Saturday, March 15, 2014

Stacking The Shelves (2)

Stacking The Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews. If you would like to participate, click here.
 I recently went on a book splurge and practically bought everything the website had to offer. I still have a couple of library books left to review, but I'll get to those in due time. Here are the books that have come in the mail so far:

Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg
My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
Reboot by Amy Tintera

That's all for now. Sorry it's such a short STS. Leave me a link in the comments, if you'd like, so I can drop by your STS!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Review: The Fault In Our Stars

Title: The Fault In Our Stars
Author: John Green
Publisher: Dutton
Publication Date: January 10th 2012
Pages: 318
Genre: YA
Source: Purchased
My Rating: 3 Starfish

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten. - Summary and cover image from Goodreads

 While there were many things that I did enjoy about John Green's "The Fault In Our Stars", I was left feeling slightly disappointed. I wanted a lot more out of it than what I got.

Plot: I haven't read very many cancer books, but out of all of them, I thought that this one was the most raw and heartfelt. I liked the way the story progressed. There weren't hardly any slow parts. Every event in the book either focused on the love story or on the harsh truths of living with cancer.

Writing Style: John Green's writing is superb. That's probably the biggest reason why I liked this book. He takes a sucky situation, and molds it into a beautiful love story. The dialogue was witty and funny, and I found myself admiring John Green's intelligence throughout the book. A lot of the things that the characters thought about or talked about went right over my head. I felt pretty inferior while reading this, to be honest!

Shock Factors: I saw everything coming pretty early on in the book as far as the cancer stuff goes. I was surprised when they went to visit that author at his home, he was like.....yeah.....anyway, that was unexpected. The only thing that actually shocked me was Augustus' attitude towards the end of the story. I was really disappointed in him.

Hazel: I admired her strength. She was really funny and smart, but her overall personality struck a nerve with me. I understood that she was going through something horrible, but I still didn't like the way she acted around or talked to people sometimes. She seemed very distant, even to Augustus towards the end, and I think that bothered me more than anything else.

Augustus: He was very charming and sorta goofy, but not in an obvious way. He liked metaphors a lot, which I didn't really get, but I went with it anyway. He was really cute whenever he did something "couple-y" with Hazel. Basically, I liked him through the first half of the story, but I definitely didn't care for him later on. Well, it's not that I didn't care, I did care, which is why he frustrated me so much. But I mainly felt sorry for him when he let grief overtake him. I wished he wouldn't have changed.

Strengths: The writing is what I love the most. This book has pretty much everything from humor to heartbreak. It's a book that I think anyone can relate to.

Weaknesses: When I said at the beginning of my review that I wanted to get more out of it, this is what I meant by that: I expected it to fully live up to its hype, which it did not. I had heard that the love story was so incredible, etc... etc..., but I didn't think the love story was all that great. As I said earlier, the writing was what I really loved. Hazel and Augustus didn't click for me. She seemed too emotionally detached, and he proclaimed his love for her, but I didn't see any proof of it. They weren't insta-love (thank goodness), but I didn't really believe that they were "in love".

Anyway, I always have something good and bad to say about the books I read. Even though I thought the love story was lacking, this book really should be read by everyone. It's fantastic, and John Green is practically a genius.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Review: Prodigy

Title: Prodigy
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher: Putnam
Publication Date: January 29th 2013
Pages: 371
Genre: YA
Source: Purchased
My Rating: 3 Starfish

Injured and on the run, it has been seven days since June and Day barely escaped Los Angeles and the Republic with their lives. Day is believed dead having lost his own brother to an execution squad who thought they were assassinating him. June is now the Republic's most wanted traitor. Desperate for help, they turn to the Patriots - a vigilante rebel group sworn to bring down the Republic. But can they trust them or have they unwittingly become pawns in the most terrifying of political games?- Summary and cover image from Goodreads.

I didn't like this book as much as the first. It was a lot slower, and honestly, a bit of a let down. The first book was really action-packed, and every event led up to the emotionally whopping climax at the end. If "Prodigy" had ended the same way, I probably would have liked it a lot more. But instead, it kept going, and so it felt kind of like climbing up the hill, finally reaching the top, and then going back down, which isn't as exciting as going up. Does that make sense?

June started to grow on me a little in "Prodigy". Her intelligence blew my mind, and I liked that she caught on quickly to what was going on around her. I would have really hated it if she would've made the same mistakes she made in "Legend".

Day is not my favorite at all. He's very rebellious and too much of a bad boy for my taste. His chapters were really boring compared to June's, and he just started to get on my nerves.

