we find out that Four's mother is in fact, not dead. Interesting! Another fact that if you have read the trilogy, you already know, but this portion revolves around that. I enjoyed seeing their relationship be rekindled because mother-son relationships are always nice. Although I do not agree with why she left in the first place and how everyone lied to Tobias, it was good to include this to more deeply understand why Four has certain problems. His parents haven't necessarily raised him well.

Lastly, in "The Traitor", we see less of the Dauntless-Four and more of the well-rounded Four. He discovers a plan to attack his previous faction, Abnegation, and after some more investigation tries to warn his father who is the head council leader in Abnegation. After being shut down by his father, it is up to Four to determine who he trusts enough to help him in his traitorous acts against Dauntless so he can protect the selfless inhabitants of Abnegation. In this section, Tris makes her entrance and we get to see their relationship unfold from Four's POV which gives a fresh look at what they have. It's nice to gain his perspective on her and see how much he really begins to care for her. 

So all-in-all, I enjoyed all of the perspectives and new information we gained throughout the four sections of Four's life. The main thing I didn't like is that it did get a little confusing in some of the time gaps because there wasn't anything really signifying how much later the next section was after the previous one. Also, if you have already read the Divergent series, a lot of the information is repeated, so sometimes it wasn't very exciting. These are what lost the 5th star from me, but that's okay.

I hope you enjoyed this review!

Happy reading! :)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Book Review: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Now reviewing...The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

I decided to give this book 4 stars!!

This was an awesome book! The story is very original (unless apparently you have read The Host by Stephanie Meyers, which I haven't...so I thought it was neat!) and the characters are interesting! Here is a blurb about the the book:

"After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it's the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth's last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie's only hope for rescuing her brother--or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up."

Sounds interesting, right? I thought so! Through my "bookstagram", I had heard so many good things about this book and many people seemed to genuinely enjoy it so I thought I would give it a shot. Most of my opinions on this book are good, with only one or two things I didn't enjoy. I would definitely suggest this book to anyone who likes supernatural, YA books! Without further adieu, what I did and didn't like about this book.


Things I did like:

I really liked Cassie, the main character. You might be thinking, "Oh, Cassie for Cassandra" but as stated in the book, it is "Cassie for Cassieopia." I thought that Cassie was a very strong character and had a very unique train of thought in regards to other characters I have read about in other YA novels. Even when she is faced with hardship, she pushes through and does what needs to be done which is very admirable. Aside from her, I also like Evan and Ben. First, let's talk about Evan Walker. He seems like a very genuine guy and legitimately seems to care for Cassie. I was a little confused about him at first, but then I thought, "Well, he must just be kind of weird." Then we find out that he is a SILENCER. WHAT?! I am not going to downplay this any, but I was seriously sad when I thought that she was going to leave him and their relationship couldn't move forward since, you know, he is one of the aliens that invaded the Earth. However, she sees past that and then they work together to save her brother, Sammy. Seems like a happily ever after, except we have no idea what happened to Evan at the end of the book :,( Regardless of how the plot went, I liked the fact that Evan was trying to overcome his natural state because of love. I approve of him. Then there was Ben (Zombie). I know that he was brainwashed to be one of the bad guys, but I believe that he is really good at heart. Otherwise, he wouldn't have gone through all of the trouble to also go back and save Sammy (Nugget). At the end of the book, it seemed like maybe him and Cassie will have a potential romantic relationship in the future? Until I read The Infinite Sea, I won't know. Regardless, Ben is a good guy turned bad, then turned good again after his and Ringer's realization. Good for them.

Aside from the characters, I thought that the concept/plot was great and kept me wanting more! I cannot wait to begin TIS when I get it, hopefully sometime next week.

Things I didn't like:

Okay, so I have read plenty of books where the POV alternates between two characters. I have really come to enjoy that style of writing, it has definitely grown on me. This book was setup in a similar fashion, however, it was between more than just two characters. Here, we are looking at two main POV's and then two sub-POV's. Cassie and Ben are the biggest portions of the book, while Evan/Silencer and Sammy take up a small sliver of it. Don't get me wrong, I liked the style of bouncing between characters, however it drove me crazy that they were not labeled as to who it was. When I first started reading and finished the first section (Cassie) I moved on to the next one and it took me about 4 pages to realize that it was:

1. Not Cassie anymore

2. A male character with no name

Then, you don't find out this guys name until the end of his first section! It was super confusing for awhile which is the main reason I gave this book 4 stars. Even once you knew who the characters were, you would have to read a page or two usually to realize whose POV it was at that time since it didn't clearly state it at the beginning. All-in-all, I found the style good, but didn't like the lack of information on the character speaking.

