Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Review: A Separate Peace

A Separate PeaceA Separate Peace
John Knowles

Set at a boys boarding school in New England during the early years of World War II, A Separate Peace is a harrowing and luminous parable of the dark side of adolescence. Gene is a lonely, introverted intellectual. Phineas is a handsome, taunting, daredevil athlete. What happens between the two friends one summer, like the war itself, banishes the innocence of these boys and their world.

What can I say? I was blown away by this novel. Considering it is a classic, I probably would not have picked it up on my own and for that, dear English Teacher, I thank you. 

The writing is extraordinary- throughout the story there is an eerie sense of darkness; you can just feel something bad waiting to happen. The descriptions really helped you BE there, get the feel of the scene. There were also some amazing quotes and nuggets of wisdom like these:

“What I mean is, I love winter, and when you really love something, then it loves you back, in whatever way it has to love.” 

“Sarcasm... the protest of those who are weak.” 

“Never say you are five feet nine when
you are five feet eight and a half" was the first one I encountered.
Another was, "Always say some prayers at night because it might turn
out that there is a God.” 

And many more that Goodreads didn't list and I don't have my copy on me to find... this book was pure beauty. The whole story was like a metaphor, and a heartbreaking one at that. There are so many questions to ask and things to discuss- but I guess I'll just have to wait till my class finishes the novel because I read ahead, I was so enamored by the novel.

Recommended to everyone. Rating:

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Mini-Review: Queen of the Toilet Bowl

Queen of the Toilet BowlQueen of the Toilet Bowl
Frieda Wishinsky
Beginner Readers

When Renata is chosen to play the lead role in the school musical, students who used to ignore her start saying hello and congratulating her in the hall. She is happy until it becomes evident that Karin, a wealthy girl who expected to get the lead role, will go to great lengths to ruin Renata's reputation.

Remember my review of Crossover by Jeff Rud? A simply-written, short book aimed for a teenage reader? Queen of the Toilet Bowl is another one of those published by Orca, whose goal is to help older readers learn English without having to read baby books. In the bookstore I work at I get asked to recommend a lot of these so I've been reading some. 

A sweet story, Queen tells tale of a South American immigrant who is targeted by the Queen Bee at her school on the account of her mother being a cleaning lady. I liked Renata, and she dealt with the bullies smoothly and maturely, so the book comes along with a good message. While not patronizing,  it's mildly cheesy.

Cover and title comments: They're not really appealing, therefore a mistake in my opinion, but they tie in well. 

Have a great week!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Impossibly Love Trailer Reveal!


Hey guys! This week I'm taking part in a trailer reveal for Impossibly Love by Shane Morgan. You guys all know Shane- she's the awesome blogger over at Itching For Books! Come take a look at her hot new release(:

impossiblyloveEbook.pngRelease date: October 29th, 2013
Publisher: TSW Books
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Available in Paperback, Kindle

Synopsis via Goodreads
All Moya Douglas wants to do is study hard, maintain her scholarship, and make her mother proud while attending college. She doesn’t have time for a boyfriend or going on dates arranged by her best friend. Moya doesn’t believe in love. And she has no intention of ever finding it.

Branden McCarthy is determined to change her views.
A selfless romantic who’s had his heart broken in the past, Branden is fascinated with Moya’s personality and hopes to develop something real with her-a connection so strong it’ll open her heart. But just when things start to work between the two, Branden’s secret threatens to get in the way.
Will Moya finally do the impossible and give love a chance with Branden, or will fear keep them apart?

Rated G for everyone. No strong language. No raunchy sex scenes throughout. This is a New Adult novel about finding love and oneself.

About the writer:
Shane’s love for writing started the moment she picked up a Nancy Drew book. At a young age, she began writing short stories, divulging in a variety of genres; from comedy, drama, to horror and romance. She’s quite intrigued by the otherworldly or things otherwise deemed “impossible.”

And now.... *drum roll***.... THE TRAILER!!

Hope you guys all pick up a copy of Impossibly Love! Enjoy(:

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Blog Tour! SUSY Asylum by Michael Pierce


Hi everyone! This week I've been privileged to participate in the SUSY Asylum blog tour hosted by Candace over at Candace's Big Blog (link to tour post). I've just finished the first book in the series by Michael Pierce, Provex City,  and I really liked it!

