Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Book Review: The Summer I Turned Pretty

Goodreads summary:

Some summers are just destined to be pretty. Belly measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer -- they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one wonderful and terrible summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along.

My review:

I have very mixed feelings about this book.  On one hand, the storyline is sweet and fun and makes for a great summer read.  But on the other, the characters tick me off too much to fully enjoy the book.

I'll start with the good: the plot.  There's nothing complicated about it, it's just a cute story about a girl who's in love.  It was fast-paced and the story flowed, and the short chapters kept me turning the pages.  At times there were flashbacks of summers when Belly was younger, which I liked because it helped you get to know the characters more.

But...the characters.  At times I just wanted to strangle them.  I feel really torn about Belly.  She can be immature and whiny, and it annoyed me to no end.  She was constantly complaining about how the boys never included her in anything.  But at the same time, I understood how she felt since she was younger and always left out.  Still, the whining was just too much.  I didn't care much for Belly.

Then there were the two brothers, Conrad and Jeremiah.  WHY has Belly been in love with Conrad ever since she was little?  There was absolutely nothing attractive about him.  He was almost always a jerk to her and rarely paid her any attention.  Jeremiah, on the other hand, was sweet and caring and in love with Belly, but she told him that she just wanted to be friends.  Why on earth?  Jeremiah is actually nice, unlike his brother.

To me, The Summer I Turned Pretty is just an okay book.  I know a lot of people who love it and a lot who hate it, and I'm kind of in-between.  I've heard the series gets better, so I'll go ahead and finish it to see what happens.  Fingers crossed that Belly grows up a little and doesn't end up with Conrad...

My rating:  5 out of 10

~ The Bookworm

Sunday, August 26, 2012

In My Mailbox (1)

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

- Distant Waves by Suzanne Weyn
- Beastly by Alex Flinn
- Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
- Marked by P.C. Cast + Kristin Cast

Got those four books as a prize from the summer reading program at my library. :] I'd already read Beastly and Mockingjay, but I'm thrilled to now have my own copies!  I'm looking forward to reading the other two as well.  I've read some of Suzanne Weyn's books so I'm sure Distant Waves will be good.  And I'm not usually crazy about vampires, but I might give Marked a try since it's so popular, just to see what it's like.

- Onyx by Jennifer Armentrout
- Auracle by Gina Rosati
- Pushing the Limits by Katie McGrarry

Bought these three!  I've already read Onyx (Daemon!!! *swoon*) and Pushing the Limits, and I adored them both, especially Onyx (why do I have to wait till December for Opal to come out??).  I can't wait to read Auracle; I've heard it's really good.  Definitely reading it soon.

- The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
- It's Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han
- We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han
- Prom & Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg
- Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

I checked all of these out from my library.  I haven't read any of them yet, but I'll be getting to them soon.  I've heard that Jenny Han's Summer series is amazing, so I figured I might as well read them since it's still summer. :) And as a huge fan of Pride & Prejudice, I'm hoping I'll enjoy Prom & Prejudice.  Amy and Roger's Epic Detour looks cool too!  I love books about road trips!

So what have you gotten this week?  Let me know in the comments!

~ The Bookworm

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Book Review: Inside Out

Goodreads summary:

Keep Your Head Down.
Don't Get Noticed.
Or Else.

I'm Trella. I'm a scrub. A nobody. One of thousands who work the lower levels, keeping Inside clean for the Uppers. I've got one friend, do my job and try to avoid the Pop Cops. So what if I occasionally use the pipes to sneak around the Upper levels? The only neck at risk is my own…until I accidentally start a rebellion and become the go-to girl to lead a revolution.

My review:

Loved this book!  I've read so many dystopians this year, you'd think I would be sick of them, but I really enjoyed Inside Out.  The world that the author created was so unique, and that ending - huge cliffhanger!

First, the world-building.  At first glance, it may not seem so different from other dystopians, but we slowly find out more about the upper and lower levels.  And the descriptions were great; I loved the setting and how you feel as if you're immersed in the world from the very beginning.

The plot - amazing!  It was full of twists and turns, and I never knew who Trella could trust.  I was constantly wondering what would happen next. 

As for the characters, they were all so so good.  Trella is awesome.  Finally, we have a realistic main character who actually acts like a teenager should act.  Trella manages to be both tough and vulnerable at the same time.  She's clever and not afraid to take action, unlike so many female characters who do nothing but sit around whining.  She makes mistakes, but she learns from them and never stops trying to do what's right.

