Saturday, December 29, 2012

Book Review: What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang

Title: What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang
Series: The Hybrid Chronicles #1
Finished on: December 20, 2012
Released: September 18th 2012 by HarperCollins
Source: Public Library E-Book
Rating: 3/5

Summary from Goodreads:
I should not exist. But I do.

Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else—two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren’t they settling? Why isn’t one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn’t . . .

For the past three years, Eva has clung to the remnants of her life. Only Addie knows she’s still there, trapped inside their body. Then one day, they discover there may be a way for Eva to move again. The risks are unimaginable-hybrids are considered a threat to society, so if they are caught, Addie and Eva will be locked away with the others. And yet . . . for a chance to smile, to twirl, to speak, Eva will do anything.
This was a case of a good book but at a bad time. I've been on a huge contemporary, mainly new adult contemporary, binge lately and I can't get enough. When What's Left of Me came in for me at the library after being on hold for weeks, I new I had to read it now or risk never giving it a chance again. I had also just filled my e-reader with a ton of fantastic looking new adult contemporaries that I'm super anxious to break into! All of those factors combined, I felt rushed and forced to get through this book and was never quite able to get fully immersed into the story. However, I honestly feel that if I would have picked up What's Left of Me before my current contemporary addiction, I would have really loved it.

What this book does have is uniqueness. The whole premise is very different from anything else I've read in the same genre this year and Kat Zhang does a very good job with it. To be honest, the setting of the book almost had me more interested than the actual story itself. I found myself very curious about the world it was taking place in and wanting to learn more. Unfortunately, information about this world was given only on an as needed basis. However, I can see where this would be refreshing for some readers. There's not as much set-up as there is in a lot of other books in the genre and we are able to get directly into the story a lot sooner.

The story is original and Kat Zhang's writing style is wonderful, but I did not find myself connecting with the characters. The closest I came to it was with Eva (who's point-of-view the story was told in). And I didn't like Ava very much at all. For me, this didn't detract from the story though. Whereas I didn't connect with the characters, I still enjoyed the storyline. I stayed curious about and interested in everything going on. Surprisingly, it was the last chapter that hooked me and ensured that I'll be reading the next book in the series.

Like I mentioned before, I don't think I can do this book the justice it actually deserves, only because of the circumstances surrounding my reading of it. If the summary sounds good to you and it's something you feel in the mood for, I definitely recommend it.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Top 10 of 2012: Top 10 Books I'm Looking Forward to in 2013

more info at fiktshun

The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen
Just One Day by Gayle Forman
Requiem by Lauren Oliver
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins


The Program by Suzanne Young
If He Had Been With Me by Laura Nowlin
Parlor Games by Maryka Biaggio


The Beautiful and the Cursed by Page Morgan
Five Summers by Una LaMarche
In The Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Top 10 of 2012: Best (Couples) of 2012

more info at fiktshun

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 26th – Best ________ of 2012 (Reader’s/Blogger’s choice. Please fill in the blank with ONE of these topics – Villains, Contemporaries, Dual POV’s, Novellas, Adult titles, New Adult titles, Love Triangles, Couples, Bad Boys or Debuts.

I chose Best Couples of 2012!

In no particular order:
  • Rose and Dimitri from the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead
  • Jude and Lucy from Crash by Nicole Williams
  • Ciro and Enza from The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani
  • Elliot and Kai from For Darkness Show the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
  • Dexter and Emma from One Day by David Nicolls
  • Lola and Cricket from Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
  • Anna and St. Clair from Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
  • Adam and Mia from Where She Went by Gayle Forman
  • Auden and Eli from Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
  • Lena and Alex from Delirium by Lauren Oliver
P.S. All of these books listed here were also superb.I recommend them all! (:

 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Top 10 of 2012: Best Book Covers of 2012

Find more info here (:

Best Book Covers of 2012


 Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Crewel by Gennifer Aldin
Incarnate by Jodi Meadows


Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood
The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Frances Long
A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty by Joshilyn Jackson


Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
Paris in Love by Eloisa James
The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton


Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson


Monday, December 24, 2012

Top 10 of 2012: Best Books I've Read in 2012

Find more info here (:

Best Books I've Read in 2012

1.) The Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead - I loved, loved, loved it! Like completely and totally addicted to this series for the two months or so it took me to get through it. If you haven't read it yet: GO NOW!

