23 June 2014

Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater

Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater  
Publisher: Scholastic Press      
Publication date: July 1st 2014
My rating: 5 stars

Sinner follows Cole St. Clair, a pivotal character from the #1 New York Times bestselling Shiver Trilogy. Everybody thinks they know Cole's story. Stardom. Addiction. Downfall. Disappearance. But only a few people know Cole's darkest secret -- his ability to shift into a wolf. One of these people is Isabel. At one point, they may have even loved each other. But that feels like a lifetime ago. Now Cole is back. Back in the spotlight. Back in the danger zone. Back in Isabel's life. Can this sinner be saved?

It's no secret I love Cole ever since I first read about him in The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy. I did feel like Cole's story wasn't finished and guess what? I was right! The fact Maggie decided to write Sinner means the world to me. 

The story starts with Cole being his charming self and he's gone to Los Angeles to find Isabel and along the way, to make a new record. When he does, he sees Isabel is not quick to forgive him for being a hot mess (I'm putting it mildly). He's been using drugs to induce his change in warm weather. He's doing it to escape from his thoughts and past that are still haunting him. 

It's hard to explain why I love Cole and Isabel together. They are both messed up people. Cole, a showman and Isobel, an ice queen. But  when they're together, sparks fly. The beginning of the book was playful and I was smirking at their bickering. Later, I was consumed with a severe case of feels. Their scenes weren't swoony. They were raw and real. Don't think Maggie wrote anything like this before. I feel as if this book was her most distinctive story so far. I mentioned this in one of my status updated- Sinner was everything I hoped The Piper's Son would be. I had high expectations for TPS because it's Melina freaking Marchetta we're talking about here but I ended up being disappointed because I didn't feel the connection with the book. That wasn't the case with Sinner. 

Maggie Stiefvater isn't known for writing contemporary books but I have to say, this book was one of those strange paranormal novels which doesn't talk much about paranormal stuff. The essence of this book is based on personal growth and not on fangs and paws. If you, like me, prefer contemporary novels over paranormals, then you'll be smitten with it because our dear author brought out all the guns. And if you're not a fan of contemps then you'll still enjoy it because of Cole and Isabel. Mrs. Stiefvater made me love this book more than I love The Dream Thieves and Linger

I don't really know what to say about this book. It was phenomenal! It made me think outside my box. It was the kind of book you would put on a special place in your shelf because it deserves it so I encourage you, go and order it! 

If you're interested, check out the mix I made for this book.

18 June 2014

Falling into Place by Amy Zhang

Falling into Place by Amy Zhang 
Publisher: Harper Teen      
Publication date: September 9th 2014
My rating: 5 stars

On the day Liz Emerson tries to die, they had reviewed Newton’s laws of motion in physics class. Then, after school, she put them into practice by running her Mercedes off the road. 
Why? Why did Liz Emerson decide that the world would be better off without her? Why did she give up? Vividly told by an unexpected and surprising narrator, this heartbreaking and nonlinear novel pieces together the short and devastating life of Meridian High’s most popular junior girl. Mass, acceleration, momentum, force—Liz didn’t understand it in physics, and even as her Mercedes hurtles toward the tree, she doesn’t understand it now. How do we impact one another? How do our actions reverberate? What does it mean to be a friend? To love someone? To be a daughter? Or a mother? Is life truly more than cause and effect? Amy Zhang’s haunting and universal story will appeal to fans of Lauren Oliver, Gayle Forman, and Jay Asher.

Incredible! Absolutely incredible! I am sure Falling into Place will be huge after the release date. I will be ordering it for myself because there's no way I'm going to pass the opportunity to put this among other all time favorite titles on my shelf. 

This book was so complex and yet simple are the same time. It deals with a lot of topics teenagers and older crowd can identify with-bullying,   loneliness, depression, suicide, teen pregnancies, cheating and addiction. I don't think I left out anything out. If you liked Before I FallIf I Stay and Thirteen Reasons Why I'm sure you'll like Falling into Place as well. 

Since I love torturing myself I had to read this book. I rarely miss a chance to read about someone trying to kill himself. A bit morbid, but that's me! I also had to find out who the 'unexpected and surprising narrator' was. I had a theory which quickly turned out to be wrong. In the end, I was pleased with the answer. 

Liz Emerson's a popular girl who does whatever she wants. She doesn't care about hurting others and enjoys humiliating other, less popular students. Everything is perfect at first glance but once she goes home she's all alone. Her mother is always away, working and her dad died while she was a little kid. She has two close friends but she never reveals her struggle with depression to them. She has a boyfriend but he cheats all the time. Then there's Liam, a guy she humiliated just because she could. Liz is horrible and yet, even she has redeemable qualities. 

I loved the mysterious narrator. His voice was so distinctive, soothing, and pleasant. He was trying to get through to Liz so she could see things in a different light.  SPOILERS I've never read a book told from a childhood imaginary friend. That alone guaranties a mind-blowing experience. 

Liam's character was also great. He saw Liz for what she really was, not just some shallow, cruel girl. I wanted to hug him almost all the time and I actually cried a bit after the crown scene. 