Lastly, I wanted to mention the love story.  Thankfully, Inside Out is a dystopian book with a touch of romance, rather than a romance with a couple dystopian elements.  Only a small portion of the book is focused on the romance, and it was refreshing that Trella and Riley developed a friendship before falling in love.  And Riley was actually pleasant and caring, a nice change from guys who stalk the main character and it's considered romantic (*coughcough*Twilight*coughcough*).

So yeah, I think anyone who likes dystopian would enjoy this, and I think Hunger Games fans especially would like it.  Definitely recommended!

My rating:  9 out of 10

~ The Bookworm

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Book Trailer and Giveaway: Origin

Goodreads summary:

Pia has grown up in a secret laboratory hidden deep in the Amazon rain forest. She was raised by a team of scientists who have created her to be the start of a new immortal race. But on the night of her seventeenth birthday, Pia discovers a hole in the electric fence that surrounds her sterile home—and sneaks outside the compound for the first time in her life.

Free in the jungle, Pia meets Eio, a boy from a nearby village. Together, they embark on a race against time to discover the truth about Pia’s origin—a truth with deadly consequences that will change their lives forever.

Origin is a beautifully told, shocking new way to look at an age-old desire: to live forever, no matter the cost. This is a supremely compelling debut novel that blends the awakening romance of Matched with the mystery and jungle conspiracy of Lost.

Origin comes out on September 4, and I'm so thrilled!  It looks fantastic, and as I loved Matched, I'm especially excited about reading it.  For those who are interested in reading Origin, I thought I'd let you know that the author, Jessica Khoury, is hosting an awesome giveaway on her blog!  It's definitely worth checking out!

And be sure to watch the trailer as well!

~ The Bookworm 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Book Review: The Blue Door

Goodreads summary:

ZonderKidz launches an exciting supernatural series for kids 11 and up. The Blue Door, the first book in The Threshold Series, introduces Prissie Pomeroy, a teen who discovers she can see what others cannot: angels all around. Even more startling is the surprising secret she uncovers about people she thought she knew. As she wrestles with this unexpected ability she must come to grips with the spiritual battles surrounding her. Especially when she learns she received this gift because God has a unique role for her in his bigger plan. But if she's to fulfill it, she'll need faith like never before.This exciting debut by author Christa Kinde draws on the rapidly growing interest in angel stories, an emerging trend in teen and preteen supernatural novels. Boys and girls alike will appreciate her gifted storytelling that captures their imagination with things beyond human sight. And parents will appreciate the family-friendly tone and godly messages maintained throughout this intriguing tale of adventure and spiritual warfare.

My review:

I've read lots of books about angels, and I have to say that The Blue Door is different from anything I've read. However, I still had some dislikes about this book.

Throughout the whole book, nothing much happens besides Prissie learning more about angels - who they are, and what they do. I kept thinking, "Okay, isn't there going to be a fight, or something unexpected and exciting?" but there never was. The ending just felt like a letdown. But I'm guessing there will be more action in book two.

Also, Prissie got on my nerves at times. She was fourteen, but sometimes the way she acted made her seem younger. She was very prim at times, which was what annoyed me, but later on she would act all spunky and stubborn, and it made me smile. Overall, she was a refreshing character who's different from most YA characters, but I couldn't connect completely with her.

I really like the author's storytelling, though. She had a great way of describing the setting and the characters. It all had just enough detail for me to envision it, which I enjoyed.

To sum it up, this was an interesting read despite the lack of action, and book two sounds promising. Hopefully it will be even better than this one!

I received an ARC from Zondervan in exchange for an honest review.  Thanks!

My rating:  6 out of 10

~ The Bookworm

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Book Trailer: My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century

Check out this awesome book trailer for My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris!  It hits stores on September 11, a little less than a month away.  I, for one, am really looking forward to reading it!  Here's the Goodreads summary:

On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother and well-meaning father. So even though Cat knows the family’s trip to Florence, Italy, is a peace offering, she embraces the magical city and all it offers. But when her curiosity leads her to an unusual gypsy tent, she exits . . . right into Renaissance Firenze.

Thrust into the sixteenth century armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat joins up with her ancestors, the sweet Alessandra and protective Cipriano, and soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around, Cat realizes that an unwanted birthday party is nothing compared to an unwanted suitor full of creeptastic amore.

Can she find her way back to modern times before her Italian adventure turns into an Italian forever?

Doesn't it sound exciting?  What are your thoughts on the book trailer?