2.) Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson- Such a beautiful and touching story. I'd recommend it to everyone. [Read my review
]

3.) Crash by Nicole Williams- JUDE RYDER! This was an awesome contemporary. [Read my review]

4.) For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund- From what I've seen, this book does not get nearly the attention it deserves! So great!

5.) Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins- Lola and Cricket <3 Lola was beyond adorable.


6.) The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins- So glad I finally gave these books a chance this year!


7.) The Pact: A Love Story by Jodi Picoult- I can't say enough about this beautiful and tragic story. Please go read this!

8.) Delirium and Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver- Super compelling and interesting series and I can't wait for Requiem. [ Delirium review] [Pandemonium review]

9.) The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan- A great story from a great writer!
[Read my review]

10.) One Day by David Nicholls- So funny, so adorable, so everything! Adored this book and the movie. (:

Honorable mentions: Insurgent by Veronica Roth, Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

What were some of your favorites of 2012? Let me know in the comments so I can build of a TBR pile for 2013!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Book Review: The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani

Title: The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani
Series: Stand-Alone
Finished on: December 12, 2012
Released: April 3rd 2012 by Harper
Source: Public Library E-Book
Rating: 5/5

Summary from Goodreads:
The majestic and haunting beauty of the Italian Alps is the setting of the first meeting of Enza, a practical beauty, and Ciro, a strapping mountain boy, who meet as teenagers, despite growing up in villages just a few miles apart. At the turn of the last century, when Ciro catches the local priest in a scandal, he is banished from his village and sent to hide in America as an apprentice to a shoemaker in Little Italy. Without explanation, he leaves a bereft Enza behind. Soon, Enza's family faces disaster and she, too, is forced to go to America with her father to secure their future.

Unbeknownst to one another, they both build fledgling lives in America, Ciro masters shoemaking and Enza takes a factory job in Hoboken until fate intervenes and reunites them. But it is too late: Ciro has volunteered to serve in World War I and Enza, determined to forge a life without him, begins her impressive career as a seamstress at the Metropolitan Opera House that will sweep her into the glamorous salons of Manhattan and into the life of the international singing sensation, Enrico Caruso.

From the stately mansions of Carnegie Hill, to the cobblestone streets of Little Italy, over the perilous cliffs of northern Italy, to the white-capped lakes of northern Minnesota, these star-crossed lovers meet and separate, until, finally, the power of their love changes both of their lives forever.

Lush and evocative, told in tantalizing detail and enriched with lovable, unforgettable characters, The Shoemaker's Wife is a portrait of the times, the places and the people who defined the immigrant experience, claiming their portion of the American dream with ambition and resolve, cutting it to fit their needs like the finest Italian silk.

This riveting historical epic of love and family, war and loss, risk and destiny is the novel Adriana Trigiani was born to write, one inspired by her own family history and the love of tradition that has propelled her body of bestselling novels to international acclaim. Like Lucia, Lucia, The Shoemaker's Wife defines an era with clarity and splendor, with operatic scope and a vivid cast of characters who will live on in the imaginations of readers for years to come.
Reader's who enjoy historical fiction and cute love stories will eat The Shoemaker's Wife right up. Trigiani is an extremely skilled writer who did an absolutely fantastic job at writing the descriptions of her settings. Every small detail is included whether it be in Italy, New York City, or Minnesota. The reader has no problem feeling like they are right there with Enza and Ciro. Learning so many small historical details was very enjoyable. I was fascinated by this book.