Last few chapters were pure torture. By then I was a sobbing mess and couldn't even read like a normal person because of the tears. If you want to still be my friend, you'll need to read this book by October. See, I'm not a complete tyrant. I'm giving everyone of you a month to buy this perfection and read it. If I was able to finish it in one sitting, I'm sure you will find the time in September. 

Do yourself a favor and pre-order Falling into Space right now! It will be money well spent because you will be reading it to your gran-kids one day until the books starts falling apart. 

16 June 2014

After the End by Amy Plum

After the End by Amy Plum 
Publisher: Harper Teen      
Publication date: May 6th 2014
My rating: 3 stars

World War III has left the world ravaged by nuclear radiation. A lucky few escaped to the Alaskan wilderness. They've survived for the last thirty years by living off the land, being one with nature, and hiding from whoever else might still be out there.
At least, this is what Juneau has been told her entire life.
When Juneau returns from a hunting trip to discover that everyone in her clan has vanished, she sets off to find them. Leaving the boundaries of their land for the very first time, she learns something horrifying: There never was a war. Cities were never destroyed. The world is intact. Everything was a lie.
Now Juneau is adrift in a modern-day world she never knew existed. But while she's trying to find a way to rescue her friends and family, someone else is looking for her. Someone who knows the extraordinary truth about the secrets of her past.

Juneau lives in Alaska believing World War III destroyed the rest of the world and her clan was lucky to escape. One day, on a hunting trip she sees a town filled with people living their lives. When she returns her clan has disappeared so she sets off to find them. She meets Miles, a city boy and he starts helping her. 

All this is fine it's just that both of them were annoying. Juneau gives her two dogs to a lady so she can take care of them until she returns. Now this wouldn't be strange if she knew this person before but she just met her and thought she looks harmless. What kind of logic is that? I know Juneau is just discovering the new, evolved world but she shouldn't have to be so naive. 

Then there's Miles. He's a rich boy/wannabe delinquent who ends up suspended from high school for doing some naughty things. His father's not pleased and doesn't let him roll into Yale. LOL Yeah, right! Punish him with not going to school. That's the best thing you can do for your neglected son. I'm sure he'll still be loyal to you and not to the strange girl he just met. Miles was annoying most of the time like one those mean characters from cartoons. Nothing major but still enough to piss you off. 

I didn't think much about the book until the two main characters got separated. The pace quickened as soon as they got away from each other. This is where things got interesting. I know they're suppose to be together so the romance could start but I wasn't feeling it. There was too much childish bickering between these two and it wasn't even the cute bickering where you were waiting for the moment where they'd realize they love each other. 

After the End is still so much better than the first Amy Plum book I've read, Die for Me. I still plan to read the sequel which will probably be out next year. 

12 June 2014

17 First Kisses by Rachel Allen

17 First Kisses by Rachel Allen
Publisher: Harper Teen      
Publication date: June 17th 2013
My rating: 2 stars

No matter how many boys Claire kisses, she can’t seem to find a decent boyfriend. Someone who wouldn’t rather date her gorgeous best friend, Megan. Someone who won’t freak out when he learns about the tragedy her family still hasn’t recovered from. Someone whose kisses can carry her away from her backwoods town for one fleeting moment.
Until Claire meets Luke.
But Megan is falling for Luke, too, and if there’s one thing Claire knows for sure, it’s that Megan’s pretty much irresistible.
With true love and best friendship on the line, Claire suddenly has everything to lose. And what she learns—about her crush, her friends, and most of all herself—makes the choices even harder.
In her moving debut, Rachael Allen brilliantly captures the complexities of friendship, the struggles of self-discovery, and the difficulties of trying to find love in high school. Fans of Sarah Ockler, Susane Colasanti, and Stephanie Perkins will fall head over heels for this addictive, heartfelt, and often hilarious modern love story.

What a mess this book turned out to be. I was exhausted with the amount of drama these teenagers were going through daily. It was like I was mentally sprinting with them, trying to keep up with who's with who and who's mad at who. 

Someone said 17 First Kisses is what's like to be in high school. But let me tell you this- I would never want to be a part of that school. I want to stay as far away from it as possible because these kids made so many mistakes and their parents don't even care about what they're doing or were never in the book to begin with. How the hell do you kiss 16 different guys before your 18th birthday?! It doesn't make sense! But that's not even the worse thing! Apparently, some random ass statistic shows a girl has to kiss 79 guys before she finds her future husband. Which means she's bound to get herpes sooner or later and that is not a great look on anyone. Claire is defending her action with stating she is still a virgin and definitely not a ho-bag as some other girls called her. Since she lives in a small town I would say she probably kissed almost all her male peers. Jesus! During my time in high school I only liked about 4 guys and I only kissed the last one because I really liked him. I didn't want to mix my saliva with someone I barely knew. Maybe I'm just a judgmental prude. But I'm not. I just have standards. 