~ The Bookworm

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Book Review: The Treachery of Beautiful Things

Goodreads summary:

A darkly compelling mix of romance, fairy tale, and suspense from a new voice in teen fiction

The trees swallowed her brother whole, and Jenny was there to see it. Now seventeen, she revisits the woods where Tom was taken, resolving to say good-bye at last. Instead, she's lured into the trees, where she finds strange and dangerous creatures who seem to consider her the threat. Among them is Jack, mercurial and magnetic, with secrets of his own. Determined to find her brother, with or without Jack's help, Jenny struggles to navigate a faerie world where stunning beauty masks some of the most treacherous evils, and she's faced with a choice between salvation or sacrifice--and not just her own.

My review:

Wow.  The Treachery of Beautiful Things is, indeed, a beautifully written book.  I'm always a little apprehensive of books about faeries, because I've read a few that have been quite disappointing.  But I very much enjoyed this one, and I think fans of The Iron Fey will love it as well.

First, I should make this clear: I would not consider The Treachery of Beautiful Things to be paranormal in any way.  It's pure fantasy, through and through.  It is absolutely magical in an old-fashioned, fairytale kind of way, and that's what made me love it.  If you grew up reading The Chronicles of Narnia, then you know what I'm talking about.  In fact, the style and mood of The Treachery of Beautiful Things is a bit like a teen version of Narnia.

I liked pretty much everything about this book.  The faerie world Long created really is beautiful and threatening at the same time.  I loved that the book was written in third-person, a refreshing change from many YA novels.  Lots of magical faerie creatures were mentioned throughout the story.  It has everything you could ask for from a book about faeries!

I loved all the characters, especially the minor ones.  Puck was a funny addition.  Jenny's brother, Tom, was a realistic character that I felt for.  Oberon was written with just the right touch of evil.  And Mab was creepy, frightening, and definitely a well-written villain.  The main characters, Jenny and Jack, were good as well.  Jenny was slightly too, I don't know, shy or quiet at times, but I liked her well enough and her character grew a lot throughout the novel.  Jack, oh, he was such a good character.  It was so sad when parts of his past were revealed.  He faces some hard decisions throughout the book, and I felt so much for what he went through.

Lastly, a couple things I wanted to mention.  I adore the title The Treachery of Beautiful Things, and I think it describes the book perfectly.  I also love the cover and I really want that girl's dress.  Just sayin'.  Oh, and guess what?  I loved the fact that this novel isn't (as far as I know) part of a series.  There is no agonizing cliffhanger at the end; everything is wrapped up perfectly and it felt complete. 

Then, my favorite quote:  "'Beware a kiss,' he told her.  'Kisses are powerful things.  You expose a part of your soul.'"  *swoon* Isn't it just gorgeous?  Now, if none of that has convinced you to go buy this book, I don't know what will.  Go read it!  It's a beautiful addition to the fantasy genre.

My rating: 9 out of 10.

~ The Bookworm

Monday, August 13, 2012

Book Review: Changeling

Goodreads summary:

Italy, 1453.  Seventeen-year-old Luca Vero is brilliant, gorgeous—and accused of heresy. Cast out of his religious order for using the new science to question old superstitious beliefs, Luca is recruited into a secret sect: The Order of the Dragon, commissioned by Pope Nicholas V to investigate evil and danger in its many forms, and strange occurrences across Europe, in this year—the end of days.

     Isolde is a seventeen-year-old girl shut up in a nunnery so she can’t inherit any of her father’s estate. As the nuns walk in their sleep and see strange visions, Isolde is accused of witchcraft—and Luca is sent to investigate her, but finds himself plotting her escape.

     Despite their vows, despite themselves, love grows between Luca and Isolde as they travel across Europe with their faithful companions, Freize and Ishraq. The four young people encounter werewolves, alchemists, witches, and death-dancers as they head toward a real-life historical figure who holds the boundaries of Christendom and the secrets of the Order of the Dragon.

     The first in a series, this epic and richly detailed drama is grounded in historical communities and their mythic beliefs. It includes a medieval map of Europe that will track their journey; and the interior will include relevant decorative elements as well as an interior line illustration. And look for a QR code that links to a note from the author with additional, detailed information about the setting and the history that informed the writing. With Philippa Gregory’s trademark touch, this novel deftly brings the past—and its salacious scandals—vividly and disturbingly to life.

My review:

I've never read any of Philippa Gregory's books before, so I had no idea what to expect from Changeling.  But I was pleasantly surprised.  It was a fast-paced, highly enjoyable novel.

Philippa Gregory is a skilled writer.  She flawlessly combines historical facts with paranormal aspects in Changeling.  Historical fantasy is quickly becoming one of my favorite genres!  Her writing style is simple and informative, and I liked that.

