31 December 2011

Remembering 2011


We know that we've only been around for a few months and that's not much to look back on but what posts were your favourite? Which book did we review that you liked the most? What was your favourite thing that we did this year? Care to share? :D

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everybody! Thanks for following us as we move into the new year. All of us here love what we get to do, what you give us the chance to do. It wouldn't be the same without you all.
We love books and we love reading but for us, most of our experience with this blog ends there. That means that we need your help to improve. This is your chance to help us get better. Tell us what you think. What kinds of books interest you? What do you want from us this year? Let us know! We want this blog to be the best that it can be and you're the readers so let us know.
Thanks for following and we hope to continue for longer than just the new year!

Love the Back to Books team!

28 December 2011

My Sister's Keeper

My Sister's KeeperReviewer: Kristen
Author: Jodi Picoult
Format: Paperback
Pages: 500 (varies)
Rating: 9 out of 10 stars

Summary (From Goodreads): Anna is not sick, but she might as well be. By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions, and shots so that her older sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukemia that has plagued her since childhood. The product of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for Kate -- a life and a role that she has never challenged...until now. Like most teenagers, Anna is beginning to question who she truly is. But unlike most teenagers, she has always been defined in terms of her sister -- and so Anna makes a decision that for most would be unthinkable, a decision that will tear her family apart and have perhaps fatal consequences for the sister she loves.
My Sister's Keeper examines what it means to be a good parent, a good sister, a good person. Is it morally correct to do whatever it takes to save a child's life, even if that means infringing upon the rights of another? Is it worth trying to discover who you really are, if that quest makes you like yourself less? Should you follow your own heart, or let others lead you? Once again, in My Sister's Keeper, Jodi Picoult tackles a controversial real-life subject with grace, wisdom, and sensitivity.
My take: I'll admit it, I picked up this book because I saw the movie when it was in theaters (so long ago, right?). If you're not reading it because you saw the movie, I seriously suggest that you do. The book is so much different than the movie is! So so so so different. (Could I be anymore insipid...) I don't want to give spoilers away, but it is a tear-jerking heart breaking novel. I think I actually cried more during the novel than I did in the movie. Which is something of a feat, because I rarely cry during novels.(Though I do have my few that unfailingly make me ball like a baby...) The only thing that kept this book from a solid ten out of ten was the changing perspectives. I hate changing perspectives. In some books it works, and I'm not saying it doesn't in this one, but I'm just not a fan. Also keeping it from a perfect score was all the medical terms and information. I get it, essential to the story and what not, but a few times I had no idea what they were talking about. I'm one of those people who will look it up though, but I know a lot of people don't. I flew through this book, but it did have a few dry parts. Probably essential to the story, but I just wanted to get back to the main events. All in all, I suggest you read this, because the difference from the movie and novel is somewhat -for lack of a better term - humourous. 
Final take: If you read this book, make sure you have a box of tissues beside you... it's a heart breaker.

27 December 2011

The Hunger Games

I'm not going to post a review, as Kristen already has and I really don't think I can really improve on hers but I just wanted to say that The Hunger Games is amazing! I highly suggest you read it. I couldn't put it down and I constantly pictured myself as a character within the book. Look for Kristen's review here!

20 December 2011

Dark Lake

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Louise Gaylord
Format: Paperback, ARC
Pages: 191
Rating: 7 out of 10

Summary (From GoodReads): Summer at the Lake just isn't what it used to be. This year, it's murder.
After 15 years, Allie Armington returns to her aunt Sallie's idyllic cottage retreat in the Adirondacks where she spent most of her childhood summers. Until the accident, that is. But instead of the happy reunion she's anticipating, she finds Sallie's mangled body and her cousin Arlene bound, gagged, and drugged.
The close-knit community of July 4th to Labor Day residents at the Hotanawa compound tries to portray the tragedy as a suicide to keep things out of the news. Allie knows better. There's been foul play, yet the cops have all but closed the case.
To clear her aunt's reputation, Allie's got to navigate her way around a compromised police department, wealthy neighbors with agendas, a cousin who's turned into a meth-head, and a drug conspiracy that just gets stranger and stranger- especially since the handsome drug cop is an ally in one moment and a suspected conspirator the next.
Populated with neighbors you love to hate, childhood ex-crushes you'd hate to love, and family and friends who promote more problems than solutions, Dark Lake brings us an up close look at summer life in the Adirondacks and Allie at her best.


My Take: Okay soooooo...I thought this was a pretty good book. I'm the kind of person that likes to guess "who done it" while reading a mystery. This book kept me guessing, I never knew what action would come next and I loved that. I also didn't figure out the killer until the very end when it was told to me. It had good forshadowing without giving away too many future plot points. I especially liked how everything was tied together at the end.