Otherwise, I still really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading The Infinite Sea. I hope you found this review useful!

Happy reading! :)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Current Reading Update!

Hey Guys!

I am currently about 50% of the way through The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey! I hope to finish it soon, probably in the next couple days, so keep an eye out on the blog for my review of it!


-Julia :)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Book Review: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Now Reviewing...Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

I gave this book 4 stars!

I really enjoyed this book, as I have all of Lauren Oliver's other books that I have read. If you haven't read any of her books, I highly suggest you do and I especially suggest this one! Aside from Before I Fall, she has also written the Delirium trilogy (Delirium, Pandemonium, and Requiem) as well as her latest novel, Panic.

Anyways, here is the basic plot: Samantha (Sam) is a high school senior who has it all. She is popular, her boyfriend is the boy she has had a crush on for years, and she has three amazing friends who are as thick as thieves. Today is February 12th and also Cupid Day, a popular Valentine's Day ritual at Sam's high school that is one of her favorite days. It is also the day that she is supposed to lose her virginity to her boyfriend, Rob. Among all of these special events, an old friend of Sam's is having a party that evening that everyone is going to, how fun! Long story short, Sam and her friends go to this party and when they leave (with no DD), they end up getting in a car accident where Sam dies. The next morning Sam wakes up not realizing what happened the day before, and comes to find that it is February 12th AGAIN. From this point on, Sam lives February 12th every single day for a week. Every time she relives the day, she tries to do different things in an effort to reverse her death and to ultimately improve the lives of everyone around her. 

Now I have never read a book that had a story like this, so this was a great idea! I am sure there are similar books, but for me this was new! I am now going to highlight the things I did and didn't like, as always:


Things I did like:

I loved this storyline as I mentioned before. It was very unique and it was constantly reeling you in as you neared the end of one day and were heading into the next one. What things would she change? How would she act on day X? Will she find a way out of death? These were all things that I thought of at the end of each day and I think provoking thought in the reader is a great thing to do. 

I also really liked Sam as a character. Although I did not party and was not as popular as her when I was in High School, I felt that she really had a good heart and I could relate to her, as well as the other characters, in many different ways. This made me feel for them when things went wrong or felt enlightened when they took part in certain things. 

Lastly, the idea of trying to improve the lives of the people around you and trying to live your last day as fully as you can is beautiful. It was great to see Sam come full-circle and see how she evolved as a person from day one to day seven. Oliver did a beautiful job writing this book and I believe that it is an extremely strong first novel for her. 

Things I didn't like:

It seemed as though that Oliver wrote the characters as "All popular kids drink and party every weekend" which is definitely not true. That slightly bugged me, but it wasn't a big issue. 

I also was so sad that she discovered her true feelings for Kent but it was too late. I am a sucker for good love stories and that one was completely destroyed. I was quite sad about this, but I suppose it is better than her ending with an unhappy relationship. All in all, there weren't many things that I disliked about this book, so yay!

Overall, I loved this book and love Lauren Oliver! I had already read the Delirium trilogy, but look forward to reading her most recent YA book, Panic.

Happy reading! :)

Book Review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Now reviewing...Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

So I gave this book 3 stars...

I had heard many people who raved about how amazing this book was and really, thoroughly enjoyed reading it. With this is mind, I purchased it from Amazon about a month and a half ago and just now got around to reading it. I was very excited to start it due to its stellar reviews, so when I began it a few days ago, I had very high hopes. However, my hopes were quickly shattered as I did not find the book nearly as amazing and encapsulating as people had noted it was.

For those of you who don't know what this book is about, here is an idea. There is a boy named Jacob who is very close with his "crazy" grandfather, Abe. Growing up, Abe tells Jacob many stories about peculiar children that he encountered at a children's home that he had taken refuge at during WWII. However, they involve children that can levitate, lift tons worth of items, and are completely invisible! Jacob grows up thinking that his grandfather is just stretching the truth and is crazy, because these types of people could not truly exist. When his grandfather dies, Jacob is labeled as "crazy" for beginning to believe the stories he had heard as a child and is encouraged be his therapist to go to this almost deserted island to learn the truth about his grandfather's past. Sounds interesting, doesn't it? I thought so too but as I continued to read, I found my interest dwindling by the page.