And the characters...I loved them all.  Each of them were unique in their own way.  I especially loved Ishraq!  She's mysterious but loyal, and her character is full of surprises.  She took awesome to a whole new level. :) Luca was a great character too.  Despite his inexperience working for the Order of the Dragon, he was clever and smart.  Isolde too was very fun to read about - she's bold and doesn't give up.  Lastly, Freize really brought the humor to the book.  He had some funny lines and was a very endearing character.

The plot was unique as well.  I thought the storyline was very interesting, and though the beginning is rather slow, things pick up once the characters start on their quest. 

All in all, Changeling was an entertaining read and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a fun, short read.  Looking forward to the next one in the series!

My rating: 7 out of 10

~ The Bookworm

Friday, August 10, 2012

Book Review: Glitch

Goodreads summary:

In the Community, there is no more pain or war. Implanted computer chips have wiped humanity clean of destructive emotions, and thoughts are replaced by a feed from the Link network.

When Zoe starts to malfunction (or “glitch”), she suddenly begins having her own thoughts, feelings, and identity. Any anomalies must be immediately reported and repaired, but Zoe has a secret so dark it will mean certain deactivation if she is caught: her glitches have given her uncontrollable telekinetic powers.

As Zoe struggles to control her abilities and stay hidden, she meets other glitchers including Max, who can disguise his appearance, and Adrien, who has visions of the future. Both boys introduce Zoe to feelings that are entirely new. Together, this growing band of glitchers must find a way to free themselves from the controlling hands of the Community before they’re caught and deactivated, or worse.

In this action-packed debut, Glitch begins an exciting new young adult trilogy.

My review:

I was really looking forward to reading Glitch, because I adore dystopian books and I thought the summary sounded cool.  Unfortunately, it wasn't as good as I'd hoped.

The opening chapter drew me in right away, and it was interesting up until...bam.  Insta-love at chapter three.  Zoe meets Adrien and, on page 38, after just meeting him, claims that "he was different from any person I'd ever met."  Me: *facepalm*  Then, by the end of the story, they declare their love for each other.  Zoe states that "the connection I felt to him was unlike anything I felt for anyone else in the world."  *headdesk* So yeah, the romance just didn't seem realistic to me.

Adrien is actually an okay character.  Despite the stalker-ish vibe he gave off at first (he's kind of obsessed with Zoe because he's seen visions that she will save the world), he was sweet and very determined to protect Zoe and do what's right.  Max, on the other hand...ugh.  He was a Creep with a capital C.  He was aggressive and constantly getting angry and there was not a single likable thing about him.  So honestly, I don't know why the love triangle between Zoe, Adrien, and Max was even necessary.

I didn't connect much with Zoe, either.  I disliked her indecision and how she was torn between the two guys.  But, despite that I wasn't crazy about the characters, I did get involved in the story.  The action scenes were tense, and I was constantly afraid Zoe would be discovered by the Community and get in trouble.  And I really liked the dystopian world and the technology that the author created; it was definitely unique.

Basically, I enjoyed Glitch aside from my issues with the characters and love triangle.  But I don't think it was good enough to re-read, and I'm not sure if I'll be interested enough to buy the sequel when it comes out.

My rating: 5 out of 10

~ The Bookworm

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Book Review: Of Poseidon

Goodreads summary:
Galen is the prince of the Syrena, sent to land to find a girl he's heard can communicate with fish. Emma is on vacation at the beach. When she runs into Galen — literally, ouch! — both teens sense a connection. But it will take several encounters, including a deadly one with a shark, for Galen to be convinced of Emma's gifts. Now, if he can only convince Emma that she holds the key to his kingdom . . .

Told from both Emma and Galen's points of view, here is a fish-out-of-water story that sparkles with intrigue, humor, and waves of romance.

My review:

Where do I begin?  I devoured this book in a single day.  It's lighthearted, refreshing, charming, delightful, and laugh-out-loud funny.  I definitely enjoyed it a lot more than Sea Change, a similar book that I read recently.

Of Poseidon hooks you from the very first chapter.  Emma is such a great character!  Her sense of humor and sarcasm made me laugh several times throughout the book.  As for Galen, it was funny to see him trying to adjust to living on land.  I think the alternating points of view made it easier to relate to both Galen and Emma.  Also, I loved the romance between side characters Rayna and Toraf.  They were so cute! 

The plot was original and interesting.  I like the uniqueness of the Syrena (that's what the mermaids/mermen are called!) and loved hearing about their history.  By the last 30 pages or so, however, I did guess one of the major plot twists coming up, so I wasn't totally surprised by the book's cliffhanger.  But I am still dying to find out what happens in the next book!