There were a lot of characters in this novel but i never got confused with any of them. In fact, I grew to trust many of them and even to hate a few too. I didn't, however, feel that the main character felt, or rather, expressed the right or all the emotions that she would feel with the losses that she faced in this story. It felt like some of the emotions were left out.

Another small issues was that every once and awhile there seemed to be pieces missing. Peices of dialogues and story line semmed to have been deleted but after a reread or two i found that the changes made sence, they were just slightly awkward.

Final Thoughts: It was a good mystery. I am likely to reread it in the future. It has a bit of everything. There is action, guns, death, love, comedy, and drama. It has a bit of something for every person. I would recommend this book to people who like CSI!

17 December 2011

World Book Night 2012

I was just surfing the net when I came across this website. This looks like an awesome opportunity, so I wanted to share it with all of you!

Do you love a book so much you want everyone to read it?

World Book Night launched in the UK in 2011 and saw passionate readers across that beautiful country, give 1 million books to light or non readers to spread the joy and love of reading. Reading changes lives and at the heart of World Book Night lies the simplest of ideas and acts - that of putting a book into another person’s hand and saying ‘this one’s amazing, you have to read it’.
Now, it's our time to join the cause.
World Book Night 2012 will be held on April 23 - in the US and the UK - and we’re looking for 50,000 volunteer book givers to hand out 20 copies each - for a total of 1 million free special World Book Night paperbacks!
In order to be a book giver you must be:
  • Aged 16 or over and a resident of the United States
  • Able to pick up 20 copies of your book from your local bookshop or library
  • Committed to giving your books away on World Book Night to non or light readers
Givers will be chosen based on
  • Where, to whom & why you want to give books away


Click the picture for more information. 

16 December 2011

Follow Friday

 
Q: When you've read a book, what do you do with it? (Keep it, give it away, donate it, sell it, swap it..?)


I have an absolute obsession when it comes to my books. I keep them, all of them. Even if I hated the book, I will keep it and put it in a box that I have under my bed. The books I can re-read over and over go on my shelves, and I have a box for the rest. If I have doubles, I'll give it away. But that's about the only time I ever would. So, I guess I'm a book hoarder myself! - Kristen.

I'm with Kristen on this one. I keep all my books. I still have all the books I read when I was really little. The only difference is that I have about a gillion shelves in my room, they don't go in boxes under my bed. I need my own library! 
-Kelsey

12 December 2011

The Hunger Games

Reviewer: Kristen 
Author: Suzanne Collins
Pages: 374
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Format: Hardcover (paperback is available)

My Rating: 10 out of 10. 


Summary: This novel takes place in a futuristic time, where a war has destroyed civilization as we know it. The Capitol has taken over, and organized the Panem into twelve districts. Each of the districts face hardships of poverty, hunger and controlling peacekeepers that can kill as they see fit. As a reminder to each of these districts of what was caused because of their rebellion (the war), they are required to send a male and female 'tribute' into the Hunger Games. Once they are reaped and arrive in the Capitol, they have a mere few days to prepare for the slaughter that awaits them. When the games have begun, you must fight to the death. "You must kill or be killed." The last person alive wins - the prize is their life. They receive a lifetime of riches. 


The Hunger Games follows the life of Katniss Everdeen. From her point of view, the story is told. The 74th Annual Games have arrived, and her sister, Primrose Everdeen has been chosen as a tribute. Before one can even understand what happens, Katniss has volunteered for her. Katniss is going into the Games. Also reaped is Peeta Mellark, a bakers son. Unbeknownst to us at the time, Katniss owes this boy a lot. Peeta and Katniss are sent to the games where they have little time to prep for the oncoming slaughter they will inevitably face. Survival, however, has become a second nature to Katniss. At a young age, her father died, and she had to find a way to provide for her family - she found this through hunting. If she wants to win she is going to have to make choices that weigh survival against moral.

"Winning means fame and fortune,
Losing means certain death.
The Hunger Games have begun..."



My thoughts: This was not the type of book that I usually looked for, or read. The plot kept me reading, and once I started I could not put it down. Katniss is such a complex, strong character that I became attached to her. Peeta is her character foil, kind and caring. I think that these two compliment each other perfectly. The writing is first person, and is extremely easy to read. The plot is perfectly paced, and Suzanne Collins knows exactly how to leave you wanting more. I loved to watch Katniss grow as a character through the most unlikely circumstance. Also, I felt that the rest of the characters were developed perfectly alongside her. The deaths are brutally described, so if you have a weak stomach, this novel is not recommended to you. Suzanne Collins created such a realistic feel to this novel, I felt as though I was looking into our current worlds future. This also happens to be my favourite novel, so read it! It has been one of the few books that I literally could not put down. I still think of this book to this day, and I read it in 2008. The amount that I have re-read this is actually shameful. 