So the things that I did enjoy in this book:

The pictures were quite cool. I read an interview at the end of the book with the author and learned that these photos were all real (minus a few photoshop changes) which is super awesome! I think the pictures also really help the reader gain a better visual of what some of the characters in the children's home look like, especially since sometimes it is hard to visual what an invisible boy might look like ;) I also appreciated the relationship that Jacob had with his grandfather. I have only really been able to meet 1/4 grandparents so it was heartwarming to learn more about their close relationship. The things I enjoy pretty much ended there. That is not to say that the rest was horrible, but it just did not catch my attention too well.

The things I did not enjoy:

The book did not keep my attention. Obviously, I continued reading and did finish the book, but at no point did I feel like I just had to keep reading. I have read plenty of books that suck me in like that, so I know that this book just wasn't as exciting. I also felt like there could have been a more intriguing intro, as it picked up very very slowly and felt like it took awhile to get to anything exciting. Lastly, towards the end of the book, I had no urge to go and pick up the next book. I felt like the ending was very anticlimactic. I know that they were all headed off to go find a new loop so they can avoid the hollowgasts, but I felt like them going off into the sunset left no feeling of continuation. I don't know, maybe it was just me, but I thought it could have been better.

Overall, it was an OK book. It was a unique story, but I felt no draw to keep reading and felt no connection to the characters in the book. I wouldn't go as far as to recommend it, but that is just me, as obviously many other people have suggested it. Take a crack at it and see if it's something you enjoy.

I hope this review was helpful, happy reading! :)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Book Review: Obsidian by Jennifer Armentrout

Now reviewing...Obsidian (Lux #1) by Jennifer Armentrout

I give Obsidian 4.5 stars. Now here's why.

For anyone who hasn't read any of the Lux series, it consists of five installments: Obsidian, Onyx, Opal, Origin, and Opposition. Technically, there is also a prequel, Shadows, but the main series is just those five books. Now, I have only read Obsidian so I cannot speak for the rest of the series, but WOW! I loved this book! It is a quick read but very entertaining! I haven't read the Vampire Diaries books, but I have watched all of the seasons of the show on the CW and I have to say that if you enjoy TVD, that you will most likely love this series! I definitely liked this first book anyways.

It begins with the average girl who is forced by her mother to move to a small city in West Virginia. She is a shy book lover (awesome girl in my opinion ;)) who tries to branch out and be friendly with the two kids that live next door. One, a girl named Dee and her brother, the gorgeous Daemon. It seems like something is up with them as Daemon comes off much less than friendly and seems to hate her form the minute they meet. Although her and Dee become instant friends, there are strange occurrences that begin to happen whenever Daemon and Dee are around which leaves Katy wondering what is up with them...


Now I was just as confused as Katy was as to why everyone was so weird around her. I had my suspicions (vampires, werewolves, etc.) but didn't know exactly what it could be. As the story progressed, the circle of strange people increased which only made me more curious as to what they actually were! Of course, the one thing I didn't actually think of, ALIENS. Now, I have never read any books that had "aliens" because I always assume that it is some super strange sci-fi book that I will not like. However, the type of aliens in this book are not the typical aliens that we see in movies, so I found myself pleasantly surprised there! I like the originality of their race/powers as opposed to writing another story about vampires or other supernatural creatures. 

I also LOVE LOVE LOVE Katy and Daemon's relationship. At first, it seems that he is just a huge asshole (please excuse my language) and he doesn't want to be nice to Katy at all. However, as the truth unravels and Katy becomes aware of what he and the others are, she understands more of why he acted the way he did towards her. Now that everything is out in the open, they have a denial filled, sarcastic, snappy relationship with each other which I found hard to forget! Their blooming feelings are hard to avoid and I can see that he really seems to care about her. She just needs to come around now so they can live happily ever after, as human and alien :) Haha.

The one thing I didn't like is just how rude everyone is to Katy in the beginning when she has no idea why. I felt that everything that was said and done could have been written as "talking behind her back" as opposed to just being mean to the main character, but that is a minor downside compared to the rest of the book.

Anyways, I thought the book was very well written and had great characters that are hard to get away from! I will definitely be reading the rest of the series at some point, but first I need to get some other books on my shelf read before they start collecting dust!