I'm not going to discuss the book thoroughly because that would take forever. I just want to say something because it bothered me so much I wanted to fling my Kindle across the room so many times. I'm well aware of the fact characters need to make mistakes till they learn their lesson but I'm not okay with this type of books-where you steal boyfriends from your best friend not only once, but twice; getting with your teacher and all sort of stupid things. I'm sure there are other ways an author could teach us important life lessons without reminding us we could be kissing 3 different guys in one night, getting wasted at a party where some creep tries to rape us. Some people don't get these things are wrong! They will think it's the coolest thing ever and they'll try to do the same. Doesn't anyone see how messed up this is?! Not everyone has the brains to stop ad think before acting with their new hormonal outbursts. 

I apologize to those who are still reading this review. It turned out to be a rant. 

11 June 2014

Life by Committee by Corey Ann Haydu

Life by Committee by Corey Ann Haydu
Publisher: Harlequin Teen      
Publication date: May 13th 2014
My rating: 3 stars

Some secrets are too good to keep. 
Tabitha might be the only girl in the history of the world who actually gets less popular when she gets hot. But her so-called friends say she’s changed, and they’ve dropped her flat. 
Now Tab has no one to tell about the best and worst thing that has ever happened to her: Joe, who spills his most intimate secrets to her in their nightly online chats. Joe, whose touch is so electric, it makes Tab wonder if she could survive an actual kiss. Joe, who has Tabitha brimming with the restless energy of falling in love. Joe, who is someone else’s boyfriend.
Just when Tab is afraid she’ll burst from keeping the secret of Joe inside, she finds Life by Committee. The rules of LBC are simple: tell a secret, receive an assignment. Complete the assignment to keep your secret safe.
Tab likes it that the assignments push her to her limits, empowering her to live boldly and go further than she’d ever go on her own.
But in the name of truth and bravery, how far is too far to go?

Hmmm. I expected more from this book because so many people've been saying how much they loved Corey's debut novel so I had higher expectations. 

Contemporary is my favorite genre. Everyone knows this and I've had luck with a lot Harper Teen titles so I don't even hesitate when I see a new one. While I did found this book interesting I still felt there was something strange about it and that's the main reason I didn't give a higher rating. 

Tabitha founds herself falling for a taken guy. Her friends abandoned her because she grew boobs, started wearing eye liner and tighter clothes. She was too pretty for her friends and the thought of someone saying that makes me cringe. Her father can't seem to give up pot while her mother's pregnant. Tabitha calls her parents by their first name which I also didn't like. While reading notes from an used book she finds a link to a web site. There she's suppose to share a secret and the committee is going to give her an assignment. She only complicates her life even more. 

My friend asked me what I thought of this book and I told her that I felt like Luna Lovegood wrote a book about every day adventures of a muggle teenager. It was so weird. 

09 June 2014

The Secrets of Lily Graves by Sarah Strohmeyer

The Secrets of Lily Graves by Sarah Strohmeyer
Publisher: Balzer + Bray      
Publication date: May 13th 2014
My rating: 3 stars

With the intrigue of Pretty Little Liars and plenty of romance, bestselling author Sarah Strohmeyer weaves a story of secrets and lies—set in a funeral parlor.
Growing up in a house of female morticians, Lily Graves knows all about buried secrets. She knows that perfect senior-class president Erin Donohue isn’t what she seems. She knows why Erin’s ex-boyfriend, hot football player Matt Houser, broke up with her. And she also knows that, even though she says she and Matt are just friends, there is something brewing between them—something Erin definitely did not like.
But secrets, even ones that are long buried, have a way of returning to haunt their keeper.
So when Erin is found dead the day after attacking Lily in a jealous rage, Lily's and Matt’s safe little lives, and the lives of everyone in their town of Potsdam, begin to unravel. And their relationship—which grew from innocent after-school tutoring sessions to late-night clandestine rendezvous—makes them both suspects.
As her world crumbles around her, Lily must figure out the difference between truth and deception, genuine love and a web of lies. And she must do it quickly, before the killer claims another victim.

Lily, a local goth girl lives with her mother, grandmother and aunt in a old spooky house which is also their place of work-they're morticians. Lily's best friend Sara has crazy religious parents and most of their small community is the same. Other girls hate Lily 'just because' and the queen bee, Erin, attacks Lily cause she thinks Lily's trying to steal her boyfriend. The next morning Erin's parents discover her dead. The main suspect are Matt, Erin's boyfriend and Lily. They team up to find out who's the real murderer. 

I was surprised how much I was enjoying this book. I'm a thriller/mystery buff and most of the time I try to figure out the secrets, who's the liar, who had nothing to do with the crime and who's the killer. This time I just wanted to sit back and read more about Lily and the mortician business because those parts were interesting (read hella creepy). Had no idea there was so much effort put into a body before it's buried. 

By now you should know there's always a but Here's what happened near the end. Don't worry, I'm not going to spoil anything! The book went from hot to lukewarm. The whole reveal wasn't what I thought it would be. I expected something more. Something better because I up until then I had nothing remotely bad to say about the whole story. It was entertaining and satisfying. I was cheering for the author and thinking about picking up some of her other books. Then the ending happened.