Tuesday, February 28, 2012

{ The Death Cure by James Dashner }

October 11, 2011 by Delacorte Press
Format: ebook
From Goodreads:
Thomas knows that Wicked can't be trusted, but they say the time for lies is over, that they've collected all they can from the Trials and now must rely on the Gladers, with full memories restored, to help them with their ultimate mission. It's up to the Gladers to complete the blueprint for the cure to the Flare with a final voluntary test.
What Wicked doesn't know is that somethings happened that no Trial or Variable could have foreseen. Thomas has remembered far more than they think. And he knows that he can't believe a word of what Wicked says.The time for lies is over. But the truth is more dangerous than Thomas could ever imagine.
Will anyone survive the Death Cure?
My Review:
I first have to say that this was an outstanding series. I loved every minute of this journey. Again, another great addition to the world of YA Dystopian and another great series for those male reluctant readers in your life.
The first book, The Maze Runner, took me by surprise. And I thoroughly enjoyed it. The second book, The Scorch Trials, blew me away. I am not sure what I was expecting with The Death Cure. While I enjoyed it, it did not blow me away like The Scorch Trials did. The first two books were filled with so much action, so much character depth on individual levels and on all relationship levels. I found The Death Cure, to be lacking somewhat for me. Okay, yes there was still a lot of action, but it just felt different and not with the same intensity.
With all that aside? I still enjoyed it. Thomas is a great main character. He is easy to like. He is real, flawed and I think we see him grow a lot throughout this series. Thomas is also surrounded by great characters. Each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Some lovable. Newt, Newt, Newt...forever in my heart! Some so very frustrating. Teresa, Teresa, Teresa...one of my unanswered questions.
James Dashner has an incredible talent. He is a master of creating a story that draws you in. The kind of story that keeps you turning those pages. Wanting more. And when you get it? Wanting even more. And that is exactly what he did. While the ending may have left me with more questions than answers? I am happy with the way in which this journey has come to an end. Although...James Dashner, if you are listening? I would not be against another series. I am not sure I am quite ready to let these characters go...just saying...
Rating: 4 Stars

Sunday, February 19, 2012

{ Poke by Dalya Moon }

January 23, 2012
Source: from author for review
Format: ebook

From Goodreads:

Zan is a teenage boy with a talent for discovering any girl’s secrets. If he asks a girl to poke her finger into his navel, he gets a psychic trip to Secret Town. Zan never likes what he finds.

When he meets mysterious, beautiful Austin, with her waist-length hair and mature laugh, he wants to get acquainted with her the slow way. Austin, however, can’t resist her curiosity, and when she pokes her finger into Zan’s belly button, he sees … nothing.

Austin dashes out of Zan’s house and out of his life, leaving Zan heartbroken and confused. To find peace, he must unravel the secret of his power. Is it a gift, or a curse? How can Zan love someone with no future? How can he not?

Poke is a fast-paced story about Zan's adventurous summer, as he battles witches, experiments with astral projection, and discovers the secret of his strange power, all to be with the girl he loves.

My Review:

I will admit that going into this one, I was expecting to not really enjoy myself. The whole 'finger in the belly button' thing really turned me off. You know what? If you put aside the silliness of that aspect? This story is really quite entertaining. I found myself really enjoying it.

The characters were all fairly believable and likable. The relationship between Zan and his best friends, James and Julie, was real and a nice change from most YA stories. The love story between Zan and Austin was sweet. It was not a really love at first sight in the true meaning of the sense. Yes, Zan was head over heals and yes they had a rather quick physical connection, but it did not seem forced as a lot of relationships in YA right now.

I found the paranormal aspects of the story to be interesting. I may have been a bit confused at times, but perhaps due to the story being as short as it was(only about 140 pages) there just was not sufficient time to fully develop the storyline enough.

All in all, Poke was an enjoyable read aside from the actual 'Poke' aspect. It was enjoyable enough, that I am interested to see where author Dalya Moon will take the story and these characters.

Rating: 3 stars

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

{ Wanna win? }

Want a chance at a signed copy of Griffin's Fire by Darby Karchut? You know you do. Head on over to Goodreads HERE for your chance.
You can check out my early review HERE.
Good luck!!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