Oliver is a character you learn to love as the story moves forward, and I found the other characters really intriguing as well- especially Desiree, TJ, and Jeremy. Jeremy had the most spunk to him, and there was this exciting air of mystery to him throughout the whole novel. You can clearly tell that there is a lot more to TJ's and Desiree's stories that I hope the author will elaborate more on in the sequel, SUSY Asylum. The magic of the story was unique in that that it is not magic, rather plains of consciousness and realms of possibilities that average humans do not see, but could if they wanted to- a refreshing aspect.

provexcityebookfinal.jpg     susyasylumebookcover.jpg

About Provex City (Lorne Family Vault #1)
Fifteen-year-old Oliver Grain begins his school year fighting off bullies, learning about the boy who committed suicide in his room, and trying to understand why his history teacher, Mr. Gordon, has taken such a personal interest in him. Do you believe in ghosts? Do you believe you can make bullies simply disappear? Do you believe you can walk through walls? Mr. Gordon tells Oliver: "When you truly believe anything is possible, you will be able to open doors where there were only walls." And one of those doors leads Oliver to Provex City, which puts him in far greater danger than he can possibly fathom.

About SUSY Asylum (Lorne Family Vault #2)
In SUSY Asylum, there is no release. There is no escape. No hope.

Oliver and Desiree are introduced to the writings of a mysterious blogger, Commodore 
Chaos, when they return to Provex City to indulge in what the sublime city has to offer. The blogger claims the Lornes are collecting people venturing between the higher planes of awareness and locking them away in a mythical asylum. But are these legitimate concerns for inter-plane travelers or just the ramblings of an anonymous conspiracy blogger?

Oliver looks to Provex City as his only connection to his father while Desiree looks to the city as an escape from the torment of losing her best friend—again. Provex City is a wonder of beautiful treasures, entrancing them to continue returning. But behind the beauty, wolves have continued hunting Oliver, a boy who is still unaware of his importance in the rebellion.

Oliver’s belief is waning. Desiree will not always be by his side. Mr. Gordon will not always come to his aid. Oliver finds himself alone, forced to confront his biggest fears, fight his inner demons, and face the very cold reality that no one is coming to save him.
Welcome to SUSY Asylum.

About Michael Pierce:
Michael Pierce.jpg
I believe in a future where I will be able to write full-time, a picture I already hold vividly in my mind. It all starts with my debut young adult novel, Provex City. I love Harry Potter & The Marbury Lens, Tool & Elliott Smith, Dexter & Donnie Darko, bold coffee & amber ale. I also love dabbling with writing music and recording, with no illusions of ever making it a career. I am ecstatically married and the lucky father to a beautiful baby girl.
Find the author: Website/Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Thank you again, Candace and Mr. Pierce!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Review: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-TimeThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
Mark Haddon
Mystery.. sorta

Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the color yellow.
This improbable story of Christopher's quest to investigate the suspicious death of a neighborhood dog makes for one of the most captivating, unusual, and widely heralded novels in recent years.
In a rare occurrence, The Curious Incident was given a lot of hype online AND in my real life- a lot of my friends and family really liked it. Personally, while I appreciated the brilliance of the novel and quite liked it, I wasn't wowed like I thought I would be.
Surprisingly, the one part of the book I thought I WOULDN'T like was the the part I liked most. The plot. At first I was like, 'A dog on your street died. Boo-hoo.' But as you read you realize that that is not, in fact, what the book was about- the incident was a peek into one of the chapters of Christopher's life. And it was quite fascinating. I did not see most of the twists and turns coming, and the drama that ensued in the aftermath- all told in Christopher's toned down way of thinking. 
The book all in all was what I would call interesting- I wasn't peeing in my pants, I wasn't laughing or crying. I was intrigued. I was professionally curious as to what would happen next. This book is like a fascinating specimen in the eyes of a literary zoologist.
By far what set The Curious Incident apart from other books was the way it was built- the chapters were in prime numbers, mathematical charts, a matter-of-fact way of describing things. For fans of Perks of Being a Wallflower. Rating: 
Love,  Esty                      

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Review: The Fall of Five

The Fall of Five (The Lorien Legacies #4)
Pittacus Lore
YA Science Fiction

The Garde are finally reunited, but do they have what it takes to win the war against the Mogadorians?