The romance portion wasn't quite as perfect. In fact, there was actually a point where I wasn't rooting for Ciro and Enza to be together.  There were moments when it just didn't seem like Ciro was good enough for Enza and I didn't feel like he truly loved her. All in all, the romance wasn't as breathtaking and sweeping as I was hoping for, but satisfying enough. The Shoemaker's Wife does a much better job at being a grand historical novel then a epic love story.

This was my first novel by Adriana Trigiani and I will be looking into her other works very soon. This was a very special book that deserves to be read with an open mind so I'm keeping this review short so other reader's can experience this beautiful storytelling on their own. Oh, and as far as language and content go: this is a very clean romance. There may be a few stronger words thrown in here and there but it was rare. So that being said, I'd recommend The Shoemaker's Wife to any who enjoys historical fiction, Italian settings, learning about New York life in the 20's and 30's, and immigrant life.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Book Review: Hating Heidi Foster by Jeffery Blount

Title: Hating Heidi Foster by Jeffery Blount
Series: Stand-Alone
Finished on: December 7, 2012
Released: October 25th 2012 by Alluvion Press
Source: LibraryThing Early Reviewers
Rating: 3/5

Summary from Goodreads:
Mae McBride and Heidi Foster were the very best of friends. Tied at the hip from early elementary school, their relationship was the stuff of storybooks, legendary even, in the minds of their high school classmates.

Unshakable.

That is, until Mae's father died while saving Heidi's life. When Mae finds out, she blames Heidi. She blames her father for putting Heidi ahead of her. She blames her friends for taking Heidi’s side. She begins to unravel amid that blame and her uncontrollable and atypical anger.

At the same time Heidi is beset by guilt, falls into depression and stops eating properly; wasting away physically and emotionally while waiting for Mae to let her back into the friendship she misses so dearly.

Mae, consumed by her hatred of Heidi, the confusion regarding her father’s motives, the perceived desertion of her friends and her mother’s grief, loses more and more of herself.

What could possibly bring these two old friends back to each other? A miracle?

Hating Heidi Foster, is a young adult novel about the place of honor true friendships hold in our lives. It is about suffering and loss and the ethics of grief. It is about a deep and painful conflict, the bright light of selflessness and sacrifice and the love that rights the ship and carries us safely to port.
 This was a very touching and very well-written story. I would definitely recommend for a quick, enjoyable read. I flew through this in just a few hours.

Everything written about the situation and especially the feelings every one of the characters are going through regarding the loss of someone very, very special to them was completely on par and fantastically true-to-life.

The one thing that truly bothered me about this story, however, is that in my honest OPINION, the dialogue and voice of the main character is in no way authentic to the voice of an actual high school girl. Through out my entire high school life, and now three years of college, I have never once encountered a fellow peer who used the type of tone and word usage as Mae. It was very 1940's/1950's and definitely not the voice a typical 2000's teenager would have. It didn't take away from the story too badly but it was distracting enough that more than once I had to stop and think "I've never been around a high school age kid who talks anything like this!".

The dialogue and tone of the young characters felt off to me but the descriptions of the situation and the feelings and thoughts that accompanied each of the characters were extremely realistic. The author takes on an extremely tough subject matter and creates a sometimes heartbreaking, but overall very touching story.

Perfect for anyone who's ever suffered the loss of someone they love or anyone who just wants to understand the grieving process better.

In the end this was a very short, but quite beautiful book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for free. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

2012 End of Year Book Survey


1.) Best book you read in 2012?
The Pact: A Love Story by Jodi Picoult- Six months later and I'm STILL thinking about it!

2.) Book you were excited about and thought you were going to love more but didn't?
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater- I liked but I was anticipating really falling in love with it and I just couldn't get into it.

3.) Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012?
For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfruend- This book took me by total surprise by how excellent the story was and how much I ended up loving it!

