Last year, Annabel was "the girl who has everything" — at least that's the part she played in the television commercial for Kopf's Department Store.
This year, she's the girl who has nothing: no best friend because mean-but-exciting Sophie dropped her, no peace at home since her older sister became anorexic, and no one to sit with at lunch. Until she meets Owen Armstrong.
Tall, dark, and music-obsessed, Owen is a reformed bad boy with a commitment to truth-telling. With Owen's help, maybe Annabel can face what happened the night she and Sophie stopped being friends.
Just Listen was a fun, light, quick read. As with all of Sarah Dessen's books, she delivered with a cute romance and a few life lessons thrown in there. The main theme of this book was, of course, music. There are many different types of music strewn throughout this book, most of which is shown through radios and CDs. Ahhh...the days when CD players were used instead of iPhones! Also known as 2006...
The main character, Annabel, isn't really particularly likable or even considerably warm. She is a bit hard to connect to, due from the uniqueness of her position. Annabel is a model whose world has just crashed after her best friend dumps her after she reportedly hooked up with her best friend's boyfriend. After a summer filled with modeling, she returns to school. Where she meets Owen. Owen is a bit better in the character department. Both go through lots of character development throughout the book, but their romance was also a little bit lacking. I loved his sister and she was just so adorable throughout the entire book. The main part of this book, for me, was focused on Annabel's family situation.
Annabel's sister, Whitney, is recovering from an eating disorder after her retired modeling career and Kristen is trying to start her life again after she too drops out from modeling. Even Annabel herself no longer likes it. This was my favorite part of the book - the relationship between these sisters throughout their struggles. I loved Annabel and Whitney's relationship and my favorite scene was the weekend they spent together while their parents were away for the weekend. It was so interesting to see as their relationship developed.
The book was well paced and the perfect length. The relationship between Annabel and Owen was a little bit lacking for me, but Annabel's home relationship kept the book going. I really liked the way she developed her relationship with her friend Clarke and all her sisters, including the topics that were dealt with along the way such as eating disorders. There is also a little part of this book about rape, which felt a little strange to me since it occurred at the very end of the novel, so there wasn't a lot of time to fully develop this plotline. Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book!
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine. This week's to be published pick is:
The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Published on March 4 2014
Summary from Goodreads: As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.
One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.
But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, I will post my top ten books as according to a particular theme. This week's theme is REWIND - meaning that it's time to catch up with a past week that I have not done before. So, I pick...Top Ten Characters I'd NEVER Want to Trade Places With!
Valerie from Hate List - for the obvious reason, she has so many problems to deal with and I don't know if I could handle them...
Deuce from Enclave - those Freaks would creep me out too much to deal with her bravery!
Saba from Blood Red Road - she just goes through so much - all out in the hot desert!
Scotty from Trapped - being stuck in a snowstorm! I couldn't imagine much worse!
Cas from Anna Dressed In Blood - oh, you know, just the whole GHOST HUNTER thing.
Juliette from Shatter Me - it would stink not being able to be touched by everyone and living in that type of constant fear
Winston from 1984 - Just the entire universe of that time period is scary, much less doing what he does.
Allison from The Immortal Rules - Having to chose between vampire (especially this type) and humanity would be challenging
Rhine from Wither - One of the scariest dystopias, especially for girls!
Katniss from The Hunger Games - no explanation necessary.
Those are my top ten characters that I would never want to be! What are yours?
Recommend A is a weekly feature hosted by Vy's Blog! This week's Recommend A is for a book you weren't expecting to love! I picked Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano.
On Internment, the floating island in the clouds where 16-year-old Morgan Stockhour lives, getting too close to the edge can lead to madness. Even though Morgan's older brother, Lex, was a Jumper, Morgan vows never to end up like him. She tries her best not to mind that her life is orderly and boring, and if she ever wonders about the ground, and why it is forbidden, she takes solace in best friend Pen and her betrothed, Basil.
Then a murder, the first in a generation, rocks the city. With whispers swirling and fear on the wind, Morgan can no longer stop herself from investigating, especially when she meets Judas. He is the boy being blamed for the murder — betrothed to the victim — but Morgan is convinced of his innocence. Secrets lay at the heart of Internment, but nothing can prepare Morgan for what she will find — or who she will lose.