Conclusion: If you haven't read this book... what are you waiting for? If you love suspense, a budding romance and a good read this is the novel for you. This book surpassed every single one of my expectations. Seriously, if you're still reading this... why haven't you left to go and buy this book?


video
UPDATE... I just couldn't resist. If you haven't already seen it, this is the official trailer for the upcoming movie which is released March 23rd, 2012. I am shamelessly in love with this. 


I don't want to review the rest of the series, Catching Fire and Mockingjay, because I'm afraid I'll spoil it for some. So, I'm not going to give it a full review, just my rating out of ten. 

Catching Fire
Author: Suzanne Collins
My Rating: 10 out of 10 



Brief Summarization: Personally, I didn't think that Suzanne Collins had what it took to top her first novel. I loved it that much. Suzanne did that rare thing were the sequel topped the original. This book played with my emotions, and let me tell you... not a fair cliffhanger. I loved Catching Fire just as much, or possibly more so, as The Hunger Games. 







Mockingjay

Author: Suzanne Collins
My Rating: 10 out of 10



Brief Summarization: This book was given poor reviews because of the way it ended the series. Remember, this is a book about war and destruction, it can't have a happy ending for every single character. Readers thought that Suzanne didn't give us enough information to end the series with. I completely and totally disagree. Suzanne stayed true to Katniss' character which is the danger of first person narrative. Katniss didn't care about what some of the readers did anymore, and Suzanne reflected that. Mockingjay was the perfect end. There was enough information given so that the reader has a pretty good idea of what happened and not too much that readers couldn't conclude their own things. Mockingjay was my favourite book out of the series, though I had to read it more than once to fully appreciate what happened. 

6 December 2011

The Clockwork Giant

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Brooke Johnson
Pages: 250 (some formatting errors so could vary)
Format: This novel was giving to me as an advanced reader's copy so it could be given an unbiased opinion. ARC - eBook only
Release Date: December 13, 2011 (online retailers only)
Rating: 7 out of 10

Summary (From GoodReads): It's 1881, the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of Chroniker City, the global hub of technological advancement in the modern world. Based off the British coast, the city is home to the most prestigious polytechnic university worldwide, a center of mechanical ingenuity teaching everything from clockwork mechanics and thermodynamics to electromagnetism and electricity.

Petra Wade, self-taught clockwork engineer, dreams of one day becoming a member of the Guild, an elite group of inventors and innovators who envision a future fuelled by technology, but her ambitions will only come to fruition if she can find a way into the illustrious university—an institution reserved for men only. When she meets Emmerich Goss, an accomplished engineer newly recruited into the Guild, Petra discovers that he needs help building a top-secret, government-sanctioned automaton, and she is just the girl to help him.

Together, they craft the clockwork giant, and as the deadline for its completion nears, Petra finds that she can love more than gears and mainsprings.


My Take: When I first began to read this book, I won't lie to you, I was worried as to how it would turn out? I was a bit deceived by the cover and I guess also the summary. The beginning was a bit slow but that was the only thing in this book that was slow. After about the first chapter it picked up in a big bad way. Something was always happening and that helped to keep my interest. I read half the book in the first four hours of starting it before I decided it would be good to get some sleep. There was always movement and action. I had to pay attention to every word that I was reading in order to keep up with the story. It didn't bother me though so don't get me wrong! I got into it and stayed into it for the remainder of the story.

The characters are perfect for their perspective roles. Each is different and easy to remember. I've read stories with only three characters that I can't keep straight but this author managed to cleanly keep all of the characters in their perfect place within the story. Also, I'm not a huge fan of loving to hate characters and I don't think that I've ever hated a single character more than I hated one in this novel. This hate is well deserved I promise. I think it exists because I fell so much in love with Petra. She seemed so innocent (don't confuse this with naive) that I desperately wanted to protect her. Sadly, I couldn't jump in the book and do it myself.

Don't worry about not knowing anything about machines or clocks, this book can help you with that. I have the strange need to go out and buy a pocket watch. (Know a good place?)