As far as secondary characters go, Eden is a cutie pie. I was really glad that Day had someone left from his family to look after. Tess got on my nerves a bit too. She seemed way more grown up, which wasn't a bad thing, but I liked her better when she was more sweet and innocent. I really liked Anden, and I was glad that there was a bit of a love triangle (seeing as I'm a huge fan of those). I liked his and June's relationship more than I liked hers and Day's. Maybe it's because Day and June were insta-lovey. Anyway, I was secretly hoping that she would forget about Day and start dating Anden. Now, don't go raising your pitchforks at me, but I just don't believe in Day and June as a couple. I couldn't feel the connection.

There were several surprises along the way, none of which I was expecting. I really like these books because of their suspense. I would still recommend them to anyone who's a fan of Dystopias, even though the second book paled in comparison to the first.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday

TTT is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
This week's TTT is:
Top Ten All Time Favorite Books in the Christian Genre
Before I discovered the wonderful genre that is YA, I read mostly Christian books. I just recently switched over, and I honestly haven't read enough YA to make a top ten list. But some of my favorite books are in the Christian genre, so I thought it would be fun to share those with you instead. I really like to explore different genres, just in case there's a hidden gem somewhere. So maybe you will find one of these books interesting and dabble a bit outside of what you normally read. These books are in order of my favorite favorites down to my least favorite favorites.
1. Loving Soren by Caroline Coleman O'Neil. My absolute favorite book. The heroine is almost exactly like me (no joke), and I can relate to her struggles with her beliefs and her love life. What's really cool about this book is that it's based on a true story. There really was a philosopher named Soren, who seduced a young girl and then wrote a book about how he did it (You can actually by his book on Barnes and Noble). A few of the passages in Loving Soren are taken straight from Soren's and Regine's diaries. Basically this book is awesome, and you should definitely look into it.   
2. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. Stargirl is not a religious book, but it was written by a religious author. It's one of my all time favorites, so I couldn't resist squeezing it into the list. Stargirl (who is one of the most unique characters I've ever read about) falls for a normal kid, who wishes Stargirl could be normal too. The sequel is just as good as the first one, and I can't praise them both enough!   
3. A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers. This book takes place in Rome, back when gladiators fought to the death, and Christians were being persecuted mercilessly. Hadassah, a Christian slave girl, falls in love with the son of the family she takes care of. The characters are all so complex and fascinating, and Francine writes the story so well!
4. Montana Marriages by Mary Connealy. I've mentioned this trilogy before in one of my TTT posts. These books sucked me in immediately, and I could not put them down! Besides having one of the coolest character developments in history, these books are funny and have loads of excitement! There was never a dull moment for me while I was reading them.  
5. A Lineage of Grace by Francine Rivers. This series is about five women of the Bible who had the courage to follow God's plans for them, no matter how tough the situations became. My two favorites out of these are Tamar and Rahab, but they all teach an important lesson, and I found myself genuinely enjoying them. 
6. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. This book is actually pretty risqué for a Christian novel. The heroine of the story is a prostitute, who's not looking for anyone to save her from her miserable life. But when Michael Hosea falls in love with her, she grudgingly accepts his proposal of marriage, and despite claiming to never love him back, finds herself growing more attached to him as the days go on. If you're a die-hard fan of romance, then this book is for you.  
7. Brides of Gallatin County Trilogy by Tracie Peterson. The books follow the lives of three head-strong sisters as they learn how to manage the family business after the death of their dearly- loved father. The characters are all so loveable, and the romance is super cute!
8. Plain and Fancy by Wanda E. Brunstetter. I love Amish books. I'm not sure why I do, but I just find their way of life really interesting. I guess I like the simplicity of it all. In this book, a normal girl falls in love with an Amish guy (forbidden love alert), and they can't be together unless one gives up their way of life for the other. In most Amish books that I read where a situation like this comes up, the guy always changes for the girl. However, I never believe that the girl's love is sincere because she didn't have to give up anything or really do anything. But Plain and Fancy sticks out in my head because she changed for him, and that kind of proved to me that she was in love with him.
9. The Last Sin Eater by Francine Rivers. I know that I have a lot of Francine Rivers on my TTT, but she is such an amazing writer! I loved how strange and dark this book was. It's definitely not what you expect from a Christian genre. I'm not even sure how to describe it because it's so unusual. It's basically about two friends, who want to know more about the sin eater, and in their curiosity, they stumble across some dangerous secrets. I also have to praise the particular writing style of this book. Francine's characters all have thick accents, and she wrote the words the way they sound coming out of the characters' mouths. Pretty cool, huh?
10. The Sisters of the Quilt Trilogy by Cindy Woodsmall. No love triangle gets my dander up faster than this one does. However, I had to include it on this list because you can't see anything coming. Everything that happens is unpredictable, and it gives the story some suspense. I can't say too much without giving something away, but I couldn't stop reading them once I was hooked.
Have you read any of these books before? What's on your TTT? Leave a link if you'd like and I promise to stop by! :)