4.) Book you recommended to people most in 2012?
Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson- I recommend this book to everyone! Beautiful writing and fantastic story!

5.) Best series you discovered in 2012?
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead- I was really slow getting to it but I'm so, so, so glad I finally did.

6.) Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss), Jodi Picoult, Debbie Macomber (Cedar Cover series)

7.) Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Colins- I never read anything in the dystopian genre before I read this series and then I took off to many, many, more.

8.) Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?

9.) Book you read in 2012 that you are most likely to re-read next year?
Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson-Yes, I loved it that much!

10.) Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?
 

11.) Most memorable character in 2012?
Rose Hathaway from Vampire Academy and Jude Ryder from Crash by Nicole Williams

12.) Most beautifully written book in 2012?
Sorry, but again I'm going with Tiger Lily!

13.) Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012?
The Hunger Games! It really pushed me into a whole new genre and a whole world of more books to read! 

14.) Book you can't believe you waited until 2012 to finally read?
The Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead! I waited way too long to pick up this fantasticness.

15.) Favorite Passage/Quote from a book you read in 2012?
I knew I'd miss you. But the surprising thing is, you never leave me. I never forget a thing. Every kind of love, it seems, is the only one. It doesn't happen twice. And I never expected that you could have a broken heart and love with it too, so much that it doesn't seem broken at all. I know young people look at me and think my youth seems so far away, but it's all around me, and you're all around me. Tiger Lily, do you think magic exists if it can be explained? I can explain why I loved you, I can explain the theory of evolution that tells me why mermaids live in Neverland and nowhere else. But it still feels magic.- Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
16.) Shortest and Longest book you read in 2012?
Shortest- Love Story by Erich Segal
Longest- The Thorn Birds by

Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!
The ending of Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver! Complete WTF moment!

18.) Favorite relationship from a book you read in 2012?
Lucy and Jude from Crash by Nicole Williams

19.) Favorite book you read in 2012 from an author you read previously?
Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

20.) Best Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else?
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

Monday, December 3, 2012

Book Review: What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

Title: What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
Series: Stand-Alone
Finished on: November 30, 2012
Released: May 10th 2011 by Viking Juvenile
Source: Library E-book
Rating: 4/5

Summary from Goodreads:
Since her parents' bitter divorce, McLean and her dad, a restaurant consultant, have been on the move-four towns in two years. Estranged from her mother and her mother's new family, McLean has followed her dad in leaving the unhappy past behind. And each new place gives her a chance to try out a new persona: from cheerleader to drama diva. But now, for the first time, McLean discovers a desire to stay in one place and just be herself, whoever that is. Perhaps Dave, the guy next door, can help her find out.

Combining Sarah Dessen's trademark graceful writing, great characters, and compelling storytelling, What Happened to Goodbye is irresistible reading.
 Another amazing story from Sarah Dessen. I was so excited to read this because it was the only currently released Dessen book I hadn't finished yet. I wasn't disappointed, though I really missed the romance!

What Happened to Goodbye mainly focuses on McClean's relationships with her family and not so much her romantic relationships, but Dessen does this wonderfully and creates a very touching story.

All of the characters are great. I especially loved McClean's dad and you can tell that he is trying his best for her. And yes, I even liked her mother, because even though Katherine Hamilton can be very annoying, you can't help but love Katie Sweet. Of course we have the boy: Dave Wade- cute and sweet and a complete genius and has a tattoo. Ellis, Heather, and Riley are his quirky cast of friends who quickly become McClean's friends, also. We get Deb, who should probably just get her own book. She was hilarious and an awesome character. Finally, we get the restaurant crew, a crazy and eclectic mix. This book definitely stands out as a wonderfully character-driven story.

Not one of my absolute favorite Dessen novels, but definitely near the top. We get all the fantastic qualities that her best stories possess. If you're looking for a cute YA contemporary, What Happened to Goodbye is a must.


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