There are only a few things that I didn't like. Firstly, if someone hurts you and you aren't sure if you could trust them, would you still go to them to ask for help in a life or death matter? Maybe you would but I had a hard time believing that. Then again, it could be the character hate speaking here. Secondly, around the middle of the book it seemed kind of jumpy and it would take me a minute or a quick second read through of a paragraph to catch what was happening, what she was seeing, or where we were. However, that could have just been the fact that I was reading it so quickly. Finally, the problem with any new series novel is that now I have to wait for the rest to come out so that I know how it ends!

Final Thoughts: (I'll make it quick!) Good read, fast paced, outstanding character's that are so good they might be the first person you really hate, and who doesn't like some love? (Did I mention love?) I would recommend this book to anyone who likes their love with a side of action and science or vise versa.

3 December 2011


What books are on your list for the new year?
Help us to know what you like to read!

26 November 2011

Wreath

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Judy Christie
Pages: 288
Format: eBook
Rating: 9 out of 10

Summary (from GoodReads): What do you do when you’re too young to be on your own but have no one to turn to? Sixteen-year-old Wreath Willis makes a list: Find a place to live. Buy cheap food. Finish high school. Get a job. Go to college. Now she’s finishing high school by day and squatting in a junkyard by night, flying below the authorities’ radar while she makes a few awkward friends and searches for an illusory “good life.” But when a teacher grows too suspicious, Wreath is afraid she’ll have to move on before she graduates. Could it be this was a good life?

My Take: This book started out fast. Right away we are thrown into her world, a world that I can honestly say I wouldn't want to be a part of. The beginning helps us to be able to understand why she does things later in the novel. Sadly, it started slowing down after she got a bit settled in. No worries though because it picks up again in a big bad way. This book made me laugh, made me cry...almost, and also made me angry when things weren't quiet going her way. Basically, I cared about Wreath so much. Really, by the end, I cared a lot about all of the characters but Wreath had many, many endearing qualities that made her special like a main character should be. I could also see a lot of myself in her and I kept wondering how I would deal with certain things that she had to deal with. She is so much stronger than I am, that's for sure.

I was happy with the length of this novel. It wasn't so short that I couldn't get into it or that there wasn't really a story. It also wasn't so long that I lost interest or felt like it was being dragged out too much. It was just enough time for me. Plus, I'm not a huge fan of books that take me months to read. I like to get my story, enjoy it and be done with it. This book was the perfect package of that. I would definitely read this again.

Final Thoughts: I would reccomend this book to anyone. It has a little bit of everything from sad moments to great laughs and even a bit of action. Who doesn't like a strong main character? You should really check this novel out! It's an enjoyable and rather quick read. I loved this story!

22 November 2011

Inkheart

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Cornelia Funke
Pages: 548
Format: Paperback
My rating: 7 out of 10

Summary (from GoodReads): Twelve-year-old Meggie learns that her father, who repairs and binds books for a living, can "read" fictional characters to life when one of those characters abducts them and tries to force him into service.

Characters from books literally leap off the page in this engrossing fantasy. Meggie has had her father to herself since her mother went away when she was young. Mo taught her to read when she was five, and the two share a mutual love of books. He can "read" characters out of books. When she was three, he read aloud from a book called Inkheart and released characters into the real world. At the same time, Meggie's mother disappeared into the story. This "story within a story" will delight not just fantasy fans, but all readers who like an exciting plot with larger-than-life characters.


My Take: I really liked this book. I felt as though I was a little old for it however. The concept and storyline were interesting and had enough twists to keep me interested. It also had enough background story on each of the characters so that I never felt lost or confused as to why a character was acting a certain way or making a certain choice. I don't like being lost and this book made sure that I never was.

As I said, I think the concept of this story was interesting. I would have never come up with something like this one my own. It's very creative. I loved it. I used to think that it would be really nice to get to live in some of my favourite stories but now I just want to make sure that my stories stay on their page and that's it.

Also, the characters are really something. I suppose that for this story, they need to be interesting and different. Each was described to that I got a perfect picture in my head. My favourite character, even though he makes many bad choices, is Dustfinger. I don't know why I like him so much, maybe it's the mystery behind him that I'm drawn to. There was one small character flaw that I found: I picture Meggie as much, much older. I think it makes more sense that way so while I read I just ignored her stated age and picked my own for her...shhhh!

I was very dissappointed with the ending. I won't spoil anything but I do want to say that I felt that it was unfinished. I felt like something was missing and it was all left undone. I think that the novel could have kept going for a little bit longer but even as I say that, I don't know if I would have been able to hold on much longer. The novel was already a very long book. I am aware that there are two other books that follow this one but I haven't had the time to read them just yet. Maybe I'll get around to them sometime soon.

My final thoughts: I would recommend this novel to children between the ages of 10 and fourteen or fifteen. They'll love the fairy tale of it. I know I did but then again I'm really just a big child at heart. These children that I recommend this book too need to be able to stick with it all the way to the end though! I hate not finishing books.

