Showing posts with label Love. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Love. Show all posts

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Matched Trilogy

The Matched Trilogy is one that has been on my to-read list for a while, and since I found all three at the library, I figured that it was finally time to check them off my list. Matched, the first book is set in a future where the Society decides everything that you do; who you love, how long you go to school, where you live, what your job will be, etc. All her life, Cassia has never questioned the Society. So when she's matched with her best friend, she knows that he is the best possible match for her. Until another face appears on the microcard that she brings home...another face that she knows, Ky Markham. Even though the Society tells her that it's a glitch, Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and begins to question if the Society truly knows what's best. Will Cassia choose the path that Society thinks is right, or follow a new path that no one has taken before?

Crossed and Reached are the books that follow Matched, and they are all just as exciting as the first. Ally Condie has created an interesting future, one that explores a lot of different questions about our present society. In the Matched universe, the people believe that they are free, but how can they be when they aren't making any of their own decisions? They can't decide where they want to go, or what path their life is going to take. It is all based on data, which is composed by the society. And while it may be obvious to a reader that these people have no free will, they have been brainwashed to believe that the life they are given by the society is the life that is the best for them. But if you look underneath the surface, nothing is really as it seems. As it is with most things.

The Matched Trilogy has everything that readers want in a young adult dystopian novel, love, rebellion, strong characters, an interesting view of the future. The only complaint that I really had was the relationship between Cassia and Ky. I understand that this is what drove the whole story, the whole plot line, but I wish that Cassia's thinking behind this relationship would have been provided. It seemed a little forced to me, at least at the beginning, and since the story is told from Cassia's point of view, I wish more of her reasoning would have been provided. But other than that, I loved the story and believe that other people will too. I guess that's all for now. Until next time, happy reading. :)

Monday, May 27, 2013

Postcards and Ghosts

Today was a day for reading, considering I finished two books. The weather wasn't very nice outside, and it was just a perfect day to stay inside, curled up with a good book or two.

Postcards From No Man's Land  by Aidan Chambers follows the story of Jacob Todd, a 17 year old boy who has traveled to Amsterdam to honor his grandfather, who passed away during World War II. However, he didn't realize that not only would he discover that there was more to his grandfather's story than he had previously believed (especially in the way of his caretaker, Geertrui), he also discovers a lot about himself, especially in the way of love and his sexuality. Told in alternating points of view between Geertrui and Jacob, Chambers spins a story that will keep readers engaged for the entire novel, always wondering what's going to happen next.

Once you get sucked into this novel, it's really difficult to put it down. Not only is Chambers an absolutely beautiful writer, he has spun a story that is unlike anything I have ever read, with characters who are intriguing, interesting, and always keep you guessing. Chambers also created such a beautiful and interesting picture of Amsterdam, which makes me want to go and visit all the more. I also wouldn't mind reading another one of his novels, if they are all as beautifully written as this one.

The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson is the second book in the Shades of London series, which follows the story of a girl named Rory, who has moved to London from the United States to attend boarding school. However, while in London, she gains a unique ability that allows her to see ghosts. After the ordeal she went through in the first novel, Rory must now readjust back to her old life. But, with other murders happening around her school, it might be more difficult than she first thought.

This book I couldn't put down. I bought it today, started reading it, and finished it in about 2 and a half hours. And of course, Johnson ended with a cliff hanger, which means we will be left in suspense until the next one comes out, which is never fun. But well worth it. Johnson has created such a unique story, and paints such a beautiful picture of London, that I think a lot of people will have difficulty putting this book down. Not to mention, Rory is an awesome, strong, female main character that doesn't need a boy to complete here, which doesn't seem to happen often in young adult fiction. If you're interested, the first book in the series is The Name of the Star, and I would highly recommend reading it.

Until next time, happy reading! :)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Hardships of Teen Love

The past two books that I finished definitely seem to have a theme to them. They are both very focused on teenage romantic relationships, especially those between straight and gay characters, and they kind of presented two sides of one coin, and it was interesting to read them back to back.

The first book I read was Love Drugged by James Klise. Love Drugged follows the story of 15-year-old Jamie, who, as a freshman in high school, just wants to fit in with everyone else. And in his mind, that means not being gay. When one of his fellow classmates finds out his secret, Jamie throws himself into hiding who he really is, which means hanging out with the beautiful Celia Gamez, and stealing a new drug that is supposed to "cure" homosexuality. But as Jamie continues to take the drug, and his relationship with Celia starts to become serious, he's not so sure if hiding his true self was the right thing to do in the first place.