I loved the author's writing too.  The descriptions were well-done but not over-the-top, giving me just enough to imagine the scenery.  The dialogue was so hilarious and witty that I kept grinning as I read.  Anna Banks certainly knows how to create a memorable story!

Would I recommend Of Poseidon?  Yes, absolutely!  I know I will go back and re-read it sometime, and I am eagerly anticipating the sequel, Of Triton.

My rating: 9 out of 10

~ The Bookworm

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Book Review: Sea Change

Goodreads summary:

Sixteen-year-old Miranda Merchant is great at science. . .and not so great with boys. After major drama with her boyfriend and (now ex) best friend, she's happy to spend the summer on small, mysterious Selkie Island, helping her mother sort out her late grandmother's estate.
There, Miranda finds new friends and an island with a mysterious, mystical history, presenting her with facts her logical, scientific mind can't make sense of. She also meets Leo, who challenges everything she thought she knew about boys, friendship. . .and reality.
Is Leo hiding something? Or is he something that she never could have imagined?

My review:

For me, Sea Change was an okay-ish novel.  It's a sweet, quick summer read, but it's not a book that I would consider amazing.  It was exciting enough to keep my interest, but I found parts of the storyline to be cliche and predictable.

I do like the main character Miranda a lot, though.  She wasn't too girly or too nerdy; she felt like someone you could understand.  I liked that though she was a science geek and great at math, she struggled with English and history.  It was a good balance and made her easier to relate to.

Still, the story kind of drove me nuts at times.  It's the usual plot that so often populates YA fiction.  Miranda meets the mysterious Leo and it's love at first sight, and after a couple weeks of knowing each other she's declaring that he's brilliant and unlike any boy she's ever met.  And it is a very predictable book - I kept guessing what would happen. 

But for all that, Sea Change was an enjoyable read.  Yeah, so the story is nothing unusual or unique, but I'd recommend it for someone who is looking for a short, cute summer novel. 

My rating:  6 out of 10

~ The Bookworm

Friday, August 3, 2012

Book Review: Monument 14

Goodreads summary:

Your mother hollers that you’re going to miss the bus. She can see it coming down the street. You don’t stop and hug her and tell her you love her. You don’t thank her for being a good, kind, patient mother. Of course not—you launch yourself down the stairs and make a run for the corner.Only, if it’s the last time you’ll ever see your mother, you sort of start to wish you’d stopped and did those things. Maybe even missed the bus.But the bus was barreling down our street, so I ran.Fourteen kids. One superstore. A million things that go wrong.

In Emmy Laybourne’s action-packed debut novel, six high school kids (some popular, some not), two eighth graders (one a tech genius), and six little kids trapped together in a chain superstore build a refuge for themselves inside. While outside, a series of escalating disasters, beginning with a monster hailstorm and ending with a chemical weapons spill, seems to be tearing the world—as they know it—apart.

My review:

When I read the summary I immediately wanted to read it.  I mean, come on! The idea of being trapped in a superstore is just so cool  So I was really looking forward to reading it.

Did it disappoint?  Nope - I'm happy to say that Monument 14 was a very enjoyable read.  It was short, quick, and fun.  During the final half, I got so into the story that I didn't want to stop reading.  The ending definitely leaves it open for future books, and I'm excited to find out what happens next.

As for the characters, I found them all to be realistic and original.  The author described the fourteen children in ways that made them easy to keep track of.  The younger kids were so cute and sweet, and I loved seeing how all the characters interacted and tried to get along.  The main character, Dean, was a good narrator and I definitely felt sympathy for what he was going through.

What I didn't like: the world-building.  This is a dystopian novel, but we don't learn a whole lot about the world outside or what made it that way.  I get that it's because the kids are all trapped in the superstore and can't get out, but I would have liked to learn more.  Hopefully, this is an area that the author will tell us more about in the sequel.

All in all, I'd recommend this to anyone looking for an interesting read.  The idea was so unique and I think the characters are what really makes this book shine.  Fingers crossed for a sequel!

My rating: 7 out of 10.

~ The Bookworm

Thursday, August 2, 2012

My first post!

Hello!  Welcome to my blog.  My name is Kaitlyn.  You might already know me on fanfiction.net - here is my profile - or on GoodReads.  Feel free to send me a friend request!

So, as a girl who's crazy about reading, I decided it was high time I created a blog and started reviewing books.  My posts will mostly revolve around books - book reviews, new books coming out soon, etc.  I hope you'll stick around!  I'm really excited about posting new reviews and updates, so stay tuned for more. :)

Thanks for dropping by!

~ The Bookworm