John Smith—Number Four—thought that things would change once the Garde found each other. They would stop running. They would fight the Mogadorians. And they would win.

But he was wrong. After facing off with the Mogadorian ruler and almost being annihilated, the Garde know they are drastically unprepared and hopelessly outgunned. Now they’re hiding out in Nine’s Chicago penthouse, trying to figure out their next move.

The six of them are powerful, but they’re not strong enough yet to take on an entire army—even with the return of an old ally. To defeat their enemy, the Garde must master their Legacies and learn to work together as a team. More importantly, they’ll have to discover the truth about the Elders and their plan for the Loric survivors.

And when the Garde receive a sign from Number Five—a crop circle in the shape of a Loric symbol—they know they are so close to being reunited. But could it be a trap? Time is running out, and the only thing they know for certain is that they have to get to Five before it’s too late.

The Garde may have lost battles, but they will not lose this war.
Lorien will rise again.

God, I waited sooooooo long for this book. I have been in love with this series ever since I Am Number Four. I recommend it to EVERYONE.  

This is going to be a short review, for the simple reason of I HAVE NOTHING TO CRITICIZE. Reading this novel was the funnest experience I've had since summer break- as in I had this big, goofy smile on my face for the entire week I was reading it. To emphasize-

Classmate: "We're learning a fairly depressing subject. WHY DO YOU LOOK SO HAPPY?"


All I can add to the above is say that this was just one of my favorite scenes- the entire book was incredible. A bunch of powerful teenagers hanging at a totally decked out bachelor pad in Chicago. I dare you to not enjoy every minute of it. 

The only thing? The ending will make you go WHAT OMG NO HOW-


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Review: Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Will Grayson, Will Grayson
John Green & David Levithan

One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two strangers cross paths. Two teens with the same name, running in two very different circles, suddenly find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, culminating in heroic turns-of-heart and the most epic musical ever to grace the high school stage.

Anyone out there not read John Green yet? No? Good. Wait. What's that? You haven't? WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE? GO GET THE FAULT IN OUR STARS PRONTO. (link to my review)

You're back. Nice to see you. Anyhoo, regardless of the bizarre synopsis, JOHN GREEN WROTE THIS BOOK THEREFORE I WILL READ IT. He is one of those authors. Now I was doubtful of the collab thing- most collaborations I've read mute the greatness of one of the authors. I am happy to inform you that while WGWG was different from other JG books, it was no less great in it's own way.

I'm not gonna bother explaining the plot to you- you have to read it to get it. I will remark on the interesting POVS. The book alternates between one Will and the other. They each had unique voices and the Will written by JG sounded like Pudge and Quenton from his other books- THIS IS A GOOD THING. It's not to say all his characters sound the same. I kinda believe the similarities we read are the author's own personality shining through. It's brilliant. I also give lots of credit to David Levithan- I don't really know his work, but he has earned my permanent respect. 

One of the greatest (I use that word a lot when talking about JG) things about his books are that, when you think about it, none have these stories really will happen. Anywhere. they're too... I don't know. But Paper Towns, for example, is just so out there. So is Looking for Alaska. AND YET, when reading his books, you'll be like OHMYGOD THAT IS MY LIFE sometimes. Most of the times. The way he describes love and life is so much more real than the cheesed-out fantasy, sci-fi, romance, classic and even contemporary books and movies out there. It's so REFRESHING but mainly thought provoking. My advice? Read TFiOS or LFA on a rainy day. And bring tissues. And chocolate. 

Also, gotta love the conversation between the two authors at the end. And the acknowledgements. And the dedications. And- oh, just read the book cover to cover. Literally. 


Note: Am I aware that this went from a review to a composition titled 'Fangirling Over John Green'? Yes. Do I care? No.
Have a great week(:

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Review: Piece of My Heart

Piece of My HeartPiece of My Heart
Lynn Madelenna Menna
YA Contemporary

 Still in high school, Marisol Reyes gets the chance of a lifetime to be a real singer, and she leaps at it. After all, this is the dream she held on to, all the days and nights she spent growing up on means streets of East Harlem. Marisol never gave in--no matter what her boyfriend or her best friend had to say. Who cares if only one in a hundred pretty, talented girls make it? She will be the one. In her rush to fame, Marisol tramples on the heart of her loyal best friend, and Julian, the boy she loves. But will it be worth it?