P.S.: This novel has a movie, like many other novels do. I really liked the ending in the movie. I liked it a lot more actually so if you read this and don't feel satisfied yet, check it out!

The Haunting of Cliff House

Haunting at Cliff HouseReviewer: Kristen
Author: Karleen Bradford
Pages: 77 .pdf pages
Format: eBook
My Rating: 8 out of 10



Summary (From Goodreads): From the moment she sets foot in the forbidding house high on the cliff, Alison senses a mysterious presence in one of its rooms. There she discovers an ancient diary belonging to a girl who lived in the same house, centuries before. What does this girl want...and why is she so sure only Alison can help her?


My Take: Being a little skeptical about this book because of the paranormal feel of it, I was a little worried I wouldn't like this book. I am happy to announce how wrong I was! I absolutely loved this book, and once I started reading, I was hard-pressed to put it down. This book is the perfect choice for any reader who is a fan of paranormal stories. The characters in this book are characters a reader can completely relate too. Karleen's writing style is easy to follow, and gives you the perfect amount of detail. She doesn't drown us in the little things, but gives enough so we get the picture that she was trying to create. Despite the short length of this novel, it is extremely easy for the reader to lose him or herself in it. The plot is paced perfectly, and fills out the otherwise short novel. I would recommend this as a must read for anyone thirteen plus, and who doesn't mind a little bit of a scare! 


Final Thoughts: I wish that I would have known about this book when I was younger. It was a great read, but I think I would have been more appreciative of it if I was 13 or 14. Nonetheless, I still recommend this to any reader interested in the life after death type of novels. This novel is being re-released, so don't miss out! 

21 November 2011

Speak

Reviewer: Kristen
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson

Pages: 208
Format: Paperback
My Rating: 7 out of 10



Summary (From Goodreads): When Melinda Sordino's friends discover she called the police to quiet a party, they ostracize her, turning her into an outcast -- even among kids she barely knows. But even worse than the harsh conformity of high-school cliques is a secret that you have to hide.


My take: I've heard rave reviews and I have heard horrible reviews about this book. Personally, if it had not been for a school assignment, I probably wouldn't have picked it up. I'm glad, however, that I did. This book is written in simple language, and is easy to follow and understand. This novel follows the story of Melinda - a young teenage girl entering her first year of high school. The story is told through first person, so we are subjected to all of Melinda's thoughts - which are your typical teenage "outcasts" thoughts. A lot of the times I got very frustrated with Melinda's one track mind. However, I think Laurie Halse Anderson presents us with a realistic look into ones mind. Melinda goes through ridicule every teenager dreads and she doesn't know how to cope. She just goes through the motions of school, finding no special 'sanctuary' there or at home. Melinda feels completely unwanted. The ending of the book is brilliantly constructed - my only complaint being that it ended so suddenly. Over all, I enjoyed this read - it was fast and simple. Thought provoking, but an easy start to finish novel. 


Final Thoughts: If you're ever bored, and looking for a decent read this is your 'go to' book. It's short and sweet, the point comes across. I absolutely loved and hated the ending at the exact same time. Melinda's character embodies most teenagers, and it's a great read! 
P.S. I may have been a wee bit biased because this was a school assignment. Albeit, one of the better ones!


Also - sorry for my little hiatus! I promise, I will get back into the swing of things soon! Expect more reviews this week!

3 November 2011

Lady Chatterley's Lover

So I just finished reading this book. I won't do a review for it but instead I just want to throw up a quick mention. I found that this book had a very interesting way of looking at not only life and love but also marriage and affairs in general (not so much the end but it was a novel for fun after all!). It had a very interesting way to look at it and I really enjoyed it. I would "movie" rate the book a little higher than PG13 though so watch out. ☺
~Kelsey

31 October 2011

God's Eye

God's EyeReviewer: Kristen
Author: A.J Scudiere
Pages: 419
Format: eBook
My Rating: 8 out of 10 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): Katharine Geryon is living the life her family name has dictated, and why not? After all, it has given her a good job in the family company and a fine life with all the things she should want. But all that changes as increasingly disturbing events begin to occur: soot stains on the carpet, glimpses of strange black animals, and cryptic messages written on her bathroom mirror. Baffled and afraid, Katharine begins to doubt her own sanity.