The second book was Hard Love by Ellen Wittlinger. This book follows the story of John, a junior in high school who has seemed emotionally detached from the world since his parents' divorce when he was younger. He never really felt a connection with anyone, until he met Marisol, a fellow zine writer and "Puerto Rican Cuban Yankee Lesbian." They connect over their writing, their dysfunctional families, and dreams of escape, but John mistakes their growing closeness for love. Through his relationship with Marisol, John comes to find out how hard love can actually be.

First of all, I enjoyed both of these books, probably Hard Love more so than Love Drugged just because I thought it was a little better written. And I thought that they both portrayed things that actually happen to teens, especially teens struggling with their sexuality. They also did a good job of showing that LGBTQ people struggle with the same sorts of things that heterosexual people do, relationship wise, and I think that is good for teens to see.

While there wasn't much that I didn't like about Hard Love, there was one thing that bothered me about Love Drugged. I think the portrayal of gay characters in Love Drugged was a little stereotypical, and I wish that the author would have worked a little harder at the end to disprove the myth that being homosexual is a disease that needs curing. While the reader generally gets that idea at the end of the novel, I thought it could have been done a little better.People who are gay don't need to be cured, they need to be accepted, and I think the author could have worked a little harder to really get that point across to readers.

Overall, if you're looking for straight/gay relationship stories, I think these two books would be a good place to start. They definitely both do a pretty decent job at exploring the different things that can happen to straight and gay friends, and I would definitely recommend them to anyone looking to read a good LGBTQ novel. Until next time, happy reading! :)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Every Day

It's been awhile since I've posted, but since I will be reviewing books for a class this semester, I should be able to post more often! Yay! I'm really excited for this class, since it's a young adult literature class, and I've been wanting to take it for a while. It should be fun!

That being said, this isn't a book I read for class, it's one I read over break, but still worth posting about! You know those books that you pick up and you absolutely can't put it down? It's been a while since I read one of those books, but this was one! Every Day by David Levithan caught my eye when I first saw it in Barnes and Noble, and when I got it for Christmas, I finally got the chance to read it. And I am definitely glad that I did.

Every Day follows the story of A, a being that wakes up in a different body every day. For the sake of my review, I am going to use male pronouns to describe A, however he is given no gender in the books. Anyway, one day he wakes up and meets this girl, Rhiannon. From the moment he meets her, A knows that she is different, and that he must find a way to get back to her. Throwing all of his carefully made rules out the window, A makes it his quest to find Rhiannon every day, even if it seems impossible. A has finally found someone that he wants to spend the rest of his life with. But he doesn't know if it can ever happen.

From the moment I started this book, I was engrossed in it. Not only is David Levithan's writing absolutely beautiful, the story line is fascinating to me. It is something I've never thought of before, something unique and original. One of the things I also liked about it is the fact that A is never assigned a gender. He's been in love with boys, and he's been in love with girls, he has been in female bodies, and he has been in male bodies. He can, quite literally, morph into whatever he wants to be. His gender doesn't get in the way of his feelings. I find this refreshing, especially because our society is so focused on gender, that there are only two options. Male and female. However, gender is a lot more complicated than that, and embodies many different aspects of a personality, and I think Levithan deals with this in a very interesting way.

I would definitely recommend this book to everyone. I think this has turned into one of my favorite novels, and I definitely want to read it again. Until next time, happy reading! :)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Two Authors, Two Books, One Post

After a busy few weeks, I finally have time to sit down and write a post. I finished two books in that time, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist and Dash and Lily's Book of Dares both by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn. They were both good teenage love stories, and even though they had similar plot structures, I thoroughly enjoyed them both.

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist follows the story of Nick and Norah, who meet one night at a club. Nick asks Norah to pretend to be his girlfriend for 5 minutes, to avoid his ex-girlfriend, and that leads to a night of crazy adventures. Their love of music leads them to interesting places around the city, and they both have the night of a lifetime. Yes, there was a movie made from this book, but I have yet to see it. I will have to watch it to see if it's as good as the book. From my experience, I'm going to guess that it isn't.

While this book was kind of a light read, and it didn't take much to really follow it, I found that it was the perfect book to read during midterms. I could take a break from reading and come back and still know what was going on. The characters themselves were also pretty good, though I didn't really find anything that really made them stand out. It was your typical young adult love story, I felt. Good, but not spectacular.

Dash and Lily's Book of Dares has a similar plot line to Nick and Norah. Dash and Lily both didn't know each other, and then some crazy event brings them together. I must say, I think I liked this book a little better, just because it was more centered around books. Dash finds a red notebook in a bookstore with a list of dares for him to follow. He does, and leaves his own dares for Lily (the one who left the notebook). This brings them on a crazy adventure about the city, eventually bringing the two together. It was something that I would love to happen to me.

