Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Review: Rockoholic by C.J. Skuse

Release date: November 1st, 2012
Publisher: Scholastic
Age group: Young Adult
Pages: 358
Overall: 4/5
She's got it bad, and he ain't good -- he's in her garage?

"I'm your biggest fan, I'll follow you until you love me..." 

Gonna have to face it: Jody's addicted to Jackson Gatlin, frontman of The Regulators, and after her best bud Mac scores tickets, she's front and center at his sold-out concert. But when she gets mashed in the moshpit and bodysurfs backstage, she's got more than a mild concussion to deal with. By the next morning, the strung-out rock star is coming down in her garage. Jody -- oops -- kind of kidnapped him. By accident. With a Curly Wurly candy bar. And now he doesn't want to leave. 

It's a rock-star abduction worthy of an MTV reality series...but who got punk'd?!
If you know much about me, you know that I am pretty obsessed with music. I don't really have a favourite genre but realistically the majority of my iTunes library is rock music. It's pretty sad that when I saw this book at B&N I thought that this was something that could happen to me.

Rockoholic starts out with a girl names Jody who is pretty crazy obsessed with this band guy named Jackson Gatlin who is the lead singer of a band called the Regulators. Now I get obsessed, I recently few to Canada to see my favourite band play, but I was a little concerned for Josie's wellbeing, I spent the first few chapters thinking that she really needed a hobby other than the Regulators. But as the book went on I started to identify with her and understand her obsession (not enough where I would kidnap a band member let's be clear about that), but it made me think about myself and my heros and how amazing it would be to talk to them for longer than they give you in a meet and greet line.

When I bought this I was expecting a fluff read but this book actually has a lot of substance to it, Jody is sarcastic and funny, but also a very kind person. She was still mourning the loss of her granddad, who she loved a lot, and so was understandably very confused sometimes, and didn’t know what to do, or which path in life was right for her. I felt a little sorry for her because Jody always felt like she could never compare to her sister Halley, who was the “golden child” of the family. Jackson was much the same; as a jaded rockstar who’d fallen from the pedestal everyone put him on, he too was confused about what he should do with his life. But both Jody and Jackson changed a lot in this book, and they overcame a lot of problems together (it’s amazing how this novel could be so hilarious and yet quite moving at the same time). By the end of the story, Jody was no longer the immature fangirl she used to be, and I grew to love her even more. Jackson was also no longer an unhappy, spoilt brat, and I think being with Jody and Mac helped him so much – he even started playing with Cree, Mac’s little sister, which was a huge change for him. He was actually a lot wiser than I first expected him to be, and was able to help Jody with a few of her problem as well as finally sorting out his own. Even Mac worked up to courage to change a few things in his life, and I have to say, Mac was one of my favourite characters. He was quirky, funny, and very lovable  and was always willing to help Jody, even when it was with something as crazy as looking after a kidnapped celebrity – he truly was the best friend a girl could have.

 The ending of Rockoholic was just perfect in my opinion, and though everything was wrapped up, I was really sad to see these characters go. I had grown really attached to Jody, Jackson and Mac – they were all people I could relate to in some way, and I think I’m really gonna miss them.

Overall, I loved Rockholic – it was a fun, light, wonderful book with a heart-warming underlying message, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a good summer read, or for anyone who just feels like laughing their head off.

Writing: 4/5 
Plot: 3.5/5
Characters: 5/5
Ending: 5/5

ps. this is our 100th review! I can't believe we've done this 100 times!


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

 Release date: January 10th, 2012
Publisher: Dutton Books
Age group: Young Adult
Pages: 313
Overall: 5/5 star
Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now. 

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault. 

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.
First off, happy new year! I hope 2013 is being good to you all so far!

I recently reread John Green's The Fault in Our Stars and realized I never did a review of it and I thought, what a great way to ring in the new year!

If you haven't read a John Green book yet, drop the computer/phone/whatever you are reading this blog post on and go buy one. Like right now. The Fault in Our Stars has worked it's way to the top of many bestseller lists and in every way deserves all the praise it's gotten, my review can't encompass the impact this novel has had on me and no matter how much praise I give it, it will not be enough.

The characters of Augustus Waters and Hazel Grace Lancaster are not only beautifully written, but they are also very raw and human. These characters are very similar to me and my friends and throughout reading I posted a multitude of pictures on my blog in effort to back up that Augustus Waters and I are the same person. The way John Green has written this story you forget that these kids are any different from you because they aren't which makes the ending of this story even more heartbreaking.

I don't think I can give Green enough praise in this review except to say if you are at all on the fence about reading The Fault in Our Stars, please read it, it's worth it I promise.

I'm sorry for the short review but I guess I don't have any more to add.

READ THE BOOK (keep a box of Kleenex handy)

Writing: 5/5 
Plot: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Ending: 5/5


Friday, October 5, 2012

Review: Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs

 Release date: September 6th, 2011
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Age group: Young Adult
Pages: 345
Flirt Factor: Chaste
Overall: 4/5 stars

Grace just moved to San Francisco and is excited to start over at a new school. The change is full of fresh possibilities, but it’s also a tiny bit scary. It gets scarier when a minotaur walks in the door. And even more shocking when a girl who looks just like her shows up to fight the monster.

Gretchen is tired of monsters pulling her out into the wee hours, especially on a school night, but what can she do? Sending the minotaur back to his bleak home is just another notch on her combat belt. She never expected to run into this girl who could be her double, though.

Greer has her life pretty well put together, thank you very much. But that all tilts sideways when two girls who look eerily like her appear on her doorstep and claim they're triplets, supernatural descendants of some hideous creature from Greek myth, destined to spend their lives hunting monsters.