At the same time, two charismatic men enter her life: Allistair, her new assistant at work, and Zachary, a well-heeled neighbor who just moved into her building. Katharine soon finds each of them inextricably entangled in her affairs. As her life becomes stranger and her dreams more terrifying, she realizes neither man is what he seems and that she's caught in something far beyond her own comprehension. For the first time, she must reach beyond her own boundaries. There Katharine forges her first true friendship with Margot, a librarian who helps her discover what these men really are, why she's drawn to them, and what they want with her.

The answer places Katharine in the middle of a fierce battle that forces her to decide between the two men fighting for her soul.

In the end, only one can be saved, but all three will be judged.

My take: To be completely honest, I did not think that I would enjoy this book. I thought it would be average, nothing extraordinary. I was so completely and utterly wrong. As soon as I started reading this book, I literally could not put it down. I absolutely loved the writing style, and I felt that the alternating perspectives really worked and enhanced this novel. This is the first book I've read by this author and it will certainly not be my last. I truly enjoyed reading this book. This book was so unique from anything that I've read that I couldn't stop. I would literally spend hours at a time reading this. I brought my laptop to school so I could finish the book whenever I had a moment. Having your mind invaded and your world being completely different from what you once knew was a riveting plot line. The good vs evil trying to steal her soul was original and done tastefully. All in all, A.J Scudiere has created a masterpiece!

Final Thoughts: I seriously recommend this book if you're into the paranormal, suspense genre. This book kept me up until the wee hours in the morning because I had to know what was going to happen next. Don't let this one pass you by!

27 October 2011

Sisters Red

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Jackson Pearce
Pages: 324
Format: Paperback
My Rating: 9 out of 10

Summary (From GoodReads): Scarlett March lives to hunt the Fenris--the werewolves that took her eye when she was defending her sister Rosie from a brutal attack. Armed with a razor-sharp hatchet and blood-red cloak, Scarlett is an expert at luring and slaying the wolves. She's determined to protect other young girls from a grisly death, and her raging heart will not rest until every single wolf is dead.

Rosie March once felt her bond with her sister was unbreakable. Owing Scarlett her life, Rosie hunts ferociously alongside her. But even as more girls' bodies pile up in the city and the Fenris seem to be gaining power, Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves. She finds herself drawn to Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an ax and Scarlett's only friend--but does loving him mean betraying her sister and all that they've worked for?

My Take: Let's see...Amazing, great, awesome? I love this book and I love the author even more (Anyone who is willing to post video blogs on youtube twice a week is worth your time). The story is told from two different perspectives but they are clearly stated at the beginning of each chapter. There is no trouble following who is speaking to you. Plus, the prolgoue throws you right into the action which is always present to keep you focused in the story.

The only reason that I couldn't give this novel a 10 out of 10 is that I figured out the ending around the middle of the book, not that that made me want to close the book. I still wanted to finish it and find out how it ended but I knew who it was (NO SPOILERS!!). Sorry Jackson, maybe Sweetly will get a 10 out of 10; it's on my Christmas list!

Final Thoughts: Great book. I would recommend this easy to read and follow book to anyone who likes young adult novels or paranormal fiction. Oh, by the way, read this book!

24 October 2011

61 Hours

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Lee Child
Pages: 383
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 7 out of 10

Summary (From GoodReads): A tour bus crashes in a savage snowstorm and lands Jack Reacher in the middle of a deadly confrontation. In nearby Bolton, South Dakota, one brave woman is standing up for justice in a small town threatened by sinister forces. If she’s going to live long enough to testify, she’ll need help. Because a killer is coming to Bolton, a coldly proficient assassin who never misses.

Reacher’s original plan was to keep on moving. But the next 61 hours will change everything. The secrets are deadlier and his enemies are stronger than he could have guessed—but so is the woman whose life he’ll risk his own to save.

My Take: Okay, so this book... I thought that the plot was mostly well done and I figured out all the characters. It wasn't too complicated. The different points of view (which were few) were very easy to follow compared to some other novels that I have read. The only problems that I truely had with this novel is that I figured the ending out early on in the novel. After I figured it out, it was hard to stick too. I wouldn't say that the 'who done it?' was obvious, maybe I'm just quick. I don't know but it bothered me a little bit.

None of that bothered me as much as the ending did though. No spoilers, because I hate spoilers, but I was not a fan of the ending. You don't actually find out what really happens but things are implied. I felt like it either ended badly or it was unfinished. I don't like unfinished business.

Finaly Thoughts: I HATED THE ENDING. I think that it nearly killed me. I'm not a fan of this kind of ending at all. I wish that I could have given this book a better rating because it was good...until the end...