One thing that I really liked in this book was how Levithan and Cohn added in things from Nick and Norah that you wouldn't realize were references unless you read the other book. I thought it was fantastic how they connected the two stories together, in a very subtle way. I'm betting if you read the other books they wrote together, you would find similar references. The other thing I liked about this book was the character of Dash. He was such a word/book nerd, and I absolutely loved it. I wish more people existed like him. He was a great character. The combination of the story line, the references, and the character of Dash made me Dash and Lily better than Nick and Norah.

The next book I will be reading is Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan. I guess I'm on a David Levithan kick. Until next time, happy reading!

Friday, January 27, 2012

A Little Piece of Amazingness

FINALLY!! I have finally read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Words cannot explain my happiness at this moment. And let me tell you, it was definitely worth the wait. It made me laugh, it made me cry, and it made me think. John Green, you have done it again. Thank you.

Since January 10th when The Fault in Our Stars came out, I had been hearing all sorts of amazing things about the novel. My own sister, who doesn't cry at books often, mind you, said she cried at this book. That is some good writing. John Green always does a spectacular job creating characters that you really care about. Pudge and Alaska. Colin, Hassan, and Lindsey. Q and Margo. Will Grayson, Will Grayson, and Tiny. And now Hazel and Augustus. But more on them in a minute. First, you're probably what this book is even about. Well let me tell you.

Hazel is 16 and has terminal cancer. She's lived for most of her teenager-hood knowing that she wouldn't live a long life. Her mom forces her to go to a cancer support group, because she's "depressed." It was there she met Augustus. They fall in love despite the odds against them, and together they struggle with life's greatest questions. Does my life have meaning? Will I be remembered after I die? Will I make an impact on the world?

So the story line may not be one that we haven't exactly seen before (star-crossed lovers...sound familiar?), but honestly, what story line hasn't been used? With so many books, movies, and other forms of stories out there, it's hard to make a completely original story line. While an exciting story line is important, I don't think that it's the most important aspect of a book. A book could have this amazingly complex story line, one that no one's ever seen before, and still not have an effect on people. They could still find it so-so. Why? Because I believe it's the characters that make the story. Without strong characters, it's almost impossible to create a strong novel. Speaking from my own writing experience, once you have developed your main character (and I mean fully developed. You must know him/her inside and out), the story will come. The characters will create the story. I think that's what John Green does with Hazel and Augustus. He created two great, quirky, interesting characters that you really come to care about by the end of the novel. And that is why I love this book so much. Because I feel in love with Hazel and Augustus.

Well that was kind of a ramble about good books. And it's probably a point that I've made many times before. But with The Fault in Our's the truth. The characters just make the novel. And the many different adventures/dates that they had just made me smile. Even though cancer was a big part of their relationship, I still wanted their relationship. It was just so sweet. Also, as a side note, I would love to be able to read An Imperial Affliction. Sounds like it would be a fabulous novel. If you don't know what that is, you should read the book. And even if that didn't spark your interest, you should read the book anyway. In case you didn't get it from any of my earlier comments, it's fantastic. :)

I guess I've gone on about the amazingness of The Fault in Our Stars enough for now. I'm sure I'll have more to say about it in the future, once I've read it at least one or two more times. Or maybe three. Definitely John Green's best book by far. And now I shall finish The Hobbit.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Spirit

Even though it doesn't really look like Christmas outside due to the lack of snow, I shall still make an effort to spread some Christmas spirit. I just finished reading Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle. Each author wrote a different love story relating to Christmas, and overall it was a pretty good book. A good Christmas read. I think I liked Maureen Johnson's story the best, and Lauren Myracle's the least. But I think my most favorite thing was that all the stories were connected in some way. Kind of like the movie Valentine's Day, and that was the main reason I liked that movie. Because all the characters were connected through something. It's always fun to figure out how they're going to be connected, at least for me.

The first story was Maureen Johnson's story, "Jubilee Express," and it just made me feel happy. It was kind of an unexpected love story, and I'm kind of a sucker for those. Jubilee has what's considered to be "the perfect boyfriend," but on her train ride, and thanks to someone she meets along to way, she starts to see that he's not exactly perfect. Even though the story is a bit predictable, it still gives you that warm and fuzzy feeling inside. It makes you smile. In a way, it kind of reminds me of the book The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith. The main character in that, who's name escapes me, falls in love unexpectedly as well. And I don't know why I love those kinds of stories so much, I just do. They're fantastic :)

The second story, "A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle," was by John Green, and while I didn't like it as much as the first (I found it a bit more predictable...) it was still a good story, with humorous events, very much in the style of John Green. He created a quirky story that you can't help but smile at in some parts. And I liked the way that Green weaved the first story into his. I thought it was kind of clever, and once I realized how the two connected, it made me smile. A great romantic short story for the holiday.