I wasn't really a big fan of the Chemical Garden Trilogy, so I was a little nervous about Lauren DeStefano's next series, but I totally loved this one!
Tory Brennan, niece of acclaimed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan (of the Bones novels and hit TV show), is the leader of a ragtag band of teenage "sci-philes" who live on a secluded island off the coast of South Carolina. When the group rescues a dog caged for medical testing on a nearby island, they are exposed to an experimental strain of canine parvovirus that changes their lives forever.
As the friends discover their heightened senses and animal-quick reflexes, they must combine their scientific curiosity with their newfound physical gifts to solve a cold-case murder that has suddenly become very hot if they can stay alive long enough to catch the killer's scent.
Fortunately, they are now more than friends. They're a pack. They are Virals.
This book was probably the most fun reading experience I have had thus far this year. Virals was a crazy, fun mystery with many cool sci-fi elements involved. It was also a very smart book. All of the clues had something to do with biology or anthropology. As I was reading this book, I also got to learn about those fields. It made the book a fun read that pushed the mystery to keep reaching farther.
Our main character, Tory, was a strong character. Tory stood up to all the people around her for what she believed in and led her team of boys. She was a good leader for the group and really helped them all without getting overly commander. I really liked her friends on the island. They were all very different and great compliments to Tory's character. The romance in the book was well developed and interesting, especially in where it ended up at the end of the book. Even the villains were unique and well preserved in their motives.
Virals was action packed from beginning to end. There were many great action scenes as they ran around on the islands. Some of the surrounding area could have been explained a little bit more to really build the action. There are multiple islands around South Carolina that they travel too and more description could have helped separate them. Throughout the book, there were lots of high intensity moments that really contributed to the story and made the mystery even more hyped.
Overall, I loved where this book went and how it got there. I will be continuing on with this series to see more of this type of smart mystery.
If you have not heard the news yet the summary and names of the next series of shadowhunter books written by Cassandra Clare has been released. There are already a plentiful number of books written in this world - we have The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices, and the soon to be coming Dark Artifices, Last Hours, and Wicked Powers. I have already read all three books in the Infernal Devices trilogy and all published (five of six) books in the Mortal Instruments.
But I highly doubt I will read the next three series. Why?
1) I find the Shadowhunter concept highly over drawn. Like - extremely incredibly over done. I was just about done with it by the end of Clockwork Princess, the last book I read by Clare. They really are not that interesting. In fact, I find the takes on the other supernatural creatures such as vampires, werewolves, and faeries much more interesting throughout this series. The whole concept of runes is also very confusing and is never really cleared up. Needless to say, these stories are action packed and exciting. But that leads me to my second point...
2) Cassandra Clare really isn't that good of a writer. Sure, she is decent enough. Her action scenes are descriptive and well thought out. But if we are being honest, the first thing we think of in connotation with her books are the love scenes. Clare should probably be a romance writer because she would be much better at it. Her purpose in writing is to tell a fantasy action story, but that does not come through in its delivery. However, there is nothing especially unique that should require this number of books on one topic.
3) In total, this will bring the Shadowhunter world to a total of...18 books. Eighteen books about one concept. There are only so many ways to stretch the world, to build characters inside it, to come up with interesting love stories. The pure number of books about this is daunting. I have no idea how Clare is going to keep them all separate and interesting and unique. When City of Bones first came out, the concept was new. Now, it's just old news. The popularity of them is burning out anyway (especially with the failure of the movie) and I doubt the next series will ever sell as well as the first two have.
Those are my three reasons why I really don't like Cassandra Clare's Shadowhunter Universe! I don't think I am going to be reading the next series, and I am highly considering not reading City of Heavenly Fire. What do you think? I know this is a highly debated topic and I am interested to get some more perspectives!
As a dancer with the ultra-prestigious Manhattan Ballet Company, nineteen-year-old Hannah Ward juggles intense rehearsals, dazzling performances and complicated backstage relationships. Up until now, Hannah has happily devoted her entire life to ballet.
But when she meets a handsome musician named Jacob, Hannah's universe begins to change, and she must decide if she wants to compete against the other "bunheads" in the company for a star soloist spot or strike out on her own in the real world. Does she dare give up the gilded confines of the ballet for the freedoms of everyday life?