22 October 2011

The Next Door Boys

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Jolene B. Perry
Pages: 272
Format: ARC (From NetGalley)
Rating: 9 out of 10

Summary (From GoodReads): With her body still recovering from last year's cancer treatments, Leigh Tressman is determined to be independent. Despite the interference from her overprotective brother, physical frustrations, and spiritual dilemmas— not to mention the ever expanding line of young men ready to fall in love with her— Leigh discovers what it actually means to stand on her own and learns that love can be found in unexpected but delightful places.

My Take: This book sounds like it is a bit depressing but trust me, it's no My Sister's Keeper. I'm not one for sad stories and that's good because this isn't one of those kinds of stories, not at all. Actually, it's the opposite. It's about getting better and happier and changing for the better. Plus, who doesn't enjoy a good love story.

The plot was easy to follow and there weren't so many characters that you would get lost of confused alone the way. I was slightly confused at the beginning because there is a big religious component in this novel but I was having a hard time figuring out exactly what was happening with that. I figured it out about half way through so no worries there!

Final Thoughts: I really did enjoy this novel. I would recommend it to people who have a religious or spirtual back ground or at least are able to follow along with it and for people who really love a good love story and all around happy ending.

21 October 2011

What Happened to Goodbye

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Sarah Dessen
Pages: 402
Format: Hardcover
My rating: 9 out of 10

Summary (From Goodreads): Since her parents' bitter divorce, McLean and her dad, a restaurant consultant, have been on the move-four towns in two years. Estranged from her mother and her mother's new family, McLean has followed her dad in leaving the unhappy past behind. And each new place gives her a chance to try out a new persona: from cheerleader to drama diva. But now, for the first time, McLean discovers a desire to stay in one place and just be herself, whoever that is. Perhaps Dave, the guy next door, can help her find out.

My Take: Honestly, I loved this book. I'm a huge fan of anything Sarah Dessen. I knew her themes and style. Also, the biggest part of the plot is that she moves around a lot and even though I have never moved in my life, always having gone to the same school and living in the same house, Dessen made it easy for me to follow alone and understand what McLean was going through. Like McLean I also try to change a bit of myself every time I start something new or have the chance to be something different. I really knew what she was going through. The message of the story even managed to speak to someone who had never moved.

The characters were love able and we were given enough background over the course of the story to get into their heads in a way. The setting was clearly described as was McLean's family situation. A plus is that I didn't really see the end coming which doesn't happen all that often. I was ten seconds away from throwing the book across the room, angry at the ending, when it changed in time to end well and make me happy.

Final Thoughts: If you have read other Sarah Dessen books and loved them, read this. I think that this novel might be one of my favourite books that she has written. If you love happy endings, this is for you. Basically, I want to really recommend this book to whomever I can. Loved it.

20 October 2011

The Last Song

Reviewer: Kristen 
Author: Nicholas Sparks
Pages: 463
Format: Paperback
My Rating: 9 out of 10

Summary (From GoodReads): Seventeen year-old Veronica “Ronnie” Miller’s life was turned upside-down when her parents divorced and her father moved from New York City to Wilmington, North Carolina. Three years later, she remains angry and alienated from her parents, especially her father… until her mother decides it would be in everyone’s best interest if she spent the summer in Wilmington with him. Ronnie’s father, a former concert pianist and teacher, is living a quiet life in the beach town, immersed in creating a work of art that will become the centerpiece of a local church. The tale that unfolds is an unforgettable story about love in its myriad forms – first love, the love between parents and children – that demonstrates, as only a Nicholas Sparks novel can, the many ways that deeply felt relationships can break our hearts… and heal them. 

My take: As you can probably see, this is one of my favourite novels. I love the characters that Sparks created. What gets me is how realistic he paints this family portrait; the angsty teenage daughter and the innocent younger brother. I felt a connection to the family, particularly the father. This book has been crafted beautifully, and with characters so relate-able you can't help but share the laughter, the heartaches and the tears. Will and Ronnie's romance is raw and real, and you can almost feel how they are feeling. The problems that arise are problems that have/could/would arise in reality. The one thing that took away from this book for me is the alternating perspectives. The chapters being so short, I found it hard to keep up with whose thought process I was navigating. Also, I felt there was a few characters whom I didn't care to read through their perspective. This is one of the major reasons this book isn't a 10 out of 10. To this day, most books can not make me cry, yet this book is tear stained - particularly at the end. This heart-wrenching story made me cry more than once. I would recommend this book for anyone in need of a good cry, or anyone looking for a romance so loving you feel as though you're apart of it and a family strength that is astounding.    

Conclusion: I know a lot of people who won't read this novel simply because Miley Cyrus stared in the movie. Don't let that be the reason you don't read this amazing novel! Nicholas Sparks has created such a master piece, don't let this one slip between your fingertips!  