{ On The Bright Side by S R Johannes }

January 31, 2012 by Coleman & Stott
Source: author for review
Format: ebook
From Goodreads:
As if the devil’s food cake at her wake and the white fat pants she’s stuck wearing for eternity weren’t bad enough, fourteen year-old Gabby is quick to discover that Cirrus, the main rung of Heaven, is a far cry from the Pearly Gates. Here, SkyFones and InnerNets are all the rage. At her first Bright ceremony, G.O.D., the automated assignment system, spits out Angela Black, Gabby’s arch nemesis and longtime fencing rival. As a Bright, Gabby has to protect Angela, her assigned mortal, in order to move up through the training levels of heaven.
Back on earth, Angela starts hitting on Michael, Gabby’s crush and should-have-been boyfriend. Gabby’s pranks to quell the love are harmless at first until the school dance sabotage gets completely out of control. Then, Celestial Sky Agent, Lawrence, who happens to have anger management issues of his own, steps into reveal that Angela has big problems, and what she really needs is Gabby’s help.
Determined to right her wrong and ease her mother’s grief, Gabby steals an ancient artifact that allows her to return to earth for just one day. But if Gabby’s not careful, her well-meaning mission just might shift the very foundation of Heaven, Earth, and every place in between, causing the danger of the dark side to roam free.
My Review:
First off, thank you to author S R Johannes for the opportunity to read this wonderful book. This was such a joy to read. What an outstanding addition to the world of middle grade reads.
Gabby is such a great character. She is strong, spunky, loving, funny and passionate about what she believes in. The great thing though is she is still very much flawed, like the majority of us. But, we get to see her grow and learn from her ever growing list of mistakes.
Not only did I adore Gabby, but we are treated to an array of equally lovable secondary characters. Like, Lawrence, Gabby's SKYagent. The relationship between these two is not only endearing, but downright funny at times. We have the 14 year old rebelling angel and her grouchy...yet, softy at heart...mentor. They really are a great pair. Then we have Gabby's best BITfriend, Jessica. Jessica is sweet, positive and very funny. It was so much fun to see the friendship develop throughout this story. They are the perfect partners in crime!
Of course with all this BRIGHTness, comes the dark. Author, S R Johannes, did an outstanding job of creating a unique version of Heaven(Cirrus) and Hell(Ignitus). It's something new and different. And something that I think will appeal to the middle grade readers out there. So much so, I have passed this one onto my 10 year old. She is a few chapters in already and loving it!
I think what I loved so much about this book is not only the new prospective of what Heaven could be like, but also all the great lesson's within the pages of this fun story. I definitely took away a feeling of always treating people with respect and dignity. We truly can never know what someone else's life is really like or what they may be feeling until we take the time to get to really know them. We need to tell the people in our lives how we feel about them. It can all be taken away so quickly. Living with regrets is never a good thing. Also? Sometimes things happen for a reason. Whether good or bad, there is always something to be learned from the experience.
If I had but one negative thing to say? It would be that at times the SKYisms were a bit over done. However, I think that may have just been me and my adult prospective. I have a pretty big suspicion that they will be very well received from the middle grade crowd.
In the end, I recommend On The Bright Side to all middle grade and above readers. I think Gabby is definitely a character young girls will fall for. Coming from an adult prospective? I loved it. It is a fun, light read. I really do look forward to seeing where Gabby's next phase of training takes her and very much look forward to the second book!
Rating: 4.5 stars

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

{ It's Monday! What are you reading? - Feb 6, 2012 }

Hey Everyone! I took a bit of a blogging break, but I am trying to get back at it. So...I thought what better way than to participate in some of my favorite weekly memes. You ready?

It's Monday! What are you reading is a weekly book meme hosted by Sheila over at BookJourney. This is where participants share what they read last week, what they are currently reading and
what is up next. Here are mine for this week:

Read Last Week:

White Horse by Alex Adams
Practice Cake by Dalya Moon

Currently Reading:

On The Bright Side by S R Johannes

Up Next:

Poke by Dalya Moon
The Death Cure by James Dashner

What are you reading?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

{ Practice Cake by Dalya Moon }

Published Oct 25, 2011
Source: from author for review
Format: ebook

From Goodreads:

There’s one thing Maddie finds more tempting than red velvet cake: her coworker, Drew. All it takes is one of his sly winks or a playful hip-check by the cooler, and she’s incinerating the cookies. Her boyfriend would not approve.
When a reality TV crew descends upon the bakery, her simple summer job gets even more complicated. Maddie could become the Bakery Network’s next breakout star, if she can handle the heat of being cast as a show villain. Drew has an alternate idea: run away from everything, with him and his sexy tousled hair. She decides to take the leap, but when she finds out Drew’s been hiding a shocking secret, Maddie looks down at her packed suitcase and takes a moment to think. Should she fly off to Australia with a guy she hardly knows, or should she pick up her suitcase and hit him with it?
Chock full of imperfect people behaving badly, Practice Cake is for readers who enjoy a good laugh.

My Review:

First off, I must admit that this is certainly not my genre of choice. However, as I have said before, I think it is good to go outside your comfort zone once in awhile.
Practice Cake sounded like a cute, quick read and the author is from Canada! Thus, I agreed to take it on for review. Sadly, it did not deliver for me. While the storyline would have made for a quick, fun read, the writing lacked in most areas. I am assuming this book is being pushed out as a YA Contemporary as the main character, Maddie, is a young 18 year old girl fresh out of High School. However, through most of the book I found her to be much younger. This one is hard to classify for me. I think it would be more enjoyable to a younger teen, but there is some subject matter that is more suited to an older teen.
I also had some difficulty with the slang used throughout the book. Maybe coming from an Adult prospective has tainted my opinion, but I just found it annoying. Overall, I just had a very hard time connecting to these characters. I also had a hard time with the pacing and flow in general. I found myself turning back the pages to see if I had missed something. I kept thinking that perhaps Maddie had ADD or something of that nature. I just found the dialogue and scenes bouncing around too much and did not flow with any normalcy.
I must admit, however, that author, Dalya Moon, redeemed herself in the final chapter. It was wonderfully written. The pacing, the internal dialogue and just the general depth of characterisation was spot on. This final chapter was so well written that I have no doubt that Dalya Moon's next book will only get better.
In the end? While this may have not been my cup of tea, I am sure someone out there would enjoy this nice light read. However, if YA Contemporary is not your thing? You may want to pass on this one.

Rating: 2 stars