First of all - this book may appear from the summary to be a romance book. That is not at all what this book is about. Okay, there is a little romance and a bit of a love triangle (it ends within the chapter, don't worry), but it does not rule the plot. The main part of this book is about the world of ballet. Focus on this when you chose to read the book or not.
For me, I used to be a ballet dancer and was almost as dedicated as Hannah - practiced every day with multiple shows. Did I live by myself in Manhattan? Nope. Hannah does though and that is super cool.
Saying that, I had a deep connection going into the book because it related to me. Bunheads focuses on the problems that dancers have, including myself, focusing on their dedication to their career more than anything else. They struggle to have lives outside of dance which is mostly where Jacob - the love interest - comes into the story. Jacob's character brings in the story of the world and brings Hannah to the conclusion that she is missing something.
In the end, I really liked the way it turned out. This book did not make the world of ballet fluffy or light - it was dark and gritty like the real dance world is, partially in thanks to the author being herself a dancer. It felt almost autobiographical. However, I did have some problems with the book.
The first problem was that the dancers never eat in the book and are praised for this. The main problem is that dancers have to eat and in fact eat more than any people I know. They burn off so many calories a day that it would be impossible to only eat white rice or whatever they came up with in the book. I do trust Sophie Flack as an author and retired dancer not to glorify this, but it does bother me that people outside of the dance world will see this as the norm.
The book is also short and takes place over one year. This timing pushes the characters along rather quickly so Jacob and Hannah's romance may seem like insta-love. However, the chapters cover long periods of time. The spacing of the book could have been more broken up to better tell the story. Hannah goes through deep involvement during this story and I really liked that aspect of the book.
From Goodreads: Fans of Ally Carter, especially her Heist Society readers, will love this teen mystery/thriller with sarcastic wit, a hint of romance, and Ocean’s Eleven–inspired action.
Julep Dupree tells lies. A lot of them. She’s a con artist, a master of disguise, and a sophomore at Chicago’s swanky St. Agatha High, where her father, an old-school grifter with a weakness for the ponies, sends her to so she can learn to mingle with the upper crust. For extra spending money Julep doesn’t rely on her dad—she runs petty scams for her classmates while dodging the dean of students and maintaining an A+ (okay, A-) average.
But when she comes home one day to a ransacked apartment and her father gone, Julep’s carefully laid plans for an expenses-paid golden ticket to Yale start to unravel. Even with help from St. Agatha’s resident Prince Charming, Tyler Richland, and her loyal hacker sidekick, Sam, Julep struggles to trace her dad’s trail of clues through a maze of creepy stalkers, hit attempts, family secrets, and worse, the threat of foster care. With everything she has at stake, Julep’s in way over her head . . . but that’s not going to stop her from using every trick in the book to find her dad before his mark finds her. Because that would be criminal.
Even though I mostly read young adult fiction, I do like to pick up the occasional children's book. Over the years, I have read quite a few very good ones and have to decided to share all of them with you! These books would be good for any age group, but if you are looking specifically for a child, these are sure to please.
Frindle by Andrew Clements - This book is about a young boy who decides to invent a new word. It's quite funny and very thought provoking. Any of Andrew Clements books are good reads!
Swindle by Gordon Korman - This book is the first in a fun series about a group of child criminals. Don't worry, they are working for the good guys!
Dying to Meet You by Kate and Sarah Klise - These books are really good for some humor with a very touching story.
Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko - This book stays with me since I have read it. It is about a boy who lives on Alcatraz island. It definitely inspires some interest in this time period!
Savvy by Ingrid Law - A great story about a supernatural family and a journey to deal with these powers. Beautiful descriptions.
Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs - I still continue to be enthralled by these mysteries about an animal killer. These books are written for a younger age, but are still packed with action.
Flush by Carl Hiaasen - Flush is the classic animal story with a fun twist and new characters. Plus, Carl Hiaason has plenty more with similar themes.
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan - This book is a must read for anyone! They are fun but interesting and very exciting!
Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool - One of the most beautiful children's stories I have ever read. It is a brilliant book.
The White Giraffe by Lauren St. John - This book has beautiful descriptions and leaves a great sense of wonder.
So, those are my top ten favorite children's books! Let me know what some of yours are in the comments! Thanks for reading!