18 October 2011

Addison Blakely: Confessions of a PK

Reviwer: Kelsey
Title:  Addison Blakely: Confessions of a PK
Author: Betsey St. Amant
Pages: 368
Format: ARC - NetGalley
Rating: 8/10
 
My Summary: She never was really able to break out or break rules. Addison is in a tough place though because she is the preacher’s daughter and that’s all she will ever be. She’s okay with that until it starts getting in the way of her enjoying life. She loses her closest friend, she gets ‘voluntold’ into helping out with a school show, and she is stuck in an interesting triangle. Can she finally find a way to make her own choices without making her father look bad?
 

My Take: I loved this novel. I really did. I think that the reason for this is that I connected so quickly and so easily with Addison. She was exactly like me in so many ways and that made it easy for me get into the story and to fall in love with the characters. As I started getting closer and closer to the end I was practically yelling at some of the characters.

It was easy to read and follow. It was slip up perfectly. The one thing that I did noticed was that there seemed to be three smaller stories that made of the story as a whole. This is a normal thing of course but in this case it made the novel seem stretched out. As one short piece of the story was wrapping up I looked at the page count only to realize that I was in fact nowhere near the end even though that last disaster was resolved. I went through this same feeling three times and by the end was actually quite unsure as to where she was going. Would she get him or not? They only argued a page ago and the book ends in two. It was starting to get to me.

Being fairly religious already I could follow the religion that was basically the whole book. Without any background a person may have a hard time understanding how she is feeling and therefore might not agree with some of her choices. That being said, the religious aspect was done very well. It was not over done and enough background was given

Final Thoughts: I understood the characters and the troubles that they were all facing. I would recommend this book if you are okay reading with religion in mind.

17 October 2011

Perfect Chemistry

Reviewer: Kristen 
Author: Simone Elkeles
Pages: 355
Format: Paperback
Rating: 7/10 stars
Summary (From Goodreads): When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created “perfect” life is about to unravel before her eyes. She’s forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she's worked so hard for—her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect. Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more.  In a passionate story about looking beneath the surface, Simone Elkeles breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart.
My take: If you want a cutesy romance, this novel is for you! Personally, I couldn't connect to the character of Alex because he goes through something so different from what I am used to. I thought that Brittany and Alex were your typical young-adult/romance characters. Brittany being the rich girl, and Alex being the tough guy. If the characters hadn't be like that, I feel the book could have been a 10. The story line was cute, Alex was raw and emotional. The writing was easy to follow and obviously written for the teen demographic. The book was paced perfectly. Personally, I thought that the cover could be much more, I didn't think it did justice to the book. At any rate, I thought that this book offered a lot, and was a good easy read. If you're ever bored, pick this up! I read it in a day. It is a trilogy, I believe. Though, I don't think the next two books follow Brittany and Alex. 


Conclusion: If you are a sucker for a romance (and a cute one at that!) this is for you. Brittany kind of reminded me of Bella from Twilight. If you don't like series, this isn't a book that leaves you on a cliffhanger. Overall, I'd recommend this book!

12 October 2011

A Great And Terrible Beauty

Reviewer: Kelsey
Title: A Great and Terrible Beauty
Author: Libba Bray
Pages: 403
Format: Paperback
Rating: 7/10 Stars


My Summary: When tragedy hits, Gemma Doyle is sent away to Spence Academy in London. London isn’t like her home in India. Now alone and having to deal with visions of the future, of which most come true, saying that it’s hard would be an understatement. But maybe she isn’t as alone as she thinks she is. A strange young man is following her and warns her not to open herself up to these visions but that might not be up to her. She falls in with the powerful girls in Spence and also discovers a past that she never knew her mother had.

My take: It is very well done. You really want to know what will happen next to poor Gemma. I say “poor Gemma” lightly. She’s pretty tough especially after losing her family how she did not to mention the fact that now she has to try and figure out her visions with little outside help understanding them.  She is a smart girl but she does make some bad choice, who in the “in” crowd doesn’t right?

There is drama, just as there is in any school never mind in a school as proper as Spence Academy, and there is action too. It’s great without even adding in the fact that there is magic and everyone wishes they were magic right? Maybe not…

By the end of the novel you really care a lot about Kartik and Gemma. Libba Bray is very good at making you want to be closer to and really know the characters, even those characters that you love to hate.

Conclusion: I think that anyone who is interested in the magic aspect that can go for a ride with the character will love this book. It has a little bit of everything. Just make sure that you know that once you read this book you’ll want to go out and get the second and third in the series too.
Those are just my thoughts…
~Kelsey
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