These three teenage descendants of Medusa, the once-beautiful gorgon maligned by myth, must reunite and embrace their fates in this unique paranormal world where monsters lurk in plain sight. (Summary taken from Goodreads)

I'm definitely a sucker for a good Greek mythology YA book. So when I was looking for something to read and saw Sweet Venom sitting on my TBR shelf I knew that was my next read. Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs is not your standard Greek mythology retelling, either. Tera Lynn Childs took a lesser-known (but still popular) myth and wrote it in an interesting and modern way. Sweet Venom follows the lives of three (unbeknownst to them) sisters who are descendants of Medusa. It's told in first person and alternates between the three sisters: Grace, Gretchen, and Greer.
I was kind of curious to see how Childs would differentiate between the three main characters since they are triplets that share the same fate. However, I thought she did a good job developing all three of them completely. Even Greer, who only narrates a couple of chapters, had her own different viewpoints and opinions.
One of my favorite aspects of the book was how Childs integrated the greek mythology into the novel. Obviously, it wasn't just a Medusa retelling. So rather than reading a traditional retelling you got a fresh, modern spin off of a classic Greek myth. The best part of this was that you got to discover the different parts of the myth the same time the characters did. They're all teenagers, so a big part of the book is discovering their background and their significance to the Medusa myth and guarding the entrance to their world.
However, I felt like at times there wasn't enough action in the book. There would be little significant scenes, but then Childs wouldn't go very far with them. There were also a lot of little sub plots that weren't incorporated very well. Gretchen and Grace both had romantic interests that you saw only a couple of times. Then you were left wondering what happened to them. There just wasn't enough time to develop those subplots. Also, there is a subplot with Grace's brother, but throughout the book you're not entirely sure what it means. However, this is a series, so hopefully that will be explored further in the next book.

On that note, I really liked the ending. I felt like the end was the only part of the book where you really saw a lot of important things happening. It was also very shocking and mysterious and set up for the next book extremely well. Overall, the writing was nice and the book flowed smoothly. There were some parts that were shocking, some were funny, and some were endearing and heartwarming. Even though there are times where there isn't a ton of stuff going on in the book, I felt like there was still enough so you didn't get bored.

I wish there had been a little more action and more exploration of the romances, but overall this was a fun take on a Greek myth and I really enjoyed it. I feel like the next book will explore the different subplots established in this book and I'm looking forward to reading it.

Writing: 4/5
Plot: 3/5
Characters: 5/5
Ending: 5/5

Love always,

Monday, October 1, 2012

Review: Bewitching by Alex Flinn

Release Date: Febuary 14th, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen

Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 336
Flirt Factor: Chaste
Overall: 5/5 stars

Once, I put a curse on a beastly and arrogant high school boy. That one turned out all right. Others didn't.
I go to a new school now--one where no one knows that I should have graduated long ago. I'm not still here because I'm stupid; I just don't age.
You see, I'm immortal. And I pretty much know everything after hundreds of years--except for when to take my powers and butt out.
I want to help, but things just go awry in ways I could never predict. Like when I tried to free some children from a gingerbread house and ended up being hanged. After I came back from the dead (immortal, remember?), I tried to play matchmaker for a French prince and ended up banished from France forever. And that little mermaid I found in the "Titanic" lifeboat? I don't even want to think about it.
Now a girl named Emma needs me. I probably shouldn't get involved, but her gorgeous stepsister is conniving to the core. I think I have just the thing to fix that girl--and it isn't an enchanted pumpkin. Although you never know what will happen when I start . . . bewitching.

Alex Flinn is probably one of my favorite authors. I love retellings of fairy tales and she does the perfect job at them. Bewitching contained a retelling of Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, The Princess and the Pea, and The Little Mermaid all wrapped up into one story and it was perfection.

The story is focused on a witch named Kendra, who was the enchantress in Beastly for those of you who read that one, who enjoys helping people find their happy ending. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it goes terribly wrong. While the story is focused on her, there are three different speakers all in first person. There is Kendra, Emma who is the second main character and has a life based on Cinderella, and Doria who is this story's Little Mermaid. One of my favorite parts of the book was the Doria interlude because of the way Flinn combines The Little Mermaid and Titanic is magical.

The worst thing for me that a book can be is predictable, I am a huge unexpected twists and turns. Flinn did an amazing job doing this in Bewitching through the complex characters she created. The most complex characters were Lisette and Emma. The two girls suddenly become step sisters and throughout the book you see how their feelings change towards the situation. Emma is this average girl who most girls can relate to. She doesn't have many friends and she thinks of herself as ugly and weird, constantly comparing herself to her new gorgeous step sister Lisette. Most teenage girls are constantly comparing themselves, and to see Emma go through the journey of learning to love who she is, is incredibly relatable. Lisette on the other hand is a girl you feel bad to hate because everything she does is filled with wickedness yet she had a terrible life and you can see where she is coming from. My feelings towards her were conflicted the entire book.

You also can't have a fairy tale without a love story, and this love story was one that I believe could actually happen. I don't want to talk too much about the love story because I don't want to ruin it for you.

The only thing I would change about this was the ending seemed a little too abrupt because a new plotline was started and ended in the last two chapters. I was really enjoying the new plot line and wanted to learn more about it but there wasn't any time. I'm crossing my fingers for a sequel.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Teaser Tuesday(Sept. 25th)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teasers: "'Tis tempting fate to say a ship is unsinkable'" "After all, I had given something. I had saved a boy's life"

- p.233 Bewitching by Alex Finn

I would love if you commented below with your own teaser because I'm always looking for new books to read!