One night at a private gig in the Hamptons, the little Latino girl with the big voice from East Harlem gets a severe reality check. A famous rapper who claims to be interested in her talents turns out to be interested in something else, threatening not only Marisol's dreams but her body and soul. Will the realities of the gritty New York music scene put out the stars in Marisol's eyes forever?

Best thing about this book? The setting. I have never read anything set in a Latino community, let alone East Harlem. I found it fascinating to see through Marisol's eyes the differences between the hood and upscale New York as she gradually climbs her way up there. 

The characters: Other than being a little bit full of herself, Marisol seemed legit. I didn't approve with a lot of her decisions, but they were natural for a starstruck girl in her position. She more or less had her priorities in order (her friends and family, her own virtue), but like most people, sometimes lost sight of what was important. Minorly annoying, but made sense. 

I would have loved to hear more about Tatiana- she was part of the supporting cast, the older sister of Marisol's best friend who helped her out a lot. She had an interesting story and was present a lot but we didn't get to hear her too much, which I thought was a shame. She was a determined girl, trying to deal with an annoying boss and and her controlled jealousy of Marisol who was getting everything she wanted (And she still helped her the most out of all the characters in the book), all the while trying to catch her break in the fashion business. Tatiana's story probably would've been more fascinating than Marisol's- who knows, maybe the author will one day write a companion about her. 

The romance: Ehh. Wasn't convincing. They TALKED about their love and loyalty, didn't show it.

Plot: Great. Loved how she dreamed about fame and a record deal, and set out to achieve it. The pitfalls and disappointments were realistic. The time management, tabloids and betrayals that characterize celebrities were there, too. I would have like to see her screw up on her own , too, in addition to the external obstacles that she faced, but whatever. 

Rating: 3.5 stars

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Review: Pandemonium

Pandemonium (Delirium #2)
Lauren Oliver
YA dystopia

Lena's been to the very edge. She's questioned love and the life-changing and agonising choices that come with it. She's made her decision. But can she survive the consequences? PANDEMONIUM is the explosive sequel to the critically acclaimed and bestselling DELIRIUM.

Indeed, this is the less pretty and popular edition of this book but I always write my review with the edition I have- just because I want to. Deal with it!

So, book 2. I liked Delirium, but like Divergent, it didn't live up to all the hype for me. Unfortunately I didn't have my blog back then so I can't give you a link to a review but that was more or less my reaction to it. Good, not amazing.

I am overjoyed to tell you that Pandemonium was amazing! I had fun throughout the entire book, there was just so much happening! Also, I loved how it alternated between then and now. It was like two stories at once- lots to keep you busy. Not to mention, I thought the characters were really fleshed out properly. I felt I knew, or at least understood, the main characters and their actions. I enjoyed hearing Julian's backstory, a little bit of Raven's history- it helped me feel for them and engrossed me in the story. 

Speaking of characters, I really loved Lena in this book- she became so badass! In Delirium she wasn't a damsel in distress, but was being led along and introduced to the Wilds by Alex. Now she fought and fought hard for what she believed in, helped people in need, stood up for herself  and was overall an awesome character. Definitely added to my fave heroine list. 

The romance- done well in my opinion. Felt very natural to me and was really sweet. 

The end- *sigh*. Some readers may view it as a cause for celebration, I personally hated it. I had a suspicion in the beginning of the book, but I was like, 'Nahhh, it's too obvious'. And when the book continued beautifully from there, all worry was wiped from my mind. And then, literally a page or two from the end I was like, 'Oh no. Oh noooooooooo no please no! Ughhh don't do it!' and she did it (by she I mean the author). It was cheesy and obvious and unrealistic and totally unnecessary and basically it just pissed me off. SIGH. 

Despite the above, I'm really looking forward to reading Requiem- I love Lauren Oliver's writing and have decided to trust her and hope she deals with the annoying ending with grace next book.