I found that I didn't enjoy the third story, "Patron Saint of Pigs" by Lauren Myracle, as much, because the main character got on my nerves. She kept complaining and whining about the fact that her boyfriend broke up with her, how she was in love with him, and she didn't know how she could go on living without him. I wanted to tell her to just get over it already. Honestly, at some points, I kind of wanted to slap her. She was acting like one of those high school girls that think they're in love in high school, who also annoy me. I think this was the main reason that I didn't particularly like this story. If I can't stand a main character, that tends to taint my view of the story as a whole. Like Twilight for example. But I won't go off on that subject. On another note, even though it was a bit cheesy, I found that I kind of liked how Myracle combined the first two stories into hers. I liked that they all came together in the end. It left you on a note of Christmas cheer, which was excellent.

Anyway, here's to hoping that the sky will follow the title of the book and Let It Snow. I'd like a white Christmas. And next I will be reading Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld, which will be interesting because I don't exactly remember what happened in Leviathan. But hopefully I'll be able to catch on quickly enough. For now, I hope you all have a very merry Christmas!

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Everyone has heard of reincarnation, correct? When you die, you come back as something or someone else. It's a concept that I don't personally believe in. You get one chance at life, so you better not mess it up. At least, that's my opinion. But the last novel I finished revolved around the idea of incarnation, and it was quite interesting. All You Desire by Kirsten Miller is the sequel to The Eternal Ones and I think it had the same problems at the first. But first, I will give you a little background as to what this series is about.

So it's been a while since I read The Eternal Ones, but I didn't really have a problem reading All You Desire because they recap a lot of the stuff that happened at the end. The Eternal Ones follows the story of Haven Moore, who has always been a little bit different. She has talents that can't be explained, knowledge of places she's never been, and visions that cause her to loose consciousness at times. Haven has grown up in a town where people think she's possessed by a demon, but really she's just been reincarnated. Multiple times. When Haven travels to New York City because she saw a picture of someone she thinks she loved in a past life, things get a little crazy. One wrong move could put her in the way of someone who has been trying to catch her for centuries. Of course, at the end of Eternal Ones all the craziness dies down and Haven is able to live a quiet life for a while. Until she learns of the disappearance of her closest friend, Beau. Then things descend into craziness again in All You Desire.

There is a good storyline behind these books, it's something that I haven't read very often (I'm not going to say I've never read a reincarnation love story because I'm pretty sure that I have...). The only really big complaint I have with these two books, anyway, is the length. Haven spends a lot of her time in both books wavering back and forth on the biggest decision she has to make. In The Eternal Ones her decision is whether or not she loves Iain. She goes on and on about it...I'm sure it's something that could have been greatly condensed. In All You Desire she goes on and on about having to save Beau, but it takes her forever to actually go and do something for him. Instead, she complains and complains about it until something actually happens. This also could have been way condensed. But other than that, I enjoyed the book quite a lot, there was a lot of action and it kept me reading. Of course, now I have to wait until the next book comes out. And I have no clue how many books are going to be in this series...hopefully not too many. I would like to finish it before I finish college.

Speaking of college, this is the reason that I'm not going to be able to post as much as before. I have suddenly become extremely busy, and I won't have as much time to read for pleasure :( But I have started another book, Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare. We'll see how long it takes me to finish this one. :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Two Short Novels

 Everyone knows how a dictionary is set up. A word is given, then it is defined, obviously. This is how The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan is told. It's like a dictionary, that is telling the story of a couple. Each word is defined through something in their relationship. It's really a fascinating way to tell a story, one that I've never seen before. And I still can't decide if I liked it or not.

The thing with telling the story like this is I felt that I didn't really connect with the characters well. Instead of getting a constant narrative, you only gets bits and pieces of their story, and you kind of have to make up the rest on your own. While this is fun, I wanted to get to know the characters that David Levithan created. He probably left that much up to the imagination on purpose, and it was really clever, I just wanted more of a story. I think that's really the only critique that I had for this book.

The other book that I read was called Unlocked by Ryan G. Van Cleave. This is also told in a different way, but not quite as rare as The Lover's Dictionary. Unlocked is told in verse, which means that I was able to read it very quickly. It also helped that it was a fairly short novel. Anyway, Unlocked is about a boy just going into high school who is a social outcast and doesn't have many friends. There's a rumor going around school that says his only friend has a gun in his locker. So Andy (the main character) has to decide what to do about this gun. Does he tell someone, or just let it go? This is the conflict that drives the whole book, and it was kind of suspenseful.

Usually, I don't really like verse novels because they seem forced, or just a way to cop out of writing a complete novel. I didn't really feel like that for this one. The verse was pretty well written, though I have seen better. But it didn't just seem like sentences strung together, it seemed like it was meant to be written in verse, which is what I liked about it. The only complaint that I really have about it is I thought the main character seemed kind of young. Like, I didn't believe that he was in high school, he seemed like he was in middle school. I don't know if it was because of the verse, or if it was just the way the author writes, but it was a little annoying. I wish he seemed older. But other than that, it was quite a good book.

What am I reading next? The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Another Trilogy Made Into a Series

I don't know how many of you read the Maximum Ride series, but wasn't it dumb when James Patterson kept going after Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports? I mean, that was the perfect ending to a trilogy, but he just had to keep going. And is still going, if I remember correctly. I've stopped reading them because they've gotten so ridiculous. The Eragon books are the same way. When Brisingr came out, Christopher Paolini announced that he was splitting the third book into two books, making it the Inheritance Cycle instead of The Inheritance Trilogy. I mean, come on. We all know that you did it to make more money. There was a lot that you could have cut out of the books to make it shorter. But instead, you kept putting more and more things in that had to be solved. Next you're going to say that the fourth book will be split in two. Why can't a trilogy stay a trilogy any more? The next one being made into a series is the Mortal Instruments books. I thought that trilogy ended perfectly too, but I guess not because Cassandra Clare wrote City of Fallen Angels, the fourth book in the series.

City of Fallen Angels pretty much picks up where the last one, City of Glass, left off, so I won't say too much to give away the ending of that book. But City of Fallen Angels does cover more of Simon's story than before, he is the narrator for a lot of the book. I kind of enjoyed that, because I was getting a little sick of Clary and Jace. "We're so in love blah, blah, blah." That gets a little tiring after three books. So I was glad when Simon picked up most of the story. He's more interesting than hearing about Clary and Jace's problems again and again.

For a book that wasn't originally planned (at least, I don't think it was), it was pretty good. Cassandra Clare kept me interested throughout the whole book. But I don't really see why it was necessary. I mean, she's writing another series about what happened before Mortal Instruments, why does she have to continue Mortal Instruments? She's making money from the other series, and City of Glass ended well, so why continue it? I don't really know. But I do know that when she publishes the other books, I will most likely read them. She's got me hooked, because I want to know what happens next.

I guess that's all I really have to say about City of Fallen Angels. What will I be reading next? The Lover's Dictionary by David Leviathan.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Where She Went

If I Stay by Gayle Forman is a novel about a girl who ends up in a coma from a car crash that killed the rest of her family, and she is trying to decide whether or not to live. It's a beautifully written book, and I would highly recommend it. Now, I know this isn't the title that I put in the blog post, but it has a lot to do with Where She Went. Where She Went is the sequel to If I Stay and in being a sequel, it kind of gives away the ending of If I Stay. At least, if you think about it. I was weary of it at first, but ended up rather enjoying the book, even if it was kind of depressing.

Where She Went follows the story of Mia and Adam three years after that horrible accident. They're both 21, and living completely different lives. Adam is a famous rockstar, barely able to go anywhere without being recognized. Mia has become a famous cellist, getting ready to travel the world and perform. Oh, and they haven't seen each other since Mia left for Julliard. She completely cut Adam from her life, and it left Adam devastated (the book is told from his point of view, by the way). However, both Adam and Mia are in New York for various reasons, and they end up seeing each other again. And all the old memories come back again, painful things that they both would rather be left in the past. Everything kind of goes downhill from there.

What I like about both of these books is the way the past is revealed. It starts out with the present, then the character telling the story will encounter something that reminds them of a memory, which they will then go on the describe. It's very much like the actual thought pattern of humans, and I liked the feel of it. I also thought that Gayle Forman created very real emotions. Reading Adam's story, I felt so sad for him, it's like I could feel his misery pouring out of the book. It was so sad. You could almost feel his pain from having Mia leave him. A writer that can make you feel that is a great writer. I'm glad I read this book, even though I was a bit skeptical in the beginning. It ended up being a fantastic read.

What will I be reading next? City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare.